Knife of Dreams, Part V

JordanKnifeOfDreamsBannerWelcome everyone to Book 11 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. You can find the schedule to Knife of Dreams over HERE. Everyone is welcome to join us!

This week, Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia,  is our host and can be found in the comments. Check out Sue’s post at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers and Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia, cool non-spoilery fan art.

This week, we covered Chapters 19-23. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1. Our favorite Origer bachelor is finally married.  Any wise words for the newlyweds?  The Ogier are torn on whether to leave this world or help humanity out.  Do you think Loial will be able to sway them?

My wise (ass) words to Erith would be to keep Loial stocked in good traveling clothes and scribing materials and to perhaps travel often with Loial just to avoid regular conflict with her mother-in-law. Of course my words of wisdom to Loial would be to let Erith think all the traveling is her idea.

Once again, I am reminded of Tolkien’s Ents, and their Entmoot where they take a very long time deciding on whether or not to help out the hasty humans, elves, dwarves, and humans. Knowing how that turned out, and also suspecting that the Dark One won’t leave the Steadings & Ogier alone, I think the Ogier will eventually fight evil rather than flee.

And I hope that Loial will be able to sway them sooner rather than simply walk away to join Rand at the Last Battle and have Ogier decide that is much more exciting than any Ogier business and join him later. Though I suspect that Covril or Erith may have a hand in persuading the Ogier, even if it means shaming them into caring about this world.

2. It’s been a while since the last surprise trolloc attack.  Who could have been behind this one?  Why now, and why so incredibly many?  Lews Therin took control of Rand’s channeling.  Will we see that again, and what kind of consequences might it have?

I wasn’t expecting a massive trolloc attack on the heals of an Ogier wedding!

Since the Dark One and Moridin want to keep Rand alive for now, I don’t think they were behind this attack. No, my eye turned toward Mazrim Taim. After all, if Rand, Logain, and a bunch of their closest followers fell in a trolloc attack, he could reign supreme (at least until the Dark One had him bale fired). Of course, this would mean that he has a hotline into a Forsaken who wants Rand dead now (as I don’t think Taim has been given command of so many myrrdraal). Taim would guesstimate that it would take oodles of myrrdraal and oodles X 20 to take out both Rand and Logain. Good for him that he miscalculated.

In this case, it was a very good thing that Lews took over the channeling and saved the day. But Lews isn’t the most stable Channeler out there, so I can see him losing it in a moment of disturbed surprise or intense anger and wiping out half of Rand’s army. Rand seriously needs to lock that shit down. Perhaps this is what Cadsuane needs to teach Rand, but first he would need to trust her enough to 1) confide in her about Lews and 2) Allow her to guide him, perhaps even entering his dreams or thoughts for a short time to do so. Good thing she is such a snuggable motherly type woman that Rand could so easily learn to trust. Not!

3. Lan departs to fight his own war, but Nynaeve won’t let him do it alone.  Any thoughts on the actions of either?  Any chills during the scene in the inn?

And yet for the third time during 1 reading session, I was surprised! I know that Lan has had a death wish since he learned he was the last Malkiri King, and that it intensified when Moiraine disappeared through that door angreal, but he really is a dense idiot sometimes. First, he can’t hold some pass in the north against hordes of trollocs and myrrdraal BY HIMSELF, no matter how good he is, no matter the terrain. So wrapping his suicidal inclinations up in honor and duty and heroics isn’t going to fool anyone in that scenario. Two, thinking that Nynaeve would simply let him do so is silly. She owns him now. Yep. You can put the love spin on it if you wish (and I do believe she does love him), but she is very, very possessive too. His life is now hers and she won’t be tossing it away.

And I was a bit surprised that Nynaeve was grown up enough to let Lan go and do his duty. I was also quite pleased to see her spreading the word near and far, calling in men to join Lan. Essentially, it’s like organizing a big party on sheep butchering day back in Two Rivers. Nynaeve is definitely the one to organize such an affair.

4. Rand again works his ta’veren magic and the rebellion in Tear is no more.  Darlin, who was a rebel not four books ago, is king.  Do you think he has sufficiently demonstrated his loyalty, or are you worried?  Rand is focusing on Arad Doman.  What do you think his plan there is?

