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Wow. I am really doing this, aren’t I? When I first thought about reviewing every single book in The Wheel of Time series, I was pretty scared. The books are so chunky with so many plots interlacing, and new characters every so often, that I don’t even know where to begin. Should I be doing the reviews by each book or by grouping together a couple of chapters?
If you haven’t read my previous reviews, I’ve linked them below for you.
CHECK OUT MY PREVIOUS REVIEWS FOR THE WHEEL OF TIME!
THE DRAGON REBORN BY ROBERT JORDAN
BOOK THREE OF THE WHEEL OF TIME
The Dragon Reborn–the leader long prophesied who will save the world, but in the saving destroy it; the savior who will run mad and kill all those dearest to him–is on the run from his destiny.
Able to touch the One Power, but unable to control it, and with no one to teach him how–for no man has done it in three thousand years–Rand al’Thor knows only that he must face the Dark One. But how?
Winter has stopped the war-almost-yet men are dying, calling out for the Dragon. But where is he?
Perrin Aybara is in pursuit with Moiraine Sedai, her Warder Lan, and the Loial the Ogier. Bedeviled by dreams, Perrin is grappling with another deadly problem–how is her to escape the loss of his own humanity.
Egwene, Elayne and Nynaeve are approaching Tar Valon, where Mat will be healed–if he lives until they arrive. But who will tell the Amyrlin their news–that the Black Ajah, long thought only a hideous rumor, is all too real? They cannot know that in Tar Valon far worse awaits…
Ahead, for all of them, in the Heart of the Stone, lies the next great test of the Dragon reborn….
Compared to the previous books, I found The Dragon Reborn to have a heavy focus on the characters. I wouldn’t say that this book had a slower pacing but it definitely delved more in to the thoughts and emotions of the people we follow.
When I first began reading The Eye of the World, I was very sceptical about the book. It seemed like it was going to be another chosen one saves the world kind of story. But The Dragon Reborn proved me horribly wrong. For a book that is titled “The Dragon Reborn,” our newborn dragon is missing from the story. In book three, Rand al’Thor doesn’t get a lot of page time which was quite smart of the author.
As the Dragon, Rand has the ability to touch saidin and channel through it, however, it is said that men who are able to channel end up going mad and are considered very dangerous. Naturally, this scares Rand who is expected to wield this power to save the world. So, he runs away fearing that he would cause the death of many especially since The Dark One was after him. What I liked about the chosen one trope in this series is that Rand not only has to fight against the external i.e. the Dark One, and the Forsaken, but he also has to fight against the madness that is overtaking him. Should Rand succumb to the madness, how can the people rely on him to strategize and make practical choices?
At this point, I was glad that Matrim Cauthon was no longer bedridden. His chapters made me laugh so much. He might seem like his old self on the surface but the taint of Shadar Logoth is strong in Mat. Around him, luck always seems to be on his side, and he has memories that are not his. I’m so curious to find out the link between the dagger from Shadar Logoth and the abilities the city gave Mat. I loved the scene where Mat faces two princes with swords using only a quarterstaff!
Also, it’s good to see Mat outside of the Two Rivers group, to see him make his own choices.
Kill a man who needs killing, and sometimes others pay for it. The question is, was it worth doing it anyway? There’s always a balance, you know. Good and evil. Light and Shadow. We would not be human if there wasn’t a balance.
Perrin Aybara is a cinnamon roll. I love that boy. I love that he has grown more confident although he is still careful to keep his ability as a wolf brother a secret. His character is more mellow compared to all the others and his growth relies on him accepting himself. Like Mat, Perrin dreams of going home and living a quiet life but as ta’veren they have an important role to play in the Pattern. Compared to the others, his emotional arc is so well written and he grows when we see him free Gaul, an Aiel, or when he willingly enters Tel’aran’rhiod and fights to save Faile.
I will always follow Moiraine. Her character has been met with a lot of disdain from the others and yet she remains steadfast. In spite of it already being the third book, we know so little about Moiraine. Then, suddenly, at the end of the book, she busts out a power that is forbidden! There is so much to this woman that I want to know.
While Moiraine seeks out Rand, Egwene, Nyanaeve, and Elayne are instructed to find out the Black Ajah by the Amyrlin Seat. These three women are the only ones Siuan Sanche trusts, considering she’s sending three untrained novices after thirteen Aes Sedai. It’s during these scenes that we begin to see the power shift between Egwene and Nynaeve. Nynaeve, who had been the Wisdom of Emond’s Field, still sees Egwene as a child and Egwene wants to be free of that.
I’ll fight but I do not have to like what I’ll become.
After her time as a damane with the Seanchan, Egwene still suffers from the trauma of it. She tends to lash out especially when she perceives Nynaeve as controlling and is quick to feel threatened. But it is expected considering she was enslaved and abused by the Seanchan. Egwene’s character arc is one to look out for! Nynaeve is a born leader; she takes no bullshit from anyone. Nynaeve is cunning enough but her time at the White Tower has taught her to be more careful in the steps she takes. She still finds it hard to allow her friends from the Two Rivers to do as they want because, as Wisdom, she sees it her task to keep them safe. This creates quite a bit of tension between Nynaeve and Egwene.
So oftentimes, it’s Elayne who has to play peacemaker. Elayne’s character doesn’t draw me in as much as the other female characters. However, she is one whose strength not only lies in using the One Power, but also in negotiation and reading people. Being the Daughter-Heir, Elayne has to be five steps in front of other people; she cannot afford to make rash decisions without first thinking through the consequences.
THE PLOT AND PACING
In this particular book, the plot is building up to a crucial part in the prophecy of The Dragon Reborn.
The Stone of Tear will never fall, till Callandor is wielded by the Dragon’s hand.
The Stone of Tear will never fall, till the People of the Dragon come.
The Dragon Reborn has so many climactic moments, so many discoveries made, that we see how insidious the Shadow’s influence has become. Compared to the previous books, the characters in this book are filled with a pervasive distrust of everyone.
We are slowly being given more information of how the One Power works with the introduction of ter’angreal, and sa’angreal. When novices are raised to accepted in the White Tower, they have to walk through three arched ter’angreal where the women are tested, and it should be noted that the ter’angreal can kill the woman, destroy her ability to channel, or sometimes the woman never comes out. We find links between the One Power like Tel’aran’rhiod, a World of Dreams, where women called Dreamwalkers and wolf brothers can enter. The depth of the magic system is astounding, and knowing that there are ten more books after this is just crazy! What more is there to learn of this world?!
Speaking of the One Power, one of the things that annoyed me in the book was the way the women treated Mat. When he rescued Elayne, Egwene, and Nynaeve, they used the One Power on him because he protested when Nynaeve knocked out one of the Black Ajah. I get that they would be angry with Mat’s protestation but throughout the book I’ve noticed they can be very rash when it comes to using the One Power. They have this mindset that they know better than the other people around which gets a bit tiring.
However, following the three women in the White Tower really set the stage for how widely spread the Shadow’s influence is, which makes it difficult for any of the characters to move. So, as a reader, the next move is going to be a surprise.
Will Rand make choices based on the prophecy or will his actions determine the prophecy?