Crossroads of Twilight, Part I

JordanCrossroadsOfTwilightBannerWow! Can you believe it has been nearly a year and half since we started this crazy, epic read along? Yeah.

And the WoT Quad returns with Book 10, Crossroads of Twilight! If any of you silent stalkers want to join us, you are always welcome to. You can leave me a comment or email me (nrlymrtl [at] gmail [dot] com) to get on the weekly email of the discussion questions. Check out the schedule.

This week, I am playing host. Eivind, our keeper of esoteric WoT knowledge, can be found in the comments. Make sure to swing by Sue’s at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers for excellent guesses as to what the future might hold. And don’t forget Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia for non-spoilery fan art.

This week, we cover the 99 page prologue. Spoilers for this section run free below!

1) We have a meeting of the minds of Arad Doman. Lots of new side characters were introduced at this meeting. Was it a bit tangled for you? Will this strategy negatively affect the Aiel, and hence, Rand?

Wow! Yes, I was a bit lost. Haha! Nothing new there. But that is OK, because we soon moved past this to characters I knew. I expect that these guys will be quite surprised at how fierce the Aiel fighters are. Of course this tactic will cause a headache for Rand, but the warriors and politicians of Arad Doman might also suffer a headache when they lose to the Aiel.

Now if these Aiel are some of Sevanna’s folks, I will probably root for the Arad Doman soldiers even if they are doing it for the wrong reason. You can see how little motivation means to me in this matter as long as Sevanna and crew get their asses spanked.

2) We have the questionable pleasure of riding around in Valda’s head (Lord Captain Commander of the Children of the Light). Since Morgase slipped through his fingers, her step son Galadedrid (Galad) is no longer a useful tool for him. What do you think Valda will do with him? What do you think it would take for Galad to sever ties with the White Cloaks?

I expect Valda to do one of two things – 1) Ship him off to some no where post that is way out of the way and Valda will hope to never hear from him again; or 2) keep him close until opportunity arises to get rid of him (through deed or trade).

I worry that Galad will never, ever sever ties with the White Cloaks. One of his best characteristics is also his worst – Once he gives his pledge, he is mortally dedicated. Since he has sworn fealty to Morgase and has ties to Elayne, perhaps his bond to the White Cloaks could be broken that way. If he ever learns what the White Cloaks did to Morgase, he could snap. Likewise, if the White Cloaks ever torture, attempt to assassinate, or rape Elayne, Galad might (and hopefully would) give up the cloak. But short of that, I fear he will stay true to them forever, or until they kill him.

3) Mishraile tracks down Logain in the woods and spends some time mocking him. What do you think the M’Hael’s private lessons at the palace include?

Well, I expect ‘Better Leadership through Fear, Mocking, and Treachery’ is the main class held there. I am sure it is broken down in to manageable chunks and given different names such as ‘Lightning Can Be A Powerful Motivator’, ‘A Sharp Wit Deserves A Sharp Tongue’, and ‘Poisoning – A Simple Way to Remove Obstacles’.

Seriously, I think that those who are invited to Taim’s ‘palace’ for these lessons are part of his inner circle. It is rather comforting to see that Logain is not interested in these classes.

4) The wise Sisters of the White Tower are sneaking around trying to ferret out further Black Ajah. How do you think they will ever trick or lure Atuan (who they strongly suspect of being Black Ajah) to a secluded place for questioning? Do you expect their elaborate, if well intentioned, scheming will get noticed?

First, if their scheming hasn’t gotten noticed yet, then the Black Ajah is too complacent. And the other Sisters just aren’t nosy enough to have taken an interest in all the sneaking about that is going on.

As to questioning Atuan, I can see why they hesitate. If she is Black, then she is also most likely very dangerous, since she isn’t bound by the Three Oaths and a reasonable conscience. So whoever does the trickery and luring could very well get hurt, Stilled, or balefired. Also, if they do manage to trick her, and then get caught during the questioning before they achieve desired results, well the results could be the same. So, yes, they need to be very careful. I suggest they get someone innocent all this nonsense and use her to send a simple request – something trivial. Milk and cookies? Help needed in the mending room? Stopped up drain so folks in this section of the Tower need to evacuate to the deepest darkest dungeon? Yeah. I think that will work best.

5) Gawyn is back in the picture, finally! And what a mess! He feels bound to Elayne, Egwene, and the White Tower. Blindly, he agrees to do all he can to carry out Elaida’s orders. What do you think Elaida’s (or perhaps Alviarin’s) orders are?

Gawyn seems to be another blind fool. What is about Morgase and the children she has raised?

If it is Elaida, she might actually want to leave the Tower in order to get away from Alviarin. She could then rebuild her power outside the Tower and retake control from Alviarin. Risky, single-minded, totally Elaida. If it is Alviarin, it might simply be to help smuggle some Darkfriends/Black Ajah in or out of the Tower or perhaps even the rebel Aes Sedai camp.

6) Deira Bashere, Davrim’s wife, was injured when she walked in on two men ransacking their tent. They escaped, only to be found later, already dead. Speculation as to a) what the men were looking for; and b) who killed them?

