Winter's Heart Read Along Part VI

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.

I am the host this week. Eivind, our commenter with an encyclopedic 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. Also, swing by Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia with the non-spoilery fan art.

This week we covered Chapters 24-29. Spoilers are having a party below!

1) Cadsuane has come home. What do you think it was like for her growing up in Far Madding and finding out she can channel? What did you think of the Counsel’s reception of her?

I wonder if Cadsuane’s ability to channel made her something of a pariah to her home town? I can only imagine it would be awkward at the least and possibly have her tossed out at worse. Perhaps that would explain some of the reception she received? Granted, all but her most extended family is probably dead and gone, but the rulers of the city would definitely have her name in a little black book with a little black mark beside it.

2) Alanna and Rand have a little heart to heart. Has your opinion of her changed? What do you think of Rand’s reaction to her and the orders he issues to her?

Yes, my opinion has changed. When she initially bonded Rand she was suffering from the loss of her Warders, and was a bit insane. It wasn’t cool of her but perhaps forgivable. Alas, we see that while her grief has come under control she still feels quite entitled to Rand, in every sense. She doesn’t apologize for her actions nor does she release him. So now I think even less of her.

Alanna needs to get used to being ordered around. He is the Dragon Reborn and she is not his chosen boon companion. And I think it is interesting that rand trusts her with this task. I think he is placing a lot of trust in Min’s viewings and her interpretations of those images.

3) Egwene and Elayne meet in Tel’aran’rhiod in Emond’s Field. What do you think of Egwene’s concerns of going home, whenever she does get around to that? Do you think Elayne’s concerns about the possible threat to Andor from Emond’s Field is well founded?

Well, I think it is a viable concern. She hasn’t been out of the Two Rivers very long and even though she has gained this title (sort of), she doesn’t have the years of experience of past Amyrlins. She will need to think of a healthy way to demonstrate her authority, if there is ever a need, to Emond’s Field. After all, Andor has ‘ruled’ Emond’s Field, etc. for how many centuries and Egwene and crew barely knew that when they left Two Rivers.

And Elayne’s passing concern that Andor may be threatened by the Menetherin flag and Perrin’s flag is also a viable concern. After all, what did Morgase and the Andoran crown do for Two Rivers and Emond’s Field all these years? They didn’t garrison the area nor patrol the highways. They didn’t think the area worth the effort of keeping a presence in. So, yeah, I would totally follow Perrin’s flag over Elayne’s.

4) Elayne decides to rush off to meet the Borderlanders. Mellar stays behind to ‘see to his duties’. What do you think he is really up to? Do you think Elayne’s suggestion to the Borderlanders to go south is wise or merely selfish?

I think Mellar was up to no good. In fact, he might have spread the word to whoever orchestrated those marching on Caemlyn.

I think Elayne’s suggestion for the Borderlanders to go south is a mix of both wisdom and selfishness. If she can make it look like Andor is threatened by outsiders and then decisively put an end to that threat (without blood shed) she will look like an awesome ruler indeed. However, now that it looks like Caemlyn is under threat, the Borderlanders might turn into the heroes.

5) Noal and Mat have an interesting conversation, mostly abut the gholam. Is Mat under utilizing Noal? Has the gholam met his match in an old man?

Yep, Mat is being an idiot in this regard. I think his mind is too full of bedding ladies. Obviously Noal has some knowledge and some real-time experience dealing with gholam(s). I am starting to think that it may very well be Noal who ends this gholam and not Mat.

6) Beslan seems married to the idea of rebellion. Who else will side with Beslan? Will the possible rebellion mess up Mat’s plans for escape?

I am afraid that Thom may very well stay behind to help Beslan and try to keep him from getting killed. Sigh….well Thom never learn to cut a lost cause lose? I expect Beslan will be unable to wait long enough to allow his friends to get a safe distance away. Oh, he may not plan it to mess them up; I can totally see him losing his head and doing something in the heat of the moment.

7) Bayle Domon enters the scene and whisks Mat away to meet with Egeanin. Is this going to work or will we see a slaughter? What do you think Bayle had to do in private to convince Egeanin to go along with this?

Since Egeanin has already agreed, I don’t think we will see a slaughter. At least, not by her word or deed. However, we are now counting on the sul’dam that Egeanin brings into the scheme. How much will they need to know? Will they tattle in order to climb the ladder?

And I am guessing that Bayle had to use some serious sailor’s tricks in bed to keep Egeanin happy. 😉 Or perhaps he had to play the submissive?

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

Other Tidbits

Verin decided to go by an alias while in Far Madding. Apparently, she isn’t interested in being detained or flogged. And she did it so cleverly by telling the council what to call her in front of the entire party.

Haha! Min carefully placed her on Rand’s chest for Alanna to see and then Cadsuane walked in. Too funny!

Wow! Elayne might just let Mellar pinch her bottom in order to spread rumor and deflect eyes from Rand. This will probably make it that much easier for Mellar to pull off whatever scheme he has in mind for Elayne (death? kidnapping?).

Mat has developed an unhealthy liking for lace.


Winter's Heart Read Along Part V

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.

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

This week we covered Chapters 18-23. Spoilers are having a party below!

1. Who knows what an illuminator might want with a bellfounder? Do you? Do you expect Mat to figure it out or will he have to keep seducing Aludra?

Cannon, of course. That’s what I would do with a good bellfounder. Or explosive mines of some sort. Or explosive caltrops. Hmm… lots of things that need a thick shell of metal to make the explosion having meaning.

And, no, I don’t think Mat will figure it out until it is staring at him in the face. Of course, if he spent more time thinking on it rather than planning how to weasel the next kiss out of Aludra, he would stand a better chance at figuring it out.

2. Egeanin and Bayle Domon are back! What do you think of their peculiar relationship?

I am a little surprised that Bayle has been OK with being a kept man for so long. It must be love. And the inherent danger of leaving a ranking Seanchan woman in the dust.

I like that Egeanin is changing her views, at least a little, because of her affection for Bayle. For instance, he did something inappropriate (by Seanchan standards) and she had him beaten. And he refused to join her in bed until she sincerely apologized for it. Which she did. So this shows that the Seanchan are capable of compromise, especially behind a closed door so that the whole world doesn’t have to witness it.

3. It seems like there are already a handful of people who know that sul’dam can channel. So far Suroth has been able to keep a lid on it. Do you think the latest events will inadvertently speed up the plan to bring down the Empire by sending ‘un-brainwashed’ sul’dam into Seanchan-held lands?

Originally, I thought this plan to send some sul’dam who have ‘seen the light’ back to Seanchan lands was not a good idea simply because we didn’t have enough time for it to bear fruit (though Sue did point out that many of those sul’dam would most likely be executed if they mentioned anything, which I also agree with). But this little tidbit changes the playing field a bit. It seems that a few people, high and low, know that sul’dam are Channelers (at least very weakly). If the good guys do manage to send back several educated sul’dam at once, it may be too big for Suroth and others to keep a lid on.

However, I think it will take something more to bring down the Empire. After all, we have seen domane (spelling?) that live to serve. Perhaps they will have to be paid a pittance and no leashes, but they will still serve. I think this will be true especially for those who have grown up in the Seanchan culture where this is not only accepted, but expected.

4. Quite a few people are now looking to Mat for help: three Aes Sedai, Egeanin and Bayle, Bethamin. Will Mat be able to satisfy them all and lead a proper exodus? And where does Tuon fit in?

Well, there will be cannon and perhaps a ship (with Bayle captaining it). Aes Sedai making fire balls and lightning can make a distraction. And if Tuon either orders them to be allowed to escape or is taken along with them, that could be the last thing needed. Oh, and what will Thom and maybe Tylin’s son add to the mix? Mat is ta’veren so I think he will be able to help most of them and maybe even take out the gholam too.

