Chapter 2: Eye of the World
Word-Count by POV:
Rand al'Thor - 4956
Rand and Mat begin to unload the barrels of cider into the Winespring Inn. As they walk through the common room of the inn to get to the cellar, they notice that most of the members of the Village Council are present, including Haral Luhhan, the blacksmith, Cenn Buie, the thatcher, Jon Thane, the miller, Tam, and Bran. They appear to be waiting on the other members of the Village Council to arrive. Master Luhhan gives Mat a frown, making Rand believe that he suspects Mat of some mischief.
As they pass near the kitchen where the door to the cellar is located, Mistress al’Vere tells them that she will feed them honeycakes when they are done. Once in the cellar, Mat tells Rand that he played a prank on Adan al’Caar, Ewin Finngar, and Dag Coplin by coating the Luhhan’s dogs in flour and telling the younger boys that they were ghost hounds. Rather than scaring the boys though, they ran back home and got flour all over the Luhhan’s home.
They head back upstairs and back through the common room to get another load of cider and notice that the final two members of the Village Council had arrived in Rowan Hurn and Semal Crawe. They are speaking quietly near the hearth in the common room and Rand cannot hear what they are saying.
Rand and Mat continue to unload casks of cider and take them to the cellar and after taking the last of the casks to the basement, Ewin Finngar comes into the cellar to tell them about the strangers in the village. He tells them of the Lady Moiraine and Lan, who he believes to be “in service” to Moiraine. He also tells them that Nynaeve apparently does not like Moiraine because she called Nynaeve a “child” when asking for directions earlier.
When they leave the cellar and head outside the inn, Rand feels watched again and notices a raven perched on the roof of the inn and staring and him and Mat. He and Mat throw stones at the raven, but it just sidesteps them, something they have never seen a raven do before.
As Rand and Mat discuss the strange acting raven, the lady Moiraine appears behind them and the raven flies away toward the mountains. Rand is very impressed with her. He is unable to put an age to her, thinking she looks twenty and then older the next moment. She was dressed nicer than anyone in the Two Rivers on a feast day and she wore a golden ring in the shape of a Great Serpent.
Moiraine introduces herself and asks their names. When Rand and Mat and Ewin introduce themselves, she gives them all silver coins, although Mat and Rand get larger coins, and tells them that she is paying them in advance for some tasks she made need help with while she is in Emond’s Field. Rand asks her why she has come to the Two Rivers and she tells him that she is a collector of stories and there are many stories here in the Two Rivers.
As Moiraine leaves, Lan follows her and the boys are startled because they didn’t even see him as they talked to Moiraine. Rand and Mat decide they will not spend the coin she gave them, even though it is enough money to buy a horse in the Two Rivers. After Moiraine’s departure, they hear shouts and turn to see a crowd of villagers gathering around a peddler’s wagon that has made it to the Green.
“As the Wheel of Time turns,” Moiraine said, half to herself and with a distant look in her eyes, “places wear many names. Men wear many names, many faces. Different faces, but always the same man. Yet no one knows the Great Pattern the Wheel weaves, or even the Pattern of an Age. We can only watch, and study, and hope.” - Moiraine
Minor Spoilers Below!!!
The Two Rivers
Great Serpent Ring
The raven that watches both Mat and Rand sidesteps the rocks that they threw at it, something that they had never seen a raven do, but immediately flies away in a hurry when Moiraine approaches. This is clearly due to her being an Aes Sedai. What is also interesting here is that the raven flies off towards the Mountains of Mist, presumably where the myrddraal and trollocs are camped in the woods as it flies to report to the myrddraal.
Once Moiraine gives the coins to the boys, she tells Rand and Mat that there is a “bond” between them now. We later find out this is literal. Moiraine used the coins to put a finder on the boys so that she could track their whereabouts.
When handing out the coins, Moiraine waits until she hears the names of the boys before she gives out the coins. This is because she had been asking names and ages from the rest of the villagers and wanted to keep tabs specifically on Mat and Rand. Ewin gets a smaller coin that doesn’t have the finder attached to it, as that is just to cover for the coins she gave Rand and Mat.
After Rand asks Moiraine why she came to the Two Rivers, she talks somewhat cryptically about men wearing different faces and being reborn, and it is clearly a reference to the search for the Dragon Reborn as her reasoning for coming.
Why wasn’t Moiraine more concerned about the raven? She clearly saw its odd behavior and says she should have noticed it sooner later when explaining to the boys, so why didn’t she react to it?
What was it that had both Moiraine and the forces of the Shadow converging on Emond’s Field at the same time?
They have a good amount of superstition and tales surrounding Warders. They talk as though they aren’t even real, but then tlak about how they are only “up north” fighting trollocs in the Blight with gemmed armor. Very little of this is true, but you can see how tales spread over time and distance, which is one of the themes of the books.
Mat asks Rand if there are trollocs in the Two Rivers mockingly when talking about Warders, but the irony is that there actually are trollocs in the Two Rivers and they will soon find that out.
Moiraine gives Mat and Rand what we find out later is a silver mark and Ewin a silver penny. A silver mark Rand believes to be enough to purchase a horse and have money left over. The thing to take from this is how very wealthy Aes Sedai are. We find out in New Spring that they make 1000 gold crowns a year, which is a fortune. Based on Rand’s pricing of a horse, Moiraine could purchase 1 million horses with her yearly income, and that isn’t counting money she has saved or from her nobility. Yes, this is just a farming village, so maybe horses aren’t that much, but that is an extravagant amount of money nonetheless.
The Great Blight