Words of Radiance Read Along Part IV

SandersonWordsOfRadianceBannerWelcome everyone! We’ve returned with another installment of the Words of Radiance Read Along.  Want to join us? Everyone is welcome. Just check out the schedule post over HERE. Another slight change to the schedule: Lynn from Lynn’s Book Blog is our host this week. Make sure to swing by her place to see links to all the participants.

This week we cover Chapter29 through the end of Chapter 39. Spoilers abound below!

1. Sadeas and Amaram are reunited on the battlefield in chapter 29.  Clearly the two are perfectly well aware of each other’s characters – why do you think Amaram has made an appearance at this point in the story?  Any thoughts on how he will affect the politics.  Clearly Kaladin has good reason to hate him – but everybody else thinks he’s wonderful!

Wow! So the deep and blunt conversation these two had – were they childhood friends? Are they lovers? Secret brothers in some secret society? I have lots of questions about their relationship. Later in this section, Amaram tells Adolin that he is the bridge between Sadeas and Dalinar, that he believes in the unification of the kingdom, but also that unscrupulous things must be done to maintain it. We already know that Amaram can do harsh and unfair things for the ‘greater good’. I can just see Dalinar getting burned again. I want Amaram to break Dalinar’s heart, get that over with, so Kaladin can come in swinging and relieve this idiot of his Shardblade.

Yet, I fear that Adolin will end up in a position where he has to duel Amaram, a man he thinks of as a friend. Could be messy.

2. Tyn – a rather short-lived character to say the least.  Who do you think she was working for and what is their interest in finding the hidden city on the plains?  Looking at the reveal regarding Tyn how did Shallan manage to call a Shardblade to her? I was also curious during this chapter about Shallan’s absent minded drawing – she thought a character she’s sketched looked like Yalb – what did you make of this, fanciful?

I was not expecting the death of Tyn at all. This was such an intense scene. Just after a highstorm, crem still dripping down as they hunker down in Tyn’s room with the spanreader. Each sentence coming through and Shallan putting it together before Tyn as she learned about Tyn’s involvement in orchestrating Jasnah’s death. I remember saying out loud, ‘Fuck, now Shallan has to kill Tyn’. Though I expected Shallan would walk off, think about things, perhaps continue to be Tyn’s friend as she gathered more info, and then kill her. But no, Tyn got the description of Jasnah’s ward and hell broke loose.

When Shallan went to call the Shardblade, she knows she doesn’t need 10 heartbeats to summon the Blade, yet she takes the time and does it that way anyway. I wonder what that tells us? Is Szeth a 10 heartbeat kind of guy or not? Do the 10 heartbeats give the Shadesmar place (I assume that is where the Blade resides when not in this plane) something?

Shallan’s drawings certainly are taking on another aspect. She is drawing people how they could be, including herself. So, her drawing of Yalb – is that just her wishing that he and the rest of the crew didn’t perish? Or is he still alive and this drawing let’s Shallan know that on some level? I hope he made it as I miss his eyebrows.

3.  Kaladin’s dream and in particular the stormfather – what is the implication about humans and the spren, the betrayal, more to the point why the stormfather thinks Kaladin will murder Syl?  Why did he warn Kaladin whilst at the same time calling him a little traitor??

So many great questions on this scene! But I don’t think we will have all the answers for some time to come.

I do think that the Stormfather believes that whatever Kaladin will be forced into doing (by his nature and circumstance) may end up killing Syl and perhaps himself. This may be the same thing Pattern is concerned about with him and Shallan.

I don’t know why the Stormfather called Kaladin a traitor. Such a term denotes a knowing action that leaves allies in the dust, bleeding and dying. I think if you look up ‘traitor’ in this context you will see a picture of Sadeas. :) But in this instance, I think the Stormfather must be referring to ancient deeds that Kaladin has no knowledge of. This might also indicate reincarnation as a possibility for the Heralds and Radiants.

As to why the Stormfather warned Kaladin – well it seems, the being likes underdogs.

4.  Finally Szeth makes an appearance and we find out who is actually on his hit list.  Why?  Why Dalinar and not the King?  The other deaths all seem to be Kings and Highprinces.  What did you make of Szeth’s confrontation with Kaladin – not only the fight but their conversation?

First, why Dalinar? Well, one of two answers spring to mind. It is obvious that Dalinar is really the one calling the shots in the Kholin family as Elhokar is a whiny idiot. So taking him out would definitely cause the Kholin-lead kingdom to fall apart. Or they somehow know that Dalinar is following the same path as his brother and they want him dead for the same reason they killed Gavilar.

I think Kaladin’s abilities shook Szeth’s world believes to their core. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had to go off and kick rocks in frustration as he worked this out. Now if only Kaladin had access to someone who knows something of Shin customs, myths, and believes? Hmmm… Oh, yeah, he has Sigzil, the Worldsinger.

I found it very interesting that Syl had some definite opinions on Szeth. He has no spren to guide him and none would work with him. Does this mean that Szeth was despicable long before and therefore couldn’t attract a spren? Or is he lost on this horrendous path because he doesn’t have a spren guiding him?

5.  Eshonai – finally succeeds in getting a message to Dalinar with a meeting set up.  How do you think that’s going to play out now she’s released the captive spren – what do you think actually happened during that sequence??

I was pretty surprised that Eshonai got a messenger to the Kholins so easily. I expected all sorts of logistical problems and and potential misunderstandings. Really, I thought we would have a whole chapter devoted to this. But, hey, it was just an aside in 2-3 sentences.

That captive spren turned into red lightning. Eshonai at the last minute wanted to call off the transformation, but too late, already unleashed the beast! Even later, when she returns to her people, that little sane voice deep inside is screaming for her to stop. It sounds like the red lightning Eshonai is calling for true war, a slaughter. i expect many more Parshendi will attempt to make this transformation. And then, I think we will finally see why the Voidbringers are so very terrible.

6.  Finally Shallan reaches the plains- what was your reaction to her first meeting with Dalinar and her second meeting with Kaladin?   She’s chosen to stay with Brightlord Sebarial – what are your first instincts about Sebarial??

Haha! Shallan’s second meeting with Kaladin was awesome! I loved their verbal sparring and I hope for more. And, yes, I also hope Shallan replaces his boots. I am also looking forward to Shallan standing up for Gaz to Kaladin. I really want to see his face when she does that!

Her meeting with Dalinar could have gone worse. She didn’t get everything she was hoping for, but she’s in a much better state now than when we left the caravan. The engagement stands (positive). Shallan is hired as a lesser scholar (not all she wanted). Dalinar wants his son to marry someone who brings something to the table – if only he knew how much Shallan brings to the table! And it seems that Shallan and Adolin share a mutual attraction at this point.

Her move to use Sebarial as a protector is probably a good one. As Tyn said, Adolin needs to see Shallan as somewhat unattainable, in order to maintain the mystique. Also, Sebarial seems to be quite entertaining! I think I am going to enjoy him quite a bit as a character. I don’t think he will make advances on Shallan and I think he is more intelligent than one might guess by him rude and crude remarks. I am guessing that Shallan will draw him a picture of what he could be, and then he will become it.

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Other Tidbits:

Sadeas’s wife is the little political player too. And I think she has dry skin, which is why she enjoys having her back scratched so much!

Pattern rocks! He went and summoned aid for Shallan by mimicking her voice and screaming for help. The little dude is awesome!

The men were certainly surprised to see Shallan holding a Shardblade! I wish I could have seen their faces.

Remember the madman who has a Shardblade? He was traveling with Wit. Well, in his babblings he talks about a the Radiants, and how there is a Leadership Radiant. I think that is Shallan.

Dalinar and Kaladin really need to chat frankly about the visions they have. They could really be an incredible team if only they trusted each other a bit more.

The fight scene between Szeth and Kaladin was great! And while I was listening to this scene, the thunder rolled and boomed outside. It was mighty excellent!

