A Crown of Swords Read Along Part III

WOT 7 BannerWelcome back everyone! This week Eivind our Awesome Commenter is our host, and you can catch his discussion below in the comments. You can find cool fanart of the non-spoiery kind over at Liesel’s Musing on Fantasia and don’t miss Sue’s intellectual take over at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers.

This week we covered Chapters 9-12. Spoilers Below!!!

1. Nicola and Areina are trying to blackmail both Egwene and Myrelle. What do you think of their motivations? Did Egwene do the right thing in rejecting them? Could this damage her for real?

I thought these two were idiots. I wonder if someone talked them into it to muddy the waters for Egwene. First, several of the Salidar Aes Sedai know that Egwene, Elayne, and Nynaeve were ordered by the Amyrlin (Siuan) to go off and pretend to be full Aes Sedai to accomplish their mission. So, would it damage Egwene if that got out? Well, Egwene already has dissenters, so those idiots would grasp at that straw and try to make a big deal out of it, but then I think it would fade away, especially with Egwene being as strong as she is.

2. Egwene has lots of dreams, about Gawyn, Mat, Logain and herself. Any comments or crazy theories?

I think some of it is her concerns, but some of it may be spot on. Robert Jordan has used dreams to point the readers in a certain direction before, or to motivate certain characters into doing some action or taking some path. Her vision of Mat catching hold of a fireworks and from that men dying seems significant. Mat, with all his memories of other battle generals, could be thinking about weaponizing fireworks. Of course, he would need a team of Illuminators willing to give it a go.

Logain stepping over Rand’s body could be a worry, or he could be protecting Rand. Only further reading will answer that one.

The golden hawk, female, being tied to Egwene in some fashion could be an ally that she hasn’t met yet.

3. Egwene’s circle of trust is growing, with Faolain, Theodrin and Myrelle, soon also to include the rest of the Salidar six it seems. While not sitters, these are some powerful names. Will this finally be the tipping point, or do you expect she will need something more?

She’ll need something more. There will be some momentous decision, or some great show of saidin strength. I personnaly wouldn’t mind seeing Egwene kick some trolloc ass, or make a myrrdraal dance a jig, or unmask Halima and turn her/him over to the rest of the Aes Sedai for questioning and then stilling or execution.

Old, old Claudie woken for a picture.
Old, old Claudie woken for a picture.

4. It looks like Lan will meet Nynaeve pretty soon, and in Ebou Dar no less. This is growing into quite the mishmash of characters. What sort of amusing scenarios do you see in the future? Lan is no longer a King (sort of)… could he be the key to finding the bowl?

Haha! Well, I definitely look forward to this mix. Mat and Nynaeve and Elayne are already sort of at odds. I mean, Elayne absolutely believes she has a right to Mat’s medallion. Mat thinks they are all daft. Nynaeve is constantly ill-tempered and once Lan gets there, I expect her moods will sway back and forth even more than now. We have Aviendha and Birgitte too. Lan will get there and have to contend with a bunch of ill-tempered, stubborn ladies. Without manhandling them. Lan and Mat can’t simply throw the ladies over their shoulders and walk away from danger with them.

5. Halima/Aran’gar/Balthamel is earning Egwene’s trust. Do you think the headaches are her design? Are they just headaches or something more sinister? Compulsion? With her channeling saidin and Logain gone, how could she ever be found out?

Even if Halima is not causing the headaches, she is still bad news. I hope Egwene or another soon discovers Halima’s nature and she either has to flee or is caught by the Aes Sedai. the headaches could be caused by someone slipping something into her regular tea. This would be the easiest thing, and Egwene has no lack of evil-wishers. If Egwene is brought low by headches and can’t function as Amrylin, it would be reason to depose her and elect another. So I wouldn’t suspect Halima only. While I like Chesa, she could be putting on a good face while doing a naughty deed. Also, there is Selame. They both have access to Egwene in private moments, and her tea, food, etc.

Other Tidbits:

OK folks, time for me to confess. I think I missed something. What is an Aes Sedai Sitter again? What is her significance?

Siuan apologized to Egwene! Is this a sign of respect? Egwene must be doing something right.

Siuan insisting she has to work off her debt to Garyth Bryne, even when Egwene offers to pay it off. Very telling. I think someone has a crush.

I enjoyed Egwene’s gentle message to Nynaeve in dream land, and Egwene remembering the time she accidentally barged into a rather steamy and private dream Nynaeve was having. Haha! Oops, a hazard of dream walking.

Lan’s apology to Egwene, for ever helping her leave the Two Rivers, was very touching. Ah, Lan. Don’t you know that the ladies would have gotten into trouble with or without you?

We have seen a few variations of multiple ladies to one man (Rand, the Aiel), and now with Myrelle we seen a few men to one lady. But we get only the outsider’s viewpoint, like Egwene and Siuan, who feel that this is a highly inappropriate thing. If they can be accepting of 1 man to 3 ladies, why not 1 lady to 2-3 men? Though I will say in Lan’s case, this might not have been the wisest course Myrelle could have chosen.

9 thoughts on “A Crown of Swords Read Along Part III”

  1. 1. I got really worried when I read this part for the first time, but thankfully Egwene is a bit more cool-headed than I am. I guess she handled it well, but if it were me I might have seen to having them… disappear :P. Not that they will stop being assholes for a bit, so maybe Egwene will have to do something more drastic later on.

