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 V

JordanLordOfChaosBannerHello WoT Fans! This is week five of the exciting and detailed dissection of Lord of Chaos. Our awesome host this week is Sue from Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers, so make sure to head over to her place for some higher thoughts and excellent deduction. You can also catch Eivind our Commenter over there and swing by Liesel’s at Musings on fantasia for fan art!

We’re covering Chapters 17-24 this week; Spoilers await the unwary below, with balefire!

1. We get to see a little of how Cairhien is working with Berelain in charge. Wetlanders trying to apply ji’e’toh: can this end well? What did you think of Rand’s decision to execute Mangin?

As much as I like the Aiel (high sense of honor, equality within the society, warriors, etc.), they are pretty immovable and inflexible in many things. They believe and act as if their set of standards and ideals should apply to everyone, whether they are Aiel or not. On the other hand, we started off with the kids from Two Rivers doing the same thing, although they didn’t take it to extremes and try to kill anyone who severely offended their sense of honor through a tattoo or head scarf or certain jewelry.

I admire Berelain for allowing the ladies to stay and train as they will instead of sending them home to be proper daughters, wives, etc. While Berelain is trained in some sort of hand & foot self-defense, I have to wonder if she felt trapped in a ‘feminine’ role all her life, forced to use her charms instead  respected for her brains and organizational skills.

If Rand did not kill Mangin, after having set down very clear rules with very clear consequences, he would have lost major respect from the Aiel as a whole. In fact, I would bet money that Mangin was well aware of the likely consequences of his actions before he killed that man, and still weighed it as needing done. However, part of me would like to think that if Moirraine or Elayne or perhaps Nynaeve had been about, one of them could have come up with a clever way to punish Mangin without hanging him, and without Rand losing face. It was wrong of Berelain to leave it for Rand, and perhaps a little cruel? Cowardly?

2. Ogiers, Shadar Logoth and a missing Aiel, oh my! How great was it to meet some more Ogiers, especially Elder Haman and Loial’s mother? Do you think it was wise for Rand to take so many Aiel with them? Oh, and how do you think Loial will react to his reunion with Erith?

So while we haven’t had a Loial fix in some time (I’m missing him quite a bit actually), this was a nice substitute. We had that brief visit to a steading….Book 4? Book 3? But other than Loial, we haven’t really gotten to see other Ogier. I was a little surprised that Rand ordered maps and ink and quills brought to the courtyard rather than asking them all in, ordering tea and cakes, while the maps were all fetched. Still, each side was in a hurry for their own reasons.

The Aiel are constantly fighting Rand on this point. Rand wants to keep them safe, and they all want to keep him safe. I liked that Rand was adamant with them about staying together, staying out of buildings and shadows, and not taste testing of anything! Still, someone wasn’t paying attention, or Shadar Logoth has more tricks than even us readers know. It is not Rand’s fault one went missing and couldn’t be found. He was right to forbid the Aiel to search within the buildings, because then all sorts of folks would have gone missing.

Loial and Erith haven’t seen each other in 5 years. If this wasn’t a PG fantasy, I would say that I wouldn’t expect things to turn out as rosy as Erith pictures them. But this is a PG fantasy (a very entertaining one, but still PG), so I expect some shuffling of feet, some harsh words, some light misunderstandings, and then some love poetry and an Ogier wedding. Personally, I find it a bit irritating that the Ogier all assume that Loial is being an errant, selfish child by insisting on traveling. But they don’t all know what I as a reader know about Loial’s efforts to save people and the world at large.

3. A group of dead Tinkers, complete with ominous message, and Travelling groups of Aiel assassins. Any suggestions as to who is responsible for these two incidents and do you think that the message was written by the Tinker or one of the attackers? Was anybody surprised that Olver sneaked away from his foster home and followed Mat?

