Wednesday, February 27, 2002

THE EYE OF THE WORLD



By Linda

Winespring Inn in Emond’s Field is owned by the al’Vere family. It is the first inn we encounter in the series and follows fantasy conventions: the companions gathered there and the quest did begin from there.

The first floor of the inn was river rock, though the foundation was of older stone some said came from the mountains. The white-washed second storey, where Brandelwyn al'Vere, the innkeeper and Mayor of Emond's Field for the past twenty years, lived in the back with his wife and daughters, jutted out over the lower floor all the way around. Red roof tile, the only such roof in the village, glittered in the weak sunlight, and smoke drifted from three of the inn's dozen tall chimneys. At the south end of the inn, away from the stream, stretched the remains of a much larger stone foundation, once part of the inn-or so it was said.

- The Eye of the World, An Empty Road

The old foundation near the inn is believed to be two thousand years old (The Fires of Heaven, Dreams of Galad). The name refers to the natural spring nearby – the Winespring Water - and is a location name. In our world, springs have often been regarded as sacred or the dwelling places of supernatural beings, and were focal points of legends. Winespring could also be one of the many nods to Tolkien in The Eye of the World, referring to the Brandywine River in the Shire especially since the innkeeper is called Brandelwyn (also an appropriate name for an innkeeper).

The White Boar is the only building in Watch Hill with a tiled roof (The Shadow Rising, Assurances). The Emond’s Fielders wanted to stop there for a break, but were rudely awakened to the danger they were in (The Eye of the World, The Road to Taren Ferry). Later, Dain Bornhald liked to drink at this inn and watch the locals relax (The Shadow Rising, Assurances).

White represents purity, truth, innocence and initiation and the boar represents strength, aggression, courage, lust, tyranny and endeavours to end tyranny (Jack Tressider, Symbols and their Meanings). The White Boar is the sigil of Gawyn and of the Younglings. Thus it is an apt name for an inn that attracts naive youngsters on a quest to defeat the Shadow and save the world (and come of age) and the captain of a tyrannising religio-military organisation like the Whitecloaks.

The Stag and Lion in Baerlon, where Min worked, covered more than twice the area of the Winespring Inn and was four storeys tall (The Eye of the World, Choices). It had a bathroom – probably most unusual in medieval to early modern times (see Private Lives essay). A Fade confronted Rand at the inn, which was burned down. The innkeeper was compensated by the Blue Ajah and is rebuilding it bigger than before. This is another important inn where more companions were added to the quest: Nynaeve, and later Min.

The stag represents fertility, the wildness of nature and sovereignty. Stags were seen as harbingers of death and rebirth. In the Mabinogion, hunting or chasing a white stag is a prelude to contact with the Otherworld. In Arthurian myth the white stag or hart often appears in the forests around King Arthur's court to send the knights off on adventure against gods and fairies.The lion represents royalty, the sun and victory over death. It was considered both a destroyer and a saviour, capable of representing evil and its destruction (Jack Tressider, Symbols and their Meanings). The symbolism of the inn’s name refers to Rand and his companions and the quest to restore health to the Land by defeating the Shadow. Rand is Lews Therin’s soul reborn and is fated to die in order to live. Mat, too, died and lived again. Circumstances and the Shadow are forcing the main characters, especially Rand, to commit dark acts in their efforts to counter the Shadow, to damage or destroy what they are trying to save. Like Arthurian knights, the main characters are on a quest against gods (the Dark One and the god-like Forsaken) and fairies (the Forsaken and Black Ajah, and perhaps Aes Sedai, Aelfinn and Eelfinn).

Contact with the Otherworld occurred: the boys had their first contact with Ishamael in their dreams at the Stag and Lion. Min's otherworldly ability to see pieces of the Pattern around people was first displayed there - and one of those viewings was of Rand's death. In this sense Min would be the stag and Rand the protective and destructive lion (after all, his grandmother having been Queen of Andor). Another interpretation would be Rand as the hunted stag (in the Zoroastrian tradition the stag was created to kill serpents) and the lion the Andoran monarchy. The inn and its name is a hugely important and complex symbol.

