Crossroads of Twilight, Part V

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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 your host. Make sure to catch Sue and her often insightful answers over at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers. Eivind, our keeper of esoteric WoT knowledge, can be found in the comments. Make sure to swing by Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia for cool fanart.

This week, we cover Chapters 13-16. Spoilers for this section run free below!

1) Chapter 13 starts with Elayne returning to her bath and Aviendha alludes to some joke Birgitte played that relied upon the feedback loop built into her bond with Elayne. Any guesses as to what this joke was?

Well, I recall Elayne once acting drunk and Nynaeve giving her a scolding, and in actuality it was Birgitte who was drunk and dancing and having fun.

Then there was that one time that Elayne found a rather unusual *cough, cough* angreal. She woke up in bed with everyone grinning at her and not answering questions. Perhaps that angreal gave her some fun sexytimes or close enough to it and Birgitte caught the afterglow through the bond.

2) Dyelin returns with the High Seats of Mantear, Haevin, Gilyard, and Northan. Do you foresee any issues concerning the ages of these High Seats? Dyelin seems to have an unhealthy curiosity about Brigitte. Do you think she is merely in disbelief about Brigitte’s abilities, or do you think Dyelin is studying her for more nefarious reasons?

I fear the other High Seats won’t take these four seriously. Additionally, I am also concerned that their own houses won’t take them seriously. In fact, them proclaiming their fealty to Elayne may cause a bit more dissension if their elders disagree with them, or feel snubbed because they ran off and did this thing without consulting them.

Dyelin, so far, has been very true to her word and therefore Elayne. However, she is also in a position of greater knowledge of Elayne’s plans, etc. If I was a smart, planning evil person, I would definitely take the measure of those guarding Elayne. Which would mean studying Birgitte in her boots and tight pants. I can see how someone could get distracted by those attributes and not think seriously of Birgitte. However, Dyelin is not enchanted by swaying female hips and has been studying Birgitte. Right now, I think Dyelin is just trying to get a read on if Birgitte believes she is truly her namesake and living a silly tale,. or is she truly competent. I don’t thin Dyelin has any evil plans for Elayne.

3) While Elayne met with Master Norry and Mistress Harfor (just how many spies does Elayne have in the her Palace, and can she keep them ignorant and in play?), Aviendha sheilded their conversation. Once the meeting was concluded, she told Elayne someone had attempted to listen in. Who do you think that was, and why?

Sounds like Elayne has a ton of spies within the Palace. But I think this would be n0rmal during a time of great change and upheaval. And not all would be spies in the sneaky sense of the word, but could just be people trying to ride out the change by keeping multiple parties happy.

I really am not sure who was attempting to listen in. We had a Wise One and a trainee waiting to come in and examine Elayne (the saidar version of the ultrasound). I guess one of them could have done so, but I think Aviendha may have recognized their energy, perhaps? We also know there are slew of Aes Sedai creeping around the city, coming and going. Perhaps one disguised made it into the inner palace and made the attempt.

The ‘why’ is probably the simplest question – to gain info, any info, that concerns Elayne and her plans.

4) It appears that Arymilla, who is vying for the crown of Andor, isn’t above holding prominent people hostage in order to strengthen her claim. Do you think she is as daft as Elenia believes she is? Elenia has a plot to use Naean Arawn in order to further her own claims for the thrown; do you expect that to go well for Elenia? What is up with the seemingly mad and definitely violent Nasin?

No, I don’t think Arymilla is that daft. First, she is holding together a sizable force, one large enough that Elayne takes her as a real threat. Two, she doesn’t appear to be anyone’s puppet.

Even if Elenia manages to wrest some followers from Arymilla, I don’t expect her path to be easy. And Naean could totally be playing her. And of course, even if she past those hurdles, she has to deal with Elayne, and I think we all know how that will turn out (even if Rand has to step in and assist).

I really am not sure about Nasin. Can he be a male channeler that went a little crazy? I assume the users of saidin are like the users of saidar – there are different levels and some can only channel a trickle and are easily overlooked (think of all those Kin). Whatever the cause of his madness, he is violent and probably needs to be put down.

