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About Lanestrider

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  1. Hello, and welcome to part four of our reread of The Eye of the World! My name is Matthew, and I am a writer, artist, and game developer from Arizona. This post will cover The Eye of the World, Chapters 4 - 6. If you haven’t been following this since the beginning, you can catch up on the Introduction and Prologue in my first post, here. We are going to be changing things up a little in this one... in making the posts a little more concise, I hope to be able to cover more ground each week. CHAPTER FOUR :: “THE GLEEMAN” WHAT HAPPENS This chapter is one of loads and loads of exposition. Dozens of names are dropped, from story titles to factions to individuals. Some of these things like Ogiers, Aiel, and Warders become apparent with time, while most of the names on the list are just background knowledge. This is all in the form of stories and flourishes from the newest character, Thom Merrilin. Later, Moiraine and Lan meet and talk briefly with Thom, and she addresses him as "Master Bard," assuming that she may have met him before. He doesn't seem to know her, albeit he is still very distrustful of her. The boys talk about war and what would happen if the Two Rivers got involved, something that Tam almost scoffs at, saying that it is nearly inaccessible. Nonetheless, the Village Council is entertaining the idea of sending men to Deven Ride, Watch Hill, and Taren Ferry on watch duty. Tam points out that even if the Aes Sedai were traveling from Tar Valon to get to Ghealdan and pick up the False Dragon, they wouldn't detour the long way through the Two Rivers. Finally, we find out that two other boys in Emond's Field have also seen the black rider. COMMENTS As stated before on several other sites is the interesting fact that a lot of Thom's stories in this chapter mirror things in real life. Some examples are Materese the Healer (Mother Teresa) and Elbet Queen of All (Queen Elizabeth). Whether this is just a speculation or truly intended, I'm not certain. CHAPTER FIVE :: “WINTERNIGHT” WHAT HAPPENS Rand and his father return to their farm that evening and finish up their chores, finally coming to enjoy supper together. Tam decides to show Rand a curved blade heron-marked sword he had upstairs in a chest. Their time together is interrupted by Trollocs, monstrous humanoids each with a strange assortment of animal features, as they break through the front door. Tam tells Rand to run, but Rand hesitates. After he does escape, he later reunites with Tam out in the forest to find him feverish. Rand takes his father's sword and heads back into the house for supplies, accidentally killing a Trolloc named Narg who points out that a Myrddraal wants to talk to Rand. Rand searches the house and barn but finds little of use, instead choosing to craft a makeshift travois to carry Tam into the town. He does so by cutting their cart into pieces with his sword, noting that it is still razor sharp after. COMMENTS Winternight is one of my favorite chapters in the book. It's when events turn and Rand realizes that things aren't as they once seemed. Everything out there that they've heard in stories leaks through and touches him. CHAPTER SIX :: “THE WESTWOOD” WHAT HAPPENS At this point, Tam is just rambling in his fever dream, mostly about Rand’s mother, Kari, who died fifteen years ago. He talks about the Aiel War, Laman’s Sin, Marath, and the city of Cairhein on fire, but most of these don’t mean much to us right now. A little later he talks about Avendoraldera, a sapling from the tree of life Avendesora. He also raves about how happy Kari will be that he found a son, Rand, on Dragonmount. Rand travels toward Emond’s Field with Tam in the travois, and successfully evades a Myrddraal and Trollocs on the way. THE BREAKDOWN :: Chapters Four, Five, and Six Fever Dreams Why is Tam suffering a horrible fever? Some shadowspawn weapons are tainted when they are created, causing even the thinnest cut to eventually destroy the life of the injured. His fever is a precursor to that. Until next week.... :: Lanestrider
