Greetings, people of Teh Intarwebs! I come before you to humbly offer this small token of my verbosity. I give you The Dragon Reborn, Part 1, part of the on-going Re-read of The Wheel of Time series, in which I cover the Prologue through Chapter 6.
BUT! Before I give it to you—hang on, Grabby, jeez—I have news. As some a y'all may have heard tell, JordanCon, the first convention devoted entirely to Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, is happening this coming April, and I am very pleased to tell you that I will be there.
I don't know exactly yet what I will be doing, other than hanging out and seeing all the other infinitely-cooler-than-me people who will be there, including Guest of Honor Harriet McDougal, editor and wife of the late Robert Jordan, and also some guy named Brandon who’s, like, writing a book or something, but I will keep you updated here. I hope to see as many of you guys as can make it there, I think it's going to be really fun. Details for time and place and alla that can be found at the above link. More As It Develops.
So, onward! Previous entries for the Re-read can be found here; spoilers for the entire series are Run Amok through all of them, so watch yourself. And now, the post!
Prologue: Fortress of the Light
Pedron Niall sits in his audience chamber with Jaret Byar before him, looking at a chalk on parchment drawing of a young man with gray eyes and reddish hair.
“This . . . this boy has proclaimed himself the Dragon Reborn?” Niall muttered.
Byar answers that he has, and thousands have declared for him already; Tarabon and Arad Doman are embroiled in conflict. Niall asks again about Bornhald and his legion’s defeat, and Byar reconfirms that it must have been Aes Sedai fighting against them, there can be no other explanation. Niall doesn’t think much of Byar’s logical capabilities, but by the same token is sure that the man isn’t lying. He dismisses Byar to go to Dain and tell him of his father’s death; Byar repeats that they were betrayed by the Darkfriend Perrin, and Niall assures him that something will be done about him. Byar leaves, and Niall thinks about all the harbingers of disaster currently swirling around the world: three false Dragons at once, Aiel leaving the Waste, the Atha’an Miere ignoring trade, the Ogier calling meetings between steddings, and the Aes Sedai coming out into the open. It meant the Last Battle was coming, and that interfered with his plans for glory, but he was adaptable; perhaps this could be turned to his advantage.
Jaichim Carridin enters and kneels before Niall. Niall asks him about what happened in Falme, and Carridin replies that it was Darkfriends. Niall snorts and says Carridin was saying earlier that Bornhald was a Darkfriend; now he’s saying he was fighting against them? Carridin replies that since Bornhald is dead, they will never know whether he was one or not, but there is no doubt the invaders in Falme were Darkfriends. As proof, he observes that their story about coming across the Aryth Ocean was clearly a lie; no ships cross the Aryth and come back to tell about it. Secondly, they fought with monsters that surely had to be Shadowspawn. As for the false Dragon depicted in the drawing, who knows whether he can channel or not, but Carridin assures Niall that he can wipe the man and all his followers out by summer. Niall then quietly asks why, if Carridin’s forces are so effective, and the invaders so obviously Darkfriends, why he was not there on Toman Head? Why did he try to stop Bornhald, instead of supporting him? Carridin blinks, and replies that he didn’t know the truth of things until it was too late, and he could not abandon his task to chase rumors.
“Your task?” Niall said, his voice rising as he stood. Carridin topped him by a head, but the Inquisitor stepped back. “Your task? Your task was to seize Almoth Plain! An empty bucket that no one holds except by words and claims, and all you had to do was fill it. The nation of Almoth would have lived again, ruled by the Children of the Light, with no need to pay lip service to a fool of a king. Amadicia and Almoth, a vise gripping Tarabon. In five years we would have held sway there as much as here in Amadicia. And you made a dog’s dinner of it!”
Carridin protests, but Niall cuts him off, saying it would serve him right to be handed over to his own Questioners as a scapegoat for the mess on Almoth Plain. Carridin swallows, and observes that Niall seems to be implying there is an alternative to this course. Niall takes a breath, aware that what he is about to say would be considered treason, and tells Carridin that he will not hunt down this false Dragon; instead, Carridin will ensure that he continues to run loose, to panic the populace. Then when the time is right, the Children will move in and deal with him, and the gratitude of the people will smooth the way for them to remain in charge thereafter. After his initial shock, Carridin agrees rather too readily to this plan, and Niall tells him that if the false Dragon dies too soon, or Niall himself meets with an “accident”, Niall promises that Carridin will not survive either event by a month, and dismisses him. After Carridin leaves, Niall thinks how he will unite the nations under the Children of the Light, and legends will tell of how Pedron Niall fought Tarmon Gai’don and won.
