Reading The Wheel of Time

Reading the Wheel of Time: A Shepherd is Growing Up in Robert Jordan’s The Great Hunt (Part 17)

Despite a fire that almost takes Hurin’s life, the pacing of Chapters 30 and 31 of The Great Hunt have a slightly slower feel to them, perhaps because they aren’t packed quite as full of new information as the few chapters previous. As a result, our characters have a bit of a chance to breathe and take stock of themselves, and since that pause is coinciding with the reunion of Loial, Hurin, and Rand, with the party they were so abruptly separated from back in Chapter 13, we get to see the interplay of a lot of relationships and observe, as Perrin does, how things are beginning to change for Rand. A lot of questions still remain to be answered, including how long Mat can go on without the dagger and what Verin is really after, but first let’s check in with Rand and the others after the harrowing ordeal in the Illuminator’s chapter house.

Chapter 30 finds Rand with Loial and Hurin in their room. Rand is concerned by Hurin’s growing formality, and tries to remind the sniffer that Hurin didn’t used to be so distant and formal with him, but Hurin won’t unbend, only repeating that they must show that they know how to be just as proper as the Cairhienin. A knock at the door interrupts their discussion, and Master Cuale presents Rand with two more invitations. Rand gets rid of him quickly and tosses the parchments aside, asking Loial if he thought that the innkeeper could have been listening at the door. Neither the Ogier nor Rand thinks that he could have heard anything he shouldn’t, but even wondering makes Rand realize that Hurin isn’t the only one who is starting to think more like a Cairhienin.

Hurin tries to draw Rand’s attention to the invitations, eventually getting through to him that these aren’t like the others; they are from Galldrian, the King, and from Lord Barthanes, a noble second only to the King in power. Burning them won’t work this time, and in fact has only worked with the others because everyone is waiting to see why Rand would dare do such a thing. Hurin tells him that even declining won’t work; if the other houses see that Rand isn’t allied with anyone, they will feel free to answer the insult of burning their invitations.

Loial offers the option of accepting both invitations, but Hurin shoots that idea down as well, telling them about the bitter rivalry between House Riatin and House Damodred. As soon as either gets wind that Rand has answered them both, or just their enemy, they will have him killed for sure. Rand considers the problem for a while, then decides that he will allow himself to be seen in the common room with both invitations, with the seals unbroken, to let the news get back to the Houses that he has not yet answered either one. That, he hopes, will buy him at least a few more days, and perhaps Ingtar will come in the meantime.

Rand and Loial leave the inn, after executing the little maneuver with the invitations, and begin discussing the thorny problem of how to leave the city if Ingtar doesn’t show up. They can’t leave with someone else, and Rand doesn’t believe they can fight off the Trollocs again, even though their numbers must be greatly reduced by now. Even trying to leave by boat seems impossible; Fain would risk the Trollocs being seen before he let them escape, and even if they survived their would be questions, and they definitely cannot let any of the Cairhienin see the chest. Loial muses that it is too bad they can’t reach Stedding Tsofu, as Trollocs would never enter a stedding.

They reach the same guardhouse they checked in at when they first arrived in the city, and Rand goes straight to the back to converse with a man at the desk. They proceed to have a conversation that Rand has clearly had many times before; the man at the desk manages to be deferential to the point of obsequiousness without being at all helpful. Rand asks whether Ingtar has arrived, and after the Lady Selene, and the man tells him that no foreigners have arrived in the city and that it is very difficult to locate someone without knowing their House. Rand catches sight of Captain Caldevwin out of the corner of his eye, but when he asks to speak to him, the man at the desk feigns ignorance. They leave, Rand frustrated, Loial resigned.

Rand remarks angrily to Loial that the man was lying, that Caldevwin was there and Ingtar could be as well, looking for them. Rand guesses that the clerk probably knows who Selene is, too.

Loial suggests that Daes Dae’mar might have something to do with the man’s deception, and Rand responds that he is tired of hearing about the Great Game, that he doesn’t want to play it or be any part of it. But Rand understands that they think he is a Lord, and in Cairhien, even outland lords are part of the Game. He wishes aloud that he’d never put on the red heron coat.

Rand grumpily thinks that it’s Moiraine’s fault, but then quickly has to admit that she can’t be blamed for what is happening to him. There was always a reason “to pretend to be what he was not,” first to comfort Hurin, then to impress Selene. Rand tells Loial that he thought things were going to be simple again, once Moiraine let him go, and Loial reminds him that he is ta’veren. Rand tries to brush that off, repeating that he just wants to give the dagger to Mat and the Horn to Ingtar, but in his head he remembers that there is still the issue of saidin, possibly going mad, and almost certainly dying.