Kaladin is going to train with Zahel! Hooray! Well, at least once Zahel the Grumpy has had enough sleep and Zahel the Swordmaster awakens.

My Fellow Surgebinders:

Musings on Fantasia

Lynn’s Book Blog

Over the Effing Rainbow

Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

Books Without Any Pictures

Making My Mark

Stainless Steel Droppings

Winter’s Heart Read Along Part III

WintersHeartBannerWelcome everyone to the continuation of The Wheel of Time saga. Here we are with Book 9, Winter’s Heart. As always, anyone is welcome to join us, so check out the schedule if you would like to do so.

Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia with the non-spoilery fan art is our host this week. Make sure to swing by there and congratulate Liesel on moving in to a new place this weekend. Eivind, our commenter with an encyclopediac knowledge of WoT, can be found in the comments at Liesel’s. Don’t forget to swing by Sue’s at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers for in-depth analysis.

This week we covered Chapters 8-11. Spoilers are having a party below!

1. The Aes Sedai with Elayne and Nynaeve are trying to convince the Seanchan sul’dam that they can channel themselves and then send them back to Seanchan. Do you think this tactic will work to help bring down the Seanchan empire?

If there were lots and lots of time, yes, I think this idea would help bring down the Seanchan by undermining their command structure. However, as we have seen, the Seanchan are very committed to their command/caste structure and I think it takes something extraordinary to even get a Seanchan to consider an action or belief outside what they have known their whole lives.

And I think Randland is going to need a swift solution to the Seanchan issue as they are very, very efficient at conquering.

2. It seems the Borderlanders are on the borders of Andor. We last saw the leaders making a pact in the Borderlands. What do you think they’re up to and what does it have to do with Andor?

Is this Queen Tenoibia and crew? If so, I think we saw these folks at the beginning of the last book. I think they are pissed that they haven’t been invited to any of the big parties yet, the ones where they decide the fate of Randland. I liken this to Boromir from The Lord of the Rings and his speech about how the lands of the elves, the hobbits, and most men are kept safe by the blood of those living on the border to Mordor.

Or I could be completely off about that, in which case, I am sure someone will educate me. ;)

Aren’t some of the folks blaming Rand for this? And it’s not his doing, poor thing. I think these folks will demand to see him though. I can just see Rand wincing over this one. :)

3. Egwene, Nynaeve and Elayne meet in the World of Dreams and there are several people spying on them. Who do you think the multiple eavesdroppers are and what are their plans. Did they hear anything that might be damning to our girls?

Well, we know one lady (who stayed hidden) is working under Moghedien’s orders. She reported some of back to these other ladies (and I have obviously forgotten all their names). I suspect these ladies to be Black Ajah and I think they are in Andor.

The man who resembled Rand didn’t seem proficient in moving about Tel’aran’rhiod. Perhaps it was someone trying to look like Rand (as we know one can change their appearance in T’A’R). So maybe it is one of the Asha’men trying their hand at moving through the World of Dreams while in disguise.

Then there was another lady glimpsed who quickly disappeared. Could have been one of the Forsaken, as she disappeared easily.

And yes, openly discussing that not all the Aes Sedai, especially amongst the rebels, are Oathsworn could be an issue. This little tidbit lets the forces of evil know there are several Channelers open to swearing to a dark lord. Also, if this got out to the Randland leaders, then would any of them trust Aes Sedai in general, ever again? Folks trust Aes Sedai, at least to some extent, because they supposedly cannot lie, nor use powers to maim and kill unless attacked or defending others. Not having those oaths in place makes them very human, but with super powers.

4. Newly captained Mellor is Daved Hanlon! Ahhh! What does this mean? What are he and “Lady” Shiane up to?

Well Hanlon was taked with going after a Queen, and it looks like it is Queen Elayne that he is poised to strike at a moment’s notice. I think Shiane takes orders from a Forsaken and she passes those orders on to Hanlon. I don’t know if they intend kidnap capers or outright death. When (or should I say ‘if’?) Elayne becomes queen, I can see Andor being thrown into turmoil by the sudden death of their queen.

5. At the end of chapter 11, Nynaeve has a “plan” that neither Rand or Lan are too fond of. What do you think it is? Predictions?

I think Nynaeve has been thinking about Rand’s ambitions for cleansing saidin. How could she not be intrigued by this? Of course she wants to do this as it would save so many men from going mad, and possibly heal some that have already gone mad.

And I predict, that once the bad guys figure out what Rand and Nynaeve are up to, they will try very, very hard to stop it. After all, one of the few things the Dark One has to over good men who happen to be Channelers is the ability to keep them sane. Remove that bargaining chip, and recruiting goes down.

6. We might finally get Rand, Min, Aviendha, and Elayne in the same room together. Predictions?

Ah, well, Min left Rand on his own in disguise to deliver his message to Nynaeve. I expect Min ran off to fetch Aviendha and Elayne. I don’t think it will be the foursome I am hoping for as these books are pretty PG.

First, I expect each of them to tell Rand what an idiot he is. Then he will protest that he protecting them, tell them how precious they are. Each will then assert that she can take care of herself, thank you very much. He will point out how he is such a good guy and has kept Elayne’s seat warm for her, has obeyed Aviendha’s rules about avoiding impure thoughts of her naked body, and tell Min she looks great in pants and he would never want her to give them up. This will lead to blushes all around and finally hugs and tears on the ladies’ parts and bafflement on Rand’s part. Eventually, he might get to kiss each one in turn behind a curtain, because he is shy about such things. Then he will leave with Nynaeve to go save the world. Elayne will cross her arms and tap her foot. Min will huff and throw herself in a chair and idly carve love notes into the chair arm with her dagger. Aveindha will break down and tell the other two that she is pregnant.

Or something like that. ;)

The Wheel of Time, bringing angry cats together again and again.

The Wheel of Time, bringing angry cats together again and again.

Other Tidbits

I am not sure I agree with Egwene about the Oaths being necessary, though I can see why she wants them in place, at least for now. People already have huge trust issues where Aes Sedai are concerned.

And I also don’t agree with Egwene about the Kin being lower in the pecking order than the Aes Sedai. Arrogance does not suit her!

I guess Lady Dyelin showed her true colors by protecting Elayne with her little lady’s belt knife. I guess I have to take her off the Maybe Bad List.

We had some great descriptions of Lan in this section….but is it just me, or has Lan gotten bigger, more muscley? He’s always been great with a sword, but I thought earlier descriptions had him rangey. Now he has the shoulders of a blacksmith.

Words of Radiance Read Along Part III

SandersonWordsOfRadianceBannerWelcome everyone! We’ve returned with another installment of the Words of Radiance Read Along.  Want to join us? Everyone is welcome. Just check out the schedule post over HERE. Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings and I swapped weeks, so we’ll see him hosting next week.

This week, I am our host, so make sure to leave your link in the comments.

This week we cover Chapter16 through the end of Chapter 28. Spoilers abound below!

1) We have a new character on the scene: Zahel, a swordmaster. What do you think of his interest in Kaladin?

Zahel might very well turn out to be a favorite character. I like how he handles Renarin, giving him simple training at first and praising his efforts. I like how he handles Adolin, telling him he is a dumbass for tossing a non-Shardbearer around the training yard.

And I really like how he sees the potential in Kaladin. Prior to Zahel entering the story, I thought Kaladin would be forced to reveal his powers fighting Szeth or the Parshendi. Now I think it might happen while sparring Zahel, or Zahel will guess. Or Kaladin will get in a pissing contest with Adolin and he will start to glow Stormlight.

2) We learned a bit more about Shallan’s past. What do you think her brother Heralan was doing all those years ago, coming and going as he did, and where did his Shardblade come from?

There is so much we don’t know about Shallan and her family. Perhaps Heralan was the one who started working with the secret order (brotherhood? I forget what they are are called) and that is where he got the Shardblade. And then perhaps he had to go run errands for them. Maybe later on, his efforts with this brotherhood go the family the fabrial. Anyway, that is my best guess.

