This is NOT a review of the Wheel of Time books. I suppose you can call it a reaction blog... For it is a collection of my live reactions and thoughts to reading the Wheel of Times series for the first time.
The thoughts were originally shared on Twitter and have now been collected here for everyone's convenience. These are my full reactions from the second Wheel of Time book, with some post-read writerly thoughts at the very end.
To gain better understanding of what this is all about, please refer to this blog.
This time, I divided my readings up into days. This part 1 chronicles the first half, we meet Selene in part 2, and in part 3 we finish with a grand battle and my final thoughts.
Let the reading begin!
The Great Hunt
Day 1 : The day it all began, again.
Starting at the beginning. The real beginning - the dedication.
Does anyone know the story behind this dedication...?
It makes me think hurricane disaster. But I’m not familiar, and since I’m reading Wheel of Time for the first time, I'm still too paranoid about potential spoilers to google “Robert Jordan”.
A kind soul on Twitter referred me to this reddit post about the dedication. The nice person also warned me there were the Great Hunt spoilers in the thread, so I'm saving that for later.
Uhh this prologue is awesome!
I had been warned about long prologues but this one is not that long and besides, it’s great! I enjoy the voice and seeing the dark side! (I can now confirm that they do NOT have cookies, that was a lie)
The people watching in this section is also great. I love people watching. This is great. And I have a feeling we will run into all of the people described here. The woman from Illian, the two Aes Sedai, and “The man who called himself Bors”
Wait... Robert Jordan did it again.
Bors... Bors.... Boris?
Uhhh okay I’ve got you! So... Theory here:
The Forsaken will escape from their hold in Shayol Ghul. And it will be up to Rand (I still think he is the Dragon) and his companions (100 of them?) to lock them back again? Is that what’s going to happen??
I swear that’s the spitting image of my lad Mat! Couldn’t have done it better me-self.
Followed by an unmistakable description of Perrin. And then, Rand, of course.
This is the equivalent of wanted posters, but for criminals to use, in a fantasy setting.
Uhhh!! Very important information!!
So Rand is NOT the Dragon..... but he WILL be...?? How does one become the Dragon...?
I wonder how this will play out... when will he realise? Will he have to actively seek to become a dragon, because then I fear this world is doomed.
Hahaha! We can confirm!
I get nervous every time Rand touches his sword!
I hope he learns how to use it in this book. He is in dire need of lessons.
So, the man who calls himself Bors, is from Tarabon.
I’ve consulted my map and this means that we will likely get to visit the west coast, on the other side of Two Rivers! Does this also mean we will visit Two Rivers again...?
Who will it be? Who will make the journey home?
Hold up! Lan is as tall as Rand?? I missed something major. I was likely too star-struck by Moiraine at the time when he was first introduced, because I always imagined Lan to be on the shorter side but not any less badass for that...
It almost makes me sad to read that he is tall, even though it makes sense... I was quite fond of my inner image of a short badass hero.
You and me both, Lan. You and me both.
Except it’s a whole book ago for me.
I'm also very pleased to see Lan training Rand in sword fighting. He needs all of the held he can get, especially on the fighting front, and there is no better teacher than Lan.
A sword with 3000 years of tales.... did Rand’s sword, by any chance belong to Rand’s real father...?
And is he descended from the last Dragon Reborn aka Kinslayer...?
That’s my theory for now.
A little worn but wearable... yes Rand, but for how long? You’ve got a dozen books ahead of you, and I suspect that each book doesn’t take place over a day or two, so you should be happy with new shoes and clothes.
Pulling out stitchings looks easy, huh, Rand?
Well, it is easy, but now I really look forward to see Rand try.
Now they’ve all got bows!! This archer is very please to hear it, and we also finally get a description of a bow!!
So, in Rand’s case, at least, we’re dealing with a longbow.
That he made himself...? Gosh, I thought they were only there a month? Also that tough a draw seems very impracticable in battle.
Yes you do that, Rand. Because that has gone so well for you in the past...
Day 2 : The day Moiraine got her own POV chapter!
Is this Mat’s dagger? It looks like Mat’s dagger! Are we going to see Mat my lad for the first time in this book?
I’m ready! Take me to him!
Robert Jordan back at it again with his names that are sorta familiar but juuust different enough.
