This post contains spoilers for A Memory of Light.
Read at your own peril.
Perrin has never been my favorite character. I never hated him, like I hated Rand, but Perrin's just always been a little flavorless as a character. He's just not very exciting. In real life, I'm sure I could be friends with someone like him, but as a character in an epic fantasy he's just always been sort of blah to me.
Regardless since he is one of our main three, one of our Superboys if you will, he had a big part to play in this story.
I cannot for the life of me remember in which book this happened, but early on in the series, like in one of the first three books, Perrin frees Gaul from a cage. He does so because Perrin is just a good person, but also because Min had a foretelling about it. She saw an Aielman in a Cage and mentioned that it would be a turning point.
I never really thought much about that. Gaul has basically been Perrin's friend since this, since the beginning. Whereas Rand had teams of Aiel, Perrin had Gaul (and Gaul's ladies). Gaul protected Perrin's back and just in general was a good friend and teammate. But it never really was a 'turning point'.
And then Perrin took Gaul with him into Tel'aran'rhoid.
This was a pivotal decision. Because when Perrin left Tel'aran'rhoid, who was the one protecting Rand? Gaul.
The entire time Perrin was in recovery in Mayene, I was shouting at him in my mind, thinking, "GAUL IS ALL ALONE IN TEL'ARAN'RHOID! GET UP! GO HELP HIM!" I was so glad when he finally did.
But anyway, the point of Gaul had always been that he had Perrin's back. And in this, the most dangerous of battles, a battle where they are bodily in the dream world protecting the Dragon Reborn during the Last Battle, Gaul did the same. And protecting Perrin's back meant he was protecting Rand's back. Without Gaul, Slayer would have succeeded.
So 'turning point' indeed. Without Gaul, the Last Battle would have been lost while Perrin was in recovery in Mayene.
As someone who is not a big fan of Perrin, I have not ever been a big fan of Slayer. And I don't really have much to say on this topic other than it clearly deserves some mention. This was one of Perrin's big tasks he had to do for the Last Battle to succeed. He had to kill Slayer.
And it was very satisfying when Perrin went all Nightcrawler on Slayer. I could totally envision the look of horror on Slayer's face when he realizes Perrin learned to shift between Tel'aran'rhoid and the real world, which meant Perrin could chase him anywhere.
I'm very glad Slayer got what was coming to him after killing Hopper.
So the whole Lanfear/Perrin Compulsion thing took me by surprise. When Perrin walked into Shayol Ghul and saw Lanfear just standing there watching the battle, and then suddenly she was giving orders to him about killing Nynaeve and Moraine which he wasn't protesting nearly as much as he should....I was very surprised. I was like "What the heck is going on?"
And how is that both Perrin and Ituralde (another one I had to look up the spelling for) were both able to resist Compulsion? If it was just Perrin, I would just wave it away as a ta'veren thing, but Ituralde? What made him stronger of mind that Gareth Bryne, Agelmar, or Bashere?
Right now my going theory is that it's not strength of mind that allowed them to escape, but strength of emotion. That is they both had an extremely strong emotion that went directly against what they had been Compelled to do. Perrin was Compelled to love Lanfear, but he loved Faile. And Ituralde was Compelled to give bad orders that would allow Shadowspawn to gain ground, but after Maradon, Ituralde hated Shadowspawn with a hatred far stronger than what any of the other generals felt.
So yeah. Strength of emotion. That and Barty Crouch/Mad Eye Moody's advice of CONSTANT VIGILANCE. (Come on, be honest. Tell me you didn't think of Harry Potter and the Imperius Curse during the Ituralde sequence).
Anyway, yay Perrin for totally having what it takes to not only overcome Compulsion but kill a woman. Perrin was totally right that Rand would never have been able to do it (one of Rand's many weaknesses) and without killing Lanfear the last battle would have been totally lost.
You know what, Faile? I totally knew those Redarms weren't Darkfriends. But the story of them trying to steal Mat's tabac and accidentally getting the horn instead was priceless. Truly priceless.
Anyway, Faile herself. Her story line was good. I liked that she got to do what she was good at to help the Last Battle, i.e. organize things. Not sure why a trusted Aes Sedai or Egwene herself couldn't have just popped into Tar Valon, grabbed the Horn, and taken it to Mat, but I'll forgive it since it allowed the awesome sauce that is Olver blowing the Horn.
I am, however, going to join the group of fans who feel that Faile should have died. I personally don't hate Faile, unlike a lot of other fans, but her being ok at the end just felt a little too "and everyone lived happily ever after" for my taste. But I guess each of our wonder boys deserves a happy ending after all they've been through, so I'll let it slide.
Plus, it's not like Perrin could be a lord without her.