My rough guess is that whoever set the Aiel (most likely Shaido) on Mat, also had the Tinkers killed at that location. By doing this, the attacker could be reasonably sure that Mat would halt his troupes nearby for the night in order to allow for burial of the Tinkers. This would give the attacker the advantage of knowledge of the terrain. Once again, I turn to one of the Forsaken. I don’t think Sammael is that clever to set this up, so he’s out. Semirhage has enough wits and cleverness, so perhaps her. Moghedien is out and Lanfear too, for obvious reasons. Graendel could do it, but would she? Anyhoo, one of the powerful bad guys did it, most likely a Forsaken or a Black Ajah powerful enough who has been taught the trick of it.

I think the tinker left the message and I think it was simply that – tell Rand about the dead Tinkers. It would matter to him.

No, I wasn’t surprised that Olver slipped his keeper and came after Mat. It was sweet of Mat to give him a job to do and some pocket change.

4. Sammael tells Graendal that he has a truce with Rand and she actually believes him. Is she having a really bad day or has Scarface suddenly got a lot better at play-acting? Also, why does he want her to believe that he has a truce?

Perhaps Sammael feels he would lose face with the other Forsaken if they knew how quickly and completely Rand turned him down. It’s like asking someone to prom and they shooting off with the wrong answer without any hesitation at all, but you don’t want all your friends to think you are really that uncool, so you fib a bit and say that they already have a date, but that you plan to do coffee with them later.

Oh, and I am pretty sure that Sammael had to practice lying in the mirror, for hours!, in order to fool anyone.

On the other hand, you would think that the Forsaken all have their human spies near Rand in some shape or form and that some of them would have a first hand report of Rand’s utter rejection of Sammael’s pathetic offer. Hence, Sammael the idiot once again.

5. We know that Rhuarc had to give her a good whipping in Tear, but do you have any idea why the Wise Ones have adopted Berelain like a daughter? Does she seem to be a good choice as interim ruler in Cairhien?

Berelain seems to be keeping order, getting shit done, and even allowing women a larger role in the military, work force, and government. I think the Aiel are more about practicalities rather than getting hung up on what someone wears. Hence, they first judged Berelain on what she could do and what she chose to do, rather than her wardrobe. The fact that she no longer pursues Rand, now that she has a day job, probably didn’t escape their notice.

I do enjoy how Berelain teases Egwene by making lewd remarks to her about Rand. Yes, I am a little imp inside :).

6. The envoy of Aes Sedai from Elaida has arrived in Cairhien. What do you think about the inclusion of a Red sister in the group? There are six that Egwene spots in the street, but do you think there are more lurking about, possibly another seven?

I think this is very much in keeping with Elaida’s character. She is a red so it would be unlike her to leave red out of the envoy. It would also be like her to sneak a further 7 into the city somehow, perhaps weeks ago, in singles or pairs. Sooner or later, someone is going to try to cut Rand off from the source, and gentle him. I think it should be Elaida and crew and I look forward to seeing the looks of consternation and surprise on their faces when it doesn’t go down as they expect. 🙂

Other Tidbits:

Rand is having to travel a tough road and he’s got my respect for calling the rough calls. He was right to enforce his rules, but showed further wisdom by not making Mangin’s hanging special by being present for it.

The way Loial’s mum kept looking at Erith was great! Territory issues? Haha! Should be interesting to see how that works out between mum and soon-to-be daughter-in-law.

Hooray for Rand for finally closing off/guarding the Ways!

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 V

JordanFiresOfHeavenBannerWelcome once again to the WoT Quad and our peanut gallery attempts to dissect this book, wringing every little tidbit of enjoyment out of it. There was definitely some mighty fine action, intrigue, and bare-ass shenanigans this week. I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.

This week we covered Chapters 25-32. Spoilers lurk in every crevice (yes, even that unmentionable one) below. You have been warned.

1) Egwene nearly becomes trapped in a dream of Emond’s Field. Once she manages to untangle herself, we, the readers, see that Moghedien was lurking. How much trouble do you think Moghedien will cause Egwene & Nynaeve? Do you think Egwene needs to take some of her own advice?

