Reading The Wheel of Time

Reading the Wheel of Time: A Weaving of Themes in Robert Jordan’s The Great Hunt (Part 7)

Hello hello, Wheel of Time fans! This week we’re tackling Chapters 11 and 12 of The Great Hunt. They have auspicious names too, “Glimmers of the Pattern” and “Woven in the Pattern,” but they are definitely more about set up than important action moments. This makes sense, when I think about it; seeing glimmers of the pattern shows what is being woven, i.e. what is yet to come.

One of the story-telling techniques I really love in fiction in general–and am finding that I enjoy in Jordan’s work, specifically–is when character’s journeys parallel each other in unexpected ways. We saw some of that in The Eye of the World, as Perrin struggled with being a wolfbrother while Nynaeve dealt with the discovery of her own abilities, and as Rand and Mat traveled together while each was under a burden (Mat’s dagger and Rand’s unknown channeling) that he wasn’t aware of yet. So far in The Great Hunt, we have seen Perrin and Rand both keeping their true identities secret, and now we have two chapters with similar names that draw interesting parallels between Rand’s journey and Egwene’s. Back in The Eye of the World, Rand had nightmares that might have been visions as Shadowspawn and Ba’alzamon threatened Egwene’s life; now in The Great Hunt, Egwene has had a possible vision-dream in which she saw Ba’alzamon and perceived a real danger that Rand is actually in. And although Moiraine insists that one of them is a bird and the other a fish, there appears to be some similarities in the two learning to channel as well.

Chapter 11 opens with Ingtar calling for the company to make camp a little earlier than usual; he also chooses to set up in a hollow place that hides their campsite but will also be strongly defensible. Rand overhears Uno insisting to Ragan that he saw the same woman in the last village that he saw in the ferry village. Rand is puzzled by this, but also distracted by the memory of what he saw at the last village, fearing that he is going mad but also rather hoping that he had imagined the scene of the family and the horrible mass of flies. Ingtar interrupts Rand’s thoughts, and Rand asks him what happened in the village, but Ingtar doesn’t want to talk about the Myrddraal, explaining instead that the Trollocs sometimes take people to travel with them so that they will have food near at hand. When Rand still insists on talking about the murdered Fade, Ingtar takes out a bundle and gives it to him.

He tells Rand that Moiraine instructed him to give the bundle to Rand at the first campsite they made south of the Erinin river. Ingtar also says that he was told that if anything happened to him, Rand was to lead the men. Rand is shocked by this, insisting that he has no idea how to lead men and that Moiraine can’t tell Ingtar who his second is. But Ingtar calmly explains that it was Lord Agelmar who gave the order to Ingtar and Uno, while Moiraine was present. Although Rand continues to be incredulous, Ingtar, used to strange orders and following his duty at all costs, tells him that he believes Rand will do his duty when called upon.

Rand wanted to say it was no duty of his, but instead he said, “Uno knows about this. Who else, Ingtar?”

“All the lances. When we Shienarans ride, every man knows who is next in line if the man in command falls. A chain unbroken right down to the last man left, even if he’s nothing but a horseholder. That way, you see, even if he is the last man, he is not just a straggler running and trying to stay alive. He has the command, and duty calls him to do what must be done. If I go to the last embrace of the mother, the duty is yours. You will find the Horn, and you will take it where it belongs. You will.” There was a peculiar emphasis in Ingtar’s last words.

Rand insists that he will not accept such a duty, but Ingtar only repeats that Rand will, then leaves, cutting off the argument and leaving Rand holding the bundle, which Rand suspects he knows the contents of. Fearful of anyone seeing, he sneaks off into the trees where he finds a clearing and slowly unwraps the carefully tied bundle; sure enough, the banner of the Dragon, the banner born by Lews Therin Telamon, lies within.

Rand doesn’t have time to process his feelings about the gift Moiraine has sent him because suddenly Mat bursts into the clearing, Perrin in tow, loudly complaining that Rand gets fancy coats and now a banner. But they both stop short, horrified, when they both immediately recognize the banner from when they first saw it removed from the Eye of the World.

Rand’s anger boils over suddenly, and he turns on the two of them. He shakes the banner at them, telling them how Moiraine wants to make him a false Dragon, a puppet for Tar Valon, and that she’ll force him to accept it no matter what he wants. Mat is shocked and confused, but Perrin takes a moment to think about the implications of this, and asks if Rand can channel. Rand drops the banner and admits that yes, he can. He doesn’t want to, but he doesn’t think he can stop.

