Happy All Souls’ Day, Tor.com! I hope everyone’s Halloween was fabulous, and I hope this offering of a Wheel of Time Reread Redux may help assuage your hungover and post-sugar-crash doldrums!
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 has changed: 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.
And to answer a question from the comments, unfortunately I can’t let y’all know beforehand which ones those will be, since I don’t know that myself until I write the post. Sowwy.
Chapter 29: Homecoming
[In which Perrin arrives at Emond’s Field and finds out his family is dead.]
I don’t really have anything more substantive to say about the chapter itself, but I had forgotten all about what I had written in the original commentary about the death of my father and the strangeness of grief, and I ain’t ashamed to say it got me a little choked up all over again.
Hard to believe it’s been almost ten years now since his passing. I feel relatively confident in inferring that Robert Jordan’s loved ones probably feel much the same way.
Chapter 33: A New Weave in the Pattern
[What we missed: Perrin meets Verin and Alanna and Tam and Abell, Dain Bornhald is an idiot, and Fain/Ordeith is gross and mass murder-y. In this chapter, Perrin busts out his ta’verenness, meets Luc, Takes Charge, and frees the Luhhans and Cauthons.]
Still love the badassery of this chapter. Also, forgive me, I know I wrote this myself but it is still one of my favorite descriptions of Verin:
Verin: sneakiness quotient still high. In the real world she would totally be that cool and yet slightly unnerving high school biology teacher who knows everything and seems very scattered and harmless, except for that nagging feeling you have that if a student keeled over dead in the classroom her first reaction would be to bust out the scalpel and microscope and make a lesson out of it.
Yeah, still seems legit. *draws hearts*
I noted in the original commentary that it didn’t make sense to me why the Luc half of Slayer is evil, and honestly I still don’t get it. Isam being evil makes perfect sense, especially when we find out in AMOL that he was basically raised in actual Hell, but we are never given an explanation for Luc – whether getting smushed together with Isam made him evil, or if he just always was. AMOL’s Prologue has this tantalizing bit:
Isam went quietly down on one knee. […] That motion woke the ache inside his stomach from where he’d been wounded. He still hadn’t recovered from the fight with the wolf. He felt a stirring inside of him; Luc hated Aybara. Unusual. Luc tended to be the more accommodating one, Isam the hard one. Well, that was how he saw himself.
Which is just frustrating, since “accommodating” from a guy like Isam could very well just mean “doesn’t necessarily want to murder everyone he sees”. Seriously, y’all, all I want is a sentence on why Luc is and/or became a Darkfriend! Just something like “That Luc, he was a nice dude at first, but then that old bat Aes Sedai sent him to the Blight to die and he was like, well fine, I’ll just go be evil then!!” Or, you know, words to that effect in actual WOTian prose. Ahem.
But alas, it is not to be. Ugh. Slayer, man.
Last and definitely least, one quote in particular jumped out at me in this chapter, when Perrin is trying to figure out how to respond to Faile’s “apology” for flirting:
What did she want him to say? “Will you forgive me? When I was trying to chase you away, I said things I shouldn’t have. Will you forgive me that?”
“You said some things that need forgiving?” she said sweetly, and he knew he was in trouble. “I cannot think what, but I will take it into consideration.”
In the Redux Spanking thread, a couple of commenters opined that they thought Faile had secretly wanted and/or enjoyed the spanking Perrin gave her. I’m not going to get into all that too deeply again, as I am (and I am sure most of y’all are) heartily sick of the subject, but I did want to point this out as further evidence that that is not at all the case.
[In this chapter: Rand gets groovy dragon tattoo sleeves, learns about his bio mom and dad, and is like “I’m your leader now” to the Aiel. The Aiel are bummed, except for Couladin, who is all FLAMES ON THE SIDE OF MY FACE I KEEL YOU.]
The Shaiel=Tigraine thing is another one of Jordan’s great puzzlebox mysteries, with the clues to put it all together scattered all over the place in the text (though obviously the biggest piece of it is contained in this chapter). I can’t remember now if I figured it out myself before LOC (when Rand more or less spells it out for the reader), but either way it was pretty cool.
I wondered in the original commentary if Rand was ever going to let anyone know that he was of royal blood. Aaaand I’m not 100% sure of this, but I don’t think he ever did. Not on-screen, anyway. I mean, you’d think he would have at least mentioned it to Elayne at some point, but if so I don’t recall her ever musing about it, so maybe not. I am rather amused at how irrationally irritated I am at this, if so.
[Bair:] “In this case, the whole truth, the truth known only to Wise Ones and clan chiefs before this, is that you are our doom. Our doom, and our salvation. Without you, no one of our people will live beyond the Last Battle. Perhaps not even until the Last Battle. That is prophecy, and truth. With you… ‘He shall spill out the blood of those who call themselves Aiel as water on sand, and he shall break them as dried twigs, yet the remnant of a remnant shall he save, and they shall live.’ A hard prophecy, but this has never been a gentle land.” She met his gaze without flinching. A hard land, and a hard woman.
I don’t know that we got a status update on the number of Aiel still living after the end of the Last Battle, but I have no trouble assuming that their death toll was pretty appalling. The thing is, though, I’m also pretty sure that the death toll of every nation in Randland was appalling. So, I’m not saying that that diminishes the impact of the “remnant of a remnant” prophecy, exactly, but it does sort of make the Aiel seem like they’re claiming special snowflake status on the strength of something that really happened to just about everyone.
But then again, the Aiel were also Rand’s personal army for the majority of the series – starting in this book, in fact – long before most of the other nations got involved. So it’s perfectly possible (and may have been stated somewhere) that their casualties were exponentially higher than anyone else’s, in which case I will shut up.
I also wonder whether and/or how this prophecy interacts with the total annihilation of the Aiel that Aviendha saw as a possible future in the Wayback Ter’Angreal. I guess once Rand saved that remnant of a remnant and moved on/died, all prophetic guarantees were null and void, huh. Nice.
And that’s the post, y’all! I’m off to raid everyone’s leftover candy stash, and will see you Tuesday after next with Moar! Yay!