Last chapter: Richard tells the wizard to show him how the magic works.
This chapter: The wizard shows Richard how the magic works.
Also I am now coming to the dismaying realisation that Zedd is probably going to be sticking around for a while.
Zedd led them to the edge of-the grass, amid long shadows stretching from the nearby trees, to where two small rock maples grew, one as thick as Richard’s wrist, the other as thin as Kahlan’s.
Are men and women’s wrists really that different in size? Are we forgetting that Kahlan is an adult again?
Zedd gives Kahlan the sword and then tells her that Darken Rahl had one of the trees planted and gets her all riled up by reminding her that he killed her sister. Even though this is obviously bullshit she gets pissed and cuts through the tree like butter, something that not even Richard with all of his thewsomeness could manage, to say nothing of Kahlan and her delicate, wispy girl-arms.
Next Richard tries to cut down the smaller tree but the blade won’t even touch the wood.
Richard’s irritation melted. This was the way Zedd often taught lessons, by making him come up with the answer on his own. “I would say it has something to do with intent. She thought the tree was evil, I didn’t.”
I thought what was going to happen here is that the sword is powered by anger, which would be dumb enough, but actually it will only work against things or people that Richard thinks are evil.
Not, keep in mind, which actually are evil. Just which he thinks are evil. I don’t think I need to point out why this is a terrible idea, but apparently Zedd doesn’t agree. I strongly get the feeling this is another objectivism thing, but someone in the comments tell me if I’m wrong.
Reality isn’t relevant. Perception is everything.
Nope no way this could go wrong
It didn’t really matter, [Richard] decided. He knew who he was after, and there was no doubt at all in his mind about him being the enemy. None Whatsoever.
I tend to associate this kind of certainty with dangerous people. A rational human being will always at least be prepared to doubt their own views. This is particularly true when that person has massive amounts of power at their disposal- imagine if the leaders of the US or the Soviet Union had thought like this during the cold war.
After this Zedd does an abrupt 180 and says that killing is hard and always takes a toll, and Richard will pay a mental price for every life he takes. Richard laments the guilt he feels over drop-kicking that dude off the cliff earlier even though as far as I can tell he hasn’t thought about it once since then.
Zedd wheels out some old chestnuts about there being good and evil within everyone and Darken Rahl believes he’s doing the right thing even though it involves murdering and torturing people and so is therefore more dangerous.
Zedd held a thin finger to Richard’s chest. “The payment is that you suffer the pain of seeing in yourself all your own evil, all your own shortcomings, all the things we don’t like to see in ourselves, or admit are there. And you see the good in the one you have killed, suffer the guilt for having done so.”
Rage, according to Zedd, is the only protection from this guilt.
So if you strip away the fantasy trappings what he’s really saying here is that when you commit righteous murder you might feel guilty about it, so you should get good and pissed first so you can murder people better.
Also Richard can’t actually use the Sword of Truth against Darken Rahl, because the magic of Orden protects him and Richard will die if he tries. This comes off like a blatant contrivance to stop Richard from winning too easily.
Already he was looking to the east, to the massive wall of mountains, trying to think of solutions. Cross the boundary, he thought, cross the boundary without going through it. How?
y o u s a w s o m e t h i n g f l y i n g o v e r i t
j u s t s a y i n g
But apparently that’s not Richard’s solution. Instead he realizes that the Book of Counted Shadows must have come from Midland, since it’s magic (apparently), therefore his dad must have gone through the boundary and brought it back. I kind of assumed he just brought it with him before the boundaries went up, but maybe I missed something earlier.
So off our heroes go to find a pass through the boundary!
Apologies for the shortness of this post, but my back pain came back with a vengeance and this chapter was another marathon length one. I normally try to be very comprehensive but I’m skipping massive chunks here, mostly Richard’s drawn-out thought processes and Zedd saying “bags” and talking about toasted toads.