Welcome back to Drew’s WoT reread! Today we will be covering the second part of Book Two, The Great Hunt. Going from the departure from Fal Dara to Tremonsien and the male Choedan Kal, there’s a lot of fun stuff in this stretch.
As always, spoilers for the entire series are present. The introduction post is here. You can find all previous entries here. And now, onward. Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time!
- I always liked the Bayle Domon chapters early on in the series. For one thing, they’re always packed full of foreshadowing: in EotW, you’ve got mention of the Choedan Kal and the Tower of Ghenjei; in TGH, you’ve got the seals and Easing the Badger and Egeanin. I got a nice little chuckle at the description of the Perfumed Quarter in Illian, here, since it’s given to us once again in the next book.
- I will admit that I had forgotten that Hurin wasn’t the only sniffer around. Obviously, what Perrin does is different, but we get mention of sniffers in Fal Moran and Ankor Dail.
- Speaking of Ankor Dail, both the name and the place have always intrigued me. For one, it’s a harsh name, something that doesn’t fit with the smooth names like Fal Dara and Fal Moran. For the second, it’s the Shienaran fortress that guards the Niamh Passes, and so sees lots of action against the Aiel. We know Masema was posted there, and got his hatred of Aiel from that position. I think a story or novella about Ankor Dail and the clashes there would be super cool.
- We get a big hint at the further importance of Fain here. The fact that he smells so much worse to Hurin than do the Myrddraal is nice and ominous, and helps set a good narrative tension to the hunt as they move south. Then, of course, we have the Fade nailed to the barn door, and the mirage that almost catches Rand. Mordeth had some serious powers.
- A quick aside: Masema really is a colossal jerk in this book. Not that he’s not insufferable later on, but he’s just plain awful to Rand during the hunt for the Horn. Could you imagine if it had been Masema instead of Hurin, trapped with Rand and Loial in the Mirror World? *Shudders.*
- Uno sees Lanfear in the village on the Erinin, and gets all confused. It’s funny, until you really think about it. It’s just so comforting, knowing that Lanfear is keeping tabs on Rand and co., right? Right? Bueller?
- Gotta hand it to RJ: he knows how to describe some nasty scenes. Changu and Nidao’s demise was particularly horrific. I did always like the Shienaran burial rites, though.
- The story of Hardan and its demise is pretty sobering. It’s like an anti-monument: the capitol city literally torn apart for building materials elsewhere and left desolate. The world has gone downhill, even since the years after the Breaking, and things are only going to get worse. It also provides a nice chance for Ingtar’s inner turmoil to surface.
- Ingtar’s exhortation to Rand about duty and taking over should the chain of command fail…sheesh. How can you not love Ingtar’s character? He is so tortured, so sure that the choices he made were wrong but so certain at the same time that he can redeem himself if only the Horn could be recovered. It comes across as simple passion for the Horn, but when you know the real story, it is heartbreaking.
- “I may be a fool, but I intend to be a live fool.” Never change, Mat. Never change.
- The scene of Rand finding the Dragon Banner and finally talking to Mat and Perrin is one of my favorites in this book. Maybe in the series. There aren’t many times when the friendship among the three of them truly comes to the forefront of things, and I wish it did. The differences in character are on full display here: Rand, reluctant and beleaguered but sticking to what he knows right; Mat, quick to think and judge, ready with a quip, but understanding beneath all that what friendship truly means; and Perrin, the one to give things proper consideration, and to see the reality of the situation. I love the way the three of them play off and with each other, and this scene among the trees and away from the light of the camp is one of the most important for laying that foundation for the next twelve books.
- “No need to look guilty until I know if I am. And maybe not then.” Egwene, with her wonderful introspection. Even when she does things wrong or breaks the rules, why admit to her guilt? And then, as is usual, when Verin is talking directly to Nynaeve about wilders, Egwene assumes the conversation is still about her, and even asks what it has to do with her when it clearly isn’t.
- Ha! I totally forgot that Alviarin was one of the Aes Sedai who went north to Fal Dara. There sure were a few Blacks on that little vacation, weren’t there?
- Ah, Egwene’s first Dream. Rand in danger, of course, from Ba’alzamon and Lanfear both. I like that in her dream, Lanfear is the more immediate threat, looming over Rand’s sleeping form. She is, after all, tailing him very closely…and about to be a lot
- It’s frustratingly realistic the way RJ has Rand trying to use the One Power early on. Rand doesn’t understand anything about weaves or flows or all of that. He just tries to form mental images and somehow merge them with the glow of saidin in his mind. It makes a lot of sense, even if it’s totally wrong.
- Mat knows how to make willowbark tea. Huh. Maybe Nynaeve and Egwene should give him more credit than they d—oh, wait. Of course they should.
