Knife of Dreams, Part IV

JordanKnifeOfDreamsBannerWelcome everyone to Book 11 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. You can find the schedule to Knife of Dreams over HERE. Everyone is welcome to join us!

This week, Sue’s Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers is our host. You can probably find Eivind there. Liesel at Musings on Fantasia, cool non-spoilery fan art, so don’t miss checking her post out.

For the fourth week in a row, I am a bit late posting. I am a weaver and this past weekend was one of my biggest shows of the year, and it was super busy. Today, I have been mostly a vegetable, lying about in bed catching up on Knife of Dreams.

This week, we covered Chapters 13-18. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1. Elayne seems to be having an ‘interesting’ time because of her pregnancy. Do you think that she is right to be so confident of her continued survival just because of Min’s viewing? Are you concerned that she and Birgitte are going to make a massive error of judgment because of either tiredness or pregnancy-induced irrationality?

I think Elayne is taking too many chances. After all, Min’s viewing didn’t say that Elayne needed to be anything more than a comatose vegetable carrying her babes to birth.

On the other hand, it is immensely entertaining and quite the opposite of what we normally see pregnant women doing – trying to be as protective of their unborn as much as possible.

And Birgitte has been in enough tough situations that she should know that sleep is really important. So I am a little surprised to see her pushing things to the edge of incompetence like this.

2. Some new allies have arrived, but the castle and, possibly the whole city, are rearranging themself at random. How do you see the siege of Caemlyn playing out? Will the mercenaries remain loyal or will Arymilla be able to bribe them? Can Elayne attract any of the Great Houses that have adult leaders?

I think a few strategic executions would suss out much of this nonsense – like some of the leaders of the mercenary groups. If Arymilla buys a few, then Elayne will have the law on her side and can take this action. I think once she shows an iron hand, she will attract more of the house leaders. After all, most folks seek stability, not necessarily right or noble.

As for the castle rearranging itself, that is freaky. Makes me think a little of Hogwarts. So I would want to place some highly recognizable art in the halls and on the walls to help me figure out how things have been moved about. Also certain scents could be used. You could have the mint wing, the lavendar level, the chamomile basement, etc.

3. Aviendha discovers a super, new Talent and then gets whisked away by the Wise Ones. I found this chapter rather jarring for some reason: perhaps I am just accustomed to the meandering pace that the past few books have adopted! Do you think that Aviendha’s departure will have a serious effect on Elayne’s morale, or ability to stop herself throwing things? Do you find it a little too convenient that the pair can now identify the use of angreal and also recreate them?

Oh yes, I found this chapter both jarring and very convenient plot wise. It was jarring partially because of Elayne snapping at everyone, but then having Aviendha whisked away didn’t really make sense to me. If Rand ordered the Aiel to march somewhere, I think he would have made a provision that Aviendha was to stay and guard Elayne. Plus, it was very sudden and I have a hard time seeing even the Wise Women being so hard-hearted as to readily separate Aveidnha and Elayne during a seige while Elayne is pregnant and with The Last Battle coming.

But I can also see that separating Aviendha and Elayne is the only way to get Mellar to move against Elayne. With Aviendha guarding Elayne night and day, Mellar wouldn’t have stood a chance. So, for plot’s sake, we have to move Aviendha somewhere else.

And of course we need to the two to be in contact, so we have this other convenient plot device of Aviendha IDing the angreal, several of which are for long range communication. And I believe that is what Elayne sent with her. So, now they just need to figure out how to activate them.

4. Captain Mellar is certainly a man in great need of a sharp dagger to the jugular. Do you think that this latest shadow will be anymore successful than the last few? Do you think that Mellar will be able to hold himself in check much longer, or will Elayne’s rudeness finally provoke him to violence?

I think this latest shadow will bring Elayne some info, otherwise Jordan wouldn’t have written him in to the storyline. And I think that with Aviendha’s departure and Elayne’s increased rudeness (deserved though it is), Mellar is very, very close to acting. Again, I am concerned that Min’s viewing only requires Elayne’s body to remain alive long enough to deliver her babes and that Elayne is being too reckless, on several fronts.

