Chapter 36: Web of The Pattern
Remember all the time our various characters have spent sitting around in taverns and common rooms? Well here comes yet another one, as Master Gill leads Mat and Rand into his inn.
I seriously don’t remember this sticking out to me at all when I first read this book. I wonder if that’s the peril of doing a Let’s Read– repetitive things stick out more because you’re actively describing it instead of just skipping by it.
Rand gives Gill a highly truncated and Trolloc-free version of their story, and he agrees to help them and cautions against going to Elaida for assistance, as she’ll turn dangerous if she susses that they’re connected to Thom in any way due to back story stuff.
“No Guards,” Rand agreed. Mat nodded vigorously while stuffing a fork into his mouth and got gravy on his chin.
I think Mat has been eating in the background of every conversation he and Rand have had in the last few chapters.
Mat let out a low, bitter laugh. “Tar Valon! All this time it’s been Caemlyn. Moiraine would be waiting for us in Caemlyn. We’d find Perrin and Egwene in Caemlyn. Everything would be all right if we only got to Caemlyn. Well, here we are, and nothing’s right. No Moiraine, no Perrin, no anybody. Now it’s everything will be all right if we only get to Tar Valon.”
Mat’s whining is starting to get like those characters in found footage movies who keep telling the protagonist to turn off the camera, and it’s really annoying because you know full well they’re not going to do it because otherwise there wouldn’t be a movie.
The dark-eyed girl had a tendency to twist her skirt and giggle whenever she looked at Rand.
Rand is super handsome, and every woman he meets wants to bone him. Have I mentioned that before? It will come up again. Multiple times.
Rand pootles around a bit and goes into the inn’s library to waste some time.
His breath caught at the sight of a leatherbound copy of Voyages Among the Sea Folk. Tam had always wanted to read that.
Fun facts about the Sea Folk:
- Sea Folk women sail around topless
- Their culture is heavily based around vaguely BDSM-centric relationship dynamics
So in other words they’re basically like every other culture in these books, in that they incorporate various levels of kink into their daily lives and there are conspicuous scenes of female nudity for no real reason.
While in the library Rand encounters an Ogier, which is a kind of a thing. Here’s what they look like according to the wiki:
So kind of like the Beast from Beauty and The Beast.
The Ogier’s name is Loial (can you guess what Loial’s defining character trait is) and he’s come to Caemlyn to see the world outside of his stedding (you may recall that Perrin and Egwene took shelter in an abandoned Ogier stedding). He’s also quite personable and very likable compared to the rest of the cast.
You humans are so hasty, so erratic.” He blinked and gave a short bow. “Please forgive me. I shouldn’t have said that. But you do fight all the time, even when there’s no need to.”
The Ogier are very patient and methodical, and it takes them forever to come to decisions about anything. In that regard they’re a lot like the Ents from the Lord of The Rings (or at least the movies, I haven’t read the books).
Loial and Rand talk for bloody ages about… well, here’s a sample:
“Well, things do change over the years. Some, anyway.”
“Some? Half the cities I read about aren’t even there any longer, and most of the rest are known by different names. You take Cairhien. The city’s proper name is Al’cair’rahienallen, Hill of the Golden Dawn.
IT’S TIME FOR UNCLE LOIAL’S WORLDBUILDING HOUR.
During this Loial drops the following plot bombshell:
“The Great Trees,” Rand said finally, just for something to break that silence. “Are they like Avendesora?”
Loial sat up sharply; his chair squealed and cracked so loudly Rand thought it was going to come apart. “You know better than that. You, of all people.”
“Me? How would I know?”
“Are you playing a joke on me? Sometimes you Aielmen think the oddest things are funny.”
Rand insists he’s not an Aiel and Loial takes him at his word. Feel free to recall all of those remarks about Rand being “as tall as an Aielman” from way back in the opening chapters.
I can’t decide whether it’s unbelievable for Rand not to pick up on this stuff. One the one hand, you don’t tend to question long-held assumptions about your identity without good reason, but on the other hand, he knows he’s not Tam’s son and he’s grown up being told that he doesn’t look like anyone else in his village.
Rand blurts out the whole story about the Trolloc attack on Emond’s Field and the real reason they’re fleeing, and Loial announces that he, Mat and Perrin are “Ta’veren”. What does that mean? Take it away, Loial:
And sometimes the Wheel bends a life-thread, or several threads, in such a way that all the surrounding threads are forced to swirl around it, and those force other threads, and those still others, and on and on. That first bending to make the Web, that is ta’veren, and there is nothing you can do to change it, not until the Pattern itself changes.
In other words, things happen for no reason and it’s justified by saying that the protagonists are ta’veren. This will later be exploited to the hilt in order to facilitate the plot in various ways.
Loial asks if he can travel with Mat and Rand to see what shenanigans they get up to, and Rand refuses because he’s allergic to fun. Let the eight-foot tall hairy guy travel with you, he could probably kick some ass.