The Wheel of Time Reread

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Fires of Heaven, Part 10

What up, yo: Welcome back to the Wheel of Time Re-read! I hope you are all doing fabulously well this fabulous Wednesday.

Today we are covering four, count ‘em FOUR chapters of The Fires of Heaven, namely Chapters 22-25. Because I am just that awesome.

And modest. Obviously. Awesomely.

Previous awesome entries are here, awesomely. Spoilers are awes- okay, I can’t keep it up, the word doesn’t even make sense now. There are spoilers for the whole series up in here, mmkay?

So, yeah. Anyway. Read on, readers, read on!

Chapter 22: Birdcalls by Night

What Happens
Mat is getting a massage from Melindhra in his tent, who informs him he is well-muscled for such a short man. He grumbles about overly tall Aiel, and thinks that he can remember being taller than Rand when he rode against Hawkwing, and shorter than he is now when he fought beside Maecine. Lan had told him Maecine was a king of Eharon, one of the Ten Nations, from four or five hundred years before the Trolloc Wars.

Those were the earliest and latest of the memories that had been planted in his skull. Nothing after Artur Paendrag Tanreall, and nothing before Maecine of Eharon.

Melindhra is incredulous that he just shivered, and builds up the fire, slapping his rump on the way; he comments that if she keeps that up he’ll think she means to spit him for supper. He reflects that he supposes he’ll have to settle down someday, apparently with whoever the Daughter of the Nine Moons is, but he wants to have as much fun as possible until then, since he imagines he won’t have much after. The problem is that Melindhra seems to have chased every other possibility away. Melindhra says that she thinks he is not made for spits, but great honor, and that it is strange he effaces himself so. He asks what she means.

“You put yourself in the shadow of Rand al’Thor.”

“I’m not in anybody’s shadow,” he said absently. It could not be the necklace. He had given jewelry to other women, Maidens and others; he liked giving things to pretty women, even if all he got in return was a smile. He never expected more. If a woman did not enjoy a kiss and a cuddle as much as he did, what was the point?

She goes on about honor for a moment, with Mat not really listening, until she traces his hanging scar and asks if he earned it serving the Car’a’carn; he pushes her hand away and asks again if she’s sure she’s never heard of the Daughter of the Nine Moons. She replies that she has not, and is interrupted by birdcalls, from birds found in the Two Rivers, not the Waste. Melindhra jumps up and dons her shoufa and runs out, not wearing a stitch else; Mat tugs on his breeches and boots first. He looks at the foxhead medallion, which he has finally figured out had kept Moiraine from channeling at him in Rhuidean, and puts it on just in case, and runs out. He almost loses his head to a Trolloc sword the moment he emerges; he kills that one, and sees Aiel fighting with Trollocs and men as well; the men are shouting “Sammael! Sammael and the Golden Bees!” Mat fights on, yelling to the world in general that he is no bloody hero, and after fighting and killing a Fade realizes that the battle seems mostly over. He thinks that the night assault made no sense, and seemed to have accomplished nothing. Melindhra comes up and asks what it was he had been shouting, Carai something.

“Something I heard once,” he told her. “I liked the sound of it.” Carai an Caldazar! For the honor of the Red Eagle. The battle cry of Manetheren. Most of his memories were from Manetheren. Some of those he had had before the twisted doorway. Moiraine said it was the Old Blood coming out. Just as long as it did not come out of his veins.

She puts an arm around him and comments that she saw him fight the Nightrunner, and that he is as tall as he needs to be. He grins and heads back to the tent with her, though he can’t shake the feeling there was something wrong with the raid.

