Welcome back to another edition of "WoT If?", Dragonmount's weekly theory blog. We are continuing our reread of The Eye of the World, with chapters 29 and 30 this time.
Chapter 29, "Eyes Without Pity"
Perrin, Egwene, and Elyas are traveling across the land at a quick, unrelenting pace. Elyas takes every precaution when making camp, and leaving camp. As they go, the wolves scout ahead, but Elyas still checks at the tops of each hill. At one hill, Perrin says he is going to the top with Elyas. At the top, the land around them is empty and Perrin voices his complaints about how slow they are going. Then, a large flock of ravens fly out from the trees. Perrin asks Elyas if that was the reason he was going so slow, and Elyas says he's not sure.
They travel faster now, trying to keep right at the tail end of the flock. The wolves send word that another flock is coming from behind them. They will be safe after sundown, but they might not last that long.
The ravens kill for fun. Perrin and Elyas see the group tear a fox to shreds. Other animals are left behind, mangled for no reason. As they are running, Perrin realizes they won't make it till sundown. The flocks are getting too close. He wonders if he could spare Egwene the pain of the raven's beaks by killing her with his axe instead.
Suddenly, they enter a stedding, a place of safety. Elyas leads them to a watering hole and they set up camp. Egwene notices a rock that looks like and eye, and Elyas tells them that this was the place Artur Hawkwing was going to build his capital. He goes into the details of Hawkwing's rise and fall, and the turmoil after.
Chapter 30, "Children of Shadow"
After they eat, Perrin goes down to the pool to be alone. Elyas follows and confronts Perrin about his thoughts on Egwene. At first, Elyas comes off forceful, asking if Perrin hates Egwene, and once Perrin confesses his thoughts of killing Egwene before the ravens could, Elyas softens, and tells him Egwene would have rather died by the axe.
Perrin tells Elyas he hates his axe, and he almost throws it into the water before Elyas stops him. Elyas tells him to keep it until he likes it. Until then, he will use the axe wiser than any other man.
The wolves suddenly send a warning that men are coming. Elyas and Perrin rush to the camp and douse the fire. Perrin, Egwene, and Bela run off to find a hiding spot. As they hide, a group of Whitecloaks show up and spot Bela. They tell the Emond's Fielders to surrender, so Perrin and Egwene do. As they approach the Whitecloaks, Hopper jumps on the closes one and Perrin, by instinct, grabs his axe and fights the Whitecloaks too. They kill Hopper, and Perrin is hit on the head by a lance.
He wakes up in a tent. Egwene is there too. It's the tent of the Lord Captain Geofram Bornhald, and his underling, Jaret Byar, is with him. Byar accuses Perrin and Egwene of being Darkfriends. They tell a version of the truth of how they wound up there, but Bornhald doesn't believe them. He says Egwene has a chance to repent and come back to the Light, but Perrin killed two of the Children, so he will be killed once they reach Amador.
As I said last time, this is a heavy Perrin section. And my love for Perrin grew so much from this part. When we first start this story, we know Mat is a rascal, and we see most of the story from Rand's point-of-view, so we know a lot about him too. But we don't get a good grasp of Perrin until these two chapters. There is so much character development; it is amazing.
But first, I want to talk about Elyas. He has them moving quickly, knowing something is coming. Perrin thinks it's the ravens, but Elyas says he wasn't sure. Then, at the end, with the Whitecloaks, Elyas says, "I was sure it was the ravens."
So, how did Elyas know they were running from something? It's curious to think that he experiences wolf dreams like Perrin does. Once Perrin asks him about it, Elyas tells him to stay away from that place because it is dangerous (Towers of Midnight, Chapter 24, "To Make a Stand"), but Elyas must visit it from time to time. He's used to wearing the wolf's body we see in A Memory of Light. I think that Elyas must have seen a vision, one of the windows opening in the sky. That would warn him of danger, but not necessarily be clear what the danger is.
Also, it's interesting that the raven flock didn't know that Perrin was nearby. I would assume that the Dream Perrin had in the Tinker camp let Ba'alzamon know where he was—Ba'alzamon had a hard time finding Perrin since the wolves started protecting him. If the ravens were eyes for the Dark One, how did they not know that Perrin was a target? Perhaps Ishamael was too weak at this point to control the ravens himself, and they would just be reporting to a random Myrddraal instead of one of the Forsaken? That's possible.
Another thing discussesd is how far Elyas and Perrin can sense the wolves. At this point, Perrin can only feel them a mile away. Elyas' range is a bit farther, but not too much. Perrin sees how he struggles to remain in contact with the pack when they are running from the ravens. Yet, it seems like Perrin's range with wolves grows much larger than that. When he actually accepts their sendings, they come from miles and miles away. Of course, it could always be Perrin's ta'veren nature that makes him stronger in this way.
Now on to Perrin. This scene will still make me cry when I read it. It's so packed full of emotion. It's funny to think about—I have a hard time remembering my first reading of the story—but Perrin could have been Robert Jordan's attempt at a red herring, as far as who the Dragon is. At first, we think it could be Mat, due to his spouting of the Old Tongue. But here, we get some references to Lews Therin:
Not quite an hour till dark. If not for the stedding, all of you would be dead now. Would you have saved her? Would you have cut her down like so many bushes? Bushes don't bleed, do they? Or scream, or look in your eyes and ask, why?
So similar to Lews Therin's, "His children's faces accused him, blank eyes asking why, and his tears were no answer."
And Perrin's internal conflicts are what really make this story so enjoyable and re-readable. His emotion is so real, that I am effected, even after the ninth time through.
Perrin is such a good, and honorable guy. Mat is… well, Mat. Rand becomes corrupted. But Perrin stays true throughout the whole story. I love his character so much, just by this book alone, that I didn't falter at all when he lost Faile. Many readers hate him then, but you have to remember where that love came from. This is where it formed, his desire to protect in any way possible. And he loves Faile so much, naturally he would do anything and everything to help her. He would have done anything and everything to help Egwene, even killing her with his own hands. It sounds odd, but that is a love so true it makes my heart hurt.
On another emotional note, this is my first re-read after A Memory of Light. So it's very sad when you get to the scene when Perrin and Egwene are hiding:
“Perrin,” Egwene said softly, “will you dance with me at Sunday? If we're home by then?”
His shoulders shook. He made no sound, and he did not know if he was laughing or crying. “I will. I promise.” Against his will his hands tightened on the axe, reminding him that he still held it. His voice dropped to a whisper. “I promise,” he said again, and hoped.
That's one promise he was not able to fulfill. I wish, just once, they could have had a moment—besides the battle in tel'aran'rhiod fighting Masaana—to talk and see each other again.
That's all for this edition. I could go on and on about my love for Perrin. But I won't. Join us next week for more of the Mat and Rand adventures. Thanks for reading!