WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR A MEMORY OF LIGHT
By Linda and Scalius
This article details what we know about the Horn of Valere: its history, association with prophecy, workings, Heroes and parallels.
THE HISTORY OF THE HORN
The Horn of Valere was known in the Age of Legends but it was considered a matter of myth and as such no serious scholar would waste their time on it. It was an artefact of an earlier, unknown Age and very little study, if any, went into the Horn. In a time of universal peace ignorant of the Dark One's existence, such an artefact as the Horn held little value:
The Horn of Valere was known in the Age of Legends, though it was an artefact of an earlier age but it was never used in the Age of Legends. In part, this was because there wasn't any need in an Age that knew universal peace, but also it was because what it could do was considered a sort of myth by most people in that Age. No one who is serious spends time trying to test out whether a myth might be real. (Seen anybody sacrificing a white bull to Jupiter lately?)The Horn was lost in the immediate aftermath of the Dark One's release, prior to the actual beginning of the War of Shadow. It was thought destroyed in the first rush of mob violence and terrorism which erupted in the chaos that was the Dark One's presence in the World. It was later recovered, sealed up in a chest and stored along with the Dragon banner, because Foretellings, which where the basis for the Prophecies of the Dragon, stated that it must be so (TOR Question of the Week). After the Breaking of the World, knowledge of the Horn survived in the Westlands primarily through the telling of the story from generation to generation. The Horn was later found within the Eye of the World as part of a cache which included the Dragon banner as well as one of the seals (now broken) on the Dark One's prison (The Eye of the World, There is Neither Beginning Nor End).
- TOR Question of the Week
In appearance, it is a curled, golden horn with ”Tia mi aven Moridin isainde vadin”, (‘The grave is no bar to my call’) inlaid in silver script around the mouth of the bell (The Eye of the World, There is Neither Beginning Nor End). The inscription was added in the Age of Legends. The Horn is remarkably plain aside from the inscription, yet it possesses the property of unusual durability: Mat tossed the Horn over a wall, picking it up on the other side noting; "It isn't even scratched" (The Great Hunt, Blademaster). (How symbolic this simple act turned out to be, in the light of Mat’s gladness that he is not a Hero, or now the Hornsounder either.)
The creators of the Horn are unknown, but they were mortal, not gods (see Robert Jordan’s Blog Posts Pre Knife of Dreams article) and the Horn certainly dates from an earlier Age than the current. The Horn has been around for a long time and prior to Falme, had not been used since at least the Age prior to the Age of Legends.
THE HORN AND PROPHECY
Long thought only legend, the Horn will call dead heroes of past Ages to fight against the Dark One. The Prophecies say it must be found prior to Tarmon Gaidon (The Great Hunt, The Shadow in Shienar), but otherwise the Horn has apparently no known mention within the Karaethon Cycle (The Great Hunt, Watchers).
There is a "Prophecy of the Horn", though little is known of it apart from:
"The prophecy says ‘Let who sounds me think not of glory, but only salvation.’"Mat was thinking of salvation when he sounded the Horn – saving himself, Rand, Perrin, Hurin, and Egwene from the Seanchan – and Olver, alone with Trollocs attacking, tried the only thing that could possibly save him. The Horn being a Hallowed object, it was never likely to be sounded by one unworthy.
-The Great Hunt,To Come Out Of Shadow
In addition there is a prophecy of sorts in the telling of the Great Hunt of the Horn as performed by gleeman and court-bards. This is but a minor portion of the complete story, which would take a week or more to complete in a single telling (The Eye of the World, Watchers and Hunters):
The Prophecy of the Horn of Valere
In the last, lorn fightHidden as it was at the Eye of the World, the Mountains of Dhoom stood guard, forming a barrier to obtaining the Horn and later to taking it to Mat. As I speculated in the previous version of this article, the Horn was blown only at the very end of the Last Battle, and the dead were ‘ward’ to the Hornblower, protecting him from the Trollocs trying to kill him for the Horn.
'gainst the fall of long night,
the mountains stand guard,
and the dead shall be ward,
for the grave is no bar to my call.
-The Eye Of The World, Whitebridge
It is in Illian that the Great Hunt of the Horn was called, although it is not known why the Horn was linked by custom to that city (JordanCon 2013). For the young men of Illian it was a sort of right of passage to declare a personal hunt for the Horn, much as young men of the Borderlands undertook a search for the Eye of the World (The Eye of the World, Strangers and Friends). In 998 NE, for the first time in 400 years, Illian sent out a proclamation across the land to all who would swear their lives to the Hunt. In the Great Square of Tammaz the hunters gathered amid much fanfare and celebration to take the Hunters' oaths and receive blessings. There were over one thousand and perhaps as many as two thousand hunters who participated in the ceremony.
High Lord Turak made it clear that the Seanchan are aware of the existence of the Horn, at least among the Blood (The Great Hunt, The Wheel Weaves). It is likely that knowledge of the Horn has been passed down from generation to generation, much the same as in Westlands. There is no known Seanchan prophecy tied directly to the Horn, but then we know only a small part of their Essanik Cycle of the Prophecies of the Dragon.
