Rand has now received invitations to every great house in Cairhien and turned them all down, and finally he gets ones from the most powerful nobleman, Lord Barthanes, and Galldrian. Who hate each other, due to Barthanes’ family being the previous ruling family, who Galldrian’s family overthrew. He can’t give them the same treatment, as it will then be clear that he has no friends in high places and everyone that he snubbed will want payback, but he still doesn’t want to get involved, so he and Loial just make a last-ditch effort to see if Ingtar’s here.
Rand spots Caldevwin at the gates, but the gateman denies he’s there, for whatever reason. Rand doesn’t get to follow through, as someone steals the Horn and burns down the inn, though they manage to save Hurin in a nail-biting sequence that benefits greatly from Jordan clearly having done his homework on fire behavior. Plus, I have to give Loial a Crowning Moment of Awesome
for sacrificing his books to get Hurin out. And then Ingtar’s group arrives, right when it’s too late, which gets Rand Laughing Mad
and causes me to picture the final shot of “Crawl Space.”
You can feel the book starting to build up to a climax here, introducing new mysteries at the same time that these people are brought back together. The rescue of Hurin is a fantastic scene reminiscent of Backdraft
, and the emotion of those last couple lines are fully earned. My guess is Galldrian did it, knowing that Rand would be pissed off enough by his invitation to go out and clear his head, for reasons that tie into why he wants Domon dead.