I can definitely see Moghedien being Nynaeve’s nemesis for several books, if not the rest of series. I would expect Nynaeve to win in their final encounter, but Moghedein may take out people Nynaeve cares about deeply before that happens – so I am more worried about Egwene, or Jullin, or even Thom.

As for Egwene and her advice….hehe. So, she is such a prude sometimes, yet she seems to have a few young men in her dreams and on her mind, so perhaps she needs to not be so judgy of others. Also, she has been telling everyone to be careful in Tel’aran’rhiod and there she is, unescorted, and nearly becomes trapped in a beautiful dream that might have ended in a menage a trio wither her, Gawyn, and Galad.

2) Siuan & crew finally make it to Salidar. Did you expect Siuan & Leane to be grilled so by the aes sedai? Was Logain’s reception as you expected?

Yes, I expected the aes sedai to be full of questions and demands for info from Siuan and Leane. I expected them to put Logain under guard at least, and I really expected them to give him a grilling also – so when they didn’t, I have to wonder if they are idiots like Siuan is concerned they are – fussing over their tomato plants instead of planning for an attack.

Also, I wish to say that Siuan proves that even with out the aes sedai powers, the underlying personality is till there – she plotted with Leane a few hours ahead of time, in an effort to steer the aes sedai.

3) Gareth Bryne, his laundry, Siuan’s temper, and Min’s visions; what a mix! Having seen several examples of how Robert Jordan builds couples, do you have expectations for Siuan & Bryne? What do you make of Min’s visions?

Ha! Of course I think Siuan and Bryne will end up together. That is how it is. Two interesting people who have some connection to one another, maybe even attraction, will have to squabble and argue A LOT before they finally become an item… and then they will continue to squabble and argue.

Gosh, Min’s visions. Do we ever learn what every single one means? Is there some cheat sheet out there that has been made up by WoT fanatics? You know who you are – speak up! OK, so she saw a bull tossing roses off of him? Well… if I use some Freudian psychobabble, that possibly means that Bryne will finally loose his virginity? Oh, and Min saw a raven earlier related to one of the aes sedai, but I forget who. That makes me think of those mysterious bird messages that Aluda (spelling?) sent upon catching Nynaeve & Elayne. At any rate, Min’s visions give me something to contemplate late at night when I can’t sleep.

Big Mac smiling. He's a goofy goat.
Big Mac smiling. He’s a goofy goat.

4) Kadere manages to eliminate one of his allies (Isendre) and is hoping to locate another among the Aiel all in one short chapter. In retrospect, how do you feel about the treatment of Isendre by Kadere, Rand, & the Aiel women? Who do you think left the note for Kadere?

I think it is always good to have more than one thing you are good at, and more than one way to get what you want out of people. Isendre was one of those people that never bothered to learn another way to deal with people. Her flirtatious nature had served her well up to this point, and when she realized she wasn’t going to get what she wanted, she could not adapt. You can probably tell that I don’t have much sympathy for her. The opposite side of the flirtatious coin is the bully – both use a behavior set to force, trick, or cajole in order to enact some control over another.

OK, I am putting the soap box away. Kadere was using her because he can’t get into Natiel’s or Rand’s bed. He sees Isendre, and probably all women, as tools. I wouldn’t mind seeing him strangled. Oh, and cutting up a corpse that soon after death – there is going to be a significant amount of blood. I butcher goats from start to finish so I have a pretty good idea about how much blood is in humans and how easily it can be spilled.

I think the Aiel women started off making a good point, forcing Isendre to go dressed in only the jewelry she ‘stole’. I am not convinced that shaving her (completely, every hair folks) was truly necessary. I look at my little belly fuzz, and I wouldn’t care to have to be that precise or thorough in forcibly shaving another human. Think about Isendre’s personal bits! There’s a reason there is waxing instead of shaving. Who wants a knife that close? We had enough trouble forcibly shaving are well-behaved dog, I can only imagine the chore it would be to do so to a struggling human. Did those two Aiel ladies really shave every hair? I think they probably let a few be, just because of the awkward nature of the task. Personally, I think the nettle beating is what drove the point home.

