Towers of Midnight, Part VIII

JordanTowersOfMidnightBannerWelcome everyone to Book 13 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and the final week of this read along. We start Book 14 next week and here is the schedule for A Memory of Light if you want to join us.

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

This week, we covered the Chapters 49-END. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1) Aviendha’s visions finally show us the decision that will place the Aiel upon their path to destruction. That first step seems so logical, so will she be able to persuade the Wise Ones to avoid it when only she has seen this future? Can you see any way that Randland can avoid being overwhelmed by the Seanchan, even if the Aiel try to preserve the Dragon’s Peace?

Well, Aviendha is Bonded to the Dragon Reborn, so if the Aiel won’t listen to her, then Rand will. She just needs to convince one party or the other….or prevent Tuon from being assassinated. That was part of the vision, too, right? That the Seanchan had a leader who seemed amenable to some kind of reasonable peace, but then she died and the new ruler is a ruthless pain in the ass. So, with 3 paths to change this future, I think Aviendha will be able to make it happen.

The Seanchan are driven by honor. I think that if someone pointed out their lack of honor in abandoning their homeland, then a chunk of them would go home to stomp out the trollocs (or whatever the Seanchan equivalent is). Then perhaps trade would ensue and there would be no need for whole sale Seanchan dominance. Plus, I really don’t like the Seanchan and if the series ends with them ruling Randland I will be mightily put out.

2) Elayne takes the Sun Throne without bloodshed. Were you impressed by her method of uniting the two countries or do you think that it will offer her enemies a neat way to gain power? Will she ever beat the Daes Dae’mar out of the Cairhienien nobility?

I haven’t been Elayne’s biggest fan of late. I have found her choices to be driven by childish whim or need without a whole lot of thought being put into them (gaining her first throne was more Birgitte’s work, challenging the Forsaken and nearly being killed, threatening to execute Perrin, etc.) so her well through out path to teh Sun Throne both surprised me and seemed out of character. She has been playing the twit for the past few books, so has she finally slowed down a bit, learned from her mistakes? Is she listening to her mom? We’ll have to see if she reverts back to her twitness in the final book.

No, I think Daes Des’mar is here to stay.

3) It seems that I was wrong for wanting Rand to deal with the Borderlanders earlier. Do you feel as if this plotline has reached a satisfying resolution or do you think that the Borderlanders should have been keeping a watch on the Blight instead? Where do you expect Rand to send them next: to their respective homes or to Tarwin’s Gap?

While I was amused and a little awed that the Borderlanders basically set aside their lives to deliver a few bitch slaps to Rand, I also have to tilt my head to the side and quirk an eyebrow. Really? They couldn’t be doing anything better with their time? And they felt the need to bring such a large contingent? Really, it would only take like 3 of them to do this little prophesy test of theirs. All the forced they brought with them couldn’t keep them safe if Rand decided to kill them.

I think Rand will have a use for them and Tarwin’s Gap sounds like a good one.

4) Both Pevara and Androl have detected people who have undergone mysterious changes. I guess that we all think that Taim is responsible, but do we have any idea of what has actually happened to them? I was a little unsure of Javindhra: has she undergone a similar transformation to Tarna, or does she have some other reason for wanting to stay in the Black Tower?

Could it be some kind of Compulsion or perhaps possession? We have seen Graendal possessing birds and spying. So is it possible for other Forsaken or even the Dark One to possess some Asha’men? Even and Aes Sedai or two? Whatever it is, it’s not good.

If Tarna is Black Ajah and she is working with Taim to create these transformations, then that could also be the answer in her case.

5) Foxes and Snakes and blindings, oh my! The Tower of Ghenjei certainly took its toll on our heroes, but at least Thom and Moiraine are happy now! This section was so jammed with action, revelations and fulfilled prophecies: did you manage to follow it all or were you a little overwhelmed? It seems that the second red doorway, in the Stone of Tear, has also been destroyed: do you think that Finn will finally stop receiving visitors now?

Wow! There was so much in this section and no, I didn’t follow it all. This series has gotten ever more complicated as we moved through it, so I am sure there are several small things that I missed. Plus, it looks like TOR is or just has released a WoT book with back stories for some of our side characters, stories that never made it into the series. So, yeah, I expect I missed stuff through out this big chase/fight scene.

