Wednesday, February 27, 2002

TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT



By Linda

The Seven-Striped Lass is one of the best inns in western Caemlyn being noisily popular, but kept clean by innkeeper Melli Craeb. Mat deliberated whether to open Verin’s letter while in this inn (Tower’s of Midnight, The Seven-Striped Lass). The inn’s name refers to an Accepted and reflects the innkeeper’s enthusiasm for Aes Sedai without being so impudent as to name it directly after the White Tower or Aes Sedai, as an overly bold Kandori innkeeper did in New Spring.

The inn is also a nod to Tarvalon.net and webmaster/Amyrlin and beta reader Melissa Craib.

The Dead Man’s Breath in Caemlyn is a rougher inn than the Seven-Striped Lass and its clientele gambles for silver and gold rather than coppers. Mat heard about the gholam’s presence in Caemlyn here, the evidence being the dead man drained of blood (Tower’s of Midnight, The Seven-Striped Lass). He also saw someone showing a drawing of his face to the innkeeper that the Shadow has been spreading, confirmation of Verin's warning that he is a marked man. Two warnings of his possible death at The Dead Man's Breath. High stakes indeed.

The Two Apples is a steep-roofed, brick-fronted building and is one of the nicer inns in Caemlyn (Tower’s of Midnight, The Seven-Striped Lass). Thom performed here to a packed house. It has a sign showing two apples, one bright red, the other eaten down to the core with only white flesh showing: the colors of the Andoran flag.

The inn combines patriotism with the symbolism of apples as fertility, love, marriage, longevity or immortality. On one level it refers to Elayne, pregnant Queen with a long life expectancy if she can curtail her recklessness. On another level, it represents Thom’s love for Moiraine, who will live far longer than Thom if only she can be rescued from the *elfin folk... The apple was also associated with the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and Moiraine has knowledge and understanding of the prophecies she needs to impart that is crucial for Rand to succeed. However there are two apples: one perfect, the other consumed. Moiraine’s channelling ability was largely consumed by the *elfinns.

The Greeting Hall is where the Black sister Duhara Basaheen stayed in Caemlyn and from where she contacted Elayne’s enemies with the aim of intimidating Elayne and destabilising her rule after Elayne's greeeting of Duhara was so lacking (Tower’s of Midnight, An Unexpected Letter).

The Grand Hike is an inn near the Caemlyn palace well-known to Birgitte. She and Mat went there to talk about the Tower of Ghenjei and how to get the better of the *elfinns (Tower’s of Midnight, The End of a Legend). The innkeeper Old Snert is remarkably ugly, a major attraction in Birgitte's eyes. Mat was discussing plans with Birgitte for his grand hike to the world of the *elfinns, but first he and Birgitte hike rapidly back to the palace when Elayne’s attempt to interrogate the Black Ajah prisoners goes wrong.

The Dusty Wheel inn has walls and windows dark with pipe smoke and dirt (Tower’s of Midnight, Into the Void). They are never cleaned. The inn’s sign is weathered and depicts a wagon wheel. The inn has a mixed clientele – from high to low - and is popularly known as The Rumor Wheel. It is the best place in Caemlyn to hear rumours, although little regard is given for their veracity. Hatch is the innkeeper. Mat stayed at the inn a short while before going to battle the gholam and was assumed to be a newbie by a few denizens who tried to get the better of him in a dice game.

The inn’s name The Dusty Wheel implies that the inn aims its trade at wagoners and long distance travellers, perfect for gathering the news from the whole continent. The inn is a nod to Theoryland.com and webmaster and beta reader Matt Hatch and its name refers to the banner at the top of the Theoryland homepage: “Pardon our dusty re-design experiment”. The tradition of never cleaning the windows reflects the comfortable old format of the site’s pages beyond the home page.

The Happy Throng in Caemlyn has a carved wooden sign depicting faces wearing strange hats and exaggerated smiles. It has a private dining chamber which Mat hired to meet Perrin. Denezel, the innkeeper, commissioned and hung a portrait of Rand in the common room (Tower’s of Midnight, A Teaching Chamber). He is a nod to webmaster and beta reader Jason Denzel, and The Happy Throng to Dragonmount.com, the most populous and active (manic?) Wheel of Time fansite.

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Written by Linda, January 2011 and updated December 2013

12 comments:

Tim said...

Nice work! I caught the Seven-Striped Lass, and noticed Denezel's name, but completely missed the Dusty Wheel's symbolism!

Brandon definitely dedicated ToM to the web supporters. Now we just need an inn in AMoL named something like 'The Hidden Book' ran by Lyda, a lover of old tales and is known for finding meaning and symbolism in everything. :D :P

Linda said...

LOL Something like that, I guess. And something as a nod to Jennifer Liang also.

Encyclopedia WOT was acknowledged in TGS.

Molly said...

One thing that came to mind when I read Dead Man's Breath was that song Mat sang about trust. I can't quite recall but I believe one of the verse went something like this:

Trust is the sound of a grave-dog's bark
Trust is the sound(?) of a knife in the dark
Trust is the sound of a man's last breath
Trust is the sound of death

Not sure what it means ( I haven't had time to exhaustively analyze yet ;)) but thought I would throw it out there.

Anonymous said...

the song is about betrayal as in only those you trust can betray you. the grave dog is a nod to dark hounds the last breath is death.

Anonymous said...

Re: Baba Yaga, as mentioned in connection with the Blue Rose;

"has been known on rare occasions to offer guidance to lost souls. According to Propp, she often fulfills the function of donor; that is, her role is in supplying the hero (sometimes unwillingly) with something necessary for the further quest."

This is an important theme in WoT.

