Big Wheel [of Time Reread Redux] keep on turnin’, Proud, er, Leigh keep on… burnin’? Well, that kind of went to a weird place, but anyway!
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!
Before we start: Don’t forget to tune in this Thursday for the first official post in my new blog series on Tor.com, Leigh Butler’s Movie Rewatch of Great Nostalgia! So much fun, y’all.
Also, I recently got to make all the important casting decisions for the WOT TV series in development! If you haven’t already, head on over there to witness my Phenomenal Cosmic Power re: picking twentysomethings to play teenagers! Whoo!
Chapter 48: Following the Craft
As the Darter wallowed toward the docks of Tear, on the west bank of the River Erinin, Egwene did not see anything of the oncoming city. Slumped head down at the rail, she stared down at the waters of the Erinin rolling past the ship’s fat hull, and the frontmost sweep on her side as it swung into her vision and back again, cutting white furrows in the river. It made her queasy, but she knew raising her head would only make the sickness worse. Looking at the shore would only make the slow, corkscrew motion of the Darter more apparent.
I have to say, I’ve never been able to quite figure out what Jordan’s rationale was for why the Supergirls’ ship in this chapter moves in such a peculiar way. I’m hardly an expert on the subject, of course, but I have lived near the mouth of the Mississippi River for a substantial portion of my life, and I have never once seen a ship travel on it in any way that could be construed as a “corkscrew motion”.
The passage seems to imply that they are moving against the current, which I suppose might account for it, but as they have been traveling south on the river, toward the delta where it empties into the Aryth Ocean, that indicates they were traveling with the current, not against it, so basically the whole thing makes no sense to me.
That said, if you are on a ship traveling in a corkscrew fashion for whatever inexplicable reason, seasickness is probably a reasonable response to it, because that sounds awful. I don’t think I have ever been seasick, but then I have also never been on any kind of extended nautical journey, unless taking hour-long trips up and down the Mississippi in a (non-corkscrewing) riverboat counts, which it probably doesn’t, or unless vrooming about in a speedboat in the Gulf counts, which is probably closer on account of choppy waves and such, but is still not bizarre corkscrewing, so there’s that.
(If you do come down to the Mississippi Delta, though, you really should give a riverboat trip a try. The Bloody Marys are excellent.)
Why should Perrin have a falcon on his shoulder, and what was important about him choosing between that axe he wore now and a blacksmith’s hammer? […] Rand confronting a horde of Seanchan. Rand confronting her, and the women with her, and one of them was a Seanchan. It was all too confusing.
Both of these being prophecies that did not get fulfilled until nearly the end of the entire series, I heart them a lot. Though not more than this one:
What did it mean that Mat was dicing with the Dark One, and why did he keep shouting, “I am coming!” and why did she think in the dream that he was shouting at her?
That’s a great one, just because the reader in this instance is put in the situation of knowing more about what it means than the POV character, and that’s always a great way to ratchet up the narrative tension.
What is a “Fetch”? Egwene wondered. Or a “fangfish,” for that matter.
Well, we learn at some point that Fetch is another word for Myrddraal, but as far as I am concerned, this is a fangfish. Eek.
“You are learning how to be Aes Sedai, Maryim,” [Egwene] said as she turned from the window. “You manipulate people as well as Moiraine.” Nynaeve’s face went white.
Elayne stalked across the floor and slapped Egwene’s face.
Damn right. I love my Ooh Ooh Girl, but I have to say, Elayne slapping her here was entirely deserved. As I said in my original commentary, she is being very binty in this stretch, and it is Not Cool.
Just goes to show, even imminent apocalypse cannot always trump the terrifying ineradicability of teenage rebellion sulky fits. That shit’s like Twinkies, y’all.
That said, I suppose there is in fact a debate to be had over whether Nynaeve’s lies of omission in recruiting both Ailhuin and (in the next chapter) Juilin to their cause were justifiable.
Because while it is perfectly understandable that she’s not going around yelling to everyone they meet about how they’re hunting Black Ajah, not telling people she enlists to help them in particular is uncomfortably akin to sending people out to hunt under the impression they are going after rabbits, when in fact the woods are chock-full of bears. Rabid bears.
Because that is also Not Cool, and (as it turns out) also a great way for the whole thing to backfire on you to boot. And yet, could they really have done it in any other way? Dunno. What do you think?
Chapter 49: A Storm in Tear
Enter: Juilin. Who… well, doesn’t really rate a “Dun!” Mostly I just feel really sorry for him for how he’s about to end up the Supergirls’ inadvertent stalking goat. Rough luck, dude.
And speaking of luck:
“It’s the luck,” Mat mumbled. “I’ve figured it out. The dice. My luck works best when things are . . . random. Like dice. Not much good for cards. No good at stones. Too much pattern. It has to be random. Even finding Comar. I’d stopped visiting every inn. I walked into that one by chance. Thom, if I am going to find Egwene and the others in time, I have to look without any pattern.”
On the one hand, that is very cool. On the other, I have just enough tendencies towards compulsive organization to twitch a bit at the notion of having randomosity be my superpower.
Not least because, as Mat discovers, it’s pretty damn difficult to be deliberately spontaneously random. Mostly because that’s pretty much a contradiction in terms. So your superpower is one that mostly only works when you aren’t actually intending to use it. Frustrating!
But, you know, still cool. As was the scene with Comar in general. Like I said before, post-Healing I pretty much enjoy the hell out of Mat every time he’s on screen, so to speak.
The columns were there, and Callandor. And around the sparkling sword, almost as dim and insubstantial as shadows, thirteen women sat cross-legged, staring at Callandor as it revolved. Honey-haired Liandrin turned her head, looking straight at Egwene with those big, dark eyes, and her rosebud mouth smiled.
Well, that would sure scare the living hell out of me, fo sho. And yet, the Supergirls still don’t call off Juilin, even knowing that the Black sisters know they are there? Um.
Also, I just noticed that I said in the original commentary that my mental picture of Juilin is that he looks “exactly like a guy I used to do theater with in New Orleans”. And… I have absolutely no clue who I am referring to. Seriously, I got nothing on who the hell Past Leigh could be talking about. Weird.
Possibly because I have internalized much more this time (possibly because of the casting post I just did, in fact) Tear’s cultural influences, which seem to be mostly a cross between vaguely Conquistador-era Spain, and pre-industrial China. So now I am picturing Juilin (and most Tairens, including Siuan Sanche) as being kind of a blend of those two ethnicities, and I certainly didn’t do theater with anyone matching that description. Oh well.
And I think that’s our show for today, O My Peeps! Come check me out on Thursday being all nostalgic and stuff, and then come back next Tuesday for more of dis! Yay!