Reading The Wheel of Time

Reading the Wheel of Time: Literal Writing on the Wall in Robert Jordan’s The Great Hunt (Part 4)

It’s been a while since I missed my stop on the subway because I was engrossed in a good book. If memory serves, it was almost 5 years ago, when I got caught up in the imagery of C.S. Lewis’s Perelandra, but this week I have to admit, Jordan got me. And I was quite late to my appointment.

There is so much in the early chapters of The Great Hunt that, despite interludes of action, it gets very much into info-dump territory at times. I find I don’t really mind reading it, but it does get tedious to recap, especially since this is a first read and a lot of the new information the reader is given is only part of a whole, that will be revealed at a later date. I hope everyone will bear with me as I do my best not to gloss over anything too important, and head on into this week’s recap of Chapters 6 and 7.

Rand dreams that he is in a farmhouse with Mat and Perrin, and that Trollocs are trying to get in. He’s terrified, looking for a way out but there is only one door, and Rand can’t understand why they aren’t trying to come in through the windows. He shouts that they have to do something, but Mat, looking pale as death with the Shadar Logoth dagger sticking out of his chest, tells him that “it’s too late’ while Perrin is more interested in the eyeballs he’s plucked from his own face, laughing and saying that he’s gotten rid of them. He tries to show them to Rand, saying that it’s over and that he’s free, and Rand sees Padan Fain dancing in the middle of the floor, repeating his line ‘It’s never over, al’Thor. The battle is never done.” Then the door explodes inward, and Ba’alzamon enters, escorted by two Aes Sedai wearing red. He and Fain speak at the same time. “It is not yet done between us, al’Thor…. For you, the battle is never done.”

Rand wakes on a pallet, sleeping in a corner of Egwene’s room where she stashed him. He’s surprised to find Nynaeve watching over him, sitting in a rocking chair and knitting while he sleeps. She chides him for sleeping in the afternoon (night has fallen while he napped) and Rand tries to explain that Egwene hid him there; Nynaeve cuts him off to explain that she knows that, and that they will hide him from the Aes Sedai as long as he needs. She tells him that Egwene went to see Fain again, and Rand is surprised to learn that Nynaeve also does not know that Egwene has kept her trips secret from Moiraine.

He asks if they are searching for him, and Nynaeve tells him about the strange behavior she’s witnessed from the serving women, and even that she saw Lady Amalisa searching a storeroom. Rand thinks it’s ridiculous that the women would be searching for him, but Nynaeve insist that no Aes Sedai appears to be taking notice, and that none of the men seem to know what the women are up to. Rand thinks about how Nynaeve has the respect and authority of a village Wisdom, but she won’t be a Wisdom when she goes to Tar Valon, and he tells her she looks pretty in her dress for the feast.

Before Nynaeve can get upset with him, Rand continues on to explain his plan to leave as soon as the doors are no longer barred, and that he will find a place where there are no people to hurt.

Nynaeve was silent for a moment, then she said slowly, “I am not so sure, Rand. I can’t say you look like more than another village boy to me, but Moiraine insists you are ta’veren, and I don’t think she believes the Wheel is finished with you. The Dark One seems—”

“Shai’tan is dead,” he said harshly, and abruptly the room seemed to lurch. He grabbed his head as waves of dizziness sloshed through him.

“You fool! You pure, blind, idiotic fool! Naming the Dark One, bringing his attention down on you! Don’t you have enough trouble?”

“He’s dead,” Rand muttered, rubbing his head. He swallowed. The dizziness was already fading. “All right, all right. Ba’alzamon, if you want. But he’s dead; I saw him die, saw him burn.”

“And I wasn’t watching you when the Dark One’s eye fell on you just now? Don’t tell me you felt nothing, or I’ll box your ears; I saw your face.”

“He’s dead,” Rand insisted. The unseen watcher flashed through his head, and the wind on the tower top. He shivered. “Strange things happen this close to the Blight.”

