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Sylas K Barrett

Reading the Wheel of Time: Rumors and Fate in Robert Jordan’s The Shadow Rising (Part 10)

It is a time of transition in The Shadow Rising, and everyone is finally making those decisions they’ve been putting off for eleven chapters. I suppose we all got lulled into a false sense of security by everyone’s position in the Stone. The looming threats of the Black Ajah and the Forsaken notwithstanding, this time spent in the Stone is the most secure our heroes have been for a long time. They’re even all together! But of course that couldn’t last, and now it looks like everyone is going to be scrambling to finalize their plans and get this story moving again. I can’t blame really blame them for wanting to hold onto this time, and each other, as long as they could! And now Perrin is going off on his own, and even the Elayne, Egwene, and Nynaeve dream team is going to split up.

Just a note, last week I said that I would be covering Chapters 12 and 13, but given the short length of this section of chapters, today we will also be covering Chapter 14, which is a dumb chapter that I hate. Seriously, the whole hurt someone to save them trope is one of my least favorites. But more on that later, first, let us recap.

[Why is it always Berelain?]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

Reading The Wheel of Time: Rand Makes a Plan and Egwene Finds a Collar in Robert Jordan’s The Shadow Rising (Part 9)

Welcome back to this week’s episode of Reading the Wheel of Time! In this post, part nine of The Shadow Rising, we are covering chapters 10 and 11, in which Rand fights Shadowspawn and does new tricks with Callandor, while Egwene looks in Tanchico, finds what she needs, but doesn’t notice.

Really excited that she met a Wise One, though! It will be very interesting to see how this new relationship plays out. Now let’s get down to recapping!

[The Stone Stands… just barely.]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

One For All, and All Are Gay: Queer Heroism in Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers

I know there have been dozens of Three Musketeers movies made, but have you ever read the book? Because I have to tell you, that book is quite delightfully, playfully, incredibly gay.

I mean, I didn’t figure out my queer identity until adulthood, but that didn’t stop me from crushing on female heroines like Jo March or Alanna of Trebond, or imagining that I was Robin Hood or Taran the assistant pig-keeper. There are lots of books in my past that queered me, or that I queered in my own imagination, but I will always have a special place in my soul for The Three Musketeers. From Aramis’ “dreamy eye”, to d’Artagnan’s meteoric rise to heroism, to the fact that the book is mostly just there to give you lush descriptions of 17th century Paris (right down to exacting depictions of each of the musketeer’s households and affairs, and also the Queen’s), it was pretty much a fledgling trans boy’s gay dream.

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Reading the Wheel of Time: Lews Therin’s Loves in Robert Jordan’s The Shadow Rising (Part 8)

So my analysis got a bit long, and as a result, this week’s recap only covers Chapter 9. But it’s an exciting one, with Lanfear returning to Rand and revealing herself, and in the process letting us know more about the Forsaken and how they think. We also get a rare glimpse at what life is like for our heroes between all the important dramatic moments; I was talking just last week about how much of the romance and other character interactions happen “offstage” during the quiet moments of traveling or waiting around, which the reader doesn’t see, so I’m happy that half of this chapter was devoted to that. I really love getting to know characters better, and all the little details that don’t always come up when you’re being brave and heroic and self-sacrificing.

And now, the recap.

[It’s like a heat wave, burning in my heart.]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

Reading The Wheel of Time: Egwene Questions the Fish and the Bird in Robert Jordan’s The Shadow Rising (Part 7)

Welcome back to our read of The Shadow Rising! This week, (Week 7!) we’re covering Chapters 7 and 8, in which Egwene tries to learn more about saidin, Elayne and Rand talk romantic feelings, and Mat is presented with an new option besides staying or running. And also the High Lords are annoying but that’s to be expected.

[In which the birds try to teach the fish. Or is it the other way around?]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

Reading the Wheel of Time: Romance and Choices in Robert Jordan’s The Shadow Rising (Part 6)

Hello friends, and welcome to the sixth week of the Read of The Shadow Rising. This week I would like to complain about how boring the title of this book is. Like, it’s to the point for sure. But it doesn’t intrigue me the way The Eye of the World or The Great Hunt did. Even The Dragon Reborn, while also a bit redundant, mentions a specific aspect of the book. But The Shadow Rising? I mean, yes, it has been and will continue to do so in later books.