Rand jumps up and seizes saidin when he hears the birdcalls, and goes out and listens to the sound of battle coming up from below. Adelin and the rest of his Maiden guard are gone, to join the fighting, and Rand thinks that an attack down there makes no sense. He turns around and sees Aviendha behind him, wrapped in a blanket and moving dreamily toward a crooning figure before her. Rand balefires the Draghkar, and Aviendha comes to her senses and turns to him, and then raises her hand and sends a pillar of flame at him. He throws himself to the ground, and when it stops, jumps up and stomps toward her, furiously asking what she meant by that when he had just saved her life. She snaps that next time she will let the great Car’a’carn handle matters himself, and storms back into the tent. Rand turns and sees the second Draghkar’s corpse burning not a pace away from where he’d been standing. He goes to the tent flap and tries to apologize, and she yells back that he is a fool. He stands there, trying to decide if he should go in and risk that she was not covered or not, when Egwene and the Wise Ones approach and examine the Draghkar’s corpse. He tells them what happened, and Egwene instantly divines that he had hurt Aviendha’s feelings; she brushes disgustedly past him into the tent, and Melaine says she will check on what’s happening below and dashes off. Amys and Bair laugh and make a bet on whether she will check on Bael and Dorindha first. They leave, to be replaced by Lan and Moiraine. Rand comments coldly that he’s surprised she wasn’t here sooner.

“I have never explained all that I do or do not do.” Her voice was as coolly mysterious as it had ever been, yet even in the moonlight Rand was certain that she was blushing. Lan looked troubled, though with him it was difficult to tell. “I cannot hold your hand forever. Eventually, you must walk alone.”

Puzzled, Rand debates making her tell him why she hadn’t come, and decides against it, merely commenting that this was the same tactic the Forsaken had tried on him at Cold Rocks Hold; he’d have thought they’d try something different. Moiraine cautions him against underestimating the Forsaken, and excuses herself. Adelin and the Maidens return, and stare at the Draghkar’s corpse, then at each other. Adelin says slowly that there was nothing here, then takes a deep breath and holds one of her spears out to him, the others following suit, and says they failed. Rand asks what he’s supposed to do with those, and Adelin answers, whatever he likes; Rand shakes his head and tells them to go back to guarding the tent. He goes to find Asmodean, and finds him in his tent. Asmodean begins talking the moment Rand appears, making excuses for why he had not come to help, and Rand tells him it was a good thing he hadn’t; if Rand had felt a man wielding saidin out there, he might have killed him before checking to see who it was. Asmodean says shakily he’d thought of that too. Rand tells him Sammael sent the attack, and Asmodean says it is not like Sammael to throw away his forces needlessly; perhaps it was another Forsaken, trying to make Rand think it was Sammael.

“It was him. He tried to bait me into attacking him once in the same way, at Serendahar.” Oh, Light! The thought drifted across the surface of the Void. I said “me.” He did not know where Serendahar had been, or anything but what he had said. The words had just come out.

After a long silence, Asmodean said quietly, “I never knew that.”

Rand attempts to ignore a sudden memory that tells him what Sammael looked like, and the knowledge that Sammael had always wanted to be taller, and resented that the Power couldn’t achieve that for him, neither of which were things Asmodean had told him. They discuss for a long while Sammael’s possible motives without coming to a conclusion, and finally Rand leaves, knowing that had been too big a slip to cover. Adelin and the Maiden guard spring up when he returns to his tent, giving him garbled advice on how to make up to Aviendha, and then Adelin tries to bring up their failure to guard him again, but Rand cuts her off and tells her he has no idea what she expects him to do, and to take it up with Amys or Bair. He’s a little surprised that that shuts her up, and he goes inside and to his bed, trying not to notice Aviendha’s leg sticking out from her blankets.

Commentary
Melindhra and Mat: bow chicka bow bow!

Okay, I was going to delete that and then smack myself for cliché violation, but considering I just spent five minutes snickering that I actually wrote it, I figure why deprive y’all of the chance to make fun of me too? Have at!

Nice little foreshadowing of the assassination attempt, with the “spitting” comment. Also, jeez. Darkfriends are like broken records, aren’t they, with the yelling about the power, and the glory, and I think I just started quoting The Lord’s Prayer, there. Weird.

