The Gathering Storm, Part VII

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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, Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia, is our host and can be found in the comments. Make sure to swing by Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia  for cool fan art.  And Sue at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers has intellect and teensy violins.

This week, we covered the Chapters 42-END. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1.  Egwene appears very reluctant to forgive Siuan and Gawyn for having rescued her from Tar Valon.  Do you think she went overboard?  Has Siuan lost her status forever?  What sort of thing might it take for Egwene and Gawyn to finally get together as they should?

I might be in the minority here, but I feel that Egwene has been a highhanded with many people who have supported her these many months – like all the Salidar Aes Sedai, including Siuan. So, let’s start with Gawyn and Siuan – they had to make a split second decision in the middle of a battle. They saw the Seanchan forces were pulling out but they had no idea if they would regroup and attack again. Plus we have all those assassins running around and Siuan and Gawyn had no way to know how few there actually were. Lastly, they themselves were unwanted invaders in the Tower, so they had to leave anyway and was there anyone standing around looking competent and trustworthy that they could have handed Egwene off to? No. So, yeah, Egwene is being just a touch overly sensitive to this.

Next, she is welcomed into the Tower with open arms, asked to be the new Amyrlin. She makes her loyal ‘rebel’ Aes Sedai wait outside in a courtyard, the ceremony is had without them. She does give a nice harsh berating to the Tower Aes Sedai, but she does this in private. She then gives the Salidar Aes Sedai a very public (and less severe) berating. I thought this was rather rude and put the ‘rebels’ in a lesser standing than the Tower Aes Sedai.

Egwene still has plenty to learn about people in general and leading in specific.

I am not sure what it will take for Gawyn and Egwene to get back to the kiss-kiss state. Perhaps he will take a very bad wound and she will have to save his life and will realize in that moment what a dumbass she has been and want to spend the rest of her life with him and make babies and hav e a pet goat. It would suck if he took that nearly mortal injury from Rand but with the unfounded vengeance he has going for him, he might just force Rand into forcefully defending himself.

2.  The Black Ajah is purged and all its members are now either dead or missing.  Do you agree with Egwene’s plan, or would you have waited until after the reunification, to get all of them at once? Would you have liked to see the hunters in the White Tower (Saerin et al) play a larger role?

I think she did the best she could in that situation. After all, it was known by the Tower that Verin had passed away and that news would travel swiftly to the Salidar Aes Sedai. Not all but some of those Black would know that Verin was Black and the simple fact that she expired in Egwene’s room would cause them to worry (if they have 10 or more brain cells to rub together). Some of those would probably tell others, etc. I suspect that is why some of them disappeared as swiftly as they did.

Saerin and crew had their time in the limelight discovering a handful of the Black. But they also fucked up in forcing some of the Aes Sedai to swear oaths of obedience to them specifically. Naughty! Obviously, they weren’t ready to hold such power and the hunt had to come out into the open.

3.  The Aes Sedai are reunited, eight books after the split, with no more bloodshed.  What do you think of everything?  Do you agree with the decision to take Silviana as a keeper, and to distribute the blame?  What will now happen with the Red?  And just how epic were those speeches?

I already answered part of this question above (in Q. 1). I think Egwene was not equal in spreading the blame and publicly berating the Salidar Aes Sedai (after the private berating of the Tower fools) was not OK.

I really like that Egwene insisted that the stole and Amyrlin seat (throne?) have all the colors represented before she was crowned (raised?). And yes, I like that Silviana is her Keeper. She was steadfast and fair throughout her dealings with Egwene. She carried out her role and took no joy in beating Egwene.

I am not sure even Egwene knows exactly what (and how) she will do with the Reds at this point. She gave a very nice little speech about how their role will change but that they will be very important, etc. She sounded very convincing, but I know she has had plenty on her mind; so this might have been a nice bluff to keep them from fidgeting while she figures out what to do with them. I am not sure what she will have them do.

While I disliked her public negative remarks of the Aes Sedai, I did like her speech about becoming a force of Light to be reckoned with and how the Aes Sedai will be remembered as a unified force that fought for the good at the Last Battle instead of a bunch of bickering women who couldn’t prioritize.

4.  Were you happy to see Hurin again?  Do you think he was happy to see Rand?  What can be done now, from Rand’s side, to fix this problem with the Borderlanders?

