“Words are important, and how we use them is important.” – Moiraine Damodred
These words about words from The Wheel of Time have pierced me for over a week, leaving me in deep contemplation. In a world so dominated by false news and fake people, it’s a message that may have never been so poignant as it is today. Let’s keep this in mind, as the theme of words and the messages they contain resonates throughout “Shadow’s Waiting.”
Clubs or Cults?
We have two institutions essentially at war with one another. The Aes Sedai, with their oaths and laws, and colored garments, and “The Children of the Light,” which is a cult if ever I’ve heard one. Colloquially known as the “Whitecloaks,” the so called Children of the Light believe the Aes Sedai to be false claimants to the One Power and seek to eliminate them.
The creepy “Questioner” already has the rings of seven sisters on a chain when our party comes across him in the woods. Seven Aes Sedai he’s personally killed, one of which we see in the opening scene. Abdul Salis is quietly terrifying as Eamon Valda, who eats a decadent treat as he relishes in the burning of an Aes Sedai.
No Lying or Killing… Kinda
But how innocent are the Aes Sedai? Without seeing the entirety of the organization, much is revealed about them through Moiraine’s conversation with Egwene as she attempts to convince Egwene of her own connection to the One Power.
A quick run down of the oaths an Aes Sedai takes: One, to speak no word that is not true. Two, to make no weapon with which one person may kill another. Three, never to use the One Power as a weapon, except in the last extreme defense of her life, or the life of her Warder, or another Aes Sedai.
The ladies may not be able to break these oaths, but there is a wealth of gray in these three “simple” promises and most of it lies in subjective interpretation and semantics. Best we can tell, the Aes Sedai are queens of semantics.
For instance, to speak no word that is not true is not akin to always telling the truth. It’s quickly and easily muddled in a pinch to allow the Aes Sedai to withhold truth, lies of omission, in essence. Speaking half truths is also allowed, as Moiraine exemplifies when she tells the Whitecloaks she’s going to stay with her sister. She knew very well the Questioner assumed she meant a blood relative and not that she was referring to the fact she was going to the White Tower, where each and every Aes Sedai is considered a “sister” in the order.
She relayed A truth, not THE truth. Her words were carefully and deliberately chosen to mislead, something we can cheer on when it’s in service of our villagers, but what of a time when it’s not? What will we think or feel when she uses it against the potentials? (This is now how we refer to the candidates in the running for Dragon Reborn.)
Our guess is somewhere along the journey, we’ll have to grapple with the dissecting or bending of the other two oaths as well, and we can’t help but wonder if that will leave us cheering or crying.
Do We Stay or Do We Go?
Egwene is ready to follow Moiraine, but Rand is in the opposite camp. He doesn’t trust her at all. He’s also showing more of his hurt over Egwene choosing a life that doesn’t include him, claiming she already left him.
It’s Mat who steps in with the logic that there’s really no other choice, and while they can be wary of Moiraine, it’s better to stay with her and on her good side for now.
The Exposition Expedition
We’re honestly not sure how you get the Manetheren story across without a monologue since only one person knows it and a flashback would take tons of time and still possibly be out of place. And we do think it’s an important part of setting the stage for Shadar Logoth. The potentials find out about the line of great warriors their land comes from only to be lost in the city who denied them aid in a great battle.
Aside: Perrin may have lost a wife, but he’s about to adopt a whole pack of wolves, maybe?
Moiraine mentions the city earlier as she fears they’re traveling too closely to it, and may I say this city tingles my Spidey senses. Where the enemy won’t follow (not can’t, won’t) is not usually a place of safety.
“Don’t touch anything.” Oh, hell. Here we go. Lan explains the city and how it connects back to the story of Manetheren. Spoiler: this is the place who promised and then sent no aid to the army. Oh, so the evils in everyone’s hearts just ate them and everything living from the inside till nothing but shadows were left? Cool cool.
Mat is, of course, the one who is called by shadows in the night to definitely touch and even steal a shiny dagger. Cue the end of the world, or at least the end of the city. Creepy shadow fungus that destroys every living thing it touches is triggered by Mat’s “greed” (most likely?) and we lose a couple horses (sad, but effective.)
We end the run for survival with the worst fantasy situation of all time. The party is split!
So anyway, everything is pretty much as bad as it can get. Haha, famous last words.
The Race for the Chosen One
Time to start laying odds on the potential for Dragon Reborn.
Egwene is looking mighty chosen in this episode with the realization she has a connection to the One Power and that she can channel. “You don’t listen to the wind, Egwene. It’s the wind that listens to you.” One, we fist pumped. Two, sounds like very chosen language to us.
Not sure Rand can be the Dragon Reborn, since he’s clearly Batman. Fine, a terrible joke for a disgusting scene. Then again, he’s the most at odds with Moiraine, so that could say a lot about the strength of his will.
Perrin is in a different kind of running in this episode, because while the wind doesn’t listen to him, it certainly appears the wolves might.
Doesn’t look like the Light is speaking to Mat at all, but perhaps the Dark One has want of him. How important does that make him if every side is searching for the DR?
Foreshadowing for the Ages
“We will always tell the truth. It just may not be the truth you think you hear. So listen carefully.” – Moiraine to Egwene
Mark that one down, kids. It’s going to bite someone in the ass… hard.
- Moiraine is the only one of 6 riders on a white horse. Very light and dark. Is there a deeper meaning?
- Whatever the parallel is for werewolf in this series, I’ve got money on Perrin becoming one.
- Loved Mat’s convo with Perrin about Laila. The way he spoke with such heart and Perrin said nothing but showed so much on his face. Pretty sure the only way he managed a scene like that was because of the fridging in episode 1. Something to ponder.
- I’m loving Mat as the meta audience insert. His comment about how much Lan spoke is a dead on critique of the show itself and likely something many people were wondering about. Good to see they’re using his sarcasm as a contribution to the narrative.
- Curious about the Rand/Egwene ship development because of many things I’ve seen book readers say about changes.
- Nynaeve is back! Classic no body, no death, peeps. Here we go!