Spoilers for Eye of The World and The Great Hunt, and The Dragon Reborn up to Ch 47 | 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 33-47.
An Aiel in Remen
Perrin, Moiraine, Loial and Lan are still following Rand’s trail – who has left a string of weird incidents in his wake – unnaturally efficient fires, newfound treasures and whatnot. And how is Rand still keeping ahead of them, anyways? One Power? Or his Aiel heritage? Maybe both.
Moiraine tells Perrin that while the Creator is good, the Dark One evil, the Pattern is neither good nor evil. This is news to both me and Perrin. So far, I’d been assuming that the Creator was the one in charge of things. But then how can the pattern not be good on the whole? Perhaps the Wheel is above both – though that would mean the Creator is not the creator of everything.
The party rides into Remen to find an Aiel caged in the square, and a party of puffed up, boasting hunters claiming to have defeated 20 Aiel with 12 men. I call bullshit. Perrin notices a girl staring at him – Darkfriend? Also, I remember Min seeing an Aiel in Perrin’s future. I sure am looking forward to rereading, if only so that I can understand Min’s predictions when she makes them.
Back at the inn, Perrin’s conscience is eating at him. So he steal out to the cage, and opens it. Wow. On the one hand, good job mate, on the other hand, I sure hope no one sees you or you’ll have a mob on your hands bro. But no, he stands there chatting with the man, until a dozen Whitecloaks show up. The Aiel proceeds to kick their asses without even a weapon, with some help from Perrin and his axe.
Perrin comes to his senses, and the party decides to find a ship ASAP. They rush to the docks and luckily find one. Not so luckily, they are joined by the girl who was watching Perrin. She’s certainly following him, and her excuse is that she’s a Hunter looking for the Horn of Valere, and she’s following them because they have a “strange trail”. This sounds rather suspicious to me. And she calls herself Faile, or Falcon. So Min foresaw this as well. But in a good way, or bad?
Perrin goes to sleep, and surprise surprise, finds himself in a dream – with Hopper. So presumably he’s in the dream world now. Hopper leads him to a conference of Darkfriends, with Ba’alzamon present. Apparently the Dark One is using dreams to issue orders to his henchmen. It seems the attacks on Mat were on Ba’alzamon’s orders, and in standard villain fashion, he proceeds to murder the man who was supposed to ensure Mat’s death.
Next up, Selene a.k.a Lanfear joins Ba’alzamon. Hmm, things are not quite as peachy between them as I thought. There is none of the unwavering loyalty that Ba’alzamon expects. She has her own plans and ambitions – among them that she means to have Rand for herself. For his power, or some monstrous sort of love?
And then Hopper the wolf flies off like he always wanted to. Perrin next sees Rand take out a bunch of Myrddraal and Darkfriends with the one power – in the dream world, or in the actual world? Rand then sees Perrin, and attacks him as well, and Perrin wakes up. He finds a burn on his chest.
You know, no wonder the Darkspawn are giving the good guys so much trouble. They don’t have a method for fast communication, while Ba’alzamon is using dreams to gather information and hand out orders and basically coordinate his forces.
Perrin wakes up, and realises he must inform Moiraine of his latest dreams, so he does. And Moiraine in usual Aes Sedai fashion, is not entirely forthcoming. But she tells us that she intends to go to Illian, and then to Tear. Wait, what? Let me just whip out the map. Okay, clearly, Illian is way towards the south. They should travel along the Manetherendrelle until it meets with the river Shal, and then go to Tear on foot. Illian is way out of their route, and they’re supposed to be in a hurry. Unless they have urgent business in Illian that I don’t know about.
A switch to Rand’s POV, where he attacks and kills a party of travellers seemingly without provocation, but it seems one of them was a Soulless assassin. Damn, but Rand’s getting increasingly worse. It’s probably the madness that comes with the taint in saidin.
Maidens of The Spear
Egwene, Nynaeve and Elayne are on a boat, on their way to Tear along the river Erinin. They see the land of Cairhien ravaged and deserted, with villages burned and abandoned. The fallout from the civil war I guess. Egwene has continued to use the ter’angreal ring to visit Tel’aran’rhiod. Her dreams consist of what is happening, and what will happen in equal measures. The former are easy enough to understand, but the latter are as baffling as Min’s prophecies.
The boat unfortunately becomes stuck, and Nynaeve decides that instead of waiting for another boat to arrive and help them, they will walk to the nearest village and take another boat from there. Except that the nearest village is on the war torn Cairhienin side of the river. The captain does his best to dissuade them, but Nynaeve will have none of it. And so they’re off.
