Wednesday, February 27, 2002

Dew Drop Inn - Wheel of Time Accommodation

By Linda

A compendium of the Wheel of Time Inns, their symbolism and parallels

Inns are a stock location in ‘medieval’ fantasy where "quests begin, companions are gathered, arduous journeys can be broken and entertaining brawls occur" (John Clute and John Grant, The Encyclopaedia of Fantasy).

The Wheel of Time world is no exception. In the first chapter of the series the Winespring Inn was the place where the companions gathered and set out on what became a quest to defeat the Shadow.

In the real world, inns performed an important social function in medieval to early modern times. They acted as community gathering places and provided food, drink, stabling and, unlike pubs, taverns and alehouses, accommodation for travellers. Many customers were illiterate, which is why inns had pictorial signs illustrating their memorable names. While some inns were mundanely named after the local town or a notable local landmark, other names often referred to alcohol, local occupations, an historic event or legend, royalty (and thus apparent loyalty to authority), or transport and travel. Some names were a play on words or a joke. Since inns serve as plot devices in The Wheel of Times, it is not surprising that the symbolism of their names can be quite apt for what occurs there, as we shall see. The inn names work on two levels: the reaction of the characters to the inn name and image the innkeeper is trying to project; and the aptness of the name and its symbolism for the reader with regard to the events that happen at the inn.

Inns are listed in order of the first “visit” chronologically.


Written by Linda, June 2007

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