Wednesday, February 27, 2002
The Silver Swan, Caemlyn (A Crown of Swords, Pitfalls and Tripwires). For some months there have always been 8 to 10 Aes Sedai staying at this inn. The Aes Sedai vary, but they are never Red Ajah (Winter’s Heart, The Streets of Caemlyn). One of the Aes Sedai there was overheard mentioning Cadsuane (Crossroads of Twilight, A Bargain). Most likely they are Cadsuane’s faction.
Silver symbolises purity, hope and wisdom. The swan is associated with the sun and the light and symbolises transformation, love, loss of love, and death. The swan was believed to sing only when it was about to die, and its passionate and tragic swan song was of unearthly beauty (Jack Tressider, Symbols and Their Meanings). In a way, the inn’s name refers to Cadsuane, since she thought that advising and aiding Rand, preventing him from being transformed into a Shadar Logoth type ruler, and seeing him to the Last Battle might well be her swan song.
The Stranded Goose is a large, three storey inn in Ebou Dar (A Crown of Swords, Next Door to a Weaver) with a fairly prosperous innkeeper. Elayne and Nynaeve were herded like the geese they were by Setalle Anan past this inn, where Setalle derided the two women to the innkeeper so that they were forced to stay with her and go to the Kin. Nynaeve remarked that it was a prosperous inn despite its humble name. In Ebou Dar it seems that inn names are reverse advertising, since the next three inns have very grandiose names, yet are very poor, dirty establishments.
The goose represents vigilance and love and a stranded goose perhaps misplaced vigilance. Setalle thought she was being careful not to reveal the Kin’s secrets and yet to take Nynaeve and Elayne somewhere they would be looked after and kept in line. She was completely mistaken and brought Nynaeve and Elayne to exactly who (and what) they were looking for, thus exposing the Kin and being the catalyst for Elayne and Nynaeve taking charge of the older Aes Sedai. As a former Aes Sedai unable to channel, and now cut off from her family and a livelihood, Setalle is stranded. Elayne’s and Nynaeve’s quest for the Bowl of Winds was also stranded without Mat.
The Golden Crown of Heaven is a dirty dump in the Rahad with a blue door (A Crown of Swords, Six Storeys). Gold symbolises perfection, purity, refinement, truth, power, glory, and wealth, and crowns, glory, royalty, fidelity and regeneration. As was discussed above in The Gates of Heaven, heaven in this case probably refers to the sky. The inn’s name is very upmarket for such downmarket premises, but Altarans seem to like this type of irony.
The Queen's Glory in Radiance is a very grimy tavern in Ebou Dar (A Crown of Swords, White Plumes), and is another ironically named inn. A comment, perhaps, on how much power Tylin held in Altara.
The Rose of the Elbar in Ebou Dar is a poor quality inn near the Kin’s house with terrible food and worse drink (A Crown of Swords, Bread and Cheese). The Elbar is a river flowing through Altara and presumably the inn is near its estuary. The inn’s name is ironic – it is probably not the pick of the inns along the Elbar, unless you are looking for the worst.
The Oarsman’s Pride, Ebou Dar. Moghedien balefired Nynaeve’s boat from there, killing her oarsmen and bodyguards (A Crown of Swords, The First Cup). The inn’s name refers to a main local occupation. It also symbolises Moghedien’s situation: she is working in a boat that is steered by Moridin as he reminded her by stroking her mindtrap while she was in this inn. Her pride is wounded by wearing his livery.
The Old Sheep, Ebou Dar. A serving girl at this inn told Mat about rumours of a battle near Ebou Dar (A Crown of Swords, Promises to Keep). Sheep represent meekness, helplessness and need for leadership. The name is a reflection on the poor state of Altaran leadership, which the Seanchan agents had noted, and the likely success of the Seanchan invasion.
Written by Linda, June 2007 and updated December 2013