Skip to content
Answering Your Questions About Reactor: Right here.
Sign up for our weekly newsletter. Everything in one handy email.

Reading The Wheel of Time: The Dragon Finds His Clothes and Enters Cairhien in Robert Jordan’s The Fires of Heaven (Part 27)


Reading The Wheel of Time: The Dragon Finds His Clothes and Enters Cairhien in Robert Jordan’s The Fires of Heaven (Part 27)

Home / Reading The Wheel of Time / Reading The Wheel of Time: The Dragon Finds His Clothes and Enters Cairhien in Robert Jordan’s The Fires of Heaven (Part 27)
Blog The Wheel of Time

Reading The Wheel of Time: The Dragon Finds His Clothes and Enters Cairhien in Robert Jordan’s The Fires of Heaven (Part 27)


Published on May 4, 2021

Reading The Wheel of Time: The Fires of Heaven

This week in Reading The Wheel of Time, we’re covering Chapter 46 of The Fires of Heaven. I often don’t pay a lot of attention to chapter titles, but I really like the title of this one: “Other Battles, Other Weapons.” I was drawing the same parallels when I titled last week’s post “One Battle Ends and Another Begins” without realizing it. What’s fun about this chapter is we get to see Rand do some impressive politicking with the Tairens and Cairhienin, which we haven’t seen since he left the Stone and at which he has clearly gotten better. This chapter shows how far Rand has come, and how much he has changed, but it is also a good chapter to show us where Rand’s flaws lie, what things he still hasn’t learned or understood. Some of which feel like they should be obvious by now.

Also that boy needs to sleep, good gravy.

Rand is peering after the departing Asmodean, wondering how far he can trust the man, when Aviendha suddenly throws down her cup of wine. He’s startled—the Aiel never waste any liquid—and Aviendha looks surprised as well for a moment, before she starts to lecture him about going into the city when he can barely sit up, ignoring his requests for his clothes.

“Remember your toh, Rand al’Thor. If I can remember ji’e’toh, so can you.” That seemed a strange thing to say; the sun would rise at midnight before she forgot the smallest scrap of ji’e’toh.

“If you keep on like this,” he said with a smile, “I will begin thinking you care for me.”

He’s just teasing, but she seems furious, ready to rip off the bracelet he gave her and throw it at him. She threatens to go get Sorilea and Bair, or maybe Enaila, Somara, and Lamelle, who are the maidens who are most motherly and protective towards Rand. He tells her that she can bring whoever she wants, but he is the Car’a’carn and he is going into the city. Aviendha refills her wine and tells him that if he can find his clothes and dress himself without falling over then he may go, but she is coming with him.

Buy the Book

The Witness for the Dead
The Witness for the Dead

The Witness for the Dead

He stared as she stretched out on one elbow, carefully arranged her skirts, and began sipping at her wine. If he mentioned marriage again, no doubt she would snap his head off again, but in some ways she behaved as if they were married. The worst parts of it, at least. The parts that did not seem a pennyworth different from Enaila or Lamelle at their worst.

Rand gets up, awkwardly wrapping the blanket around his waist as he searches. He finds his sword wrapped in a rug and Aviendha tells him he doesn’t need it anymore, now that Couladin is dead. He’s surprised that she guessed it, and she explains that she doesn’t need anyone to tell her these things. She learns Rand more every day. Rand thinks about how the High Lords of Tear, and the Cairhienin, and even whole nations tremble at the name of the Dragon Reborn, but if he can’t find his clothes he will be stuck waiting for permission to leave the tent from a bunch of women who think they know better than he does about everything.

Eventually he spots the cuff of his coat sleeve sticking out from under Aviendha’s skirts and realizes she’s been sitting on his clothes the whole time. She grumpily lets him have them and channels to heat his water for him when he’s shaving. While he’s dressing she points out that Elayne won’t mind if she looks at him, which Rand finds oddly comforting—she doesn’t know everything.

