Review Revisited: Robert Jordan – The Dragon Reborn
Originally Read: 31 October 2004
Re-read Started: 27 November 2014
Re-read Finished: 14 December 2014
Where did it come from? The library (the audiobook, anyways; I have a paper copy too but wanted to re-listen).
Why do I have it? I’ve been meaning to re-read the whole series since the final one came out last year, and now seemed like as good a time as any!
You’d think a book called
“The Dragon Reborn” might star
the Dragon Reborn.
Summary: This book begins with Moiraine, Lan, Min, Loial, Perrin, and Ran in the camp of the Dragon Reborn, where they’ve stayed the winter since Falme. After a Trolloc attack during which Rand almost loses control of himself and the Power, he takes off on his own, towards Tear, home of Callandor, the sword that is not a sword that can only be touched by the Dragon Reborn. Moiraine, Lan, Loial, and Perrin follow behind him; during this chase, Perrin meets a man who has lost himself to the wolves, frees Gaul the Aiel from a cage, and they are eventually joined by Faile, a young Hunter for the Horn. They are pursued by Sammael’s darkhounds outside of Illian, but eventually wind up in Tear. Meanwhile, Elayne, Egwene, Nynaeve, and Mat all return to the White Tower. Mat is healed of his connection to the dagger, and Elayne and Egwene pass the test for Accepted. The Amyrlin Seat sets them to hunt Liandrin and twelve other Black Ajah who escaped the tower while the girls were gone. They are lured to Tear (although they meet Aviendha along the way), and are captured by the Black Ajah. Mat is sent (after finding Thom Merrillin in Tar Valon) to Camelyn with a letter for Morgause, where he uncovers a plot on the girls’ lives, and so follows them to Tear. During the final battle, the Aiel take the Stone of Tear, Moiraine balefires Bel’al, Rand takes Callandor (thus officially proclaiming himself as the Dragon Reborn) and kills Ishamael, Mat rescues the three girls (who manage to capture only two of the Black Ajah), and Perrin rescues Faile from a trap in Tel’aran’rhiod.
Original Review: For all that’s going on, and all of the new characters being thrown into the mix, this book moves incredibly quickly. Very, very little is seen from Rand’s point of view, and what little there is actually makes him seem more mad then when we later get inside his head. Instead, the book is mainly from Perrin’s, Mat’s, and Egwene’s POVs, and it moves along at a quick clip. There are clues thrown in all over the place, we get our first real introduction to the Aiel and to Tel’aran’rhiod, some bad guys get their comeuppance, and prophecies (and viewings) start being fulfilled. With so much action, it seems like a lot of the scheming/plotting is put on a back burner, although some clues and foreshadowing are continually thrown in. Very exciting read. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Thoughts on a Re-read: It had been a long time since I’d re-read this book, more so than the first two, so there was a lot of stuff that I’d forgotten about, and some character choices that struck me very differently than they did the first time(s) I read this. I don’t remember particularly disliking Faile the first time around, but now she annoys me from the second that she shows up, although I can’t tell if she’s actually being annoying, or if it’s just because I know how she’s going to ruin my favorite character. I also found Moiraine kind of grating this time around, more bossy and strident without as good of a reason, as I see it, whereas in my memory, she was awesome all of the time. Likewise, I don’t think I particularly cared much for Mat in this book – I don’t remember liking him much until after he spends a book trapped under a fallen wall in Ebou Dar (maybe a little bit by the end of Fires of Heaven)- but I found him pretty awesome already in this book, and it’s unclear whether he actually is awesome, or if I’m just seeing the seeds of his later awesomeness. And even though it was in my original review, I’d forgotten how fast that it seems that Rand goes crazy when we’re not inside his head. It seems like he goes from mostly sane at the end of The Great Hunt to full-blown madness by the beginning of this book, and he’s a lot less sympathetic when we’re not inside his head, getting to see how he’s struggling to come to terms with what he is and what he has to become.
I’d also forgotten a lot of the details of the plot – not surprising, considering how much actually happens. I forgot how early we meet a lot of characters who will play major roles later on: Alludra (who actually shows up in The Great Hunt but meets Mat in this one) and Gaul and Aviendha and Rhuarc (who I apparently still have a bit of a crush on – he’s so awesome!) and Berelaine and Tallenvor. I’d forgotten the entire episode where Egwene, Elayne, and Nynaeve are the first ones to really meet Aviendha and the rest of the Aiel. I’d forgotten that Thom Merillin shows up again this quickly. I’d forgotten that Egwene and Perrin meet once in T’A’R when they’re both just starting to learn how to use it. I’d mostly forgotten about the hellhounds, since they’re not mentioned much (at all?) in the later books in the series, which is too bad, because I find them scarier enemies than trollocs. I’d forgotten how awesome the fall of the Stone of Tear is, particularly with each of the characters being all “I thought I saw _____ but they can’t possibly be in Tear.” It’s still kind of funny at this point, although I know I’m going to reach a point where no one is communicating their plans to anyone else and it’s going to drive me bonkers. But at this stage in the series, it still makes sense, and the book as a whole is just quick-paced and totally sucks me in and is generally pretty damn awesome. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
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First Line: Pedron Niall’s aged gaze wandered about his private audience chamber, but dark eyes hazed with thought saw nothing.
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