A Crown of Swords Read Along Part VII

WOT 7 BannerWelcome back everyone! This week I am the host but you can catch my co-conspirators over at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers and don’t miss Liesel’s Musing on Fantasia. Eivind, our awesome commenter will be below in the comments.

This week we covered Chapters 31-37. Spoilers Below!!!

1) We finally have Nynaeve and Lan reunited. What did you think of the circumstances of their  fateful meeting? Will Lan ever be whole?

It was nice that there was limited clothing. 🙂

OK, for reals. It’s great that Nynaeve finally broke through her power block and therefore was able to spruce up for Lan upon being dragged to shore. I also like that both of them participated in the ‘rescue’ and that neither was fully dependent on the other. Lan was practical in pointing out the recent balefire-ness and getting the two of them out of sight and moving again. He also was very, very brave to tell Nynaeve about Mierella (spelling?).

As to Lan ever being whole, I am not sure. I am sure Nynaeve’s absolute insistence in marriage and a permanent bond ( of more than one type) will help him, but I think he will always have some shadow on this heart and soul.

2) Reanna Corly reveals the number of the Kin to Elayne after being told the Tower will accept any woman who can channel even the teensiest bit. 1,783 Kin. What do you think the ramifications of this will be?

A channeling army of a magnificence that has never before been seen!

But before we can get anywhere near organized enough to do that, we first have to ask all those Aes Sedai who have their heads of their asses about Wilders to please unstick themselves and mature a little bit. Then there is training and organization….ugh… what a chore. If we believe the bad guys to be uncoordinated, the good guys are a close second.

Eventually, after long painful bouts of Aes Sedai staring one another down and proving who’s will is stronger, again and again, we will have an awesome Channeler Army.

3) Corvarla returns to the White Tower and Elaida, with Alviarin in the room, finally learns of Rand’s escape. What is driving Alviarin to blackmail Elaida? What do you think Elaida will ultimately do in response?

Alviarin wants power. She can see Elaida making mistakes out of pride. I don’t think I like Alviarin, but she had Elaida issue the orders to start protecting the Tower from Egwene’s army. Alviarin isn’t an idiot. I’m not too sure why she targeted first the two with angreal, but then also two others to be rewarded. Did she want to discredit all four? Where the angreal two simply convenient? And she has been withholding news & info from Elaida, which is risky – but paid off in this instance.

As for Elaida, she’s already gone quietly to what’s her name to have her start a quiet investigation. Elaida is hoping this investigation will end with Alviarin discredited, Stilled, or dead. But what’s her name is thinking Black Ajah and probably won’t end her investigation the way Elaida is hoping.

Which means Elaida may well be forced to face Alviarin head on. Lots of flashy Aes Sedai power or a simple dagger to the heart of poison in the tea? I bet Elaida could do poison in the tea, and then claim she narrowly missed be poisoned too and make it look like the Tower has an assassin loose somewhere in it’s dark heart.

But ultimately, I expect Elaida to end up dead. Still plenty of the series for that to happen in. It’s on my WoT Wish List, actually. 🙂

4) So Min and Rand FINALLY talk about their night together. Amused? Irritated?

Haha! I soooooo wanted to smack Rand for his assumptions that Min had nothing to do with that sexual escapade. I am so glad Min gave him a decent thump, forcing him into a chair, and then flashed a dagger or two. Min was so right to point out that Rand was acting like Min and her wants and desires didn’t matter, as if he made all the decisions and moves on his own. Dork.

I am glad Min then proceeded to put Rand through a semi-public bath. 😉

5) Rand finally deigns to visit the Atha’an Miere and he takes along Min, and a few ‘tame’ Aes Sedai (Merana & Rafela). What did you make of the negotiations?

Quite frankly, I found this section to be a little dissatisfactory. I know we have heard previously that the Pattern will sometimes force something, no matter how a person fights against it. In this case, it seems that it was used a little too strongly, making it to easy. I guess we need the plot to go this direction, but it seemed a lazy way to do it.

That said, I thought it was very realistic that Rand started to freak out a bit in that small cabin. And it was totally in keeping with his personality to have little patience for haggling with the Sea Folk, if only for forms sake.

6) Once again, Rand feels the need to disappear without telling the Aiel. And into the woods he and Min go….where they run into the head of the rebels, Lady Caraline Damodred. Why do you think Lady Caraline lied about his identity? Do you think that this whole segment was the Pattern pushing Rand along?

I think this was partly the Pattern having it’s way with all involved and partly Lady Caraline wanting to see what the dreaded Lord Dragon wanted. I really liked that Lady Caraline was not all reactionary to stumbling across the Dragon Reborn while sport hunting. I am sure she had lots of questions and wanted to play out the venture a bit to see what knowledge she could gain.

Of course, she was part of the party that escorted a mortally wounded Rand back to the palace and I have to wonder if she is locked up….or was she overlooked and let go?

7) And then the tentacular fog disrupts the hunting feast and sword play. Where do you think this came from? Cadsuane got some good page time in this section. Did your opinion of her change?

