Chapter 23: The Testing
Nynaeve has her training to skip to the Accepted, for which she has to go through a teríangreal, three arches that force her to face her fears. And she has to do it nude for some cheap fanservice, and more Break the Haughty
, though I think what we got last time was enough of that for now. The first one puts her in a maze where she fights Aginor, a Crowning Moment Of Awesome
where she essentially becomes the Avatar
, before it turns out the test is not of her fear of the likes of Aginor per se, but whether she can abandon her revenge on them once she has them at her mercy. A pretty cool Secret Test of Character
I didnít see coming.
Sheriam is surprised that she was able to use the Power inside, and says doing it again could cut her off from it permanently, which could be a problem since going inside has a Quantum Leap-like
effect on your memory. Next is Emondís Field in apparently the present time. The townís been taken over by an evil woman named Morena, and Nynaeve has to abandon Marin to her when the way back appears, another very emotional moment given that itís very unclear whether this is real (I lean toward yes).
So, up until now this has been an awesome chapter, with two extremely powerful scenes that add a lot to our empathy for Nynaeve. Letís destroy that, shall we? Because of course, the third test and the hardest of all isÖhaving to leave a future life with Lan and their kids. Iím suddenly reminded of the Star Trek: Voyager
episode where a Qís greatest accomplishments were inspiring Newtonís three laws, saving a man so his descendant would one day save all of humanity, andÖmaking sure Woodstock happened. The result is pure Narm Wangst
that culminates in Nynaeve magically jamming thorns through her palms at the pain of losing her Love That All Of A Sudden. But it gets her into the Accepted, at least.
I just donít get it. I guess weíre meant to assume that Nynaeve and Lan grew so close during their time alone together in book one, but would it have killed Jordan to show us one bit of that? Itís not like the length of these books was a major concern for him. The result is thatÖI hate to say it, I really do, but Nynaeve comes off as positively Bella Swan-esque in her tortured emoness over this guy she barely knows and who we have no reason to root for her to get with. And itís especially a shame because until that scene, the chapter was some of the best stuff yet in the series.