The Shadow Rising Read Along Part VI

JordanShadowRisingBannerThis book keeps getting more intense, doesn’t it? This week’s questions come from Eivind, our illustrious commenter. Leave your links in the comments so we can all visit.

As you may have surmised, there are spoilers lurking around every corner, just waiting to mug you of your innocence. Avoid this post if you have concerns.

1. Wow, Fain seems to have taken crazy to a whole new level. What on earth could he want with a Myrdraal?

Let’s see. If I had a captive Myrdraal that I had enslaved, what would I do with it? Hmm… plenty of menial chores need doing, but I have other slaves for that. Random acts of violence? Well, there’s the trollocs for that. Myrdraals have those flying beasts, so maybe reconnaissance or transport. They can flit from shadow to shadow appearing almost human, so perhaps stealthily sneaking into somewhere and putting a blade to someone’s throat.

Yes, I can see a few pointed and violent purposes for Myrdraals.

2. Lord Luc, selfless heroic noble with only the best interests of the locals at heart. Or so he would have you think – Perrin doesn’t appear to agree. What do you make of this bloke?

Fame and adulation seeker. Lord Luc obviously hasn’t grasped fully what is lurking in the woods around Emon’s Field and the Two Rivers. He could also be spying for the White Cloaks, or even for Fain. Since Eivind has asked about him, and Eivind has read this book at least once, I have to wonder what harm Lord Luc will cause before the book is through. Part of me thinks him winding up amongst a horde of trollocs would be educational.

3. We finally learn about the Aiel side of Rand’s parentage. Was this about what you expected? Who might Shaiel have been? (If you have been paying attention, you should be able to work out who Rand’s half brother is.)

I was hoping to learn more of Rand’s parentage, but I was surprised when the Wise Women started telling him about it. I expected it to be a long drawn out piecing things together, not the simple telling it turned out to be.

We know that Shaiel was blonde and stubborn, and had the guidance of an Aes Sedai. This all points to royalty. His half brother is a few years older. And while I think I have payed attention, no I don’t know who his brother is. Of course, I am considering the royalty we have come across – and my eye is drawn to blond Gawyn. But that might make things a bit awkward between Rand and Elayne.

4. Egwene is caught red handed in T’A’R without supervision. What do you think of Amys’ reaction?

Well, I think Amys is of two minds. 1) Egwene gave her word, and a promise to and among the Aiel is super important. It is unwise to make an empty promise to an Aiel. 2) Amys is nosy, like any good Wise Woman and wants to know what Egwene was up to. I certainly like her scare tactics and Egwene needed a little calibrating. She is easy with her little lie about being Green Ajah, so finding out that means very little in the Waste should be good for her.

5. So we might see a bit of Aviendha/Rand interaction coming up. Teacher, student, spy and spyee. What do you expect from these two? Is Aviendha acting a bit… odd? (Even for Aiel.)

Loyalty is huge with the Aiel. Aviendha has loyalty to Elayne and she perceives Rand’s reactions, or lack of them, towards Elayne to be insufficient. I think bonding among the Aiel must be fairly straight forward: A simple statement of attraction, perhaps a kissing game or two, and if that goes well, a mutual promise to set aside weapons and make whoopee. Obviously, nothing is going to be that simple for Rand.

Aviendha just came from Ruidean where I expect she had a similar experience to Rand’s: she saw slices of the lives of her ancestors and probably learned the double edged sword that is He Who Comes With the Dawn. Couple that with her irksome attitude towards Rand on Elayne’s behalf and you have one conflicted Aiel.

Perhaps she will also turn into yet another love interest for Rand – because he obviously doesn’t have enough women’s troubles. Pretty soon Rand is going to be singing country music to himself….something about all his exs living in another state. Anyhoo, if Aviendha learned in Ruidean that her fate is somehow coupled with Rand’s, she might be a little pissed off about that too.

6. “We ride with evil, now” Rand claims. What do you think he means? Could this somehow be part of his plan?

We all think of Mat as the gambler, but I think Rand is the one who is throwing his metaphorical dice and hoping some mad scheme of his works. Obviously, he doesn’t trust the traders they came across. It is a little convenient – they hadn’t found or been found by a guide and they were so close to Ruidean. So far, we have seen 3 people – the trader, his wife (I think), and a gleeman (briefly). For all those wagons. Hmm… suspicious. Then Rand payed close attention to the trader’s eyes as he was confronted by the Aiel and learned how close he was to the forbidden Ruidean. Sooner or later, Rand has to confront some of the puppeteers with his new found powers, and I think this trader is a spy or agent for those puppeteers.

