On This Day in Randland: Feast of Lights and First Day

 

 

This article contains spoilers through Lord of Chaos.

 

 

Marking the final day of one year and the inaugural day of the next, the Feast of Lights is a two-day celebration that signals festivity, charity, and renewal. The first day of the Feast of Lights takes place on the 28th of Danu, which is simultaneously the shortest and the last day of the year in Randland; it roughly corresponds to the 22nd of December, near to our own Winter Solstice. The second day, also called First Day by some as it marks the 1st Taisham and the beginning of a new year, is “considered a time for charitable giving” (Companion).

 

Although The Wheel of Time Companion and The World of Robert Jordan’s ‘The Wheel of Time’ list a number of holidays, feast days, and festivals that we never get a chance to experience during the series, the Feast of Lights is one that we do get a glimpse of—not just once, but twice, in two different cities. In New Spring, Moiraine describes how “every window in Tar Valon shone brightly from twilight till dawn” with candles and lamps, even unused rooms in the White Tower, while “processions of citizens carr[ied] lamps through the night-cloaked streets” and attended “merry gatherings that frequently lasted until sunrise in even the poorest homes” (NS, Ch. 14). We see the Feast of Lights again in Lord of Chaos, where Perrin is surprised that the Cairhienin “celebrated in ways [he] could never have imagined” with dancing and music and abandon, all in complete counterpoint to their usual reservation (LoC, Ch. 53).

 

Three major events are noted to have occurred within Randland on or around the Feast of Lights—and all of them, significantly, have to do with False Dragons or with the Dragon Reborn himself. Late in the year 336 AB, some three hundred years after the end of the Breaking, the False Dragon Raolin Darksbane was killed shortly before the Feast of Lights; his death was supposedly in time to make that year’s festival “‘the most joyous for the world in many years” (Companion). Over a thousand years later, in the year FY 351, the False Dragon Davian is said to have “declared himself on the second day of the Feast of Lights, the first day of the year FY 351, and was allegedly killed on the first day of the Feast of Lights, the last day of FY 351” (Companion). Both deaths speak to ideas of renewal: a world free from the conquests of Raolin Darksbane at a time of year when light and the length of day would shortly begin to increase, and a year-long reign of war and terror by Davian that began on the shortest day of the year and ended, as with Darksbane, on a day that signals new life and hope.

 

Finally, in the closing days of 999 NE, approximately eighteen hundred years after the fall of Davian, Rand is captured by Elaida’s embassy in Cairhien; it is during the Feast of Lights that Perrin sets out in search of him. One week later, on the 8th of Taisham, Rand is freed and the Aes Sedai swear fealty to him. Although this event does not gesture towards renewal in the same way as the events surrounding Raolin Darksbane and Davian, it certainly marks a new beginning to the relationship between the White Tower and the Dragon Reborn—one that changes the world in many ways.

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Wheel of Time Casting: Alanna Mosvani, Ihvon, Maksim

This article contains spoilers through Lord of Chaos.

 

In the few days since Rafe Judkins’s December 18, 2019 announcement that #WoTWednesday has been disbanded so that information can be released at a more accelerated pace, we’ve not only received a behind-the-scenes photo of Josha Stradowski, Madeleine Madden, and several members of the make-up crew—we’ve also received three more castings.
On December 23, 2019, Deadline announced that Priyanka Bose will play Alanna Mosvani while Taylor Napier and Emmanuel Imani will play her Warders, Maksim and Ihvon. The information has since been confirmed by Amazon and Rafe. According to Deadline, all three “are set to recur” in the series.

 

 

 

 

Since Alanna doesn’t appear until The Great Hunt, and then only briefly as part of Siuan’s delegation to and from Fal Dara, this triple casting raises numerous questions. Here are a few preliminary thoughts on the casting.

 

  • While we meet both Alanna and Ihvon in The Wheel of Time book series, we never do properly meet her second Warder, who is killed by Whitecloaks before Perrin, Faile, and company reach the Two Rivers. Additionally, Maksim has either been renamed or is a new character entirely, as Alanna’s second Warder is named Owein in the books.

