Winter’s Heart Read Along Part II

WintersHeartBannerWelcome everyone to the continuation of The Wheel of Time saga. Here we are with Book 9, Winter’s Heart. As always, anyone is welcome to join us, so check out the schedule if you would like to do so.

This week, I am our host this week. Eivind, our commenter with an encyclopediac knowledge of WoT, can be found in the comments. Don’t forget to swing by Sue’s at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers for in-depth analysis and Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia for non-spoilery fan art.

This week we covered Chapters 3-7. Spoilers are having a party below!

1) What did everyone make of the Shaido’s treatment of Faile, Maighdin, Alliandre, Bain, Chiad, Lacile, and Arrela during the march through the snow? Harsh? As expected?

At first, this made sense. It is much, much harder for captives to get all uppity and host ideas of escaping if they are trussed up naked and forced to march through the snow. But then things got a little weird. We had Faile being carried over Rolan’s shoulder and repeatedly slapped on the ass – and her deepest thoughts liking it because it kept her awake (nudge, nudge, wink, wink). We had two of the ladies thrown naked into the snow and switched, leaving red stripes on creamy white buttocks. Uh…..yeah. Totally the wet dream of 13-30 year old males. If we had a few males captives that received the same treatment, I could have lent this scene more credence. As it stands, I think it was written to appeal to a certain segment of the fans.

Why don’t we take a moment and picture some of the guys naked, trussed, and marching through the snow. They have learned to ignore their nudity and are just focused on surviving. But now they are faltering. Do the Shaido sling them over their shoulders and carry them the rest of the way? Do the men balk at it? Do they scream and contort as they get switched? Do they learn to like the slaps on the ass because it helps keep them awake?  Hmm…..Well, I know who I pictured for this scene. Who did you picture? ;)

2) Faile and crew meet the Shaido Wise Ones (Therava & Someryn) and also the Aes Sedai Galina. What do you think of the Wise Ones speaking so openly of Sevanna’s orders? Will Galina be of any help to Faile?

I was a bit surprised that the Wise Ones were so openly disparaging Sevanna’s plans to take so many captives. I wonder if this is a reflection of the huge level of dissent among the troops, or is it a reflection of Aiel culture – meaning that the Aiel don’t expect gaishan to make anything of their comments, good or bad, about the leadership. It’s build into the Aiel culture that the gaishan are completely subservient, so they might feel 100% comfortable discussing nearly anything around them.

Or they might be ready to gut Sevanna themselves.

If Galina does help Faile and crew, I expect it will come at a high price. I do have to say I am a little concerned that Faile and crew will botch any escape attempt and have to pay a steep price for it. Galina knows this and I don’t think she will lightly risk her hide to help Faile (even if Galina stayed behind).

3) It seems that Berelain is taking advantage of Faile’s absence and Perrin’s fatigue. Where do you think her flirtations will take her? Given the chance, what would you do with her at this point?

In general, I don’t agree with hitting people in the face (unless it is a bit of slap to bring them out of some hysteria or to keep them from sticking a knife in someone you care about), but I may just make an exception in Berelain’s case. And I think Perrin should be the first allowed to smack her.

As to what it will get her? I am not sure what she is playing for. Is it simple lust? Does she think that Perrin has lands and armies to offer Berelain and her country? She would have a stronger alliance in Faile if only she could make friends with her, but I can’t see that happening after this last bout of stupidity. Perrin isn’t going to want to bed her, even if she manages to break him and Faile apart.

Perhaps the Aes Sedai could lend her a smooth white rod? ;)

4) They are on the hunt! Talanvor left on his own to pursue the Shaido hours ahead of Perrin and crew. Perrin had to chastise the Cha Faile for their spying activities. The Asha’men want to lead the charge. Add to that, Masema offering to assist. Will Perrin’s anger explode? How can this hunt possibly be derailed?

So many possibilities! For entertainment’s sake, let’s say Talanvor finds the Shaido first, but decides to try to rescue the ladies all on his own instead of heading back and getting reinforcements. So he ends up captured and forced to walk naked in the snow, trussed in his own pants. Maybe he will even get switched or carried like a sack of grain. We can only hope, as we have heard how handsome he is.

I expect the Cha Faile will totally forget they promised to follow Perrin’s orders as soon as they catch sight of the Shaido. They are not thoroughly trained as warriors, not like the Aiel, and I expect plenty of blundering into the Shaido, ending in them being captured too. Meanwhile, the Asha’men are teleporting all over the area scouting for the Shaido. They may have some success and it would be interesting if one or two of them actually teleported directly into the Shaido camp. They may even kill a few Shaido before teleporting out or being killed. This should stir the pot.

Then we got Masema and crew who are fanatical idiots. I am sure they will find some reason to hate the Shaido and therefore, want to eradicate them from the face of Randland (for the good of the Dragon Reborn, may the light illumine his name for all eternity!). At this point, I think Perrin should lead a group of his Aiel into the fray and quietly and quickly collect all the people they want left alive and remove them to some hilltop to watch the fracas.

