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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
Cambry Varner

A First Time Reader's Impression of The Wheel of Time

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After years of my friend bugging me to read the Wheel of Time, I finally broke down and read the first book and after reading it it had me interested in where the characters are headed even after the daunting journey they had taken, I know the story has just begun for them and they all have their own destinies to carry out before the end of it.  

 

It's going to be a long job of reading it all since its fourteen novels long, but I'm a big fan of large fantastical worlds.  I am a reader of the Lord of Rings, A Song of Ice and Fire, Harry Potter, and the Indigo series.  And I'm impress by the depth of Robert Jordan's fantasy world and I have only scratched the surface.  

 

Currently, I'm 40% through the Great Hunt and decided to join the WoT community, though I know I have to thread carefully to avoid spoilers as many others have long since finished the series.  

 

I have to say I liked Eye of the World.  The boys (Rand, Perrin, and Mat) have been thrown into the middle of something much, much bigger than they realized and chances are that it's fate as Moiraine has said several times the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills.  And I am also impressed by the female empowerment in the pages I've read.  Thus far, and with exceptions, women have pretty much the run of things via the Women's Circle, the Aes Sedai, and the Andor Queen.  The places not run by women seem to be corrupt or dangerous like the White Cloaks or the Four Kings inn.  

 

The characters are very well developed with some flaws here and there.  

 

Rand: Rand seems to be the Everyman type character.  The person who seems average (except for his height) and dreams of seeing places beyond his simple village, but becomes very overwhelmed and frighten when it happens.  Granted, it happened in a way he never expected or wanted.  I love how he's torn by the possibility that his father may not actually be his father and stubbornly clings to the Heron marked sword as a symbol of his relationship to his father.  And I also think the sword serves as a symbol of what's to come in his life.  I pretty much guessed early on that he may be the Dragon Reborn.

 

Perrin: Firstly, I want to say I LOVE the on-going gag of quiet Perrin believing flustered Rand being good with girls while Rand believes the opposite.  Also, Perrin is of the trope of the big guy believed to be stupid because he moves slow and is quiet when its the opposite.  I have to say I liked the chapters when he was on his own with Egwene and found myself sort of shipping them together.  The Wolfbrother came out of no where, but it fits with his character.  I hope we see Elyas again because he was too interesting a character to loose so soon and I think Perrin could really use someone to help guide him.  

 

Mat:  Mat is my least favorite character, in fact I rather dislike him.  I have never been a fan of troublemaker characters, especially when those characters want to play tricks and cause trouble during what is a very dangerous situation from exploring what appears to be a dangerous place and then on top of it all stealing a cursed dagger and telling no one about it.  And he has a bad habit of running his mouth and literally spilling the beans on the things they rather keep hidden.  Everytime he has dialgue in the back of my mind I think, "Shut up, Mat."  For someone who likes playing tricks, he doesn't seem that smart.

 

Egwene:  I have mix feelings for her. I like how headstrong she is to follow her own path, but she seems a bit selfish and foolhardy.  She seems to be so willing to leave behind her home a little too quickly and embraced becoming an Aes Sedai pretty quickly.  I don't really like the whole "we were promised together" thing between Egwene and Rand.  Just because you're childhood friends doesn't mean you are meant for each other.  Though she enjoyed her time with the Tinkers, especially with Aram, I'm glad that she stuck to her goals and didn't set them aside for the sake of a man.  More female empowerment there.

 

Nynaeve: I'm on the fence about her.  I want to dislike her as there is a thin line between being a headstrong woman to being a bitch.  Though, I do enjoy the clashes between her and the more cool and level headed Moiraine.  Sorry, girl, Moiraine has been in this game much longer than you.  She's in over her head and she's fighting to stay afloat and refuses to admit that things are out of her control, letting her temper and lead her.  

 

Loial:  The tall bookish type who is actually a sweet heart.  There isn't much for me to say for him.  I like his character, but do far I haven't gotten to know him real well.  He seems to the one with answers.

 

Lan: He reminds me of Ian Nottingham from The Witchblade comics.  Tall, dark hair, skilled, stoic, and serves as a body guard for someone with power.  I'm quite taken with Warders in general and want to know more about them.  And I love the reveal of Lan being an actual king and Nynaeve's reaction to the revelation.  

 

Moiraine:  Moiraine is my favorite character of The Eye of the World.  I love how she seems to know more than she's saying and is willing to do everything to prevent the Dark from winning.  I enjoy watched her battle of words with Nynaeve and gives advice and wisdom to the Two Lander boys.  She and Lan work very well together and I was shipping them in the beginning until I notice the feelings growing between him and Nynaeve which I support.  

