Lord of Chaos Read Along Part III

JordanLordOfChaosBannerOnce again the WoT Quad convenes to dice and slice apart Robert Jordan’s work. Makes his series sound like a tasty meal, doesn’t that? Well, it is a meal, for your brain. Don’t forget to visit my cohorts: Eivind in the comments below, Musings on Fantasia, and Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers.

This week we covered Chapters 7-11; spoilers infest the 7 course meal below!

1) Elayne & Nynaeve are teaching Siuan, Leane, and some of the Salidar Aes Sedai about Tel’aran’rhiod. What did you make of first Gera the Cook and then Elaida popping into Tel’aran’rhiod? Do you think Elaida’s pronouncement was Foretelling or merely her dreaming?

Well, I think Gera was merely dreaming, and I liked that she was dreaming a minor fantasy – weighing half of what she does in real life. Then I was amused by the some of the Aes Sedai playing around, changing their clothes and looks. Elaida is just scary whether she is dreaming or not. I think I would have needed a few minutes to catch my breath after he little appearance and proclamation.

I know some of the Aes Sedai worry that her words are a Foreshadowing, but many things would have to happen in order for he to unit the Aes Sedai under her. The Salidar Aes Sedai would have to be captured/wiped out or return to the Tower for one. Elaida would have to survive in power long enough to see either scenario come about. Still, we have 6 or 7 books left in the series and strange and horrible things do happen as the Final Battle draws closer.

2) While in Tel’aran’rhiod. Leane decides to go check her network, and Sheriam sends Nynaeve to go find her. Then most of the Salidar Aes Sedai stumble into a pocket of nightmare and Elayne has to rescue them. A series of coincidences? What did you think of Elayne’s actions?

Well, I don’t think they are all coincidences. Why can’t a skilled T’A’R walker set a trolloc nightmare trap for the unwary or idiotic? Possibly a Forsaken or a Darkfriend with skills could have set it and it is my inclination to believe it was a trap. Was it set specifically for these idiots? Maybe, maybe not. Leane going off shortly before the Trolloc’s Favorite Fall Soup could merely be her wanting to check her network – or she had some other task she wanted to do (like Elayne going by her home throne room after the nightmare scene) – or she knew what was on the Trolloc menu and bowed out. If Leane chats about what info she uncovered through her network in the next reading section, I will be more inclined to believe in her innocence.

Elayne! Part of me really, really liked how she swallowed her fear and her gorge and stepped into the nightmare to rescue those idiots. It took a lot of bravery. But the volunteer rescue worker in me knows that 99% of the time, this is a really bad idea and results in greater body counts. If you don’t have backup waiting on the sidelines, it is usually a deadly idea to step into such a mess. Perhaps she can now convince these Salidar Aes Sedai to take her and Nynaeve more seriously!

3) Logain is unsettling the Aes Sedai left and right with his claim that the Red Ajah set him up as the false Dragon. How much of what he says do you think is true? How do you think the Aes Sedai, both at Salidar and those visiting from the White Tower, will react to his claims?

I expect Logain is telling the truth on this. However, I am not quite sure why retelling it again and again seems to have breathed some life into him. Perhaps he hopes that the Red Ajah will receive some rebuke or censure from the rest of the Aes Sedai and that idea gives him a warm fuzzy?

I expect the Salidar Aes Sedai will use Logain to bolster their bid for power and credibility with the nations of RandLand. I expect the White Tower Aes Sedai to go into a muddled state of indecision where Logain is concerned. If Elaida reacts to his claims, she is then acknowledging him. I am not sure she is capable of that. If they kill him publicly, that could be seen as a sign of guilt. Perhaps Elaida didn’t know about the Reds using Logain, in which case she will honestly believe he is lying, which will bolster her believe that the Salidar Aes Sedai need to be brought to heel.

JordanLordOfChaos4) The Lord Captain Commander Niall has information coming to him from many sources: his fake spymaster Omerna, his disguised spymaster Balwer, and some unknown via messenger pigeon. What do you make of all this various info and Niall’s acceptance or dismissal of it?

OK, is it just me, or are Elaida and Niall like the 2 sides of a coin, male & female? They both choose to believe what they want to believe and then look for facts to corroborate that belief.

I think Niall would be a lot more dangerous to Rand and crew if he listened to Balwer. Oh hell, if he listened to half of what Omerna said, he would be able to make Rand uncomfortable. He’s ignoring too much to be successful. Which is probably a good thing because I totally am Team Rand :).

Still, it is interesting that eyewitness accounts, statistics, even reliable spy statements really don’t matter. It can all be twisted and dismissed. Niall, like Elaida, need it in their face to believe it. Perhaps Rand could give Niall a demonstration – perhaps of what it is like to be tied up by the Power and left hanging in the middle of a room for a few hours – just until you really, really, really need to piss.