And Rand doesn’t want to die. He mutters aloud that Owen almost made it, but when Loial asks what he said, Rand only responds that he wishes Ingtar would come. And Mat and Perrin.

They continue walking, Rand musing about Owen and the prospect of avoiding touching saidin, until Loial interrupts his musings to point out that there is a fire up ahead of them. Instantly Rand realizes that Hurin is in danger, and the two take off towards The Defender of the Dragon Wall. They find Cuale outside of the inn, directing men as they save furniture from the building while flames burst from the rooftop. Cuale distractedly admits that he hasn’t seen Hurin, and Loial points out to Rand that Hurin would not have left the inn without the chest.

Rand runs into the building, followed by Loial, and they find minimal smoke on the lower level. But the upstairs area is blazing, and although Rand tries to send Loial back outside to wait, the Ogier reminds Rand that he can’t possible carry Hurin and the chest by himself. Plus, he wants to save his books.

Keeping low under the worst of the smoke, they manage to make it to the door of Hurin’s room, which isn’t burning yet, although it is hot to the touch. Inside they find a mostly unconscious Hurin, who manages to vaguely communicate that he opened the door to what he thought were more invitations, before passing out in Rand’s arms. Loial discovers that the chest is gone, then decides that he must leave his books to burn in order to sling Hurin across his back so that they can crawl back out. Rand starts to follow the Ogier when he suddenly remembers the Dragon banner.

Let it burn, he thought, and an answering thought came as if he had heard Moiraine say it. Your life may depend on it. She’s still trying to use me. Your life may depend on it. Aes Sedai never lie.

With a groan, he rolled across the floor and kicked open the door to his room.

Rand manages to make his way through the burning room and find his saddlebags, still undamaged, the banner of the Dragon and the flute from Thom still nestled safely inside. He just manages to get out of the room, down the stairs, and out of the inn with the saddlebags, where he finds Loial and a woman with a damp cloth tending to the still-unconscious Hurin. Rand calls for a Wisdom, then, realizing no one in Cairhienin recognizes the word, offers various other titles he’s heard people use. The woman tending to Hurin answers that she is a Reader, but that she doesn’t know what to do for Hurin other than make him comfortable. She fears that “something is broken inside his head.”

Just then, Rand hears a familiar voice saying his name, and turns to see Mat approaching. Mat, and Perrin, and Ingtar too. He tells them, hysterically, that they came too late, and then sits down in the middle of the street and begins to laugh.

Verin appears, taking Rand’s face in her hands, and he feels the effects of her healing, like a cold tingle, and stops laughing. Rand watches her, suspicious, as she turns to tend to Hurin, while Mat demands to know where they went, how they just disappeared, and how they arrived at Cairhien so far ahead of them. He explains that a man at the gate took their names, and clearly recognized Ingtar’s, although he pretended not to. Verin showed him her Aes Sedai ring and then whispered something in his ear, which changed the man’s attitude entirely, and he told them everything.

Rand answers that it’s too long of a story to explain at the moment, noticing how gaunt and sick Mat seems, despite his grin. He asks after Uno and the other men—Mat answers that they are staying in the Foregate—and mentions that they need them. This leads Mat to ask why, and if Rand found “them.”

Conscious of all the people listening to and watching them, Rand answers carefully that he found the dagger and the other thing, but that the Darkfriends took it back. Ingtar turns away, angry enough to make some of the rubbernecking Cairhienin back off.

Mat chewed his lip, then shook his head. “I didn’t know it was found, so it isn’t as if I had lost it again. It is just still lost.” It was plain he was speaking of the dagger, not the Horn of Valere. “We’ll find it again. We have two sniffers, now. Perrin is one, too. He followed the trail all the way to the Foregate, after you vanished with Hurin and Loial. I thought you might have just run off… well, you know what I mean. Where did you go? I still don’t understand how you got so far ahead of us. That fellow said you have been here days.”

Rand glanced at Perrin—He’s a sniffer?and found Perrin studying him in return. He thought Perrin muttered something. Shadowkiller? I must have heard him wrong. Perrin’s yellow gaze held him for a moment, seeming to hold secrets about him. Telling himself he was having fancies—I’m not mad. Not yet.he pulled his eyes away.