Anyway, points to Mat for being too much of a wannabe playa to notice? I guess? I’m kind of torn. I would point out that not EVERY woman would have a problem with their husbands having “a drink and a gamble” (especially if your husband is eerily lucky and would never end up losing the farm in a game of dice, or something), but considering we’re in Randland, I’m not sure that’s actually true. Oh, wait, there’s Birgitte. Ha! See? You can have a wife and have fun! As long as she’s an undead legendary hero who’s not actually interested in you! Problem solved!

(*headdesk*)

I think this whole “harping on glory and palaces” tendency of Darkfriends is why I like Asmodean. His reason for turning to the Dark Side is just as shitty and selfish as any of the others’, but at least it’s original.

Speaking of which, it’s interesting how, to date, Asmodean has been about the only male character Rand has been able to even slightly confide in since, um, ever. Lan is the next closest, but Asmodean beats him out at least as far as knowing Rand’s Deep Dark Secrets. Which really highlights how kind of sad and lonely Rand’s position actually is. You know you have no social life when the only person you can tell your problems to is your sworn enemy.

Do we ever find out why Moiraine is embarrassed here? I’ve been wracking my brains but I can’t remember if anything ever comes of this, or if it’s just something stupid and not significant. Hey, maybe she slept through the alarm. Happens to the best of us!


Chapter 23: “The Fifth, I Give You”

What Happens
Egwene watches the huge army of Aiel emerge from Jangai Pass into Cairhien, many of them pausing in amazement at the tiny stream they have to jump across. She watches Moiraine and Lan riding next to the second wagon in Kadere’s train, and wonders why Moiraine always seems so concerned with that wagon in particular, though she’s not about to try asking again. A company of Maidens goes by, and Egwene notes that Adelin and the other Maidens who were guarding Rand’s tent the night of the raid are clutching dolls as well as spears. One of the Maidens had told her that it was to remind them that they are not children any more, but refused to explain further, and Egwene thinks that every time she thinks she understands the Aiel, something proves to her that she doesn’t. She looks back at the mouth of the pass, where Couladin had left them another “message”: people impaled on stakes in the road surrounding Selean, the town at this end of the pass. Selean is gutted and empty as well, and the surrounding farmland burned. Egwene goes back over to the Wise Ones, who are listening to Rand talk to the clan chiefs. He is telling them that he wants it clear that there is to be no despoiling or looting of Cairhien while they are here. Bael says it is a hard thing if they are not to be allowed to take the fifth, and Rhuarc and the others agree.

“The fifth, I give you.” Rand did not raise his voice, yet suddenly his words were driven nails. “But no part of that is to be food. We will live on what can be found wild or hunted or bought — if there is anyone with food to sell — until I can have the Tairens increase what they’re bringing up from Tear. If any man takes a penny more than the fifth, or a loaf of bread without payment, if he burns so much as a hut because it belongs to a treekiller, or kills a man who is not trying to kill him, that man will I hang, whoever he is.”

Dhearic and several others are not happy about this, but Rand tells them they are here to save Cairhien, not finish ruining it. The chiefs stay silent, and Egwene thinks to herself that Rand is changing faster than she can keep up with. She goes over to Aviendha, and comments that Rand truly is in command; Aviendha replies that she cannot look at him, with the thing he carries. Egwene knows she means the sword, and while she is not sure why he would carry a sword when he could make one from fire, she understands even less why it upsets Aviendha so much when she was the one who gave it to him. Aviendha mutters about him mocking her with it, using it in front of her, and Egwene tells her she is not angry about the sword, but what Rand said to her the night of the raid, and she should let him apologize. Aviendha answers she does not want his apologies.

“I do not want… I can bear this no more. I cannot sleep in his tent any longer.” Suddenly she took Egwene’s arm, and if Egwene had not known better, she would have thought her on the brink of tears. “You must speak to them for me. To Amys and Bair and Melaine. They will listen to you. You are Aes Sedai. They must let me return to their tents. They must!”

They are suddenly joined by Sorilea, a Wise One of Shende Hold, who wants to know who must do what. Melaine and another Wise One make as if to join them, and Sorilea sends both of them scurrying; Egwene thinks that when Sorilea is angry, other Wise Ones sit quietly and clan chiefs make excuses to leave. Sorilea tells Aviendha that it’s time they had a chat about thinking she can get out of doing something she was told to do.

