The Wheel of Time Re-read: Monthly Summary (November)

Please note: This article contains spoilers for The Wheel of Time, particularly The Shadow Rising.

The Shadow Rising, Chapter 15-42

After a slow start, the book picks up here. It doesn’t have the frantic pace of the Great Hunt, but a lot happens. The scenes where Rand learns the history of the Aiel are some of my favorite in the series; which explain many of the cultural behaviors, such as not touching a sword, veiling before killing, and the way they avoid the Tua’athon. Though as the majority of the Aiel don’t know these things, we don’t learn what they think the reasons are. Perrin taking charge in the Two Rivers are his most interesting scenes to date.

We see considerable character development for many of the characters. Rand has accepted that he is the Dragon Reborn, and shows little hesitancy in going to Rhuidean to be the Aiel chief of chiefs. He is pretty isolated here – he seems to trust Mat, but no one else.  He has also started to think more of Min and how, unlike other women, she does not make him feel stupid.  Mat gains hints as to his future, but doesn’t know what to do with this. He also gets the holes in his memory filled, largely with battles, but also with dances and other memories of men long dead. He is now fluent in the Old Tongue, and has learned from those memories how to fight with his new spear weapon. 

Of the boys, Perrin has perhaps the most growth.  Initially planning to go to the Two Rivers to hand himself over to be hanged, he tries to manipulate Faile, which does not go well. Of all the leads, Perrin is least suited to manipulating people. He learns his family has been killed, so abandons the idea of sacrificing himself; instead dedicating himself to saving the village from the Trollocs and to a lesser extent the Whitecloaks. He succeeds in persuading people to abandon their farms and seek refuge in the villages, his ta’veren nature at work, though he is not comfortable admitting it. He also leads his first skirmish with Trollocs, which comes out badly – they are clearly betrayed here. The Two Rivers folk have begun to look to him – chanting “Goldeneyes” for example, but it is not complete – Wil reacts angrily to Perrin’s suggestion that he might prefer to go home and relax rather than hunt Trollocs. He is also much less willing to follow the led of Aes Sedai – even challenging Verin and Alanna directly, to the horror of Loial and Faile. 

Egwene goes to the Waste, as she wants to learn, but immediately starts lying to the Wise Ones and thinking of ways to get round her rules.  She also seems to have changed her loyalties – getting mad at Rand for the way Aviendha treats him, rather than at her; or when she thinks it is childish that Rand tells Moiraine to ask before Healing him. In general, she seems to take a few steps back from her growth while a damane, and is frequently immature, though not as impulsive as she was immediately on escaping the Seanchan.  Elayne and Nynaeve go off on their own, but we see little growth from them.  We get to know Aviendha, who goes from dislike of Rand because she thinks he mistreated Elayne, to hatred of him because of something she learned in Rhuidean – though not the Aiel past as he assumes.

In terms of Worldbuilding, the biggest aspect of these chapters is that we see the History of the Aiel, and glimpses of the Breaking and Age of legends. For me, the revelation that the ancestors followed the Way of the Leaf as unexpected, but it was hinted back as early as the meeting with the Green Man in book one; and made sense of what we knew of their refusal to touch a sword – even if it would mean death.  We also learn a little of the Warrior Societies and the relationship between clans; plus learn that Wise Ones can channel and have their own system for training, separate from that of the Aes Sedai. We also get our first glimpses of Seafolk culture, including that they also have women who can channel, that they hide from the Aes Sedai. They believe Rand is their Coramoor and that they will serve him, but seem to misunderstand the relationship between him and the Aes Sedai

Of the plotlines that run through the series, Rand fully accepting he is the Dragon Reborn moves that plot; and the Padan Fain and Whitecloak sub plots are fully intermingled. With Dain Bornhald’s hatred of Perrin leading him to ignore Fain’s murder of Perrin’s family and his suspicions that Fain may have killed Whitecloaks. The Aiel subplot gathers pace, with Rand coming out of Rhuidean at dawn, but not being accepted by Couladin and his Shaido. And the Black Ajah subplot also advances a little, with them in Tanchico, looking for something that could control Rand; and realizing there is dissention amongst the Forsaken. We don’t have many examples in these chapters of people refusing to adapt to new information, or acting on incorrect information; and generally, the characters are aware of their ignorance and make accommodations for their uncertainty. Aviendha and her attitude with Rand is a striking exception.

