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 4: Summoned
Moiraine is alone in her apartments. She is wearing a blue shawl to represent her Ajah – something not usually done outside of Tar Valon. However, a visit to the Amyrlin Seat requires the wearing of a shawl.
Moiraine’s commanding presence, developed while growing up in the royal halls of Cairhien, was heightened after years spent as an Aes Sedai. She thinks to herself that she might need every bit of that presence today.
“There must be trouble, or she would not have come herself,” she thought for at least the tenth time.
Moiraine considers the many implications that trouble might contain. She stares at herself in the mirror when she hears a rapid and insistent knocking on her door. She knows that no Shienaran would knock on anyone’s door – least of all hers. The knocking begins again by the time Moiraine reaches the door.
Dark-haired Anaiya, in a blue fringed shawl, and fair-haired Liandrin, in a red shawl, greet her at the door. Anaiya smiles at Moiraine and tells her it is good to see her again. Moiraine thinks to herself that she has at least one friend among the Aes Sedai who are in Fal Dara.
Liandrin notes that Moiraine has warded her room against entry – even including entry by her Sisters. Moiraine replies that she set the wards against all, thinking specifically of entry from serving women, and she says that prior to now there was no need to make a distinction in her wards between Aes Sedai and serving women. Moiraine closes the door behind her telling the other two that they should go so as to not leave the Amyrlin waiting.
The three Aes Sedai walk together through the women’s apartments to meet the Amyrlin. Anaiya tells Moiraine that she has been gone from Tar Valon for too long and that her Sisters miss her. Moiraine asks the two women for news of the world. Liandrin tells her that three more False Dragons trouble the world – in Saldaea, Murandy, and in Tear. Moiraine is slightly amused by the certainty in Liandrin’s voice that these three False Dragons will be defeated. She reminds her that it took months to defeat Logain.
Anaiya tells her the situation is not so bad. She says that only the False Dragon in Saldaea can channel. She says the Tairens have already chased their False Dragon out and that the fellow in Murandy is already in chains. Moiraine says that three at once is still significant and she asks if any Sister has been able to do a Foretelling. She is relieved when Anaiya tells her no.
As the three Aes Sedai meet with Lady Amalisa, Moiraine sees Egwene in the corner of her eye. Egwene is followed by a stooped shape loaded down with bundles. Moiraine thinks to herself that if Egwene shows this much initiative in Tar Valon that she will sit in the Amyrlin Seat one day. When Moiraine returns her attention to Lady Amalisa, she overhears Liandrin warmly speaking with her and setting up future conversation opportunities in the Lady’s gardens. Moiraine is surprised inasmuch as Liandrin eschews friends outside of her Ajah. She wonders what the Red Sister is up to.
Anaiya resumes telling Moiraine the news of the world. The street riots in Caemlyn have died down with the coming of spring but she says there is still too much talk blaming the Queen and Tar Valon for the long winter. She reports that the Lady Elayne and her brother, Lord Gawyn, have arrived in Tar Valon for their training. Liandrin says that the Daughter Heir’s party was followed by the Children of the Light to the very bridges of Tar Valon itself and that more still camp outside Caemlyn. Moiraine mentions that Queen Morgase needs to keep Elayne’s potential to learn the One Power a secret. It is the tradition in Andor to send future queens to train in Tar Valon. Morgase herself has a very small ability with the One Power. However, Elayne can become not only a full Aes Sedai, but a very powerful one. Only a few queens in history have been full Aes Sedai and the few who let anyone know lived to regret it.
Moiraine asks Anaiya what else and the Blue Sister tells her that the Illianers have called the Great Hunt for the Horn. She notes that the Horn of Valere must be found before the final war against the Shadow. She says men from every land are gathering in Illian already. Anaiya says that beyond what she has told Moiraine so far, she has only rumor. The Sea Folk, she says, are agitated and sailing form port to port with barely a pause. Sisters from among the Sea Folk say that the Cooramor, their Chosen One, is coming, but they will not say more. She also says that the Aiel appear to be stirring but that there is no evidence they play to cross the Spine of the World again. Anaiya bemoans that the Tower does not have even one Sister from among the Aiel. Liandrin suddenly blurts out Almoth Plain. Anaiya tells Liandrin that Almoth Plain is truly rumor. As they were leaving Tar Valon, they heard that there may be fighting on Almoth Plain and perhaps Toman Head as well. As Moiraine is about to ask Liandrin more, the honey-haired Red Sister announced that they are at the end of idle talk. She throws open the doors through which Moiraine is slated to walk to meet with the Amyrlin Seat.
