The Great Hunt Read Along Part I

JordanGreatHuntBannerWelcome Everyone! Anya (On Starships and Dragonwings) and I are continuing our madness in reading The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. I hope all have enjoyed the beginning of Book 2 of the series. If you are just hearing about this, you are most welcome to join in the fun. Over here is the The Schedule and also you can sign up to receive the discussion questions a few days a head of time.

What follows are discussion questions for the Prologue through the end of Chapter 6, so spoilers abound! Also, if you put together a blog post, include the link in the comments and I will make a list so everyone can jump around visiting each other’s sites.

1) That prologue was pretty intense. If you haven’t read the book/don’t remember, any wild guesses as to who all these spooky characters are? If you know, feel free to make snarky comments.

Gosh. I have totally forgotten this book. I don’t know who those folks are, but they obviously love masquerades. There were 2 Aes Sedai, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more than 2 of the Black Ajah lurking some place. Wouldn’t it be something is Eliada was one of them? Placed beside the Queen’s side, she could do so much damage at the right moment. On the other hand, she might turn out to be a very grumpy good guy with a control freak attitude.

Time will tell, right?

2) Hehe! What do you think of all of Rand’s attempts to escape from the keep?

Juvenile! Really, he waited until the last moment, and then his attempts were half-hearted at first, then grew more desperate, at which point his higher mental functions went out the window. I am glad that Egwene finally sat on him and forced some reason into his thick skull. Alas, I was dismayed at how he lashed out at his friends, especially Loial.

Waffles & Streak sleeping in the bed. Yes, I did tuck him in.
Waffles & Streak sleeping in the bed. Yes, I did tuck him in.

3) What do you make of Egwene’s visits to the dungeon and to specifically visit Padan Fain?

Some might say I have a harsh view of the world, but I have to ask why is Padan Fain still drawing breath? Should this guy not be dead? If he was captured and incarcerated in Two Rivers, yes I can see how they might keep him alive, hoping he would reform. But Lord Agelmar, Moiraine, and Lan have seen the broader, harsher world. So, at the least I would expect there would be a zero visitor without written approval rule.

With that said, I can see Egwene with her soft, yet practical, heart believing she could draw some goodness out of Padan Fain. Too bad that looks like her efforts were misplaced.

4) We have a shift in point of view pretty quickly in this book (as opposed to The Eye of the World). Has your view of Moiraine altered any by riding around in her head?

Wow! Moiraine has friends in high places! I am very excited that we are going to be seeing things from other peoples’ POV. Rand’s head is interesting, but I think I’ll enjoy 1st person from the other characters quite a bit. I especially want to ride around in Nynaeve’s head for a while and listen to her acerbic remarks first hand.

5) We finally get to meet some more Aes Sedai – in force. What are your impressions?

Quite a variety of philosophies there. I am surprised that the Red Ajah have so little use for males – replaceable breeding stock, soldiers, etc. We got some feminine chauvinism going on there, which is bound to make things very interesting for our characters and amusing for the readers. I am looking forward to their reactions in the next few chapters. All these big tough warriors to protect the keep and women – and yet the trollocs made their way in side.
6) Trollocs! Any guesses as to how they got in? Anyone else amused that the overall atmosphere is abruptly jarred by the unexpected appearance of Trollocs in both The Eye of the World and The Great Hunt?

I was totally not expecting trollocs in the keep! Indeed, this was a WTF moment for me. As they discussed towards the end of Chapter 6, someone must have let them in. Still, we have some interesting suspects. Perhaps Padan Fain escaped to let them out. Perhaps a single myrrdraal got in and wreaked a little havoc before letting them in. Perhaps there is a Black Ajah Aes Sedai running loose. I doubt it was any of Agelmar’s men.

Yes, I am highly amused at the parallel with The Eye of the World already. Trollocs at Tow Rivers, trollocs at the keep, who knows where they will pop up next? If the story arc follows the same as in Book 1, we will see the Two Rivers folk leaving with Moiraine and Lan very shortly, encountering various hazards along the way, eventually getting separated, etc. We shall see if that turns out to  be so.

Other Tidbits:

OK, that whole bit about only Moiraine, Lan, Egwene, and Nynaeve know what he really is seems a little silly. I mean both Mat and Perrin have shared in the dreams. They must have some inkling. Is Rand fooling himself? Have these boys really not had a chit chat about all that over a pint and a smoke?

What Other Folks Said:

On Starships and Dragonwings

Musings on Fantasia

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14 thoughts on “The Great Hunt Read Along Part I”

  1. God I missed this readalong. Order books sooner, please. 🙂

    The Great Hunt is my favourite in the series, but I’ll admit I’m in the minority with this opinion. I feel it’s… unique… in a way that I can’t really put into words. Maybe I can come back to this when the relevant scenes come up.

    1. Snarky comments… let’s see. At least two of the people mentioned in the prologue by ‘Bors’ are characters you’ve seen in the books up to this point. Several others you will meet later, including ‘Bors’ himself, and their identities as Darkfriends might not be revealed until much, much later than their introduction. Jordan loves playing on the secret nature of DF organisations, and scenes with tantalising hints like these are common.

    2. Pretty sure Moiraine is trying to influence Rand, guiding him down a path he might not want to go.

    3. I’m afraid you and Rand are entirely right. Few people realise at this point what a threat Fain is.

    4. At least we find out something about her and Siuan. They are acting on their own and could potentially be in trouble if the other Aes Sedai figure out what they’ve been up to. We learn more about this in the next installment.

