A Crown of Swords Read Along Part IV

WOT 7 BannerWelcome back everyone! This week I’m your host, and you can catch Eivind’s discussions 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 13-18. Spoilers Below!!!

1) Bravery comes up more than once in Chapter 13. Aviendha on the water, Elayne offering to discuss Rand….What do you think about how the ladies measure bravery?

I really liked how Robert Jordan used this trait to show the differences in culture. Aviendha belongs to a culture that doesn’t have dealings with the ocean, where such words as ‘sea’, ‘ship’, and ‘boat’ are perhaps even mythical. So, for her to face those ‘myths’ head on takes some guts. Add to that, her embarrassment over sea sickness, and you have a pretty brave woman.

Elayne, coming from a monogamous culture, probably finds it both difficult and embarrassing to discuss her beloved Rand with another woman, a woman who she intends to share Rand with. Right now, this sharing is a private thing, but it has great potential to become very public. So Elayne risks public ridicule too, as many cultures will view her part in the polygamous relationship as scandalous. In some ways, that is brave too. Though I think Aviendha is the little bit braver as she knows nothing of large bodies of water, which can prove deadly.

2) Within this section, we see Nynaeve and Elayne beginning negotiations with the Sea Folk for info on the Bowl of Winds, and yet Rand is still ignoring the Sea Folk. When the ladies find out Rand ignored the Sea Folk for so long, what do you think they will do? Why are the Sea Folk so interested in Rand? And if they find out the connection between Rand and the ladies, what do you think the Sea Folk will do?

Well, I expect there to be a big muddle. Of course each of the ladies will berate Rand for his short-sightedness in their own way. Perhaps Nynaeve will finally tug her braid out. Or perhaps Rand will cut it off for her if she uses her sharp tongue to harshly.

The Sea Folk have their own prophesy concerning Rand, about the Coramor (spelling?). Perhaps they need to verify he truly is their One & Only via some test or special knowledge. Perhaps they need to whisk him off to some secret Sea Folk island and have him chat with their version of Wise Ones. And once verified, I hope they offer Rand their loyalty because he could sure use it.

I am not sure the Sea Folk would do anything if they knew of the connection between the ladies and Rand. I am not sure they would see any significance to it. Right now, I am not concerned that they would hold the ladies hostage in an attempt to get Rand’s attention. At the most, I think they might refuse to deal with the ladies until Rand chats with the Sea Folk.

3) Mat recognized Darkfriend Shiaine and followed her to White Cloak Inquisitor Carridin. In turn, Carridin recognizes Mat, and then tells Sammael. Do you think this will change Sammael’s plans at all?

I had to break out the maps for this question. Listening to the audio, I don’t pay as close attention to where everything and everyone is. With that, Mat and Rand had some plan to draw Sammael out, or trick him, or box him in. If I remember correctly, Mat was to take his army to Illian for this plan to work. But Rand sent it and him to Salidar to bring back Elayne. I think this was meant to be a quick trip, but, alas, Egwene sent Mat to Ebou Dar, and kept his army for the march on Tar Valon.

I think this leaves Rand’s plan in tatters. Still, Sammael seemed quite shaken to hear of Mat in Ebou Dar. He talked of being betrayed, and I assume he means by whatever Forsaken he confided in. He seems to think that Mat is there hunting or spying on him and his agents. Ha! Mat, and his luck.

Still, Sammael seems set on having Carridin and crew continue to hunt for the stash of angreal. But what will Sammael do on his own? Well, I hope that he goes off in a rage at whatever Forsaken he thinks betrayed him and take her (it was a her, right?) out. Haha! Or perhaps she will take him out. Either way, it would be one less Forsaken for Rand to deal with and will completely discourage the Forsaken from working together.

4) Mat and women and the example they set for Olver. What did you think of Mat’s reaction to Queen Tylin’s straight-forward interest? Were you amused by Olver imitating Mat in his interactions with women? Foresee Mat changing his ways?

Mat was pretty darn amusing, in his rakish way, in this section. Mat seems to be comfortable when he is the hunter, when he is the one to decide a woman should be interested in him. So, yes, I did get a wicked grin on my face with Queen Tylin discomfited him so easily. Still, I was glad that he had enough sense to not jump into what might be a deadly relationship. I don’t think he knows enough of the local customs to safely navigate quickly and easily getting out of Tylin’s bed when he wants.

