I’ve read them before, but now I’m listening to them (I love audio books). Its the Wheel of Time series. I just finished book 4, The Shadow Rising, and I got to hear one of my most favorite parts the whole series (one other favorite part, but I’ll talk about that when I get to listen to it). If you’ve not read the books, or gotten this far, I’ll try not to reveal too much, but there will be a bit of spoiler action.
In this particular book, a fair bit of attention is given to Perrin, one of the main characters. Early in the book, Perrin hears news from his home village and decides he needs to go home to protect his family. When he gets there, he finds out all that’s been happening there, that is family has all been killed, and the area is being ransacked by Trollocs (big, ugly, evil creatures). Perrin is an immature, self-effacing young man, but he sees what needs to be done and steps up to fill the need. He rallies the people and leads them to victory. In the process, he creates quite the name for himself and the people see him as their lord.
One of the most moving parts is chapter 57, when the big battle is about to happen. Perrin is riding around checking on things, and finds the women in the central green surrounding the younger children. The older children, 13 and 14, have toddlers and babies strapped to their backs and the women begin telling Perrin their plan. The children play hide-and-go-seek in the forest regularly, so they are read to take off it the battle turns bad. The women are ready to defend the children as they retreat and step into the fight should the trollocs break through the lines. Just thinking about the scene makes me teary-eyed even now.
During the battle, the trollics do break through the line (not surprising when there are 1000s of them and only 100s of men fighting). As Perrin fights (its all from his point of view), he sees others fighting, first the men, but as they pull back, he sees the women fighting. (Gosh, that really gets me going… must be pregnancy!) He then gets news of men attacking trollocs from their backside… men from another village showed up to fight. He sees his own bride leading them in the fight and is overwhelmed by the sight of her. Its a beautiful scene. If you read no other part of this series, these particular chapters are the most beautiful.