In spite of Hawkin, I was struck by the respect (maybe even a little bit of envy?) that the Light seems to have for ordinary human beings. The Light is willing to sacrifice them (as Will was, indeed, willing to sacrifice his sister if he really had to), and the Light has its own arrogance, but it doesn't look down on human beings, or consider them less than precious. A subtle distinction, but an important one.
I do like Will's family, and they're continuing importance in his life even as his role makes him feel somewhat apart from them. Too often in fantasy and other fiction, it seems there's this notion that if you find your calling, or your family of choice, you have to walk away from your birth family. But in real life, we strike a (sometimes awkward) balance between both, and value both, and I like that the book reflected this.
I don't understand, and have never understood, why the Light is something the minds of ordinary humans can't comprehend, and why those who begin to catch on to its workings always need to be made to forget. I believe understand that some humans can't handle this, but every last one of them? Even knowing how badly Hawkin handled this knowledge (and might he have coped better if he knew more?), surely there are ordinary humans who can handle this. Paul has always struck me as someone Will could have confided in--but the book tells us this is out of the question. I think it's a tricky thing: as the readers, we've (of necessity) been given enough so that we can understand the workings of Light and Dark, yet then we're told that within the story, characters just like us can't handle this knowledge.
If I remember right, I'll have more thoughts on that when we get to Silver on the Tree. :-)
There are several passages that do, indeed, seem to support the idea that the Dark is a choice. ("Such creatures were not born to their doom, like the Old Ones, but chose it.")
I was also struck by this exchange between Merriman and Hawkin:
Hawkin: "Will you make me live on, with the worst suffering of all yet to come? The last right of a man is to die. You prevented it all this time; you made me live on through the centuries when often I longed for death. And all for a betrayal that I fell into because I had not the wit of an Old One ..."
Merriman: "You were Hawkin, my foster-son and liege man, who betrayed your lord and the Light. So you became the Walker, to walk the earth for as long as the Light required it."
It seems to me that Hawkin and Merriman's accounts of what happened between them are both equally accurate, all depending what sort of filter you view the story through. I found that interesting, too.