3) What do you think of Shallan’s recent actions with the caravans? How about her growing friendship with Tyn? And her first interaction with Kaladin?

Shallan is turning into a badass character and I like it! I love how she convinced the deserters to be heroes once again, how she took Tvlak’s slaves in ‘payment’ for his life. She is really learning how to be assertive and to use confidence to mask her fears. Oh, and to use her powers to glamor herself up so others are awed by her.

Her friendship with tyn is built on some major assumptions (by Tyn) and a few lies, or at least hidden truths (by Shallan). So I am not sure it will last long. Tyn seems to be able to roll with the punches, but once she realizes that Shallan is exactly who she said she is, I am not sure Tyn will stick around for long.

Haha! The meeting between Shallan and Kaladin was one of my favorites for this week. Boots!

4) Kaladin took Syl’s advice and confided in Dalinar concerning Amaram. What do you think Dalinar will do with this information?

Yikes! I so want to believe Dalinar will do the right thing. But if he has to way the right thing for Kaladin versus the right thing for the kingdom, I am pretty sure the kingdom will come out on top. I am a little surprised that Kaladin decided to confide in Dalinar so soon after his chat with Syl. I expected more hand-wringing over it. After all, Kaladin has HUGE trust issues.

I am not sure how Dalinar can investigate this matter without tipping off Amaram that he is looking into it. So, either way, he has to confront Amaram – either up front or after the investigation begins. Could get ugly, and at a time when Dalinar needs all the support he can get. Yeah, Kaladin’s concerns may be pushed to back burner.

5) There has been yet another attempt on the King’s life. Do you think this is another faked attempt (as Ehlokar did with the saddle girth in Book 1)? If not, who do you think is the most likely culprit?

My first inclination was to to think that Elhokar faked this assassination attempt in order to test his current group of body guards. I haven’t completely dismissed this suspicion. In fact, I think I need Dalinar to kick the king around a bit before I do let go of this suspicion.

But then I thought that it would be a little obvious, right? Wouldn’t that be one of the first things Dalinar would consider? And yet, it didn’t come up. Hmm…..

It appears to be someone who had access to the balcony after the highstorm and who also had a Shardblade. Unless Moash has been hiding a Shardblade in his trousers, I doubt it is him. Perhaps one of the king’s guards who train with the king’s Shardblades?

6) Gaz has returned to the story, after having mysteriously dropped out in Book 1. What do you think he isn’t telling Shallan? How do you think the men of Bridge 4 will react upon seeing him again?

Wow! I had wondered where Gaz had gotten off to, but I didn’t expect this. Desertion takes some balls and I was pretty sure Gaz’s had been removed long ago.

Shallan questioned Gaz about his debts and suspected gambling at the root. Gaz said he rather be turned over to the authorities and kind of walked off. It seems that whatever the cause of his debts, he doesn’t want to tell Shallan about it. Could Gaz be protecting someone? Or is that a little too noble for him. Maybe it is an old family debt and he is embarrassed by it, or a brother’s gambling debts, etc. At any rate, I really look forward to learning more about Gaz.

I am not sure how Bridge 4 will react. Before Gaz disappeared, he and Kaladin kind of had a truce going. So maybe Gaz can earn their respect. It seems most of the men know what it is like to make the bad decision, to feel ashamed, and they have come out the other side, becoming worthy men. So hopefully, they can see that potential in Gaz.

7) Eshonai and Adolin had a brief chat on the Shattered Plains. What will come of it? How will the Parshendi ever get a messenger to Dalinar?

Yet another unexpected turn, at least for me. Right now, only Adolin knows of Eshonai’s request. If he passes it on to Dalinar, I expect that Dalinar will leap on it. But will Adolin pass it on? People already have doubts about Dalinar. If Dalinar starts accepting Parshendi messengers into his camp, what will the other Highprinces do? I can see Adolin having heartburn over this one and keeping it close to his chest while he mulls it over.

I can see the Parshendi using their Dull Form spies to get a meeting time and location (probably somewhere on the Shattered Plains) to Dalinar. Of course, Adolin would counsel that it could be a trap.

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Other Tidbits:

Gaz was a source of amusement this week with Shallan’s quip about his breath, and then later Gaz’s quip about tongues!

I didn’t realize how attached I was to Bluth until he exited the story. :(

Those pesky numbers showed up again after the latest Highstorm. I am starting to suspect the red lightning spren we hear about in small bits.

Gaz was the first to take Shallan up on her offer and run off to help the caravaners. Gaz! Of all people!

My Fellow Horneaters:

Musings on Fantasia

Lynn’s Book Blog

Over the Effing Rainbow

Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

Books Without Any Pictures

Making My Mark

Stainless Steel Droppings

Winter’s Heart Read Along Part II

WintersHeartBannerWelcome everyone to the continuation of The Wheel of Time saga. Here we are with Book 9, Winter’s Heart. As always, anyone is welcome to join us, so check out the schedule if you would like to do so.

This week, I am our host this week. Eivind, our commenter with an encyclopediac knowledge of WoT, can be found in the comments. Don’t forget to swing by Sue’s at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers for in-depth analysis and Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia for non-spoilery fan art.

This week we covered Chapters 3-7. Spoilers are having a party below!

1) What did everyone make of the Shaido’s treatment of Faile, Maighdin, Alliandre, Bain, Chiad, Lacile, and Arrela during the march through the snow? Harsh? As expected?

At first, this made sense. It is much, much harder for captives to get all uppity and host ideas of escaping if they are trussed up naked and forced to march through the snow. But then things got a little weird. We had Faile being carried over Rolan’s shoulder and repeatedly slapped on the ass – and her deepest thoughts liking it because it kept her awake (nudge, nudge, wink, wink). We had two of the ladies thrown naked into the snow and switched, leaving red stripes on creamy white buttocks. Uh…..yeah. Totally the wet dream of 13-30 year old males. If we had a few males captives that received the same treatment, I could have lent this scene more credence. As it stands, I think it was written to appeal to a certain segment of the fans.

Why don’t we take a moment and picture some of the guys naked, trussed, and marching through the snow. They have learned to ignore their nudity and are just focused on surviving. But now they are faltering. Do the Shaido sling them over their shoulders and carry them the rest of the way? Do the men balk at it? Do they scream and contort as they get switched? Do they learn to like the slaps on the ass because it helps keep them awake?  Hmm…..Well, I know who I pictured for this scene. Who did you picture? ;)

2) Faile and crew meet the Shaido Wise Ones (Therava & Someryn) and also the Aes Sedai Galina. What do you think of the Wise Ones speaking so openly of Sevanna’s orders? Will Galina be of any help to Faile?

I was a bit surprised that the Wise Ones were so openly disparaging Sevanna’s plans to take so many captives. I wonder if this is a reflection of the huge level of dissent among the troops, or is it a reflection of Aiel culture – meaning that the Aiel don’t expect gaishan to make anything of their comments, good or bad, about the leadership. It’s build into the Aiel culture that the gaishan are completely subservient, so they might feel 100% comfortable discussing nearly anything around them.

Or they might be ready to gut Sevanna themselves.

If Galina does help Faile and crew, I expect it will come at a high price. I do have to say I am a little concerned that Faile and crew will botch any escape attempt and have to pay a steep price for it. Galina knows this and I don’t think she will lightly risk her hide to help Faile (even if Galina stayed behind).

3) It seems that Berelain is taking advantage of Faile’s absence and Perrin’s fatigue. Where do you think her flirtations will take her? Given the chance, what would you do with her at this point?

In general, I don’t agree with hitting people in the face (unless it is a bit of slap to bring them out of some hysteria or to keep them from sticking a knife in someone you care about), but I may just make an exception in Berelain’s case. And I think Perrin should be the first allowed to smack her.

