Welcome back everyone. This week we covered chapters 24-30 and Sue over at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers will be hosting. So make sure to swing by her place to see what everyone else thought. I am suffering from a summer cold, so if some of my responses seem muddled, out in left field, or completely irrelevant to the question, just smile and pat me on the head as you head off to CCCP for serious discussion.
Spoilers lurk behind every comma, question mark, and exclamation. Avert your eyes now if you have concerns.
1. What is it with Mat and doorway ter’angreals? These foxy people certainly seem very similar to the snake people, but with subtle differences. Any ideas about why they decided to hang Mat and what his new medallion does?
Mat’s an idiot.
OK, that was the short answer. Mat has a serious impulse control problem. Lucky for him, his friends, associates, and luck usually pull him through. I think in this case he spoke, questioned, and then demanded without thinking about the consequences. I believe the answers he received (verbal and the medallion) were in trade for his life, or his essence, or his utter terror at being hanged. These foxy/snakey beings seem to crave human emotions/fears.
I don’t know what the medallion portends for Mat, but I expect it is wrapped up with his ta’veren status and the answers he received from the first doorway he nearly broke.
2. Now that we have been into Rhuidean, were you surprised by the city within the mists or did you expect something different? What do you think has happened to the Jenn Aiel?
I was surprised. I was expecting practicality, not big grand palace like buildings left and right.
I’m guessing that after Lews Therin broke the world, there was a prophecy of the next Dragon Reborn (Rand) and that prophecy pointed to a child of the Jenn Aiel. The Aes Sedai of that time put a huge burden on the Jenn Aiel of nonviolence and 0 men allowed to channel. I think over time this agreement (coerced or otherwise) was forgotten by everyone (nearly everyone?). Obviously the bitch called Prophecy will not be denied.
3. The history of the Aiel is revealed to be very complex. Were you surprised to discover that they were originally a people sworn to non-violence and that the Traveling People were actually an offshoot from the original Aiel?
Yes, this did surprise me, but it made some sense, giving a kind of balance to the story as we know it so far. I have to wonder now if the Aiel we know today have the song the Traveling People are hunting for. I’m looking forward to seeing what Robert Jordan does with this complexity.
4. Could you have stood aside, like the Jenn Aiel did, and allowed your friends and family to be murdered or attacked without raising a hand in violence? What do you think of those Aiel who broke their vow of non-violence?
Simply, no. By doing nothing to stop violence, you enable it, and hence, you bear some of the responsibility and guilt. Those Aiel who broke their vow of non-violence did it for the right reasons under very understandable circumstances. Being banished from their people was an act of emotional violence on the part of those who did the banishing. That can be just as wrong as physical violence.
5. Perrin encounters a strange woman, who seems to know a great deal about the Wolf Dream and the two races beyond the doorways, the Aelfinn and the Eelfinn. She seems familiar: is she someone that we have already met, as she suggests? What do you think about the ability to reach their dimension directly from tel’aran’rhiod?
I believe this to be Lanfear/Selene. She crops up more often than I thought she would, but she is turning into a very interesting ‘bad guy’. Tel’aran’rhiod is simply a dangerous place for untrained, unguided folks to be mucking about in. I am surprised that Perrin and Egwene have not been seriously damaged yet.
6. Perrin’s homecoming is far from happy. Were you surprised by what he discovered? Also, did Faile react in the way you expected? Were the people in the old cottage who you expected?
Wow! This section in particular I was not expecting. I mean, up til now, Robert Jordan had not killed off too many people, other than trollocs and myrrdraal. So to hear of the slaughter of Perrin’s family brought a tear to my eye. As sad as this is, I think it changes the game for Perrin. Those he cares the most about are already gone, so letting himself be hanged won’t gain his folks anything.
I am so glad that Faile dropped the bitchiness. It was getting tiring listening to her antics and wanting to slap her. But in that moment, when Perrin learns the fate of his family, she couldn’t have done better. For that one act, she is redeemed and I am once again hoping these two become a real couple.
I wasn’t expecting Warders, but I sure am glad to see some professional warriors on site. The Whitecloaks, trollocs, and especially Padan Faine are going to be in for some major hurt.
So, Faile slapped Perrin, not once, but twice, and was going for a thrice when Perrin did….what? Oh! I wish Jordan would tell us. Apparently it was embarrassing. I love the lady Aiels’s response of staying out of it because Faile picked the fight. Damn straight!
I really liked how Jordan told bits of the Aiel history through Rand’s experience of living these memories of folks who witnessed significant events.
Once again, another hair-raising escape from the ways – trollocs and that crazy deadly wind. Somehow, I never get tired of exploring, or rather racing through the ways as quietly and swiftly as possible.
Mistress Alvere took it in stride having Aiel walk into her inn….followed shortly by an ogier. She’s made of stern stuff.