THE WORKINGS OF THE HORN
The Horn acts as part of a mechanism for control within the Pattern. The souls which are called by the Horn - the Heroes of the Horn - are not only bound to the Horn, but bound to the Wheel as well. While they wait to be spun out or called out, these souls reside within Tel’aran’rhiod, the World of Dreams. There are strict precepts which have been in place for Ages that govern the conduct of these souls while in Tel’aran’rhiod. One of these is, according to Birgitte:
”We may speak to none who know they are in Tel’aran’rhiod…It violates the precepts, precepts which have held me for so many turns of the Wheel that in my oldest, faintest memories I know I had already lived a hundred times, or a thousand. Speaking to you violates precepts as strong as law."As Birgitte has demonstrated, these precepts are voluntary and can be broken. Normally there are two methods by which these souls are able to touch the real world: either the Wheel spins them out in re-birth, or the Horn calls them forth. When spun out by the Wheel, these souls work to shape the Pattern at the Wheel’s wish, and not their own:
- The Shadow Rising, Need
Only a few are bound to the Wheel, spun out again and again to work the will of the Wheel in the Pattern of the Ages…The Wheel spins us out for its purposes, not ours, to serve the Pattern.There is however a third and unnatural way for these souls to touch the world of flesh which is not fully understood. Moghedien used a large amount of the One Power to cause the night of Tel’aran’rhiod to envelope Birgitte in blackness while she was ripped bodily out of Tel’aran’rhiod and deposited in the real world. The intent was to remove her soul from being bound to the Horn, so she would not be reborn as Gaidal Cain’s partner: Moghedien aimed to “make Birgitte weep alone for as long as the Wheel turns” as she threatened to do so long ago (The Shadow Rising, Need). Birgitte feared that her soul had been unbound from the Wheel or the Horn as a result:
- The Great Hunt, The Grave is No Bar to My Call
The Wheel wove the heroes into the Pattern as they were needed, to shape the Pattern, and when they died they returned here [Tel’aran’rhiod] to wait again.
- The Fires of Heaven, Meetings
"Birgitte Silverbow. Faith of the Light, I'm not sure I still am that woman. So much of what I was and knew has faded like mist beneath the summer sun since my strange new birth. I'm no hero now, only another woman to make my way."She always feels that way, though, when spun out, and when reborn as a baby is unaware of any of her previous lives. Moreover, Min had a viewing of two strands of Birgitte’s lives and they were linked to Gaidal Cain:
- A Crown of Swords, Swovan Night
Besides, those multitudes of images and auras flashed by too quickly for her to make out any clearly, but she was certain they indicated more adventures than a woman could have in one lifetime. Strangely, some were connected to an ugly man who was older than she, and others to an ugly man who was much younger, yet somehow Min knew they were the same man.In A Memory of Light, we saw that Birgitte is still a Hero and Moghedien’s actions were part of the Pattern.
- Winter’s Heart, A Lily in Winter.
There are little more than one hundred Heroes bound to the Wheel (The Great Hunt, The Grave is No Bar to My Call). It may be that a certain number of these souls were bound to the Wheel from the beginning of Creation, while others were added over time. New souls can find themselves bound to the Horn, though it takes very great bravery and accomplishment in the flesh. Brandon Sanderson wanted to explore this:
One thing that specifically came up once was me wanting to delve more into the Heroes of the Horn. The Wheel has always turned, and time is infinite. If people can occasionally be added to the Horn, that would mean that the number of people tied to the Horn is also infinite unless people get unbound as well as bound. I wanted to explore this idea—in conversation only, this isn't a plot point—but was persuaded by Team Jordan that RJ wanted nobody ever to be unbound, and that exploration in this direction would go against his vision for the world.A soul remains permanently bound to the Wheel, barring an unnatural event:
Brandon Sanderson, 2012 Interview
New heroes could find themselves bound so as well, men and women whose bravery and accomplishments raised them far above the ordinary, but once bound, it was forever.The reason these souls are bound to the Wheel is to fight the Shadow:
- The Fires of Heaven, Meetings
We must fight it [the Shadow]. That is the reason we were bound to the Wheel.The Aes Sedai thought that the Heroes are not restricted as to which side they follow:
- The Shadow Rising, Need
"You ride to find the Horn of Valere, and the hope of the world rides with you. The Horn cannot be left in the wrong hands, especially in Darkfriend hands. Those who come to answer its call, will come whoever blows it, and they are bound to the Horn, not to the Light."At a book signing, Jordan explained further:
- The Great Hunt, Leavetakings
Q: "Hawkwing says they follow the banner and the Dragon. Moiraine says the Heroes will follow whoever winds the horn. Was Moiraine wrong?"This means that if the Dragon were on the side of the Shadow, then the Heroes called by the Horn would be bound to fight for the Shadow via the Dragon. However it was misinformation:
A: *Arch look* "Moiraine doesn't know everything. She was speaking the truth as she knows it." (I took this to imply that Moir was misinformed, and the conflict resolved, until he continued.) "However, she is correct in that whoever sounds the horn 'controls the Heroes.'" [exact quote] (I started to get confused at this point. Is Moir right or is she wrong? What's he trying to tell me?)
Q: "Then what happens if the Dragon and the banner are on opposite sides of the conflict from whoever sounds the horn?"
A: "Then we get a [rift] in the Pattern."
