The Gathering Storm, Part I

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JordanGatheringStormBannerWelcome everyone to Book 12 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. You can find the schedule to The Gathering Storm over HERE. Everyone is welcome to join us!

This week,  Sue at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers is the host. You can catch Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia, in the comments.  Stop by Liese’sl at Musings on Fantasia. There’s plenty of cool non-spoilery fan art.

Once again, sorry for posting late. The last four weeks have been super intense for me and I was a vendor at this big weekend show and just simply came back exhausted physically and socially.

This week, we covered the Prologue-Chapter 6. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1) Rand has sent a message to Tuon via a released damane, but it seems that it might be some time before she hears of his invitation. Do you think that this delay will make a difference? Will the Seanchan be too distracted by the newly arrived Trolloc hordes and Rodel Ituralde’s army?

No matter how Rand sends a message to Tuon, I still think her connection to Mat will be key in making the much-needed peace. And Rand was an idiot for not taking the Seanchan hierarchy into account. I know he doesn’t have much experience with it, but he does have a lot of experience with various countries/races/beings at this point and could heeded the damane’s words about propriety, etc.

And, yes, I expect the trolocs and Ituralde’s army will slow the Seanchan down a bit. Already, the Seanchan are showing respect for Ituralde’s battlefield prowess.

2) We had only a short glimpse of the Forsaken in this section, but there were some tantalizing hints. Given Graendal’s thoughts about Demandred, where do you think he has made his base of operations? What do you make of Moridin’s issues with his left hand?

I keep looking at Mazrim Taim. I always picture him in black, rubbing his hands together, and snickering quietly to himself. He has an army, of sorts. But I also stumbled across an unmarked spoiler months ago that makes me think that Taim is not Demandred. My brain dead cells aren’t coming up with another possbility, though knowing the Forsaken, it will be someone incompetent and lacking team player skills.

In Book 12, we had some hints that Moridin and Rand were some how connected. Now they each have fidgety left hands. I fear we may be up for a Harry Potter moment at the end of the book, where Rand has to actually die in order to kill the last vestiges of the evil Moridin/Dark One. But then Rand will be resurrected for that happy ending.

3) The Prophet finally met his end, but not before we got to spend a little time inside his highly disturbing mind. What do you make of his vision of the Dragon? Do you think that his death will remove the Dragonsworn as an organized force?

Oh, I forget what Masema was rambling on about before Faile shoved something pointy into him. I was a little surprised that Masema was taken out so easily, with very little lead up to it. I was not surprised that he believed that Perrin had to be taken out.

Since the majority of the Dragonsworn were forced into this mad army, I expect we won’t see a major force of them again. There may be a few that feel the need to keep the ‘dream’ alive and try to build some messed up church with very strict rules in Rand’s name later. And there may also be several thousand folks who feel Rand owes them something for the evil done in his name. I would be more worried about those folks.

4) We see Egwene go through some serious changes this week, as she realizes why the Aiel laugh at pain. Do you think that she is correct to think that Elaida’s rule would come to an end soon even without her own efforts? What do you make of the severe disruptions that are occurring in Tar Valon: are they worse than the ones we are seeing elsewhere?

I think Egwene’s demeanor and thoughtful comments are pushing things along. Yes, given time, Elaida would dig her own grave. But there is this looming time limit with the end of the world scheduled to happen in a few months. So someone has to move things along in order to have time to tack the Tower back together long enough to do some badassery fighting against evil…instead of innocents and other well-meaning folks.

That whole scene with the dungeon cell going all gooey was extremely disturbing! Still, I don’t think this is any worse than the ghost city that swallowed part of the caravan that was with the circus party a few books back.

5) Poor Aviendha is off counting tiny seeds whilst running across country. Can you offer any suggestions about what she has done wrong in the eyes of the Wise Ones?

I think this IS the final test. Yes, I believe it is fuckery by the Wise Ones to test Aviendha’s patience, mettle, and problem solving skills. Have you ever done that blanket test with your dogs? You take a blanket or towel, toss it over your standing dog, covering their head and see how long it takes them to get out of it. It’s suppose to be an intelligence test. Most of my dogs can toss it off within 5-20 seconds. But I did have one dog who would simply lie down and go to sleep.

I think all this BS from the Wise Ones is the blanket and they are counting to see how long it takes Aviendha to get out from under it.

6) We finally touch base with Gawyn in his efforts to disrupt the rebel siege. Can you think of anything that might make him finally see sense and join the rebel cause?

Well, I think if Gawyn saw Egwene’s breasts while she ordered him to join her side, he would do just that. 😉

But that isn’t likely to happen in the waking world any time soon. So I think he needs to see the bad guys do some truly bad guy things, like killing kids, squelching puppies, peeing in churches, etc. Gawyn has a head on his shoulders, but he also has a very loyal heart. So he needs something to slap him upside the head to break that loyalty.

7) Cadsuane and a few other Sisters are trying to get information out of Semirhage. Do you think they have any hope at all of succeeding, or will we have to endure many more creepy stories about how she can do truly diabolical things to peoples’ bodies?