5. Rand has brought his entourage into Far Madding, where nobody can channel, to kill renegade Asha’man. Is this a good plan, or does it leave him needlessly exposed to non-channelers (such as two old friends we saw again this week: Slayer and Padan Fain)?

I think it is a good plan as it levels the playing field a bit and keeps either the bad guys or Rand from maximizing the collateral damage (either intentionally or not). And while Slayer and Padan Fain are crazy fucks, they will also underestimate Rand (because he can’t channel in this location) and so won’t give his sword abilities much heed. Rand may end up injured, yet again, but he now has three ladies (and a fourth if you count Alanna) to fuss over him and make it more sexy, if not better.

6. Alanna is back on her feet, and Cadsuane is using her to home in on Rand. Will she needlessly complicate things, or do you expect her and her people to be useful?

I think Cadsuane will be useful, but Alanna may complicate matters. Cadsuane strikes me as very practical without being all huffy about it (like Nynaeve) or having to be acknowledged the center of things (like Egwene or Elayne) before acting. Remember that slap she gave Rand a few books back to bring him to his senses? Who else would walk up and do that to the Dragon Reborn?

Alanna on the other hand may go all weepy and either homicidal or suicidal over Rand. I can see her throwing herself in harm’s way to either protect Rand or to get his attention. This could make all sorts of carefully laid plans go messy.

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

Other Tidbits

Bayle recognized Mat, and Mat is ta’veren. So I wonder what all that means – what does the Wheel want out of this situation? Bayle + Mat + ships + Aludra’s cannons = glorious chaos and much entertainment for the reader. 🙂

The image of Mat burning a bundle of pink ribbons was highly amusing. Despite all his fussing, he also notes several times in this week’s reading that he doesn’t mind bedding Tylin. He just doesn’t want to wear pink while doing it.

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!

The Path of Daggers Read Along Part IV

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, I am you host. Our walking WoT encyclopedia, Eivind, can be found in the comments. Make sure to also check out Sue from Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers and Liesel from Musings on Fantasia.

This week we covered Chapters 16-21. Spoilers run free and in their birthday suits below!

1) Egwene has shown the Salidar Aes Sedai some of her strength. Do you think they will fall into line now or continue to push for power of their own? If you could step into Egwene’s shoes for a few minutes, how would you handle some of the more ‘uppity’ Aes Sedai?

I totally expect for the some of the stronger personalities to keep pushing Egwene. Actually, I am kind of looking forward to it as that means Egwene will have to put them down and I expect that to be highly amusing. So far, Egwene has mostly played by the rules but I expect her to come to a point where she needs to break, change, or bend some significant rules, and in public. Of course, she will need to make the Aes Sedai aware of her strengths when she does this and I am expecting that to be quite awesome.

If I were in her shoes, it would be terribly tempting to smack certain Aes Sedai around. Doesn’t make it right. But still very tempting. Ok, maybe I would do it. Can I possess Egwene’s body for just a few minutes while I smack Romanda’s and Lilaine’s heads together? Or perhaps I can lock them in a very small closet together for a day or two.

2) Siuan has constant advice for Egwene, telling her the Secret Histories of other Amyrlin Seats. Do you think the irritation of her constant advice will outweigh the knowledge she is passing on and Egwene will snap and tell Lord Brynne of Siuan’s affections? Or do you want to know more of the Secret Histories?

Well of course I want to know more about the Secret Histories….but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want Siuan and Brynne to finally come to terms with their burning and adolescent love either. Maybe I can have both? Surely Siuan would eventually 1) get over her anger of Egwene (or myself) telling Brynne of her crush and 2) would eventually need to come up for air from kissing Brynne that she could continue the Secret Histories lessons.

I was very taken with the idea of the Secret Histories. I wonder how many long term rulerships through out history have had something similar that very few have ever been privilege to. While fascinating to me, who will likely only ever rule over the home washing machines, I can see how any rulership would have to closely weigh the pros and cons of having any Secret Histories, whether written or oral. What if the wrong people, like the public, got a hold of them?!?

3) Roedran Almaric do Arreloa a’Naloy has a plan to use the Band to unite the Murandian nobles behind him. Do you think it is that simple and will go so easily? Should Talmanes listen to his inner heart and go fetch Mat instead?

I don’t think things will go so easily. Either the fates won’t allow such simplicity to exist…..or Roedran is smarter than he looks and is planning to use the Band for something more. I can see how things may very well get out of hand. It is human nature to not want to put their toys away without playing with them once they got them out of storage. Basically, a large united armed force is going to want to tussle with another large armed force before going home.

Sooner or later, Talmanes is going to be pulled by the ta’varen and will head towards Mat. Personally, I vote he does so right now and screw any plans with Murandy. And screw Egwene’s orders too. But, I doubt things will fall out that way. Instead, I expect things to get messy with Murandy, and Talmanes will need to flee with what he can pull together of the Band, and why not flee towards Mat? We all know he needs assistance due to how things were left last book.

4) War on Elaida has finally been declared and Egwene plans to have the Salidar Aes Sedai and their warriors Travel in one month. What could possibly go wrong with this plan?

hehe….So much could go wrong with this. First, Egwene has given all the idiots surrounding her one month to raise any and all possible objections and subtle obstacles. Secondly, she has also given the evil ones among her group time to muck things up. Sigh……Plenty of entertainment for me (from a reader’s perspective) but not so good for our heroine.

Romanda and Lilaine are going to be tarts about the whole affair. Halima has her own agenda of course, so I expect Egwene’s headaches to intensify. This also gives any nearby nobles with any differing plans or ulterior motives time to mess with Egwene’s plans. Yes….all sorts of problems might very well crop up in the next month.

5) Elayne has been playing with the angreals. In fact, she was playing with a rod when something happened. No one will tell her what happened, though everyone grins when it is mentioned. What do you think that angreal is and what do you think Elayne did and why can’t she recall?

The rod angreal is described as wrist thick, a foot long, and smooth like stone. Now the immature imp in me want sot imply that Elayne had some kind of personal affair with this rod….but I expect that is unlikely. From the way everyone grins, it was apparently highly amusing whatever it did. Yet they won’t tell her, so this means it was either unladylike for a royal lady or outright embarrassing no matter who you are. I am going to say that this either grants one the ability to cuss in any language or causes one the extreme need to dance naked before a crowd. 🙂

6) Narishma fetched something for Rand. What do you think it is? Do you think Rand was a little harsh with Narishma? What would Lews Therin say to all this?

Hmm… OK, I know that I am not the smartest of the batch in this read along. I am not good at guessing such things. I am not sure what Narishma fetched nor why Rand needs it kept such a secret. Is it a surprise that he and he alone wants to unveil at the correct moment to have the most impact? Or is it something for his personal use and he doesn’t want that revealed for fear of whatever weakness that may tell his enemies about?

We know that it is not a large item as it was easily carried. Perhaps some symbolic weapon? Maybe Rand had some new standard or scepter made that symbolizes his rule over more than Illian and Andor? Some sort of rulership symbol that puts his sign above all others in Randland?

Of course Rand was harsh with Narishma and I don’t like that side of him. But as I don’t know what the object is, perhaps it is warranted (depending on the importance of the item). I don’t think Lews Therin would hesitate to kill Narishma – he would kill to keep the secret instead of asking, cajoling, demanding, or threatening. Sick bastard.

Extra Tidbits

Egwene’s wonky chair had me in giggles. There is nothing like falling on your ass due to furniture malfunction to tarnish one’s dignity.

It’s nice that the Aes Sedai got all prettied up for their meeting with the nobles. Light help them if they actually looked like they had been roughing it in winter on the road.