Other Tidbits:

Aviendha describing Elayne in detail to Rand was priceless. She is so straight forward, so honest about Elayne’s physical attributes – it really is complimentary. Then offering to arrange for Rand to see Elayne in the bath was really quite polite of her. Alas, Rand is not ready for such a straight forward, uncomplicated love life.

Perrin may be in for some trouble, and I don’t mean trollocs, Fain, and White Cloaks. He is hanging out with some Aes Sedai – Verin and Lana (?). I am doing the audio and not sure of spelling. Anyway, this second Aes Sedai seems quite…. focused on Perrin. couple that with Verin’s playful threat of bonding a man as a Warder against his will (apparently it can be done) and her subtle warning about Aes Sedai who stray due to lust. Perhaps Perrin will be forced into servitude as a Warder for part of the series. As sexy as that sounds, I would not want to piss Perrin off.

Elayne trying on Sea Folk attire in T’A’R was awesome. Who hasn’t wished to be able to do a simple cosplay at home to see if tatts or piercings or body paint or a full hijab would be charming? It’s great that she was willing to entertain the idea of a few body modifications. I am guessing that growing up in court, she didn’t get to experiment much, even with dying her hair.

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Musings on Fantasia

Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

The Great Hunt Read Along Part VI

JordanGreatHuntBannerHello folks. This week we cover chapters 35-42 of The Great Hunt. Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings is our host this week, so make sure to stop by her place. Next week we’ll be back here for the final installment of The Great Hunt.

This week’s questions:

1. We got to see a lot more Ogier in this section. What did you think of them and their village?
It was nice to see some Ogier women…..and Loial’s reaction. Poor dude. Hiding behind his book probably won’t be enough to keep him safe from the machinations of marriage. Also, the guest quarters were thoughtful, but in general were too large for most humans. Sounds like an interesting place to visit, and an awkward place to try to set down for a long time.
2. There were some suspicions about what the Aiel women were really doing. Do you think they are looking for Rand or that it was a coincidence?
Well, I think there are a lot of people looking for Rand, or rather their myth’s version of the Dragon Reborn, and they simply don’t know that it is Rand. So, in a way, yes, the Aiel women are looking for the answer to their prophecies. They may suspect Rand at this point, but I don’t think they will interfere with him….yet.
3. When Rand was trying to use the Portal stone, everyone got a glimpse at possible lives. What did you think of Rand’s other possibilities? What do you think were Verin and Ingtar’s?
I think being shown our possible other lives in full technicolor would be hard on anyone, but especially someone who carries the power to destroy people and reshape the world. Verin probably had some of the basics – like being a mother/grandmother, not being an Aes Sedai, choosing a different ajah. Ingtar perhaps had to face not being a warrior, or perhaps not fulfilling some vow. All of them were pretty shaken up.
My goatmilk raised kitty Chupacabra.
My goatmilk raised kitty Chupacabra.

4. Liandrin has finally shown her true colors! How do you think her betrayal will turn out for her and the rest of the Aes Sedai? Do you think she’ll get away with it?

I held out hope for this long that she was simply a prickly person, very stern, had too high of an opinion of herself. Alas, she is all those things and black ajah. Bitch. But we needed a real, non-nebulous bad guy other than Padan Fain. Now I have some one to hate on and hope that the main good guys corner her in some dark alley sometime soon. This is a really long series, so I expect she will get away with it for some few-several books and then get struck by lightning or drowned or suffocated or hit by a large horse. Any number of deaths are OK by this reader.
5. Poor Egwene! Do you think Nynaeve and Elayne can save her before the ship arrives?
I want to say yes, because good always triumphs, right? I really don’t remember how this book ends. I do remember that I don’t like the Seanchan and their collars at all. Still, Egwene is getting some pretty harsh treatment this book.
Other Tidbits:
I read this book many, many years ago and only remember the abrupt appearance of the Seachan and their advanced technology and military organization. I found it too jarring back then and gave up on the series. This time around, I still find it very jarring, but I am assured that things settle down and I just need to push through this discombobulation.
Bela, girl, what will happen to you?!?
Hehe. Loial says Ogier women make all the decisions about marriage, and then inform the involved male. Mat says humans never do it that way. Perrin begs to differ. Then we change scenes and there are the ladies planning how best to divide up rand’s time among the three of them. Lol!

The Great Hunt Read Along Part V

JordanGreatHuntBannerToday we are dissecting Chapters 28-34. I hope you have all enjoyed some of the interesting points in this section. Make sure to leave your link int he comments so I can visit all of you. Looking forward to reading your thoughts.

