Bonjour, my brilliant boarders of Dragonmount! Welcome back to another weekly installment of "It Works in Theory," Dragonmount's newish theory blog, which just so happens to be entrusted to my hands. I apologize for the extended delay between new entries; as many of you are aware, Dragon*Con was held this past weekend in Atlanta, Georgia, and I had the privilege to go this year for the first time. In short, it was simply a blast, and particularly exquisite because my birthday fell on the last day of the event. It was, in fact, the first convention of any kind that I had ever attended, and it did not fail whatsoever to impress me. I greatly urge any fans of the Wheel of Time series to try and make it out next Labor Day weekend or even this coming spring when JordanCon will be held in the same city. And now, onto our disclaimer:
WARNING!!! Spoiler Alert!!! WARNING!!!
This blog is based on theories that will include facts and material from the latest books in the series, so if you have not read through Towers of Midnight, continue reading at your own risk! This weblog of "It Works in Theory" is copyrighted by Despothera and Dragonmount for the private use and enjoyment of our audience. Any other use of this weblog or any pictures, descriptions, or accounts of the blog without consent from Despothera "signed in triplicate, sent in, sent back, lost, found, queried, subjected to public inquiry, lost again, and finally buried in soft peat for three months and recycled as firelighter" (from Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) is greatly encouraged. To be honest, I don't really think it is copyrighted per se anyway, but just to be on the safe side, maybe just include a link back here or something.
Alright, here's one more thing I wanted to get out of the way that I hope my editor won't mind terribly: I don't believe many of you know this, but in addition to having somewhat of a penchant for writing, I also happen to pretend to have minor musical talent as well. I am in a band that goes by the same name as my handle here on Dragonmount (Despothera). We recently got our website up and running to feature our newly recorded EP, so if anyone would like to check it out and see if you like it, just visit www.despothera.com. We play hard rock and metal, but have a broad spectrum of musical influences so many might be able to enjoy the songs on the site. I'm particularly proud of the song which I wrote, a 9-minute instrumental which I named "Tarmon Gai'don" in reverence of The Wheel of Time. Now that I have finished shamelessly self-promoting my band, let's go ahead and move on to the subject of today's blog.
I thought it fitting today after already bringing up my love of music to go into further detail about a subject I've referenced in earlier blogs: the importance of the Talent of Singing in helping to save the world of Rand and his allies. As I mentioned in my premiere blog entry, we now have a pretty good idea that the "Song" which the Tuatha'an (Tinkers, or Traveling People) have been seeking might not actually be a singularly important song, but rather a longing to return to the happier ways of their people when they were Aiel and used Seed Singing to help promote the health of the land around them. The Tuatha'an practice the Way of the Leaf and have a strong affinity both for nature and music, making them something of an oblique allusion to groups in our own society that dedicate their lives to following peaceful ways and jam bands (any Deadheads out there?). Luckers, one of our own site's admins, has written a very helpful article which talks about this subject in further detail: Demystifying The Song.
Many people, including myself, believe that it might be essential for the Talent of Singing to be rediscovered in order for the forces of Light to have any chance at winning. However, the big question is, how will it be rediscovered? One of the characters who is connected to this mystery most often happens to be my favorite character in the series: Perrin "Goldeneyes" Aybara. We'll get to why so many people believe he will have a central role in rediscovering the lost Talent in a moment, but first, I wanted to examine one of the character parallels that exist in the personage of Perrin.
If you haven't been to The Thirteenth Depository, a Wheel of Time blog headed by Linda Taglieri (who I had the pleasure of meeting this past weekend at Dragon*Con), please take time to visit there at some point. While I have a fantastic time writing my blog and am proud of what I've been able to put out so far, the theories and notions I have presented are a grain of sand on the beach compared to the many musings and thoughts that have been expressed by Linda on her site over the years. I'm particularly impressed by her ability to find the many historical, literary, and mythological references and allusions found in The Wheel of Time; Robert Jordan was simply a master of his trade when it came to selecting various figures and stories throughout the history of mankind and injecting derivatives of them into his tale. One of the connections Linda has made that I particularly enjoy is the parallel between Perrin and the fictional character of the knight Sir Percival from Arthurian Legend and Grail stories (you might have to scroll far down the page to get to that part).
It's my feeling that the story alluded to the most in The Wheel of Time is the story of King Arthur, The Fisher King, and the search for the Holy Grail. We won't get into the plethora of references and allegories to this legend, but it is a good idea to focus on the Perrin/Percival parallels to see how Perrin might end up being involved with the rediscovery of Singing. First of all, it's very easy to notice the similarities in their names. In fact, another name for Percival found in the early writings of Grail legend is Peredur, which is even more phonetically similar to Perrin. Percival was of noble blood but was raised in the forest in a simple upbringing until he was fifteen, when he saw a gallant group of knights that inspired him to become one himself. His genuine interest in doing the right thing is stressed almost to the point of naivete, but it is his purity of heart which singles him out to be the knight who is best equipped to find the grail.
We know about Perrin's modest upbringing in the Two Rivers. Although he wasn't entranced into a life of heroics, he has nonetheless been transformed into a hero, even a lord, by both the nature of him being ta'veren and the circumstances which have surrounded him. In spite of his transformation, he has kept the same noble and modest personality, and the purity of his heart has never come into question. Of the three ta'veren from Edmond's Field, he is easily the most noble; Rand has a constant struggle of internal torment at his role as the Dragon Reborn, and Mat, while very lovable himself, is somewhat of a scoundrel.
