The Wheel of Time Reread

The Wheel of Time Reread Redux: The Dragon Reborn, Part 6

So, I hear there’s, like, some snow where some of y’all are? Maybe just a little? Tiny bit of snow, yeah. No big.

Joking aside, I hope that all my Rereaders are safe and healthy and unfrozen, and invite you to curl up with a nice, cozy, self-heating Wheel of Time Reread Redux while you wait for spring!

Today’s Redux post will cover Chapters 9 through 11 of The Dragon Reborn, originally reread in this post.

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 9: Wolf Dreams

WOT-dragon-tearRedux Commentary

I already covered the Wolfbrother thing in last week’s post, so I’m not going to rehash it here, except for this small point:

[Moiraine] paused, frowning slightly. “From what I have read of Aes Sedai who had the Talent called Dreaming, Dreamers sometimes spoke of encountering wolves in their dreams, even wolves that acted as guides. I fear you must learn to be as careful sleeping as waking, if you intend to avoid wolves. If that is what you decide to do.”

I think what irritated me most (possibly unfairly) about Moiraine and Perrin’s conversation here is that she never even once tried to suggest to him the possibility that being able to hear wolves might actually be a good thing, even in the face of hints, like the one above, that wolves are on the side of the Light. I’m not saying she had to bust out wolf-themed pom-poms or anything, but surely she could have presented it as an option.

It’s as if she felt the need to be Switzerland on the subject. Which, fine, but given that Perrin already had such an overabundance of data (and bias) on the negative side, rather than supplying balance, her neutrality only contributed more weight to the “bad” end of the scale as far as Perrin was concerned. So if her aim was equilibrium, just offhand I’d say she failed.

But, like I said, my irritation may be unfair, because we are not in Moiraine’s head at this juncture and therefore cannot know her reasoning for being so cautious on the subject. Like all oathbound Aes Sedai she is compelled to honesty, more or less, and if she genuinely was skeptical of the possibility that talking to wolves is a good thing, then perhaps even bringing it up would have been a bridge too far for her. Not to mention, seeing Noam probably unnerved her too, even if she would never admit it to Perrin in so many words.

So, okay. But that doesn’t stop me from being a bit put out about it. Because Perrin may chafe at Moiraine’s authority, but that doesn’t change the fact that her endorsement of the wolves would have carried a lot of weight with him. Oh well.

Frozen, Perrin stared at the bloody shape wearing the man’s clothes, screaming and thrashing on the floor. Unbidden, his eyes rose to the pale thing like an empty sack that dangled from the ceiling. Part of it was already absorbed by the black strip, but he had no trouble recognizing a human skin, apparently whole and unbroken.

It’s sort of funny how I (and many others) consider the Wheel of Time to be so much more “family-friendly” a story than, say, George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, to pull an example not at all from thin air, and then I come across bits like this and remember that… well, it’s still more “family-friendly” than ASOIAF (I’m pretty sure there are actual slasher flicks out there that are more family-friendly than ASOIAF, so it’s a rather low bar to clear), but even so, WOT definitely has its not-so-FCC-compliant moments. Yeesh.

I seem to recall a lively debate at one point or another about the essential impossibility of Dream Perrin taking Dream Skinned Dude’s dream blood back with him into the real world, but to me this is the essence of splitting hairs. It works because (a) it effectively establishes the idea that things that happen in the World of Dreams have real-life consequences, and (b) it was super creepy and cool. So there.

A woman stood in the middle of the room, frowning at a tattered manuscript lying open on a table. A black-haired, black-eyed, beautiful woman clothed in white and silver.

Even as he recognized her, she lifted her head and looked straight at him. Her eyes widened, in shock, in anger. “You! What are you doing here? How did you—? You’ll ruin things you could not begin to imagine!”

Abruptly the space seemed to flatten, as if he were suddenly staring at a picture of a room. The flat image appeared to turn sideways, become only a bright vertical line down the middle of blackness. The line flashed white, and was gone, leaving only the dark, blacker than black.

Still don’t know what’s up with Lanfear’s Amazing Flattening Room, nor exactly what things she thought Perrin was going to ruin. Her ancient manuscript reading time, I suppose? *shrug*

Aw, Hopper. It’s even worse now that I know you’re going to die even more, eventually. Boo.