We just saw Rand and his entourage take out thousands of trollocs and several dozen to a few hundred myrrdraal. If Darlin hasn’t heard about that yet, he will soon. So if he is planning any kind of subterfuge now, he will probably reconsider upon hearing that tale. So, no I am not particularly worried. Plus, he also was privy to seeing Cadsuane call Rand on his rude manners, so he knows he can be both pushed and reigned in without exploding. So it is unlikely that Darlin will decide to rebel ‘for the sake of the realm and to save his people from the mad Dragon reborn’.

I don’t know what Rand is planning in Arad Doman. Would he be leaving certain Waygates open to kind of channel where the trollocs turn up?

I think Eivind mentioned this in the last two weeks, that Robert Jordan had only planned 12 books and so he was trying to wind up some things in this book so that all could be tied off in the next book, right? But for us, we could have to wait to Book 14 to find out what goes down in Arad Doman.

5. The Sea Folk have chosen a new Mistress of the Ships and are being conscripted for the Arad Doman plan.  Meanwhile, a whole race of islanders commit suicide!  Where on Earth did that come from? Will it have any impact at all or is it just one of those… things?

I think the mass suicide was balance that Rand was contemplating earlier when he rode through town and the man fell out of a balcony onto his feet instead of his head, etc. Min says that for every evil, there is a good, while Rand takes the pessimistic opposite. Perhaps this mass suicide was the balance for all those who escaped Ebou Dar.

I expect it will sadden Rand when he hears of it, but I don’t expect any major ripples from it. I think it will just be another of those things that Jordan throws in to give the world depth.

6. An important sitting is called and the rebel Aes Sedai finally learn some important news (Saidin is clean, and they’ve been harboring a Saidin-channeling female forsaken for six books).  Are you happy that Halima was rooted out?  Sad that they weren’t caught?  Will they rethink their Asha’man policy now?

There was a lot of great stuff in this section. Being carried around in Ramanda’s head was interesting (romance adventure novels! prudish about ankles and boobs! set in her ways despite evidence to the contrary, especially concerning the new elderly novices, etc.).

I have been taken an impish glee in shocking the Aes Sedai. And I expect I am not alone in this. I really enjoyed the reactions to the Asha’man, and the announcements about bonding, both the offering up of Asha’men to be bonded and the fact that silly Sisters were already bonded to Asha’men.

I was surprised that Ramanda put it together first and called out Halima. Since Halima is a Forsaken in disguise, I figured that she wouldn’t be caught yet. Though I think it might have been pretty spectacular to have her fight an entire encampment of Aes Sedai.

Some of the Sisters are already moving along and not living in the past (cool with getting rid of the age limit on entering the Tower, etc.), and I think most of them will come to treat the Asha’men as equals in time. However, we will always have some sticklers like Ramanda and they will make it that much harder to prep for and win the Last Battle.

Other Tidbits:

That was a swift, simple wedding and I totally didn’t expect it. I wonder what does happen when you fondle an Ogier ear? And if they pierce their ears, is that the same as in humans piercing their nipples?

Lews Therin is starting to make some sense to me and I think I like the chap well enough to buy him a pint of beer: Only those who trust no one are truly insane (paraphrased).

Is it just me or is Nynaeve becoming some sort of a prude in her ‘old’ married life? What was that interesting dress she wore in the circus in which she met Masema?

I loved watching Logain stroll in and chat with the Sea Folk, calling them to pay service to the Dragon Reborn. And with the end of the world just around the corner, I think he is right to hold them to it even in their grief.

4 thoughts on “Knife of Dreams, Part V”

  1. 1. I’m all about your wiseass wisdom. 😀 I made the connection between the Stump and Entmoot too. 2. Yeah, the juxtaposition of Ogier and Trolloc, wedding and war, was interesting wasn’t it? I’m sure it was intentional on Jordan’s part. 3. Yeah, I remember being surprised at how chill Nynaeve was during this part, too. But I think this is something she accepted about Lan long before she had him, so maybe it makes a strange kind of sense. 4. I don’t remember for sure what his Arad Domon plan is. I’ll probably be as surprised as you. 😀 5. Interesting point about the mass suicide being a matter of balance. 6. Yeah, I loved how Romanda tried to hide her “special romance” novels. Made me laugh, given how straight-laced and shrill she always is. 😀

    1. I wonder if Romanda also has frilly undies or lace braziers? Perhaps she harbors a secret longing to write romance fiction? It was fun running around inside her head for a bit.

