THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE ENTIRE SERIES
We all miss some little easter eggs when we read a book for the first time… even on the second time! I know I do! It is also true that everyone might notice different things while reading a book.
In this article I would like to discuss things I missed in my previous read of The Wheel of Time’s first book – “The Eye of the World”. The first time I read this book was back in 2006, so almost 15 years ago! My last reread of this book was three years ago, and this is my third or fourth read of it. It’s safe to say I am really excited to start rereading the series again! I want to see what I’ve missed in my previous reads! Join me!
So, I would like to start with Chapter 1 – “An empty road”.
In the beginning we start the chapter from the point of view of one Rand al’Thor, a supposedly young lad, who is traveling along with his father during winter on an empty road. Suddenly he feels like someone is watching him and turns around. What he sees is a rider and horse behind him, but he cannot make out the face of the rider. The description is as follows:
The rider’s cloak covered him to his boot tops, the cowl tugged well forward so no part of him showed. […] There was only shadow to see in the hood, but he felt hatred as sharply as if he could see a snarling face, hatred for everything that lived. Hatred for him most of all, for him above all things.
That last sentence made me wonder… was it really hatred for him in particular? After all Rand plays a big role in the books, if not the biggest, but did the “horseman” know this even then? Or is it just the “quirkiness” (to put it lightly) of his race?
Later in the chapter Rand talks to Mat Cauthon about the black horseman and Mat didn’t mention this strong hatred towards him.
Later Rand thinks:
… once he had even gone to the very foot of the Mountains of Mist, him and his closest friends, Mat Cauthon and Perrin Aybara.
This made me wonder… is it a coincidence that the three of them have become each other’s closest friends? Or is it the Pattern? I wonder why I didn’t notice this before! It cannot have been a coincidence, since it was mentioned this early in the book and even in the first chapter!
While talking to Mat about the rider, Rand thinks to himself:
The Dark One and all of the Forsaken are bound in Shayol Ghul, beyond the Great Blight, bound by the Creator at the moment of Creation, bound until the end of time. The hand of the Creator shelters the world, and the Light shines on us all.
Isn’t it weird, I hadn’t notice this before, but… why are the Forsaken mentioned along with the Dark One as being imprisoned by the Creator? And especially “at the moment of Creation”? I am guessing this is some sort of prayer, or something, that people tell themselves to stop thinking bad thoughts.
But then Mat says:
Maybe it was the Dragon.
So, Two Rivers people know about the Dragon, but don’t know his relationship and timeline with the Forsaken? This was interesting for me to ponder about, since it cannot have been a hiccup by the author, he literally presents one of the Forsaken in the Prologue along with the Dragon, so we know that they know each other.
Anyway, let’s continue with Chapter 2 – “Strangers”.
I love reading Moiraine’s description from Rand’s POV when he sees her for the first time. But something small I noticed this time was this:
… on the second finger of her left hand was a gold ring in the shape of a serpent biting its own tail. He had certainly never seen a ring like that, though he recognized the Great Serpent, an even older symbol for eternity than the Wheel of Time.
An even older symbol than the Wheel of Time? Why? How much older? And how does a farmer boy from Emond’s field know that it’s older? There should be a tale, a myth of some sort, told to kids I presume.
In Chapter 5 – “Winternight”,
Rand and Tam are attacked by trollocs in their farm. They run away, but Tam is wounded, and Rand goes back to the house to get supplies, but one of the trollocs, which seemed dead, is actually not. I am sure all of you know about the smart Narg, even though we don’t get to see much of him after that scene. Something that I’ve never thought of before was Narg’s description.
A wolf’s muzzle jutted out below sunken eyes. Flat, emotionless eyes, and all too human. Hairy, pointed ears twitched incessantly. It stepped over one of its dead companions on sharp goat hooves.
I know trollocs are supposed to be a mix between animal and human, but I never realized they can be a mix of several animals too! That was interesting for me to find out.
Also, we never see another Trolloc speak in the common tongue ever again. I wonder if Jordan planned for this or he just decided to not include it later in the series, since it’s not… interesting enough?
In the 6th Chapter – The Westwood
Here we read several pieces of information from Tam in his feverish dreams.
They came over the Dragonwall like a flood,” Tam said suddenly, in a strong, angry voice, “and washed the land with blood. How many died for Laman’s sin?
… Slope of the mountain … only place didn’t stink of death.[…] Their women fight alongside the men, sometimes, but why they had let her come, I don’t … gave birth there alone, before she died of her wounds … covered the child with her cloak, but the wind … blown the cloak away … child, blue with the cold. Should have been dead, too … crying there. Crying in the snow.
I cannot stop wondering, how much did Tam even know about the Dragon Reborn and the Prophecies of his rebirth? Surely, he must have known something, but then he doesn’t connect the dots when he finds a baby on the slopes of Dragonmount? However, he accepts Moiraine taking away the boys, Rand included, very lightly, so maybe after Winternight and the Trollocs invasion, he had started suspecting something.
In the same chapter Rand thinks to himself:
Only that morning he might have felt foolish at musing over the Green Man and the Tree of Life. They were only stories. Are they? Trollocs were just stories this morning. Maybe all the stories were as real […] Next he might actually meet the Green Man, or an Ogier giant, or a wild, blackveiled Aielman.
