A Memory of Light, Part VI

WOT 14Welcome everyone to Book 14 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and the final week of this read along. Here is the schedule for A Memory of Light if you want to join us.

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

This week, we covered Chapters 29-36. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1) Finally, Graendal’s Compulsion of the Great Captains has been uncovered. Do you think that Mat’s medallion will protect him from her ‘advances’? It seems as if Ituralde was the only Captain to resist the Compulsion: any ideas about why that might be?

I expect Mat will be able to resist as long as he has the medallion and/or doesn’t sleep. It seems Graendal only worked her Compulsion on the captains while they rested. And perhaps that is why Ituralde held out longer than the others – he was getting less sleep. Maybe? His battle line was being pretty hard hit, so most folks weren’t getting much if any sleep.

Or maybe Graendal was running out of time and hit the other 3 harder because those battle lines were considered more critical? We’re running out of time for all the answers to be laid out before us, so we might have to settle for speculation on things like this.

2) Mat rides into battle and is suitably awesome. Do you think that Tuon is reassessing her ability to control her Prince? Could this be the end of formal Seanchan society as it has existed for thousands of years?

Yes, I think Tuon is reassessing many things right now. I am not sure how much that reassessment will change her mind tho. No matter how proper it is for her to control her man, that won’t happen in this relationship. So, she can either fight it and look the fool (even if she executes Mat she will look the fool) or she can pretend that it is right and proper and change society.

So, I am hoping that Mat can show that change is a good thing under fire, and later on show that it is also a good thing in times of peace. After all, there is that whole slavery issue that won’t sit well with him or the folks of Randland.

3) Perrin and Slayer clash again. It seems like Perrin is still outmatched, although he is continuing to improve, but will he ever be able to dispatch his enemy? Were you surprised that Lanfear proved to be as fickle as we had suspected? Will Perrin take any further part in the Last Battle now that he has returned to the waking world?

So I was terribly worried that Perrin might not make it out of this series alive….but now that he has landed back in the Waking World, injured but alive, I think he will make it. I am not sure he will be the one to take out Slayer. After all, Perrin had to leave his Aiel buddy in the Dream World and I would be surprised if Slayer had taken serious note of him. So he might be able to sneak up on Slayer and take care of business. Of course, he might die too.

Lanfear! Erg! Well, we knew that she is playing her own game.

4) The battle outside Cairhien is almost lost and even the mighty Ogier are starting to fall when Androl produces a miracle. What did you think of Logain’s comment about the notes in Taim’s rooms: does he have a list of all the Shadow’s battle plans? Please comment on the epicness of Androl’s miracle! 😀

I am both glad and a little concerned that Logain will be stepping up. His character line has been building for books now, and then he was MIA for a good while, and now he is back in time to help out in the Last Battle. But did he come off as a little too focused or even egotistical to anyone else? I drew a vague correlation between Logain and Rand – two men who suffered greatly at the hands of others while completely helpless. I am concerned that Logain may lash out as Rand did once upon a time, but not be nearly as successful….or perhaps take out some of the good guys as collateral damage while attempting to get Taim.

Androl’s miracle was awesome! If he can somehow open gateways to lava, what else can he open gateways to? Snow storms? Epic hurricanes? Deep, icy ocean waters? Androl may just be the scariest man on the field!

5) Tuon is taking the End Of The World in her stride, with her giant travelling throne and making full use of Min’s Talent. Are you a little disturbed by her serenity at this time? Do you think that Min’s demands will be met, or will she eventually refuse to reveal her viewings?

Tuon has been raised since birth to command the world and maintain absolute, total control at all times. So, quite frankly, I am not surprised that she and her court have all these trappings and still hold to ceremony and hierarchy. Tuon has to maintain serenity on the outside, even if she has concerns or fears going through her head.

Min rocks! I think Tuon needs folks to push back on her, and I am so glad that Min is doing so in such a public way without pleasantries, etc. I think Tuon will behave for the duration of the Last Battle. But after that…well, I hope Min has some type of security that will give her an out is Tuon gets imperialistic.

6) Just for a change, things go horribly wrong. Do you think that the black spikes were a deliberate attack against Faile’s group? Can you believe that Vanin and Harnan are actually Darkfriends, or were they just after the tobacco? Is there any chance that the Horn will make it back to Mat’s hands?