I don’t know what Davrim could have had to warrant ransacking by two random dudes who are later found dead. As far as I know, he doesn’t carry any angreal or seals. Perhaps they planted something? Then their ransacking, and subsequently being seen, was on purpose to make people think they were stealing something, not planting something.

Since I don’t really know what they were up to, I don’t have any strong guesses as to who hired them. Since Davrim is considered a friend of Rand and is the father-in-law of Perrin, perhaps it was something to discredit either them in his eyes or him in their eyes. This would point to a knowledgeable Dark Friend or Forsaken. Beyond this, I really don’t know.

7) Loial and Karldin are trying to track down Rand to report on their efforts. Just as Samitsu gets their true identities out of them, it is announced that Lord Dobraine has been killed. Who do you think attempted to kill Dobraine? What is it that Loial fears they may have found?

I think Loial fears they have found more Seals, broken. Perhaps these are used as the highest of currency among the Darkfriends and Forsaken. If Dobraine was entrusted to keep these safe, to set people to researching how to make them whole again, then it seems like at least one of our bad guys is thinking ahead, and thinking of contingencies by having Dobraine killed (nice try!) and stealing the broken Seals.

Other Tidbits

Ah, the fashion sense of the Arad Doman leaders was quite amusing!

Is it just me, or does Toveine seem like a bit of an idiot? If she can sense some of Logain’s feeling through the bond, surely she suspects he can sense some of her feelings?

It is interesting to see Logain go from this dangerous, deranged man to this broken shell, to this powerful sex figure. Interesting story arc.

Gawyn needs to be taught how to Dreamwalk so that Egwene & Elayne can let him know what they truly want him to do. I have a feeling his blind faith in the White Tower is going to cause grief for one or all.

 

7 thoughts on “Crossroads of Twilight, Part I

  1. Eivind Fonn says:

    1. Not particularly tangled. With the benefit of hindsight I can say that there was basically only one guy who mattered here, and that was Ituralde. The last of the great captains to be introduced, and in my opinion easily the coolest of them all. I’m happy to see him introduced at last because he’s totally badass!

    The Aiel mentioned, I’m pretty sure they are Shaido put there by Sammael. I say ‘pretty’ sure because I don’t think they feature at all, and the next time we see Ituralde he’s neck deep in dead Seanchan or something. We’ll see. :D

    2. I don’t really expect Galad to ever break with the whitecloaks. I think he holds his stepmother in high esteem though, so he has particular reason to dislike Eamon Valda, if he ever finds out what happened. I think he is still unaware that Morgase was ever in the picture.

    3. Ah, I think I know. Calling them ‘lessons’ is a bit far fetched to be honest. You’ve heard about it before in the series, but it’s a long time ago and it hasn’t been brought up regularly.

    4. I don’t recall if it gets noticed or not. That is to say, I know that a certain someone finds out, but I don’t remember how it happened. But… you’ll see I suppose.

    5. Yay, Gawyn! Get with the program, dude. Poor guy is totally out of the loop. He should… umm… scout the rebel army. Very carefully. Yep.

    As for the orders, I don’t remember those either. I think it’s more of the same—hang out where you are, try to cause trouble for Bryne whenever possible, etc.

    6-7. I answer these together because I’m 99% sure that I know what this was about, and I think the attacks are connected. By the time we find out, I think you’ll all have forgotten these incidents, which I suspect was precisely what Jordan intended. :-)

    Other: With the introduction of Ituralde I would say that we are lacking only one significant character before the gallery is complete! Cadsuane, Tuon and he are such stragglers… :P

    • Liesel Hill says:

      Yeah, Jordan is a genius and throwing incidents out there, and not overtly connecting them, so you kind of have to re-read to get all the juicy tidbits. That’s why he made the big bucks. :D

    • nrlymrtl says:

      Wow! Now I am really looking forward to seeing what Ituralde is made of.

      Both you and Liesel hint as to what the Black Tower lessons are and now I am really, really curious. Hmm…I wonder if Taim is pushing his chosen really hard, to the breaking point to see what they can do? Or perhaps he is bonding them somehow? Hmmm….

      Well, when we find out the answers to the attacks mentioned in 6 & 7, I am counting on you reminding us of the beginning to Crossroads of Twilight. :)

  2. ezra620 says:

    I am a big fan of this read-along, although i am a “silent stalker” that you eluded to :)

    Keep me in the loop, i am a little ahead right now, half way through KOD, but do enjoy reading through the group questions and discussions to keep all of this story fresh in my mind.

    Thanks again, you are all doing a great job!

    • nrlymrtl says:

      Thanks for playing along, even in the background. At some point, we are going to read the prequel (New Spring?), so most likely you will stay ahead of us.

  3. Liesel Hill says:

    Yes, Galad is woefully misguided and loyal to the Whitecloaks. I wish he would open his eyes. I was so glad to see Loial again! Perhaps it was seals he was after. As for Gawyn, a text-capable cell phone would do wonders for him about now, wouldn’t it? :D

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