Well, it was a fun few Mat-free chapters, but that’s over, because we’re back with Rand’s group. At least before we have to deal with him, we get an incredibly creepy dream of the kind I’ve had a lot, where you’re trying to go somewhere and the architecture refuses to make sense. And then Rand meets the Dark One again, they appear to have the same face in the mirror, and he still has a thorn prick from the dream when he wakes up. Still no idea what any of it means, or why Rand insists on calling the Dark One Ba’alzamon. Also, these scenes are where we first get the Title Drop
as the Dark One keeps making oblique references to “the Eye of the World,” with no explanation of what it is, so I might as well mention it here.
Gelb has been trying to turn the crew against the group, but everyone dislikes him enough that he can’t get anywhere. Unfortunately, there’s still the way they might mutiny because of Doman pushing them harder than ever, with a quite fun and realistic description of the cycle of everyone taking a few days to decide the danger doesn’t justify the extra work, until they’re reminded again. Meanwhile, there’s an extended Crowning Moment of Funny
as their cover story of learning how to be gleemen lets Thom have a lot of fun forcing them through training.
Doman talks about several neat places in the world, and all Mat can think of is the treasure at them. This annoys me. Cut to Rand up in the mast, where he’s again taken over by that weird impulse to do some acrobatics, ending with inventing ziplining to get down. This lets him see that Mat stole a dagger from the treasure room, though he convinces Rand to not tell anyone. Oh, shut up.
Mat’s especially annoying here, but it’s balanced out with a nice look at life aboard the ship, plus continuing the dreams to their scariest effect yet. Before I was impatient at this kind of slower chapter, but here it works because it’s such a different environment than we’ve seen before that holds up to the time it’s given. Now if only The Scrappy
would go away.