Title: Wheel of Time: The Great Hunt
Author: Robert Jordan
Publication date: 1991
The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.
For centuries, gleemen have told the tales of The Great Hunt of the Horn. So many tales about each of the Hunters, and so many Hunters to tell of… Now the Horn itself is found: the Horn of Valere long thought only legend, the Horn which will raise the dead heroes of the ages. And it is stolen.
The Great Hunt is book two of the epic saga Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan in case you’ve failed to read the title of this post 😀 So you can expect more of the same – awesome adventures, magic and a whole lot of magical creatures, secrets, lies and darkfriends everywhere. Oh, and an invasion!
If you’re reading this then you’ve probably finished book one which means you’re awesome and I like you 😀 If you have not yet read it you may be excused to go and do it now. Also, this review will probably contain a few spoilers for book one so unless you’re one of those weirdos who don’t mind spoilers, read at your own risk.
The story in The Great Hunt picks up where The Eye of the World left. The whole group is together in Fal Dara, one of the last standing cities in the North bordering the Blight. The Amyrlin Seat, which is basically the boss of Aes Sedai, surprises them by showing up in Fal Dara with a whole entourage of Aes Sedai.
Not long after the fortress is attacked by trollocs and other dark creatures and they manage to free Padan Fain (we forgot to mention him in book 1 but by now you should know he is a darkfriend with greasy hair and no sound mind left) and steal the horn of Valere and Mat’s dagger. Why are those so important you’ll ask? Good question. The Horn of Valere is an artifact and if somebody blows it the great heroes of the Pattern are summoned to battle, and will serve the Trumpeter (no necessary the good guys); on the other side, Mat’s dagger has no real value to anyone but Mat. He stole it from Shadar Logoth and it has dark magic imbued in it so if he doesn’t get it back he dies; if he keeps it for a long time – he dies. Basically he’ll die if he doesn’t get it back and let Aes Sedai separate it from him. A bit like getting clean after you’ve overdosed.
Going after the Horn are Ingtar Shinowa, a brave Shienaran soldier, leading the small group including Rand, Mat, Perrin, Loial (an Ogier), Verin Mathwin (Brown Aes Sedai), and about twenty Shienarans after the thieves. The final addition to their merry group is Hurin, a man with the strange ability to “smell” things like where there was a battle, even if there is no trace of it. Freaky, I know.
Their pursuit is, as expected, quite difficult and unexpected including but not limited to using portal stones by mistake, going to a parallel worlds, saving a damsel in distress, stealing back the horn and losing it for a second time. It is quite hilarious and the poor Rand seems so clueless as to his power, charm and importance that it is quite adorable.
The second main plotline, the female plotline as I like to call it, is following the heroines of the story on their journey to Tar Valon and their stay there. As we know, both Egwene and Nynaeve can channel the True Source and both wish to become Aes Sedai. However, that’s like going into ninja school. Before you learn to fight they’ll be moping the floor with you and both your body and your ego will be heavily bruised. Yeah, nobody beats them if that is what you got from my questionable metaphor but they are forced to clean night pots, floors and doing all nasty labor as they learn. A third person enters the story here to help with the scrubbing of the pots, Elayne Trakand, and funnily enough she is the daughter of the queen of Andor.
The three friends, along with Min Farshaw, run from Tar Valon to help save Rand and the other boys. The boys, as foolish as they are, are not exactly in immediate danger as our girls realize, but instead the plan was to get them out of the safety of the White Tower and sell them in servitude.
Here we meet the Invaders I mentioned earlier, the Seanchan, which have creepy insect helmets and very low regards for women who can channel the True Source. Now, this is the very first moment where I was completely overwhelmed with emotions – I was so frustrated at the powerlessness of Egwene (totally not her fault) that I literally tossed the book aside and went for a walk. Then I returned home running and I finished the book but that’s another question.
I’ll leave the ending to you but fear not, the point of the book was to find the horn of Valere and make sure it does not fall into enemy hands – and you’ll get your answer for that. As well as the answers to many questions you didn’t even think about while reading.
Now, I’ll take just a minute of your time to rant about how fascinated I am by the Aes Sedai order. By now you know there a few groups of Aes Sedai – Red Ajah (contains men who can channel), Green Ajah (also called the ‘Battle Ajah’, Greens stand ready for the Last Battle), Gray Ajah (focuses on diplomacy and mediation in politics), Brown Ajah (focuses on gathering and preserving knowledge), Yellow Ajah (Focuses on Healing), Blue Ajah (focuses on causes of righteousness and justice), White Ajah (Focuses on logicand philosophy) and of course, Black Ajah (the bad guys who worship the Dark One).
It’s quite ingenious how Jordan composed it. Nowadays we would have probably done something of the sort, we love dividing stuff into groups, but we need to consider that was written twenty years ago. I love the idea, I love how he used it to develop and move the story further and I especially love the details and thought Jordan had put into developing this aspect of his world. I am talking about names, titles, hierarchy and whatnot. Fascinating! Anyway which Ajah do you think you would have chosen if you were an Aes Sedai? I would think I would go for the Blue Ajah, I’m a sucker for causes of righteousness and justice 😀
Not so surprisingly, The Great Hunt gets a 5/5 from me.
What about you? What rating would you give? What are your thoughts and takes on Wheel of Time: The Great Hunt?