5. Someone is bumping off members of the Kin. Do you think it really is one of the two sisters under suspicion of Adeleas’ murder? Do you think that the Kin will scatter and flee once it is revealed that someone is targeting them, or will they stand firm and try to defend themselves?

Well, it is someone using saidar. So far, we haven’t had a Dark Friend Windfinder, right? So, maybe for one to rear her black-hearted face. But could also be Black Ajah. The fact is, we have a lot of bad guys running around, uncoordinated, many of whom don’t even know the others exist. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jordan gives us a brand new bad guy knocking off the Kin. We could even have a Dark Friend among the Kin.

And, yes, I expect the Kin to rally and defend themselves once they know what is going on. After all, they had to defend themselves as a group for centuries before now.

6. Arymilla has a very unstable alliance built upon threats and deceit. Do you think that she can hold it together long enough to take Caemlyn? What do you make of Nasin and his ‘simple’ granddaughter: am I the only one who thinks that they are playing a very cunning scheme to use Arymilla’s army for their own ends?

I think Arymilla is being used, and therefore, yes, her army will hold behind her as long as the puppet masters believe they can take the throne. If Arymilla is killed or Elayne makes a decisive blow, then they will pull their support.

Yep, that simple granddaughter isn’t so simple. I expect Nasin & family are using Arymilla and that if Arymilla were to somehow take the city and the palace, she could well find herself accidentally killed by friendly fire.

7. Rand has the link to Mat and Perrin that all three share, but he now has a link to Moridin as well. Do you think that this could work to his advantage, or will it be a massive weakness? Do you think it is connected to his nausea when seizing Saidin?

I think this will initially be a weakness for Rand. He hasn’t been the most proactive in most instances, especially the psychological and info gathering stuff. I expect the Moridin is using the intelligence he gains from looking through Rand’s eyes way more than Rand is using the info he has access to.

But eventually, good will conquer evil. So I expect that Rand will some day, some way pull off some sort of fake out on Moridin and be able to trick the evil sod and kill him.

I don’t know why Rand still has continued nausea and weakness when seizing saidin. Honestly, I thought that cleansing saidin would have taken care of that. So now I think it is linked to whatever Cadsuane must teach Rand in order to survive. Perhaps she knows how to block Moridin’s voyeurism. Perhaps she just makes a really good cup of mint chamomile tea.

8. Covril has arrived with Erith! How quickly do you think that she can organize Loial’s wedding? How does Cadsuane know her?

Haha! Poor Loial. He just assumes he will have to give up his beloved quest and book. I think that both his mother and his wife-to-be will see how miserable he is and Erith will assist him in his quest. She can make sure he stays fed and polish his quill on a regular basis. 😉

And yes, of course Covril will have to see the two married straight off before she can retire back to her Steading. I wonder what an Ogier wedding is like?

Cadsuane has been around for centuries, so I expect she has had many dealings with the Ogier over the years. Though since so few are adventurous, I would expect that she knows Covril adn her lineage because she went to study with the Ogier women at some point.

Other Tidbits:

I am kind of glad that Rand doesn’t have to be around for the snappy, angry stage of Elayne’s pregnancy (which I hope she comes out of soon).

Is it just me, or do others occasionally want to smack a Wise One or two upside the head for over use of physical reprimands?

I really wish that Mat, Perrin, and Rand would figure out that they can communicate with each other via their shared rainbow vision.

Crossroads of Twilight, Part V

JordanCrossroadsOfTwilightBanner

And the WoT Quad returns with Book 10, Crossroads of Twilight! If any of you silent stalkers want to join us, you are always welcome to. You can leave me a comment or email me (nrlymrtl [at] gmail [dot] com) to get on the weekly email of the discussion questions. Check out the schedule.

This week, I am your host. Make sure to catch Sue and her often insightful answers over at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers. Eivind, our keeper of esoteric WoT knowledge, can be found in the comments. Make sure to swing by Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia for cool fanart.

This week, we cover Chapters 13-16. Spoilers for this section run free below!

1) Chapter 13 starts with Elayne returning to her bath and Aviendha alludes to some joke Birgitte played that relied upon the feedback loop built into her bond with Elayne. Any guesses as to what this joke was?

Well, I recall Elayne once acting drunk and Nynaeve giving her a scolding, and in actuality it was Birgitte who was drunk and dancing and having fun.

