A Memory of Light, Part VIII

Posted on

WOT 14Welcome everyone to Book 14 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and the final week of this read along.

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

I want to take a moment to thank everyone! First, Anya of On Starships & Dragonwings who kicked off this mad read along over 2 years ago. A big thanks to Liesel, Eivind, and Sue who kept is going! And a wee little thank you to all you silent stalkers out there. Here we are at the end of this 15 book (including the prequel) read along. It’s been a magnificent ride!

This week, we covered Chapter 38 to the END. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1. Egwene speaks to Rand from beyond the grave and he has a hard time “letting go” of those who’ve died on the battlefield. What did you think of this part and it’s solution?

This was one of my favorite parts of the ending. Rand finally got it! He is not the only hero in this tale! I know others have been trying to tell him this for ages now. Sometimes it was frustrating to watch Rand feel like he had to carry all this on his shoulders and let no one help him. Then when he was suffering from all the deaths in the Last Battle, I kind of wanted to slap him. Of course, there will be deaths!

So it was great to see Egwene giving him this last message, watching him realize the truth, and then part of the self-imposed load being lifted from his shoulders.

2. There’s a new horn blower, and we see more of Brigitte, Noal, Artur Hawkwing, and others. Comment on what you liked of this section. What did you expect, not expect?

This was also awesome! I loved that Olver could call the Heroes of the Horn and the Noal was the one to step in and save him. It was also great, if a bit predictable, that Brigitte appeared and saved Elayne one more time. I am sure this helped Elayne get over her pain of losing her Warder and friend, not to mention preventing her belly from being cut open.

However, I do wish that the rules of the Horn had been explained a bit more by the end of the book. Everyone, including Mat, thought the Horn was tied to him. So was it his balefire death wierdness that severed that tie? Or his hanging by the Aelfinn? Or do you simply need to be somewhat pure of heart and in desperate need?

3. Lan lives, Alana dies, and Thom is successful at killing many members of the Black Ajah outside the pit. Questions? Comments? Happy dances?

I was totally emotionally prepared for Lan to be dead, just like he has been emotionally prepared to die for his entire life. That said, I was quite happy to see him live! Hooray!

I am glad that Alana let go of her Bond to Rand prior to dying. I have to wonder if Rand sent her off (how many books ago) in order to get caught and be used by the Dark One as a leash at this point. Rand must have put trust in her to release the Bond, if that is in fact why he sent her off.

Then again, since Alana forced the Bond onto him, he might have been a little distracted by her death, but not devastated.

Thom’s role, while perhaps not considered major, was still awesome. At the very first, as an Aes Sedai approached, and Thom put a knife in her, I had this horrible moment where I thought that just maybe Thom was a super secret Dark Friend, but was then immensely relieved that he was simply taking out Black Ajah and the like.

4. Androl impersonates Rand to trap the evil idiots, Grady opens a gateway to Hinderstap (dah!), and Logain breaks the seals. What was your favorite and why? (Feel free to comment on all.)

Androl is getting a lot of practice with his impersonations! And once again, we see that the uncoordinated efforts of the bad guys keep leading them to doom and despair! Mmaaahhhhwwaaaaa!

While it was interesting to glimpse Hinderstap again, I found Logain’s final actions to be the most interesting. Logain was definitely craving power and vengeance and it was nice for him to hold both within his sights, and then let it go. His actions to rescue and protect some noncombatants, and his subsequent realization that the Black Tower and Asha’men could become protectors, was excellent! I really like how his character arc ended.

5. Aviendha vs. Graendal. Aviendha loses her feet (ouch!), and kills Rhuarc. Ultimately Graendal’s compulsion backfires. What did you think of the final solution here?

Aviendha’s time as a fighter have most likely come to an end. At least she will be able to go on as a teacher of one kind or another. It was a little hard losing Rhuarc, mostly because I think he will kick himself for an eternity in the next life and the one after that for falling to Compulsion.

While we see Graendal’s Compulsion backfire and she becomes an adoring servant to Aviendha, I wonder what happens to her afterwards? Does Aviendha keep her around long enough to pick her brain? Does Nynaeve release Graendal from the Compulsion (while she is shielded) and then execute her?

6. Perrin takes out Lanfear and Slayer, and the worlds flicker. Meanwhile, the Wild Hunt comes to Thakandar and the spirits of dead wolves appear on the slopes. Um, discuss!

