Fal Dara

The Eye of the World

The Eye of the World (abbreviated as tEotW by fans) is the first book of The Wheel of Time (WoT) fantasy series written by American author Robert Jordan. It was published by Tor Books and released on January 15, 1990. The unabridged audio book is read by Michael Kramer and Kate Reading.

On January 2, 2002, The Eye of the World was re-released as two separate books aimed at a young adult literature market, with larger text and a handful of illustrations. These were From the Two Rivers and To the Blight. The former included an additional prologue entitled "Ravens", focusing on Egwene al'Vere.

Plot summary

Upon first publication, The Eye of the World consisted of one prologue and 53 chapters, with an additional prologue authored upon re-release.

Prologue: Dragonmount

The prologue introduces Lews Therin Telamon (might be read as Kinslayer in some editions), the Dragon, victorious commander of the forces of Light in the war against Shai'tan. His victory was not without cost, however; as a result of the tainting of Saidin, the male half of the One Power, Lews Therin has gone insane and murdered his family. He is confronted by Ishamael, one of the Forsaken, who restores his sanity, allowing him to realize he killed his family. Faced with the magnitude of his crimes, Lews Therin commits suicide by drawing deadly amounts of Saidin, thus creating Dragonmount.

From The Two Rivers to Shadar Logoth

The early chapters of the book are set in and around the rustic village of Emond's Field in the The Two Rivers district of Andor, where most of the primary characters reside.

On the eve of Bel Tine, an annual festival celebrating the arrival of spring, an unexpected attack by bestial Trollocs and fearsome Myrddraal seems to target Rand al'Thor and his two friends, Matrim Cauthon and Perrin Aybara specifically. Hoping to spare their loved ones from any further attacks, the three young men decide to flee the village by night, accompanied by Moiraine Damodred, an Aes Sedai, and her Warder, al'Lan Mandragoran. As they attempt to leave, their surreptitious escape is discovered by the innkeeper's daughter, Egwene al'Vere, and a wandering gleeman, Thom Merrilin, who join them. It is during their escape that Rand unknowingly channels saidin for the first time, and later falls ill due to it.

Chased by Trollocs, Myrddraal, and Draghkar, the seven companions make their way to the nearby city of Baerlon, where they encounter Min Farshaw, a young woman gifted with prophetic visions, and Dain Bornhald, an officer in the Children of the Light. They also find Padan Fain, a peddler who was presumed killed during the Trolloc attack on Emond's Field. Also in Baerlon, Rand and his two friends begin experiencing dreams in which they are taunted by an arrogant man who calls himself Ba'alzamon. Shortly before they depart, Nynaeve al'Meara, the village Wisdom of Emond's Field, arrives to retrieve the four villagers. When Rand and his friends refuse to return with her, Nynaeve joins them to ensure their continued safety.

Pursued by ever-increasing numbers of Trollocs and Myrddraal, the travellers are forced to take refuge in the ancient, abandoned, and deadly city of Shadar Logoth, a place even Myrddraal are reluctant to enter. While there, Rand and his two friends foolishly try to explore the ruined city and meet a man named Mordeth, who first offers them riches in exchange for a small favor, then attempts to kill them when he learns that their companions include an Aes Sedai and that their eventual destination is Tar Valon, the home city of the Aes Sedai order. The three barely escape, and only reach their companions just before nightfall.

From Shadar Logoth to Caemlyn

Myrddraal and Trollocs enter Shadar Logoth during the night, forcing the eight companions from their warded quarters. As they try to avoid the search and leave the city, Mashadar, the evil of Shadar Logoth made manifest, separates them from each other.

Fleeing Shadar Logoth with Trollocs close behind, Rand, Mat, and Thom stumble across a moored ship on the nearby River Arinelle. The captain, Bayle Domon, reluctantly grants them passage to Whitebridge. During the journey upriver, Ba'alzamon continues to haunt Rand's and Mat's dreams, and Mat becomes strangely reclusive and suspicious of strangers. Rand discovers that Mat took a ruby-hilted dagger from the piles of tainted treasure in Shadar Logoth despite Moiraine's warning about anything Mordeth gave them. Mat insists that because he took the dagger instead of Mordeth giving it to him, that it was safe. Rand agrees.