By the end of this section, Rand, along with Mat, Egwene and Moiraine, is on the way to Alcair Dal to announce he is the Cara’carn. They are accompanied by peddlers, who Rand suspects and have been attacked by Trollocs. Min is in Tar Valon; and Elayne and Nynaeve are hunting the Black Ajah in Tanchico, where they have encountered Bayle Domon again, and are likely to run into Egeanin.

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How is your re-read going? Want to share your thoughts? Join us on the forums here, or our Discord channel.

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Member Spotlight – Yenie Antagar

Brace yourself because this will become a Nobel Prize winning piece of art. 
Yenie Antagar, HoA of the Red Ajah

So, imagine this fantastic view of an exclusive paradise island surrounded by a turquoise ocean with a fancy mansion on the beach and a luxury yacht with amazing internet in it…. That’s totally not where I live, but I wanted to give the impression that I do. So let me just put on my sunglasses and we can lie down in the shade with nice drinks with cute little umbrellas and gossip about the most important person in my life— me! 

I mean, there is soooo much. The fortune I purchased this imaginary paradise island was made by simply existing in a flat in the UK, with my boyfriend of like seven years or something and by never posting any pictures of my cute cats on Instagram.

It is amazing I made enough money to even buy an imaginary island from the sounds of it, to be honest.

Wait, these white chocolate and raspberry cookies here, my faves by the way — hint hint hint for anyone that is attempting to bribe me — they are nearly melting so lets eat a bunch before they do! Good, right? Melts right off your tongue too, I love when they are gooey in the middle!

Where was I? Yes, oh right, my life. Well. I am originally from Sweden, I totally failed the whole blonde and blue eyed bit, I suppose I never got the memo so I ended up green eyed and brunette, but you know, it works. I have hair on top of my head and eyes to see it in the mirror. The hair had a bit of a rebellious streak in it though and I am currently a blue head. Is that a thing? Bluette instead of brunette? I tend to claim it is my natural hair colour when I can get away with it. Makes people look at me funny. 

As a person with ADHD I have always been intensely dedicated for life to a numerous amount of things, for at least two weeks at a time. I collect hobbies the way some people collect items of an actual hobby. Some I have proof of all over the house though; for example my intense on and off again interest in houseplants. When it is on, I buy plants and when it is off, I try to take care of them as much as possible so I don’t feel I have too much free space to fill up with new plants when it turns on again. This has been going on since I was around 12 and had around 70 plants in my tiny room. Now I have about the same number, but they are at least spread out in multiple rooms. With my 52 bedrooms in this imaginary mansion, it even looks sparse…

One hobby that has always stayed with me through the years no matter what, is my reading. I tend to average around 150 books per year, some years more and some years less. In 2019, I read nearly 200 books, that was a good year. So, in some peoples’ eyes that would probably tag me as Brown. But I have called myself Red Ajah since 1999, it has always been special to me. It was completely random how I first ended up Red, through a Swedish Wheel of Time RPG but once I got into it and saw it for what it could be, I embraced it and never really looked back. This is the place where I got to know Tallan, Mejjad and many more of the Swedish members through the years. 

I joined TarValon.net because I wanted a bigger site than the Swedish one and one in English. As much as we always discourage everyone from having their eyes set on a group as they join, I was dead set on Red from day one. This was back in 2002 so things were a little different, including the Red Ajah. As of this December, I have been Red Ajah for 19 years; which to me sounds absolutely crazy as I am mentally 12½ and physically like 25 and the math here just doesn’t add up!

It never stopped feeling like home even through struggles and changes over the years. We used to be a females only group with no Warders around, and now we have lovely Brothers as well as Sisters and we can even bond if we put in the work for it. While it was a lot of change for some and they chose to leave due to it, the people we gained are just as amazing. And the feeling of our little group hasn’t changed one bit. It is the same attitude and genuine care for each other, still the odd kind of fascination with pretending to be violent when we really are not; the great feeling of having them at my back and ready to jump in and wreak havoc but staying back and letting me do my thing as long as I am happy doing it; and how we all collectively became obsessed with peaches pretty much at the same time.