1) Ingtar is really gung ho about the Horn. Is anyone else worried about his obsession? Have you ever experienced such an obsession?

I think perhaps the potential glory has gone to Ingtar’s head. He is desperate to find this horn. Perhaps he feels the need to obtain a certain level of glory before….becoming a ruler? asking a certain lady to wed him? I’m not sure what the underlying cause is that is driving him, but he has monovision for sure.

I often tell folks I have only 2 addictions, which can be like obsessions in the right light: my man, and Dr. Pepper. Yep. Something deeply moving (or sappy) and chemical sugar in just the right combination with a variety of preservatives and cancer-causing agents. Moving to shallow – in the snap of a finger. That’s how I roll.

2) In Chapter 28, we hear about the Jenn Aiel, Rhuidean, and their prophecy of a man of their blood from beyond the Spine of the World. It appears that Rand isn’t tied to just one people/culture and their prophecies, but multiple peoples. Are you enjoying guessing (or watching, if you have read before) how Rand will be ensnared by all these demands upon him?

Poor Rand. Even if he did manage to truly get away from the Aes Sedai, it sounds like he would not escape the prophecy – because it is everywhere, in one form or another. Perhaps he should have the various versions laid before him and he could pick his favorite. All these different titles probably come with different costumes…er, uniforms. He could pick the one that best shows off his physique. He’s been sword training and traveling, so he must have a physique by now.

3) Through White Cloak Bornhald and Captain Domon, we get our first rumors and glimpses of the Seanchan, descendants of Artur Hawkwing’s armies, from across the sea. What do make of them? How do you think the military forces we have met so far will fair? If you have read before, feel free to critique their hierarchy and style of armor.

These Seanchan are really and all or nothing kind of folks. Either you are too far below for them to take notice of you, or they demand everything of you – and if you don’t give it, they will grind you into little flakes of dust to be lost on the wind. I really do hope the military forces we have seen so far – Ingtar and crew, the Aiel, even the White Cloaks, Aes Sedai + warders, – can set aside their squabbles for a little and do some righteous kick-ass action on these Seanchan. Besides, i have grown rather fond of Cpt. Domon and I don’t like the way he was treated.

Waffles & Streak sleeping in the bed. Yes, I did tuck him in.
Waffles & Streak sleeping in the bed. Yes, I did tuck him in.

4) Just for fun, what do you think Padan Fain had on Lord Barthanes?

Fain had something so deeply disturbing on Barthanes to force him to 1) allow Fain to use his Grove, 2) allow a troupe of trollocs through his grounds to the Grove (I assume Fain took at least some of them with him), and 3) carry a verbal message to Rand (way beneath his dignity). Now, Barthanes is one of the most powerful in the city, and I assume he not only has his share of secrets, but knows how to hide them well. It’s got to be something that, if it came to light, he could not bribe his way out of hte consequences (with money, or other people’s naughty secrets he has tucked under his pillow). Hmmm… That leaves a) child sacrifice, b) mating with animals, c) bedding the king, his wife, or his relations,  or d) Fain got a hold of Barthanes’ little black book of Other Peoples’ Secrets and offered it back in exchange for Waygate use. Your guess?

5) Machin Shin, the Black Wind, was waiting for them in the Waygate in the Grove at Barthanes. Coincidence, or set there on purpose?

Ooooo! I know Verin says it is not possible, but yes, I think the Black Wind wants Rand, in a totally bad way – like R for violence kind of way. I wonder how the Dark ones are controlling/negotiating/directing it to sit at the Waygate? What could it want or be afraid of so badly that it would do the bidding of another? Or it is strongly attracted to Rand because he can channel. I am guessing we won’t have the answers to that one for this book, but I definitely look forward to this little puzzle being solved.

6) Ah! Poor Thom! How do you think the latest turn of loosing Dena will affect him? If you’ve read before, feel free to comment on how Robert Jordan’s ability to write in characters and then kill them off pull on your emotions.

Damn! Triple juggling knives damn! I was looking forward to having a female character who isn’t necessarily tied to the Aes Sedai. And I wanted to see if Dena would encourage or discourage Thom from pursuing the Horn. On the other hand, I think it would probably take an act like this to pull Thom out of his hiding and fling him into action. I definitely look forward to seeing what he will do. I think  Thom bent on cold revenge will be quality entertainment for me.

Other Tidbits:

Seanchan = Bug heads *snickering every time their armor is mentioned*

I am listening to the audio version, and Verin & Perrin are traveling together and sometimes I miss the V or P and I have to listen very carefully to figure out who is chatting. Nuts.