As to who left the message – Hmm… Who is Mat bedding again? I think it is her. I don’t like her. I mean, I think it is good that Mat is getting some action, but the continued relationship seems a little too convenient.

5) What do you think motivated Edorion to make his bet with Rand on the Aiel arriving at Cairhein in time? Rand makes it clear that Rhuarc & crew are not to use rough methods to gain information from Estean. Should we be concerned for Estean’s safety?

I thought this was an interesting section. It really put in perspective the ‘wet landers’ fear of the Aiel and also the Aiel’s complete disdain for the wet landers. Perhaps Edorion was trying to lighten the mood, maybe to set his men at ease, by making that bet. It surprised me a bit.

Up to this point I have liked Rhuarc. But his readiness, even slight eagerness, to forcibly gain information from Estean was a bit disconcerting. I fear that Rand will be forced to be a steel-fisted ruler sooner rather than later with the Aiel – perhaps by hanging a few or publicly killing them in some way. Rand wants to unite the peoples of Rand-land, perhaps the world, against the coming confrontation with the Dark. I don’t think the Aiel understand that means they will have to learn to respect the so called wet landers.

6) Rand & Aviendha find themselves in the land of the Seanchan. All sorts of things (both physical and metaphorical) are laid bare. How do you think Rand & Aviendha’s relationship will change? Will the Seanchan become a bigger problem sooner rather than later due to this little visit?

I am glad that Rand finally bedded someone. I expect that Aviendha thoroughly enjoyed being the one to relieve him of his virginity. I thought it a bit silly that Rand felt they should get married, but I was also surprised by Aviendha’s flat refusal to sleep with him ever again. Ha! But we’ll see what her Aiel sisters do about that. I do have to say that I am a little weary of Rand and Aveindha, and indeed all the couples in the series, constantly bickering.

I think Rand just put Rand-land on the Seanchan radar square in the center. They want him, and not in any good way (unlike his harem). He is going to need some protection when they come for him, because they will come in force, will be highly organized, and failure will not be an option for those leading the force.

Other Tidbits:

So we have seen Rand use the portal stones, waygates, and even his personal floating disc in never land to go from point A to point B. Why were none of these options discussed in catching up to Couladin, especially after Edorion and his men show up?

Did I miss something – why is Aveindha opening some sort of gate into a blizzard on the other side of the world? When did she get that ability? She didn’t seem surprised by her actions, so I assume she has done something similar before, perhaps lots of times.

Here in the middle of Book 5, we have seen our Two Rivers kids grow up in so many ways. Even Nynaeve is shifting in her personality a bit with no longer having authority over Egwene. So, with all this maturing going on (Perrin saved Emond’s Field, Rand is He Who Comes With the Dawn, Elayne being so far from family & court, etc.), why do they all seem stunted when it comes to personal relationships with the opposite sex?

The Fires of Heaven Read Along Part II

JordanFiresOfHeavenBannerWelcome back everyone to the second week of The Fires of Heaven read along. This week, Liesel of Musings on Fantasia is our host, so make sure to head over there for more discussion. This week, we covered Chapters 4-9.

Spoilers are jumping around in their birthday suits below. You have been warned!

1. The Wise Ones want Aviendha to sleep in Rand’s chambers. Do you see this leading to any kind of change in her and Rand’s relationship? If so, what?

There’s usually a latent bond of trust built simply by sleeping with, next to, or in close proximity to another. So, yes, even if they sleep on opposite sides of the room with weapons drawn, there will be a build up of trust. I expect the Wise Ones know this and are using it to force a situation or relationship on the two.

2. Our buddies the Darkhounds make an appearance in Rhuidean. Lanfear claims they were sent by Rahvin and reveals to Rand that the Forsaken is Morgase’s manipulative lover. Do you think she’s being truthful?