If Elayne has such a reaction to such a mild-looking angreal, I can’t wait for Rand to start going through the male angreal. 🙂

Lord of Chaos Read Along Part X

JordanLordOfChaosBannerWelcome all! Here we are at the end of the book and it was a crazy, intense one! Eivind, our awesome commenter, came up with this week’s questions and you can read his thoughts below in the comments.

Spoilers run free and uninhibited below!

1. There seems to be a serious lack of cooperation in Ebou Dar, and things are not so easy as they seem. Do you expect the girls to be able to complete this mission on their own (without Mat’s help)? We know that the key to finding the bowl is to find the one who is no longer. Have we already met this person?

I think the ladies will need someone’s help…maybe not Mat’s, but someone’s. Perhaps when they find ‘the one who is no longer’ they may even politely ask for assistance. Maybe.

So, who is ‘the one who is no longer’? Well, if it is someone we have met before, it is also someone who has moved on from the earthly plain, majorly transformed themselves, or is from a past age recently reborn into the world again but hasn’t woken to the fact. When put like that, that leaves the door open for all sorts of people. Moiraine and Lanfear fell in battle through that freaky doorway. What if one of them is back in some guise? Then the Big Dark One resurrected 2 Forsaken, so either of them could qualify. And Mat and Rand and probably a few others carry other, ancient folks & their memories in their heads.

I think I will enjoy seeing who Jordan puts in this role.

2. Two escapees from Salidar. Logain flees with Egwene’s help, and Moghedien by Aran’gar’s doing. Where do you see the story going for these two? Was Egwene right in setting Logain free? Should she, in hindsight, have executed Moghedien earlier?

I think Logain wants to bring down the Red Ajah, and perhaps the White Tower. So I see him joining forces with someone who can make that happen. Hopefully he chooses a decent sort – like Rand – instead of the indecent sort – like Padan fain.

Moghedien will do what Aran’gar tells her to do, and right now that is to report the DO at his semi-secret batcave. Moghedien is great at disguise, so I expect she will be set to spy on someone. Should be interesting once Egwene, Elayne, Nynaeve, or Birgitte catch up to her. 🙂

I think Egwene was right to free Logain since she could not make him an open ally of the Salidar Amyrlin. She may have to kill him later if he turns towards the dark side, but I think she can handle it.

And, yes, Moghedien should have been executed earlier, but I can see all the reasons while the ladies held off doing that. She was a maid, a source of ancient and lost knowledge, and generally didn’t cause a ruckus. So the ladies would have been executing her on past mideeds and her reputation, and not on her current somewhat helpful demeanor.

3. Lan returns to the story as Myrelle’s warder, with a heavy heart and apparently near death. Nynaeve is none the wiser. Does Myrelle even know about their relationship? Has she agreed to send him on to her? Do you expect this to happen soon, or will she have to be forced?

I am not sure Myrelle knows of Nynaeve’s relationship with Lan, but Myrelle did make some passing thought-comment about wanting to keep him alive long enough to fulfill her orders. It is possible Moiraine had an agreement with Myrelle, or just plain ordered her, to pass on Lan’s wardership to Nynaeve once Nynaeve was a real Aes Sedai. Or Myrelle was ordered to pass Lan on to yet a different Aes Sedai, who will then pass him to Nynaeve.

If this is so, Lan will be passed around like a toned stripper at a bacherlorette party. 😉

Or Myrelle is really one of the bad guys and some middle-management Dark Friend gave her orders to pass Lan off to trollocs or myrrdraal or such. Who will then pass him around like a blow up doll at a campsite beer brawl.

Either way, Lan is not going to like NOT being in charge of his life.

4. The loyalist Aes Sedai seem to have really gone out of their way in torturing Rand after he killed a couple of warders. Justified? What do you think this has done to Rand’s psyche? Could there be a connection to the first genuine direct conversation with Lews Therin?

Those Aes Sedai are idiots in so many ways. Their torture was not justified as Rand was in self-defense mode. Their treatment of Rand has definitely reinforced his own natural distrust of Aes Sedai, but has also reinforced/reawakened Lews Therin’s distrust, even hate, of Aes Sedai. This is going to make things so much more difficult between Rand and Egwene, Elayne, and Nynaeve (people he once trusted). Egwene plans to boss him around. Elayne plans to warder him (not sure if she will ask permission first). Nynaeve will demand to heal him (that still half-healed wound in his side) regardless of his desires on the matter. So, I can’t say I would blame rand for shying away from these women.

5. The Battle at Dumai’s Wells really had everything, didn’t it? Except for the Seanchan and the Whitecloaks, it seems every faction was represented. As Liesel suggested, feel free to nerd out about it here. 🙂

My favorite parts were Perrin and his wolves. I loved when he was requesting aid from the wolves and explained to them the Aes Sedai had Rand. Their response was simple and eloquent – We come! Things are so simple with Perrin’s wolves. Though I was a little surprised he didn’t warn his people, so as not freak them out.

Then later, Perrin kind of brings Rand down to earth by shouting at him about how many people have died for him already that day. Perrin and Loial want out from behind the protective shield so they can go tell the team to retreat since Rand is safe. And that is when Rand joins the fray with Mazrim and the asha’mon. It was excellent.

Overall, I really, really enjoyed this fight scene. Oh, and I loved how Rand treated all the Aes Sedai, including the ones who came to ‘rescue’ him. Haha!

6. It seems likely that our heroes would have been defeated without the timely arrival of Taim (you could say he was “on Taim”). With him having put his life on the line to save Rand, do you think he can now be trusted?

Was Taim’s life ever at risk? Really at risk? The dude brought an army, wields the Power, and can create a door in the middle of anywhere to a save place have a world away, if needed. If Taim is really a bad guy, or perhaps he is just on the fence about the matter, then this would be a fairly safe thing to do in order to try to gain Rand’s trust.

But I did notice that Rand wouldn’t allow Taim to heal him. I think Rand’s paranoia is going to be extra high for a while, and I can’t say that it isn’t wise.

7. “…and the world was changed forever.” Rand now has nine Aes Sedai under his command. Do you expect this to lighten or heighten tensions between him and the rebels and/or the loyalists? What other things might come from this?

First, how true is the sworn loyalty of an Aes Sedai, especially one under duress? Will it hold? If it holds, I think this will create stress between Rand and Egwene. Who would the Salidar Aes Sedai obey first – Rand or Egwene? Next, the leaders of the White Cloaks are convinced that Rand uses Aes Sedai to perform all his Power tricks, and this will just add credence to that lie.

Now Alanna is sworn to Rand, right? And Rand is her Warder. That could get messy, mostly for Alanna. She hasn’t been able to force him to do anything through the bond. Can Rand force her through her oath? Will be interesting to find out.

8. After their second thorough defeat, have we now finally seen the last of the Shaido, or do you think there are there still misdeeds to be done? Sevanna was thinking about some “call boxes” given to her by a wetlander. What and who could this be?

Much of the Shaido is captured or killed. Those captured have to do their servitude time and I am not sure how many will hold to those ‘old’ ways. Those Shaido that retreated….well, I am not sure how Aiel treat those who flee from battle, even when it is obvious they will lose. Perhaps some of those will go to the other Aiel clans and go into servitude for a time to repent for their stupid, mislead ways. Some may instead regroup and build strength before being pains in the asses again.

I don’t recall Sevanna and her call boxes. Sounds like some long-range communication device, one that doesn’t rely on birds. I am going to guess that Padan Fain is involved in that one.

9. Herid Fel was assassinated by… something. Why? He seemed harmless enough! We also learn that the Daughter of the Nine Moons is likely someone related to the Seanchan, and that they have designs on Ebou Dar (or at least spies there). With Mat in town this seems like a prime opportunity for some first-class prophecy fulfillment, no? Who do you expect her to be? Have we perhaps already seen her?

