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WoT If…Perrin Went Against the Pattern?


Mashiara Sedai

Hello, everyone. Welcome back to "WoT If?". Sorry to keep you in suspense for a week over what topic we would be discussing. This time, I want to look at one specific scene in The Shadow Rising and examine why Perrin finds it so difficult to leave the Stone of Tear. As always:

 

Spoiler warning! This will include content from many books in the series, including Towers of Midnight, and speculation about A Memory of Light. Please read at your own risk.

 

We all know that the Pattern swirls around our three ta'veren, but it's also true that the Pattern forces them to do its bidding. Loial is the one who brings this up the most:

 

The Great Hunt

Chapter 3, "Friends and Enemies"

 

"For a time, the Wheel will bend the Pattern around you three, whatever you do. And whatever you do is more likely to be chosen by the Wheel than by you. Ta'veren pull history along behind them and shape the Pattern just by being, but the Wheel weaves ta'veren on a tighter line than other men. Wherever you go and whatever you do, until the Wheel chooses otherwise you will — "

 

The Dragon Reborn

Chapter 2, "Saidin"

 

"It's said that if you were in the same room with Artur Hawkwing, you could feel the Pattern rearranging itself. I don't know how true that is, but I've read that it was. But it doesn't only work one way. Ta'veren themselves are woven to a tighter line than the rest of us, with fewer choices."

 

And even Hawkwing himself speaks of the Pattern's demands:

 

The Great Hunt

Chapter 47, "The Grave Is No Bar To My Call"

 

"The Wheel spins us out for its purposes, not ours, to serve the Pattern."

 

 

"The Pattern weaves itself around our necks like halters," Artur Hawkwing said. "You are here. The banner is here. The weave of this moment is set. We have come to the Horn, but we must follow the banner. And the Dragon."

 

So, if the Pattern—or more specifically, the Wheel—is deciding who goes where and who does what, why does Perrin have trouble leaving the Stone of Tear? We know he had to go back home, to become Lord of the Two Rivers, to marry Faile, etc. Why is there this conflict of interest? Let's look at the scene in The Shadow Rising.

 

The Shadow Rising

Chapter 18, "Into the Ways"

 

Rand. Perrin knew it was him. The pull of ta'veren dragged at him, two whirlpools in a stream drawing one another. Coughing in the falling dust, he shook his head as hard as he could, straining not to dismount and run back up into the Stone. "We ride!" he shouted while tremors still shook the fortress. "We ride now, Loial! Now!"

 

 

Perrin was right behind with his own packhorse, wishing the Ogier's animal could run faster, wishing he could leave Loial's lumbering mount behind and outrun the suction trying to draw him back, that pull of ta'veren to ta'veren. They galloped together through the streets of Tear, toward the rising sun, barely slowing to avoid carts and carriages. Men in tight coats and women with layered aprons, still shaken by the upheaval, stared at them, dazed, sometimes barely leaping out of the way.

 

At the walls of the inner city paving stones gave way to dirt, shoes and coats to bare feet and bare chests above baggy breeches held up by broad sashes. The folk here dodged no less assiduously, though, for Perrin would not let Stepper slow until they had galloped past the city's outer wall, past the simple stone houses and shops that clustered outside the city proper, into a countryside of scattered farms and thickets and beyond the pull of ta'veren. Only then, breathing almost as hard as his lathered horse, he reined Stepper to a walk.

 

Perrin assumes he is unable to leave because of the pull of Rand, ta'veren to ta'veren. But how does he come to this conclusion? When it is time for Mat to leave—after the victory in Cairhien—he does so with no problem. Also, after Perrin is reunited with Rand and leaves again, there is no resistance.

 

This seems to be an isolated incident. There's no doubt the ta'veren are drawn to one another, especially when one of them is in need. For example:

 

Lord of Chaos

Prologue

 

"I know," he said softly. "I can feel him tugging at me."

