The Dragon Reborn Read Along Part I

JordanDragonReborn BannerWelcome one and all! Here we are at Book 3 of The Wheel of Time Read Along. Book 3 will be hosted by the WoT Quad – Liesel of Musings of Fantasia, Sue of Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers, Eivind – the King of Comments, and myself here at Dab of Darkness. You can check out the schedule over HERE if you would like to join us.

This week, the discussion questions cover the Prologue through the end of Chapter 8, so beware of the free-roaming and ravenous Spoilers with Claws from here on in. Fellow readers, please leave a link to your posts (if you made one) in the comments so we can hop around enjoying each other’s thoughts.

1) Both Niall and Carridan seem to be playing with two-edged swords. Niall wants the Dragon Reborn to create enough panic, sorrow, and destruction to have the populace begging the Children of the Light to do something. Whereas Carridan vows to one lord to keep the Dragon Reborn alive and vows the opposite to another. Did you enjoy this beginning more or less than the first two books in the series?

I love seeing all these enemies stacking up to use or eliminate Rand and his friends. Right off the bat, we get the very real sense that Rand and crew are going to have to go up against some real opponents in this book, opponents with detailed and immediate plans. Also, I like that this book started off where the last book left off (timeline wise), instead of some nebulous history lesson (Book 1 – breaking of the world) or mysterious half-dream meeting of the masqued bad guys (Book 2 – Dark Friends post luck).

2) Throughout this section we see that Min believes herself in love with Rand. What do you make of this one sided romance?

Robert Jordan has told us through Min that Rand’s love/sex life is going to be complicated. But I have to wonder if poor Min fell in love with Rand first or rather convinced herself that she was in love with him because of what she saw in his aura (which is up for interpretation, right?). I have to wonder if Min has had other loves in her life or if this is the first, and since there isn’t really anyone else with her gift for her to commiserate with, perhaps she is taking her fate as given, instead of making active choices about relationships.

Besides, Min would be so cool with knife or bolo skills. And she needs time to develop those, so romance of any sort probably needs to be put on hold for a few years.

3) Within a few chapters, the big picture story arc of this book starts to follow the story arcs of Book 1 and Book 2 – trollocs unexpectedly appear and shortly thereafter our main heroes are separated for one reason or another. What do you think of this pattern?

As with Book 2, this set pattern makes Book 3 feel like an old friend before we even get a quarter of the way into it. I can see that Jordan may have done this on purpose for this reason – familiarity. On the other hand, I am definitely keeping an eye out for a river and potentially a sinking ferry – predictable plot?

Pico is fixated on another kitty off-camera.
Pico is fixated on another kitty off-camera.

4) Rand has run off and some of our heroes follow, tracking him. At one place they come across a village that recently suffered a bout of weddings and Whitecloaks going AWOL. Did Rand make the right choice, leaving? Do you think the decisions made by folks while Rand is around will hold after a few days?

While I can understand why Rand ran away – or at least part of it (not wanting to inadvertently harm friends) – I am not sure it is a useful thing for him to do. Perhaps there is no right or wrong to Rand’s decisions at this point, but simply trying to navigate his way to the least amount of collateral damage.

I have to wonder if the weddings will hold up – Randy Fever may keep them together for a year, but a life long commitment is a much bigger thing. I truly do hope the Whitecloaks that wen walk-about find better lives for themselves and that Rand’s mere presence encourages more of that behavior.

5) Do you believe that Moiraine had not caught fish before in the manner Perrin and Loial ‘taught’ her or do you think it was some clever ploy of her’s?

Either way, she was being clever. By asking someone to teach you a skill, you put them in a position of superiority (Moiraine is such a good kiss ass) but then by catching 3 large fish so easily, she shows them up (forcing Perrin to rethink his near-constant questioning of her decisions and actions). But let me be honest, a little part of me wants to see Moiraine questioning her handling of the Two Rivers folks. Perhaps if they saw her as flawed, and hence, as human, they would be more inclined to put their trust in her.

6) Perrin’s wolfish gifts are growing in strength. Then we come upon a man, Noam, who has lost himself completely to such gifts. Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation as Perrin, facing what you might become if you lack self-control?

