The Great Hunt

Last night I finished the second book of the Wheel of Time series called The Great Hunt.  The book was excellent.  The story picks up right where the first one left off.  Rand wants to leave his friends and hide away somewhere so he does not hurt anyone.  Moraine seems to be pushing him to be the Dragon Reborn.

Then something unexpected happens:  Fain escapes from his dungeon and steals the horn and Mat’s dagger.  The Amyrlin Seat sends an expedition after the horn.  Rand, Mat, Perrin, and Lord Ingtar lead a bunch of soldiers.  They have a bunch of adventures, but it is not until the end of the book that things go from exciting to super-intense.

Hawkwing’s descendants come from the west with an army and a new technology:  a’dam.  These collars bind a woman who can channel to a woman with a bracelet.  They control these women and use them as weapons.  And they torture them.  Liandrin of the Red Shah takes Nynaeve, Egwene, Elayne, and Min to these Seanchan.  Egwene and Min are captured and Egwene is forced to wear a collar.  She is horribly tortured.  Finally, Nynaeve and Elayne find a way to rescue her and they discover something quite useful:  the bracelet wearers also can channel.

Also during this time, Rand and his men find the horn and also encounter Lord Turak, who is a heron-marked blademaster.  He wants to battle Rand.  At first Rand is losing, but then he slips into the void and easily defeats the Lord.  We then learn that Ingtar was the soldier in the prologue who was working for the Dark One.

Mat sounds the horn and the legends of old return and they follow Rand because he is the Dragon Reborn.  Rand then encounters Ba’alzamon and they battle again.  Rand defeats him, but his sword is destroyed in the process.  Unfortunately, the image of the fight is seen across the sky above the city of Falme.  Ingtar’s men all bow to Rand now that they know Rand is the Dragon Reborn.

Predictions and thoughts for what will continue to happen:

-All of my old predictions are still valid.  Except that it seems like Min is also in the running for Rand.

-Selene is going to turn out to be Lanfeal the Foresaken.  I think that was pretty obvious, but I guess I’ll voice it now in case it turns out to be the only thing I get right.

-Who is the other Black Ajah that we saw in the prologue?  So many options, but I really think it might be Verin.  It seems to make sense.  She is of the Brown, but why did she take such a sudden interest in helping Rand?  Even Moraine said she came on her own, that she did not send Verin.

-It always seems that in fantasy books, there is a point where you can say “if they just did something different, everything would have been so simple.”  For example, in LOTR, if Gandalf would have used the Eagles to fly the ring to Mount Doom, it would have been a much quicker journey.  I know I have talked about this before.  Anyways, Jordan does a great job of eliminating this moment.  In other books, Rand would come off as whiny, but he seems to be at least somewhat accepting of his destiny, especially towards the end.