Welcome back everyone! This week Eivind, our awesome commenter, is the host and you can catch him in the comments. You can catch my co-conspirators over at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers and Liesel’s Musing on Fantasia.
This week we covered Chapters 38-End. Spoilers Below!!!
1. In the Rahad we get a bit of a jumble as Ispan and Falion attack downstairs while the gholam cleaned up upstairs. With so many to choose from, who is ultimately behind this mess? Could the two be coordinated attacks or are they unrelated? Were you surprised that Joline and Teslyn (apparently) didn’t interfere (yet)?
Yeah, that fight was a bit of a jumble. I liked that Ispan and Falion were so arrogant and thought it would be so easy. But with the gholam, the good guys nearly lost the day. In reading it, I did not think the two were coordinated attacks. More, this felt like the Super Girls walking into yet another trap and Mat’s luck played a big role in getting them all out safely.
I think this might be yet another one of those little events were we don’t know who ultimately is behind it. I think we can say Ipsan and Falion were out to capture one or more of the Super Girls to hand over to Moghedien. As for the gholam, I am not sure we will know who is directing the beast-man thing for a book or more (or ever). He seems like a pretty complex thing, so I would guess that only a Forsaken (or higher) could create him.
2. The gholam: Immune to the Power and to blades, with superhuman strength and rubber man abilities, only known weakness is Mat’s medallion. What are your thoughts on this latest addition to the Shadow’s arsenal? How could this creature possibly be defeated? Will it try to avoid Mat and cause mayhem somewhere else or does it maybe have a desire for revenge?
Yeah, that was my first thought about the gholam. The good guys already have a shit list of things to take care of before the end of days or whatever comes knocking on their doors and now they have to add this thing to it? Is there more than one? Can it replicate itself?
Sooner or later, one of the good guys will have to defeat it, or one of the bad guys will get angry with it and destroy it. I am guessing it may have to be Mat who destroys it, since he has this medallion thingy. Or maybe, Elayne will be able to replicate the medallion, or certain aspects of it, and that would at least protect certain trap-prone members of the Good Guy Team.
The gholam was definitely committed to the fight, but will it seek revenge? I am not sure. While it had independent thought and motive for the fight while it was going on, does it have such outside of a fight? I can’t say yet.
3. It seems Elayne and Nynaeve are now left heading a jolly mix of Aes Sedai, Kinswomen and Sea Folk channelers (and Lan… poor guy), heading for a farm not far out of Ebou Dar. With the Seanchan invasion, there is no turning back, but do they even know? Can they escape? Where do they even go? How about the nearly 2000 kinswomen who are about to be seized by the Seanchan?
OK. I am not a fan of the Seanchan. Who is? They are the bad guys from across the sea. But I mean, I have never really clicked with their culture, their motivation, etc. in the plot.
With that said, I am really, really hoping that they get their asses handed to them early next book. I think Nynaeve and Elayne need to mobilize the Kinswomen, give them a minimum of training and a lot of motivation (perhaps a wee demo of an a’dam) and then set them upon the Seanchan. Might even make me feel a little sorry for the Seanchan.
But knowing this series, they will probably go to the farm, have a long rambling way to get there full of traps and other dangers. Perhaps they will get the Sea Folk to help them with the Windy Bowl, and then, finally, they will blow the Seanchan navy out of the water, literally. Ha!
4. With all the girls gone, Mat and the men are stuck in Ebou Dar with uncertain fate as the “storm” breaks, and the dice stop rolling in the same moment. Please speculate here on Mat’s future and the reasons why he must stay behind.
Well, we know that Mat is Ta’veren and he also has these dice that he has learned to listen to. So perhaps he has to stay because he can be guided by the Pattern. Also, he has the medallion and the Seanchan can’t touch him with their captive channelers. So this puts him in a unique position to be able to push back. Still, he is just one man and can still be harmed by blades, arrows, and clubs. I am quite curious to see what mat’s plot line does next.