In Whitebridge, the trio are confronted by a Myrddraal in a crowded square. Thom apparently sacrifices himself to buy Rand and Mat time to escape, and the two continue alone on the road toward Caemlyn, earning meals and lodging along the way by playing Thom's flute and juggling. As they near Caemlyn, however, they begin to encounter Darkfriends in nearly every town who seem to be able to recognize them by sight, and Mat's paranoid behavior becomes more debilitating.

Once in Caemlyn, Mat confines himself to his bed and seeks to avoid all contact with outsiders while Rand makes the acquaintance of an Ogier named Loial and embarks on an unlikely adventure. Logain Ablar, a recently-captured False Dragon, is being paraded through the streets of Caemlyn. While seeking to catch a glimpse of him, Rand climbs a wall and accidentally falls over the top into the palace garden, where he meets Elayne Trakand, heir-apparent to the throne of Andor, her brother Gawyn, and her half-brother Galad Damodred.

When the palace guards are alerted to Rand's presence by Galad, he is taken into custody despite Elayne's protests and brought before Queen Morgase and her Aes Sedai advisor, Elaida. Elaida prophetically identifies Rand as a dangerous individual, but Queen Morgase decides that she does not have sufficient evidence to imprison him.

Meanwhile, Egwene and Perrin plan a route that should take them from Shadar Logoth almost directly toward Caemlyn. Along the way, they meet Elyas Machera, a man who can communicate with wolves. He tells Perrin that he, too, can develop this gift though Perrin shows little interest in this possibility. Elyas and the wolves decide to accompany the two youngsters at least part of the way to Caemlyn. They travel for a few days with the Tuatha'an, a nomadic, pacifistic people, before striking out on their own when the wolves witness one of Perrin's dreams featuring Ba'alzamon.

After fleeing from massive swarms of ravens and crows sent to mark their movements and kill them, they run afoul of a legion of Children of the Light commanded by Geofram Bornhald, father of the officer encountered in Baerlon. After witnessing the death of a wolf at the hands of a Whitecloak, Perrin, whose talent has developed despite his efforts, goes temporarily insane and kills two of them. Elyas escapes, but the Children of the Light hold Perrin and Egwene prisoner, planning to execute at least Perrin as soon as they reach Amador.

Moiraine, Lan, and Nynaeve rescue Egwene and Perrin from the Whitecloaks just as one overzealous individual is contemplating their premature release. Together they travel to Caemlyn, where they are reunited with Mat and Rand, who has only just returned from his adventure at the castle. Moiraine immediately diagnoses Mat's "sickness" as the corrupting influence of the ruby-hilted dagger, and she uses her powers to diminish its effects, although she cannot heal him completely or break his attachment to it.

From Caemlyn to the Eye of the World

Loial warns Moiraine of a threat to the Eye of the World, a threat independently corroborated by a story heard by Perrin and Egwene while among the Tuatha'an and by the dreams of Rand, Mat, and Perrin. Moiraine decides that in order to reach the Eye of the World in time to stop the Dark One, they must take the Ways (passageways built by Aes Sedai for Ogiers to travel far distances in short amounts of time). The group is guided along the dangerous (now tainted by an evil black wind) Ways by Loial and emerge in Shienar, where they meet Lord Agelmar Jagad and Ingtar Shinowa in the fortress of Fal Dara, on the eve of an expected battle against a Trolloc army.

Padan Fain is found climbing the walls of Fal Dara. He is taken into custody and interrogated by Moiraine and Lan, who discover that Fain is a Darkfriend whose mind has been specifically moulded to find the Dark One's quarry; it was he who aimed the attack on Emond's Field. Following that attack, he was forced into the Myrddraals' pursuit of the companions, only escaping them in Shadar Logoth.

Even separated from the Myrddraal, however, he was still the Dark One's bloodhound, and he followed the companions to Caemlyn, through the Ways, and to Fal Dara.