Terez: I'm guessing you're aware that RJ told a couple of fans that the Heroes had to follow the Horn no matter who blew it (and that, if the Shadow blew the Horn, there would be some kind of 'rift' in the Pattern). What's the story there?As was revealed in the last book:
Brandon Sanderson: This is an interesting one for a multitude of reasons. I actually worked under the assumption that whoever blew the Horn would control the Heroes, going so far as to write several sequences in the last book referencing that to heighten tension that if the Horn were indeed captured things would go VERY poorly for the Light.
I was quite surprised, then, when Harriet wrote back to me on the manuscript quite energetically crossing out these lines and explaining that the Heroes could not ever follow the Shadow. I called and asked for confirmation and clarification, pointing out that it seemed otherwise from the text and from fandom interpretation. She explained that this was one of Jim's ruses, that the characters in book were wrong and repeating bad information, and that Jim had been very clear with her that it was not the case. I can only guess that these reports in fandom were cases where people asked Jim a question he could Aes Sedai his way out of, and something got muddled in the communication or the reporting somehow.
Maria Simons: I really can't add anything here. I thought I was led to believe (as opposed to coming up with it myself) that the Heroes really wouldn't follow the Horn if it were blown by Team Dark, but I cannot swear to that. I was unaware of the rift answer. Of course, it's possible that the Heroes themselves don't know the correct answer; they're Heroes, after all, and unless there's some Hero orientation meeting where they are filled in on all the details, they may just assume that they're always going to be Heroes, as in champions of goodness and Light.
Brandon Sanderson and Maria Simons, 2013 Interview
"Gambler," Hawkwing replied. "Do take better care of what has been allotted you. Almost, I worried we would not be summoned for this fight." Mat let out a relaxing breath.The Heroes do require at least one form of proof - that being the presence of the Dragon banner. Yet the banner was not made at the same time as the Horn, so this restriction evolved over time:
"Bloody ashes, Hawkwing! You needn't have drawn it out like that, you bloody goat-kisser. So you fight for us?"
"Of course we fight for the Light," Hawkwing said. "We would never fight for the Shadow."
"But I was told—" Mat began.
"You were told wrong," Hawkwing said.
A Memory of Light, Those Who Fight
Question: Were the Dragon Banner and the Horn of Valere made at the same time?In addition Hawking asked for Mat to sound the Horn for the march into battle:
Robert Jordan: No.
Question: Then why did Hawkwing need Rand to produce the banner at Falme before he could attack?
Robert Jordan: Legends change
Knife of Dreams booksigning
"Something is wrong here. Something holds me." Suddenly he turned his sharp-eyed gaze on Rand. "You are here. Have you the banner?" …though this doesn’t appear to be necessary for action, judging by the Last Battle. In the battle of Falme, the Heroes’ success was tied in some way to the success of the Dragon in his battle against the Shadow. The success of the Seanchan was tied to that of the Shadow because they were led by a Darkfriend at the time (Brandon Sanderson at the Daytona The Gathering Storm booksigning). In the Last Battle, the Horn was blown when Rand triumphantly declared that Lan was not dead, as the Dark One claimed, but fighting on, making the Shadow’s army quail with the proof of Demandred’s defeat. Lan’s success inspired Rand to resist the Dark One, which in turn gave heart to the Light’s armies. Hawkwing, as the spokesman and leader of the Heroes, acknowledged Rand as the Dragon at Falme, and he bowed to Rand and called him Lord Rand.
"You are here. The banner is here. The weave of this moment is set. We have come to the Horn, but we must follow the banner. And the Dragon."…
"Trumpeter, will you give us music on the Horn? Fitting that the Horn of Valere should sing us into battle."
- The Great Hunt, The Grave is No Bar to My Call
When Olver blew the Horn, the Heroes assembled where the banner was located (with Mat), although the Dragon was in Shayol Ghul and the Horn in the Heights:
Hawkwing nodded toward something nearby. Rand's banner; Dannil still held it aloft. "We arrive here to gather at the banner. We can fight for you because of it, Gambler, and because the Dragon leads you—though he does it from afar. It is enough."These souls are familiar with and know one another and it is the etiquette among the Heroes to refer to one another by their last incarnation. Some of them have formed a link and consistently work together upon rebirth. Birgitte and Gaidal Cain are an example of linked souls who are nearly always reborn together.
A Memory of Light, Those Who Fight
"He [Gaidal] will need me, Elayne, and I will not be there. He always has more courage than is good for him; I always must supply him with caution. Worse, he will wander, searching for me, not knowing what he is looking for, not knowing why he feels incomplete. We are always together, Elayne. Two halves of a whole."The linked souls aside, there is no guarantee that Heroes will always work together during a period of rebirth. There have been times when Heroes have ended up fighting against one another, as the Pattern requires:
- The Fires of Heaven, A New Name
"I have fought by your side time beyond number, Lews Therin, and faced you as many more. I know you, if you do not know yourself."When spun out by the Wheel for rebirth, the Heroes typically do not retain knowledge of their past lives or accomplishments. They live each rebirth independent of the others, yet they continue to serve the will of the Wheel. It is only when they are residing within Tel'aran'rhiod or called forth by the Horn that the Heroes recognise one another and remember past lives.