“Burn me!” Mat breathed. “Blood and bloody ashes! They’ll kill us, you know. All of us. Perrin and me as well as you. If Ingtar and the others find out, they will cut our bloody throats for Darkfriends. Light, they’ll probably think we were part of stealing the Horn, and killing those people in Fal Dara.”

“Shut up, Mat,” Perrin said calmly.

“Don’t tell me to shut up. If Ingtar doesn’t kill us, Rand will go mad and do it for him. Burn me! Burn me!” Mat slid down the tree to sit on the ground. “Why didn’t they gentle you? If the Aes Sedai know, why didn’t they gentle you? I never heard of them letting a man who can wield the Power just walk away.”

Rand explains how he was told that he was the Dragon Reborn and that he could go wherever he liked, trying to make them see how the Aes Sedai are using him. Mat is more concerned about why Rand is still with them and not running as fast as he can to a place with no Aes Sedai to hurt him and no people for Rand to hurt, but Perrin cuts him off and rephrases the question more calmly. Rand explains how he intended to leave, but then the Amyrlin came, and then the Horn and the dagger were stolen and he learned that Mat was dying; he thought at least he could help find the dagger.

Mat, somewhat chastened by the explanation, admits he hadn’t thought of that motivation on Rand’s part. He is still worried about Rand’s abilities, though, and decides to keep his distance. Perrin is more thoughtful about it, but ultimately makes a similar decision. He tells Rand that he should burn or bury the banner and run as fast and far as he can, but he also acknowledges that sometimes one can’t run, and seems to be thinking also of himself when he says that.

They both leave, and Rand, after talking himself in circles trying to decide what Moiraine wants him to do so that he can do the opposite, returns to camp with the carefully re-wrapped bundle. He takes his horse and goes to set up his bedding on the opposite side from them, finding Hurin with Loial. Sensing his mood, they leave Rand mostly alone, and he falls asleep worrying about the banner, about the murdered Fade in the village, and about the strange vision he had in the house. As he falls into sleep, the void surrounds him, flickering with an uneasy glow.

Meanwhile, Padan Fain sits by his campfire and stares into the dark, playing with the ruby dagger from Shadar Logoth. He still thinks of himself as Padan Fain because Padan Fain is the core of him, although he has been much changed. First by being a Darkfriend, then by the distilling that Ba’alzamon performed upon him to allow him to track the three boys from Emond’s Field, and finally by his journey into Shadar Logoth.

Fain drew a deep breath and fingered the ruby-hilted dagger at his belt. That had come from Shadar Logoth, too. It was the only weapon he carried, the only one he needed; it felt like a part of him. He was whole within himself, now. That was all that mattered.

Around him, Fain has the Darkfriends cowering on one side and the Trollocs cowering on the other, watching his every move. He remembers how he and the Myddraal had fought for command, how he would wake in the mornings feeling “not completely whole” and the Myddraal would be demanding they turn north, towards the Blight and Shayol Ghul. But slowly Fain grew whole again, until he was able to overcome the Myddraal. He smiles, remembering the feeling of hammering the spikes through its eyes.

But Fain’s happy memories are interrupted by the sound of people weeping, and he thinks in annoyance that he should never have let the Trollocs take the entire village with them. He orders the Trollocs to kill all the prisoners, allowing them to feed but instructing them on how to make a nice pile of the corpses for those following to find. Meanwhile he turns to the horrified Darkfriends, noting how lost they were, with their souls given over and “mired as deeply as he had been, before he found his way out.” He asks if they are worried that the Trollocs will get hungry before the next village, and suggests that they very well may.

One of the Darkfriends pipes up to insists that the other Darkfriends killed by the Trollocs were only commoners, but Fain cuts her off, saying that they are all as good as peasants to him, perhaps no more than herd cattle for the Trollocs, unless they can be useful. As one, the huddled Darkfriends begin offering him loads of reasons they are useful to him, talking of their wealth and influence, the secrets they know, and how useful they can be to him. Fain finds that the noise blends well with the screams of the villagers being killed.

Fain goes over to his prize, the gold chest holding the Horn of Valere. He doesn’t know how to open it, but he knows he will figure it out. Laying the ruby dagger on top of the chest ensure that no one will touch it, since they have all seen what happens when he uses the dagger, and he lies down thinking of Rand, how he is too far away for Fain to sense him but Fain knows he’s there, and that this time it is Rand who follows him.

