Spoilers for Eye of The World and The Great Hunt, and The Dragon Reborn up to Ch 32 | More info and previous posts | Please no spoilers for future books/events
In my plan to read The Wheel of Time, and post about my experience, I’m now on book 3, The Dragon Reborn. This post covers chapter 17-32.
Nynaeve, Egwene and Elayne are all raring to go heal Mat by themselves (seriously though, someone should take care of that!), when Elaida bursts in. The last I remember, she was Queen Morgase’s advisor. It seems Elayne’s disappearance did piss off Morgase royally. Elaida seems to be extra touchy and anger prone as a result. She’s really interested in Mat, and even more in Rand. Black Ajah? Damn, but I’ve become paranoid, seeing Darkfriends everywhere.
Soon though, Sheriam Sedai barges in as well, and tells us that the Amyrlin and co. have finally found time from scheming to heal Mat. She invites the girls to observe the process, and also warns them to keep quiet about the dead assassin they found.
They are lead to a room deep underground, where Mat is healed in a creepy/scary procedure by the Amyrlin and a bunch of other Sedai, with the help of a sa’angreal – shaped like a wand. Hmm, so that means that angreals and such need not have a particular shape or size to work. But then, what does make them tick? Mat also shouts out ancient Manetheren war cries during his healing. I know the old blood runs in Two Rivers folk, but this has got to be more than that. What though? Reincarnation? Does this world even have an afterlife, let alone reincarnation? Or something else? Anyway, it’s fitting – Rand is the Dragon Reborn, Perrin is a Wolfbrother, and so Mat too needs something special.
Anyways, they finally manage to rid Mat of the bloody Shadar Logoth dagger.
The POV shifts to Mat after what seems like ages. Mat wakes up, remembering a dream that is almost certainly a memory of the battle which preceded Manetheren’s fall. He takes stock of himself – it’s clearly that his memories of the earlier days are foggy, but he finally concludes that he’s in Tar Valon (and was probably healed by Sedai) and he’s really hungry. He also does some thinking about his future, but then the door open…
And it’s Selene. Two questions arise immediately – how did she manage to get into the White Tower, and what does she want with Mat? I though she was following Rand around because he was the Dragon, and Lanfear and Lews Therin apparently have a history, but now Mat. It seems she’s really interested in the Horn of Valere. But why would she bother warning Mat about how the Aes Sedai intend to use him, and so does she? If she wants the Horn, why not kill Mat and take it? I know the Amyrlin has it hidden, but surely it will not be a big issue for one of the most powerful Forsaken?
Mat, I have the same advice for you as I did for Rand : this woman is not good for you. Stay away.
Selene runs off after threatening Mat a bit, and in comes the Amyrlin Seat and her secretary. Boy, it seems we are really important. Mat gets all stubborn, and the Amyrlin throws around fishing metaphors, as she is wont to do. The tl;dr is that Mat is confined to Tar Valon, the guards under orders to not allow him to leave. The pretense is that Mat needs time to recuperate, but in fact they need him because he is the one who blew the horn of Valere.
Poor guy wakes up after almost getting killed by an evil artifact, only to get caught in the schemes of powerful people.
Oh boy, that’s quite a mouthful. And not one but two apostrophes. It must be important.
Egwene meets Verin, who hands her some background info on the Black Ajah, and quotes a mysterious old book at her. She also gives us some much needed information about all these dreams people are having. It seems that all the different worlds we last saw courtesy the Portal Stone are somewhat connected. They all share a Creator, a Dark One (who if escapes in one world, escapes in all), and a world within the worlds – the world of dreams. Ooohhhh….
So that’s why Rand (and others) keep having these strangely concrete dreams – they’re literally going into the world of dreams. Very interesting indeed. Verin also gives Egwene a ter’angreal that is supposed to help her travel to this world in her dreams, last used by the dreamer before Egwene – Corianin Nedeal.
What she doesn’t give Egwene is Corianin’s diary. Why? Black Ajah? No, that’s going too far, perhaps.
