A Memory of Light, Part IV

WOT 14Welcome everyone to Book 14 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and the final week of this read along. Here is the schedule for A Memory of Light if you want to join us.

This week, I am the host. Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia, can be found in the comments. Liesel at Musings on Fantasia has cool non-spoilery fan art. Sue at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers has tiny violins for our bad guys.

This week, we covered Chapters 15-21. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1) Mat and Tuon finally consummate their marriage. Do you think it was all Mat hoped for? Will Tuon’s ideas for him in her empire pan out? Tuon gets to keep her damane: how do you think Mat will deal with or adjust to this in time?

Tuon seemed more affectionate before she became Empress, back when she was just the head of an invading army and could get a little girlish over Mat’s kisses. I think Mat was surprised that Tuon did not admit to loving him when he said he loved her.

Sigh….Tuon and her cultural need for slavery. It really bothers me. The fact that Mat has rescued (or stolen property) damane in the past will probably come up again when Mat protests the treatment of some of the Channelers. At least, I hope it comes up and I hope it makes Tuon think. I can’t see Mat adjusting to the sometimes brutal methods of breaking and training Channelers.

2) Rand and Tuon have their meeting. Feel free to comment away! Also, Mat and Rand have a quiet little bragging contest. What other characters would you enjoy seeing in a bragging contest?

Wow! I loved that Rand employed his little singing trick to get some greenery going while he was shielded. I am guessing he learned the ability from the Ogier and I am betting the Seanchan assumed he was some how using the Power to make the greenery. This might make the Seanchan hesitant to shield him again in the future.

I also thought it was great how Rand essentially puled rank on Tuon and then also kneeled and offered her peace. I am a bit disappointed that Tuon pushed so hard to hold on to the captured damane when Rand essentially gave her lands in Randland – lands that are not rightfully hers. Well, if Mat gets Tuon to see the error in slavery, then he will win the bragging contest.

I would love to see Lan and Bashere have a bragging contest. Or Moiraine and Cadsuane! Nynaeve would win against anyone purely on her stubbornness and turning her nose up and sniffing at anyone else’s accomplishments.

3) Lan’s battle continues, though he has to give ground. What do you think about his conversation concerning female warriors? Taim has shown his face at Lan’s front; does that change your mind on who might finally get to kill this baddie?

Haha! I loved Lan’s half of the conversation about trained, equipped female warriors in battle. It was generous of him to offer a decent burial to the fool who had issue with women fighting. It’s THE Last Battle – of course the women will fight. Dork.

Way back when we realized Taim was up to no good, I thought Rand would have to take him out. Later, I thought it would be Logain. Then, with Logain captured and weakened, I thought it would be Androl. But now Taim is far from any of those guys. However, we also know that Egwene plans to send the Red Sisters hanging out at the Black Tower to Lan, so I think there is still a chance that Androl (along with Pevara and the Reds with their newly Bonded men) will get to face Taim. I am hoping Androl opens a teeny tiny gateway right in the middle of Taim’s black heart. Or his brain.

4) Do you think there is any significant Dark Friend left in Rand’s forces, in disguise/hiding? Lan was asked to keep an eye on Aglemar and Aviendha doesn’t care for Al’salam. Is it just so many cultures being thrown together? Or do we have reason to be suspicious of something darker?

We know that Demandred is still out there some where, but I think he might be leading the Sharran forces (see Q.6). But I also worry that there are one or more Dark Friends in key positions. Rand seems to be able to look into the hearts of men and tell if they are Dark Friends, but he needs to be facing them and perhaps even concentrating on them to tell. So there’s a who slew of folks he hasn’t been able to do that with.

I can’t recall if he has taken the time to face Al’salam, but since he is at Shayol Ghul with Rand, and is a relatively unknown and untested character, I would be concerned about him.

I expect Aglemar is simply weary like everyone else. Mistakes will happen.

5) In a short conversation with Egwene and Gawyn, Rand reveals that he is Galad’s half-brother and that the seals are fakes. Which do you think caused Gawyn more grief? Who do you think switched the seals and for what purpose?

Haha! I think Gawyn might be a little ill over learning that his half brother Galad is also half brother to Rand. He was perturbed enough to learn of Elayne’s liking for Rand.

