Here we are at the end folks. I hope everyone has enjoyed the ride as much as I. This week Liesel over at Musings on Fantasia is hosting, so make sure to stop by her place to see what she and everyone else thought of the ending to The Dragon Reborn. Also, if you are a little sniffly over the last page of Book 3, we are starting Book 4 straight away. Here is the schedule for The Shadow Rising.
And now for the discussion questions. Spoilers ride bare back and care free below. Chapters 49 to The End are covered.
1) We saw Rand at the beginning of TDR, and then VERY briefly throughout, and then at the end. Overall, for the main character, he wasn’t in the book much. What do you think of this format? Did it work?
On one hand, I missed hearing Rand’s inner thoughts for most of the book. On the other hand, it gave many of the other characters time to shine. Overall, I really enjoyed exploring the inner workings of these other characters. Also, I think much of Rand’s inner thoughts would have been filled with paranoia, self-doubt, and worrying about shit he can’t fix (at least not yet) and having a story line filled with that would have been overmuch for me as a reader.
2) This time when Rand “killed” Ba’alzamon, there was a body left behind, and everyone seemed to agree that he was dead this time. Yet, Moiraine insists this isn’t the Dark One, but probably Ishmael, one of the Forsaken. What do you think of this explanation? Is she right? Is it believable? If so, what does it mean for Rand and his friends?
Let’s see…how many more books do we have in the series? 11? Or is it 10 (we can’t count the prequel as all that stuff happens before this book). So, I would say that we have not defeated evil soundly and that Mr. Big Bad Dude has lived to fight another day. Perhaps he has learned some discretion and will be sneakier in the next book, which means we may actually start loosing good guys, permanently, in attacks by the bad guys. Not that I wish it; I am merely emotionally prepared for it.
3) Juilin Sandar betrayed our girls, but then felt guilty and helped Mat get into the Stone. Do you think we’ll see him again? Will he be ally or foe from here on out? (Also he’s totally crushing on Nynaeve. Do you see that coming back into the story at all?)
Juilin Sandar was obviously coerced into betraying the ladies. But can he be so controlled by the evil side again? Is he a liability even if he means well? Personally, I would keep him close to keep an eye on him and pay particular attention to anything course of action he suggests or pushes for, just in case they give hints as to what the bad guys are wanting or planning. I can always slip a knife between his ribs if need be. Like Moiraine, I would have no hesitation in the matter and I hope Nynaeve has the strength of will to follow through on such a course if need be.
I don’t really see Nynaeve responding to flirtations, crushes, or courting from any man but Lan because she is stubborn and sometimes has blinders on. She has already made up her mind to give her heart to Lan. Any other man, or woman for that matter, would have to do something spectacular repeatedly to gain her affections.
4) Perrin sort of had a meltdown and went into full knight-in-shining-armor mode when Faile was suddenly in danger. He defied both Moiraine and Hopper, putting his life (and perhaps more?) in danger to save her. Did you see that coming? What do you think their relationship will be now?
I felt this was a bit sudden. these two haven’t kissed or even exchanged mutual interest in the form of flirtation or even flat out straight forward mutual appreciation remarks. So, while I did see Robert Jordan pointing us in that direction, I expected a bit more self-realization from Perrin before throwing complete and utter loving devotion in at the end. Should be interesting to see what Perring does with Faile in the next book. Does he go back to ignoring her, or will someone finally get around to having a complete adult sexual relationship?
5) Quite a bit is revealed at the end of TDR about the role the Aiel will play. This was an earlier question we had. What do you think of their role and how will it impact the story?
They have totally taken over the body guard duty of The Dragon Reborn, Rand. I assume they also cook his meals, clean his clothes, toss the chamber pot, clip his nails, and sharpen his weaponry. I think they will be the rock his army is built upon and will allow Rand to sweep away opposition, if not coerce other nations/peoples into joining him. I also hope we learn more about Rand’s parentage through the Aiel. They’re badasses and I look forward to seeing them deal with some opposition with extreme attitude.
6) There were some people who didn’t like how nebulous the endings of books 1 and 2 were. How did you feel about this ending? Did it work? Did you have any complaints?
Overall, I enjoyed this book much more than Books 1 & 2. I can really see how Robert Jordan is coming into his own voice and developing his own fantasy world instead of relying heavily on previously created fantasy worlds/tropes. While there were still several dream sequences (Egwene and Perrin mostly), they made a lot more sense and were more informative than the bulk of dream sequences from the previous two books. I can see from this book how folks get caught up in the series. As we go forward, I am hoping, and looking forward to, seeing how folks become life-long fans.
Through out the book, I loved hearing about Thom’s and Morgase’s past relationship. I know Thom says he no longer loves her, but I think he won’t know for sure until they lay eyes on one another again.
Mat searches so hard for the ladies, when he saw their hiding place first thing in a streak of lightning that revealed the Wise Woman’s house. Too funny, that he had to slog through muddy streets and bad weather for days before finding them.
Perrin got to spend some time smithing, and was gifted a smith’s hammer. This was very fitting and I am glad Robert Jordan took the time to build it into the story line.
When everyone ends up on the rooftops, I had to laugh. Mat thinks he’s the only one climbing around up there. Then there is Sandar, then the Aiel. I had to laugh along with Mat at his humor of the situation.