Please note, this article contains major spoilers for The Wheel of Time.
In August we read the second half of the Great Hunt and got started on the Dragon Reborn.
With the boys reunited again, these chapters are primarily from Rand’s point of view; so we see his development more than Perrin or Mat. We have more confirmation that Rand has Aiel heritage, from the response of the Aiel in the stedding; though at this point, there wasn’t really any doubt. With Selene gone, Rand also remembers Egwene exists, even if his feelings towards her have changed. He still denies he is the Dragon Reborn, even after he fights Ba’alzamon in the sky and is proclaimed by everyone, he still doesn’t really believe it. He is beginning to realize that he is unlikely to be able to just stop channeling – he misses saidin when he is in the stedding, though it takes him a while to put this together. Perrin does have a little development – he still refuses the wolves, but is starting to develop into a leader; or at least, into having people follow his lead. Mat is sick through much of this, and although he blows the horn, we really don’t see anything significant from him in terms of character development.
Of the other characters, Egwene probably develops most. She is captured by the Seanchan and forced to learn to channel at a greatly accelerated rate; especially compared to Elayne, who spends those weeks trying not to channel or even hold the Power at all. This leads her to using the Power in their escape attempt rather than trying to think their way free, endangering them all. She also moves on from Rand, focusing mostly on Galad – at this time, she barely notices Gawyn. Min and Elayne both admit their feelings for Rand, though Elayne is more open about it. She has also constructed a fantasy version of Rand in her mind, seemingly based on how she would want a man to be. We also get the first instance of “I’m such a coward” from Elayne, because she would rather live to fight another day than die a pointless death. This is one of the many aspects of her character I find extremely annoying. Finally, we see her relax her “we should never break the law” attitude, when she steals for food when hungry. Nynaeve has a little growth in how she is willing to use the Power, but fails to put aside her resentment of Moiraine. At one stage, after Liandrin has handed them over to the Seanchan, she still puts them at a similar level for her dislike.
This month also had one of the strangest chapters in the series – Rand’s trip through his alternate lives. This left us with many questions. How many lives did he live? Did he really live through all of them? How many years would that have been? How much did he retain – it should have given him clues as to the future (though he was called Lews Therin in many and this didn’t alert him to the truth of his status as the Dragon Reborn). Did anyone else live a life where Rand revealed himself? How did the time work? He existed in all of them, so presumably up to that point they had gone more or less the same way as the main world, but in some it was years or decades before the Seanchan arrival and Tarmon Gaidon.
We see the Black Ajah revealed. Although Liandrin doesn’t say so outright, and no one else seems to put it together, it is absolutely clear that both her and Suroth are darkfriends. Interestingly, Liandrin doesn’t seem to lie here. I think we can assume that the Black Ajah must be able to, otherwise there is no way they could keep their secret. But they may be so used to making sure everything they say has a plausible true explanation, that even when they never expect to see the person again they try to make sure they are telling the truth.
For worldbuilding in general, we see a little more of how Ta’veren work – Rand feeling himself being pulled towards Falme; and at the end Egwene, Elayne, and Min being drawn to him, though it is Nynaeve who actually saves him. We also learn a lot about the Seanchan, though some of it, such as servants killing themselves when their Lord dies, is not something we see later.
We also get more of the visions and prophecies in this section. More of the Prophecies of the Dragon, for example “slay his people with the sword of peace, and destroy them with the leaf” as well as more of Min’s visions. At this stage, we probably aren’t able to work out what any of them mean, though the link of leaf and sword of peace might suggest that Rand’s people, have some connection with the Way of the Leaf. If does give us a few things to look out for which we will know are significant, such as an Aielman in a cage.
In terms of the various themes that run throughout the series, we see more examples of people acting on poor knowledge, or refusing to update what they believe in light of new information. Everyone continues to think of Ba’alzamon as the Dark One, and the Whitecloaks decide to believe that the Aes Sedai are controlling the Seanchan and the three oaths have been shown to be lies. While they probably wouldn’t have been able to do much differently if they had realized Ba’alzamon was Ishamael, the Whitecloaks and others would have made other decisions if they knew the Seanchan controlled women who channel, rather than being controlled by them.

No Comments

About the Author

Toral Delvar ()

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.