I’m not going to go all out and spoil his whole story line (just some of it). I just want to touch on a a handful of things about Perrin Aybara of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time. He’s a very intriguing character, and he’s one of my 3 favorite male characters in the book series. *** WARNING: THERE WILL BE SOME SPOILERS. SO, IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE BOOKS AND PLAN ON READING THE SERIES, PLEASE STOP READING. THANK YOU. *** With no further ado, I present to you: Perrin Aybara, blacksmith, ta’veren, wolf brother.
The first thing that stands out when reading Jordan’s description of Perrin is his size. He’s bigger than any of the Two Rivers folk, his shoulders are of broad, strong stock, and his arms thick from working the hammer and forge as a blacksmith’s apprentice. As the story progresses (rather quickly), Perrin’s discovers a hidden “talent”… “gift”… “curse”?
Through a brief, traveling relationship with Elyas Machera, Perrin discovers that he is a wolf brother – one who can speak to wolves and sense things through the wolves. His eyes begin to turn golden yellow, his vision is 100 times better than a human, and his sense of smell is – well – incredible. This discovery is a scary thing for Perrin, and though he fights against it for a good while, he does open up to what being a wolf brother means. Although, he keeps to his disgust of killing, which is the most endearing part that I love about him.
His weapon(s) of choice – sometimes not by choice – is an axe that was made by Master Luhhan (Perrin’s blacksmith teacher in Emond’s Field) and a hammer given to him by a Tairen blacksmith. These two weapons are Ying and Yang for Perrin, and I do want to look at them a bit more.
First, the moon-bladed axe: Perrin was caught by Master Luhhan “practicing” with the axe and was thus given the axe; though he never thought he would have to use the blade. It was because of this axe that Perrin’s “wolf name” came to be “Young Bull”, as the wolves saw the axe as a bull’s horns tearing into flesh. After Perrin’s run in with the White Cloaks – where he killed 2 of them – he became more aware (Jordan uses the word “scared” and “fear”, but I like to think of it as being “aware”) of the barbaric fatality that he wields when he uses the axe. With this awareness, Perrin is really a more careful and more honorable man in the series, as he has this respect for life compared to the other male characters in the series. My imagination likes to imagine him snarling and spitting every time he uses the axe, as if he really did hate the thing but knows that it’s the only thing keeping him alive (in some situations).
His second and most favored weapon, the Hammer, is a weapon that gives meaning, creates items to make life easier, better for people. When he needs time to think or to get away from something, anything, I love that he retreats to the hot fires of the forge, and again, my imagination takes over, and I can see him and hear him working anvil and hammer. It seems like every time he’s faced with an extreme situation, he falls to the forge and comes out with a sense of renewed vigor and strength.
Perrin is always said (written?) as being thought “slow” and “dim”, and it’s only because he prefers to “think things through”. I admire this about him, because with symbolism of his two weapons are absolute contrasts. His “slowness” in order to think everything thoroughly is his hammer, and his delivery as a leader and warrior is his axe. Two totally opposite entities that are completely in sync with each other. I think that’s why I liked him the most out of the male characters. He’s the big, burly, quiet, strong teddy bear, who is a genuinely emotional yet powerful and protective person.
From a reader’s point of view: No wonder why Perrin was the one to have a link with the wolves! No wonder why I relate to him so much. (Sure, all of Jordan’s characters are complex in their own way, but Perrin… phew! He has a bigger roller coaster ride of a story than any of the other characters.) From a writer’s point of view: He would be my hardest character to write. The twists and turns – both internal and external – a writer could take his character in so many different directions!