“His laughter was a cackle that even he knew was mad, but he did not care. Madness was a part of him, too. ‘Come to me, al’Thor. The dance is not even begun yet. We’ll dance on Toman Head, and I’ll be free of you. I’ll see you dead at last.’”

Egwene and Nynaeve push through the crowd of Sheinrans huddled around the Warders garding the Amyrlin’s palanquin. They learn from the conversation around them that the Amyrlin was shot at, and Egwene is so shocked that she forgets her worry about Rand and her discomfort at being surrounded by Aes Sedai. The Amyrlin is sitting in her palanquin with the curtains drawn back, talking with Agelmar, who is begging her to delay departure until he can find the man responsible for the attack. He insists that it will only take an hour, that they still don’t know the reason behind the attack or who sent the man, but the Amyrlin thinks differently, telling Angelmar that it will take too long to find the bowman, that he has probably already fled Fal Dara. Angelmar wants to continue to argue, but he’s cut off by a gesture from one of the other Aes Sedai.

The Amyrlin’s gaze falls on Egwene, who fumbles to curtsy, and Nynaeve, and she remarks to Moiraine that she does see a fine spark in each of them, but that the true test is what will be kindled from it. Egwene feels in that moment like she is a tool the Amyrlin is looking over, nothing more than a thing designed for a specific purpose. And then they are gall ordered to mount, as the Amyrlin and Lord Agelmar exchange a customary farewell outside of Egwene’s hearing.

They ride out, the town cheering for them as the Warders lead the column out, and it can even be heard after they have left the gates of Fal Dara behind them. Seeing Egwene looking back, Nynaeve assures her that Rand will be alright, and remarks that in any case there is nothing they can do about it. She glances forward at Moiraine and Lan, and adds. “Not yet.”

Egwene and Nynaeve share a tent each night in camp, with each of the Ajahs having a tent for the sisters of that order and their Warders sleeping nearby, except for the Reds who have none. Lan comes once to see Nynaeve, and although Egwene cannot hear what they say to each other, she sees Nynaeve react angrily and them come back to their tent and try to hide her tears.

Moraine never talks to or visits them, but other Aes Sedai do. The very first night of camping, Verin comes to their tent to give Egwene a lesson. She has both women sit with her, and explains that Egwene has been channeling the Power. Both Egwene and Nynaeve are surprised, after all, it is the reason they are going to Tar Valon, and Egwene has had some lessons from Moiraine. But Verin explains that Aes Sedai do not automatically teach any woman with the ability to touch the One Power; usually women are afraid of it, and even after they are brought to Tar Valon it takes months to lead them to do it. Thus, they learn enough that their ability to touch the Source and their knowledge of how to control saidar comes to them at roughly the same time. In Nyenave’s case, she has already learned a sort of rough control without realizing it, but in Egwene’s case, the second she knew that she could channel she began to try, fearlessly, to do so, and thus Moiraine had no choice but to teach her.

Verin explains that the more Egwene tries to touch the True Source the more likely she will be to manage it, and once she does touch it, she will not know at all what to do with it. Any kind of terrible accident could happen, and Egwene must learn to control her abilities before something terrible happens. Something in the way her eyes look at Egwene and at Nynaeve in that moment makes Egwene suddenly wonder if Verin knows about Rand, but she decides that is impossible.

Nynaeve intends to leave them alone for Egwene’s lessons, but Verin urges her to stay, slyly informing Nynaeve that novices are expected to always do as they are told, to follow discipline and ask no questions, while those who are raised to Accepted are encouraged and trusted to ask the right questions. Nynaeve, she says, could be raised quickly, with only a little training, so every bit she receives now will take her closer to that point. Nynaeve reluctantly sits back down.

Verin starts their lessons from the beginning, repeating what Moiraine has already taught Egwene for Nynaeve’s benefit. She tells them to close their eyes and empty their minds, and ti imagine the bud of a flower in the empty space.

There is only one thing in your mind. The bud of a flower. Only that. Only the bud. You can see it in every detail. You can smell it. You can feel it. Every vein of every leaf, every curve of every petal. You can feel the sap pulsing. Feel it. Know it. Be it. You and the bud are the same. You are one. You are the bud.”

