In anticipation of the Jan 8, 2013 release of A Memory of Light, the fourteenth and final book in the Wheel of Time series, I’m rereading the entire series. Each book gets its own spoiler-filled post.
Finally, we’re at the last book of the Great Wheel of Time Reread. I’d originally thought about rereading New Spring too, but I can’t keep myself from reading A Memory of Light anymore.
Probably the biggest change in this book is Rand turning into an infinitely compassionate Messianic figure. While I’m glad that Emotionless Rand is gone, I’m not sure if I like Jedi Rand any better. He still lacks the quirks that make a character endearing, but I guess his job is to save the world, not be endearing. At least I didn’t wince every time there was a scene with him.
So… Graendal isn’t dead? Dammit! I did not remember this, I thought she was a goner. She actually drives a lot of Perrin’s plot, so I’m not sure why I didn’t remember it, but that sucks. At least Halima/Aran’gar is gone.
Perrin finally accepts his destiny as a Wolfbrother and undergoes extreme Tel’aran’rhiod training provided by Hopper. Perrin’s character arc has been stagnant for a while – he’s always had problems accepting his wolf nature, his leadership qualities, his battle skills. He’s always said “fine, I’ll do this ONE thing, and then I can go back to being a blacksmith”. He confronts much of the same issues in this book, but instead of just accepting it, he embraces it. And then he proceeds to school Egwene in Tel’aran’rhiod! And then he rediscovers Power-wrought weapons and forges a legendary hammer! Go Perrin!
There’s a lot of embracing reality in this book – Gawyn finally realises that to have Egwene, he needs to drop his preconceptions and actually start listening to people. Galad realises that the world isn’t just black and white – Light and Dark, and that allies can be found anywhere. Morgase realises that she can marry Tallanvor and be okay with it. Lan realises that his people regard him as a king despite his reluctance, and fully accepts that he needs to lead them. Finally, everyone’s getting over their shit!
I was glad that Morgase finally got a break – she’s been through hell and back again several times already. At least she knows it wasn’t her fault, and that it was a Forsaken that messed with her mind. I was also glad that she was able to reunite with all three of her kids.
Moiraine gets rescued! I don’t really have any words for this except “YAY!” And Jain Farstrider finally revealed himself! I hope Mat gets to pass Jain’s message to Malkier on to Lan.
There were several touching and very well done moments in the book – in no particular order – Lan riding through the Borderlands, Faile and Perrin’s anniversary and reconciliation (as well as Faile’s realisation of how immature she used to be), Bornhald stabbing Byar, Ituralde’s desperate fight in Saldaea, the Kandori Guard Tower scene, Olver picking up his knife to defend Caemlyn, Grady and Neald realising that they’re fighting to live instead of die with the taint cleansed, Bethamin and Seta assuring Mat that they will do their best to show the Seanchan Empire that channeling is okay, Mat and Perrin’s meeting after eight books, Perrin watching and rejoicing at Rand’s epiphany on Dragonmount in Tel’aran’rhiod.
This book also has funny moments! Mat’s letter to Elayne was hilarious (“Your Royal Bloody in My Back”), and so was Moiraine’s disbelieving “You accidentally married the Seanchan Empress?” I was also very amused by Berelain and Galad falling in love immediately – the two most beautiful people in the world, of course. I particularly loved Faile’s comparison of Galad and Perrin’s looks (“you can’t compare a stained glass to a sturdy cabinet built by a master carpenter”). And Mat and Birgitte got to go drinking together again!
Elayne continues to annoy me – her treatment of Perrin was abominable. I understand that she fears rebellion in Andor, but… the Two Rivers hasn’t seen any support from Andor in five generations, and she says she’s going to execute Perrin? Plus, she goes off alone again to interrogate the Black Ajah. Plus, she’s trying to seize the throne of Cairhien two days before the Last Battle. It’s not that I dislike Elayne, but she’s just so… royal.
Nynaeve gets back to being awesome in this book – she heals the madness caused by the taint on saidin, she gets Lan’s bond from Myrelle and she passes the hardest Aes Sedai testing ever. I loved Rand telling her not to be a Stock Aes Sedai and instead focus on her strengths – passion and compassion, and let them show. And then she does exactly that at her testing, and stands up for herself. Very cool.
Egwene… I wish she wasn’t opposed to Rand’s idea of breaking the seals, because dammit, don’t make the same mistake every Aes Sedai makes and try to control Rand! Trust him! Other than that, Egwene is pretty awesome – defeating Mesaana and killing a bunch of Black Ajah, creating a Channeling Women Alliance of Randland, bringing the Hall of the Tower to line by changing some rules that allowed people to be super sneaky. Oh, and bonding Gawyn and saving his life, I suppose.
Wow, so much stuff happens in this book. I’ll attack them by plotline.
Black Tower – there’s a Dreamspike on it! And everyone’s trapped within, and people are being turned to the Shadow (poor Tarna, I liked you). I guess this might be to create a Dreadlord factory for the Last Battle, I hope Pevara and Androl can stop it. And bring down Taim.
The future of the Aiel – these were actually some of the best chapters of the book, including Aviendha’s encounter with “Nakomi”. I really hope A Memory of Light explains who Nakomi is. I also really hope the Aiel’s future can be changed once Aviendha convinces Rand that the Aiel need a purpose, that the Dragon’s Peace should apply to them too? Also, the future that Aviendha saw says that Rand bowed to the Seanchan – I hope that can change too, but judging by Tuon’s current attitude, I’m not sure.
The Seanchan – they now have traveling, and Tuon is still adamantly opposed to leaving channelers free. I’m not sure how her attitude will turn around in one book, but I really hope it does. Right now, they seem to be planning more assaults of the Dragon-related forces.
Padan Fain – is still alive and kicking, but now has a can of Portable Mashadar. Last seen heading to Shayol Ghul to wait for Rand. Scary.
Borderlander armies – now on Rand’s side! Yay! And Rand apologises to Hurin!
Caemlyn – last seen burning. Luckily, Talmanes is on it, thanks to Olver. Why didn’t Mat open Verin’s letter?!
And last, but not least – R.I.P. Hopper and Nicola Treehill. I was hoping Nicola would make something of herself, and Hopper deserves sainthood for teaching Perrin so well. I will miss you, Hopper.