Drew’s Wheel of Time Reread – The Great Hunt Part 3

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Welcome back to the reread! Today we finish The Great Hunt and I ramble on about the injustices of Randland. It’ll be fun, I promise.

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!

  • A nice shout out to New Spring here. It’s easy to think that RJ came up with things and filled in stories as he went along, but it’s things like this conversation between Moiraine and Lan, and the subsequent publishing of that story, that show how much he developed that world even as early as the second book. Of course, the heaping loads of foreshadowing that happens in these books points that way, too.
  • Lan is, always has, and always will be the biggest badass around. He is awesome.
  • Lots of foreshadowing in the scene with Adeleas, Vandene, and Moiraine, at least for this book. More Toman Head and Lanfear.
  • I never quite understood why Nynaeve’s first fear, for “what was”, is her in a maze, naked, fighting Aginor. Does it all just stem from her inability to fight him at the Eye? It doesn’t quite make sense, and I thought something from the Two Rivers would have been appropriate here. Though I suppose RJ didn’t want to double up on Two Rivers fears, since her second fear, for “what is”, is about the TR under a tyrannical Wisdom.
  • The third fear is always sad for me, but knowing the end of the series, at least there’s hope for it now.
  • Oh, hi, Sharina! I totally forgot that Sharina Melloy was first introduced here, as a future Aes Sedai. She’s the super-powerful grandmother novice the rebels pick up on their march to Tar Valon.
  • The numbers Elayne cites for novices and Accepted are depressing: forty novices, and only seven or eight will make Accepted. They’re depressing, that is, until you realize that the Aes Sedai are a bunch of rigid hypocrites and the much better channeling organizations elsewhere in the world are burgeoning.
  • More Egwene hypocrisy as she complains about “dancing with a nice boy” and having Rand be a little upset, then getting all in a snoot over him doing…nothing.
  • The Logain we see in the Tower here is a far cry from the man who resists being Turned in AMoL. It’s sad, the way he holds himself and has the deep-seated depression in his eyes. Now I’m extra happy and excited to get to LoC and reread his Healing.
  • First viewing of Egwene becoming the Amyrlin pops up here: Min sees a white flame. She also sees a severed hand for Elayne, which…uh. I have no idea what that is, actually. Maybe one of the red herrings RJ liked to throw in. Anyone have a better idea?
  • The Foregate kind of cracks me up. I feel like we could have had an entire novel set just in the Foregate, and it would be awesome. Too bad it burns down…Shaido dogs.
  • I like that it’s a bit of a recurring theme of people walking into inns and shocking Thom mid-performance. It’s awesome that he’s back, at least for a bit. I remember being very excited when I read this the first time. Thom always intrigued me, and his age plus mysterious background (at this point) reminds me a lot of Shepherd Book from Firefly.
  • Oh, Rand, throwing the invitations into the fire and shouting that you’re not playing the Great Game. I understand why he does it, because Daes Dae’mar is certainly It’s probably my least favorite thing about this book.
  • Am I the only one who never liked Dena? I was kind of glad that she died.
  • “Twice and twice shall he be marked/Twice to live, and twice to die/Once the heron to set his path/Twice the heron to name him true/Once the Dragon for remembrance lost/Twice the Dragon for the price he must pay.”
  • I kid you not, that passage from the Prophecies is one of the most amazing things RJ did in this whole series. So much is hidden in there, so much foreshadowing, with just enough that when you read it for the first time, you can puzzle out some of it, but other things that you cannot even have a clue about yet. I absolutely love it.
  • I will say, Thom’s reaction to Rand saying they have the Horn makes me chuckle.
  • Losing the chest in Cairhein has to be one of the most frustrating plot changes out there. I’m beginning to remember why this book, as much as I love it, is not among my favorites in the series.
  • Our first Aiel! Hi, Urien!
  • Verin’s fixation is hilarious. She knows she’s on to something with the Wise Ones.
  • I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Ingtar is awesome. His growing urgency, almost manic need to regain the Horn is just so well done, such a neat way to mask his true character while also actually being his true character.
  • I hate the Whitecloaks. I’ll just leave it at that.
  • Egeanin…Domon’s attitude toward the Seanchan is hilarious in this book, knowing that he’ll eventually marry her and become subsumed into their society.
  • More proof for my Caldevwin as Asmodean theory: even though he’s right in the guardhouse, the guard doesn’t know a Captain Caldevwin. And Caldevwin disappears pretty quickly, too. Typical Forsaken stuff.
  • Verin drastically underestimates Logain’s strength here, when she says that he would be unable to use the male Choedan Kal. Logain is really strong, only a couple steps down from Rand. Stronger than Asmodean, for sure, and Asmo can use it.
  • The evening at Barthanes’ is fun. Rand being corner by the noblewomen cracked me up, even as it brought up some of those gender issues that RJ liked to play with. Like Mat and Tylin, this scene has a definite tinge of humor to it—but if it were noblemen and, say, Min being cornered, we’re looking at a very different tone to the scene.
  • The Black Wind is super creepy, and the fact that it obeys Fain is just worse.
  • RIP Barthanes. Or well, RIS, I guess, since you’re firmly in the Dark One’s grasp now. Funny that the gholam is active this early in the series, and its first two kills happen in the same building, but over a year apart.
  • Sheesh, I’m running really long, and I have a lot to talk about at the end. To keep things condensed a bit, Stedding Tsofu was cool, and the soulless Ogier creepy. It was fun to see the Maidens of the Spear.
  • “Mat’s the gambler.” Haha, Rand, you don’t even know.
  • “What Might Be” has to be one of the best chapters in the whole series. “I have won again, Lews Therin” is so perfectly chilling, after every life Rand lives where he doesn’t serve his purpose. It’s cool to see him fight against the Seanchan, but I really wish we could get behind Perrin’s and especially Mat’s eyes.
  • I wonder what Verin saw? Knowing now that she’s a Black, you have to wonder what sort of lives she might have lived.
  • I’m not going to go into the naive stupidity of the Wonder Girls for following Liandrin blindly, an Aes Sedai they don’t know who is actively mean and largely disliked. I knew she was a Darkfriend from the get-go, and the entire passage, reading it for the first time, I was just fuming over them willingly going along with her.
  • Nynaeve is seriously awesome, though, for evading capture and waging open war against trained damane in the countryside.
  • I still don’t get how Ba’alzamon’s hands burned the back of the chair in the real world. Tel’aran’rhiod—henceforth known as TAR, because that name is obnoxious as hell to write—isn’t supposed to effect nonliving reflections.
  • Deus Ex Domon for the win!
  • “Five Will Ride Forth” is also an awesome chapter name. In fact, basically every chapter name taken directly from the Prophecies is awesome. Of course, it’s still only my second favorite in this book.
  • Turak was a jerk, and I’m glad he died, but there is a loss of innocence with this scene. This is the first time Rand has killed another human being. It’s sad, especially knowing his eventual struggle with his humanity and drawing a moral event horizon—eventually crossed—and the downward spiral in TGS.
  • Rand does officially earn the title of blademaster here, even with his relatively small amount of training. He did kill a blademaster.
  • Ingtar’s single-minded obsession with the Horn comes to a head here. Even when Rand knows Egwene is there, and in need, Ingtar refuses to be swayed from his course. He can taste his salvation, his arduous struggle out of the Shadow almost completed.
  • “You are a better man than I. Shepherd or lord, a better man. The prophecy says, ‘Let who sounds me think not of glory, but only salvation.’ It was my salvation I was thinking of.” Excuse me while I go weep for second.
  • Ingtar goes out in the most epic, bravest way possible. He did think of salvation, but in the end, it was not his own salvation he fought and died for. I think this is the act that redeems him most. Darkfriends are encouraged in their selfishness; they are told that they can gain all of these rewards, but must compete with their cohorts. Even though Ingtar is far from the most selfish Darkfriend out there, he still made his choice to join the Shadow because he didn’t feel validated and was bitter about the lack of respect given the Borderlands for their fight. In the end, though, he finally put himself aside and fought for others, fought to save something bigger than himself.
  • And that brings me to maybe my biggest gripe with this series: WHY WASN’T INGTAR MADE A HERO OF THE HORN??? He saved the damn thing! He was awesome! He exemplified every heroic aspect of sacrifice with his final stand. Seriously, Jain Farstrider was made a Hero for doing the exact same thing! He was also a pawn of the Shadow—maybe even an actual Darkfriend—also strove for redemption, also sacrificed himself to save others…ugh. JUST MAKE INGTAR A HERO ALREADY!
  • Tia mi aven moridin isainde vadin. The Grave is No Bar to My Call. I love this chapter so much. So, so much. It’s really cool seeing it from Rand’s perspective here, and even cooler when Mat remembers it on Swovan Night in ACoS. This is such a huge event.
  • As an aside, yes, Rand is tied to the Horn.
  • “I did not send Verin.” Right there, straight out, we have our proof from Moiraine, but RJ neatly deflects attention from it by having her change the subject to Padan Fain.
  • The drawing of Rand and Ba’alzamon has always been a vivid image for me. Even though we know that Ishy only has fire in his eyes and mouth, I like the artist’s depiction of him with simply a face of fire.
  • And now the Dragon has been proclaimed, and oaths are being broken, and Masema is about to get way, way worse.
  • That does it for The Great Hunt! Next week we’ll dive into The Dragon Reborn, but in the meantime, what things stood out to you in the last half of TGH? Any things I didn’t point out that need discussion? Leave a comment below!
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5 thoughts on “Drew’s Wheel of Time Reread – The Great Hunt Part 3