 

His voice was so strange that she reached up to grip his short beard and make him look down at her. His golden eyes, still as strange and mysterious to her as ever, looked sad. "What do you mean? You might think fondly of Gwil, but he — "

 

"It's Rand, Faile. He needs me."

 

After things settle in the Two Rivers, Perrin feels the tugging. He knows Rand needs him, and he does. Right after they reunite, Rand is kidnapped by the Tower Aes Sedai and Perrin is the one who leads the rescue mission.

 

However, this tugging is not the same one Perrin felt at the Stone. At the Stone, the pull seemed almost violent. Perrin physically struggled to get away from its grasp. In the Two Rivers, it's calmer, a sensation of nagging, a slight tickle. Notice Perrin doesn't jump on his horse in quick motions and run as fast as he can, as he did in Tear. His voice is "sad" rather than frantic.

 

To me, this shows that the tugging in Tear was something of an anomaly, and that makes me wonder why. I can only see two different reasons why there is such a pull.

 

First, Perrin believes in it. He assumes it is the pull of ta'veren, but that doesn't mean it's true. The whole thing could be in his head, due to his strong sense of duty. He, unlike Mat, recognizes his role in Rand's life, but still wants to go home to save his family, if he can. When he and Mat discuss going home, Perrin acknowledges that he is straying from his duty to Rand:

 

The Shadow Rising

Chapter 13, "Rumors"

 

"You don't have to," Perrin said quietly. "Nothing I heard mentioned you. Only Rand, and me."

 

"Burn me, I will g—" He could not say it. Thinking of going was easy enough, but saying he would? His throat tightened up to strangle the words. "Is it easy for you, Perrin? Going, I mean? Don't you...feel anything? Trying to hold you back? Telling you reasons you shouldn't go?"

 

"A hundred of them, Mat, but I know it comes down to Rand, and ta'veren. You won't admit that, will you? A hundred reasons to stay, but the one reason to go outweighs them. The Whitecloaks are in the Two Rivers, and they'll hurt people trying to find me. I can stop it, if I go."

 

 

"Burn me, Perrin. Burn me! I want to g-g— See? I can't even say it, now. Like my head knows I'll do it if I say it. I can't even get it out in my mind!"

 

Notice how Mat isn't able to say he'd go. If Perrin can plan, and Mat cannot, it seems the Pattern is okay with Perrin making the trip, or else he'd be in the same boat as Mat. So, the Pattern is fine with it, Rand's thread is fine with it, and it's only Perrin's disappointment in running that holds him back.

 

The second reason, which is a stretch, I'll admit, is interference by the Dark One or the Forsaken. We know Lanfear was wandering around the Stone the previous night. We know she visited Perrin in his dreams (The Dragon Reborn, Chapter 4, "Shadows Sleeping"). It's possible that she used Compulsion on him, to make him stay. Mat does hear from the Aelfinn that he will be killed by "those who do not want that fate fulfilled" (The Shadow Rising, Chapter 15, "Into the Doorway") if he doesn't go to Rhuidean. Perhaps Perrin would suffer the same fate if he didn't go back to Emond's Field? And at this point, the Dark One does want all of them dead.

 

On a side note, after Perrin being tugged to Rand during Lord of Chaos, I can only recall two times when the ta'veren pull comes into play. And both of them are in regards to Mat pulling someone he needs. First is Talmanes:

 

The Path of Daggers

Chapter 18, " A Peculiar Calling"

 

"I thought it might be so," he sighed. "I have...felt...something, for weeks now. Others in the Band have, too. Not urgent, but always there. As if he needed me. As if I should look south, anyway. It can be peculiar, following a ta'veren."

 

And later, in The Gathering Storm, the Pattern forces Verin into Mat's path:

 

The Gathering Storm

Chapter 36, "The Death of Tuon"

 

"Do you realize how strongly ta'veren you are, young man?" Verin asked.

 

Mat shrugged. "Rand's the one you want for that sort of thing. Honestly, I'm barely anything compared to him." Blasted colors!

