Once 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.
4) 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.
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?