5) As Morgase returns from falconing, she sees many refugees along the road and questions one of her escorts, Norowhin. What do you make of his answers? How do you expect Morgase to proceed from this point?

C’mon Morgase! I want you to be a hero! Escape! Rally the troops! Kick some teeth down some throats and help Rand make the world safe for small children and puppies!

The refugees are going every which way and the countryside itself seems destitute. So this should tell Morgase something about the White Cloaks, right? Like perhaps they aren’t good for business, harvest, protecting the people, nor making dinner for large numbers of people. While I greatly hope she won’t get into bed with them for the sake of regaining her throne, I can see how she has narrowed her choices and may now feel like she has little choice. Sigh….

6) Rand goes to visit Culain’s Hound Inn, where he gets more than one surprise. Verin and Alanna are escorting several young ladies from Emond’s Field area to the White Tower to train as Aes Sedai. What do you think they will do now that they know of the split? More importantly, how would you have reacted to Alanna’s little trap that she set for Rand?

That must have been surreal for Rand. Still, many of those ladies treated Rand like they did back when he was home in Two Rivers….at least until he gave them a little, gentle demonstration of his powers. I kind of hope that Rand decides to have the ladies rounded up and removed from Verin and Alanna, but he might not deem such a thing worth his time, and also several of the ladies might protest greatly. Since Verin and Alanna now have their movements restricted, I would think they would want to keep the ladies with them, partially as guarantee that Rand not harm them (Verin & Alanna). I think Verin is too wise to try to take this gaggle of girls to the Tower in all this uncertainty. I am expecting that she or Alanna has a way to track down the Salidar Aes Sedai and I wouldn’t be surprised if they insist on going there. This would give Rand the opportunity to ring the location out of them, if he takes it.

As for Alanna and her new Warder…. Well, first, I would have slapped her. Then I would have kicked her in the shin. Next, a punch to the gut or breast. I would follow this up by sweeping her legs out from under her and put a on her to hold her to the ground while I define for her the parameters of our new relationship.

Honestly, I think Rand was quite controlled about the situation. Alanna didn’t get half of what she deserved. I did have an incredulous laugh when she complained to Verin about Rand ‘daring to limit their movements’. Hypocritical little witch, isn’t she?

7) Mazrim Taim wants to go out looking for men who can channel. Do you think his enthusiasm for building this army is for the Dragon Reborn or his own glory? How do you think he will fulfill Rand’s order to bring Henre Haslin, the drunk Master of the Sword, back?

Mazrim is all about Mazrim. He wants to lead an army for his own glory. Perhaps he thinks that with an army, he wouldn’t need to obey Rand, even if Rand is the stronger. Perhaps he doesn’t mind being second as long as he is in charge of the male Aes Sedai army. Still, Mazrim might have to be taken out before he spreads bloodshed all over the world.

I can see Mazrim either delegating the task of bringing Haslin back or doing it in such a way that Haslin refuses to work with Mazrim, the male Aes Sedai farm, or Rand. I think it would be very hard for Mazrim to swollow his pride and invite Haslin back, letting the whole camp know that Mazrim changed his mind.

Other Tidbits:

I liked how Nynaeve gave Siuan a talking to about refusing to let her attempt to heal her…. and then later Theodrin gives Nynaeve a very similar talking to about not letting Theodrin attempt to remove her block. Still, I will be surprised if either Siuan or Nynaeve turn around and cooperate fully with zeal.

OK, last week we talked about Semirhage and her secret every day identity. She has a stubborn charge. I now want to guess that she is Theodrin. Though I have to wonder about her little story about having a block herself – how she couldn’t channel around boys. True? Partially? Completely false to set Nynaeve at ease?

8 thoughts on “Lord of Chaos Read Along Part III

  1. Eivind Fonn says:

    1. Hm, let me look up what Elaida said. Must have slipped my mind. Ah, right, she foretold that the Tower would be reunited under her. Well, Elaida’s foretellings are an interesting topic. What we saw here wasn’t the actual foretelling, but her interpretation of a previous one. She lets these foretellings of her (which are real, by the way) dictate much of her strategy, but it’s a theme throughout the series that prophecies don’t always mean what you think they mean. This doesn’t only apply to her, in fact. There are some ominous-sounding prophecies that will turn out to be fulfilled in a laughably mundane manner, some prophecies that sound literal but should be interpreted metaphorically and vice versa. And even some prophecies that will not be fulfilled even by the end of book 14. I find it’s an interesting way to keep the reader guessing. As for Elaida, I don’t think her foretelling actually mentioned her by name. That’s her own interpretation. She likes to view the world through Elaida-coloured glasses.

    2. I can’t really bring myself to suspect Leane, that would be quite the shocker. I’m not even sure if it’s possible to control nightmares like that… although we did see Demandred messing with Elayne’s head, so I suppose it might be.

    Elayne should have given those Aes Sedai a piece of her mind. I would be furious.