He picks up the Seanchan spear—a grim reminder not only of the Seanchan but of everything he has to keep in mind—and leaves the tent. Aviendha is right at his side as if she expects to need to catch him, and Rand notes that Sulin looks to her for confirmation before ordering the Maidens to be ready to move.

Asmodean arrives, somehow having had time to dress, with his mule and Rand’s horse. Rand notes that he has found time to change.

Rand’s party consists of Asmodean and Aviendha, the Maidens, and a Cairhienin refugee named Pevin. Stone-faced and scarred, Pevin has lost all of his family either directly in the fighting over the Sun Throne or at the hands of Andoran soldiers and bandits when he attempted to flee the area. As far as Rand is aware, Pevin’s entire purpose is to stick close enough to the Dragon Reborn to see his family avenged. He rarely speaks or has any expression, but he carries Rand’s banner with the ancient Aes Sedai symbol steadily.

Rand tries to help Aviendha up onto Jeade’en behind him and nearly falls from the saddle, though he hopes no one notices. The rest of the Aiel take little notice of their departure from the camp, but Rand is struck by the sight of the twenty thousand Shaido prisoners sitting naked all around the hillside, barely guarded by a few gai’shain. Occasionally one or another is sent off on an errand, completely unguarded, while the rest sit quietly looking almost bored. Rand wonders if they will put on gai’shain white just as docilely; he can’t help remember that these people were willing to follow Couladin in violation of law and custom.

He also notices something else; about one in four or five Aielman is wearing a strip of red cloth around his forehead like a headband, “with a disc embroidered or painted above the brows, two joined teardrops, black and white.” Every gai’shain Rand can see is also wearing one, which startles Rand even more, since gai’shain are not permitted to wear anything that those who can touch weapons wear. He asks Aviendha what it means and she admits that she isn’t sure. The Wise Ones threatened to hit her when she asked about it, but she believes that they are siswai’aman.

Rand opened his mouth to ask the meaning—he knew a scant few words of the Old Tongue, no more—“when interpretation floated to the surface in his mind. Siswai’aman. Literally, the spear of the Dragon.

“Sometimes,” Asmodean chuckled, “it is difficult to see the difference between oneself and one’s enemies. They want to own the world, but it seems you already own a people.”

Rand doesn’t like the implication of ownership (or the fact that his understanding comes from Lews Therin’s memories) but he is uncomfortably reminded of his intention to use the Aiel.

He notes that none of the Maidens have donned the thing, and that Aviendha hasn’t either. She admits that she doesn’t know what to believe, and that even the Wise Ones don’t seem to know the truth. Some believe that following Rand will atone for the Aiel sin in failing the Aes Sedai. Rand is surprised to realize that Aviendha also feels emotion about the revelation of the Aiel’s true past.

“…many believe that you will kill us all in endless dances of the spear, a sacrifice to atone for the sin. Others believe that the bleakness itself is a testing, to wear away all but the hard core before the Last Battle. I have even heard some say that the Aiel are now your dream, and that when you wake from this life, we will be no more.”

The Wise Ones believe that what will be will be, and Rand notes that she includes herself in that group, just as Egwene includes herself when she talks of the Aes Sedai.

They pass Hadnan Kadere’s wagons, spotting the man mopping his face with a handkerchief as well as Moiraine moving among the wagons. Rand is surprised that Kadere hasn’t tried to sneak off yet—many of the other wagon drivers have, as well as Isendre, and Rand has given orders for the Aiel to allow him to escape as long as he doesn’t take the wagons or any of Moiraine’s artifacts from Rhuidean. Rand can’t think why the man has stayed, and Asmodean claims to have had no contact with him since Rand captured him.

