Reading the Wheel of Time: Hammers, Balefire and Persuasion in Robert Jordan’s The Dragon Reborn (Part 21)


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Reading The Wheel of Time Dragon Reborn

Hello dear readers and welcome back to week 21 of the read of The Dragon Reborn. This week the strands of the wheel are drawing our protagonists ever closer to the Heart of the Stone and the climax of the long-building drama of The Dragon Reborn. I’ve been noticing that, somehow, this book seems slower than the previous two, although I can’t quite put my finger on why. It feels, though, that there have been fewer side quests and stand-alone adventures for everyone—more focus has been put on learning information, conversations, and world building than on, say, getting lost in Shadar Logoth or mirror worlds. I’m not sure if it would feel as slow if I was reading straight through without stopping every few paragraphs, but doing things this way, it certainly does.

We get a nice little reprieve this week as Perrin goes back to smithing, at least for ...

Reading the Wheel of Time: Of Herbs and Luck in Robert Jordan’s The Dragon Reborn (Part 20)


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Reading The Wheel of Time Dragon Reborn

Welcome back to Week 20 of our read of The Dragon Reborn. It was July 4th this past week, and while I didn’t personally feel like celebrating the U.S. and its ridiculous, over-the-top birthday, I did see a lot of fireworks. Which got me thinking—as so many things do, these days—about the Wheel of Time, and what I think is going to come of the Chehkov’s gun that is Mat’s roll of fireworks. What important plot point will it serve? As a distraction? An impromptu weapon? Something else? I know they are going to be important, but I don’t yet know how. It was sure fun to speculate though, as everyone at the barbecue oohed an aahed over the red white and blue blossoms in the sky and drank entirely too much beer.

Which I feel like Mat might also approve of.

But first, we must check in with ...

Reading the Wheel of Time: Climbing Adventures with Matrim Cauthon in Robert Jordan’s The Dragon Reborn (Part 19)


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Reading The Wheel of Time Dragon Reborn

My dears, my lovelies, it is already Week 19 in our read of The Dragon Reborn. It’s a quick post this week, covering Chapters 45-47, which were a breeze to read through and also quite fun to boot. I also loved to climb as a kid, and I find myself growing ever closer to, and more fond of, our dear Mat, as I predicted I would earlier in the book. It’s funny how much of a difference knowing someone’s internal monologue makes to understanding them and connecting with them as a person. I kind of love having so many different switches in the Wheel of Time, although it took me a bit to get used to. (I remember reading The Two Towers and The Return of the King as a kid and being mad when the book switched halfway through to tell you what the other half of the Fellowship ...

Reading the Wheel of Time: Darkhounds, the Forsaken, and Fireworks in Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time (Part 18)


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Reading The Wheel of Time Dragon Reborn

Good morning, my darlings, and welcome all to Week 18 of this Read of The Dragon Reborn. This week we’re covering Chapters 41-44, and I do my best to keep the recap a reasonable size. I find it a bit nerve-wracking, trying to cut down on the lengths of the recaps, because there are so many little bits in the narration that seem important, even if I don’t know why they are important yet. That says very good things about the complexity and depth of Jordan’s writing, however, so it’s not at all a bad thing!

In my recaps I generally try to refer to characters and things with the same names and descriptions as the narration gives them in the relevant chapters; in a Nynaeve chapter I would always refer to Siuan as the Amyrlin because that’s what Nynaeve calls her, and I continued to refer to Lanfear as ...

Reading The Wheel of Time: Is It Luck or Ta’veren Power in Robert Jordan’s The Dragon Reborn? (Part 17)


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Reading The Wheel of Time Dragon Reborn

Hello friends and readers and readerfriends! Bit of a heads up, we’re only covering one chapter this week, so we can get back on a better rhythm that matches the thematic sections of The Dragon Reborn. Thus, this week will only cover Chapter 40, and next week will cover all of Perrin’s adventures in chapters 41-44.

Fortunately for us, Chapter 40, A Hero in the Night, is both fun and really interesting. It’s strange that we’re still getting to know Mat for the first time, despite all the history we have from The Eye of The World and The Great Hunt. I was particularly struck this week by Mat’s need to insist that he’s not as kind as he is, and the way he impulsively wants to help other people. If you had asked me before this chapter, I would certainly have said that Mat is the most selfish, or ...