- “Moiraine Sedai sent me, Lord Ingtar.” HAHAHAHA IT WAS RIGHT IN FRONT OF US THE WHOLE TIME. Verin, you lying, sneaking, Black Ajah, awesome woman. Of course, there were theories that she had just removed the Oaths but wasn’t Black. But still. Right there. Her first statement upon joining the group was an outright lie.
- I don’t know if I ever caught this before, but if I did, I forgot. Verin clearly knows that Rand and co. used the Portal Stone. She must have seen the campsite and Stone, and done the mental gymnastics. She is way too fixated on the “no trace” part of it, and, well, this is Verin we’re talking about. She knows. She always knows.
- Ishamael shows Rand his face in the dreamshard (or in Rand’s own dream, I’m not sure) and says that it is the result of using the Power unchecked. Two interesting things here. One, interesting that the Mirror Worlds apparently all intersect with the same Dream World. Two, Ishamael is totally talking about a different Power here, and scaring Rand into thinking it’s the One Power. But nope, those eyes of flame and wrecked skin are the result of the True Power being used too much.
- Super weird that there are grolm in the Mirror World. I’ve never totally understood that. Did the Seanchan somehow go to the Mirror Worlds and bring their “pets” back with them? Why would grolm still be alive in a world that saw the Shadow win?
- Hi, Selene. Ugh.
- Heh, a funny little tie-in here. The name of the chapter where Rand is forced to face down the grolm because of Lanfear is “Choices.” The chapter where Moiraine and Lanfear go through the ter’angreal doorway? Yep, “Choices”.
- The lesson with the Amyrlin is a good measuring stick of just how far Nynaeve has gone toward reaching her potential. She’s strong enough to pick up, throw, and pin the Amyrlin against the wall…but not so strong that the Amyrlin can’t shield her with ease. Of course, Siuan is pretty strong for an Aes Sedai, but it’s good to remember that Nynaeve isn’t going to reach her potential until much later—probably at the Cleansing.
- It’s really crazy how many Black Ajah we meet in this book. Liandrin, Verin, Alviarin, Sheriam…honestly, probably more that are slipping my mind right now.
- I still think “the grave is no bar to my call” is one of the coolest sentences out there. I don’t know why I love it so much, but there it is.
- This post is going on way longer than I wanted, but I have to comment about the male Choedan Kal. This is one of the first scenes where Jordan’s lyricism in prose stood out to me. The flow of the scene, the madness of it, and Rand’s struggle all form one of the most visual scenes in the book, if not the series. And, looking back, knowing just exactly what it was he was meddling with, what he almost did…well, no wonder Lanfear was actively terrified of it.
- And we come to Tremonsien. First off, I just want to give a thumbs-up to RJ’s Lord of the Rings shoutout here. Having the inn called The Nine Rings, and having that be Rand’s favorite adventure story…I see what you did there.
- So, “Aldrin Caldevwin”. I’m actually not sure if this has ever been confirmed, but I’m pretty damn sure that he’s Asmodean. For one, he doesn’t know anything about Gareth Bryne and the Andoran military, despite supposedly meeting him and, as an officer, should have fought against them. For two, he is conveniently located in charge of the soldiers guarding the male Choedan Kal—something we know Asmodean is very much interested in. For three, Lanfear disappears after meeting him. I’m pretty sure she’s angry that she’s been found out by another of the Forsaken and wants to get away and take a new angle. She doesn’t want to be predictable. And she knows where Asmodean is, now, which allows for her to go pick him up and set up their little Keille Shaogi/Jasin Natael ruse.
- All right, that’s it for this installment. I know things got a bit delayed there. Work got really busy this week and cut into my reread time, but I’ll have the rest of TGH up on Wednesday. Check back in!
5 thoughts on “Drew’s Wheel of Time Reread – The Great Hunt Part 2”
Verin, you brilliant woman. You pointed out quite a few things I hadn’t caught and really made me think- I always thought Caldevwin was odd but your theory makes total sense. Loving this re-read!
Oh! I had never thought about Aldrin Caldevwin being Asmodean before. Thanks for pointing this out-as I’m pretty sure you’re right. Keep up the re-read, I’m enjoying it!
I feel much better knowing you missed Verin’s lie at first too. It gives me hope that I can one day be as WoT smart as you :-)
It never ceases to amaze me how much new pops up in each reread. Too bad about the snow this weekend, I had hoped to raise a passing thought & a glass about a comment Verin makes a little later in TGH!
I hope you share it when I post the last bit of TGH! There are a lot of really interesting things going on behind the scenes in this book, and I know I won’t be touching on all of them. Just not enough room, really. But that’s why we have comments!