“First,” he murmured, “loose a rabid lion in the streets.”
“A rabid lion?”
Niall spun on his heel as a bony little man with a huge beak of a nose slipped from behind one of the hanging banners.
Niall snaps at the man, Ordeith, for eavesdropping on him, which Ordeith smoothly denies. Niall thinks about how the man had showed up a month ago, half-dead, and somehow talked his way all the way to Niall himself. His name, which meant “Wormwood” in the Old Tongue, was clearly a lie, but he had helped Niall see the pattern of events. Ordeith sees the drawing on Niall’s desk and laughs shrilly; Niall asks if he knows the man, and Ordeith tells him the man’s name is Rand al’Thor, from the Two Rivers, and he is a vile Darkfriend. Niall muses that he’s heard of another Darkfriend coming from the Two Rivers, and Ordeith asks if the name was either Matrim Cauthon or Perrin Aybara; Niall confirms the latter, and asks how Ordeith knows three Darkfriends so well. Ordeith slips around the question, and reemphasizes the connection to the Two Rivers; Niall muses that perhaps he will have to make plans for the place once the snow clears, and Ordeith smiles.
Carridin hurries through the Fortress to his chambers. He enters and calls for his manservant, but turns instead to see a Myrddraal there. Terrified, he asks how it got there, and the Fade replies that wherever there is shadow, it may go; it likes to keep an eye on those who serve it. Carridin replies that he serves the Great Lord of the Dark, aware that if anyone in the Fortress heard him they would strike him dead on the spot. The Fade wants to know why Carridin is here instead of on Almoth Plain; Carridin explains that he was called back by Niall, and the Fade replies that the only orders that matter were the Great Lord’s, to find and kill this Rand al’Thor. Carridin says he doesn’t understand why suddenly he is to kill him; he thought the Great Lord wanted to use him. The Fade grabs Carridin and dangles him in midair, and tells him that if al’Thor is not dead in a month, the Fade will kill one of Carridin’s relatives, and so on, one of Carridin’s blood for every month al’Thor lives, until there are none left, and then the Fade will come for Carridin himself. The Fade throws him across the room, and disappears. Carridin gets up painfully as his servant appears, and sends him for paper and ink, trying to decide which orders to send.
Oh good, the Prologues are getting longer. I’m pretty sure by the time we get to Lord of Chaos or thereabouts, the Prologue alone will take up one whole blog post. FUN.
So yeah, I was really really wrong about not finding out who “Bors” was until A Crown of Swords, wasn’t I? Oops. I think it’s not so much that my memory for what happens in WOT sucks (though I sure ain’t getting into MENSA on the strength of my total recall, here), but more that I just don’t remember what order everything happens in. I’m not sure that’s any better, but at least it’s... um. Differently the same?
Anyway. I’m bemused that Whitecloaks and/or Darkfriends are the focus of two Prologues in a row. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it just reemphasizes the fact that except for TEOTW’s Prologue, none of the others have really been Prologues in anything but name. Well, possibly TGH’s was. But yeah.
Or maybe I’m just annoyed because my two least favorite things in WOT all appear here together. Fain and Whitecloaks — two vile tastes that taste vile together, blech.
Though I will say that “Jaichim Carridin” is, for some reason, one of my favorite WOT names. I don't know why, it's just so... roll-off-the-tongue-y. And also, even with Carridin being the most massive hypocrite in the universe, what with being a Whitecloak AND a Darkfriend, I can't help feeling a tiny bit sorry for him here. Talk about your proverbial rock and a hard place, eh?
