Romanità

The city gave its name to the power of patience— Romanità . Romanità excludes emotion, hurry, doubt. Romanità waits, sees the moment and moves ruthlessly when the time is right. Romanità rests on an absolute conviction of ultimate success and arises from a single principle, Cunctando regitur mundus: Waiting, one conquers all.

The Sparrow Mary Doria Russell

It divides

Later that summer, as rain fell, such a moment shimmered and paused on the brink, and then began the ancient dance of numbers: two, four, eight, sixteen, thirty- two, and a new life took root and began to grow. And thus the generations past were joined to the unknowable future.

Probably the most beautiful description of conception I have ever read.

The Sparrow Mary Doria Russell

Visible and physical dependence

“You can see it, can’t you. Hasta’akala: to be made like sta’aka. To be made visibly and physically dependent on someone stronger. He offered us hasta’akala. He took me to the garden and showed me the ivy and I didn’t make the connection. I thought he was offering Marc and me his protection and hospitality. I thought I could trust him. He asked my consent and I gave it. And I thanked him.”

Father Sandoz willingly gives up his dignity.

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

A Crown of Swords by Robert Jordan

ACOSCoverBook seven of the Wheel of Time series under my belt, seven more to go. As usual, nothing really happens until the last 20% of the book. Jordan wastes words telling us all about setting and clothing descriptions for characters where it adds nothing to your understanding of them. (Detailed livery descriptions for nobles, their servants, and armies — almost all of whom are lesser, unimportant characters.) He constantly describes facial reactions to reveal plot. The telling is so rampant it’s tiresome at times.

What is interesting to read are the various customs of each nation; the Ebou Dari’s extreme reverence for Wise Women, for example. The gholam’s origin story is another. Loial, who, as an Ogier, is filthy with backstory potential) gets limited stage time in book seven.

While Jordan does a much better job weaving the disparate plot points together in book seven it’s the easy “outs” that irk me the most. (That, and 300 Aes Sedai characters that are impossible to keep straight. (Thank you Wheel of Time wiki!).

Lan Mandragoran appears out of nowhere “just in the nick of time” to save bossy the cow Nynaeve from Moghedien’s random attack in Ebou Dar. (Surprisingly, Nynaeve hasn’t yanked her braid right off her head, yet.)

The Wanderer (actually Moridin in disquise) who again, pops out of nowhere to save Rand from falling down a hole during the “climactic” battle scene with Sammael. We waited the entire book for this battle, and Sammael gets killed by Mashadar after a long, drawn-out chase sequence? Rather unsatisfying. It’s almost as though Jordan gave up. Equally frustrating? Nynaeve, Elayne, Aviendha and Mat are all still in Ebou Dar 855 pages later. Will they ever emancipate the Bowl of the Winds? (I sense, yes! this will happen. The reason? Book nine depicts snow in the cover art. The weather’s got to change at some point.)

Will Elayne ever take the throne of Andor? Will Mat ever escape from under the pile of rubble he’s currently trapped under? Is Sammael really dead? Will Nynaeve ever finish off Moghedien for good in an epic battle royale? Will we ever see Egwene, Perrin, Faile, and Loial again? Maybe book eight has some answers.

January – March 2015