So Rand says the seals are fake, but only he can tell. The fakes would have to be made of cuendillar to pass for real. Egwene and some of the Aes Sedai she trained can make cuendillar, but I am not sure they can shape it to closely resemble the real seals. Rand was pretty open with the info concerning breaking the seals, so I can see a lot of people wanting to steal the seals and keep them save. yet very few people, if any, would have the ability to make convincing fakes and swap them.

So perhaps Rand is lying. But why? Does he need the misdirection? Is it, in part, to keep Egwene safe? If everyone believes the seals to be fake, then Egwene is less of a target. But I think only Gawyn and Aviendha have heard the news. So, I lean towards Rand going for misdirection, but I am not totally sure why. And who would he leave word with to tell Egwene they are real and should be broken? Argh!

6) Bashere and Elayne are trying to outmaneuver 2 armies of trollocs. Meanwhile, Egwene’s forces are routed by the sudden appearance of the Sharran army. Will the forces of good be able to recover prior to Rand’s duel with the Dark One? Any ‘in retrospect’ comments concerning the Sharrans? Did you see that coming?

I am thinking the forces of good will be fighting by the skin of their teeth while Rand fights the DO. Even though Elayne and Bashere have a plan, something else will come up. Even though Rand has asked the Seanchan to join Egwene’s forces, I don’t think they will totally annihilate the Sharran army. Nope. This is epic fantasy, and the climax of a very long series. We need to have blood and death and the chance that things won’t turn out good in order for the end of the battle, when the good have won, to make us cheer.

I didn’t see the Sharrans showing up and fighting for the forces of evil. They have been mentioned briefly here and there throughout the series, but never in any major detail. We knew they had some Channelers, but I can’t recall the details. Honestly, it kind of felt like a weak plot ploy to help move things along.

7) Lorella Aes Sedai and the rest of the Reds hanging around outside the Black Tower insist on Bonding their promised 47 male Channelers. Egwene has sent riders to fetch them back in order to send them to Lan. Are we about to see the moment the purpose of the Reds changes? Do you think Pevara and Androl have shared the double Bonding technique with the male Channelers?

Yes! I think we are about to see that magical event that takes the bitchy, man-hating Reds and turns them into an awesome fighting force that will make adult Channelers tremble in their boots! Hooray! I expect great things from these small-minded women.

I am really hoping that Pevara and Androl have shared the double Bond idea with the other guys. I expect the ladies will get a few surprises more than they expected. Lorella, and perhaps most of the Reds, are going into this expecting being able to control their Bonded men to some extent. Haha! I expect to be amused by their attempts to order the men around.

Other Tidbits:

That practice session between Tam and Rand, with Tam’s new sword, was great. Rand initially wanted the Asha’men to train with weapons because it would give you an edge if you couldn’t access the power, or were weak. It seems Rand was slipping into that idea of ‘I have the Power, why bother with the sword’ and it was good to see Tam pull him out of that.

Some of the Whitecloaks felt the Ogier were little more than Trollocs and worried about them turning and fighting the humans. Silly! I am glad to see Galad keeping them in check.

Rand plans to not just capture or contain, but kill the Dark One. I always think of such supreme forces as akin to Elementals – it would be like trying to kill Mother Nature or Father Time. How would you do it? Should you do it? I thought it interesting that Aviendha counseled that it was more honorable to take the DO as gai’shain.

Gawyn has leanred a bit more about the Seanchan assassin rings. I know he feels underutilized, at least until the Sharran showed up, and I worry he will use one or more of the rings in some heroic effort, and he will die, and Egwene will cry.

4 thoughts on “A Memory of Light, Part IV”

  1. 1. I think Mat was disappointed when Tuon said she didn’t love him, although that didn’t stop him from getting laid. If it had, that wouldn’t have been very Matrim Cauthon at all.

    Robert Jordan had planned to continue writing in the Wheel of Time universe after the completion of the main series, and one of the things he wanted to produce was the story of Mat and Tuon after the Last Battle. So just judging by that I suspect he is instrumental in the return to Seanchan, reconstructing the Empire and, I’m assuming, dismantling the whole slavery institution. How that happens, we can only guess, because now those books will never be written.