Rand slows as they pass Moiraine, thinking that surely she will want to come with him. And for once, Rand would welcome her advice. But she just glances at him for a moment and then goes back to what she’s doing. He frowns and rides on, deciding that he’s become too trusting, and that he should remember that she has “other sheep to shear” that he doesn’t know about,

Trust no one, he thought bleakly. For an instant he did not know whether it was his thought or Lews Therin’s, but in the end he decided it did not matter. Everybody had their own goals, their own desires. Much the best to trust no one completely except himself. Yet he wondered, with another man oozing through the back of his mind, how far could he trust himself?

Rand tries not to look at the bodies or the scavenger animals, and even Asmodean and the Maidens seem eager to get away from the sight. But reaching the Foregate doesn’t improve things very much—the once bustling warren of noise and people has been reduced to a band of ashes surrounding Cairhien on three sides.

In places, a chair lying somehow untouched in the dirt street, a hasty bundle dropped by someone fleeing, a rag doll, emphasized the desolation.

Their approach creates a stir among the soldiers and retainers on guard at the city gates. Then an officer recognizes Rand and sends a messenger hurrying into the city before crying out to make way for the Lord Dragon and declaring the glory of the Lord Dragon. Aviendha sniffs as they all bow low to him, making Rand laugh.

What amused him was that however hard Tairens or Cairhienin or anyone else tried to puff up his head, he could rely on her and the Maidens, at least, to take the swelling down. And Egwene. And Moiraine. And Elayne and Nynaeve, for that matter, if he ever saw either again. Come to think of it, the lot of them seemed to make that a large part of their life’s work.

Inside the city he sobers again, where refugees are crowded in every space, cheering for the Lord Dragon, holding their children up to see him and even trying to push past the Maidens to reach him. Some even manage it, although Rand notes that many reach out to touch Asmodean rather than him—older and richly dressed, Asmodean certainly looks more like a lord—but everyone who manages to put a hand to boot or stirrup has a look of joy on their faces as they mouth “Lord Dragon” even as they’re forced back by the Maidens.

Meilan shows up then, along with a retinue of lesser Tairen lords and fifty Defenders of the Stone pushing a way for him through the crowd. Rand recognizes a few of the younger lords, including Reimon who used to play cards with Mat, and none of them seem to care at all if the crowd gets trampled by their passage. There are no Cairhienin in the group.

The Maidens let Meilan through at Rand’s nod, and he’s startled and angry when he realizes no one else was permitted to follow. He bows to Rand from his saddle and welcomes the Lord Dragon to Cairhien, apologizing for the peasants that he would have had cleared if he knew Rand was going to enter the city today. He tells Rand that he meant to give him an entry befitting the Dragon Reborn, and clearly doesn’t understand when Rand says he has already had it.

Meilan invites Rand back to the palace, continuing his almost groveling speech, and Rand thinks about how Meilan holds a deep contempt and hatred for Rand that he thinks Rand can’t see. Rand has the lords let in through the circle of Maidens and insists that Meilan’s Defenders follow behind, causing Meilan to first smile condescendingly and then grow angry as he sees the crowd part for the Maidens instead of needing to be fought, the way he and his men had to.

That they did not have to club a path through, he attributed to the Aiel reputation for savagery, and frowned when Rand made no reply. One thing Rand made note of: Now that he had Tairens with him, the cheers did not rise again.

At the palace they are met by an entire battalion of soldiers from Tear, all shouting for the Lord Dragon, Tear, and High Lord Meilan.

From Meilan’s expression, you would have thought it all spontaneous.

Servants come out to greet them, the first Cairhienin Rand has seen in the palace, and Sulin chooses twenty Maidens to accompany him inside. Rand is glad it’s not the lot of them, but wishes Enaila, Lamelle and Somara weren’t in the group. He can see them looking consideringly at him, and tries to smile reassuringly while secretly grinding his teeth and thinking that there must be one Aiel woman who will learn that he’s the Car’a’carn.

He’s met at the foot of the stairs by the other High Lords.