Meanwhile, Verin is helping Hurin up. The sniffer declares he feels great, except for a little fatigue, and the Reader woman recognizes Verin as an Aes Sedai. That word travels through the crowd, causing Rand to fully notice all the attention they are getting. He asks if they have rooms yet, and Verin tells them of an inn she has stayed at before. Loial fetches their horses, and Rand, Hurin, and the Ogier fall in with the rest as Rand begins to question Hurin about the sniffer’s ability to find the trail of those who took the chest. Hurin believes that he can, and Rand begins to form a plan when he notices everyone looking at him and realizes that he has been acting like the leader of the party, even though Ingtar is back.

Embarrassed, Rand makes an apology to Ingtar.

“…. It’s just that I’ve become used to being in charge, I suppose. I’m not trying to take your place.”

Ingtar nodded slowly. “Moiraine chose well when she made Lord Agelmar name you my second. Perhaps it would have been better if the Amyrlin Seat had given you the charge.” The Shienaran barked a laugh. “At least you have actually managed to touch the Horn.”

After that they rode in silence.

They arrive at Verin’s inn, the Great tree, where the innkeeper knows Verin and welcomes her, clearly aware that she is Aes Sedai although she never says the title aloud. Rand is given a room and has a bath, musing on his suspicions of Verin and how he is certain she’s a tool that Moiraine sent to watch and manipulate him. In the bundle of his other clothes that had been left with the Sheinaran pack horses, he finds coats that are just as ornate as the one ruined in the fire; Rand chooses a black one with silver herons and silver rapids down the sleeves.

He finds the invitations in his pockets as well as Selene’s letters, and considers how ridiculous it is for him, a shepherd and male channeler, doomed to go mad after being used by the Aes Sedai, to be interested in a beautiful noblewoman.

“I am a shepherd,” he told the letters, “not a great man, and if I could marry anyone, it would be Egwene, but she wants to be Aes Sedai, and how can I marry any woman, love any woman, when I’ll go mad and maybe kill her?

Words could not lessen his memory of Selene’s beauty, though, or the way she made his blood go warm just by looking at him. It almost seemed to him that she was in the room with him, that he could smell her perfume, so much so that he looked around, and laughed to find himself alone.

“Having fancies like I’m addled already,” he muttered.

Rand abruptly puts the letters into a lamp’s flame and then drops them into the empty fireplace to watch them burn.

In a private dining room, Mat juggles boiled eggs and Perrin considers the fact that he knows Rand is the Shadowkiller of whom the wolves spoke, and wonders what is happening to all of them. Rand enters, sitting beside Verin, and Ingtar informs him that Hurin went to see if he could pick up the Darkfriend’s trail before inquiring if Rand would prefer to follow them in the morning or that very night. Rand again assures Ingtar that he wasn’t trying to assume command, but Ingtar doesn’t respond and Perrin notes that Rand doesn’t sound nearly as uncomfortable as he would have before.

Verin asks how Rand and the others vanished from the camp, mentioning that the clerk at the guardhouse told them that Rand had arrived a week before them, and for that to be true, he would have had to fly. Perrin finds himself coming to Rand’s defense, pointing out that obviously Rand didn’t fly, and that maybe he has more important things to tell them.

Rand gave him a grateful look, too, and Perrin grinned at him. He was not the old Rand—he seemed to have grown into that fancy coat; it looked right on him, now—but he was still the boy Perrin had grown up with. Shadowkiller. A man the wolves hold in awe. A man who can channel.

“I don’t mind,” Rand said, and told his tale simply.

Perrin finds himself gaping at the story, and when Mat asks if Selene brought them back by one of the Portal Stones, Rand answers that she must have, and continues to explain how they arrived ahead of Fain’s party and managed to steal back the chest before riding to take shelter in Cairhien and await the others’ arrival.

Perrin accidently says the name Shadowkiller aloud, although no one but Rand seems to hear him. He realizes that he wants to tell Rand about the wolves; he knows Rand’s secrets, and it is only fair that Rand should know Perrin’s. But Verin is there so Perrin keeps silent.

Verin is interrupted in her musings about Rand’s story by the arrival of dinner.