Then there was that one time that Elayne found a rather unusual *cough, cough* angreal. She woke up in bed with everyone grinning at her and not answering questions. Perhaps that angreal gave her some fun sexytimes or close enough to it and Birgitte caught the afterglow through the bond.

2) Dyelin returns with the High Seats of Mantear, Haevin, Gilyard, and Northan. Do you foresee any issues concerning the ages of these High Seats? Dyelin seems to have an unhealthy curiosity about Brigitte. Do you think she is merely in disbelief about Brigitte’s abilities, or do you think Dyelin is studying her for more nefarious reasons?

I fear the other High Seats won’t take these four seriously. Additionally, I am also concerned that their own houses won’t take them seriously. In fact, them proclaiming their fealty to Elayne may cause a bit more dissension if their elders disagree with them, or feel snubbed because they ran off and did this thing without consulting them.

Dyelin, so far, has been very true to her word and therefore Elayne. However, she is also in a position of greater knowledge of Elayne’s plans, etc. If I was a smart, planning evil person, I would definitely take the measure of those guarding Elayne. Which would mean studying Birgitte in her boots and tight pants. I can see how someone could get distracted by those attributes and not think seriously of Birgitte. However, Dyelin is not enchanted by swaying female hips and has been studying Birgitte. Right now, I think Dyelin is just trying to get a read on if Birgitte believes she is truly her namesake and living a silly tale,. or is she truly competent. I don’t thin Dyelin has any evil plans for Elayne.

3) While Elayne met with Master Norry and Mistress Harfor (just how many spies does Elayne have in the her Palace, and can she keep them ignorant and in play?), Aviendha sheilded their conversation. Once the meeting was concluded, she told Elayne someone had attempted to listen in. Who do you think that was, and why?

Sounds like Elayne has a ton of spies within the Palace. But I think this would be n0rmal during a time of great change and upheaval. And not all would be spies in the sneaky sense of the word, but could just be people trying to ride out the change by keeping multiple parties happy.

I really am not sure who was attempting to listen in. We had a Wise One and a trainee waiting to come in and examine Elayne (the saidar version of the ultrasound). I guess one of them could have done so, but I think Aviendha may have recognized their energy, perhaps? We also know there are slew of Aes Sedai creeping around the city, coming and going. Perhaps one disguised made it into the inner palace and made the attempt.

The ‘why’ is probably the simplest question – to gain info, any info, that concerns Elayne and her plans.

4) It appears that Arymilla, who is vying for the crown of Andor, isn’t above holding prominent people hostage in order to strengthen her claim. Do you think she is as daft as Elenia believes she is? Elenia has a plot to use Naean Arawn in order to further her own claims for the thrown; do you expect that to go well for Elenia? What is up with the seemingly mad and definitely violent Nasin?

No, I don’t think Arymilla is that daft. First, she is holding together a sizable force, one large enough that Elayne takes her as a real threat. Two, she doesn’t appear to be anyone’s puppet.

Even if Elenia manages to wrest some followers from Arymilla, I don’t expect her path to be easy. And Naean could totally be playing her. And of course, even if she past those hurdles, she has to deal with Elayne, and I think we all know how that will turn out (even if Rand has to step in and assist).

I really am not sure about Nasin. Can he be a male channeler that went a little crazy? I assume the users of saidin are like the users of saidar – there are different levels and some can only channel a trickle and are easily overlooked (think of all those Kin). Whatever the cause of his madness, he is violent and probably needs to be put down.

5) We spent some more time in Hanlon’s head. He and Falion have some sort of an agreement wherein they exchange info behind Shiaine’s back. Which of the three do you expect to end up dead first? Shiaine asks three things of Hanlon: free some sul’dam and/or damane, shift some guards away from the food warehouses, and entertain Elayne in bed. Which of the three do you expect Hanlon to accomplish and what do you think is the master plan?

Well, I am guessing that Hanlon will be the first to die, either from trying to get into Elayne’s panties, or killed while attempting to kill or abduct Elayne, Birgitte, or Aviendha.