It was too good an opportunity to miss. Silently thanking Moiraine for her lessons—it was easier to trip a fool than to knock him down, she said—Rand clasped Torean’s pudgy hand warmly and clapped Gueyam on the point of a thick shoulder, returned Hearne’s smile with one warm enough for a close companion and nodded silently to Aracome with a seemingly significant glance. Simaan and Maraconn he all but ignored after one look as flat and cool as a deep winter pond for each.

He watches all their faces shift in thought, trying to decide what each of his greetings might mean, weighing the possibilities in the eyes of Daes Dae’mar, and Rand is amused by how off-balance they all look, and hopes that if he can keep them that way they’ll be too busy to trouble him, and might even obey orders. But he catches Asmodean grinning, and worse, Aviendha looking puzzled by his behavior, and barks at everyone to get inside.

The Maidens keep close around him, keeping the Tairens at bay, and a man at the door of the throne room announces the Dragon Reborn’s arrival, and it’s echoed by more shouting to the glory of the Lord Dragon. Rand enters to find the Tairens and Cairhienin nobility arranged with the Tairens all in front, even those of minor houses, and the Cairhienin behind. The Cairhienin look uneasy, and Rand isn’t certain many of them were part of the cheering.

At the far end of the Grand Hall Rand sees the Sun Throne, and realizes that he’s expected to sit in it. Asmodean and Aviendha follow him up the steps and Sulin arranges the rest of the Maidens around the dais, blocking Meilan and the High Lords, much to the latter’s frustration. The room is silent.

“This belongs to someone else,” he said finally. “Besides, I’ve spent too long in the saddle to welcome such a hard seat. Bring me a comfortable chair.”

There was a moment of shocked silence before a murmur ran through the Hall. Meilan suddenly wore such a look of speculation, quickly suppressed, that Rand nearly laughed. Very likely Asmodean was right about the man. Asmodean himself was eyeing Rand with barely hidden surmise.

A new chair is brought for him by some servants, and Rand tries to sit down without showing his relief to the women who are watching him so closely. He has already worked out what should be done here, with Moiraine’s help, and although he would have preferred to have her there to whisper in his ear instead of Aviendha waiting to drag him back to his bed. But he knows what to do.

He remarks that the Tairens came to help but that is no reason for the Cairhienin to hang back, and commands everyone to sort themselves by rank. Both Cairhienin and Tairens are stunned by the proclamation, but after some confusion and a lot of icy staring at each other, they rearrange themselves. Then the Cairhienin outnumber the Tairens in the front rows and around the dais.

Rand continues on to talk about how it is good that the banner of Tear is flying over Cairhien, since everyone in the city would have died without Tairen grain and Tairen soldiers. This puffs up the Tairens even as it confuses them, given Rand’s previous command, and the Cairhienin eye each other doubtfully as Rand continues.

“But I do not need so many banners for myself. Let one Dragon banner remain, on the highest tower of the city so all who approach can see, but let the rest be taken down and replaced with the banners of Cairhien. This is Cairhien, and the Rising Sun must and will fly proudly. Cairhien has her own honor, which she shall keep.”

The Cairhienin nobles suddenly go wild, cheering and waving their arms—Rand remembers Moiraine telling him about Cairhienin reserve and how, when it broke, the results could be surprising. He doesn’t know what they have read into his words, but he can see what she meant.

When the cheering finally died down, the giving of oaths of fealty began. Meilan was the first to kneel, tight-faced as he pledged under the Light and by his hope of salvation and rebirth to serve faithfully and obey; it was an old form, and Rand hoped it might actually constrain some to keep the oath. Once Meilan had kissed the tip of the Seanchan spearhead, trying to hide a sour grimace by stroking his beard, he was replaced by the Lady Colavaere.

It goes on, Tairen and then Cairhienin and then Tairen, as Rand has instructed, and he tries to not to look to impatient; the oaths are necessary according to Moiraine and also according to the Lews Therin voice in his head, but also a delay. He needs to make Cairhien secure before he can go after Sammael.