The group enters the Blight in search of the Eye of the World, guarded by Someshta (the fabled Green Man). The Eye is revealed as a pool of pure Saidin, and when the companions exit they are confronted by the Forsaken Aginor and Balthamel. Balthamel dies at the hand of the Green Man, and Aginor is consumed by the One Power as he battles Rand for control of the saidin at the Eye of the World. Guided by blind luck and instinctive knowledge, Rand uses the supply of saidin to decimate the Trolloc army and defeat Ba'alzamon.

Afterwards, Rand realizes to his own horror that he channeled the One Power, and that he is condemned to a fate of insanity and rotting death. The book ends with Moiraine's ominous statement to herself that, "The Dragon is Reborn."

The Eye of the World

The Eye of the World is in a hidden location in the Blight created by the male and female Aes Sedai after the Dark One tainted saidin. It was created using both saidin and saidar (the male and female halves of the Power respectively), and is protected by Someshta. It houses a pool of pure, untainted saidin, as well as one of the seven Seals on the Dark One's prison, Lews Therin's Dragon Banner and the Horn of Valere. Moiraine brings the party here to help discover which one of the three ta'veren can channel (thus discovering which one of them is the Dragon Reborn). It is during the battle with Aginor and Balthamel that Rand channels consciously for the first time. Balthamel is killed by Someshta, and Aginor is killed by drawing too much of the power. Aginor and Balthamel are two of the Forsaken.

Themes and allusions

Robert Jordan has stated that he consciously intended the early chapters of The Eye of the World to evoke the Shire of Middle-earth in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Other strong allusions to The Lord of the Rings exist as well, particularly the incorporeal and invisible Dark Lord, the dark home realm of Mordor compared to Thakan'dar (as well as Shayol Ghul' Pit of Doom to the fiery pit of Mount Doom), obvious similarities between Trollocs and Orcs, Nazgûl and Myrddraal, and Padan Fain and Gollum.

The Eye of the World may be regarded as a coming of age story, in which young people mature, experience new things, and accept greater responsibilities. Another theme prominent in the book is the nature of trust; the people of the Two Rivers have to rely on Moiraine, but they fear she is only manipulating them and using them for her own ends.

Release details

  • 1990, U.S., Saint Martin's Press (ISBN 0-312-85009-3), Pub date January 15 1990, hardcover (First edition)
  • 1990, U.S., Tor Books (ISBN 0-8125-0048-2), Pub date February ?, 1990, paperback
  • 1990, UK, Little, Brown (ISBN 0-356-19068-4), Pub date July 12 1990, hardcover
  • 1990, UK, Orbit (ISBN 1-85723-353-0), Pub date July 12 1990, hardcover
  • 1992, UK, Orbit (ISBN 1-85723-076-0), Pub date July 15 1992, paperback
  • 1993, U.S., Tom Doherty Associates (ISBN 0-8125-1181-6), Pub date October ?, 1993, paperback
  • 1995, U.S., Gallant / Publishing Mills (ISBN 1-879371-52-9), Pub date December ?, 1995, Audio book cassette
  • 1999, U.S., Rebound by Sagebrush (ISBN 0-613-17634-0), Pub date October ?, 1999, hardcover (Library binding)
  • 2000, U.S., Tor Books (ISBN 0-8125-7995-X), Pub date September ?, 2000, paperback
  • 2002, U.S., Starscape Books (ISBN 0-7653-4184-0), Pub date January ?, 2002, paperback (pub as "From the Two Rivers Pt.1")
  • 2002, U.S., Starscape Books (ISBN 0-7653-4221-9), Pub date January ?, 2002, paperback (pub as "To the Blight Pt.2")
  • 2003, UK, ATOM (ISBN 1-904233-20-1), Pub date March 6 2003, paperback (pub as "From the Two Rivers Pt.1")
  • 2003, UK, ATOM (ISBN 1-904233-19-8), Pub date March 6 2003, paperback (pub as "To the Blight Pt.2")

References

External links

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