Olver….tsk, tsk. How old is he? Like 8? 10? Isn’t that still when most boys are like, ‘Girls, ew! Cooties!’ and not interested in doing anything more with women than either avoiding them or setting their pigtails on fire? Anyway, it was still funny, and a little sad, to see that Mat made no connection to Olver’s recent bought of bottom-pinching and his own ways of treating women.

Will Mat change? Maybe the Daughters of 9 Moons can get him to modify his behavior, but that will most likely be because he fears loosing his most favorite appendage by angering her and not because his inner inclinations have changed.

5) Why do you think Mat was attacked at the inn and who do you think sent the men?

Mat seems to write off this attack as due to the gold that noble idiot from the race track put in Mat’s room. However, these men attacked Mat, instead of going for the gold when no one was around. And they had that large, apparently empty box. I think that box is big enough to stash a man in, a man as big as Mat. I think they were sent to fetch Mat in a box, unconscious.

As to who sent them, I am not sure. Sammael specifically told Carridin to leave him be, so I don’t think Carridin would be stupid enough to act against that order. And I don’t think Queen Tylin would have to stoop to such means to arrange a secret tryst with Mat. So I turn my eye towards the two Ebou Dar palace Aes Sedai. Jolin and….??? I forget. I believe these ladies are still loyal to Elaida, and bringing Elaida Mat would be a little feather in their caps. Or they might simply question him about the current whereabouts of Elayne and how best to get through the defenses to stick her in a box with a bow and send her off to Elaida.

6) Moghedien seems to be back in the game, at least directing folks from the sidelines. Fallion doesn’t believe there to be a cache of angreal, but Ispan is ready to search for it. However, Fallion has another plan. How do you think that will fare?

If I was a bad guy, and perhaps I am, and a Forsaken told me to do a thorough search for a cache of angreal, I would do it even if I thought the Forsaken was daft. I don’t enjoy pain…..most of the time, but the definitely not the kind of pain the Forsaken would inflict. So, I would search. Hence, I think Fallion will be in for a nasty surprise when not only does her alternative plan fail but when also her refusal to look for angreal becomes known to Moghedien.

And while I do expect her plan to capture Nynaeve and Elayne to fail, as they have casually walked into enough traps in the past to be on high alert for future traps, I do expect her efforts will inconvenience the ladies. Perhaps, it will speed up their search and leaving of Ebou Dar.

7) Rand has women problems, and not because he is bedding too many (at least not yet). Between Berelain demanding she stay, Rand’s ‘tame’ Aes Sedai, and now Cadsuane Sedai, he may need a holiday. Why do you think Cadsuane has appeared and has chosen to show the Dragon Reborn such cheek?

If I understand correctly, Cadsuane is the oldest living Aes Sedai, and has lead a rather secluded life for many years. I think she is testing Rand, to see if he is truly the Dragon Reborn, and to see how violent a man he is. While she pushed him to the point where he crumpled some serving dishes, he did not harm anyone in the room. I wonder why she appeared unafraid of the possibility? I wonder if she has some power or angreal that shields her from those wielding saidin, like Mat’s pendant.

If she is wanting these answers for herself, to help her decide which side, if any, she will take, than I think she will be cool character. If she is Black Ajah or even a Forsaken in disguise, then I expect she will be a pain in the ass.

Other Tidbits:

Did anyone else enjoy Aviendha’s way of keeping the men from looking up her skirts before boarding the Sea Folk vessel? Haha! And while retrieving her knife, she lifts her skirts above her knees. Very funny.

Birgitte! She used that Sea Folk saying, and now they are all interested in her. Most of the time she thinks before speaking, but this must be an unusual situation. Normally, she is reborn into the world without her prior knowledge (until needed?), and she might not have realized this is an ancient saying among the Folk and no longer widely used.

While hanging around outside Carridin’s place, Mat talks with an old man who tells him whose place it is. Later, we have one little snippet from an unknown character, a man who has lost his ability with a sword due to age and who is trying to remember something important. I think these two characters are the same, but don’t know his significance to the story yet. Any guesses?

Someone has been sneaking notes into Mat’s clothes and they are aren’t all hugs and kisses. No, received a very definite warning for the ladies to be cautious. I think one of the ladies playing tug of war with Mat at the palace is responsible for the note, but I don’t know which one.