Nynaeve is telling him off, when suddenly their conversation is interrupted by the ringing of alarm bells. Rand looks out on the courtyard and sees figures running in the night, and hears shouting. He realizes that whatever the alarm is for is inside the Keep, and he suddenly fears that Padan Fain got loose somehow, and that Egwene is in danger. Despite Nynaeve’s warnings, he grabs his sword and races out into the hall, dodging startled women, until he comes face to face with the Amyrlin Seat herself. She steps back, looking alarmed, and another Aes Sedai with a staff (Leane) steps between them. Rand runs on, convinced that the Amyrlin Seat’s reaction proves that she knows the truth about him, that Moiraine told her, and hopes only that he can help Egwene before they stop him.

In the courtyard he finds battle, and Trollocs. Leaving the beast to men of Shienar, he hurries on down to the dungeons, finding dead Trollocs and dead men in the otherwise empty halls, until he comes upon a group of men, all dead, and a Fade standing over them. Rand is paralyzed by fear, barely able to get his sword up, but suddenly Ingtar arrives and orders Rand to move on, insisting that Rand is not ready for such a fight and Egwene needs him. Rand does as he’s told, although he feels ashamed that Ingtar could conquer the fear instilled by a Fade and Rand himself could not.

Finding no guards at the dungeon door and the door itself cracked open when it should have been shut and bolted. Rand goes in, ready for a fight, but instead he finds the heads of the two guards sitting on the table, bits of flesh and blood strewn everywhere, and writing in blood on the walls in Trolloc script as well as in writing Rand can read, mostly disgusting blasphemies and the like. Struggling through his shock, Rand remembers Egwene again and pushes on towards the inner door, only to stop in shock again as he reads the words written there: We will meet again on Toman Head. It is never over, al’Thor.

Desperately he tries to rub it off with a bit of straw, succeeding in wiping it into a blur before he’s suddenly interrupted by Liandrin demanding to know what he is doing. He sees her red shawl and stammers that the writing is vile, but she recognizes him as one of the boys with Moiraine, and asks him what he has to do with the the horror in the room. Rand insists that he has nothing to do with it, and tries again to go find Egwene, but Liandrin demands that he answer her.

Suddenly he is hit with an intense pain, like being squeezed on all sides by an intense cold. Liandrin demands that he answer her, and he feels compelled to but manages to stubbornly resist. She repeats her demand.

Frozen needles pierced his brain with agony, grated into his bones. The void formed inside him before he even realized he had thought of it, but it could not hold out the pain. Dimly he sensed light and warmth somewhere in the distance. It flickered queasily, but the light was warm, and he was cold. Distant beyond knowing, but somehow just within reach. Light, so cold. I have to reach… what? She’s killing me. I have to reach it, or she’ll kill me. Desperately he stretched toward the light.

Just then Moiraine arrives, demanding to know what is happening, and Rand is released from the cold grip, the void vanishing just as quickly. Liandrin explains to Moiraine that she found the room in such a state and one of Moiraine’s boys in the middle of it. Rand, now able to move again, opens the inner door and announces again that Egwene came down to the dungeons. Inside he finds the two prisoners, one of whom is just finishing hanging himself, the other of whom is trying to dig his way out in some kind of fugue state, pawing frantically at the stones with bloody hands. Finally he finds Fain’s cell, open and empty, and Egwene and Mat lying prone on the floor. He’s horrified, thinking that he is the one who named the Dark One, and yet the blow fell on his friends instead.

Moiraine and Liandrin enter with bright, cool lights suspended above their palms, and Moiraine bends to check on Egwene and Mat. She tells Rand that Egwene took a blow to the head, and that she will be alright, but Mat’s case is more serious; the dagger is gone. Liandrin asks what that means, but just then others arrive in the dungeons, and Moiraine calls for them to bring two litters. Liandrin tell Moiraine how she found Rand destroying the writing, but Moiraine has Egwene carried to her room to be looked after, and Mat taken to the Amyrlin Seat. Liandrin protests, but Moiriane is resolute. She leaves, and after contemplating Rand and the other men in the dungeon for a moment, Liandrin leaves as well.

