Wednesday, February 27, 2002

THE GATHERING STORM



By Linda

Beslan held meetings in the basement of The Three Stars to plan rebellion against the Seanchan (The Gathering Storm, Gambits). The star symbolizes guidance, guardianship, honour, achievement and hope (Jack Tressider, Symbols and their Meanings) and the number three represents harmony and completeness and is a very positive number (Jack Tressider, Symbols and their Meanings).

Beslan aimed to gain freedom for his people, which Tuon realised and thought he was misguided due to ignorance. She said that she was not content to stare at the stars while her empire collapses around her. By swearing fealty to Tuon Beslan would gain stability for his people (and guardianship from Tuon). Tuon’s alternative offer was an honourable death.

Joline, Teslyn and Edesina stayed at an unnamed two storey inn in Hinderstap owned by Master Tobrad. It had whitewashed walls and clean glass windows and was the best in the village. In contrast, The Tipsy Gelding was:

in the back west corner of the village. No sign hung out front; just a wooden board carved with what looked like a drunken horse that sat inside one of the windows. None of those windows had glass.

- The Gathering Storm, The Tipsy Gelding

Mat diced at this inn and lost gold steadily until the last throw. He used the villagers’ greed to obtain food and drink for the Band after they refused to sell him any. Talmanes rightly thought there was something wrong with the residents:

"While you've been playing, I've been talking to them. They don't care about the world. The Dragon Reborn, the Seanchan, nothing. Not a care."
"So?" Mat said. "They're simple folk."
"Simple folk should worry even more," Talmanes said. "They're trapped here between gathering armies. But these just shrug when I talk, then drink some more. It's as if they're…. they're too focused on their revelry. As if it's all that matters to them."

- The Gathering Storm, The Tipsy Gelding

The Tipsy Gelding seems a comic-sounding name, just as this episode is played for laughs on the surface. However, the horse symbolises the life force, speed and endurance and here it has been castrated. The villagers are trapped in a horrible flaw of the Pattern and powerless – impotent - to do anything about it. All they can do is endure nightly violence and death. Many do indeed try to drown their fears and memories in drinking. They have little energy by day due to their violent exertions at night.

The Shaken Fist, where Verin stayed while she sent out drawings of Mat and Perrin to lure them to her, was the nicest inn in Trustair (The Gathering Storm, Legends). Hands represent power, action, strength and protection; in this case making a threatening or angry gesture. Verin said she was thoroughly exasperated at having to wait so long for Mat, and also warned him that he was in great danger from Darkfriends and should disguise himself. She then took action and transported them to Caemlyn by Travelling.

The Wind's Favor was owned by Quillin Tasil, one of Cadsuane’s informants. She finds his information extremely reliable and timely. The inn name refers to successful sea trade, that being how Quillin’s wife made a great deal of money and Quillin was able to satisfy his dream and purchase this inn in his retirement. The inn is tastefully decorated and stocked, and immaculate, intimidatingly so. Wind represents spirit, soul, the breath of life and the supporter of creation. Cadsuane ‘tested the wind’ at this inn, wanting news of the last sightings of the King and the Merchant Council, and of twistings of the Pattern. She was disturbed to find that only disastrous evens are occurring in Bandar Eban, and that the Pattern is now unbalanced:

Al’Thor was ta’veren but the Pattern was a thing of balance. For every accidental death cause by Rand’s presence in a city, there was always a miraculous survival. What did it mean if that was breaking down?

- The Gathering Storm, A Promise to Lews Therin

Rand’s spirit had become corrupted by using the True Power and balefire and he was not supporting creation in a positive way. Indeed he soon seriously contemplated destroying it. The wind is not in the Light’s favour at all at this time.

This inn is a reference to the website Encyclopedia WOT, and Quillin Tasil an acknowledgement of the efforts of beta reader Bob Kluttz in providing timely information for many readers. He has done us all a great favour.

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Written by Linda, January 2010 and updated December 2013

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