He is done with Matt, and Randall, and all of that. We’re going Presidential now. USA kind of presidential.
I agree that Rand’s bow does not seem practical and certainly can’t be used on horseback, but this is iffy. Shape of bow does have something to do with it, but shortbow does NOT mean light draw.
If he’s skilled enough, Rand should be able to loosen the same amount of arrows.
That’s a really lovely piece of description of the Two Rivers folk.
There is a strange familiarity in stubbornness.
After everything you’ve been through, Rand, you should know to listen to your instincts by now.
Your gut tells you something is off? LISTEN to it! The rest of us are all listening to your gut. Join us... please!
No, Rand. You haven’t been listening to sweet Loial. I’ve been paying attention, though, so I can tell you that the city the Ogiers made was destroyed long ago.
This is a man-made city.
Oh.... Pragmatic Perrin has lost his confidence with the wolf eyes. He is distancing himself from the rest of the world.
It’s okay Perrin, it’ll be alright.
I need a Perrin chapter STAT!
THIS is why I worry about the TV version.
Without his internal monologue, if you just read what he is saying aloud, Rand often comes across mean to his friends.
I worry he will come across as rude, annoying, even sexist to modern audiences.
I hope they find a way around that.
Egwene just threatened to set his breeches on fire!!
....yes, Rand... that’s what I worry modern audiences will do to you unless the scriptwriters of this upcoming show find a way to save you ass and convey your inner thoughts to viewers.
Uff. Egwene. That hit hard.
She does have a point Rand. You’ve been known to do similar things.
So while I’m all for you heading out into the world and letting the Pattern spin your destiny, this is also why I worry.
Scary! And no Rand, I fear that he is not mad, simply possessed and able to see the wielders of the One Power or something.
Scary indeed. Especially with everyone in that dungeon becoming darker and m more evil by the day.
Wait what???? Moiraine???? This is a Moiraine chapter???
Sound the fanfare!!
(Oh.... that’s why the chapter heading is a horn, huh? I mean probably not but I’ll take it)
Moiraine’s inner dialogue is everything I had hoped it would be. I’m really enjoying this inner look at her!
My mother sometimes compared one of the characters in my book to Moiraine.
Now I get why. There is a certain tone... a certain calm.
I already like Anaiya.
Sees people for who they are
As who they want to be seen?
Means what she says?
I'm a fan.
The sisterly love between Moiraine and the Amyrlin Seat is great!
I had a feeling that they were old friends. There was always some half hidden kindness in Moiraine’s tone when she spoke of the Amyrlin Seat.
I adore this.
Yo!!! Sisters!! What are you planning? Let me in on your secret!
Day 3 : The day we got a crazy amount of POVs in one chapter
Whitecloaks!! Whitecloaks are coming!
Though why they would be so far north, I don’t know. Did they follow the Aes Sedai or something...?
Huh? This is also a Moiraine chapter. I did not expect that with the way the last one ended. And then we are right back in the same scene...
So I suppose we will now be told what they were plotting?
Oh... now I almost wish it was kept a secret from us. At least for a little while longer.
I CALLED IT!
It will happen. When, we don’t know. But it will happen!
Moiraine Sedai, that all sounds great, but.... I don’t think it’s going to go that smoothly. It all seems too easy and you have the horn but who is to hunt it...?
I’ll remind you that this book is called The Great Hunt. Not much of a hunt if Rand simply rides in with the horn.
What...? A POV change in the middle of a chapter...? I did not expect that.
Especially when the last chapter was Moiraine too. I don’t know how I feel about that.
If we start changing POV mid chapter we’re moving towards a Malazan kind of confusing...
I’ll believe that. The Whitecloaks give me creeps.
Different thought but: I’ve been thinking about the gender roles in this world. Are the Whitecloaks purely men? Like the Aes Sedai are purely women and we're in a Queendom and not a kingdom..?
What???? Another POV change mid-chapter - in the SAME chapter??
Okay yes. It’s getting confusing.
(Oh and is that Whitecloak we just saw the same one who was out for Perrin and Egwene...? Cause that name, Bryar, seems familiar. I do not particularly want to meet him again).
*GASP* did she just...?? Burn a book????
