Chapter 32: Four Kings in Shadow
Rand and Mat reach the last town before Caemlyn, Four Kings. Itís a Wretched Hive
and Jordan has a lot of fun just having them walk around before a storm forces them into the worst inn in town. Itís run by the mysoginist Jerkass
Hake, and as theyíre performing they have to watch him abusing all the waitresses, and also clearly preparing to steal Randís sword. Then a guy comes in who no one wants to be around, and is clearly there for the two of them. So, this combined with their playing music at the time? Forget what I said before, this is the bookís real take on The Prancing Pony.
As they take their dinner break, Rand slips out and finds that the man is a merchant from Whitebridge, though itís nicely unclear what exactly that means. Mat stays true to form by nearly blowing the whole thing with how much he stuffs his face, but they get through the rest of the night and are shown to their room. The Whitebridge man, Howal Gode, takes care of Hake before revealing he works for the Dark One, who wants Rand and Mat with them. Theyíre saved when lightning hits the inn, which I wonít call Deus ex Machina
just yet as the setting easily leaves open that someone could have done it. Though Moiraine is currently going after Perrin so I donít know who it could be.
Four Kings is a great location that I hope we see more of with the other groups. The Wretched Hive
stuff is kind of stock, but thereís still enough detail here to give the town its own sense of identity that can be built on. And Gode is already a pretty fun sleazy salesman type villain. After that weird filler chapter, this storyline is right back on track.