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he Hunt for the Horn

by Linda: 2010-07-25 | 7.85 out of 10 (13 votes)

Previous Categories: Verin - Motivations and Plans

My theory explains how Verin delicately guided Egwene to contact the person in the Tower who Verin trusted with the knowledge of the location of the Horn of Valere.

Verin hid the Horn cleverly even to get it to the Tower:

"The Horn of Valere" she (Siuan) gasped. "You brought that all the way here, across hundreds of leagues, with the Hunters looking everywhere for it? Light, woman, it was to be left with Rand al'Thor."
"I know, Mother," Verin said calmly, "but the Hunters all expect to find the Horn in some great adventure, not in a sack with four women escorting a sick youth.

- The Dragon Reborn, The Amyrlin Seat

So when Siuan told Verin to hide it away without telling anyone:

"For the moment," the Amyrlin said finally, "we will find some place to hide this where no one but we two know."

- The Dragon Reborn, The Amyrlin Seat

Verin was the right person to do so. She had already boldy disguised the Horn as an insignificant parcel. Unlike Siuan, Verin knew how extensive and pervasive the Black Ajah was and how, therefore, for the Horn to remain secret and safe, it had to be away from rooms frequented by Aes Sedai. Siuan never tells us what Verin said she did with the Horn.

Merana tells us that Verin's manipulatory skills are pretty good:

Verin had hardly touched her own plans really, except for guiding Demira into suggesting today's unfortunate confrontation. It had been done quite skillfully; Merana did not believe anyone but a Gray would have noticed.

- Lord of Chaos, The Mirror of Mists

From a Grey, that's quite a complement. Verin is the past master of nudging people into doing what she wants (or thinks they should do) with deceptively casual prattle. Even in the hour of her death. Or should that be especially in the hour of her death?

As she took poison, Verin twice told Egwene to speak to Laras:

"My, but this is good tea," Verin said. "When you next see Laras, please thank her on my behalf for providing it. She promised that she had some that hadn't spoiled, but I didn't trust her. Can't trust much these days, can you?"
"What, is Laras a Darkfriend?" Egwene asked.
"Heavens, no," Verin said. "She's many things, but not a Darkfriend. You'd sooner find a Whitecloak marrying an Aes Sedai than find Laras swearing to the Great Lord. Extraordinary woman.

- The Gathering Storm, A Visit from Verin Sedai

"It takes a very special tea to make asping rot go down sweetly," Verin said, taking another sip. "As I said, please thank Laras for me."

- The Gathering Storm, A Visit from Verin Sedai

At such a time she would hardly talk about trivialities, so there had to be good reason for this.

Verin quite subtly but firmly suggested to Egwene to visit Laras as a seemingly innocuous 'last request'. She also implanted the idea that Egwene should see to this personally - because "you can't trust much these days" and assured her that Laras was no Darkfriend and moreover was trustworthy. She then went on to say "When you next see Laras, please thank her on my behalf..." And a short while later again: "As I said, please thank Laras for me."

Verin said when Egwene next sees Laras even though Verin would have deduced that Egwene was soon to be Amyrlin judging by the political currents in the Tower and would therefore have much to attend to. She compliments Egwene on how well she has done politically so she was certainly aware of how close Egwene was. Yet Egwene is to visit Laras...

The last time Egwene was with Laras, Laras was prepared to arrange Egwene's escape from Elaida's efforts to break her:

No time for jabbering!" Laras said, as if she weren't the one doing all of the talking. She was obviously nervous, the way she kept glancing about and tapping her foot. But she'd obviously also done this sort of thing before. Why was the simple cook in the White Tower so skilled at sneaking, so handy with a plan to get Egwene out of the fortified and besieged city? And why did she have a bolt-hole in the kitchens in the first place? Light! How had she created it?

- The Gathering Storm, In the White Tower

Laras did help Min rescue Siuan and Leane, all the while regaling Min with tales of her 'lively' youth and how she was near to being hanged.

