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Five Thoughts on The Wheel of Time‘s “Daughter of the Night”

By | September 19th, 2023
Posted in Television | % Comments

The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the Third Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose above the great recap pages of Multiversity Comics. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning.

Today, we will look into episode four of season 2, “Daughter of the Night.”

1. House Damodred

On her journey, Moiraine returns to her old home in Cairhien, that her younger sister, Anvaere, and their butler, Jhonas. She is in a hurry and on constant business, despite Anvaere, physically much older (to the point of having very gray hair), begging her to stay for tea as they had not seen one another in decades. Moiraine only agrees to stay and talk begrudgingly, and only to get information on Rand’s whereabouts. Anvaere had seen him at the recent party (where he stole a bottle of wine), and provides the information.

Moiraine’s return gives some insight into her life. She is of a noble house, one of means (well, somewhat, aside from an uncle who ruined them), but is very distant from her family, likely out of both necessity of her work following causes (which puts her and possibly her family in danger) and as a consequence of living apart for so long due to different lives.

Alanna gives more insight about Moiraine when talking with Lan in another scene: something happened to Moiraine shortly before her decision to take a Warder in the first place, perhaps related to the hunt for the Dragon. According to Alanna, she is unsure if Moiraine has ever been happy.

Evidently, part of why Moiraine went to Cairhien was to find Rand (who she finds out was in Foregate by asking about his distinctive red hair to one person, then asking again later) and to speak to Logain, who she offers a deal: she will end his life if he helps her to train Rand in the One Power, something only he could do out of people she knows. That said, as with all things for Aes Sedai, her words are particular and important. She specifically says the following as her deal: “You help me, and I’ll help you.” Technically, this does not mean killing him, even if that is the most obvious interpretation, though she says she will leave a knife with him if he trains Rand to the best of his ability (Rand apparently being as strong as Logain was, but unable to control that power due to hating and fearing it).

2. Lan’s Indecision

Out in a dusty village, Lan stays with Alanna Sedai and her Warders (and lovers) Maksim and Ihvon, who try helping him through the loss of his Warder bond with Moiraine. As Alanna explains, she does not believe he is going to commit suicide, as rather than his bond being ripped from him, as Stepin’s was when Kerene Sedai was killed by Logain, Moiraine instead “took” the bond, dissolving it rather than tearing a part from him. Technically she just is masking it and keeping themselves separated (and apparently has for another six months, making the timing of this season very confusing), but it is treated as like they are fully split apart.

According to Maksim, he has his bond masked more often than not, and if Lan really wants to go back to Moiraine, he is the only one truly stopping himself. However, Lan also says that he does not want to repeat his failures, implying he does not want to have a new Aes Sedai bind him at all.

3. Sudden Yet Inevitable Betrayal

Within the Tower itself, Egwene, Elayne, and Nynaeve have their own trials. Egwene feels herself more useless and inadequate as she fails to help Nynaeve with her post-traumatic stress over the events in the Arches (a test that according to Alanna was not performed so early for anyone since the previously mentioned Cadsuane Sedai).

Meanwhile, Nynaeve learns from Liandrin about Perrin’s capture by the Seanchan, prompting the new Accepted, Egwene, snd an eager-to-help Elayne to sneak out of the White Tower in the hope of enacting a rescue operation.

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But wait. How did Liandrin know about that if she has been in and around the Tower? Yes, Leane Sedai had messages from abroad, but they seemed to be about an assault from the western coast in general, which did not imply anything beyond the attack on Toman Head. Liandrin would only know that Perrin was with the group from people on the inside, and anyone who had left the group either was Perrin and Elyas, was dead, or was aligned with the Seanchan themselves. And the only channeler near those events who we have seen capable of and proficient in that kind of long-distance communication on such short notice would be… Ishamael.

Oh no.

To the surprise of few, if any, Liandrin is a traitor, working with the Forsaken and likely the Seanchan. She ambushes the three women away from any witnesses after having tricked them into leaving, likely aiming to use these new, powerful captives in some way. The women not one who she did not necessarily account for was Elayne, who she calls a “complication,” but Egwene and Nynaeve were apparently both part of her plans.

Really, it is a wonder she was able to hide at all, with her hostility and implicit threats to the likes of the Amyrlin Seat herself when talking to Keeper of Chronicles (essentially deputy, commonly from the same Ajah that raised the sitting Amyrlin) Leane Sharif of the Blue Ajah. In actuality, with few, notable exceptions, the Red Ajah is probably the most antagonistic one in the series barring a separate, secret one (the Black, to be gone into later), in no small part due to their hostility to any and all men.

4. Wolfbrothers

As Perrin and Elyas walk the path and search for Loial and the captive Shienarans, they discuss what exactly the two men are: wolfbrothers (females would be wolfsisters, and the gender less term would be wolfkin). Elyas may act as a sniffer, but his true role, the true nature of his power, is actually under this title instead.

No, Perrin is not literally a werewolf. He cannot transform into a wolf in the flesh, though his instincts may be similar. But his kind have a psychological connection to wolves. They are able to telepathically communicate, to send messages as images or other sensations, to use the heightened senses of wolves, and likely more.