I want Fain to piss off Turak very, very badly.

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The Eye of the World Read Along Part V

eyeoftheworldbannerHello Everyone, welcome back to Part V of the read along. In this section, we cover Chapters 28-33. Please add your link below if you put up a post. If the link mechanism isn’t working, let me know in the comments, and I’ll do it old school. Also, make sure to visit our awesome cohost Anya over at On Starships and Dragonwings. If you want to check the schedule or sign up for the discussion questions email, look over HERE. Oh, and there is still a little time left on our Wheel of Time Audiobook Giveaway, so check that out if you haven’t.

With that, Here Be Spoilers!

1) Perrin, Egwene, Elyas, and Bela had quite the intense ride. What did you think about the ravens and what dark magic could motivate birds, even carrion birds, into such behavior?

I was biting my knuckles the entire time. I have chickens, which are omnivores, and I have seen how intense and ecstatic they get when they find a mouse. And I have seen what little was left of the mouse. So, yes, I had a pretty darn good visual of what those ravens were doing to anything they found moving. I think I can safely say that these ravens are in thrall to Big Bad Dude – hmm.. attempt spelling of Bal’zamon. I wonder what other animals he can control to that extent?

Picabuche - Just a smidge demon?
Picabuche – Just a smidge demon?

2) In Chapter 29, we hear part of the legend of Artur Hawkwing. How do you like Robert Jordan’s nod to such an ancient legend and his use of it and other mythologies in building his world?

I like how Jordan pulls in cultural references like Beltyne celebration and now Artur Hawkwing (King Arthur), as it gives Jordan’s a feeling of age and history. I also have to note that there have been some similarities to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and I tend to think these were done on purpose, perhaps as a nod to Tolkien’s works. I am looking forward to seeing what other myths or legends get pulled into the series.

3) Do you think Lord Captain Bornhald and Child Byar capture the two ends of the spectrum for the men who make up The Children of the Light?

These dudes creep me out. They are both dedicated heart and soul to their purpose, though I do believe Bornhald believes he is doing good while Byar just seems to enjoy the control. Perrin and Egwene are in a difficult situation and I worry that before the end of the book we are going to learn about the Children’s methods for bringing folks to the light….like torture.

4) Mat and Rand have a little fight over whether to sell Mat’s dagger, as they are running out of food. How do you like the solution they came up with?

Quite frankly. I am surprised that Mat didn’t come up with being traveling entertainers earlier. But perhaps that dagger is not only setting his mood dial on permanent Grumpy Suspicion, but also deleting brain cells. Still, after loosing Thom, I am glad the boys are continuing forward and have found a way to provide for themselves.

5) At Four Kings, Mat and Rand play for food and bed at a dive of an inn run by Saml Hake. During the course of the night, Rand spots a man, who turns out to be a Dark Friend, Howal Gode. And this naughty Dark Friend disturbs their sleep in a locked room. What do you think happened there?

Wow! OK, I finally believe that Rand is a male Aes Sedai, with all that lightening. Of course, there is the other tell-tale sign of Rand coming down with illness afterwards. I really wish he could have come into his power with Moiraine by his side to help guide him, or at least provide some info. And if 1 Dark Friend could find them on the road, others could too. These guys are to have to be extra careful.

Other Tidbits:

I am glad that we are seeing parts of the story through other characters now. It was cool to start the book with just Rand’s point of view, but now I am glad the story is branching out.



The Eye of the World Read Along Part III

eyeoftheworldbannerWelcome back everyone to the third installment of The Eye of the World Read Along. This week, we are covering Chapters 15-20. There will be SPOILERS below if you have not read this book yet. If you would like to receive the questions ahead of time in the future, you can sign up over HERE. The schedule is also available over HERE. Make sure to check out my partner in crime in this endeavor over at On Starships and Dragonwings to see what clever answers she has for us.

Without further ado:

1) In this section of the reading, we learn that Perrin and Mat are also having wicked dreams. Add to that, Min’s visions for each of those in the small party. Prophesy, portents and dreams are playing a bigger and bigger role in this epic tale. Are you enjoying this plot device?

Often in Fantasy, I see this type of plot device used as a convenient way to move the story forward, or to save the heroes from some nasty end. Robert Jordan isn’t doing that here, at least not so far, and I appreciate that. Rather the dreams, portents, and Min’s visions are building tension in the tale. I definitely feel that Rand, Perrin, and Mat are getting a bit freaked out; but these dreams, etc. don’t dictate their actions. The many, many broken-backed rats was a bit disturbing, even for me as the reader.

