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 36: Daughter of the Night
Realizing he has no idea which cabin is supposed to be his, Perrin puts his head into several. Finally he finds a cabin with Loial scribbling notes on the floor. He wants to discuss the events of the day, but Perrin is tired and hopeful that they are far enough downriver now that he can sleep and dream safely. After finding Loial, he next finds a windowless cabin with nobody in it at all, which suits Perrin well as he wants to be alone.
He thinks about Faile and how her name must be a coincidence, noting to himself that her real name is Zarine. Perrin’s thoughts leave the girl with high cheek bones and dark tilted eyes and move to Elyas Machera. Perrin knows this man somehow found a way to live with what he is and without going mad. Cautiously he reaches out with his mind, feeling for wolves, and finds nothing. He blows out the lantern and lays down intending to sleep for the first time in days.
Perrin is surrounded by a thick fog that does not feel right to him because it lacks dampness. He feels for his belt and is surprised to find that his axe is not there. Something moves in the fog and comes toward him. The billowing form resolves itself into a shaggy wolf – Hopper. Something about the wolf’s stance and the way that it looks at him demands silence in mind and body. Hopper’s eyes also demand that Perrin follow him. Perrin lays a hand on the wolf’s back and as he does the wolf starts forward.
The fog thickens until only the feel of Hopper’s fur lets Perrin know that the wolf is there. It strikes Perrin that he has not heard any sounds at all, not even those of his own footsteps. The gray of the fog darkens until it becomes pitch blackness. There is still no sound.
Suddenly Hopper stops, forcing Perrin to halt as well. Perrin opens his eyes and can see nothing of himself or the wolf, as if neither of them has bodies at all. Below him stretches a vast array of mirrors, seemingly hanging in blackness. They stretch as far as he can see in either direction but right beneath Perrin’s feet is a clear space and people in it. Perrin can hear their voices as if he is standing among them.
Perrin hears a man ask the Great Lord what this place is. Others huddle around the speaker. The speaker goes on saying that he was asleep in Tar Valon, is asleep in Tar Valon, and he asks if he has gone mad. The people around him are in various states of dress. A naked man says that he is also asleep with his wife in Tear. Still another man, clearly shaken, says he is asleep in Illian. The Illianer asks the man the group refers to as Great Lord where they are.
A dark haired man wearing a black cloak, with silver lace at his throat and wrists faces them. Now and then the dark haired man puts a hand at his chest as if it hurts him. There is light among the people below but the dark haired man seems to be cloaked in shadow. Finally the man speaks and tells the gathered group to be silent. As he speaks, he raises his head, revealing that his eyes and mouth are holes boring into a raging fire. Perrin now recognizes the man as Ba’alzamon and fear strikes through him like hammered spikes.
Ba’alzamon tells the men that they have been given tasks, some of which they have carried out and others of which they have failed at. He tells those who have failed that they must die and then points at the man who spoke of being in Tar Valon. Ba’alzamon complains to the man that he allowed the boy to escape Tar Valon. The man then screams and quivers, becoming less and less solid until he disappears. Ba’alzamon tells the gathered group that they all dream but that what happens in this dream is real.
Ba’alzamon: I fear he will never wake. The rest of you will not fail me again. Be gone. Wake and obey.
The other men vanish. For a moment, Ba’alzamon stands alone until suddenly a woman appears next to him, clad all in white and silver. Shock hits Perrin as he recognizes her from his dream – the one who had urged him to glory. An ornate silver throne appears behind her and she sits, carefully arranging her silver skirts. She tells Ba’alzamon that he makes free use of her domain. He sneers at the notion that this is her domain and asks if she no longer serves The Great Lord of the Dark. She tells him that she serves and that long she was in prison, in an endless dreamless sleep, for her service. She says that only gray men and myrddraal are denied dreams and continues complaining that even trollocs can dream. She tells Ba’alzamon that dreams were always hers to use and walk. She telsl him that she is free again and that she will use what is hers.
Ba’alzamon: What is yours? You always thought yourself greater than you were, Lanfear.
The name cuts at Perrin like a newly honed knife – one of the Forsaken had been in his dreams. He knows Moiraine had been right and that some of them are free. The woman in white gets to her feet and the throne vanishes. She tells Ba’alzamon that she is as great as she is and asks him what his plans have come to. She accuses Ba’alzamon of spending the last three thousand years whispering in ears an pulling the strings of puppets on thrones like an Aes Sedai.
Lanfear: Three thousand years and yet Lews Therin walks the world again and these Aes Sedai all but have him leashed. Can you control him? Can you turn him? He was mine before ever that straw haired chit Ilyena saw him. He will be mine again!
Ba’alzamon: Do you serve yourself now, Lanfear? Have you abandoned your oaths to The Great Lord of the Dark?
He tells her that those oaths are not as easily forsaken as her oaths to the Light which she forsook, going so far as to proclaim her new master in the Hall of the Servants. Lanfear tells him that she serves The Great Lord of the Dark and none other.