Considering Verin's ringing endorsement of Laras, and her urging of Egwene to visit her, I think that Laras was the one to whom Verin handed her parcel containing the Horn way back in The Dragon Reborn. I don't think Laras necessarily knows what's in the parcel. It's possible the parcel was warded by Verin.

The Horn could well be in the kitchens under Laras' watchful eye. It's not a place an Aes Sedai would hang out, so the Horn would be safe there, but it is a place where almost anyone can enter or leave with a parcel and no one would think anything of it. In the real world, such kitchens in the 16th-18th centuries had cupboards and cellars under lock and key to which only the Butler or Head Cook had access. Laras even revealed to Egwene a hidey hole as we saw in the quote above. So there is no lack of secure places in the kitchen for a package to be hidden.

I also think Laras was the recipient of one of Verin's letters of instructions she was giving out in The Gathering Storm, a letter telling her to hand the parcel to Egwene when Egwene drops by.

So when Egwene remembers Verin's request and goes to visit Laras she'll find out just what an extraordinary woman Laras is. Not a Hero of the Horn, but its guardian.

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Tamyrlin: 2010-07-26

Linda, I love the creativity; Verin's suspicious nature is something near and dear to my heart. After reading your theory, I searched the entire series for references to Laras looking for some other clue that might lead us to believe that she has been hiding such an important tool on behalf of Verin and Siuan. I didn't find anything else in any of the other books. However, I did continue to see Laras play a part in the life of the White Tower, enough to not rule out the idea at face value. As you point out, what we learn about Laras in TGS makes it possible (Laras becomes more mysterious, which begs us to ask: why does she keep playing a part in this story and why would Verin trust her?) Verin would not trust the Aes Sedai. In fact, she probably found it difficult to trust anyone. And, I can see Verin speaking in vague terms regarding Laras, as long as there is some guarantee that Laras would go to Egwene. I find it less likely that she was hoping Egwene would go to Laras - and more likely that she was having a little bit of fun with Egwene, as her life was about to end, knowing the Horn was safe and would come into play when it was needed because of safeguards she put into place (assuming the premise of your theory is true.) Having done this for so long, it's fun to see new and plausible ideas pushed out to the fandom, even at this late hour. Thanks for letting us tandem post your theory - I hope we do this again.


terez: 2010-07-26

I remember you mentioning this one when the book came out. It seems likely to me mostly because there are certain minor characters that RJ has put a good deal of time into developing, and it is easy to see for the most part an inkling of what part they will play in the end game. Easy to assume that they will all be involved in the end game in one way or another, and this is a good role for Laras to play, especially since she didn't get to help Egwene escape like she wanted to. :)


Linda: 2010-07-26

I should add that Fain thought that the Horn was hidden in the Tower's strongrooms when he was at the Tower. He correctly got the dagger from one but left straight after because he encountered Alviarin and realised she was Black. Standing in that room, he said there was no time to find the Horn. (Italics mine).

I have every faith that Verin left a false trail for the Horn's location. It's such a crucial thing for the Last Battle.


Linda: 2010-07-26

Thanks Terez and Tam.

It's true, Terez, that the theory is not brand new, but when Tam asked if I would post a newly written up theory here I chose this one because I didn't think it had been mentioned before at Theoryland.


WinespringBrother: 2010-07-27

Very interesting. Verin even visited Egwene in the kitchens twice, to summon her once and acting absent minded the other time.

However, I think that another possibility is that Verin hid the HoV outside of the Tower, since we have little knowledge of her travels to the 2 Rivers. Emond's Field would be a fitting place for it, or anywhere in the former Manetheren. And she did know that Mat blew the Horn, and left him a note as well. Maybe with instructions for retrieving the Horn?


terez: 2010-07-30

@WSB - that is the obvious theory, that she left instructions for Mat to find it. I see this as a creative alternative. However, in the case that she did leave instructions for Mat, I doubt she brought it outside the Tower. I'm still convinced that Mat will return there to retrieve it himself; he might even be the running person in Egwene's dream (which would play well with Tuon being her Seanchan woman with a sword).


iokepa: 2010-07-31

I find myself agreeing with this theory. I do agree that Mat's letter will probably guide him towards the Horn as well, but Verin is Aes Sedai, and as such I think should would have wanted to keep such a valuable item tied to the Tower. She knows Mat will be the one to get it eventually, but he will have get it from the now Amyrlin.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I have to admit - I love any scene with Mat having to deal with Aes with him cutting a deal with Egwene would be an interesting read to say the least.


