Monday, July 30, 2001

The Woman in Shadow

by Linda

This theory explains one of Egwene’s dreams. Her dream was:

a woman, face shrouded in shadow, beckoned him [Mat] toward great danger; Egwene did not know what, only that it was monstrous.

- Lord Of Chaos, A Pile of Sand
The woman in shadow has been interpreted to be a Darkfriend or Forsaken since she is calling Mat into something extremely dangerous. But this is not the only possibility.

Egwene does not see or recognise much in this dream and this is not unusual. (It also fits in with Jordan’s theme that no one knows everything.) For instance, Egwene had two dreams of a sword-wielding Tinker with Perrin:

…A man in a bright yellow coat stood near to Perrin's shoulder, a sword strapped to his back; in some way she knew that he was a Tinker, though no Tinker would ever touch a sword… Every time he moved closer to Perrin it was if a chill of doom shot through everything.

- The Fires Of Heaven, What Can Be Learned in Dreams

Perrin and a Tinker, frenziedly hacking their way through brambles with axe and sword, unaware of the cliff that lay just ahead. And the brambles screamed with human voices they did not hear.

- The Path Of Daggers, Stronger than Written Law
yet did not recognise him as Aram, even though she lived with Aram’s family for a couple of days in The Eye of the World. This is partly due to context: having met and liked Aram when he followed the Way of the Leaf, how could she imagine his descent into bloodthirstiness and his corruption by Masema? He became almost a completely different person.

I think the woman in shadow is also someone out of context; someone Egwene knows, but would not expect to have prophetic dreams of because she is believed to be dead: Moiraine. Moiraine cannot be ‘seen’ in the dream because she is not in the main world, but in the world of the Alfinn and Eelfinn and thus so remote from the main world and out of context that in Egwene’s dream her image is shadowy. (Of course it doesn’t harm the surprise either. ;))

Moiraine, through her letter to Thom, beckons Mat (and Thom and another man) into that world to save her – a task of extreme danger as the letter warns:

It also may be that you and Mat Cauthon and another, a man I do not know, will try to rescue me…If you try, it must be only you and Mat and one other. More will mean death for all. Fewer will mean death for all. Even if you come only with Mat and one other, death also may come. I have seen you try and die, one or two or all three. I have seen myself die in the attempt. I have seen all of us live and die as captives.

- Knife of Dreams, A Village in Shiota
So the woman in shadow could well be Moiraine, who is held by beings Birgitte said were ‘so alien they might as well be evil’ (The Shadow Rising, To the Tower of Ghenjei), who perhaps has also been affected by some trap or wish of shadow-souled Lanfear and who Egwene believes is dead. No wonder Egwene did not recognise her. And Moiraine is beckoning Mat and two other men into great danger.

Mat has agreed to go to the world of the Aelfinn and Eelfinn and brave this great danger. This will be his third trip to their world: in some tales doing something three times has a marked, even magical, effect and this may be the case here. Let us hope, if this is so, that it is a positive one.


Anonymous said...

The second dream just says "a Tinker", meaning either one of three things:

1. The Tinker is a different male Tinker with a sword (unlikely).

2. The Tinker is a woman with a sword (only slightly more likely).

3. The simplest explanation of all - that Egwene can't see the Tinker's face, she just can see his clothes and has an intuition. Perhaps she has only a bird's-eye view or is only watching their backs?

alreadymad said...

Prophecies also tend to be metaphorical. Aram stopped being a Tinker when he picked up a sword. And Egwene could no longer recognize him as such afterward.

JanDSedai said...

The "woman in shadow" could very well be Tuon; she is so dark complected that Egwene might interpret that as shadow. And anything involved with the Seanchan court would be dangerous.