    3. I am reasonably sure he’s mostly lying. I think we got indirect confirmation about that earlier on, when Siuan first told the Salidar Six about this, she thought to herself how great it was that she can lie now, and what’s more, all the Aes Sedai implicitly assumes she can’t. Then again, there are numerous references (later on) to suspicious goings-on in the Tower after the Aiel War (often called “the vileness”, but more on that later), and the unstated implication is that the Black Ajah has a hand in this. I wonder if that’s related, and that Siuan has actually produced a version of the truth. As we’re now aware, the leader of the Red is herself, Galina, actually Black.

    4. I love Balwer. He’s such a non-bullshit guy in a world of bullshitters. Unfortunately Niall has backed himself too far into a corner to make proper use of him. As we know, Balwer is right about a lot of things and Niall is wrong about just as many.

    One thing to point out is that the missive from Tarabon confirms for the first time that the Seanchan really are back and invading, this time presumably in force. Since Tarabon went silent almost immediately after the supergirls fled the scene, I guess they made it out just in time.

    6. Well… Alanna… geez. If you had any idea what would come of this…

    I just see it as one more push for Rand toward the cliff. Can you imagine what it must be like to share your head 24/7 with a dead madman and an Aes Sedai (not in the same way, but still). I mean, Rand has no privacy any more. His head is getting really crowded.

    To put it in modern terms, she pretty much just raped Rand right there. I also can’t believe Rand took it so “well.”

    7. It’s so amusing to hear you call him Mazrim all the time. The fanbase has agreed on “Taim” and it just sounds so weird. :)

    In any case I agree, Taim is probably just in it for his own sake. We kind of knew that already though. We might have to wait a long time for a final decision on this guy.

    Other.

    Chapter 8 was the first time I wondered if the narrative was slowing down. A whole chapter of Nynaeve just walking around Salidar with nothing to do? Oh my.

    • Liesel Hill says:

      So true about Elaida-colored glasses. I think Niall has similiar Pedron-colored glasses. Balwer is one of my faves, too. After what comes next with Niall, I was afraid Balwer would disappear from the narrative, but as you know, he doesn’t, and I was really happy with where he ends up. It definitely could be that the narrative is slowing down. I called it just a “setup” section, but it could also be what you’ve named it. My own writing group is good about making sure that each chapter means something and pushes toward the end. They’ve called me more than once on “what’s the point of this chapter”-type stuff. It’s not so bad for establishment purposes in the beginning of the book, but unfortunately Jordan will start doing it more and more throughout. But, whatcha gonna do?

    • nrlymrtl says:

      Elaida-colored glasses…..shudder!

      Hmm… I am not too sure what I will make of the Seanchan in Round 2 ( I assume sooner or later one of our heroes will have to address the Seanchan again). I wasn’t too keen on them in Round 1, but since then we have met a few that are just average people that got left behind after the failed invasion.

    • suecccp says:

      1. I have no doubt that the Tower will eventually be reformed, but not with Elaida as the Amyrlin, so it would deb just like her to hear what she wants to even in her own Foretelling.

      2. I guess that Elayne has realized that shouting at Aes Sedai is as pointless as trying to get water to run up hill! :D

      3. I would not be surprised to discover that this story has some foundation in truth, especially as the Reds are mostly Blacks (or so it seems).

      4. Niall’s dismissal of the Seanchan reports was very telling because we know that they are a very real threat. I suspect that he will be caught with his pants down very soon as they march over the border while he continues to deny their existence.

      6. I agree that Rand didn’t take it well: he was too shocked to really make any form of response that didn’t involve burning her to a crisp. I think that she os very lucky that he has sworn off hurting women otherwise she would be a smoking pair of shoes.

  2. Liesel Hill says:

    You make a good point about Elaida and Niall. Definitely agree with you there. We’re also in agreement on pretty much all other points. Logain, Taim, Morgase, Alanna, all ditto. And I really had to laugh about the Nynaeve bits, too. She always makes me smile. :D

  3. suecccp says:

    1. I am firmly convinced that Elaida is fairly delusional, so this must be wish fulfillment on her part – in fact I wouldn’t be surprised if she isn’t Amyrlin for much longer.

    2. Now that we know that Mesaana is installed in the White Tower, she would be a perfect candidate for setting a trap for unsuspecting visitors.

    3. I imagine that Logain is reveling in the opportunity to give the Reds a good kicking, even if it is only a verbal one.

    4. Yep. Elaida and Niall are both delusional idiots who are unfortunately very powerful.

    5. I agree, my opinion of Morgase has been severely dented by her choice to go to the Whitecloaks . . . doh!

    6. I think that comment of Alanna’s really sums up Aes Sedai attitudes to other people: everyone is supposed to do their bidding without question. It is one of the aspects of their training that weakens them immeasurably because it blinds them to other possible ways of dealing with issues.

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