  2. Hello, and welcome to part three of our reread of [/size]The Eye of the World! My name is Matthew, and I am a writer, artist, and game developer from Arizona.[/size] This post will cover The Eye of the World, Chapter 3. If you haven’t been following this since the beginning, you can catch up on the Introduction and Prologue in my first post, here. CHAPTER THREE :: “THE PEDDLER” THE BASICS The peddler, Padan Fain, comes to town and bring news, stories, and tales from outside. WHAT HAPPENS Last we left the boys, they had just met the Lady Moiraine but their arguing has been cut off by the sounds of the approaching wagon. Padan Fain is a pale and bony man that has been visiting the Two Rivers for as long as anyone can remember. As the peddler rolls into town, the Village Council and villagers as a whole crowd around his cart, asking questions and prompting him to speak, but Fain just keeps his silence. Another village boy and friend of Rand and Mat named Perrin Aybara finds them in the crowd. He’s much stockier than them, with curly hair and the build of the blacksmith he is apprenticing under. Finally the peddler stands on his wagon and begins his tale. Someone asks what could possibly be worse than wolves killing sheep, and the peddler’s answer is “men killing men.” He tells the crowd about the was in Ghealdan, of soldiers marching, ravens flying, and blood shed. Everyone starts chittering amongst themselves, and once someone verbalizes concern about the Dragon and the Dark One, it spreads like wildfire until the whole crowd is talking about it. Haral Luhhan is quick to point out that the Dragon is not the Dark One; all things aside, this is a false Dragon they are talking about, not the real one. The Council pulls Fain into the inn to speak with him and sends the crowds home, and the boys begin talking about the Dragon, Aes Sedai, and the Dark One again (see Breakdown). Nynaeve al-Meara, the village Wisdom, enters here, with Egwene behind her. Mat is talking about goading another boy into naming the Dark One on purpose. Nynaeve scolds him, asking why they would talk about something they have no business talking about. Rand answers her eventually, explaining that they were just talking about what the peddler was talking about. Nynaeve disappears angrily into the inn, mumbling about the Women’s Circle. Egwene doesn’t follow her into the inn. Rand’s glad for this, but when he blurts out to Egwene a question of whether she would dance with him tomorrow, he gets nervous. They start talking about the future, and she shows him her braided hair, revealing that Nynaeve believes she will make a good Wisdom and has started to train her. She tells him that she might not ever marry, simply because most Wisdoms don’t ever marry. Rand comments that Nynaeve will probably be Wisdom for the next 50 years, but Egwene points out that she’ll just go to a different village. Rand isn’t happy about this, but Egwene pretends not to notice. Eventually, she begins to ignore him. The others come up to Rand, eager to explain how Perrin received a coin from the Lady Moiraine as well, and he has also seen the black rider. Egwene turns on them, and in an exasperated tone, calls them all foolish for believing fairy tales. She is cut off when a white-haired man bursts out of the front door of the inn. COMMENTS Honestly, Rand and Egwene’s relationship as characters is one of my favorite things in the series. The details I won’t go into because I don’t want to spoil anything, but I love pretty much any interaction the two have with each other. THE BREAKDOWN :: Chapter Three The Peddler - Padan Fain, Ghealdan, false Dragon. Padan Fain is a peddler that travels around collecting stories and tales and taking them with him as he goes. He is a skinny and pale man with long, gangly arms and a hooked nose. He’s been visiting Emond’s Field as long as Rand can remember. Armies march to the Dhallin Forest in Ghealdan to see a false Dragon. There hasn’t been anyone claiming to be the Dragon in twenty years, and now there are three in the last five years. This last one already already has Aes Sedai coming to take him, whether he can or can’t use the One Power. Some people believe that the Dragon Reborn will come to save mankind, but few talk about it out of fear of both the Children of the Light and the Aes Sedai. Another superstition held by the Two Rivers folk, they believe that naming the Dark One, an act of using the Dark One’s real name, “Shai’tan,” brings bad luck. The boys recall a time when another villager, Bili Congar, once named the Dark One and has since had terrible luck. Until next week.... :: Lanestrider
  3. Hello, and welcome to part two of our reread of The Eye of the World! My name is Matthew, and I am a writer, artist, and game developer from Arizona. This post will cover The Eye of the World, Chapters 1-2. If you haven’t been following this since the beginning, you can catch up on the Introduction and Prologue in my first post, here. CHAPTER ONE :: “AN EMPTY ROAD” THE BASICS Rand al’Thor tries to convince his father Tam that there is a rider cloaked in black following them as they are traveling into town for the festival, but Tam doesn’t believe him. Eventually they meet up with old friends in Emond’s Field and forget about the rider temporarily. WHAT HAPPENS In the beginning of Chapter One: An Empty Road, we find one of the protagonists of the series, Rand al’Thor, on his way with his father Tam into nearby town Emond’s Field with a cart-full of apple brandy and cider barrels for the upcoming festival. Their horse Bela is pulling