In case you missed it last time: updates will be infrequent between now and the end of August.
Chapter 39: Weaving of The Web
The weave wills as the wheel webs as the weave will web wheel weaves webs wheel
Rand looked down on the crowds from the high window of his room in The Queen’s Blessing.
Rand and Mat’s situations haven’t changed at all since we last heard from them: Rand is still wondering when Egwene and the others will roll into town, Mat is still withdrawn and paranoid.
The innkeeper informs Rand that a “half-mad beggar” has been looking for the Two Rivers trio. I don’t actually know, but I’m assuming this is that merchant guy who we last saw ages ago looking dishevelled and speaking gibberish. I can’t actually remember what his deal is.
Even so, he could take the Queen’s Bounty at the Palace, even with things as hard as they are. On High Days, the Queen gives it out with her own hands, and there’s never anyone turned away for any reason. No one needs to beg in Caemlyn.
I’m kind of surprised to see this, given that Jordan was apparently an Objectivist (his protagonist is named Rand, after all) and I’ve seen more than one think-piece suggesting that Terry Goodkind derived his fantasy universe’s morality and philosophies from reading the Wheel of Time books. Maybe Jordan just wasn’t as much of a raging asshole as Goodkind comes across from the worldview presented in his books. Or maybe this Queen’s Bounty stuff will turn out to be a sinister machination of someone controlling the throne behind the scenes, and Rand will save the day by heroically burning down the grain silos where all of the surplus food is kept.
In the previous Rand chapter he bought some red cloth to cover his sword. It turns out this was a more politically charged move than he realized, as there’s a schism developing in the city between people who support the queen and those who blame her for the recent spate of strange occurrences and unseasonal weather. Loyalists, who are starting to be outnumbered as visitors to the city see which way the wind is blowing and join the opposite faction, wear red. The colour of the dissenters is white, which is an interesting inversion of the real-world significance that those colours are associated with in terms of revolution.
Today, though, it was different. On the surface, at least. Today, Caemlyn celebrated a victory of the Light over the Shadow. Today the false Dragon was being brought into the city, to be displayed before the Queen before he was taken north to Tar Valon.
The two sides have put aside their beef temporarily to come and gawk at Logain the false Dragon, and Rand decides to join the fun.
The crowd ran, singing and waving banners, laughing, but men displaying the red kept together in knots of ten or twenty, and there were no women or children with them.
Why don’t they just leave the red cloth at home? It’s not like there’s open warfare in the streets and they have to signal which side they’re on to avoid being attacked.
Suddenly he wished there were a few more men close to him showing red; jostled by white cockades and armbands, he abruptly felt very alone.
So buy some ordinary non-political cloth and use that instead. Or just tear up an old bedsheet or something. The book is acting as if Rand has made some sort of irreversible decision by wrapping his sword in red.
(And while we’re being cranky, how likely is it that the farmer who brought Rand and Mat into the city could fill them in on everything else going on in the area, but was apparently totally oblivious to the civil war brewing in the capital?)
The mysterious beggar that Master Gill mentioned forces Rand to flee from his chosen viewing spot, and he scales a wall to try and get a glimpse of Logain.
Other contingents followed behind the wagons, with banners representing more who had fought and defeated the false Dragon. The Golden Bees of Illian,
^ Proud Illianers singing their national anthem
Rand wonders out loud (you know, as we people in the real world do on a regular basis) why there were a bunch of Aes Sedai sitting at each corner of Logain’s cage, and a woman standing on the other side of the wall answers him. This startles him so much that he falls and hits his noggin, blacking out.
The mysterious voice belongs to one of the three women who spend the entire series trying to bone Rand (we’ve already met another one of them), but after all this politics and excitement I think I’ll need to take a break before we meet her.