The Battle of the Two Rivers: Breaking Down Wheel of Time Battles
This is the first in a series that will dissect the major battles from the Wheel of Time and present visuals and maps for you to enjoy.
From the first time I read the Wheel of Time, I was fascinated with the scale of the battles. I would attempt to visualize the events as they unfolded and because of Robert Jordan's...let's call it descriptiveness, I was able to piece together what was happening and the movie playing in my mind was incredible. However; I discovered that for most, it was very difficult to visualize and so many were left somewhat confused during the battle scenes.
One of the most requested videos on my YouTube channel, since almost it's inception, was to create animated battle videos for the Wheel of Time. I knew it was something I wanted to do, but there were a few barriers:
1. There just weren't the type or number of maps necessary to truly create these videos
2. Not all of the battles were equal in terms of description. Research was needed
3. I lacked the technical expertise to create my vision
But, here we are. I started to create the maps for the series I knew we'd need. I did the research. And I was able to partner with someone who's skill at editing and creating motion graphics is on another level.
None of this would have been possible without the help of my good friend Lauren. He is another Wheel of Time YouTuber and his content is fantastic. Lauren's channel is called Unraveling the Pattern and focuses on deep-dive style content and the quality is the BEST in the community. Make sure to check
out his page here on TheGreatBlight.com and subscribe to his channel if you like the video breakdown.
But enough preamble, let's get into The Battle of the Two Rivers. In this article, we'll breakdown the events that lead up to the battle, as well the battle itself. You can find the video that shows the animated battle maps at the end of this article. Make sure to check it out!
This article will contain spoilers for the Wheel of Time that run through The Shadow Rising, book four of the Wheel of Time. If you are not that far in the series, read on at your own risk!
Lead Up To The Battle
In the late summer of 999 NE, a large contingent of roughly 500 Children of the Light under the dual leadership of Dain Bornhald and Padan Fain enters the Two Rivers with the intention of rooting out Darkfriends in the area. In actuality, Padan Fain, under the guise of Ordeith, had manipulated the Lord Captain Commander of the Children of the Light, Pedron Niall, into sending this small army. His purpose was simple, cause enough damage and pain to the residents of the Two Rivers that Rand al’Thor would be forced to personally come to the Two Rivers so that Fain might kill him and end his torment.
The Children of the Light set up their camp just south of Watch Hill and began patrols around the towns of the Two Rivers and the many farms, searching for Darkfriends.
As Padan Fain was disrupting the plans for the Shadow and was considered a renegade, Slayer was dispatched to kill Fain. He enters the Two Rivers under one of his personas as Lord Luc, a Hunter for the Horn. He brought with him a few hundred trollocs, transported to the Two Rivers through the use of the Manetheren Waygate in the far southwest of the Two Rivers in the Mountains of Mist. The Whitecloaks served to protect Fain though and the Trollocs sent were not enough to kill Fain with the protection of the Whitecloak forces.
During this time, the al’Thor and Cauthon farms were burned as well as the Abyara family slaughtered by a small Whitecloak force led by Fain. The Alsbet and Haral Luhhan and Mat’s two sisters and mother were arrested and taken to the Whitecloak camp to be held. Tam al’Thor and Abell Cauthon fled into the Westwood and remained in hiding.
At the same time, two Aes Sedai, Verin Mathwin and Alanna Mosvani, had come to the Two Rivers searching for girls that could channel. They became trapped in the Two Rivers, with one of Alanna’s warders being killed fleeing from the Whitecloaks. They were hidden by the Women’s Circle in Edmond’s Field along with their Warders in an old sick house in the woods outside Emond’s Field.
During this time, Rand, Mat, and Perrin were in Tear after Rand had taken the Stone of Tear with the aide of the Aiel. The three boys hear of troubles back in their home, but both Mat and Rand are told by the Finns to head to Rhuidean, so it falls to Perrin to go back and take care of Emond’s Field.
He travels to the Two Rivers via the Ways with Loial, Faile, Bain, Chiad, and Gaul. As they arrive in Two Rivers, they are attacked by Trollocs as they leave the Ways. They defeat the Trollocs here, but Loial is able to lock the gate from the outside so no further Trollocs can come to the Two Rivers.
From this point, Perrin realizes that it is not simply the Whitecloaks in the Two Rivers, but also Trollocs. They head through the Sand Hills that are at the foot of the Mountains of Mist and into the Westwood, snaking north. Perrin chooses to move towards the al’Thor farm first rather than directly for Emond’s Field. After 3 days of travel, they arrive at the al’Thor farm and find it burned. Realizing the danger to his family, Perrin leaves the next morning for the Two Rivers, traveling through the Westwood and emerging slightly south of the town and enters the Winespring Inn.
