Relax, says the Wheel of Time Reread Redux, we are programmed to receive. Bring your alibis!
Today’s Redux post will cover Chapter 11 of The Shadow Rising, originally reread in this post and Chapter 13, 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!
Before we begin, a reminder that the format of the Reread Redux is changing a bit from here on out, in that from now on I am only going to be commenting on chapters in which my reaction has changed significantly from before, based on the knowledge I had at the time. So here, for example, even though I really like the first ten chapters of TSR, I’m still skipping them, because I don’t really have anything new to say about them.
What we skipped, to very much sum up: Min is Admiral Akbar, Symbolic Bubble of Evil is Symbolic, the Supergirls fail at enhanced interrogation techniques, Perrin and Mat waffle, Berelain happens way too much, and Lanfear happens even more too much. Meanwhile Rand assaults a lot of noblemen, canoodles with Elayne, and makes his first foray into Advanced Crazy via Callandor.
Chapter 11: What Lies Hidden
I was gonna put the chapter summaries back into the posts, but then I was like, nah. Seems redundant.
But I can put back in some bits which I originally left out altogether, like Egwene’s Dreams:
Her dreams had been bad enough lately, most of them. Rand was in them, of course. Rand as tall as a mountain, walking through cities, crushing buildings beneath his feet, with screaming people like ants fleeing from him. Rand in chains, and it was he who was screaming. Rand building a wall with him on one side and her on the other, her and Elayne and others she could not make out. “It has to be done,” he was saying as he piled up stones. “I’ll not let you stop me now.”
Interestingly, at the time of the original Reread, most of the fandom (including me) seemed to be of the opinion that most of these Dreams about Rand had been more or less fulfilled by KOD or earlier. Like, the first one could be taken to be symbolic of the general strife Rand was causing just by existing; the one with him in chains and screaming could have been his capture and torture by the Tower Aes Sedai in LOC; the one about building a wall to keep Egwene et al out could have also been generally symbolic of how Rand was distancing himself from his friends throughout the series.
In hindsight, though, yeah, these were sort of fulfilled by pre-new-books events, but they were really really fulfilled a whole lot better by the total shitshow that was Rand in TGS. I mean, he only literally crushed that one town? I think? The one where Graendal was hiding out? But hey, you know what, one crushed and/or balefired city totally counts. Not to mention he came within a hair of crushing at least two others (Far Madding and Ebou Dar) and metaphorically crushed Bandar Eban by abandoning it to starve. Fun!
And Rand in chains, screaming – yeah, that’s Semirhage with the Sad Bracelets, for my money. (A scene I still don’t like to think about.) And as for the wall-building, sure, Rand was doing that all along, but it wasn’t until TGS that he almost wall-built everyone to DEATH. Q.E.D.
These were not the only nightmares. She had dreamed of Aiel fighting each other, killing each other, even throwing away their weapons and running as if they had gone mad. Mat wrestling with a Seanchan woman who tied an invisible leash to him. A wolf—she was sure it was Perrin, though—fighting a man whose face kept changing. Galad wrapping himself in white as though putting on his own shroud, and Gawyn with his eyes full of pain and hatred. Her mother weeping. They were the sharp dreams, the ones she knew meant something. They were hideous, and she did not know what any of them meant.
The Aiel one pretty clearly refers to the bleakness the Aiel had right after Rand dumped a pacifist truth-bomb on them, but the Mat and Perrin Dreams can also be considered to refer to events that happened later than we originally supposed. Mat only got more “tied” to Tuon, after all, and Perrin may have fought Slayer in TSR, but he fights him way more epically in AMOL.
The Galad one is interesting, though, because it heavily implies that Galad’s decision to join the Whitecloaks will lead to his death, and as we now know, it does not. Sure, he’s down an arm and a certain percentage of beautifulness, but he lives. Unlike Gawyn, but Gawyn’s death gets foretold elsewhere so I’m not going to ding this one. Much.
The Galad one, though, seems straight-up wrong. But, hey, maybe Egwene was just taking some melodramatic poetic license. The white cloak! I see it! Like a SHROUD! *hand to forehead*
No? Ah well.
A silvery thing in another cabinet, like a three pointed star inside a circle, was made of no substance she knew; it was softer than metal, scratched and gouged, yet even older than any of the ancient bones. From ten paces she could sense pride and vanity.
Jordan’s lucky that he picked a fairly unkillable (thus far) automotive status symbol for his in-joke here, because some of his other real-world references have not aged so well as this one.
Which isn’t to say that I don’t still appreciate the joke, because I do. Although I must confess that I likely would never have figured out this particular reference if I hadn’t joined the fandom and heard about it online.
Chapter 13: Rumors
(In Chapter 12, the Supergirls decide to split up to go to Tanchico and Rhuidean; that’s basically it.)
“Different paths. We’ve been sent down different paths before.”
“Different paths be bloodied,” Mat grunted. “I’ve had all I want of Rand, and Aes Sedai, shoving me down their bloody paths. I want to go where I want for a change, do what I want!” He turned for the door, but Perrin’s voice halted him.
“I hope your path is a happy one, Mat. The Light send you pretty girls and fools who want to gamble.”
“Oh, burn me, Perrin. The Light send you what you want, too.”
“I expect it will.” He did not sound happy at the prospect.
“Will you tell my Da I’m all right? And my mother? She always did worry. And look after my sisters. They used to spy on me and tell Mother everything, but I wouldn’t want anything to happen to them.”
“I promise, Mat.”
In the original commentary, I was amazed to realize that as of KOD, the last book published at the time, Mat and Perrin had never been together again after this scene, and speculated gleefully about what would happen when they finally did meet up in the end. (“ ‘You’re married to the Seanchan empress?’ ‘You’re king of Saldaea?’ Hilarity ensues!”)
And, well. They did meet up again, finally, in TOM, and it was good, but they mostly talked business, and we were largely skipped over the “exchanging life stories” bit. Which is fair, I suppose, so I’ll try not to be disgruntled about it. Perrin did take a moment to be stunned about Mat marrying the Empress of Seanchan, though hilariously he seemed more shocked that Mat had gotten married at all than at who he’d married.
But although no “Perrin being king of Saldaea” had happened yet (it never really did happen in the story proper, as I recall, though the presumption was there, given that I don’t think anyone else in the Saldaean royal line survived The Last Battle), you’d have thought Mat would still have had something to say about Perrin becoming Lord of the Two Rivers, at least. But, he didn’t, it seems, at least not on-screen. Oh well.
(Also, we’ll be charitable, and just presume Mat asked about his parents and sisters off-screen as well.)
Aaand I was going to do more than that, but adjusting (or, rather, failing to adjust) for the greater reading time required for this new format means I ran out of time. Oops. But don’t worry, I’ll iron out the kinks in the future. So come back in two weeks’ time for more, because you can check out any time you like, but… well, you know. Cheers!