5) We spent some more time in Hanlon’s head. He and Falion have some sort of an agreement wherein they exchange info behind Shiaine’s back. Which of the three do you expect to end up dead first? Shiaine asks three things of Hanlon: free some sul’dam and/or damane, shift some guards away from the food warehouses, and entertain Elayne in bed. Which of the three do you expect Hanlon to accomplish and what do you think is the master plan?

Well, I am guessing that Hanlon will be the first to die, either from trying to get into Elayne’s panties, or killed while attempting to kill or abduct Elayne, Birgitte, or Aviendha.

Hanlon said that freeing some sul’dam or damane would be easiest. So, I expect him t do that first. Perhaps with guards hunting them, he could then shift men away from the food warehouses, which will then be torched. I expect Birgitte and/or Aviendha to become highly suspicious of Hanlon at this point. And I expect Elayne to be very hesitant about listening to those suspicions because Hanlon once ‘saved her life’.

Master plan: Create chaos and new foes by freeing channelers, burn the food to sew dissension among the commonfolk (who wants to back a leader who can’t keep the masses fed?), and bed Elayne to learn more of her plans and secrets. Then kill and burn and run amok at the appropriate time to keep Andor in turmoil until one of the Forsaken or a very special Dark Friend can seize the reigns and rule Andor in name for the Dark One. There will be much festivities, but please dress in black goth style to show support for your new overlord.

6) Delana shares a few shocking tidbits with Egwene: 1) Several Aes Sedai suspect Egwene has bonded Gareth Bryn; and 2) Many Aes Sedai are considering negotiations with Elaida. Which did you find more amusing? Would either benefit Egwene’s efforts to make the Tower whole before the end of the world?

I found it very amusing that some suspect that Egwene had bonded Gareth Bryne! Of course, she wants Gawyn, but only a few even suspect that. Still, I could see a certain logic to having Bryne as a warder. There would be no way to pay the man off and he would have to take her orders instead of acting as a free agent. He wouldn’t like it, but he would also buckle down and be the best warder he could be.

I don’t expect Elaida to agree to Egwene’s terms, so negotiation with her will not be of any use except to appease some of Egwene’s followers. She can say, look, I tried and Elauda just would not see reason. So you see, I really did have to take her head.

Other Tidbits

I loved Dyelin’s comment to Birgitte about dragging your bait all over the lake.

Elenia dresses her maid in fancy clothes and believes she treats her well. She really had a huge disrespect for anyone ‘below her’.

I find it very interesting that Falion and Hanlon have this agreement, and part of it is him leaving bruises on her to keep up the ruse.

5 thoughts on “Crossroads of Twilight, Part V

  1. Eivind Fonn says:

    1. No, I have no idea. Robert Jordan gets very subtle at times, it’s hard to keep up.

    2. It’s a bit concerning that the only high seats Dyelin was able to spirit away were the kids. Evidently, there are not many adults who are interested in supporting Elayne. I don’t really expect any problems as such though. Unless the Darkfriends decide that Elayne is getting too popular… but that doesn’t seem to be a problem yet.

    3. I can only assume that this is the same darkfriend who murdered Adeleas. That means Merilille, who I believe was already gone at that point, is free of suspicion. So the murderer is probably one of Sareitha and Careane.

    4. Yes, I do believe so. And she probably had a fair amount of help from darker forces in putting together her challenge for Queendom. There’s even some confirmation of this fact, because we learn later that some of the people who visited Shiaine in Caemlyn were sporting symbols of the houses on the outside. Which, frankly, sounds absolutely retarded. Why would you walk around in Caemlyn right now openly showing allegiance to House Marne? Or did I misread the scene…?

    I’m not sure but I believe at this point that the darkfriends do prefer Elayne on the throne (for whatever reason), but not so quickly and easily that she’ll be able to stabilize the country before the last battle, hence they found a challenger who was dumb enough to besiege Caemlyn, create some problems, but eventually lose anyway. But actually, now that I put that in writing, it sounds really strange. I don’t know, man.

