—Inscription etched upon the Horn of Valere
The Horn of Valere (/vɑˈɫiːɹ/) is a powerful artifact. Little is known of how it works, but the effect is clear: when the Horn is sounded, the great heroes of the Pattern are summoned to battle, will serve the Trumpeter but always on the side of the Light. "We have come to the Horn, but we must follow the banner. And the Dragon." – explains Artur Hawkwing at Falme. At the Last Battle, they accept Mat as the substitue of the Dragon. There is no direct mention of it in the Prophecies of the Dragon, but there are two lines which might hold indications of it: "The trumpets of war shall sound at his footsteps" and "When the Fox marries the raven, and the trumpets of battle are blown.". There is a statement at Falme, though which implies that. "It has to be there at the Last Battle, – Mat said." The "lone fight" in the first line of the Prophecy of the Horn might also be interpreted as the Last Battle.
It is described as looking like any ordinary curled golden horn and is not grand, the only markings were a line of silver script inlaid around the mouth of the bell. On the Old Tongue it says "Tia mi aven Moridin isainde vadin." – "The Grave is no bar to my call."
Prophecy of the Horn
The Prophecy of the Horn says
The Old Tongue for the prophecy is not known.
'gainst the fall of long night,
the mountains stand guard,
and the dead shall be ward,
The Horn's origins are uncertain, but it was lost to the world and faded into the realm of myth for hundreds of years when the Aes Sedai of the Age of Legends hid it beneath the Eye of the World during the Breaking. Deep within the Blight, it was guarded by the Green Man, Someshta, the last of the Nym, along with the banner of Lews Therin Telamon and one of the seals to the Dark One's prison, until the time of its use.
Illian traditionally mounted "Great Hunts" for the Horn in which men and women from all over the world would gather and go out in search, but all were unsuccessful. The Great Hunt that Faile swore to was the first called in 400 years.
It was said that the finding of the Horn would be one of the indications of the arrival of the Last Battle.
The Horn was found recently at the Eye of the World by a party of eight: Moiraine Damodred, Lan Mandragoran, Nynaeve al'Meara, Egwene al'Vere, Rand al'Thor, Mat Cauthon, Perrin Aybara, and Loial. They then took it to Fal Dara where it was kept safe by Lord Agelmar Jagad. While it was under his protection, Lord Algemar felt the presence of the Horn keenly, and he passed it on to the Amyrlin Seat at the first opportunity, stating that the temptation to use it was too great.
Later, the Horn was stolen from the storeroom in Fal Dara by Padan Fain during the first ever occasion that Trollocs had come into the keep. A party of twenty Shienarans led by Lord Ingtar Shinowa were sent out to track down the Darkfriends that stole it. They were accompanied by Rand, Perrin, Mat, and Loial. The group chased the Darkfriends all the way from Shienar to Falme on Toman Head, going via Cairhien.
Thinking only of salvation
When the recovery party arrived at Falme, they found that the Horn was in the possession of a Seanchan nobleman named High Lord Turak Aladon. Five of the party, Rand, Perrin, Mat, Ingtar, and Hurin went into Falme to get the Horn back. After retrieving the Horn, along with Mat's tainted ruby-hilted dagger, the five went out into the street and noticed a marching Seanchan army heading towards them. Ingtar sacrificed his life so that the other four were able to escape. He also confessed to Rand that he was a Darkfriend. When the others came out into another street they saw that the reason for the army was not them but a legion of Whitecloaks heading towards the town. Caught between two armies with no way to get out, Mat sounded the horn. This action called forth the Heroes of the Horn to fight for the horn blower and repel the invading Seanchan out of the city.
Heroes of the Horn
The Heroes of the Horn are the great heroes of the Pattern, bound to the Horn of Valere. They are summoned to battle to fight for the Light. Sometimes the Wheel adds to their numbers, however it is unknown if heroes can be lost from the ranks.
