This article contains The Wheel of Time spoilers.
The Horn of Valere is a powerful artifact in The Wheel of Time. Legend has it that whoever blows it will have an army of heroes from ages past fighting alongside them in battle, and it is said that the Dragon Reborn will benefit from its power in the Final Battle against the Dark One. The scene from the season 2 finale in which Mat sounds the call was spectacular to behold on many levels, but how exactly did he acquire the Horn of Valere in the first place?
The answer may at first sound simple: Loial gave it to him to deliver to Rand, right? But where did the ogier get the ornate case containing the artifact? The last we saw it, the darkfriend Padan Fain had delivered it to High Lord Turak to secure the Seanchans’ cooperation with Ishamael, and the leader from overseas seemed anxious to use the artifact to ensure further conquest of the continent. He would not have given up the Horn of Valere willingly!
Even viewers who were listening closely may have missed the deeper implications of Loial’s explanation that he had help from “a lady from Cairhien.” Who from Cairhien has the kind of power to steal back what was stolen from Fal Dara way back in The Wheel of Time season 1 finale? The only prominent women we’ve met from that city are Moiraine’s sister Anvaere, who certainly has power but not that kind… and Selene, the innkeeper who turned out to be a Forsaken.
But why would Lanfear, a lieutenant of the Dark Lord, help the good guys acquire the Horn of Valere, an instrument that could bring about her own defeat? The answer lies sprinkled throughout The Wheel of Time finale and the season at large. Upon closer examination, it seems that Lanfear has assisted Rand al’Thor time after time in hopes that he would become the Dragon, the reincarnation of her beloved from the Age of Legends, Lews Therin.
After all, she’s the one that got Rand to Falme, where the Dragon Reborn was prophesied to announce himself to the world, well ahead of the schedule her colleague Ishamael would have liked. The fact that she asked Bayle Domon to drop the seals of her fellow Forsaken into the ocean not only strengthens Rand’s position by removing potential enemies; it also proves she has been manipulating things from the beginning. After all, Bayle was the ship’s captain who delivered the poem outlining Lanfear’s release to Moiraine at the start of The Wheel of Time season 2.
It’s unlikely that anyone realizes that Lanfear has been helping Rand beyond her keeping him out of the Amyrlin’s strict control and assisting his journey to Falme. However, Ishamael clearly saw the betrayal coming, which is why he released the six Forsaken, including Moghedien, before his old friend could carry out her plan to dispose of the seals. When Lanfear realizes what’s in store for Rand in The Wheel of Time season 3, she utters a phrase no darkfriend should say, much less a lieutenant of the Dark Lord: “Light help you Rand al’Thor.”
How Lanfear has hidden her duplicity from the Dark Lord is anyone’s guess, but it’s clear that her obsession with the Dragon is the only reason she signed on for the immortality that being a Forsaken afforded her in the first place. She may have lost her true love to another in the Age of Legends, but she can just wait until the Wheel turns out another Dragon and try again, loyalty to the Shadow be damned.
All eight episodes of The Wheel of Time season 2 are available to stream on Prime Video now.