Please note: This article contains major spoilers for the Wheel of Time.

 

This month, we continued through the Dragon Reborn.  After a fairly slow start, the pace soon picks up and we mostly split into three stories — Perrin and Moiraine; Egwene, Elayne and Nynaeve; and Mat. Rand is mostly absent, just occasional glimpses, mostly when Perrin or Egwene see him in dreams.  

 

We begin to get more of a sense of the world. In TarValon, the girls are treated as runaways, ostensibly so that no one will link them to Liandrin, though really, does Siuan think that Novices and Accepted could tell an Aes Sedai no?  She manipulates them into hunting the Black Ajah, something Lanfear helps them with. Her motivations here are mysterious, as they have always been. We do see the Forsaken acting in opposition to each other, and even at this stage, we can see that if they weren’t setting up such convoluted plans, and were working with rather than against each other, they could have removed Mat and Perrin, and maybe Rand, if they truly wanted him dead.

   

We get the first point of view chapters from Mat, so he probably gets the most character development of any. All we have seen of him before is that he is irresponsible and doesn’t think things through, but the Mat we see here values keeping his word and does like to have as much information as possible before acting. We also see him acting heroically, to save Aludra; and with generosity, giving coin to a beggar in Illian — though he denies both. He is also taken for a Lord, though this is largely because of his wealth, rather than his bearing. We additionally see him fighting and that he is very skilled with a quarterstaff, and extremely lucky.

 

Perrin is still struggling with being a wolfbrother, though he now feels an absence when they are not there. He also meets Faile, and their relationship — though still adversarial in this part of the book — develops quickly. He is still insisting on calling her Zarine, but is willing to defend her against Lan. He also begins to assert himself more with Moiraine, though she is able to quickly shut him down most of the time.

 

We don’t see as much from the girls. Nynaeve learns to Heal at will, but is still blaming Moiraine for them leaving the Two Rivers, long beyond the point where it was remotely plausible to do so.

 

Although we spend more time in the Tower, we don’t really get to see more of how Aes Sedai work, or why certain of them are chosen for particular tasks, such as Healing Mat, or being present for Egwene’s raising. There is confirmation that the Black Ajah exists, though there was little doubt about Liandrin. And we know there must be a relatively large number of them, as they can send 13 away without there being any obvious pattern. But other than an attack from a Gray man, they seem to have lost interest in Egwene and Nynaeve.

 

We end the month with a convergence – Rand heading for Tear to get Callandor; Moiraine to protect him and the girls to go after the Black Ajah; Mat is heading to Caemlyn, but it is pretty clear at this stage that something there is likely to send him on to Tear for the conclusion. 

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