- The Great Hunt, The Grave is No Bar to My Call
Once sounded, the Horn becomes a simple instrument to anyone other than the Hornsounder (The Great Hunt, The Wheel Weaves). If the Hornsounder dies, the link with the Horn is broken, thereby allowing a new link to be formed by a different person (The Dragon Reborn, The Amyrlin Seat). As I surmised in the previous version of this essay, Mat’s link with the Horn was broken when he was killed by Rahvin weaving lightning (an indirect weave):
How had the bloody Horn been sounded? Well it looked like Mat wasn’t tied to the thing any longer. His death at Rhuidean must have broken him from it…Yet his link to the Horn was not reforged when Rahvin was balefired and Olver became the new Hornsounder:
“Apparently that tree claimed me.”
“Not the tree, Gambler,” Hawkwing said, “Another moment, one that you cannot remember. It is fitting, as Lews Therin did save your life both times.”
A Memory of Light, Those Who Fight
Shillster: Why did Mat's death break the bond with the Horn when his death was reversed with balefire? Wouldn't it also reverse the breaking of the bond?When the Horn is blown by the Hornsounder it emits a clear note which resonates with the surroundings, and which precedes a rising fog that thickens and clouds the land. Out of this fog ride forth the Heroes of the Horn, led by Artur Hawkwing. At the Last Battle, the sound of the Horn disoriented the Shadow’s entire army (A Memory of Light, Those Who Fight). There is some inconsistency on how invincible the Heroes are. At Falme, Birgitte said that the Heroes cannot be killed by standard weaponry or affected by the One Power when called forth by the Horn because they were not in the flesh as they would be upon rebirth :
Brandon Sanderson: This is one where I just let Team Jordan lead. They told me why the bond had been broken, and that the other death didn't count. It was straight from RJ's mouth, but was not included in the notes, so we just had to work with what we had.
"As for Falme, the Horn had called us; we were not there as you were, in the flesh. That is why the Power could not touch us. Here [Tel’aran’rhiod], all is part of the dream, and the One Power could destroy me as easily as you."However at the Last Battle, Hawkwing laughed at Mat’s suggestion that the Heroes could do all the fighting (and they didn't at Falme):
- The Shadow Rising, Need
Hawkwing laughed. "You think we hundred can fight this entire battle?"Yet Birgitte told Elayne that the Warder bond weave would not work:
"You're the bloody heroes of the Horn," Mat said. "That's what you do, isn't it?"
"We can be defeated," said pretty Blaes of Matuchin, dancing her horse to the side of Hawkwing's. Tuon couldn't be mad if he looked a little at a hero, right? People were supposed to stare at them. "If we are wounded in dire ways, we will have to withdraw and recover in the World of Dreams."
"The Shadow knows how to incapacitate us," Hend added. "Bind us hand and foot, and we can do nothing to aid the battle. It doesn't matter if one is immortal when one cannot move."
"We can fight well," Hawkwing said to Mat. "And we will lend you our strength. This is not our war alone. We are just one part of it."
A Memory of Light, Those Who Fight
"Perhaps I should bond you again?"Moreover, no Heroes were mentioned as being incapacitated in any way in the battle.
"It would not work," Birgitte said, waving her hand with a dismissive gesture.
A Memory of Light, Wolfbrother
They do remain vulnerable to the One Power when residing within Tel’aran’rhiod, as Moghedien demonstrated on Birgitte.
The Heroes appear to return to Tel’aran’rhiod after the Dragon stops fighting. The Heroes vanished back to Tel’aran’rhiod after Rand fell unconscious at Falme, and after Rand sealed the Dark One away and began to die. Birgitte lingered talking with Elayne as a dispensation, perhaps because she was about to be reborn.
THE HEROES OF THE HORN
The following is a list of the known Heroes of the Horn:
- Amaresu: she is the wielder of the Sword of Sun which glows in her hands (A Crown of Swords, Swovan Night). She is a parallel of the Japanese sun goddess Amaterasu Omikami (see Character Names A article).
- Artur Hawkwing: the Hammer of the Light. One of the strongest ta'veren ever known, and leader of the Heroes of the Horn. He is a tall, hook-nosed man with dark, deep-set eyes and a deep voice. Spokesman and leader of the Heroes, he carries his sword Justice at his side or on his shoulder. Hawkwing was born in Shandalle, a nation that arose from the ruins of southwestern Almoren following the Trolloc Wars, the region of present day Cairhien. He began a campaign to conquer the known world, eventually uniting all the lands from the Great Blight to the Sea of Storms, from the Aryth Ocean to the Aiel Waste. Alienated from the White Tower, he laid a twenty-year siege on Tar Valon, putting the price of a thousand gold crowns on the head of every Aes Sedai (The Eye of the World, Eyes Without Pity). At the urging of Jalwin Moerad (Ishamael), he sent his son Luthair across the Aryth Ocean, which led to the establishment of the Seanchan empire and a daughter to Shara in a failed invasion (The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time). Near the end of his reign he decided to build a new capital city which was independent from all other nations. For the site he chose a stedding, to avoid the influence of Aes Sedai. The common folk commissioned the building of a gigantic statue of Hawkwing which took five years to complete. On the day it was finished, Artur Hawkwing perished and his soul returned to Tel’aran'rhiod to await rebirth or the call of the Horn.