Plus, she “casually” threw it into the fire. Casually?? How often does she do this for it to be a casual occasion?
Okay, this Liandrin Sedai character is on my hitlist now! Book burner!
(that’s as close as I’ll get to call her a witch)
A POV change, AGAIN?? This is the fourth POV in this single chapter....
Is this how it’s going to be going forward? Having to rewire myself and figure out where we are and who we are every few paragraphs?
Trollocs! And that right after hearing about the Black Ajar. I mean we knew from the prologue that they existed, but still...
I wonder how Trollocs get into this well protected city with all of these Aes Sedai around...
This might be a new chapter but it’s like I missed half a book. What’s going on? Is this another dream? It’s gotta be another dream
Otherwise, I'll feel cheated, having skipped so much action to get to this point.
Okay, it’s a dream. Phew.
The Wisdom has got humour. And also she is right. You are a woolhead, Rand.
Oh, and she’s right about the other stuff too.
You absolute WOOLHEAD, Rand...
Nine kinds of idiot is what you are.
Blood and ashes. Open your eyes and look around you, lad. Even you don’t believe it.
You’re running out like that Rand??
In the midst of all the Aes Sedai?
The Wisdom is right, Rand. You’re a goat-brained fool.
Egwene was right, too.
You somehow end up in the lap of the very people you tried to avoid.
Rand, ladies and gentlemen, Rand.
I really want to go to Illian, but the book keeps telling me that’s not where we’re going.
It keeps telling me: “oh you want to go south?”
*dangles promises of a great hunt in Illian in front of me*
Then it closes the door and says: “well too bad you’re going west!”
This sounds like bad news. Really bad news. Can they sever Mat's bond from it now? Is it too late?
Are they going to have to ride off to search for the dagger now?
That seems dangerous.
I’m assuming the Peddler has it and he is a very dark darkfriend.
Oh no.... I mean, are we sure? Absolutely sure the Aes Sedai didn’t put it somewhere else and that it's actually safe...?
Because... I’m now seeing my shimmering hope of a glorious ride to Illian dwindle into far away fiction.
Okay... so Robert Jordan is not going with the method he established in book 1.
He has decided to suddenly cast us into new scenes and settings from one paragraph to another. Change POV mid-chapter.
It’s a new style for him. It’s confusing to read. At least for now.
The Brown Aes Sedai are awesome though. They seem like they’re historians and archaeologists and forensic scientists all at the same time, and it’s quite cool and fun.
Hope we see more of them. I think we will.
Wow. Robert Jordan is really going for a new style with how much he jumps around and how quickly.
This scene between Rand and Lan would be great with the right set up, but it’s thrown in straight after trolloc fights and gore. So it feels out of place.
The writer in me wonders how quickly he wrote this book, because these last few chapters feel like a lot of sporadic ideas and great scenes that were thrown together in a rush. He is trying to weave them together but it feels rushed. Like he didn’t have time to hand stitch the connecting points.
By the way, in case there was ANY doubt:
I am NOT hating on the book or Robert Jordan.
There is just a very clear difference in writing between book 1 and 2, and I’m wondering what caused it.
This is very wise advice, al’Lan. I’d certainly prefer a slow horse to no horse.
Lan comes with some very wise phrases on the rare occasion he engages in dialogue. I’m savouring every one of those moments.
Day 4 : The day we saw a Brown Aes Sedai up close
Okay first of all: awesome title.
Second of all: except for the prologues, and the epilogue in the last book, it’s the first time the Wheel of time logo is a chapter heading.
I wonder what it will mean.
That someone is spinning the wheel of time? Using the one true source..?
Blood and ashes, I knew it!
Those trollocs just had to take Mat’s dagger and worsen his condition.
Well I suppose the lads, or at least Mat, will have to set off after the trollocs to retrieve the dagger, then.
Ha! So my initial instinct that Aes Sedai live for a long time was correct.
Although Moiraine does feel quite young. So maybe only a hundred years or so...? That’s my guess for Moiriane’s age. Within 100 years. Because she seems older than most people but young compared with other Aes sedai.
Yes of course. This is why Mat will need to go in search of the dagger. If he is lucky some of the others will join him because alone that’s going to be a difficult journey for him... near impossible.