The vast array of mirrors begin to vanish as if darkness rolls over them until it rolls over Ba’alzamon and Lanfear also, leaving only blackness. Perrin feels Hopper move and he is more than glad to follow. He thinks on what he has just seen and for some reason Lanfear frightens him more than Ba’alzamon did. He also seems to think that she somehow defied The Dark One and he cannot puzzle out how or why. Slowly the blackness becomes fog again and then the fog thins until he walks out of it with Hopper onto a grassy hillside bright with daylight.
Perrin asks Hopper what they just saw and why he showed it to him. Hopper tells him that it is what he must see.
Hopper: Be careful, Young Bull. This place is dangerous. Be wary as a cub hunting porcupine.
He tells Perrin that he is too young and too new. When Perrin asks if it was real, Hopper replies that all is real. Perrin asks Hopper how he can be here when he saw him die and felt him die. Hopper tells him that all are here – all brothers and sisters that are, were, or will be. Perrin knows that wolves do not smile but for an instant he has the impression that Hopper is grinning.
Hopper: Here I soar like the eagle.
The wolf gathers himself and leaps up into the air. Perrin stares after him with his mouth hanging open. As he thinks to himself “he did it” he chides himself for almost crying. He looks around to see if anyone saw him and the landscape changes as eh does.
Perrin sees Rand surrounded by myrddraal, with dogs howling somewhere in the distance hunting something. As the circle of myrddraal come close to Rand, he begins to kill them with balls of fire, lightning, and bars of light like white hot steel. One by one they die until none are left. Rand drops to his knees after, and Perrin is not sure if he is laughing or crying. On the horizon Perrin sees that more are coming. He shouts a warning to Rand. Rand loks up, snarling, and light burns his eyes and pain seers everything. Perrin rolls into a ball on his narrow bed with the light still burning behind his eyelids. His chest hurts, too, raises a hand it, and winces when he feels a burn under his shirt no bigger than a silver penny.
Perrin thinks to himself that he has to tell Moiraine this time but that he has to wait until the pain goes away. Sleep soon pulls him down again. When he opens his eyes once more he sees light at the top and bottom of the door, indicating that morning has come. He puts his hand back on his chest and he finds the burn spot again. He knows that all of it had been real.
After he gets up, he knocks on a few cabins and is cursed at a few times before he finally finds Moiraine. She is fully dressed, sitting on her bed cross-legged, and reading from her book of notes by the lantern light. He sees that she is looking at the beginning of her notes and he suspects that these are some she made before coming to Emond’s Field. Perrin tells her that he had a dream and then he proceeds to tell her all of it. He even pulls up his shirt to show her the small circle on his chest. After he finishes, they remain in silence for a while until Perrin begins demanding to know whether his dreams are important or not.
Finally Moiraine replies saying that there are women in Tar Valon who would do their best to gentle him after what he just told her. Perrin’s lungs seem to freeze. She continues though and says that she does not think he he will suddenly begin wielding the One Power or that he can even learn. Perrin complains that she did not need to scare him to death, only to tell him that he has no reason to be frightened. She corrects him by saying that he has reason to be frightened, or at least careful, as the wolf suggests. She suggests that Red Sisters or oters might kill him before discovering that there is nothing to gentle in him.
Perrin tells her that she is trying to lead him around like a calf and that there is no ring in his nose. He says the Red Ajah would not try to gentle him unless there was something real in what he dreamed. He asks if that means the Forsaken are looks and she replies that she told him before that they might be – some of them at least.
Moiraine: Your dreams are nothing I expected. Dreamers have written of wolves but I did not expect this.
Perrin tells her that he thinks that what he saw is real and that Lanfear is loose at teh very least. He asks her what she is going to do. She answers by sayin gthat she is going to Illian and then to Tear, and that she hopes she can get there before Rand. She explains that they had need to leave Remen too quickly to learn whether Rand crossed the river or went down it. Moiraine glances at her book as if she wants to continue reading. Perrin asks if that is all she is going to do with Lanfear loose and the Light alone knowing how many others.
Moiraine: Do not question me. You do not know which questions to ask and you would comprehend less than half of the answers if I gave them, which I will not.
Perrin shifts his feet before thinking of the burn on his chest. He asks her if she will heal it. Moiraine tells him that she will not heal it as it is not serious and that it will remind him of the need to be careful. She asks if there is anything else and Perrin stops, asking what she would think about finding out a woman is named Zarine. Perrin explains that he met another passenger the night before named Zarine. Moirine tells him that the name is Saldaean and that no woman would give it to her daughter unless she expected the girl to be a great beauty and a heartbreaker – one to lie on cushions in palaces surrounded by servants and suitors.
Moiraine smiles at him with great amusement and suggests that Perrin might have another reason to be careful. Perrin tells her that he intends to be careful whiel thinking to himself that at least he knows why Zarine does not like her name.