Hanlon said that freeing some sul’dam or damane would be easiest. So, I expect him t do that first. Perhaps with guards hunting them, he could then shift men away from the food warehouses, which will then be torched. I expect Birgitte and/or Aviendha to become highly suspicious of Hanlon at this point. And I expect Elayne to be very hesitant about listening to those suspicions because Hanlon once ‘saved her life’.

Master plan: Create chaos and new foes by freeing channelers, burn the food to sew dissension among the commonfolk (who wants to back a leader who can’t keep the masses fed?), and bed Elayne to learn more of her plans and secrets. Then kill and burn and run amok at the appropriate time to keep Andor in turmoil until one of the Forsaken or a very special Dark Friend can seize the reigns and rule Andor in name for the Dark One. There will be much festivities, but please dress in black goth style to show support for your new overlord.

6) Delana shares a few shocking tidbits with Egwene: 1) Several Aes Sedai suspect Egwene has bonded Gareth Bryn; and 2) Many Aes Sedai are considering negotiations with Elaida. Which did you find more amusing? Would either benefit Egwene’s efforts to make the Tower whole before the end of the world?

I found it very amusing that some suspect that Egwene had bonded Gareth Bryne! Of course, she wants Gawyn, but only a few even suspect that. Still, I could see a certain logic to having Bryne as a warder. There would be no way to pay the man off and he would have to take her orders instead of acting as a free agent. He wouldn’t like it, but he would also buckle down and be the best warder he could be.

I don’t expect Elaida to agree to Egwene’s terms, so negotiation with her will not be of any use except to appease some of Egwene’s followers. She can say, look, I tried and Elauda just would not see reason. So you see, I really did have to take her head.

Other Tidbits

I loved Dyelin’s comment to Birgitte about dragging your bait all over the lake.

Elenia dresses her maid in fancy clothes and believes she treats her well. She really had a huge disrespect for anyone ‘below her’.

I find it very interesting that Falion and Hanlon have this agreement, and part of it is him leaving bruises on her to keep up the ruse.

Crossroads of Twilight, Part IV

JordanCrossroadsOfTwilightBanner

And the WoT Quad returns with Book 10, Crossroads of Twilight! If any of you silent stalkers want to join us, you are always welcome to. You can leave me a comment or email me (nrlymrtl [at] gmail [dot] com) to get on the weekly email of the discussion questions. Check out the schedule.

This week, our host is Sue over at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers. Eivind, our keeper of esoteric WoT knowledge, can be found in the comments over at Sue’s. Make sure to swing by Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia for cool fanart.

This week, we cover Chapters 9-12. Spoilers for this section run free below!

1. Well, I suppose that we now know that Faile is alive and well, more or less. Do you think that Nadric will avoid her from now on, or will he simply wait until she is more alone? What do you think is going on between Galina and Therava?

I think Faile will keep a better eye out for single men around the camp now, since she knows now that her status does not protect her from harm. And I also doubt that Faile is the first captive to be treated this way. So, yes, I expect Nadric or another to have similar ideas about Faile (or the other women she was captured with).

I really want Galina hurt, or stilled, or banished to the Seanchan homelands. She is double crossing Faile and crew and messing up their plans for escape, and getting them hurt.

As for Therava, well, I think she wants to undermine Sevanna, perhaps even take over. And I also still think Therava makes a better predatory bird than Berelain. Surely there is some discussion board somewhere that thinks the two predatory birds perched on Perrin’s shoulders are Faile and Therava?

2. Still with Faile, what do you think of her growing relationship with Rolan? Do you think that he might even help her to escape, or is that simply wishful thinking on her part?

I think the term ‘awkward’ covers much of this growing relationship. After all, he forcibly stripped her naked, made her march through snow, then carried her slung over his shoulder occasionally slapping her bum, later rescues her from Nadric, and now….is massaging the cramps out of her bound, naked muscles. Hmmm….I think Robert Jordan is once again playing out some sexual fantasy using these characters and elaborate setting that he created. Not that I mind so much, except that so much of his books are PG rated, so it always stands out to me.

I am not sure if Rolan wants to be free of Sevanna and sees a potential path with Faile, or if he simply wants sexy times. If Rolan does escape with Faile, it could make for a very interesting conversation with Perrin down the road.