As to what it will get her? I am not sure what she is playing for. Is it simple lust? Does she think that Perrin has lands and armies to offer Berelain and her country? She would have a stronger alliance in Faile if only she could make friends with her, but I can’t see that happening after this last bout of stupidity. Perrin isn’t going to want to bed her, even if she manages to break him and Faile apart.

Perhaps the Aes Sedai could lend her a smooth white rod? ;)

4) They are on the hunt! Talanvor left on his own to pursue the Shaido hours ahead of Perrin and crew. Perrin had to chastise the Cha Faile for their spying activities. The Asha’men want to lead the charge. Add to that, Masema offering to assist. Will Perrin’s anger explode? How can this hunt possibly be derailed?

So many possibilities! For entertainment’s sake, let’s say Talanvor finds the Shaido first, but decides to try to rescue the ladies all on his own instead of heading back and getting reinforcements. So he ends up captured and forced to walk naked in the snow, trussed in his own pants. Maybe he will even get switched or carried like a sack of grain. We can only hope, as we have heard how handsome he is.

I expect the Cha Faile will totally forget they promised to follow Perrin’s orders as soon as they catch sight of the Shaido. They are not thoroughly trained as warriors, not like the Aiel, and I expect plenty of blundering into the Shaido, ending in them being captured too. Meanwhile, the Asha’men are teleporting all over the area scouting for the Shaido. They may have some success and it would be interesting if one or two of them actually teleported directly into the Shaido camp. They may even kill a few Shaido before teleporting out or being killed. This should stir the pot.

Then we got Masema and crew who are fanatical idiots. I am sure they will find some reason to hate the Shaido and therefore, want to eradicate them from the face of Randland (for the good of the Dragon Reborn, may the light illumine his name for all eternity!). At this point, I think Perrin should lead a group of his Aiel into the fray and quietly and quickly collect all the people they want left alive and remove them to some hilltop to watch the fracas.

5) The men escorting Naean and Elenia were ambushed and killed outside Caemlyn. What do you think this portends? Will Elayne be able to unite the houses behind her or is this move the first of several by houses against her? Should the ladies be more concerned about defenses instead of clothing?

It didn’t sound like Naean and Elenia were killed, so I am guessing they were either freed and helped away or captured for whatever info they can give on Elayne and the current state of Caemlyn. Is Elenia one of those ladies who came on to Rand and then had to explain to him how she is not related (at least not even closely) to Elayne?

Anyway, sounds like someone wanted these two free of Elayne – and probably so that they can go against Elayne. I know Elayne is concerned that not all the house are for her, so I am expecting at the least some major political pushing and shoving, and at worst some kind of rebellion, even civil war. Knowing that we still have so many books, I am leaning towards the later.

And, yeah, if I can be concerned over the possibility of civil war, than Elayne can too….which means a focus on defenses is needed instead of forcing her most trusted friends (and now guards) into ‘proper’ attire.

The Wheel of Time, bringing angry cats together again and again.

The Wheel of Time, bringing angry cats together again and again.

Other Tidbits

Is Someryn (one of Sevanna’s Wise Ones) the one with the hawk nose? Is this suppose to be the hawk that Min sees around Perrin? Is she and Faile going to hook up and become the best of friends?

Haha! When master Gil was going on about Perrin sampling from too many dishes and Perrin pointed out that he had not even had breakfast, I had to laugh. Giggling over that aside, I was a little sad at how easily people believed Perrin had been dabbling in Berelain, even against his protests.

That short scene with Perrin as a wolf was great. Really enjoyed the switch from wolf-Perrin to groggy, confused, angry, naked Perrin.

Words of Radiance Read Along Part II

SandersonWordsOfRadianceBannerWelcome everyone! We’ve returned with another installment of the Words of Radiance Read Along.  Want to join us? Everyone is welcome. Just check out the schedule post over HERE.

This week, Lisa is our host, so make sure to swing by her place (Over The Effing Rainbow) to see her answers and links to everyone’s posts.

This week we cover Chapter 9 through the end of Chapter 15. Spoilers abound below!

1) We learn a bit more about Syl and her connection to Kaladin, and that there are more spren out there, “trying…to reclaim what was lost”. Yet Syl was forbidden to come, and chose to do it anyway. What do you make of this new information?

It sounds like Syl risked an awful lot in coming – not only in the disapproval of whoever/whatever forbade her to come, but also in possibly loosing herself for good and being trapped as a simple Wind Spren for eternity. One of the things that I found particularly interesting was that Syl mentioned that she was one a Wind Spren and Kaladin contradicts her, saying that she is Honor Spren. I think that Kal (and most humans) believe that Spren are one kind and one kind only – they can’t switch from one kind to another. But based on what Syl said, I now wonder.

2) Chapter 10 is brief, but creepy! It looks like Shallan was responsible for her mother’s death, among others, when she was young. What are your thoughts on this scene?

On the surface, Shallan seems like such a simple, even happy, person. She does take everything in stride, perhaps is a bit gullible. Then we get a scene like this. Shallan is really into repressing heavy shit, ain’t she?

I know this is just my impression on the matter, but I think perhaps Shallan’s father had been pushing or training Shallan from a young age to manifest and use her Shardblade. I have to wonder how much of this scene was Shallan doing something wrong, versus her trainer forcing too much on her too soon. I expect we will get more of this story sooner or later and that it will not be simple. We already know that Shallan’s father was a control freak, one of her brothers died in some accident (am I remembering that right?), and at least one of her brothers is a sadist.

3) Highlord Amaram is back, and still has Kaladin’s Shardblade. He also seems to be close friends with Dalinar. Do you think Kaladin will tell Dalinar what really happened between him and Amaram? If so, what do you think might happen?

Well, this is awkward! I expect all sorts of angst for Kaladin and plenty of entertainment for me. If Dalinar puts Amaram in close proximity to Kaladin for some reason, or even orders Kaladin to temporarily take orders from Amaram, I think the shit may very well hit the fan (as opposed to being cooked up for High Lord Sadeas by Rock). I don’t think Kaladin trusts Dalinar enough to tell him the full truth of the matter just yet. However, Amaram may confess it in a moment of surprise or fear (like if Kaladin is holding a blade to his neck).

In Book 1, Amaram seemed sorrowful at the ‘need’ to kill all of Kaladin’s men and brand him as a slave, while taking the Shardblade for his own. He spoke of some greater need. I think Kaladin needs to hear what that greater need is. So if there is some type of confrontation, I expect Amaram will have to explain this. Beyond that, I am not sure. I wouldn’t be sad if Kaladin killed Amaram, but once Kaladin hears the reason, he may not take his life.

4) We get an Interlude, and more, with one of the Parshendi – the Shardbearer who fought Dalinar, a woman named Eshonai. We finally get a real look at the Parshendi and learn a bit about what they’re doing on the Shattered Plains. What are your thoughts on this?

Wow! I loved learning about the Parshendi. Of course, it creates a kind of sweet anxiety too for me as the reader. Now I know things about the Parshendi that would be very helpful to Dalinar (who wants to try to understand them a bit) but of course, i can’t tell him.

I found the whole thing about the different Forms very interesting. In fact, it made me think a little of the Spren and what Syl said about once being a Wind Spren. Eshonai’s observations on humans and that they are always in Mate Form, and how it may cloud their thinking, was funny. It seems they lost some knowledge a long time ago and are rediscovering some forms (like Nimble Form). Perhaps after the last Desolation, all known Parshendi were enslaved and became what is known as Parshmen. And perhaps some Parshmen broke away from humans several generations back and the Parshendi were birthed anew as they rediscovered a few forms.

The Storm Form sounds dangerous. Perhaps we will finally see why Jasnah thought the Parshmen were once called Voidbringers? Could be very exciting, and deadly. This could be the thing that brings Kaladin’s secrets out in the open.