The Power filled [Rand]. Something leaped from his outstretched hands; he was not sure what it was. A bar of white light, solid as steel. Liquid fire. For an instant, in the middle of that something, the dog seemed to become transparent, and then it was gone.

So I had to check, because my memory, she is also Swiss sometimes (cheese, that is), but I am 99% sure that this chapter is the first time we see balefire being used in the series – even if Rand had no idea that’s what it was at the time. Balefire’s going to become a big plot point in all three of the major story arcs in TDR (not to mention in the grand finale), so its inaugural appearance is a fun little thing to note, I think.

 

Chapter 10: Secrets

WOT-whitecloaksRedux Commentary

Well, hey, a chapter without Perrin in it! At last! Long time no see!

And: Oh, Supergirls. What a very long way you have to go.

In the original commentary, I joined Verin in browbeating the Girls for what they did in this chapter, and I still think that it was a generally dumbass move. Verin’s point about not flapping your gums in front of your enemies more than absolutely necessary is especially well taken. I love you, Egwene, but seriously, shut up.

However, I don’t really think anymore that it was quite the disastrous PR calamity I said it was – mostly because Elayne did have a point when she protested that they hadn’t killed or seriously injured any of the Whitecloaks. If they had, that would have been a whole different ball of wax, obviously, but they didn’t.

It also would have been a different situation, PR-wise, if the group had been anything other than Whitecloaks. But seriously, if Dain and Co. go yell to people about how Aes Sedai tried to kill them, how is that different from any other day where they yell about Aes Sedai doing terrible things? Oooh, Whitecloaks claim Aes Sedai are evil murderous witches, stop the presses! Tchah.

In the same vein, it’s not like the news will provoke a change in Whitecloak policy toward Aes Sedai, either. I mean, they already have a standing kill order on any Aes Sedai they can successfully ambush, so it’s kind of hard to see how that relationship could possibly deteriorate further anyway. Nor do I even really think it was essential to how Dain Bornhald personally felt about Aes Sedai; he already loathed them thoroughly. This was just icing on the cake.

So, were the Supergirls naïve and dumb here? Ayup. But I think Verin claiming that “great harm” will result from Dain’s story is a bit of an exaggeration.

Of course, when you’re dealing with naïve and dumb, sometimes exaggeration is the only thing that will get your point across. And Verin is certainly right that setting off One Power landmines in front of people violates the spirit of the First Oath, if not the letter. So there’s that.

 

Chapter 11: Tar Valon

WOT-flame-of-tar-valonRedux Commentary

Bye, Hurin! See you again in nine books! Sorry the circumstances will be so crappy!

It’s sort of curious that I don’t mind Verin’s dressing down of the Supergirls nearly as much as I resented Moiraine’s treatment of Perrin in the previous chapters.

Maybe because it’s so clear that Verin’s aim is to protect the girls from the possibly dire consequences of the Whitecloak incident if it is known in full, whereas Moiraine’s aims seem much more self-serving, at least on the surface. Maybe it’s because even if with all I just said above, the girls really did screw up, big time, and totally deserved being brought down a peg or two.

Or, maybe it’s just because Verin’s later Crowning Moment of Awesome has retroactively made everything she does awesome just by association. WHO KNOWS.

Sheriam’s dressing-down, on the other hand, loses nearly any impact it might ever have had by retroaction. Shut up, Darkfriend. Not that it really had any impact to begin with, since leaving the Tower was never the Girls’ idea in the first place, and thus Sheriam’s prating about lack of gratitude is completely misplaced.

I remember being intensely annoyed, back in the day, that it never becomes general knowledge that they were forced to leave, because few things piss me off more than when bad lies are believed about good people. There’s just something so fundamentally unfair about it, and yet it happens constantly, even when the lie is deliberately not cleared up for, basically, security reasons.

I understand the reasoning, of course. But that hardly makes it less irritating.

And… yep, still wish I knew the name of the third Accepted. BECAUSE.


And that’s the post, y’all! Have a week, stay warm, and I’ll catch you on the flip side! Ciao!

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