Herid Fel was working on new weapons for Rand, but also researching whatever he could find on the Aes Sedai-Warder bond. I think Rand really, really wants to break that bond. I know I would, like a recurring blister in a most uncomfortable place. So, who controls a golem? We haven’t seen golems before, right? So if they are a Sea Folk or Seachan thing, then I say Herid was killed for his masterly skills at coming up with new weapons. If the Aes Sedai, like Alanna, control golems, then I say he was killed for his research in the Warder bond.

Yes! It is time we have Mat meet the Daughter of the Nine Moons. Honestly, I really don’t know who to expect, and I don’t know if we have met her before. Robert Jordan is great at pulling in characters from previous books and showing them in a new light or putting them in a new situation. So I wouldn’t be surprised if we have met her, that she is a Seanchan warrior badass, and that Mat and she detest one another from the beginning. Haha! Perhaps Mat loses a bet and therefore his money bag, his clothes, and his unmarried status.

Anyway, I look forward or jumping into the next book to see what happens.

Other Tidbits:

Perrin physically removed Berelain from the room, yelling at her! Go Perrin! But Faile didn’t spring up and thank him, or kiss him, or reassure him that his actions were appropriate. Sigh….

I am really, really glad that Rand and Lews have finally got a dialogue going, one that useful, like breaking out of Aes Sedai jail. I am just sorry to say that it took nearly a week of Rand being bent over double smelling his own ass crack for this little communication breakthrough to occur.

Lord of Chaos Read Along Part IX

JordanLordOfChaosBannerWelcome All! This week the WoT Quad is hosted by Sue from Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers. Make sure you head over there for tea & intellect and to see what everyone else thinks of this section.

Chapters 46-51 were covered this week. Spoilers lurk below!

1. So the meeting that we have all been waiting for took place and Perrin met his in-laws. Perrin found the whole thing rather confusing, and I have to say that I agree with him: either Saldaeans are all crazy or it is just this particular family. What did you think of the encounters and do you think he will succeed in ruling his wife in a suitable fashion from now on?

I think once again we see Robert Jordan has all the characters’ hormones stuck at about age 16. Throughout the series, we see this constant competition, or sniping, back and forth between the sexes, and this was simply more of it. Mother and daughter are trying to outwit the men; the men are simply trying to keep up. And then we also have daughter trying to outsmart mother. All together, I think it was a test to see who could be pushed and how far. Luckily, Perrin was oblivious to much of this and simply stood his ground. He’s a smart lad. 🙂

2. Aiel attacking Aes Sedai: what is the world coming to? Any guesses as to who instigated the attack on Demira and why they let her survive?

This could be 1 of 2 things.

1) Some Aiel took in to their own heads and hands to send a message to the Aes Sedai to leave Rand alone. They were smart enough to know not to kill the Aes Sedai, as they simply wanted to get the message, “we can and will hurt you,’ through to them. Bodies are so much harder to deal with.

2) They were either Shaido or not Aiel at all. Whoever they were wanted shit to go down between Rand and the Aes Sedai and what better way to instigate that than to parade as Aiel and wound an Aes Sedai near to death. As Egwene found out, most people never look beyond the garb to see if the wearer is truly Aiel. This is my preferred theory.

3. Ebou Dar is certainly proving to be interesting. Any suggestions as to why Nynaeve is so upset with Mat? Also, what were your impressions of Tylin?

Nynaeve did kick Mat pretty darn hard for little reason when they were all reunited. Nynaeve use to be able to get away with stern look, a sharp tongue, and few hits or kicks back when she was Wisdom. But she isn’t that anymore. And Mat isn’t some punk kid with a badger either. So, I think she is worried that 1) Mat may give her a kick, or a spanking (and not the fun kind) or 2) She will be forced to apologize for her juvenile behavior. We all know how she hates to apologize. 🙂

Was Tylin the Queen? If so, I am so glad that meeting turned out well. She was regal and strong and courteous. Once the ice thawed, they actually had a meaningful and pleasant conversation.

4. Yay, Loial is back and being all nervous and cute about Erith trying to track him down! No need to ask if you are happy to see him, but do you think he will abandon his friends and spend the rest of the War in a Stedding if she catches up with him?

I think Erith will have to come along for the ride. I expect that the Ogier as a whole will be reluctant to join in the Last Battle, but Rand & crew will need their strength and wisdom. Loial, and perhaps Erith, will be the ones to talk or bully or shame the Elders into joining.

It is a quite cute. Loial isn’t ready to give up his travels yet, but he is interested in Erith. Hopefully she is the adventurous type.

5. On a scale of one to eleven, how stupid was Demira’s attempt to chastise the Dragon Reborn by making herself look big and shouting at him? Also, what do you think of Kiruna’s great plans to bring him to heel?

Ah, these ladies. You almost pity them. Almost.

Hooray for Min! If she had not rushed ahead on her mighty steed (Rosey Thorn? What is the mare’s name?), Rand would have been caught off guard. I think things would have gone quite messily then. rand might not have been able to lock down a surprised Lews Therin, and if Lews grabbed saidin and tore lose at the Aes Sedai….well, that would have solved things temporarily and created a larger problem for them to solve later.

Is it just me, or are all the Aes Sedai (even the good ones) getting rather narrow-minded and thinking a little too highly of themselves? was Moiraine the only one with a wider world view and appreciation for things and people not Aes Sedai? So, Kiruna’s plans. Yes. Well, I expect, since they are built on ego and faulty info, they will fall apart and she will rant and fume and perhaps even cry over it. If she doesn’t end up dead.

6. Berelain seems to be trying to give Faile a very good reason to stab her to death, but poor Perrin is getting all the blame, of course. Any idea what Berelain is doing and how Perrin is going to repair his marriage? Do you think Faile is handling this in a sensible and mature way?

First, I think Berelain is doing this for personal amusement – she likes watching Perrin blush and stammer and flee and she likes watching Faile fume and stamp her little foot.

Second, Faile is being a dumb ass. If you trust another person, in this case Perrin, with your life, your money pouch, your bed, your reputation, why not trust his penis? Perrin has given Faile no reason to believe he is interested in pursuing another woman. If I was Perrin, I would be deeply hurt by Faile’s lack of trust when it is so blatantly obvious that Berelain is of zero interest.

How will Perrin repair the marriage? Well, I think it is up to Faile to repair it as she has done the most damage through her irrational and misplaced jealously. But I do expect sooner or later Perrin will have to put his foot down with either one or both of the ladies. Perhaps Faile will get her bum spanked again?

7. Holy boxes of Dragon Reborn, Batman! They actually went ahead and took Rand! I think we all knew that the Tower envoy might try something like this, but were you surprised by how well it worked? Any ideas on what has happened to Min?

That was smooth. Very smooth. Rand has a reputation for taking off without his Aiel escort and without leaving word. So the Aes Sedai reporting that the Dragon Reborn left during their audience raised no suspicions. But gosh, folding a big man like Rand into that chest. That must have sucked!

As for Min….well, she was with the Aes Sedai, so I fear they also have her tied up somewhere….and if she were a minor character, I would be concerned that she would be dead.

8. Now that Rand has been captured, what do you expect to happen? Will someone eventually work out that he is missing? Will Loial Hulk-out and tear all the Aes Sedai’s heads off? Arghhhhhhh!!!!!!!

Well, this is a cluster fuck. 🙁 I really hope that someone notices soon that Rand is missing, but because of his reputation for taking off, I fear that it will be 2-4 days before anyone really worries. And once someone does worry, how will they figure out where he is? I mean, the Aes Sedai aren’t going to stay in place with him, right? They will be on the move.

