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 33: A New Weave in the Pattern
NOTE: The following chapter summary comes from wot.fandom.com:
Point of view: Perrin Aybara
Lord Luc arrogantly enters the al’Seen farmhouse and Perrin despises him on sight. Luc is startled when he sees Verin and recognizes her as an Aes Sedai, although he does not say anything. He appears shocked to see Perrin, as if he recognizes him. Perrin and Flann Lewin begin a discussion on how safe it is at the farm house and how good Lord Luc’s suggestions on defending themselves are. Perrin suggests instead that they leave the farm so they don’t have to hope Whitecloaks will be nearby if Trollocs come again. If they continue to depend on the Whitecloaks, they have to endure their questioning and allow them to arrest whomever they want. A heated discussion starts but Perrin points out that the Trollocs are attacking farms where there are people, not deserted farms. The farms won’t be disturbed even if they are abandoned.
Lord Luc leaves without a grand exit. Jac and the others decide Perrin’s advice is good, so they will gather everything and everyone up and leave for Emond’s Field. They will also talk with other farmer’s in the area and suggest they do the same. Verin believes the decision by the farmers to leave was because Perrin is ta’veren, which fascinates her. She mentions Rand, another ta’veren and asks Perrin whether Rand has the sword and he sees no reason not to tell her. Verin warns Perrin about Alanna, but doesn’t provide specifics on what she might do.
Faile asks Perrin to forgive her for her actions with Wil al’Seen and Lord Luc. Perrin asks her to forgive him for the things he said to try to keep her from coming to the Two Rivers. He wonders if Faile’s father worked for a noblewoman, given what she says and how she reacts.
Several young men decide to go with Perrin to scout the Whitecloak camp. Wil al’Seen is one along with his cousin Ban, Tell Lewin, and Dannil Lewin. Although they are all a bit older than Perrin, they look to him for leadership. When Gaul, Bain, and Chiad appear there is almost a fight until Perrin can get everyone calmed down. Perrin decides to stop at the Torfinn farm and the family takes his suggestion to leave without hesitation. They continue to stop at farms and succeed in convincing the residents to leave. More young men to join their party despite Perrin’s wish to keep things quiet. Wil and some of the other young men squabble over leadership and rank and finally Perrin has had enough and yells to impress on them the seriousness of the situation. He tells them to stay organized, focused and following orders. He then divides them into two groups led by Dannil and Ban. This impresses Faile and Tomas while Verin simply observes with great interest.
When they are close to Watch Hill, they begin walking the horses to attract less attention. Perrin issues orders for everyone to remain as stealthy as possible. Faile asks Perrin whether he used to be a soldier as he reminds him of some of her father’s guards, but Perrin says that he has only seen soldiers talk as such. They scout the encampment which has hundreds of Whitecloaks. Perrin sees a second, smaller camp which is much more disorganized. Perrin needs some time to come up with a plan and so he asks Tam to settle down the young men and see if they brought rations to eat. Abruptly he realizes he is giving orders to someone older and more experienced and apologizes. Tam is not offended and tells Perrin he has followed younger men before when they knew what had to be done.
Verin observes that even though Perrin is not shifting the world under his feet like Rand is, Perrin is surely causing great changes to the Two Rivers. Perrin says he means only to rescue the prisoners, not cause wholesale changes to the Two Rivers. Faile asks if he means to rescue the prisoners that night, and Perrin knows he must do it now or it will only get harder and more risky. Word of his presence in the Two Rivers will reach Whitecloak ears soon and there is no way to predict what they will do with the prisoners when they do. The Aiel will help and Perrin decides to let Faile go, too, rather than have a confrontation. They eat a meal while hiding in the bushes and wait for nightfall. They wait and watch as the number of lights in the camp and nearby Watch Hill dwindle.