The Darkhounds were easily defeated, which leads me to believe this was a clumsy, ill-informed attempt on Rand’s life or no attempt at all. As for Lanfear not beign able to get there sooner – I doubt that. So, this could easily be Lanfear trying to manipulate Rand, yet again. She balances this deception with the truth of Morgase and Rahvin, which is probably the more important piece of information for Rand.

3. Moiraine cautions Rand about balefire and promises not to try and manipulate him. What do you think of balefire? Is it worth its consequences? Should Rand use it to take out the Forsaken? What do you think of Moiraine’s promises? Will they work out the way she hopes?

Balefire worked to Rand’s advantage in this case. I think it should come with a caution label. CAUTION: DO NOT USE BALEFIRE SETTING FOR LONGER THAN 1.2 SECONDS. PROLONGED USE WILL UNRAVEL THE HEART STRINGS OF THE WORLD. I bet Rand will have to make a gamble with it sooner or later, much to this reader’s entertainment. If he bruns too long on a Forsaken, and they have such long lives, it could seriously mess up our storyline. I hope he keeps it to a light toasting instead of charcoal.

As for Moiraine’s promises….See, this is where I have to wonder if they is bound to the oath to never lie. She needs the flexibility. Just look at Nynaeve, Egwene, & Elayne – anyone who was outside the White Tower when they were there could full well believe they are full-blown Aes Sedai. Couldn’t this unusual set of circumstances have happened before…. and therefore allow Moiriaine the flexibility of the occasional little fib? Moiraine is a control freak – she wants to control others and also she holds on very tightly to what knowledge she does have, only parceling it out when it suits her. I doubt things will turn out just exactly how she wants them to.

4. Rand’s making lots of changes–his new arrangement with Moiraine, sending for Ogier to help rebuild Rhuidean, making the fountains flow again in the city. What do you think of all these changes?

The Aiel are going to have to grow up and rejoin the larger world. Have water and permanent, stone cities will be part of that. Next will come trade, and hence foreign customs, foods, clothes, etc. I hope the Aiel can show their adaptable side.

When nice, she is Bell Pepper. But mostly she is evil, so she is Pepper Corn.
When nice, she is Bell Pepper. But mostly she is evil, so she is Pepper Corn.

5. Egwene is “rummaging” around in lots of people’s dreams and finding disturbing things there. Do you think this is a good idea? Would you do it, in her position? Do you think it could backfire, and if so, how?

I think Egwene would be able to use her slyly-gained knowledge better if she wasn’t such a prude. You going digging around in folks dreams, you are going to see them naked, and with other people(s) or animals or mythological deities. Instead of turning your nose up at it, use that little bit of knowledge for something. I’m not saying Egwene should manifest some popcorn and sit to watch the show (that would be my job after all), but just tossing the info aside means her time was wasted.

I would totally rummage through people’s dreams if I could. I am very good at keeping things to myself, so no need to blush. But I also firmly believe that you never really, truly know someone until you have been intimate with them. Not that that level of knowledge is needed for all your daily people transactions. I think snooping through their dreams would be the next best thing. And a lot less messy (both emotionally and physically).

Will it backfire? Hell yeah! 1) Egwene is somewhat of an idiot because she is cock-sure and innocent at the same time; and 2) Because it will be highly entertaining for the reader, and that is what Robert Jordan does – entertain his readers.

6. Moiraine muses on Lan and Nynaeve’s relationship. She says she’s already “taken care” of certain things. What do you think she means by that? On the other side of the world, Nynaeve and Elayne are drugged by Mistress Macura. What do you think this woman’s intentions are?

Moiraine takes care of everything. She knows that she may not live out this series, and being the control freak she is, she will make sure to continue to manipulate the lives around her long after she is gone – for their own good of course.