Chapter 1: Waiting
Wheels, Ages, wind, Mountains of Mist. Perrin sits on his horse Stepper in a thicket with five Shienarans, waiting. He reflects irritably that Moiraine has had them waiting in the mountains all winter, and he’s tired of it. Something tickles the back of his mind, but he ignores it resolutely, even when it becomes insistent. He is the first to spot the woman rider approaching, but before he can say anything Masema spots a raven. All go for their bows, but Perrin shoots first, and the bird falls dead. He asks if the bird has to report, or if the Dark One sees what it sees as it sees it; Ragan replies that it has to report, fortunately. Ragan and Masema argue over the pros and cons of Perrin’s longbow, but Uno shuts them up, and asks Perrin if he sees anything. He tells them about the woman, and looks again and realizes from her clothing that she’s one of the Traveling People. They ride to meet her, and Perrin thinks that she does not smell afraid of them. He tells himself to stop that, and tells the woman that they mean her no harm. She tells him she seeks a woman named Moiraine; her name is Leya. Perrin says they will take her to Moiraine, and asks how she found them. Leya replies she just knew, which is what all the women who come to talk to Moiraine say. Perrin and the Shienarans escort her to camp; on the way, Leya and Perrin have a brief conversation about violence, the same he’s had before with Raen. Leya says that Perrin is not happy with his weapons, and laments that one so young should be so sad. Perrin does not have a reply to this. Perrin leads them through a narrow pass into a hidden valley, with cook fires and rude huts all around, and the banner of the Dragon flying overhead. He welcomes Leya to the camp of the Dragon Reborn.
How do the women “just know” where to go? Is this like the coin thing? Which, I might add, was never very satisfactorily explained either.
And... yeah, that’s about it for this very short chapter. Onward!
Chapter 2: Saidin
Leya ignores the Dragon banner, and merely asks where Moiraine is. Perrin points out Moiraine’s hut, and Leya heads toward it. He notices Min looking after the Tinker, and asks her what she sees. Min replies softly that the Tinker woman is going to die. Perrin wishes he hadn’t asked. He asks if she’s sure, and she replies that she saw Leya’s own face floating above her shoulder, covered in blood; it doesn’t get much clearer than that. Perrin and Min discuss how it doesn’t do any good to warn people of what she sees. Perrin wonders if it means the camp is going to be attacked, and asks Min when it’s going to happen. Min replies that she never knows when something is going to happen, only that it will. She says that most people don’t have any images around them, or only do periodically, except for Aes Sedai and Warders, who always have images around them. Some other people always do too, she adds, looking sideways at Perrin. Perrin tells her he doesn’t want to know what she sees around him; Min agrees that most people feel the same way. Perrin wishes there was something he could do about Leya.
“Strange,” she said softly, “how you seem to care so much about the Tuatha’an. They are utterly peaceful, and I always see violence around—”
He turned his head away, and she cut off abruptly.
Loial comes over, and Min complains to him about the upheaval her life’s been in since meeting Aes Sedai and these Two Rivers farmboys, and Loial talks about ta’veren. Min wishes they wouldn’t be so bloody ta’veren all the time, and Loial admits he’s thinking of writing a book about it. The Shienarans stir, getting to their feet, and Perrin sees that Rand is coming out of Moiraine’s hut. The Shienarans bow, and Uno calls out that they stand ready to serve the Lord Dragon, and the others echo him. Rand stares at them a moment, then turns and walks off into the trees. Min comments that Rand has been arguing with Moiraine all day; Perrin says he’d better go talk to him. He follows Rand through a pass that is barely more than a crack, into another hidden valley, and finds Rand staring at the herons branded on his palms. Suddenly Rand quotes the Prophecies that mention them:
“Twice and twice shall he be marked,
twice to live, and twice to die.
Once the heron, to set his path.
Twice the heron, to name him true.
Once the Dragon, for remembrance lost.
Twice the Dragon, for the price he must pay.”
With a shudder he tucked his hands under his arms. “But no Dragons, yet.” He chuckled roughly. “Not yet.”
Perrin waits, and eventually Rand asks if he thinks Mat is all right. Perrin says he should be, thinking that he and Egwene and Nynaeve should have reached Tar Valon by now. Perrin remarks that sometimes he wishes he was just a blacksmith again; does Rand wish he was still only a shepherd? Rand replies that the Shienarans say that death is lighter than a feather, duty heavier than a mountain; the Dark One is coming, and the world will fall into darkness forever, and then there’s him, Rand. He laughs bitterly. Perrin asks what he was arguing with Moiraine about, and Rand replies, the same thing as always — the Dragonsworn down there on Almoth Plain. Rand thinks he owes them something, but Moiraine is right: if he goes down to any one group of them, the Whitecloaks and Domani and Taraboners will be all over them. Perrin asks, if he thinks Moiraine is right, why does he argue with her?