Now it’s time for the trial that was inevitable for Egwene to become Accepted. Sheriam and Elaida seem to be having a bit of a spat. I was kind of suspecting Sheriam, but given that I suspect Elaida even more, and they don’t seem to get along, my money is officially on Elaida being a Black Ajah. Maybe she is just naturally harsh and bitchy, but the mind suspects as the mind wills.
Alanna notices a disturbance of some sort with the test apparatus – not good. I bet this test won’t go smoothly. The past shows Egwene married to Rand. What? How is that past? The past that could have been, I guess. Anyway, compared to what Nynaeve had to face, it seems pretty easy – Egwene just has to leave Rand in pain as one of his supernatural headaches brings him to his knees in agony. Okay, maybe not so easy.
Next up is a vision of a Caemlyn destroyed and in ruins, infested by bands of Trollocs and Darkfriends. Egwene finds Rand trapped, who tells her that if they catch him, they can turn him. This is in direct contradiction to what I remember – that so long as you deny the Dark One, he can’t control you or anything like that. Also, where is this information coming from? Egwene herself does not know this, then how can it be a part of her fear? I mean, sure, after being captured by the Seanchan, she has developed a terror to being captured and controlled, and this is basically a scary version of that. But Egwene doesn’t even know that it is possible. So is the ter’angreal just showing her what it feels will scare her? Or is this being turned actually possible?
Egwene manages to abandon Rand yet again, and Sheriam tells us that it is the latter – thirteen Sedai with thirteen Myrddraal can indeed turn people who can channel. I sure hope it doesn’t end up happening. Because now that I remember, there are exactly thirteen confirmed Black Ajah.
In the final trial, Egwene finds herself the Amyrlin Seat, forced to pass judgement on a Rand who has been captured and charged with being a guy who can channel. Egwene refuses to gentle him, and is knocked unconscious by her secretary. She wakes up to find that a bunch of Sedai and Fades are about to turn her. Oh boy. I wonder what will happen if she gets turned inside the ter’angreal? For that matter, the way out should have present itself to her by now. Something is certainly going wrong. Luckily, Egwene does some rapidfire magic and makes her escape. She finds that Elaida was behind this (ha!) and Rand is about to be gentled, and rushes to help him. She’s still planning, when the way out appears. Things seem to be going haywire on the other end too.
She comes out, and finds that the little “disturbance” went haywire towards the end. The reason, as Alanna tells us, is the ter’angreal that Egwene had with her – the dream one. And so were Egwene and Elayne raised to Accepted.
Swords vs Staff
Mat goes out exploring, and finds that indeed all the guards know about him. He stumbles across the training warders, and proceeds to challenge Galad and Gawyn to a fight, while being barely able to stand. You fool, Mat.
Or not. Mat actually knows his stuff, and proceeds to kick their royal asses. Wow. Yep, he’s definitely channeling some dead badass Manetheren warrior.
Back in the Tower, the girls are playing at Sherlock, and not liking it. They do find that the statistical distribution of the Black Ajah is way too regular to be natural, and so much be an attempt to find a pattern. There’s also a description of some of the stole ter’angreal, no doubt one or more of these will turn out to be plot relevant.
Else (anyone else find her name a bit awkward) delivers a message from the Amyrlin about the belongings of the Black Ajah escapees. Egwene rushes after her (because, the hunt for the Black Ajah is supposed to be Top Secret) and when she catches up to her she finds… Selene. So that’s how she’s been getting into Tar Valon, I guess – magical disguise. Egwene doesn’t realise that though, thinking she must have missed Else. The girls nevertheless make their way to where the Black Ajah Sedai’s belongings are stored. But don’t you get it, it’s a trap.
And a painfully obvious one at that – that the Black Ajah apparently intended to go to Tear, to the Heart of the Stone. The girls do some recursive thinking, but can arrive at no conclusion.
