I’m almost finished with The Dragon Reborn, book 3 of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time. I’ll do a quick overview of my thoughts for this book, first, and then I’ll get into the bulk of the post. While I don’t recall exactly how book 3 ends, what I have read so far mirrors the plot of The Great Hunt: Rand gets separated, people go chasing him down, Nynaeve and the gang leave the White Tower, end up in the same place as Rand, and then Rand (if I remember correctly) has a one-on-one fight with one of the Big Bads–the same one as the last two books, I believe.
This one is mostly in Perrin’s and Egwene’s point of view, with several chapters for Mat, and a few quick scenes for Rand. Honestly, at this point, Rand sounds out of character. The way he reacts to being referred to as the Dragon Reborn don’t feel realistic to me, but at least there are few sections where I have to read from his point of view. As for Perrin… I think that it’s going to be difficult to read his point of view chapters until he accepts who he is.
Now, as with the last two books, the concept of ta’veren is brought up regularly when referencing the three boys. Rand, obviously, is considered the strongest of the three, being the Dragon Reborn, and that makes him something of the major character within the series as a whole. For those unfamiliar with the series, the common belief is that time is a pattern made up of individual lives, or threads. Some people, ta’veren, can influence the set of the pattern entirely, even changing the lives of the people around them.
The concept parallels the idea of main characters in general. Main characters are the ones who are forced to play some bigger part in the story’s events, making big decisions and changing the lives of the people around them in the process. It’s pretty clear, when reading, that the three ta’veren of the story–Rand, Perrin, and Mat–are all supposed to play a major part in the story to come.
What is interesting is that generally, point of view can help a reader determine which characters are main characters, and, by extension, which ones they should care about the most. After all, main characters often have a lot to lose. Rand can wield saidin, men’s half of magic, but he could go mad in the process. Perrin can communicate with wolves, but if he’s not careful, he could lose his human self completely. Mat is now discovering his affinity with luck, but I think even the luckiest person knows there’s only a fine line between good luck and bad.
Breaking down the points of view, however, it’s obvious almost immediately that being ta’veren is not the only prerequisite of being a focal character. In fact, being ta’veren does not even guarantee it. Rand is a predominant PoV character through the first two books, but even as such an important character and ta’veren, he does not get a lot of opportunity to speak for himself in The Dragon Reborn. Mat Cauthon is said to be a ta’veren too, but it’s not until this third book, once he’s free of the taint of the Shadar Logoth dagger, that he gets to show us what he can do. Perrin, of course, gets point of view chapters throughout, though ironically, it is during The Dragon Reborn that he gets the most PoV thus far.
The character with the second-most PoV chapters is Egwene, who not only is said to have one of the largest potentials when it comes to wielding the True Source, but who has already shown herself to be quick on her feet and capable of changing the world. Yet Egwene herself is not ta’veren, which is even stranger, knowing the things she will find herself capable of doing in future books.
Based on what I’ve read, Rand al’Thor and Egwene al’Vere appear to be the most influential characters within the series, both up til Dragon Reborn and beyond it. I’m curious to see how the characters develop further in future books, separating the concept of ta’veren with the stable of main characters. especially as the three ta’veren grow into their newfound abilities and characters like Egwene likewise find out what they’re capable of.
I recently became aware that Wheel of Time is finally getting to be moved onto screens. From what I’ve seen, it’ll be an Amazon TV series, and the main cast has already been decided. Naturally, some people are getting angry over the casting choices in terms of their appearance, but honestly, it doesn’t matter to me. I’m just excited to see an epic like this be given a chance like Game of Thrones was. As long as WoT’s TV show doesn’t crash-land its ending like GoT, I willingly accept any changes the TV show might make to cast appearances. And, for those of you unwilling to invest a lot of time in reading such a long series, it’s exciting that we’ll be able to share the story this way. I’m following the news religiously.