It was nice to see Hurin and to see that his nose was still working. I think at first he was happy to see Rand but then when he realized how much Rand had changed, and how Rand did not return the affection, he was a bit disturbed.

Honestly, I think Rand messed up but I get why. I don’t think the Borderlanders are up to nefarious deeds nor are they trying to dodge their duties leading up to the Last Battle. But Rand has been tricked and shoved and attacked and forcefully Bonded and betrayed and he also has a few too many extra voices in his head. So, yeah the Borderlanders probably picked the location to protect themselves, but it could also be a set up for a trap. With Nynaeve and Cadsuane shoving him around, on top of everything else, I could see why this was just too much for him to trust the Borderlanders.

5.  Rand has a surprise meeting with Tam, for the first time since book one, and it does not go well!  Even though Rand was insane, how much blame rests with Cadsuane and Nynaeve here?

This was a great scene – so much going on and so many emotions yanked out of me! I really felt for Tam, and for Rand. They’ve always had a great relationship, Tam having raised him as his own in a loving, caring way. Rand returning that affection and respect. To see them so awkward with each and Rand needing to keep a barrier in place, calling his father ‘Tam’ instead of ‘dad’, etc. So sad to see. And yet, they were connecting, talking, sharing. At least, until Tam mentioned Cadsuane’s name.

I have to say that Cadsuane and Nynaeve have a large chunk of the blame to carry in this one. I think Min’s viewing needs to be reevaluated as I am pretty sure close inspection/reflection will show that both Rand and Cadsuane have something to teach the other in order for the world to go on spinning after the Last Battle. Cadsuane and Nynaeve can’t control everything and they certainly can’t control Rand.

6.  We got some more hints about the nature of Callandor, and now that the male Choedan Kal is also destroyed, they are more relevant than ever.  Does anyone want to try guessing what it’s for?

The sword Callandor is like Rand’s penis and the two female Channelers needed to wield it correctly are like Elayne and Aviendha. Min will be directing things and providing guidance, being the most experienced of the 4.

Or Callandor is simply a powerful weapon that needs 3 Channelers to get the most out of. Min, the brains in the bunch, will be the one to figure out how this all works and will convince Rand to give it a try.

7.  Rand travels to Dragonmount and has his epiphany.  Is he now sane for good?  What do you think he will be like when we see him again?  Was this what Cadsuane needed to teach him?  Feel free to speculate on the nature of the Lews Therin voice.

I have hopes that he is no sane for good. Of course he will have moments when he is sad, tired, stressed, questioning his actions, etc. But unless one of his Bonded ladies dies, I think he will be good to go for the rest of the series.

I think Rand will want to make some amends when next we see him. He’ll want to apologize to Tam and truly sit down and have a smoke and ale with him. He will probably want to let Nynaeve know that he has been insensitive about Lan’s ginormous task. I hope he tells some dirty limericks to Cadsuane and leaves her mystified. He’ll apologize to Min and then make sweet, crazy loud sex with her. Egwene has said in the past that Rand will bow to the Amyrlin Seat, so I am sure that will have to get worked out and the new, laid back (in comparison) Rand might not mind at all.

I am thinking that Rand probably still has to learn something from Cadsuane. Perhaps something to do with Callandor? Or maybe it is that he has to learn to trust a female Channeler, and not just any Channeler, but one he feels used him, lied to him, put his life at risk, etc.

Eivind shared several theories about Lews Therin several books back. The theory that stands out most to me is that Lews was Rand’s way of segregating his crazy thoughts and giving them a persona he could argue with and lock away from time to time. However, this idea that Lews was truly all in Rand’s head doesn’t explain the knowledge on past events & people Lews made available to Rand.

Squatch being cute.
Squatch being cute.

Other Tidbits:

Shiriam was beheaded! And why such an execution? I totally agree with executing them, but since they have so many ways of killing them, why that method? And what will they do with the distraught (and the Darkfriendish) Warders?

When Cadsuane bundled Tam up in air and lifted him, I loved his response. He called her a bully, and she is. While she released him, I hope she takes his comments to heart and adjusts her manner. Through out this series, this has probably been the biggest aspect about the Aes Sedai that I have found infuriating – so many of them are bullies!