“In my day, girls jumped when a Wise One said jump, and continued jumping until they were told to stop. As I am still alive, it is still my day. Need I make myself clearer?”

Aviendha took a deep breath. “No, Sorilea,” she said meekly.

The old woman’s eyes came to rest on Egwene. “And you? Do you think you are going to beg her off?”

“No, Sorilea.” Egwene felt as though she should curtsy.

Satisfied, Sorilea moves on, saying she’s heard that the Car’a’carn has given Aviendha an interest gift like no other, with rubies and moonstones; Aviendha jumps and hurriedly explains about Laman’s sword. Sorilea thinks it is a pity she has not attracted his interest, and tells her she will have her relative Feran “look at her”, as “those hips were meant for babes”. Aviendha almost falls down, and points out breathlessly that Feran is Seia Doon, which is Couladin’s society, and they have vowed not to sleep beneath roof or tent until Couladin is dead. Accepting this, Sorilea turns to Egwene and asks if she thinks Rand will do as he threatened, hang even a clan chief, and Egwene answers she thinks maybe so, but adds quickly that she’s sure he can be reasoned with over it.

Sorilea glanced at her in surprise, then turned a gaze on the chiefs around Rand’s horse that should have knocked the lot of them flat. “You mistake me. He must show that mangy pack of wolves that he is the chief wolf. A chief must be harder than other men, young Aes Sedai, and the Car’a’carn harder than other chiefs. Every day a few more men, and even Maidens, are taken by the bleakness, but they are the soft outer bark of the ironwood: What remains is the hard inner core, and he must be hard to lead them.”

She marches off, and Egwene asks Aviendha who Feran is, and Aviendha tells her he is a good-looking man, but she wants no part of him, as he “brays like a mule and picks at his ears”. Confused, Egwene asks why she didn’t tell Sorilea she wasn’t interested in him, then, and Aviendha tells her that if Sorilea had thought she was balking she would have dragged her and Feran both to the bridal wreath by the ear; no one says “no” to Sorilea. Egwene starts to protest this, then thinks about it, and changes the subject, saying she will speak to Amys and the others about Aviendha’s situation, but Aviendha retracts her request, saying she must obey the Wise Ones and do her duty.

Just as if she had not all but begged the Wise Ones not to make her sleep in Rand’s tent. “But why is my duty to the people never what I wish? Why must it be what I would rather die before doing?”

Egwene tries to assure her that no one is going to make her marry, but Aviendha only says she does not understand, and Aviendha cannot explain it to her.

Commentary
Chapter title: I think this has been one of the single most riffed-upon quotes among the WOT fandom ever. On the Jordan newsgroup, I don’t think anyone ever actually used the fifth item in any numbered list for anything else.

Maybe I’ve just been reading this series too long, but the Maiden’s punishment with the dolls makes perfect sense to me. Public shaming as a form of societal control occurs in every culture, if in very different ways; didn’t Egwene ever read The Scarlet Letter?

(Haaaaaate that book, by the way. Do not even get me started. It’s not even a feminist thing; it’s a “bad writing” thing. Ugh. But hey, anyone who likes their symbolism delivered via NUCLEAR SLEDGEHAMMER, go for it.)

Poor Aviendha. I really feel for her in this chapter. Prophecy to the left of her, Sorilea to the right, here she is, stuck in the middle – agh. Now that’ll be stuck in my head all day.

Speaking of “agh”: enter Sorilea. Dun! Although, her intro is actually fairly hilarious; the mental image of her sending the clan chiefs flying with the force of her Laser Eyes of Glaring cracks me up. She only gets annoying later, in my opinion. Plus I happen to agree with her re: Rand having to be Alpha Dog to get things done, although her comments here about him having to be “hard” are interesting in light of the pact she makes (much, much) later with Cadsuane.


Chapter 24: A Message Sent

What Happens
They make camp for the night and Egwene goes to her tent and settles down with a book she borrowed from Aviendha, to wait for it to be late enough in Ghealdan to meet with Nynaeve in Tel’aran’rhiod.