 

"Oh, I wouldn't consider downplaying the Dragon's importance," Verin said, chuckling. "But you can't hide your light in his shadow, Matrim Cauthon. Not in the presence of any but the blind, at least. In any other time, you'd undoubtedly be the most powerfully ta'veren individual alive. Probably the most powerful to have lived in centuries."

 

Mat shifted on the bench. Bloody ashes, he hated the way that made him look as if he was squirming. Maybe he should just stand up. "What are you talking about, Verin?" he said instead. He folded his arms and tried to at least pretend that he was comfortable.

 

"I'm talking about how you yanked me halfway across the continent." Her smile widened as a soldier entered with a steaming cup of mint tea. She took it gratefully, and the soldier retreated.

 

"Yanked you?" Mat said. "You were looking for me."

 

"Only after I determined that the Pattern was tugging me somewhere." Verin blew on her tea. "That meant you or Perrin. It couldn't have been Rand's fault, since I'd been able to leave that one easily."

 

All this ta'veren tugging seems random and inconsistent, to me. Why is the pull so strong in Tear? Why does the sensation get milder as the series continues? Perhaps their urgency to be together decreases with the ability to see what the others are doing? There is a spike in the swirling colors in the last few books, so maybe.

 

That's all for this week. I'd really love comments about things I've missed or overlooked in relation to the ta'veren tug. Next week, as Metal Head requested, we'll take a closer look at Padan Fain and his role in the rest of the series.

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The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills. Or, perhaps it's like fishing: the Pattern reels them close, and plays them out on the line and repeat.

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My thought on it was always that free will is not a lie in the series. Moraine Sedai, I believe, made it clear that you could struggle against your path and would either be drug into it screaming or break free of it. I consider Perrin to be either the most or the second most divided character in the series (after Rand notably) in his struggles with his fate but in the opposing direction. One who wishes their path wasn't set so that they could do more than the pattern allows for. It seems to me that your first theory was correct here but that Perrin is, by nature, inclined to the duties that he has set on regardless of if the pattern pushes him or not.

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2 things:

 

I've always pictured the pattern as made up of cloth, bendable, plyable for 99.999% of the world. But in the case of a Ta'Veren the individual's "String" is metal. Less pliable, less maliable, and when bent too far, breakable. Not really relative, but had to make that observation.

 

On topic:

In Tear, I think the pattern had 2 choices for Perrin, 1 way was staying by Rand, the other, Emond's Field. Either choice worked for the Pattern. 1 rare moment of relative freedom for Perrin. Whereas Mat's string couldn't be seperated from Rand's just yet. Therefore he couldn't even say he would go.

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As painful is it might to be to consider, the various "pulls and tugs" could simply be plot tools used as the situation dictated. RJ could have employed the gimmicks, hoping to resolve them (or not) later in the series. Similar to the beams of light connecting Rand and the Forsaken at the end of The Eye of the World. Never again are we to see cutting the beams severs the connection to the source. Perhaps, as RJ grew more comfortable with the writing about the One Power, he simply did away with that limitation. The same could be true with the "tugs and pulls". Perhaps he moved away from that as being overly unnatural and forceful a narrative trick. Simply a thought...

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Ha ha! I am immortalized in WoT Fandom! My moniker has appeared in the Dragonmount Theory blog! It's like James Hetfield calling out my name at a Metallica concert while they're recording a live album. Woot x2! Thank you, Mashiara!

 

I'm wondering if the intense pull that Perrin and Mat both felt while in Tear was a function of their proximity to Rand, amplified by how desperately Rand needed at least one of them, and but then lessened by their own internal willpower. Here's what I mean:

 

Both felt Rand's pull while in Tear, and clearly, Rand needed at least one of them for his trip to Rhuidean. The pattern might not have cared which of the two accompanied Rand, so it tugs at both of them. Between the two, Perrin has the willpower to do what he must, mainly because he feels that the mess in the Two Rivers is his doing (Whitecloaks), so he has an extra incentive to resist Rand's pull. Mat would LIKE to leave, but he has no incentive like Perrin does, and at this point in the series, he still was probably the least mature of the three, and didn't have the will to resist Rand's pull. Mat might have gone with Perrin out of a sense of loyalty to his home, but not out of any sense of guilt or obligation like Perrin had going on.