 

4 thoughts on “The Gathering Storm, Part VII”

  1. I totally agree with you about how Egwene treated the Rebels, that Cadsuane deserved a lot of the blame about what happened with Tam, and most of the rest. We’re on the same page. 😀 I actually thought the same things about the beheadings. While I had no objection to them in principle, one would think they’d use the One Power somehow. I envisioned kind of a light saber/laser sort of thing that would have made it quick. But then maybe that counts as using the One Power as a weapon. I don’t know. And I hope everything you laid out for Rand to do–apologize to Tam, Min, etc.–happens. 😀 Such a fabulous WoT installment overall. My WoT Post

    1. You’re probably right about the using of the One Power in an execution is too close to using it as a weapon. Still, they have herbs and poisons. I was just surprised because execution by sharp sword, while quick for the victim, is messy, showy, etc.

  2. 1. I would never have been able to stay mad for more than a few minutes. I guess Egwene is made of harder stuff than I. Siuan will of course not be lost for ever, but now that the Tower is reunited and Egwene’s seat is presumably secure, I wonder how much use she will be. Aes Sedai will be Aes Sedai, of course, but one might hope that they’ll be a little less Aes Sedai in the run up to the Last Battle, and so Egwene might not need Siuan as a super secret intrigue spy any more.

    Gawyn still needs to get his wake up call.

    2. I agree it was perhaps best to do it this way, since the Black want the tower to remain divided, they might have interfered with the attack if she hadn’t purged them prior to that. So it was necessary, but it sucks having half the Black Ajah out and about doing God only knows what. But then again, we need to save some baddies for the final crescendo.

    I’ve heard a theory that Jordan intended the Black Ajah hunters to have a larger role than they did, but the story got a little away from him, and he had to use Verin and Egwene to perform this stunt. Or Brandon had to do it… but according to him, the Egwene storyline was one of those that were the most fleshed out for him before he started the project, so I assume this was Jordan’s idea.

    3. Egwene could make a career as a speech writer, were she not Amyrlin. 🙂

    Very happy to have the Tower finally back together, sealing one of the longest running storylines we’ve had, in a great and entertaining manner. Egwene was boss, but I’ve talked about that so much already. Silviana: brilliant. I wonder how many Keepers have spanked their Amyrlins so much…

    4. I definitely did not expect to ever see Hurin again, after he was forgotten back in book three. I would have liked the reunification to be happy instead of gloomy, but now that Rand has presumably reached his final form, I might get what I want after all. I expect the new Rand to be quite happy to enter Far Madding, trusting the decency of the Borderland monarchs.

    5. Damn… all the reunions. And none of them really turning out the way I want them to. I hope Rand can meet up with Tam in the next book, like with Hurin, and just fix everything. We can’t win the Last Battle like this, can we?

    Totally agree with Tam berating Cadsuane, and that was also great to see. She needs to reconsider her approach to this, but now that her plan succeeded after all… maybe she won’t need to.

    6. Can’t talk much about this. 🙂

    7. What a great scene, and not your usual kind of epic battle ending either. Reading Rand in this book has been a trying experience, and so when I ‘heard’ him laugh I must have been as relieved as him. I think Sanderson does this really well, projecting some of the feelings of the characters onto the reader. I know they did this in the last book to great effect, but more on that later.

    Other.

    So… the mystery of the too-young sitters is finally revealed! The Ajah heads have been sending planted sitters with the purpose of trying to reunite the Tower diplomatically. This answers some questions about the voting patterns, as well, and if you want to you can go back through the books to sort them out.

    The people who voted for talks with Elaida, against the declaration of war, and against the raising of Egwene, were likely to be these planted and younger sitters. Their job was to secure a diplomatic reunification.

    The people who voted against talks with Elaida, for the declaration of war, and for the raising of Egwene, were likely to be Black (even though not all were… there weren’t that many blacks). Their job was to ensure the split endured perpetually.

    1. Since Siuan is now bonded to Brynne, one of the greatest commanders left standing, I am guessing she will have some role to play just because of the info she will be privy to.

      Maybe Silviana will get to spank the Amyrlin again, since spanking occurs regularly in this book. 😉

      Tam is now one of my favorite side characters for telling Cadsuane she is a bully, right when she is demonstrating her bullyness. He rocks!

      I can see how when I read this series again in a few years I will be looking more closely at such details as who voted for what during the Tower split.

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