YAY for Foreshadowing ! Interestingly enough, he meets them all! Or, I found it interesting at least!
Another little foreshadowing I haven’t noticed before is by Moiraine in…
Chapter 7 – “Out of the Woods”.
A night like that can give a man bad dreams, Rand. If you have nightmares, you must tell me of it. I can help with bad dreams, sometimes.
She knows for sure that the Dark One knows of the boys and where they are and somehow also knows that he will try to manipulate them by bad dreams.
But before Rand spoke to her, he thought to himself:
Surely there must be something about an Aes Sedai to mark her for what she was.
But in the scene before that, while Rand was still talking to the Mayor, he exclaims:
Did you think they wore signs?” the Mayor said wryly. “’Aes Sedai’ painted across their backs, and maybe, ‘Danger, stay away’?”
While Thom sits beside them as says nothing. He surely must know which features make out an Aes Sedai from a non-channeling woman, but instead he didn’t think it necessary to share with the Emondsfielders.
In this chapter again, Rand overhears Lan saying to Moiraine that there were seven bands of Trollocs working together on the attack on Emond’s Field. As far as I can remember, these bands of trollocs are not mentioned again in the coming books. So that just seems weird to me that they will be mentioned for a quick second and then never mentioned again. I guess it’s the same as with the talking Narg situation.
Fast forward to…
Chapter 14 the Stag and Lion.
Rand, Mat, Perrin and Thom go together in the bath of the inn and begin bathing. There is an attendant with them – Ara, who start asking them questions after being silent for very long.
“Here?” Ara snorted. “Trouble? [ … ] ” He stopped and eyed them a moment. “I meant the Ghealdan kind of trouble,” he said finally. “No, I suppose not. Nothing but sheep downcountry, is there? No offense. I just meant it’s quiet down there. Still, it’s been a strange winter. Strange things in the mountains. I heard the other day there were Trollocs up in Saldaea. But that’s the Borderlands then, isn’t it?” He finished with his mouth still open, then snapped it shut, appearing surprised that he had said so much.
This looks too much like the first ta’veren effect that we’ve seen until now. All three of the boys are in the same room with Ara and he starts speaking and eventually feels like he’s saying too much, maybe something that he didn’t intend to say in the first place.
And in the next chapter…
Chapter 15 Strangers and Friends,
It is the next day and Rand goes in Baerlon. On the way he meets Padan Fain and tells him where they are staying. I hadn’t realized this before, but it’s pretty obvious to me now, that Padan Fain told the Myrdrall which Inn to go to, to get the boys that same evening.
Aaaaah! She’s … she’s the Aes Sedai, is she?” A guarded look came over Fain’s face. “Maybe, though …” He paused, licking his lips nervously. “How long will you be at this—What was it? What did you call it? — the Stag and Lion?
But it’s also surprising how did Padan Fain cover the same distance as them and they were riding horses almost the whole time.
Chapter 18 – The Caemlyn Road,
The gang is traveling along the Caemlyn Road after leaving Baerlon and Lan tells them that Whitebridge is the only place to cross the Arinelle. To which Thom asks:
Thom snorted and blew out his mustaches. “What is to stop them from having someone, something, at Whitebridge already?”
Another thing I missed. Another foreshadowing.
Chapter 19 – Shadow’s Waiting,
They are already inside Shadar Logoth‘s walls. Rand, Mat and Perrin have an encounter with Mordeth and after that they return and talk to Moiraine. Lan comes back from scouting inside the wall of the city:
Suddenly the Warder trotted silently out of the darkness into the room. […] Lan opened his hand; three small objects fell to the tiles in front of her with the clink of iron. Three bloodred badges in the shape of horned skulls. “There are Trollocs inside the walls,” Lan said. “They will be here in little more than an hour. And the Dha’vol are the worst of them.”
Again, we see mention of a Trolloc band, but we don’t get any explanation what the difference between the bands are and why are the Dha’vol the worst? I don’t see any difference between the Trollocs if all they do is kill their pray. I wonder what all of this was a set up for and why hasn’t it been continued in later chapters and/or books.
So, because of this band of Trollocs, the gang decides to leave Shadar Logoth and try to cross the river. In the city they see a fog, which Moiraine explains is called Mashadar.
Chapter 20 – Dust in the Wind
Mashadar is vast, girl, as vast as Shadar Logoth itself. The whole White Tower could not kill it. If I damaged it enough to let you pass, drawing that much of the One Power would pull the Halfmen like a trumpet call. And Mashadar would rush in to heal whatever harm I did, rush in and perhaps catch us in its net.
So, the whole White Tower cannot kill it, supposedly, but have they tried? I feel like for thousands of years they know this thing exists in Shadar Logoth and they haven’t tried anything to get rid of it? In other times, they won’t have Trollocs or Myrdraal to worry about, they can just gather many Aes Sedai outside the Shadar Logoth walls and try to get rid of Mashadar in some way. It cannot go outside the walls, so it won’t be able to hurt them.
This ends the first part of my review of Eye of the World. After this chapter the characters separate and begin their own adventures, until they meet back in Caemlyn. The second part of my article will continue with notes about that.
Thank you for reading.