Mistress Macura…hmmm more Black Ajah laying traps for the helpful, and gullible, aes sedai traipsing the world? Maybe Macura isn’t aes sedai at all, but perhaps just a darkfriend acting under instructions? If she is a darkfriend, are her orders to capture aes sedai, or just Elayne? Was it just last book where a price was put on Elayne’s head – so this could be that coming into play.

I hope Nynaeve cuts her braid off for her rash behavior on this one ;).

7. Fun bonus! Now that Rand, according to Lan, is practically a blademaster in his own right, he moves quite naturally through the sword forms. There are whole online communities dedicated to these sword forms that love to come up with new, interesting, often comical ones. (i.e. cat and bird in a nap sack, sparrow blinks uncertainly, cheetah runs and trips, etc. You get the drift.) Come up with one or two sword forms you’d love to see Rand perform! Just ’cause.

Haha! what fun. hehe… let’s see:

A Heron’s Failed Landing;

Goats Snickering

Donkey Tail to the Face

Beetle-Entranced Cat

Dog Dances Along Chairbacks

Other Tidbits:

Isendre in a veil, jewelry, and nothing else? Can they really call her a flip-skirt? She isn’t wearing a skirt! And besides, she really is only pursuing one man – Rand. But she made him blush too hard. He will never accept her advances now.

Aviendha and her tantrum over jewelry and belt buckles. Sigh! The Aiel should realize by now, having traveled with Wetlanders for some months, that they are dense folks and need the ways of the world and society explained to them. She could at least explain to Egwene. Then again, Egwene, Nynaeve, and Elayne all have issues with some Aiel customs, such as sister-wives, and can’t seem to be open minded about several of them.

Is it just me, or did the whole Elayne flirting and hanging off Thom thing seem out of place, forced, ridiculous? 1) It seems totally out of character for Elayne. Did some one slip her some Spanish fly? 2) It seems totally out of character for Thom to not have put a stop to it after day 1. If he is not Elayne’s father, does he really want to live that male fantasy of bedding the mother and the daughter (purely for scientific comparisons, right?)? Sigh……

The Shadow Rising Read Along Part X

JordanShadowRisingBannerHere we are at the finale of Book 4 of The Wheel of Time series, The Shadow Rising. There were some twists that I wasn’t expecting. We’ll be jumping right into Book 5, The Fires of Heaven. You can see the schedule over HERE if you missed it and want to join us.

This week our fearless and insightful commenter Eivind came up with the excellent questions.

The spoilers don’t want you to avert your eyes, but I suggest you do if you have not read this book.

1. Seems like Rand is not the only one who can stand toe-to-toe against a forsaken. Surprised? Could there be others, and if so, who?

No, I was not surprised that Nynaeve could at least hold her own against Moghedien. I expect we will see others, like Mat and Egwene. Also, we might groups of folks who face a forsaken together and win, like the Ogier. I expect we still have plenty to learn about their culture and strengths.

2. What went on between Elayne and Amathera? Should she lay off the forceful reeducation of foreign monarchs or just keep at it, you think?

I expect it was girl talk. I don’t think Elayne hurt Amathera, but rather, showed her that she really is out classed and that prettily pouting and stamping her little foot won’t get her what she wants. In this case, I think Elayne is doing some good, though I do find it a little hypocritical in that Elayne was sheltered and pampered most of her life and it has only been recently that she has been rubbing elbows with the masses and having to tend to her own needs. Yet, perhaps that is why she feels that such an education is so necessary for Amathera.

3. So we have our first “proper” battle, of many more to come no doubt. Please air your thoughts here, since I can’t find anywhere to put a question mark.

I liked that the women of Emon’s field were present, armed, and competent. They had the children taken into the forest in hopes that they at least would escape the slaughter. It was really hard on Perrin, but he stood with them to the last, never balking. Of course Faile showing up in the nick of time with armed men from Debin (spelling?) was great. She said that she was the first woman of her land to lead soldiers in battle. I didn’t laugh a little as she lead men to  versus in a battle, but I don’t recall her actually doing more than finding Perrin.

