Wheel of Time 2 : The Great Hunt (part 3)

his 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. Part 1 chronicles the first half, we meet Selene in part 2, and in this part 3 we finish with a grand battle and my final thoughts.

The Great Hunt

Day 17 : The day we visited a STEDDING!!

Hahahaha I’m sorry, Rand, but do you truly believe that?

You can channel, Aes Sedai can channel. Your girls are in the white tower.

No, boy, you will be not be done with Aes Sedai so easily, if ever.

No, no, please tell us more, this could be important! Who were the travelling people who left and why did they leave? And what does it tell you that this many people are suddenly coming to your stedding?

Uhh, is our lovely Ogier interested in a woman now? That is sweet.

Also, this is the tone I like from Mat we just haven’t heard it in about 800 pages.

Oh goodness, Loial. When you last spoke of the Longing, I didn’t realise it was quite that bad. I thought it was simple homesickness.

Well we better make certain this NEVER happens to you, dear friend!

Oh Loial! I fear I am repeating myself, but he is SO sweet!

How can I not adore this young Ogier, when he acts so honest and kind?

Three friends.

See, I like Mat my lad when he is like this. He can joke and still be nice.

Oh and I adore the Ogier of course, not that anyone is in doubt. So easily he forgives and moves on.

Uhhh, at last Lord Rand al’Woolhead comes face to face with Aiel!

He is taking this rather well. Not like a woolhead at all. Like a read lord.

I am impressed Rand, I expected you to already be denying it. But maybe you only do that if someone ELSE brings up the similarities.

Bingo! But goodness, it’s good to see the three Two Rivers lads banter again, and just talk to each other, really.

We haven’t had that since the first half of the first book. I’ve missed it.

Okay.... so I couldn’t decide which part of this to show you because I love all of it...

Loial seems to be popular with the ladies, just like our Two Rivers lads!

At this point all them are so popular I’m wondering if it’s a rub off effect of being ta’veren or close to one, or if all of our heroes are just that handsome.

Haha! Well caught, Rand! Yes, I was just thinking the same. Also - Mat frowned thoughtfully??

Mat my lad can be thoughtful? We truly learn something every day here.

Indeed, Ogier. Had it not been for your three ta’veren friends, you would not have entered this stedding and possibly met a beautiful woman and future wife.

Oh goodness, Loial, you’re in SO much trouble with your Elders. I think, at this point, having left the stedding without permission is going to be the least of your troubles, when you return.....

...if you ever do.

Oh, please let Loial survive everything to come.

Aw, these sweet lads, stranding up for their Ogier friend. This softened my heart to read.

Loial has been a loyal, sweet and kind companion and friend, so it’s so nice to see that not only have I come to adore him, all three of our lads too have come to adore him.

Oh please please please. Now I’m worried! Let nothing happen to Loial, please! Let him return safe to his stedding eventually! Don’t let him die!

Rand, please do swear another oath that you won’t be bringing a corpse back to Stedding Shangtai when this is all over!

Aww sweet Ogier, always taking things so literally. I love characters like this and Loial is a great one. Oh, and Erith gave it to him?? Uhh, I sense an Ogier love story in the making!

Hahah! Perceptive Perrin roasting Mat will likely never get old!

I love these lads.

Also, let’s note that Mat is always the first to joke about others, but cannot take a joke himself.

Yes, sister, I wonder too.

How does the Black Wind know where the Dragon Reborn is?

How does it sit waiting for him at every Waygate?

Thank goodness—once again—for the sniffer’s lack of tact!

Was it not for him, they would never get anywhere!

And so, as predicted, back into the alternative universes, they march. How will you play this one off, Rand?

Day 18 : The day we... flicker flicker FLICKER!!

Well, Verin Sedai, sometimes what is generally thought is right.

And I don’t think Selene would want to meet with you, because you’d see right through her and expose her for what she truly is. She wouldn’t like that.

Well how lucky and convenient that of all the symbols and stones the one in Toman Head is one you know, Verin Sedai.

