As I’m going to be discussing what’s happening in the books, just a fair warning that there will be some spoilers – potentially only minor ones at this point but spoilers nonetheless.
We’re off again (pretty swiftly!) onto a new adventure. I’ve checked the timeline and I’m actually a couple of days ahead (whoops) so that’ll teach me to make proper notes with my elaborate date-system (post it notes stuck in the book). So at the moment Rand and company are the parallel world, Perrin is finally coming to accept his wolfy powers, and Egwene has found herself without a Moraine to help her now she’s realised Rand is in danger.
My impressions of The Great Hunt so far: Pockets of awesome and potential that are becoming more consistent as the story goes on.
Early in the book there was some exposition and I felt that the book was suffering from the same problem that I felt The Eye of the World had, namely that it takes ages to do what it wants to do, and I think that this is probably going to be the case for The Great Hunt as well. At the moment I’m about 250 pages in which is just over a third of the way in. I feel like that’s a good indicator of how far the story is along but also that it hasn’t necessarily warranted 250 pages, it could probably have been pared down.
Nonetheless what is happening is interesting and I am very keen to see where it goes.
I am loving the pockets of prophecy that I’m hearing. For example, when Moraine and the Amyrlin Seat were discussing her plans for Rand and that she wanted him to take the Horn to Illian so that when he has to accept he’s the dragon he has a whole nation behind him I thought that sounded absolutely awesome and could not wait to get to it.
One other thing I’m a bit surprised about: I remember when I first started reading/listening to The Eye of the World I was a bit put off by the Trollocs and just the whole black/white morality of the whole thing but now it’s taking off and mixing itself up and when the Dark One is appearing to Rand you can see why he could want to say yes (which is good because I definitely felt like he could easily have said yes in the first book). I think that knowing there are some Aes Sedai who are Darkfriends and that the Ajah are not all together is also deepening that sense of complexity.
Part of it I think is something similar to what was said on an /r/Fantasy discussion about the Wheel of Time series; that the first book is kind of an easy in for fantasy fans who, at the time, didn’t have anywhere near as many genre-bending or trope-twisting fantasy books as we do now. But with the second book, you’re invested, you know what’s going down and everything can start to take some detours from the Tolkien inspired fantasy.
Now that The Great Hunt is starting to make strides I am starting to see what people see in the series, there’s lots of elements that I can see really building and becoming truly epic as the series goes on.
So far my favourite two are Rand’s hesitance at using the one power and the corruption of his ‘void’, and Perrin’s wolf powers.
I’m curious to see what happens with Mat as well. At the moment he’s not really done much except poison himself with the dagger. Of course there’s enough else going on that it doesn’t bother me too much that his storyline is dependent on finding Padan Fain and the dagger at the moment.
In terms of what’s happening right now in the book. I’m hoping that we find out pretty quickly who this noblewoman we’ve stumbled on in this parallel world. I think she’s almost certainly one of the Fallen, I can’t remember her name now. For one, she’s been foreshadowed for a while and then again on the other hand she knows way too much about the Age of Legends and before.
I literally left off (otherwise I would have missed my tube stop) where they’re being chased by a ‘small’ pack of grolm (something Selene does not seem fussed about… suspicious) so I imagine Selene’s trickery will come crumbling down as she tries to get Rand to do what she wants and he refused.
As a sidenote: I think that this parallel world where the Trollocs won and there’s a monument to them instead of Artur Hawkwing is quite a cool way of showing some of the other creatures of the Dark One that I assume will become more common as the series goes on.
But as you can probably tell, I’m keen now to get on and read what happens next! I’m not sure how I’ll cope with the hiatus on the chronology for a month or so… but we’ll see!