This theory looks at other contributions Perrin may make to the Last Battle aside from his role as Wolf King and berserker warrior.
In the early books of the series, which so often set up themes or events that become crucial much later, Perrin’s training as a blacksmith is prominent. This culminated in Perrin working in a forge on-screen in Tear. The smith pronounced Perrin’s work as his master’s piece and gave him the hammer as a token of this and how Perrin should return to smithing. (The hammer also has Masonic associations: it is symbolic of the Master of the Lodge.)
In earlier times the whole society depended on their blacksmiths to forge their weapons and tools (it’s why Aiel blacksmiths can’t be taken gai’shain). Since The Dragon Reborn, the only forging Perrin has done is organising the armament and disposition of his forces, tempering them and himself into something stronger. The techniques he learned in his craft have been adapted by him quite effectively to his duties. Yet he may also make something physically that is needed for the Last Battle.
Perrin reminds himself (and us) regularly of his underused potential as an artisan:
Did he even remember what a good forge hammer felt like?but he hasn’t crafted anything of vital import yet.
- A Crown of Swords, High Chasaline
What could Perrin make?
Perrin may have an input into the design or use of Mat’s gunpowder weapons in Caemlyn, just as Prometheus, a parallel of Mat, ‘borrowed’ the smith god Hephaestus’ fire.
Or perhaps an important sword, such as Justice, is broken and he reforges it.
Perrin may refuse to be involved in making weapons – he hasn’t made any, or assisted in the making of them before, even though his mentor Haral Luhhan made a battleaxe for merchant’s guard, the very axe Perrin carried for so long and of high enough quality that Child Byar said it was made by a master:
He [Byar] hefted the axe and gave a surprised grunt, then whirled it in a tight arc above his head that barely missed the top of the tent. He handled it as surely as if he had been born with an axe in his hands. A look of grudging admiration flickered across his face, but by the time he lowered the axe he was expressionless once more.This confirms the high standard of Perrin’s training. (And that Perrin and Byar yet have unfinished business. Note that one smith supplied Perrin’s axe and the other his hammer.)
"Excellently balanced, my Lord Captain. Plainly made, but by a very good weaponsmith, perhaps even a master." His eyes burned darkly at the prisoners. "Not a villager's weapon, my Lord Captain. Nor a farmer's."
- The Eye of the World, Children of Shadow
Perhaps Perrin makes something crucial for the Last Battle or Fourth Age out of iron that is turned into cuendillar (by, say, Egwene). The women doing the forging of magical items need materials to start with - the coins that Elayne made into the a'dam, the iron articles that were turned to cuendillar – and these were made by craftsmen such as Perrin. It is an example of the balance theme, and the necessity for both sexes to work together.
Perrin is close to two groups with great craftsmen: the Ogier, who are brilliant artisans and slow like Perrin (he even fights with an axe, like Ogier do), and the Tinkers, who are brilliant menders. Both these groups have an important part to play in the Last Battle. I think that Perrin’s skills – on a physical as well as metaphorical level – will also directly contribute to that victory. Certainly representatives of all three groups – Ogier, Tinker and Aiel - were with Perrin and contributed to the great victory in the Two Rivers. From the beginning of the series the Two Rivers has been a microcosm of the whole World, so, as in the battle of the Two Rivers, Perrin will get these three groups – the Ogier, the Aiel and the Tinkers to work together to help Rand defeat the Shadow. And he will craft a crucial item. The Wolf King might use the hammer at the last to make rather than destroy.
It’s probably important – at least from the point of view of the Aiel or any ‘new Da’shain’, or even the Song-seeking Tinkers - that Perrin has never forged a sword or even participated in the making of such a weapon. Perhaps not many highly skilled blacksmiths can say the same.
Perrin’s parallels with smith gods show that he may pay a physical price; many smith gods are lamed, usually by those who force them to work for them. In The Gathering Storm there has been some emphasis on Perrin feeling unable to run and jump freely with the wolves in the Dream:
'Jump down, Young Bull. Jump. It is safe.' As always, the Sending from the wolf came as a mixture of scents and images. Perrin was getting better and better at interpreting those — the soft earth as a representation of the ground, rushing wind as an image of jumping, the scent of relaxation and calmness to indicate there was no need to fear.He has ‘hamstrung’ himself. Wolves usually do the hamstringing rather than be victims of it. I wonder if this isn’t an indication that Perrin will be grievously wounded in the leg.
'Times before, you always rushed ahead, like a pup newly weaned. Jump. Jump down!' Far below, Hopper sat on his haunches in the field, grinning up at Perrin.
Perrin ground his teeth and muttered a curse or two for stubborn wolves. It seemed to him that the dead ones were particularly bull-headed. Though Hopper did have a point. Perrin had leaped before in this place, if never from the sky itself...
'Run,' Hopper urged, obviously confused at Perrin's reluctance.
"I can't," Perrin said, stopping.
- The Gathering Storm, Embers and Ash
Byar for one, would jump at the chance to kill Perrin. So would Fain, who has a malignant dagger.
Even more suggestively Isam hunted Perrin in Tel’aran’rhiod, where hurts taken don’t Heal as completely as those suffered in the waking world, and Tel’aran’rhiod is where Perrin felt hamstrung. Foreshadowing?