The Shadow Rising Read Along Part IV

JordanShadowRisingBannerOnce again we gather together to enjoy The Wheel of Time and machinations upon our beloved heroes and our dastardly bad guys. This week, Musings on Fantasia is hosting, so make sure to stop by her place to enjoy more fun.

Chapters 18-23 were devoured this week and discussion questions follow below. Spoilers are having a full cook out below, complete with adult drinks. You have been warned.

1) Perrin and Co. are on their way. He thinks he’s headed to his death. What kind of reception do you think he’ll find in the Two Rivers? How long will he and Faile’s stubborn, silent treatment of one another last? (Bonus question: Moiraine made a brief reference to secrets Faile is keeping from Perrin. What do you think they might be?)

I expect that Perrin will both be slapped by a distraught parent and hugged and blubbered upon. He and the rest left Two Rivers abruptly without any word of when they would be back. I also expect that he will be forced to call in some local wolves and be forced to use his axe, and maybe his hammer, for defense. He may cry if he has to kill anyone.

How long will Faile and him remain in this pissing contest? Hmmm…..Until they grow up? Perhaps a decade?

I love speculating about Faile. Perhaps she is royalty. Maybe she is an assassin in training. Maybe her folks are traveling thieves and cut throats. Maybe she escaped from some religious sect. Ooooo! Her father is a White Cloak! Yes, I will go with that because it would cause some serious angst between her and Perrin.

2) What do you think of the Seafolk and their strange clothing customs? Were you surprised to find hidden Channelers among them?

Channelers seem to be every where, and I like this as it means the White Tower does not reign as supreme as they like to think. It also points out once again how the Aes Sedai have managed to ostracize themselves by looking down on and occasionally dissecting Channelers from other belief systems.

For the dress customs, I think equality is the way to go. Ladies should be able to remove their shirts same as men without reprisal (from women or men). And men, if you want to wear skirts, pantyhose, and makeup, knock yourself out. Everyone, the utility kilt is the sexiest fashion statement around.

3) Rand dealt, after a fashion, with the Tairen High Lords, extra export inventory, famines in other lands, Callandor, and a few other things all in one fell swoop. How do you think he did?

He was marvelous. He did far better than I thought he would, and I like how he set his main enemies against one another while still avoiding declaring war on another nation. Rand is turning into an interesting person in this book. Really stressed, a little dark, infinite power (at cost), moral but stuck in a tough situation, and heron scars.

4) Into the Waste. Do you think Rand was wise to use the Portal stones again? What are your first impressions of Rhuidean and the Aiel homeland?

Well, the plot dictates we use the Portal Stones sooner or later, so why not have Rand lead a group through them to Rhuidean? I liked Mat’s complaining and how the Aiel helped Rand pick the right symbol.

My first impressions of the Waste and the Aiel is a parallel to Frank Herbert’s Fremen from the Dune series. Tough in every sense of the word, definitely into water conservation, strong sense of superiority (based on ability). An Aiel will drive herself or himself harder than anyone else, being their own toughest critic.

5) Couladin sure seems to be looking for trouble. What kind of role do you foresee him having in the story?

Is this the dude that had his penis in a knot over allowing Rand & crew to Rhuidean? I’m listening to the book, so I don’t catch the spelling for all the side characters and locations. If that’s the guy, he is wanting to start some shit because obviously there isn’t enough shit running around loose on hoof or wing for him to mess with. I predict that he will raise just enough of a following to cause a minor challenge to Rand. Rand may have to kill him. I hope that happens in single combat and they both have to remove articles of clothing.Β  Just like Paul Atreides in Dune and his hand-to-hand combat with an uppity Fremen that basically paved his acceptance into Fremen society.

6) The instant they hit the slopes above Rhuidean, there’s lots going on. Aviendha can channel, both Moiraine and Mat end up going to Rhuidean, and the Wise Ones accuse the Tower of coddling its trainees. What kind of learning experience do you think Egwene is in for in the Waste?

Egwene is going to get her ass kicked by the Aiel training. But I expect her stubborn streak will assert itself and she will end up greatly impressing the Wise Ones and will go on to complete her dream-walker training in record time. I mean this series is long, but not so long as to leave Egwene in the Waste for years.

Other Tidbits:

Moiraine got to be in the dark a chunk of this section. She made several sour faces. I don’t think she likes being used, left in the dark, strung along, or controlled through lack of info anymore than anyone she has used the same tactics on.

So, why didn’t the men have to strip butt-naked to enter Rhuidean? I mean, I enjoy the view of athletic humans as I enjoy SFF paintings, so it’s cool that Aviendha and Moiraine have to go running through the desert nude. But, let’s just say it – Equality , folks, that is what I want. Even if Mat or Rand are hairy and pasty white, I still think they should have been required to enter Rhuidean nude too.