So let’s say they figure it out this book, I expect the Aiel will all veil themselves, grab as many spears and knives they can carry, and head off in all directions if they don’t know where he is. Loial will probably ride with Perrin and, hopefully, Faile to chronicle their attempt to rescue Rand.

As for the Aes Sedai who did this, I really really hope that Rand gets to punish at least some of them once he is unfolded from the chest. So, hear that Aiel! Don’t kill them all. Not immediately, anyways.

Other Tidbits:

Hmm…marking your kids on your dagger hilt. That’s a new way to ‘notch the belt’.

Demira is being used, and by Verrin. I am not sure I like Verrin anymore. She was the book geek, the scientist, the nerdy detail-oriented, info-seeking Aes Sedai. Now I think she is manipulative on so many levels. She needs a sign: Do Not Trust!

Lord of Chaos Read Along Part VII

JordanLordOfChaosBannerOnce again the WoT Quad continues it’s ramble through The Wheel of Time. Make sure to catch Eivind’s comments below and to pop on over to Musings on Fantasia and Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers for deeper thoughts than mine.

We covered Chapters 31-38 this week. Spoilers reside below!

1) Morgase is summoned to the Lord Captain Commander hours before attempting to flee. What did you think of her summoner, the ‘short way’ past the scaffold, and her signing the treaty?

The Questioners in general seem to be an excessively creepy bunch, though some of the White Cloaks view them as weak (for choosing a noncombatant job). Though I guess the job position of Torturer is only noncombatant because the tortured are restrained while the Questioner does his work. Seems unsporting, really.

The short way definitely made a statement and, at least for now, got Lord Captain Commander what he thinks he wants – access to Andor. While it tugged on the heart strings to see all those folks being hanged, Morgase’s accomplices among them, I am glad that she kept some kind of demeanor. I am sure this will assist her later as the White Cloaks try to figure out how to strike at her; if she did not break into tears over this, how can they be sure who or what to target in the future?

As for signing the treaty…..oh, boy! This majorly complicates things. Morgase may no longer be needed by the White Cloaks and we already know several want her hanged. Some of her folks and supporters in Andor no longer have warm fuzzies towards her because of how she behaved when Rahvin had his hand in things, and this will isolate them further. It may also alienate her children. And of course, it puts Andor in between the White Cloaks and Rand, who wants to hand it over in one piece to Elayne.

2) Egwene attempted to board a Seafolk vessel, and got a dunking for her efforts. What did you make of the Seafolks taunt, ‘Tell the other, disguises do not fool us. You do not frighten us. You are all refused the gift of passage.’? Did you like Egwene’s reaction?

Well, I am not sure what this is going on about. So either I missed another person trying to steal onto a Seafolk vessel (bad reader!) or some such idiot has made this attempt and summarily was flung off. As to who and why they would disguise themselves as a short, brown eyed Aiel…. But the Sea folk probably didn’t pay that much attention and thought her Aiel. Perhaps nosy Aes Sedai… who is more nosy that Aes Sedai? Meddlesome Forsaken. Whether it was Aes Sedai or Forsaken trying to board the ship, I think the Sea Folk are right to toss them off.

While I chuckled at Egwene’s reaction, she probably didn’t do anything to improve diplomatic matters, and I am glad she showed some restraint.

3) ‘Only you know the worth of your honor.’ Egwene finally confessed to the Wise Ones and met her toh. Do you feel the method of meeting toh was satisfactory? Do you think it was too harsh, or too light?

While beatings of one sort or another are usually over in a decent amount of time, I usually prefer some punishment that causes physical pain and exhaustion and accomplishes some boring yet essential task – like mucking out stalls. Knowing the creative nature of the Aiel when it comes to punishments, I was a little surprised they did not pick something along those lines. However, Egwene was ordered by the Aes Sedai to make haste, so perhaps the Aiel were being considerate of this command.

Since Egwene did not have the Aes Sedai heal her upon arrival at Salidar, I say the punishment meets toh. If she had allowed a healing, or if one was done before she could avoid it, then toh would not have been met.

4) Egwene did a tricky and apparently dangerous thing traveling through Tel’aran’rhiod. Was Egwene reckless? Showing off? Just eager to have it over with? Do you think there will be any ill affects from that trip?

I think all three – Reckless in that she wanted it over with. And yes, for her, it was showing off a bit. More than a bit, actually. I think if she knew what she was being summoned for, she would have gone the slowest route, kept losing her way, and perhaps ended up in Salidar after the Last Battle.

As for ill effects, I don’t think she will have them from this trip. She is quick to point out to Rand how dangerous it is to enter T’A’R in the flesh, but it is also convenient for certain things. I expect we will see it again, and sooner or later, one of our fine idiots…er…heroes will have some horrendous headache, a bloody nose, split personality, or see a ghost of themselves in mirrors for the rest of their lives.

5) Egwene is made Amyrlin, and one of her first questions is what would have happened if not everyone had consented. Exile is the answer. Care to speculate on when was the last time some Amyrlin candidate was exiled and what were the consequences?

Since I don’t have a clear grasp on how long Aes Sedai live and I am not sure how long Siuan was Amyrlin, I would still like to speculate that the last time folks were exiled over the choice of Amyrlin was before Siuan. Probably 1 of 3 things happened with the exiled: 1) They were killed or stilled shortly after leaving the Tower; 2) They quietly left and set up shop somewhere else, creating some new ‘mythology’ for Aes Sedai-like powers among a completely different culture; or 3) They stayed quiet for a good long while until they could return in force, retake the Tower and the Seat and rewrote history to wipe out records of them ever being exiled.

In fact, I would be surprised if all three of those hadn’t happened throughout the long history of the Aes Sedai.

If it were to have happened here, it would have been messy. The Aes Sedai are already divided in half (Tower and Salidar) plus the Black Ajah. To split the Salidar Aes Sedai would have severely weakened them when they don’t need to be weak.

6) Nynaeve and Elayne are raised to the shawl and reunited with Egwene, and promptly spill their guts about nearly everything – such as the ter-angreal bowl and Moghedien. Do you foresee tension between the ladies as each knows what’s best?

Oh yes! Nynaeve and Egwene had already been having top-dog issues prior to their just past separation. Now that Egwene has this political and Aes Sedai power, plus the respect and love of the Wise Ones, I can see her getting an inflated ego. Who wouldn’t, honestly? But that is going to put a strain on her friendship with no only Nynaeve, but also Elayne. Sooner or later Elayne will be a nation’s ruler, perhaps a ruler of two nations. All three women will have their own ideas on what is best and how best to do it.

Though I don’t expect them to throw balefire at each other or other such silly bitch fight moves.

7) Not all is roses & tea in Salidar. We have two Sitter Factions – Lelaine and Romanda, with Delana playing both for one goal – sever or kill Logain. What complications do you see coming out of this little knotted mess?

This shall be mighty entertaining! I can’t wait for her to come up with a plan and to try to enact it. Because once that happens, Logain will be out of there. And I am expecting that either he will help Nynaeve and Elayne leave, or they will help him leave. Either way, that will be the merriest bunch to head off on some fanciful quest for a windy bowl.

Then of course, Delana will have to be discovered, or come close to being discovered, and things will go badly for her. I expect Aran’gar will kill her or have her killed before she can be captured or fully questioned.

8) Ah, Mat, ever the source of amusement! Mat leads the Band to Salidar, where he meets with the Amyrlin. Were you amused? Also, on the ride to Salidar, Aviendha accompanies him, along with Olver. Do you think Olver will ever come to accept the Aiel?

Mat out did himself this time. I loved that he de-stoled Egwene and read her the riot act for pretending to be the Amyrlin. While he made several good points about the ladies being idiots, etc. (which had been true in the past and I am sure will sooner or later be true again), he did put his foot, ankle, and good chunk of hit shin in his mouth over the Amyrlin thing. Haha!

