Chapter 35: Stedding Tsofu
Randís group makes it to the stedding, and thereís all the usual Scenery Porn
as a female Ogier named Erith leads them to a town. Unfortunately, theyíre also hosting three Aiel women, so thereís a whole standoff that also includes Mat declaring he Would Not Hit a Girl
. Oh boy, I can tell thatís going to be very annoying at some point. Itís broken up by an Ogier named Juin, and then the Aiel just disappear, so weíll have to get what promises to be a quite interesting conversation later.
Mat and Perrin tell Rand about the Aiel searching for him, which of course gets him going again about how he canít possibly be Aiel, which sounds more pathetic than ever. And we find out why Loialís been avoiding other Ogier: they have Arranged Marriages
where males never have any say, and if he was forced into one, he couldnít travel anymore. Itís a neat and unexpected bit on its own, but then its followed by an Unfortunate Implications
rumination about how human relationships work the same way. Suddenly Iím quite curious what Jordanís relationship with his wife was like.
Itís a neat bit of parallel construction that we met Loial at about this point in book one, and now we get more Ogier, and really find out about their culture. That unfortunate ending aside, itís pretty cool stuff and refreshingly free of the Can't Argue with Elves
that I feared these pacifist nature freaks would be. Weíve still got the Tinkers for that. And now that Rand has personally seen some Aiel, I can dream that his denial about his heritage is mercifully drawing to an end.