“Moiraine says! Moiraine says!” Rand jerked erect, squeezing his head between his hands. “Moiraine has something to say about everything! Moiraine says I mustn’t go to the men who are dying in my name. Moiraine says I’ll know what to do next because the Pattern will force me to it. Moiraine says! But she never says how I’ll know. Oh, no! She doesn’t know that.”
Rand says he knows he has to face Ba’alzamon, and sometimes he wishes he could just do it right now and get it over with. He says something about how “it” pulls him, and suddenly the ground beneath them begins to heave. Perrin yells at Rand to stop, and abruptly it does. Rand tells him saidin is always there, pulling at him, and even with the taint on it sometimes he can’t resist it, and yet sometimes he reaches for it and gets nothing. Perrin says, well, you got something that time, and Rand looks surprised at the damage. He says he can’t control it, always. Perrin tells him to come back to camp for dinner, but Rand tells him to go on without him. As Perrin turns to leave, Rand asks him if he has dreams; Perrin replies warily that he doesn’t remember many of his dreams. Rand mutters that maybe dreams tell the truth, and falls silent; finally, Perrin leaves him alone.
Maybe it’s because we’re seeing him from an outside perspective, but Rand seems visibly nuttier here than he did at the end of TGH. I don’t remember a lot of the details of what happens in The Dragon Reborn (henceforth, “TDR”) re: Rand specifically (ironically, given the title of the book), but I do remember being—not irritated, exactly, more like perturbed—that he seems to be losing it so much more precipitously than before, especially when contrasting it to how much it got dialed back in later books.
However, I do have a notion of why Jordan did it that way, which I’ll get to at the proper time.
The other thing that this brings to the forefront is how I would keep wishing that people would stop walking on eggshells around Rand (and, to a lesser extent, Perrin and Mat) throughout the books, and then read scenes like this and think, well, yeah, but wouldn't you?
Chapter 3: News from the Plain
Perrin hurries back to the camp, feeling the tickle again in his mind, now become an itch. He pushes it away roughly, and meets Moiraine back at the camp. He tells her Rand didn’t mean to do it, it was an accident. “An accident,” she repeats flatly, and goes back inside her hut. The rest of the company is repairing the damage from Rand’s earthquake; Perrin goes over to Min, who says she’ll thump Rand’s skull if he does that again. Perrin offers to get her enough silver to get her out of here and back to Baerlon; Min says that’s sweet of him, but no. Perrin says he thought she wanted to leave, and she replies that just because Fate has chosen something for you instead of you choosing it yourself, it doesn’t mean it has to be all bad. She asks if he wants to go home, and he replies, all the time, but he can’t yet. Moiraine comes over, and Min asks if Leya is all right; Moiraine replies that she split her scalp in the rumble, but Moiraine Healed her. Min is surprised and troubled by the notion that her visions might not always be right, but Moiraine points out Leya has a long way to go when she leaves. Perrin is disturbed at how uncaring she sounds. She tells them Leya’s news: a force of some five thousand Whitecloaks are on Almoth Plain, but strangely, they have made no move against the bands of Dragonsworn scattered about, always allowing them enough time to get away. Lan is sure this is a trick, and Uno agrees. Moiraine continues that Leya also said that someone is killing tall young men with light-colored eyes, each in situations where it is not possible an assassin could have approached unseen, and yet they did. Uno shivers and says he’s never heard of Soulless south of the Borderlands before. Moiraine shuts down that line of talk before Perrin can ask what Soulless are. She tells them all to be on the alert tonight; there is something in the air. Perrin agrees aloud before thinking, and she gives him a look and suggests they all go to bed. Perrin goes to his hut and strips down to ensure he is cold, so that he will not sleep deeply, and falls asleep.
Well, other than noting the introduction of a new Monster of the Week, Gray Men (though they’re not called that here), there’s really not a lot to say about this chapter, either.