Rand talks to Ingtar, who reveals that the Horn of Valere was also stolen, and that the Trollocs and Fades came in through the Dog Gates. Rand asks how that is possible, and Ingtar explains that the guards’ throats were cut, that someone inside Fal Dara betrayed them to let the enemy in. He says that the guards at the gate were tripled, that as soon as Agelmar heard what happened, he ordered that no one was allowed to leave the keep without his personal permission. Confused, Rand asks about the earlier order, but Ingtar has no idea what he is talking about. As they are leaving, the pass the Brown Aes Sedai, Verin and Serafelle, who are studying and recording the writing on the walls. Rand is unnerved by the way they are treating the horrific scene like a simple scientific curiosity.

Coming up out of the dungeons, Rand is met by Lan, who tells him that he can go back to his room if he wants; Moiraine has had all his things moved from Egwene’s back into Rand’s. Rand asks how Moiraine knew, which Lan seems to think obvious, and he remarks that he made quite an impression running through the halls of the women’s quarters with a sword and staring down the Amyrlin. Lan doesn’t think it’s a bad thing, having women be fascinated by Rand, though, he quotes an old saying about how it’s better to have one Borderlands woman on your side than ten men, and even laughs at the mental image of Rand’s exploits. He says it’s too bad Rand has to leave.

Rand reminds him that he can’t leave, that he’s already tried, but Lan says that Moiriane has given special permission for Rand to leave whenever he wants. Rand asks what the change means, but Lan doesn’t know. He tells Rand that Egwene and Mat should be fine, and what Rand does next is his choice.

Meanwhile, Moiraine tucks her angreal away after a long, exhausting night working on Mat with the Amyrlin, Leane, and Verin. Leane exits, directing the litter carrying Mat. Moiraine is wondering how this will effect her plans, given that now that the Horn is gone, she doesn’t need Mat to carry it to Illyan and entice Rand to go too. Verin remarks that even with all their work, Mat will not live longer than perhaps a few months, given that the did not have the dagger to work with in order to sever the connection completely. Moiraine counters with the fact that if they can retrieve the dagger within those months, the healing can be completed. This sets Verin off on a thoughtful tangent, wondering if Mat, having had the dagger for so long, might have been permanently altered in some way they cannot see. She also wonders how it might be carried if it is found, given that it corrupts everything it comes into contact with, and will taint anyone who holds it for very long. For Moiraine the answer is very simple; Mat has already been buffered against the dagger’s effects, so he is the obvious one to retrieve it before it can do too much damage to the world around it.

The Amyrlin agrees with Moiraine, and adds that Padan Fain must also be found, since he is clearly more important than your average Darkfriend. Coming into Fal Dara to retrieve the Horn was risk enough, but they compounded that risk by going to the dungeons to get Fain. Moiraine suggests that Fain will also be with the Horn.

The Amyrlin then dismisses Verin, reminding her not to say anything to the other Aes Sedai about Mat’s condition, but Verin instead takes out her notebook and shares some of the verses that she recorded off the walls of the dungeon. Unlike the rest of the writing, which was mostly taunting and obscenities, this had the air of poetry to Verin, and she wondered if it might be prophecy from the Shadow. That is important enough for everyone to stay and hear, as Verin reads the words aloud, the refrain always Blood feeds blood./Blood calls blood./Blood is, and blood was, and blood shall ever be.

Verin has different speculations about the text, including that the first line might indicate that Lanfear, rumored to be one of the most dangerous and powerful of the Forsaken, is loose again, or that someone wants them to believe she is. The Amyrlin repeats that the Forsaken are still bound, and Moiraine agrees, outwardly at least. But inside she is not so certain, and she is alarmed by the fact that one of the few things known about Lanfear is that before she turned to the Shadow, she and Lews Therin Telamon were lovers.

There is also a suggestion in the text about a man named Isam; Verin doesn’t recognize the name but Moraine does; Isam was kin to Lan and vanished in the Blight, and Moiraine resolves not to tell Lan of the news, not knowing what he would do if he thought that Isam was still alive.

“‘The Watchers wait on Toman Head,’” Verin went on. “There are a few who still cling to the old belief that the armies Artur Hawkwing sent across the Aryth Ocean will return one day, though after all this time.…” She gave a disdainful sniff. “The Do Miere A’vron, the Watchers Over the Waves, still have a… community is the best word, I suppose… on Toman Head, at Falme. And one of the old names for Artur Hawkwing was Hammer of the Light.”