The Wayfarer’s Rest in Whitebridge was the inn where Rand, Mat and Thom heard news.

The sign over the door, swinging in the wind, had a striding man with a bundle on his back on one side and the same man with his head on a pillow on the other, and proclaimed The Wayfarers' Rest...A shoulder-high wall split the room in two from front to back, with tables and a blazing fireplace on each side.

- The Eye of the World, Whitebridge

The wall is to separate crews from different boats to prevent fights. The name refers to travel and offers respite from it. This was a luxury our Wayfarers had little of at the inn.

The Dancing Cartman in Four Kings was dirty and had gaudy, peeling paint. Rand and Mat were nearly robbed and caught by a Darkfriend there and only escaped due to Rand’s channelling (The Eye of the World, Four Kings in Shadow). The name refers to a local occupation and indicates that the inn was for humble clientele.

Royal Inn, Four Kings, while also garishly painted, was a better class inn than the Dancing Cartman, but Gode passed it by to go to the inn where Rand and Mat were (The Eye of the World, Four Kings in Shadow). The inn’s name refers to royalty, as do the names of many inns in Andor. There was a nameless inn in Market Sheran where Mat and Rand stayed and were accosted by the Darkfriend Paitr Conel in the morning (The Eye of the World, The Dark Waits).

The Queen’s Man on the road to Caemlyn was where Rand was attacked by Shiane in the inn’s stable while weak with channelling sickness (The Eye of the World, The Dark Waits). The inn’s name announces support for the Andoran monarch.


The Goose and Crown on the road to Caemlyn was where Rand and Mat saw the innkeeper talking to a Myrddraal and stayed out of sight. Almen Bunt gave them a lift to Caemlyn and on the way informed them about the Andoran monarchy (The Eye of the World, The Last Village). Geese represent vigilance, which both Bunt and the boys exercised, by not approaching until the Myrddraal had gone. The innkeeper also told Bunt to look out for Rand and Mat whom he slandered as thieves. Crowns represent glory, royalty, fidelity and regeneration (Jack Tressider, Symbols and their Meanings). The inn’s name is a reference to the monarchy, common among Andoran inns. Mat and Rand were lucky to find a fervent supporter of the queen at this inn, and one, moreover, who exercised his own judgement. On another level, the two boys were destined for royal titles despite their village origins, if they weren’t killed by lack of vigilance.

The Queen’s Blessing in Caemlyn was Basel Gill’s inn. It is a broad stone building with a library and a large common room panelled with dark wood. The inn’s sign has a man kneeling before a woman with red-gold hair and a crown with one of her hands resting on his bowed head (The Eye of the World, Caemlyn). The inn’s name announces support for the Andoran monarchy. Morgase treated Rand justly when her advisors urged otherwise, which was a blessing to him. Later, the inn supplied aid to the Queen herself – a blessing for her.

The Crown and Lion, Caemlyn was named by Rand as a false address because it is nowhere near the Queen’s Blessing (The Eye of the World, The Web Tightens). Crowns symbolise glory, royalty, fidelity and regeneration and lions represent royalty, the sun, victory over death and being both destroyer and saviour. The name refers to the Andoran monarch – the Rose Crown and the Andoran White Lion.


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Written by Linda, June 2007

Contributor: Dominic


2 comments:

Adam Whitehead said...

Apostrophe crisis! My copy of EotW calles the pub the Wayfarers' Rest rather than the Wayfarer's Rest. I suppose either works (lots of wayfarers resting versus one wayfarer resting).

Dominic said...

:D Orbit strikes again!

Based on the sign, showing a Wayfarer and the same man sleeping, I'd say the singular is more likely. Not sure if this works exactly the same in English grammar, but in French we could use either, with the singular taking a collective sense. The singular would also be more 'personal'/exclusive, ie: each potential customer reading the sign is The Wayfarer.