And Mat doesn’t really look good draped in a stole anyway.

Wow, poor Olver. I kind of hope Aviendha adopts him and shows him the differences in Aiel, like there are differences in all nationalities, before he gets too old to see the differences.

Other Tidbits:

Ah, it’s so nice to see someone taking the time to play a board game with poor Mat while he recuperates from his latest wounds.

Ha! Elayne sure did get huffy about Rand’s plans to ‘give’ her the thrones. Has she raised an army and walked in and secured them? Has she used trickery or diplomacy to secure either of them? No. She’s relying on time, the Aes Sedai, and her sacred royal blood. *rolls eyes*

So even Mat can see Aviendha has a thing for Rand….and Mat assumes Aviendha wants to stick a knife in Elayne. No, what Aviendha wants (perhaps ‘needs’ is a better word) to do is far, far more difficult…for both ladies.

Lord of Chaos Read Along Part III

JordanLordOfChaosBannerOnce again the WoT Quad convenes to dice and slice apart Robert Jordan’s work. Makes his series sound like a tasty meal, doesn’t that? Well, it is a meal, for your brain. Don’t forget to visit my cohorts: Eivind in the comments below, Musings on Fantasia, and Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers.

This week we covered Chapters 7-11; spoilers infest the 7 course meal below!

1) Elayne & Nynaeve are teaching Siuan, Leane, and some of the Salidar Aes Sedai about Tel’aran’rhiod. What did you make of first Gera the Cook and then Elaida popping into Tel’aran’rhiod? Do you think Elaida’s pronouncement was Foretelling or merely her dreaming?

Well, I think Gera was merely dreaming, and I liked that she was dreaming a minor fantasy – weighing half of what she does in real life. Then I was amused by the some of the Aes Sedai playing around, changing their clothes and looks. Elaida is just scary whether she is dreaming or not. I think I would have needed a few minutes to catch my breath after he little appearance and proclamation.

I know some of the Aes Sedai worry that her words are a Foreshadowing, but many things would have to happen in order for he to unit the Aes Sedai under her. The Salidar Aes Sedai would have to be captured/wiped out or return to the Tower for one. Elaida would have to survive in power long enough to see either scenario come about. Still, we have 6 or 7 books left in the series and strange and horrible things do happen as the Final Battle draws closer.

2) While in Tel’aran’rhiod. Leane decides to go check her network, and Sheriam sends Nynaeve to go find her. Then most of the Salidar Aes Sedai stumble into a pocket of nightmare and Elayne has to rescue them. A series of coincidences? What did you think of Elayne’s actions?

Well, I don’t think they are all coincidences. Why can’t a skilled T’A’R walker set a trolloc nightmare trap for the unwary or idiotic? Possibly a Forsaken or a Darkfriend with skills could have set it and it is my inclination to believe it was a trap. Was it set specifically for these idiots? Maybe, maybe not. Leane going off shortly before the Trolloc’s Favorite Fall Soup could merely be her wanting to check her network – or she had some other task she wanted to do (like Elayne going by her home throne room after the nightmare scene) – or she knew what was on the Trolloc menu and bowed out. If Leane chats about what info she uncovered through her network in the next reading section, I will be more inclined to believe in her innocence.

Elayne! Part of me really, really liked how she swallowed her fear and her gorge and stepped into the nightmare to rescue those idiots. It took a lot of bravery. But the volunteer rescue worker in me knows that 99% of the time, this is a really bad idea and results in greater body counts. If you don’t have backup waiting on the sidelines, it is usually a deadly idea to step into such a mess. Perhaps she can now convince these Salidar Aes Sedai to take her and Nynaeve more seriously!

3) Logain is unsettling the Aes Sedai left and right with his claim that the Red Ajah set him up as the false Dragon. How much of what he says do you think is true? How do you think the Aes Sedai, both at Salidar and those visiting from the White Tower, will react to his claims?

I expect Logain is telling the truth on this. However, I am not quite sure why retelling it again and again seems to have breathed some life into him. Perhaps he hopes that the Red Ajah will receive some rebuke or censure from the rest of the Aes Sedai and that idea gives him a warm fuzzy?

I expect the Salidar Aes Sedai will use Logain to bolster their bid for power and credibility with the nations of RandLand. I expect the White Tower Aes Sedai to go into a muddled state of indecision where Logain is concerned. If Elaida reacts to his claims, she is then acknowledging him. I am not sure she is capable of that. If they kill him publicly, that could be seen as a sign of guilt. Perhaps Elaida didn’t know about the Reds using Logain, in which case she will honestly believe he is lying, which will bolster her believe that the Salidar Aes Sedai need to be brought to heel.

JordanLordOfChaos4) The Lord Captain Commander Niall has information coming to him from many sources: his fake spymaster Omerna, his disguised spymaster Balwer, and some unknown via messenger pigeon. What do you make of all this various info and Niall’s acceptance or dismissal of it?

OK, is it just me, or are Elaida and Niall like the 2 sides of a coin, male & female? They both choose to believe what they want to believe and then look for facts to corroborate that belief.

I think Niall would be a lot more dangerous to Rand and crew if he listened to Balwer. Oh hell, if he listened to half of what Omerna said, he would be able to make Rand uncomfortable. He’s ignoring too much to be successful. Which is probably a good thing because I totally am Team Rand :).

Still, it is interesting that eyewitness accounts, statistics, even reliable spy statements really don’t matter. It can all be twisted and dismissed. Niall, like Elaida, need it in their face to believe it. Perhaps Rand could give Niall a demonstration – perhaps of what it is like to be tied up by the Power and left hanging in the middle of a room for a few hours – just until you really, really, really need to piss.

5) As Morgase returns from falconing, she sees many refugees along the road and questions one of her escorts, Norowhin. What do you make of his answers? How do you expect Morgase to proceed from this point?

C’mon Morgase! I want you to be a hero! Escape! Rally the troops! Kick some teeth down some throats and help Rand make the world safe for small children and puppies!

The refugees are going every which way and the countryside itself seems destitute. So this should tell Morgase something about the White Cloaks, right? Like perhaps they aren’t good for business, harvest, protecting the people, nor making dinner for large numbers of people. While I greatly hope she won’t get into bed with them for the sake of regaining her throne, I can see how she has narrowed her choices and may now feel like she has little choice. Sigh….

6) Rand goes to visit Culain’s Hound Inn, where he gets more than one surprise. Verin and Alanna are escorting several young ladies from Emond’s Field area to the White Tower to train as Aes Sedai. What do you think they will do now that they know of the split? More importantly, how would you have reacted to Alanna’s little trap that she set for Rand?

That must have been surreal for Rand. Still, many of those ladies treated Rand like they did back when he was home in Two Rivers….at least until he gave them a little, gentle demonstration of his powers. I kind of hope that Rand decides to have the ladies rounded up and removed from Verin and Alanna, but he might not deem such a thing worth his time, and also several of the ladies might protest greatly. Since Verin and Alanna now have their movements restricted, I would think they would want to keep the ladies with them, partially as guarantee that Rand not harm them (Verin & Alanna). I think Verin is too wise to try to take this gaggle of girls to the Tower in all this uncertainty. I am expecting that she or Alanna has a way to track down the Salidar Aes Sedai and I wouldn’t be surprised if they insist on going there. This would give Rand the opportunity to ring the location out of them, if he takes it.

As for Alanna and her new Warder…. Well, first, I would have slapped her. Then I would have kicked her in the shin. Next, a punch to the gut or breast. I would follow this up by sweeping her legs out from under her and put a on her to hold her to the ground while I define for her the parameters of our new relationship.

