The Dragon Reborn Read Along Part IV

JordanDragonReborn BannerWelcome back everyone. This week covers Chapters 31-39. Evind, our awesome commenter, came up with the discussion questions this week. He doesn’t have a blog, so please leave your links, and any comments/questions you have for Evind, in the comments below.

Spoilers dance riotously below. Just saying.

1. So Thom is back! …again! What do you think happened in Cairhien since we were there last?

I was very happy to see Thom. Unfortunately, I had hoped that he would have gone into some sort of superhero vengeful training, making his super fit and ready to kick some major ass. But, alas, no. He is drunk. And wenching. And puking. Sigh. Thom, Thom, really? This is how you are going about making revenge on those who killed your latest love?

As for what has been going on in Cairhien since, well I would say not as much butt kicking as I had hoped. Has anyone else read The Dark Angel trilogy by Brent Weeks? Yeah, well, I wanted Thom to go all dark angel on the high, mighty, and evil of Cairhien.

2. Perrin and the girls bring us some more info on the Aiel, turning them towards Tear in the process. What role do you think this elusive people will play?

I am very excited to see some Aiel. They have this prophecy that seems to not only involve Rand, but themselves, in being instrumental in marshaling in a new world, a new age. So, I hope that means we will be seeing a lot more of the Aiel. I like that the women, as well as the men, can be deadly hunters and warriors, and that the Aiel don’t think this odd at all. As for what they may or may not do specifically in Tear, assuming they make it there around the same time as Rand, I am not sure. Put on their black masks and dance a bit with some bad guys? *fingers crossed, hoping*

3. Our newest character is Zarine Bashere, or Faile, or whatever. She fulfills half of Min’s viewing. What do you make of this one?

I am ambivalent. She started off skulking, but not tattling. So this probably means one of two things: 1) She is to gather intel and report to someone else (good or bad?); or 2) She is in this for herself and is seeking adventure. I am not sure I like her yet, though she does have a practical streak that shows in her clothing. This bodes well. Plus, she carries knives, which is a plus in my book. You rarely catch me without at least 1 knife. Mandarb might be a little presumptuous of her to call herself. I liked how Perrin pointed out the horse of the same name.

4. We get a rare bit of insight into the workings of the enemy when Perrin overhears a conversation between Lanfear and Ba’alzamon. Does it strike anyone that they could be more effective if they worked together a bit more? What do you think of the nature of Ba’alzaman?

If the bad guys were united, the Two Rivers folks would not stand a chance. So, I am glad to see that Lanfear and Ba’alzamon are not the best of buddies and seem to be at cross purposes. So far, through the first 2 books and Book 3 up to this point, Ba’alzamon does not seem to be of high intelligence. He has all this great power and seems to be use to using his single trick – dream messaging – to bully people into doing his bidding. Lanfear, on the other hand, strikes me as a planner and schemer and someone I would lose easily to at chess.

5. For a book named after him, Rand PoVs seem conspicuously rare. This time we see him slay a dozen people unprovoked. Madness setting in, or justified?

He slaughtered folks unprovoked? Am I a bad listener? I don’t recall that. Hmm… rifling through paperback……this may take a moment. OK, I found it. The end of Chapter 36 – Rand kills a woman and her guards. Then he has all 10 corpses kneel to him, but oddly there are 11 and the 11st holds a dagger. So, at first I think this is all real, that he has actually killed those folks. But then the kneeling corpses and the added 11th makes me think that may be a dream sequence. For some reason, Rand felt the woman was the most dangerous – perhaps fearing Black Ajah? I hope we hear more on this bit.

Tofu being Shy Kitty.
Tofu being Shy Kitty.

6. There seems to be a connection between Egwene’s T’A’R and Perrin’s wolf dream. Do you think he is a dreamer, too? Can Egwene speak to wolves? Does Rand have anything there to do? Speculation is welcome.

We’ve seen Perrin chitchatting with the wolves in dreams for all three (or two?) books so far, so yes, in a this one way at least, Perrin is a dreamer. Now is it all T’A’R, or is it two different dream worlds that occasionally overlap, I don’t know.

No, I don’t think Egwene can talk to wolves. Well, perhaps if there was a great need and Perrin taught her, if that is possible. But right now, no. In the future? Who knows, long series, lots of crazy shit can still happen.

Does Rand have anything to do in T’A’R? Well, for the last two books, Rand had to fight Ba’alzamon in a dream sequence, which was probably T’A’R. So, I am going to guess that he may have to do so again because it seems to be the only way Ba’alzamon has of interacting drastically with mortals.