Wow! Just wow! Perrin took a real beating, and I didn’t expect him to play much more of a role in the final chapters of this book. So I was both delighted and a little worried to see Perrin back in play. Let me just say I was quite relieved that Perrin lived as I was worried he was Rand’s Red Shirt in this series.

Having so many wolves lost was a little heart rending, but we all knew that was coming books ago. They died well and accomplished much before the end.

7. Rand, Nynaeve, and Moiraine exploit the flaw in Callandor to trap Moridin. How well-thought-out was that? Are you surprised it worked?

OK, now please be kind, but I still don’t fully understand Callandor. For me, listening to the audiobook, things happen really fast sometimes and I don’t have the luxury of rereading a sentence or paragraph or page.

So, with that in mind, I am very glad that the trick worked. Obviously, for the ending, it was fairly important that it did work. On the other hand, I am pretty foggy on just what the big deal was, why Callnador was needed, and what role Moiraine played (other than looking intense and serious for the past several chapters).

8. What did you think of Rand’s final solution for the DO’s prison? Will it hold?

I liked how this was resolved. Last week, we saw Rand come to the conclusion that destroying the Dark One would not benefit the world, but instead create a world where folks were not truly themselves and couldn’t experience true free will.

So, of course he had to come up with a new solution and I liked what he came up with. As this is a world where the Wheel weaves as it wills, and there are no true endings or beginnings, I don’t expect it to hold forever. We will have another massive confrontation sooner or later.

9. Comment on some (or all) of the aftermath: our ta’veren heroes are ta’veren no longer, Ilturalde will rule, Tuon is pregnant, Moghedien survives…as a damane!!!, Faile lives, Cadsuane as Amyrlin, Rand vs. Moridin and the three women around the funeral pyre, and Loial’s writing makes an appearance. In the end, Rand doesn’t channel, but thinks his pipe is lit and it is. What does it all mean? What did you like/dislike? Was there anything unresolved you wanted to see? General thoughts, feelings, reactions. (This is your last chance to geek out! :D)

I think all 3 Ta’veren are very relieved to no longer be Ta’veren. Plus, Rand has to disappear now so it’s probably good that Mat and Perrin can’t track him with the rainbow sensory ties they use to have.

Ituralde has a good head on his shoulders, so I think things will go well with him leading.

Tuon is pregnant and threatening Mat’s life….again. I think he is amused and likes a woman who keeps him on his toes.

I had mixed feelings about Moghedien. Part of me really wants her dead, because alive she will eventually wreak havoc. Also, it’s obvious some of the Seanchan were scouring the done & dead battlefield for possible slaves to be collared while no one was really paying attention – against the agreements laid down by Tuon and Rand. Naughty Seanchan!

For Perrin’s sake, I was glad to see Faile still alive. I wouldn’t have mourned her passing, but I would have hated to see Perrin mourning for the rest of his life.

Cadsuane will make a decent Amyrlin. She has a wealth of knowledge, years, and hands-on experience. Hopefully she has learned some tact and won’t be such a bully.

It was awesome to see Loial lived and gets to go on to write his book – perhaps the very books we read!

And finally, Rand gets to do a body swap at the last minute. He gets to take over Moridin’s handsome and whole body and ride off into the sunset, with his Bonds in tact with his mini-harem. Um…..WTF? Did anyone else have a moment there? OK, we have seen for several books now that Moridin and Rand are somehow attached to each other. But this sudden leap to a whole body swap at the end…well, I didn’t feel it was necessary. I was OK with Rand dying because he was OK with making the ultimate sacrifice. Plus, he had already reproduced with Elayne and perhaps Min & Aviendha as well.

And, of course, I would have loved more info on how Demandred came to be in charge of an entire nations of Dark Friends. So I must (happily) run off to read the short story in the anthology Unfettered.

I would also like to know how Taim came to have the Seals. I know Eivind gave some very plausible ideas of how this came about. Still, I would have liked it explained in the narrative.

OK, now that I have picked apart the ending, over all I really enjoyed it. Yes, there was some death and tears, but we won! The world goes on and most of our heroes continue on with their lives. There will be more adventures!

Will the WoT world be opened up for other writers to write in? How about an HBO series based on the books? One can only hope.

6 thoughts on “A Memory of Light, Part VIII”

  1. Agreed, on all counts. I don’t have many comments because I agree with you on everything. The body swap thing threw me through a loop too, but other than that I loved the ending and all the resolutions. I would love an HBO series! (Let’s steer clear of films. Even if they did a 3 hour, LOTR caliber film for each book–not likely–I still don’t think justice would be done. We definitely need a long-running series. :D)

    1. You’re probably right about the movies – just can’t fit in all the goodness of one book in a 3 hour movie.

      And now I am free to run amok on the WoT sites and not worry about spoilers! Hurray!