Also why doesn’t Moiraine call him by his full name? Matrim Cauthon?
Written on a wall.
In a hurry.
AND IT’S TWO PAGES LONG???
Wow the Peddler and Dark One's creatures really had lots of time. And lots of wall to write on too....
I hate to contradict the Amyrlin Seat, but I don’t think anyone is buying this speech at this point, not even the Amyrlin Seat herself. I look forward for Rand to meet Lanfear, because that’s what I assume is going to happen.
Verin is awesome, and I think I can probably say the same about her sisters in the brown and mean it too! I wonder if Aes Sedai can choose their colour or one presents itself to them or they get recruited. I have a feeling we will find out.
And then we have another mid-chapter PoV change....
Okay. I get that this is Robert Jordan’s new style, but I’m struggling to adjust.
In other news though, it’s Perrin, and I adore Perrin.
I think Robert Jordan does some of his best writing with Perrin. It feels very focused.
Like a dog at the vet.
Being able to smell the cancer in his friend.
I like Perrin.
So far, I have enjoyed every single Perrin chapter. The writing for him is... special.
Ahh so they found Perrin and that’s why they sounded the alarm? Because that whole sequence of events seemed a little strange to me. That makes more sense now.
I hope all three lads get safely on the way before the BOOK BURNER gets to them.
It’s simple, but a good example of Jordan’s use of words when writing Perrin.
Since the beginning, Perrin’s POV sections have been on the shorter side but they have all been very concise and precise.
In the first two books at least Jordan seems to particularly have enjoyed writing Perrin.
Annnnd we’re already out of Perrin’s POV. Sort and precise indeed. A little writerly fun in between other scenes is what it feels like to me.
Okay, let’s see what Rand is up to now.
*deep sigh* Rand, I know it’s tough, but you can’t have it both ways. You either tell them the truth of keep them away with lies. It’s up to you, but you 3 are all keeping secrets from each other and one of you has to be the first one to open up.
Uhh the next chapter is called The Dragon Reborn! It’s going to be Rand face to face with the Amyrlin Seat isn’t it?
Despite the promising title, I will save it for tomorrow so I can fully enjoy. I’d rather enjoy this journey than rush through it.
Day 5 : The day Rand learned he is the DRAGON REBORN
Okay, so as I thought Warders and Aes Sedai are paired off.
We know Aes Sedai live longer than most people, can they apply this to their Warder too or will they eventually be Warder-less or need a new Warder?
Since the Reds hate men and don’t have Warders, do only some colours of Ajah have Warders..?
Wait whaaaaaat? So the sword really was Tam’s? I mean obviously he got up to some things travelling but i never thought this.
Especially after Lan explained how difficult it was to earn that kind of sword.
So Tam al’Thor left Two Rivers to go on adventures and came back with a wife....
And yet, STILL his son, Rand al’Woolhead, thinks that: “No one from Two Rivers ever left”!!!!?
Rand knew Tam married an outlander, and still... damned Two Rivers stubbornness.
Ha, Rand! And you thought you would go off alone?
We all know you will go with them, because you think things like: “how will WE find it?”
Rand al’Woolhead. That is my official calling name for you now. It seems fitting.
Oh I adore Verin! Way to take the tension out of the room. And she does have a fair point, although I would not be picking at one particular saying, because, let’s be real, most sayings lack a knowledge of the world at large.
Ha! Well no way to run from it now Rand.
I mean, I know you will try to run from it anyways, but, the knowledge is there now. Planted in your head. Now I suspect it just needs a long while to work it’s way through your woolhead and really click.
Well at last we know why the fade in book one was only visible to these three lads born within a few weeks of each other. Now we know why the week thing was so important.
Getting lots of answers here.
What could she have told them..?
“A Lord? Ha! One with a head made of wool”
“In our lands no one would be quite so bold as to ask me such a thing.”
“Lord or not, his socks stink all the same.”
Now that’s funny
And it's exactly what I imagine a stern Wisdom would take particular pleasure in giving a young troublesome lad called Matrim, acting like a goose.
Lan handing the Wisdom the ring is a bittersweet moment. He is very forward with his feelings. I suppose it suits his character. He is quite square about most things but it’s still somewhat surprising to see him vulnerable in this way. Calling her his beloved.