 

As for the other occasions where one or the other was able to resist Rand's ta'veren pull, and at other times could NOT resist it, my previous "formula" still applies: their proximity to Rand, amplified by the degree of Rand's need at that time, then reduced by their own willpower (or their personal need to resist). In LoC, when Perrin feels Rand tugging at him, Rand's need is extremely great. But Perrin is also very far away from Rand, so the pull isn't so strong. Add in the fact that Perrin had already calmed down events in the Two Rivers, and Perrin has no reason to stay.

 

The need of the ta'veren is, I believe, the largest factor. In some way, Mat needed Verin in TGS, or really, he needed the note that Verin left for him.

 

As usual, none of my stuff has references, and is therefore probably wrong, but it's still fun to speculate.

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I would have to say I'm torn between agreeing with the two posts directly above me. I like where Metal Head is at, but I've noticed quite a few style/editing oversights or other incongruities throughout. It's hard to say.

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We should keep in mind the amount of time that passed between when RJ first conceived of the magic system and these characters. Ideas grow and change, even between individual books and of course over ~25 years.......

It is not lazy writing or a cop-out if certain themes and scenarios are inconsistent or fully over-written. It is the evolution of his vision.

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@snowball - Well of COURSE you like where I'm at. You look like a bonafide metal-head yourself!

 

I'm really going to miss the Theory-blog comment-ers when there's no more theories to share. *SIGH*

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@snowball - Well of COURSE you like where I'm at. You look like a bonafide metal-head yourself!

 

I'm really going to miss the Theory-blog comment-ers when there's no more theories to share. *SIGH*

 

I've heard that many things within the series will be left unanswered. I think we'll still have plenty to theorize about after A Memory of Light.

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I can understand how people want to theorize about TWOT characters and the upcoming release of AMOL! Yet at the same time I dont want the main story of AMOL to be spoiled with too many revelations! I am looking forward to reading AMOL yet I want it be a suprize so to speak!

I know this is not going to happen overnight, yet one thing I am eagerly wainting for is a book review of AMOL by dragonmount as long as it does not give away anything specific though I know it is hard to do a book review without talking about the book! I will be content with whatever happens with the future of TWOT and there are other things to as well!

Wishing everyone happy holidays and a hopefully cool Fall season!

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I think I'm going to agree with Metal Head. Bravo, Mashiara, for pondering such an original topic.

 

Thanks, Gwenifer! :)

 

Metal Head does have good points. But if the Pattern would accept either decision from Perrin, that brings up an interesting line of speculation. What would have changed--I mean drastic things--if Perrin had gone to the Waste instead of back home?

 

His family was already dead, so he wasn't really needed to save them. That wouldn't have changed.

 

The Whitecloaks would have helped the Two Rivers folk from the Trollocs, eventually. The Whitecloaks are messed up--most of them--but they do fight for the Light--most of them. So, the Two Rivers could have been saved, I think, if Perrin hadn't gone.

 

He still would have had Faile following him. No change there.

 

Lord of the Two Rivers... I think that plays an important part in Perrin's storyline throughout the rest of the series. I also think there will be a great reason for him joining with Galad's Whitecloaks. Perrin's own ta'veren tug pulled the Whitecloaks to him. I think they'll be needed. ... However, he could have had Rand send him back to the Two Rivers at another time, to check on things. He could have become their Lord then. All the rest would follow after that.

 

So maybe things could have still worked out if Perrin went to the Waste.

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Metal Head does have good points.

 

Yes, on occasion, I manage to come up with the odd good idea here and there. Don't tell anybody, though. Wouldn't want people thinking that I know what I'm doing, then it's nothing but work, work, work all the time :)

 

As far as what would have happened if Perrin had gone to the Waste with Rand, there are only a handful of changes that would have been certain.