“Are you suggesting, Daughter,” the Amyrlin Seat said, “that Artur Hawkwing’s armies, or rather their descendants, might actually return after a thousand years?”

“There are rumors of war on Almoth Plain and Toman Head,” Moiraine said slowly. “And Hawkwing sent two of his sons, as well as armies. If they did survive in whatever lands they found, there could well be many descendants of Hawkwing. Or none.”

Verin remarks that she doesn’t think it likely, however. There are few records of what happened to Hawkwing’s armies and no one knows what lands lie beyond the Aryth Ocean, or if there was any to be found. She continues on to mention other ways that the other lines might have something to do with Almoth Plain and Toman Head, frustrating the Amyrlin with speculation and information but no concrete conclusion. The Amyrlin asks Verin to go, as Moiraine points out that anyone with a little knowledge of history could have put together such lines, when Verin says something that freezes them both.

“And of course,” Verin said calmly, “the man who channels must be one of the three young men traveling with you, Moiraine.”

Moiraine and the Amyrlin both instinctively reach for the True Source, filling themselves with power. Verin notices, but doesn’t seem alarmed. Moiraine asks why she would say this to them, instead of to the Red Aes Sedai, and Verin answers that she assumed that the man must be the Dragon Reborn; that is the only reason Moiraine and the Amyrlin would let him walk around free. She has a lot of questions, but they are all about knowledge and information, wondering what will happen if the mad goes mad, how long it will take, how long would he live if he was gentled, and so on. She doesn’t seem to think of anything else. Moiraine asks her to sit and tell them everything she knows, and is filled with sadness that she might have to do something horrible to this woman who she loved when she was a girl, but resolves that she will do what she must, what she has to for the sake of the world.

Meanwhile, Perrin is trying to sneak into the infirmary, after being previously thrown out by Leane. As she leaves and walks down the hall he sneaks in, finding Mat asleep. He’s surprised that there aren’t more men in the beds in the infirmary, before he remembers that there are many Aes Sedai in Fal Dara. Mat meanwhile looks exhausted but not sick, but as Perrin can still smell sickness in the room, so too can he smell something wrong in Mat.

Sitting next to Mat, he muses on the events of the evening, how he was sitting alone in the gardens before the Trolloc attack and when he was discovered there by one of Lady Amalisa’s attendants, she sent another woman to fetch Liandrin Sedai. Just then the alarm bell has started ringing, but Perrin knows that Liandrin is of the Red Ajah, and that the Reds focus mostly on gentling men with the ability to channel. Perrin wonders aloud if that is what they think he is, causing Mat to stir and wake.

Perrin asks Mat what happened, but Mat blearily mumbles something about not remembering and falls asleep again. Perrin decides he should go, but just then Leane returns, catching him at Mat’s bedside. She looks him over rather pointedly, then tells him that he is pretty enough that she almost wishes that she was a Green. However, that won’t stop her from dealing with him if he has disturbed her patient. Perrin, confused, replies that he hasn’t, and asks how Mat is, but the only answer he gets is that Mat is sleeping, and when he wakes Perrin won’t be able to tell that there was ever anything wrong with him.

Perrin knows that she is lying somehow, but he can’t do anything about it or help Mat, so he thanks her and excuses himself. As he’s passing, Leane grabs his chin and looks at his eyes. He feels warmth travel from his head down to his toes and back up again, and Leane says that while he is ‘as healthy as a wild animal’ there is no way that he was born with those eyes. Perrin replies roughly that they are the only eyes he’s ever had and , to both of their immense surprise, gently picks Leane up and sets her down out of his way.

Rand is waiting in their room for the news, thinking once again how he should have left already, but unable to bring himself to do so until he is certain that Egwene an Mat are okay. When Perrin comes in, he asks about them, and Perrin starts to answer before remembering that he’s angry with Rand, and reminds Rand that he said he didn’t want anything to do with them anymore. Rand says that he went to see for himself but the Aes Sedai turned him away. He talks about how Leane said Rand was tall, and asked where he was when she was younger, then laughed about it like it was a funny joke. He’s trying to bond with Perrin over the story, but Perrin only retorts that if Rand wants to spend his time being witty with Aes Sedai, that is his own affair, and sarcastically calls Rand “my Lord.” Rand apologizes for his words earlier, explaining that the women were looking for him, but Perrin corrects him that they were looking for all three of them. Rand doesn’t understand, but he repeats his apology, and Perrin starts to relax toward him, and tells him how Mat is doing. But when Rand admits that he still plans to leave on his own, Perrin leaves, slamming the door behind him.