Reading The Wheel of Time: Is It Luck or Ta’veren Power in Robert Jordan’s The Dragon Reborn? (Part 17)


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Reading The Wheel of Time Dragon Reborn

Hello friends and readers and readerfriends! Bit of a heads up, we’re only covering one chapter this week, so we can get back on a better rhythm that matches the thematic sections of The Dragon Reborn. Thus, this week will only cover Chapter 40, and next week will cover all of Perrin’s adventures in chapters 41-44.

Fortunately for us, Chapter 40, A Hero in the Night, is both fun and really interesting. It’s strange that we’re still getting to know Mat for the first time, despite all the history we have from The Eye of The World and The Great Hunt. I was particularly struck this week by Mat’s need to insist that he’s not as kind as he is, and the way he impulsively wants to help other people. If you had asked me before this chapter, I would certainly have said that Mat is the most selfish, or ...

Reading The Wheel of Time: Lost Queens and Exiled Aiel in Robert Jordan’s The Dragon Reborn (Part 16)


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Reading The Wheel of Time Dragon Reborn

Welcome back to the Read, dear friends! This week, Nynaeve, Egwene, and Elayne have a sort of side-adventure, which proved difficult to summarize but contains a lot of tidbits of information and foreshadowing that, I can tell, are going to be important later. We meet some more Aiel, including Aviendha, who I have rather a suspicion will end up being an important character, and learn a little bit more about their cultural identity too. We see a bit of a power struggle between Nynaeve and Egwene, as well, and I try to make sense of some casually-dropped tidbits like “the Dragonwall” and someone named “Tigraine,” who Rand apparently looks like? More on that later (I confess I had to go back through the glossaries) but first, let’s get to the recap.

Chapter 37 opens with Egwene standing on the deck of a ship called the Blue Crane, watching the ...

Reading The Wheel of Time: Lost Queens and Exiled Aiel in Robert Jordan’s The Dragon Reborn (Part 16)


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Reading The Wheel of Time Dragon Reborn

Welcome back to the Read, dear friends! This week, Nynaeve, Egwene, and Elayne have a sort of side-adventure, which proved difficult to summarize but contains a lot of tidbits of information and foreshadowing that, I can tell, are going to be important later. We meet some more Aiel, including Aviendha, who I have rather a suspicion will end up being an important character, and learn a little bit more about their cultural identity too. We see a bit of a power struggle between Nynaeve and Egwene, as well, and I try to make sense of some casually-dropped tidbits like “the Dragonwall” and someone named “Tigraine,” who Rand apparently looks like? More on that later (I confess I had to go back through the glossaries) but first, let’s get to the recap.

Chapter 37 opens with Egwene standing on the deck of a ship called the Blue Crane, watching the ...

Reading the Wheel of Time: A Falcon That Doesn’t Fly and a Wolf that Does in Robert Jordan’s The Dragon Reborn (Part 15)


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Reading The Wheel of Time Dragon Reborn

This week in Reading the Wheel of Time, we’re covering Chapters 35 and 36 of The Dragon Reborn, in which there is a girl who calls herself Falcon and a woman who calls herself Daughter of the Night. Perrin learns that he can (at least sometimes) dream without Dreaming, and we return to a dreamscape we saw once before, long ago in the early days of The Wheel of Time. Will Perrin decide to trust Faile? What does Moiraine think of Perrin’s Dreaming? And can a wolf learn to fly? Read on to find out.

Lan and Perrin make their way back to the inn, careful to move normally as they pass through the common room. Orban is still telling and retelling his story of the Aiel encounter. Perrin avoids hearing whatever Lan is telling Moiriane in her room and hurries on to Loial’s. He is struck by ...

Reading the Wheel of Time: Good, Evil, and the Choices We Make in Robert Jordan’s The Dragon Reborn (Part 14)


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Reading The Wheel of Time Dragon Reborn

Good morrow to you, fair readers, here on this lovely week 14 of our read of The Dragon Reborn. We’re doing two more chapters this week, Chapters 33 and 34, in which Perrin grapples with questions about the nature of the Pattern and meets an Aielman in a cage, just as Min promised. But why is this stranger important for Perrin? We’ll have to read on to find out.

Chapter 33 opens with Perrin studying a strange mark, like a giant dog’s footprints, in a stone. There are no other marks in the softer ground, not the scent of a dog’s trail, although Perrin catches something sulfurous, like the distant scent of fireworks.

They are pushing hard towards Jarra, even Loial yawning in his saddle. The Ogier is perplexed by Perrin’s inability to sleep, given how worn they all are from the traveling, but even besides the danger of Perrin’s ...