Perrin gathers Tam, Faile, Verin, and the Aiel around him to outline his plan. Tam is to keep everyone ready to leave, awaiting only the return with the prisoners. He will lead them to a nearby abandoned farmhouse to hide from the inevitable Whitecloak pursuit. Perrin asks the Aiel not to kill any Whitecloaks if possible, as to not inflame tensions. The Aiel are amused at this prospect and nod as they disappear into the underbrush. Verin cautions Perrin to be careful, as being ta’veren does not mean that he cannot be harmed or killed. Perrin asks if Tomas can help but she implies that she has a different task for him.
Perrin, Faile and the Aiel sneak into the Whitecloak camp and make their way to the tent where the prisoners are held. On the way a Whitecloak attacks Perrin but Faile knocks him out with a piece of firewood. Perrin takes the cloak to use as a disguise. The Aiel easily take care of the guards before they can make a sound. They reach the tent and wake up Haral Luhhan, Alsbet Luhhan, Natti Cauthon, Eldrin Cauthon, and Bodewhin Cauthon. After getting everyone awake, they head for the picket lines, needing horses to get away from the camp quickly. When they rejoin the others they split up with the former prisoners moving away quietly, while Perrin and the rest noisily lead the Whitecloaks away. Perrin asks Verin if she can do anything and she comments that it might rain quite heavily in half an hour. As they escape Wil asks Perrin what is next and Perrin announces that they will hunt Trollocs.
This is a classic Robert Jordan chapter title. “I’m not sure what to call this one, so we’ll say something about threads or the pattern.”
A LOT happens here. Within the space of a single chapter, Perrin meets Luc, more or less runs him off, convinces most of the farmers in the region to abandon their farms and move into a village, he unwittingly (at first) builds the backbone of what will probably turn into a formidable Two Rivers fighting force, and he rescues the Cauthon and Luhhan Whitecloak hostages. I don’t often get to say this about Jordan’s writing, but I wish he had slowed down a little bit here.
With that little nitpick out of the way, this chapter was awesome. We as the reader get to see Perrin’s ta’veren powers in full use and effect. We also see him take on the role of “leader.” It seems to suit him because not only do Tam and Abell readily fall in line behind him, Faile is so surprised and impressed by him that she asks if he has ever been a soldier. I am a sucker for “familiar person seeing the protagonist in a completely new light” moments inside of stories.
He comes up with what seems like a good plan to deal with both the trollocs and Whitecloaks. He gets military-aged men (green and completely untrained) to fall in line behind his leadership. He executes a plan to free the hostages. This scene is not just fun from Perrin’s perspective, but it’s also fun to see the Two Rivers young men begin to learn how to be in a fighting force. I really liked Perrin’s thought, just outside the camp, that they finally realized what they are doing. Perrin is beginning the process of teaching the Two Rivers folks that they are stronger than they think.
In hindsight, it was obvious that Perrin intended to rescue the hostages immediately but Jordan (via Perrin) really sold effectively his lie that he only intended to scout on the first trip to the Whitecloak camp. Once Perrin points out the obvious – that he *has* to pull off the rescue before the Whitecloaks hear about the mass migration of the farmers – then it is clear he had a bigger plan all along – with the rescue being only part of it. He intends to immediately begin hunting the Shadowspawn in the region, too.
Personally, I think Perrin might be biting off a bit more than he can chew on that last front, to say nothing of antagonizing Whitecloaks, but we’ll see how it all plays out from here. He will presumably have Tam’s experience as a soldier to lean on, at some point. Tam did not get that heron marked blade during his soldiering days without having made something of himself on that front.
This chapter goes a long way toward redeeming Perrin’s character from recent mistakes and repairing the Faile/Perrin relationship dynamic. I think it helps (from the perspective of the reader) that Faile goes with him into the camp and that she rescues him from a guard. He took the lead but would not have succeeded without her. They appear to be a team again.
Luc seeming to recognize Perrin is not a throwaway line. I won’t spoil anything here but the clue-laying on this has been very subtle and it goes back multiple books.
Verin warning Perrin about Alanna is also… interesting. Verin is herself very suspicious so should we take the warning at face value or should we think the warning is designed to keep Perrin distant from an Aes Sedai who might actually aid him? (That said, I really enjoyed her line about how it will rain in thirty minutes.)
All in all, excellent chapter in what is an excellent book so far.