I’ve continued on the journey with Rand by returning to the Wheel of Time series with The Great Hunt. It’s another great story: well-crafted though repetitive in some spots. We are thrown in another adventure and once again we journey across the land sometimes pursuing and sometimes fleeing from the Dark One’s forces. Rand is still our point of focus and where the first book dealt with Rand’s loss of innocence and discovery of his strange abilities, this installment focused on his struggle to accept his identity and his role in the pattern the wheel weaves.
In this installment, Rand and his friends—Loial, Perrin, and Mat—along with the Shienaran warriors and Verin Sedai of the Brown Ajah chase after the filthy Padan Fain to retrieve the Horn of Valere and Mat’s dagger from Shadar Logoth, which Fain and the trollocs stole. Fal Dara was infiltrated by trollocs, who came to rescue Padan Fain from its dungeons. Obviously they had inside help since Fal Dara is made to withstand trolloc attacks. It’s also at this time that the Amrylin Seat came to visit. Rand tried to keep away from her since he was afraid he would be gentled for being able to channel. However, he was surprised to be let go. Apparently the Amrylin, like Moiraine Sedai, believes Rand to be the Dragon Reborn. But Rand still refuses to accept this. So stubborn!
The original group splits in this installment as the girls—Nynaeve and Egwene—go to Tar Valon to become Aes Sedai while the guys join with the Shienarans to chase after Fain and the trollocs. Along the way, Rand, Loial, and the sniffer Hurin (he can smell violence) are transported by a portal stone to an alternate world, where they meet a mysterious damsel-in-distress named Selene. She seems to believe Rand is a lord and he begins to act like one the more he is treated as such. Rand later reunites with the Shienarans, Perrin and Mat, and Verin Sedai at Cairhein, where he sees Thom Merrilin the gleeman. While at Cairhein, Rand is told to meet Padan Fain at Toman Head, which is all the way on the other side of the continent. So after briefly visiting a stedding, they travel to Toman Head using a portal stone, which takes a couple months to get there.
At Tar Valon, the girls are tricked by a member of the Black Ajah to travel to Toman Head, where they believe Rand to be in danger. Egwene is captured and shackled as a damane (a woman who can channel but is leashed and controlled by another). Nynaeve, Min, and Elayne (the princess) save her. Meanwhile, the guys arrive at Toman Head, steal the Horn, blow it (of course, Mat does this), battle the White Cloaks and the Seanchan with help from the heroes of the horn (Rand battles Ba’alzamon in the air), win, and all is set back to rights until I pick up the next book. Oh, and Bayle Domon is mentioned along the way.
It’s quite an adventure and the story is still engrossing; though, I find its form to be a replicate of the first novel. Looking at its basic elements, one will see that the same events that occurred in the first book take place in this one: they leave a safe place that has been invaded by trollocs, they run toward and from evil, Ba’alzamon teases Rand the whole time, they travel across the continent, the group separates, while separated Rand begins to realize something new about himself, the big fight takes place at the end, Ba’alzamon is temporarily defeated, Rand accepts a new addition to his identity (Jordan’s formula?). The only difference is when Rand gets transported to an alternate world, which doesn’t add much to the story except to introduce the mysterious Selene. I guess this alternate world was also included to show the many possibilities of Rand’s world and the fact that Rand is very powerful (since only a powerful channeler can operate a Portal Stone) but I believe we could deduce this from the other events in story. Hopefully, these alternate worlds will have greater significance in the other books.
However, there are a few things I found interesting. The Seanchans piqued my interest 1) because they are Artur Hawkwing’s people and 2) because they have animals that Rand encountered in the alternate world. I wonder if they visited it before. Also, why did they invade Toman Head at that particular time? Selene is also a mystery to me. I do not trust her and I wish Rand would stop losing his head around her. He’s such a sucker for a beautiful woman who needs his help. And where did Padan Fain go? What is he up to?
Another good read. I can’t wait to get started on the next installment, The Dragon Reborn. I want to meet the Aiel people and I hope there is a battle scene told from Perrin’s perspective with his wolf senses running high.
Quotes from the book:
“A sword is dangerous to the man at the point, but not to the man at the hilt. Unless the man holding the sword is a fool, or careless, or unskilled, in which case it is twice as dangerous to him as to anyone else.”
“There is one rule, above all others, for being a man. Whatever comes, face it on your feet.”
“Everything is linked…whether it lives or not, whether it thinks or not, everything that is, fits together.”
“Some men…choose to seek greatness, while others are forced to it. It is always better to choose than to be forced. A man who’s forced is never completely his own master. He must dance on the strings of those who forced him.”
“…a stick and honey always work better than a stick alone.”
- A Misogyny of Light: Reflections on The Wheel of Time (chiusse.wordpress.com)
- The Eye of the World: An Enthralling Start to an Epic Fantasy (taylorramage.wordpress.com)
- A Memory of Light (corneliahaggart.wordpress.com)