Book: 2; The Great Hunt
Chapter: 16; In the Mirror of Darkness
Rand Perrin Egwene Moiraine
Loial Mat Nynaeve Lan
Here is a question. What do the "infinite improbability drive", "Narrative Causality" and the "Chevalier Effect" have in common? That's right children, they are all ironic plot devices that allow a story to take great leaps of logic or justify enormous coincidences without breaking the mechanics of the world in question. (For those who are interested, the guilty authors are Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett and Robert Rankin respectively. The late, great, Mr. Adams actually scores a twofer in my library with the "interconnectedness of all things" in the Dirk Gently novels.) There is probably a proper, literary name for this sort of thing and if anyone knows it, feel free to tell me, but I shall call it a McGuffin.
With that in mind, what are ta'veren? You do catch on quickly, they are the WoT McGuffin, although in this case there is rather less of the irony.
About half way throught tEotW, Loial revealed that Rand, Mat and Perrin are all ta'veren, people whose very presence bends chance, luck and fate around themselves, and now no-one seems to be able to shut up about it. To be fair, it is quite elegant. Ta'veren fit perfectly into the mythology and can be used to explain pretty much anything. How did Perrin meet the only man in the world who could teach him the talk to wolves? Ta'veren. How was Rand separated from anyone who would recognise the signs of his channeling just as those signs showed up? Ta'veren. Mat hasn't done anything too obvious yet but eventually he becomes the most blatent ta'veren of the three, although not the most powerful.
Now, in other news, you may have noticed the list of characters above is getting bigger and more complicated. From here on in, this becomes a major feature of the WoT books. Smaller characters appear and disappear, the major characters bounce about all over the world. The reason I put the current groups at the top of each entry is that I find it the easiest way to keep track of the story, certain plot threads are always attached to certain groups. Today's new additions are Hurin, Ingtar, and a group of Shienaran soilders. Ingtar and the Shienarans are not to interesting right now but I'd just like to say a few words about Hurin.
Hurin is a Sniffer. He can smell violence and track murderers by scent. He joins the Great Hunt of the book's title to track the Darkfriends and Trollocs that have stolen the fabled Horn of Valere. Nothing wrong with that really, but Hurin has always seemed such a flimsy character. All there seems to be to him is his ability and his obssesion with fawning over "Lord Rand" (long story). He mentions that he has a wife but otherwise there seems to be very little to him. Now it could be that his only purpose in the story is to go missing with Rand and Loial so that Perrin can have a chance to shine as a fake "Sniffer" or that he is there to make Rand accept some responsibility for once but when every other character in the series, even the walk on parts, seem to be so fleshed out, Hurin grates.