The black spikes seem too convenient for the attack to be happenstance. I would suspect intentional fuckery from the side of evil. But I am not sure the Evil knows Faile’s mission. So, maybe just trying to upset/hurt Perrin, an important Ta’veren, by killing his wife.

I was completely surprised that Vanin and Harnan were suspected of being Darkfriends! And they ran! So, I really hope they are not as our heroes need to be able to trust valued friends at this time, but damn! It’s totally possible they were up to no good.

I have this silly vision in my head of Mat and Olver riding double on a horse passing the Horn back and forth, calling the Heroes to their aid. Wouldn’t that be epic? Haha! Olver would have the story of his life if he assisted Mat in calling forth these epic Heroes.

7) Red veiled Aiel infiltrate the camp in Thakan’dar and cause mayhem. Do you think that even Cadsuane and Sorilea are powerful enough to defeat Graendal? Will the Aiel ever recover from the shame of learning about the fate of their male channelers?

I think we need Cadsuane to play nice for once and do the whole Team Work thing. If she can do that, then Graendal doesn’t stand a chance against Cadsuane and Sorilea.

That was a powerful revelation – the moment some of the Aiel realized that the red-veiled Aiel were a product of their traditions. I really felt for them in that moment because I know their whole society (whoever remains after the Last Battle) will take it very seriously and will pay toh forward, probably for generations.

8) Rand is frozen in place as he battles the Dark One. Why is Moridin frozen as well? Do you think Nynaeve will be able to do anything to help Alanna before she can release Rand from his Bond? Is there any chance that Nynaeve can save the world by simply bopping Moridin on the head with a big rock?

I can only think that the Dark One wants Moridin frozen as he deals with Rand. After all, the DO has got to have a big ego, so he has to be the one to take out Rand (if he can). If Moridin does it, it would steal all the DO’s thunder.

I am not sure Alanna will release Rand. She has been pretty selfish about that since the beginning. But Rand was forcibly bonded to her and there has never been any real affection, so I am not sure her death will have a huge impact on him.

We all want to hit Moridin over the head with a big rock, but right now, everyone has their hands full and Moridin isn’t doing anything. Perhaps hitting him would disrupt something else?

Other Tidbits:

Min got new clothes! How cute! I just hope they have the ability to conceal more knives, instead of less.

Olver and his cuddle time! How old is he now? 9? 12? I don’t recall how old he was when he was first picked up. But isn’t he getting to be that age where snuggling into any woman’s bosom is a little suspect?

Do you think Nynaeve will be able to teach the Wise Ones the art of healing the male channeler madness? If so, perhaps some of the red-veiled Aiel can be captured and returned to society…maybe.

OK, this might sound harsh. Did Rand send Alanna to the Pit to be captured on purpose? If so, why? I am not sure……

Winter's Heart Read Along Part VI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Tidbits

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

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

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

Mat has developed an unhealthy liking for lace.

 

Winter's Heart Read Along Part V

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Tidbits

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

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

A Crown of Swords Read Along Part I

WOT 7 BannerWelcome everyone to the first week of Book 7 of The Wheel of Time – A Crown of Swords. Liesel over at Musings on Fantasia is our host this week, so make sure to swing by her place. Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers is also continuing on and you can probably catch our awesome commenter Eivind over at Liesel’s.

This week we covered the Prologue through the end of Chapter 2. Spoilers lurk below!

1) Elaida has a new office, plenty of schemes, and lots of confidence. What do you think of all this? Will she be successful? Should she be afraid of Bryne’s approaching army? Will she be the woman to ‘save humankind?’ (Totally didn’t snort while typing that.)

Hehe….well, no, she will not be successful, at least not to her standards. Yes, she should be afraid of Bryne’s army and Egwene and Rand. I did find a part of her prophecy interesting, and that is the Dragon Reborn shall know the fury of the Amyrlin Seat. So, I think Rand and Egwene will butt heads over something and Egwene will get pissed because she can’t have it her way and will stomp her little foot.

I expect that Elaida will be deeply saddened to loose her seat of supremacy at the White Tower. I’ll send flowers.

2) Sevanna seems to be planning to make use of her little boxes. What do you think she’s planning? What will she use them for? (Does anyone else want to put her and Elaida together in a really small room. Just to see what happens?)