3. Poor Elsie sees a ghost, but Elayne dismisses it as nerves. We do not seem to have had much supernatural activity in this series, so this seemed very significant to me. Was the ghost real or do you think that there might be some other explanation? Feel free to say if you think I am simply being overly suspicious! 😀

This incident stood out to me too. I think it was a Grey Man, or some Aes Sedai that has learned how to cloak herself in invisibility. Either way, I think Elayne should be more suspicious all around (see Q.4).

4. I am getting rather tired of Mellar and his evil smugness, but I am a little concerned about Elayne’s decision to berate him in public. Does this mean that she realizes that his moment of heroism was completely staged? Do you think that he might try to retaliate for the embarrassment?

I don’t think Elayne has even considered that Mellar’s heroism during the assassination attack was staged. Again, I think she (or Aviendha or Brigitte) needs to be way more suspicious of the people around her. Mellar is giving everyone the bad vibes, except for that one Aes Sedai who was singing his praises…what was her name? She and two others are on the list of possible suspects for killing Vandene’s sister.

And, yes, eventually Mellar will retaliate for the embarrassment. Of course he might save it all up for his final move (assassination or kidnapping) and be real nasty about it.

5. We have lots of coming and goings in Caemlyn. Do you think that the Aes Sedai at the Silver Swan are Elaida’s, independents or parts of Cadsuane’s group? What about the group that Mellar ‘helped’ to get into the city: are they trustworthy at all?

Let’s see. They are Aes Sedai, so no matter who they ‘promised’ to serve, they have their own agenda. Elayne thinks they are watched closely, but yet we haven’t heard about their agendas. And if Mellar helped a few in, then I would watch out for Black Ajah or Forsaken.

6. What is it with the Seafolk and square miles of land? I thought that Rand had granted them that as part of his agreement with them, but maybe Zaida does not know about that yet. Do you have any ideas about why this land is so important to a sea-faring people?

Perhaps this land is in addition to what Rand had already grated. And perhaps it has something to do with the location? I think the Sea Folk want several basses of operation throughout Randland – safe harbors, places to conduct business, trade, etc. Have we learned where the Sea Folk come from? Do they have a set of islands they call home or are they strictly ship and sea? If they don’t already have a homeland, then perhaps this is why the land gained during the bargains is so important.

Other Tidbits

I liked that part where Faile admits to herself that her only weapon is her wits. Oh boy! She is definitely not armed for this situation!

the whole point of babying Elayne (no wine, early to bed, goat’s milk) is to keep her well rested and healthy. It seems snide of Brigitte to be getting drunk every night and being hung over every morning. I know she is sad, but she has a job to do and being drunk every night can’t help with that.

 

Winter's Heart Read Along Part IV

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.

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

This week we covered Chapters 12-17. Spoilers are having a party below!

1. Elayne gets to ‘entertain’ the worst looking man in the universe, at least as far as her bodyguards know. Do you think that they will actually prove to be any protection against assassins and what did you make of Hanlon’s hints to them that Elayne likes rough men?

I was surprised that Elayne was left alone, all night long, with an unidentified man, especially since the guards did not receive an OK from Brigitte, head of the body guards. So, no, I don’t think they are particularly good at their jobs.

The audio editing of this particular book has left something to be desired. All through out so far there have been several sentences repeated one after the other. But this week’s reading was the worst and I think the audio editors actually left some little bits out of this section. Like I don’t recall listening to Hanlon talking to the guards about rough men and Elayne’s preferences. Though I would guess that he would reinforce this idea as to make it easier for him later to help sneak a rough man in, or out.

2. Any suggestions about what Elayne and Rand were doing to make Birgitte seek solace in a bottle of strong liquor? Do you think it was so shocking that it put Alanna into her coma?

Well, since Elayne and Rand have only this one night together, and who knows when they will get to play around again, I think they probably tried as many things as possible. And I will leave it up to each person’s imaginations as to what that list might entail. 😉

And I think Birgitte was enjoying being drunk enough to dance naked on a table so as to share that through the Warder bond with Elayne as a kind of payback for what she was sharing through the bond. Of course, once Birgitte was dancing nude on the tables, I expect the list of adult acts for Elayne and Rand got a bit longer as Elayne’s inhibitions would have been lowered if not removed entirely. 😉

And I think that is probably when Alanna fainted from the shock of it all.

