Spoilers for Eye of The World and The Great Hunt. | More info and previous posts | Please no spoilers for future books/events
In my plan to read The Wheel of Time, and posts about my experience, I’m now on book 2, The Great Hunt. This post covers chapter 41-50.
En-route to Falme
Rand and co. are making their way to Falme through rain, and everyone’s really grumpy. They have also learned stuff about the Seanchan, and apparently the countryside is terrified of the Seanchan. There is a lot of disagreement and arguing over their plans. Ingtar is skeptical that Fain would go to Falme and reveal his location to Rand, or that the dark creatures would actually write a prophecy (the one in Fal Dara) and that it’s all probably a false trail. Rand and Verin disagree. Ingtar’s desperation to find the horn continues to increase. Eventually they decide to wait for Hurin to find Fain’s trail before proceeding. Rand turns into bed, and has yet another of his dark dreams.
Nynaeve and Elayne are skulking around Falme, trying to locate and rescue Egwene and Min.
Switch to Egwene’s POV. She’s miserable. We find more about the nature of the damane. Apparently their leash is more than a simple way to keep them bound – it controls them. Egwene can’t channel without order, can’t attack her sul’dam, can’t try to break/open her leash. It’s basically total control. With the impossibility of her escaping on her own established, we find that Min is in a somewhat better situation – she’s not bound like a damane. Apparently the Seanchan have even managed to capture a couple of full blown Aes Sedai. Min has also arranged a ship. Hmm, that will come in handy when Nynaeve saves the pair of them. And we leave the scene with Egwene screaming as her handler tortures her…
Min rushes out crying, and stumbles across Nynaeve and Elayne. Yay! She takes Nynaeve to meet the ship captain, who as I suspected is Domon. Nynaeve applies her trademark tactics to confirm their passage. Way to go, girl!
Five Will Ride Forth
Perrin and Mat spot the legion of Whitecloaks arriving and are spotted in turn by Byar as they gallop away.
I don’t know what Byar’s issue is with Perrin. I mean, he’s like extra loathful of him. 100% convinced of him being a Darkfriend just because. Probably because Perrin escaped from him? But I remember even in EoTW he hated him before that. Maybe the guy’s just a jerk. The whole Whitecloaks talk so high and mighty, but TBH they don’t seem to do any real good.
Perrin and Mat return to camp, where we find that Hurin has found Fain’s scent, and it indeed leads to Falme. Ingtar is all “OMG MUST GO NOW AND GET HORN!” It is decided that Rand, Mat, Perrin, Hurin and Ingtar will leave ASAP and ride to Falme, the rest will follow behind. There is a very clear portent that one of them will probably die. Let’s see, Rand and the boys have Plot Immunity, so Hurin or Ingtar…
Retrieval and Rescue
All the pieces are in place, the plot has converged on Falme. Time for the end game.
Nynaeve, Min and Elayne ambush a sul’dam, free her damane and leash the sul’dam. Hell yeah! *fistpumps*
They do a quick switch with Nynaeve wearing the sul’dam’s clothes and Elayne wearing a damane dress. Nynaeve changes her mind though, and collars Seta (the sul’dam) instead. Payback, sweet payback! Seta acts all uppity, but a bit of mental torture from Nynaeve puts a swift end to that, and they’re off to rescue Egwene. Seems like this could actually work.
The Rand party arrives in town, and proceed to track Fain to a house. Rand wants to wait, but Ingtar is rapidly running out of patience, and tries the ages old tactic of going in through the backdoor. They pretty much stroll into the house (one dead guard), and find the Horn and the Dagger. Finally! Rand spots Egwene through the window, and is understandably shocked.
But, as I suspected from the moment they walked into the house, it’s a trap! (though one meant for Fain, it seems). A fight ensues, and Rand ends up facing the High Lord (because, of course he does). Who proceeds to whip out a heron marked blade (oh crap!) and kick Rand’s ass. Rand has a trick up his sleeve though, and he enters the void. It is much more even now, and the duel.
I’d like to take a moment to note that Jordan never actually tells much of the swordplay. The swallow takes flight meets Parting the Silk. Lightning of Three Prongs meets Leaf on the Breeze. What? What does that mean? What’s actually happening? I have no clue whatsoever, but it’s awesome. Which I guess was Jordan’s intention. It’s just a bunch of handwaving that tells the reader to imagine the epicest, awesomest sword fight they can.