Throughout this entire scene I kept hoping Perrin would be able to reach out to him and make some sort of connection, explain things enough to keep Noam from harming folks in general, and to advise Noam to stay away from humans. But things didn’t fall out that way, and it makes it bitter sweet. On a personal note, I have several alcoholics in my family, so I have some idea of what it is to face someone and see the consequences of loosing self-control over a long period of time. Usually, it happens bit by bit and not all at once.

Other Tidbits:

It seems Rand’s power, if not his control, is growing – shaking the earth the way he did. I enjoyed Min’s grumbling about the men being OK with Rand doing that, but not an aes sedai.

The Tinker lady’s philosophy on non-violence was interesting, but not very practical. Can we say ‘Enabler’?

What Others Think:

Musings on Fantasia

On Starships & Dragonwings

Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

7 thoughts on “The Dragon Reborn Read Along Part I”

  1. Ah, good to be back. By the way, my name has only two i’s. At least you don’t have to pronounce it. 🙂

    1. Next to the prologues of Eye and Hunt, this one I feel is eminently forgettable. At least we learn that Carridin (who was the one who tried to keep Bornhald away from the Seanchan last book) is a darkfriend, so presumably we can infer that for some reason or other the Shadow wants the Seanchan to invade successfully.

    This Ordeith person is very likely Padan Fain, and judging from his conversation with Niall it seems he intends to make good on his promise to screw over the Two Rivers, after Rand failed to face him on Toman Head. Oh dear.

    2. Jordan has been criticised for relying on self-fulfilling prophecies a lot. This could be one of them. Would Min have fallen in love with Rand if she hadn’t seen it?

    3. I hadn’t noticed it until you mentioned it last time, and I knew you’d bring it up again :). Actually, after this book the series stops being this adventury type of thing and turns into the Wheel of Time proper, with a grander scale, more politics, etc.

    I don’t really mind to be honest, as long as we get lines like “The Twisted Ones come, brother.” For some reason, the wolves speaking give me chills.

    4. I’m not sure, but I think in most other cases, the ta’veren effect goes away pretty quickly. Hopefully this won’t make life in Jarra too difficult.

    5. Heh… Moiraine, I think there’s more to her than we know (or will ever know). But in this case she might have cheated with the Power. There’s no one else around to call her out on it, after all. 🙂

    As far as our heroes go, she might be making things harder for herself. Playing the mysterious Aes Sedai is all well and good, but if it loses her Rand’s confidence it’s absolutely useless.

    1. I agree that Moiraine was probably cheating with the One Power somehow. It’s funny that it doesn’t seem to occur to our guys that that might be the case. My first reaction would have been, “Hey, no fair fishing with the One Power!” I thought this whole scene was hilarious. i can just picture Perrin and Loial, lying on the bank with their jaws resting in the mud. ;D I’m with you on the wolf-speak, too. I totally LOVE it! It always either makes me smile (when they something goofy, like calling women two-legged shes) or gives me chills when it’s compelling and full of simple truths. Great answers! 😀
      My WoT Post Here

    2. Sorry about misspelling your name – I edited the post to spell it properly. Oops.

      It’s interesting to know that the ta’veren effect won’t have lasting effects on folks in most cases. I wonder if the folks will blame the drink later, even if the bought of weddings happened first .

      I totally think Moiraine was using the One Power to trick those fish into a false sense of security before wrenching them from their native habitat for supper.

      I like the mind bender Jordan gives us about Min and her love for Rand. In the end, she will have to decide how real her feelings are.

  2. You make an excellent point about whether Min would have fallen in love if not for her own visions. Jordan makes a big deal in this part–with the fate of the Tinker woman–about Min not being wrong ever. If that’s true then she would have fallen in love anyway, but you’re right in that whether she’s always right is up for interpretation and she’ll never know which came first. I also totally agree with you about the Tinker philosophy! Enabler–great way to put it! 😀 Great answers!
    My WoT Post Here.

    1. It will be interesting to see if Min has some internal dialogue/argument with herself later on about this love quandary. I think I will find that amusing.

      The Tinker philosophy looks good on the surface, but in practice it leaves all sorts of room for abuse and abusers to go on doing so. Even if you run away, the abuser will usually turn around and do violence to another. So, yeah, enabler.

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