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 28: To the Tower of Ghenjei
NOTE: The following chapter summary comes from wot.fandom.com:
Point of view: Perrin Aybara
Perrin and Gaul set up a camp near the Waygate but separate from Faile, Bain, Chiad and Loial at Faile’s insistence. Perrin plans to enter the Wolf Dream and asks Gaul to kick him awake if anything happens. He is still concerned about the ravens he saw after they left the Waygate.
Perrin is in the Wolf Dream and a patch of sky became like a window where he sees visions:
- Rand amid swirling stormwinds laughing wildly with small dragons riding on the winds while being watched by hidden eyes
- Nynaeve and Elayne walking cautiously through twisted, shadowed buildings hunting some dangerous beast
- Mat standing where a road forked, flipping a coin and starting down one branch wearing a wide-brimmed hat and carrying a spear with a short blade
- Egwene and a woman with long white hair staring at him in surprise while the White Tower crumbled stone by stone
He calls to Hopper, but gets no response. He takes a step and is surprised to have traveled a long way down the mountain. To get a better view he takes a step to reach the highest peak overlooking the valley. He steps from peak to peak heading toward the Two Rivers but senses no wolves and Hopper still does not answer. Finally he sees a tall dark-haired man in a blue coat with a bow on his back. The scent he gets from the man is cold, not really human. The man sees Perrin and flees. Perrin goes to the spot where the man was and finds a wolf corpse. The chase leads northeast past Watch Hill and across the River Taren. Finally they reach a tower of metal and the man vanishes.
Perrin can find no entrance to the tower, but continues to look. Suddenly he is told to stop by Hopper. Hopper tells him that he was chasing Slayer. Hopper says the tower is evil. Suddenly, a woman comments that this is a dangerous place and says it is the Tower of Ghenjei. She has golden hair in a thick braid with odd clothes, with a glint of silver behind her. When she notices that Perrin has seen the silver, it vanishes. She realizes Perrin is a wolfbrother and that is how he is in Tel’aran’rhiod. She tells Perrin that the tower is a doorway to the realms of the Aelfinn and the Eelfinn, like the game Snakes and Foxes. Perrin knows there is no way to win, but the woman says that is true unless you break the rules. The woman is surprised she is saying so much and deduces it must be because Perrin is ta’veren. Perrin sees the shadow of someone else, but when he looks no one is there. The woman seems to respond to a comment from someone though that she should not be here and she disappears, too. Hopper did not see or hear the woman.
He tells Hopper of the ravens, the Trollocs in the Ways, and the absence of wolves in the Two Rivers. Hopper warns him to stay away from home, then comments that the Last Hunt approaches. Perrin wakes and comments to Gaul that it may be worse in the Two Rivers than he thought. He thinks about the Shadowspawn in the Ways, ravens in the mountains and this Slayer. They must all be related and it does not bode well for his home.
It seems pretty obvious to me that Slayer didn’t really enter the Tower – he just tried to trick Perrin into going in there, hoping that doing so would trap him.
This chapter introduces us to a a couple of new things:
- The Tower of Ghenjei is an entrance into the land of the Aelfinn and Eelfinn and the woman Perrin speaks with, Birgitte Silverbow (a hero of the Horn) connects the place with the children’s game “Snakes and Foxes.” I really like the idea of giving the people of Rand’s world a cultural memory of this place through the children’s game.
Snakes and Foxes should draw your mind to the Snake people one meets through the doorway in Tear and the Fox people one meets through the doorway in Rhuidean. The names of these people seem to evoke “elf” notions. Obviously Jordan is familiar with a wide swath of cultural “elf” tropes but I wonder if he was also familiar with the “machine elf” phenomenon, too.
The Tower of Ghenjei name is derived from Japanese origins. Ghenjei / Genji refers to the Minamoto family of samurai. The common point of reference for “Genji” is from the novel “The Tale of Genji” written by the Lady Murasaki Shikibu during the eleventh century.
The name likely also incorporates Genie / Jinn themes as well.
- This chapter also introduces us to a character named Slayer. Slayer represents a danger to anyone in the Wolf Dream / tel’aran’rhiod because he can enter that place in the flesh and kill there. He is skilled enough in the World of Dreams to kill wolves in this place. Perrin is going to have to power up his dream talents as I have no doubt dealing with Slayer will be part of his adventures back home.
- This chapter provides some strong evidence that the Heroes of the Horn exist in The World of Dreams when their souls are not alive / not called by the Horn. The precepts referred to by Birgitte indicate that she is not supposed to talk to anyone there.
It’s interesting to me that Hopper cannot see Birgitte. Is there some kind of species limitation in the Dream? Is Perrin rare in that he can cross-species communicate? Does this mean that there might be Squirrel Sisters or something, talking to squirrels and learning from them?
Perrin has some prophetic dreams. We’ll see how these things play out. The last one is most interesting because it indicates Perrin saw both Egwene and a Wise One who were in the dream, too. We keep getting confirmation that the Wolf Dream and the World of Dreams are the same place and this is just more evidence.
We end this section with confirmation that Perrin’s plan to just turn himself over for hanging is probably not going to work. There are bigger things happening at home than just Whitecloaks and those things probably need a ta’veren’s help.