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 3: Pale Shadows
NOTE: The following chapter summary comes from wot.fandom.com:
Point of view: Rand al’Thor
Rand is angry at Natael for channeling where Egwene might have seen him. Natael is really the Forsaken Asmodean and has been forced to be tutor to Rand by another Forsaken, Lanfear. Natael explains linking, that men cannot join together without a woman, while women can join together, up to thirteen before a man is needed. He warns Rand that thirteen women linked―even the thirteen weakest―can overpower any man. They discuss the other Forsaken but Natael does not know where they are except that Sammael is in Illian and that Rahvin has a queen as a pet. As sunset approaches, gai’shain bring in food and drink for supper.
Rand channels and ties off a weave that will keep Natael in the room. With the Maidens as a guard of honor, he heads toward his sleeping chamber in the same building where the Maidens have their society.
Point of view: Matrim Cauthon
Mat is singing Jak o’ the Shadows while playing a drinking and knife accuracy game with some Aiel. Mat grimaces when he realizes the song is from his memories and has not been sung for a long time. Even though light is fading, Mat wishes to continue the game and boasts he could hit the target blindfolded. When challenged about his boasting, he proceeds to demonstrate that he can hit the target blindfolded. He then sits and muses about the memories of battles that he can recall so clearly even though he was not alive for those battles. Melindhra approaches Mat and ask if he can always hit targets blindfolded. He replies usually, and gives her a necklace. She tells him that she accepts his offer. Mat does not know what offer he made, so he leaves her when he sees Rand walking nearby.
He calls to Rand and gets no answer, so finally he calls to Lews Therin and Rand stops and turns. Mat tells Rand he would like to leave with the peddler wagons when they head for Tar Valon. Rand gives permission but tells Mat to not trust Kadere, not an inch. Mat asks Melindhra as he usually does with women, if “Daughter of the Nine Moons” means anything to her. When she says no, Mat happily goes off with her.
We start out with something of an update on how much Rand has been learning. Through the back and forth bickering, we can ascertain that Rand has learned a lot, but not enough for his own liking. He also doesn’t trust his teacher to tell him the truth (which makes sense.)
We learn that men are *generally* more powerful in the One Power than women, but that this is balanced out by women being able to link while men cannot. It’s interesting to me that Jordan links his magic system rules with human biology rules. It makes a certain amount of sense. Maybe the One Power has a genetics component. That’s definitely implied at times throughout the series.
Asmodean mentions offhand that he came across a saying in Arad Doman. Is that where he was hiding out before Lanfear lured him away? He also mentions Graendal being in Arad Doman, though he says he suspects she has moved on by now. Rand doesn’t know yet, though, that Rahvin has taken Andor.
Probably the most interesting thing from this section is that Asmodean tells him his only chance to beat the Dark One is the object Rand found in Rhuidean (the ter’angreal that links him to the most powerful male sa’angreal ever made.)
Mat’s POV section is another recap section, but I really enjoyed it. Drunk, blind-folded, making bets re: knife throwing, and talking in a dead language? I’m all in. Mat chapters are also where we get the most entertaining gender insights.
“Women seemed to make up their minds whether you are lying without looking at the evidence. On the other hand, if they liked you, they either did not care or else decided even the most outrageous lie was true.”
Mat meets Melindhra, a Shaido Maiden (she defected from her clan to join with her society in Rand’s camp) who seems interested in her. Romantically? In a murdery way? We don’t know yet.
Mat asks Rand if he can go with Kadere’s men when they leave for Tar Valon. Rand gives him a vague answer about the Wheel weaving as the Wheel wills. He says he won’t try to stop him, but implies he might be stopped anyway. Finally, Rand lets Mat know that Kadere is an evil guy. We should assume that Mat has been trying to hook up with a woman from Kadere’s wagons (Isendre) for weeks… and Rand only now tells him? Mat reacts as though he knew already, though.
As the chapter ends and Melindhra makes her intentions clear, Mat asks her if “Daughter of the Nine Moons” means anything to her. She says it does not, but adds that there are things she likes to do by moonlight.
Mat is one of my favorite characters to read, even if I feel somewhat confident I would not like him right away in person (you know, assuming he was real and I was in Randland.) Sometimes your opinion of a person can completely change when you better understand his or her thoughts. There’s kind of along running narrative that Mat became an interesting / great character during The Dragon Reborn. That’s the book where we first started getting Mat POVs.