Welcome back to Drew’s WoT Reread! Today I come to the realization that there is just plain a lot of Mat and Egwene in this book.
- Lanfear was really meddling a lot in the White Tower during this stretch here, that can’t be denied, but why was she? Her interactions with the Wonder Girls in specific are baffling. Lanfear is the one who leads them to the fake storeroom with supposed clues left from the Black Ajah. Why? She clearly isn’t working with Be’lal, as she panics when he shows up in T’A’R, but Liandrin’s crew definitely is working for Be’lal. Was Lanfear trying to send Egwene and co. to Tear to purposely mess with Be’lal’s plans? Hmm.
- The scene where the Wonder Girls convince Mat to carry Elayne’s letter to Caemlyn is a great case study for what these three girls are actually like. Elayne promises honor and wonders with a smile, using her status (which doesn’t work on Mat, of course). Egwene starts by straight out insulting Mat (which of course puts his back up). Nynaeve, on the other hand, appeals to his sense of duty and adventure, while reminding him of what he used to be like before the dagger ordeal.
- Ahh, irony. The Wonder Girls are all busy laughing at Mat’s promise of help, thinking it useless, when Mat will be rescuing them from the Stone of Tear in a few short days.
- Some early inconsistencies that I suppose can be written off as ignorance on the part of the character: Siuan talks about Callandor a couple times in this book, and talks as if a woman could use it. She’s positively scared at the idea of Liandrin’s Black sisters getting their hands on it. Additionally, she says that only two stronger were ever made, when we know that there are in fact three—but I suppose she can be forgiven for being unaware of Sakarnen.
- The sequence with Mat leaving the Tower and his luck fully manifesting is just awesome. From Anaiya’s exasperated and amused expression as he leaves, to him throwing the King six straight times, to the Grey Man attacking him on the bridge, it’s all just great.
- Again we have Thom reenter the story. This time is much more amusing, between Thom’s drunkenness, Mat’s hunger, and the somehow not awkward fact that Thom has clearly been hooking up with both sisters, Saal and Mada.
- Enter Huan Mallia, captain of the Grey Gull, who’s a general toolbag. Yeah, he’s clearly been sipping from Be’lal’s Forsaken juice, but he’s been away from that for quite a while. He still acts like a total jerk to Mat and Thom, and thankfully gets his comeuppance.
- It’s so much fun seeing all of these characters show up who will eventually be pretty big players. Gaul’s introduction in Remen is one that really resonates, though, because it’s so important to Perrin’s progression. Perrin doesn’t often willingly use his axe, early on in this series, but his nature is such that he will condone violence to right wrongs. It’s such a big reason the Tinkers keep popping up with him: he is almost like them, at heart, but has a moral event horizon that pushes him to violence. That line in the sand draws closer and closer after each time his crosses it.
- The Hunters for the Horn, Lord Orban and Lord Gann, are also tools. Or perhaps clowns. Their obvious boasting and exaggeration of their fight against the Aiel is annoying in and of itself, but they’re jerks to the townsfolk as well. And then one line that always bugged me, because it just screamed hyperbole: “…every Aiel they slew, save those who fled, and one they took prisoner.”
- Just the fact that they’re claiming a bunch of the Aiel fled is ridiculous, especially when you know that they were Stone Dogs. Ugh.
- And of course Faile. Can’t forget little Faile. It still blows my mind that she’s only fifteen years old, but I’m going to try to keep that perspective as I read through this time. Perhaps she’ll be less abrasive as I read her as younger than I used to.
- Mandarb. *Snort*.
- Back to the Wonder Girls, and their little spats. Mostly the product of Egwene, throwing mini tantrums about Nynaeve taking the lead after Nynaeve was the only one debriefed by the Amyrlin. And that because Egwene was too dense to figure out the obvious tactic the Amyrlin was using to get Elayne away so she could give the other two their orders.
- And we see for the first time the true effects of Thom killing Galldrian and Rand passing through Cairhein: the place is in total civil war, with fires in the countryside and brigands on the river and bandits searching for slaves to sell.
- Two major players are introduced in the space of a couple chapters: Faile and Aviendha. Avi at least is one of my favorite female characters in the series, and she’s a boss. It’s sad that her sister died, but I suppose that opened up the opportunity for her to develop new relationships, especially with Elayne.
- For the third time in one book, Egwene fails to keep watch and the Wonder Girls are accosted. She was lucky that it only resulted in one truly dangerous situation, and that the Aiel were there to help them get out.
- Still a pretty cool action scene, as Nynaeve breaks out the balefire. Aww yeah.
- I’m gonna cut it off here, and wrap up this Saturday with the rest of TDR. We’ll get Caemlyn and Illian and Tear, and fulfillment of lots of prophecies. See you all soon, and let me know what you thought of these middle segments!