They encounter Aiel women, who ask for their help in healing one of their wounded companions. It seems that quite a lot of these folk are out looking for The One Who Comes With The Dawn, ie, Rand. Nynaeve agrees, and heals the wounded girl. The meeting also gives us some eagerly awaited info about the enigmatic Aiel. Also, Nynaeve really needs to work on her channeling. She’s powerful as all hell if she manages to work up her temper, but that’s not a very dependable method. The Aiel gratefully bid them farewell.
But oh no, they’re ambushed and taken captive by some brigands. Man, this is not going to do Egwene’s psyche any favors. They wake up in a locked room, and soon three Fades arrive to take custody of them. This is bad. With the thirteen Black Ajah, they have the ability to turn the girls. But just in time, the Aiel return to rescue them. They cut down the brigands, and then the girls unleash saidar on the Fades, Nynaeve going so far as to conjure what I’m sure is Balefire, which makes even the Aiel nervous. The Aiel sure are living up to their reputation as extreme badasses. I wonder how they all become so great fighters and cross country runners. Also how did they know the Dragon Reborn has arrived. Also, what is this sin they keep talking about. Lots of questions. I hope we visit the famous Aiel Waste sometime. But for now, the girl who Nynaeve healed is among the fallen. Damn.
They do manage to find another ship at Jurene though, and the journey continues.
Mat and Thom disembark at Aringill on their way to Caemlyn. They find the place full – literally – of refugees, and there’s not an inn that’s got place for them. They bed down in a stable at last, though Mat does manage to gamble the owner out of pair of horses. Luck indeed.
They manage to have an adventure there too, though, as the Illuminator (as foreseen in Egwene’s dreams) arrives, pursued by a bunch of thugs. Mat jumps in to help her, all the while berating himself for a fool. Turns out, this is the Illuminator lady we last saw in Cairhien, when Rand messed up their fireworks party. Well, that’s resulted in her getting thrown out of the guild. She gives Mat some fireworks as thanks, and is off. Mat and Thom too decide to scarper, rather than hang around waiting for the thugs to wake up.
Perrin’s party meanwhile, has arrived at Illian. Tempers are flaring – mostly Moiraine’s. Zarine/Faile, meanwhile, is having a lot of fun teasing Perrin. Moiraine has Zarine swear an oath to follow her orders without question if she insists on following them around. Well, as we saw at the start of the book, there’s no getting away from Min’s foretellings.
The mood in Illian is mysteriously ugly though, and everyone seems on edge. Even Perrin smells something wrong. See, you guys didn’t even have to come to Illian. What are you doing here? They make their way to an inn, called Easing the Badger.
Y’know, WoT has some of the most quirky and imaginative Inn names I’ve ever seen. Jordan seems to have taken to naming every single one. I like it.
What I don’t like, is this Lord Brend, who has, according to the innkeeper, become a big deal in the local government from out of nowhere. Suspicious. Actually, now that I think about it, I recall Mat hearing about a new High Lord in Tear that Thom had never heard of. Two people rising to the top from out of nowhere? One might be acceptable, but two is too much to be a coincidence. If I had to guess, I’d say they’re Darkfriends – because c’mon, good people don’t mysteriously rise to the top. And that has to be related to the bad mood in Illian. And it seems the innkeeper has been having dreams about this Brend character, bad, weird dreams. Yep, Brend is definitely up to no good.
The party is crashed by six soulless, who Perrin smells just in time, and goes into berserk mode, ripping off a chair leg and beating them to death with it. Presumably they too were sent by Ba’alzamon. For simple village folk, Perrin and Mat seem surprisingly good at fighting, I must say.
Moiraine rushes off one some mysterious, but apparently deadly errand. And alone at that. What’s she up to? Lan and the rest scope out the exterior of the inn, and find dog prints in the stone. Just like the ones Perrin found on the road earlier. Lan tells him that these are from a Darkhound, another variety of shadowspawn. Lan rushes off to help Moiraine. Back at the inn, Perrin drifts off to dreamland again, where he sees Mat gambling with Ba’alzamon, Nynaeve and the rest springing a trap (the one in Tear, I guess), a woman (Black Ajah, my guess) laughing at them, and Selene laughing at her in turn. So, whatever the Black Ajah’s plan, Selene is planning to ruin it in some way. And then Hopper, who warns him about Shadowbrothers, which I guess are the Darkhounds, hunting him.
Moiraine crashes in, and proceeds to make the night even worse:
“Your wolf dreams tell as truly as a Dreamer’s, Perrin. The Forsaken are loose, and one of them rules in Illian.”
What the fuck? I knew Brend was no good, but a Forsaken? This is bad, like, really bad. Also, which wolf dream is Moiraine referring to? I have a desire to flip back and check out, but the plot calls.
The party decides to head out from Illian ASAP, and I wholeheartedly support this decision.