Alanna needs therapy to help her deal with the loss of her Warders, and perhaps her guilt over her impulse to bond Rand.

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

  1. 1. I don’t fully remember, but wasn’t this the first (of several) Aviendha chapters? Cool!

    As I learned from ASOIAF, it’s only possible to be brave when you’re afraid. I’m pretty sure Aviendha is scared to death. Not nearly as sure about Elayne, but that could be I’m just a guy and lacking insight into the issue.

    2. The Sea Folk are probably interested in Rand so that they can unload some of their world-famous annoyingness at him. And if they find out Rand and the ladies are connected, they’ll do the only thing they know how: be annoying.

    Ok, you’ll see. Trust me. In any case I think Rand is more than a little arrogant in letting them just hang out in their ships waiting for him while he’s off drinking tea in his head with Lews Therin, or whatever it is he’s doing nowadays. Nevertheless, I believe we’ll have this resolved quite soon and with the ladies none the wiser. And nobody will have to be annoying at all (but of course the Sea Folk will do so anyway).

    3. There were lots of goodies to be had for us re-readers this week. Mat’s ring will be important. The old guy outside the palace will be quite important indeed (I thought for a moment he might be Old Cully, but he’s not). Cadsuane was finally introduced… etc.

    The weirdness that went on when Carridin saw Mat was programmed into his mind all the way back in the book 2 prologue at the “darkfriend social”. Ishamael died, but Sammael was able to pick up the signal anyway.

    So Sammael is apparently looking for a cache of angreal, and so is Falion and Ispan (courtesy of Moghedien). Since the bowl is a ter’angreal, it’s reasonable to assume that the storeroom we saw in T’A’R with Nynaeve and Elayne is nothing other than this cache, and that it’s therefore real and these people aren’t chasing shadows. This would be such an amazing treasure for a Forsaken that I don’t expect them to give it up just to go chasing after Mat.

    4. This is a recurring gag. I don’t think Mat ever figures out where Olver picks up his bad habits from. 🙂

    Well, what can you do when the Queen herself is after you? She may be a play-Queen, but in the actual palace I guess she has ample power to make Mat’s life painful. So what’s he to do, really? You haven’t seen the last of this…

    5. Odd, I can’t really remember a lot of discussion over who did this, in spite of the fact that it appears to be an unsolved crime. Didn’t Carridin order Shiaine to go after Mat? (Counter to his orders, I might add.) I don’t remember, but even so it doesn’t seem like enough time to stage an attack like this. I know Sammael said he would send someone, but these two were certainly not it (trust me on that one).

    6. She’s not back yet, actually. Ispan and Falion are still acting on orders they got from before Moghedien was captured by Nynaeve. Not that it matters, if I remember correctly we’ll see what happened to Moghedien soon enough. I don’t know if she’ll check in with these two, though.

    7. After 6½ books of seeing Aes Sedai not live up to their reputation, enter Cadsuane Meliadhrin! The certified badass of the Tower. I have to say I’ve warmed up to her after a bit, though she comes off as pretty cold and needlessly hostile to begin with. She’s there for a reason, however, and her behaviour doesn’t come out of nowhere. Watch for her interactions with Sorilea. 🙂

    Other: I have to say I rolled my eyes when Teslyn and Joline discussed kidnapping Nynaeve, Elayne, Aviendha and Birgitte… and Mat. Yes you’re Aes Sedai, but no matter how much you can claim formalism, three of the them are very powerful channelers, and the others are hardly defenseless. And there’s two of you—two average Aes Sedai. Just, lay off it.

    Though I do remember these two growing into pretty dependable and decent characters after a while, it was kind of jarring to read about their idiotisms. Teslyn is basically the first red sister we get to see who isn’t a total ass.

    1. Yeah, I’m way excited to get some Aviendha chapters. I especially enjoyed her parts in the final book, so I’m glad we’re finally to a point where we start getting her POV.
      And the old man…is he…Noal? I can’t remember exactly.
      I’m also glad to see Cadsuane. As I said in my answers, I sort of brushed her aside as just another sister the first time I read it through, but she definitely grew on me. Now, seeing her sweep in and just sort of run over everyone in the room is definitely making me smile. I look forward to reading her and Sorilea’s discussions again. 😀

    2. 2. I get the impression that you find the Sea Folk annoying . . . 😀

      I really want to know why Rand is being so rude to them: I can’t thing of a good reason and it is really starting to annoy me.