Honestly, I think Rand was quite controlled about the situation. Alanna didn’t get half of what she deserved. I did have an incredulous laugh when she complained to Verin about Rand ‘daring to limit their movements’. Hypocritical little witch, isn’t she?

7) Mazrim Taim wants to go out looking for men who can channel. Do you think his enthusiasm for building this army is for the Dragon Reborn or his own glory? How do you think he will fulfill Rand’s order to bring Henre Haslin, the drunk Master of the Sword, back?

Mazrim is all about Mazrim. He wants to lead an army for his own glory. Perhaps he thinks that with an army, he wouldn’t need to obey Rand, even if Rand is the stronger. Perhaps he doesn’t mind being second as long as he is in charge of the male Aes Sedai army. Still, Mazrim might have to be taken out before he spreads bloodshed all over the world.

I can see Mazrim either delegating the task of bringing Haslin back or doing it in such a way that Haslin refuses to work with Mazrim, the male Aes Sedai farm, or Rand. I think it would be very hard for Mazrim to swollow his pride and invite Haslin back, letting the whole camp know that Mazrim changed his mind.

Other Tidbits:

I liked how Nynaeve gave Siuan a talking to about refusing to let her attempt to heal her…. and then later Theodrin gives Nynaeve a very similar talking to about not letting Theodrin attempt to remove her block. Still, I will be surprised if either Siuan or Nynaeve turn around and cooperate fully with zeal.

OK, last week we talked about Semirhage and her secret every day identity. She has a stubborn charge. I now want to guess that she is Theodrin. Though I have to wonder about her little story about having a block herself – how she couldn’t channel around boys. True? Partially? Completely false to set Nynaeve at ease?

The Fires of Heaven Read Along Part IX

JordanFiresOfHeavenBannerWelcome all to the ninth week of read along goodness of The Fires of Heaven. This week, we covered chapters 50-53. Make sure to check out my cohorts, Eivind’s answers will be below, and then Sue from Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers, and Liesel from Musings on Fantasia!

We’ve got spoilers unclothed and running free below!

1) How long do you think Birgitte will be able to keep her identity mostly secret? What do you think the Salidar Aes Sedai would do with Birgitte if they knew?

Considering the warm reaction Nynaeve and Elayne have received from the Salidar aes sedai, I would not want them to find out about Birgitte. Even though Siuan brought dire tidings, these ladies haven’t really woken up to the fact that there are superior forces out there and also tasks that must be accomplished in order to preserve some part of the world in the coming tide of evil. It’s like the Salidar aes sedai haven’t read the back of the book jacket at all!

As to Birgitte keeping her ID secret…..The longer she is in Salidar, the greater the chance is. However, being bonded to Elayne means that she can’t simply pack a few supplies and hike away. I am hoping that the Wheel will send Nynaeve and Elayne off on more tasks soon and Birgitte will be safe from the prying microscope known as the aes sedai for a while longer. However, there are still plenty of other people who would be fascinated by her true ID, and exceptional abilities. I think Thom and Jullin will have to be brought into this secret sooner or later too, if they haven’t already figured it out.

2) What good, if any, will come out of Siuan’s and Nynaeve’s agreement? Is Nynaeve smoking leaf and reaching for the stars?

Well since these two ladies seem highly incompatible, perhaps Nynaeve will get mad enough to heal a stilling. But will she get the results she wants? Not all cures take you back to your original state. How many folks have completely different hair, or no hair, after cancer treatments? Still, Nynaeve is reaching for the stars on this one. I think part of it is that she is so use to her stubborn manner being unwilling to except another outcome, that she is relying on it still to carry her through.

I can’t see Nynaeve being a particularly good teacher (having a deep set lack of impatience) and I also have equal difficulty seeing Siuan being a good student (inability to follow directions). While these attempts will most assuredly be entertaining for me as the reader, I am sure they will be a huge source of irritation for both ladies! Will Siuan end up walking Tel’aran’rhiod? Perhaps. Will she much about an end up getting someone killed? Distinct possibility.

3) Elayne and Min had a little heart to heart. How do you think this will affect their relationship in the future?

Actually, I felt that Elayne was a little dismissive of Min, caught herself doing it, and curbed it. Still, I can still see her thinking, ‘Why would Rand want plain (in every way) MIn when he has all my charms on offer?’ Hopefully Elayne will continue to keep an open mind and let Rand figure out his own mind about which woman, and how many, he wants to share himself with.

Still, whatever Rand decides, no matter how gentlemanly he acts, I expect there will eventually be some competition between these two ladies. I am still a suspicious of Min’s love for Rand, considering how little time she has spent with him. It could be a super intense crush under stressful times.

4) What do you think of Rand’s latest ways of dealing with the never-ending parade of court ladies?

Wow! Rand, you have come a long way from the sheepherder of Two Rivers and are infinitely more interesting. Part of me cheered his scaring the ladies and part of me was reluctant to cheer openly because it would be impolite. But I did it anyway. He didn’t lie; he just pointed out that he is the bogeyman of all horror stories, and do they really, really want to spend time with such a man? Let alone bed him? Have his children? Have their fate tied to his? Yep, Rand, you cut to the heart of the matter in a few sentences….and then added creepy chuckling. Muuuwaaahahah!

Here's Jake, our Mammoth Donkey.
Here’s Jake, our Mammoth Donkey.

5) Rand received two interesting letters from the White Tower. Should he trust either? How do you think  this latest ‘news’ from Tar Valon will affect his actions?

Trust no one. I think he needs that embroidered on his underwear to remind him every day, multiple times a day. While the letters are each interesting, and he should keep their info in his head as background info, trust them? No. I don’t care what assurities Elaida offers, Do NOT Trust!

Still, the two approaches are interesting. One is clipped, decided, yet polite. The other worshipful, even begging for recognition. I guess if Rand ever needs to get inside the White Tower (openly, instead of simply Traveling there), these letters are his in.

6) Do you think Mat will be scarred for life by the death of Melindrha? What about their last encounter triggered her attack?

Yes and no. I think he will regret the necessity, he may even become more cautious about who he beds from now on. Will he get a Rand-complex concerning killing women? No. He’s a little too practical for that, and also very attached to his own skin. I wonder if his tastes will skew towards weaker women, shorter than him, etc. from now on?

I think Melindrha decided that Mat was no longer necessary as a source of info for Samiel’s plans. Perhaps she even intended to leave his dead body in place to sew confusion, sadness, terror (one attacked in the palace, and that one a close confidante’s of The Dragon Reborn!).

7) Moiraine and Lanfear: they have passed through the doorframe ter’angreal. Assumptions have been made that both are dead. If they are, how do you see that affecting the ones left behind? If one or both were to reappear later, how do you think that would happen?

Well, Lan will eventually end up in Nynaeve’s hands, and hopefully not too long from now. She needs a protector because her ornery attitude is making her enemies. I expect Moiraine’s letter to Thom will have a significant, if private, affect on his life and I look forward to that unfolding. Loial will be crushed, such a big sweetie that he is. I think Perrin and Nynaeve will be shocked in different ways – he may feel that yet one more thing he thought stable and permanent for this ongoing conflict has been yanked out from under him; Nynaeve because she put so much angst into teaching Moiraine specifically that she can’t just yank good kids out of Two Rivers without having a reckoning.

Lanfear was one of the most organized and driven of the Forsaken. I expect some of the Forsaken plans will fall apart with her out of the picture, which will be good for most of our characters. However, she was also, in her deranged way, protecting Rand/Lews. Without her protection, I expect we will see an increase in attacks on Rand.