 

 

Overall, the Eye of the World has been a fun read.  It's a little overwhelming sometimes with so much information and history being foisted onto the reader, but a good read nonetheless.  Someway, I believe all the characters have each taken their first step on their journey in the Wheel of Time Saga.

 

 

I plan on posting more as I read to share my thoughts as a first time reader.  I know I talked a lot about the Eye of the World and tomorrow I'll have  a post up tomorrow about the Great Hunt based on what I've read.

 

Please, no spoilers on any responses. 

Edited by Aragem

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There is a lot of history/backstory and characters.

Not to mention predictions via images( like Min at Barelon) or prophecies.

 

I read from the beginning and reread the series each time a new book came out,  keeping in mind that sometimes I was waiting years of the next book.  That is not necessary with the Dragonmount site.  You can quick scan and review any of the books.

 

I found much satisfaction in puzzling out the predictions. 

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Having read the series completely once, and now at Winters Heart in my first re-read since, its interesting to see your views on the characters at the first time of meeting them.  I actually had very similar thoughts with some of those characters at first, and with out going into too much detail, I think you will be surprised at how your opinions and views change on some of them. I know with me that by the end of AMOL those characters I was excited by at TEOTW weren't necessarily those characters I could stand at the end!

​Without a doubt it is worth all the little details you are given, which at the time (and often for a good 6/7 books on!) don't really seem to have any relevance yet all of a sudden something happens and *click* it all falls into place.

​Thanks for sharing your first impressions, its often hard to remember your own initial opinions after so many years have passed!

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I have a feeling you'll warm up to any characters you haven't already. It's generally accepted that Jordan was very intentional with his characters and plot development in EOTW. It's a big part of why it's considered a masterpiece. A second re-read after reading through the series once is suppose quite the mind blow.

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I'm sure the characters are still in stage 1 of their progression.  I have seen character development in Perrin and Rand, but I have yet to see any in Mat.  I'm certain that something will happen that will make him grow up and take things more seriously.  

 

I am currently 40% through with my Kindle Edition copy of The Great Hunt.  Somehow, I had the feeling that the Horn of Valere was going to be important in the next book as soon as it was presented and I was right.  Where I have finished, Rand, Hufin, Loial, and Selene (fake!, but I'll get to that later) have just returned to the real world from the Stone.

 

Based on what I've read, most of everyone is taking steps towards their destinies.  Rand (much to his chagrin) is being treated like a Lord, a lost Prince.  I love the culture clashes between the Two Rivers characters and the Shinarians.  I can just imagine Rand, Perrin, and Mat taking a bath and a woman just casually gets in with them.  Which I thought a bit strange, but then I saw the esteem women are held in Shienar so I suppose if a man did anything more than wash her back without her consent, then his life would be hell from then on.  I enjoy the idea of the women in the women's apartments thinking that if Rand got married he would settle down and probably would have done that if he was "promised" to Egwene.  

 

Speaking of which, I see that Rand and Egwene are in the phases of breaking of their relationship which really didn't seem to be there.  I hadn't really seen them together in a couple way.  They haven't spoken about marriage, touched each other, or even kiss, not that I wanted them to be lovey dovey, but I wanted to see some signs of their feelings for each other.  It looks like they were told they were going to get married by their parents and just went along with it.  

 

Okay, getting a little ahead of myself.  Back to Rands unwanted lordship.  I can see Moiraine propelling him to become a leader through changing his wardrobe, Lan giving him a speed run on acting etiquette towards the Amrylin Seat and making him Second to Ingar without his knowledge.  I can imagine his eyes bulging when she sent him the Dragon Banner with him on the hunt.  

 

Along with his unwanted position, his relationship is strained with Perrin and Mat due to his attempts to distance them from him.  He is afraid of himself and of the Aes Sedai which is understandable and I can see how he didn't want to get Perrin and Mat involved, including Loial.  Though, his insulting them was a bit cliche for my tastes, but it did the trick.  Though he had come to regret it later.  Thankfully, sweet Loial forgave him and I believe Perrin would come around if it wasn't for grudge carrying yucky Mat who keeps stirring it up with passive aggressiveness towards Rand and I do sense some jealousy from him for Rand's upgrading to being a Lord.

 

Later tonight, I'll have more to say about the individual characters, just have to get ready to visit a friend today.   

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Having read the series completely once, and now at Winters Heart in my first re-read since, its interesting to see your views on the characters at the first time of meeting them.  I actually had very similar thoughts with some of those characters at first, and with out going into too much detail, I think you will be surprised at how your opinions and views change on some of them. I know with me that by the end of AMOL those characters I was excited by at TEOTW weren't necessarily those characters I could stand at the end!

 

​Without a doubt it is worth all the little details you are given, which at the time (and often for a good 6/7 books on!) don't really seem to have any relevance yet all of a sudden something happens and *click* it all falls into place.

 

​Thanks for sharing your first impressions, its often hard to remember your own initial opinions after so many years have passed!

My plan is to re-read the posts later to see how my thoughts and feelings for the characters evolve as I read.  This is more of an experiment for myself.

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It's fun to see your thoughts about the characters. I had similar thoughts when I read the series the first time.

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This is the impression I have from reading 40% if the The Great Hunt.

 

 

Rand:  As I mention before, Rand is being propelled into a position of power against his wishes through Moiraine's manipulations.  I love how helpless he seems when others regard him as a Lord or Prince.  Of course, being told you are going to be the most revile man in the world doesn't help matters much.  And I have the strengthening suspicion that Rand had always used the Power via the mental void he builds when he wants to concentrate or focus and just hasn't realized it yet.

 

Perrin: Perrin is more reserved than he was in the previous book with his head bowed and hiding his new eye color.  I wished he take a more leadership stance and not let Mat keep him from making amends with Rand.  And if anyone should understand what Rand is going though, it should be him with his new Wolfbrother ability.  It's great that he's finally used his Wolfbrother ability to continue to hunt during Rand, Hufin, and Loial's absence.

 

Mat:  Mat has done very little to make me any fonder of him.  He's annoying and his passive aggressiveness doesn't help matters at all.  And I can tell he's annoying the Shinarian's with his mouthy ways.  Rand did say some hurtful things, but who hasn't gone through a fight with a friend?  And what Rand did wasn't that extreme of a betrayal so why not make up when he comes forward to apologize?  And what's worse, he's holding Perrin back from making amends.  I think the worst of it stems from his jealousy of Rand's rising position.  Ohhh, I wanted to pop him the way he treated Rand when they learned he could channel.  

 

Egwene:  She is on her way to to Tar Valon.  I can't say too much for her save for her departing scene with Rand which was okay, but I can't help thinking that if she was truly worried for him wouldn't she have tried to run away with him to help him hide?  But then would he have let her?  A second thing, it was a dangerous thing to see Fain in the cell, he's dangerous and even more so after what we've seen in the cells after the attack!  

 

Nynaeve:  She confuses me sometimes.  If you hate Aes Sedai so much, then why are you going to train from them?  True, it's to look after Egwene and to use the Power against Moiraine of whom she still doesn't trust, but my thing is this, what about the three boys going off after a dangerous Darkfriend with foreigners?  And hasn't Moiraine proved herself to at least warrant some trust.  Again, I think this stems from jealousy of Moiraine for having Lan as a Warder and being to highly regarded by Egwene.  Also, if she's going to train to become an Aes Sedai, shouldn't you be more respectful to your would-be teachers?  I loved the scene where the Amyrlin Seat put her in check.  

 

Loial:  Just being his old sweet heart self.  I was more sadden by Rand hurting him than I was by Perrin and Mat because he had always been Rand's confidante and supporter.  And being wise, he understood Rand wasn't acting himself when he was hurtful and is the first to forgive him.  

 

Lan:  Lan had two great scenes.  The tender exchange between himself and Nynaeve and when he helped out Rand by prepping him to meet the Amyrlin Seat.  Rand doesn't realize it, but in teaching him the proper etiquette, he had given Rand a leg to stand on against his superiors.

 

Moiraine:  We definitely got some development from Moiraine and know of her plans for Rand.  She is a player when it comes to the political scene, but she is still taking a huge risk in doing it.  Thankfully she has the Amylin's Seat aiding her and a surprising ally in Verin.   

 

 

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there are actually 15 novels in this series if you count the prequel (New Spring).

I read all 15; also the Guide (The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time).

those 2 books may have spoilers.

 

there are also shorter editions of the first 2 books; published by Starscape. verbatim with the respective "main" books.

the first of those has an extra prologue; and the second of those has extra glossary entries.

each Starscape book covers about half a main series book.

I also read those.  no spoilers in those books.

 

I have a sample of the Companion.  I take it has spoilers for whole series.

 

the prequel I take was originally a novella; I have not read the novella.

part of a multi-story/multi-author book (Legends).

I have a sample of that book; also the other books with same name.

 

edit::  a number of scenes contain foreshadows (indicators of later scenes), predictions (Foretellings, Viewings, Dreams, etc), and/or pre-series prophecies (Karaetheon Cycle, etc).  foreshadows become less frequent in the later books; predictions/prophecies become more frequent.

some foreshadows become predictions, and some predictions are kind of re-peatings of prophecies.

Edited by mb

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Sorry, it's been a while,  There's been some changes at work and that's affected my reading.

 

I'm at 52%  of the Great Hunt and here are my thoughts.

 

Selene.  I didn't trust her the second we met her.  She's too calm for someone that had been "accidentally" transported to an alternate dimension and Rand is right to suspect her of being an Aes Sedai, but I have the sinking suspicion that she's telling the truth about not being one . . .  She's a darkfriend if not an outright Forsaken as she keeps trying to get Rand to channel and take the Horn of Valere for himself.  Thankfully, Rand's loyalty to Mat keeps winning out and I only hope that Mat will return the favor one day (or at least stop being a little snot).

 

My highlight is Nynaeve's trials to become Accepted.  Interesting trials, I have to say and Nynaeve, who isn't my favorite character, did win points from me for her success despite the odds and temptations.  

 

But first, I have to say that her determination to take revenge or stop Moiraine is annoying.  What exactly did Moiraine do?  She didn't bring the Trollocs to Eomond's Field, she didn't turn Rand into a man who could channel, she didn't force Egwene to go with her, and in fact, she had pulled their butts out of the fire more than once.  I think it stems from the jealousy Nynaeve has for Moiraine's bond with Lan.  

 

Now for her trials, I see them as her Overcoming Fear, Letting Go of Loved Ones, and Overcoming Temptation.  

 

The First Trial, I enjoyed watching her overcoming Aginor and I believe the power she exhibited is a taste of her true ability.  

 

Second Trial was a little sad.  I never got attached to Eomond's Field, but I hate bullies and though I don't like Nynaeve's abrasive attitude, I was rooting for her to take on the Evil Wisdom.  But alas, it was a trap and she had to flee.

 

Third Trial made me smile and sad for Nynaeve/Lan.  She had the conviction to pull away from the one thing, quite possibly, the only thing she ever wanted for herself in her life.  

Edited by Aragem

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I am currently at 54% of the Great Hunt.

 

I finished the chapter where Egwene meets some familiar faces at the White Tower.  Elayne, Min, Galad, Gawyn, and Elaida. 

 

Even though Egwene seemed to hit it off with Min and Elayne, I could feel a bit of tension when it came to Rand and the other girls sensed it too.  I definitely foresee one of my guilty pleasures coming up and it's love triangles.

 

One thing I learned reading fantasy series is that whenever a character with the gift of Sight makes a prophecy, to note it down because it will become important later on.  Min said that Elayne would have to share a man with two other women.  And I recall she told Rand in the first book that three women would morn him and that Egwene and he weren't meant to be.  And Min herself thought to herself that she destined to fall in love with Rand later.  So three women, and one of them is NOT Egwene is going to fall for Rand.  So that is Elayne and Min so who is #3? 

 

Galad came across a little too strong in flirting with Egwene.  Slow down, you just met the girl, I thought.  And I see Elayne is still peeved for his ratting them out to the guards during Rand's visit in the palace garden.  Not that I blamed her. 

 

And poor Elayne is going to get a switching.  Elaida is just being mean. 

 

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first on-screen appearance of Rand's 3rd lover I think is in book 3.  later books give more clues.

some later scene in book 2 gives an indicator of her; chapter 37.

 

about Nynaeve's hatred of Moiraine; scenes you already read kind of give Nynaeve's reasons.  Moiraine taking the boys and Egwene out of Two Rivers; and Nynaeve feeling responsible for the safety of those 4 (she was their Wisdom).  Nynaeve's arrival at Baerlon and her discussion right after Shadar Logoth are the scenes I am referring to.

 

Selene; book 4 confirms several things about her.

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What if I told you, you would end up hating perrin and loving matt xP. I hated perrin all the way through till the last book or two when he finally got good. Matt is a way more interesting character and really starts to shine come book 2-3 when things start to get interesting with him.

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love/hate/like/dislike/etc can differ between different readers and between different times through.

 

me; I pretty much liked both Perrin and Mat in all my times through.

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who is number three indeed,do you want an answer or was it a rhetorical question?

No spoilers, please.

 

I have a general idea of what's going to happen in the following books, but very, very general.  I don't want any specific plot details spoiled for me.

 

Currently at 57% of The Great Hunt

 

Just finished the reunion scene between Rand and Thom Merrilin.  I'm happy to see this character again as I didn't believe he had died.  My rule of thumb when it comes to character death in any series, if you don't see the character die and the other characters just assume he's dead (There's no way he could have survive!" Then that character is going to show up alive later on.

 

I think by this point Thom has determined that Rand can channel.  Maybe I need to go back and re-read the conversation again, but I believe that Thom suspects Rand can channel, but hasn't grasped the gravity of the situation yet.  I understand Thom wanting to stay out of it, but somehow, someway, he's getting roped into despite himself.

 

The Game.  Reminds me of the Great Game played by Orlais in Dragon Age series.  Or it could be better described as Game of Thrones from A Fire of Ice and Fire.  Anyhoo, sorry, Rand, you were in the game the SECOND you stepped into that city.  And burning those letters did you NO favors.  I was crying out NO! when he threw those letters into the fire.  The game is played via subtlety and guile, not angry outbursts and declarations.  Maybe Thom can give him a kick in the ass I want to give him.  

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I started reading these back in 2000 - I was 12 at the time - and I demolished what there was of the series up until that point. Since then, I've reread from start to finish at least once per year, usually 2-3 times. There's always new things to notice, either in conversations, day-to-day minutiae, names and references, whatever. If you stick with it through the whole thing and become a rereader (something that seems to be extremely common within the community, from what I've seen lurking DM for years), I think you'll enjoy coming back to this thread ages down the line.

 

It's also refreshing to see a new reader enjoying the first three books instead of getting put off by how seemingly generic they are in terms of structure and plot points and everything.

Stick with it! WoT is the most incredible piece of art and entertainment across any medium.

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who is number three indeed,do you want an answer or was it a rhetorical question?

No spoilers, please.

 

I have a general idea of what's going to happen in the following books, but very, very general.  I don't want any specific plot details spoiled for me.

 

Currently at 57% of The Great Hunt

 

Just finished the reunion scene between Rand and Thom Merrilin.  I'm happy to see this character again as I didn't believe he had died.  My rule of thumb when it comes to character death in any series, if you don't see the character die and the other characters just assume he's dead (There's no way he could have survive!" Then that character is going to show up alive later on.

 

I think by this point Thom has determined that Rand can channel.  Maybe I need to go back and re-read the conversation again, but I believe that Thom suspects Rand can channel, but hasn't grasped the gravity of the situation yet.  I understand Thom wanting to stay out of it, but somehow, someway, he's getting roped into despite himself.

 

The Game.  Reminds me of the Great Game played by Orlais in Dragon Age series.  Or it could be better described as Game of Thrones from A Fire of Ice and Fire.  Anyhoo, sorry, Rand, you were in the game the SECOND you stepped into that city.  And burning those letters did you NO favors.  I was crying out NO! when he threw those letters into the fire.  The game is played via subtlety and guile, not angry outbursts and declarations.  Maybe Thom can give him a kick in the ass I want to give him.  

 

You actually have a very good idea of what is to happen in the ENTIRE series, but you are not aware that you know.  When you hit those parts and have the epiphany, that moment of awe, you are going to flip back through and stare at things in TEOTW and be like...wow, how did I miss that!?!  Happy reading!

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Currently at 60 % of the Great Hunt

 

Seems that Thom isn't aware of Rand channeling as I believed. Is he going to be in for a surprise. 

 

Sneaky Selene shows back up "conveniently".  And then "disappears".  If she had to be an Aes Sedai or something similar, because the woman knows way more than she is letting on and has some sort of power.  I recall the hunting party, earlier in the book, one of the characters I think Uno, claims he saw a woman watching them from an upstairs window in the first abandon village they came to.  I am willing to bet that it was Selene they saw and maybe Rand, Hurin, and Loial didn't accidentally end up in the alternate dimension, but had some unwanted help getting there.  I'm blaming Selene.  Something is not right about her and hopefully Rand won't get sucked in by her.  

 

I do like the scene of the Trolloc Puppets.  I couldn't help but think of how they got the Trollocs to go along with the idea and in my head, as the Rand killed the first Trolloc puppet, I can hear them screaming, "Abort! Abort!  Run away!"  