As a favour to Mat, he kindly had a few words with his distant descendant, the Empress (A Memory of Light, A Field of Glass), words which caused her some angst:
Nick: How do you think Fortuona reacted to speaking with Hawking? Brandon Sanderson: With great consternation.This would have greatly raised Mat’s status in her eyes, especially if Hawkwing told her that Mat’s deeds qualified him to be a Hero of the Horn. The High King is a parallel of the historical King Arthur (see Character Names A article).
- Birgitte Silverbow: "Faith of the Light"; archer with silver bow and arrows that never miss; linked with Gaidal Cain; ripped out of Tel’aran’rhiod and perhaps unbound from the Wheel/Horn; ex-warder to Elayne Trakand, and now reborn. She is always an archer:
A guy asked if Birgitte were to be born in an Age like today, would she still be an archer, or would she be an Annie Oakley type of a person—a great sniper?And her arrows seem to trail light in flight (A Memory of Light, Those Who Fight).
RJ said that she would always be an archer, no matter what.
Knife of Dreams Booksigning
Birgitte is a parallel of the Valkyries, the Norse goddesses who are noted overs of heroes and bring chosen warriors slain in battle to Valhalla, Odin’s afterlife hall. These warrior spirits become einherjar and spend their time preparing for Ragnarok (the Norse battle marking the end of the world) and drinking mead brought to them by Valkyries.
Birgitte is a Hero herself, and Tel’aran’rhiod is like Valhalla in that the souls of the dead Heroes of the Horn hang out there until they are reborn or summoned by the Horn of Valere to fight for the Light, notably at the Last Battle. She loves a drink, and Mat, a parallel of Odin (see Mat essay), is her drinking buddy:
"Finally, someone I can go drinking with who doesn't look at me as their bloody military superior."Indeed Odin would be unlikely to consider a valkyrie his military superior! Valere, Valkyrie, Valhalla...all to do with valour.
Towers of Midnight, An Unexpected Letter
Another parallel for Birgitte is Atalanta, an Arcadian princess according to Apollodorus who was left to die on a mountaintop as a newborn by her father King Iasos because he wanted a son, but was saved by goddesses and nurtured by a bear. She was found and raised by hunters and became a hunter herself.
Birgitte was ripped out of the Pattern by Moghedien and, newly incarnated, was left to die. Elayne saved her and their story in Salidar was that Birgitte was a Hunter for the Horn.
In some versions of Jason and the Argonauts she joined Jason’s quest for the Golden Fleece as the only female so she could later join the Amazons. She was injured at the battle of Colchis and was healed by Medea.
Jason is a parallel of Rand (see Rand essay), and his Argonauts, which also include Telamon (the third name of Lews Therin) are parallels of Heroes of the Horn. Medea is a parallel of Lanfear (see Lanfear essay).
Atalanta and her lover Melanion (or Hippomenes) angered the gods and were changed into lions as punishment. The Ancient Greeks believed that lions could not mate with other lions, only with leopards, and thus Atalanta and her lover would never be together again.
Elayne gave Birgitte an Andoran title as acknowledgement of her aid in keeping her alive and helping her secure the Lion Throne. Birgitte mistakenly feared that she and Gaidal were now no longer connected and are doomed to be apart thanks to Moghedien’s punishment. The Forsaken have parallels to gods and goddesses (see Three Strands Common to the Forsaken essay). Her name is a reference to Brigit, the Irish goddess of poetry, learning, healing and craftsmanship and Saint Brigid (see Character Names B article).
- Blaes of Matuchin: Strong as the ash; lithe as the willow; beautiful as the rose. She is golden-haired and will die before she yields. It is said the Dark One has marked her as his own, but she has never turned to the Shadow (The Eye of the World, Watchers and Hunters). Blaes is an Arthurian name (see Character Names B article).
- Buad of Albhain: (The Eye of the World, Watchers and Hunters). She is as regal as any queen (A Memory of Light, Those Who Fight.)
- Calian the Chooser: riding red-masked at her brother Shivan’s side (A Crown of Swords, Swovan Night). She is a parallel of the goddess Kali (see Character Names C article).
- Gaidal Cain: A swarthy, dark and strongly muscled man with a face wide and flat, a nose too big, a mouth too broad and a voice too harsh; carries two swords, the hilts of which can be seen sticking above his shoulders; linked with Birgitte; was reborn in the flesh, and currently exists in the world as a child or young boy. Some think that he is Jur Grady’s young son Gadren, who is very ugly. Gadren was 4 in Oct 28, 999 NE (Lord of Chaos, A Woman’s Eyes). A little over two months earlier, Birgitte had remarked that she had not seen Gaidal “in a while”, and assumed he had been reborn. On hearing this news, Nynaeve expected that Gaidal would be an infant at this time (The Fires of Heaven, A Meeting), and I agree. Gaidal was definitely sighted in Tel’aran’rhiod in The Shadow Rising, To The Tower Of Ghenjei, two months earlier again, on Jun 9. (For possible parallels to Gaidal Cain based on his name, see Character Names G article).
- Hend the Striker: A big dark-skinned man whose weapons are a hammer and a spike (A Memory of Light, Those Who Fight). He rides a huge horse and is a parallel of John Henry, the legendary African-American steel-driver, who hammereda steel drill into rock to make a hole for explosives in railway construction, and won a race against a steam hammer.