Gosh, I missed the box reference again. That’s twice now, in two books. Am I bad listener? Hmm… Well, I know Sevanna is planning world domination through the subjugation of the Aes Sedai and Rand, so I would guess she will call upon some allied force with her little boxes. The question is, who is she allied with? I still suspect Fain or perhaps some Black Ajah.

Oh yes! I would greatly love to put Elaida and Sevanna in a little room together. Perhaps some garden tool shed. All those sharp-edged and pointy garden tools just lying about…

3) Pedron Niall is assassinated in his fortress, followed by the death of his dim-witted assassin, Omnera. What do you think the message he received said? What do you predict will happen in the wake of the assassination, both in general and more specifically concerning Morgase and her retinue?

I don’t know what the message said, but it was perhaps the same as the one Elaida received – that the bull has been ringed and it being led home (Rand is packaged in a box with a bow and chocolates and is being delivered to the White Tower).

As hard-nosed as Niall was, he did keep his men in check to some extent. That stopper has now been stabbed to death; expect more hangings, torturing, and general holier-than-thou violence.

I fear that Morgase is in great, great danger now. She needs to flee! The rumors of her death may become reality if she doesn’t.

Old, old Claudie woken for a picture.
Old, old Claudie woken for a picture.

4) Gawyn tries to get his bearings in the aftermath of the battle and seems to be aware of a plot against him and the Younglings, which we’ve already had hints of. Do you think this plot will ever reach fruition? Will he make it back to Tar Valon alive? And what do you think happened to the wounded sister who disappeared before he could rescue her?

It seems Morgase and her children are being targeted. Gawyn is also in great danger and I expect we will see this little plot against him and the Younglings come to a head, if not fruition. Perhaps if it does, it will give Gawyn something else to fear besides the Dragon Reborn and perhaps he will choose to turn aside from Tar Valon. I can only hope….But if Egwene and Bryne take the White tower, then I want Gawyn to go be her Warder and sneak kisses whenever he can.

I am not sure what happened to the wounded sister. Perhaps she was gifted enough to make a doorway out and selfish enough to not rescue others upon her nifty exit. This pints to Black Ajah or Forsaken.

5) Perrin and his companions observe all the bad blood between groups following the battle. Do you think all this animosity will blow up eventually, or will they work out their differences? What did you think of Rand’s decision to hand the Aes Sedai over to the Wise Ones and send Taim back to the farm? And how about how he handled Alanna? The fact that Rand memorized the names of 151 dead Maidens? Anything stick out to you about Perrin’s observations, or what are your other general impressions about this chapter?

First, I think I want Perrin’s nose. Of course it would take me a while to get used to it and there might be times that I wish I didn’t have it (tis the season to suck on minty candy canes and I can only imagine how that would affect sensitive noses). But I could be silent like Perrin and learn oh so much about a person just based on their smell.

I expect blood will be spilled over those differences and then Rand will have to put his foot down, perhaps by killing a few people, and they will grudgingly learn to get along.

I wanted to cheer Rand along with his decisions. They didn’t make everyone happy, but they were logical and kept the most people alive. Plus I just really relish the idea of snotty Aes Sedai running laps, sorting pebbles, and triple washing out of season clothes that no one will wear for months. And Taim’s job is to build an army, to train the men, to find them and protect them – not guard, or interrogate, or, oops!, kill Aes Sedai.

Isn’t it ironic that Alanna is not the ONLY one Rand can trust to simply heal him? Since he is already bonded to her, what more can she, will she, do? Compulsion doesn’t work. Perhaps she could inflict pain, but she would have to be desperate to do something so stupid. Hmm….I wonder if Taim guessed about Warder Rand after seeing that healing.

I think poor Perrin is so worried about Rand’s sanity because he doesn’t realize that Rand is having this ongoing dialogue/struggle with Lews Therin. So ~half the scents he picked up are probably coming from trapped, mad Lews.

Other Tidbits:

I really liked that Robert Jordan started this book off with a revisit of the big battle that ended the previous book. I got a lot out of the different takes and interpretations.

While I understand the reasons that Perrin didn’t bury the wolves, I would still like to think there would be some way to honor their deaths. Perhaps he could have carried them off the field into the some nearby woods and leave them there to return to nature.

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.

