Flush from the fantastic JordanCon a few weeks ago, where my Theorylanders had the pleasure of arresting Jason Denzel for crimes against Wheel of Time fandom, I have the wonderful opportunity to introduce the release of The Path of Daggers ebook (and share more of my “adorable enthusiasm”). While the ebook has been freshly minted by Julie Bell’s beautiful rendition of Elayne, Aviendha, Nynaeve and the Bowl of Winds (which should be reason enough to go grab a copy, like now), The Path of Daggers had me at “Verin.”
That’s right, Verin. In fact, no statement more appropriately describes the journey of Verin Mathwin than “On the heights, the paths are paved with daggers.” While the use of the Bowl of Winds, the Seanchan and Ebou Dar, the travails of Perrin, Rand’s “dealings” with the Seanchan and Egwene finally moving toward Tar Valon and war are all compelling events, Verin’s point of view in the prologue, for me, is its most memorable moment.
From Verin’s Point of View
Full disclosure: I’m a little bit of a Wheel of Time theory enthusiast, and one of my most cherished pet theories involves Verin’s mysterious actions (“involves” not “involved,” no matter what Robert Jordan said to me at DragonCon ’05). That being said, I will do my best not to spoil anything for those that have not read The Gathering Storm.
After re-reading the prologue to The Path of Daggers, I’m haunted by all of the clues that I missed. How could I, a self-described Verin-nut, with an intricate theory regarding Verin’s allegiances based on a variety of circumstantial evidence, have been so blind to one of the greatest mysteries of the Wheel of Time?
A Few of My Favorite Clues From the Prologue
One day she would have to write out the cipher she used in her notebooks—a lifetime’s worth of them filled cupboards and chests in her rooms above the White Tower library— one day, but she hoped not soon.
~Punches himself in the arm~ Hello, calling all Verin-nuts, small details leading to a big impact moment!
She did not feel fear. In her time she had faced harder stares, from women—and men—without so much as Aeron’s slim compunction about ending her life.
~Shakes forehead~ Really, Matt, you missed this? How did you write this one off?
“Katerine Alruddin escaped last night,” Tialin nearly spat, and Verin gasped. “You let her escape?” she burst out without thinking. [...] Escaped! The circumstances made everything plain, to her if not to the Aiel.
~Slaps forehead~ Matt! Wake up, it’s so obvious!
Verin put on a warm smile. A fellow had once told her that her smile made him think of his dear mother. She hoped he had not been lying about that, at least. He had tried to slide a dagger between her ribs a little later, and her smile had been the last thing he ever saw.
~Bangs head against table~ Seriously, Matt, did you actually read this book?
There would still be difficulties, perhaps painful difficulties one way and another, but she could live with anything short of true discovery.
~Stares at the page~ Heh, “true discovery,” now that is funny...
Did I miss any?
After the series ends, Verin will endure as one its most pivotal characters, and this prologue will be a reminder that Robert Jordan was a master storyteller. With a mix of the ironic and foreshadowing, Jordan wove a sly tale of a curious, grandmotherly Brown Ajah with undying curiosity, a propensity for note taking and one very big secret. How appropriate that Verin seemingly speaking to all of us theorists says, “You did very well with the previous tidbits I gave you.”
And About That Age-Old Question...
While The Path of Daggers hasn’t graced the top spot on my list, it does contain my favorite Prologue. I remember the moment I started reading Verin’s point of view back in the 90’s, and as sentimental fanboy as this is to say, I will never forget it. How about you? Was The Path of Daggers your favorite book? What was your favorite scene?
“Graendal wasn’t in Caemlyn!” -Tamyrlin
Matt is the Creator, Lord of the Board, Benevolent Dictator and all around Hardest Working Lazy-Ass of Theoryland.com. Secretly, he harbors a mad crush on Aviendha and Min, something he believes only Rand can fully understand.