  2. 1. In this respect he was very like Nynaeve: everything relied upon him alone! Of course, being told that you were born to save the world could give you the impression that you are rather responsible for it! 😀

    2. It was the balefire death in Caemlyn that severed the link, I think. His hanging seems to be a possible death, but might not count because we aren’t sure just how dead he actually was. Also, I am not so sure about Olver being pure of heart . . .

    3. Whilst it seems like a Rand thing to do, I can’t work out why he would want Alana caught by Moridin. Also, I believe there were no residues from channeling in her quarters when she disappeared, which could suggest that he took her using the True Power.

    How could you ever think that Thom might be a Darkfriend!!??!??!?! :O

    4. Don’t be mean to the bad people, they can’t help being stupid!

    I was surprised and relieved that Logain made this leap. I guess we were supposed to see how Taim had fallen under the influence of the Shadow, because I suspect that Logain came quite lose there. But we know that Min’s viewings are never wrong, so I wasn’t really worried.

    5. Assuming that Mesaana’s brain is now mush, it is interesting that 2 of the lady Forsaken survived but are totally controlled. I agree with you: I want to know what happened to them next, especially Graendal. I suspect that Cadsuane and Sorilea will not make the same mistake as they did with Semirhage, so her life might be somewhat short.

    6. I also thought that he had served his purpose and would stay in bed resting for the final push. I was very touched by his grief for Faile . . . and all those dead wolves. 🙁

    7. Apparently Min’s & Rand’s research uncovered some interesting facts about Callandor. It was able to draw upon the True Power, which made it rather unique, but had no buffer to protect the wielder from drawing too much of the One Power. This meant that Rand could have burnt himself out without forming a circle with two women: that’s why he needed both Nynaeve and Moiraine. He chose them as the 2 most powerful channelers that he could trust implicitly to do as he said.

    8. As far as I can tell, this puts the world back to how it was before Lanfear messed it up by cutting the Bore in the first place, so there is a good chance that some other idiot will repeat her work in the future.

    9. I would also liked to see something more horrible for Moghedien, although being collared was a particular horror for her, so it might be enough to break her mind. My concern is that she will somehow get free and try to seek revenge, or perhaps someone will release her once the Seanchan learn not to collar their Aes Sedai.

    I agree with you about the body swap: I thought it was a little too Happy Ever After for the series. I read that this scene was written by Robert Jordan himself, so we can’t accuse Brandon of getting all soft, but I was rather disappointed by it.

    Whilst I would like to read more about this world, I only really want stuff that was created by Robert Jordan. I am not a great fan of throwing a universe open to all and sundry who want to write about it: I like my Fantasy to stick to the canon! 😀

    I’m not sure that HBO would be able to do the series justice: how would they squeeze in enough naked boobies?????

    1. Good point about the pureness of Olver’s heart. He has been traveling with Mat & crew for too long. And before that he saw some pretty horrible things and for the longest time wanted ALL Aiel dead.

      Like I said, it was a horrible moment when Thom knifed down an Aes Sedai and that horrible thought of possible hidden, last minute Dark Friend stepped into my mind. Just a momentary weakness. It passed. 🙂

      Cadsuane & Sorilea are very practical, and they have the Semirhage example fresh to look upon. However, the Seanchan are definitely all about the domination and humiliation and not so much the destroying of a valuable piece of property.

      Haha! Well, if HBO can’t get the boobies, then STARZ can! Have you seen their show Spartacus? They have also been good about including male nudity. Equality folks! For every nameless pair of boobies on my TV, I want an equal number of nameless nude cocks.

      And I can see several of my male readers squirming uncomfortably, imagining a world where nude men can just pop on and off their screen at any time, with no warning. Don’t worry; you’ll get use to it. Us ladies have.

  3. I’ve read your blog on reading WoT now a time after you’ve finished the series.
    Did you appreciate the subtle humor of Jordan in the map of Tar Valon. “The center of power for women”?

    1. Haha! Well, I am not sure that counts as subtle. And I did the entire series as an audiobook fan, so when I wanted to check out maps, I had to look online. I think if I had to look at the map of Tar Valon on the inside cover for every other book, I would start to wonder if the architects weren’t influenced by some Georgia O’Keefe paintings.

Comments are always appreciated, so don't be shy!

%d bloggers like this: