Wheel of Time Reread Redux? Why, yes, don’t mind if I do.
All original posts are listed in The Wheel of Time Reread Index here, and all Redux posts will also be archived there as well. (The Wheel of Time Master Index, as always, is here, which has links to news, reviews, interviews, and all manner of information about the Wheel of Time in general on Tor.com.)
The Wheel of Time Reread is also available as an e-book series! Yay!
All Reread Redux posts will contain spoilers for the entire Wheel of Time series, so if you haven’t read, read at your own risk.
And now, the post!
Chapter 39: Flight from the White Tower
When they were mounted, Nynaeve addressed herself to the stableman again. “No doubt you were told to keep this quiet, and that hasn’t changed whether we are two or two hundred. If you think it has, think about what Liandrin will do if you talk what you were told to keep quiet.”
As they were riding out, Elayne tossed him a coin and murmured, “For your trouble, goodman. You have done well.” Outside, she caught Egwene’s eye and smiled. “Mother says a stick and honey always work better than a stick alone.”
Heh. I still like the Lethal Weapon-ish buddy cop dynamic that Nynaeve and Elayne eventually develop and which starts here. There is something so nice about when disparate personalities fit together and become more than the sum of their parts, even when it takes a while for the personalities involved to realize it.
Liandrin peered at Elayne and Min. The late afternoon sunlight, slanting through the branches, shadowed their faces beneath the hoods of their cloaks. “So,” she said finally, still watching those two. “I had made arrangements for you to be taken care of, but as you are here, you are here. Four can make this journey as well as two.”
There’s no real reason to doubt what Liandrin is obliquely saying here, which is that Min and Elayne were scheduled for mysterious and fatal “accidents” Real Soon Now, but I still find it a little surprising to suppose the Black Ajah was being that bold at this point. I mean, Min is one thing (though her death would certainly stir up the Amyrlin directly, not a good thing), but Elayne’s death would ring just about every alarm bell there is, attracting the kind of attention and scrutiny I can’t imagine any Black sister in the world would want. But, okay, sure.
Rand, you wool-headed idiot, [Egwene] thought, why can’t you just once get yourself into some kind of trouble that doesn’t force me to act like the heroine in a story?
Um. That’s gonna be a no. Forever. Sigh.
The Ways are so creepy, y’all. The kind of thing (like many things in WOT) I would love to see on film if done correctly, and not at all if done incorrectly. Not a thing likely to happen anytime soon either way, though, so I guess I can relax about it. FOR NOW.
Liandrin’s possession of notes on how to navigate the Ways, not to mention her assertion that she can “handle” the Black Wind, is interesting. I can only assume that the Black Ajah kept more careful track of certain information than ordinary Aes Sedai did, because I don’t see how else she could have acquired such notes. I’m pretty certain, though, that her confidence in being able to handle the Black Wind is complete bullshit.
I really rather like Elayne and Egwene’s discussion about Rand here, if for no other reason than that it bucks the stereotype that two women interested in the same man must inevitably be at extremely bitchy loggerheads with each other over it. So often the assumption is that women are constantly and only at each other’s throats over who gets which man, and while I’m certainly not going to claim that never happens, I’m also not going to ignore the truth that sometimes a friendship between two women can actually trump (or at least be as important as) a romantic relationship with a man.
Elayne and Egwene here are far more concerned with making sure that their mutual pining over Rand doesn’t sabotage their friendship with each other, and I think that that is a state of affairs which happens far more often between women than some people would prefer to realize. So kudos to Jordan, here, for recognizing the importance of a platonic female relationship that many of us are culturally primed to dismiss out of hand, in terms of relative importance to a romantic (heterosexual) attachment. More importantly, for recognizing that in a cultural context where, even now, a relationship of a woman with a man is automatically considered to be more important than any relationship, platonic or otherwise, with another woman.
In other news, it’s pretty chilling to realize that Egwene is just casually invading Ishamael’s dreamspace when she sees him here. It’s pretty damn fortunate that he is so contemptuous of her potential threat to him that he barely bothers to hide himself from her scrutiny. The more fool you, Ishy, but in this case it works out pretty nicely.
…And I don’t honestly have the wherewithal to tackle the next chapter this week, because SLAVERY. And also because I’ve been working on my review of the just-today-released Wheel of Time Companion, which is available to read right now on Tor.com.
So forgive me for stopping here for now, but don’t fret: tons of damane and Seanchan and frothing incandescent rage, coming up next Tuesday! Yay!