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 4: Twilight
NOTE: The following chapter summary comes from wot.fandom.com:
Point of view: Rand al’Thor
Rand enters the Roof of the Maidens, the only male allowed inside one except gai’shain. Rand would like to get away from the mothering he receives from the Maidens, but can’t think of a good excuse to use. He heads to his bedroom on an upper floor so he can get some sleep. Aviendha enters the room with her arms full of blankets to help Rand keep warm during the cold nights. She is wearing a silver necklace and Rand wants to know who gave it to her. Aviendha has spent the last ten days away from Rand, training to be a Wise One. Since Rand admitted the bracelet he gave her was not a regard gift, she has come to give him a non-regard gift in return, so they are even. The gift is a belt buckle with a Dragon design. This was made from the metal in Aviendha’s weapons that had to be melted down. Aviendha tells Rand that she has to give gifts to the three men and three women she hates the most and that he is one of the men.
Isendre sways into the room in a with a tray with wine and cups. She is dressed only in jewelry and a veil, as punishment for stealing the jewelry. She is startled and dismayed to see Aviendha there. Aviendha is furious with her and refuses to let Rand intervene. Even though Isendre and Kadere are Darkfriends Rand can not let that be found out since it would end the training he is receiving from Jasin Natael. Aviendha says Isendre has tried seven times to reach him and been switched each time and that she would be doing that without some encouragement from him. After Aviendha and Isendre leave, Rand falls asleep dreaming of Elayne, Min, and Aviendha.
When I read a chapter closely, one of the things I think about is what the author’s purpose is with the chapter. This one felt like it was a response to an editor’s note asking him a question – “why doesn’t Rand do something about the Darkfriends in his camp?” Instead of Jordan putting in a couple sentences of exposition somewhere else to provide that answer, he provided a scene for Rand to react to one of them.
This worked relatively well because doing that scene with Isendre gave Jordan a chance to give Rand a “here’s how I feel about all the ladies” POV chapter.
- He’s obviously got romantic interest in Aviendha – even if he won’t admit it to himself yet. She feels the same way, even if she won’t admit it either. They’re both overselling their own lack of interest in each other and then betraying those words by their actions. “I hate you so much, Rand… but you better not send me away from your side.” Since this particular relationship is a focus in an early chapter, that is likely building toward something that will happen sooner than later.
- But don’t think that whatever is about to happen between these two means Rand has lost interest in Elayne and Min because Rand is still having “pleasant” dreams about them, too.
On the topic of the three women: Elayne is a royal from Andor (like his mother), Aviendha is an Aiel like his father – and a Maiden like his mother. Both of those women relate to things Rand did not experience personally. It’s also implied that Elayne looks quite a bit like Ilyena, Lews Therin’s late wife.
Min is Rand’s connection to the home he actually grew up in. She’ grew up just outside of the Two Rivers’s from the far western part of Andor, from a relatively small town (even if Rand incorrectly thinks it’s a huge place when he first visits.)
- Egwene’s absence from Rand’s thoughts and feelings is more emphasized given her presence earlier in teh book. He’s legitimately moved on from her.
Other things: Rand has learned how to keep the Dreamwalkers out of his dreams. Does that block out Lanfear, too? She’s still in the camp, masquerading as Keille, one of the peddlers. If she is locked out, I think she’ll talk to him and address it sometime soon. Of course, she had to have known this was coming when she got him a teacher. From her perspective, shielding Rand from the World of Dreams should protect Rand from the other Forsaken more thoroughly – which is in her best interest.
Aviendha tells Rand a couple of times in this chapter that Elayne is her ‘near sister.’ If I remember correctly, Egwene – not Elayne – was Aviendha’s friend in the Stone of Tear. [I went to the trouble to look this up. I was right. (TSR Ch. 9). Further, she tells Rand in Chapter 32 of TSR that the only reason she cares is because Elayne is Egwene’s near sister, and Egwene is her friend.] Aviendha started her denial of interest in Rand by selling Rand’s commitment to Elayne. That story seems to have advanced into over-selling to him a friendship with Elayne that never really existed.
The other thing Jordan accomplishes with this chapter is a dialing back of “crazy Rand.” In the previous chapters, Rand is shouting and saying words he doesn’t know in the Old Tongue, and remembering the face of Lews Therin’s wife. Now we’re reigning that back in. If he’s not robustly sane, he’s still mostly sane.
On to the next one.