When summoned, the Heroes refer to the person who sounded the Horn as "Hornsounder". They refer to a previous Hornsounder as "Hornblower" and treat the Hornblower with a certain amount of respect. This circumstance must be considered a rarity however, as in order for a person to be a Hornblower, they must first die and then be brought back to life before someone else blows the Horn.
During the Last Battle, Artur Hawkwing states that the Heroes of the Horn fight of their own free will and serve the Light, and that if a servant of the Shadow blew the horn the Heroes could refuse to serve him. It is also revealed that the Heroes of the Horn are not invincible, and that battle damage could force them back into the World of Dreams to heal. Hend the Striker tells to Mat: "The Shadow knows how to incapacitate us, bind us hand and foot, and we can do nothing to aid the battle. It doesn't matter if one is immortal when one cannot move."
It is also revealed that Mat is no longer the Hornsounder; his death and revival during the events of the invasion of Andor were sufficient to sever his ties to the Horn, allowing a new Hornsounder to emerge. Mat was hanged after his second visit to Sindhol, but in AMoL Hawkwing tells him that "Not the tree, Gambler. Another moment, one that you cannot remember. It is fitting, as Lews Therin did save your life both times.". The effects of death and revival by Balefire affect the weave of the pattern, and thus Mat's second death may well have been ignored by the Pattern if so.
It is also later revealed that the Horn can summon not only human heroes, but wolves as well.
- Artur Hawkwing
- Birgitte Silverbow
- Blaes of Matuchin
- Buad of Albhain
- Calian the Chooser
- Gaidal Cain
- Jain Charin
- Mikel of Pure Heart
- Paedrig the Peacemaker
- Rogosh Eagle-eye
- Shivan the Hunter
- Hend the Striker
During the Last Battle in Thakan'dar the blowing of the Horn of Valere is able to summon along the Heroes, also the spirits of all the past dead wolves that were dwelling in Tel'aran'rhiod. They are silvery figures and are among the few things that are able to fight successfully against the Darkhound packs.
1) In the book The Great Hunt Artur tells to Rand:
"I have fought by your side times beyond number, Lews Therin, and faced you as many more."
"We have come to the Horn, but we must follow the banner. And the Dragon.
If they must follow the banner and the Dragon, how had he faced him?
2) In the book A Memory of Light in the Last Battle Artur tells to Mat:
"We would never fight for the Shadow."
If that is true than how had he faced Lews Therin so many times in the past?
However, he may be referring to the lives they have lived, spun out into the pattern time and time again. In this case they could have faced one another without it being a reference to the horn.
It may also be possible that in an age long past, the Dragon was turned to the Shadow, meaning that the forces of the Light, including the Heroes of the Horn, fought against the Dragon and won.
Parallels and Etymology
The Horn of Valere functions much as Gjallarhorn does in Norse mythology: both are sounded as an announcement of the imminent final battle and end of the world (Ragnarok for the Vikings and Tarmon Gai'don for the Wheel of Time world). Additionally, another name for the owner of Gjallarhorn, Heimdallr, is Vindhlér. It is possible that, in-universe, the word/name "Valere" is meant to stem from (and, in turn, derive) this alternative Norse name, making the Horn of Valere mean "Heimdallr's Horn."
The Horn of Gabriel is another source for the Horn of Valere. In Christian mythology, it heralds the resurrection of the dead (i.e. the Heroes of the Horn) which will occur at the end of the world associated with the Second coming and the battle of Armageddon, corresponding to the rebirth of the Dragon and Tarmon Gaidon. The association with Gabriel has evolved over the centuries, although the Bible does not explicitly associate the sound of the trumpet with him and other figures are also linked to the horn in different traditions.
Tolkien's Orome owns a horn named Valaroma it is described as a horn that could be heard above all other horns. Orome was a renown hunter. Tolkien, however, likely sourced this from the same origin as Jordan as he also used Norse and Germanic mythology for much of his inspiration.
The English word "valor" derives from the Latin stem "valere" which means "to be strong or worthy", an adjective clearly applicable to the Heroes. The meaning of thw word changed through the centuries to indicate bravery.
There may be links with the historical poem La Chanson de Roland.