A Visit to Dreamland
Out of leads, Egwene decides to try the ter’angreal and visit Tel’aran’rhiod. She meets Perrin, but is driven away by Hopper (who is apparently dead in the real world but alive here), and Rand, who attacks her thinking she’s Darkspawn in disguise (Rand really is in a bad shape, especially mentally), and finally to the chamber where Callandor is kept – the Heart of The Stone.
Wait, I just realised – the cover of A Memory of Light is Rand wielding Callandor, it seems.
So, Egwene meets this shady old woman called Silvie, who tells her that the Forsaken are scheming their own schemes, which makes sense, given the way Selene has been acting. She also finds that Callandor is protected by what seems a barrier made of a combination of saidin and saidar.
She wakes up, and decide that they must go to Tear. Hmm, so apparently Tear is this book’s Falme – no doubt the plot will contrive to have Mat brought there as well. It is decided that this time they won’t just disappear, and that Elayne will send a letter to her mom, and it seems Mat will be the one to carry it. They visit Mat the next day, and after attempts at niceness fail, Nynaeve bullies him into accepting to carry the letter to Morgase, so long as they can figure out a way to let him escape the city. Lo and Behold, they have just the thing – the Amyrlin’s blank check. Though I doubt the Amyrlin would be pleased to have her writ being used to undermine her own orders. Anyway, Mat accepts.
The Amyrlin finds Nynaeve in the kitchens, and under pretense of anger and scolding, manages to talk to her in secret. Nynaeve brings her up to speed on their discoveries, who informs her that indeed, Else no longer even studies at Tar Valon. But Nynaeve being Nynaeve, says that the best way to catch whoever set a trap is to spring it and wait for him. Um, no. NO. The way to catch someone is not to do exactly what they want you to do. What you want to do is pretend to spring their trap, while laying down your own trap around theirs. Damnit Nynaeve, there’s confidence, and there’s overconfidence. Of course, this is only the beginning of the series, so I guess nothing too terrible will come if this, but that’s bad decision making right there. They should have a better plan than “we three Accepted will just go to this place alone, with no idea of what to expect, and hopefully not get our asses handed to us by the thirteen Black Ajah.”
Oh, and Callandor it seems, is a sa’angreal. A very powerful one. Yeah Rand, go get it!
The Dark One’s Own Luck
Mat heads off on his journey to Caemlyn, having a lot of fun at the expense of everyone in the process. But he gets sidetracked by gambling. It seems that he just keeps winning, and playing, and winning, and all the throws are perfect. The hours blur into a haze of taverns and games and dice. This is pretty suspicious. I seem to recall reading about a ter’angreal that was supposed to do weird things to probability. Methinks this is its work we are seeing. But that would imply the Black Ajah planting it on Mat. Which I can’t fathom any reason for.
Or maybe he’s just extra lucky. Anyway, after a while, Mat comes to his senses and heads out to find a ship. Unfortunately he’s ambushed by thieves – strangely persistent thieves, if they are thieves at all. He kills one, and escapes into an inn – and stumbles into Thom.
Thom? Nice to see you mate, but not really, because Thom is a wreck – drunk and full of self pity. Dena’s death really hit him hard, it seems. And apparently, he managed to kill Galldrien But Mat convinces him to tag along with him, and they manage to catch a boat. Hopefully a change of scenery will help Thom get better.
The boat is attacked in the night by mysterious assailants, but Mat’s quarterstaff and Thom’s knives make short work of them. Who did sic all these murderers on Mat though? Not Tar Valon. And certainly not Selene. Then who are they? Darkfriends probably, given that the prologue told us Ba’alzamon wants Rand dead – it stands to reason he also wants Mat dead.
And so the plot reveals itself slowly. Callandor will no doubted by retrieved by Rand. The question is – how? The Stone of Tear must fall before that, apparently. And where would we get the manpower for that? And how will Mat get to Tear? Unless – Morgase takes it upon herself to rescure Elayne – she certainly has the resources. But Mat doesn’t know Elayne is going to Tear. The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills, and what will happen, will happen.