Chapter 4: Eye of the World
Word-Count by POV:
Rand al'Thor - 5965
The chapter opens where the previous chapter left off. Thom Merrilin, the Gleeman hired by the village to perform for the Bel Tine festival, comes out of the Winespring Inn, upset at the village council for asking him to leave the inn as they discuss the news the peddler brought.
Thom speaks with Rand, Egwene, Mat, and Perrin as they stand outside the Inn. Thom notices Egwene and asks her to help him as his assistant when he performs for the festival. Egwene agrees but the boys want to hear more about the wars and the false Dragons in Ghealdan, and about Aes Sedai.
Thom dismisses their questions as unimportant and when he asks them their names, he compares Perrin’s size to that of an Ogier, to which Perrin dismisses as a made-up creature from one of Thom’s stories. Thom begins to mock them for their ignorance of the world as they boast about traveling around the Two Rivers.
When Egwene tells Thom he shouldn’t make fun of the boys, agrees and then goes on to give an example of his performance. He starts to juggle and mentions stories he will tell during the festival. As he talks and juggles, he attracts a crowd, including Moiraine and Lan. At seeing Moiraine, Thom immediately stops juggling and talking gives a suspicious look to Moiraine, even as he greets her cordially. Thom assures Moiraine he will not tell any stories that she won’t like and she leaves. The crowd yells for more from Thom, but the village council leaves the Inn as well as Nynaeve.
Thom goes back in to the inn immediately and Tam comes over to the boys and tells them a bit of what the Council discussed. The village council decided that the village and the Two Rivers were not in any real danger from the wars, the aes sedai, or the false dragon, but they were going to take precautions and send out patrols to keep a lookout after Bel Tine.
The boys volunteer to be apart of the patrol and Tam tells rand that they are headed back to the farm. As they start back, Tam tells Rand that he believes Rand about the rider in black that the other boys had seen and that the council spoke of other boys around their age seeing the same rider. He tells Rand that is why they are headed back to the farm for the night to make sure it isn’t a thief or anything. The chapter ends as they head back along the Quarry Road back to their farm in the Westwood.
"In wars, boy, fools kill other fools for foolish causes." - Thom Merrilin
"You want stories? I have stories, and I will give them to you. I will make them come alive before your eyes." - Thom Merrilin
Minor Spoilers Below!!!
There are a number of stories Thom mentions that are Easter Eggs:
Anla, The Wise Counselor is a reference to popular advice columnist Ann Landers.
Jaem, the Giant Slayer is a reference to the story of Jack, the Giant Killer.
Lenn, who flew to the moon in the belly of an eagle made of fire is a reference to John Glenn, the first American to orbit the earth and the ship Eagle that landed the on the moon.
Salya is a reference to Sally Ride, the first American woman in space
Mosk the Giant and his Lance of Fire that can reach around the world is a reference to ICBM's and the Soviet Union. Mosk is a reference to Moscow.
Elsbet, Queen of All is a reference to either Queen Elizabeth or Queen Victoria of England.
Materese the Healer is a reference to Mother Teresa.
Rand's eyes are a different color as pointed out by Thom; foreshadowing that Rand is not from the Two Rivers
Thom calls Rand "as tall as an Aielman", which is again more foreshadowing that Rand is different from the other people from the Two Rivers
Thom mentions a time when men lived as brothers to animals. This is foreshadowing for Perrin becoming a wolfbrother.
Mat says that battles interest him, which is obviously some foreshadowing for Mat being the "Son of Battles"
Why doesn't Tam recognize Moiraine as an Aes Sedai? He has seen Aes Sedai before and should recognize her for what she is, but doesn't seem to.
Thom apparently knows Padan Fain. He refers to him as "always carrying bad news". This could either be because he has met him in other towns or Padan Fain may be a fairly successful peddler that is known a good number of places.
Thom immediately recognizes Moiraine for being an Aes Sedai, but plays along with her simply being a "lady"