The Shadow Rising Read Along Part VIII

JordanShadowRisingBannerWelcome all! This week Liesel from Musings on Fantasia is hosting, so make sure to stop by her place for great fan art and more discussion. Chapters 43-48 are covered.

My answers will be a bit shorter than usual as I have had an exhausting weekend that involved a bit of a flood (click the link to see cool photos of my (questionable) endeavors to protect our home and farm).

Spoilers reside below and are well established. Merely glancing at them will not protect your innocence.

1. Perrin believes Verin and possibly Alanna are trying to use and/or manipulate him in some way. What do you think their agenda is?

I think Alanna wants his body (and who doesn’t?) but that doesn’t mean she should have it. Verin wants to study the affect of a ta’veren like it is her graduating paper in a PhD in Intellectual Haughtiness.

2. Aram, a tinker, takes up a sword. Do you think this is a good thing or a bad thing? How do you feel about Aram’s reasons?

I think people who have read my last responses to questions concerning The Way of the Leaf probably know what my answer is. If you repeatedly do nothing to prevent or stop the violence then you are part of the problem. I think Aram is correct in seeking a way to defend him and those he cares for. The Tinkers shunning him are committing emotional/mental violence and I do not hold them in regard for it.

3. Perrin agrees to let the Whitecloaks into Emmond’s Field if they will put off arresting him until after the Trolloc threat is neutralized. Do you think this was a wise decision? How do you predict it will all turn out?

I think Perrin was right to put the human-on-human violence on hold until the trollocs and/or Myrdraal are dealt with. However, I expect that one or more of the Whitecloaks will force the issue before the agreed upon time and end up dead and Perrin on the run from them again.

4. A woman who favors doing evil from behind the scenes “like a spider” visits Nynaeve and Elayne and compels them, first to tell her everything they’ve done and are doing in Tanchico, and then to forget they told it to her. Who do you think she is? What is her agenda? Will our girls ever remember what happened?

Off hand, I would say this is one of the Forsaken. Her mind-control or compelling powers are unlike what we have seen before, kind of like when the Seanchan first came on scene. She obviously craves info, especially on how many aes sedai are in her city. Apparently, she can sense when someone nearby uses the one power, which could be a pretty nifty party trick (like being able to correctly pick out the silent farters at a cocktail party). I don’t know what her agenda is, but I hope she brings me the reader plenty of dark entertainment. I don’t know if our ladies will remember the exchange. If they do, Nynaeve will be thoroughly pissed.

5. Siuan Sanche is deposed and the White Tower is broken. Siuan and Leane vow revenge on Elaida. Will they be able to see that vow through? What kind of Amyrlin do you think Elaida will prove to be?

Yeah, that was messed up, wasn’t it? Siuan and Leane will have to find new inner strength instead of relying on the one power. Part of me hopes they have their vengeance on Elaida, but it really depends on whether or not she can kick ass as the Amyrlin. I expect she will be highly organized, given to extremes once she has made up her mind, and extremely hard to kill.

6. Gawyn Trakand killed at least two prominent warders who were once his friends and mentors because they were trying to free Siuan. Then, even knowing who she really is, helps her, Leane, and Min escape. Where do you think his true loyalties lie? What do you think of the reasons he gives for his actions?

I think he is conflicted and in the midst of realizing that. I can easily see how, in the heat of the moment, he truly believed he was doing the right thing in preventing Siuan’s rescue, though it cost him greatly. However, when he saw Min had the same agenda, he had to rethink what he thought to be true and right. Though I am curious about what Min’s sees hovering over his head – him at Egwene’s feet, and then him strangling her. Perhaps he will change sides many times throughout the rest of the series?

7. On the road, the three women run into Logain, who is trying to flee Tar Valon and Siuan asks for his help. What kind of dynamic do you think this relationship will yield? We know many Aes Sedai who opposed Elaida have fled the tower. Where do you think they’ve gone and will Siuan be able to find and/or rally them?

I was kind of hoping Logain would get to play a larger role. He is fascinating as a man who has been stilled. I can see a love/hate relatioship blossoming between him and Siuan. I hope they end up in bed together and through their great love for one another reignite their ability to chanel, go kill Elaida, the Forsaken, Mr. Ultimate Evil, and any other scourge that gets in their way and rule the world happily together ad naseum.

But that is probably asking a little too much.

