Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Several inns are mentioned in A Crown of Swords. and all bar one are located in Ebou Dar.
Setalle Anan took Nynaeve and Elayne on a humiliating reverse inn crawl ensuring that the girls could not hire lodgings anywhere decent in the city. Either the Kin would take them in, in which case she was making sure the girls did not run and hide from them, or if not, the girls would have to leave the city altogether lest they expose the Kin. Her explanation to the innkeepers of why she was leading two very well dressed women through the streets was that they had beggared themselves to buy finery to impress Mat. All the while, the girls were in vain trying to work out how they could avoid owing Mat anything. The one inn mentioned by name on this little jaunt, The Stranded Goose, refers to the situation of the hapless girls.
Mat, that connoisseur of down-market inns, hits the jackpot in Ebou Dar. He feels that The Rose of the Elbar is a particular penance set by Nynaeve and Elayne. It is the only suitable surveillance post for the Kin’s house and he was stuck there three days before his luck turned. Ah well, roses have thorns don’t they?
In Ebou Dar, the seedier the inn, the more grand and flattering its name, just as Ebou Daris offer flowery complements while being prepared to injure or kill even close acquaintances in duels.
The Silver Swan in Caemlyn is perhaps the most interesting of all the inns mentioned in A Crown of Swords because Cadsuane seems to have a surveillance team of up to ten Aes Sedai there since Lord of Chaos, before her entrance in the books. Well, presumably Cadsuane, since the sisters always have Warders, and one was heard mentioning Cadsuane’s name later, in Crossroads of Twilight at a time when most sisters believe Cadsuane is dead. Elayne realises they are sisters who have stood aside while the Tower was divided. The sisters are constantly changing and, while at this stage none of Cadsuane’s group knew how to Travel, they seem to have had no trouble keeping in touch with her (by pigeon probably). Cadsuane also has a surveillance team in Cairhien as well, but it is based at Lady Arilyn’s palace. Apparently none of her faction has an agent with a suitable house to commandeer in Caemlyn. Obviously Cadsuane set these groups up to watch Rand and Rand’s aides when he is not there; but surely the brief of those in Caemlyn has been extended to watching the Black Tower and the political situation in Andor. In Winter’s Heart when things started to become really tense in Caemlyn, there were ten sisters at the inn, the largest number mentioned. Probably not coincidence. It is well to remember that Cadsuane may know more about Elayne’s doings, and maybe the Black Tower’s, than we are aware. She is a keen gatherer of intelligence, and is aware that seeing Rand safely to the Last Battle will probably be her swan song - which is what the inn's name of The Silver Swan refers to.
In complement to this post the A Crown of Swords entry of the Dew Drop Inn: Wheel of Time Accommodation article is published on the blog.