    5. Well let’s rule out a romping with Elayne, for obvious reasons. I would guess it’s not so difficult to deroute the guards a bit. It’s a big city, the guards are presumably understaffed already, and that leaves plenty of room for confusion. I can’t recall at the moment whether any sul’dam are freed.

    6. Yay, Egwene is back! That Egwene should have bonded Gareth Bryne sounds fairly preposterous. On the other hand I don’t think it’s so unreasonable that some sisters would like to negotiate with Elaida. I guess the prospect of actual acts of war would now seem more real to them than ever, and we’ve heard a lot about how the Aes Sedai are frankly a bit embarassed at the mess they’ve managed to create. I’m sure they would like to patch things up quickly. Then again I doubt Elaida would act in a very welcoming manner…

    If anyone else are confused (and don’t pretend you are not), I researched some Andoran noble houses. There are nineteen, so ten will be enough to become Queen. Let’s see if I can justify that ‘keeper of esoteric knowledge’ title. :D

    At the moment, Elayne has six, her own Trakand, Dyelin’s Taravin, and the four kids (Mantear, Haevin, Northan and Gilyard).

    Arrayed against her is Marne (Arymilla herself), as well as her two prisoners, Naean of House Arawn and Elenia of House Sarand (Elenia is technically not the High Seat, but Jarid will evidently do anything to keep his wife safe). In addition, Marne has the support of Lir of House Baryn, Karind of House Anshar and Sylvase of House Caeren. That gives her six, too.

    Among the seven unaccounted for are the five who support Dyelin. They are Abelle of House Pendar, Luan of House Norwelyn, Arathelle of House Renshar, Pelivar of House Coelan and Aemlyn of House Carand.

    Then there’s Danine of House Candraed, who Dyelin mentioned was reluctant. She does not support anyone at the moment.

    Finally there’s Ellorien of House Traemane. She was flogged by Morgase under Rahvin’s rule and is unlikely to be friendly to Elayne. She has not announced any support, either.

    So basically it’s: Trakand 6, Marne 6, Taravin 5, Undecided 2.

    • Liesel Hill says:

      3.I hadn’t thought of the eavesdropper in terms of the Darkfriend who killed Adeleas. Good point, though. Whoever it is would definitely be interested in hearing private conversations. 5.-6. There are a lot of aspects in this book that fall under the heading: the reader gets it more than the characters do. It’s obvious to everyone but Hanlon himself that bedding Elayne is just not likely to happen. And I think you’re right that it’s realistic that many of the Aes Sedai would want to negotiate with Elaida (there are always some who want to take that route) but they haven’t been in Elaida’s head or privy to her conversations, so they don’t get just how off-the-rails she is. Thanks for the run down of houses for the succession. I can never keep them all straight. You definitely retain your title. :D My WoT Post

    • nrlymrtl says:

      Uh, yeah, I forgot about the Adeleas killer running around the palace. that is most likely the culprit of the attempted eavesdropping.

      And yes, I was confused by the Andoran houses and what is required for a Queen to be Queen. I agree that Ellorien is highly unlikely to want to back a Trakand after the public flogging she took. Elayne will have to do some serious political finessing (or outright blackmail) to get House Traemane on her side.

  2. Liesel Hill says:

    1. I referenced the Elayne-drunkenness bouts too, though I think I mixed them up again. But that’s definitely what this questions made me think of too. 2.-4. I agree that Dyelin seems pretty trust worthy so far and hasn’t given Elayne any reason to doubt her. I also agree with you about Arymilla not being as dumb as Elenia seems to think. Yeah, Elenia’s relationship with her maid was kind of…interesting, wasn’t it? I was actually surprised that Hanlon was so willing to leave Falion alone when he realized no one was around to observe. He strikes me as the kind of guy who’d want to have his fun whether anyone is around or not. It almost suggests a certain respect for his co-conspirator. Which is just…weird. :D
    My WoT Post

    • nrlymrtl says:

      Elenia seemed to think of her maid as a highly trained, well-loved pet. Reminded me of the sul’dam and of Tylin. And I think Hanlon mentioned (in his own head anyway) that he didn’t need to have an enemy that was both Aes Sedai and a Dark Friend. So, he doesn’t harrass Falion, much.

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