Wednesday, February 27, 2002

WINTER'S HEART



By Linda

The Golden Swans of Heaven was a tiny inn in Ebou Dar between a stable and a shop where Bethamin lodged (Winter’s Heart, Questions of Treason). A Seeker visited her there and commanded her to be a Listener. The inn’s name is grandiose considering its tiny size, as Bethamin noted.

Gold symbolises perfection, refinement, truth, power and glory, and the swan, transformation, love, loss of love, and death. Both symbols are associated with the sun and the light. Heaven probably refers to the sky (see The Gates of Heaven above). Bethamin was transformed by knowledge that she could channel and later became an Aes Sedai pupil.

The Crown of Maredo, Far Madding, is a modest inn with a dozen rooms on the two storeys above the ground floor public rooms. Rand’s party stayed there (Winter’s Heart, Out of Thin Air). All inns in Far Madding have a common room, and a Women’s Room. Men are limited to the common room, while women also frequent the Women’s Room. Crowns symbolise glory, royalty, fidelity, and regeneration. Maredo was the former realm where Far Madding is now situated.

The Counsel’s Head, Far Madding. Rand and co moved there after Rand was attacked by Kisman and Rochaid. It has better rooms than the Crown of Maredo and overlooks the Nethvin Market (Winter’s Heart, Bonds). Mistress Keene ensures there is a strap in every room of the inn so wives can keep their husbands in line (Winter’s Heart, Blue Carp Street). The inn’s sign is painted with the stern visage of a woman wearing the jewelled coronet of a First Counsel (Winter’s Heart, A Portion of Wisdom). The name is an upmarket one and refers to the rulership of Far Madding.

The head represents power and wisdom. A lot of counsel was given at this inn: Rand received counsel from Cadsuane and Alanna, Cadsuane taught Nynaeve and Alivia, and Min thought Rand and Nynaeve too reckless to think carefully and enlisted Cadsuane’s support.

The Golden Wheel is a large inn near the Avharin market in Far Madding where Rand asked if Taim’s henchmen had been seen and listened to rumours (Winter’s Heart, A Portion of Wisdom).

Gold symbolises perfection, truth, power, glory and wealth, and the wheel, the cycle of time. The inn’s name refers to the Wheel itself, and to Rand’s place at the heart of the Pattern. Rand feels the pressure of events and realises he can’t afford to wait around trying to kill the Black Asha’man:

"I can wait one more day, hoping to find them tomorrow, for weeks. Months. Only, the world won't wait for me. I thought I'd be done with them by now, but events are already marching ahead of what I expected. Just the events I know about. Light, what's happening that I don't know about because I haven't heard some merchant nattering about it over his wine?"
"You can never know everything," Lan said quietly, "and part of what you know is always wrong. Perhaps even the most important part. A portion of wisdom lies in knowing that. A portion of courage lies in going on anyway."

- Winter’s Heart, A Portion of Wisdom

After being softened up by Verin with more rumours, Rand asked for Cadsuane to be his advisor.

The Heart of the Plain was an inn Rand passed by in Far Madding (Winter’s Heart, A Portion of Wisdom). The inn’s name refers to the Plain of Maredo, the site of the former nation of Maredo of which Far Madding used to be the capital.

The Three Ladies of Maredo was another inn Rand passed by in Far Madding (Winter’s Heart, A Portion of Wisdom). Three is a very positive number representing harmony and completeness. The ladies of Maredo are from the former realm of the Far Madding area, where women have been the rulers for centuries.

The Archers at Emond’s Field is under construction (Winter’s Heart, Expectation). It will be considerably larger than the Winespring Inn and also have a tiled roof. The arrow represents penetration by light, death, love or perception. The inn’s name refers to the influx of people and ideas from outside awakening the region, and the Two Rivers longbowmen finally marching to war after centuries of non-participation. It may be a sign of nationalism rising in the Two Rivers.

The Golden Ducks, Ebou Dar. Noal Charin stayed in the inn’s attic until the Seanchan immigrants arrived and he was kicked out (Winter’s Heart, An Unexpected Encounter). Ducks represent a resourceful person, which Noal certainly is.


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Written by Linda, June 2007

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