Yeah, boi, it’s the Wheel of Time Reread Redux! Yeah, what, word.
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 26: Behind a Lock
Or my alternate chapter title: Supergirls Drew and the Mystery of the Insultingly Obvious Clues.
If I were Nynaeve et al, I would be less worried by this “lead” than I would be indignant. OH GEE I WONDER IF WE’RE SUPPOSED TO GO TO TEAR, I would say, dripping with sarcasm.
But I guess if you’re an effectively immortal evil sorceress with a general contempt for the intelligence of anyone who isn’t you, then leaving the most blatant breadcrumb trail possible for your tiny infant enemies might seem like a reasonable move. Lanfear is like the supervillain equivalent of ugly American tourists who speak VERY SLOWLY AND LOUDLY to non-English speakers, because obviously anyone who doesn’t speak English must be a deaf simpleton. Ugh.
The thing with the Supergirls and their propensity for instinctively doing fancy things with the Power that should be way above their paygrade and yet aren’t is a time-honored hero trope that I continue to defiantly adore against every accusation of facile clichédness leveled against it. Sorry, but I want my heroes to be more specialer than everyone else. I mean, obviously don’t push it to the point of eyerollingness, but the natural-born badassedness of our Hero Starter Set is half the fun.
Granted, the Eyeroll Event Horizon is a highly subjective phenomenon, so actually what I’m arrogantly asking for is for protagonists’ Special Snowflakeness to extend just as far as I want them to and no further, but hey.
Also, I have officially –nessed way too many words in the last two paragraphs. Sowwy.
Chapter 27: Tel’aran’rhiod
Or, as I constantly misspell it, Tel’aran’rhoid, which sounds like something you’d need a circular cushion for.
…And in other, much more relevant fun facts, Did You Know that “Arianrhod” is a Celtic goddess of the moon, time, and fate, among other things? Because she is. Her name translates to “silver wheel”, and her palace, Caer Arianrhod, was believed to be located in the Corona Borealis. So that’s interesting.
Also, at least one source I’ve looked at claims she was also associated with spiders, as a “weaver of fate”. The Spanish word for “spiderweb” is “telaraña”, so that’s a very cool little correspondence there, if possibly an accidental one. But if not, it’s one of my favorite mythological/cultural reference mashups in the series. I adore allusion palimpsests.
Anyway, this chapter is our first real trip to the World of Dreams, and while it is deeply tame by later standards (especially compared to the shenanigans Perrin gets up to in AMOL), it had a pretty strong hey cool factor back in the day. Plus it is only apropos, storywise, that we get to start at the shallow end and level up the trippiness commensurate with our heroes’ abilities. That’s just how it works, yo.
I can’t remember if I figured out that Silvie was Lanfear by myself, or only learned it from the fandom later, but it seems screamingly obvious in retrospect, especially given her random swipe at Ishamael. What wasn’t obvious, and still kind of isn’t, is what her motive was for being Silvie in the first place.
I professed confusion in the original commentary about why Lanfear wants the Supergirls to go to Tear so badly that she practically beats them to death with a cluebat to get them going in these two chapters. I mean, I assumed she wanted them to be bait for Rand, but I didn’t know why she needed bait for that, considering Rand was already headed that way. Not to mention that as far as I can recall, Rand never found out the girls were in Tear and/or danger at all until after the whole thing was over anyway. So if they were meant as bait, it was, er, pretty crappy bait, all told.
I suppose that Lanfear could actually have meant them to be bait for Mat, who is after all the one who actually was drawn to Tear to rescue them, but that seems awfully convoluted. Also, I don’t really know why Lanfear would care whether Mat made it to Tear or not.
However, it occurs to me that she was working on Rand’s side at this juncture – if in her own maddening way, of course. So maybe the Supergirls (and possibly even Mat) weren’t meant as bait for Rand so much as they were meant to be reinforcements for him. Or at least distractions for his enemies, which you can’t deny they definitely provided.
So… yeah, that actually makes much more sense to me than the bait thing. I think I’m gonna go with that unless someone comes up with a better idea. Aw, I’m all proud of myself now. Go me!
As for whether the Supergirls were dumbasses to actually take their own bait and go to Tear, I’m divided. Yes, walking into a trap, even when you know it is a trap, is foolhardy at best. However, their actualfacts job at the moment is to hunt down the Black Ajah, and the only Black Ajah they know for sure actually are Black Ajah are… headed for Tear. Given that, it’s really a bit difficult to see what else they were supposed to do. Foolhardy or not.
And that’s the facts, Jacks! Next up: more Mat! Hurray! Have a happy Easter if that be your thang, and see you next Tuesday!