3. Cadsuane seems to have her hands full with angry Sea Folk and strangely subdued Aes Sedai. What do you make of the Sisters’ sudden decision to support Rand, even the Reds? How angry will Nynaeve be to discover that she is not the only one to be able to Heal Stilling?

I worry about the Reds swearing fealty, especially so many. Perhaps the skill of chatting in Tel’aran’rhiod has spread among the captive Aes Sedai? If some are Black Ajah, I wouldn’t be surprised if their Dark Friends Dream Club taught them this skill. With that skill, they can continue to plot, and part of the plot could be to swear fealty to Rand.

Haha! I think Nynaeve will initially be miffed, and then she will learn it was a man who did the healing, and she will be curious. However, this curiosity will give way to snottiness as she tells the man he is doing it all wrong and making it 10 times harder than it should be.

4. When Cyndane popped up I assumed that she was our good old friend, Lanfear, reincarnated. However, she seems to be too weak in the One Power. Any thoughts about this?

My Lanfear Alarm Bells, so long dormant, also rang when Cyndane opened her pretty mouth. Perhaps going through the angreal portal weakened her. Either she has been reincarnated or she is in disguise – I haven’t figured that out yet. If she is back, that means Morgase Moiraine could be back too. I wonder if Lan would be able to tell (perhaps proximity matters if Morgase Moiraine is also weak?) or if that bond was severed when she ‘passed on’.

5. We finally get to meet the Daughter of the Nine Moons. Is she what you expected? What about Anath: was anyone else very suspicious that Tuon’s previous Truthspeaker died suddenly and was replaced by this unlikely candidate?

The Daughter of the 9 Moons is not quite what I expected. I thought she would come storming into Mat’s life on the back of some winged beast, weapons in hand. This entrance is pretty good too, just different. She is not his usual physical type but seems to have a firm grasp of what she wants. Apparently, she wants him for some reason. Curiosity? Maybe his ta’veren-ness is influencing her libido?

Anath is creepy. I know she is paid to be blunt, but she also strikes me as malevolent. And of course it is suspicious that Tuon’s previous Truthspeaker recently died. So far we have seen lots of hierarchy from the Seanchan and pretty much acceptance of this (especially from the lower orders). But i expect that the higher one climbs, the plots and intrigues that go on behind the scenes. Those Andorran nobles think they know something of scheming! They know nothing compared to the Seanchan!

6. It seems that we were right to suspect that the Gholam would feel a personal need to kill Mat. Do you see any way that Mat can get rid of it? What about Noal: is he only an old man who happened to be in the right place at the right time?

I am guessing Mat will have to be the one to get rid of him. I would suggest the two tried and true methods for dispatching zombies, vampires, demons, witches, ogres, trollocs, myrrdraal, and even wicked humans: stab through the heart and remove the head. He can start by damaging its eyes to give himself a fighting chance.

Was Noal the old man standing outside Shiane’s place that one time? If so, he keeps turning up in Mat’s life. This could be Mat’s ta’veren-ness pulling the old man in again. So far he seems harmless and on Mat’s side. While his hands appear to have been broken at some point, he also has a strong grip. I wonder if he will turn out to be another legend come to life, like Birgitte.

7. Mat meets Tuon and his dice stop thundering. Any ideas of how he is going to end up married to this woman, or will she simply ‘borrow’ him permanently from Tylin?

Haha! Well, it has certainly been interesting seeing the similarities between how the Seanchan treat their pet female channelers and how Tylin treats Mat. i expect Tuon will start off treating Mat the same way and the audience will rally to his defense and set her straight on that. He’s not just a personal pet pogostick to be toyed with.

I was a little surprised that Mat didn’t stop to consider the Seanchan more. I can see why his initial reaction was to be surprised that no event happened, as that has been the case in the past. But then that thought should have turned to the people in the room and their possible significance.

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

Other Tidbits

Anyone else surprised by Min’s visions concerning Elayne, Aviendha, and children? Looks like Elayne will be having twins, whereas Aviendha will have 4 children all at once. Min isn’t sure what this means. I fear it means that either Elayne or Min or both die and Aviendha inherits their children.

