The Path of Daggers Read Along Part III

PathOfDaggersBannerWelcome everyone! This is the third week of the dissection of Robert Jordan’s Book 8 of The Wheel of Time Series. Anyone is welcome to join us, so check out the schedule over HERE.

This week, our walking WoT encyclopedia, Eivind, is our host. You can catch his answers in the comments. Make sure to also check out Sue from Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers and Liesel from Musings on Fantasia.

This week we covered Chapters 10-15. Spoilers run free and in their birthday suits below!

1. Winter is finally here, and Perrin gets a whole country from Santa, even if it’s a small and war-torn one. What a jolly mix of unwilling rulers, weak rulers, strong rulers, sexy rulers and ex-rulers… never mind the Prophet! What will this look like when Perrin gets back to Rand, whenever that could be?

Perrin is inadvertently gathering his little collection of followers. Potentially, this could exacerbate any kind of falling out Rand and Perrin could have in the future. There is already some disagreement over how the Aes Sedai (given over to the Aiel) have been treated. Personally, I think Egwene needs to give Perrin bat to his ears as she had to go through much of the same as the Aes Sedai. The Aiel are tough on everyone, not just obnoxious Aes Sedai.

Others may also start to encourage Perrin to break from the Dragon Reborn, or even challenge him. So, yeah, lots of potential for grief and consternation.

2. Moridin appears to be marshaling the efforts of the dark side. Do you think they’ll be more successful now that they’re under unified leadership? Now that Cyndane is here, I challenge you all to guess the identities of her and Moridin. Are you expecting any more forsaken to show up?

Oh, I suck at these. I need some rhyme or little song to remember all the Forsaken. But it would probably be wrong to put the Forsaken names to some child’s sing-song rhyme.

Arghhhhhh!!!! OK, I just went over to the Wheel of Time Wiki to look for a simple list of the Forsaken to help jog my memory and bumped into a TON of BIG spoilers for later in the series. Fuck, I hate doing that.

So, It is my memory of the Forsaken and this question. Sammael is supposedly dead and not coming back. Same with Asmodean. Lanfear is MIA and assumed dead by everyone but the readers. I guess Cyndane could be Lanfear redone. Graendal didn’t seem to have any regard for her until she saw that Moghedien was deferring to her.

I don’t really have a guess for Moridin. Well, I don’t have a good educated guess. I have some crappy guesses. Perhaps he is an Asha’man hidden at the Black Tower, poised to strike down the idiot good side at the best moment. He isn’t the laughing Myrrdraal that has so much say, being the walking, talking mouthpiece of the Dark One.

And, yes, I expect Forsaken to keep being regurgitated back into the world during the second half of the series. And can Dark Friends be elevated to Forsaken?

3. The long-awaited meeting between Cadsuane and Sorilea took place. Was it everything you hoped for? What’s your opinion on their common quest?

This was awesome! And I love how they traded some skills as a sign of respect and trust. Quite nice. And yes, I am pleased that they both seem to be united in keeping Rand sane by reminding him he is human.

Now, I want to see them both dogpile him and have a tickle fight with him – to the point where he is laughing and crying at the same time, and perhaps on the brink of peeing his pants. That would nice. Too much to ask for?

4. The latest status report from the Black Tower reveals a good number of deserters, madmen and losses to accidents. Do you feel like Rand has control of the situation? He reveals that he’s thinking about cleansing Saidin, that he asked the Aelfinn about it but doesn’t understand their answer. Do you expect him to be able to, and if so how? Could this help the Black Tower situation somehow?

Wow! This is a messed up situation. Rand needs to step in and have a good hard look himself. I can agree with letting the mad go easily in their sleep, but the heads on spikes thing is a bit much. And why isn’t he asking why people continue to desert even after the heads on spikes policy became a thing? I smell poor management that is too heavy handed….and perhaps enjoys bringing suffering to others.