Vicki said...

A very impressive, encyclopaedic article!
However, I think that in a couple of instances you went into the deep symbolism of the names but neglected to mention the plain meaning, namely:

The Bunch of Grapes (The Great Hunt) is a common British pub name. I think it connotes an unpretentious sort of inn for simple folk where customers can have a drink and a good time (cf the more pompous inn names in Cairhien proper). At the same time, the name doesn't have implications of roughness or violence, which fits very well with King Galldrian's policy of preventing riots in the Foregate by organising public entertainment.

The Golden Wheel (Winter's Heart): the most obvious connotation of an inn of this name in a city of merchants (near a market, no less!) is the pride in commerce which made Far Madding wealthy, merchandise being delivered by cart.

Off the subject, Far Madding inn names suggest people proud of their history (all the names with Maredo references!).

The Archers (Winter's Heart): I think the name reflects Emond Fielders' pride in their own people's heroism in repelling the Trolloc invasion (in TSR) as well as getting rid of Whitecloaks, ahead of references to the influx of people from the outside or future participation in wars. Of course, archery is Two Rivers men's speciality.

Finally, just a hypothesis: I wonder if the sign of The Two Apples (Towers of Midnight), with its perfect and consumed apples contains an oblique reference to the fat/ skinny cows and healthy/ withered stalks of wheat in the Biblical Joseph's dreams. Just like the period of abundance followed by a period of famine in Egypt prophecied by these dreams, Andor's fortunes have undergone a number of reversals: having been a prosperous nation, Andor descended into chaos and suffered economically during Rahvin's rule and the subsequent civil war; just as things are starting to return to normal under Elayne, Caemlyn is about to be devastated by a Trolloc invasion...

Jennifer Nalley said...

I've never commented on this blog though I have often come here with a particular interest in the symbolism woven throughout the books.

I have started yet another read-through in anticipation of AMoL and am currently in the middle of TDR. I've been searching for information regarding the symbolism behind the name and sign of the inn called Harilin's Leap, but all I've seen so far indicates that the name likely refers to a local legend or is symbolic of Noam's "leap to freedom". To me, however, the painted sign above the Inn is evocative of a Reversed Hangman Tarot card (the card, when drawn from the deck in placed upside-down rather than right-side up in the reading). Not all Tarot decks show the hanged man with his arms flung out to the sides, but many do. A Google image search for "Hanged Man Tarot card" will provide numerous examples. Given Jordan's background, I think it highly unlikely that he would not be aware of the symbolism inherent in this particular card and its Reverse interpretation.

A good link for a description of the card's interpretation in the upright position can be found here: http://tarotreadingpsychic.com/tarot-card-meanings-hanged-man-meaning/

A good link for a description of the interpretation of a reversed Hanged Man can be found here: http://www.biddytarot.com/card.php?id=20&name=Hanged%20Man

I think such an interpretation provides a lot of insight into what seems to me to be a greatly overlooked emphasis on Jordan's part concerning Perrin's state of mind in relation to(or rather denial of) being a wolfbrother.

As a side note, I tried to seardh the name Harilan. The results I got pointed instead to the English surname Harian. According to one of the articles, the name "ia derived from the Old English word heiroun, which meant heron." (A link to that article is here: http://www.houseofnames.com/Harian-history?A=54323-292 ) Given Rand's state of mind at this point in the story, this may not necessarily be a coincidence.

I would love to hear some feedback from Linda and others. If anyone knows of any articles that discuss Harilin's Leap as symbolizing the reverse Hanged Man Tarot card, I would love to pointed to those, as well.

Thanks, all!

Jennifer Nalley said...

Just a note on the comment above. I stated, "As a side note, I tried to seardh the name Harilan." This was a typo (not the only typo, but the only one of substance). I double-checked, and the name I searched for was, indeed, "Harilin".

Linda said...

Jennifer: Thanks.

What you suggest is most interesting. Not many have written about the possible Tarot imagery in the Wheel of Time. I have in various articles here.

What you suggest about the reversed Hangman is very interesting. I also think that the symbol could also relate to the Fool card used repeatedly through WOT because in the book where Harilin's Leap inn features, Egwene dreams of Perrin "stepping willingly over the edge of a towering cliff while saying, "It must be done. I must learn to fly before I reach the bottom." " That is the sort of reckless innocence typical of the Fool. Perrin is rarely the fool, but he is about dreaming, as Hopper kept telling him, and managing to pull him back "by the seat of his pants" as the dog does on the Fool card.

Jennifer Nalley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer Nalley said...

Hello, again.

Still working my way through the books and currently reading KoD. I don't know why it didn't occur to me sooner, but with the story concentrating so heavily on Mat and Tuon I decided to look up some info on the Empress tarot card. Very interesting stuff, particularly the connection between that card and the Hanged Man. In part, Wikipedia has this to say:

"She is the Great Goddess, the consort of the dying god... associated through her cross sum (the sum of the digits) with Key 12 The Hanged Man, the Dying God, her Son (or daughter) and Consort, who dies at Autumn Equinox or Winter Solstice, and is reborn with Winter Solstice (NOTE: pretty sure this is supposed to read "Summer Solstice"), Spring Equinox, or Beltane. She’s also associated with Key 21, The World, the final card of the Tarot. Through death, rebirth, and reproduction the world is renewed."

The article has a good deal of other relevant/interesting info. Here's the link for anyone who might want to read more:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Empress_%28Tarot_card%29

Linda said...

I agree that the Empress and the Hanged Man tarot cards fit Tuon and Mat. So does the Fool (Mat) being linked with Justice (Tuon). My Tuon essay and Mat essay go into this (and more).