In this section, Perrin takes charge in the Two Rivers.
Perrin has changed since The Dragon Reborn, as demonstrated by his internal descriptions of the people and events around him. Previously, a heavy emphasis on his blacksmithing background was used to show his personality and character. Now, the blacksmithing references are gone, almost completely absent, replaced by a more worldly view, laced with soldiering metaphors. Even before he takes up arms, Perrin is being cast in a different light than in the previous book. For the most part, his perception is more focused, blunt, to the point. Here are a few examples showing his most blacksmith related thoughts, which are few, and a selection of others showing his growth and experience:
A small bowl balanced on the back of a cunningly made lion.
Whitecloaks don’t need much to decide somebody is guilty.
If he’s not a crackbrain, it won’t matter.
It was past time to be doing something.
A huge tree that looked as if it had been cleft down the middle by an axe.
Looking past Marin at him sharp as tacks.
How could he tell a man something like that?
Other times he might as well have been some complicated mechanism she meant to disassemble in order to puzzle out how it worked.
She was in for a surprise, if it came to that.
He had just tried to think of what a Shienaran he knew, a soldier named Uno, would have said.
Perrin immediately and methodically prioritizes his objectives. The ones he can achieve, and the ones with the greatest impact on himself and his loved ones come first. He sets Slayer last, not knowing he is the greatest of the foes to be reckoned with. His mindset is militaristic, not smith-like.
The sequence where Perrin learns of his family’s death has shortened Perrin responses. Every other character in the room is speaking about the various bits of news for several sentences, almost talking over his head, while Perrin’s responses are a few lines. This serves to illustrate his shock and forced detachment from the news of his family’s demise. An alternative might have been to have a heavily internalized Perrin sequence where he goes through the grieving process. Instead, by keeping Perrin somewhat removed and keeping most of his emotional display short or off page, the feeling is maintained that he is all business. There is even a sense of alarm that he is not fully aware of the dangers of the path he is heading down, that his cold resolve is blinding him to the ridiculousness of his objectives. The removal of the blacksmith related language accentuates this.
The language describing the Aes Sedai’s abode relates to the threat they may pose, and their trustworthiness. Anything at all in and around the sickhouse could be described, but the selection of adjectives and nouns the author chose to use begins to paint a picture: undergrowth, old sickhouse, sourgum, forest closed in, oddly, low branches, net of vines and briars snaked, vine-shrouded windows, dim light, cobwebs. No trusted friend could live in such a place.
Surprisingly, Dain Bornhald is cast in a favourable light, although his good behaviour is incidental to his misguided pursuit of Perrin. Padan Fain once again demonstrates how he uses anyone’s desires to his advantage, using it to goad people into advancing his own goals. Padan Fain took advantage of an organization which acts first, thinks later (if at all) to secure a force of fighting men. The Children of the Light’s actions are meant to draw Rand to him, but may also have been intended to protect him from the Shadow’s attempts on his life, which he wisely foresaw. Any attempts by the Forsaken to pursue Fain can be turned to giving further incentive to Rand to return to the Two Rivers to face Fain. All he has to do is survive the Shadow’s assassins.
Fain has turned Trollocs, and now a Myrddraal. If swearing allegiance to the Shadow involves unspeakable rites to bind you, how frightful is a process to turn you away from that allegiance? What will he do with this Myrddraal? Create a double agent?
Show irrationality by removing a part of normal behaviour.