Looking Forward, Looking Back
The Eye of the World started with the confrontation between the two champions Ishamael and Lews Therin. Lews Therin had unknowingly killed everyone around him in a Masque of Death scene. The page from the graphic novel version of the Prologue of The Eye of the World shows this very well, and I discussed the comparison between the Kinslaying and the Masque of the Red Death in an earlier post. Ishamael tempted Lews Therin with the resurrection of Ilyena if he turned to the Shadow:
"You can have her back, Kinslayer. The Great Lord of the Dark can make her live again, if you will serve him. If you will serve me."The Eye of the World ended with a largely symbolic and spiritual battle with miracles. Rand destroyed the Shadow’s massive army without knowing how. He also denied images of Egwene and Nynaeve and destroyed Myrddraal that were abusing his mother, Kari. She thanked him and exclaimed: “The Light, the Blessed Light.” I find it hard to believe that a dream creation of Ishamael would say that. Perhaps it really was her soul there. Ishamael wanted to use Kari to tempt Rand to the Shadow; that, and the offer to escape the taint that took Lews Therin. Looking ahead, perhaps Kari features again at the final confrontation with the Shadow.
A major difference between the end of Eye of the World and the beginning was that the Creator spoke and called Rand the - his - Chosen One:
“I WILL TAKE NO PART. ONLY THE CHOSEN ONE CAN DO WHAT MUST BE DONE, IF HE WILL.”Well I think it was the Creator.
- The Eye of the World, Against the Shadow
The Creator told Rand that he would not interfere and that Rand was his Chosen One and that only he can do what must be done to defeat the Shadow. This is a parallel to God in the New Testament announcing at Jesus’ baptism that Jesus was his son and he was well pleased with him (Matthew 3:17, Luke 3:22). Furthermore at Jesus’ transfiguration:
A voice came from the cloud, saying, "This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him."which is even closer to the Creator’s words.
- Luke 9:35
Jordan has stated at a book-signing that people are expected to help themselves, not ask for the Creator to help them:
Another point he pressed was that "no one's going to rescue you", there are not going to be any miracles. The Creator shaped the world and set the rules, but does not interfere. Humankind messed things up, and have to fix it too, as well as finding the truth themselves.So I think it was the Creator because there are theological parallels to the words spoken to Rand.
But I know that some of you think it might have been the Dark One because he (I follow RJ’s convention) speaks again later in the series. Yet the Creator actually speaks to say he’s not going to take part and so logically it isn’t surprising that he (RJ’s convention again) keeps to his word and doesn’t speak again. The Creator's the good guy; of course he'll keep to his word. And the fact that the chapter is called 'Against the Shadow' might be a tiny little hint. :P
Rather than being a Shadow conspiracy, I think the Creator bent the rules just that once as a blessing for Rand. What the Creator did was Announce that Rand is his Chosen One and that Rand had to do his duty and save the world because the Creator wasn't going to (or couldn't). All consistent with RJ's theology.
The Great Hunt and, to a lesser degree, The Dragon Reborn also each had theological endings. Many readers didn’t notice that the first three books had conclusive ‘theological’ endings disguised a bit with ‘action’. The other books had endings which were much less theological. The final book/s and Rand’s fight with the Dark One in particular will also surely have a theological ending to complete the cycle and the Pattern, so I expect some more mystical stuff. It may also be that the Creator will feature at the ending too.
Lone mountains also feature in the beginning and ending of The Eye of the World. A single mountain is a symbol of the sacred centre. It’s a Rosicrucian symbol and may be a Masonic one. (Jordan was a Freemason as we learned from his blog). The sacred centre symbolism is even more emphasised because the mountain was caused by the death of the Creator’s champion and was the place of the soul’s rebirth. It is important to the symbolism that this area remained unchanged by the Breaking. Holy mountains are entry points to heaven or sites chosen by God for revelation or sites of eschatological events in Judaic thought.
We saw the creation of the volcano Dragonmount at the beginning of the series, and looking forward, I predict that Dragonmount will feature again at the end of the series with a much larger eruption signifying Rand's death compared to the one which heralded the death of Lews Therin and the mountain's formation. Already there has been volcanic activity in Knife of Dreams - clouds of vapour and gases, strange winds, storms - typical of an impending eruption. The photo right is of a wall-hanging I made, imaginatively title Eruption. Entirely embroidered and quilted by hand by me last year, it's not small at 1.5m (5 feet) high. With their link to the centre of the earth, and spewing out the innermost contents of the planet volcanoes are sacred and revelatory places indeed.
In keeping with the theme of balance, Jordan has another single volcanic mountain, Shayol Ghul, the Dark version of Dragonmount, which is where Rand confronted Ishamael near Shayol Ghul at the end of the book and where he is prophesied to face the Dark One and die (even if temporarily). It's the evil centre. Mountains were often regarded as places where gods have their home, and this is especially the case with Shayol Ghul.
At the beginning of the series, Lews Therin mentions the Song and Singing in the Prologue, foolishly asking Ishamael:
”Have you the Voice, stranger? It will soon be time for the Singing and here all are welcome to take part.”This theme has a minor completion in Loial's Singing at the Eye to save the Green Man from the Blight of the Shadow. The Treesinging and Lews Therin's reference to the Song is a hint that the Song will feature at the end of the series to counter the Shadow’s evil and likely save Rand the Healer of the Land.
- The Eye of the World, Prologue
After channelling at the Eye, Rand says he won’t channel again:
"Oh, I won't ever touch it again. Not if I have to cut my hand off, first."This is the first mention of Rand losing a hand or an arm and it is particularly apt that it occurs in a chapter entitled The Wheel Turns. Rand uses cutting off his hand or arm as the worst thing that could happen except for what he vows not to do, or as something that can almost prevent him from doing what he vows not to do. At the end of the series, Rand will confront the Shadow without his hand, having channelled repeatedly despite his stated intent.
The Eye of the World, The Wheel Turns
At the beginning of The Eye of the World Lews Therin calls Ishamael down for saying Shai’tan, but Ishamael says uttering the name isn’t dangerous for him. (Interestingly, the other Forsaken don’t dare utter Shai’tan; maybe there is good reason that Ishamael is shown as an equal match for Lews Therin in the Prologue, is now Naeblis and has always believed himself to be the Shadow’s Champion.) At the end of the book Rand, having depleted the Eye, names Shai’tan and calls the Dark One's eye upon him. Will he defiantly name Shai'tan again at their final confrontation? It’s all fun with mirrors.
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