I expect the Finn have more than just the 2 ways for people to wander in and out. Those two red doorways might have once been the Aes sedai ways, but I bet the Finn deal with more than just the Aes sedai.

6) So, Noal WAS Jain Farstrider. Were you surprised by this revelation? What did you think of his ‘death’: is he really gone, or trapped like Moiraine? Alternatively, did he die such a hero’s death that he might become bound to the Horn like Birgitte?

Uh, no, I wasn’t surprised Noal was Jain Fartstrider. I think that was broadcast loud and clear long before we got to the Tower of Ghenjei. I am guessing he is trapped by the Finn and will be drained unless he can find a way to either kill himself or force them to kill him. Once he is truly dead, then I think it would be fitting for him to be bound to the Horn (unless he is super tired and needs one big rest, then I think the Wheel should give that to him).

7) Olver seems to mirror Mat quite a lot, from his way with serving girls to his ability to beat a game that is supposedly impossible to win. It seems that his nosiness was rather fortuitous, but do you think that Verin’s letter will prove at all useful now that the Trolloc attack has already started? Do you think that she should have left instructions that would have actually made Mat open the letter in time to prepare for the attack?

Even though Talmanes and crew will be getting to the party late, I still think the info in Verin’s letter will prove useful: they know how the trollocs are getting in and can shut it down. No one else has that info and it’s already going to be somewhat chaotic inside the city anyway. I fear Talmanes may die a hero’s death in trying to save the city.

No, I don’t think instructions demanding Mat open the letter at a certain time would have been good. He balks at any directions from women, especially from Aes Sedai. So, verin making any such demand would not have worked.

8) Evil Aiel with filed teeth!!?!??!? Discuss!

I can’t recall if the Shaido had a color scheme involving red or not. I figure after Sevanna was captured and hauled off (along with others), then the remaining Shaido probably broke up into smaller bands. This could be one of them. It appears they have no sense of honor, at least in regards to Wetlanders. If they attack the Seanchan and even come close to succeeding in killing someone high up (like Tuon/Fortunata), then the Seanchan won’t bother to discriminate – they will hunt down all Aiel.

9) Lanfear barges into Rand’s happy place and asks him to help her. I suspect that we were supposed to be surprised that she was still alive, especially after Moiraine’s report of her death at the hands of the Finn, but had you already suspected this? Do you think that Rand will dash off to save her, and, if so, will she finally turn from the Shadow, be a decent person and help the man that she supposedly loves?

Wasn’t Lanfear now … uh.. whatever her name is that dresses in slinky clothing? And Moridin has her leashed via one of those little gilded cages he wears around his neck. So, yeah, we know she’s not dead and the Finn lied to Moiraine. Or the Dark One (or a minion) had to kill Lanfear while she was in the Finn’s keeping and then revive her afterwards.

I think Rand will have heartburn over yet another woman being tortured. And, as we saw way back like in book 2 or 3, Rand believes you simply have to want to stop serving the Dark One in order to be counted among the good again. I say, actions speak way louder than words, so Lanfear is going to have to prove herself in my book before I vote for her rescue.

If Lanfear miraculously turns from the dark, I expect that she will then be killed in some heroic attempt to either save Rand or someone he cares about.

Squatch having a snack
Squatch having a snack

Other Tidbits:

Just smile and nod at the evil crazy Asha’men. Just smile a nod and keep walking.

So Mat was stunned by Moiraine and Thom proposing marriage to one another. Uh…So was I. When did they ever get around to kissy kissy? I’ll definitely be paying attention to their every exchange when I do a reread in the future.

Can ta’veren-ness wear off on other people? Like Olver showing signs of incredible luck? Or was that just the Wheel’s way to 1) show Olver that the Finn can be beaten and 2) get him to wrap up the game and go dig through Mat’s mail like a cheeky blighter?