Speaking solely in my capacity as recapper/commenter, I can’t decide if I enjoy the really short/boring chapters as a nice break, or if they just spoil me for when we get to the chapters where 600 things all happen at once, and my fingers are like to fall off.
...like the next three chapters, for instance!
Chapter 4: Shadows Sleeping
Perrin dreams he is in the common room of an inn, where the furnishings keep changing. A voice from the shadows says so he has decided to give it up, then, and invites him to sit and talk, and Perrin sees a well-dressed man who seems vaguely familiar sitting in a corner. The man sits stiffly with one hand pressed to his chest as if in pain. Perrin asks, give what up, and the man nods to the axe on his belt. Perrin replies he’s thought of it, but doesn’t think he can, yet. The man says Perrin is a blacksmith, and meant to hold a hammer, not an axe; he should go back to that before it’s too late. Perrin says that he is ta’veren, and the man says there are ways around that, and again invites him to sit. He pushes a cup filled with wine across the table to Perrin, and Perrin feels a murmur in the back of his head. He says No, to both the murmur and the wine offer, and the man shows a flash of anger. Perrin turns and starts for the door.
“You will not have many chances,” the man said behind him in a hard voice. “Three threads woven together share one another’s doom. When one is cut, all are. Fate can kill you, if it does not do worse.”
Perrin feels heat from behind him as if from a furnace, and turns to see the man is gone. He thinks that this is just a dream, and then everything changes. He stares at himself in a mirror and sees he is wearing a gilded helmet and armor, and a woman’s voice remarks he is a man destined for glory. He turns to see a beautiful black-haired woman in silver and white smiling at him, and he is startled to hear himself agreeing with her. He hears the murmur again, and abruptly takes off the helmet, saying he does not think this is meant for him; he is a blacksmith. The woman says he must not listen to those who would turn him from his destiny, but reach for glory, and also offers him a cup of wine. He stares at it, wondering why this seems so familiar, and the murmur becomes a growling, louder and louder, until Perrin shouts No, that he is a man, and everything disappears except the woman’s voice, which tells him she will always be in his dreams. Perrin finds himself standing in a network of stone spires, bridges and ramps, filled with the sound of splashing water. He catches a glimpse of a woman in white hurrying off somewhere. Then nearby a man appears, tall and distinguished-looking with silver in his black hair, richly dressed in green and gold. He is joined by a shorter white-haired man dressed in a puffy-sleeved coat, and the two men begin to talk warily; the ambient water noise makes it impossible for Perrin to hear what they are saying, but it looks like they are arguing. The two men are joined by a third, who looks familiar to Perrin, something about an inn that he can’t quite remember. The third man shouts at both of the other two, and at first the other two are silent, but then they begin to argue back, then with each other again, until the third man flings his hands up and a ball of fire envelops them all. Perrin drops to the floor as the fire washes over him, but a moment later it is gone and he is unburned. He gets up and sees the men are gone, and a wolf stands nearby, watching him. Perrin shouts that this is a dream and he wants to wake up, and runs. Everything blurs again, and he finds himself in a vast chamber filled with columns of polished redstone; in the center a crystalline sword hangs in midair, revolving slowly. Perrin walks to the sword, somehow knowing he has done this four times before, and puts out his hand to take it, but something invisible stops him.
Callandor. He was not certain whether the whisper came inside his head or out; it seemed to echo ’round the columns, as soft as the wind, everywhere at once, insistent. Callandor. Who wields me wields destiny. Take me, and begin the final journey.
He took a step back, suddenly frightened. That whisper had never come before. Four times before he had had this dream—he could remember that even now; four nights, one after the other—and this was the first time anything had changed in it.
He hears a different whisper, warning him that the Twisted Ones come, and sees the wolf again. Perrin shouts that he will not let them in, and pulls himself out of the dream, but hears it again once awake: The Twisted Ones come, brother.
Oh, yeah, Lanfear bugs the crap out of all three of the boys, not just Rand, doesn’t she? Well, thank God, really. Interesting, though, that she and Ishamael are each pushing Perrin to do the exact opposite of what the other wants. I’m not sure what Lanfear’s trying to accomplish here, exactly, but hey, the woman’s got a theme and she is sticking to it, by gum. One song, Glory...