4. Could these whitecloaks be any more pathetic if they tried? REALLY HARD?

I have to wonder what all the Whitecloak soldiers think of this. I mean, we have the leaders, who are into ineffectual, single-minded idiots. But what does the average Whitecloak piss ant think? Did they sign up to fight the dark, but then their leaders keep them from taking out trollocs? I would be pissed. Or were most of them coerced into joining and silently sighed relief at not having to join in the fighting? At any rate, they were the best equipped to assist in the fighting and they did not. Loosers.

5. So now (or soon enough) EVERY Aiel knows their history, and many are none too pleased. Was this the right call? How much support has Rand lost now?

Rand had to prove that he had been to Rhuidean, which meant publicly revealing something major he learned there. By Couladin calling Rand and idiotic liar, the senior Aiel who had also been to Rhuidean could immediately tell who was the liar. I think Rand was right to do it in that moment, and I think he was right in what he chose to reveal. The Aiel cannot come together as a people, let alone fight side by side with non-Aiel, without acknowledging their roots.

I expect that initially there will be some who will not want to support Rand, and I know the clan chiefs are pissed. But eventually his Ta’veren-ness will pull them all together, or destroy those who continue to oppose him.

6. With the massive sa’angreal access keys in hand, shouldn’t Rand be able to just steamroll through the next 10 books? Do you think he has a use in mind for them?

Well, we wouldn’t have another 10 books if Rand suddenly became all powerful and could just take out all opposition. So, these sa’angreal will be a boost, but won’t be the answer to all problems. I expect he has a few ideas in mind for their uses, but I bet there is plenty to learn about what they can do, but also their limitations or dangers. I wish they came with warning labels, even simple obvious ones like: Do not cook meat in dryer; Do not hold wrong end of chainsaw; This sign has sharp edges.

7. Asmodean… teaching Rand? On a scale from Kim Kardashian* to Stephen Hawking, how good of an idea is this, really? (*) Please ignore if you’re a fan.

So, I did not see this coming at all, and yet, it is obviously what Rand needs. Not only was he expecting at least 1 Forsaken to try to take him out in the Aiel Waste, he was hoping it would be a man, so he would have a servant teacher on hand. I really like that Rand is using his brain instead of just reacting on gut instinct to the situations he finds himself in.

But, yeah, Asmodean doesn’t seem to be the brightest of the bunch of Forsaken. So, Rand might not have picked the best teacher, even though his choices are limited.

Other Tidbits:

Nynaeve was ticked that somehow Moghedien escaped her bonds without her noticing, while she was busy with one of the Black Ajah and her Bale Fire Stick. I thin Moghedien is a great one for disguise and camouflage, and that she was there all the time but had camouflaged herself in to the background.

Perrin wrote Aiel a love note. Well, a goodbye note. He is more of a romantic than I thought.

Haha! Rand tricked a Forsaken and captured another. I’m sticking out my tongue at Lanfear!

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.

What Others Think:

Musings on Fantasia

Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

The Shadow Rising Read Along Part V

JordanShadowRisingBannerWelcome back everyone. This week we covered chapters 24-30 and Sue over at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers will be hosting. So make sure to swing by her place to see what everyone else thought. I am suffering from a summer cold, so if some of my responses seem muddled, out in left field, or completely irrelevant to the question, just smile and pat me on the head as you head off to CCCP for serious discussion.

Spoilers lurk behind every comma, question mark, and exclamation. Avert your eyes now if you have concerns.

1. What is it with Mat and doorway ter’angreals? These foxy people certainly seem very similar to the snake people, but with subtle differences. Any ideas about why they decided to hang Mat and what his new medallion does?

Mat’s an idiot.

OK, that was the short answer. Mat has a serious impulse control problem. Lucky for him, his friends, associates, and luck usually pull him through. I think in this case he spoke, questioned, and then demanded without thinking about the consequences. I believe the answers he received (verbal and the medallion) were in trade for his life, or his essence, or his utter terror at being hanged. These foxy/snakey beings seem to crave human emotions/fears.

