The Gathering Storm, Part III

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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, I am your host. Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia, can be found in the comments. Make sure to swing by Sue’s at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers for logic and tiny, tiny violins (on occasion). Stop by Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia. There’s plenty of cool non-spoilery fan art.

This week, we covered the Chapters 14-21. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1) When get a little more quality time with Semirhage. Cadsuane seems to have come up with a way to get under her skin. Do you think it will be enough to get answers from Semirhage? Cadsuane believes it is important to keep Semirhage alive in order to learn useful weaves from her. Do you agree with this logic? Or are you all for killing her?

I think that Cadsuane’s first victory with Semirhage was partly due to the surprise factor. It has probably been millennia since someone spanked Semirhage (there is a lot of spanking in this series, don’t you think?). But I expect Semirhage will get over this initial shock and the ladies will have to come up with more insidious ways to disrespect Semirhage. What could be worse than being spanked in front of servants and eating your green beans off the floor? Well, the Aiel are pretty good at degrading people, so I expect Sorilea will play a part in breaking Semirhage.

I don’t agree with Cadsuane about keeping Semirhage alive in order to learn weaves from her. We have some Aes Sedai who are 1) very strong in the power and 2) have been developing new weaves and rediscovering old forgotten weaves. I would sleep easier knowing Semirhage was dead.

2) Moridin and Rand have a heart to heart. Rand seems to understand the two of them are connected somehow. Do you think he will make use of this information? Upon waking from this chat, Rand confesses to Min about Lews Therin. Will Min tell others as she told others about Rand’s time in the box? And would that be a good or bad thing?

Rand has a lot on his plate right now and I don’t think he will put too much thought into the fact that he is tied to Moridin. I expect that this little fact won’t occur to him again until some critical moment where either someone damages/kills Moridin and it sends Rand into shock or Rand needs Moridin taken out and decides to put a sword through his own foot to distract Moridin.

I expect that Min will tell someone at some point. Perhaps Cadsuane real soon in order to explain to her why Rand is snappish. Perhaps she will tell Elayne or even Aviendha later in order to explain why Rand is trying so hard to keep them all at arm’s length. In this particular case, I don’t think it would be a bad thing, though if Rand were to feel a little betrayed by Min being chatty, I couldn’t blame him either. This struggle with Lews Therin has been very private and very personnel for several long months.

3) Egwene matches wits with three White Sisters (Ferane, Miyasi, & Tesan). And then she is forced to match wits wits with Elaida in front of the Sitters. Will there be harsh punishment for Egwene, beyond the beating Elaida gave her? How will the Sitters react to this? Or will we still have to wait for the Seanchan to invade before the Aes Sedai get their act together?

Oh yeah. I expect that Elaida may even order Egwene Stilled. I think this is my greatest concern for Egwene right now. If Elaida ordered her killed, I believe too many of the Tower Aes Sedai would object or even outright smuggle Egwene out. Of course, Egwene can show others Sisters Traveling and be out of the Tower that way too. But Elaida could order her Stilled and Egwene might not have the time to escape that punishment.

I really, really want the Sitters and the rest of the Aes Sedai to rise up against Elaida but I expect we will need the Seanchan to come boiling over the Tower walls before the Aes Sedai decide Elaida is too stupid and arrogant to lead a paper doll making class. So I expect the Sitters will talk amongst themselves, maybe even among the strongest of each of their Ajahs. Perhaps they might even start making plans, drawing up draft letters to Elaida asking her to step down, etc. But I wouldn’t expect any of them to take action right away.

4) The rebel Aes Sedai have word that the White Tower now has the art of Traveling. Do you believe Elaida is aware of this weave? Or is it just a handful of Red Aes Sedai testing it out? And what do you make of Lelaine’s latest actions? What can Siuan do from this point on in holding the Aes Sedai together?

I don’t think Elaida is aware of this weave, nor does she know how to do it herself. If she did, she wouldn’t be able to hold back from throwing that fact in Egwene’s face. I this it is the Black Ajah that has finally learned it and is testing it out while gathering tribute. The rebel Aes Sedai would be wise to check with their folks on the inside of the Tower to see if any gates have opened behind the walls or if there is talk about this new miraculous weave.

Lelaine is an idiot. She won’t be seen as the hero of this mess that she helped create. Of course she thinks by encouraging chaos and panic that she will be able to step in and be the voice of reason. But things won’t go down that way. Of course, I have a bit more knowledge than she does – like Egwene’s current conflict inside the Tower and also the Seanchan plans to invade the area.

Siuan is taking the correct actions- making sure the camp is as secure as possible. Of course, when the Seanchan show up she will still be surprised, but at least the camp is already on full alert. As to holding the camp together, I expect more Novices will be coming to her to help carry her laundry, bringing her info and listening to her advice. But Egwene needs to hurry up!