Perrin smelled lamb even before Mistress Tiedra led in a procession bearing trays of food. His mouth watered more for that than for the peas and squash, the carrots and cabbage that came with it, or the hot crusty rolls. He still found vegetables tasty, but sometimes, of late, he dreamed of red meat. Not even cooked, usually. It was disconcerting to find himself thinking that the nicely pink slices of lamb that the innkeeper carved were too well done. He firmly took helpings of everything. And two of the lamb.

It was a quiet meal, with everyone concentrating on his own thoughts. Perrin found it painful to watch Mat eat. Mat’s appetite was as healthy as ever, despite the feverish flush to his face, and the way he shoveled food into his mouth made it look like his last meal before dying. Perrin kept his eyes on his plate as much as possible, and wished they had never left Emond’s Field.

After they eat, Verin has them wait for Hurin’s return, in case he tells them that they need to move at once. Mat juggles while Rand and Loial read, and Perrin plays stones with Ingtar. He surprises the Shienaran by playing more quickly and aggressively than he normally does, impressing Ingtar. Then Hurin arrives and informs them that he followed the Darkfriends trail to “their lair” where he also found the scent of Trollocs, and that the hideout is Lord Barthanes’s new manor house.

Ingtar is shocked that someone like Lord Barthanes could be a Darkfriend, but Verin reminds him that the high as well as the low can be susceptible to the draw of the Shadow. They discuss possible plans for attacking the place, but it is too well guarded for their forces alone, and Mat’s suggestion of involving the King, Barthanes’s enemy, is deemed a good one except for the fact that Galldrian would definitely take the Horn for himself.

Verin suggests that, as an Aes Sedai, she might be able to obtain an invitation to Lord Barthanes’s new manor. At this, Hurin says that Rand already has such an invitation, and Rand silently hands it over.

Ingtar came to look wonderingly over her shoulder at the seals. “Barthanes, and…  And Galldrian! Rand, how did you come by these? What have you been doing?”

“Nothing,” Rand said. “I haven’t done anything. They just sent them to me.” Ingtar let out a long breath. Mat’s mouth was hanging open. “Well, they did just send them,” Rand said quietly. There was a dignity to him that Perrin did not remember; Rand was looking at the Aes Sedai and the Shienaran lord as equals.

Perrin shook his head. You are fitting that coat. We’re all changing.

“Lord Rand burned all the rest,” Hurin said. “Every day they came, and every day he burned them. Until these, of course. Every day from mightier Houses.” He sounded proud.

Verin remarks that sometimes the Pattern provides what you need even before you know you need it, and breaks the seal to read the invitation. After a moment she declares that it will do very well, but Rand is more concerned about how he could possibly pass for a Lord. He reminds them that he is just a farmer, but neither Hurin nor Ingtar looks very convinced, and Perrin notes that even Mat seems to recognize the change in Rand. Perrin tells Rand he believes in him.

Verin adds that people see what they expect to see, and tells Rand to look them in the eye and speak firmly… the way he has been speaking to her. Anything he says that is out of place can be attributed to the fact that he is an outlander, and that if he remembers how he conducted himself in front of the Amyrlin, that will help too. Arrogance always makes someone seem like a Lord.

One of the suggested dates in the invitation is the following night, and although Ingtar chafes at the delay, Verin calmly points out that they can keep watch in the meantime, and that the chest being moved would probably favor them rather than cause more problems.

“Perhaps so,” Ingtar agreed grudgingly. “I just do not like to wait, now that the Horn is almost in my hands. I will have it. I must! I must!”

Hurin stared at him. “But, Lord Ingtar, that isn’t the way. What happens, happens, and what is meant to be, will—” Ingtar’s glare cut him off, though he still muttered under his breath, “It isn’t the way, talking of ‘must.’ ”

Ingtar stiffens, but only turns to Verin to point out that if Rand doesn’t answer the invitation, it might be considered an affront that will deny them entry, while if he does, it could result in Fain finding out about it and setting a trap. Verin answers that they will surprise Barthanes, and that she is certain he will want to see Rand in any case. Then she mentions to Rand that the letter observes that Rand took an interest in one of the King’s projects—it takes Rand a minute before he remembers the giant statue.

Rand asks what it is, and Verin explains that it is a sa’angreal.

She sounded as if it were really not very important, but Perrin suddenly had the feeling the two of them had entered a private conversation, saying things no one else could hear. “One of a pair, the two largest ever made, that we know of. And an odd pair, as well. One, still buried on Tremalking, can only be used by a woman. This one can only be used by a man. They were made during the War of the Powers, to be a weapon, but if there is anything to be thankful for in the end of that Age or the Breaking of the World, it is that the end came before they could be used. Together, they might well be powerful enough to Break the World again, perhaps even worse than the first Breaking.”