5. Sammael sees fit to trick the Shaido into scattering themselves over a large area roughly in Ghaeldan, Altara and Illian, but not before giving them an Oath Rod! Incidentally this is where almost all of our heroes are at the moment. What do you predict for them and this trio of distasteful women (Sevanna, Therava, Galina)? Which storyline could they mess up next?
I need to be educated here. What does the Oath Rod do? My understanding is that the Oath Rod is really just for binding oaths, right? So, can the oath be forced or does the Rod only recognize freely given oaths? Can Sevanna and crew force people to kneel at spear point and say an oath over the Oath Rod and have it be binding?
Rand and Min are all in Illian (well, Rand having returned from Shadar Logoth). And Elayne and Nynaeve and Mat are all near Altara being in Ebou Dar or just outside it. I know Sevanna wants Rand in all the ways that are wrong. Perhaps she thinks she can force him into obedience with the Oath Rod and that would make him her first target.
And perhaps Min will place her swift knives in Sevanna’s organs in alphabetical order. Just a thought.
6. Rand wastes no time after waking and promptly brings the hammer down on Illian while Sammael thinks he’s out cold. Do you agree with this gambit? How would you rate this attack compared to the last time Rand stormed a forsaken’s lair (Rahvin)? What do you think about Sammael’s decision to retreat to Shadar Logoth?
Again, Rand didn’t take the time to have a snack before running outside to play. The boy will tire himself out, maybe even faint, if he is not careful.
Sammael was surprised, but I found this attack to be rather vague (see answers to next two questions). It makes sense that Sammael retreated to Shadar Logoth, a stronghold of evil and dark deeds. The last question kind of touches on this, but I will go on here.
The ‘death’ of Sammael was very anticlimatic and not very satisfying. Once again, we have a supposed death and I really, really want to slap Rand for not double checking his work before handing it in. I have this sneaking suspicion that Sammael fled to Shadar Logoth for multiple reasons, and one of them was that he had a fail safe fake death planned, if he needed it. And Rand just fell for it! For that alone I kind of hope that Sammael gets to leave a mark on Rand, to help remind him in the future to always, always take the head.
7. While duelling in Shadar Logoth, Rand runs into a mysterious figure (the “Wanderer”). What do you make of this fellow? Friend or foe?
The Warder deifnitely helped Rand, but this might have been to suit his own needs. He did go on a bit about how if Rand died a fair number of plans would have to be scrapped and recreated later. So, I think that so long as Rand is sane and fighting for the greater good, the Warder is a friend. But if rand ever loses it for real, I think we can count on the Warder taking him out, if need be.
And the Warder threw balefire but Rand didn’t feel him engage saidin. Interesting. If the Warder was using the True Power as granted by the Dark One, then the Warder obviously had some reason for wanting Sammael out of the picture. But perhaps there is an equivalent power source on the light side of things and the Warder was drawing upon that.
Or the Warder is a woman’s soul trapped in a man’s body and was pulling on Saidar. We’ve only seen this happen with the Forsaken, but I guess it could happen with the light side too. Perhaps Moiraine is back, with an extra appendage?
8. Rand eventually kills Sammael and is granted the throne of Illian, giving his personal empire a direct border with the Seanchan invaders (or at least soon enough), setting the stage for a spectacular show. How do you think this will come about? Will they have to be defeated, or do you think Suroth can be reasoned with?
I see the plot going one of two ways from here.
1) Rand has to utterly dominate the Seanchan in battle, shaking them to the core of their empire. I think this would take a lot of time and cost a lot of lives. Since we are only at the half way point for the series, this is a doable path.
2) Rand’s ta’veren-ness steps in again and once he gets to Suroth, she feels the need to kneel at his feet and obey his every command. Hey, it’s happened with others, why not the Seanchan.
It will be very interesting to see where the story goes from here.
I found it very interesting how Elayne and Nynaeve reacted to Mat’s discomfort over Tylin’s aggressive affections. They appear to have had a quiet word with Tylin, discouraging her from further pursuits. I think they would have acted quite differently if Tylin was a man and Mat a woman in this situation.
Haha! It was nice to see Mat throw out the charm and simply tell the Sea Folk how it was to be. Very nice!
Is anyone else biting their nails over Olver?