Tar Valon has always been a bit of a mix between crazy, serious and amazing. There are ups and downs but it has had such a major impact on my life, even during years when I was not active it still had a huge effect on my life. It is what made me love this place and it is what brought me back when I strayed away. 

Some parts of the site, like the jobs I have done in the past – this is my second time as Head of Ajah and I used to be in charge of the old IRC chat rooms back in the day as well – they tend to see my serious side. I try to make sure everyone feels seen and heard and comfortable. I try to include everyone and I try to be fair. One of the things that made me apply as Head of Ajah again was also the fact that with the TV show, we will most likely become the “hated” Ajah again, and I have been through this already but there are a bunch of people on the site, including Reds, that haven’t. It takes a certain kind of mindset to deal with sometimes, and I hope that my experience of having done it before will rub off. So, let’s have a sip of this tasty peach drink in hope of that. Don’t poke your eye on the cute umbrella though!

The silly side of me tends to explode with ideas and I have to write them down and pace them out to not overwhelm both myself and everyone else around me. Things like Risor’e’Dor where the Red Ajah declared ourselves a Gaidin Company in case you missed that, it was my original idea that set it all off but I was not alone in preparing for it and executing it, these things tend to just happen randomly.

Other things like me randomly trying to win the spamathon last time we had one, or the project I currently have going within the Red Ajah and with our guests… I tend to sprout so many more stupid ideas and it can be genuinely exhausting to have my brain sometimes. I have plans spanning into the spring next year already and the list keeps on growing. Nothing will probably come to the level of when the entire Red Ajah got married to each other back in the days, but at this rate I am going to have to have my imaginary staff mop me up from the puddle on the floor I am becoming here in my mansion!

Let me know if you want to come visit me on my imaginary island or yacht, there’s plenty of space. I will fly out a make-believe private jet just to get you!

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Movie Review “tick, tick…BOOM!”

Today is November 19th, 2021. All over the world, friends of mine are watching Amazon’s “The Wheel of Time,” by our beloved Creator, Robert Jordan. They’re sharing wonderful stories and pictures of themselves in costumes and shawls, which is awesome. I know you can find many lovely blogs, podcasts, and YouTubers talking about it.

This review, however, is not about WOT, as I am here to talk about the new Netflix film “tick, tick… BOOM!” that was also released today. This film is a semi autobiographical telling of a portion of the composer Jonathan Larson’s life. It is Lin-Manuel Maranda’s directorial debut, starring Andrew Garfield.

Many people know Jonathan Larson because of his musical “RENT.” But before he was “RENT” famous, Jonathan Larson wrote a little show called “tick, tick… BOOM!,” a three person musical, which in some ways I like better than RENT. Most people have never heard of it, though its been a personal favorite for decades, long before I’d ever heard of WOT. It gets to the heart of what it means to be an artist and performer; and that fire that is all consuming to leave your mark no matter what other struggles you’re dealing with. Then the heartbreak of starting all over again.

People have frequently compared Lin-Manuel Miranda to Larson, and said “Hamilton” was to “In the Heights” as “RENT” would have been to whatever Larson got to write next. Sadly, Larson passed away suddenly at the age of 35, right before “RENT’s” first public showing. Sometimes I wonder if this is why LMM (may he live forever!) works as hard as he does on so many different things- its all about the legacy and getting as much done with the time we’re given as possible. This drive to make, create, and write their way into our lives gave me good hope about LMM as the director, because I figured he’d “get it” more than your average Hollywood director would. I am happy to say, I was not disappointed. He made some excellent choices, and brought the story to life with tenderness and respect.

Going into my viewing I was excited, and nervous, especially regarding casting. Spiderman singing? Hmm, okay… And I knew Vanessa Hudgens was in it. She’s got a pretty face, but generally, her acting isn’t swell. (Though, not gonna lie, I’ll probably still watch the Princess Switch 3 anyway.) I was pleasantly surprised. Garfield was likable, and relatable, and had a voice that fit well for the part. Hudgens did far more singing than speaking, which was fine with me. I now look forward to seeing more of Robin de Jesus, an unknown to me before this, who plays Larson’s best friend, Michael. And, I have to admit, this Broadway Baby burst into tears more than once. The story and the struggle of being a creative person trying to find and birth their “thing” is so relatable to me.

