Monday, June 22, 2009

The Dragon Reborn Read-through #11- Rand: What Must Be

Rand: What Must Be

by Linda

I suppose this is a good time to take stock of how far Rand has developed in the first three books. Character-wise, he is indeed wiser and a lot less naïve, but understandably a lot less trusting, and perhaps less kind, as well. The psychological assault on Rand: sleep derivation, threats and assassination attempts have taken their toll. Of necessity he has started to harden himself, but it is nothing compared to what he will be like at the end of book 6 or book 11.

Having met quite a few more women than he would have in the Two Rivers, and having been forced to make a drastic career change, Rand no longer wants to marry Egwene, nor she him.

His channelling developed little until Tear. It was always instinctive; perhaps only luck, perhaps leaked knowledge already being ‘provided’ by Lews Therin. Rand doesn’t know, and nor do we. But we can suspect. A duel with his archenemy Ishamael may well have aroused Lews Therin from wherever he slumbered in Rand’s psyche; early in the next book, The Shadow Rising Lews Therin ‘speaks’ openly when Rand is confronted with Lanfear.

It is interesting or indicative that Rand’s first act of channelling was to Heal or protect and not destroy. RJ was careful to have Rand channel a fair bit before providing him with a teacher. He would not want Rand to seem too dependent on a Forsaken. In 2007 I wrote an article for Wotmania which charted the onset of Rand's Channelling and it is now released here in the Reference Library.


The Right Wing said...

"It is interesting or indicative that Rand’s first act of channelling was to Heal or protect and not destroy."
Referring, I assume, to Bela's lack of exhaustion. If Rand's first act of channelling was to sustain Bela's endurance during the flight from the Two Rivers as Moiraine believes, then how is it that Rand didn't get sick until after he called lightning at the inn to get Mat himself out of that jam? I always assumed it was Egwene who gave Bela the steriod injection since she can channel as well.

Linda said...

But he did get sick. Seven days after channelling, Rand got a reaction to touching the True Source (The Eye of the World, Strangers and Friends). While in Baerlon he woke with a headache. After a while his head felt like a balloon, and then he felt as though he was drifting and couldn’t concentrate. He recklessly laughed at Whitecloaks splattered with mud and talked back to them. Finally he got a fever. The reaction lasted for some hours.

The second time Rand channelled he rocked the boat, and a boom swept the Trolloc overboard. Four days after channelling, he reacted to touching the True Source: he experienced exhilaration, balancing recklessly on top of the mast and sliding down off it (The Eye of the World, Flight Down the Arinelle).

The lightning was the third time he channelled and two days after channelling, he experienced nausea, alternating chills and fevers, and delirium (The Eye of the World, The Dark Waits).

It is entirely typical to have the first reaction as much as ten days later, and this reaction occurs closer and close to the channelling each subsequent time, which is why many readers miss his first weaves.

uglycat said...

"It is interesting or indicative that Rand’s first act of channelling was to Heal or protect and not destroy."

i found it very unfortunate that he has nearly no ability with healing though.

Linda said...

It's odd too. He will Heal the Land, but yet has little skill with Healing. Not that he could Heal himself anyway - others will have to Heal him once he does Heal the Land.

"The hands of the king are the hands of a healer" in Tolkien, but certainly not for Jordan as far as Rand is concerned.

The Right Wing said...

Linda, you're absolutely correct. I'm an ass. I'm not sure how I ever reconciled his odd behavior before...

TreeBrother said...

The prophesies refer to all three ta'veren though, not just Rand. Rand may, or may not be the one to "Heal the Land". He does have the Aiel heritage, but it could still be someone like Perrin who is behind the healing.

uglycat said...

i was thinking more how healing people would have helped rand's psyche out a bit.

Dominic said...

It would, but Rand has to live without this compensation, perhaps not to fool himself into thinking he could make things right and heal - that he could save himself and the Land from death.

I think the concept of 'healing the Land' is somewhat a misnomer. The Dragon is one with the Land, but the Dragon also has to face the truth that to live, he must die - and death and rebirth is the only healing Rand has to offer the world, perhaps through his own death so the world goes on. IMHO, Rand will bring the Land to face its death, on the very brink of death. The salvation Rand has to offer is more like a rebirth. He is bringing the Third Age to its death, so a new world free of Shai'tan can be born.

Rand is more the Grim Reaper than any kind of Healer. A Healer would repair, bring things back as they were. Rand is rather bringing about an apocalypse, fundamental changes, transformations - and it's coming through much pain. The new world will be born largely out of the ashes of the old one.

I don't think it's Rand duty to shape this new world. Others will bring it about and shape it, even though Rand, like LTT before him, is probably gonna be some sort of father to this new world. LTT was forced to live disaster behind, hopefully Rand will be able to bring new light, new hopes.

Linda said...

Uglycat: You are right, it would help Rand.

I think RJ is trying to show that Rand's efforts and sacrifice are more than enough help to give the world, and that this burden is using him up so much there is nothing in him left over to heal with.