Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Great Hunt Read-Through #5 - The Wounding of Rand

The Wounding of Rand

by Linda

In The Great Hunt Rand acquired a heron branded on each of his hands and an unhealing wound in his side. These wounds link Rand with Christ; and the unhealable nature of his side wound also links Rand with the Fisher King of Arthurian myth (see Rand parallels essay), who had an unhealable wound on his thigh. Actually all three men are linked since the Fisher King was believed to guard the Holy Grail, the cup Christ drank from at the Last Supper. Rand guarded the access keys to the Choedan Kal sa’angreal, a parallel of the San Greal, Holy Grail. The wound in Rand’s side can’t be healed until Rand defeats the Dark One and allows the Land to be Healed of the Shadow. Rand is at one with the Land, and his wounds are the Land’s wounds.

Later in A Crown of Swords, Rand’s side wound received a further injury from the evil of Shadar Logoth. The corruption in the original wound is now more than doubled; as it is for Fain:

”Mordeth tried to consume Fain's soul, to have a human body again, but found a soul that had been touched directly by the Dark One, and what resulted . . . What resulted was neither Padan Fain nor Mordeth, but something far more evil, a blend of the two. Fain - let us call him that - is more dangerous than you can believe. You might not have survived such a meeting, and if you had, you might have been worse than turned to the Shadow."

- The Great Hunt, What Was Meant To Be

Fain’s madness is due to Mordeth and the evil of Shadar Logoth and the Dark One’s touch being in the same body. This is the darker version of Rand’s own struggle with the evils in the wound in his side: the madness- and rot-causing taint of the Dark One and the Shadar Logoth evil. In both people the two evils fight each other and have caused psychological problems.

Even his hand wounds, while Healed, are painful according to Min in Winter’s Heart, A Lily in Winter. They were symbolically burned by ‘hell-fire’. Rand's hands are scarred: the Land is scarred. Hands are a symbol of humanity and of power, strength and protection – Rand’s are marred and his potency thus reduced. Spiritual and physical energy are believed by many to be transmitted via the hands, which is why Aes Sedai (even Lews Therin, as we saw in Knife of Dreams, Vows) gesture with their hands when channelling. Now that Rand has lost one of his hands, he is even more reduced.

You might say Rand not only has the stigmata, but also the stigma of physical imperfection (which in Celtic society disqualified a person from rulership - and Rand has Celto-Arthurian parallels) and suspected insanity.

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