Welcome back to my re-read, recap, and reaction to Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. This post will only have spoilers through the current chapter.
You can find my previous chapter recaps HERE.
Chapter 53: The Wheel Turns
In the morning, the Green Man’s place has seen the vegetation die. Even the oak made by the Green Man’s death has lost half of its leaves. The birds are silent and the butterflies are gone.
Moiraine will be traveling back to Shienar on a litter. Nynaeve is riding beside Lan holding the reigns of Moiraine’s horse. The Wisdom averts her eyes when Lan looks toward her. In turn, Lan looks at her whenever she averts her eyes. Loial is the only member of their party not mounted.
Loial: It is not right! It is not right that Treebrother should fall to the Blight!
The Ogier hands the reigns of his horse to Rand. He goes to the oak and he sings. Rand is not sure if Loial’s song contains words or if it is pure song. In Loial’s rumbling voice, Rand thinks that it is as if the earth itself is singing.
Rand is surprised by how much time passes with the Ogier sings. He sun is well above the horizon when Loial finishes. However, the birds sing again, the flowers near the tree seem straighter, and the leaves on the oak seem healthier. Loial rises. He states that he has never sung so hard before and that he could not have done it if something of Treebrother was not still there. Loial seems satisfied. He says that this little space will not sink into The Blight.
Lan: You are a good man, Ogier.
Loial replies that he will take that as a compliment but he does not know what Elder Haman would say. The group rides in a single file. Rand thought the Blight would fight their exit as hard as their entrance but it was as still as death, instead. No branches lash at them. No animals howl at them in the distance.
The group sets up a camp just before sunset. Moiraine has Egwene and Nynaeve carry her as she sets protective wards. As Moiraine uses the power, the other two women with her also close their eyes.
“Every woman is an Aes Sedai,” he thought mirthlessly. “Light help me, so am I.”
Perrin asks the women why The Blight feels so different once the women return. Moiraine tells him that they struck a mighty blow at The Dark One. She says that The Shadow will be a long time recovering.
The next day, nothing changes as they ride south. As soon as they exit The Blight itself, Rand notices new vegetation all around. He thinks it is as though spring, long held back, is trying to catch up to where it should be. Even Moiraine stares at this and whispers, “a mighty blow.”
Soon they reach the border of Shienar. The men there seem amazed at the new grass under their feet. The men at the border crossing announce that Shienar won their battle at Tarwin’s Gap. In the late afternoon, their group reaches Fal Dara and finds the city ringing in celebration. Rand doubts if any bell in the city is not ringing. The newly returned soldiers celebrate most vocally describing their victory as a miracle and The Age of Legends come back.
Ingtar is the first face that Rand sees who is not smiling. He arrives and tells Lan that he was too late to reach the fighting at The Gap by an hour. Ingtar recovers himself from his anger and says he will have the healer see to Moiraine in her chambers but she tells him that she must see Lord Agelmar first. Ingtar seems ready to protest but declines to do so under the weight of Moiraine’s stare.
When they reach Agelmar, his is the second face they see not smiling. He wears a frown that deepens when he sees Moiraine. Loial carries the golden chest. The broken Seal is in Moiraine’s pouch and Lews Therin Kinslayer’s banner is tied in Moiraine’s blanket roll. Agelmar begins to chastise Ingtar for not seeing Moiraine to her chambers and sending for a Healer but Moraine stops him. She motions for two serving women to help her to a chair and says she wishes to speak with Agelmar.
Moiraine tells him that they have heard his men won a great victory in The Gap. Agelmar says yes… and no. The halfmen and trollocs were destroyed, to the last, but he says Shienar barely fought. He says the earth swallowed them and the mountains buried them. Moiraine calls it a miracle. Agelmar tells her that the men say many things about the battle, among them that the Creator took on flesh and fought for them at The Gap. Agelmar says he did not see The Creator – he saw a man.
Agelmar: What he did cannot be, must not be.
Moiraine: The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills.
She asks Agelmar if Fain is still secured and that she must speak with him as soon as she is able. Agelmar asks if she found the Green Man. He tells her that he sees the hand of the Green Man in the things growing. She tells him that they found him and that he is now dead. She also tells him that The Eye of the World is now gone.