When Perrin goes on deck, Lan is there, looking over Mandarb. Zarine is sitting on a coil of rope near the railing, sharpening one of her knives and watching him. Her eyes follow Perrin as he walks by her to stand on the bow. Perrin thinks to himself that his life has never been as tangled as this.
Rand sits up out of his sleep, gasping. His side aches. Rand thinks to himself that the real Perrin was in his dream somehow and that he almost killed him. As he tends his fire, he hears horses coming. Ten or a dozen of them approach, walking slowly. Rand thinks to himself that he must be careful and that he cannot afford another mistake.
The horses approach his fire and stop. Most of the riders are rough looking men but their group also includes a woman with graying hair and a no nonsense look on her face. She looks to him like a merchant surrounded by her guards. Rand thinks to himself again that he has to be careful.
The woman tells Rand that he has chosen a good campsite saying that she has often used it on her way to Remen. She adds that there is a small spring nearby. She asks Rand if he has an objection to her sharing his camp and Rand tells her that he has none. He thinks again that he needs to be careful. He takes two steps closer and then leaps into the air, spinning, heron marked blade made from fire in hand. He takes the woman’s head off first, believing her to be the most dangerous. The guards yell and claw for their swords. Rand dances among them in the forms Lan had taught him, knowing that he could have killed all ten of them with ordinary steel. As the last man falls, it had been so like practicing the forms that Rand has already begun practicing the sheathing, called folding the fan, before he remembers that he is not wearing a scabbard.
Rand lets the sword vanish and turns to examine the horses. He takes the woman’s horse, pausing only long enough to grab his belongings before swinging into the saddle. Rand thinks to himself again that he has to be careful. Rand is still filled with the One Power. He lifts the corpses and arrays them in a line before him, kneeling, their faces in the dirt.
Rand: If I am The Dragon Reborn, that is the way it is supposed to be, isn’t’ it?
He lets go of saidin, reluctantly. He knows that if he holds it too much, he will not be able to keep the madness away. He then laughs bitterly and wonders if it is too late for that. Frowning he peers at the line. He had been sure there were only ten men but eleven men kneel in the line, one of them watthour armor of any sort but with a dagger still gripped in his hand. Rand tells that man that he chose the wrong company. Rand wheels his gelding and sets the animal at a dead gallop into the night. It is a long way to Tear but he means to get there by the straightest way if he has to kill horses or steal them.
He thinks that he must put an end to the taunting and the baiting. He thinks of Callandor. It calls to him.
Hopper begins teaching Perrin how to navigate in The World of Dreams. I do not think we are supposed to completely understand the metaphysics of what happens here. I suppose the wolf believes in trial by fire because he takes Perrin to spy on Ba’alzamon. Perrin does not know what is going on here but we the readers do. The Darkfriend in Charge in Tar Valon, who was supposed to prevent Mat from leaving Tar Valon, failed and was killed for it.
I wonder if Moiraine will send a letter to Suian advising her to keep a look out for bizarre deaths that happened to men during the night while they slept.
Perrin also learns for sure who Lanfear is. He still has not sorted out who Ba’alzamon is, though, so he cannot quite puzzle out why she talks to him in the way that she does. Alternatively, maybe Lanfear does not properly respect her station vis a vis Ba’alzamon / Ishamael. In any case, Perrin comes away from this more afraid of Lanfear than he is of Ba’alzamon.
On the topic of Lanfear, it is interesting that her name is so similar to the French word for hell: l’enfer. That is surely no coincidence.
Her conversation here with Ba’alzamon (Baal / Baalzebub / Beelezebul) lets us see her motivation. She is a scorned woman who wants Lews Therin back. She also puts her own interests above all else including The Dark One – so much so that she gets called out for it in this chapter. She toes the line regarding her vows to The Great Lord, but only barely so. Lanfear also views The World of Dreams as belonging to her and Ishamael’s use of them as encroachment.
Perrin is more scared of her than of The Dark One (he believes Ba’alzamon *is* the Dark One.) It makes some sense. Ba’alzamon wears his evil openly but Lanfear is evil in disguise. She has power Ba’alzamon lacks in that she might fool him or seduce him.
We do not see Moiraine’s real reaction – just Perrin’s perception of it – but my guess is that this conversation scared her to her toes.
Rand… most of this section creates the impression that Rand is losing his grip on sanity. No. This section paints Rand as completely out of his mind. He kills a large group of people and then manipulates their corpses so that they bow to him. Does it matter that we the Readers know these people are Darkfriends? Not really. It’s not clear to us that Rand has sufficient reason to believe they are. He’s not wrong but we do not see how he arrives at the conclusion. Maybe it would help if we knew how he knows.
By the way, how do we know they are Darkfriends? The eleventh man that Rand did not see – until he plays with the corpses – is clearly a description of a Gray Man.