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 44: The Breaking Storm
NOTE: The following chapter summary comes from wot.fandom.com:
Point of view: Perrin Aybara
Perrin wakes up in a bed in the Winespring Inn the morning after he was Healed by Alanna. Faile slept on a chair in the room and tells him he needs to rest in bed for two or three more days. Perrin senses that she is evading telling him something. When he persists, she admits that Loial and Gaul left earlier that morning, gone to deal with the open Waygate. Perrin starts getting dressed to go after them and Faile tries to stop him. They are still arguing as Perrin exits the room with Faile vainly trying to hold him back by the arm. As Perrin takes the first step going down the stairs, his leg fails to hold him and they both roll down to the bottom.
Faile tries to convince Perrin that he can not do everything and that it is his responsibility to stay in the village and lead. Outside a shout of “Trollocs!” is heard and Perrin insists on going out to see what is happening. Perrin finally gets his way to go outside but Faile gets a promise from him to stay on his horse and not try to fight. There was only one Trolloc but then Bain and Chiad come in from scouting and say that there are as many as five hundred preparing to attack.
Perrin talks to Bran, Tam, and Abell about the imminent attack. Bran shouts out to the villagers to get to their places. Tam arranges the archers while Ban, Tell, and the other companions from the Trolloc hunting gather around Perrin with a Wolf-Head Banner on a staff. Perrin would like to send Faile back to the Inn but realizes it would not work. At three hundred paces the archers begin their volleys and the catapults are fired. They are able to kill all of the Trollocs and three Fades before they reach the walls and the villagers let out a loud cheer and give Perrin the credit for leading them to victory.
As Tam and Tomas examine the field of battle they conclude that this was a test, not a true effort to succeed with the attack. Suddenly there are shouts and a clamor from the south of the village.
I really enjoy the beginning of this chapter. From Faile’s obvious concern for Perrin, mixed with frustration about his stubbornness, to their fall down the staircase, to Faile’s mix of fury at both Marin al’Vere’s advice for dealing with Perrin, and her fury at Perrin for putting her in the position to receive said advice. You kind of come away from that feeling for Faile and finding her anger somewhat endearing. She’s angry because she cares and we take her side as the reader because she’s so obviously correct.
For the record, I actually liked Marin’s advice. She basically advocates that Faile should talk to Perrin, like he is a small child, to get him to see that he is behaving like a small child. Faile is initially angered by the advice – and the fact it was given at all – but I think she comes around on it a little bit as a useful tool in her arsenal. It works on Perrin even though he knows what she is doing and why. I also really appreciated that Jordan had Faile bring back up what Perrin did to her in The Ways. It makes COMPLETE sense that she, of all people, would still be stewing over that incident, even if she is managing to quietly stew.
The next section of this chapter is the trolloc attack. This is one of my favorite moments in the series.
I love the great visual image Jordan paints of shadowspawn charging to their deaths across a big open field. I love the way that the Emond’s Fielders get their first taste of battle and start learning what to do. And I love that the whole thing ends, after feeling so great about the big victory, with a sense that this was nothing more than a small test of the town’s defenses.
As a result, the chapter tees up a a juxtaposition of anxiety about what is coming, and a sense that the Shadow might have bitten off more than it can chew in waking up the descendants of Manetheren in this way. The safest and most comfortable community in Jordan’s story is about to be truly tested and we are excited to see it happen.