Since Book 1, I have guessed that Rand would need to cleanse Saidin at some point. But, frankly, I think this will be done in the final book – and it might be more of side effect of defeating the Dark One. It’s cool he is thinking about it now, and starting to try to figure out how to make that happen. After all, none of us really want to see Rand go insane. Well, not unless his women drive him to it. ;)

So, with that in mind, I expect that once Rand saves the world, there will be some version of the Black Tower at the end and yes, having a clean power source would help them. In fact, the Aes Sedai might just deign to bed the Asha’men and live in harmony, etc.

5. Egwene is back, and she has a plan involving the Andoran border defense force somehow. Any guesses as to what’s on her mind?

Hmm…. well, I didn’t really give this much thought at the time. I’m trying to recall how the Andorans fight – knights? archers? Hmm… Maybe she plans to invoke Elayne’s name to get assistance from Andor in gaining a free path to the White Tower? But it would probably go better if Elayne put in a personal appearance.

Then of course there are the Seanchan. I know Egwene is going to want to kick their asses. So maybe she will arrange for the two forces (Seanchan and Andoran border defense) to meet. Hmm….maybe she can arrange for the White Tower to meet the Seanchan and these two forces can strike away at each other, whittling down their forces, making it that much easier for Egwene to come in and assume control.

So, obviously I have no clue. But I certainly look forward to finding out what Egwene has planned.

6. Galina is forced to swear obedience on an oath rod, and a few chapters later we see Egwene and Siuan debate the relevance of the oaths for Aes Sedai (which is not to lie, not to make weapons, and not to use the power as a weapon). If I’m not mistaken it’s the first time we see how it works (it’s physically impossible for Galina to disobey). What are your thoughts on this?

I think we have been told that the oath rods were originally made to force obedience from criminal elements, right? In that sense, it is probably more humane that other punishments, and with better results. However, the original purpose seems to be long outdated and twisted. No wonder the Aes Sedai as a whole are always trying to find a way to twist things, get out of promises, and appear to agree to things when in fact they don’t. If the Aes Sedai spent as much as they do on this twisting everything as on trying to be decent people, then I bet far more would get done.

Sevaana definitely doesn’t need an oath rod sworn follower who hates her guts and wants to skin her alive. Oh, wait, maybe Sevaana does. :) But, in general, free followers are the way to go, not forced.

And Egwene is right in that promising to only fight when forced to it, in defense, ties their hands immensely. They are trying to save the world; I think they need every advantage they can get and this includes the ability to fire first when circumstances warrant it. Like spotting Graendel or Moghedien from a distance.

Extra Tidbits

Perrin was trying so hard to be forthright and a gentleman to Queen Alliander. And Faile managed to basically dismiss Perrin before he messed it all up with too much honesty.

Who was the young Asha’man that was so concerned reporting to Rand about what he saw in Ebou Dar? He said that Saidin felt strange, that it was trying to control him, etc. Perhaps the Bowl of the Winds is a wee bit more dangerous than any of the ladies know?

It certainly is nice to see Sevaana losing some control over her entourage. Very satisfying.

3 thoughts on “The Path of Daggers Read Along Part III

  1. Eivind Fonn says:

    1. No time wasted here, just show up and become a king. Or a queen’s liege lord, which I suppose must be something like an emperor. Faile also wasted no time in taking advantage of the situation. I also must commend Alliandre for being very practical and not too concerned with personal status, unlike just about every other ruler we’ve met so far. Too bad Ghealdan isn’t a big power, but then, if it was I guess she wouldn’t have just rolled over so easily either.

    2. [Oh no! Please stay away from the wiki, someone who hasn't finished the series has no business there. Hope the spoilers weren't too major, sometimes it's not so easy to tell.]

    So let’s do another forsaken round up.

    Dead and will definitely stay dead: Be’lal, Rahvin, Asmodean.

    Dead or presumed dead but might be reincarnated: Ishamael, Lanfear, Sammael.

    Reincarnated: Aginor (Osan’gar), Balthamel (Aran’gar).

    Alive: Demandred, Graendal, Mesaana, Moghedien, Semirhage.

    I suppose it’s possible to promote new forsaken, but we haven’t seen it happen for sure. Moridin also displays knowledge of the previous age and Cyndane is very, very powerful according to Graendal. So let’s assume for the moment that they’re reincarnated.

    It took Aginor and Balthamel five books to return. Ishamael was killed in book 3 and Lanfear in book 5. Sammael just bought it half a book ago, so if he is Cyndane it happened really quickly. He can’t be Moridin because he showed up before Sammael was dead. But there’s another thing: in today’s chapter we see both Moghedien and Cyndane shiver at the same time, presumably because Moridin is stroking Moghedien’s mindtrap. From Moghedien’s viewpoint last book we know that Moridin had a second mindtrap, so it’s reasonable to assume that this is Cyndane’s, and that she was therefore out and about at the time, and thus she’s likely not Sammael either. Not to mention the Dark One is unlikely to be pleased with Sammael and he’s not one for second chances.

    So Cyndane and Moridin must be Lanfear and Ishamael. Probably Moridin is Ishamael, since by all accounts he was held in high regard as a bad guy and was/is the most powerful of all forsaken. It doesn’t sound right that Lanfear would be offered the seat of Nae’blis after covertly aiding Rand, especially after what we saw Moghedien get for aiding the supergirls.

    So the strongest theory is Moridin = Ishamael, Cyndane = Lanfear.

    The only other dead forsaken that we might possibly see again is Sammael. Barring him, it seems Rand must kill some or Moridin must promote some common darkfriends if we’re going to see new faces.

    3. I really liked this. After hearing about how hard/strong both of them are and seeing them badger everyone else around, they were surprisingly friendly, if understandably a little stand-offish to begin with. I’m guessing that when Min had a viewing that Cadsuane had to “teach you [Rand and/or the Asha'man] something” it was this: that they’re all people, whatever is demanded of them.

    4. Yeah, I’m not sure I like where this is going. Taim seems incredibly harsh and none of us are very sure about him just yet I think. I don’t even know if Taim would be happy if Saidin were cleansed. It sounds weird, but living on the edge of madness and terrorizing his students sounds like something up his alley.

    I have to admit when I first read the series I had not expected Rand to do any cleansing. Reading again it seems rather obvious that this must happen at some point, but it hasn’t really been mentioned at all up to now.

    So Rand doesn’t know how to do it… but he asked the Aelfinn and he got a cryptic answer, which he discussed with Herid Fel. Maybe that’s why he was murdered?

    5. Well I know what it is. I won’t say what, but it’s of a subtlety and deviousness worthy of the Amyrlin Seat. And no, it doesn’t involve any fighting…

    6. Oh hey, an unsolvable conundrum. Excellent.

    Like always I can see both points. It sounds unreasonable to be forcibly pacifist in a time like this. Then again, Siuan is right when she says that the oaths are what sets the Aes Sedai apart from every other channeling society: Wise Ones, Kin, Sea Folk, Damane. Maybe even a few others. On the other hand, being dead or captured by the Seanchan surely also counts as being set apart from the others…

    • Liesel Hill says:

      Well said about the Forsaken. You always lay it out well. The other evidence that Moridin is Ishmael are the sa’a, which are just black dots now but may become the “furnaces” we saw on the “dark one” in the first three books. Don’t know why any of them would want to channel the True Source knowing that will be a side effect. *shivers*

      It’s interesting that we’re talking about promoting Dark Friends. I’m not sure it ever says it right out, but I kind of get the feeling by the end of the series that that’s kind of what Taim had in mind *wink,wink, not saying more* all along.

  2. Liesel Hill says:

    I love the idea of any group of people in Randland dogpiling on any other group. I think everyone should get together and do that to Elaida, Slayer, and Mazrim Taim, to start. After that, we’ll just have to start looking around. :D Poor Perrin! He tries so hard. Maybe Elyas can help him. :D

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