Rand doesn’t let on, but Perrin can tell that he is scared, and Ingtar sounds alarmed and insists that Galldrian must be warned about what he is doing. But Verin doesn’t think it’s a problem; the two statues must be wielded in unison to break the World, and she can think of only a few women who are strong enough to survive the flow through the one at Tremalking—the Amyrlin, Moiraine, Elaida, maybe one or two others, and three still in training—and that Logain would have had all he could do just to not be burnt to a cinder. She tells Ingtar that he doesn’t need to worry, at least until the Dragon Reborn proclaims himself, and then they’ll all have more pressing matters to worry about.

Perrin and Mat can both tell that she is talking to Rand, and Perrin hopes desperately that Rand will not let her use him. Rand tells Verin simply that they will find the Horn and the dagger, and then it is done. But Verin’s answering smile gives Perrin a chill, and he thinks that Rand doesn’t know half of what he thinks he does.

 

I wonder if Rand’s ability to pick up skills so quickly is directly part of him being the Dragon Reborn, or if it’s just who he is outside of his reincarnated destiny. Because it isn’t only that he’s forgotten his reluctance to be in charge, he’s also gotten better at command, and pretty quickly, too. Just like turning his hand to flute playing, just like studying swordplay with Lan, Rand seems to learn very quickly when he needs to. And while the void technique is a quick way to increase his prowess with the sword, it’s not like he’s using that to figure out Daes Dae’mar, or to make choices about how long to wait for Ingtar, or to figure out how to keep the chest and dagger safe, or to become someone who knows how to use the skills of those who follow him to their best advantage. Rand hasn’t actually been away from Ingtar all that long, but the change is profound enough that even Mat is noticing the difference. And Rand is noticing it too.

It’s not just competency either. Rand is also starting to realize that it isn’t entirely Moiraine’s responsibility that he can’t escape this identity as a Lord and the responsibility that keeps coming with it. He doesn’t want to think about being ta’veren or about his ability to channel, but neither of those things are Moiriane’s fault any more than the accident of his name sounding like nobility to the Shienarans or the fact that Hurin and Loial needed his leadership. Rand doesn’t yet realize the full extent of how much fate is going to shape his life, but he’s already starting to accept that he can’t shove the blame for it onto other people. It’s a very mature realization to be coming to, and one that will serve him well as his role as leader continues to grow. His decision to go into the burning room for the Dragon banner might have been solely because of Moiriaine’s words to him, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some part of Rand is also beginning to change in his attitudes toward the possibility of his being the Dragon. Not consciously yet, I don’t think, but perhaps in subtle ways he is accepting some of the burden of that responsibility, just as he did for the command of Loial and Hurin, just as he did in stealing the Horn back from Fain. Rand doesn’t want to be the Dragon, and he doesn’t want to be a lord, but since the latter is beginning to come more easily to him, perhaps the former will as well, in time.

It’s even possible that  Hurin’s increased formality is also a response to the fact that Rand has begun to act more like a nobleman, and not solely from a need to impress the Cairhienin. When they met, Hurin saw Rand as a lord because of his name and clothing, but in their time together Rand has conducted himself more and more like the person Hurin takes him to be, assuming responsibility for their adventures, protecting his company, and providing a stability and guidance that Hurin clearly desires. Rand might not even realize the little ways in which he is approaching Hurin differently; true, he still wishes that Hurin would knock off the “my Lord” and the bowing, but he seems pretty unaware that he’s treating Verin and Ingtar as equals, and he may be giving off similar vibes to Hurin as well.

I was proud of Rand for burning Selene’s letters; it’s another sign of maturity on his part that he recognizes what effect her presence has on him and is choosing to try to take control of that. He isn’t even as suspicious of Selene as I am, but he still knows that he doesn’t always think clearly when she’s around, that she is pushing him to make choices he doesn’t want to make and to be a kind of person he doesn’t want to be. The relative ease with which he accepted her leaving them in the chapter house foreshadowed this choice, I think; she was very dismissive of him in that adventure, too, and maybe Rand noticed. He’s a smart guy, I think he can figure out that a woman who wants him to fundamentally change himself to be with her isn’t actually a woman worth having. And good on him for knowing the difference between lust and love.

