Drew’s Wheel of Time Reread – The Dragon Reborn Part 1

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Welcome back to Drew’s WoT Reread! Today we will cover the first third of book three, The Dragon Reborn. We get to talk about Ogier dietary habits, a couple of really foolish girls, and what Rand means to this book.

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 had a bit of a soft spot for Pedron Niall. Yeah, he’s the head of the Children of the Light, and they’re collective jerks, but he actually has a merciful streak and knows the meaning of the word “respect.” On top of that, he’s really smart. He just has a healthy dose of skepticism to go along with all of it, and it eventually leads to his undoing.
  • Ah, Bors. I honestly cannot remember where I read it (probably a Theoryland transcript of an interview, let’s be honest here), but Robert Jordan said that the Myrddraal talking to Carridin here is Shaidar Haran before he got his Superfade body. I think that’s totally awesome.
  • I never really thought about it before, but the Tinkers consistently show up with Perrin’s storyline and barely at all for any of the others. Leya slips under the radar a lot, but she is a Tinker. That makes three of the first four books—Perrin’s most formative experiences—with the Tuatha’an.
  • Lots of people have pointed out, over the years, how few Rand POVs we get in the book “ironically” titled The Dragon Reborn. I contend that that title is by no means a misnomer. Yes, we’re only in Rand’s head a couple of times, but the entire book is still driven by him. It starts off with Niall planning to use Rand. Perrin and co. are chasing after Rand. Be’lal and the Black Ajah are setting a trap for Rand. The ripples from that trap extend to the Wonder Girls and then on to Mat. Everything revolves around Rand.
  • Further proof that all of the Forsaken are out: Perrin sees Be’lal, of course, but he also sees Rahvin. I believe this is the very first time Rahvin shows up.
  • It’s still early in the series, so Myrddraal are still scary. This scene in particular, when Leya gets killed, is one Myrddraal that’s extra terrifying. Just thinking about being out in the middle of the night, with monsters fighting all around, and you happen to glance up and see a Fade on your roof….
  • Some nice Prophecies of the Dragon tossed in early on here, and easy to miss because they’re just quoted by Moiraine and not offset like most others. We have foreshadowing of Rand and the Aiel’s past (“slay his people with the leaf”) and the Seanchan (“bind the nine moons to serve him”). This is also a nice little setup for a big source of tension later on. The Seanchan prophecies, the Essanik Cycle, say that Rand must bow to the Crystal Throne; the Karaethon Cycle seems to say the opposite. Which is true? I remember waiting for those last books and being very nervous about it.
  • Recently I attended a little get-together of other WoT fans in my home state. One conversation that arose was over whether or not Ogier are vegetarians. I was of the opinion that they ate meat, and I kept an eye out for that when I started reading TDR, as I thought I recalled one instance. It turns out I was right: Loial does help Perrin (and Moiraine, heh) catch fish, and Perrin remarks that Loial would eat the entire fish Perrin caught.
  • Perrin’s refusal to accept his wolfbrother-ness is frustrating, but can you really blame him? Nobody knows what’s going on with it, and the second wolfbrother he sees is Noam. One out of two for keeping your sanity isn’t great odds. Of course, they don’t know the full story about Noam, but on the surface, it’s pretty concerning.
  • Rand uses balefire to kill a Darkhound. While neither are named outright, here, this is the first time either shows up. Get used to both.
  • And the first Egwene chapter, something I’m less than thrilled about—but at least I’m that much closer to getting Mat back in all of his true awesomeness. I’m going to try to keep the Egwene bashing to a minimum, but I have to pull out this quote: “Wounding remarks did not come naturally to [Egwene].” HAHAHAHAHA BULLSHIT. If you need evidence of RJ using an unreliable narrator in his POVs, the giant flaming arrow points at this.
  • Poor Hurin. You gotta feel for the guy. He’s nervous enough about Aes Sedai due to his sniffing, and with Mat slowly (or quickly, actually) fading, he’s stuck as the only man among four women who can channel. Unfortunately, this is far from the worst thing that’s going to happen to Hurin in this series. Poor guy.
  • In fact, this chapter is one giant fiasco because Elayne and Egwene don’t know how to control themselves. Attacking the Whitecloaks, as obnoxious as they are, was idiocy and only harms their precious Aes Sedai standing in the eyes of the world. And then each of them talks without thinking, revealing their identities and where they came from…smooth going, girls. This is one of those times where you really appreciate how good Verin is with handling situations, in comparison to those around her.
  • Egwene and Elayne are scared of being stilled for a while, spurred on by Faolain’s mean-spirited comment. But if they really think about it, they were never in danger of that. Even when they whisper to each other between their rooms, their arguments are circular and all conclusions preclude being stilled.
  • Oh, Siuan, if only you knew what great decisions you made here. She talks about who to trust, and how she should be able to trust Leane and Sheriam, and that she was forced to trust Verin, but that she chooses to trust Nynaeve and Egwene. Talk about dodging a Saldaean Mistress of Novices-sized bullet, there.
  • Remember the good old days when you thought there was a chance that there were only thirteen Black Ajah? Verin’s achievement was so monumental, unearthing nearly all of them.
  • Sheriam is pretty good at keeping her cover. She was clearly the one who brought the Grey Men into the Tower to try to kill Egwene and Nynaeve, and then she willingly tells them all about the Soulless and gets angry over the fact that they’re the first Grey Men in Tar Valon since the Trolloc Wars. Not only that, but she orders them not to talk about the Grey Men to anyone. Keeps down the number of people who might get suspicious about Sheriam being involved.
  • Keep being awesome, Nynaeve. While the Amyrlin and Verin refuse to say whether or not they’ll have Mat Healed, and Egwene cautions Nynaeve from using too much of the Power—some nice hypocrisy from her, as usual—Nynaeve is willing to sacrifice herself to try to Heal Mat. This is the core of Nynaeve: she set out to keep the Two Rivers kids safe, and even when the White Tower has gotten its claws into her, she still holds true to her duty. Nynaeve can certainly be abrasive at times, but she is one of the most selfless characters out of the entire Two Rivers bunch.
  • “I am a free man, Aes Sedai! I am no Aes Sedai meat!” Mat, you’re just the best. Just absolutely the best.
  • And with that, Mat is Healed! Check back on Wednesday for Mat’s triumphant return to awesomeness, some observations about the Old Blood, and much more!
  • In the mean time, don’t miss the extensive preview of All Flames Cast, an original fantasy novel!
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