 

Aram would never have re-encountered Perrin, and might never have given up the Way of the Leaf (or he might have been killed).

 

Without Perrin becoming Lord of the Two Rivers, Perrin's army would now be smaller, and have much fewer great archers. His efforts to rescue Faile might have failed (heh), which might have either resulted in her death, or else he being taken back to the Waste as gai'shain, along with Morgase. Which means that Morgase would not have been able to serve as judge at Perrin's trial, which means he probably would have fought and probably killed Galad (or the other way around), unless Berelain had stepped in (which she might have done anyway).

 

Very interesting line of thought. I wonder what else might have been different.

 

I have won again, Lews Therin.

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Mashiara, I just want to say that I was a big fan of Despothera's blogs. I was disappointed when he couldn't continue, and so I was also determined not to like your blog as much. "What?!?! Who is this Mashy-chick, and what the heck does she think she's doing to Despothera's blog?!"

 

You totally won me over, and you did it very quickly. You blog is every bit as good. You come up with extremely cool theories that are completely plausible, and that's not so easy to do this close to the end of the series. I am sorry that I ever doubted you. You ROCK! \m/

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IIRC, Despothera's blog never had that many comments and this is the best recommendation, I think. The theories were cool, but I never felt able to add any comment to them. Now I easily find space to join the discussion.

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I wonder if Perrin fighting the pattern's tugging could possibly be the answer to the problem of the dark prophesy that says that the Chosen will kill Perrin. It is possible that Perrin had two alternative paths coming out of Tear. He could have gone with Rand or he could have returned to the Two Rivers. Perhaps one path would have ended up fulfilling the dark prophesy, and the other path would have fulfilled light prophesy.

 

I realize that it is not certain that the dark prophesy refers to Perrin. I still entertain that as a possibility, but if it does relate to Perrin his fighting the pattern coming out of Tear or at some other point could be an explanation about why the Dark prophesy would be wrong.

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I can understand how people want to theorize about TWOT characters and the upcoming release of AMOL! Yet at the same time I dont want the main story of AMOL to be spoiled with too many revelations! I am looking forward to reading AMOL yet I want it be a suprize so to speak!

I know this is not going to happen overnight, yet one thing I am eagerly wainting for is a book review of AMOL by dragonmount as long as it does not give away anything specific though I know it is hard to do a book review without talking about the book! I will be content with whatever happens with the future of TWOT and there are other things to as well!

Wishing everyone happy holidays and a hopefully cool Fall season!

 

Jason has confirmed that he will be doing an AMOL book review here on DM before it is released.

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Thanks guys! I was a bit hesitant to take over after Despothera because he did set the bar so high. I'm glad I'm at least keeping up!

 

Dudley, I like that theory. We do know that Dark Prophecy, like the Light Prophecy, doesn't always come true. It could be based on a different weaving of the Pattern. Interesting!

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The way I look at it is the following. There are many different mirror worlds to the WoT world we get to experience in the story. There is a world where every possible turn a person could make in life, is represented. An impossible number of mirror worlds that are like the one we read, but reflect the different choices people make. The world we get to read about, is the one world were every choice made by the characters, is the right one. The choices they make lead up to the Dark One's demise. Because if any of them made the wrong choice, and the Dark One did win in that world, we wouldn't be reading about that specific world right? So all the choices they make in WoT, in my mind, are the right one's. Say if Perrin did go with Rand and Mat. Maybe he would have went into Rhuidean, and talked Mat into not going into the Ter'angreal doorway. So maybe, Perrin going back to the Two Rivers, was the only possible course he could have choosen that would lead eventually to the Dark One's downfall. I mean, it did bring Tam out of there, and that did save Rand.

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You may be right as long as "always making good choices" indicates the Light's triumph as well as a draw between the Light and the Shadow. Because the good guys don't always win. On the other hand, the DO never wins.

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The Light wins when the bore is unmade. They tie when the Dragon doesn't fulfill his destiny but the DO doesn't break free as well.

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