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 46: Veils
NOTE: The following chapter summary comes from wot.fandom.com:
Point of view: Egeanin Sarna
Egeanin is following Floran Gelb to find out if he has really found a sul’dam that fled from Falme. Gelb has kidnapped three women recently that were not sul’dam. With eight men he sets up an ambush for Nynaeve and begins waiting for her to arrive. Egeanin sees Nynaeve and Elayne walking up the street and sees a vague resemblance between Nynaeve and Surine except Surine is taller. She moves toward Gelb to warn him off.
Point of view: Elayne Trakand
Elayne complains to Nynaeve that they should have hired bearers to move through the crowd. She dismisses the idea, preferring to use her own feet even if they may need to use the barrel staves they carry. They discuss the meeting Elayne had with Amys and Egwene in tel’aran’rhiod the night before. They found out that Perrin did not go to the Waste but are not sure where he might have gone.
A man tries to grab Nynaeve and she cracks him with the barrel stave. Another pushes Elayne out of the way to grab Nynaeve. Elayne believes someone recognized her as the Daughter-Heir and is trying to kidnap her. They prepare to channel but hesitate since a nearby Black Ajah sister would notice. A woman with a staff begins to attack the men that have them surrounded. Just as the three women have the thugs on the run, Gelb pulls a knife and prepares to stab the woman in the back. Elayne channels to prevent him.
Nynaeve invites the woman, Egeanin, to tea at their inn as thanks for helping. Juilin is back and relaxing after his night of looking for Liandrin’s group of Black Sisters. He approaches with information that he has found where the women were staying, but they are gone now. Rendra arrives and leads them to a private room for their tea. Elayne and Nynaeve agree to answer her questions but then Thom arrives and mentions that Amathera is to be invested tomorrow and the Whitecloaks have moved into the area around her palace. He says this is the type of unusual happenings that he has been watching for. Thom mentions he has arranged body guards through Bayle Domon. Egeanin knows Domon and hastily arranges her exit.
Rendra arrives and announces they have a visitor. A woman enters, channels, and suddenly Elayne and Nynaeve trip over themselves to answer the woman’s questions. The woman has used Compulsion on them and finds out all about their search for Liandrin and what occurred in Tear. She does not find the ter’angreal they have because she asked the wrong questions. She then commands them to forget about the questioning and leaves.
Point of view: Egeanin Sarna
Mor watches Egeanin leave the The Three Plum Court. He is trying to find out what she is up to and plans to check the inn.
The two supergirls meet a new character – obviously one of the Forsaken – and said Forsaken uses the power of mind control on them to learn about what they are up to. Have we seen any of the Forsaken using mind control before? Aginor, Balthamel, and Be’lal all died before they had the option to do anything notably powerful. Lanfear seems to prefer using seduction and disguises to get what she wants. Ishamael mostly just ranted and raved and terrorized people in their dreams. Maybe this is new? In any case, this is a massive step up in danger for Nynaeve and Elayne.
I did notice a couple of interesting things about the mind control scene:
- Nynaeve is gripping her braid the entire time. Is she subconsciously aware of what is happening and angry about it?
- The girls seem to lie to the unnamed Mind Controller when she asks about angreal, sa’angreal, and ter’angreal.
I cannot bring myself to care about the rest of this plot, though. Nynaeve is needlessly dumb in dictating their silk dress disguises. It felt too plot-serving. Why did Nynaeve learning to like silk dresses mean that she became dumber? Book 1-3 Nynaeve would never endanger their mission with a frivolity like that. I have never liked Elayne, and thus not liking an Elayne-centered plot arc is not surprising. I just don’t find her Victorian sensibilities charming, I guess. (She starts shouting “Forward the White Lion” while being attacked? Really?! UGH.)
I’m also annoyed at how freely the two gab most of their secrets to Egeanin – a total stranger – despite their circumstances. It doesn’t make a lot of sense. In the past, Nynaeve usually had a strategic reason for something like that but I cannot imagine what it is here… unless she is just trying to feel out someone who saw them channel. and ascertain that she is not in contact with the Black Ajah.
The two meet Seanchan Egeanin after she saves them from Floran Gelb’s kidnapping attempt. I’m mildly annoyed that Jordan brought back Gelb here. Why would he be in Tanchico, working in the vicinity of Domon, without interacting with his former boss? Why would “The Pattern” need Floran Gelb in particular to perform this kidnapping service for Egeanin?
Obviously Egeanin is on a kind of journey to bring down the Seanchan Empire’s beliefs regarding women who can channel. It just annoys me that a secret that was allegedly kept for a thousand years has been discovered accidentally, twice, in a manner of months. I’d feel a lot better about this if at some point we learned the secret has been discovered a lot of times and that the Seanchan CIA (Mor) exist to return the information to its a secret status.