A moment later there is pounding on the door, and Lan comes in to tell Rand that the Amyrlin Seat has summoned him. Rand asks what he means, telling Lan that he’s on his way to the stables to leave right now, but Lan tells him that it’s too late now. He goes through the clothes left in Rand’s wardrobe, pulling out a red coat embroidered with gold herons, and orders Rand to change into something more fitting for an audience with the Amyrlin. He also gives Rand instructions on how to behave, on ritual phrases and proper etiquette, as much as he can teach in the short time alloted to them, and instructs Rand to wear his sword. Rand is shocked, but when Lan tells him how to bow, he answers that he already knows how, after seeing the guards kneel before Queen Morgause.

The ghost of a smile touched the Warder’s lips. “Yes, you do it just as they did. That will give them something to think about.”

Rand frowned. “Why are you telling me this, Lan? You’re a Warder. You’re acting as if you are on my side.”

“I am on your side, sheepherder. A little. Enough to help you a bit.” The Warder’s face was stone, and sympathetic words sounded strange in that rough voice. “What training you’ve had, I gave you, and I’ll not have you groveling and sniveling. The Wheel weaves us all into the Pattern as it wills. You have less freedom about it than most, but by the Light, you can still face it on your feet. You remember who the Amyrlin Seat is, sheep- herder, and you show her proper respect, but you do what I tell you, and you look her in the eye. Well, don’t stand there gaping. Tuck in your shirt.”

Lan ties a gold cord around Rand’s left arm and bats away Rand’s questions about the meaning behind everything, then fastens a pin to it.

Rand looked down at the pin worriedly. Caldazar. The Red Eagle of Manetheren. “A thorn to the Dark One’s foot,” he murmured, “and a bramble to his hand.” He looked at the Warder. “Manetheren’s long dead and forgotten, Lan. It’s just a name in a book, now. There is only the Two Rivers. Whatever else I am, I’m a shepherd and a farmer. That’s all.”

“Well, the sword that could not be broken was shattered in the end, sheepherder, but it fought the Shadow to the last. There is one rule, above all others, for being a man. Whatever comes, face it on your feet. Now, are you ready? The Amyrlin Seat waits.”

 

I have been warned by commenters about the number of dreams and visions in The Wheel of Time, and although this one seems fairly straightforward, I suppose that there’s always a chance that Rand’s dreams are prophetic in some way. Still, he knows Perrin is upset about his eyes and he knows about Mat’s problem with the dagger, and although I’m sure some Red Aes Sedai are in league with Ba’alzamon it’s just as likely that Rand saw them together in his dream because they are the two things that he fears the most. I was touched that Nynaeve was watching over him in Egwene’s absence; although her dislike for Moiraine would make it highly unlikely for her to side with the Aes Sedai over the matter of Rand, more importantly this is a nice little moment to be reminded that the four people from Emond’s Field share a special bond, as much as things might be strained from everything that has happened since they left home. Rand recognizing the change in his relationship with Nynaeve due to her no longer being a Wisdom is another symbol of his own changing status as well, I think; he’s thinking of her differently as much because he has changed as because she has.

Rand rushing to Egwene’s aid, heedless of the wisdom of it, reminded me of his return to the cliffside after defeating Ba’alzamon and how she was the first most coherent thought in his mind as he came down from whatever had happened to him. As it turns out, Nynaeve was right that he wasn’t needed to help her, but it’s probably a good thing that he managed to wipe out the words Fain wrote to him before Liandrin saw them. I am pretty sure she’s Black Ajah, but she doesn’t know everything, not as much as Fain, and that information could have been very dangerous for Rand.