It appears that they don’t have a Scholar Form or Artist Form, and yet, really, really want these forms. I am not sure why. And it seems they need to attract the right kind of Spren because one of them can transform into that desired Form. It’s all very interesting.

5) We also learn that Eshonai wants to speak with Dalinar and sue for peace. Do you think that’s likely to happen?

I think Dalinar’s vision voice (Unite them!) wants the humans and the Parshendi united to face some greater foe. Of course, Dalinar hasn’t come around to my way of thinking yet. And it looks like Eshonai just wants peace or a truce anyway, just to let her people live. She’s not looking for an alliance. What we need is a bigger, uglier, vastly more dangerous foe in order to get these two peoples talking to each other and allying. Will that happen this book? I am guessing no. Will there be a chance or two for some words to be exchanged? I hope so. I want to see Dalinar and perhaps Shallan or Kaladin wondering about the Parshendi.

6) Adolin’s first duel doesn’t exactly go as anyone expected… What did you make of how it was won? Do you think it will force people to take Adolin, and by extension Dalinar, more seriously?

I’m not too sure what came over Adolin, but I was glad to see him treat this bout like a one-on-one war. After all, they are in a war. If that fight had happened on the field, it would have been quick and brutal (just as Adolin performed it). I think Adolin might have grown up another notch. Perhaps he can show the other nobles that fighting is not a game, but is a brutal action taken for some higher purpose? Or perhaps I am asking too much of the talented peacock…….

It will take a while for folks to take the Kholins seriously. Until recently, Dalinar and Jasnah were the serious ones – and Jasnah was off on her research and Dalinar has these visions that allow people to write him off. Adolin is best known for his ability to strut like a peacock, Renarin is seen as a physical weakling, Navani is something of a flirt, and Elhokar is nitwit. With Adolin finally showing a serious side, we shall see.

Oh! And he gave Renarin the won Shardblade! That was nice, though I am not sure what Renarin will do with it.

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Other Tidbits:

Shallan manages to rescue herself (with the help of the sea beastie) and some of Jasnah’s belongings. Of course, she’s stuck with slave traders for now. I wonder where this precarious adventure will take her…..

Rysin was quite daring in her trading efforts. Unfortunately, it might have cost her the ability to walk. And was that the tattooed guy, hanging upside down, who was studying all sorts of Spren (what was the inebriation spren he categorized?) in Book 1?

Haha! Sigzil does have a bit of humor – making Rock hang from the stuck rocks just for fun. And that sparring scene between Kaladin and the guys was great, especially when Rock attacked him with a tree!

Shallan lost nearly all her drawings, except for the one of Jasnah that was safely stored in Jasnah’s trunk. I still wonder if there is something more to Shallan’s drawings. Could she possibly capture a piece of a person and imbue the paper with that? Is there any hope that even a small piece of Jasnah is left on this plane of existence to help guide Shallan?

My Fellow Storm Forms:

Musings on Fantasia

Lynn’s Book Blog

Over the Effing Rainbow

Books Without Any Pictures

Making My Mark

Stainless Steel Droppings

Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers

Winter’s Heart Read Along Part I

WintersHeartBannerWelcome everyone to the continuation of The Wheel of Time saga. Here we are with Book 9, Winter’s Heart. As always, anyone is welcome to join us, so check out the schedule if you would like to do so.

This week, Eivind, our commenter with an encyclopediac knowledge of WoT, is our host this week. You can find him in the comments. Don’t forget to swing by Sue’s at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers for in-depth analysis and Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia for non-spoilery fan art.

This week we covered the Prologue through then end of Chapter 2. Spoilers are having a party below!

1. With Talene’s capture, do you think we have seen the beginning of the end of the Black Ajah? Do you think the rebel moles will do more good hunting darkfriends than they did spreading dissent?

I think it is going to take quite a bit more to bring down the Black Ajah. While they haven’t been the best at planning, they have done a decent job of compartmentalizing. Many only know a few others, and I expect very few, if any of them, know all the Black Ajah. Besides, I want to see some momentous stand off between the Black Ajah and some good guys.

Considering how many Darkfriends, etc. are in the White Tower currently, I think the moles will spread dissent and disquiet by ferreting out Darkfriends. Pretty amusing, if you think about it. They weren’t very good at spreading rumors and dissent on their own. Maybe they saw it as a stupid task. But hunting Darkfriends is real, something they can sink their teeth into. They can do a very good job of causing disorder behind the scenes by forcing the Black Ajah to swear loyalty to them.

And is that messed up or not? What if they had been wrong? I wonder what they would have done after torturing Talene so thoroughly if it turned out she was not Black Ajah.

2. Elayne expects to have to battle for the throne. Do you think so too? Are we overdue for Gawyn to come back? Where is he anyway?

Yes, I expect Elayne will have to battle someone in some way for the throne….just as Rand had to battle various people to keep it safe for her. Of course, she is going to chose to have a fight with Rand over the fact that he ‘gave’ her the thrown. I still find that immature in the extreme. One can acknowledge the effort, the gift (if you must call it that) and still draw the line at allies instead of one being subservient to the other.

But back to Elayne and her real enemies. Yes, folks see the opportunity to yank the thrown out from Elayne’s family line. And why not, with her off doing far more important tasks like trying to seduce Thom, perfecting her high wire act, and pursuing the angreal of all angreals (the Bowl of Winds). Maybe my opinion on Elayne and her ‘right to rule’ are leaking through a bit. I am hoping that she is tested through conflict and that she proves worthy of ruling. Hoping. Not expecting.

Oh, yes! Let’s bring angry, sullen, deadly Gawyn back into the mix! That could be quite fun. Hie heart is torn in two or three between Andor, Egwene, and the White Tower. It is probably time something forced him to chose a side, instead of three.

3. Elayne and Aviendha are ‘born again’ as sisters! What did you think of this birth scene? Do you expect Min to have to go through the same thing?

This scene was way more intense than I expected. Aviendha and Elayne really had to lay everything out there and once having done so, had to decide if they still wanted to be sisters. I was pretty impressed with this scene actually. For every point, good or bad or silly, that the two had to proclaim aloud, the Wise Ones then shot it down, showing how human they each are. I do wonder what the bond will do going forward. Is it something like a Warder bond in that each will feel some of the other’s feelings or pain or inebriation through the link? If so, maybe that is why Aviendha has been so open with Elayne about Rand.

In Aiel culture, do women married to the same man have to be bonded Sisters? Or are they simply just sister wives? I am not sure Min will have to go through the same ritual. After all, she has spent far less time with the Aiel, isn’t as familiar with their culture. Perhaps she will refuse to marry Rand anyway and will just be a sort of friend with benefits. I can see her doing that as it allows her to keep her independence – both from Rand and his wives.

The Wheel of Time, bringing angry cats together again and again.

The Wheel of Time, bringing angry cats together again and again.

4. Taim added a few ‘deserters’ of his own. Can we now finally add him to the evil list? Do you think Logain might be able to do something good? Maybe Elayne will be able to help, now that she has visitor’s access?

Yes, I think we can add Taim to the Evil List even though it is quite a long list and it would be nice to add a few more people to the Good List (but we seem to keep killing off the good guys so it’s hard to get new people to apply). It seems that Logain is already very suspicious of Taim and has collected a circle of guys loyal to him. They also seem to have independent plans from Taim and keep tabs on his comings and goings. So as long as Logain doesn’t get killed any time soon, then yes, I think we can see some good come from him.

Elayne’s access to the Black Tower may be her chance to shine as a leader. After all, many people want the Black Tower dead and buried; let’s see how and if she defends it. Next, there is Taim who is just bad mojo in a nice impressive suit. I look forward to seeing Elayne square off with him.

5. Rand has decided to leave palace life and go hunt bad guys. Are you excited? How do you even hunt someone who can travel anyway? And what do you think his idea is to cleanse Saidin?

Well, I always get excited when Rand leaves his entourage behind. It usually means he is off to do something stupid, and may also mean that he will get his ass beat when he returns to the entourage.