Paitir: 2010-08-03

When Fain goes to the tower to get the dagger he implies that the horn is there in the tower but he doesn't have time to find it.


ZT: 2010-08-12

I really like this theory and think it would be awesome for Laras to have the Horn. She was one of my favorite very minor characters in the book. I think she could teach Rand a thing or two.


esotericguy: 2010-09-04

This makes perfect sense! I'm mad at myself for not realizing what Verin did in that last hour. That's one of my favorite chapters and I that had never come to mind. Great job!


Linda: 2010-09-05

Thanks for the positive comments guys! I'm really glad that it makes people re-think Verin's activities. Looking at things from another angle can suggest all sorts of new possibilities.


Tenesmus: 2010-09-05

Alanna's actions help support this theory. Alanna has made several attempts to be in the kitchens, all after Verin gave Siuan the Horn. Alanna was in the anteroom in Fal Dara when Siuan and Moiraine were chatting over the Horn. After Verin gave Siuan the Horn, Alanna was Verin's shadow for a few books, and I don't think Verin trusted her fully


terez: 2010-09-06

I doubt Alanna knew anything about the Horn that was relevant; its current location was not discussed in Fal Dara because it had not yet been stolen and rediscovered. Also, IIRC the room was warded against listening anyway, and we have a good explanation for why Alanna was attempting to be in the kitchens in TDR.


stylusmobilus: 2010-09-11

Perhaps Laras is even more than the Hider of the Horn. Maybe she is part of the Amyrlin's spy network. Thanks for making us think Linda.


Tavokk: 2010-09-22

This could be why Laras decides she can't leave when helping Min free Siuan and Leane from the Tower in TSR (4), duty is demanding she stay and keep guard over the Horn - no matter who is the current Amyrlin.


Paaran Disen: 2010-09-22

This theory makes a lot of sense. Now that the White Tower is take back, I do not see do much of a super major role for Egwene in the next book. Delivering the Horn would be a great thing for her to do. Also, I don't think Mat will be able to retrieve the Horn himself, as A.)He hates the Aes Sedai and would not want to voluntarily enter the White Tower, and B.) Mat will probably be to busy breaking into the Tower of Genjhi (I probably spelled that wrong) to be going around Mantheren (I think that is wrong too) looking for the Horn.


Myth: 2010-09-30

I do like this theory and the more I think about it the more it makes sense. Laras having a somewhat large minor role did not make sense, unless this was true, and RJ and Sanderson were trying to send clues that Linda finally picked up on. It has been awhile since I've read the books though and I only read TGS once when it first came out so you guys will have to clarify for me some things for me. I thought BA could reveal their secrets at death. We know Verin was dying, and if she wanted Egwene to have the horn or know of its location why wouldn't she say so outright? She obviously trusted Egwene, she gave her the list of BA, so it would seem logical (if I am right which you all may correct me) that she would tell her where the Horn was. Especially considering its obvious importance and impending LB.

Therefore I agree with those who think the Horn will be recovered by Mat. I do think it is in the Tower with Laras, and that Mat's instructions were on how to sneak in through the hidy-hole in the kitchen. When there he is supposed to seek out Laras, I don't remember if they met each other in his brief stay there, and she would give him the Horn. Therefore, I think Verin was asking Egwene to keep an eye on Laras and to say thank you for taking on such an important responsibility. Laras very well may end up having played one of the most crucial roles to the LB, she deserves to know what she was guarding (assuming she doesn't), that Verin was thankful and considered her remarkable (which would make Laras feel awesome since she so admires Aes Sedai), and (assuming Verin was as intelligent as we all believe or was a Dreamer and knew Egwene would be the Mother) to have the official thanks of the Tower and the Mother.


natasharma: 2010-10-01

I really like where this theory is going. I always thought Laras would play a crucial role someday but i hadn't considered her link with the HoV. I believe Verin did not mention the hiding place of the Horn to Egwene because she didn't know it herself. If she was working for the Light while being a part of the BA, she would have had to take precautions against revealing the hiding place if placed under compulsion. Laras would be the ideal person to hide the Horn. it would be in the Tower and still unknown to Aes Sedai who might want to use it to reach their own ends. Yes, I do believe Linda has it right that Laras has the package.