And that torture thing she did to him! Brr. It seems to have included some of the compulsion ability Liandrin used on Amalisa, but there is clearly something else that she did to cause the pain and crushing sensation. I also think that this moment confirms for me what I have been suspecting; that Tam’s void trick will be something Rand uses to access the One Power. In this moment the void comes to him without him consciously summoning it, and his reaching for the ‘light’ is clearly him reaching for the True Source, although he doesn’t yet realize what he’s doing. I suppose this speaks to the prevailing wisdom of the Aes Sedai, that no one with the ability to channel can avoid doing it; it can be done without knowing and it is an instinct that we have seen Rand reach for on multiple occasions now when his life has been threatened.

Jumping back for a minute, this is the first time we’ve seen an actual indication of the danger of speaking the name of the Dark One. It makes a lot of sense as a superstition, but Rand’s strange turn does seem to indicate something more, even though I think the attack on the keep was going to happen anyway. But it feels like an awfully huge coincidence not to have some deeper meaning. Moraine did warn Rand that the Dark One could not be so easily killed, and I wonder again why he is so dang sure. Is it merely self-delusion because the idea of not being free of the Dark One is so terrifying to Rand? Or is it hubris? Or something else?

I didn’t much care for Ingtar’s attitude in The Eye of the World, but I actually really like him here. He has started to make friends with Rand, which is great, and we get to see less sulking and more of how he carries himself as someone who sees fighting the Shadow as the whole purpose of his life. In the last book I thought he was whiney, in this chapter I was comparing him to Moiraine and Lan. If he’s being sent after the Horn, I hope at least some of our heros go with him so we can see more of Ingtar.

After last week’s chapters, I was waiting to see if we would learn who really gave the order that no one was allowed to leave the keep. We didn’t, but I think either it had to be Linadrin, who we know has the ability to bend the right people to her will and would have wanted to be sure none of the boys got away, or whoever it was who betrayed Fal Dara and let the Trollocs in. Although I’m not sure what those people had to gain by not letting anyone out, since they were coming for the Horn and Fain, not to kill people or capture anyone.

I have to admit, I completely forgot that Moiraine’s angreal was described for us the first time she used it; I was imagining it all this time as like a little crystal ball or something, and when I read the description at the top of Chapter 7 I had to go back and look in The Eye of the World to check my memory. It’s more interesting that the artifact has such a distinct look to it, and the fact that it’s a carving of a woman made me wonder if angreal have to be specific to either saidar or saidin. I guess it must be, since the two halves of the Power are so inherently different that even the basics of channeling cannot be taught across genders. Having the item be a carving of a woman is a wonderful little bit of world building, since it prompted me to think a little harder, question a little deeper. I kind of love it.

I guess I should have known that Mat’s adventures with the dagger wouldn’t be over so quickly. I imagine that taking it was an opportunistic act on Fain’s part, or rather on Mordeth’s; he’s probably happy to have more of the Mashadar power to use for his own ends, and I’m sure the Shadow doesn’t give two hoots about it. After some puzzling over the exact nature of events, I am surmising that Egwene and Mat are the people that Fain greeted at the end of chapter 5; they weren’t who he was expecting because he already knew that the Fades and Trollocs were on their way to rescue him. His liberators arrived a moment later and knocked the two out, and Fain grabbed the dagger before he left to go write things on the walls in the guards’ blood. Unless that was the person who freed him instead. I think all of that makes sense, although I am curious about Ingtar’s assertion that they would find out who the Darkfriends who betrayed them were if anyone is missing. It seems like it would be easy for someone to end up missing in the chaos of the battle; it also seems like it would be easy for the Darkfriend to remain in Fal Dara undercover, to cause more havoc. For that matter, said Darkfriend could have the Trollocs abduct someone else, thereby framing them and leaving the real culprit free and clear. I wonder why Ingtar didn’t think of that. Unless… unless he is the Darkfriend?

Ooh, that would be so evil of Jordan! And right when I was starting to like the guy. I’m not sure of my theory on this, but I can’t help thinking about how risky the Amyrlin Seat claimed the attack on Fal Dara was, and yet the Trollocs managed to get into the storeroom itself with what seems like minimal fuss. The more I look at it, the more it seems like it had to have been someone with clout to pull this plan off.