Back to the story – Rand takes out Turak. There’s a moment of shock to note that it’s his first, and then some more fucked-up Seanchan antics as Turak’s servants look at their dead master and stab themselves dead. WTF! Luckily for them, through all this battle, no alarm has been raised because the servants seem to be following the head-in-sand approach to deal with them. Rand vows to come back for her, and they make their exit.
No worries Rand, because Nynaeve is on the case. They arrive, and free Egwene in short order. It is revealed that only someone who can channel can be damane (knew that) or sul’dam (aha!). They don’t realise it because the ability to channel is not fully developed, but the possibility is there. Egwene’s sul’dam Renna enter, and Egwene takes some sweet, sweet revenge by reversing their roles and giving to Renna the same treatment she has had to endure. Nynaeve gets Egwene to calm down, and they too leave, leaving Seta and Renna bound and collared.
Outside, they find a couple hundred soldiers coming. Egwene understandably panics and attacks them with the One Power. Uh oh. This causes a chain reaction of magic and destruction as the damanes react and attack.
Blowing the Horn
Rand and co. are trapped, with the Seanchan approaching. Ingtar goes into confession mode, and.. he’s a Darkfriend.
On no no no no, not you Ingtar! I liked you. You were so cool in EoTW. Whyyyyyy!!!!!
Ingtar seems to be regretting his decision at least, and decides to sacrifice his life to let the other escape (and redeem himself). Rand tries to dissuade him, but it’s no use.
Out of the frying pan, into the fire. Rand decides that he in fact doesn’t want to go yet, but want to rescue Egwene first. Too late bro, because Nynaeve already took care of that, and more importantly, they’re caught in between the Whitecloaks and the Seanchan. Only one thing to do. Mat blows the Horn of Valere. No big surprise there. A fog envelops the land…
Hang on hang on hang on…. Just a minute now. I recall Moiraine assuring us in EoTW that things don’t hold power. Only they can be used as tools by people who can channel. Then what about the Horn? Is it an exception to that? Or can Mat actually channel? Or what the Horn does is something different, something that doesn’t use the One Power?
Okay, so the next sequence is (excuse the pun) rather foggy. The end result is that the heroes do return, but there’s like a hundred of them, led by Artur Hawkwing. They hail Rand like an old friend (and call him Lew). They attack the Seanchan. Meanwhile, Rand seems to get split vision, one of the battle in Falme, one of him fighting Ba’alzamon. The two battles are somehow linked, so that as Rand retreats, so do the heroes, and as Ba’alzamon is driven back, the Seanchan also fall back.
There’s a swordfight, but Rand can’t get the better of Ba’alzamon. Rand decides that it is time to sacrifice, for the sake of Egwene. He goes into position for Sheathing the Sword. Ba’alzamon stabs Rand, and Rand returns the favor. Rand passes out.
Min picks up Rand and puts in him a bed, and then gets in as well to warm him up. Egwene stumbles across and is shocked. She goes out, and Selene enters. The hell? Selene = Lanfear confirmed. Selene heals Rand and disappears.
Rand wakes up days later. Egwene and others are on their way to Tar Valon. Rand is disappointed. The heron marked sword is wrecked, and Rand has been twice marked by the heron. Sorry mate, there’s no getting out of it now, you are the Dragon Reborn – just accept it already. Moiraine (man, I really missed her in this book) tells Rand that Fain is some sort of fusion of Darkfriend and Mordeth, and worse and more dangerous than either. Where is he, though, I wonder? After all this “we will meet on Toman Head” throughout the book, there was no sign of him.
Also, Moiraine tells Rand that his fight with Ba’alzamon took place in the sky. THE SKY! Wow, did not see that coming. How? Why? Rand insists that this time he’s managed to kill The Dark One.
No buddy, just like last time, you haven’t. You may feel like you’ve come a long way, but this is only book two of fourteen. Plenty of time to go. Moiraine tells him the same, though not in these words. And apparently the whole world knows about Rand being the Dragon Reborn, and wars are breaking out all over the place. At least the Seanchan have fled. (I bet this is not the last we hear of them). Rand at least accepts that he’s not Tam’s son.
The Shienarans want to swear oaths to him, but Rands want none of it.
“You must choose, Rand,” Moiraine said. “The world will be broken whether you break it or not. Tarmon Gai’don will come, and that alone will tear the world apart. Will you still try to hide from what you are, and leave the world to face the Last Battle undefended? Choose.”
They were all watching him, all waiting. Death is lighter than a feather, duty heavier than a mountain. He made his decision.
Of course, we don’t get to see his decision.
The End. That ends my reading of book 2. I’ll post a review – it should be out in a couple of days, and then it is time for book three, The Dragon Reborn.