Anyhoo, I doubt that all those who opposed Elaida and managed to flee will end up in the same place to begin with. Siuan will have to pick them up as she goes until she has a large enough force to throw up a flag and call for more followers openly. I hope she will rally them as this would make an entertaining tale for me and that is the whole reason I read books.

Other Tidbits:

I know that Europe and US have a history of paying their soldiers in alcohol, but I really think that Perrin has learned not to leave the inebriated armed and without leadership.

Poor Lioal – having to chop down trees. I hope him and Gaul can accomplish their mission of closing the Waygate – if that is indeed what they left to do.

The Shadow Rising Read Along Part VII

JordanShadowRisingBannerWelcome everyone! Lots of craziness went on in this section (Chapters 37-42). This was my week to come up with the questions and I had a hard time sticking to singles that would work for our mixed group (folks who have read the book/series before and those newbies, like me), so you’ll see most questions are doubled up. I encouraged the rest of the WoT Quad to pick and choose which questions they would like to answer. After all, this is all about having fun. Oh, and living vicariously through Perrin, at least for me.

Without, further ado, here are the questions, full of spoilery bits, questionable humor, and one risque video.

1) Rand and his entourage make a stop in Tardaad land because there is water, and apparently, goats. There is also a dwelling full of the signs of a slaughter. The red veiled woman Isendre had to take a peak. Why? If you know the answer, you can speculate on what will become of the goats.

I think Isendre might be the evil Rand was expecting. I have to giggle and shake my head at Mat’s musings on stealing a kiss from her. His flirtatious nature may land him in trouble this time, but I will sure enjoy the entertainment factor in it. So who is Isendre and the slaughterhouse show? Well, at the least, she is a dark friend. She could be more. Perhaps she has some control over a Myrdraal or trollocs. I expect she wanted to see the handy work of her minions – a cheap thrill for her.

I expect the goats will be rounded up and either sent back with a small group or taken with them. After all, it is a harsh land and such easily movable meat & milk will not be wasted.

2) Natael: Harmless, adverturesome gleeman, or Darkfreind? Will Mat’s skilled ‘avoidance’ of the gleeman’s questioning be enough to keep him out of trouble? If we could reach into Mat’s head and have him translate any phrase into old Manetheren, what phrase would you choose?

OK, not everyone on that caravan can be a Darkfriend, right? Not because they aren’t numerous like the spawn they are, but because that would be too simple and I think we all know that Robert Jordan is not doing simple in Book 4. It would make sense that the Darkfriends Party Train include some entertainment – for themselves and to gain easier access to whoever they come across in the Waste. So, for now, I will say Natael is on the level.

Can I get Mat to say this in old Manetheren: One Rand to rule them all, one Rand to find them, one Rand to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.

3) Liandrin is back in the picture. What do you make of the conflicting orders Bors has received concerning Rand? Do you think Gyldin, the servant who is spying for the Seanchan, knows the full extent of who Liandrin is? What do you think of the idea of tattoos marking you as royal property?

Well, we have already seen glimpses of the competing factions trying to rule the known world. Bors was ordered to kill Rand and now his family members are being taken, one by one, because he has not killed Rand. Liandrin tells him not to, because they want to bind and use him. Does anyone else picture her in some very proper German matron outfit, with Dominatrix leathers underneath? Anyway, this just points to more of that in fighting that is slowing down the bad guys. Let’s not discourage them.

No, I don’t. At least not yet. She probably knows Liandrin and the others are Aes Sedai, and Black Ajah, but not the full grasp of serving the Evil One. The Seanchan are hierarchical and driven by the need for power and control, but not necessarily evil. So, for most, the Black Ajah are probably just a bunch of rebel Aes Sedai that can currently be used as a tool.

I love it when tatts mean something deep – in this case a live of unquestioning servitude. Oh, and they look cool. Tattos on a nicely muscled human form is always appreciated. Feel free to send pictures ;).

4) After a bit too much wine, an awkward conversation with Thom Merrylin, and a drunken sick in her shared room with Nynaeve, Elayne is still trusted to stand watch as Nynaeve dives into Tel’aran’rhiod. Was it wise of Nynaeve to trust an impaired Elayne with such a duty? The mysterious man resembling Lan who shot at Nynaeve in T’A’R has also been sighted by Perrin. What do you think the connection is, if any, between Lan and this deadly dreamworld walker?