Interestingly, the opening of The Great Hunt feels like it parallels the opening of The Eye of the World in many ways. In both cases we have the surprise arrival of a Trolloc army to a place it has no business to be which drives the plot forward, and although we didn’t know it at the time, we had a traitor facilitating the attack on the Two Rivers happen just as we have a traitor making the attack on Fal Dara not only possible, but a complete success. Thematically, I’m guessing that since we knew of Padan Fain at the time, we know of the new traitor now, and we haven’t seen the last of them. Maybe it’s Agelmar himself, and all that stuff about wanting to wield the horn was a ruse? Hmm.

Verin is also an interesting new character, and one who I wonder knows more than she says. I understand that the Brown Ajah are more concerned with books and knowledge for knowledge’s sake than with the real world, but Moiraine underestimated her, and I wonder if Verin doesn’t have more of a vested interest in what is going on than she lets be seen. Her wide-eyed innocence at the comment that she should tell the Red Ajah, the insistence that the thought never even occurred to her seems rather unlikely, especially since we know that she’s been around for a while; she was a full Aes Sedai when Moiraine and the Amyrlin were still only children, after all.

I wasn’t sure what to make of maybe-prophecy, and this post is getting awfully long, but there are a few things that are especially interesting to me. The idea that Rand might be hunted by an evil ex-girlfriend of Lews Telamon is actually pretty hilarious to me, although I’m sure it won’t be for Rand. Also, we learn a little more here about the fabled armies of Artur Hawkwing, which explains what Captain Bornhald was on about back in Chapter 5. I’m guess Toman Head is gonna be the climactic site for the end confrontation of this book, although Jordan could certainly surprise me.

Leane is hilarious. I’m guess the Green Ajah are the only Aes Sedai who get married? But man is she ready to climb those tall boys like trees. It’s kind of fun seeing that silliness from an Aes Sedai, even though Perrin and Rand don’t appreciate it. And once again we have that old refrain of Perrin thinking Rand would understand women when Rand clearly doesn’t.

I feel bad for Perrin. I don’t actually think that Rand’s rude words in the storeroom is the main problem he’s having, they were just the icing on the cake that brought Perrin’s feelings to the surface and made them concrete. Because he doesn’t know about Rand’s abilities, Perrin has no reason to think that Rand would be suffering the way he is currently suffering, or even the way Mat is suffering. From Perrin’s point of view, Rand is the only “normal” one left, and he is also the one getting special attention from Lan and the one who accidentally has a name that makes some of the people of Shienar treat him like he’s special. Whether Rand asks for that treatment or not, it’s not surprising that Perrin would be rubbed the wrong way about the difference, and even wondered if Rand didn’t want anything to do with Perrin and Mat now that they were different. After the things Rand said to him and Mat, and his refusal to stay with them without offering any explanation, those suspicions must feel quite validated. It’s a bit like Ron getting angry at Harry in Goblet of Fire for being chosen for the Tri Wizard Tournament, except Perrin doesn’t even have the mitigating factor of knowing that Rand is actually not any happier about things that he is.

If only he knew what Lan knows. I love that Lan is on Rand’s side, as much as he can be. Lan is probably the person who can most closely understand what Rand is going though; he knows a lot of what Moiraine knows about the Dragon and the burden Rand must carry as the Dragon reborn and as ta’veren, but as a man who serves the Aes Sedai, Lan probably identifies more with Rand than any female wielder would. Lan is also a person whose life could have taken a very different path; if his kingdom hadn’t been destroyed when he was a baby, he would be a king, not a warder, and it is clear that those conflicting loyalties are on more than one mind. The people of Shienar‘s, for one. And Moiraine’s for another. It will be interesting to see where Lan’s story goes. In The Wheel of Time, anything is possible.

Well, my fingers are tired from all this typing, and my brain is tired from all this musing! Next week we are only going to cover Chapter 8, which has enough material in it for an entire post if you ask me, and is technically the chapter that made me miss my stop. I did have to take my dog for a walk in the middle of writing this weeks’ post, though, and I was so caught up in my thoughts that I didn’t even realize that I was wearing two different shoes. So there’s that.

Sylas Barret lives in Brooklyn and will post a picture of his mismatched shoes in the comments for all to enjoy.

citation

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