  1. Hey Drew, finally

    I love reading your thoughts about these books…
    I just finished TDR as well… Totally flipped out about Egwene’s Complete Stupidity when she’s finally free from the leash and when encountering a few sdoldiers, she goes into full blindsided mode, lashing out with the Power, instead of listening to the one she always wanted to become… Man, I would have strangled her!!! BTW, I love Nynaeve’s reaction to Egwene when she joins her in the Ways: “You break your neck, and I’ll see it mended just so I can break it again”.

  2. Hmmm, I think I have opposite view of Nynaeve and Egwene as you do. I think the way RJ wrote women in general got old pretty fast- if I tried to be as manipulative, changeable, snooty, and insufferable as pretty much any female character in WoT seems to be (with a few exceptions), I would’ve been smacked a lot more growing up. Nynaeve just seems a caricature of a screaming harridan, and I can’t get past it. Does she do cool things? Totally. It’s incredible what she accomplishes. But every time she opens her mouth, I just want to skip the page. And while Egwene is certainly guilty of this quite often, her ambition doesn’t bother me as much. Especially in later books, I particularly enjoy seeing her kick butt and take names. But Verin and Ingtar- seriously two of my favorite characters. I get tears in my eyes during Ingtar’s death, because I’m so proud (is it weird to be proud of a fictional character?).

  3. Lindsey

    So, I recently re read as well and wanted to ask if any history of Vein is known. She mentions here that “as my father used to say, it’s time to toss the dice.” Is her father connected to the Tower of Genji? We hear the phrasing so much with Mat, I don’t recall if it’s a common phrasing or one he may have started using the phrase after he met with the memories that filled his gaps!

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