Moiraine walks past Liandrin with a nod as though the Red Sister is holding the door for her. A few Aes Sedai are on the other side of the door. Verin Mathwin and Serafelle, both of the Brown Ajah, did not look up when Moiraine entered. The three other women turned and looked at Moiraine. She does not known the Yellow Sister but she does know Carlinya of the White Ajah and Alanna Mosvani of the Green Ajah. Moiraine greets them and nobody answers. The inner door opens and Leanna appears without her Staff. She is the Keeper of the Chronicles. Leanna is as tall as most men, but beautiful with coppery skin and abundant grace. She speaks briskly to Moiraine and tells her the Amyrlin is waiting. The Amyrlin Seat is in the next room. Leanna bangs the door closed behind her in a way that Moiraine thinks reminds her of a cell door closing. A golden chest is on a table in the room. Moiraine struggles to maintain her composure. The last time she saw the golden chest was safely secured in Agelmar’s strongroom. Moiraine worries that events may be outpacing her as the chest she intended to tell the Amyrlin about is already in the Amyrlin’s possession.
Moiraine formally greets the Amyrlin Seat – Siuan Sanche. The stole on the Amyrlin’s shoulders is striped in the colors of all seven Ajahs. Moiraine reflects on Suian’s history. The Amyrlin was born to a poor fisherman’s family in Tear. The Amyrlin’s face reflects the strength that was required of her to survive growing up in the way that she did.
The Amyrlin tells Moiraine that they used wind to speed their vessel’s journey upriver and that they also turned the currents to their own aid. She regrets the flooding they caused in the villages along the river and the possible damage they may have done to the weather.
Siuan tells her that Elaida is in Tar Valon. Leanna is in the room watching and listening. Moiraine replies carefully that she is surprised Elaida would leave Morgase without an Aes Sedai counselor. Siuan says that she doubts even Morgase is a match for Elaida in a contest of wills and that perhaps she did not wish to be. Siuan reports that Elayne has more potential than she has ever seen in her lifetime and that the Red Sisters are swollen with pride over that potential.
“Elayne could well be the most powerful Aes Sedai in a thousand years and it is the Red Ajah who found her.”
Moiraine tells Siuan that she has two young women with her, here in Fal Dara, both from The Two Rivers, who are as strong or stronger than Elayne. She notes that Nynaeve is much stronger than the other two they are discussing.
Moiraine: With training, she will shine like a bonfire beside the candles of Egwene and Elayne. And there is no chance these two will choose the Red.
Siuan merely nods at this news and Moiraine is so surprised that she barely masks her reaction. Siuan reports that Elaida came to Tar Valon for more reasons than merely keeping an eye on Elayne for the Red Ajah. She sent six messages before arriving, and then arrived herself, warning the Hall of the Tower that Moiraine is meddling with a man who is Ta’veren and dangerous. Siuan reports that Elaida reported that the young man with Moiraine is more dangerous than any man since Artur Hawkwing. Siuan tells Moiraine that Elaida’s concerns carried weight with the Hall of the Tower.
Moiraine tells Siuane that she has three young men with her and that she doubts any of them have any dreams of uniting the world. Siuan replies that Lord Agelmar has told her that they are three village youths. She notes that one of them is ta’veren and shares with Moiraine that it was put forward in the Hall that she should be sent into retreat for contemplation. Siuan tells her a Green Sister put forward the suggestion. Leanna makes a sound like disgust or frustration. Moiraine thinks that the feeling is due to the thousand year old alliance between Green and Blue Ajahs that appears to be strained.