Here he learns of the fate of his family and the capture of the Cauthon girls and the Luhhans by the Whitecloaks. The al’Vere’s explain to Perrin that the Whitecloaks protect them from the Trollocs so they don’t fight back when the Whitecloaks arrest anyone because they feel they need them.
He is taken to see the Aes Sedai and the Old Sick House and he leads a contingent to rescue them from the Whitecloaks. Perrin, Faile, Tam, Abell, Bain, Chiad, Gual, and Verin, and her Warder Tomas all depart through the Westwood for the Whitecloak camp near Watch Hill.
Along the way, they stop at al’Seen farm complex to find a number of families staying there together. Perrin convinces them that they would be better off leaving the farm and grouping together in Emond’s Field. He explains that if they all stood together, they would not need the Whitecloaks protection. The people there depart for the Two Rivers, but 4 of the younger boys stay with Perrin and choose to accompany him and his party as they head for the Whitecloak encampment.
Perrin forces them to stop at a number of new farms to give the same warning and all of the people agree to head to the Two Rivers. Perrin also picks up an additional 13 more members of his party.
As they arrive at the Whitecloak camp, they sneak in at night and rescue the Luhhans and Cauthons, while Verin covers their escape by calling a storm. Rather than returning to Emond’s Field though, Perrin stays out in the wilderness with a number of the men he recruited and they begin to hunt trollocs.
For roughly 6 days they moved about the Two Rivers region hunting packs of trollocs and ambushing them with arrow fire from a distance with great success. On the sixth day after the rescue of the prisoners, Faile and Lord Luc visit Perrin at his deceased family’s farm and inform him that the majority of people that live near Emond’s Field have fled to the city and the villagers are making preparations to defend themselves and fortifying the village.
Luc attempts to get Perrin to return to the village, but Perrin believes there are more trollocs about and vows to continue hunting. Unknown to Perrin at this time, Luc is commanding the trollocs and sends a party of them to ambush Perrin and his men as they attempt to ambush the trollocs.
Perrin and his men move through the woods to set their ambush but are almost overrun by the trollocs. Perrin’s small force was attacked by roughly a hundred trollocs and they barely escape after taking many casualties. Perrin himself is injured with an arrow through his side.
In seeking refuge, the group falls upon a camp of Tinker’s that had circled their wagons. This is the same group that Perrin had encountered before in Eye of the World and they treat the wounded in the night. Perrin attempts to convince the Tinkers to accompany the group back to Emond’s Field, but they refuse, saying that they will move and that protects them.
During his sleep that evening, Perrin discovers that the way gate has been reopened and trollocs are flooding into the Two Rivers. Perrin attempts to leave himself but still wounded with the arrow, Faile forces him back to the Two Rivers where he is healed by Alanna and the town is ready to defend itself.
As Perrin rests after being healed, Loial and Gaul sneak away from the village to go close the Waygate to stop the flow of trollocs into the Two Rivers. While they move to close the Waygate, a Trolloc force of 500 begins to attack the village, starting the first battle of Emond’s field.
The village is defended by roughly 200 Two Rivers bowman behind lines of stakes and wagons blocking the gaps between buildings. Two Rivers bowman have a range of roughly 300 paces, which counts for quite a distance for bowman of the time. Also defending the village were Alanna and Verin Sedai and the catapults they had built with the aid of the villagers.
The trollocs do not really employ any tactics other than all-out charge here. The 500 trollocs charge the lines of the Two Rivers bowman. The edge of the trees was roughly 400 paces from the town, so as soon as the trollocs began to charge, they were fired upon and felled by the Two Rivers bowman. Additionally, the catapults fired projectiles into the trolloc ranks as they charged and exploded with the Aes Sedai help, killing many trollocs. All of the Trollocs and myrddraal were killed before they even reached the edge of the town.
This trolloc attack was simply a test, with the bulk of the trolloc force not yet assembled. At the conclusion of the battle, the Tinkers, who had refused to join the villagers, stagger into town. Many of them were killed by the trollocs and the few survivors made their way into Emond’s Field.
Not long after, a contingent of 400 Whitecloak soldiers approached the town, attempting to arrest Perrin. Bran al’Vere and the townsfolk rebuff the Whitecloaks and tell them to leave, but Perrin invites them into the town to help defend it and to keep them from being ambushed on the way back to their camp. Despite the h