Other Tidbits:

So, last week we had a question about Mat escaping from Tar Valon anytime soon. Well, here we are, one week later, and Mat did escape. Haha!

I like that Loial is able to travel with the crew and not be completely an anomaly. In fact, several places seem to think he is good luck and have special beds just in case an Ogier happens by!

I do get tired of Moiraine telling all the younglings to not question her. really, Moiraine, how the hell are they to learn anything, comprehend the situation if you treat them like mushrooms all the time? I love Perrin for pushing back.

Nynaeve, Egwene, and Elayne fall prey to brigands, and are being sold to Myrrdraal. Shudder. Then Nynaeve whips out some balefire to set things right. Hmm….Note to self: Do NOT piss off Nynaeve.

What Others Think:

Musings on Fantasia

Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

8 thoughts on “The Dragon Reborn Read Along Part IV”

  1. I agree that Lanfear often seems more intelligent than Ba’alzaman. Interesting that the Rand scene might have been a dream. I never thought of it that way. I also loved the “Ogier-sized bed” for Loial. Made me smile. And yes, very satisfying that Nynaeve got to be the first (of our good guys, anyway) to manage baelfire. But kind of scary that she was as shocked as anyone else. Deep breaths, Nynaeve! Deep breaths. 😀

    1. Since I didn’t recall that massacre scene with Rand (I’m listening to the audio), I had to dig out my book and read the scene and I think that is why I pondered whether or not it was a dream sequence. So, I hope we get more info on that as I want to believe Rand is still 100% good guy, but if he really did kill those folks out of paranoia alone – understandable but no longer utmost good guy.

  2. I’m back now! Found it somewhat difficult not to ask leading questions, knowing what happens and all, but I hope I somehow managed.

    1. Well, knowing that King Galldrian is dead, and that he was the one who assassinated Dena, it’s not a total stretch to assume it was Thom who dunnit, and he played his part in catapulting Cairhien into civil war. I don’t believe this is ever actually confirmed, but most of the fans take it for granted. And it’s not the only regicide Thom may have on his conscience either…

    2. I really can’t wait to meet the Aiel properly. I love them to bits. Fortunately it seems like that will happen soon enough!

    3. Faile (which is the name we will know her by) is a pretty controversial character among the fans. She just acts so confrontational all the time, and she is also the focus point in a subplot that people love to hate… but more on that later on. Of course, it might not be all easy for Perrin. We have yet to see who the hawk is.

    4. I had a conclusion in mind when I asked this question, but nobody seems to have picked up on it. I can talk more about this in two weeks’ time. 🙂

    5. This was not a dream sequence, and the presence of the 11th man afterwards is supposed to be a Grey Man, and a posteriori confirmation that the group were indeed darkfriends and that Rand killing them was indeed justified. But if I recall correctly, Rand never justifies it to himself, he just goes ahead and does it, and what he does after… well…

    Other tidbits: Wow, you used the word “balefire”. I didn’t think it had propped up yet in the books by this point.

    1. Hooray, you are back! It is a striking thought to me that Thom may have assassinated King Gallidrian, and also that said dead king was responsible for Dena’s death. I had totally missed that. I wonder if my man caught that? He is also reading along with us.

      I went back and read Q. 4 and my answer. So, now I have to ponder what conclusion you were looking for….hmmm… Will they work together successfully? Perhaps.

      Wow, not a dream sequence. Interesting. And the 11th man was a Grey Man. I did not guess that. I am bad at interpretation? Even in rereading that little section for the read along, I thought perhaps it was a dream sequence and that the man with the dagger was Rand’s dream vision of Mat kneeling before him and Rand’s fears of rising above most men and having friends bowing to him, etc.

      Baelfire (I saw the correct spelling over at Liesel’s) – my spelling (balefire) sounds like I am setting bales of hay on fire, which most folks can do. This came up at the end of chapter 39 after Nynaeve flame broiled the myrrdraal.

      1. Don’t worry so much about #4, or your interprative powers. Everyone are just as clueless coming here for the first time, and now I’m backed by the power of innumerable fan discussions.

        Anyway… yeah, the innkeeper tells Thom that the ones who killed Dena were Galldrian’s men, and she warns him not to do anything stupid. (I’m pretty sure.)

        1. Even if I am not catching all the little subplots stuff, I am enjoying this book quite a bit more than Books 1 & 2. I really feel that Robert Jordan is finding his own voice with Book 3 instead of relying heavily on past fantasy themes. I look forward to seeing what he does with the rest of the series, and then, of course, Brandon Sanderson’s contributions.

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