Also, in terms of Mat finding it. Just because the he is connected to the Horn is no reason that he be the one to find it. We have already seen Halima (Aran'gar) die at the hands of Rand instead of Egwene. I dont know how fair that was but life isn't always fair.


Myth: 2010-10-01

Good point. I didn't consider she might not know the exact location. Then the whole say thank you to Laras takes on Linda's original thought. I still dont get why Verin wouldn't just tell Eqwene to talk to Laras, that she has something important. So even though you may have proved why she gave Laras the Horn, I am going to stubbornly stick to Mat retrieving it until proven otherwise.:D


Linda: 2010-10-03

Myth: in part it's caution. She wants the meeting to look natural. It also depends on how much she knows of what is going to happen in the Tower in the near future, what she knows of the BA plans. Maybe Verin wanted to 'let certain events happen' just as Moiraine told Thom it was vital he wait until Mat asked about the letter rather than just show it to him straight away.


Homeschool: 2010-10-04

@Myth - Another reason Verin might not have told Egwene... It wasn't the right time. One of Verin's greatest talents was planning, and seeing connections and paths. Her subtle manipulations were often for events and decisions that were significantly in the future.

In this case, it's probably the same. If she'd told Egwene to go see Laras about the Horn, Egwene would have been in there first chance. However, this way, Egwene will be so busy and distracted that she won't remember, at least not until she meets Laras again.

Which, given the normal workings of the Tower, and Laras' tendency to stay in the kitchens... Well, probably not until Laras seeks her out. If she is the keeper of the Horn, that would be exactly when Verin told Laras to. Thus, when she delivers the Horn to Egwene, the conversation will return to Egwene, and she will recall what Verin said, sharing Verin's gratitude in her final moments. (Which was probably a disguised expression of thanks for her role, rather than the tea.)


Myth: 2010-10-05

@Linda and Homeschool:
Verin is like that and I will admit I hadn't put it all together that nicely. Thanks guys. I only wish I had time to reread all the books before the next one comes out.


BigBadWolfbrother: 2010-10-14

Great theory...but I've always had a hunch that Laras was Forsaken in diguise. Could it be that she is Messana in disguise? This could explain why she was so pushy about trying to get Egwene out of the tower when Elaida was in charge. Did she (Messana not recieve instructions to get her out from Moridin?) I don't have my books in front of me, and I can't totally remember if this is right...little help anyone?


arioch: 2010-10-14

Laras was the head cook in the Tower long before most of the Forsaken (aside from Ishamael) were freed, though. Ishamael left the running of the Tower (and the Black Ajah he created) to Mesaana, and I don't remember any command he as Moridin would have given Mesaana in that regard. Mesaana would have had to pick Laras's place to take.

Can you imagine Mesaana taking pleasure in dolling up Min?


terez: 2010-10-15

Brandon disqualified Laras as Mesaana anyway.


brother of Battles: 2010-10-27

I like this theory. Another reason Verin didn't tell egwene straight out is the fact that if she did, Egwene might have been in the kitchens when the Sanchen attacked and therefore would not have linked with the other Novices. Without linking with them and getting the Sa'Angrel and whooping serious booty, Egwene might have been re-captured by the Sanchan. Verin might have known this somehow (dreamer) so cryptically told Egwene to seek out Laras using work association. The note from Verin to Laras might have instructions that when someone comes to her to thank her for the tea she provided Verin, to give to her the package she has been guarding....

Nice job Linda!!