Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day, Wheel of Time Reread Redux? Thou art more wordy and argumentative – just how I like it!
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 43: Shadowbrothers
Pressed into the top of the stone mounting block were two prints, as if a huge hound had rested its forepaws there. The smell that was almost burned sulphur was strongest here. Dogs don’t make footprints in stone. Light, they don’t!
[…] “Darkhound,” Lan said, and Zarine gasped. Loial moaned softly. For an Ogier. “A Darkhound leaves no mark on dirt, blacksmith, not even on mud, but stone is another matter. There hasn’t been a Darkhound seen south of the Mountains of Dhoom since the Trolloc Wars.”
I think I got a little into the various mythologies Jordan cannibalized to create his Darkhounds at one point, but Linda Taglieri has summed up that subject wonderfully enough in this post that I don’t feel the need to rehash it further.
One thing I’ve always found frustrating, though, is that I can never seem to find any direct reference that matches WOT’s Darkhounds’ ability to leave pawprints in stone. Linda’s post mentions that the legends of spectral dogs in Britain speak of them leaving clawmarks in stone, but that’s not quite the same thing. It drives me crazy, because I could swear I’ve come across a more direct allusion or source somewhere before, and yet I cannot remember it, and Google is of little help.
(If you’d like a good laugh, see what results you get when you Google “dog pawprints in stone”. In retrospect, I really should have seen that one coming.)
ETA: Intrepid commenter “aFan” has since pointed me to Arthurian legend, which recounts Arthur’s dog Cavall (or Cafal) leaving a footprint in stone:
“There is another wonder in the country called Builth. There is a heap of stones there, and one of the stones placed on top of the pile has the footprint of a dog on it. When he hunted Trwch Trwyth, Cafal, the warrior Arthur’s hound, impressed his footprint on the stone, and Arthur later brought together the pile of stones, under the stone in which was his dog’s footprint, and it is called Carn Cafal. Men come and take the stone in their hands for the space of a day and a night, and on the morrow it is found upon the stone pile.” ~Nennius, British History
Sweet, I knew I wasn’t crazy!
I mentioned in the original commentary that I found it puzzling that Perrin never has any more prophetic dreams after TSR, which was true at the time, but it turns out that he has at least a couple more, in TOM. That’s kind of a long dry spell, admittedly, but I was gratified that it hadn’t been abandoned entirely, anyway.
Especially since the one in this chapter, about Mat dicing with the Dark One, is probably one of my favorite prophecies in the series. I’m not really sure why, except that maybe the way it works on several levels, metaphorical and otherwise, makes me happy.
What is real is not real. What is not real is real. Flesh is a dream, and dreams have flesh.
“That doesn’t tell me anything, Hopper. I do not understand.” The wolf looked at [Perrin], as if he had said he did not understand that water was wet. “You said I had to see something, and you showed me Ba’alzamon, and Lanfear.”
This tells me two things: (a) wolves are super annoying to talk to if you are looking for straightforward information, but (b) would totally pwn everyone at a poetry slam. You are welcome for that image, by the way.
And (c) I have to wonder if even Ishy and Lanfear might not get a bit of a thrill to know that wolves consider them important enough to give them names. I’m pretty sure I would get a little frisson of “wow, so cool” no matter how evil I was.
Also, if I were Perrin, I might be sort of jealous, because I’m sorry, but “Moonhunter” is way more awesome a name than “Young Bull”.
Suddenly he remembered Min saying he should run from a beautiful woman. Once he had recognized Lanfear in that wolf dream, he had thought Min must mean her—he did not think it was possible for a woman to be any more beautiful than Lanfear—but she was just in a dream.
Nope, dude, it was Lanfear. It was soooooo very Lanfear. Has no one ever told you the old saw about how your first choice is usually the correct one?
Chapter 44: Hunted
[Faile:] “No, I will not swear to go another way. Whether you lead me to the Horn of Valere or not, not even whoever does find the Horn will have a story such as this. I think this story will be told for the ages, Aes Sedai, and I will be part of it.”
“No!” Perrin snapped. “That is not good enough. What do you want?”
Actually, Perrin, that’s probably more than good enough reason for a lot of people. A lot of crazy people, granted, but, well. I have to wonder, if confronted with such obviously world-changingly important events and people, and bolstered by the boundless confidence of a sixteen-year-old in her own immortality, would I be able to walk away either?
Not sure, honestly. I have a terrible suspicion that I would not. Even knowing that I am about 1,000% more likely to be the red shirt than I would to be the mysterious love interest.
“And why me, Moiraine? Why me? Rand is the bloody Dragon Reborn!”
[Perrin] heard the gasps from Zarine and Nieda, and only then realized what he had said. Moiraine’s stare seemed to skin him like the sharpest steel. Hasty bloody tongue. When did I stop thinking before I speak?
Perrin appears to be acting especially idiotic in this chapter. First with his at least somewhat irrational freak-out over Faile, and now this, which is a simply epic fuckup. I can’t even blame Moiraine for ambiguously threatening him right after; she probably wishes she didn’t even have to be that vague.
(As a side note, it would most definitely be the presumable inability to use sarcasm and hyperbole that would do me in re: swearing the First Oath. The road rage alone would probably kill me.)
“What did you do?”
“Something forbidden,” Moiraine said coolly. “Forbidden by vows almost as strong as the Three Oaths.” She took Aldieb’s reins from the girl, and patted the mare’s neck, calming her. “Something not used in nearly two thousand years. Something I might be stilled just for knowing.”
I don’t think we really understand this until later, but Moiraine’s ability to use balefire at all was an indicator of just how effin’ strong she was in the Power before she did her POW stint with the Eelfinn. I don’t remember if balefire was mentioned specifically in this context (though I think it was), but it becomes clear over the course of the series that you have to be pretty high up on the strength ranking scale to able to even attempt to do certain weaves, like Traveling.
Of course, The Companion now tells us exactly how strong Moiraine was – 13(1), if you’re curious, which means that before the Supergirls showed up (along with other outliers like Nicola, Aviendha, and Alivia), Moiraine was in the top rank, strengthwise. After all the super-channelers started coming out of the woodwork, as they tend to do in apocalyptic times, her rank was dropped to 13.
There’s no indication in the text that Moiraine was ever really bothered by this (hell, there’s no real indication she even cared that her strength had dropped to 66(54) after her time with the Eelfinn, which is damn near rock bottom on either scale), but I would be amazed if she wasn’t at least a little irked about it privately, even if she had the class to keep it to herself. God knows I would secretly be terribly pouty about suddenly going from #1 to #13 of anything, even if the reason why had nothing to do with me, technically.
Mat + Thom + fireworks = still hilarious.
I parenthetically asked, in the original commentary, if Mat and Faile ever meet on-screen, and do you know, I don’t think they ever do? Ironically, they were supposed to meet up in AMOL, when Faile was tasked to get the Horn of Valere to Mat, but since that plan went about as spectacularly off the rails as was humanly possible, it never happened then either. Huh.
Although, we can be about 95% sure they did meet off-screen, during that interval of time when everyone was hanging out in the Stone of Tear between the end of TDR and the beginning of TSR (about two weeks). Which, incidentally, is the last time most of our main cast are together in one place for the rest of the entire series. That still blows my mind sometimes, and not in a good way.
But I’ll complain about that another day, for today’s post is done! Have a lovely Memorial Day weekend if that is a thing which happens in your neck of the woods, and I’ll see y’all next Tuesday!