5) The men escorting Naean and Elenia were ambushed and killed outside Caemlyn. What do you think this portends? Will Elayne be able to unite the houses behind her or is this move the first of several by houses against her? Should the ladies be more concerned about defenses instead of clothing?

It didn’t sound like Naean and Elenia were killed, so I am guessing they were either freed and helped away or captured for whatever info they can give on Elayne and the current state of Caemlyn. Is Elenia one of those ladies who came on to Rand and then had to explain to him how she is not related (at least not even closely) to Elayne?

Anyway, sounds like someone wanted these two free of Elayne – and probably so that they can go against Elayne. I know Elayne is concerned that not all the house are for her, so I am expecting at the least some major political pushing and shoving, and at worst some kind of rebellion, even civil war. Knowing that we still have so many books, I am leaning towards the later.

And, yeah, if I can be concerned over the possibility of civil war, than Elayne can too….which means a focus on defenses is needed instead of forcing her most trusted friends (and now guards) into ‘proper’ attire.

The Wheel of Time, bringing angry cats together again and again.

The Wheel of Time, bringing angry cats together again and again.

Other Tidbits

Is Someryn (one of Sevanna’s Wise Ones) the one with the hawk nose? Is this suppose to be the hawk that Min sees around Perrin? Is she and Faile going to hook up and become the best of friends?

Haha! When master Gil was going on about Perrin sampling from too many dishes and Perrin pointed out that he had not even had breakfast, I had to laugh. Giggling over that aside, I was a little sad at how easily people believed Perrin had been dabbling in Berelain, even against his protests.

That short scene with Perrin as a wolf was great. Really enjoyed the switch from wolf-Perrin to groggy, confused, angry, naked Perrin.

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6 thoughts on “Winter’s Heart Read Along Part II

  1. Liesel Hill says:

    Yeah, I agree about the weirdness with the Faile scene. Yet again we see certain male fantasies come to life. :/ I always get frustrated about how easily people believe poorly of Perrin, even Faile. Poor guy! And I always love the wolf scenes. They’re so great! :D

  2. Eivind Fonn says:

    1. I don’t know if Robert Jordan has a lot of experience with snow? I know he was born and wrote this series in South Carolina, and that he picked up a lot of combat experience in Vietnam, none of which are particularly cold places. As a certified Norwegian I’d like to chime in and say that you can’t get very far walking in snow barefoot. I don’t know how long Faile and the others were forced to walk before being picked up, but it felt way longer than reasonable. If this is standard procedure I’m surprised the Shaido have anyone at all capable of doing physical work.

    As for the nudity… well, as a 13-30 year old male (at least for another year or so), I have my own wet dreams and frankly I prefer my fiction free of them. In my head I’m editing it out or at least downplaying the importance. It’s not an isolated incident either (see: Egwene’s Amyrlin ceremony and much of New Spring, also all the penances in the Tower which are almost exclusively of the spanking kind), but it’s rare enough that I’m not too fazed by it.

    By the way, it’s a fairly commonly accepted theory that Saidin and Saidar are metaphors for male and female sexuality. Men have to fight for domination without emotion and control without being carried away, while women have to surrender and find their strength that way (nevermind the rosebud thing…). Some of the descriptions of the power sound like orgasms, too.

    2. Sevanna’s life expectancy is dropping by the hour, now. Without the support of the wise ones I don’t know how she can keep control. All her legitimacy stems from (a) technicalities that are being stretched very, very thin, and (b) a plan to subjugate Rand that even the most deluded Shaido should realise by now is absurd. I guess they’re holding together simply because they’re looting without resistance and living fairly comfortable lives down there. But that can change quickly…

    Galina might be of help, but if so it will be given grudgingly. My god, how many c***s can you fit in a chapter?

    3. Way over the line even by her standards I suppose. I understand why she’s doing it but it’s a lost cause, and I suspect she knows it too. I’m happy to know how this turns out for her… you couldn’t make it up, haha.

    4. How can it possibly NOT be derailed? There are just too many ways this can go wrong, and I wouldn’t envy Perrin for even a second. Thankfully he’s ta’veren, that should count for something. And thankfully most of the factions are genuinely concerned about getting the prisoners back, and thankfully the Aiel minus Shaido don’t seem to be the types for oathbreaking. And thankfully, Grady and Neald seem like fine blokes. Masema though… that Masema…

    5. I suppose she will be able to, eventually. Don’t expect it to happen soon though.

    I went through the wikis to get a bit of an overview. There are 19 great houses in Andor, and a majority will suffice, so Elayne needs 10. So far she has two: Trakand (her own house) and Taravin (Dyelin’s). The prisoners were Naean (high seat of Arawn) and Elenia (wife of the high seat of Sarand), so this basically cost her two votes. There are a number of houses that support Dyelin (five?) which one might hope will transfer at some point. I’ll try to keep everyone updated as more knowledge comes in. :)

    Other: I was impressed at your spelling this week, Susan. I know this is hard for an audiobook reader, and you usually get at least one wrong, but as far as I can tell this week you’re spotless!

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