    2. Let’s skip the Gawyn dreams for now since we know more or less what they mean.

    Standing before a wall of black and white disks which she cannot tear down: this is evidently the upcoming siege of Tar Valon. The city has never fallen, so some outside-of-the-box thinking from Egwene’s side may be necessary.

    Mat shooting fire: yes, this does point to weaponization of fireworks. Mat’s illuminator friend (Aludra) was last seen with Valan Luca’s menagerie in Ghealdan.

    Egwene almost being executed: who could want to execute her, aside from the loyalist faction?

    The golden hawk is the symbol of Mayene, but I can’t for the life of me remember what connection she has (or gets) with Berelain.

    The last two are really quite vague… An object that shines very brightly could be a sa’angreal, but we don’t know who the dark young man is. (I think I can guess though.)

    3. I agree, she will need something more. She needs a legitimate, open and obvious political victory in the hall, or, as you say, some very impressive display of strength. I like the idea that Halima is planted there (by the author) to provide Egwene some trial to overcome to gain the trust of her people, but… well, we’ll see.

    4. I can’t wait to see Nynaeve’s face, is all I’m saying. Things are about to change for her, and I hope she’ll be easier to live with after Lan shows up.

    I’m making a bigger deal out of “the one who is no longer” than I really should, because I enjoy trying to plant some fake leads among all the gushing I do (“oh you’re totally going to love scene X”, etc.)

    I wonder if he’s going to admit that he lay with Myrelle (if I’m reading the signs right).

    5. If it’s compulsion then it’s subtle enough for us not to have noticed anything very different about Egwene’s behaviour up to now. She could be playing the long game, or she could just be trying to ingratiate herself with the centers of power for now. We know that compulsion is quite difficult, and Balthamel was not particularly good at it (like Graendal was—at least, not that we know of). So there’s a fair chance that it’s just headaches.

    Other: Sitters are members of the Hall, which is effectively the parliament. Consider them MPs or senators in US government terms.

    1. I’m hazy on the last two dreams as well. Can’t remember what happens with Mayene. Pretty sure I remember the “shining” object, but not the dark young man. At least, not for sure. And yeah, can’t wait until Lan gets to Ebou Dar. One of my favorite sequences, actually. 😀

    2. It surprises me that the White Tower has never fallen, or if it has, it wasn’t recorded in the secret histories that Siuan was privy to once. Still, there is always a way.

      I wonder if the dark young man is Ghalad or the Tinker lad (Aram?)?

      Lan admitting to Nynaeve that he bedded Myrelle…..that’s one of those situations where you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

      Thanks for the easy explanation for Sitter.

    3. 1. Yep – I expected her to panic or go all balefire on them. Her response was definitely better than mine would have been.

      2. As long as the dark young man isn’t Taim, I will happy . . .

      4. Does Lan strike you as particularly stupid? Would YOU tell Nynaeve that you had been having sex with some other woman????? 😀

      5. The fact that Halima is the only one who can make the headaches go away is huge red flag for me: it is such an easy way to ingratiate yourself where you would normally be excluded.

  2. Yeah, Nicola and Areina are definitely idiots. With you there. I enjoyed hearing about some of the more hazardous parts of dream-walking as well. Hazardous for Egwene. Entertaining for us. As for Mat, once Lan gets there, I don’t think Mat will have the choice of throwing the ladies over his shoulder anymore. At least, not Nynaeve. If he tried, Lan would probably cut his legs off. Just saying. 😀

    1. I think it might be highly comical for Lan and Mat to get in a tizzy with one another. Lan with his made sword skills and Mat with his luck, ta’veren-ness, and his staff skills. I can just imagine all the entertaining things that would come out of Mat’s mouth.

      1. I predict that Mat will be so happy to see Lan that he gives him a big hug! He will know that Nynaeve will be so distracted now that she will become relatively human! 😀

  3. Thanks, I shall try to be suitably intellectual! 😀

    1. Doh! I never even considered that someone might have convinced them that this was a great idea. The list of candidates is so long . . .

    2. Mat has already met the disgraced Illuminator, so seems likely that she will reappear to aid him again. I am quite convinced that Logain is one of the Good Guys (unlike Taim), so I refuse to think badly of him!

    3. We saw that the Aes Sedai were not overly ruffled by Rand and the Asha’man at Dumai’s Wells, so I agree that Egwene will need to do something very impressive to finally persuade them to shut up and follow her.

    4. I am not sure that Lan will need to throw Nynaeve over his shoulder . . . in fact, I think it might be the other way around. A good ‘seeing to’ will improve her mood dramatically! 😀

    5. Yep: lots of candidates for evil doing. Somehow I feel as if the maids are being set up as red herrings and it really is Halima . . . but perhaps I am just biased by the creepy massages.

    From a purely biological point of view I can understand the polygamy aspect of Aiel culture because they are so warlike and they need to maximize the number of children born even though the sex ratio must be heavily skewed towards females. Other than that I find it difficult to get around the idea of sharing my life partner with someone else: I am just too shy! 😀

    1. I like the idea of Nynaeve throwing Lan over her shoulder, into a hay pile, and the two having a nice ‘seeing to’ so that the rest of us can move on without gripey Nynaeve.

      The more we discuss it, the more I am leaning towards Halima as the baddie – for the headaches.

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