I think the tentacular fog is related to Padan Fain who we saw in the feast tent just prior to the fog disrupting things. I wonder if that is what the Pattern pushed Rand to the woods for – to flush out Fain? Or was it to disrupt the rebels? Still unsure as to why the Pattern needed Rand there, and to take such a dreadful wound from Fain.

As for Cadsuane, she really shined in this section. She took charge, kept people alive, gave Rand a good slap to break him out of his Balefire frenzy, and commandeered a turnip cart. I especially liked that she listened to Min’s advice about where to take Rand and why. I am sure hearing of Rand’s recent torture gave her a deeper knowledge of his personality and current distrust of Aes Sedai.

8) Rand manages to become mortally wounded and it takes an Asha’man to heal him. Do you see a future for Flinn and Samitsu (the Aes Sedai who felt the need to pick his brain afterwards)?

I really liked this scene, even though Rand is not fairing too well. Samitsu initially showed some great fear of the Asha’men in general – men channeling! The horror! But then her need for info, her fascination with male power being used to heal, over came her fear. Could be the start of a collaboration…and knowing Robert Jordan, a romance.

Other Tidbits:

Reanna is 400+!!!! I wonder how Cadsuane compares, and yes, I would ask. Tis silly to be touchy about one’s age as not everyone makes it to old age.

If Corvarla is punished harshly for reporting that Rand escaped, it is not going to encourage the rest of the Tower Aes Sedai to be honest about set backs and failures. Elaida is an idiot.

Now some of Rand’s tame Aes Sedai know Min is the one who seems images surrounding people. I wonder if they will poke and prod her on this or somehow use it against her?

Rand did this whole section on an empty belly! He’s been moping for like 4 days, has his little spat with Min, gets his ass handed to him, has  a bath, and then decides to fix the world’s wrongs all in an afternoon – without lunch! No wonder he wasn’t performing at his finest.

7 thoughts on “A Crown of Swords Read Along Part VII”

  1. 1. Yeah, I love this scene. The description from Nynaeve’s point of view gets the frustration across so well, and unlike our more attentive first time readers, I had completely forgot about Lan when I came to this scene for the first time. It’s on the cover of the e-book:

    http://static1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20100408184442/wot/images/e/ed/ACoS_ebook_cover.jpg

    I kind of understand all the talk about necklines now.

    Lan will… hmm… put aside his death aspirations for some time, but not for ever. In a way he has accepted his death for good, and this will turn out to be very important later on.

    2. The White Tower is going to be absolutely changed for ever. With the revelation that Aiel WO’s and Sea Folk windfinders can channel, and a whole society of Aes Sedai leavings twice their own number hidden in plain sight, the status of Tar Valon as the one and only place for women to go to channel is permanently broken. The onus will be on Egwene to salvage what she can, and I think she’s gotten off to a good start. The Kin are so submissive around Aes Sedai that I don’t think she’ll have much trouble bringing them into the fold. I’m leaving the Seanchan out of this since what they’re doing is something else entirely.

    3. 99% sure Alviarin is acting on Mesaana’s orders. If Alviarin succeeds in breaking Elaida, it means that the loyalist faction is de facto run by darkfriends, which is hardly uplifting news. Her mysterious order to search two sisters’ rooms for angreal is intended to split the Ajahs and break the loyalists through suspicion. This appears to be succeeding admirably, which I’m sure is partly due to Padan Fain’s influence. We know he spreads this gruesome suspicion everywhere, and he has been to visit.

    I assume that Aran’gar is trying to do much the same with the rebel faction, but is having a harder time of it because Egwene is awesome, cool, capable and all kinds of adjectives that do not apply to Elaida. Still, she has quite some work to do. The Aes Sedai must be united and trusting of one another before the Last Battle. In fact the darkfriends don’t even need to take control of them or destroy them at all, just play off their natural tendency to bicker, bicker, bicker…

    4. I guess I’m not surprised that Rand pulled his regular routine again. I wonder how long he would have sulked if Min hadn’t been there. It seems Liesel was right, the fight with Perrin was not 100% staged. I’m really worrying for Rand’s mental health, but at the same time happy that Min is apparently able to point him the right way at times.

    5. See, the reason I dislike the Sea Folk is that they come off as something like war profiteers. It’s not that bad yet, but later on there are a few times where they won’t lift a finger to help save the world without some concessions from our heroes. They’re like Vogons, you know… won’t save their grandmother from the ravenous bugblatter beast of Traal without orders signed in triplicate etc. etc. (I assume you’ve all read this, but I could stay up all night once I start digging up quotes from that one).

    The Aiel, on the other hand, have accepted that they’re all but marching to their doom and they might as well enjoy the ride. I find this attitude much more appealing. On the other hand, they don’t have topless women, so that’s a minus.

    6. Of all the hairbrained plans Rand has had this one is surely a contender for the grand prize. Although I guess it worked, for lack of a better word.

