Wheel of Time Marathon – Book 2: The Great Hunt

Started: 3/9/2015
Finished: 3/31/2015

The Great Hunt picked up with all of the major characters still in Fal’Dara preparing to leave for Tar Valon, except for Rand, who was planning to flee to some isolated area to escape what he thought was an Aes Sedai plot to use him as a false Dragon and to avoid harming the people he cares about when he inevitably went mad due to the Dark One’s taint on saidin.

However, an unexpected turn of events, sent Matt, Perrin, Rand and Loial off on a journey to recover the Horn of Valere and the cursed dagger Matt picked up in Shadar Logoth in Eye of the World, while Nynaeve, Egwene, Moiraine and Lan headed for Tar Valon to begin the girls’ Aes Sedai training.

Along the way, Rand encountered Lanfear, another of the forsaken, Verin, one of three Aes Sedai who knows he is the Dragon Reborn, and battled Ba’alzamon for a second time as well as dealing with a threat from Padan Fain to harm Emond’s Field if Rand didn’t show up on Toman Head. He also picked up a couple of Heron brands on his palms, fulfilling one of the many prophecies about the Dragon Reborn. Matt recovered his dagger and sounded the Horn of Valere, calling dead heroes to battle the Seanchan and binding himself to the Horn. Egwene, Nynaeve, Min and Elayne were hoodwinked by Liandrin, a member of the Black Ajah, into a journey to Toman Head, where they were reunited with the boys, after freeing Egwene from a life of servitude to the Seanchan.

The story ended with an injured Rand discovering that Matt, Egwene, Elayne, Verin and Nynaeve had departed for Tar Valon, so that Matt could be healed and the girls could continue their training. Moiraine, Min and Perrin stayed behind with Rand. Rand learned that his battle with Ba’alzamon had been seen by many as a vision in the sky and that thousands had declared for the Dragon. However, Rand remained convinced that he was being used.

Over the course of The Great Hunt, the boys all begin to come to terms with their various abilities, but are still resisting full acceptance. Rand begins to take on the role of a leader, but continues to be suspicious of the Aes Sedai’s motives. Egwene, Nynaeve and Elayne all greatly increase their abilities with the One Power, but learn some hard lessons about being too trusting of Aes Sedai and engage in activities forbidden by the Tower by using the One Power as a weapon. Min confirms that she has fallen in love with Rand and that she and Elayne are two of the women her vision revealed would have to share Rand, though she did not tell Elayne this.  The motives of the Aes Sedai in general, and the Amyrlin, Moiraine and Verin in particular continue to be murky. While it seems Moiraine and Siuan are concerned with preparing Rand for Tarmon Gai’don, it is less clear what Verin is up to and the Black Ajah is confirmed to exist within the Tower.

Much like Eye of the World, The Great Hunt is an action packed romp, mostly centered around a perilous journey and a climatic confrontation with Ba’alzamon, but it also serves to further develop the characters transformation from simple village youths to major players in the battle with the shadow.