    5. Well, let’s see! Who did we meet? (Keeping track of Aes Sedai is like juggling. Might as well start taking notes.)

    – Siuan. Head honcho of the White Tower and one of the most powerful people in the world. Moiraine’s best friend.
    – Leane. Siuan’s Keeper of the Chronicles. Moiraine is of the opinion that she will support them, but Leane is not in the know yet.
    – Liandrin. Obviously 110% evil. Moiraine doesn’t trust her (smart girl).
    – Others: Anaiya, Verin, Carlinya, Serafelle, Alanna.

    6. I know exactly how they got in so I’ll shut up. You might as well get used to unexpected Trollocs. (Are they unexpected any more if you expect them?)

    Next week is going to be quite interesting. You will be introduced to Verin, one of the most mysterious and oft-discussed characters in the series. My advice is to watch her like a hawk. I will test you on this after we’re through the book.

    It’s also worth keeping an open eye to all the rumors of the world that keep popping up, especially the most repeated ones. (This is fantasy 101 of course, but still.)

    1. I agree with you about Liandrin: she is almost TOO evil and only needs a mustache to twirl to be a true villain!

      I remember Verin being a very surprising character, so I will keep my eye on her as we go along.

  2. Ah! We missed you too! We’ll try to be more organized from here on out.

    As we learn more about the Dark Friend networking, the more I realize how organized it is. I am getting the feeling that there has been an ages old society waiting in the shadows for their chance to strike and mess things up for the good guys.

    ooo! You’re going to be testing us on Verin? I will keep that in mind and look forward to it. And yes, all the rumors about what’s going on in the larger world….I hope we get more rumors, etc. I have vague memories of a large event that occurs, but I can’t recall if it is this book or the next. I’ll point it out when it pops up.

  3. trying to play along despite the really crazy life stuff happening:

    my thoughts:
    the prologue – lots of atmosphere there, almost too much. I’m honestly not sure who was there yet – probably the people later on the book who proclaim themselves the most virtuous and good.

    escape attempts – I think if Rand really wanted to get out of the keep, he would have left well-ahead of time. No matter how much he protests that he just wants to be a shepherd from Two Rivers, he’s got a bit of ambition thrown in there; part of him likes the idea that he’s got all this power and importance. I also think that the bit of that part he’s aware of scares him.

    Egwene’s visits to Fain – If anyone in this story has a truly good heart, it seems it’s Egwene. I think she honestly felt she could save the guy, somehow. Whether she keeps this streak of good-hearted optimism through the rest of the story remains to be seen. The fact that she knowingly keeps her visits a secret from certain people might mean it’s already cracking.

    Moraine’s POV – I’m liking the seeing into Moraine’s head a bit – if nothing else, it gives me a bit of a better understanding of the world the story takes place in, particularly the idea of Aes Sedai and what they stand for. I also like that Moraine appears to be a bit of an atypical member of that particular Order – it’s an interesting perspective -she seems to be loyal to the ideals, but isn’t hidebound to tradition.

    Aes Sedai in force – again, interesting – the world gets bigger. The bases of power become more apparent, and it’s apparent that the bases are actually pretty fragmented. It’s nice to see how the other women with the power Moraine view it. In terms of story, though, they strike me as purely “The Establishment” whose aherence to tradition is going to eventually be their undoing.

    Trollocs – they do show up quickly, don’t they? My money’s on the fact that they’re cutting across The Nevernever The Ways. Not sure how they’re getting at the power to do that, but it’ll be interesting to learn.

    Other bits – took me a little while to get into this one, these early chapters were a little slow…I’m a little ahead though, it got much better for me later on. At this point, I’m still finding Rand a little tedious – all the teen angst! But, that’s to be expected, I guess. Moraine is growing on me, and I like that Lan’s stoicism is cracking a bit. Still enjoying where there story’s taking me.

    1. Hooray Chuck! Nice to see you!
      I too think Egwene had some inkling that she shouldn’t be visiting Padan Fain – I mean she would have been all upfront with Moiraine about it if she did truly think it was a good thing.
      Haha! the nevernever sure would be a nice way to travel. But I think you’re right that it is more likely The Ways.

  4. Oo, I forgot about the two Aes Sedai, good reminder! Elaida seemed more like a egotistical good girl to me, but that Liandrin could be a Black Ajah *grumble* crazy b*tch….

    Yes, Rand’s lashing out wasn’t great, but I do understand that he wanted to leave without them and thought that that was the only way 🙁

    That is a really good point about Fain… maybe Moraine has a code? or a plan? But yeah, not a good call….

    I really hope the books aren’t that parallel, that would be a bit dull 😉

    1. If Moiraine was willing to kill the boys in Book 1 to prevent them falling into the Dark One’s hands, then I have to wonder why she has kept Fain alive. Perhaps she thought she could use him as a conduit to the Dark One – to guess his plans by things Fain let slip? Hopefully we’ll find out.

  5. 1. I am fairly sure that there are more than 2 Black Ajah, but there are so many possibilities for their identity: Elaida and Liandrin seem to be good candidates so far, but I’m sure that we will meet more.

    3. I agree with you about Fain: he should be dead or in total isolation and I find it strange that he isn’t.

    I have a suspicion that Perrin would find it a huge relief to learnt hat he is not the only ‘weird’ one in the group, so I wish that Rand would spill the beans. However, I think he is still in denial and is hoping that he can ignore his abilities and they will go away.

    1. I think you are totally right about Perrin – he would like another weird buddy to hang out with. Also Rand does appear to be in denial; however, I don’t think that will serve him well for long. May even get him or his friends hurt or trapped or something worse.

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