“tick, tick… BOOM” is set during the end of Larson’s “Superbia” era, which he produced in 1989. But despite spending almost a decade writing it, it’s never really seen the light of day. Garfield’s Jonathan is touchingly portrayed as a kind of 1990’s Orpheus. Not a bad guy by any means; but one who is consumed and driven by his mission and music so much that it causes him to sometimes be neglectful towards those he loves. (Speaking of Broadway and Orpheus, if you haven’t checked out the musical Hadestown, please do so! Its one of the best things to come out in musical theatre in years, and does a wonderful job of making an old tales modern and relevant.) I really appreciated the diversity of the rest of the cast, all ages and body types were represented.

There are theatre and film related cameos all through the movie. The biggest numbers show up in the writing workshop, and a song called “Sunday.” My goodness, if you know your Broadway history and actors, wow, that was cool to see everyone. Small spoiler- Bernadette Peters was one of the cameos. I met her when she came to do a show at the theatre I worked at. She was lovely to work with, and is a surprisingly tiny person for as big of a voice as she has! André De Shields is another, whom I did not meet, but did get to see perform live when I was in the audience for the recording of PBS’s Great Performances for “Play On!”  This article from Slate has a good breakdown of everyone to show up. Most are uncredited, so you won’t find them on IMDB, but there are award winning actors, writers, composers, family, and friends, etc. It is a testament to both Jonathan Larson and to LMM that all of these folks were willing to show up and be a part of this project.

They took out one of my favorite lines of the musical (shared below), but they did a great job of portraying that statement, so I am very satisfied. I highly recommend you watching it, once you’re done binging WOT. Make sure you watch through the credits too, as it shows several videos of the real Jonathan. If you listen to the old recording of the show, you can hear Jonathan’s voice at the end of that as well. This line gives me goosebumps every time I hear it.

I want to write music
I want to sit down 
Right now at the piano
And write a song that
People will listen to and remember 
And do the same thing every morning
For the rest of my life

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Shienaran and Malkieri “New Spring” Fashion

This post contains spoilers for New Spring.

Malkier lay to the north of Shienar; and when it fell, Shienar truly became part of the Borderlands. “The law in every Borderland forbade hiding your face inside village or town” (p. 216).

Shienar

Very little is mentioned with regards to Shienaran fashion. The only description given was that of a soldier during the Aiel War. He was “stone-faced…with his crested helmet hanging from his saddle and his head shaved except for a topknot” (p. 64).

Malkier

Though the nation of Malkier had fallen, the fashion lived on. Some had adopted the dress of other nations, such as Ryne Venamar appearing to be Arafellin in his attire. Others retained traditional dress.

During the Aiel War, al’Lan Mandragoran and Bukama Marenellin wore unadorned armor, coats, and coats of plain wool. Lan’s helmet was in the Malkieri tradition, “supporting a steel crescent moon above his forehead” (p. 2). After the war, they wore “dark, knee-long coats” (p. 263). When needing to dress for a more formal occasion, Lan wore a white silk shirt, “tight black silk breeches”, and a “good black silk coat embroidered along the sleeves with golden bloodroses among their hooked thorns” (p. 300).

Bukama’s hair was “worn cut at the shoulders as tradition required” (p. 4). It was tradition for Malkieri men to wear the hadori, a “thin braided leather cord” worn across the forehead to hold their hair back (p. 5). Lan wore it as well, and he “would die wearing it, and go into the ground wearing that and nothing else” (p. 5).

Tradition among Malkieri women was to adorn their “foreheads with the ki’sain in pledge that they would swear their sons to oppose the Shadow while they breathed” (p. 220). As an unmarried woman, Iselle Arrel wore “a small blue dot painted on her forehead” (p. 338). Her mother, Edeyn ti Gemallen Arrel, wore a ki’sain, “still the white of a widow” (p. 304).