8 thoughts on “Towers of Midnight, Part VIII”

  1. LOL. I love the “smile and wave, boys” applied to the Ashamen. It made me smile. Don’t feel bad about not picking up on Thom and Moiraine. I didn’t at first either. I had it figured out by 2/3 way through the series, though I honestly think that’s because I read the theory online. Someone–Perrin maybe?–had a dream of Thom pulling Moiraine’s forehead necklace out of a fire, which people figured meant he’d rescue her. From there, it wasn’t a huge leap to maybe there were feeling there. But they definitely were NOT obvious. I think the Olver thing may have something to do with his role in the final book, a foreshadowing of sorts, but I couldn’t vouch for the science/logic of it. 😀

    1. Hmm…. Now I wonder what Olver will be up to in the final book. I do still worry that he will sacrifice himself for one of our heroes and that will drive them onwards to great heroic feats, or sacrifice.

  2. 1. I hadn’t thought that Tuon’s death could be assassination: I must be getting soft in my old age! I did wonder why her and Mat’s offspring was so unreasonable, but her replacement by a different Seanchan noble would be a much better explanation for the change of policy. Unfortunately, I suspect that the chance of assassination is always quite high for the Empress. I too am starting to really not like the Seanchan – and you make a good point that they should go home and sort out their own country first before wrecking Randland.

    2. I too have been getting fed up of Elayne’s rashness and “baby brain”. I suspect that Morgase may have had some input into this scheme, but we will probably never know the full details.

    3. Again, I agree! I know that they wanted to be able to kill Rand if he was a False Dragon, but I was rather thinking of their vows to protect their people from the hordes of Shadowspawn pouring out of the Blight . . . bad Borderlanders!

    4. I get the feeling that it is more than Compulsion, but I suspect that it is not voluntary . . .

    5. Sadly, I think you are probably correct: the Finn will continue to get their jollies so how! 🙁

    6. His cover story was a bit weak, wasn’t it? 😀

    7. Of course: she could have just told him to guard the Waygate . . .

    8. They seem a little extreme, even for Shaido.

    9. I really hope that Rand doesn’t try to rescue Lanfear otherwise I might just dislocate my eyeballs from rolling them too hard! 😀

    Smiling at the evil Asha’man was making me very nervous: I doubt that Androl can sleep at night!

    Yep: Thom and Moiraine getting all down and dirty certainly flew past me as well! 😀

    I assumed that Olver’s luck was a reflection of Mat’s success, but I like your suggestion that it was just a way for fate to get him to open the letter.

    1. Yep, the Seanchan are definitely into assassinations and I don’t expect that nugget of their culture to change within a generation.

      Ah, yes, she could have given Mat the choice of guarding the Waygate for X number of days or reading her letter. But Verin had some heavy shit on her mind, so I think I can forgive her this one bit of silliness.

      I like your idea of the evil Aiel better than mine.

      Moiraine and Thom all down and dirty – in the bushes as they travel together. Hmmm…. Could it have been? Would spanking be involved? 😉

  3. This is a bit late but I just want to point out one thing now that Mat’s lost his eye.
    Jordan’s thoughts about the Wheel of time was that some our events (that happens in a different age from the book’s) are the basis for their myths and some of their events are the basis for our myths.

    Look at the three Ta’veren (Rand, Mat and Perrin).
    They have many similarities with Norse mythological figures.
    -Rand have many of the aspects of Tyr from Norse mythology (including the missing hand).
    -Mat have many apects of Odin in his character (a special spear, missing one eye, associated with Ravens, battles)
    -Perrin have some similarities with Thor the main one is the magic hammer (compare the name Mah’alleinir to Mjölnir). There’s also a lot of similarities with the slavic god Perun which is the slavic equivalent of Thor.

    There are also a lot of things taken from the King Arthur Legend
    Arthur Hawkwing
    The sword in the stone (of Tear)
    The names of Morgase, Moriaine, Gawyn (Gawain), Galad (Galahad) and so on.

    If you re-read the series you can see a lot more of these things. This is just a small sample of all the homages (references) to our mythological stories.

    1. Yeah, we had a little bit of chit chat during the read along about Jordan’s use of mythology for the series. I think King Arthur was a pretty obvious one. The links to Norse mythology were a little more hidden and definitely didn’t become fully apparent until late in the series. That’s one thing I really enjoyed about the series. I wouldn’t know who Perun is except for having read Kevin Hearne’s The Iron Druid Chronicles. I am sure there are more reference in WoT that I have missed and that is a good reason to give it a reread in a few years. What do you think about the Baddies? Do they have equivalents in mythology? Other than Satan and some of his henchmen.

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