Siuan tells her, further, than the Greens suggested that Moiraine’s care, during her retreat, be given to the Red Ajah. Siuan tells her the Reds professed not to want custody of someone who is not a Red but stated that they will proceed with the wishes of the Hall. Moiraine shivers. Moiraine tells Siuan that she cannot understand the apparent alliance between the Reds and the Greens and Siuan tells her that things change. The Amyrlin notes that the last five Amyrlin Seats have come from the Blue and perhaps the Greens believe that is too many. She states that they might also believe the Blue way of thinking no long sufficies in a world of False Dragons.
The Amyrlin continues giving news. She tells Moiraine that since both she and Leanna were originally of the Blue, it was put forward in the Hall that sending two other Blues with her would give the Blue Ajah four representatives. Moiraine is even more shocked to hear this than that the Greens and Reds have formed an alliance. It is deeply ingrained custom and law that the Keeper and Amyrlin speak for all Ajahs and represent none specifically. No one has ever, in the three thousand year history of the Towers, suggested otherwise.
When Moiraine asks who would dare, Siuan laughs and says almost anyone would dare.
Siuan: Show me a Sister who does not think The White Tower is losing its grip on events, and if she is not Brown Ajah, she is dead.
Moiraine tells Siuan that there are still worse perils outside the Shining Walls than within. Siuan meets her gaze and then asks Leanna to leave them so that she can speak with Moiraine alone. Leanna only paused for a moment before leaving. When the Keeper of the Chronicles steps outside, Siuan channels the One Power. She tells Moiraine that she has set a ward around the room to prevent eavesdropping.
Suddenly, Siuan throws her arms around Moiraine – a warm hug between old friends. Moiraine hugs her back just as warmly.
Siuan: You are the only one, Moiraine, with whom I can remember who I was. Even Leanna always acts as if I have become the Stole and the Staff – even when we are alone – as if we never giggled together as novices. Sometimes I wish we still were novices, you and I. Still innocent enough to see it all as a Gleeman’s tale come true. Still innocent enough to think we would find men. They would be princes, remember? Handsome and strong and gentle who could bear to live with women of an Aes Sedai’s power.
Moiraine asks her if she would give up the One Power for a normal life and she says no. Siuan then says that if anyone – even Leanna – discovers what the two of them have planned that they will be stilled. She confesses a belief that they will not be wrong to do it.
Confession: The word “Amyrlin” is really annoying to type. Siuan is not much better. I went with the latter even though the book usually went with the former.
I think this is our first Moiraine POV chapter in the series. Most of the series has been from Rand’s POV. We had a Perrin chapter and a Nynaeve chapter in The Eye of the World. But that’s been about it. There is good news from this POV chapter! Jordan did not tell us, in this peak into Lady Gandalf’s head, that Moiraine has evil motives. Well, at least he has not told us that yet.
The first sixty percent of this chapter is Moiraine gathering news from around the world via Anaiya and Liandrin. Sly Moiraine also notices, while she chats with the other two, Egwene hiding Rand in the women’s apartments. She approves of Egwene’s “initiative.”
When Moiraine talks to Siuan, we get news from inside The White Tower and it’s not great. The Red Ajah – which Jordan is positioning to be the bad guy Ajah within the Tower and the story generally – are gaining influence and the Blues hold on power is weakening. This is the first big introduction into Tower politics generally, too. Reds care about stopping men from channeling and do not like men for the most part. Browns keep their heads in books. Whites are all about the logic. Greens and Blues are until recently very closely aligned. We also learn that Siuan and Moiraine are old friends who have planned *something* that the other Aes Sedai will kill them over if they learn of it.
Mostly, this chapter is just a lot of info-dump. My big takeaway from the chapter is that Moiraine operates on a larger plane than the Emond’s Field folk. She’s a player in the world’s power structure. We also learn that she grew up in the royal family of Cairhien.
Other notes: I really liked this line from Moiraine regarding Nynaeve:
With training, she will shine like a bonfire beside the candles of Egwene and Elayne.
Keeping in mind that Egwene and Elayne are supposed to have the most potential when entering the Tower in one thousand years, what does that say about The Wisdom of Emond’s Field? She is almost unimaginably strong.