I’ve been re-reading the earlier books in The Wheel of Time series and coming back to it after all these years, it feels like a different story.
When I read it, as a teenager, I was fascinated by the system of magic — called channelling — and the idea of ta’veren. I was more engaged by the relationships between the three male characters and the women they loved.
But reading it again now, I find myself drawn into the little political games that the Aes Sedai play amongst themselves. I’m more curious about the cultural differences in the different countries — from the Seanchan to the Sea Folk to the Aiel.
I also found myself more interested in the relationship between female friends, rather than lovers.
In Winter’s Heart (book nine in the series), two of the main characters — Elayne and Aviendha — go through a ceremony to become “first-sisters”.
It’s not an easy ceremony. There are trials to go through, which start from the time they are summoned.
And by the end of the entire process, the women are in tears. As I read, I found myself tearing up as well.
In this day and age, it’s so easy to call someone a friend. It’s easy to say someone is “the family you chose”.
But how far are we really willing to go for them? Do we have the awareness to recognise their flaws and our enviousness? Do we have the courage to disagree and perhaps fight?
Do we have enough love in our hearts to look beyond all that and still see a sister?