Yikes! Hate?? She hates Moiraine?
I thought she was just a little jealous and had a general disdain for Aes Sedai, but hate...?
Yes, this is when the Wisdom loses me in her POV chapters. To me, her hatred towards Moiraine seems misplaced, or at the very least much too extreme.
This it the 4th PoV change in this chapter. But that’s not what I wanted to highlight. We’ve been through that.
It’s the first EGWENE chapter!!
I wasn’t sure we were ever getting any Egwene chapters.
I expect Egwene.... to think more about home and about the others maybe too.
She wasn’t, Nynaeve.
She was trying to comfort herself.
....and that’s the sad truth.
We’ve heard a lot about the Red Ajah, we’ve seen the Brown Ajah up close, we know some about the Green Ajah. Even the Black Ajah.
Why do I feel like we know the least about the Blue Ajah?
And that’s despite Moiraine being a Blue Ajah.
Another thought I’ve had lingering since the last book: The guards in Shienaran are often described using Asian stereotypes, and have names that sound like they were inspired by Japanese inspired (except Lord Angelmar).
So, as far as the show is concerned, I’m expecting all Shienaran to be Asian.
(Someone in my comment section mentioned Mongolian, and yes! That's it!)
Good Egwene. I’ve tried to tell him to not be like that and treat people with respect but it won’t get through.
Rand al’Woolhead doesn’t seem to take directions from women. At least not yet.
It might be the last time he will see Egwene and this is how he goes about it? Oh Rand...
Yep. I’ve been trying to teach him this too, Egwene. But you’re right, tell him!
We all have to band together to get the message through to Rand before it’s too late and he confesses to the Dark One himself that he is the Dragon Reborn.
Let’s try out best to save Rand’s life!
Day 6 : The day the Great Hunt began
Yes I wonder what it is too. My best guess is a Black Sedai..?
Next best guess: whatever is above the food chain from a Fade. There’s gotta be a few steps between a fade and the dark one himself.
Whitecloaks call Aes Sedai darkfriends, yet still call themselves white.
Although the colour white is connected to the Aes Sedai use of the one true power, like black is connected to the male equivalent.
More generally white refers to the “Light” which both groups aim for.
I like that cause no one has sole and unique claim to a colour or an idea. Most people in Randworld see the Light as something to be attained and something almost holy. Yet their interpretation of what the light is and how to achieve it, varies hugely.
Aes Sedai and Whitecloaks certainly prove that.
That means something entirely different where I come from... but in all seriousness, that’s an awesome skill, and would definitely be my superpower. Not by choice, mind you, just cause I have a sensitive nose.
Also: will Perrin learn this too? With the sensitive nose of a wolf.
Yep. That sounds about right.
That sounds like a Brown Aes Sedai.
I’m guessing it’s new then, if she could not figure it out...?
And he doesn’t have gold eyes so not like Perrin. Just the sense of smell.
This is why I still have hope that Thom is alive. This is where I think we will find him again. Illian. The beautiful golden city for Gleeman, especially with the hunt.
Huh. This is Illian..?
I had imagined such beauty and an abundance of everything in Illian. From the little we had heard I imagined vines and gold and wonder...
And then when we finally arrive in glorious Illian we get.... a canal that stinks of chamber pots....
Ouch, that’s a foul letter to carry!
I’m glad this man has the sense to pry open the seal and look.
I would have yelled at him that it’s possible if he had not.
Now I can save my yelling for Rand al’Woolhead.
Also, I can imagine Mat my lad giving this letter to someone as a joke...
Ahh love a good collector in fantasy stories. They always carry interesting things with them.
....wait a second! This is the same captain who sailed Rand, Mat and Thom isn’t it?
So he has Moiriane’s coins...
Uh uh. I do believe this is one of the seals to the Foresaken.... Oh boy... no wonder everyone’s out to kill him and get his things.
Even the ship is sailing to Toman Head!! Okay, okay, I get it. It’s all going down on the west coast. Forgive me if I’m not super excited about Toman Head yet. I’ve heard everyone is going there, but none of them show any excitement for the place.
You’ll run straight into trouble instead.....
Because from my seat here in the omniscient world, I can tell you that trollocs and darkfriends are flocking towards towards this place and so are Whitecloaks...