Top of the 2016 to ya, Tor dot commers! It’s been sort of a not-awesome year so far, but fortunately I have a lovely Wheel of Time Reread Redux to make it all better!
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 3: News from the Plain
“Was anyone hurt?”
“Only if you count bruises,” Min said grimly. “They were upset, all right, at first. Then they saw Moiraine staring off toward Rand’s hidey-hole, and decided it was his work. If the Dragon wants to shake the mountain down on our heads, then the Dragon must have a good reason for it. If he decided to make them take off their skins and dance in their bones, they would think it all right.” She snorted and rapped the spoon on the edge of the kettle.
It’s always sort of a coin toss whether the tendency of humans to put their leaders/authority figures on a pedestal is a good thing or not. On the one hand, obviously this can be used in a terrible way, to ignore or cover up the missteps, foibles, or outright crimes of those leaders. But on the other, given that (a) people are not perfect and (b) leaders are people and that therefore (c) inevitably they are going to fuck up in some way or other, sometimes it seems that that instinctive reverence for authority figures is the only reason anything ever gets done at all.
It gets a lot messier, naturally, when you toss religion/prophecy/metaphysical shit into the mix, because now you’re talking about divine respect as well as secular, and really, how are you gonna go up to a literal Messiah and be like, Dude, not cool? Nine times out of ten, people are just not going to do that, and from their viewpoint you can’t even really blame them.
It’s a conundrum, is what I’m saying. But in this particular case, it’s one in which I am naturally inclined to come down in favor of the authority figure, i.e. Rand, and be glad that this is a thing, because otherwise most of his supporters throughout the series would have been like “fuck this” and taken off long before anything even happened. Which, obviously, would have been less than optimal for that whole Good vs. Evil thing.
So, yay illogical social dynamics, I guess? Yay!
And, uh… well, I was kind of right the first time that there’s not much to say about this chapter. Oh well!
Chapter 4: Shadows Sleeping
So this was quite the complex infodump of a dream, wasn’t it?
Probably the most interesting aspect of it, in light of what happened in AMOL, was the Lanfear section. In the original commentary I kind of blew it off as “wow, she bugs all the Superboys, not just Rand”, but her interaction with Perrin here gains a lot more significance than that in retrospect. Especially when you consider that it sounds an awful lot like Perrin is fighting off Compulsion:
“Yes,” he whispered. Inside him, startlement fought with acceptance. He had no use for glory. But when she said it, he wanted nothing else. “I mean…” The murmuring sound dug at his skull. “No!” It was gone, and for a moment, so was acceptance. Almost. He put a hand to his head, touched the golden helmet, took it off. “I… I don’t think I want this. It is not mine.”
So it seems that Lanfear was laying the groundwork for her corruption of Perrin nearly from the beginning. Which is pretty cool, actually. I have to assume she thought of Perrin as her insurance policy against failing to seduce Rand/Lews Therin, since that’s more or less exactly what happened.
I was sort of overly dismissive and mocking of Lanfear in the original Reread a lot of times; in particular, I didn’t get why she would bother to be subtle about Compulsion when not being so would get her what she wanted a whole lot faster. But, in fact, her subtlety proved her to be the most effective villain of them all. Of all the attempts of the Shadow to subvert or destroy Rand, hers were the ones that came closest to succeeding – right down to the endgame. Her campaign for Evil ultimately knocked Ishy/Moridin’s into a cocked hat, in my opinion.
The man smiled, a cold smile. “You are a blacksmith, boy. And a good one, from what I hear. Your hands were made for a hammer, not an axe. Made to make things, not to kill. Go back to that before it is too late.”
I said in the original commentary that Ishy seemed surprisingly laid-back here, which is still true, but I also find it rather odd that he brings up the whole axe vs. hammer thing to Perrin. Of course, it’s in the context of trying to convince Perrin to go home and forget about being part of the Superboy Tripod of Fate, so perhaps it was actually inadvertent that he happened to contribute to the symbolic significance of the choice.
Speaking of fateful tripods:
“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.”
That’s… interesting. I didn’t remember the suggestion that if one of the three boys dies, they all do. I remember the idea that they would fail if one of them dies, but this suggests that their literal survival is dependent on the other two’s.
Of course, Ishy could just be completely full of crap on this score, and saying things just to scare Perrin. And fortunately we never get to find out whether it is true anyway.
As for the rest, it’s just as hard now to get interested in the perambulations of Rahvin and Bel’al as it was in the first Reread, considering they are two of the very few Forsaken who not only died well before the halfway point, but stayed dead thereafter. Which makes me rather approve of them for that courtesy, but does not make me very concerned about what they could be arguing about here.
Though if I had to make a guess, I’d bet it was probably something along the lines of Rahvin being all could you NOT with the Callandor dreams up in everyone’s Kool-Aid, seriously. That’s what I would have said, anyway. Keep your phallic sword fantasies to yourself, brah!
And lastly and most irrelevantly, the fandom nicknaming of Callandor “the Sword That Ain’t” is still one of my favorite things ever.
And that’s the haps for now, y’all! Come back next Tuesday for Moar!