It’s been a while since I last wrote because these books are so long! And so incredible. You both want to speed through them and slow down so they don’t have to end. It’s pretty incredible.
Last time I wrote about the Wheel of Time, I talked a bit about the male characters and Moraine, the Aes Sedai, as well as Egwene and Nynaeve. Now, though, there are so many more characters, it’s hard to know where to start.
Rand Al’Thor is the Dragon Reborn. Whilst none of us are surprised by the fact that he is the actual real dragon, it seems that at last he has managed to accept it himself. Rand seems determined to isolate himself, and this is not helped by Mat’s loss of the dagger and Perrin’s reluctance to explain to anyone his connection with the wolves. It was good to see by the end of the book that they were resuming their relationships and staying loyal to Rand in spite of the danger he presents.
Favourite Character of Book 2
Loial. Without a doubt, the ogier is one of the greatest characters this series has produced. From his concern and worry for his books, to his unfaltering loyalty to Rand, Loial adds both comic relief and wisdom, as well as a valid insight into the nature of humanity. Jordan has written Loial really well – he is 90 years old, young by the standards of his people, as his species youth settles well with the wisdom that comes from having been alive for 90 years. He really is a good and loyal friend and a character I look forwards to following further through the series.
Least favourite characters
I have to say, this should be Padan Fain, a terrifying mix of Mordeth and the evil of the dagger and the depth of a life long darkfriend.
But my real issues lie else where. Firstly, the sul’dam. Women chaining women and manipulating them to use their power for evil. Renna, especially, portrays such evil – the facade of friendship and equality quickly wiped away by punishment and degradation. To do this to another women, to have those physical chains between them, is such a powerful image and indictment of the treatment of women in society, even at the hands of other women. Too many escaped for my liking. There has to be some form of justice produced upon them in the coming books. I found the imagery of such slavery quite upsetting.
Secondly, Selene. Or should I say LANFEAR, a forsaken. She is manipulative, cruel and totally in control of Rand whenever he is in her presence. I thought that the three ties Min had seen would be Elayne, Egwene and Min, but it appears that it is a forsaken, Egwene and Min. But Selene represents all that is wrong with this world. She has broken out of her prison and is dangerous. I really, really don’t like her.
I couldn’t write about this particular novel without mentioning the relationship between Egwene, Min and Elayne. It’s so beautiful, they all love the same man in their own way and yet they are loyal to each other and are focussed on rescuing Egwene at great risk to themselves. They have forged a bond of friendship that almost, not quite, restores the shattered portrayal of female – female relationships created by the sul’dam. Their loyalty to each other is a pleasure to see.
I was kind of sad that everyone left without saying goodbye to Rand. I know Mat’s situation is pretty desperate, but I still think they could have waited a couple of days. But, as seems to be the case, Robert Jordan knows how to write an ending! He is phenomenally talented at having everything the novel has led towards wrapped up whilst simultaneously creating new threads and mysteries to be faced next time. I’m not sure I can handle the stress for 12 more novels!
I am growing to love this series, and seeing character growth is really important. Last time I complained that Rand and Mat were quite flat. I still find Mat a bit two dimensional, but Rand is coming into his own now. I guess that when you have the pleasure of writing fourteen novels, you can take your time creating characters with such depth.
Overall, The Great Hunt felt more mature and thorough than The Eye of the World. I am looking forwards to reading on, not just because of the plot, but also because I can see the character development. Time for a short break and then onto ‘The Dragon Reborn’.