9 thoughts on “The Shadow Rising Read Along Part IV”

  1. 1. I expect he will be revered as a sort of legendary figure by the kids. Leaves home with an Aes Sedai, comes back with an Ogier, three Aiel and… Faile? They’d be all over that. And I agree with Liesel, when the shit hits the fan (which it will), I’m sure they’ll patch up.

    2. I don’t care much for the sea folk, mostly for the way they behave later in the story. For now they’re ok, but I can’t just bring myself to like them.

    I think I was initially surprised at the channelers, but by now I’ve noticed this trend, that the omnipresent image of the White Tower is gradually pulled down throughout the series (up to a point, anyway). So now it’s just more of the same.

    I don’t think I need to clarify my opinion on topless women.

    3. Fucking hell, Rand is scary sometimes. I can definitely understand Mat being a bit reluctant.

    4. IT’S AIEL TIME, YISSSS. I can’t wait to see what secrets Rhuidean hides, because you can be sure it’s something.

    5. My theory is that there are three alignments in WoT. There’s good, evil and out of touch with reality… although sometimes the differences between the last two aren’t as obvious. I feel like Couladin can go chill with Elaida in the latter category. There are a couple of others we will meet in time, too.

    6. Yeah, she’s in for a rough ride, but I think Aviendha and she will bond over it. Aviendha is a great character by the way. I love seeing her find her place in the story.

    1. Finding out Rhuidean’s secrets is one of my favorite parts of the entire series! Can’t wait to get into it. But this volume has so much great stuff in it. I’m excited to re-read everything with Perrin in the Two Rivers as well. I never thought of putting Couladin and Elaida in the same group, but you’re totally right! The two of them would be so happy in their own palace, clinking drinks and thinking they control the world while it really fell down around them. Too bad their fates didn’t end up being the same, if you know what I mean. πŸ˜€ I really like Aviendha, too. It was fun to re-read the beginning of her story, knowing where it would go. I think it was in this section that there was a part where Rand glanced over at her and there was just nothing there. He felt like she was glaring at in that stone-cold way Aiel have. It made me smile.

    2. Now I am very curious about the Seafolk and why they aren’t on your Xmas card list. I shall look forward to finding out.

      Rand is turning into a scary dude – and I like him that way. Decisive, not holding back, threatening folks with their lives if they don’t play nice.

      I agree with you about the alignments. Out of touch with reality could describe some of the Whitecloaks, is it Gawyn or Galad? and Elaida and Couladin. Damn, there’s a lot of them to go messing things up.

    3. 1. I get that image from the end of The Lord of the Rings when the hobbits return to Hobbiton in their princely clothing and everyone is pointing and staring.

      2. It just shows how insular the White Tower is that they have never investigated the possibility of channelers being kept away from them.

      5. Absolutely! He is one of those people who is never happy with what he has and always wants to fight about something. Hopefully he’ll meet a sticky end before causing too much unnecessary death (but I doubt that).

  2. That would be pretty cool if Faile was the child of a Whitecloak, wouldn’t it? And yes, you’re thinking of the right guy for Couladin. I, too, enjoy seeing Moiraine NOT in control of everything. It’s kind of refreshing. And I totally never thought about the nudity situation before. I don’t know why that never hit me. As we go along and see more of ji’e’toh and gai’shan, the nudity is pretty equal, which means not having Rand and Mat go nude in this scene is a bit of a mistake on Jordan’s part, as the Aiel are, at all other times, pretty good on equality. The only thing I can think of is that it has to do with what happens to Rand and Mat in Rhuidean (coming up) and it just wouldn’t have been convenient for them to be in the nude. Still, you’re totally right. πŸ˜€

    1. Nudity is rarely convenient, especially in any public or wilderness setting ;). But still, I would have been amused to see Mat and Rand strip in front of Egwene and Moiraine and the Wise Women.

  3. 1. I wonder if Faile is supposed to be all girly and ladylike and has run away to escape a terribly boring fate . . .

    2. Thanks for the utility kilt link: I have a friend who adores men in kilts and she will pee herself when she watches that commercial! πŸ˜€

    3. I was also impressed by how successful Rand was in this situation. His solutions were both unexpected and wickedly effective at maintaining control over the High Lords whilst he was away. How much they will listen to him remains to be seen, but at the moment they are terrified of him.

    4. I liked the way that several elements contributed to Rand’s success here: it made it feel much more like Fate had a hand in their destiny.

    5. I don’t think the Aiel remove clothing to fight . . . πŸ˜€

    I think the nakedness issue is because we all know that the boys would moan and whinge about it whilst the girls just get on with it! πŸ˜€

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