Ishy, on the other hand, is apparently at least initially trying a softball approach to knocking out one of the legs of the “tripod” (just go be a blacksmith, no worries!), which is surprisingly laidback of him. Of course, Ishy seems a lot more subdued here than he was previously in general; as someone once said, a sucking chest wound is nature’s way of telling you to slow down. Heh.
Distingushed Tall Guy is Rahvin, and White Haired Dude is Bel’al, and they were arguing about… something. Phear my deductive skillz, yo!
Also here is our intro to the Sword That Ain’t, Callandor. TDR, by the way, is where we start to seriously get our Arthuriana on, in case that wasn’t screamingly obvious.
Chapter 5: Nightmares Walking
Perrin leaps up, grabbing his axe, and runs out into the camp to see Trollocs all around, sneaking up to the campsite. Lan bursts out of his and Moiraine’s hut, shouting to rouse the others, and the Trollocs attack. Lan engages, and Perrin sees Moiraine fighting too, throwing fireballs with one hand and slicing open Trollocs with a switch in the other. A tree bursts into flame nearby, and then more, lighting up the camp, and Perrin sees Leya emerge from Moiraine’s hut. He screams at her to get back inside and hide; a Trolloc attacks him, and Perrin cuts it down, and another, trying to get to Leya. Just as he reaches her, a Myrddraal leaps down from the roof of the hut, and Perrin freezes in terror.
The Halfman started toward him, slowly, confident that fear held him in a snare. It moved like a snake, unlimbering a sword so black only the burning trees made it visible. “Cut one leg of the tripod,” it said softly, “and all fall down.” Its voice sounded like dry-rotted leather crumbling.
Suddenly Leya throws herself at the Fade, attempting to trip it, and the Myrddraal kills her without even looking around. Then Perrin hears the wolves, telling him they come, and a moment later scores of huge mountain wolves come flooding into the camp, attacking the Trollocs.
Wolves filled him till he could barely remember being a man. His eyes gathered the light, shining golden yellow. And the Halfman stopped its advance as if suddenly uncertain.
“Fade,” Perrin said roughly, but then a different name came to him, from the wolves. Trollocs, the Twisted Ones, made during the War of the Shadow from melding men and animals, were bad enough, but the Myrddraal— "Neverborn!” Young Bull spat. Lip curling back in a snarl, he threw himself at the Myrddraal.
Young Bull fights the Fade, and abruptly hamstrings it with his axe, and then beheads it. He sees some of the Trollocs go down thrashing as the Fade dies, but bends over Leya’s corpse, and tells her he tried to save her. The wolves call him, and he runs down to join the fight, feeling the urge to throw the axe away and use his teeth. The fighting in the camp is soon over, but Young Bull feels a pack in the woods chasing down another Neverborn. Most of the pack dies bringing it down, but they kill it; the leader howls her mourning for the dead, and Young Bull howls along with her. When he looks down again, Min and everyone else in the camp is staring at him. Min asks if he feels all right, and Perrin frantically cuts himself off from the wolves. He tells her he is all right, and Lan tells him he fought well.
The Warder raised his still-bloody sword above his head. “Tai’shar Manetheren! Tai’shar Andor!” True Blood of Manetheren. True Blood of Andor.
The Shienarans still standing—so few—lifted their blades and joined him. “Tai’shar Manetheren! Tai’shar Andor!”
Loial nodded. “Ta’veren,” he added.
Perrin is grateful for the out Lan gave him, but tells Min that he couldn’t save Leya. She reassures him there was nothing he could have done. Perrin thinks that he almost lost himself that time, and could not let it happen again. Masema suddenly speaks up, saying that even the wolves come to fight for the Dragon Reborn, and it is a sign that they should go forth; only Darkfriends would fail to join them. Uno tells him to shut up, and they’ll go forth when the Lord Dragon tells them to and not before then. He comments that at least they’ll have wolf pelts to keep them warm, and Perrin snarls that they will honor the dead wolves as they would their own dead. Uno starts to protest, but Perrin stares him down, and he nods. Perrin goes to find Rand, and finds him sitting with his hand pressed to his side. Rand rants at him that he was useless during the fight; he tried to use the Power, and all he could do was set some trees on fire, and then almost pulled the mountain down on top of them all. Perrin tries to reassure him that they handled it without him, and Rand further berates himself because he felt them coming, and didn’t recognize what he was feeling in time to warn anyone. Perrin thinks guiltily to himself that he could have given warning too if he had just listened to the wolves instead of shutting them out, but if he hadn’t, would he have lost himself that much sooner? Moiraine approaches them, staggering with weariness, and Heals Perrin, and tells him most of the wounded wolves went into the forest, but she Healed the ones she could. Then she asks Rand if he’s hurt, and he says the wound from Falme has broken open again.