2) The Whitecloaks (AKA Children of the Light) make their first real appearance in the tale and of course, Mat has to play one of his tricks. Funny? Dangerous? What did you think of Rand’s reaction?

I get the impression that Mat’s jokes in the Two Rivers never truly got him in trouble, like a couple of village seniors giving their consent to let some farm wives take some sticks to Mat, etc. Does anyone else want to know what Mat and his buddy ended up doing with the badger from the beginning of the book? As for Rand, I don’t really remember this book very well, but since he is central to the story, I have to say that this may be the first glimmer of him manifesting some power. Though I am not convinced yet that Rand or the other two are male Aes Sedai.

3) Nynaeve found them! What do you think Moiraine and Nynaeve said to each other behind that closed door at the inn?

By now, I am wondering if Moiraine has some slight Jedi mind trick capability. Remember when she pressed those silver coins on the boys back in Two Rivers, insisting they take them? Well, I would have loved to see if she tried some similar thing with Nynaeve…and found it didn’t work because she is too stubborn and had to fall back on telling some of the facts, all in truth, and logic.

4) The party has to do a swift exit from the inn because of the Fade Rand saw during his milk run. How do you think they were found?

For one, they are not that far from Two Rivers. I am not sure if the Whitecloaks, while they say they spend day and night stomping on the face of evil, some number of them could be Dark Friends. Then there was that shady guy with the scar at the inn who is purportedly a spy for the Whitecloaks, and if he spies for them, he could spy for others. My last possible suspect is Padan fain, but I am just not sure. He must have run like hell to get there; didn’t he loose his horses at Two Rivers? Was the Fade just a projection? I mean, it didn’t even touch Rand and then it disappeared.

5) Moiraine burns a lot of power in these chapters: appears to become a giantess to step over the city wall; a wall of flame to hold off the Trollocs; laying a false trail; setting wards in the spooky city. Do you think this shows the limits of her powers, or has she got more to give?

Since this is such a long series, I want to say that we haven’t seen all her capabilities yet. However, this could be the edge of her current limits and circumstances later in the book/series push her beyond even what she thought she was capable of. She’s the only Aes Sedai we’ve met so far, and I am getting mighty curious to learn what others are like, in temperament and abilities.

6) A lot happens at Shadar Logoth, where the party hopes to hide from the Trollocs and Myrddral. What do you think Mordeth is? And the misty Mashadar? As Lan contemplates, the Myrddral must drive the Trollocs into the city to search for them, but what is driving the Myrddral?

Mordeth, and I assume he has buddies hiding in the city (all those eyes!), strikes me as vampire-like. He stuck to the shadows, had a odd face, needs the life force of living humans, did that trick with shadow in the treasure chamber. As far as the Mashadar goes, I am not sure. Perhaps if I had been a little more D&D nerd, I would have some monster comparison. The closest I can come to in my little world, is government paperwork. Once it touches you, you are lost in it forever, perpetual slave to it, sucked into the misty white bureaucracy.  I don’t know what is worse than a Myrddral in this collection of nasties. Perhaps there is a Balrog equivalent?

7) This section certainly leaves us on a cliff-hanger with the party separated. Worried? Perrin and Egwene found each other, but then galloped headlong into the river. Mat, Rand, and Thom made it onto a boat, The Spray, captained by Domon. Now Captain Domon makes a comment about the Trollocs following him; why do you think that is?

That whole big scene of them escaping the spooky city was nail biting. I was pretty glad that Thom was able to keep some wits and get 2 of the kids to safety. Hurray for throwing knives! though I can commiserate with Thom over loosing a favorite knife or two. That one comment by Cpt. Domon has me very curious indeed. If the Trollocs are after him, that could mean he is a good guy in a bad situation…..or it could mean that he is an idiot who double crossed some Dark Friends. I look forward to learning more about him.

Picabuche - Just a smidge demon?
Picabuche – Just a smidge demon?

Other Tidbits:

Nynaeve knows something about Rand’s parentage, or she at least suspects. Still, I was a little frustrated that Rand and Nynaeve didn’t share the fact that Rand was born outside the Two Rivers while Tam was roving with Moiraine. Or rather, shouldn’t this be something of common knowledge in such a small village? I can understand why Rand doesn’t want to share his suspicions that Tam may not be his father.

When Lan and the boys charged the Trollocs, they shouted various war cries, in foreign tongues. And afterwards, Egwene felt like she almost understood them. Moiraine translates, revealing the war cries to be of ancient Menetheren. I need to memorize something monumental in ancient Byzantine, just in case I find myself in a similar position some day.

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