And that I will do! I have too much to do yet to let him go on stabbing at my ankles from the bushes! He will find out what it means to rouse the Dragon!

He did not understand why those coming before him began to sweat and lick their lips as they knelt and stammered the words of fealty. But then, he could not see the cold light burning in his own eyes.


It’s really funny seeing the little ways Jordan repeats himself; nothing is perhaps as blatantly repetitive as the braid tugging or the “punishment via bad-tasting herbal concoctions,” but the “women will try to take care of men by making them soup even if they can’t cook” has come up a few times and it’s making me laugh. There’s a weird sort of insinuation that wanting to cook for a man she cares about (romantically, in Nynaeve’s case, or as a pseudo-son in Lamelle’s) will make a woman who never cared about cooking suddenly have strong urges to make food for him, especially soup. I mean, I’m not saying that it would never happen, but it’s weird to suggest that it is an inherent part of a woman’s makeup, so to speak. Just like it was weird to suddenly suggest that Nynaeve, having never cared about cooking and been very frustrated that one time she tried to cook for Lan, doesn’t know that she’s bad at it. She can taste, after all.

I wonder if this is where Peter Jackson got his inspiration for that scene in the extended version of The Two Towers in which Eowyn makes Aragorn the inedible soup.

Another bit or repetition is the finding of a lost doll. It’s happened a couple times in post-battle scenes, as well as a few times in Tel’aran’rhiod. I get that it’s an eerie image, but the repetition keeps making me think it’s a clue to something, which I do not think is intended. I think Jordan’s just over-using a classic, although it does put me in mind of that scene from Disney’s Mulan (the animated version) when she puts the little doll next to the grave marker Shang puts up for his father. And I think that is the same feeling that Jordan is going for—this reminder of the innocent people who are not always seen during the battles, but who are really the ones the battles are (or at least should be) fought for. Perrin saw the doll in Tel’aran’rhiod when he was beginning to push for the changes that would culminate in the defense of Emond’s Field, for example. And Rand is the guy who tried literally to reanimate the corpse of a little girl when she was killed by Trollocs; we know that the ordinary people are always on his mind, even if they aren’t on the minds of his allies.

The Tairen lords certainly don’t think about those people, although that’s hardly a surprise. Rand knows he has to play the game of keeping them—and the Cairhienin lords, and eventually all the other nations’ leaders—on his side and following his orders, but the narrative has begun establishing who Rand’s real people are. Of course the Aiel are first and foremost here, but we’ll get back to that in a moment. First let’s consider the refugees in Cairhien. The way they respond to Rand with hope, with reverence, even with worship, is very much at odds with what we’ve seen from individuals in the past. So far Rand has had support from the Aiel and the Shienarans, who have a very particular relationship to war, death, and the fight against the Shadow. But whenever we’ve encountered ordinary people who have heard rumors that the Dragon has been reborn, they’ve reacted with fear and revulsion. We’ve seen the Dragon’s fang scrawled on people’s doors to accuse them of being darkfriends, and even common folk know a little bit about how the Dragon is prophesied to Break the world again. Most of the Aes Sedai still in the White Tower can’t stand to look at Elaida’s portrait of Rand, never mind speak about him. Mat’s one of Rand’s best friends and he’s only just now able to tolerate his company (while still plotting his escape).

So it surprised me when the refugees and poor people in the streets of Cairhien treated Rand like a savior, and a religious figure to boot. Sure, he and his Aiel came and saved them from the Shaido, which is especially poignant given their particular history with the Aiel. But I feel like there’s more to it even than that. These people are acting like the Shienarans did after they saw Rand battle Ishamael in the sky over Falme.

The key may lie in the fact that the Shaido were not the initial instigators of trouble in Cairhien. The civil war waged by the nobility over the Sun Throne had already wreaked destruction on the land, which is why Rand sent Meilan and the others into Cairhien in the first place. The Tairen High Lords clearly intend to take for themselves rather than actually help the people of Cairhien, and no doubt all nobles look about the same to the common folk. But Rand represents change, which is only scary until change is the only hope you have left.