    2. The bragging contest was great fun. I’m not sure who else would manage to do it. Perrin doesn’t seem the type, and many of the ladies take this kind of thing all too seriously. Thom? Uno? Of course, if Noal was still around, he would be good at this…

    The Seanchan prophecy was that Rand would kneel to the Crystal Throne, which they interpreted literally. But he knelt before Tuon, so presumably that covers it. Some people (Egwene) will definitely not be happy with the conditions he set for the damane, but one gets the impression that not all of the conflicts will be ironed out before the end (which, remember, is not an end… the Wheel of Time doesn’t have those).

    3. I won’t say who ends up offing Taim, but nobody has managed to guess right so far, from what I’ve seen. I’m grinning at the spectacular scenes in store for us. 🙂

    And I agree, obviously women will fight in the Last Battle. He can go to the Maidens of the Spear and suggest they hang back, and see if he still has any balls to call his own afterwards…

    4. So far, all the darkfriends we have seen under cover have been exposed relatively quickly, within a book or two at most. The only exceptions are Verin and Sheriam. So I feel if there are any significant darkfriends left, then they should be among characters who were recently introduced. Of course, Jordan might have kept an ace or two up his sleeve…

    The great captains are all now making uncharacteristic errors, however slight, but there’s a pattern that nobody has managed to pick up on yet (except we readers). I feel it is extremely unlikely that they all turn out to be darkfriends this late in the series, especially after Bashere (for one) has served Rand for so long. But, we will see.

    5. In the prologue of book ten, some unknown bandits attacked Bashere’s wife in her tent. At the same time, Dobraine was almost killed. The consensus is that these two kept the seals, and that they were substituted with fake ones right then.

    Of course, one might question how smart this was. Even if you subsituted fakes, if Rand had heard that both his hiding places were attacked at the same time, he would have become suspicious even so! However, it seems neither Bashere nor Dobraine actually reported these attacks…

    In an earlier chapter we saw Taim carrying some items which, in hindsight, must have been the real seals. So no, I doubt that Rand is making this up.

    6. Yes, the forces of the light are now in dire problems. One of the holding forces hasn’t managed to hold for a good while. The other one has turned a minor victory into something that is at best equal but more likely a losing situation. Meanwhile the force that was supposed to win quickly to reinforce the others is stalling and is now finding it difficult to win at all.

    The arrival of the Seanchan might alleviate the problems on Egwene’s front, but I find it hard to believe that even the Seanchan are as numerous as the Sharans. They are both vast nations, but the Seanchan have been at war for two years now already.

    Of course, the Seanchan will now bring Mat into the war, and he might be exactly what is needed.

    Shara was number two on the list of likely places where Demandred was hiding, and with the elimination of Roedran of Murandy earlier, there weren’t any good options left. So at this point, yes, it should have been possible to see it coming. That said, I certainly did not.

    7. As far as I remember, there is no evidence at the end of the series of anyone other than Pevara and Androl trying the double bonding trick, unfortunately. The reinvention of the Reds is one of those things that are left for the untold stories after the ending. 🙁

    Then again, the force that is now camped outside the Black Tower was sent by Egwene’s side of the Tower conflict before the reunification, and does not include any reds. At least not unless some changes have been made since the reunification.

    Other. I really liked Egwene saying goodbye to the World of Dreams.

    1. That’s interesting that we don’t get to see the slavery issue resolved in this book. I would think it would be a controversial or polarizing subject for many fans of the series.

      Hmm…no one has guessed right yet about who gets to kill Taim? Er….Perhaps it is Nynaeve, especially if Taim threatens, harms, or kills Lan?

      The fakes have to be cuendillar, right? So how would Bashere/his wife/Dobrain make or procure fake seals made of cuendillar? And if Taim has the real seals, then maybe Egwene gets to kill him and in his death throes, he breaks hte seals.

      I know the smart among us (Sue over at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers) had guessed Shara as a potenial hiding place for Demandred. Still, it surprised me. While he could have been hiding there, I didn’t expect him to ride back at the head of the Sharan army!

  2. Yeah the thought occurred to me too that Rand picked up the singing trick from the Ogier. So cool that he figured that out! I loved the sword practice between Rand and Tam. So great! And I love the ideal of Androl opening tiny gateways to take out darkfriends. That would be awesome! 😀

    1. Yes, I would like to see Androl do some strategic pinpoint strikes against the Dark Forces. However, I think folks might fear the Asha’men quite a bit if they witnessed that. Perhaps once all this is done, the Black Tower will have to come up with an Oathrod and some Oaths.

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