 

And Trollocs getting vaporize by fireworks.  Wow.  Maybe something helped the fireworks out in turning Trollocs into ash, but that was almost comical.  

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Currently at 68% of The Great Hunt.  

 

In which I read that the Seanchan are so badass, they leash Aes Sedai and Domon has an adventure and I wish him luck.

 

Rand hears of how he ruined the fireworks show and braves a fire, Daes Dae'mare, and cougars.  And becomes a Lord in the process.  

 

The gang gets back together and plans an Ocean Elevan type heist for the Horn and Dagger and hopefully Mat really did break his leg.

 

* * * 

 

Overall, Rand is starting to fill the nobleman clothing he wears and everyone is noticing.  He's been stepping on Ingar's feet with realizing and doesn't cow away as he would have in the first book.  I love the scene when Rand is speaking on equal terms with Ingar and Verin, he's willing to lead and not be led.  Being the leader of his small group of Loial and Hurin, and sometime Selene has been good for his leaderships and it really shines.  Even Mat can't gripe too much when he sees it as Rand is good at it.  Observant Perrin is noticing they are all changing, but they have to change for what's to come.  

 

We get a look at the people from over the sea.  They sorta remind me of the Qunari from Dragon Age, the way they handle their magic users (Aes Sedai) by leashing them and using them as tools of warfare.  And they aren't the main force, I realized, they are just laying down the groundwork for a bigger invasion along the continent's coast.  

 

The Sa'angreal is Chehov's gun.  It's mention, but I believe that it will become very important later on.

 

Thom Merrinlin is getting dragged into events despite himself.  He's a part of it no matter what he wants or does.  He's like the reverse Gandalf.  Instead of him dragging the hero to adventure, he's being dragged into it himself.      

Edited by Aragem

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First, let me say that I love reading threads like this. I've read, re-read, and listened to the audio books for this series several times.

 

I love seeing how people interpret things and like to compare that to my own first impressions to my impressions now. One thing I will share is that as I've gotten older, my appreciations for different characters change even in their early book arcs. For instance, when I first started reading I was 15 (1995) and I couldn't stand Nyneave and felt very similar to you. Now when I read her she seems much more reasonable (usually) despite her temper. I found her Arc through the series to be one of the most interesting.

 

Keep posting impressions and thoughts. 

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. Everytime he has dialgue in the back of my mind I think, "Shut up, Mat."

Hehe.

 

I'm still working my way through the series too. Not finding much time to read lately.

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Currently at 74% of The Great Hunt

 

In which we learn say goodbye to Dena,

 

Fain bows down to the Seachan while plotting and scheming,

 

Loial runs away from Wedding Bells, but gets bit by the love bug anyway

 

the Black Wind likes to hang around spawn points

 

* * * 

 

Damn.  Dena seemed like an interesting character and I hate that her death is used to motivate Thom from his domesticity.  I was under the impression that we should see her a lot more, but I guess RJ had other plans.

 

I have a theory, though a very weak theory especially coming from someone who is not even done with the second book of a fifteen book series.  But I notice that the cultures of the Wheel of Time have the women as being dominate.  Now I am a feminist and I support books that give women more power, but I can't help but think in the Wheel of Time the reason why the women have so much power over men is because of the corruption of saidin.  Saidar, who remains clean of any taint or influence of the Dark One is able to be controlled by women giving them a leg up in any battle of the sexes.  

 

Please, don't give any spoilers to say whether this theory or true or not.

 

So that's why Loial is so nervous about being around other Ogier.  He doesn't want to get married, but he doesn't seem to mind Erith, which is cute.

 

Mat seems to have gotten over his hang ups with Rand and I have to say its nice to see the three of them paling around again.  Mat isn't quite as annoying anymore, but far from being my favorite character.

 

 

 

 

 

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Regarding the women in this series there really isn't anything that comes right out and says it so there isn't a whole lot of spoilers. My take on it is that RJ basically wrote the men and women equally in that they both have places of power both in the culture and politically. Sure, all of the Aes Sedai are women now and that they are very powerful politically. However,  you'll see that through the rest of the world that they are pretty equally balanced in that most of the countries in the series there are strong men and women.

 

On the smaller scale, this is often sometimes used to humorous effects... for example the Two Rivers Council and their Womens Circle. They are both pretty equal and both think they are superior to the other.

 

As for Mat, keep an open mind. He comes into his own in the next book and I think you'll start to enjoy him more.

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