Aviendha claimed that she liked [the book] for the adventures and battles, and maybe she did, but every last story told of the love of a man and a woman, too. Egwene was willing to admit that that was what she liked, the sometimes stormy, sometimes tender threads of undying love. To herself she would admit it, anyway. It was hardly the sort of enjoyment a woman with any pretensions to sense at all could confess publicly.

She realizes a little guiltily that she is looking forward to seeing Nynaeve, to see if the effects of their last meeting had held. She tries to stay awake, but falls asleep early, and finds herself in the Stone. She considers stepping out of the Dreamworld, but does not yet think she has the control to come back from her own dream, and there is no way she is going to leave Amys and Nynaeve alone together, so she stays, intending to tell Amys that she had only arrived early by a moment or two. Suddenly she hears voices in the chamber, and peeks around a pillar to see Elayne deep in conversation with a strangely-dressed blonde woman carrying a silver bow and arrows.

Egwene squeezed her eyes shut. First the difficulty with her dress, and now this. Just because she had been reading about Birgitte — a silver bow told the name for certain — was no reason to imagine that she saw her. Birgitte waited — somewhere — for the Horn of Valere to call her and the other heroes to the Last Battle.

Egwene opens her eyes, but the two are still there, and she is about to announce herself to them when Amys and Bair come up behind her and ask dangerously what she is doing here alone. Egwene knows it is too early for her planned ruse to work, so she hastily explains the truth about falling asleep, feeling relieved that she didn’t have to lie, but apprehensive that they would still consider her accidental entry into the Dreamworld a violation of their agreement. To her relief, Amys says it happens, but next time to just go and dream her own dreams, and let them handle the meeting. Bair is not so sanguine, and Egwene heads her off by saying Elayne is already here, and – but she looks again, and sees that Elayne is now alone. Bair is no more pleased that Elayne arrived early either, and immediately begins dressing her down, accusing that she and Nynaeve have been coming into the World of Dreams alone and that they are both fools.

Elayne gave a start when they first appeared, but as Bair’s tirade washed over her, she drew herself up, that chilly tilt to her chin. Her gown became red and took on a finer sheen, and grew embroidery down the sleeves and across the high bodice, including rearing lions in white and golden lilies, her own sigil. A thin golden diadem rested in her red-gold curls, a single rearing lion set in moonstones above her brows. She did not yet have the best control over such things. Then again, maybe she wore exactly what she intended this time.

Regally, she thanks Bair for her concern, but points out that she is not Bair’s pupil. Egwene attempts to divert them both by asking why Nynaeve isn’t here, as it was her turn, and Elayne tells her Nynaeve is nursing a sore head and bruises. She sighs and giggles at the same time, and explains that the Chavana brothers had come over to their fire for dinner and were all flirting with Nynaeve, and Latelle came up and started screaming at Nynaeve and hitting her with a stick. Then the Chavanas tried to stop Latelle and are all limping around now, and Petra had to carry her off, and Luca blamed everyone, and Nynaeve almost boxed his ears, and the only good thing is that Nynaeve didn’t channel. Amys and Bair exchange glances, and Egwene is mostly confused with all the names, but she tells Elayne to tell Nynaeve she’d better keep her temper, or Egwene will have a few words to say to her. Elayne looks startled, and Egwene adds that if she had the two of them in their old rooms in the Tower, she’d have words for both of them. Elayne answers coldly that Egwene can say whatever she likes any time, and Egwene hopes Elayne got the message, and moves on, asking how long before they are in Ghealdan. Elayne says three more days, and Egwene suggests that perhaps they should leave the menagerie before then.

“Perhaps,” Elayne said slowly. “I really would like to highwalk just once in front of… ” With a shake of her head, she glanced at Callandor; the neckline of her gown dipped precipitously, then, rose again. “I do not know, Egwene. We could not travel much faster alone than we are traveling, and we don’t know where to go exactly, yet.” That meant Nynaeve had not remembered where the Blues were gathering.