The way Verin has come to lead them... I often forget she is not Moiraine. I suppose all Aes Sedai are a little alike.
No, apparently your name is still Lord Rand al’Woolhead.

Goodness, Rand, I thought we had been through this. You’re not a FALSE dragon. They told you as much.

You’re the Dragon Reborn!

Even Ba’alzamon thinks so! What do you think you’ve been running from all this time??

Who are you trying to fool, Rand? Because you’re not fooling anyone. Not us, not Verin and not even yourself.

The last many many times you’ve reached for the void saidin has been there.

Besides, I think Verin is right, again.

The Pattern is not done with you.

Oh like in the house with all the flies? Good! Finally! I was wondering when we were going to get to that again. So does this mean we will finally figure out exactly what it is?

I bet Verin knows something. She knows a lot, being a brown sister and all.

Did they just access Ba’alzamon’s super computer?

This feels like all of the Dark One’s evil simulations to kill Rand. All the ways in which he can win and has found a way to win.

Lucky that this is not one of those times!

Okay, I’ve spent two books (almost) worried that a version of this would happen. That Egwene would end up being sent off to gentle him.

Since I see it here, I don’t think it’s going to go that way. Phew. She may still be sent but she won’t do it.

Actually this whole flickering thing has been very very educational and nice. A very good gift for Rand.

Now he know what CANNOT happen. The courses of actions that do not work, so maybe he can avoid it.

Verin Sedai! We need some more explanations for us mere mortals over here! Like... who are the ones who knew the Numbers of Chaos? The Foresaken? Selene? And are those scenarios just possible outcomes or actual played matches?

I still reckon they’re battle simulations.

No no this is actually good! You see, you kept saying that if you were to ride there it would take months, and also that Mat my lad only has weeks.

This way you’ve arrived at a realistic time PLUS Mat my lad still has weeks. Weeks to look for the dagger.

I enjoyed those flickering scenes. They read like they were really fun to write. And the best pieces of writing often reads like that.

So are all characters with three letter names starting with M going to be cheeky jokesters?


(As for Galad, the question isn’t who was looking at him, but who was HE looking at?)

I mean Min and Mat basically have the same personality. The only difference is that Mat is with the lads and Min with the lassies. Also, Min seems like she could take a joke. I’m still unconvinced that Mat can.

(Min is also right about Galad, whoever is with him will get hurt)

Uh-Thom? Is this your doing Thom?

Not a simple Gleeman, are you? Executing a king like that. Assuming it was your doing.

I say it’s a 50/50 chance that it was Thom. To quote Verin Sedai: "What’s your gamble?" I’ll take a coin toss.

Well, he basically was. Good instincts, Egwene, but he is back now to ruin your pleasant dreams.

Also even with Galad around you think more about Rand he does about you. He has been a bit preoccupied with a terrible last called Selene....

Or maybe.... Elayne, it’s the other way around.

Can we get more of Gawyn though? He seems like a nice lad. Maybe include him a bit more in the club, girls. He does not seem to love Warder training from what little we’ve seen.

I’m with you Egwene. There is only one remedy for that.

The Wisdom will have to become the Amyrlin Seat. That way no one will have real authority over her.

Easy. Fixed. Bring me the next problem.

This is all very suspicious. Especially coming from a Red Ajah and BOOK BURNER!

Do not trust the book burner. I can tell you for a fact that book burners are evil.

She is up to something.

Her timing is very suspicious too.

Aha! Yes, I knew there had to be a reason why I called you Wisdom all this time, Nynaeve. What a wise question. What do you say, huh, Liandrin?? What is it that you need a recently accepted and a novice?? Trying to lure Rand, huh?? Make a trap?

GIRLS!! Now you’re the ones who are acting like woolheads!!

You do not talk about this kind of stuff ESPECIALLY when we’ve just learnt that you can hear what goes on in the next room. Whatcha going to do if she went to see Elayne and heard everything??

