Welcome all! This week Eivind, our ever fearless and insightful commenter, came up with the questions. We’re covering Chapters 17-24 this time around. For the second week in a row, I am a little behind in the reading. We had family from out of state and some other craziness has been going on in my life. On the other hand, my man is having a birthday today and I will be roasting a turkey in his honor. This means quality time in the kitchen cooking and listening to The Fires of Heaven. I expect I will be caught up by this evening.
With that, keep in mind spoilers are free-ranging below, grazing on the unwary.
1. The menagerie reads like a sitcom on wheels. What are your impressions? Will Cerandin play a role? Do you recognize someone else we haven’t seen for a while?
Haha! I really liked this menagerie scene. Elayne as a tightrope walker makes me laugh. Should be interesting to see what kind of outfit they put her in to show off the legs. Perhaps Jullin will get to show off his legs as well – you know, equality in eye candy and all.
I’m listening to the audio, so I have trouble imagining how some of the names are spelled. Cerandin is the Seanchan in hiding, right? At first I didn’t really like the Seanchan and how they swooped in with their collars, but I do find I like these few remnants left behind to spy and/or hide and try to make new lives. I don’t know what role she will play, but I think it is interesting to see that Nynaeve didn’t outright truss her up. She must be softening.
No, I didn’t recognize anyone else that had been missing for a while… but then again, I wasn’t expecting anyone. Perhaps there is more on the Menagerie in a chapter I haven’t gotten to yet and enlightenment will hit me when I get to that chapter/
2. Moghedien recruits the rogue Black Ajah. Speculations on the orders they were given? Just how much danger is Nynaeve and Elayne in, now?
I expect that 1/3 she sent on important missions – either carrying messages or spying. The next 1/3 were given mediocre missions, such as merely gathering info from well established communication networks – you know the kind of work that requires a little intelligence but not too much discretion. The last third were given tasks for the hopelessly vain or useless such as fetching strawberries from far off gardens, tending to the privy, and gathering goose feathers for a king-sized mattress. All were ordered to learn new bawdy songs and be prepared to sing them aloud to the court.
Nynaeve and Elayne are in plenty of trouble, but this is mostly because they keep ending up in easily avoided traps. Still, if Moghedien had me in her sights, I would be worried.
3. Morgase finally escapes Gaebril, with some other old friends returning to the story. Will she ever be back in power? Was Lini as expected?
I loved Lini! She is just the antidote Morgase needed to finally kick the Gaebril habit. She may be the only person who can still treat Morgase like a real person, even give her a bit of well-intended chastisement too.
I was a bit surprised that Morgase had such a high opinion of herself through out this entire scene. I mean, she has managed to alienate, even exile, nearly all her supporters and friends. She is very lucky to have the small following that she does.
4. Rand seems to be having a brewing identity crisis. Is this a manifestation of the madness, genuine memories from a past life surfacing, or maybe both? Do you think his insistence on being himself only will work?
This is where I am in the book. Rand has these memories and insights from his past incarnation as Lews Therrin. I can understand how it would be disruptive to his current life. Still, I keep hoping he will learn to embrace those memories and insights and put them to use, much as he seems to have done with his ability to channel. I don;t think his denial of that part of him will do him good.
But, hey, if I was stuck in the same situation I can’t say that I wouldn’t stubbornly hold onto my current identity and fail to embrace the ancient memories.
5. The Rand-Aviendha plot seems about ready to explode, don’t you think? Is there a resolution in sight?
Haha! I am not exactly sure on this question as I am behind in the reading. But I will tell you that last week I accidentally skipped ahead several chapters. I am listening on Audible, and for whatever reason, my Audible lost my book mark. So, I fired up the book expecting it to pick up where I left off. Nope. I was many chapters ahead, with Rand and Aviendha tucking in for night. I don’t want to say too much because I don’t know what chapter it was from. But I will say, I don’t expect them to have this resolved any time soon.
UPDATE: OK, all caught up. So, yes, they have been sharing a room and trying really hard not to come up with mental images as they listen to one another undress. Haha. Too funny. This book is filled with all sorts of denial. Also, I have to say that Aviednha is not doing a good job of teaching Rand the Aiel ways if he still hasn’t grasped the whole gifting a woman means I am interested in getting married thing. Bad teacher.
6. Our heroes turn back another attack out of nowhere seemingly doomed to fail. Moiraine says not to think the Forsaken simple, but I’m having
a hard time not to. Thoughts?
Sorry to say I have not gotten to this attack yet. I will comment on what I have seen of the Forsaken so far. Once we know which Forsaken we are playing with, then we can guess what they will try. They seem to be like old mountain lions. They long ago found a way to live life that got them what they wanted. Why change? Moghedien has always gotten by on sneakiness. Gaebril what’s his name gets by on pupiteering women of power. Lanfear seems a little more complicated in her scheming, but her desires are simple enough: Power and Rand/Lews naked in her bed.
UPDATE: Sammael and his golden bees. That’s a war cry to make one giggle. I think one could also say not to assume aes sedai are simple, but we notice that most seem driven by one or two things, with a handful able to juggle more than 1 thing at a time.
As I catch up, I will post updates to my answers. Thanks everyone for being so cool about my being behind in the reading for yet a second week.
It’s nice to see that Rand has another heron-marked blade. I can imagine how it has some sentimental value as he lost the heron-marked blade his father had given him.
Mat and his little naked massage going on when the trollocs attack. If trollocs kept popping up in my life as much as his, I might not ever be caught naked & without a weapon.
Aviendha saved Rand’s life and he jumped to some conclusions. The shock of nearly loosing your head one way or another can make you act like an idiot.