Of course, the title really doesn’t matter once you’ve started reading a book, and the only reason I’m still thinking about it is because I have to type it out so frequently, but my dog is sick and my stitches itch a lot, so I’m feeling punchy.

Not as punchy as our lady protagonists are, however. Elayne’s love sick, Nynaeve’s pulling her braid out of her head to strangle Moiraine, and Moiraine is uncharacteristically ruffled.

[And now, the recap.]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

Reading the Wheel of Time: Looking For the Truth in Robert Jordan’s The Shadow Rising (Part 5)

Welcome once more and again to Reading the Wheel of Time, and this week’s offering, part 5 of the read of The Shadow Rising. We get a lot of good info dumping this week, as Thom shares his musings with us in Chapters 4, and in Chapter 5, Elayne and Nyaenve teach us about stilling, and Joiya and Amico drop us hints about the challenges that our hero are going to face next. Also Mat and Thom struggle with the ta’veren pull, and we learn a little something about Moiraine that I (accidentally) already knew.

But first, the recap.

[“Be wary. Your husband suspects.”]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

Reading the Wheel of Time: The Rise of the Evil Bubbles in Robert Jordan’s The Shadow Rising (Part 4)

Perrin and Faile find the halls of the Stone surprisingly busy with both off-duty Defenders as well as servants making their way to and fro. Perrin keeps his head down unless he is right in the light of a torch, not wanting people to observe his eyes glowing gold in the dim parts of the hall. No one has mentioned his eyes, of course, not now as servants bow as they pass or at other times—not even Faile has asked him about them—but Perrin still feels uneasy whenever someone seems to notice his golden gaze, and when they don’t say anything, it reminds him of how apart he is from other people.

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Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

Reading the Wheel of Time: The Boys Confront Themselves (Kind of) in Robert Jordan’s The Shadow Rising (Part 3)

Welcome, everyone, to chapter two and week 3 of The Shadow Rising.

I loved this chapter. It might be one of my favorite chapters to date, in fact. Meeting up with Perrin, Mat, and Rand both serves to remind us where they are and also show us how they’ve grown since the end of The Dragon Reborn (looking at you, Perrin). And then of course there’s the attacks, which are beautifully imaginative and described in perfect, vivid detail. It’s very cinematic, this chapter, and I could picture everything as though I were watching it on a big screen.

I have a lot of feelings and compassion for all three of our Emond’s Field boys this week, and I am so curious as to what could have caused these strange occurrences. Perrin and Mat believe it was Rand, while Rand thinks it was an attack by one of the Forsaken. Perhaps one of them is right, or perhaps none of them, but in any case, we must first return to the nation of Tear to find out.

[Where Dragon Banner lashes in the wind over the fortress they call the Stone of Tear.]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

Reading the Wheel of Time: An Array of Familiar Foes in Robert Jordan’s The Shadow Rising (Part 2)

It’s week two of reading The Shadow Rising, and the second half of Chapter One focuses on Dain Bornhald and his new, incredibly shady friend. I find Bornhald incredibly frustrating, personally, and I’m quite sure that having to work with Mordeth/Fain aka Ordeith is going to lead to him making some more impulsive decisions and maybe also getting manipulated in a variety of ways. After all, if Ordeith (I’m just going to call him Ordieth, going forward) can manipulate the Lord Captain Commander and his ambitions so easily, he can probably manipulate Bornhald’s dumb revenge scheme easily enough.

I really enjoyed this chapter, even though the Seanchan are back and Suroth makes my skin crawl. For one thing, the narration seems to have tightened up a little in comparison to The Dragon Reborn—the pacing of this first section is similar to that of The Eye of the World and The Great Hunt, which is great. Also, I feel like this chapter really hit the perfect balance between reminding the reader of relevant information while also giving us new and exciting scenes. Even though I’ve been reading the books straight through without a break, I never felt overburdened by repetition of things I remember perfectly well; instead, I was excited to learn what everyone was up to, and to see how these events were sort of concurrent timeline-wise with the end of The Dragon Reborn.

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Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

Reading the Wheel of Time: Death, Love, and Fate in Robert Jordan’s The Shadow Rising (Part 1)

Hello hello, and welcome back to Reading the Wheel of Time. This week is the very first week of the fourth book in the series, The Shadow Rising, and I am tremendously excited about it. Chapter one manages to hit a really good stride where it simultaneously repeats all the information readers might need to be reminded of since they read The Dragon Reborn, but also gives us lots of new information in each section. The narrative is tight and exciting, and it serves as a pretty good reminder of everything I love about the series so far.