I don’t know what the medallion portends for Mat, but I expect it is wrapped up with his ta’veren status and the answers he received from the first doorway he nearly broke.

2. Now that we have been into Rhuidean, were you surprised by the city within the mists or did you expect something different? What do you think has happened to the Jenn Aiel?

I was surprised. I was expecting practicality, not big grand palace like buildings left and right.

I’m guessing that after Lews Therin broke the world, there was a prophecy of the next Dragon Reborn (Rand) and that prophecy pointed to a child of the Jenn Aiel. The Aes Sedai of that time put a huge burden on the Jenn Aiel of nonviolence and 0 men allowed to channel. I think over time this agreement (coerced or otherwise) was forgotten by everyone (nearly everyone?). Obviously the bitch called Prophecy will not be denied.

3. The history of the Aiel is revealed to be very complex. Were you surprised to discover that they were originally a people sworn to non-violence and that the Traveling People were actually an offshoot from the original Aiel?

Yes, this did surprise me, but it made some sense, giving a kind of balance to the story as we know it so far. I have to wonder now if the Aiel we know today have the song the Traveling People are hunting for. I’m looking forward to seeing what Robert Jordan does with this complexity.

4. Could you have stood aside, like the Jenn Aiel did, and allowed your friends and family to be murdered or attacked without raising a hand in violence? What do you think of those Aiel who broke their vow of non-violence?

Simply, no. By doing nothing to stop violence, you enable it, and hence, you bear some of the responsibility and guilt. Those Aiel who broke their vow of non-violence did it for the right reasons under very understandable circumstances. Being banished from their people was an act of emotional violence on the part of those who did the banishing. That can be just as wrong as physical violence.

5. Perrin encounters a strange woman, who seems to know a great deal about the Wolf Dream and the two races beyond the doorways, the Aelfinn and the Eelfinn. She seems familiar: is she someone that we have already met, as she suggests? What do you think about the ability to reach their dimension directly from tel’aran’rhiod?

I believe this to be Lanfear/Selene. She crops up more often than I thought she would, but she is turning into a very interesting ‘bad guy’. Tel’aran’rhiod is simply a dangerous place for untrained, unguided folks to be mucking about in. I am surprised that Perrin and Egwene have not been seriously damaged yet.

6. Perrin’s homecoming is far from happy. Were you surprised by what he discovered? Also, did Faile react in the way you expected? Were the people in the old cottage who you expected?

Wow! This section in particular I was not expecting. I mean, up til now, Robert Jordan had not killed off too many people, other than trollocs and myrrdraal. So to hear of the slaughter of Perrin’s family brought a tear to my eye. As sad as this is, I think it changes the game for Perrin. Those he cares the most about are already gone, so letting himself be hanged won’t gain his folks anything.

I am so glad that Faile dropped the bitchiness. It was getting tiring listening to her antics and wanting to slap her. But in that moment, when Perrin learns the fate of his family, she couldn’t have done better. For that one act, she is redeemed and I am once again hoping these two become a real couple.

I wasn’t expecting Warders, but I sure am glad to see some professional warriors on site. The Whitecloaks, trollocs, and especially Padan Faine are going to be in for some major hurt.

Other Tidbits:

So, Faile slapped Perrin, not once, but twice, and was going for a thrice when Perrin did….what? Oh! I wish Jordan would tell us. Apparently it was embarrassing. I love the lady Aiels’s response of staying out of it because Faile picked the fight. Damn straight!

I really liked how Jordan told bits of the Aiel history through Rand’s experience of living these memories of folks who witnessed significant events.

Once again, another hair-raising escape from the ways – trollocs and that crazy deadly wind. Somehow, I never get tired of exploring, or rather racing through the ways as quietly and swiftly as possible.

Mistress Alvere took it in stride having Aiel walk into her inn….followed shortly by an ogier. She’s made of stern stuff.