In the Grail stories, Percival is plagued by being in constant conflict with temptation in his quest for the grail, as Perrin is plagued by the conflict against succumbing to the wild, violent side of himself represented by the axe he leaves behind in Crossroads of Twilight. Percival was so afflicted with internal struggle in the face of temptation that he wounds himself by piercing his thigh with his own sword rather than lay with a temptress. Perrin is wounded badly in the thigh in one of his confrontations with Slayer in Tel'aran'rhiod in Towers of Midnight. One of the most important congruencies between the two characters, though, is their potential role in saving the health of the land.
We know how Percival helps to save the health of the land; by finding the grail, he is able to rejuvenate the Fisher King and, through him, the land. One of Min's visions gives us a glimpse of how Perrin might be connected to the health of the land:
The Eye of the World
Chapter 15, "Strangers and Friends"
The strongest thing I see about the big, curly-haired fellow are a wolf, and a broken crown, and trees flowering all around him.
The wolf image is obvious as Perrin is a wolfbrother. The broken crown is a reference to his connection to the Saldean crown, for which Perrin is now in the line of succession since his wife, Faile, is second in line after her father, Davram Bashere. The trees flowering all around him are a strange viewing for Min to have about Perrin. It would make sense if she saw the image about Rand, since we see in Towers of Midnight that Rand now has an aura about him which instantly brings health and vibrancy to the immediate area around him. Being that the image is around Perrin, though, it's likely that he will end up having an important role in rejuvenating the land even as the Dark One's shadow grows strongest. But how will he end up doing this?
We're now going to venture into a subject that was talked about recently in our 4th Age Podcast: the mystery of Nakomi. Just as a quick refresher, Nakomi was the woman who appeared to Aviendha on her journey to Rhuidean, where she saw the bleak future of her people. Many theories have been raised regarding the identity of this strange figure, but one which I particularly enjoy and find to make the most sense has to do with one particular line in the book right before Nakomi's introduction:
The Towers of Midnight
Chapter 39, "In the Three-fold Land"
Aviendha settled down, watching the fire crackle, smelling the meat. Yes, she was glad she hadn't Traveled directly to Rhuidean, instead taking the time--precious though that time was--to run in the Three-fold Land. It helped her see what she had been, and what she had become. Aviendha the Maiden was gone. She had embraced her path as a Wise One, and that brought her honor back. She had purpose again. As a Wise One, she could help lead her people through their most trying time.
Once this was through, her people would need to return to the Three-fold Land. Each day in the wetlands made them weaker; she herself was an excellent example. She had grown soft there. How could one not grow soft in that place? It would have to be abandoned. Soon.
She smiled, settling back and closing her eyes for a moment, letting the day's fatigue melt away. Her future seemed so much more clear. She was to visit Rhuidean, pass through the crystal columns, then return and claim her share of Rand's heart. She would fight at the Last Battle. She would help preserve the remnant of the Aiel who survived, then bring them home where they belonged.
A sound came from outside her camp.
Perhaps Aviendha wasn't awake at all during her encounter, but instead had drifted off to sleep with her mind filled with the problems her people faced. Aviendha has a history of doing things "accidentally," as when she first wove a gateway to get away from Rand to try and hide her shame, so it's possible that she slipped into Tel'aran'rhiod. Another possibility is that she was drawn there somehow in her need to find further clarity. Once in Tel'aran'rhiod, she is visited by Nakomi, who happens to be a Jenn Aiel who is a Hero of the Horn and resides in that dream world. It might be against their precepts to interfere or talk to people from the real world, but we already have a precedent for it and since there is a dire need for Aviendha to gain understanding about her people's predicament, it's probably okay in this circumstance to break the rules.
I also like other ideas about Nakomi, such as how she might be a spirit guide, or even possibly the Creator in person (remember how she has to go "see to nature"?), but let's roll with this idea for now. I don't think it's a stretch to imagine there will be a huge confrontation in Tel'aran'rhiod in the last book, especially if Perrin somehow has to save Rand from the clutches of the Dark One after Rand's death. In such an important encounter, the forces of the Light will use any tool they have to help give them an edge, so I expect to see Dreamwalkers, Wolfbrothers, and Heroes of the Horn, possibly including Nakomi.
Even should Nakomi not be present at the battle in the dream world, what if she still finds the time to make another appearance to Perrin at some point when he's traveling through Tel'aran'rhiod? Perrin is not just a warrior, but a blacksmith, and has the ability to create as well as destroy. The title of this week's blog is actually a direct quote from The Shadow Rising, from the last paragraph of chapter 40, and could be important foreshadowing. The music he hears is from a band of Tuatha'an he meets in the Two Rivers, and it turns out he's familiar with this particular group of Tinkers and their leader, Raen, from when he traveled with them for a time in The Eye of the World. Raen hails Perrin with the customary greeting a Tuatha'an will ask upon meeting someone in the world:
The Shadow Rising
Chapter 41, "Among the Tuatha'an"
"You are welcome to our fires. Do you know the song?"
Perrin might not know the Song yet, and this might be a stretch, but perhaps Nakomi helps Perrin discover something else hidden deep inside himself. Perhaps, even as Perrin's hammer, Mah'alleinir, sings its own song of destruction as it carves swathes of death through ranks of Shadowspawn, Perrin Goldeneyes will let his voice resound against the Dark One himself at the sealing of the Bore. Leading a heroic grouping of Aiel, Tuatha'an, and Ogier (and maybe even a Nym), he will Sing the Song which ends up being the Light's salvation.
Wouldn't that be something?