Chapter 5: Eye of the World
Word-Count by POV:
Rand al'Thor - 7123
The chapter begins as Rand and Tam arrive back at their farm after spending the day in Emond’s Field. Tam sends Rand to do some basic chores around the farm while Tam gets ready for dinner. Rand stables Bela, gathers some eggs from the chickens, hoes the vegetable garden, and then splits some firewood, all while thinking about the long winter and wondering what will happen if nothing sprouts in the garden.
Tam eventually gets Rand and brings him inside for dinner. The house is small house with a large stone hearth. As they wait for the stew Tam was cooking to finish, Tam locks the front and back door to the house, something Rand hasn’t seem him do ever and then proceeds to get a heron-marked sword out of a chest upstairs in his room.
Rand has never seen his father with a sword and becomes very curious as to where Tam had gotten the sword. Tam gives him vague answers about getting it a long time ago, but before he can explain any further, they hear a slamming sound on the front door. Suddenly, the door shattered off its hinges and a large humanoid figure with ram’s horns and taller than Rand had ever seen rushed in the door. Rand throws the boiling water he was holding to pour tea and then Tam proceeds to fight a number of the beasts. Tam tells Rand to run and Rand runs out the back of the house and in to the trees around their farm. It’s very dark, but then Rand sees more of the large humanoids coming around the backside of the house where Rand had left. He warns Tam by telling him and Tam jumps out one of the windows of the house sword in hand.
Tam tells Rand to run and leads the invaders off away from where Rand is to buy him time to get away. Eventually, Tam sneaks back up to where Rand was hiding, having lost the invaders for the time being. Tam explains to Rand that they are trollocs, a form of shadowspawn that rand hadn’t even believed existed. Rand notices that Tam has been wounded and is starting to run a fever. He collapses in exhaustion and rand realizes that he will need to get Tam back to the safety of Emond’s Field and will need Bela and the cart to get him there.
Rand takes Tam’s sword and goes back in to the house to try and get some supplies. He notices a number of dead trollocs in the room and begins to gather some supplies and water. While inside, a trolloc stands up that had been pretending to be dead and starts to speak with Rand. He names himself Narg and tells Rand to put the sword down so that the myrddraal could speak with him. The trolloc then lunges at rand and he stabs it as it falls on him.
Rand leaves the house and finds Bela gone and the cart broken, but he quickly modifies the cart so he can pull it himself and runs back outside and finds tam in worse shape than he originally left him. He loads Tam on the cart and tells him that he will get him to Nynaeve in the village.
“I got it a long time ago,” Tam said, “a long way from here. And I paid entirely too much; two coppers is too much for one of these. Your mother didn’t approve, but she was always wiser than I. I was young then, and it seemed worth the price at the time. She always wanted me to get rid of it, and more than once I’ve thought she was right, that I should just give it away.” - Tam al'Thor
Minor Spoilers Below!!!
The book Travels of Jain Farstrider is mentioned as sitting on Tam’s table. This is the first of many mentions of the book. What is great about it is that Jain Farstrider is casually set up as someone famous throughout the story until we actually meet him.
When Tam brings out his Heron-marked sword, Rand is astonished and wonders how he got it and how much it cost. Tam says that he paid too much for it, which is an odd statement as it was given to him by the King of Illian for his service in the Illianer Companions. The implication here is that Tam is saying the cost of him getting it wasn’t necessarily monetary, but that he regrets his actions in war.
The simple fact that Tam al’Thor owns a sword, and such a fine sword at that, is the beginning of the realization to Rand that Tam is not quite who he thought he was and that Tam has a past of his own. It is also the beginning of the realization that Tam may not be Rand’s father, although that isn’t evident yet.
Rand’s descriptions of the house make it feel very warm, cozy, and peaceful. This is obviously deliberate as the trolloc attack is about to break that peace and destroy the house. It is symbolic as this is really the last peaceful moment Rand will have for the rest of the story.
Rand feels scared and helpless at the trolloc attack. This is very symbolic of the extreme power creep that Rand will go through in the series. He goes from being afraid of a few trollocs to having the ability to wipe out an entire army of trollocs and even the chance to literally kill the Dark One later in the story. It’s one of the largest power creeps in fantasy history.
Tam kills 3 trollocs on his own with a sword. He’s a badass.
Narg is the only trolloc we hear in the entire story that actually talks to one of our characters. It is implied that trollocs can speak to humans and that although they are stupid, they are at least able to communicate and follow instructions. It would follow that Narg might just be a smarter trolloc.
The Heron-marked sword is incredibly strong, as it is power-wrought, even though Rand doesn’t know this yet. He is able to cut through wood without needing to sharpen the blade or having it dulled in any way.