Her voice droned on hypnotically, but Egwene no longer really heard; she had done this exercise before, with Moiraine. It was slow, but Moiraine had said it would come more quickly with practice. Inside herself, she was a rosebud, red petals curled tightly. Yet suddenly there was something else. Light. Light pressing on the petals. Slowly the petals unfolded, turning toward the light, absorbing the light. The rose and the light were one. Egwene and the light were one. She could feel the merest trickle of it seeping through her. She stretched for more, strained for more….

In an instant it was all gone, rose and light. Moiraine had also said it could not be forced. With a sigh, she opened her eyes. Nynaeve had a grim look on her face. Verin was as calm as ever.

“You cannot make it happen,” the Aes Sedai was saying. “You must let it happen. You must surrender to the Power before you can control it.”

Nynaeve complains about how ridiculous she feels and suggests she might wait by the fire after all, but Verin stops her by describing all the cleaning and serving and chores that novices are required to do. They try again, and again, but Egwene is never able to manage to touch more than a little of the Power, and Nynaeve says that she never feels anything at all. Late into the night, Egwene yawning and watching Nynaeve struggle, white-knuckled and her face crumpled angrily, as Verin guides her through the meditative state. Suddenly, a pile of blankets bursts into flame, startling Nynaeve and Egwene. Verin puts it out immediately, admitting that she did not expect to have to douse a fire.

“I—I was angry.” Nynaeve spoke through trembling lips in a bloodless face. “I heard you talking about a breeze, telling me what to do, and fire just popped into my head. I—I didn’t mean to burn anything. It was just a small fire, in—in my head.” She shuddered.

Verin finds this amusing until she takes in the look on Nynaeve’s face, and tells them both that she has worked them too hard and they need rest. Before she goes, she reminds them that they must learn control, to do only what they mean to do and nothing else; in addition to being a possible danger to others, they could kill themselves by drawing too much power, or burn out their ability to channel. She leaves, and Egwene tries to comfort Nynaeve.

Each night a different Aes Sedai comes to train them, all with different attitudes and levels of friendliness. All together, though, Egwene finds the Aes Sedai to be distant and aloof, and it makes her uneasily remember the stories about Aes Sedai, “cold manipulators and ruthless destroyers,” and although she remembers that it was only the men who were responsible for Breaking the World and that not all Aes Sedai are the way they are in stories, she finds herself wondering which ones (and how many) are. One night Liandrin comes to teach them, although she spends a lot more time grilling them about the boys than teaching them anything, until eventually Nynaeve throws her out.

Egwene wonders if Liandrin’s questioning is what makes her start to dream about and worry about Rand. At first the dreams seem like ordinary nightmares, but eventually they change, so much so that Egwene feels the need to talk to Moiraine about them. As the Aes Sedai and their entourage are organizing themselves to board the ships that will sail back to Tar Valon, she asks around for Moiraine, before finally learning from Anaiya that Moiriane disappeared two days ago with Lan, and then Liandrin, and then Verin. None of them said anything to anyone about their departure, and the Amyrlin is quite angry about it. Egwene, alarmed, feels that she still must tell someone about her dream, and explains to Anaiya that Rand is in trouble. Anaiya dismisses the worry at first, thinking it just the usual kind, but Egwene goes on.

“I—I don’t think they’re in the Blight, or back in Fal Dara. I had a dream.” She said it half defiantly. It sounded silly when she said it, but it had seemed so real. A nightmare for true, but real. First there had been a man with a mask over his face, and fire in place of his eyes. Despite the mask, she had thought he was surprised to see her. His look had frightened her till she thought her bones would break from shivering, but suddenly he vanished, and she saw Rand sleeping on the ground, wrapped in a cloak. A woman had been standing over him, looking down. Her face was in shadow, but her eyes seemed to shine like the moon, and Egwene had known she was evil. Then there was a flash of light, and they were gone. Both of them. And behind it all, almost like another thing altogether, was the feel of danger, as if a trap was just beginning to snap shut on an unsuspecting lamb, a trap with many jaws. As though time had slowed, and she could watch the iron jaws creep closer together. The dream had not faded with waking, the way dreams did. And the danger felt so strong she still wanted to look over her shoulder—only somehow she knew that it was aimed at Rand, not at her.

Although Egwene doesn’t feel that she can tell Anaiya everything, she insists that she could–and still can–feel the danger that Rand is in. Anaiya is thoughtful, and suggest that Egwene might be a Dreamer, which means she might also have the ability to Foretell. She insists that the chance is small, that there hasn’t been a Dreamer in four or five hundred years and that it could have been an ordinary nightmare, but she promises that they will talk more once they are onboard the ships and that if Egwene is a dreamer, that Anaiya will make sure she has the training that she needs. Then Anaiya is distracted by some dock workers, and Egwene is left to find a boat to take her to the ship.