I believe Cadsuane is correct. Physical torture would not undo Semirhage. She would just catalog her own reactions, noting what was of interest. And the silly psychological torture they are running isn’t going to do it either. So I look forward to seeing what Cadsuane comes up with to break Semirhage. What would break Cadsuane? Perhaps the threat of infinite boredom. I wonder if there is some large ter’angreal that would hold someone in stasis with no input from the world and yet leave their mind to spin in circles? Hmmm…Stasis Box anyone?

Squatch being cute.
Squatch being cute.

Other Tidbits:

Did I hear that right? Ituralde’s first love was a soft-handed prince with a jeweled sword grip? Ituralde is turning out to be one of my favorite side characters. I could go kick this bejeweled prince in the arse for him.

Can’t Rand use the Power to make a flaming left hand, or one out of glass or mist? Perhaps that takes more concentration than the poor lad has at the moment.

Faile swears her folks to secrecy over killing Masema. Oh, yeah, right. Like keeping secrets from Perrin has worked out so great so far!

May I slap Rand? He doesn’t want Semirhage tortured because she has a vagina? If the Dark One can pull the gender swap, surely the most powerful Aes Sedai can come up with something along the same lines!

6 thoughts on “The Gathering Storm, Part I”

  1. 1. Absolutely, poor old Mat is going to have to deploy some strenuous sexytimes in the service of the Light! 😀

    That is a very good point about the hierarchy, and I was surprised that Cadsuane or one of the other Sisters didn’t warn him that this messenger might not be believed or even allowed to send her message to Tuon. I think this is a case of him expecting people to simply do as they are told: after all the vomiting he can be forgiven for expecting the woman to be too terrified to defy him.

    2. I agree that I don’t think Taim is Demandred: he’s too unsubtle and not nearly powerful enough to be one of the Forsaken in disguise.

    No! If Rand is a horcrux (or equivalent) I may just demand my money back! 😀

    3. I was also rather surprised, but I suppose that a quick knife to the back was always a risk for a man with no sense of his own mortality. However, it did almost feel like Brandon Sanderson wanted to just get him out of the way ASAP and wasn’t prepared to drag it out more than necessary.

    4. I think Egwene and her repeated comments about unifying the Tower will finally start to sink in and push the Sisters into action. After all, it is much easier to persuade yourself that the Amyrlin must be replaced if you have a very suitable candidate waiting in the wings.

    True, but the permanent swapping of parts of the Tower seems more severe than anything else we’ve heard about. It just made me feel like the bubbles could be targeted somehow.

    5. That sounds both very amusing and a highly likely analogy. These Wise Ones can be very irritating when they want to be! 😀

    6. Ah, yes, I suspect that a little bit of ‘physical’ persuasion would work wonders with this idiot! 😀

    7. Boredom sounds like a good idea – though I think Cadsuane would be even more frustrated by trying to teach Elaida how to be a nice person! 😀

    I couldn’t agree more about Rand’s crazy sexism – Semirhage seems like the most perfect candidate for equal opportunity torture that we have met so far, even if I don’t think it would actually work in her case.

    1. True. I had forgotten about all the vomiting. I can see why the Seanchan didn’t go into a detailed discussion with Rand about proper obeisance and hierarchy.

      You’re probably right about the targeting of Tar Valon. Please let the Dark One target the Amyrlin Quarters!

      ‘Equal opportunity torture’ I like that phrase. I think it needs to go on a bumpersticker.

  2. I’m just glad Masema’s gone, no matter who killed him. But yes, Faile really should have learned from her track record for keeping secrets by now. And yeah, you’d think Rand could come up with some sort of Power-wrought prosthetic, right? If the Dragon Reborn can’t manage that, what hope do we have against the DO? And yes, I too wish Rand would get over his not-torturing-women thing. This woman is evil upon evil upon evil, so…it’s okay! 😀

    1. Perrin is such a good guy to Faile. She really doesn’t have to keep secrets from him. Sigh…..

      rand could make a different prosthetic for each day of the week with the power. It would be cool, impressive. It would scare the heck out of new allies and old enemies. Maybe Cadsuane will suggest it? Probably too much to hope for.

  3. Okay, think I know how this works. I enjoyed reading your answers and other comments. I’ve only got one thing to add.

    How much of Rand’s determination to not harm women stems from Lews Therin killing Ilyena? Maybe if Rand feels that if he gave in he would be giving into the madness. He want to believe that Lews Therin is real, he needs his help and he does not want to end up like him. So if he allows Semirhage to be tortured of killed, he would not have anything else to hold onto.

    1. I see what you’re saying but I feel that Rand is taking it too far. Of course, given all the stress he is under, that might be all that he can do right now – this extreme of not harming women. Let’s assume that Ilyena was an innocent or at least fighting for the good back in Therin’s day. Semirhage, on the other hand, enjoys boiling people alive. So, yeah, Rand is taking his protection of ladies a little too far.

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