What do you know, we waste some more time on Rand angsting about meeting Siuan and looking for a way out of it. But since he’s currently being dragged there by Lan, there’s nothing he can do, so at long last he’s finally put in a room with her and Moiraine, and Verin, yay! She even provides a Crowning Moment of Funny
by interrupting to argue a figure of speech, before sheepishly trailing off.
They start by telling Rand that Mat and Perrin are going to find the Horn, and Egwene and Nynaeve are going to Tar Valon, so he needs to choose what he’s going to do now. Uh, what’s Loial up to? I’d certainly like to see more of him. And also, they confirm that he was an Aiel baby, with his birth circumstances fulfilling all the prophecies about the Dragon Reborn. That’s what the Trollocs attacked Emond’s Field for, and Moiraine spent a lot of book one figuring out which of the three it was. I kind of wish we’d been let into this so we could guess with her, though it turning out to be the main protagonist would be kind of anticlimactic. And as much as I hated his tiresome denial of his adoption, his Heroic BSOD
as Moiraine’s story and Tam’s collide in his head is quite a Tearjerker
. He’s left still needing time to process it, and walks out, deciding to go after the Horn with the guys.
Nynaeve runs into Lan, and you know what that means: more about their BS out of nowhere love for each other. And this even makes it worse, as there’s a piece of writing that indicates Nynaeve’s distrust of Moiraine is not for the sympathetic reasons we heard before, but because she’s jealous of how close Lan is with her. Bleh. Lan gives her a ring that will get her service anywhere in the area, as well as call him to her if she sends it, so there’s a big Chekhov's Gun
. And Moiraine gets to be awesome a bit by letting her know she knows full well that Nynaeve only wants to be trained to fight her.
Egwene and Nynaeve have a rather sweet conversation about how they should talk as equals from now on, which is unfortunately marred by the Nynaeve section previous. But it improves when she says goodbye to Rand, another Tearjerker
as they may never see each other again. And despite how much time is left for it to happen, I do think that may actually be the case.
The Nynaeve viewpoint is a real dud, despite introducing an intriguing plot device in the ring, but the rest makes up for it. Rand’s LONG-awaited audience with Siuan lives up to the buildup, with the culmination of plenty of foreshadowing and a very emotional description of Rand’s reaction. And with that, the setup is done and we can get everyone on the road again. And maybe even rack up some more separations and viewpoint characters on the way.