5) Tuon holds court in Ebou Dar. Did you find her offer to Beslan fair? Now that she has seen the heads of trollocs, creatures she believed to be of myth, do you think she will be more open to listening to Randlanders?

OK, I have to say that I wasn’t a fan of the Seanchan when they first appeared and it has taken like 10 books for me to start to like them as individuals. Tuon’s high-handed take with Beslan just ticked me off once again. Beslan was given 2 choices – swear fealty or be executed (with honor). That’s it. And Tuon made it sound like both were favors. The Seanchan don’t understand why the Randlanders resist them so, continue to uprise, don’t take the Seanchan oaths seriously and it is because of this kind of thing. Tuon did not show respect for Beslan’s culture nor for his sovereignty. Leaving him in place to rule under the Seanchan is a convenience for them. I think Tuon needs a spanking.

I really hope that she takes on a Randlander as a consultant, even if it is Mat. Having trolloc bodies and heads as examples should give her pause the next time a Randlander says something about ta’verens or bubbles of evil, etc. It might be easier to convince her Truthsayer/Speaker and then have her convince Tuon that she needs to put weight behind reports of such things.

6) Mat opens by comparing women to goats. Did you find his behavior to be ‘husbandly’? Was his own ta’veren-ness working against him in keeping the Aes Sedai with him or was it his own goat-like behavior?

Ha! Well, for Mat, yeah, he was acting a bit protective of Tuon. I guess I need to see him in a tavern, a little toasted, with plenty of flirtatious young ladies around to see if he is truly acting husbandly.

I am guessing that Mat will run into some trouble soon and that the Aes Sedai will come in handy. Therefore, I think his own ta’veren-ness kept him from sending them off with 20 horses and being free of them. Perhaps he will need their help getting off to his super secret mission to rescue Moiraine.

7) Perrin returns to the dream-wolf world, promptly insults the wolves, and is tossed out. Will he be able to conquer his own fears? And if he does, what will he do with the wolves then? Faile has yet more secrets from Perrin. Do you find this good or bad?

Perrin has set his mind to conquering his fear of his inner wolf and I expect he will do just that. Perrin takes a while to consider and decide his course of action. but once he has made that decision, that is what he does.

I expect that we will see Perrin using his inner wolf and the willing wolves around him as scouts at first, but then as soldiers. In the end, I am pretty sure they will be at the last battle and once that is all done, I expect Perrin will have to howl in grief as he buries their numerous bodies. sniffle

I think Faile is silly to keep the secret of Masema’s death from Perrin. But I can see why she would find it difficult to tell Perrin about Rolan, how it protected her even as he flirted with her, how Perrin killed him. For now, I say let her have her privacy in this matter but I expect their relationship would be the stronger if she shared this tale later, perhaps after Tarmon gaidon.

Squatch being cute.
Squatch being cute.

Other Tidbits:

You know how some movies and books do body counts – the total number of dead by the end of the story? Well, WoT needs a spanking count – total number of characters spanked, and yes, if a character gets spanked more than once, we can count each individual spanking. Swats to the bottom while being carried through snow by an Aiel counts too.

We have several arrogant groups who all try very hard to hold to their ideas of honor and justice; the Aiel, the Aes Sedai, and the Seanchan. I could toss in the Sea Folk but we haven’t heard much from them this book yet. I sometimes find myself wanting to smack all their heads together. Each seems convinced their way is the best way and to hell with learning about the others.

Everyone wants the Dragon Reborn to kneel at their feet – the White Tower (even Egwene!) and the Seanchan in particular. I find this notion very amusing. Rand, kneel. Ha!

The Seanchan still want to enslave all the women who can channel! Argh! I can’t root for these folks no matter how organized they are, no matter how likely they would be the ones to actually get the job done of uniting Randland.

7 thoughts on “The Gathering Storm, Part III”

  1. There IS a lot of spanking in the series. Maybe Jordan had a fettish. I don’t know. 😀 I thought the same thing about Travelling–that if Elaida had it, we would have heard about it on Egwene’s end. Lelaine is definitely an idiot, and Siuan is doing a good job doing all the Rebels’ thinking for them. I actually thought the thing with Beslan might be a good thing. I’m not sure he’s up to full scale revolution against the seanchan. And if the’re staying, they’ll need a land to rule. That said, I do understand your point. They have a long way to go before they’re very likable. And yeah, the sooner everyone loses their delusions of grandeur about Rand kneeling, the better! 😀
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    1. Well, if Jordan had a spanking fetish, I guess that just means he’s human.

      You’re right. Beslan isn’t up to a revolution. While it would be honorable, it would also make a lot of bloodshed.