      3. I assumed that the ring had some importance because of the random way in which he found it and also the fox motif. Isn’t it also a ruby, so it matches the big gem on the nasty dagger?

      Oh, I see, so that was why Sammael turned up right then – Carridin’s vision thing was him sending out a signal that he had seen Mat. Interesting idea.

      We have at least 3 groups all after the same thing – this is not going to end well, especially for the local Wise Women who will be tortured for information.

      4. Somehow it doesn’t surprise me that Mat doesn’t recognize his own behavior in Olver, or that Tylin is not going to take “NO!” for an answer.

      5. I thought it was too soon after his order for her to have found Mat and set this up, which is why I suspect the Aes Sedai in the palace.

      7. I expect her and Sorilea to kill each other with their special ‘dagger-eyes’ Talent! 😀

      It seems to be a repeated motif that all Aes Sedai massively underestimate the skills of our heroes and heroines, and I agree that it makes me roll my eyes as well.

    3. I think you are right – you can only be brave if your are scared. Very true. So thumbs up to Aviendha for daring the sea and ships.

      Hmm…I’ll be keeping an eye on Mat’s ring from now on. Very interesting.

      Nice to know that Cadsuane will be more than some flippant old bitch come to tease the Dragon Reborn.

  2. The Seafolk do always seem to do their own thing, don’t they. If they’d be a little more proactive about their prophecies, I think it would be beneficial to everyone. I came to the same conclusions about the unnamed character who can’t remember. I don’t remember for sure, if it’s the old man Mat talked to, but that seems right. I think his memory problems probably have to do with the One Power–Compulsion or something of that nature being used on him. Again, I don’t remember the particulars. And I love when Brigitte–and Mat, for that matter–get themselves into trouble by saying something they can’t actually remember. Always makes me smiled. 😀

    1. I suppose the Sea Folk are being rather passive-aggressive in the way that they are dealing with Rand. They have sent a message and are now simply sitting and waiting for him to come to them. I still think he is more at fault though.

    2. I do find it funny when Mat or Birgitte spout something in an old tongue or even just an ancient saying that is little known today. No wonder folks give them a look!

      Compulsion might be why the old man can’t remember. I hadn’t thought of that. Which leads me to wonder who wants Carridin watched?

  3. 1. I hadn’t really thought about Elayne being brave to share Rand, but I suppose you are right: it takes a certain courage to share a man with another woman (or two). It will certainly be highly scandalous when it becomes common knowledge as well, though Rand’s identity might keep some of the gossip in check.

    2. I wish we had some idea about why Rand is ignoring the Sea Folk because it has Bad Idea written all over it.

    3. I didn’t pick on Sammael being worried about Mat being there to hunt him, but then this Forsaken is much more paranoid than the others, so it wouldn’t be a surprise.

    4. Assuming that the Daughter of the Nine Moons can beat on him enough, he might settle down a little! 😀

    5. I noticed the large, empty box as well. Now that I think of it, this seems to be a trick that we have seen from Elaida’s Aes Sedai before . ..

    6. Yes, this idea that the cache isn’t there so they shouldn’t bother looking for it . . . erm, yeah, argue withe the mad Forsaken lady, why not?

    I love your idea that the girls might have learnt some caution from all the traps that they have walked straight into . . . somehow I think you might be wrong there! 😀

    7. I have a sneaking suspicion that her hair ornaments are possible angreals of some kind, because they were mentioned quite specifically. I like your idea of her testing Rand, although I think she might be being a little overconfident about her own ability to match his strength. I guess that means that she is the strongest woman that she has ever met, though we don’t know how she measures up to the Wonder Girls.

    I don’t get the feeling that she is a Darkfriend and she seems quite unlike any of the female Forsaken, personality wise. In fact she seems like a much older version of Siuan or Moiraine, which suggests that she is actually one of the good guys.

    I agree that Mat’s note came from one of the Sisters in the palace, but I’m not sure which one.

    1. Perhaps Rand can use his Aiel heritage to explain to the world why he has 3 women and why they are OK with it? Still, should be amusing.

      Oh yes, I worry about the ladies walking into yet another trap too. I really, really hope they have learned some caution….but I notice that some amusing themes continue to be repeated.

      Ooo! I didn’t even think the hair ornaments might be angreal. That would be daring and clever. Cadsuane just went up a notch in my opinion.

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