Iselle Arrel was described as a young woman with “black hair that fell well below her hips” and in a “pale green silk” dress (p. 338). After Iselle died, Edeyn wore a “white gown, her hair cut raggedly short” in mourning (p. 354).

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The Amyrlin Seat’s Favorite Moments

Please note: This article contains spoilers for The Wheel of Time

As I put the finishing touches on this article, The Wheel of Time has just premiered worldwide on television. It feels like the entire Community has been holding its collective breath, for weeks and months, waiting for this moment. With excitement. Trepidation. Concern. Anticipation. Will it be good? Will it be true to the books, the world that Robert Jordan created, and people have loved for many years? Will it be recognizable to the book lovers? Will it draw in new fans through the medium of the small screen?

So many questions, and theories, have been bandied about. And now the moment is here, for the fan community to see and judge and (hopefully) embrace.

We’ve been focusing this week on favorite moments, and who better to usher in this new chapter in WoT history, than our own Amyrlin Seat, Serinia Edoras. Thankfully we live in a Digital Age, so I was able to catch up with Seri by phone, to talk about The Wheel of Time — her favorite moments and memories, and of course, the #WOTonPrime.

Jahily: You mentioned you have some favorite and funny stories, what can you share with us?

Serinia: I remember a lot of very specific moments.

For example, I don’t know if Toral (Delvar) knows that he’s how I found out that my name had been used in the books. The prologue for AMOL had been released right before Anni or Fall Ball? I’d started to read it on the plane but hadn’t gotten that far. Then when I got to the event, Toral was like “OMG you’re in there!” [See this entry for reference.]

The thing I remember the most was the biggest experience I ever had with spoilers. I started reading the books in 1997. I was in college so I couldn’t read as fast as I wanted. By the summer of 1998 I was reading Fires of Heaven. But I’d also purchased the “big bad book of bad art” [The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time]. And I think I had books 6 and 7 standing by, but I hadn’t read them yet.

The big bad book isn’t full of that many spoilers. And I remember pretty vividly, I pulled out the big book, and I gave myself the biggest spoiler in the world.

You see, my favorite character was Egwene.

At the time I joined Dragonmount and I was looking for names of Gray Aes Sedai. I looked in the Book at the list of Amyrlin Seats and got down to Egwene’s name. And I was like “What???” I couldn’t believe I ruined it for myself! I was excited since she’s one of my favorites, but ugh! 

I’m super sensitive now to spoilers. I really just want to experience things as intended. 

The memory is so vivid, I can remember exactly where I was; and things like the chair I was in, my desk and what was on it. And I was so mad that I gave myself the biggest spoiler of all time. 

Jahily: I hate spoilers too! Were you able to attend one of the preview events this week?

Serinia: No, I had an invite to the one in Atlanta, but with my travel schedule I wasn’t able to go. Did you enjoy it?

Jahily: No spoilers! But yes, I did.
So what is one of your favorite moments from the series?

Serinia: One of my favorite quotes in the series is from Winter’s Heart, Chapter 33, Blue Carp Street.  Rand and Lan are in Far Madding looking for traitorous Asha’man, and Nynaeve uses air to lift them up to the roof of a shop for them to investigate.  They end up in a confrontation with Fain, and then while retreating Lan slips and Rand grabs his wrist as they both slide down the roof trying to grab on to something.  Lan goes over the edge and Rand is holding on to him from the roof…

“‘Let go,’ Lan said quietly.  He looked up at Rand, his eyes cold and hard, no expression on his face.  ‘Let go.’

When the sun turns green,’ Rand told him.”

I just love this scene and really the whole chapter.  It shows Rand and Lan’s relationship and how much it’s grown.  Lan still calls Rand sheepherder, but they understand each other at such a deep level, and understand what is important.  “When the sun turns green” is definitely one of my favorite lines in the series.

Jahily: Thank you for sharing that with us. I hope you enjoy the series, and I can’t wait to hear what you and the members of our Community think!

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Readers, share your favorite moments with us, either on the forums, or comment here on the blog or our socials. We also want to hear your reactions to the television series! #TarValonreacts

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