My Wheel of Time re-read is continuing as I finished The Dragon Reborn today and damn was it enjoyable. Jordan split up his main characters in this ‘episode’ more than the previous two books and at this point one can really see the individual story threads for the Two Rivers irregulars beginning to take shape.
One thing I continue to discover is what a solid character Nynaeve is. Or at least what a solid character she was through these three books. At this point, her “Three Investigators” team with Elayne and Egwene is proving to be an industrious and, if sometimes stubborn, triumvirate.
Although the novel is indeed titled The Dragon Reborn, very little is seen of Rand. This does not diminish his power by any means. If anything, it shows how powerful a ta’veren he really is. His presence, whether contemplative or exuding power, is the specter that drives everything the action of the book. From Perrin’s wolfdreams, to Egwene’s travels in Tel'aran'rhiod to Mat’s dreams as well.
Rand not being in the book as much really allowed both Mat and Perrin grow as characters. Out from the influence of the Shadar Logoth Dagger, Matt has blossomed into an extremely fun character, a trickster one might say. Although depth was added to Perrin’s character, I wouldn’t hesitate to consider The Dragon Reborn Mat’s novel. He continually says he isn’t a hero, but his actions speak much louder as he continually attempts to do what is right. Another element about that becomes abundantly clear is his amazing luck, whether in dicing or grappling with an opponent falling off of a building.
Moiraine also shows just how powerful and Aes Sedai she is in the concluding pages of the novel. It is in this novel she steps out of the shadow, at least in a small way, from her mentor predecessors in the genre.
When Rand finally proclaims himself The Dragon Reborn, it is a terrifically satisfying scene. The bits we did see of him throughout the novel he was brooding and pained with the power thrust upon him. It was a great moment of realization when he made the proclamation.
One thought was circling through my head as the novel was winding down and now upon reflection. Knowing how the saga has its ups and downs later in the book, I wonder if Jordan ever thought of wrapping things up in this volume. Certainly, there are plot points that converge here that build upon the earlier two volumes. Maybe a few edits here, merging a couple of plot points and Wheel of Time could have easily finished its life here as a trilogy. Granted, a lot of greatness is in future volumes, but would cinematic adaptation ever happen, there’s a very satisfying way to condense things I think. Blasphemy as a WOT fan, I know.
Regardless, I enjoyed the hell out of the novel, especially the last third or so of it. As I've repeatedly said, it's been well over 10 years since I first read these books so I'm wondering how much my current enjoyment matches my initial enjoyment. Regardless, I'm grasping why I was pulled into these books so much.
I'll be jumping into at least The Shadow Rising before the next WOT break.