Recent Bela Sightings
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There aren’t many hoofprints to track in The Dragon Reborn. Bela carries Egwene to Tar Valon and stays there for the rest of the book while every other character scampers around. Has The Dark One lost interest in our heroes? Hardly, considering the orders Darkfriends and Forsaken receive to continue attacking them, however, there was one element in the status quo The Dark Onc couldn’t stand:
Bela got sick of bailing Ishamael out of scrapes.
Think about it:
- At the end of The Eye of the World, Bela was present, Rand duelled Ishamael, aka Ba’alzamon, and Ishamael survived a seemingly mortal would.
- At the end of The Great Hunt, Bela was present, Rand duelled Ishamael, aka Ba’alzamon, and Ishamael survived a seeming mortal wound.
- At the end of The Dragon Reborn, Bela was NOT present, Rand duelled Ishamael, aka Ba’alzamon, and Ishamael dies from a mortal wound inflicted in that duel, leaving a body behind as proof.
Clearly, the presence of the Dark One was the lynchpin in keeping Ishamael around in his firey-eyed, Age of Legends persona. Bela kept him around initially, not because he was useful, but because he was, if you’ll pardon the metaphor, the only horse in her stable. The other Forsaken had been away from the world for three thousand years and needed a bit of time to wake up before they could be useful. That bought Ishamael a year and two “get out of death free” cards, but the third time around Bela decided enough was enough and let Ishamael’s foolishness take him on a trip to her eternal domain.
I hear what you’re saying, you what I’ve said is all well and good, but Ishamael’s death is just circumstantial evidence in the fight to prove The Dark One’s real identity. You’re right, the real proof lies in the seals.
- After the fight at the Eye of the World one seal was broken.
- After the Battle of Falme two seals were broken.
- After the Taking of the Stone of Tear one seal was found intact.
- The only other broken seal was discovered books later, and I’ll give you one guess which horse was found in a nearby stable.
The difference between these events was simple. Bela was not present at the Stone of Tear, and why should she be? With three seals broken The Dark One can bust out the rest of the Forsaken, can touch the world enough to influence the weather in severe ways over the course of years, and let’s not forget those pesky bubbles of evil. That’s all she needs to deliver the world to Tarmon Gai’don. In the end she’s much better off in the Tower, nurturing the coup that will all but destroy the Aes Sedai and drive the world further towards chaos.
For the first time in over ten years, I read an audiobook. It was the Great Hunt.
Audiobooks have always been somewhat frustrating for me. I read much faster than spoken word, and I have a lot of books I want to read, so it has always made more sense for me to read a book in a few hours rather than listen to one over the course of several days. I’m also an incredibly poor listener. A single thought can distract me and suddenly I haven’t heard or seen anything going on around me in the last five minutes. An audiobook keeps going during that and suddenly I don’t know what’s going on, but with a book, I don’t (usually) continue turning the pages, so I can jump right in where I left off.
Needless to say, I wasn’t expecting much.
My expectations were BLOWN OUT OF THE WATER!
It was hands down amazing. I’m currently rereading the Wheel of Time in preparation for the final book to come out, so this wasn’t my first time reading the Great Hunt. But it was my favorite time! I think the Wheel of Time actually lends itself quite well to reading on an audiobook (especially if it’s a reread) because it’s so dense. Almost every other sentence foreshadows something (or at least makes a tongue-in-cheek joke about something that will happen later), so I didn’t have a problem with daydreaming – it was interesting enough that it made me want to listen closely so I didn’t miss anything, be it vital to the plot, foreshadowing, or just plain clever wording. I think I actually picked up more from listening to it than reading because it forced me to slow down – as I said, I’m a very fast reader, and when I get excited especially I can’t slow down because I just want to see what happens next, which sometimes it means I just blow by the little details without quite paying as much attention as I should.
For instance, there’s a point where Rand is forced to live through several possible versions of how his life could have gone. It’s not actually that long of a section and you can really fly through it reading in your head (to be honest, I had forgotten all about it until it happened), but hearing it really throws you into each reality and makes you feel the weight of each one. Also, you’ve never read the sentence “I have won again, Lews Therin” until you’ve heard Michael Kramer say it. I’m serious. The way he says that line alone makes the whole thing worth it.
I recommend that EVERYONE try to listen to the book at least once. There are some things you just can’t give justice to in your head.
Also! I noticed another Very Suspicious Activity, so there will be a post on that before we dive into TDR 🙂