Elayne adds that in addition they are learning a great deal about the Seanchan from Cerandin, and reveals that the woman had an a’dam in her possession. Egwene steps forward and asks darkly if they are sure Cerandin isn’t a sul’dam, and Elayne reassures her she’s not; they put the a’dam on her and it had no effect. Amys interjects that she does not understand their interest in the Seanchan; Rand al’Thor chased them off and they are gone. Egwene turns her back and says that gone doesn’t mean mean they’re never coming back; Elayne puts a comforting hand on her arm and says if they do they will be ready this time. The Wise Ones want to get on with it, and Egwene brings Elayne up to date on their movements, that they had moved into Cairhien and had had a couple of light skirmishes already with roving bands of horsemen. Then they all leave, and Egwene can’t tell if Elayne understood her message or not.

Commentary
So, apparently even in Randland romance novels are stigmatized. Good to know!

(I don’t care for the genre myself, other than the great classics like Austen and Bronte and du Maurier and so forth, but I do find it significant that romance novels constitute roughly half of all book sales in North America (no, really), and yet romance is the single most derided and vilified genre of fiction out there. It’s hard to avoid making the connection that it is also the only genre of fiction marketed solely and specifically to women.)

Egwene: still not getting it. More fodder for the haters, I have no doubt, and she definitely is having a little too much fun with her newfound power over Nynaeve. Well, she’ll learn, I comfort myself.

Speaking of Nynaeve, am I the only one who started laughing at the total soap opera she’s having at the circus? Well, if a soap opera was invaded by the Keystone Cops, anyway.


Chapter 25: Dreams of Galad

What Happens
Egwene does not return to her own body, but floats instead in the nowhere-place where the dreams of people can be seen, looking like fireflies in the darkness. She can now tell whose dreams some of them are now; Rand’s and Moiraine’s are distinctive by the wards they’ve woven around them, though she can’t pick out Elayne or Nynaeve’s dreams yet. She transports herself back into Tel’aran’rhiod, to the reflection of her old novice chamber, sticks her head slowly out of the door, and sighs in relief to see Elayne doing the same next door. Elayne darts inside Egwene’s room, and says she thought this was what Egwene meant, but it is hard to remember what she can say in front of whom anymore.

There was no way to do this easily. She shifted her shawl. “Tell me about meeting Birgitte. It was Birgitte, wasn’t it?”

Elayne staggered as if hit in the stomach. Her blue eyes closed for a moment, and she took a breath that must have filled her to the toes. “I cannot talk to you about that.”

Egwene asks why not, and Elayne tells her that anything she says would violate confidences she promised to uphold, and begs her not to pursue the matter. Egwene frowns, but agrees. She adds that she hopes Elayne will trust her enough to tell her someday, and Elayne tells her it’s not to do with trust; sometimes, though, it is necessary to keep secrets. Egwene accepts this, and Elayne asks after Rand. Egwene tells Elayne about his order to hang anyone who violates his order, which still upsets her, but Elayne disagrees with her assessment.

“He is a king, whatever you or he or anyone else says, and a king or queen must dispense justice without fear of enemies or favor for friends. Anyone who does that has to be hard. Mother can make the city walls seem soft, sometimes.”

Egwene replies that he doesn’t have to be so arrogant about it, then. They discuss the Latelle incident, and Egwene is bemused to hear that Nynaeve actually apologized to Latelle; Elayne comments that she did it after muttering about Egwene for a while, actually, and asks curiously if something happened between them the last time they met. Egwene doesn’t answer directly, but tells Elayne to tell Nynaeve that if she hears about her fighting again, she’ll hear worse from Egwene than before. Elayne comments slyly that Egwene seems to have had a little of Rand’s attitude about her just then.

It took Egwene a moment to realize what she meant, helped by that amused little smile. “Don’t be silly.”

Elayne laughed aloud and gave her another hug. “Oh, Egwene, you will be Amyrlin Seat one day, when I am Queen of Andor.”

“If there is a Tower then,” Egwene said soberly, and Elayne’s laughter faded.