If Moiraine can turn up later, so can Lanfear. Hmm…. should I wish for it or not? I think I have to for multiple reasons. Moiraine has a lot of knowledge and has backed Rand from the beginning. She has also learned her lesson that Rand and the Wheel will not allow the aes sedai to guide or control him. Also, I feel that Rand needs to face Lanfear on his own. While he has acknowledged his shortcoming (his inability to harm a woman, even an evil one in the act of destroying the good), he has not found a solution for this shortcoming.

8) Rand had a very intense discussion with Sulin. Do you think that Rand will be able to overcome his hesitancy to harm women in light of that discussion and Moiraine’s sacrifice?

I can see that Rand is already starting to think of this shortcoming differently. Sulin & crew are warriors. They have chosen this life and Rand cannot deny them their choice. By refusing to harm Lanfear he ended up sacrificing Moiraine and nearly lost Egwene and Aviendha too. While it was probably a virtue for 99% of his life to never, ever harm a woman, here he saw how that ‘virtue’ held him back from protecting good people. Not good women; not good children. Simply good people. I think Robert Jordan will keep this conundrum going for a few more, if not several more, books. But I am hoping to see Rand face and overcome his deeply ingrained hesitancy for the right reasons.

Other Tidbits:

Gosh, the Salidar aes sedai superiority streak has me wanting them to be faced with some horrendous set back or attack or such just to break that superiority complex! For the first time, I am not actively rooting for the aes sedai. Anyone else feeling this?

I wonder what the aes sedai will find upon testing Nicola and the other lady. Since it was made a deal of, I have to think Robert Jordan does something with one or both ladies. If one is a Forsaken in disguise, I wonder if she will be able to shield her abilities from detection…..

About time Rand told Mat straight up that he needs him and his past lives at his side. Mat obviously doesn’t like it, but at least he now knows that Rand, and the Wheel, won’t easily let him walk away.

Robert Jordan used plenty of foreshadowing concerning Moiraine’s sacrifice, going back….1 or 2 books. When she handed over the letters, I thought for sure something would click with the more logical of our party, like Lan or one of the Aiel. The Aiel know about sacrifice, so even if it clicked, perhaps they would keep silent. Still, I wonder why Lan didn’t raise an eyebrow on that one?

Lanfear is insanely jealous. Not healthy. She needs impulse control management therapy and some deep counseling concerning her possessiveness disorder.

The Fires of Heaven Read Along Part I

JordanFiresOfHeavenBannerWelcome everyone! The WoT Quad continues their Wheel of Time adventures with The Fires of Heaven, Book 5 in the series. Peek over here for the schedule if you think you would like to join us.

I’m you’re lucky host this week and if there are any quirks in the questions, or my answers, I blame sleep deprivation because sleep deprivation is too tired to fight back and say that it is not at fault, haha!

Anyway, spoilers are having a party below. Avert your eyes if you fear that your Wheel of Time innocence will be forever tainted.

1) Elaida doesn’t seem to have as strong a hold on the White Tower as she would like. Do you think her tactics to demand obedience and courtesy will work with all? How would you go about defying Elaida if you were stuck in the White Tower with her?

No, I don’t think Elaida will get obedience from all. She knows that she did not rise to power on her own, and those that put her in power know that too. I do believe she will be able to dominate many of those, but not all. After all, I am reading this for entertainment and I believe Robert Jordan knew that Elaida butting heads with at least one person in the White Tower would greatly amuse me.

If I was stuck in the the White Tower at this time, I would wiggle my way into having some control over Elaida’s food or bed linen. I will let your evil minds run amok with the kinds of unpleasant and sneaky things I could get up to ;).

2) A few of the Forsaken get together at the end of the Prologue for plotting and sniping at each other. Will any of their plans come to fruition? If you were Rand, who would you neutralize first?

I think that whatever Lanfear puts her mind and will into stands a chance of coming to fruition. She is focused and capable. For these same reasons, I would put her at the top of the list to neutralize.

With that said, I can see a few reasons why Rand has not done much to take Lanfear out. She is powerful and has a brain, so Rand might not feel ready yet to go toe to toe with her. Also, she has a vast amount of knowledge that Rand could benefit from, if he could get it out of her. So, on my personal list I will put Rahvin first because he irritates me with treating mere humans as puppets for his pleasure. Oh, and because he is breaking Wheaton’s Law – Don’t be a dick!

3) Leane, Siuan, & Min nearly get hanged for some burnt hay and stolen coin. Each woman chose a different approach to appealing to the judge; whose did you appreciate the most? What do you think of Siuan’s reaction to Lord Gareth Bryn?

While I don’t flash my boobies or bat my eyes at men to get what I want, I do see that it works very, very often. However, in a case like this where the villagers were threatening hanging, I would not be above trying such a tactic. I see that Siuan’s reaction – a mix of fear and defiance – was more effective in a way. Yet, she also peaked Bryn’s interest and he will be pursuing their escape. Poor MIn, in the middle thinking it is all mad and truly concerned about breaking her oath. I had to laugh a little. I mean, these ladies are trying to save the world so I think that obligation trumps doing maids’ work for a few seasons to pay back a black eye, some burnt hay, and some stolen coins.

Siuan obviously knows Bryn for some reason and fears him recognizing her. I smell a romance that was set aside for Aes Sedai glory.

4) Couladin still has not entered Rhuidean, even though it is now open to all. Rand plans to use the Aiel to quell the other other nations before he tackles the last battle. Do you think Couladin & the Shaido could jeopardize that plan?

Oh, I hope so! It would be oodles of fun for me as the reader to see Couladin presenting a major threat to Rand’s plans and then watching Rand quell that threat – with flaming sword, shirtless. He should have a decent tan going on now, right?

I am not too sure how the Aiel will feel about being used as a weapon to force the other nations into compliance. I assume many will quite enjoy the task, but others may feel that it is below their dignity and honor.

Here's Jake, our Mammoth Donkey.
Here’s Jake, our Mammoth Donkey.

5) Rand continues to pluck info from Asmodean about use of the Power and also details about the Forsaken. How much do you think Asmodean is holding back? What little tricks would you play on Rand if you were his ‘guest’?

While Asmodean appears to be the densest of the Forsaken, he would not have survived this long without some tricks, sneakiness, or other useful abilities. So I will assume at this point that he is withholding from Rand – and I think Rand at least suspects this. Good for him. He really isn’t the Farm Boy we started with The Eye of the World anymore, is he?

If I was Rand’s guest, I would first make sure that all his small clothes mysteriously turned to ash. Next, I would do my best to see that whatever he drank, or whenever he bathed, the liquid was just short of what he desired – just enough to be irritating.

6) At the end of Chapter 3, Melindrha hints at things she would like to do by moonlight with Mat. Hehe. What are some of the craziest moonlit excursions you have ever been a part of?

First, just let me say that I am very glad to see that Mat has become the prey in this hunt for love. I think it is good for him.

As for moonlit stories – well there was the time at the golf course collecting markers left by players so they could continue the next day (no, I didn’t know what they were at the time, but as a scientist I took some home to investigate further). I also rode around in a car driven by a blind man. There was a shrubbery involved. There was also that time stuck in an arroyo in the Jeep. Camping with my man under a full moon was great, until the dogs brought a deer carcass back to camp and into the tent. Sigh….the good old days when I still intentionally ventured out in the depths of night.

Other Tidbits:

Padan Fain is over the deep end and now he is near his dagger. I have to wonder how that will affect his abilities once he gets a hold of it, if he does. Of course, this is coupled with my concerns for the Horn, which is still in the White Tower. Hmm…. Mat may have to go toe to toe with Fain at some point.

As some of you know, I was a bit distracted this past week, but what the hell was Logaine up to? Why did he run in the first place instead of knocking a few more heads and getting the ladies out of there? Why wait until they are being carted up to Lord Bryn’s for a not-heroic ‘rescue’? Did I miss something?