- Lian: (The Eye of the World, Watchers and Hunters)
- Mikel of the Pure Heart: also known as Michael (The Great Hunt, The Grave Is No Bar To My Call and A Crown of Swords, Swovan Night). Mikel refers to St Michael (see Character Names M article).
- Noal/Jain Charin Farstrider: he looks old but vigorous, and rides a beautiful white horse with golden saddle and reins (A Memory of Light, Those Who Fight). He fights with a quarterstaff. His name parallels are discussed in Character Names J and N articles.
- Otarin: also known as Oscar (The Great Hunt, The Grave Is No Bar To My Call.) Oscar may refer to a legendary fighter of irish mythology see Character Names O.
- Paedrig: the golden-tongued peacemaker, also known as Patrick (The Great Hunt, The Grave Is No Bar To My Call and A Crown of Swords, Swovan Night). Patrick is probably a reference to St Patrick (see Character Names P article.)
- Rogosh Eagle-eye: Rogosh of Talmour; famed at the court of the High King; feared on the slopes of Shayol Ghul; the greatest of the Hunters, a fatherly looking man with white hair and eyes so sharp as to make his name merely a hint. He made a famed bargain with Dunsinin, whom he loved (The Eye of the World, Watchers and Hunters and The Great Hunt, The Grave Is No Bar To My Call).
- Shivan the Hunter: Brother of Calian; herald of the end of Ages, the destruction of what had been and the birth of what was to be; rides black masked at Calian's side (A Crown of Swords, Swovan Night). The Hindu god Shiva is his parallel (see Character Names S article).
To repeat: Mat Cauthon is not a Hero of the Horn, though he has done enough to earn a place:
"No, you are not one of us," Hend said. "Be at ease. Though you have done more than enough to earn a place, you have not been chosen. I do not know why."The reason is that he is a Trickster first and foremost, and Tricksters have to be free, or break free:
A Memory of Light, A Field of Glass
Well, you wouldn't find Mat trading places with him. Noal might enjoy it, but Mat wouldn't dance at another man's command. Not for immortality itself, no he wouldn't.Too cool for school, that’s Mat.
A Memory of Light, Tendrils of Mist
REAL WORLD PARALLELS OF THE HORN
Some sort of brass instrument features in the end-times of the world (for more information on Wheel of Time end-times or Eschatology see Eschatology essay), notably in Norse mythology and in Revelation from the New Testament. A horn will be blown at Ragnarok and a trumpet will sound to herald the Last Judgement.
Heimdall the Hornblower and Ragnarok
The Norse believed there would be a final battle involving humans and legendary beings at Ragnarok (doom of the gods). Ragnarok will be heralded by three severe winters with no summers in between. The land will be riven by conflict and chaos, and lawlessness will reign. Earthquakes will shake the earth and burst all chains and the dangerous wolf Fenrir will be freed.
The Norse god Heimdall (notorious for drinking too much mead) will blow his horn Gjallarhorn as Ragnarok draws near, calling the gods and also the dead heroes (who have been spending their time fighting and feasting in Valhalla awaiting this call to battle) to the battlefield. Gods, demons, giants, elves, dwarfs and men all converge on the plain where the last battle is fought. In some versions, there are no survivors from the battle, in other versions, some gods survive and others are reborn and a new paradisaical age dawns.
The approach of Tarmon Gai’don and Ragnarok are marked by similar events: severe weather, conflict and chaos. The Dragon Reborn broke all bonds according to prophecy (The Dragon Reborn, Opening prophecy) and the Forsaken were freed from the Bore. Humans (the channellers being the equivalent of gods), Ogier and Shadowspawn converged on the battlefield. Mat summoned the Heroes to battle at Falme, and at the Last Battle they assembled where Mat was because he had the Dragon banner, even though Olver sounded the Horn. The Heroes of the Horn await in Tel’aran’rhiod for either rebirth or the Horn’s call to fight at the Last Battle. Mat is a parallel of Heimdall, both men being fond of drinking (see Mat essay). Interestingly, Odin, a major parallel of Mat, rules over the fallen warriors in Valhalla. Odin is linked with the Wild Hunt, and the Horn called the souls of dead wolves which had gathered in the north in Tel’aran’rhiod to fight the Darkhounds in the Last Hunt.
The Wild Hunt is a hunting party flying through the night skies that gathers souls on its way. It is led by a god, goddess or legendary person such as Odin/Woden, Gwydian, Herne the Hunter, King Arthur, or even Satan. Jordan had two “Wild Hunts”: the first, of the (human) Heroes summoned by the first blast of the Horn, led by the legendary Artur Hawkwing, to fight the Darkfriends, Trollocs and Myrrdraal in the Shadow’s armies, and the second, of hero Wolves summoned by the last blast of the Horn, and led by Perrin, the King of the Wild, to fight the Darkhounds.
As the Horn sounded, the Darkhounds spread across Thakan’dar and attacked the Light’s forces. They were probably loosed in response to Demandred’s death, and, as corrupted wolves they are one of the representations of Fenrir, the monster wolf of Norse myth. (Another is Semirhage, see Semirhage essay.)