 

  • Will Alanna, Ihvon, and Maksim appear only briefly in the first season and recur later in the series—or will their roles be significantly expanded? Given Alanna’s forced bonding of Rand in Lord of Chaos, is her role potentially being increased in the early series to pave the way for this plot point—an event akin to rape that plays a huge part in making Rand distrust Aes Sedai even more than he did from the start?

 

  • Given how Deadline describes the relationship between Alanna, Ihvon, and Maksim—that “The three of them have a complicated relationship built on love, sex and respect that welds them into a fearsome force in battle”—will their relationship be portrayed as polyamorous? Rafe has already stated, in regards to Rand’s relationship with Elayne, Aviendha, and Min, that he is much more interested in polyamory than polygamy.”

 

What are your thoughts on this new casting information?

 

 


 

Official #WoTWednesdays might be over, but we’ll still be featuring content on the upcoming television show most Wednesdays.

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TarValon.Net Library Resources: Citizens

 

 

This December, our social media accounts have been featuring TarValon.Net’s Citizens. If you’d like to know more about what it means to be a Citizen of TarValon.Net and how to become one, check out some of the resources below! And of course, if you want to know more about various cities and citizens in The Wheel of Time, our Library has you covered.

 

 

Citizens at TarValon.Net

 

TarValon.Net’s Membership Manual contains tons of valuable information and is a great first stop if you’re looking for information on how to become a Citizen.

 

Check out the Citizen Merits page and the Citizen Contributors and Attendees page to see some of the ways in which various Citizens have been involved at TarValon.Net. If you’re looking to become involved on the site, then this edition of Citizens’ Corner, written by former Mayor Zandera Sommers, will give you some ideas!

 

 

Cities and Citizens in The Wheel of Time

 

If you’re looking for information on various cities in The Wheel of Time, TarValon.Net’s Library has articles on every city, town, and village in the series—from the city states of Far Madding, Mayene, and Tar Valon, to capital cities such as Caemlyn and Chachin, to tiny villages like So Tehar and Abila. Check out this comprehensive list of Cities, Towns, and Villages for more.

 

TarValon.Net’s Library also contains a series of handy character lists that divide characters by nationality—so if you’re looking to learn more about citizens of a particular Randland nation, you can find links to each list here.

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Emond’s Field Diary, Part 5

 

 

We’ve read the journeys of those who left the Two Rivers following the fateful Trolloc attack on Winternight—but what about those who stayed behind? Here’s one imagining of what life might have been like for one Emond’s Fielder.

 

Part 1     |     Part 2     |     Part 3     |     Part 4

 

 

20 Saven 1000 NE

 

The Aes Sedai have started to teach me the hundred weaves. This can only mean that they think I may be ready for the shawl sooner rather than later. I will have to work hard if I want to be Aes Sedai before the Last Battle so I can stand with the Aes Sedai to defend our world from the Shadow.

 

 

25 Amadaine 1000 NE

 

I feel dizzy from everything that has happened in the last few days. I was summoned by the Hall of the Tower to take the test for Aes Sedai. It was terrifying going in because I wasn’t sure if I was going to get through it, but I came out of that ter’angreal whole and mostly unharmed, having completed all one hundred weaves. It seems so silly to have to do these useless weaves under pressure, but I’m hoping it will help me in the coming battle. Because it is coming. The Mother says we will be leaving soon to go to the Field of Merrilor for a meeting that will be something to see.

 

But I digress. I am sure that, whoever you are who is reading my private thoughts, you want to know what Ajah I chose. It was a hard decision, but in the end, it was no decision at all. I am, and have always been, Brown. I will be getting new rooms in the Brown Ajah quarters, and I’m so excited to be going to live among my new sisters.

 

 

26 Amadaine 1000 NE

 

I am in my new rooms. It is all so new to have such large rooms, and I don’t know how I will fill them up like the other Browns do. I will definitely need to start collecting some books to make things a bit more homey in here, but it is going to have to wait until the Last Battle is over. Tomorrow we leave for the Field of Merrilor and I guess we’ll see what happens.