I find Ingtar’s explanation of the Shienaran line of command fascinating. Of course it makes practical sense for an army that is constantly embattled to have such measures in place, but I think it also speaks to a fatalistic perspective that really illustrates what it means to live in a world in which the battle between Good and Evil is fought on the physical plane, rather than only the metaphysical one. The necessity of having every man able to carry on the fight is not just about saving lives or protecting borders, but about the fact that being overrun by armies of Trollocs and Halfmen means being overrun by the very Forces of Evil, leading to corruption of souls as well as of the land. This is another interesting piece of Sheinaran culture, but I think it is also a lasting lesson, to Rand, and to the reader as well. Ingtar isn’t so confident in Rand doing his duty because he thinks so highly of Rand. He is so confident because the other option is the Shadow winning the day. And Ingtar doesn’t even know to what extent that is actually true, with Rand being the Dragon and all. One day, whether he directly recalls this conversation or not, Rand is going to realize that his choices are just that, take his place as the Dragon or allow the world to fall to the Dark One. Moiraine might be pushing him in a certain direction, the Amyrlin (and who knows who else) might want to dictate his choices or believe that one position is best, but at the end of the day, this choice is the only one that will matter.

Speaking of choices, I was disappointed in Perrin and Mat’s reaction to finding out the truth about Rand’s channeling, even though I could have hardly expected anything different. Mat’s reaction is harsher, for sure, while Perrin’s does seem to carry a sense of solidarity; after all Perrin has also chosen to withdraw from others because of what he has learned about himself, so his advice for Rand to do the same feels less like an admonishment than Mat’s, which basically boils down to “I’m just thinking about how you can accidentally kill me at any moment so no offense but I’m going to stay away from you forever.” Not that it’s not an understandable reaction; men who can channel do represent a very real, inevitable threat, one that nobody has found a way to contain other than through gentling. But his statement that Rand is “just not the same anymore” really cut me to the quick.

So did Perrin’s more measured comment “You are the same, but then again, you aren’t,” and Mat trying to ask Rand if he understands, even as Mat’s running away. Reasonable or not, it seems unfair and even cruel to ask the friend you are abandoning to absolve you of that guilt, and I think Perrin recognizes this. I’m reminded of the analogy I made way back in part 6 of the The Eye of the World read, when I compared Nynaeve learning of her channeling to coming out as LGBTQ+. Perrin and Mat learning the truth only to leave Rand also reminds me of coming out; that strange feeling of having a friend or family member learn something that has always been intrinsic to you–even if you yourself were not always aware of it–and say that you are someone else, that you are fundamentally different than you were before. And that they want no part of it. Even though in this case Rand’s identity is truly dangerous, it doesn’t hurt any less. I hope that when Loial eventually finds out he reacts differently, and I really hope that Rand and Perrin and Mat find a way back to each other some day, even if it takes many years (or many books).

I understand where Rand is coming from, but he needs to relax a little about always wondering what the Aes Sedai are trying to push him to do. Choosing the opposite (even if he can discover what that is) isn’t going to serve him the way he thinks–it isn’t going to assert any independence or give him more control over his own destiny. At some point, he is going to start to actively choose what he wants, and what seems right to him, and although he doesn’t really have the tools to do so yet, at some point he is going to become the leader and Moiraine and the others, even the Amyrlin, will become those who must follow him. That is the nature of what he is, and when he accepts that he’s truly is the Dragon Reborn, I think Moiraine’s intent is to be there to serve as he wills.

On a slightly more anxious note, the “uneasy pulsing” of the void has put me quite a bit on edge. I do wonder if it’s the taint seeping into Rand now that he has touched saidin several times. Either that or it’s a warning of some kind that even though Rand feels safe in this moment, something Dark is near. Maybe that mysterious woman that Uno saw, who is maybe Lanfear? Or perhaps it’s something to do with Padan Fain still; even if the former peddler is too far away to sense Rand, that doesn’t mean Rand isn’t still aware of him or some trace he left behind.

