Alright now the real thing, no more jokes!
Just a warning, this was a hard blog to right. So much went on in such a short time.
We start back up with Rand heading out of Tear. He’s already announced his plans, well somewhat announced, and he’s leaving with all the Aiel as well as Egwene, Moirain/Lan, and Mat. Rand is confused over the two letters Elayne left him, complete opposite of themselves, yet from my experience with females, at least she’s still talking to him. It’s when thy stop that you know you are in big trouble. Anyway Rand tells Moiraine that he means to travel to Rhuidean by means of a Portal Stone. Through some research he has found some stones in Tear, and knows there is one in Rhuidean. Rand is able to narrow the symbol he needs down to two, and ironically they leave it up to Mat and a flip of the coin of which to choose. With as lucky as Mat has been, why not? Now I was somewhat hoping we would see another episode of “What Might Be”, but I guess Rand has mastered a little more control over his powers, and manages to bring them all to Rhuidean without losing months or freaking everyone out. Rand does push himself to the limit, though, and almost kills himself in the process. Oh, and he also has a little fat man angreal in his possession now.
We view our first scene of the Waste from Egwene’s POV. It’s hot as hell, though Lan seems to have a few tricks in order to beat the heat. It appears there are a couple different groups of Aiel waiting, or already there. We’ll start first with the Shaido. From what I have gathered already and from the next couple chapters, Rhuidean is the place those who want to be clan chiefs or wise one’s are sent. The Shaido are there because they have sent one in, meanwhile the guy's brother Couladin seems to be trying to start up trouble.
Already I can tell these Shaido don’t seem like the good guys, or good Aiel. Rand is granted permission to enter, and more surprisingly, Mat joins him. Couladin gets all fired up again at this, and attempts to kill Mat. Which is when we find out the Aiel Wise ones can channel, at least some of them. We also learn a lot about the ways of the Aiel which was pretty cool. I’m still not entirely positive I have it all down, especially the sister-wives and second mothers, etc. They do have an extremely strict honor code type of thing called ji’e’toh. It pretty much drives the way they live, and no matter how much you may hate someone, you still follow the code which is pretty neat. It’s one thing to have the code, but if you even have just one person that doesn’t abide by it, the code starts to fall apart. It also appears that the Aiel dreamwalkers can tell the future a little. I think we already knew this from the little we were told with Egwene’s potential for dreamwalking, but I thought dreamwalking and dreamers where too different things. Maybe not. They let it slip that Moiraine is to go through the rings in Rhuidean too, and she heads out the same way Aviendha does. Which leaves Egwene to begin her training with the Aiel Wise Ones, and from the start of it, it appears it will not be easy at all. Maybe they’ll bring her ego down a little. There was some more going on here, I know I’m missing some things, but I’m anxious to get on to the part inside Rhuidean, so that’s all for this chapter.
Rand and Mat make it down to just outside the fog. As they walk through it they see a decent size half-built city. Rand is able to channel water into the fountain which probably saves them a little from the extreme heat and dehydration. As they walk towards the center they see tons of One Power items lying around, jackpot! Now if Rand can manage to figure out what some of them do, he and Moiraine will be set. Anyway Rand walks into the rings and leaves Mat to sit there waiting for him, as if Mat will be content to wait..
Thus begins Mat’s second journey into this odd place. It looks like a similar doorway to the one he went into in Tear, but instead of snake people he meets these fox like creatures. They ask the same question, if he has iron, music, or fire, but they don’t seem as friendly as the snake people. Friendly may not be the right word, but these foxes acted more hostile. Once Mat gets to the main room with the foxes on pedestals, he tries to asks his questions only for them to keep staring at him. It seems in this place he doesn’t get to ask questions, but is rewarded 3 things he wants? It isn’t until he starts making demands that they say anything, and the chapter ends before we really find out what he gets. Though, we do find out later that he gets some spear type thing. Not really sure if there was anything else, but it moves on to Perrin before we find out too much. So I guess I’ll have to wait until later to find out.
Chapter 25 -26
These two chapters were really, really cool. We start out at a time before Rhuidean becomes what it is today, and with each step we go farther back in time to the point of opening the bore. You really felt the pain of the Aiel as you go through it, and just wow. Great stuff. It was really well written to pretty much make it clear how the Aiel go from peacefully serving the Aes Sedai as Da'shain, to the warrior clans they are today. I’m not going to go back through all the sections as I’m sure you all have read this part many times, as I probably will, but I will go over some things. First, do we see the beginning of the Tinkers here? Not positive, but at one of the scenes, we see another part of the Aiel break off from the main group. They say they keep the Way of the Leaf, but must not serve the Aes Sedai or something like that. They take off some items from some wagons and take off. They also mention something about finding the song in them again (the talent of them singing with the Oiger and growing things?). I went back and reviewed some of the parts about when we first saw Tinkers, and when they mention meeting the Aiel in the Waste, they call them the Lost Ones. I don’t know, sounds cool though. Would explain how the Way of the Leaf started too. Second, this really sheds some light on a lot of the things the Aiel do. Like why the live in the waste, why they mistrust everyone else, why they fight. It’s interesting, though, with as violent and militarily built they seem to be, they won’t use the sword simply because its sole purpose is to kill men. That, along with their honor code, doesn’t make these people seem so savage. Regardless, these people are officially my favorite of the book so far.
It was also pretty cool to see parts of the breaking, and what it was like back then. It sounds like things where much more civilized and modern, before. Which confused me at first, how do you go backwards in development? But, I realized what the breaking must have been like, and it is almost like the nuclear war so many movies have depicted, and how much could be lost. I hope we get more scenes from the past, especially during the breaking. We see this Nym called Someshta, and the remaining Aes Sedai planning something. Is this the creation of the Eye of the World? Someshta reminds me a little of the Green Man, and the Dragon Banner was definitely on the table. It also mentions something to do with some young male Aes Sedai who haven’t been touched by the taint too much, to form that clean pool of power? I was trying to figure out how the sword got to Tear, and maybe that was the job of the men. So many questions have opened up because of this chapter, soo much info I think my head will explode.
Anyway Rand makes it out, and saves Mat from being hanged by the tree. From the ending of Mat’s POV, it sounds like the Snake people put him there. I guess he never specified how he got out, tricky little snakes. After all that, Mat and Rand couldn’t be left alone and a bubble of evil decides it needs to add a little more excitement to their lives. After they fight these dust figures, they finally make it out. I’m so pumped at this point to see what happens next, and I turn the page to find its back to Perrin, great. RJ really knows how to leave us hanging doesn’t he?
So in ending, after all which has just happened, here’s my take. We already know the Aiel are the people of the Dragon. We now know how they failed the Aes Sedai, or at least I’m assuming it is part of two things. First, they clearly lost the Way of the Leaf. Second, they must have lost a good majority of the items they were supposed to take care of, though a lot may be now in Rhuidean? So while the viewings explained a lot, they don’t exactly say why the Aiel need to follow the Dragon, nor why they were named people of the Dragon, did it? Maybe I missed that part.
By the way I've been meaning to ask for a while but always forget, what do the pictures at the beginning of each chapter mean? Sometimes it is what looks like trolloc horns, or what looks like an inverted teardrop, or even some dice. Not sure if they are supposed to mean anything.