Agelmar is stunned. He asks if they were defeated and notes the flowers and the growing things suggest a victory. She tells him that they won but she fears the last battle has not yet been fought. Rand stirs and Moiraine gives hi ma sharp look. She tells Agelmar that The Blight still stands and that the forges of Thankan’dar still stir below Shayol Ghul. She also states that many halfmen and countless trollocs yet remain.
Moiraine motions for Loial to bring over the golden chest. When he does, she opens it and shows Agelmar The Horn of Valere. He goggles. He says that with the Horn, they can march to Shayol Ghul and level it. She firmly says no. She says she only showed this to him so that he knows, no matter what comes, their might is as great as that of The Shadow. She tells him the Horn must be carried to Illian. Agelmar tells her that it shall be as she says. However, as the lid closes, he looks like a man being denies his last glimpse of the Light.
Seven days later, bells are still ringing in Fal Dara. Rand is on a balcony practicing with his heron marked blade as Lan teaches. Lan tells him not to push so hard because it is not possible to become a blademaster in a few weeks. Rand replies that he does not care about being a blademaster. He cares about his father being proud of him.
Rand thinks to himself that he just wants Tam to be his father.
Rand reminds Lan that he does not have a few weeks and Lan says that he has not changed his mind, then. Rand appears to be planning to leave and Lan tells him that he can do what he wants – or what The Pattern will allow him to do. Egwene walks up and asks him what he has not changed his mind about. Rand tells her that he is going away and that he does not know where. He does not want to meet her eyes but he cannot look away.
Egwene says that she is sure Moiraine Sedai will not like him just going off after what he has done. She says Rand deserves some reward. Rand replies that since returning from the Blight, Moiraine does not even speak to him when he goes to see her. Rand also says that she avoids him otherwise. Egwene tells Rand that she has to go to Tar Valon for her training and that Nynaeve is coming too, as is Mat because he needs healing from whatever it is that binds him to the Shadar Logoth dagger. She tells him that Perrin also wants to see Tar Valon.
Egwene: You could come with us.
Rand: And wait for some Aes Sedai besides Moiraine to find out what I am and gentle me?
Rand asks Egwene if that is what she wants and she says no. Rand is grateful that she did not hesitate before answering. Egwene tells Rand that if he does not touch Saidin again, he should be safe. Rand replies that he will never touch it again but wonders to himself if he can stop. Egwene asks Rand if he will go home.
Rand says he will not go home. He will go some place where there are no people to hurt if he cannot stop himself- somewhere alone. Rand puts his arms around her and thinks “not ever home.”
In Agelmar’s private garden, Moiraine shifts on her bed chair. She has been listening to Randand Egwene’s conversation from afar.
“The prophecies will be fulfilled,” the Aes Sedai whispered. “The Dragon is Reborn.”
I was very tempted to write “The End” at the end of my recap here but that would not exactly work in The Wheel of Time, would it?
Where do things stand:
- I preferred Jordan referring to Tarwin’s Gap by its full name. Whenever I read “The Gap” I imagine a tremendous battle surrounded by the trendy clothing of young people.
- Most of the gang are planning to visit Tar Valon. Old Yeller Eyes might want to put some more slow thought into that one, though, in my not so humble opinion.
- Rand wants to go some place in the middle of nowhere. If Rand listened carefully to Perrin, then he probably heard of some places on his continent mostly devoid of people.
- We do not know what happened at The Eye with Ba’alzamon, The Dark One, etc. The last couple of chapters do not clear that up. We know that The Light won a big victory – big enough to cause the spring weather to arrive. We also know that The Light could not have won a total victory – The Blight still stands, Shadowspawn still roam the earth, the earth still lurches when The Dark One’s name is mentioned, etc.
Moiraine was only willing to tell Agelmar about The Horn. She kept The Dragon’s Banner a secret. I suspect that she knows the old ruler would puzzle out that one of her country bumpkins is The Chosen One of Doom, if she let that much information out into the open Borderlands air.
Rand wanting to go out into the world, on his own, convinces Moiraine that Rand is The Dragon Reborn. Or maybe she already knew and was just looking for him to do something. I guess going off on his own to live out the rest of his life qualifies as doing something.
In case I have not introduced the actress who will be portraying Egwene on Amazon’s Wheel of Time series, here she is.
That my friends is the end of this book. I will write a review for the entire book before moving onto Book 2, The Great Hunt.