The Last Trump
In Revelation, a trumpet sounds seven times during the final battle between good and evil, Armageddon, a similar name to Tarmon Gai’don, the Last Battle in the Wheel of Time series. At the end of the world the Messiah is the only one worthy of breaking open a scroll with seven seals:
“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”These seven seals are the real world parallels of the seven Seals on the Dark One’s prison. They were set in place by Lews Therin and the Hundred Companions and the first four broke sequentially as Rand, the Creator’s Chosen One, battled various Forsaken. In Revelation, the death of the Messiah happens before the seals are broken, but in The Wheel of Time it occurs after they are broken. The breaking of the first four Seals in Revelation 6:1-8 triggers the appearance of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse who let loose war, famine, pestilence and death. Likewise, in the Wheel of Time, the world was engulfed in war, famine and pests, as well as pestilence, once four seals were broken, causing much mortality. Moridin, Death, was reborn. The redeemed Logain broke the remaining three seals.
- Revelation 5:9
When the sixth seal is broken (Rev 6:12), there is a great earthquake, the sun becomes black and the moon is red as blood. Stars fall to earth and the sky vanishes. Every mountain and island is removed from its place.
The landscape, indeed reality, broke up in the Last Battle due to the usage of balefire by Darkfriends. Aviendha saw:
an impossibility: an enormous chunk of rock that was floating precariously with very little underneath it. It had ripped from the ground and risen here.Earthquakes caused the Heights to collapse. The ground also shook at the first blast of the Horn, as Elayne noted.
A Memory of Light, Impossibilities
The opening of the seventh seal in Revelation 10:7 initiates seven catastrophic trumpet blasts. With the first trumpet blast there is a shower of hail and fire mixed with blood, with the second, a huge blazing mountain is thrown into the sea, with the third, a blazing star named wormwood falls into the waters and with the fourth, a third of the sky goes dark. The fifth trumpet blast causes a star [or angel] with the key to the abyss (bottomless pit) to fall to earth. The abyss is opened and a plague of locusts comes out and also smoke, which darkens the sky further. When the sixth trumpet blast is heard, four angels with vast numbers of mounted troops are released and they kill people by fire, smoke and sulphur. Two Witnesses for the Lord are also killed. Finally, with the seventh trumpet blast God’s temple in heaven is opened amid lightning, thunder, earthquakes and hail.
Many of these destructive events described in Revelation occurred during the Last Battle in The Wheel of Time as channellers fight. The four “angels” that lead vast numbers of troops and kill with fire, smoke and sulphur are Demandred, Moghedien, Graendal and M’Hael. (Some of the Forsaken have demonic or angelic names, notably Demandred, and M’Hael, parallel of St Michael, Names of the Shadow article). Padan Fain named himself as Ordeith to Pedron Niall, and this means wormwood in the Old Tongue. As he so often did, Jordan changed the order of events compared to his source.
I tried to count Olver’s blasts on the Horn to see how many there were. Olver blew more than three but it is not obvious if they totalled seven in number to equal those of the Last Trump. He certainly did not blow many; characters remark on the length, but not the number, of his blasts, and there were periods when the Horn was silent.
The fallen angel who opens the bottomless pit with the key is an interesting figure. His/her parallel is arguably Logain, who broke the Seals to open the Bore, and qualified as a fallen angel, although a redeemed one. In another way it represents Moridin, most fallen of all the ‘angels/demons’, who was trapped by Rand, Nynaeve and Moiraine into using Callandor as a True Power sa’angreal and providing a buffer of the Dark One’s own power to prevent saidar and saidin from being tainted.
The first blast of the Horn was long, and coincided with Lan getting to his feet after killing Demandred. He inspired everyone, especially Rand. The Heroes assembled around Mat and began fighting. Olver had time to sounded two or three more blasts, before Noal arrived to saved him. The boy stopped blowing the Horn for a short time until Noal urged him to resume.
At the second small group of blasts, some other Heroes arrived to help Noal. The Seanchan returned to fight and the dragons were put back into service. Moghedien rallied the Shadow’s armies, then was fired upon by the dragons. Alviarin’s group was trapped. The Heights collapsed. The Shadow’s armies were wiped out at Merrilor, but the battle at Thakan’dar seemed lost due to the onrush of Darkhounds in the Wild Hunt. Mat met up with Olver and they flew wildly to Thakan’dar and saw the Darkhounds (a parallel of Odin leading the Wild Hunt). Rand understood that what distinguished the Light’s armies was their nobilty. Perrin returned to Tel’aran’rhiod to help Rand.
At the final (possibly seventh) blast of the Horn Rand duelled Moridin, who killed Alanna and snatched Callandor. Perrin killed Slayer and then fought the Darkhounds with the newly arrived Hero Wolves in the Last Hunt. Mat killed Shaisam. Graendal was Compelled by her own weave. Moridin was forcibly linked with Rand, Nynaeve and Moiraine, and Rand seized the Dark One. Logain was redeemed, literally saw the Light, and broke the Seals on the Bore. Perrin killed Lanfear and the way was clear for Rand to reseal the Bore once he decided not to kill the Dark One. Those still living left Shayol Ghul, which closed. By this stage, Birgitte was the only one of the Heroes who remained in the waking world.