The title of chapter one is “Seeds of Shadow” and it is so long that I had to break this post up into two and I am sorry but everything in the Min and Amyrlin section seemed so important and I had to cover it all. So this week will be “Min and the Amyrlin” and next week will be “What All of Rand’s Enemies Are Up To.”

But before that, we gotta have another beginning that isn’t the Beginning, and another wind springing up somewhere because that’s how these books roll.

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Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

Reading the Wheel of Time: What it Means to Be Ta’veren

So the question on everyone’s mind—and by that I mean, the question that has been on my mind—is just what it means to be ta’veren in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time. Though the first three books in the series are no doubt just a drop in the bucket compared to the complex development that is to come, these three novels have laid out for us a basic understanding of what the Wheel of Time is, what the Pattern is, and the role of ta’veren within the Pattern. As Rand, Perrin, and Mat are slowly learning what it means to be ta’veren, we the readers are confronting many of the same questions. So even though I imagine I’ll need to revisit this question in a few more books-worth of time, it still seemed a good moment to sit down and ask, just what is a ta’veren, anwyay?

[He has no more control over his fate than a candle wick has over the flame.]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

Reading the Wheel of Time: The Sword in the Stone Declares the King in Robert Jordan’s The Dragon Reborn (Part 23)

Oh my, what a journey we have had this week. My dear fellow travelers, we have done it. This is the last recap post for The Dragon Reborn. It’s been an interesting ride! I apologize for the length of the recap portion as well. I tried to be brief but it was a very tricky set of chapters to sum up, with lots of details in lots of different places, and we kept switching rapidly between different scenes and different povs. It did give the whole thing a rather cinematic feel, though, and it also contributed to the sense of just how fast everything was happening.

Shout out to Stefan Raets for doing all the editing for this piece (as he has done for every other, and excellently too!) which was late coming in and probably riddled with spelling errors and unfinished sentences, as I am more sick this week than I have been in years. I am seriously just a set of long mustaches away from being Thom Merrilin with this cough I’ve got, and I wouldn’t complain at all if Mother Guenna wanted to shove vile-tasting potions down my throat and keep me in a bed at her house until I recover. Maybe she and Nynaeve can discuss the best cure for this massive sinus pressure I’ve got going on. Or the pink eye.

Still, unlike Thom, I have made it to the climactic battle at the Stone, which was quite interesting, even if it wasn’t the Last Battle the way certain characters seem to have been hoping.

[Read more]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

Reading the Wheel of Time: Mat Discovers a Trap, and So Does Faile in Robert Jordan’s The Dragon Reborn (Part 22)

Good morning and welcome to week 22 of the Read of The Dragon Reborn. This week, Thom is a stubborn ass for no reason, Mat seeks a remedy and finds the thing he was searching for all along, and Perrin starts to make some choices about his abilities and what they can be used for.

[That is what they call a Wisdom here—a Wise Woman. Wouldn’t Nynaeve like that!]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

Reading the Wheel of Time: Hammers, Balefire and Persuasion in Robert Jordan’s The Dragon Reborn (Part 21)

Hello dear readers and welcome back to week 21 of the read of The Dragon Reborn. This week the strands of the wheel are drawing our protagonists ever closer to the Heart of the Stone and the climax of the long-building drama of The Dragon Reborn. I’ve been noticing that, somehow, this book seems slower than the previous two, although I can’t quite put my finger on why. It feels, though, that there have been fewer side quests and stand-alone adventures for everyone—more focus has been put on learning information, conversations, and world building than on, say, getting lost in Shadar Logoth or mirror worlds. I’m not sure if it would feel as slow if I was reading straight through without stopping every few paragraphs, but doing things this way, it certainly does.

We get a nice little reprieve this week as Perrin goes back to smithing, at least for a day. It’s like the calm before the storm, as it’s followed up by Moiraine’s revelation that the forsaken Be’lal is in Tear and Liandrin and the others catch up to Nynaeve.

One note about last week’s post: I forgot a page! My recap ended with Thom and Mat returning to The White Crescent for sleep, but I had forgotten (and not indicated in my notes, apparently) that there was a bit more to the end of Chapter 49. So the first little bit of today’s recap will be finishing that up, before we head into Chapter 50 and 51.

[So much in Tear looked odd that it was a relief to walk into the smithy.]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

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