Elayne is hopeful that they will find a Tower in exile once Nynaeve remembers the name of the place the Blues are gathering, but Egwene is still sad, because it means the Tower broken for real. Elayne then tells her that she and Nynaeve think Moghedien is looking for them. Egwene thinks this must have been something Birgitte told them, but only warns Elayne to be careful. Elayne tells her to be careful, too, and fades away. Egwene goes to Elaida’s study and sorts through reports, finding one about Elayne and Nynaeve’s escape in Mardecin, but it turns into what looks like plans for an enormous palace before Egwene can read more. She gives up on Elaida’s box and heads to the Keeper’s desk, and the room seems to flicker. Before she can react, the door opens and Galad steps in. He brushes her cheek and asks her to walk with him in the garden, and at the Keeper’s desk, Leane tells them no canoodling allowed in here. Egwene spins, and sees Siuan at the Amyrlin’s desk, reading a parchment. She flees instinctively, winding up on the Green at Emond’s Field, and berates herself for almost letting herself get caught in her own dream, though she thinks it was odd that it was Galad.

Her face heated; she certainly did not love him, or even like him very much, but he was beautiful, and in those dreams he had been much more what she could have wished him. It was his brother Gawyn that she dreamed of more often, but that was just as silly. Whatever Elayne said, he had never made any feelings known to her.

She notes that there are two banners flying on the Green, one a red eagle, the other a red wolf’s head, and is wondering if Perrin has anything to do with them when everything flickers again, and Marin steps out of the inn and laughs that Egwene should know better than to let her husband think she mopes about waiting for him to come home. She turns to see Gawyn on horseback, galloping up to her, and her heart beats faster. He jumps down and asks if she missed him and pulls her in for a kiss. Marin comes up with a baby in her arms and says here is her son, and Egwene backs away, remembering, and screams No, and tears herself out of the Dreamworld, winding up in her own dream, where Gawyn gallops up to her…

Moghedien steps out from behind a house on the Green and wonders idly where this village is, and thinks that the girl had been stronger than she would have thought to escape Moghedien’s weaving of the dream. The girl was of interest because she had been talking to Elayne, who might lead her to Nynaeve; she had only tried to trap her to get rid of someone who knows how to navigate the Dreamworld, as it was bad enough to have to share with Lanfear. But her main concern is Nynaeve al’Meara, and making her pay.

She and Elayne were scheming with Birgitte, were they? That was another she had reason to punish. Birgitte had not even known who Moghedien was, so long ago, in the Age of Legends, when she foiled Moghedien’s finely wrought plan to lay Lews Therin by his heels. But Moghedien had known her. Only, Birgitte — Teadra, she had been then — had died before she could deal with her.

Mohedien promises herself that all three of them – Elayne, Nynaeve and Birgitte – would be found and dealt with, and disappears.

Commentary
Well, here we have confirmation that it’s Gawyn and not Galad that Egwene is googly for. I… don’t really have the problem with this that so many other people seem to. I had forgotten about Egwene’s thoughts here that Galad is way hot, but she doesn’t actually like him very much, and that Gawyn may not be quite so dreamy looks-wise, but is a much cooler person.

Which is pretty darn mature of her, ain’t it? Because picking personality over looks, as we all know, is The Right Thing To Do. Even Galad would agree!

And here, also, is the closest we will get to a Perrin appearance in the whole book, other than Egwene’s Dream about him. Hi, Perrin! Bye, Perrin!

Moghedien’s scheme might have worked if it hadn’t been for those darn kids she hadn’t been such a bad director. I mean, giving Egwene a son? Little bit overkill, don’tcha think? No suspension of disbelief, no movie, Mogs! You’ll never work in this town again!

Speaking of nuclear sledgehammers, I wonder if Elayne’s little comment about Egwene being the Amyrlin Seat (again!) CLANGED quite as loudly the first time I read it as it does now? The world may never know!


Whew, you guys. Your Auntie Leigh is tie-tie, she go lay down now. Have fun, play nice, and see you Friday!

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