Moiraine and Nynaeve were two witnesses for the Lord, but both survived. The two champions fared differently: Rand’s body and Moridin’s soul died, although at first it looked like both would die.
It was not God’s temple in heaven which was opened, but the black pit of nothingness which is the Dark One’s hell.
So the Horn that summons the dead Heroes to fight at the Last Battle and the Last Wild Hunt is logically the last trump that heralds the end of the Age, rather than the world. If the Dark One had won, the world would indeed be ended, and remade in the Dark One’s image.
The other two parallels of the Horn are Celtic in origin.
In the Chanson du Roland, a legend derived from the historic King Charlemagne’s court, Charlemagne’s nephew Roland and his companion Oliver were in the rearguard of the army which had been fighting Muslims. They were attacked, but Roland refused to sound his horn Oliphant to summon reinforcements until it was too late. When he finally blew it, blood flowed from his mouth and ‘burst from his forehead’ and he died.
In the Wheel of Time, Faile’s company was disguised as part of the supply line for the armies fighting the Shadow. They were attacked, but Faile did not blow the Horn because she thought it would be useless to do so. Instead she gave it to Olver while she lured the Trollocs away, nearly dying from this courageous action. Hence the Horn was blown really late in the Last Battle, almost too late according to Hawkwing (A Memory of Light, Those Who Fight), by Olver, a parallel of Oliver. Mat is a parallel of Roland, since he is consort of an Empress, and a buddy of the High King. Mat expected to blow the Horn, but was glad he was freed of that duty. He was appalled at the thought he might be tied to the Horn as a Hero.
Bran Galed was a Welsh hero who owned a magical horn that was one of the Thirteen Treasures of Britain. Merlin had to acquire this one first before he could gain the other twelve Treasures, which he did. It could produce enough liquor of any type to satisfy anyone.
It is to be noted that the Horn of Valere was one of the first treasures to be acquired by Rand, a magus figure, and his companions, and regaining it an important quest in their spiritual growth as heroes so that they could succeed in their quests for other treasures.
The name ‘Valere’ suggests Valour – one of the main criteria for being chosen a Hero of the Horn - and also Valhalla, the hall where dead warriors reside awaiting Ragnarok.
HOW WAS THE HORN KEPT SAFE ?
In a private meeting, Verin and Siuan decided to hide the Horn in a place that only the two of them had knowledge of (The Dragon Reborn, The Amyrlin Seat). There is no indication that Verin went anywhere near the Horn when she returned to the Tower late in the schism. The way things were there, perhaps she didn’t dare. Mat decided of his own accord that he should soon reclaim the Horn of Valere and asked the returning Aes Sedai to hint this to Egwene in an impertinent way:
"I want you to tell the Amyrlin something," he said. "If it's Egwene, this should be easy. But even if it isn't, you tell her. The White Tower has something of mine, and it's nearly time that I reclaimed it. I don't want to, but what I want never seems to matter a whisker, these days. So I'll be coming, and I don't mean to be bloody turned away." He smiled. "Use that exact language."If nothing else, Egwene would know it was a genuine message and one that it was impossible to ignore. Which was Mat’s point.
Towers of Midnight, Partings and a Meeting
It was kept in a warded strongroom, and an attempt was made to steal it the night before it was due to be sent to Mat, but it had secretly been moved (A Memory of Light, Into the Thick Of It). Perrin recommended that Faile be given the task of delivering it under cover of a supply train, because she would not be suspected, having no direct relationship with the White Tower, and not favoured by either Elayne or Rand (A Memory of Light, Into the Thick Of It). Decoy envoys were sent and rumours set to mislead the Shadow. Faile chose Mat’s men as her guards because they fought brilliantly but were regarded as mercenaries and therefore unreliable. However, perhaps fifty of Mat’s soldiers were a giveaway because they were assailed by a bubble of evil as they were leaving Tar Valon. They were accidentally transported to the Blight, and Berisha, the Aes Sedai who opened the gateway, killed to prevent her from opening another gateway to save them, or telling anyone where they were. They moved to the Heights via gateway where Aravine was going to deliver the Horn to Demandred, but Olver killed the Black sister holding them captive, and Faile chased down Aravine. Then she gave the Horn to Olver, and acted as a decoy for the Trollocs, expecting to die. Faile noted the irony that she, who was a Hunter of the Horn, was given the Horn to deliver, and ended up handing it to someone else and sacrificing herself for it (A Memory of Light, The Prince’s Tabac).
WHERE IS THE HORN NOW ?
Birgitte tasked the new Hornblower with hiding the Horn again, so that monarchs like Elayne would not be tempted to keep it for themselves. To Birgitte’s surprise, Elayne was glad the Hero took the initiative, so she did not have to make what would be for her a hard decision:
"I sent Olver away," Birgitte said. "With guards I trust. I told Olver to find someplace nobody would look, a place he could forget, and toss the Horn into it. Preferably the ocean."
Elayne exhaled softly, then turned back toward the pyre. "Insufferable woman." She hesitated. "Thank you for saving me from having to make that decision."
"I thought you'd feel that way." Actually, Birgitte had assumed it would take a long time before Elayne understood. But Elayne had grown in the last few weeks.
A Memory of Light, Epilogue
Written by Linda and Scalius, June 2006 and updated August 2013