The title character is Padan Fain, who serves as Mr. Exposition
. But itís still not as painful as it might be, as heís a Large Ham
who revels in revealing news to insular communities like Two Rivers. We also meet Perrin Aybara, another of Randís friends. Iím now starting to wonder how many more chapters in a row will introduce another of those. He doesnít show much personality so far, besides being The Big Guy
thanks to being the blacksmithís son.
Fainís story is about how thereís a war on over the latest of several warlords who claim to be a reincarnation of the Dragon, which the prologue told us is what Therin would be known as. Thereís a prophecy that when he returns, heíll begin a war that will destroy the world. Not sure why anyone would want to fight for him, then, but hey, thatís religion for you. This new one may be genuine, since he has the creatively named
One Power, which includes controlling the earth and lightning. Typically only women can use it without quickly going insane. That should provide some good Action Girls
. Jordan also throws in a Crowning Moment of Funny
when Rand is shouting so the others can hear him, and the noise goes away before heís finished. A clichťd gag, but it works with the way itís thrown into this serious fantasy setting.
Fain gets to a group of Aes Sedai, whatever those are, marching against the supposed Dragon, but then Bran realizes heís stirring the crowd into a panic and makes him tell the rest to the council privately. Oh yeah, thatíll calm them down. Rand and the others talk a bit about the prophecy, including a competing one that says the Dragon will actually save the world, and mention the Aes Sedai a bit, though thereís still nothing that helps explain what they actually are besides skilled wizards, and I get the feeling thereís more to it than that.
Nynaeve alíMeara, the Wisdom we heard about before, makes her entrance and is quickly established as extremely intimidating despite being the same age as Rand, and shorter. Egweneís also there, and Rand makes a real jackass of himself trying to talk to her, especially when he learns sheís considering training to be a Wisdom herself, which would involve leaving Two Rivers, which no one ever does. Yeah, hobbits. Iím calling it. Speaking of which, Perrin reveals that he also saw the Black Rider, and then thereís a cliffhanger with a white-haired man running out of the inn. Not really feeling much tension there, I have to say.
Iíve heard some accuse Jordan of sexism in his writing, but so far Iím impressed. Nynaeveís a little strong with her being described as whipping anyone who mouths off to her, but Egwene is just an intelligent young woman who doesnít take any crap, and is willing to do anything for what she wants in her life. The stuff with the war adds nicely to the background, making me look forward to finding out just how these people will inevitably get involved with it.