Reading the Wheel of Time: The Power of the Ta’veren in Robert Jordan’s The Dragon Reborn (Part 13)


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Reading The Wheel of Time Dragon Reborn

Hello, good morning, and welcome back to week 13 of Reading The Dragon Reborn! Although traditionally an unlucky number in the western world, thirteen has always been a lucky one for me—I was even born on a Friday the 13th. And it seems to be a lucky number for Mat, too, although in a rather alarming sort of way, which may foreshadow some pretty strange and dangerous consequences for the grabbiest of heroes. Also Thom comes back (you all know my feelings about Thom) and we learn some more creepy things about the High Lords of Tear.

In other news, I’m going to try to really shorten the recap sections of the posts. As the books get longer and more complicated, so too do the recaps! You’ve all read the books, so you know what happens—so I’m going to try to cover only the broad strokes in the recap portion, ...

Reading the Wheel of Time: The Amyrlin’s Plots Backfire in Robert Jordan’s The Dragon Reborn (Part 12)


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Reading The Wheel of Time Dragon Reborn

Welcome back, dear readers, to week 12 of Reading The Dragon Reborn! This week sets ups up to finally have our heroes getting out of the Tower and back into the wide world, and I am quite ready for it. We also get to see Tel’aran’rhiod and Egwene has some interesting adventures that leave her, and me, with more questions than answers. Also, Lanfear’s plots turn out to be a bit more twisty than I had guessed.

Egwene, Nynaeve, and Elayne assemble in Egwene’s room after two more shifts in the kitchens. In between work they tried to puzzle out the meaning of the things they found in the storeroom, whether it was a trap, whether the Amyrlin knew about the belongings, and if so, why she didn’t say anything about it. In their shifts in the kitchens they were visited by Verin, who used the cover of her usual ...

Reading the Wheel of Time: Farmer’s Weapons and Library Secrets in Robert Jordan’s The Dragon Reborn (Part 11)


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Reading The Wheel of Time Dragon Reborn

Welcome back to week eleven of Reading the Dragon Reborn! This is a fun, adventurey week, with Robin Hood-style antics from Mat, sneaking and disguises from Lanfear, and some Indiana Jones beneath-a-library spelunking with Nynaeve, Egwene, and Elayne.

Also, both Mat and and the girls have some strange encounters with Else Grinwell, who may or may not be who she seems. But then again, who inside Tar Valon is, really?

Mat wakes to sunlight and cheery servants bringing him food and telling him how much better he looks, but he remains hostile to the idea of the Aes Sedai’s control over him and is determined to find a way out of Tar Valon. Still, he’s happy enough to have the food.

After breakfast, he decides to have a look around, bringing his dicing cups along with him. It takes some wandering to find his way out of the tower, but ...

I Identify Deeply With Thor. I Wish Avengers: Endgame Hadn’t Used His Mental Health For Jokes


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One of the big problems with the Avengers movies in general is that they can’t accommodate all the arcs of the individual characters. Trying to cram six or more characters into three-ish hours and give them all their due is already impossible, and then there’s the added complication that these movies are often being written while their immediate predecessors are still being filmed. It can’t really be helped, but it is to the detriment of the larger continuity that they sold us on when we first started this journey. The Infinity War/Endgame script was being written while Thor: Ragnarok was in filming, so I expected to see some similar conflicts.

But I did not expect what they did to Thor.

Of everyone, Thor lost the most in Infinity War, especially because he had already lost so much in Ragnarok. His conversation with Rocket on the journey to Nidavellir was ...

Reading the Wheel of Time: Egwene Lets Go of Rand and Is Nearly Lost Herself in Robert Jordan’s The Dragon Reborn (Part 10))


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Reading The Wheel of Time Dragon Reborn

I have so many questions about this week’s chapters (22 and 23) and Egwene’s trips through the arched ter’angreal. Most prominent is the same question that Nynaeve and Egwene asked Sheriam, the question everyone apparently asks: Is what happens when you’re inside real, and in what way? I don’t believe that it is literally real, like a visit to an alternate reality or anything like that, but Egwene’s experiences, especially the third time through, have a much more prophetic nature than Nynaeve’s. But perhaps that is just coincidence, since Nynaeve saw a version of the future that could not possibly be real, given that we know Malkier is gone, but the threat of Rand being caught and gentled is a serious one that both Egwene and the reader are deeply concerned with.

As soon as Egwene has left Verin’s office she’s confronted by Sheriam, who has been looking for her. ...

