A head taller than Tam, his father. Gray eyes, reddish hair, broad shoulders. His mother (unnamed) is dead. Armed with bow and arrow. His horse's name is Bela. Women often ambush him to fix Tam up with a new wife, but Rand is now old enough that they're starting to look at him as a potential husband, too. [p. 8] Stubborn, like all Two Rivers folk.
Strong, thick chest, broad face, sun-roughened cheeks, and mostly gray hair instead of black. Solid and sure of himself. Rand's father. Broad shoulders. A shepherd. His wife (unnamed) is dead. Makes apple brandy and apple cider. He speaks of the Flame and the Void, which have helped him win the archery competition at Bel Tine every year. [p. 5]
Brown eyes that twinkle with mischief. Wiry body. "Never seemed to grow up." Avoids work whenever possible. Has a baby sister. [p. 12] Likes to pull pranks, so much that using him to corroborate a story would probably do more harm than good. [p. 14]
A rough, rock strewn road, called Quarry Road, surrounded by a thick, tangled forest called the Westwood.A wind sweeps off of the Mountains of Mist and beats upon the backs of two lone travelers.
I always have loved the way that the WoT books start out, the imagery is amazing.
Traveling, Rand al'Thor and his father are both wary, but why they do not know.
You hear a lot about the winter that is plaguing them through the imagery described early on as they walk the road. You also learn early portents about the proliferation of wolves in the vicinity that are also plaguing the land known as the Two Rivers.
Who is the "mother" than Rand remembers that Tam brought back from outside the Two Rivers with him and Rand? I do not recall right now anything other than she is not his real mother :P
It seems that Rand does not much get away from his farm to go to Emonds Field? Or is that just as of late? I guess Tam is protective.
Then there is imagery straight from Tolkien with the black cloaked rider following them far back on the road. Definitely made me think of ring wraiths the first time I read this :)
Also, if he saw something, why not just tell Tam earlier? Tam may have been able to do something perhaps about it. I guess he was just too frightened or stunned.
But, anyway, Tam did not see the rider, and the road was empty when Rand turned back to point him out. Rand also remembers that the wind did not touch the rider's cloak. [p. 4]
We later learn that Mat saw the rider, too, three days prior. [p. 12] Mat was scared and hasn't been able to stop thinking about him, yet has not told anyone about it.
We also learn later that the rider is a Fade, a Myrddraal. His cowl was pulled forward because he has no eyes, but his gaze inspires intense fear. The road is empty when Rand looks back because the Myrddraal can fade into the shadows. His cloak doesn't move because Myrddraal are not in the world the same as everything else. But, if they can do this, why do they not do it all the time, i.e. in battle? I guess that their ability does not work if they are not still?
We then learn about one of the more annoying characters in all the series (IMHO), Egwene al'Vere, the mayors daughter (Which I had forgotten untill this re-reading), who makes Rand increasingly "jittery", I assume because she is a very pretty girl and he's getting to that age :) Too bad nothing ever comes of it before she becomes a monster.
The Flame and the Void... an "odd thing Tam had thought him"... where exactly did Tam learn this in the first place, can anyone remember exactly? It has been far too long since I read anything about Tam's past and it escapes me at the moment. Is there anything significant about it?
Goodwives and goodmen are working hard at their spring cleaning, even though the winter has not relented yet. We learn Cenn Buie is the town thatcher.
Also, more troublemakers introduced... The Coplins and the Congars... more particularly, Wit Congar.
Another thing you quickly learn that comes into play a lot... I love the Two Rivers and the Two Rivers men... but come on guys, get a backbone! You can't let those Women and their Women's Council push you around all the time, and ESPECIALLY not Nynaeve(I won't even start on her, *sigh*)! Stand up for yourselves men if you have any pride! lol
But of course they don't as you see an example with Daise Congar coming out and showing her husband who wears the pants around the house... of course, with a wife like her, I can see why.
The town wisdom can "listen to the wind".
Dang, I wish people would help me hook up as much as they're trying to hook up Tam and Rand, I could use the help :-(
We learn a little more about the event which brings Tam and Rand to EF... Bel Tine... the events aren't really important in the overall scheme of the story.. so I won't take the time to break any of them down.. but it sounds like a fun time!
Mat tries to convince Rand to let a badger loose on the village Green, but Rand dutifully mentions that he is supposed to help Tam unload the cider from the cart.
When talking about the rider on the black horse, Mat jokes that maybe it was the Dark One or the Dragon. [p. 13] Rand replies, "You're just full of cheerful thoughts, aren't you?" Mat says his mother used to threaten that one of the Forsaken would come for him. So, apparently superstition os a large part of Two River life (do we see that reflected in other parts of theirs or other peoples lives in Randland?)
On second thought, Bel Tine is VERY important, because it is what brings a gleeman to town, who later becomes very integral to the story of the whole series!
Apparently a gleeman, and just an outsider in general, is big news in such a small hamlet, who do not get much news of the outside World and don't generally concern themselves with it.
Also, fireworks are talked about, which I see as another nod to Tolkien's writings.
We are introduced to the Winespring Inn, which is used constantly in the book by Rand as a measuring stick for other Inns and buildings they come to. It is owned by the Mayor and his wife, the al'Vere's. It is an integral place in the first book also, because of the various people who are introduced and stay here.
We learn a little about the Dark One and the Forsaken in the little saying said by Rand to Mat (Which is repeated often in the series.)
The Forsaken are apparently not seen as being real, more superstition.
"Sometimes I think Nynaeve is right about..." then he stops.. any idea what he was referring to?
And, ending it out, Rand is still afraid of Egwene (good thing, be very afraid Rand!), as they plan to try to avoid her and learn that there are... other... strangers in town.... a drak portent of what is to come..
All in all, there's not very much in this first chapter except for some basic introductions, aside perhaps from the Myrddraal.
Sorry for being kind of helter skelter with my comments and skipping around, i was sort of just going from memory and writing stuff from different parts of the chapter that caught my eye.
Please feel free to comment on what I said or add your own comments of the chapter in general