If I understood correctly, an Asha’man healed a Stilled woman. I find this interesting because we have had such separation in the powers of the sexes. I think it’s cool, but like Nynaeve, I want to see how it is done.

Moridin and crew know that Rand wants to try to heal saidin with angreal and those statue things. How do they know? Who is the snitch? Or is Rand so blatantly obvious in his moves?

I didn’t really understand Tuon’s veil and the significance of it. I got that she swore to wear it until she got a clear sign, which I thought she did with the porpoises (or was it dolphins) – stay your course! But then we see her later in Tylin’s chambers still in the veil.

What could Tylin’s son be up to? Will Thom help him? There’s going to be rebellion against the Seanchan, isn’t there? Sigh….Thom may get himself killed yet.

Mat really, really, really needs to listen to his own ta’veren’ness when it comes to Rand and Perrin.

Winter's Heart Read Along Part III

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or something like that. 😉

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

Other Tidbits

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

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

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

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

Winter's Heart Read Along Part I

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Tidbits

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

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

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

The Path of Daggers Read Along Part II

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

This week, Sue from Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers is our host, so make sure to swing by her place. Liesel from Musings on Fantasia will also be joining us. And you can catch our walking WoT encyclopedia, Eivind, in the comments at Sue’s.

This week we covered Chapters 4-9. Spoilers run free and in their birthday suits below!

1. The Super Girls finally got to use the Bowl of the Winds. The power needed and the weaving involved were both certainly impressive, but were you a little underwhelmed by the immediate lack of results?

I guessed it would take time for the overall weather to change. Still, I was hoping a bit of a localized wind around the Sea Folk, considering all the hot air they were spewing out.

As I side note, the day I read that chapter, it finally rained here. Our first moisture in perhaps a month and our first real amount of precipitation in perhaps 2-3 months. It has been a very dry winter. So the goof inside me likes to think that the Bowl of Winds called the rain here….and eventually it will get to Randland. Eventually.

2. The different groups of channelers can certainly work together when faced with the Seanchan. However, do you think that Elayne and Nynaeve have any hope of keeping them together as they travel to Caemlyn, and will Egwene be anymore successful?

I think the Sea Folk will try to bolt as soon as possible. They definitely all need shirts, or sashes for the shirtless, that say DOES NOT PLAY WELL WITH OTHERS. Plus, they miss their beloved boats and don’t really get on well with horses.

Then Nynaeve versus the highly organized Kin. Nynaeve definitely likes to be the one bossing people around. That is her comfort zone. Hopefully she will find another group that needs her bossing, otherwise she may very well drive the Kin away.

I expect Egwene will run into similar issues and I look forward to seeing what they are. 🙂

3. Holy Exploding Weaves, Batman! Last week we saw Merilille’s terror as Aviendha unpicked her weaving, so were you surprised by how much damage Elayne caused? Do you expect the Seanchan to accept the Chulein’s assessment that it was a weapon of some sort?

No, I wasn’t surprised by how much damage Elayne’s unpicking weave caused. Robert Jordan built in the consequences pretty clearly earlier int he story and the little imp in me was hoping we would see it used in the story at some point. I wasn’t expecting it to be used this early, but I was quite happy with the scene as it had me on the edge of my seat.

Yes, I expect the Seanchan will go with the Chulein’s assumption. I believe the Chulein and her co-rider were the only 2 survivors? And, in a way, collapsing a gate like that could very well be used as weapon in a desperate situation.

4. The channelers with Perrin saw the weaving from the Bowl and it appears to have had a lasting effect over a huge area. Do you think that Perrin is really hearing thunder and is it actually starting to get cooler as he and the others mention a few times?

Since multiple people are experiencing the cooler temps, I think that is real. And we know Perrin has great hearing, but I would want to check with some equines first as they and their twitchy ears are good indicators of coming storms.

Of course, Perrin’s distant thunder could be the impending cat fight between Berelain, Faile, and Queen Alliandre…….

5. A certain group of travellers is not quite what they seem. Were you surprised that Morgase did not reveal her identity to Perrin? Do you think that she will give the game away when Perrin tries to marry her to Tallanvor?