  2. 1. I really liked this one. I think if it hadn’t been for the Egwene/Elaida scene, it would be my favourite moment from this part. Although if I recall correctly, there’s too much awesome coming up to pick just a single favourite from each week. 🙂

    Knowing what’s coming, I have to agree with Sue that keeping Semirhage alive is a risk they can’t take. Better just to kill her now. But alas, even Cadsuane is not above making mistakes. I don’t want to say too much more than that.

    On the other hand, I wonder if, even knowing what’s coming, Rand would find it in himself to kill a woman. I’m honestly not sure.

    2. This dream sequence was a nice throwback to the earlier books. If I’m not mistaken, it’s the same place where Ishamael, in his previous body, brought the kids to try to impress them before they even knew what was happening. I’m not sure exactly how someone (Rand or Moridin) would make use of being connected like this, so I guess we will just have to wait and see what, if anything, they come up with.

    Min might talk to someone else, but I doubt she’ll tell everyone. She’s not the kind of person to break Rand’s trust that way. Ordinarily I would say it’s a good thing, but who knows how Rand will react? He’s not the most stable of people at the moment.

    3. Wow, Elaida got rekt. The Dark One would be embarrassed to associate with you? Hahaha.

    I guess Elaida will use everything in her power over Egwene now, but she has a problem with the Hall. Several important Sitters saw her completely lose control and come close to murdering a novice, not to mention the *actual* contents of the preceding debate, where she showed just what a disaster she is. Expect there to be at least some open discussion about removing her.

    4. I’ve read everyone else’s answers now, and nobody seems to believe that Elaida knows Traveling. If you go back to Knife of Dreams, chapter 2, you can see where it comes from. In the aftermath of Egwene’s capture, Beonin fled the rebels and joined the loyalists, and in the process she taught Elaida how to Travel. Elaida then instructs her to keep it secret, and only teach it to others on her express permission.

    So yes, Elaida does know how to Travel. And yes, she’s managed to keep herself from gloating about it. She may be a lunatic, but she’s not stupid. Not really.

    5. Yeah, I think it was fair. Tuon is showing herself to be a quite reasonable ruler. Note that she did NOT give the go-ahead for Yulan to attack Tar Valon. (Yet.) The meeting with Rand will presumably come first.

    I think Tuon has learned already from Mat and Setalle Anan to listen more to the Randlanders and not to dismiss their ideas out of hand. Which is nice. And probably necessary.

    6. He’s worried to death about Tuon, at least. Speaking as someone else in a long distance relationship, that sounds exactly like me. So yeah.

    7. I asked last week what Perrin needs to do to get ready for the Last Battle, and we see it here. One: become the people’s king that the story is clearly building up to (i.e. accept his role), and two: master the wolf dream (T’A’R). Like Liesel, I’m really looking forward to the latter, because I quite like the wolves. Like I said before, they’re just so wonderfully alien and different from everyone else in the series that it’s a breath of fresh air to read about them. And it’s a far sight better than reading about moping whiny Perrin. 🙂

    Other.

    Now that we have read a Mat chapter I’m interested to hear from everyone what you think about Sanderson’s writing style. Most of the fans agree that he’s adapted quite well, except that Sanderson’s Mat doesn’t quite sound like Jordan’s Mat. In fact, Sanderson himself agrees.

    1. I liked seeing Semirhage in shock and having to eat her dinner from the floor after her little tantrum. Spanking of grown women always raises my eyebrow a quirk, especially since it happens so often in this series.

      True. I am more worried about Rand’s paranoia than I am about Min confiding in 1 or 2 carefully chosen people.

      Oh, that’s right! Now that you point out that Beonin taught Elaida Traveling, I remember. I guess after seeing Egwene school Elaida and Elaida lose control, I just couldn’t recall her ever having the wits to be discreet.

      I’m still doing the audiobooks, and the transition from Jordan to Sanderson has been quite good. I have not noticed any issues with Mat in particular, but I also have the narrators keeping his voice and intonation the same no matter who wrote the scenes. I have noticed that Sanderson seems to give the characters a little more introspection than Jordan did.

    2. 1. Rand really, really needs to overcome his ‘not killing women’ rule – how much trouble could he have saved by zapping Sevanna or Lanfear?

      2. I think Min is so worried that Lews Therin is actually Rand going mad that she will keep her mouth shut for now – she is unlikely to admit that he is losing his mind to anyone.

      3. I now have an image of the Dark One disowning Elaida in total disgust! 😀

      4. Doh! How quickly we forget! Sorry, Elaida, for thinking that you are a total idiot!

      6. It’s not like Mat is going to admit to being worried about her or start knitting her socks or something obvious, but he seems concerned to me.

      7. Yep – I laughed out loud when Hopper kicked him out of the dream! 😀

      I must be totally rubbish at analysis, because I don’t really feel as if there has been a noticeable change in style . . .