Perrin has also matured in his perspectives, although he’s not quite ready to stop blaming Moiraine for taking them from Emond’s Field. And perhaps that is fair of him—Rand’s ability as a channeler would have shown up eventually no matter what Moiraine did, but Mat would never been exposed to the dagger, and without Elyas, Perrin might never have learned of his own gift. He can’t be certain of that, though, and if it had manifested itself in the Two Rivers, he might have been rather worse off than he is now. But besides the resentment towards Moiraine and the Aes Sedai, Perrin has an ability to recognize interpersonal dynamics in this chapter that, I think, shows that he has grown in shrewdness, maybe even as much as Rand has. I was also proud of him for wanting to share his secret with Rand; he thinks that it’s only fair, but I also believe that Perrin has realized that it is easier when you aren’t carrying such a secret alone. He knows what it did to their relationship when Rand kept his abilities a secret from Perrin and Mat, and perhaps Perrin has also found a little relief in telling Ingtar the truth of his ability. After all, Ingtar took it in stride and it has been useful in helping the party track Fain and the Trollocs—maybe that is helping Perrin feel a little less like a monster.

I would really like it if Perrin shared his secret with Rand, although I imagine he won’t get a chance for a while, yet.

Meanwhile, Ingtar sure is getting pretty worked up. I was surprised when Hurin told him off; it doesn’t seem much like Hurin at all. Even when he talks to Rand about not burning all the invitations he remains pretty respectful, but something about Ingtar’s insistence that “he” personally has to find the Horn has struck Hurin differently. I guess since Hurin and most of the others don’t know that the Darkfriends could use the Horn themselves if they wanted to, maybe Ingtar’s urgency doesn’t make as much sense to him. And focusing on “I must find it” rather than “we must” doesn’t sound very Shienaran. Actually, Ingtar here reminds me a lot of the Ingtar we met in The Eye of The World and how sour he was because he was going to miss out on the honor of dying in battle with everyone else. Ingtar knows how important the Horn is, but maybe his own pride is getting the better of him a bit here, as well. He seemed off in the last chapter, as well. Maybe there is more going on for him than we know about.

Then again, Hurin has also become very attached to Rand, so perhaps his loyalty is shifting, and he’s more able to notice flaws in his old commander. Maybe he even resents Ingtar’s use of the personal pronoun after it was Rand who recovered the chest and he and Loial and Hurin who sacrificed and protected it all this time. Rand might not be the only one who is starting to see himself as the leader in this quest. Even Ingtar begrudgingly says that perhaps it should have always been Rand in charge.

And then of course there’s Verin. I think Rand is right to be suspicious of her; if Moiraine sent her as she claimed, it might mean that Moiraine wasn’t entirely honest about letting Rand go, and if she somehow wasn’t being truthful about being sent by Moiraine, it’s an even worse problem. Not that Rand knows why Verin is there, but we the readers do, and whatever the truth is, I know that there is more to Verin than she is letting on. She is an Aes Sedai, after all.

And finally we come to Mat. He’s not doing so hot, and Perrin’s right to be worried. But I’m mostly interested in what Mat’s deteriorating state means for the ongoing chase after Fain and the Darkfriends; Rand and company are going to have to be successful in retrieving the chest again or Mat’s going to die, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t die in this book. Because Rand put the dagger in with the Horn, they have to get the whole thing, unless perhaps someone in Lord Barthanes’s company knows how to open the chest. It’s not impossible, if he has an Aes Sedai or something. It’s even possible that Selene could show up, in cahoots with Barthanes or maybe just using him the way she tried to use Rand. But I bet Fain can’t open that chest. I wonder what effect it will have on him if he can’t get the dagger back in his hands.

 

Thank you so much everyone who weighed in on how the recaps are put together in these posts! As of now, I’m not planning to heavily change my style, but I might make some tweaks here and there to cut down a little on the volume of the recap portion and make more room for analysis. I think this adjustment is necessary as the books get more complex, and I have been warned that there is much more of that to come. You’re all fabulous, and I’ve really enjoyed getting to come in and be part of your world!

Next week we continue on, with two new chapters, and Rand tackles the Great Game head on, whether he wants to or not. Oh, and Thom shows up again. Better stop fighting it, Thom. Rand is ta’veren, and you’re not going to escape that web.

Sylas K Barrett was very impressed with the description of that dinner they all had. I prefer my lamb pinker than Perrin, and reading about all that food definitely made me hungry! Good old epic fantasy and its many feats.

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