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 10: The Stone Stands
Rand opens the door and finds six Aiel guards dead at his feet, tangled with three more dead Gray Men. The Aiel had clearly been surprised but still managed to land multiple spears in each of the dead Gray Men. Rand hears the roar of battle. Defenders of the Stone are fighting for their lives against trollocs and a myrddraal in the anteroom. Despite outnumbering the shadowspawn, the Defenders are losing. Rand sees a Fade ripping the face from one of the guards and leaps to face it, yelling for the Defenders to rally. He thinks he hears Lanfear vexedly call him a fool as he begins to take on the myrddraal.
The Myrddraal’s Thakan’dar forged blade clashes with Rand’s red-gold saidin wrought sword, with lights flashing whenever the blades collide.
Rand: Rally to the Stone! The Stone stands!
He starts to hear the chant echoed by others. Rand can only deflect attacks for a while until he gets an opening to attack the Fade’s sword itself. Rand’s sword sheers through the Fade’s sword and then Rand’s next blow takes its head from its shoulders. As the Fade dies, the remaining trollocs die also. They were linked to the myrddraal in order that it might control them better. Those linked to a myrddraal do not survive its death long. Rand tells his men to see to the injured and then urges the guards to follow him deeper into the Stone.
The Defenders follow Rand and take up his cry “for the Stone” and add “for the Lord Dragon” as well. Rand leads the men wondering where Lanfear is and what part she had played in this. His group travels into the Stone finding more dead as they go. As they go, they find shadowspawn battling knots of Defenders and Aiel. His companions change as they fight on, losing the Tairens he started with but gaining Aiel. He sees Moiraine and Lan fighting with the One Power and sword. She sets them on fire and Lan kills those who escape her fire. Lan takes a blow while saving Moiraine from an attack from behind but Rand cannot help as he is simultaneously attacked by a group of Trollocs. When he finishes his trolloc attackers, Rand sees that Moiraine and Lan are gone. As the fight progresses, Rand sees Darkfriends among the attackers, seemingly afraid of their Trolloc allies. Rand also begins to see trollocs battling trollocs and can only assume the myrddraal have lost control of them in the tumult.
Rand found himself alone against a trio of Trollocs who were eating a now dead noblewoman. Rand kills the first and then uses an attack and uses Lizard in the Thornbush against the other two. However, the first Trolloc he attacks falls and causes him to trip and miss the second trolloc. As the second trolloc, which he missed, is about to kill him, yet another trolloc arrives and kills it, leaving Rand alone and alive. Rand gets up and moves down the hall, where he finds a pair of Fades fighting each other. Rand begins to wonder if he is hallucinating. Lanfear appears.
Lanfear: You risk everything rushing about wildly with tha… with that sword.
She chides Rand for not using his power in the right way, reminding him that he could have killed all of them easily. She asks him again to join with her and learn how to channel. He asks if the shadowspawn aiding him were her doing.
Lanfear: If I take credit, you will expect it again and that could be deadly. None of the others is really certain where I stand and I like it that way. You can expect no open aid from me.
Rand tells her that she cannot make him forget what she is with soft words before slamming her against the wall with a weave of Air. As he tries to remember how he shielded Egwene and Elayne, Lanfear sends him flying across the hallway, pinning him against the wall in the same way that he is now pinning her. She renews her criticisms, telling him that he is using only the smallest fraction of his abilities. She then reminds him about Callandor and how that it is free, lying around where anyone can claim it. She reminds him that Sammael, if he has come to the Stone, could pick it up and use it against him. Rand worries about Sammael taking the sa’angreal and tries to free himself of the trap. Abruptly, Lanfear frees him. She then frees herself with little apparent effort. He gasps.
Rand: You can’t do that!
She smiles and explains that she does not have to see a flow to unravel it. Shhe tells him that she likes him like this because before he was always too sure of himself. She then asks if he is forgetting Callandor again and Rand races back to his rooms. On his way, he sees Perrin and Faile fighting back to back as he runs.
Rand reaches his room and finds the sword safe on its stand. As he picks it up, a Fade steps through the doorway to his room, and then Rand pulls on saidin through Callandor. He kills the Fade without thought and walks back into the anteroom. Holding Callandor, he walks through the Stone, killing any Shadowspawn in sight with Fire. He soon realizes that this attack is too slow, and he decides that he must kill all of the Shadowspawn, all at once. He stops what he is doing and draws in as much of the One Power as he can hold. Rand then creates something he cannot describe, a construct of lightning, which then races throughout the Stone killing all the Shadowspawn with lightning strikes simultaneously.
