Welcome back to another edition of Dragonmount's Theory Blog, "WoT If?". We're continuing our reread of The Eye of the World, with chapters 39 and 40.
Synopsis (taken from Encyclopaedia-Wot.org):
Apparently, Rand and Mat have been in Caemlyn for several days. Today is the day that Logain is brought into town. Rand is going to go see Logain. He asks Mat if he wants to go as well, but Mat declines. It seems that Mat has not been out of their room since they arrived. Master Gill had told Rand of a woman named Mother Grubb who sounded a bit like a Wisdom, but Rand does not visit her. He meets Master Gill at the foot of the stairs and Master Gill says he heard that some beggar is looking for him and Mat and that there are rumors of strange shapes creeping around outside the city at night. Master Gill recommends leaving by the back way, which Rand does. At the end of the alley is Lamgwin who has been hired to help keep the inn safe. Rand has found out the meanings of the red and white cloth that everyone is wearing. The red is support for Queen Morgase and white is for those who believe her involvement with the Aes Sedai is to blame for everything going wrong. The outer part of the city is called the New City. He makes his way into the Inner City and finds a spot to watch for Logain. He is not there for long before a beggar bursts through the crowd on the other side of the street. The beggar looks around and then points directly at Rand. Rand backs out of the crowd and runs the other way. He finally finds a wall where he thinks he can see Logain pass by and he scrambles to the top of it. He scrapes his hands and knees on the way up. He is just in time as the procession comes into view. Eventually Logain comes into view on a wagon inside a large cage with iron bars. There are two Aes Sedai at each corner shielding him. They are accompanied by a dozen Warders. Logain has the presence of a king. The crowd goes quiet as he passes and then resumes screaming after he passes. Logain throws his head back and laughs and then his wagon enters the Palace grounds. He wonders aloud "Why were the Aes Sedai watching him?" A girl's nearby voice says "They're keeping him from touching the True Source, silly." He is startled, falls off the wall, and gets knocked unconscious.
Rand awakes on the ground with a bleeding head. Elayne and Gawyn climb down from a tree. Elayne starts to tend to Rand's injury, bandaging his head with a silk scarf. Gawyn mentions Elaida, Lini and Gareth Bryne. He served under three Queens and as Captain-General and First Prince Regent for two. Rand asks who their mother is and Gawyn tells him she is Morgase. At that, Rand starts for the wall to leave. Gawyn asks Rand to tell them his name and where he is from, which he does. Gawyn says "Elayne ought to choose her husband from there," meaning the Two Rivers. Galad walks up. Rand tries to remember what Hyam Kinch and Basel Gill told him about Galad. Galad distrusts Rand and wants to arrest him, but Elayne stops him. Galad then leaves. Soon after, guards arrive led by Tallanvor. He and the rest of the guards escort Rand, Gawyn and Elayne to Morgase. On the way, Rand notes only one cat. Elayne explains that Elaida hates rats and keeps them away. With Morgase are Elaida and Bryne. Morgase chastises Elayne and Gawyn, mentioning that they will be going to Tar Valon in two days with Logain's escort. She saw him up close and thinks he is still dangerous. Elaida comes over to study Rand and notices his heron-marked sword. Elaida asks Rand where he got his sword. He replies that his father gave it to him. Elaida is suspicious, but Bryne says the sword belongs with him. Elaida asks where Rand is staying. He lies and says The Crown and Lion. Elaida has a Foretelling:
"From this day Andor marches toward pain and division. The Shadow has yet to darken to its blackest, and I cannot see if the Light will come after. Where the world has wept one tear, it will weep thousands." She whispers the rest to Rand, "Pain and division come to the whole world, and this man stands in the heart of it."
Morgase questions him and then decides to release him, much to Elaida's displeasure. She recognizes Two Rivers speech from when she was young. Tallanvor, Elayne, Gawyn and several guards escort Rand to the front gate. Gawyn tells Rand he looks like an Aielman. Rand runs away from the Royal Palace.
There's not a lot in these two chapters that leads to things we don't already know. These scenes are for building up tension, to spark more conflict between Rand and his surroundings, as well as inside Rand himself. But for us who have read the series a dozen times and counting, they seem almost common now. Especially the foreshadowing of his relationship with Elayne, and his Aiel heritage.
Still, there are a few things that always amaze me about these chapters as well. First, Logain. It was this scene of Logain trapped in a box and laughing that made me love him as a character. There is something so insanely awesome about Rand noticing how, even though Logain's caged, he's nowhere near beaten. Logain has so much spunk left in him, and we know that as early as book one! That's amazing!
And I just can't help but laugh at the irony, even now, of Logain's behavior on seeing Rand. From Rand's perspective, he can't tell Logain is looking in his direction. And it's not till much, much later that we find out why Logain laughed the way he did (Lord of Chaos, Chapter 30, "To Heal Again"). But here, it makes Logain seem totally badass. And it's also so impressive that Robert Jordan knew that Logain, first, had the Talent for seeing ta'veren, and had the ability to bring this reference full circle (letting us in on the joke) in Lord of Chaos. I don't know how many times I've said it, but Mr. Jordan sure had a lot of skill in making his plotlines synch. And it's also what makes these re-reads so much fun!
We also get a glimpse of a few characters who come into play later—another instance of Mr. Jordan's wonderful planning. We see Lamgwin, who helps Morgase escape Caemlyn with Basil Gill, and we see Tallenvor, Morgase's eventual husband. It's strange to see Tallenvor like this, because of how low in the ranks he is here. How weird to think how much he and Morgase go through as the series progresses. Right now, Morgase is still in love with Gareth Bryne, and Tallenvor is way below her notice. My, how things change.
And one other thing to note is that Rand compares Elayne to Nynaeve and Moiraine. He's saying it in relation to her "self-possession," but I wonder if he's able to sense her ability to channel. Because Nynaeve doesn't have much self-possession, at least nothing like the nobility inside Moiraine and Elayne. Nynaeve is strong willed, but she often—or always—lets her emotions control her, flying off the handle about anything and everything. That's not the definition of self-possession; almost the opposite, in fact. Nynaeve does always believe she is right, and will bully anyone who doesn't agree, but that's still not the same thing.
I'm sure Elayne—under Elaida's supervision—has probably touched saidar before. We know Moiraine channeled in the Sun Palace in Cairhein before going to Tar Valon herself (The Eye of the World, Chapter 53, "The Wheel Turns"), so it would make logical sense that Elayne could be touching the True Source, even if still subconsciously. And I wouldn't doubt for a second that Rand is able to feel that inside her already.
And there is always a stab of regret when reading about Gawyn and Rand. They could have been friends so easily, but Gawyn messed it up so badly. And seeing Rand come into contact with Galad is a bit funny too. We don't know it yet, but the "handsomest man Rand had ever seen" turns out to be his half-brother. Sometimes, this feels like a soap opera.
That's all I've got to say about these two chapters. We'll pick up next time with the arrival of Moiraine and company, and a flight from Caemlyn! Thanks for reading!