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 32: Questions to Be Asked
NOTE: The following chapter summary comes from wot.fandom.com:
Point of view: Perrin Aybara
The next morning, Verin urges Perrin along with Tam and Abell to start moving toward Watch Hill to rescue the prisoners of the Whitecloaks. Alanna has chosen to not come along. Faile insists on coming as she comments that she wishes to see more of the Two Rivers and that her father raises sheep. This seems to contradict what she previously said about her father but she says that he does many different things. Perrin knows he will have to let Faile come along as they scout the camp, but he refuses to let Loial come due to his very noticeable appearance. Instead he asks Loial to keep an eye on Alanna. Gaul, Bain, and Chiad scout ahead as the party moves out.
The nearby farms are deserted but they head towards Jac al’Seen‘s farm and plan to stop there for lunch and to rest the horses. Tam estimates there are at least two hundred Trollocs around, probably more. Perrin muses why such the Trollocs have not actually attacked the village yet, as they have enough to attack in the night and leave before the Whitecloaks would realize it. Faile and Verin discuss possible reasons for the Trollocs being around but not attacking. Perrin follows their discussion and concludes that it must be a lure to draw Rand‘s attention.
Perrin’s party is spotted approaching Jac’s farm and men gather with weapons until they are identified as friends. Jac has taken in the families of Wit al’Seen and Flann Lewin because their farms could not be defended from the Trollocs, so Jac’s farm is overflowing with al’Seens and Lewins. As Perrin observes the crowd around him he finds that Faile is gazing at Wil al’Seen, the same way girls always seem to stare at the handsome fellow. Perrin greets him amiably while holding Faile and resting his hand on his axe. Wil gets the message and drifts off.
The Two Rivers folk gather around the three strangers, Verin, Tomas and Faile. They identify Faile as a lady but do not know what to make of Verin who uses Moiraine‘s earlier cover story, implying that she is traveling to gather stories. As for Tomas, they think he is either a Whitecloak or a lord. One boy mentions Warders before the adults quickly dismiss his idea. Some of the Lewins and al’Seens encourage Verin and Faile to leave soon and head to a village, since it isn’t safe in the countryside.
Jac al’Seen ask Perrin why the Whitecloaks are accusing him, Mat, and Rand of being Darkfriends. Adine Lewin relates that she heard about Rand and Mat running off with a dozen Aes Sedai who kidnapped Egwene. Wit corrects her immediately, saying that he spoke with Marin who clarified that Egwene left of her own accord and there was only one Aes Sedai. Perrin doesn’t know why Rand and Mat are being accused but he admits to killing Whitecloaks because they killed a “friend” of his and would have killed him too. Verin points out that the one thing Whitecloaks are good at is making neighbors suspicious of each other. Perrin mentions that Padan Fain is with the Whitecloaks which Jac confirms and Perrin flatly states that he is actually a Darkfriend. Adine does not believe it but Tomas asks her why she might believe the Whitecloaks who came and burned their neighbors’ farms but not Perrin whom they have known since he was born. Jac and his wife agree that Perrin is no Darkfriend and is welcome to stay at their farm, but Perrin says he has things to do. They offer everybody lamb stew with bread for lunch. As they are finishing up, a boy comes in announcing Lord Luc is approaching.
For a change, I enjoyed the relationship dynamic between Perrin and Faile. But after Perrin spanked (!) Faile like an unruly small child in front of their entire traveling party, they really had nowhere to go but up. The impetus for their improvement seems to be that they both are trying out the Marin/Abell “let _____ have what they want most of the time, so that when it matters you can assert yourself” advice. They’re finding that it’s good advice, too.
Thinking some more about that relationship advice that’s actually good… it’s amazing that Egwene’s mother and Mat’s father – of all people – are the two who gave the solid advice. Neither of their children would *ever* put this particular counsel into practice and both act as though they never once saw it modeled by their parents.
I also enjoyed Perrin’s ridiculous and obvious efforts to make sure that handsome Wil al’Seen knows Faile is taken. It’s particularly funny because Perrin’s POV does not seem to realize that his behavior is obvious, while describing actions that are… obvious. Oh, Perrin. Do wolves pee to mark their territory the way that dogs do? Asking for Faile.
It was a subtle thing, but cool, that Perrin acknowledges the “lure” in the Two Rivers is for Rand, and that he thinks the people behind it – most likely the Forsaken – will have to settle for him in Rand’s place. This whole sequence in the Two Rivers is just teed up for Perrin to do *something* awesome.
“You bit off a bit more than you could chew with Young Bull, didn’t ya?”
I’m trying to imagine Loial spying on Alanna. Like… she looks up and sees him peaking out at her from behind a tree branch. He tries to cover by singing to the tree. That whole dynamic should be humorous because I feel as though he is probably not quite up to the subtly needed for that job. On the other hand, maybe if he’s super-obvious she won’t take the effort serious and thus let down her guard.
Verin pays extra attention to Perrin’s hammer. That’s… notable. What does she know about the whole hammer vs. ax thing and how could she possibly know it? We don’t know the significance of it as readers just yet.
Perrin sees the girl he might have married, had he stayed in the Two Rivers – Laila. He is relieved to have avoided that fate due to her present-day largeness. Perrin does not mention, though, whether she is as large as a refrigerator. I bring that up.. for reasons.
Faile mentions her father again. This time he has sheep. He’s been a merchant, has known about war, and has known about the dealings within the courts of Saldaea, too. Perrin of course forgets all of that and thinks she might be overselling him rather than the other way around.
We are finally about to meet Lord Luc and find out what he’s all about.