This week we covered Chapters 24-30. Spoilers lurk below!
1. The Aes Sedai embassy, even when not meeting Rand, appears to be busy with pointless channeling and undermining Rand’s noble support. With the first meeting in mind, what do you think their ultimate intentions are? How will they go about achieving them?
I wonder if they are weaving some sort of saidar cage to catch and transport him in? Is that even possible? Rand has threatened to leave weavings in place around idiots before – basically locking them in place. Anyway, they are Aes Sedai and up to something. I don’t think they know how NOT to be up to something.
I think Rand did a pretty good job in this first meeting. He let them go on about the Amrylin’s titles, etc., and then he simply intros himself as Rand Al’Thor. Nice. Rand started off as a sweet boy and has turned into this powerful man, who has a touch of class. I also liked how he let them know that he could detect them channeling – which they completely dismissed as possible later. I swear, these Aes Sedai are blind! Anyway, back to Eivind’s question – what are their ultimate intentions? Well, power. they want power, don’t know how to live without it. So, power over Rand. If they can achieve that, then I think think they expect to be able to conduct the Final Battle in an organized manner.
Snort. Yeah, right. How will they attempt to achieve that? Well, they think gold will be a hook, and then I think they will employ whatever they are constantly channeling in town. Of course, it will all go sideways on them. And I will enjoy reading every minute of that!
2. Egwene and Gawyn finally have their moment. What will the future hold for these star-crossed lovers on opposite sides of a rift? Will Egwene manage to convince him of the truth? Will she be discovered by the Aes Sedai or can they both manage to elope?
Well, shared wet dreams or not, that was sudden! And I find this a bit of a tough question as we have seen so little of Gawyn. I wish his character was fleshed out a bit more. While Galad is an extremist, Gawyn does have a similar streak within him. I think it will take something huge, like Morgase walking up to him and slapping sense into him, to convince him Rand did not murder her. So, no, I don’t think Egwene by herself can convince him.
I think she will slip past the Aes Sedai this time, but she might need Rand’s or the Aiel’s help. This might force her to leave the Wise Ones and go cause havoc some place else, or perhaps force her to take Rand to Salidar.
3. The Sea Folk are back and they’re hounding Rand for a meeting. Evidently they also have a role to play, but how do they fit in?
I suspect that Rand is correct in that the Sea Folk have their own prophesy concerning him. But they also are in the best position to hear word of the Seanchan and what they are up to. They may also know movements, especially naval, of any other nation. In short, Rand is being an idiot, and perhaps even a dick, for ignoring them this blatantly for this long. His list of allies is short to begin with.
4. A Gray Man makes an attempt on Rand’s life, and Taim just happens to stop by the palace exactly then. Fortuitous timing or something else? Could there be a connection between this attack and the earlier one in the streets, which was apparently orchestrated by Padan Fain?
From Padan Fain’s mullings and contemplations, I don’t think he sent the Gray Man. Rand has such a long list of enemies, and even frenemies (like Mazrim Taim). So we have the Forsaken – any and all like to play with Gray Men. Perhaps Taim suspected or knew and wanted to be there to save the day to make an impression with Rand. Perhaps he just wanted to see how things went and when he saw that Rand planned to capture, instead of kill, the Gray Man, Taim eliminated the thing in case it incriminated him.
5. Siuan and Leane are finally healed, and Nynaeve makes headlines! Now that they’re back in the fold, do you see them trying to take over the show again? And what now to do about Logain?
Can I just say that Aes Sedai are sometimes real asses! Siuan and Leane needed compassion long before now, but some many of the Salidar Aes Sedai could barely give them the time of day. But now that they are Aes Sedai again, they are real sisters and once again worthy of comfort, respect, and all that honey goodness. If I were Siuan and Leane, I would have learned something important from that – like how transitory the friendship of the sisterhood can be.
So of course Siuan wants to be at the top once again. Already, the hierarchy of the Aes Sedai has raised its ugly head and Leane and Siuan are deemed at the bottom of the totem pole.
This is a little related to my answer to the next question, but I am going to guess that Siuan, Nynaeve, Elayne, Birgitta, and Logain (and perhaps Leane) all end up running away, perhaps with the help of Uno & friends. Siuan can’t have the power she wants in Salidar. Nynaeve and Elayne already have tentative plans to save the world by finding a bowl. Logain needs to get away from the Salidar Witches and Siuan & crew could use a ‘protector’. Now I just wonder how the bargain will be struck?
6. A couple of baddies resurface: Padan Fain in Caemlyn and Aran’gar in Salidar. One as crazy as ever, and the other the calculating villain we’ve come to expect from the Forsaken. What do you think Aran’gar’s orders are? And could Fain have a plan in mind that’s more specific than just… being himself?
I think Aran’gar is in Salidar for Rand’s childhood companions, perhaps simply to kill them. If she can do it with some subtlety, she can even stay in place and gather intel on the Salidar Aes Sedai, perhaps guide them into some stupidity or trap. This feeds into my answer to the question above. If Nynaeve and Elayne, perhaps even Siuan, are threatened, injured, nearly lose their lives, then they might finally decide to leave Salidar. Oooo! Perhaps Aran’gar will offer ultimate glory to Logain! that could makes things very interesting.
Padan Fain. He’s a disgusting brute, don’t you think? When Rand finally does kill him, I hope it is slow and exquisitely painful. I am guessing that Fain does have a plan, but it will have to be a tight knit one. As wicked as Fain is, he is a loner with few frenemies to work with. He has some regular human followers and a tame Myrdraal. I would guess that his plan would rely heavily on sneakiness and trickery. I am not sure if the dagger ties him to Shadar Logoth or not, but if it does, and if Rand returns there, that could turn into a messed up situation quickly.
Egwene demands from Rand to know how he travels from city to city. Without hesitation, he picks up her shawl and does his best to explain and demonstrate. He gave away that knowledge without demanding something in return. Come on Egwene! You can’t be that selfish and not realize what he just gave you and yet you withhold something so important as Elayne’s whereabouts.
I just have to say that Egwene must be pretty physically fit by now, with the Wise Ones having her run around the city, sometimes literally. I am sure Gawyn has appreciated this particular aspect of Egwene. ;)
The Aiel rabbit warren of honor and obligation is complex and confusing. I feel for Rand. I don’t really understand why Sullin is now a palace servant, though I respect she is paying some obligation or erasing some smudge from her honor. And Rand is starting to catch on – asking the Aiel to be silent about the Gray Man and Mazrim Taim. I now wonder what he has planned for Sullin – something that will help her pay her obligation, and also allow Rand to pay part of his obligation to her. And she won’t like it. But I bet I will love reading it! :)
While Aviendha has clearly spent too much time 1) staring at Rand’s eyebrows or 2) avoiding him, she now feels she is behind in teaching him abut Aiel honor, etc. And I think she has something else to tell him. I still think she is pregnant.