Chapter 42: Remembrance of Dreams
With a portentous title like that, this chapter has to be a fun one. It has a picture of two crows, which I think indicates a spooky scary Ba’alzamon dream. Just in case you haven’t had enough of those.
Following the events of the previous chapter, Rand and the gang sit around waiting for Moiraine to heal Mat.
Loial liked to talk, and talk at length when he had the slightest chance, though he usually seemed to think a story needed two or three hundred years of background to make it understood.
I almost wonder if this is some sort of sick burn aimed at the fantasy genre. If it is, it would be more than a bit hypocritical for Jordan to criticise other writers for being long-winded.
Light, I don’t want any more adventure.
I know I’ve ranted about it before, but the fact that none of the characters want to be on this quest and keep complaining about it is incredibly annoying. I’m not suggesting that Rand and co. need to be dashing adventurers who just can’t wait to get chased halfway across the world by the minions of Satan, but what if they weren’t just being dragged along for the ride for reasons they don’t understand? What if they had some sort of concrete goal beyond getting to Tar Valon and actually wanted to achieve it, albeit reluctantly? What if they had some sort of emotional investment in the outcome of the quest, beyond their survival?
In terms of actual character motivation and agency, Moiraine is far more the protagonist of this story than Rand or any of the others, since she at least knows what’s actually going on, something our ostensible main character doesn’t really find out until the beginning of the next book.
Anyway, Mat and Moiraine come downstairs and she reveals that she’s removed the dagger’s curse from him for the moment, but she can’t fully unbind it from him without killing him, so they all have to hightail it to Tar Valon before it comes back.
It was Loial’s turn to look confused. Rand came to his rescue. “He’s coming with us. I promised him he could.”
Moiraine stood looking at the Ogier as if she had not heard, but finally she nodded. “The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills,” she murmured.
Whenever Moiraine says that, all she really means most of the time is “a thing happened.” It’s not like The Wheel is causing the characters to constantly stumble onto strange coincidences and turns of good fortune (that’s Rand, Mat and Perrin’s Ta’veran-ness), but Moiraine still treats any event that occurs as being mystically fore-ordained.
He shook his head,
“A Queen,” Perrin said, shaking his head.
STOP SHAKING YOUR HEADS
Also, now that they’re back together I’m starting to realise that Rand and Perrin have basically the same personality (ie, almost none).
Apparently it’s now time for the story to begin vaguely heading toward some sort of climax, so Loial randomly starts blathering on about the Eye of The World, which you may notice has only been briefly mentioned a few times until now. Moiraine concludes that because all three of the different groups the characters split into earlier encountered some mention of the Eye of The World being in danger, they have to go to it and warn its guardian of the imminent threat.
“A curious turn, indeed. When we can neither stay nor leave by any ordinary means, I learn of a threat to the Eye, and in the same place there is one who can take us there in days. Whether it is the Creator, or fate, or even the Dark One, the Pattern has chosen our path for us.”
Most of the cast (and a first-time reader at this point) have no idea what this thing is, and have only barely heard it mentioned in a way that would be easy to dismiss as background fluff it the book wasn’t named after it. Moiraine does know what it is, but she has no idea of the nature of the threat to it. The sole reason this is happening is Destiny, also known as “the book needed to end with a big climax at the Eye of The World and the author couldn’t think of another reason for the characters to go there.”
I would suggest that the story should have started out with Moiraine setting out to bring the Emond’s Field crew to the Eye, but then we surely would have had to sit through fifteen chapters of Rand saying “Light! The Eye of The World! Trollocs! Burn me! The Blight! Light!”
Oh yeah, they all have to go to the Blight. Luckily, there’s some sort of Ogier doohickey nearby that can take them there (because Destiny), but the chapter ends with Loial warning that there’s some sort of terrible danger involved.