I’m really in two minds about this Aes Sedai. On one hand we are led to believe she is evil because she is red. And I want to hate her because she is a book burner, but... On the other hand, maybe she has good intentions and people just hate her cause she’s a Red Ajah.

I’m also glad that all of Egwene’s friends and saying that they’re coming (and also a bit pleases imaging the Book burner’s reaction).

Can we please also bring some Warders in training..?

Particularly Gawyn. Maybe his half brother too.

Day 19 : The day they were chained

It’s cute that they still think they’re going to be able to return. Well, if the Book Burner is a Black Ajah and that is found out in the White Tower, they may be allowed back, but otherwise... I wouldn’t count on it girls.

So, good that you packed for winter.

Oh - also! When Robert Jordan did the flicker trick and transported us months into the future, I thought: "what a clever way to skip winter," and then I realised that Verin had said autumn, and what he had done was skip the happy summer months.

And then the horror sort of settled.

Because I have played the Last of Us, and I remember. That winter. So, I narrowed my eyes at the book and asked : “what plans does he have for us in winter..?”

I fear it will be the next book. I fear it will be terrible.

Oh dear Elayne, I fear you have much to learn before you become a true adventurer, but there is only way to learn this, and that is by setting out into the world. Exactly as you’re doing now. I promise, it’s not always like this. Often, but not always.

Also who bought Min a horse? Or is she wealthy? Did she sell her foretelling skills for high prices before? Because we know that Egwene and the Wisdom borrowed theirs and Elayne is rich, but Min..?

Look, owning a horse is expensive!

And are the poor horses ALWAYS in the stables? Never out on a field?

She does have a point, but I still don’t like the book burner!

(No, I’m never going to get over the fact that she-and I quote- “casually” burned a book)

I don’t trust book burners.

Ah... I was wondering how they were going to find their way without an Ogier. Even Moiraine couldn’t find her way. Darkfriends could though. And Trollocs. Servants of the Dark One. Black Ajah?

But the book burner has a parchment, okay.

She gets the benefit of the doubt. For now.

Might have been smart to tell them that BEFORE you went inside!

I mean they're novices (and one recently accepted) all with very little training, but just starting to grasp it.

She must have known. Even the she must remember what that was like. The urge.

Exactly, Egwene. You know the stakes are much higher than that.

Who he will marry will only be an issue if he can survive that long, as a man who can channel, as the Dragon Reborn, and as the only worthy opponent to the Dark One. If he is to marry, he first needs to survive.

Thankfully, he is still only gentle and not gentled.

But....Girls... you’re really out to wreck each other with this rivalry over Rand. Let him be.

Let the Pattern do what it will and leave your rivalry on the sidelines.

Now what’s is THAT supposed to look like...?? I suppose I’ll find out but what...

Is it...a turntable?

A cassette tape?

Some sort of bowl?

What is that 8 string..?

Oh so kind of instrument..?

A speaker!

No... I don’t know. Let’s find out.

*turns the page*

Oh sh**! That would be a yes, Egwene.

She knows who they are. She has come to deliver you all.

That sneaky man-hating Red Ajah BOOK BURNER!!!

Oh how... pleasant. So, I guess, now we know what that header image was. Shackles.

I think I would have much preferred for it to be a turntable.

To treat human beings that way. Despicable!

...wait a second. Weren’t there some Whitecloaks over here some months back ready to deal with this exact threat? What happened to them!?

I’d much rather run into Whitecloaks at this point.

Ah yes, they shall either be used as bait for Rand, or they shall be taken far away so he cannot spin such powerful girls into the pattern.

But joke's on these horrid people cause I think this might be how the girls end up in Tremalking, by that dangerous hand thing.

Perhaps, but in order to act on your commands she must also have a will to do so and if you cut her tongue and hands and take all hope, you kill your asset. Might have been wiser to make her into a loyal subject instead.

It's good that the Wisdom escaped or her tongue would already have been cut...

Uh uh! Not good.

