Ch. 19: Beneath the Dagger

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Ch. 19: Beneath the Dagger

Post  Eric Gaidin on Wed Jul 15, 2009 10:10 pm

Rand, Loial, Hurin, and Selene camp out in Kinslayer’s Dagger. Hurin sees Fain’s fire and Rand and Loial sneak in to retrieve the Horn and the dagger from Shadar Logoth. Rand slays four Trollocs. RJ’s use of descriptive language in order to name the sword forms takes the place of an actual description of the fight. This is a fantastic method for a writer to employ—the poetry of the names for each sword form creates the imagery, not the action itself. I wonder if RJ had any formal martial training whatsoever—even eastern martial arts like karate. He captures the formality of it so well. “Carefully, Rand bent to wipe his blade on a Trolloc’s coat. Then, as formally as if Lan were watching him train, he sheathed it” (259). This rigid structure has been the basis of any martial training I’ve ever received and also the basis of any system that I’ve ever given a cursory study. The routine and the rote memorization of form after form seems tedious and mechanical at times. However, when one’s in a fight, the training really does take over.

My sensei calls it muscle memory. After performing a move repeatedly, you no longer have to think—your muscles simply respond. It’s really the same for any sport. Consider the act of pitching a baseball. Pitchers throw countless pitches to train their body in the mechanics of the pitch. The professionals don’t have to think about throwing a curveball from the stretch—right leg on the rubber, grip a single seem between index and middle fingers, rotate the hand forward in a semi-arc and snap the wrist to put spin on the ball--they just throw it. It’s a formal motion, really. Rand does the same here, and Jordan’s description is so dead-on that I wonder if he had formal martial training. He graduated from the Citadel and served two tours in Vietnam so I assume he borrowed from his combat training experience.


Last edited by Eric Gaidin on Wed Jul 15, 2009 10:10 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spacing issue)
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