  2. I’m here! Sorry for being late again.

    1. It seems Loial’s role in this series is to be the man with a way of words, so of course he will sway them. It might take a while though, the Ogier being slow in everything they do. And when things look the darkest they’ll come marching out of the fog, or something along those lines… maybe?

    I think Loial and Erith will be very happy together. He’s obviously taken with her and she with him, and Erith has rather different notions about what’s suitable for a young Ogier male than his mother does.

    2. This one came kind of out of the blue, but we actually had warning not too many weeks ago. Moridin mentioned that someone (a forsaken) under the guise of Sammael, ordered a vast trolloc army into the Ways, with an unknown destination. It must be the same one, clearly. So we don’t know who it was, but unless he’s playing excessive mindgames, it was probably not Moridin himself. And whoever it was is acting against his explicit orders. My money is on Cyndane/Lanfear, but it’s still an open question. There’s a lengthy article in the WoT FAQ discussing this.

    Incidentally, this also gives us a bit of a preview of the last battle. We know a rough lower bound on how many trollocs are available to the Shadow (probably on the order of a million at least, if a hundred thousand was a ‘large force’ but someone was still able to steal them away without someone noticing before too late). And we also know that Rand, Nynaeve and Logain together with a decent helping of ‘lesser’ channelers can defeat a hundred thousand trollocs, by a hair.

    3. The inn scene where Nynaeve rouses the Malkieri is frequently brought up as one of the best, most fist-pumpy parts. For many it’s their favourite scene in this book. In a way it also signals the definite end of bitchy Nynaeve and from now on she’s just pure awesome. (She’s been for a while actually.) Now that she’s learned her lesson, it’s time for Lan to learn his. A month or so crossing the borderlands might do the trick?

    “The Golden Crane flies for Tarmon Gai’don!” It’s very close now.

    4. I think Darlin is well and truly Rand’s man now, so we have nothing much to fear from him.

    Arad Doman is a broken country with no remaining central power. Its army is down south fighting a desperate fight against the Seanchan, and the population is about to starve. It’s also a strategically important location, as regards the Seanchan threat. If Rand is about to go meet the Daughter of the Nine Moons (or whomever will impersonate her), he probably wants some presence there to put more weight behind his alliance proposal.

    5. Before the release of Knife of Dreams, Robert Jordan said this: “Something that has previously happened in the series is going to be revealed to have a terrible cost. When you read it your reaction will be, ‘Gasp. How horrible!'” Then, when the book was released and many readers failed to find it, he wrote this blog post: (no spoilers)

    More than likely he was talking about the Amayar suicide. Unfortunately many of us don’t have a very strong emotional connection with them…

    6. I do love seeing uppity Aes Sedai put in their place. Narishma was really cool.

    Very happy that Halima and Delana are now gone, although I would have loved to see them get captured too. For those who are wondernig how Romanda figured it out: The two dead sisters were very close with a certain Cabriana Mecandes. Cabriana was the unfortunate sister who was captured by the Shadow back in book long-time-ago and whom Semirhage tortured for information. Later, Balthamel/Aran’gar/Halima showed up in Salidar claiming to be a friend of Cabriana’s, using much of the information gained to support her backstory.

    Probably what ended up happening was that the two dead sisters, who really knew Cabriana well, had started probing too much and started finding holes, so they had to be offed. Since Narishma could reveal that just because Saidin was used, the suspect could still be a woman, the only remaining connection Romanda had to make was to recall that Halima had claimed to know Cabriana! Too bad Delana was quicker and managed to make it out.

    1. That’s kind of a scary thought – that ~100,000 trollocs/myrrdraal can go missing and no one really notices. But it also tells us that the organization/cooperation of the bad guys isn’t all that good either.

      Now I worry a little that Rand will march his forces against the people of Arad Doman in his new alliance with the Seanchan. Hopefully, he won’t have to make that decision and the Seanchan will simply want to be his best buddy, a best buddy with lots of ships, flying monstrosities, and battle hardened fighting personnel.

      Thanks for that tidbit on Cabriana and how that connects everything. I can see why rereading WoT (perhaps a few times and not just once) gives the reader new details each time.

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