Moiraine says that the Soulless were not send by Brend/Sammael. How she knows this I cannot guess – something she found on her mysterious excursion? More evidence that the forces of evil are hatching their own schemes, and not blindly following Ba’alzamon. Which actually is a bit confusing, because obviously they believe that the Dark One is really powerful, or else the Forsaken would not be the Forsaken, and also they know he’s breaking free of his prison. Then what do they expect will happen when Ba’alzamon is free, and knows full well they haven’t been giving their 100% for team Shadow? A slap on the wrist?
Also, Zarine is totally unfazed by all this new information, and says she’ll stick with them because, and I quote, “Whether you lead me to the Horn of Valere or not, not even whoever does find the Horn will have a story such as this. I think this story will be told for the ages, Aes Sedai, and I will be part of it.” What in the actual fuck? Who in their right mind wants to face off against Forsaken for the sake of adventure?!
They rush out of Illian in the rain, only to find themselves pursued by Darkhounds. Lan decides that they can’t outrun them on horses, so fleeing not an option, which leaves fight. And fight they do. Perrin manages to take one down, but it is Moiraine who is the real MVP of the fight, with what I suspect is Balefire, which one hit kills all the Darkhounds. A bit anticlimactic, I think, given all the buildup about these creatures.
On their way to Caemlyn, Mat and Thom are hanging out by their campfire, when Mat takes it upon himself to do exactly what the Illuminator not to – cut open the fireworks. Thom loses his shit, but nothing bad happens. Then they are attacked by a woman and three thugs, but Thom’s knives make short work of them. But they decide that they’d better get to Caemlyn fast, and ride off.
Upon arriving at Caemlyn at last, on the next day, Mat sends Thom off to The Queen’s Blessing, and heads off to deliver Elayne’s letter. Um, Mat? I don’t think they’ll just let you saunter up to the Queen of Andor. But that’s what Mat tries to do, walking up to the palace, and declaring himself to be a messenger from Tar Valon. Unsuprisingly, he is chased off by the guards. He returns to The Queen’s Blessing, where Gill the innkeeper tells him about Gaebril, Morgase’s new advisor. Ookay, is it just my paranoia, or is this person also one of the Forsaken risen to power, like in Illian (and I suspect Tear)? Is there some massive conspiracy going on where the Forsaken take control of the nations and basically soften them up for the inevitable destruction by Ba’alzamon? Or are they each just seeking more power on their own?
Mat decides to try again, this time without going near the guards at all, and rushes off. Does he mean to try what I’m thinking? Dude, Rand got into the palace across that wall by accident! Now that that route is known to the palace security, they will certainly have it locked down!
Delivering the Letter
Or not. Wow, this is like, really incompetent and negligent of them. Anyone can climb over their fancy walls with ease at that spot, and they know this, and have done nothing to prevent it. Wow.
Mat, the lucky bastard, sneaks in without trouble. And overhears a conversation wherein one guy gives another one orders to kill Elayne, Egwene and Nynaeve. No doubt it was Gaebril, the up to no good advisor and suspected Forsaken. Uh oh, as if they weren’t already walking into a trap. Well, that settles my question from the last post about how Mat will get to Tear. He’ll rush off to help the gals, and Thom will no doubt follow.
Back to the present though, Mat meets a more reasonable security officer, who takes him straight to Morgase on hearing of the letter from Elayne. Mat’s first thought on seeing Morgase is that he’d like to “steal a kiss”. I’m rather growing to like Mat, not least because of the three, he’s the least grumpy and complaining, and has an actual sense of humor. Morgase is please to read the letter, and somewhat mollified to learn Elayne’s been promoted to Accepted.
Mat tries to tell the Queen of the plot against her daughter, but realises that one of the plotters is the man standing beside her, whom she’s seemingly rather fond of. I bet magic is involved in that. Anyway, Mat wisely decides to keep his mouth shut, because if he tried to implicate Gaebril, he’d probably end up in a cell/dead.
So he rushes back to Thom and brings him up to speed. They decide to spread a rumour about the plot. Also, the innkeeper, Gill, talks a yarn about how he had someone tell him about one of his bad dreams, traced the rumor and found a man who believed that it we he who had the dream, not Gill. This is supposed to show how rumors are untraceable, but methinks they both had the same bad dream, in the same way that the lady in Illian was having bad dreams.
And then Mat and Thom are off again – this time to Tear.
So, so, so. All the actors are now rapidly converging on Tear for the final showdown, and it will be interesting to see what the end result will be of all these schemes and plans – of Mat, and Perrin, and Nynaeve, and the Black Ajah, and Selene, and Gaebril and… you get the idea – when all these schemes clash and mix with each other. All I’ll care to guess is that it all ends with Rand getting his hands on Callandor.