Pevin is a perfect example of this. He lost his wife and sister to famine, his brother and a son to the civil war, another son to Andoran soldiers when he was trying to flee to safety, and another brother to bandits. And finally his last son was killed by the Shaido and his daughter carried off. He is staying with Rand in hopes of seeing these loved ones avenged, but even if that kind of justice wasn’t on his mind, the man has nothing to fear from the destruction of the World. His world is already destroyed, and the world that’s left is responsible for it. How many others is that true for, in the streets of Cairhien, or Tear, or Tanchico, or elsewhere? Some people might even hope that a new Breaking, although terrible, will bring them a different life or new chances. And there is certainly nothing to say that worship and fear can’t coexist. They often do.

The situation is even more complicated for the Aiel, of course. For them there is specific prophecy that their people will be destroyed, whatever happens to the rest of the world. And their society is more egalitarian than that of most others in Randland; there are leaders and chiefs, but no nobility as such, and no peasants or paupers either, as far as we’ve seen. So in that way they have less disparity in what they have to lose.

Which isn’t to say that they all have the same perspective on He Who Comes With The Dawn, as we have seen. It’s interesting to see Aviendha admit, even obliquely, that the Wise Ones don’t really know what the right thing to do is. Most of the Aiel are turning to the importance of duty in their society, but interpreting their duty in wildly different ways. Some have pledged to Rand fully, as seems to be the case with the siswai’aman. Others, like the Wise Ones and even the Maidens, follow because they must but hope to sway him, and possibly fate, when they are able. And an ever-increasing number are suffering from the bleakness, either running off to the Shaido, or off somewhere else, or trying to make themselves permanent gai’shain.

It makes sense that many Aiel, faced with the clash of their modern identity and their historical one, would hope to meld those two into an affirming sense of service and sacrifice by fighting and dying for Rand. And it’s not the first time we’ve heard the Aiel call their lives a dream; only a few chapters ago, when Rand hoped aloud that not too many of their number would die in battle, he received this reply.

“Life is a dream,” Rhuarc told him, and Han and the others nodded agreement. Life was only a dream, and all dreams had to end. Aiel did not run toward death, yet they did not run from it either.

Now Aviendha has told Rand that some Aiel have decided that the dream of life is Rand’s dream. I wonder what it would feel like to hold such a belief. It sounds terrifying, but I suppose I can see how it might strengthen you, too, to see your life as something belonging to someone else and therefore the responsibility of someone else.

Speaking of being responsible, Rand really isn’t. It makes sense that he wanted to make sure he entered the city before Meilan was ready for him, to see the truth of what was going on there and not whatever Meilan wanted Rand to see and to believe. But Aviendha is right too, and the Maidens and Wise Ones are right—he really could kill himself if he’s not careful, and he doesn’t know how to delegate. Or rather, he’s too guilt-ridden and also too suspicious to delegate.

He’s also really stuck on this idea that being the Car’a’carn entitles him to more obedience than he’s getting, even after the Aiel, including the chiefs, have repeatedly told him that it doesn’t mean being some kind of king, or even a High Lord around lesser lords. I get that he’s frustrated that the Maidens and the Wise Ones won’t just do what he wants without question, but what makes him think that they should? After all, he is aware that part of the women’s function in his life is to keep him from getting a big head with the way all the Tairen and Cairhienin lords are treating him. And that kind of head-swelling is only going to get worse as time goes on. Especially if he keeps getting more dangerous and Dragon-y, like he does in the the last paragraphs of Chapter 46.

I don’t know what was up with Moiraine or why she wasn’t interested in even speaking to Rand before he went into Cairhien. I imagine she doesn’t want to go herself, since she is from there and might be recognized by the Cairhien nobles, but did she refuse even to acknowledge him with more than a glance for some other reason? Or is she just preoccupied, and thinking that Rand already knows everything he needs to? Rand spent so long trying to get away from her, and now he wants her by his side and she’s not interested.

Not that I think his suspicion of her is warranted just because she was being weird and distant. He jumps straight to the thought that she’s going after some “other sheep,” and reminds himself not to trust her anymore than he does Asmodean. Asmodean, who is a literal member of the Forsaken and only not connected to the Dark One because Rand severed that bond. That seems like a bananas stretch, especially since Moiraine has clearly gained some of Rand’s trust, at least in her judgment on how to handle members of the nobility. One wonders if the taint is working on Rand here, making him more distant and suspicious even than he has reason to be.

He has that thought, “trust no one” and doesn’t know if it’s his thought or Lews Therin’s. What’s more, he doesn’t care, even though he recognizes that having Lews Therin there in his head suggests that he might not be able to fully trust himself.

So, it’s clear that the exhaustion of battle allowed the Lews Therin memories (persona?) to bleed through more heavily in Rand’s mind, and that he was so out of it that he wasn’t able to tell the difference. But although he’s a bit more in possession of his faculties now, it does seem like the Lews Therin voice is still there most of the time. Rand can mostly tell which thought is his and which is Lews Therin’s, but not always, and it has me coming back to the question I was pondering before, about how exactly Lews Therin’s thoughts and memories are in Rand’s head, and whether or not the taint is responsible for this bleed through from the past.

We know that these memories are factually true, since they have concerned things that we know from flashback scenes or that Asmodean recognizes. Or rather, we know that some of them are true—I have been making the assumption that they all are, but there’s actually no evidence that some of the memories and thoughts might be corrupted by the taint just like any of Rand’s own thoughts and perspectives might be. Which makes me wonder about this suggestion that might have come from Lews Therin that Rand should trust no one. Did the man really think like that? Granted the last part of Lews Therin’s life was pretty dark, and many of the Forsaken were his friends or at least colleagues, so I guess he has good reason to be suspicious of everything and everyone. But all the dominant thoughts Rand gets from Lews Therin seem very dark, and most of the “advice” seems along these same lines. So I wonder if the taint is at least partly responsible for which parts of Lews Therin Rand hears; the focus on suspicion and Ilyena’s death may be a reflection of the taint that existed on Lews Therin before he died or on the taint currently affecting Rand. Or both.

The Tairens really are the worst, aren’t they? I wonder what things were like in Cairhien after they arrived but before the Shaido showed up, given that the Cairhienin nobility seem pretty cowed by them. And there’s the whole thing where they were beating their way through the crowd in the streets with clubs. Also, the calculating way they seem to want to use proximity to Rand to claw their way to power just reminds me of the Forsaken. There’s a huge difference between the two in terms of degree, of course. But still. There’s a reason Asmodean thought of the Forsaken when he was confronted with the Cairhienin playing the Game of Houses, too.

I honestly laughed at the idea of the people touching Asmodean, again, literally one of the Forsaken, thinking he’s the Dragon. Sammael would spit.

Next week we return to Samara and the menagerie, where Nynaeve is still suffering and things are about to get real with the Whitecloaks and the Prophet. Chapters 47 and 48 to come, and until then, I wish you all a very pleasant week!

Sylas K Barrett would really like to spend a little more time with Moiraine and know what she is thinking and up to. Unfortunately the Wise Guide always has to be sidelined at some point, so the hero can come into his own, but she’s still around right now and we care about her, dang it!

About the Author

Sylas K Barrett


Sylas K Barrett is a queer writer and creative based in Brooklyn. A fan of nature, character work, and long flowery descriptions, Sylas has been heading up Reading the Wheel of Time since 2018. You can (occasionally) find him on social media on Bluesky ( and Instagram (@thatsyguy)
Learn More About
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments