1. Rand seems to have taken Lan’s advice and is avoiding Aviendha at all costs. How will this turn out for them? Who do you think he had in mind when he asked Mat about being in love?
Rand seems to think that Aviendha is avoiding him, wants nothing to do with him, but he is spending a lot of time thinking about her. I loved the Wise Ones’ advice on how to attract her eye – such as offering to brush her hair with eyes demurely down cast, or dancing a little jig in his small clothes (or nothing) before tucking in for the night! Since he only had 1 passing thought about Elayne (and that was in reference to Aviendha keeping an eye on him for Elayne), I will say that he was asking Mat about love in regards to Aviendha.
2. A bunch of men waiting to go mad, what could possibly go wrong?! What lies in the future for these fellows? Is Rand right in trusting Taim with this?
Haha! I expect that this little Mad Men’s Farm will be a source of angst and entertainment for a book or 3. But I also have to keep in mind that the male Forsaken stay sane; they say it is the Dark One who keeps them sane, but I am guessing it could just be a closely guarded secret that another man could learn. So, if Rand has had the same idea, perhaps he is hoping that a group of male aes sedai together could mess around and stumble upon it. Look at Taim, he’s got like 10-15 years on Rand. How has he stayed sane all that time?
Rand has to trust Taim with something, for several reasons. He has to see if Taim will follow his leadership – and testing him by giving him a task he thinks demeaning is a great way to do that. On the other hand, he just handed Taim a potential army the likes the world has not see in many thousands of years, right? Hmm…. could get messy, and very entertaining for the readers.
3. Rand’s forces just won’t cooperate. Do you expect more rebellions? Is Rand making the right choice in leaving this one to fester?
Yes, there will be more rebellions, and I don’t think all will be rebellion against Rand. The world needs to be united to fight off the DO and his minions in the final battle, right? And the world is a big place, with several lands not even explored by our main characters yet. Also, not everyone seems to think Rand is the Dragon Reborn, so of course there is going to be more rebellions. Until he does something even bigger than fighting Ba’alzamon in the sky with a sword made of fire with the Great Hunt riding at his side, not everyone is going to unite behind him.
Rand has to pick and choose his battles right now. In leaving the little lordlings to rebel, and focusing on a Forsaken, I think he is right. After all, he doesn’t need an army to deal with those lords and ladies who are being idiot children. He does need an army to take out the Forsaken, even one at a time. He can always step through his little Saidin-powered doorway to whisk an errant lord away in the middle of the night – or slit their throats as needed.
4. It seems like the theme of chapter 4 is humor. Who did you find funniest? What’s your best joke?
I laughed the most when the Aiel didn’t get Rand’s joke and kept asking about the pond. And then the rooster. Ha! I think Robert Jordan was the funniest in this chapter, cleverly showing the differences between the cultures through the jokes. I have heard variations of Rand’s farmer joke before and I can totally see some of my neighbors telling a version of it at the next big shindig.
My best jokes would be considered crude by most and involve a lot of impudent and rude hand gestures. :)
I can totally see Olver becoming glued to Mat, or at least his horse. Mat’s father is a horsetrader, among other things, and Mat himself considers he knows a fair amount about horses. And horses like Olver, so there is that connection. Yes, I can definitely see Mat taking on more than he thought he was when he gave that child-beater a pounding with his fancy spear (naginata?). Pretty soon, Olver will become a little mascot of Mat’s men and he’ll have his own pony and little uniform and will start basic training. He’ll grow up a bit over the next several books and will die a tragic but meaningful death in service to Mat – possibly even saving Mat or Rand’s life. I’m a bit sniffly over it already.
6. It’s time to discuss forsaken intrigue yet again. Could you decipher anything from that chat between Graendal and Sammael? Does anyone else feel like Sammael has made a big mistake somewhere?
With Graendal & Sammael, they each think they have out maneuvered each other. I think that is amusing. It is probably also a big mistake for each of them, though I bet Sammael pays for his mistakes before Graendal. Graendal also thought it important enough to use authentic Chazon (spelling?) and Chabon (spelling?) in her scheme, though it was unlikely that Sammael would tell the difference. I also have to think that her well-placed whispers to herself, that Sammael could only hear because he was embracing Saidin, were on purpose.
And yes, Sammael seems to be making a big mistake. The other Forsaken are using him, pointing him right at Rand. Sammael doesn’t believe Rand is Lews reincarnated, so he’s underestimating him from the start. Next, even if Sammael doesn’t take Rand out, just his attempt, which is apparently against the DO’s current wishes, will probably land him in hot water with the DO.
7. Just how scary is Semirhage now, and what could Shaidar Haran possibly want with this poor Aes Sedai (who, I believe, we have never seen before)?
Wow! Semirhage takes the prize for being the most insanely self-righteous. She can heal some of the most desperate and hopeless cases, but she also believes this gives her the right to enjoy her little pleasures – which apparently entails torture of various kinds. *shudder*.
Shaidar Haran is looking for someone or something and needs an Aes Sedai to tell him where that person or things is. Perhaps it is Fain’s dagger, or Fain, or the Great Horn, or the location of one of the Ta’veren or Elayne & Nynaeve.
I think Mat is a serial monogamist. He keeps picking one woman to place his serious affections on. Plenty of fun dancing this section!
Do aes sedai reproduce? If yes, does that mean the Forsaken can reproduce?
Through Rand’s POV, we learn that he thinks Asmodean ran off. So whoever killed him also got rid of his body – through some basic means like removing it and dumping it in the pig pen, or through some magical means that would disintegrate his remains – like through Balefire. Hmmm….
It seems that the DO had a little private meeting with each of the Forsaken, promising them glory, etc. Yet they, the Forsaken, are left to think that each of them was singled out and offered this ‘exclusive’ gift. The DO probably thinks he is being clever, but I think he just managed to keep the Forsaken backstabbing each other for several more books, instead of uniting against Rand. Haha!