A Little Something About the Wine: Perrin's Dreams
Perrin has a couple of dreams in The Dragon Reborn, Shadows Sleeping. They are not the predictive dreams he has later in the book, but they are crucial nonetheless, particularly since Jordan chose to show little of what the Forsaken are up to.
Dream the First:
Ishamael tries to lure Perrin into giving up the axe. Perrin says not yet.
Murmuring from wolves makes the room flicker, or details chaLnge. The wolves protect Perrin from the dangers of Tel’aran’rhiod, even Ishamael’s weavings to a degree. Only when Perrin forces them away does the dream, controlled by Ishamael, stabilise.
Ishamael wants Perrin to ‘go back to the hammer.‘ I don’t think this means that Ishamael knows that Perrin is the Wolf King and needs to take up the hammer in the Last Days. Ishamael seems to think it is an advantage for him if Perrin goes back to the hammer and what he is after is for Perrin to give up his ta’veren and Bannerman role and return to blacksmithing. Perrin has not got a hammer of his own yet; he will do so later in this book.
Perrin refuses because he is ta’veren and it is his duty to use the axe for a while. Perrin is sure that Ishamael knows he is ta’veren (Perrin doesn't know it, but Ishamael can find ta’veren in the Pattern and may well have the rare Talent of seeing ta’veren.) Ishamael grimaces and suggests Perrin could avoid his duty:
“There are ways to change things, boy. Ways to avoid even fate. Sit, and we will talk of them.”Symbolically, Perrin takes “a step back, keeping well in the light.” This can be taken on many levels. Throughout this scene, shadows and light levels in the room symbolise the battle between evil (Ishamael) and good (Perrin). For example: "Darkness molded the man [Ishamael] like a caress.”
Ishamael then tries to get Perrin to accept his offer of a drink. With a toast (or vow) "to years past and years to come” and a promise to "see things more clearly after." The blood red wine in a silver cup is meant to seem like a kind of sacrament and is an allusion to the Black Mass. Things made in Tel’aran’rhiod to be ingested can do or taste like pretty much whatever the maker wants. It might have only made Perrin sleep for a hundred years, but it could have made him a tool or a slave or even a devotee of the Dark One. If they wanted to kill Perrin, either Ishamael or Lanfear could have, wolves or no wolves. Both Ishamael and Lanfear are masters of Tel'aran'rhiod. Most likely the wine was to bind Perrin to the Shadow, of his own volition, even if he didn’t know what the consequences of drinking would be. IE he was to freely take what was offered and ingest it. Those consequences being that some things done in Tel'arah'rhiod are stronger than in the real world. I think it's a very bad idea to freely take something the Shadow offers you in Tel'arah'rhiod. Especially something you ingest. It would seal the deal for signing up in Shaitan’s service. And no coercion.
The wine is meant to remind you of Communion wine; only you end up communing, shall we say, with the Shadow. It is thus the antithesis, and a mockery of, Communion wine and therefore similar to something out of the Black Mass. Moiraine tells us that Darkfriends perform rites that are disgusting and depraved, so the Black Mass parallels are there.
It's the symbolism of the act that counts. Drinking a toast with the Shadow is allying yourself with them. Moiraine described Fain as having performed rites in dreams that bound him ever more tightly to the Shadow. Since this was in a dream the deeds were not literally performed; they were symbolic. It was the effect that was real.
Ishamael tried this previously: he offered a cup of wine to the boys in their dreams back in Baerlonin The Eye of the World,. Had any of the boys freely taken what was offered to them by Ishamael (the drink) they would have been tied to the Shadow if not fully (and that's definitely possible, given the Black Mass type parallels), then at least enough to be followed/located easily by various Shadow henchmen or influenced by Ishamael or the Dark One. Ishmael didn't get disappointed for nothing. It was obvious that he hoped to gain something from them drinking.
Having failed with temptation, Ishamael resorts to threats.
Perrin feeling heat as he leaves reminds us of Ishamael’s flaming eyes and mouth, which are often described as furnace like, and of the Pit of Doom/Fires of Hell, etc
Dream the Second:
After Ishamael, Perrin is taken by Lanfear. Was she waiting in line?
The gilded lion helmet she offered him is similar to Macedonian armour in classical times and is a reference to Alexander the Great. There is the hint that Perrin was Alexander the Great in a former incarnation, and could have been led to be Alexander again. This would lead him astray from the Pattern of his life for this Age as Lanfear knew very well. Lanfear is luring him back along that path. And that would weaken Rand's cause and thus aid the Shadow. It didn't work, which is why we haven't seen it again. Lanfear wanted Perrin to go for glory. Wolves aid Perrin in rejecting glory and the helmet.
The axe is linked to Perrin, maybe from past lives, or maybe Lanfear is trying to prevent Perrin from taking up the hammer.
Lanfear puts an image in his mind :
The Horn rang out, and the wild charge began. Death rode at his shoulder, and yet she waited ahead, too. His lover. His destroyer.Instead of openly trying to get Perrin to turn away from his fate, Lanfear tries to substitute the ‘wrong fate’ in Perrin’s mind:
”You must not listen to those who would try to turn you from your destiny. They would demean you, debase you. Destroy you. Fighting fate can only bring pain. Why choose pain, when you can have glory? When your name can be remembered alongside all the heroes of legend?”She too tries to get Perrin to drink, but the wolves aid Perrin again and the cup changes from silver to gold.
“I am no hero.”
“You don’t know the half of what you are. Of what you can be. Come, share a cup with me, to destiny and glory.”
Lanfear’s threat is to haunt his dreams like a succubus:
“The night is always there, and dreams come to all men. Especially you, my wildling. And I will always be in your dreams.”Each Forsaken wants people who serve only them. The more powerful or talented the person, the better. Someone whom the Wheel spun out to be crucial to the Light's cause? Better still. A Forsaken would gain great kudos from that, and also power to affect events to his or her own gain.