The Shadow Rising – Part 3

One of the major themes that runs through this series is relative power and the ways that people acquire that power, as well as how they use their power.  The larger part of this past section dealt with Perrin’s return to the Two Rivers and how he deals with everything that happens there.  There are two different things going on here, Perrin’s ability to see what needs to be done and his reluctance to be the one in charge rather than the one simply doing it.  It’s something that he ends up struggling with for a very large part of the series, and it works well to contrast with how Rand, Mat, Egwene, Nynaeve, and Elayne are all dealing with the same issue.

Jordan repeatedly does everything that he can to throw his characters into difficult situations.  Most of these are things that we’ll never even come close to dealing with in our own lives, while it’s true of a lot of other books as well, Jordan does so well with it because of how honestly he is able to portray the reactions of the characters.  We’re constantly told in the earlier books that Perrin is one who likes to take his time and think things through before acting, and it shows in how he deals with the situation that he’s in.

The biggest example of conflict involving the balance of power is also on full display throughout this section.  The conflicts between men and women and constantly brought to light, and it makes for a lot of interesting play throughout the series, especially with this section from Perrin when he is able to hear many of the comments that the married women of the Two Rivers give to Faile, and he finds that it’s the exact same advice that the men give to him.

This also brings up one of the biggest differences between the world of these books and our own world, the way that privilege is set up in the books.  In our world we have male privilege (The very short explanation – if a man and a woman both walk into a room, you assume that the man is in charge.  I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just saying it’s how it is in our world.).  In one discussion about this series online, Sanderson said that in the books there is female privilege, I don’t know if I would really say there is, what I would say is that there really isn’t any privilege between the two sexes.  The only real example of any kind of discrimination between groups is from one country to another (and this includes counting the Aiel as a separate country), and that’s the kind of thing that you’ll find everywhere in the world, it’s the “us” vs “them” issue that is so prevalent throughout history.

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