The Eye of the World: Chapter 1
Author: Dinn da Noor
Chapter Icon: Wheel and Serpent
Point of View: Rand
Rand and Tam al'Thor transport apple brandy to Emond's Field for Bel Tine. A suspicious stranger watches Rand. In the village, they learn of other strangers.
Rand and Tam al'Thor walk down the Quarry Road with a cart and horse. Even though spring should have arrived, the wind is still carrying an icy chill sending gusts of cold through Rand. He is holding a bow and arrow, ready to draw quickly. The winter has been bad, with wolves and bears hunting in the Two Rivers. Tam and Rand are transporting apple brandy and apple cider to the Winespring Inn for use during Bel Tine. As they walk, Rand gets a feeling that he's being watched and tries to shrug it off. But as the feeling grows stronger, he looks over his shoulder, and sees a black-clad, cloaked figure on a black horse.
The rider is totally covered in his cloak so that no part of him is showing. When he looks at him, Rand feels that the rider hates everything that's alive, but him above all things. He stumbles, and Tam asks him what's wrong, but when they look down the road again, it is empty. Tam reminds him of the flame and the void, a thing he has taught Rand. He should concentrate on one flame and feed all of his passions in it until his mind became empty, and focus on the void.
They finally arrive in Emond's Field, where things are being done ready for Bel Tine. Wit Congar stops them and asks Tam what to do with the village's Wisdom, Nynaeve al'Meara. The Congars and Coplins are well known for being complainers and troublemakers. He is stopped by his wife, Daise Congar, who tells him not to meddle in Women's Circle business. As they continue, they walk past the Green, where older women are erecting the Spring Pole. When they reach the Winespring Inn, Bran al'Vere, innkeeper and the Mayor, greets them. Cenn Buie appears and the three men start talking about the Wisdom.
Mat Cauthon hides behind the cart so only Rand can see him, and they start talking. Mat mentions that he and a friend caught a badger and plan to set it loose to wreak havoc at the upcoming festivities. Rand finds out that Mat also has seen the stranger on the horse and while they discuss him, Tam spots Mat and gets him to help Rand with unloading the cider. He tells them that a gleeman has arrived in the village to entertain at Bel Tine, something that cheers the boys up after talking about the rider.
- Who is the strange Black coated rider who seems to hate Rand then disappears?
- Tam’s knowledge of the Flame and the Void –
Is it just something he picked up outside, or is it uncommon even for people outside the Two Rivers?
- Why is the Winespring Inn tiled? Who fixes it when it breaks?
Not a particularly significant mystery.
- Men and Women
- Men and women meddle in each others affairs and neither really thinks the other capable of running their own business.
- The isolation of the Two Rivers
- The villagers believe that Taren Ferry, which is nearby is very different and the folk there are untrusting.
- It is noted how the people of the Two Rivers could give mules lessons and teach stones.
- All the adult males seem to smoke a pipe.
- Mat is quickly established as a thrill seeker who shirks responsibilities and rarely thinks through the effects of his actions.
- Tam feels that keeping his word is important.
- First Appearance
Rand, Tam, Bela, Wit Congar, Daise Congar, Bran al'Vere, Cenn Buie, Mat
- First Mention
Bears, Badgers, Cows, Horses, Ravens, Sheep, Squirrels, Wolves
Apples, Nettles, Stinkweed
This section contains Notes on this Chapter which may contain spoilers. Please expand to view.
- The Weather
The unusually long winter is introduced. It is even suggested, by Cenn, that the winter is not natural. This is dismissed by the others, but it turns out that not only is he right, but that his objection to Nynaeve not being able to predict the weather is related.
We learn Rand's mother was an outlander.
- Who is the strange Black coated rider who seems to hate Rand then disappears.
This is resolved fairly quickly as being a Myrddraal. This is also the explanation for why his cloak is not touched by the wind, why the boys felt he hated them and why they felt fear just looking at him. Also, for how he vanished.
- Tam’s knowledge of the Flame and the Void –
It is never made explicit how common knowledge of this is, but it may be part of the concentration required to be a Blademaster
- When Mat suggests the rider might have been one of the Forsaken, Rand suggests that a Myrddraal would be just as ridiculous.
- Though it later transpires that the Forsaken are escaping, at that time, the Forsaken were still captured and so the two were not equally unlikely. And though it was reasonable for Rand to think a Myrddraal was ridiculous, it actually was one.
- It is believed that the Dragon was evil
- When they are discussing what the Myrddraal could have been, Mat suggests the Dragon on the basis he felt it was evil
- The general populace seems to confuse the evil of the Forsaken with the madness of the taint
- The rote saying "The Forsaken and Dark One were bound by the Creator at the moment of Creation."
- The Forsaken were alive at the time of Lews Therin and the War of the Power and bound by it. On one level, people seem to know this (they talk of them coming to get children who misbehave), but it also seems to believe that they were bound well before the Age of Legends and were freed when the initial attempt to free the Dark One was made.
- It seems this and similar sayings are automatically used as a way to ward off bad things, similarly to how we would throw salt over our shoulder or say 'God Bless You' when people sneeze. We may not understand exactly why we are doing it or where it came from, it is just something we say in common parlance.
- The Sand Hills at the foot of the Mountains of Mist were once the shore of an Ocean. It seems reasonable to assume that the ocean vanished during the Breaking.
- It is a little ironic that when Rand first encounters the Myrddraal, he has a feeling he was looking into its eyes, given that the Myrddraal don't have eyes.