  3. 1. I hadn’t really noticed an overabundance of spanking . . . but now that you mention it . . . I guess that Mr Jordan grew up in an era where tanning someone’s backside was a fairly common event.

    I agree with you that this apparent breakthrough is probably due to Semirhage’s astonishment. I am not sure that it will last long, mainly because it seems far to easy to conquer her that simply.

    Again, I agree – the only good Forsaken is one who has had a taste of balefire.

    2. I am constantly amazed that Rand’s head doesn’t explode: he has so much to deal with! Poor lad!

    At the moment it seems that Min is not quite sure what exactly is happening with Lews Therin. If she believes that it is a sign of Rand’s madness, she might try not to tell anyone else about it, but once she starts to understand that it is something else, she might be more forthcoming to those who could help.

    3. I guess the one reason for Elaida to not order Stilling is that is no longer a permanent punishment. It is common knowledge that Leane and Siuan are both very much alive and using the One Power again, so it would be a rather futile gesture. But we know that Elaida isn’t the most intelligent of women, so she could very well try this tactic.

    I agree: Aes Sedai are very stubborn and slow to action, so I am not sure that they will want to act yet. However, I am fairly certain that Elaida’s influence in the Tower is now in negative figures! 😀

    4. Agreed: Elaida would never be able to resist gloating if she discovered the Traveling weaves.

    It is people like Lelaine who are making it so difficult for the Good Guys to form a cohesive force to face the Dark One. Hello, Lelaine, the END OF DAYS is approaching and you are worrying about your petty attempts at power! Grr!

    I found it interesting that the ancient Novice lady was so astute about who could actually do something useful with her information. It seems likely that the older women are heartily sick of all the squabbling between the Sisters and would probably like to smack all their heads together! It will be interesting to see if Egwene maintains the status quo when she reunifies the Tower: it seems to me that it could do with a radical rethink of its structures and how they function in a time of crisis.

    5. I’m afraid that Tuon is simply a product of her culture and her particular upbringing. She has been taught that she is the absolute ruler of the whole world, so she takes that for granted. She is remarkably lacking in understanding of the rebellious nature of the Randlanders: but she comes from a place where people have been controlled by the Empire for so many generations that a successful rebellion is an impossibility to them. I understand why you find her high handed and annoying, but I think it actually quite a good example of showing the differences that can exist between cultures.

    I suspect that Tuon is somewhat overconfident in her assessment of the Trolloc threat at the moment. However, once there are a few more encounters I suspect that her most trusted military advisors will start laying out the truth for her. She is a quick learner and will adjust her plans accordingly.

    6. Even Mat must agree that Aes Sedai can be mighty useful when a bubble of evil pops up out of nowhere, so keeping a few around is prudent.

    7. I suspect that Elyas has been through this same process, and would be quite a good person to speak to . . . but when do these characters ever talk to someone obvious for advice????

    Yep – I expect a valiant wave of wolves being slaughtered in the Last Battle as I cry endlessly at the loss of brave canines. 🙁

    I believe that we are prejudiced against the concept of damane because we began this story in the heads of free women who can wield the One Power as they wish. However, the Seanchan certainly make their channelers effective weapons: something that is most definitely not true for the Randlanders. The White Tower has actually been very good at reducing the life expectancy of the Aes Sedai, sending away any women who are ‘not suitable’ and in reducing the prevalence of Channeling in the general population. They are also a bunch of pigheaded, disorganized narcissists who are more interested in their internal politics than in preparing for the Last Battle. Whilst I agree that the slave-like treatment of the damane is horrible, they will certainly be much more useful to Rand in the end. 

    1. I grew up with spankings and for disciplining children, I see why it is done. But there is spanking of only adults in this series. And while it is often referred to as treating one as a child, it is far harder to spank an adult and get the same effect as you do in spanking a child. So….I think there is some fetish involved. 😉

      I think for Egwene, Stilling would not be so mild a punishment. She is currently a prisoner and, if I remember correctly, there is no one within the Tower that knows how to heal a Stilling. So if Egwene was Stilled right now, she could possibly fall in to some despair over it as it can’t be immediately remedied. Plus, in the few healings we have seen, the healed Aes Sedai doesn’t regain her original power, and we all know how Aes Sedai value that shear power-wielding muscle.

      You are right about Tuon and Jordan/Sanderson did a good job conveying her cultural upbringing through in her thoughts, words, and actions. I guess you could say that my irritation with this character is a testament to their writing skill.

      Ha! So true. The Seanchan Channelers as a whole will definitely score more points in the Last Battle than the disorganized, power-seeking Aes Sedai. Oh, I am sure that some (Egwene, Nynaeve, Elayne, Cadsuane, etc.) will kick major ass. But the bulk of the work of holding back the overwhelming hordes will see death by damane.

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