Hello, and welcome to part four of our reread of The Eye of the World! My name is Matthew, and I am a writer, artist, and game developer from Arizona.
This post will cover The Eye of the World, Chapters 4 - 6. If you haven’t been following this since the beginning, you can catch up on the Introduction and Prologue in my first post, here.
We are going to be changing things up a little in this one... in making the posts a little more concise, I hope to be able to cover more ground each week.
CHAPTER FOUR :: “THE GLEEMAN”
This chapter is one of loads and loads of exposition. Dozens of names are dropped, from story titles to factions to individuals. Some of these things like Ogiers, Aiel, and Warders become apparent with time, while most of the names on the list are just background knowledge. This is all in the form of stories and flourishes from the newest character, Thom Merrilin.
Later, Moiraine and Lan meet and talk briefly with Thom, and she addresses him as "Master Bard," assuming that she may have met him before. He doesn't seem to know her, albeit he is still very distrustful of her.
The boys talk about war and what would happen if the Two Rivers got involved, something that Tam almost scoffs at, saying that it is nearly inaccessible. Nonetheless, the Village Council is entertaining the idea of sending men to Deven Ride, Watch Hill, and Taren Ferry on watch duty. Tam points out that even if the Aes Sedai were traveling from Tar Valon to get to Ghealdan and pick up the False Dragon, they wouldn't detour the long way through the Two Rivers.
Finally, we find out that two other boys in Emond's Field have also seen the black rider.
As stated before on several other sites is the interesting fact that a lot of Thom's stories in this chapter mirror things in real life. Some examples are Materese the Healer (Mother Teresa) and Elbet Queen of All (Queen Elizabeth). Whether this is just a speculation or truly intended, I'm not certain.
CHAPTER FIVE :: “WINTERNIGHT”
Rand and his father return to their farm that evening and finish up their chores, finally coming to enjoy supper together. Tam decides to show Rand a curved blade heron-marked sword he had upstairs in a chest. Their time together is interrupted by Trollocs, monstrous humanoids each with a strange assortment of animal features, as they break through the front door.
Tam tells Rand to run, but Rand hesitates. After he does escape, he later reunites with Tam out in the forest to find him feverish. Rand takes his father's sword and heads back into the house for supplies, accidentally killing a Trolloc named Narg who points out that a Myrddraal wants to talk to Rand. Rand searches the house and barn but finds little of use, instead choosing to craft a makeshift travois to carry Tam into the town. He does so by cutting their cart into pieces with his sword, noting that it is still razor sharp after.
Winternight is one of my favorite chapters in the book. It's when events turn and Rand realizes that things aren't as they once seemed. Everything out there that they've heard in stories leaks through and touches him.
CHAPTER SIX :: “THE WESTWOOD”
At this point, Tam is just rambling in his fever dream, mostly about Rand’s mother, Kari, who died fifteen years ago. He talks about the Aiel War, Laman’s Sin, Marath, and the city of Cairhein on fire, but most of these don’t mean much to us right now. A little later he talks about Avendoraldera, a sapling from the tree of life Avendesora. He also raves about how happy Kari will be that he found a son, Rand, on Dragonmount.
Rand travels toward Emond’s Field with Tam in the travois, and successfully evades a Myrddraal and Trollocs on the way.
THE BREAKDOWN :: Chapters Four, Five, and Six
Why is Tam suffering a horrible fever? Some shadowspawn weapons are tainted when they are created, causing even the thinnest cut to eventually destroy the life of the injured. His fever is a precursor to that.
Until next week....