It sounds to me like he is trying to lay false trails. As Min points out, he should lay a trail he wants someone(s) to follow and wait in ambush. Short Min with her knives, hiding in the bushes, tall Rand standing behind a tree, sword drawn. OK, they should sit down and work out some of the details. But for a start, that isn’t too bad. I wonder if they will catch Slayer or Moridin or a Forsaken or two. At least some Darkfreind underlings.

I have no idea how Rand will cleanse Saidin. I can’t see that happening easily. He’ll probably run the risk of burning himself out. Min will probably have to carry his near-carcass back to civilization. Honestly, I think this task is so huge, so momentous, that it can’t happen until the last book. And wouldn’t it need more than Rand, like maybe 13 Asha’men and Aes Sedai linked to carry it out? If it was simple, something a single determined man could do, then it probably would have been at least attempted before if not accomplished.

6. Perrin’s problems are just piling up: Masema will join him, and now he has to chase down Shaido while keeping his own Aiel safe from his other soldiers. Will this unlikely alliance ever hold together, or do you expect some spectacular blow-up sometime?

Blow up. We need one. Since Faile can’t be yelling at Perrin or throttling Berelain while she is held captive, we need some other source for the drama. So, yeah, I can see some of the wool-headed louts in Perrin’s entourage deciding to go after the Aiel in Perrin’s group. The Aiel will not take this well and they are already on edge, having lost some of their own. I am also not sure about Berelain and which road she will take. At first, it seemed she was trying to give Perrin sympathy (in a professional way) but then she went all seductive on him. So inappropriate. I liked that Perrin told her off, but somehow, I don’t think she will take the hint.

Then the wolves are even telling Perrin to let Faile go, to mourn her, and to move one. So sad. But it would be wrong to slap the wolves, wouldn’t it?

Other Tidbits

Mazrim Taim kept stealing glances at Elayne’s bum! While I understand that Elayne wants to handle Taim herself, does she really expect no one else will tell Rand?

Very interesting about the 51 Aes Sedai captured by Logain and his men, and all bonded to Asha’men. Logain himself has two now, and the one bedding him found the experience quite educational and exhilarating. ;)

Very cool to have some steam engines going on at the university. I foresee some Steampunk goodness in the WoT future!

Words of Radiance Read Along Part I

SandersonWordsOfRadianceBannerWelcome everyone! I am so excited to be diving into this book, and such a great group of folks to be sharing the experience with. Want to join us? Everyone is welcome. Just check out the schedule post over HERE.

This week, Liesel is our host, so make sure to swing by her place (Musings on Fantasia) to see her answers and links to everyone’s posts.

This week we cover the Prologue through the end of Chapter 8. Spoilers abound below!

1. We basically get the same prologue from the first book except from Jasnah’s POV. She tells Gangnah that her father’s assassin walked on the wall, and it’s ignored. We also see the Parshendi leaders immediately take credit for the assassin. What did you make of it all? Insights? Impressions? How will this affect the story going forward?

I think it would be easy to dismiss a report of the assassin walking on walls, as Jasnah just lost her father, and so many others during the fight. Plus, it’s been how many thousands of years since anyone has seen a Surgebinder and what they can do. Well, anyone who doesn’t know about Szeth. Well, perhaps the Shin and the Parshendi both have Surgebinders on a regular frequency, but we don’t know that. That’s totally my suspicion.

And the Parshendi taking credit for the assassination right up front like that. Wow! All last book I was thinking that they were framed or used somehow. But with this new info, that may not be the case at all. I wish we knew more of their culture!

If the Parshendi wanted Gavilar dead, and Dalinar is becoming more and more like him, with similar goals, that means I need to be concerned for Dalinar. Perhaps the Parshendi will try to off him.

2. Adolin and Shallan are unofficially engaged. How do you see this relationship panning out?

Snort!!!! OK, got that out of my system. I think someone for the read along of Book 1 wondered what it would be like to have Shallan and Adolin in the same room. I can’t wait to see Shallan unleash her sharp, and amusing, tongue on the poor man. And Adolin could teach Shallan about Shardblades. I expect initial amusement and maybe exasperation followed by some touching mishap that brings them together.

And Shallan was so very practical about it too! She was relieved to be engaged to such a powerful family, and the cousin of Jasnah. I have no clue how Shallan will get to Navani and/or Adolin now, but she’s a resourceful young lady. Good thing Navani was all for the engagement, with Jasnah gone.

3. Kaladin wants to keep his Radiant powers a secret for as long as possible. How successful do you think he’ll be? How long will he remain hidden? Do you think he’ll succeed in training the thousand?

I think Kaladin’s ability to keep his secrets depends on how soon his powers are needed. Since his men are willing to keep his secret, he can train in secret. After all, no one is going around looking for people with Radiant powers….well, no one other than Jasnah. Well, there might be some evil doers doing the same. Oh, and the Parshendi know he has Radiant powers. And once Szeth makes it to the scene to follow through on his assassination (that we learned about near the end of Book 1), he’ll surely recognize Kaladin’s powers. Shit, this list is getting longer and longer.

OK. So let’s say no one recognizes his powers and tells the Lighteyes, because really, the people in power are the ones he really has to watch out for. Then he can keep his secrets for quite some time.

But I expect some thing will happen that forces Kal to use his powers, potentially in some showy way. Like Szeth showing up.

4. Jasnah thinks Shallan’s spren is a Cryptic, as opposed to an Honorspren which is what Syl is. What do you think is the significance of this? What does it mean for Shallan? For Kaladin?

Based on just these two spren, it seems the spren are well suited to their companions. And they appear to have a learning stage. I remember from Book 1 that Syl started off very much like a simple Windspren and over time became more and more communicative and eventually morphed into that full fledged Honorspren. Shallan’s Cryptic (Pattern) appears to be going through the same learning curve. I can only imagine what Pattern will become. Very exciting!

5. How will Kaladin accomplish all of the tasks Dalinar has laid on him? Do you think Dalinar’s plan with the duels will work to stave off civil war and help unite the high princes?

Kaladin is going to have to delegate more work. And I think he is going to have to eventually bring more men into his inner circle. He’s already delegated Teft to doing the basic training for the 1000. Rock and Sigzil have the task of supplying and cooking and training cooks for Kal’s little army. Still, he needs more trustworthy men to accomplish it all. I expect he will be hardest on himself and wear himself out and the others will chastise him for it by stealing all his clothes one day, so that he is forced to stay in bed and rest.

Personally, I am really looking forward to seeing Adolin duel. I know, it’s the little barbarian in me. Still, it is what the culture understands and Adolin can earn much honor for his house in these duels while capturing Shards and teaching the other high lords lessons. Will it help unite the high princes? I am not sure. It could unite them against Dalinar and his family. After all, if Dalinar & family hold the bulk of the Shards within 6 weeks, then the other lords may be quite disgruntled and even feel threatened.

And that voice in Dalinar’s visions that keeps telling him to unite them may not be talking about the High Princes. It may be encouraging him to unite the humans with the Parshendi. Until some greater foe rears its ugly head, that is unlikely to even occur to Dalinar.

6. After the incident with the ship, do you think Jasnah is truly dead? Predictions?

Such a tough question. I actually had to listen to this section twice. Jasnah’s death broke my heart. I have to say that I am pretty sure she is dead, at least her body. Perhaps there is some slight chance that her spirit will be able to chat with Shallan in Shadesmar. I really got attached to Jasnah in Book 1 because she made me think (remember that incident in the alley with the cutpurses?).

I wonder what happened to her spren, Ivory. Will Shallan find Ivory again?

With Jasnah’s death, and Shallan lost at sea (at least until she reaches shore, because I assume we can’t lose two main characters to early in Book 2), I don’t think anyone will notice until the ship is reported missing at their next scheduled port. Eventually word will reach Navani & family. Perhaps they will contact Shallan’s family.

I did sniffle a little at the thought of all their books being lost to sea.

7. What are your first thoughts/impressions of Pattern? How do you see his and Shallan’s relationship developing?

Haha! It was fun to watch Shallan and Jasnah watch Pattern explore his new world and Shallan finding him a bit imbecilic. I mean, Shallan, and even Jasnah, must seem like children (or imbeciles) when they go to Shadesmar, knowing so little.

If Shallan continues to spend time with Pattern and nurture his inquisitive nature, I expect he will continue to grow as Syl did with Kaladin. Also, I think Pattern will teach Shallan about Shadesmar.

Does anyone else want a crawling, talking cryptic tattoo? I know I do!

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Other Tidbits:

Jasnah was meeting with a lady assassin shortly before Szeth struck. She ordered that Elhokar’s wife be watched. I really, really want to learn why, and what the assassin learned. Since Jasnah is now out of the picture, what will happen to her little spy networks?

Shallan and her immense sea creature. I have to say, that is totally me. More than once, I have asked my man to pull off the road 9or done so myself if I am solo) so I could play with some critter. Snakes are a big one around here. Once it was tarantulas migrating to water and mating. Buffulo in a national park….what else, Oh! A moose! My one and only moose! Once we came upon a full grown mountain lion at night on the way home. Did not leave the car for that as that would have been immensely stupid. That cat was in no hurry to get off the road and stared us and the car down.

That was pretty touching about the Bridge 4 tatts and the badges.

Haha! Kaladin thinks Elhokar is a whiny little snit too!

Only 62 days to get things right. I wonder if this book will cover those full 62 days, or if those days will be stretched over multiple books. I can’t see Szeth waiting 62 days to make his attempt on Dalinar. I wonder who wrote the glyphs?

Dalinar’s latest vision was so full of clues and I have no idea where they all go! Spren with red eyes, being hunted? Used as spies? giant rock like beast rising from the riverbed – is it a spren?

I love that Kaladin keeps calling Dalinar ‘sir’ and that he takes the time to explain why to Dalinar. And Dalinar accepts it! It’s great to have these two teamed up.

Is anyone else listening to the audiobook? Why did they change the accent for Yalb and those of his race? They now all sound French, and they definitely did not in Book 1.

My Fellow Cryptics:

Musings on Fantasia

Lynn’s Book Blog

Over the Effing Rainbow

 Books Without Any Pictures

Making My Mark

Stainless Steel Droppings

Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers

The Path of Daggers Read Along Part VI

PathOfDaggersBannerHere we are at the final week of The Path of Daggers, but don’t worry, we’ll be continuing with Book 9, Winter’s Heart, next week. Anyone is welcome to join us, so check out the schedule over HERE.

This week, Sue from Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers is our host. Don’t forget to check out Liesel from Musings on Fantasia. Our walking WoT encyclopedia, Eivind, can be found in the comments at Sue’s.

This week we covered Chapters 27-End. Spoilers run free and in their birthday suits below!

1. The Sea Folk have made a Bargain with Rand. Do you agree with him that it is not as restricting as it might seem? Were you impressed with his scheming way of immediately seeing a way to their demands to reduce their impact?

I have been pondering this one all night. I have obviously missed something. I recall that there is a deal to allow the Sea Folk a port in every coastal/big river city and that they actually are to be given a small slice of each city. But that was way earlier in the book, right? Hmm….was this is passing before Rand’s rooms exploded?

2. I honestly thought that Cadsuane had met her end and that Rand was going to burn her into a tiny, crispy pile of ashes. Knowing what we do about her intentions, were you surprised by how she dealt with him? Are you worried about his anger management issues?

I am glad that Cadsuane will be serving as Rand’s adviser and also glad that she won’t be groveling when she does so. Rand already has enough people groveling at him (those who do so willingly and those who are forced to). This week, Cadsuane was wearing the Big Brass Balls (in her brazier of course!).

Of course we’re all worried about Rand’s anger management issues, but we also know that he hasn’t lost all self-control (remember that beating he took at the beginning of this section? He totally could have annihilated all those Aiel Maidens if he had wanted to).

3. The Super Girls have a murderer in their midst. This was a total shock to me, but did you see it coming? Do you have any suggestions for the murderer’s identity and the reason behind the deaths?

Halima is still with them, right? In many ways, this death of Ipsan, a Darkfriend, makes a lot of sense with Halima, a Forsaken in disguise, hanging around. Still, this was pretty brutal. Not only were Ipsan and her keeper-of-the-day slipped some paralyzing poison which would eventually kill them, but then they were slaughtered on top of it. I would say that whoever the murderer is, they have some anger management issues. And the list of suspects isn’t limited to Halima. We know that Moridin can come and go as he likes. Plus if Ipsan was the only Drakfreind in Egwene’s army, I will eat my man’s shorts. (He won’t be happy about that as he gets quite attached to his underwear).

4. We witness the rather unpleasant demise of Jaichim Carridin and Falion Bhoda being terrified into submission. Any thoughts on Lady Shiaine and her activities? Is anyone else seriously creeped out by Daved Hanlon and his unpleasant memories?

Daved seems to be the kind of mercenary that revels in his work, specifically the rape and pillage kind of work. And Lady Shiaine asks him if he has ever put hands on a queen before. That limits the list a bit. Perhaps the Darkfriends are trying to recapture Morgase, or they want Elayne taken out. Those would be the first 2 I would worry about. Of course there are other queens. Still, I am not sure what else Daved can do besides fantasy and go for easy targets. Perhaps he looks helpful or harmless or charming and this lets him get hired on and then later, grasp an opportunity.

5. It would seem that there are some rogue Asha’man. I think that Dashiva has always seemed rather ‘off’, but were you surprised that they attacked Rand so openly? Do you think that this will postpone any chance of him ‘visiting’ Elayne in the near future?

Yeah, this attack seemed to lack  planning and forethought. Still, if Rand had not made off to go deal with matters at the drop of a hat, it might just have worked. You can’t distrust everyone.

Min needs to toss the boy through a portal into Elayne’s arms. This needs must be for 2 reasons: 1) They need to have an argument about Rand ‘giving’ her the throne; 2) They need to play kissy face.

And, yes, Rand is giving her the throne. He held it long enough for her, kept it fresh and unsoiled, protected it with blood, cussing, and warriors. She was off playing circus performer and savior of the weather. In this matter, I think Elayne is being childish. I hope she grows up a tad and takes note of how hard it is to hold a crown in waiting for someone else, someone who rather be doing highwire acts.

6. The aftermath of the attack was rather strange and I was seriously disturbed by Rand’s murder of Fedwin Morr. Why did he suddenly have the mind of a child and why did Rand kill him? Did Taim’s appearance make you more or less suspicious of him?

I am not sure how Fedwin got the mind of a child. I am guessing that someone’s use of the Power burned his mind – but I don’t know if that was his use or the close proximate use of the Power by another spilling over onto Fedwin.

As Min noted, she had to use all her skills to convince him to play with the wooden blocks instead of taking stones out of the castle walls to play with. I think Rand felt that he had to let Fewin go for 2 reasons – that it was a mercy to release him from a damaged mind and also he was now an unpredictable child with the powers of a full Channeler and could in a temper or in play do real harm to so many people. Still, I wonder why they couldn’t keep them sedated while they check around with the Healers (of all varieties) to see if anything could be done. That would have been less poignant though.

OK, so a few week’s back I popped onto WoT Wiki or some basic info. I was just looking for a list to jar my memory and I accidentally came across a spoiler about Taim. I have been on the fence about him, feeling he is an arrogant sot, but not sure if he is evil or good. Now that I have this blasted spoiler in my head, I know which he is. But I will not give anything away. If I didn’t have that spoiler, I would suspect Taim more because of the Asha’men attack, but I wouldn’t necessarily be convinced. Stranger coincidences have occurred. For instance, for a while, I was very suspicious of Bashere, but of late he has proved himself a true friend and a good guy.

7. The last ‘real’ chapter was packed with “Argh!” moments! Do you think that Masema might give himself a coronary if Perrin aggravates him enough? Did Berelain escape to warn Perrin about the Shaido taking Faile? Why on Earth did we have to stop just as the rebels arrived at Tar Valon??????

Haha! Yes, I do hope that Masema simply undoes himself with some embolism or such. What a hard ass! I would like Perrin to show him a little more disrespect to push him over the edge.

I hope Berelain escaped and I think she will warn whoever she bumps into first. Afterall, it doesn’t necessarily have to be Perrin. Rand or Mat or Birgitte or Nynaeve will do. Really, any of our main good guys.

Next book should have a ton of goodness for us, since the ‘rebels’ have reached Tar Valon. Shit is going down!

Extra Tidbits

I found it very touching that 1) The Maidens were pissed enough at Rand to give him a good beating (but also avoid his lingering injuries); 2) That Rand did not turn them into puddles of goo and agreed with the beating; and 3) That Min tried to protect him instead of joining in. Of course, this beating was followed by a rather public bath, which I found amusing and also may have served as a kind of punishment too.

I think these books are getting progressively a little darker each time and more adult. What does it say that I am enjoying this series more and more as it matures?

I have to admit that I have missed some people this book – Mat and Loial are the two main ones. Looking forward to seeing where their storylines sit.

Winter’s Heart Read Along: The Schedule

The Wheel of Time, bringing angry cats together again and again.

The Wheel of Time, bringing angry cats together again and again.

Welcome everyone to the continuation of The Wheel of Time Read Along! The WoT Quad returns for Book 9, Winter’s Heart. As always, big thanks to my fellow readers who keep this read along going strong – Sue at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers, our encyclopediac commenter Eivind, and Liesel from Musings on Fantasia.

Anyone is welcome to join us, so if you would like the discussion questions a few days before the post dates, just leave me a comment.

Week 1 April 6  Prologue-Chapter 2, 116 pages, Eivind

Week 2 April 13 Chapters 3-7, 95 pages, DoD

Week 3 April 20 Chapters 8-11, 103 pages, MoF

Week 4 April 27 Chapters 12-17, 115 pages, CCCP

Week 5 May 4 Chapters 18-23, 112 pages, Eivind

Week 6 May 11 Chapters 24-29, 120 pages, DoD

Week 7 May 18 Chapter 30-END, 125 pages, MoF

The Path of Daggers Read Along Part V

PathOfDaggersBannerWelcome everyone! This is the third week of the dissection of Robert Jordan’s Book 8 of The Wheel of Time Series. Anyone is welcome to join us, so check out the schedule over HERE.

This week, Liesel from Musings on Fantasia is your host. Our walking WoT encyclopedia, Eivind, can be found in the comments at Liesel’s. Make sure to also check out Sue from Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers.

This week we covered Chapters 22-26. Spoilers run free and in their birthday suits below!

1. Most of this section comprised Rand’s battle against the Seanchan. What are your thoughts about this section? You can address the nobles, how Rand handled it, how the battle went, how it was written, and/or what the ramifications will be. Basically anything you want.

We didn’t get to see much of the action and things were kind of broken up. If I understood correctly, this battle took several days to wrap up, but the individual scenes kind of ran together for me, feeling like they all happened in one day.

I will say that I do like how it started off with Rand almost taking an arrow and ended with Bashere slamming his head into the ground to get him to stop with the lightning bolts on the friendly forces. Bashere has big brass balls!

2. The two noble women with Rand pulled out belt knives when Rand was thrown from his horse. He wondered if they’d been meaning to kill him or protect him before Bashere came crashing to the rescue. What do you think?

Hmm…I think it was a combination of the killing Rand (if it didn’t cost them anything) and possibly protecting themselves from him. If you are protecting someone, then usually one person assists while the other faces outward with their weapon(s) to scare or fight off whoever is attacking. I didn’t see either lady doing that, but then neither are particularly use to fights, let alone battles.

Still, as ignorant as they may be of basics on the battlefield, I wouldn’t trust them while I slept.

3. Liandrin is a slave to the Seanchan! Thoughts? Feelings? Expletives?

Well, at least now I can believe that Liandrin has been punished half-way decently. Just another half to go! :)

If Liandrin gets passed on to a Seanchan Darkfriend, this could be a bad thing as they could do quite a bit of damage together. Still, wasn’t she weeping copiously at one point, when it was just her and her Seanchan mistress left after an encounter with an Asha’man? I kind of wondered if she had been Stilled by the Asha’man, but perhaps it was just a big fright to have to face off with a man who can Channel.

4. Rand’s bundle turns out to be Callandor. What do you think of the way he tried to make use of it and why it didn’t work? Or did it?

Rand seems to be getting further and further away from planning things out. More and more, we see him acting impulsively. Here, we see the same. He took up Callandor in a fit of anger and pride and he didn’t direct his efforts in a direction or towards a certain group of people. Granted, he had to fight Callandor and Saidin. Still, very very sloppy.

5. We see a major shift in Rand’s thoughts/personality here. He’s gone from the bumbling farm hand to a somewhat arrogant battle lord. Thoughts about this? How will it affect events and his chances of making it to the Last Battle?

We still have many, many books to go before the Last Battle….er, unless the Last Battle takes place over 2 or 3 books. Anyway, still several books away. So, we definitely need someone or several someones to take Rand down a notch on the battlefield. If they don’t, we’re going to end up with a burned out or dead Rand and lots of dead allies. If no one else is quite ready to slap the idiot, I volunteer!

Honestly, I expect Cadsuane and perhaps Sorilea to step up to this task and bring Rand back to his center. Then folks can breathe a breath of relief until the Last Battle.

6. Alviarin disappeared from the Tower for two weeks before suddenly returning to stomp all over Elaida again. Where do you think she went? And what is Mesaana up to with that decree recognizing claiming the Tower is “guiding” the Dragon Reborn?

I have no idea what Alviarin is up to. Maybe meeting with Suroth of the Seanchan, swapping secrets and giggling like only Darkfriend girls can. Wherever she was, she was up to no good as I doubt she would go off to run errands, like picking up carrots and embroidery thread, herself.

I think Mesaana’s decree is a mix of underestimating Rand and underestimating Egwene. Rand doesn’t particularly care if the White Tower, let along Elaida, is behind him. (Granted, part of that is his arrogance and believing he can take care of business on his own). Then we have Egwene who is shortly (hopefully) going to unleash Aes Sedai badassery upon the Tower and wreck so many plans. (Can you tell I am so looking forward to that? :))

As to what Mesaana is planning longer term and is hoping to accomplish with that decree, I don’t know specifically. I am fairly certain it is a bid for control and power, but when is that not the case with the Forsaken?

7. The sisters Elaida sent to break (*snorts*) the Black Tower is easily brought to heel. What do you think Logain did to Toveine and what will happen to the Tower sisters who were captured?

Haha! Well, Logain kissed her, even was polite about it. As to what that kiss did, I am guessing it is some kind of Compulsion or Bond. But obviously it is not like a Warder Bond as Toveine would recognize that kind of Bond. She’s mush more pliable now, and I look forward to more entertaining interactions with Logaine. Maybe this is the only way Asha’men can get dates these days? ;)

If I recall, Rand ordered that all captured sisters were to be brought to him first, and then he was going to hand them over to the Aes Sedai. Though I think he would do better to hand them over to the Wise Ones, but that’s just my opinion.

Extra Tidbits

Rand, dashing through the Traveling gates first…..and nearly taking an arrow or two. Rash, very rash.

What is that silly lady’s name, the one with the horse with no bottom? She tried wiggling her charms at Rand! Haha! I wish Rand had been in a joking mood and had waggled his eyebrows back at her, just to see her face drain of color.

Witch hunting, even for Darkfriends, is a messed up business!