Reading the Wheel of Time: Choosing Who You Want to Be in Robert Jordan’s The Dragon Reborn (Part 9)


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Reading The Wheel of Time Dragon Reborn

Hello again, dear friends. I know I told you that we were going to spend this week on Egwene’s Accepted Trials, but as it turns out, I had so much to say that I had to break it down into two different posts! You all seem to enjoy my non chapter-specific ramblings, though, and seems like it was about time for one.

Before I get into that, however, I’d like to thank you all of your insightful comments over the course of this read. I’ve enjoyed interacting with you, and even if I didn’t comment myself, I was reading along and loving all of your thoughts and pointers. You’ve been working so hard to keep those comments spoiler-free while still giving me new angles to ponder. It’s been great fun for me, and I think it also contributed to making the subsequent posts richer.

That being said, as the books ...

Reading the Wheel of Time: Mat Struggles With the Past in Robert Jordan’s The Dragon Reborn (Part 8)


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Reading The Wheel of Time Dragon Reborn

Welcome back once again to the Reading the Wheel of Time! In week eight of the The Dragon Reborn, Mat isn’t the only one who is struggling with his memory. I, your fearless reader, also found myself trying to remember details, some of them small, that felt pretty important. Had Mat heard Selene’s name before? How much reason do I really have to suspect Verin of being Black Ajah, besides that one apparent lie about being sent to Ingtar by Moiraine? And are there hints of more secrets about Ba’alzamon than the one I think I have uncovered?

The answers lie in three chapters that are full of a lot more talking than action, and I have to admit, the more chapters like this we have, the more I keep waiting for something really serious to happen. Egwene has her Accepted trials coming up, so there’s always that.

But ...

Reading the Wheel of Time: Everyone Wants to Help and They Can’t Be Trusted in Robert Jordan’s The Dragon Reborn (Part 7)


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Reading The Wheel of Time Dragon Reborn

Welcome back, gentle readers! It’s already Week 7 here in Reading the Wheel of Time. In this round we’ll see Nynaeve, Egwene, and Elayne starting into the very beginnings of thinking and politicking like proper Aes Sedai, Galad and Gawyn making an (not entirely) unwelcome appearance, Elaida coming back into our story, and Mat finally getting Healed.

Although everything that happens in Chapters 16-18 is very interesting, I found it a bit of a slog to recap and analyze. There’s a lot of talking, and although we get some more pieces for our puzzle, I think we will have to wait a while yet to see where they fit. Especially the part that Elaida will play in events; I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be substantial.

Upon entering Nynaeve’s room, she and Egwene find Elayne there waiting for them, along with Gawyn and Galad. Egwene is flustered when Galad ...

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Reading the Wheel of Time: Searching for the Black Ajah in Robert Jordan’s The Dragon Reborn (Part 6)


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Reading The Wheel of Time Dragon Reborn

Welcome back to Reading the Wheel of Time! This week, Elayne, Egwene, and Nynaeve finally get to find out their punishment for sneaking out of Tar Valon, we find out what has changed in the White Tower in their absence, and we get a new kind of Darkfriend! Or do the Gray Men qualify more as Shadowspawn than as human followers, now?

In the meantime, we still don’t know if Mat is alive or dead, or what the Amyrlin plans to do with him. I have to admit, at first I thought it was a little silly that the girls were so worried about making sure he was healed. “Of course the Aes Sedai are going to help him!” I thought. “Why would Verin bring him all this way just to let him die?” But then she and the Amyrlin had that conversation last week about how Mat ...

Reading the Wheel of Time: Secrets Smell Like Fishes in Robert Jordan’s The Dragon Reborn (Part 5)


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Reading The Wheel of Time Dragon Reborn

Welcome back to Reading the Wheel of Time with me, Sylas! The guy who finally reached the point where Nynaeve’s braid pulling gets out of control. You all did warn me this was coming.

This week we’re covering Chapters 10, 11, and 12, which is full of Secrets, brings us home to Tar Valon, and reintroduces us the the Amyrlin Seat, aka Badass Lady of the Fish Metaphors.

Chapter 10 opens with Egwene trying to catch a glimpse of Tar Valon in the distance as she rides with Verin, Nynaeve, and Elayne, accompanied by Huron and Mat in a horse litter. She’s eager to return to her training, desperate to advance her skills enough to feel sure she will never be collared, never lose her freedom, again. In Tar Valon she will also continue to be tested as a Dreamer; in addition to having nightmares about the time she spent ...