As the channeled construct implodes after doing its work, Rand still holds the One Power and Callandor, and shakes with the Power he is holding. He sees Moiraine, looking tired and shocked at his display of power.
Moiraine: What you have done, I would not have believed possible.
When Lan appears, she flings out a hand and halts him from checking on Rand, seemingly afraid. She asks if he is well, but Rand ignores her when he sees the body of a little girl lying on the floor with blood across her dress. Rand bemoans the fact he did not channel his attack sooner and save her. Moiraine tells him gently that he cannot do anything for her now but Rand tells her that with Callandor he can do anything. He tries to resurrect the girl, using the Power to make the child breathe and have her heart beat again.
Rand: Live! Live, burn you! I didn’t mean to be too late.
He cries and asks Moiraine to heal her. Moiraine tells him to stop, as death cannot be Healed, and she tells him that he is not the Creator. Rand looks again at the lifeless eyes of the dead child and knows Moiraine is right. He gives up his attempt and howls wildly.
Rand releases saidin. Rand asks Moiraine about his friends, wondering if he was too late to save them, too, but she replies that they are safe. Moiraine still looks at him warily with Lan looking ready to dart between her and Rand. Rand is angry at himself for delaying his plans by three days, instead of moving, so that he could spend more time with Elayne. He also admits to himself that the three days were not spent in vain as he had learned things which will be useful if he can put the pieces together.
He how the Trollocs got into the Stone and Lan explains that grain barges arrived, coming downriver, without anyone noticing them. They were filled with Shadowspawn. In addition, he says that thirty covered wagons entered Tear from the countryside which were also filled with Shadowspawn. He explains that the story with the wagons were that they belonged to a lord returning to the Stone. After hearing this, Rand’s strength gives way, and he almost collapses, but Lan catches him first. Moiraine partially Heals him, but leaves the fatigue so he can sleep. Rand, somewhat recovered, tells them that Lanfear was here but that she was not behind the attack. He expects Moiraine to argue, but instead Moiraine seems unsurprised at the news. She tells Rand it is well known that she loved Lews Therin Telamon. She warns Rand that he does not yet possess the skill to defeat her unaided, and that Lanfear won’t kill Rand without trying to win Lews Therin back. Rand thinks on how Egwene does not love him, how the Daughter-Heir of Andor wants to kiss him, and how the Daughter of the Night claims to love him, and he thinks it is almost enough to make him laugh. Almost.
Rand promises to tell everyone his plans tomorrow. He thinks that Lanfear had given him almost the last piece of his plans without knowing it. He thinks to himself that tomorrow he will begin to unleash another kind of lightning – one that might save him or kill him.
Rand’s failed attempt to resurrect that small girl, and his grief at the failure, is a really important reminder of who he is at a deep level. Whatever else he might be outwardly, his inward self is a soft-hearted shepherd.
I deeply related with Lanfear in this chapter. Why on earth did Rand run out of his room *without* Callandor? Why is his just using a sword when he can throw fireballs? He legitimately really does need her help.
Maybe he kind of worried that Lanfear might not let him use Callandor or that he’d have to fight her for it? If he thought about it that much, that makes some sense. She might not feel threatened by him holding the Power but the sa’angreal is a different deal. But that does not excuse his “use swords, not fireballs/lightning” approach to the fight.
Did Lanfear rescue Rand in the Stone? It is implied but that feels too simple. I assume one group of shadowspawn arrived in the barges and another in the wagons. I think each group was controlled by a different of the Forsaken. Lanfear doesn’t seem like she operates in a way where she controls wagons of shadowspawn for use “just in case.” That means either two separate shadowspawn plots unfolded, and opposed each other, or that Lanfear co-opted half of the shadowspawn and only half, midway through the fight. The two competing Forsaken hypothesis makes more sense and it makes sense Given that she seemed surprised, I don’t think that either of the two shadowspawn groups was controlled by Lanfear.
So I wonder what Rand’s plan is and how Lanfear helped him to put it together? I guess we’ll see soon.