My theories as to what's happening:

1. She’s still in a stedding

2. She used the One Force with the Way still open(?) pulling from the Way as she was told not to do.

3. She burned out, as she was repeatedly told might happen unless she learns to control her temper.

Well the first two questions are quite simple, really. The Peddler knows your name, and knows your connection to Rand. He ratted you out.

As for the Book Burner (grrr), well.... we shall see.

I don’t think she was lying entirely. And she did mention Moiraine. Time will tell.

NEW dresses? Ten GOLD marks??

Oh goodness, the Wisdom is right, she is a total princess who has no idea about the world.

Well, this should be a humbling experience for her, then.

Day 20 : The day Egwene was in pain

It’s in moments like these that it becomes apparent that Ba’alzamon is way smarter than Rand.

Also a thousand times?

And a thousand times a thousand??

How old is this Ba’alzamon dude?

Is he talking about the parallel worlds?

Or have there been that many dragons reborn?

The Wisdom rarely ever listens to her own advice.

And how is she so certain she can undo the collars? After trying once? (and obviously failing) She doesn’t think some damane would also have tried to free themselves with the One Power?

See?? Egwene has been trying (of course she has).

Honestly if it’s going to be so simple to free her, that all it takes is the Wisdom trying once, I’m going to be upset with this book.

Just saying. It better not be.

...this seems odd to me. She can come and go however she likes. I get that she is not chained so they don’t care, but I can’t understand why they’d leave her alone with Egwene who IS their pet.

The Seanchan give her clothes and quarters to sleep and everything just out of the goodness of their hearts? Seems weird to me.

It doesn’t fit with the image I’ve been presented with it Seanchan so far.

If they aren’t interested in her since she can’t channel, why would they give her living quarters among their channeling pets? And feed and clothe her? It seems like an unnecessary expense especially since she does not seem to motivate Egwene in ANY way and that was the original argument for keeping her around. Even then I would have expected them to tell her to make herself useful a lot sooner.

On theory side of things though:

The bracelet is just hanging there... can’t Min put it on and lead Egwene out of there?

I would have assumed that was one of the first things the tried. If Min can't do it, then that has to be beecause she is missing something. A DNA strand or maybe an ability to channel. I also recommend that when they do try a rescue attempt, they leave with Egwene still chained and THEN find a way to sever the bond.

Wouldn’t Min know this if she had been interested to know it? They were riding next to each other talking when Egwene was first told it (and experienced it). Min was right there watching her squirm and hearing the explanations.

But I get there’s a difference between hearing and understanding. Min hasn’t experienced it.

I told the Seanchan this was how their tactics would play out... but I suppose that’s what they want. Mindless puppets. But it is not so simple. The mind is a dangerously powerful thing. I imagine even more so for one who can channel.

Would have been wise to make them loyal subjects instead, I think.

I’m surprised they’re fed expensive meat. How often do they get meat? I would have expected them to eat fish or seafood more since they’re by the sea.

Also: Egwene is really trying to make Min understand but they’ve been there for weeks and Min STILL refutes everything she says.

This is a personal pet peeve, but I don’t like when people react like this! It's something I often see in books, films and in tv series.

Please don’t scream. It would be much more effective to listen to her and then calmly talk to her like a human being.

Screaming at her does not get your point across any better.

I really liked Min... until today.

I get that Min doesn’t see how she can help Egwene, but in this scene, all she seems to be doing is make it harder on Egwene.

Come on Min, you’re better than this!

Oh a ship? Now we’re talking. I assume this is Domon’s ship? I can’t imagine it would be anyone else. Well good, Min. At least you’ve been doing something, even if you don’t know what to say to Egwene.

Now it’d be useful if you could find the Wisdom and the princess.

Her real name is Egwene al’Vere of Emond’s Field and I WILL NOT HAVE YOU BREAK HER!

I WILL see her saved! She is too good for you and she WILL fulfill her potential!

Someone had to stand up for Egwene.

I hate these people.

I don’t easily use the word hate but my hatred grows deep.

Good that you bumped into them, Min.

Five points to gryffindor for dumb luck.