the cart. This road they are following, called the Quarry Road, cuts through the Westwood and takes them right from their farmhouse into the town of Emond’s Field. It is noted that winter has been especially harsh and still hangs on even when it should have been long gone. Also worthy to point out, Rand is unusually tall and fair with orange-brown hair and gray eyes. During their journey, the feeling of being watched continues to gnaw at Rand. Eventually he glances over his shoulder to see a black-cloaked figure on a black horse following not that far behind them. Oddly, the wind doesn’t move the rider’s cloak at all, even as it is is twirling Rand’s cloak furiously. He can’t see all but the faintest outline of a face under the cowl, and feels nothing but hatred from the shadowed gaze. Rand trips over a stone in the road, but when he looks back up at where the rider and horse were, he sees nothing. Trying to explain this to Tam, he is just figuratively patted on the head and met with skepticism, albeit told that Tam believes him. Tam uses this moment to remind Rand about the “flame and the void”, a concept he uses to win archery tournaments at festivals. It consists of focusing all of your thoughts on a single flame on a field of black, and then feeding the flame all emotion and passion until your mind becomes empty. On the way through Emond’s Field to the Winespring Inn, they cross paths with a number of characters. Most notably, Wit Congar stops them to complain about the new Wisdom of Emond’s Field being too young, until his wife comes out to rebuke him. They continue through the town of neat, thatched-roof houses and see everyone setting up for the yearly Bel Tine festival. At the Winespring Inn, Bran al’Vere, both the innkeeper of the Winespring Inn as well as the mayor of Emond’s Field, greets them. Bran is the father of Egwene, a village girl that Rand fancies and is, in some respect, all but betrothed to. Tam stops to talk to Bran, but they are interrupted by Cenn Buie, the village thatcher, who has nothing but bad things to say about the state of the Two Rivers, complaining about everything from the weather to the omens of wolves and ravens. Here we meet Mat Cauthon, who tugs on Rand’s sleeve and pulls him away from the discussion. Mat is a mischievous young adult who never grew up, always describing his last immature escapade with a twinkle in his eye. He goes into the last one about how he and some friends caught a badger and were considering letting it loose elsewhere in town to watch the girls run and scream. Rand is less interested in listening to Mat’s childish antics than anything else, and tries to get out of it by explaining how he needs to help his father unload the barrels. In Mat’s complaining about work, he mentions something that reminds Rand of the black-cloaked rider, and they find out that they’ve both seen it. They compare details, but Rand doesn’t approve of Mat’s theories that it might be the Dark One or one of the Forsaken, the dark followers of the Dark One. He recites a childhood saying claiming that the Dark One and the Forsaken alike are all bound in Shayol Ghul until the end of time. When Tam sees Mat, he recruits both of the boys to come help unload the cider. CHAPTER TWO :: “STRANGERS” THE BASICS Rand and Mat finish carrying the barrels into the Winespring Inn, have a run in with a strange raven, meet Lady Moraine and Lan, and discover that both a peddler and a gleeman are coming this year to Bel Tine. WHAT HAPPENS Rand and Mat carry the barrels from the car into the Winespring Inn, depositing them in the cellar while Tam finds a place in the common room in front of the fireplace and mantel. Some of the Village Council is in the inn right now, but Rand is just nervous about running into Egwene. He tries not to think about it. Mat pulls him away from staring at some of the Village Council members as Mistress al’Vere, wife of Bran al’Vere, rushes in with honeycakes for the council. Mat remarks about how he covered some dogs in flour and set them loose near someone’s house in town, and then proceeded to spread rumors of ghost dogs in Emond’s Field. He suspects that Master Luhhan, the blacksmith, knows that it was him. Finally done with the barrels, the boys run into Ewin Finngar, a friend of theirs who came to tell them about the “strangers” in Emond’s Field. One is a man named Lan with a cloak that changes colors and seems to fade into whatever is behind him, and wears his sword like it’s a part of him. The other is a woman named Lady Moiraine who they think is some kind of highborn lady. Mat says that he forgot to tell Rand about them. They arrived the night before and are staying at the Winespring Inn. Apparently, Moraine had a meeting with Nynaeve, the town Wisdom, and accidentally offended her by implying that she was a child. Mat announced that there will be a gleeman, raising excitement from Rand and Ewin. They follow Mat out of the cellar and through the common room, where all eight of the Village Council has gathered. Outside, Rand feels the eery feeling of being watched again, and notices a raven staring at them from a nearby roof. They throw rocks at it, but it just steps aside and lets the rocks sail past. The boys are greeted by Moiraine from behind them, at which point the raven takes flight. Moiraine is a beautiful woman with dark, deep eyes and whose age is nearly impossible to guess, with a regal grace and air of command. She is short, but lived up to any and all of their stories and gleeman’s tales. Moiraine gives all three of the boys each a coin, and tells them that she is a student of history. She implies that the Two Rivers had not always been called that, before telling them that she will talk to them later. Slipping away, a tall man follows her, and Ewin is quick to point out that it is Lan. Eventually, the sound of the peddler’s wagon coming over the bridge breaks up their banter and sends the three boys in that direction. COMMENTS As stated before, The Eye of the World draws a lot of inspiration from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Here we learn about boys in a small town who begin seeing things out of the ordinary and realizing that there is a lot more out there than they’ve seen in their lifetimes. With the arrival of strange newcomers, they get to catch a glimpse of what they’ve old heard of in stories. A lot of things in Emond’s Field parallels Hobbiton in many ways, as you’ll see in following chapters. THE BREAKDOWN :: Chapters One and Two The Two Rivers - The Two Rivers, Emond’s Field, The Westwood, The Sand Hills, The Mountains of Mist. The Two Rivers is a small, often forgotten section far in the western side of the country of Andor. Within it are several towns, including Taren Ferry, Watch Hill, Deven Ride, and the aforementioned Emond’s Field. To the east are the looming Mountains of Mist and the Sand Hills which lead into the Westwood. The Winespring Water, the river for which the Inn is named, runs from the mountains east through Emond’s Field and out into the Waterwood at the eastern edge of the Two Rivers. Emond’s Field - Bel Tine festival, mayor, Village Council, Wisdom, Women’s Circle, Winespring Inn. Emond’s Field is where the story begins, and is one of the four main towns in the Two Rivers. Bel Tine, the celebration of the end of winter and beginning of spring, is the reason Rand and Tam are making their way into town. In town, you are introduced the Village Council. There are eight men on the council, but only seven are named in the book. Including Tam al’Thor, Bran al’Vere, and Cenn Buie, the others are Rowan Hurn, Samel Crawe, Haral Luhhan, Jon Thane, and an eighth left unnamed. Bran al’Vere is also the mayor of Emond’s Field, as well as serving as the innkeeper of the Winespring Inn. His wife is Mistress al’Vere and his daughter is Egwene al’Vere. Conversely, the Women’s Circle is a council of women. Both the Women’s Circle and Village Council are often at odds with each other. The Women’s Circle is responsible for certain duties such as the timing of planting and harvesting crops, while the Village Council handles matters that affect the village as a whole or overlap with other towns. Nynaeve is briefly mentioned in Chapter Two: Strangers and confirmed as being the town Wisdom, which is a woman in a village who has a great knowledge of healing and is usually gifted at foretelling the weather. The Wisdom is chosen by a village’s Women’s Circle and serves her entire life, often at a level regarded as equal or above even the mayor. The Darkness - Shayol Ghul, the Great Blight, Ishamael, Aginor. As the saying goes, the Creator imprisoned and bound the Dark One and the Forsaken at the moment of Creation far north past the land called the Great Blight in Shayol Ghul. The Forsaken are the thirteen most powerful Aes Sedai that ever lived who went to the Shadow, and whose names are used to frighten children to this day. Two are mentioned in these chapters — Aginor and Ishamael. The Strangers - Lan, Lady Moiraine. Lan is described as being a tall man with long hair that is turning gray at the temples and held back with a leather cord around his head. He wears a cloak that shifts colors and blends in with whatever is behind him, and wears his sword like it is a part of him. The boys speculate that he is a Warder, a mystical warrior that does battle against the Shadow in the stories far north in the Great Blight and in Shayol Ghul. Other than that, not much is known about Lan, other than he seems to be in service to the Lady Moiraine. Until next week.... :: Lanestrider
  4. Glad to see you like it, etropic! I am really looking forward to this as well! My plan is actually to cover a few chapters a post so that we don't spend two years covering a single book. Some of the chapters are really dense but a lot of them are pretty light, so it'll vary week to week. :)
  5. INTRODUCTION A LITTLE ABOUT ME Greetings, fellow internet travelers! My name is Matthew, and I am a writer, artist, and game developer from Arizona. I am beyond thrilled and honored to be writing this at the moment, and it still has yet to sink in. Never will I forget picking up what would soon become my tattered copy of The Eye of the World, dust jacket abused and spine shot to hell, and finished it within the week. I was absolutely enchanted. J.R.R.Tolkien’s The Hobbit was the first actual book I had read (followed by The Lord of the Rings) and this book by Robert Jordan perfectly paid just the right level of homage to both. I was hooked by the believable characters and the amazing places and the incredible story that wove everything together. Now, close to twelve years later, I find myself on the site I’ve been reading for years, writing a reread for the series that defined who I was as a writer and is second only to Tolkien’s work in giving me this unhealthy love for fantasy. This is definitely incredible. WHAT TO EXPECT This is NOT one of those chapter summaries rife with spoilers. This is NOT a blow by blow synopsis detailing every aspect of symbolism and psycho-analysis into the characters as a whole in reflection to their growth over the rest of the series. This IS a spoiler-free reread of The Wheel of Time series. Every week we will cover a number of chapters and present them in a manner friendly to new readers as well as those rereading the series. If you have finished the series and are looking for in depth analysis and cross-referenced bookkeeping, this might not be the blog for you. If you are trying to catch up to a certain point or where you last left off in the series, are looking for a refresher, or are reading along as you read each chapter, this might just be the place for you, especially if you haven't finished the series and don't want spoilers sneaking in under the radar. Each post will start with THE BASICS, which is a quick and easy summary of the events in the chapter. After that, we will break down all of the important events in the chapter in WHAT HAPPENS. Following that section, THE BREAKDOWN will include a type of glossary and reference to all major terms, places, and characters in the chapter, presented in an informational but yet hopefully spoiler-free manner. Finally, I will close each post with a COMMENTS section, where I will talk about my thoughts of each chapter after I read it. I hope that you enjoy what I am doing here as much as I do writing it. Here goes nothing.... PROLOGUE :: "DRAGONMOUNT" THE BASICS Lews Therin Telamon, discovers that he killed his wife and everyone close to him when he is visited by an old adversary, Elan Morin Tedroni, before ending his life in a world-changing display of power. WHAT HAPPENS Things aren’t looking great. We find ourselves in Prologue: Dragonmount at a location known only as a palace. It assumedly belongs to Lews Therin Telamon, the man wandering the halls of the palace confused and completely out of it. Carnage has laid waste to the once-beautiful imagery around him, leaving furniture, wall tapestries, and people cut down to their final rest all the same. Lews has no idea that Ilyena, his wife, is laying lifeless on the ground nearby, even though he continues looking for her in his confusion. In all of the disarray, a new character blinks into existence. Elan Morin Tedronai steps out of thin air and begins to taunt Lews Therin, apparently there to kill him but is a little put off that Lews doesn’t remember who he is. Over the course of this conversation, Lews wanders seemly aimless while looking for his wife and making small talk with Elan Morin, hardly acknowledging anything the other man says. Elan Morin, however, goes into detail about Lews Therin’s past, insinuating that they are enemies. Elan Morin is known as the Betrayer of Hope, something that Lews Therin barely remembers and then pushes out of mind. Lews Therin is referred to as Lord of the Morning, and moreover, he is the Dragon. Elan Morin goes into a list of accomplishments under Lews Therin’s belt, including having stood among the Servants, worn the Ring of Tamyrlin, sat on the High Seat, summoned the Nine Rods of Dominion, humbled Elan Morin in the Hall of Servants and then defeated him at the Gates of Paaran Disen. Most of these don’t mean anything to us right now, and serve only to shed some light on how powerful Lews Therin was at his pinnacle. Elan Morin also says that after today Lews Therin will be known as Kinslayer, but gets no response from the other man. Angered that Lews Therin still has no idea what is going on, Elan Morin uses the True Power (not to be confused with the True Source) to Heal him and give back some of his sanity. It is then when Lews Therin realizes what has happened to his wife, his children, family, servants, friends, companions.... Elan Morin wastes no time pointing out that Great Lord of the Dark can bring Ilyena back, if only he bend the knee and serve his master. Lews Therin threatens Elan Morin in a fit of rage but is reminded that all of this was Lews Therin’s fault, something that silences him momentarily. After processing everything, Lews Therin uses the One Power to Travel, disappearing from the palace and appearing somewhere in another place where the land is flat and empty save for a river. All he can see in his tears is his wife and family. He screams to the sky, asking the Light for forgiveness. Lews Therin pulls on the One Power more deeply than he ever had, pulling enough to kill him a thousand times over, and brings destruction down on himself. In his place, the earth shakes and cracks and a single mountain rises, and the river is bent outward and left with an island in the middle of its flow. Elan Morin blinks into existence on that island, taking note of everything that had just happened. Angrily, he says aloud that the Dragon cannot escape so easily and that their conflict is not over and will not be until the end of time. He then disappears. We are left with the mountain and the island. THE BREAKDOWN The Basics - The Wheel of Time. The True Source, the One Power, The True Power. Saidin and saidar. Aes Sedai. The Wheel of Time is the namesake of the entire series and the definitive embodiment of time itself. The True Source, in turn, is the universe's driving force and what the Creator made to turn the Wheel of Time. It is divided into two parts; saidin, the male half, and saidar, the female half. These halves are utilized by those called Aes Sedai, who channel their respective half, called the One Power, to produce a desired effect. Saidin was tainted by the Dark One, causing all male users of the One Power to eventually go insane. In the prologue alone, different methods, or Talents, of using the One Power such as the Healing and Traveling are mentioned. However, there is another power, referred to as the True Power (not to be confused with the True Source), which is the Dark One's version of the True Source, and is available to any channelers who the Dark One allows to wield it. Unlike the True Source, the True Power is not divided into two gender-specific pieces, but instead is wholly accessible by any person who has permission. In layman's terms, the True Source and by extension the One Power are derived from the Creator, while the True Power is derived from the Dark One. More on this later in the series when it becomes more important. Light and Shadow - Light and Shadow. Creator and Dark One. Shai'tan, the Dark One, the Great Lord of the Dark. In generic realization, the Creator is the embodiment of good and is considered the Light, while the Shadow is reserved for his enemy, the Dark One. At the moment of creation, the Creator imprisoned the Dark One. He has since been able to touch the world again, and has taken on many names from Shai'tan, to the Dark One, to the Great Lord of the Dark. Adversaries - Lews Therin Telamon. Elan Morin Tedroni. Ilyeana Sunhair. The Hundred Companions. Lews Therin Telamon is the Dragon and husband of Ilyena Sunhair. His other names include Lord of the Morning, as well as Kinslayer. He is dazed because the taint on saidin is driving him mad, something that Elan Morin Tedroni Heals him of partially. Before the events in the prologue, Lews Therin was a great leader who led a group of followers called The Hundred Companions against the Dark One, leading to the eventual taint on saidin. The Mountain and the Island - Dragonmount. Tar Valon. What you will soon find out is that the mountain raised on the spot of Lews Therin's death is what has become known as Dragonmount. In its shadow on the island, amidst the River Erinin, is where Tar Valon was built, the modern capital and center of Aes Sedai power. COMMENTS Honestly, this is one of my favorite chapters in all of the series. It is iconic, the imagery is breathtaking, and the subject is almost haunting. Lews Therin Telamon, an incredibly successful leader of his era, comes to the realization that he has gone mad and that he has accidentally killed everyone important to him. While not necessarily emotion-evoking to every reader, I doubt that you can fully comprehend the gravity of this without at least acknowledging the genuine sorrow elicited through this revelation. While there is definitely more to every story, regardless of whether Lews Therin's actions were actually accidental or not, or even entirely his fault or not, the grave situation at hand is still bleak at best, and Elan Morin is still a horrible bastard. Until next week.... :: Lanestrider
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