 

 

28 Amadaine 1000 NE

 

The meeting at Merrilor has taken place, and the battle will begin soon. All of the Aes Sedai are getting assignments for the duration. I have been assigned the task of bringing supplies from the Tower to the Field of Merrilor to help keep everyone fed and to treat wounds. I am glad I will not be on the front lines because I do not know the weaves that would keep me and my sisters safe, and I don’t want anyone to come to any harm.

 

 

1 Maighdal 1000 NE

 

The battle is over. I know that means I’ve skipped a lot, but it’s over. The Light has won, and everything will be different now. Egwene and her Warder both died in the battle, so we’re going to have to choose a new Amyrlin. I, for one, am looking forward to going back to my new rooms in the Tower so I can write down everything I remember; then, we as an Ajah can put it all together in a written history that will, hopefully, be treasured and kept safe in the Tower for many years to come.

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Minor Key: Setalle Anan

This article contains spoilers for the entire series.

 

“‘The sisters would see it if they could let themselves,’ she said, as simply as if she were discussing the chances of rain, ‘but Aes Sedai expect that when…certain things…happen, the woman will go away decently and die soon after. I went away, but Jasfer found me half starved and sick on the streets of Ebou Dar and took me to his mother.’ She chuckled, just a woman telling how she met her husband. ‘He used to take in stray kittens, too.’”

—Setalle Anan to Mat Cauthon, Knife of Dreams, Chapter 9

 

 

From the moment she expresses the hope that she can act as a sul’dam in Mat’s plot to escape Seanchan-controlled Ebou Dar, readers began to speculate that Setalle Anan was once Martine Janata, an Aes Sedai of the Brown Ajah who was burned out while studying ter’angreal. Her implicit admission of this fact when she asks to see Mat’s foxhead ter’angreal in Knife of Deams was thus the satisfying confirmation of a theory that had long been hinted at. It is a quiet moment, one filled both with palpable longing on Setalle’s part and imbued with her indelible serenity and strength.

 

In the more than twenty-five years following the events that unexpectedly severed her from the True Source, Setalle Anan painstakingly builds a new life for herself. After fleeing from Tar Valon to Ebou Dar, she eventually marries Jasfer Anan, with whom she goes on to have eight children—five daughters and three sons. At some point, Setalle buys her own inn, The Wandering Woman, a prosperous establishment situated near the Tarasin Palace.

 

Although there are differences between being stilled and being burned out[1], it is nonetheless interesting to read Setalle’s character in comparison to Siuan and Leane, who provide our deepest look into what it is like to lose the ability to channel. Like Siuan and Leane, Setalle must find something worth living for—something to replace what is said to be irreplaceable, a temporal (and supposedly temporary) bandage for an incorporeal wound so deep it usually kills within two to three years at the most.[2]

 

Where Siuan and Leane welcome their eventual Healing with overwhelming relief and a breathtaking joy, however, Setalle’s relationship to her lost ability to channel is somewhat different. Although her examination of Mat’s foxhead is made with trembling hands and an exhalation of breath as she “trace[s] a finger” around the eye that “was half-shaded to form the ancient symbol of Aes Sedai” (KoD, Ch. 9), she later tells Mat that she “should never have even asked to see” the ter’angreal (ToM, Ch. 17). Although Setalle never states it outright within the series itself, The Wheel of Time Companion reveals that she “claimed to be happy when Healing did not work [on her]; if it had, she would have to give up the life she had made for herself.” Despite the fact that characters such as Nynaeve and Elayne have begun to dismantle the perceived barrier between a life and family outside of the Tower and being Aes Sedai, Setalle still sees a clear disjunction between the two—and she appears to favor the option that so few Aes Sedai would ever even consider.

 

 

Notes

 

[1] Those who are stilled can still sense the Source but cannot touch it; those who are burned out cannot sense the Source at all (Companion). Further, stilling is an intentional severing from the Source and is used as punishment, while burning out is caused accidentally, usually when a channeler draws too much of the Power or uses a ter’angreal improperly (TSR, Ch. 5). While stilling can be Healed, burning out cannot (Companion).

 

[2] Bonwhin Meraighdin is said to have lived for four years after her deposition and stilling (Companion), but this appears to be exceptional longevity post-severing.

 


 

Is there a minor—but key—character you’d like to see covered in this series? Let us know in the comments!

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