“ ‘The blood of the Dragon Reborn on the rocks of Shayol Ghul will free mankind from the Shadow.’ Isn’t that what the Prophecies of the Dragon say?”
“Who told you that?” Moiraine said sharply.
“If you could get me to Shayol Ghul now,” Rand said drowsily, “by Waygate or Portal Stone, there could be an end to it. No more dying. No more dreams. No more.”
Moiraine tells him the Prophecies rarely mean what they seem to mean, and Heals him as best she can before passing out. Lan scoops her up, and says she takes away others’ fatigue, but cannot do it for herself. Min tentatively suggests Rand, but Lan says he does not know enough about what he’s doing to risk it, and Rand bitterly agrees, saying Lews Therin Kinslayer killed everyone close to him, and maybe he’ll do the same before he’s done. Lan tells him sharply to pull himself together, and Rand replies that he will do the best he can, but he does not have to like what he’s become. Lan tells them all to get some rest.
Good fight scene. I never fail to love it when the wolves kick ass.
I’m not sure if this is the only time Perrin thinks of himself as Young Bull, but it was a great way of showing how close he came to losing himself here. This is one of those narrative tricks that, I think, can only be effectively pulled off in written form; there are many much more obvious reasons that I think making WOT into a movie/TV series is extremely problematic, but showing the internal mental state of a character without resorting to cheesy expositional dialogue and/or cheesy expositional voiceovers is an issue across the board for book-to-film adaptations, and one that in my experience is rarely addressed well.
I don’t think I noticed before how strongly the link between Perrin and the Tinkers was emphasized early on. I mean, I knew it was there, but I forgot how much of a point was made of it. A lot of people have theorized that Perrin will be the one who finds the Song; even though Rand will be the one who (probably) actually hears it at Rhuidean, I think that symbolically Perrin is the only character for whom it would be appropriate.
Rand: still sucks to be him. Poor guy.
Chapter 6: The Hunt Begins
Perrin sleeps dreamlessly, and is woken by Lan, who tells him Rand is gone. Perrin dresses quickly and emerges to find the camp awash in activity. Masema stops him and asks what sin they committed for the Lord Dragon to abandon them; Perrin says it was nothing to do with them, but Masema does not accept this. Carefully, Perrin says that he’s sure whatever the Lord Dragon did, it was surely according to his plan, and Masema nods thoughtfully, saying that the Lord Dragon must have gone to spread the word, and they must do the same. Perrin escapes Masema and goes to Moiraine’s hut, where he demands to know if this is Moiraine’s doing; did she prod Rand into running? Loial is appalled, muttering that one should never anger an Aes Sedai, but Moiraine merely replies that she did nothing, and Rand left in the night. Min hands Perrin a note Rand left behind:
What I do, I do because there is no other way. He is hunting me again, and this time one of us has to die, I think. There is no need for those around me to die, also. Too many have died for me already. I do not want to die either, and will not, if I can manage it. There are lies in dreams, and death, but dreams hold truth, too.