When I first read the section from Padan Fain’s point of view I was pretty excited; I really like him as a villain because he is the monkey-wrench thrown into the world that is neither for the Dark One nor for the Light. Mordeth’s influence has turned him into something else, and that makes him very interesting to me. One thing we learn in this chapter is the important plot detail that Fain has control both over the Darkfriends and Trollocs as well as the Horn and the dagger. We also get is what I would call his “kick the dog” villain moment. We know that he killed the Myddraal which makes him frightening, but it’s not like we feel bad for the dead Fade. When he gets annoyed by the crying and orders the Trollocs to slaughter all the stolen villagers and make a pile of their bodies with the heads on top, though, that really places him up there with the most evil of monsters. And even better, the way that the Darkfriends struggle to prove their usefulness in concert with the screams of the dying villagers shows how Fain views other people and his power over them. He doesn’t seem to care one way or another about regular folk, but his disdain for Darkfriends is palpable. He was once one of them, after all, and recognizes the often petty greed and fear that drives them to give up their souls to the Dark One. Now that he has had his own greed and fear filled up with Mordeth, Fain sees himself as above and apart from them, and looks down his nose on what he himself once was. The description of being “whole” is about the Mordeth part reuniting with a piece of the tainted treasure, but it’s also about the destroyed part of Fain being replaced by something stronger and better. All he needs now is to kill Rand al’Thor, and he will be free of everything that has held him down.

Also, it’s interesting that Fain knows that he is mad, and embraces that as part of himself. Given how concerned Rand is about the taint making him go insane, it’s interesting to see his foil embracing it so obviously.

At the same time that Rand is insisting to himself and to Perrin and Mat that he will not be used by Moiraine and the Amyrlin, Egwene is coming up against her own impression of being little more than a tool in the eyes of the Aes Sedai. She and Nynaeve have found themselves seemingly abandoned by Moiraine, who has been their only guide in their abilities thus far. The reminder about Egwene’s constant desire to touch the True Source and to use her channeling abilities is a sharp contrast from all the insisting that Rand has been doing about never touching the Power again, especially once we are reminded that Egwene’s untrained use is also very dangerous, in its own way. And Nynaeve’s too, although Nynaeve’s control problems seem to be first and foremost an emotional issue. I was interested that Verin seemed to recognize this fact, and to treat Nynaeve kindly about it. It was also very clever of her to recognize that Nynaeve’s need for control would give her a great deal of discomfort while in the position of novice, and to use that to motivate her. In some ways it’s not that different than Moiraine pointing out that Nynaeve will have to study at Tar Valon before she can use her powers against Moiraine the way she wants to.

But let’s talk a little about the meditative technique that the Aes Sedai use to teach Egwene and Nynaeve to touch the True Source. The imagine themselves in nothingness, a void, and then picture a flower opening to a light. Tatt sounds a lot like Tam’s void trick; if anything, all the flame and the void do is cut out the middle man of flower as stand in for the person channeling. We’ve seen Rand reach for the flame before in times of danger and it’s clearly the One Power that he’s attempting to grasp, even though he doesn’t realize it. The description of Egwene imagining herself as the flower opening to the light is intensely similar. Perhaps the point of the flower imagery is to remind the channeler not to reach, but rather to allow the light to come to them, since reaching seems to stop the process. Perhaps in time, Rand will learn to summon the flame and the void, and rather than reach for the flame, he will allow it to come into himself.

Nynaeve, unsurprisingly, has trouble surrendering to the Power; for her surrender and control are antithetical, and it will probably be a struggle for her to redefine those things in her mind. But as I type that out, I am reminded of what I said above about Rand learning not to fight Moiraine’s manipulation on principle but rather to make his own choices as the Dragon. That sounds an awful lot like surrendering in order to gain control, doesn’t it? The parallels are everywhere.

And finally, there is Egwene’s dream. She sees a woman standing over Rand, threatening him in some unknown way, after we’ve had a mysterious woman appearing and disappearing in the villages that Rand has traveled through. She also sees Ba’alzamon, with his mask and flames for eyes. We’ll learn more about the meaning of that dream-vision next week, when we cover Chapters 13 and 14, but for now, what parallels do you see in the journeys of different characters? Do you think that male and female channeling is as different as the Aes Sedai believe? After all, it has been a very long time since any man was able to channel, and much of what was once known in Tar Valon has been lost. Perhaps this is more of a misconception that Moiraine and the others realize. Perhaps in time, Rand and his lady friends may find ways to channel together, as the Aes Sedai once did, and discover not only the ability to work in tandem, but that they have far more in common than they do in difference.

Sylas K Barrett is also easily flustered by difficult new tasks, and would probably set fires when he tried to learn to channel, too.


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