    Probably there was a large amount of ta’veren involved here. It might also be that Caraline feared that she might be suspected of colluding with Rand if the rest of the rebels had found her talking to him in the forest, alone? I don’t know, it doesn’t seem extremely likely but it’s the best I have. I think Caraline was a pragmatic rebel in the sense that she fought for a cause and not against Rand simply for who he is. She and Darlin are now in Cairhien I believe, and with the loss of the Cairhienin rebel force they can perhaps be reasoned with.

    7. This was Padan Fain’s work. He has obtained some weird powers from Shadar Logoth and are clearly putting them to use. Very effective use, I might add. Cadsuane shows herself as a level-headed lady who is perhaps a little too obsessed with manners. I also liked how easy it was for her to cave in when she decided Min was right. Rare sight among Aes Sedai.

    8. This is the first time we see any kind of affection between Aes Sedai and Asha’man, right? Samitsu is not a central character but she has a permanent plus in my book for this one. She even offered to have Flinn’s babies, and since she’s under oath that says a lot.

    Other: Please take note that Rand now has two wounds, one from Ishamael and the other from Fain. Flinn said they were sealed off (for now) and were “fighting each other”. I know what you’re thinking: unhealable injury! That’s WoT-speak for “Nynaeve will have this one fixed up within two books”. Nuh-uh, not this time.

    Also a few notes about Min’s viewings. Cadsuane claimed when she first met Rand that male channelers often start hearing voices. Lews Therin then immediately vanishes and we haven’t heard him since. Min then said she saw a viewing where Rand’s face merged with someone else (and where one died and the other didn’t). Rand understandably assumes that the other guy is Lews Therin and considers this proof that Cadsuane was incorrect and Lews Therin is in fact real. I think I’ve mentioned before how the natural interpretations are often the wrong ones… If not Lews Therin, who could this other person be? (Of course, even if he is not LTT, that doesn’t necessarily mean LTT’s voice isn’t genuine.)

    The other one I wanted to point out was that Rand will “almost certainly fail without a woman who is dead and gone”.

    Are we making a book 8 schedule soon? I think it’s the shortest book in the series, minus the prequel.

    1. Yes, that ebook cover for this book definitely makes it clear about the fuss over Nynaeve’s neck line!

      Good point about the Aes Sedai and how things are forever changed. Not only is it now known to the Aes Sedai, but also becoming more and more known throughout Randland, that there are options for those wishing to get training on how to be a useful channeler. The White Tower is no longer THE ONLY choice.

      Your comparison of the Sea Folk and the Aiel made me snort laugh. Yes, i like the idea of enjoying the ride to my personal doom. But being topless seems very freeing too. Choices, choices…..

      Concerning Min’s viewing, if the other face isn’t LTT, who else is in Rand’s head? Well, there is Alanna (snicker….what did Alanna tell Min after Min & Rand made out like horny rabbits?) but I wouldn’t expect it to be her face. Perhaps Fain inserted a little bit of Mordeth/Shadar Logoth into Rand when he sliced him? Rand will have to turn into a Shadar Logoth asshole before we know for sure.

    2. Yup, that scene you’re referring to that has to do with Lan accepting his death is like the best one in the whole series! My dad and I still discuss it often. I guess this is the first time we’ve seen cooperation between the White and Black towers. The first time I read it, by the time I got to the final book, I’d so put minor story lines like these from my mind that I was pleasantly surprised with what was going on in AMoL. I’m surprised–but not displeased–to see it starting so early. I picked up on both those viewings as well, though I’d never have zeroed in on them the first time through. Just another proof of Jordan having the ending planned out long before actually writing it. 😀

  2. Even though Seaine (aka what’s-her-name) misunderstood Elaida, fact is Alviarin IS Black Ajah, so maybe they could nail her after all, if not in the way Elaida had in mind.

    I was about to write that Cadsuane is around 700 years old, but I had that jumbled up in my mind. She was born in 705 NE, which is 300 years before the setting, give or take. There’s a Reason with Capital R why Kinswomen live to be so much older than Aes Sedai do. 😉

    I like that you keep track of when our heroes eat. Maybe you can supplant this absurdly detailed chronology with your findings: http://www.stevenac.net/wot/wotchron.htm (you know, for maximal nerd points). 😀

    1. Well, Alviarin seems pretty intelligent, so I don’t expect her Black Cloak of Evil to be discovered any time soon.

      I look forward to learning more about the Kin. Maybe they live longer because they don’t have the official Aes Sedai stick up their asses that is issued to every Aes Sedai when they get their shawl.

      Thanks for that link. Since the WoT events are cross referenced with our modern calendar, I can now plans my holidays accordingly. 🙂

  3. Loved the Lan/Nynaeve scene, and thank heaven Nynaeve finally got rid of her block. It totally would take a near death experience on her part. Haha. You’re right about Alviaran–she’s much less of an idiot than Elaida, even if she is an evil mofo. And yeah, we should have seen that claustrophobia on Rand’s part coming. You gotta love the books where people never eat, sleep, or have bowel movements. But, he’s the Dragon Reborn, right? 😀

    1. Since we have a few good guys who are with it, it is only fair to have a few bad guys that are competent too. Hence. Alviarin. Bad-ass bad guys are so much more satisfying to watch go down.

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