Perrin knows “he” means “Ba’alzamon”. Min says no one saw Rand leave, and Moiraine comments they wouldn’t have stopped their Lord Dragon even if they had. Perrin asks her what else did she expect, and Rand would never have named himself Dragon if not for her; does she really think Rand is the Dragon, or is he just someone Moiraine can use until saidin drives him mad? Loial begs Perrin to go easy, and Moiraine answers that Rand is what he is. Perrin continues to demand answers, and Moiraine says that she never meant for him to go off alone and defenseless like this. Perrin snorts and says that if Rand really is the Dragon, did it ever occur to Moiraine that he might know what he has to do better than Moiraine does? Moiraine answers that Rand will fulfill no Prophecies dead, and even if he doesn’t kill himself with the Power, there are a thousand dangers out there looking for him, not least of which are the Forsaken. Who knows how many of them are loose by now? Perrin examines Rand’s note again, and mutters about dreams; Moiraine asks him sharply if he’s had any dreams lately. Hesitantly he tells them about the dream with the crystal sword, and Lan names it Callandor, looking stunned. Moiraine sends Lan to check and see if any of the others dreamed about the same thing, and tells Perrin the hall he dreamed of was the Heart of the Stone in Tear, and the sword was “Callandor, the Sword That Is Not a Sword, the Sword That Cannot Be Touched.” Loial brings up the prophecy that Callandor and the fall of the Stone will be one of the greatest signs that the Dragon is Reborn. Perrin thought it was the last one, but Moiraine says too many of the Prophecies are obscure and confusing to be sure. She goes on that Rand is not ready for this, and Min wants to know why they aren’t going after him. Moiraine says she must be sure, and explains that those who can channel the One Power can force their dreams upon others unless they learn to shield them, which Rand obviously has not. Lan returns and tells them that half of the men in the camp remember dreaming about a sword the last four nights, and Masema says he saw Rand holding it. Now Moiraine is sure, and says they must follow Rand immediately, except for the Shienarans, who will wait for them in Jehannah, and except for Min, who must go to Tar Valon, to report to the Amyrlin. Min strenuously protests, but Moiraine overrides her protests inexorably. Then she asks Loial and Perrin if they will come with her to find Rand, and when they agree, shoos them all out. Min too-sweetly asks Lan if he wants her to carry a message to Nynaeve, and Lan is annoyed, and answers no. Min pulls Perrin aside, and tells him she sees new things around him now that he’s agreed to go find Rand: an Aielman in a cage, a Tuatha’an with a sword, a falcon and a hawk, perching on his shoulders. And, she adds, if he sees the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen, run. Perrin temporarily misunderstands, and tries to tell her that he thinks of her as a sister. Min tells him he’s an idiot, and Perrin finally gets it and says it’s Rand, isn’t it. She admits it, but doesn’t know if he will love her back. Perrin asks if Egwene knows, and Min says yes; he asks if Rand knows, and Min says, of course not. Perrin promises her he will do whatever he can to keep Rand safe.
Exeunt Rand. See you sporadically later!
This is the chapter where the plot for the entire novel is set; Magic Thingamajig identified, quest established, complications in position, gentlemen, please start your engines. Which is probably why it took so freakin’ long to recap.
It’s awfully refreshing to see Perrin standing up to Moiraine and asking her the questions I would totally be asking if I were there. Too bad it doesn’t last.
Masema: I do not profess to truly understand the mindset that leads to zealotry. However, despite neither being a psychiatrist nor playing one on TV, like most people I have a theory anyway, and now you get to hear it! Aren’t you lucky?
See, here’s the thing, and I know this is going to sound weird, but in my brain I equate this level of Uber-zealousness with something like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or severe depression, except inside out. By which I mean, they all are, it seems to me, debilitating and destructive methods of coping with something that the person’s brain has decided is not copable-with; the difference is the latter two create self-destructive behavior, while the former creates destruction for everyone else.
Now mind, I am not talking about the religious mindset generally here; most religiously inclined people are absurdly normal, non-destructive folk. I’m talking specifically about the kind of galloping fanaticism that leads people to do absolutely insane things, like bombing medical clinics or flying planes into buildings or attempting to wipe out entire populations of People Who Are Different. I’m talking about people who are so incapable of dealing with things that contradict or threaten their worldview that their only response to those things is to attempt to obliterate them.
It is truly the case for the zealot, as Masema says to Perrin in Chapter 5, that the world is binary: you are with the zealot, or you are against him. You are Dragonsworn, or you are a Darkfriend; no middle state is possible. And if you be against him, you are to be eliminated. I must confess I don’t remember what becomes of Masema in Knife of Dreams, so I don’t know whether Masema will get to travel all the way down this road to its logical conclusion (for very psychotic values of “logical”, but you know what I mean), but that is certainly where the character has been heading for all this time, and we see the start of it here.
And this is our stopping point. Join me Wednesday for Part 2, in which we will cover Chapters 7-13 of The Dragon Reborn. All the cool people will be there, you know!