Every once in a while, Nynaeve is an idiot. No, someone drunk, sick, and obviously sleepy shouldn’t be put on ‘guard’ duty. I did enjoy that conversation between Thom and Elayne tho – it confirmed some things hinted at…last book? Thom could be her biological dad – and if not, he can turn into a substitute father.

Well, supposedly Lan has zero living family. So, either the close resemblance is just coincidence (and we all know how Mr. Coincidence has been rather scarce in this series, with Miss Prophecy prancing around), or Lan has some half brother or close cousin running around who has an all-star T’A’R pass. I think it is too simple for Lan to be without any family and to find out he does have at least one male member, and a baddie at that, would create all sorts of grief and consternation. So, I am looking forward to that reveal when it happens.

5) Lord Luc decided to leave Perrin’s hunting party after the latest batch of trollocs was identified but before Perrin’s group was ambushed. Coincidence? Perrin says he trusts Faile, his bow,  and his axe. Which, in your opinion, is the most dangerous?

I still don’t trust Lord Luc, and neither does Perrin. the sequencing of events was too convenient: 1) The Aiel ID location of trollocs and report to Perrin. 2) Lord Luc bows out of the hunt, trying to take Faile off with him. 3) Trollocs appear in the wrong place. Adult Aiel hunters rarely, if ever, make such a location ID mistake. So, I am thinking Lord Luc hustled out of there and told the baddies they had been spotted, and then they managed to circle around and create havoc. Bastard.

Well, if I was attempting to gain Perrin’s affections, I would say Faile. So, since he is so heavily guarded, I won’t. In battle, I will say his axe. If his wolf pack was around, I would say the wolf pack is the most dangerous asset Perrin has.

6) Ila of the Tinkers and Faile have a discussion about The Way of the Leaf: One believes it is for everyone and one believes it is not for everyone. What did you think of this conversation? We finally learn about Faile’s family and upbringing: Surprised? How do you think this will affect her relationship with Perrin?

OK, the Tinkers are peace lovers, singers, vegetarians. But they keep these really large dogs. What do they feed the dogs? Dogs can survive on vegetarian fare for a while, perhaps a few years, but biologically, they are not made for it. So, are they allowed to hunt their own meat, like squirrels and frogs? And The Way of the Leaf allows for group shunning – which is psychological damage. So, I have to say that insisting The Way of the Leaf is for everyone is a bit presumptuous, if I am being polite. I’m with Faile on this one.

I think Perrin and Faile will be closer, for now, because of sharing this info back and forth. they st will be a close couple, sneaking kisses, traded flirts and compliments, and generally being rather too cute about it all in public. At least until Perrin must be introduced to Faile’s relations. In fact, where is the royal hunting party sent out to locate Faile and drag her ass back to court?

7) In Tel’aran’rhiod, Perrin learns that the nearest Waygate, the one shut by Loial when they all came through to Emond’s Field, has been opened. Who do you think did so and why? In your head, how do you picture the sa’sara dance Faile kept threatening/promising Perrin with?

I suspect Lord Luc or Alanna, but mostly Luc. I think Verin and Alanna were told that Loial closed it from the outside and Lord Luc could have found out some how, or simply went up to check. Then there is Padan Fain in the area, and depending on whether or not he wants more trollocs (because wasn’t there a hint that he was a renegade and needed to be taken down) Fain could have reopened the Waygate. Then if any of the Emond’s Field folks are Darkfriends, like a Congar or such, they could have been ordered to it.

I picture the sa’sara to be the female version of this:

Yep, Faile definitely will make Perrin’s blood boil with moves like that.

Other Tidbits:

Anyone else wondering what Min is doing? Wasn’t there suppose to be death and mayhem at the White Tower?

Damn, Perrin, you got skewered! Apparently Alanna is the only one who can heal him…or is Verin holding back to put Perrin in Alanna’s hands? I have a deep concern that Perrin is going to end up Alanna’s very reluctant Warder.

I am so very, very curious about Elayne’s letters to Rand. Why does he think they are conflicting? Are they conflicting? Why 2 letters? Egwene and Aviendha assume Elayne said only loving things in those letters, but I suspect that might not be so. Poor Rand.

What Others Think:

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