However, to truly learn, Perrin is going to need a good teacher. Elyas is okay, but seems better at broad explanations than intricate lessons, his mind perhaps too human to explain the thoughts of wolves. Given the nature of Perrin’s powers, it is best to have a “wolf” side mentor as well as a “brother” side. This role is where Hopper comes in, a wolf who Perrin takes a liking to. Perhaps by being close with a wolf, Perrin can learn to use his abilities to his advantage instead of on random instinct, especially with their more visual style of communication over words.

Elyas has been watching Perrin for a while, even before they met. Evidently, Perrin was not the one to save himself in the first season, but rather it was Elyas sending the wolves to attack Valda. As for how they found him, Perrin had been sending images of his deceased wife in his sleep for months, something that implies wolves may have some control of dreams as well, or ability to read them.

The wolves may like Perrin, commiserate with him, but they do not trust Egwene, as women who can channel, especially Aes Sedai, are unlikely to trust what they do not understand, as is the case with other humans. Most likely, Elyas has had difficulties with Aes Sedai in the past, probably believing his communication with wolves is the result of power from the Dark One not unlike a witch or warlock in other settings, and superstition around various towns likely had a similar effect. With that in mind, it isn’t hard to see why he takes comfort in the company of a wolf pack rather than humanity.

5. Forsaken, Near and Far

“Daughter of the Night. She walks again. The ancient war she yet fights. Her new lover she seeks, who shall serve her and die. Yet serve still. Who shall stand against her coming? The Shining Walls shall kneel. Blood feeds blood. Blood calls blood. Blood is, blood was, and blood shall ever be.” – Prophecy of the Shadow, as read by Ihvon and Ishamael

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Ishamael has an odd part in this episode. The opening, implicitly having taken place quite some time ago by the nature of related characters, has him undergoing some kind of ritual in a very dark place to bring forth a bloody body, seemingly from a hole of some sort in the sky, while speaking in the Old Tongue. Much of it is difficult to decipher, except one word: “Lanfear,” which is both an epithet for one of the Forsaken and a word meaning “Daughter of Night”. The fact that “Daughter of the Night” sounds very similar to the euphemism “lady of the night” is likely intentional out of universe, but in-world it seems to just be “a woman who stalks from the dark”.

As such, it seems that rather than the thirteen emerging from the Bore in the Dark One’s prison as a natural result of it decaying, as is the case in the books, it seems Ishamael actually calls them from it. This change seems at least somewhat in line with him being the first one seen in person, unlike the books where it was first two who were so close to the edge of the prison that they simply managed to get out earlier (and their body decayed in the millennia since their sealing dye to the proximity). Judging from how Maksim words it as Lanfear’s Seal (capitalization important) being broken, and Ihvon says she is “in our world again,” it seems that the Forsaken were sealed individually in some place outside of the normal world, rather than just happening to be in the same place where the Dark One was locked away. Further, it seems the opening was Ishamael opening the aforementioned Seal.

Ishamael also appears to Min at an inn during a nightmare, offering her a proposition: if she brings Mat to Cairhien, he will rid her of her viewings of the Pattern. As the Father of Lies, it is entirely possible he is making this up, since there is no proof yet that any channelers can manipulate the machinations of the Wheel of Time itself. That said, he is not entirely wrong about some things only being possible with the power of the Shadow, which, while not always, is often distinct from the One Power and the True Source that fuels it, though we will go into detail about that if and when it comes up.

With the inn being rebuilt, Selene takes Rand to another home of hers in the countryside near Kinslayer’s Dagger, a stretch of mountains jutting out from the “Spine of the World” mountain range separating the “Westlands” (the majority of occupied countries on the mainland) from the Aiel Waste deserts to the east. The “Kinslayer” was Lews Theron Telamon, who killed everyone he ever loved and everyone with a drop of his blood when he went mad.

They are attacked in the night by a Fade that Rand kills by immolating it with a relatively simple Weave of Fire (which itself seems to be something of a specialty to him at this point), confessing to being a channeler, as well as to loving her. As it so happens, Selene is a channeler as well, though apparently not an Aes Sedai. As was the case with the female channelers in Fal Dara, not all such people seem to be under the purview of the White Tower, meaning we have little reason to believe the strongest are necessarily Aes Sedai. Selene talks about how Rand should not have to hide what he is, and how she used to keep her darker instincts and pieces hidden from her former lover until he looked “too long, too carefully” and saw her for what she truly was.

Upon her arrival, Moiraine stabs Selene in the back, then slits her throat. Alanna had read a prophecy about the Forsaken Lanfear returning to the world, and that woman was in fact Selene herself, muddying the context of earlier statements she made to Rand such as about her former lover. Her alias was rather telling in hindsight, at least for viewers and readers: Selene was the Greek goddess of the moon, and the moon is typically out at night, with its light only existing as a reflection of that of others.

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Just before her attack, she seems to develop some traits of the gangly creature she emerged as, indicating that she is a “monster” as well as he claims to be as a male channeler. While Moiraine begins to escape with Rand, “Selene” begins recovering from her wounds, giving some credence to Moiraine claiming she is the most dangerous of the Forsaken.

How was Moiraine able to so easily discern that Lanfear was this woman, aside from the prophecy? What did the Forsaken want with Rand? How much truth was there to her assertions about her past love? All of these will be left for another time.

Until next the Wheel wills.

//TAGS | The Wheel of Time

Gregory Ellner

Greg Ellner hails from New York City. He can be found on Twitter as @GregoryEllner or over on his Tumblr.


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