No, I was not surprised when Morgase kept her ID to herself. This is completely in keeping with her character….cough…recent bad decisions, lack of judgement, and snap assessments of people that prove incorrect. Not that I am trying to be harsh on the woman…..But I do think Andor will be in much better hands with Elayne ruling.

It was quite fun to watch Linni repeatedly tell Morgase to shut the hell up and act like a proper maid. I liked this section quite a bit just because of that. 🙂

I think Faile will be the true organizer behind the weddings and I don’t think Morgase will give away her ID before the wedding. I think Morgase the Queen could never marry the ‘lowly’ Talanvor. But Megan the maid could marry the and some, dashing, honorable, well-muscled, lithe, obviously knows what to do with his hands Talanvor. Morgase really is a silly woman.

6. Oh good, the Faile-Berelain antagonism is still in full flow. What do you think the Cha Faile are doing in Bethal? Will it work with or against Berelain’s attempts to make an alliance with Queen Alliandre?

Once again, Faile acts rather childish and my original affection for this character is quickly waning. First, she is sneaking out at night and making secret plans with her Cha Faile. These aren’t silly tasks she is sending them on, like scour the countryside for strawberries, or fetch champagne from cellars of some once-fine inn. No, she has bigger plans.

And I think she intends for her Cha faile to kidnap Queen Alliandre and bring her to Faile and Faile will present her to Perrin. Of course, this will completely undermine 2 things: 1) Any possibility for a trusting political alliance between Queen Alliandre and the Dragon Reborn. 2) Perrin’s trust in Faile.

Hence, the big impending cat fight between Berelain, Faile, and Queen Alliandre – which sounds like distant thunder in Perrin’s ears.

7. The Wise Ones have decided that Masema must die and at least one of the Aes Sedai agrees with them. Given that he has followers collecting strings of ears, do you think they are correct and the Prophet is too dangerous to be kept alive?

This is a messy one. Personally, I am quite fine with Perrin taking an axe to Masema’s neck. In fact, I wouldn’t mind doing so myself. But I think Rand needs to be a little more politic on this one. Not a whole lot. Just a pinch. Basically, if Perrin can get Masema to acknowledge Rand’s rule, then Rand can have Masema tried by law (of whatever the lastest country he has run through and left earless people mucking about in sorrow) and then executed. But most of Masema’s followers would be transferred to Rand. Hopefully.

However, I expect Masema to be completely uncivil and that Perrin will have to execute him to save others. I look forward to this very much. 🙂

Extra Tidbits

Isn’t Birgitte the greatest badass in the entire series? I love the way she calmly tells Elayne to piss off when Elayne tries to send her off. Such loyalty and machisma all at once.

Small little tear for the dead horses. RIP Lioness.

Lamgwin and Master Gil trust Perrin. And Linni thinks he’s a good man. But Morgase is still convinced Perrin is a henchman. Sigh……Can I slap Morgase? Any objections?

I know Perrin has a lot on his mind, but don’t you think his character was dense in this section concerning Morgase? I mean Perrin has been around enough royalty by now to recognize it when he sees it.

The Path of Daggers Read Along Part I

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

This week, Liesel from Musings on Fantasia is our host, so make sure to swing by her place. Sue from Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers will also be joining us. And you can catch our walking WoT encyclopedia, Eivind, in the comments at Liesel’s.

This week we covered the Prologue – Chapter 4. Spoilers run free and in their birthday suits below!

1) The major players of the Borderlands all have a pow-wow at the start of the prologue. Other than the obvious, stated goal of finding Rand, what do you think they’re up to?

Rule the world, have some tea and cake, and set the fashion sense for the next 100 years? I think that sums it up. But you wouldn’t ask this question if there was something else they were up to. Hmm….Well, many of them have a pretty strong sense that they are the most important person in the world. So it has to be something that would pull them all together. I would say the Dark One has ordered them all to play together, but they can’t all be Bad Guys.

So, I really don’t know. Personally, I think their goal of finding and subduing Rand is quite enough on their To-Do list.

2) What do you make of Verin’s covert work? What is her endgame?

Well, Verin is looking for some piece of info and this is above and beyond her normal, simply curiosity to know everything. Perhaps she wants to know exactly how to push a Dragon Reborn to that snapping point where he can break an Aes Sedai hold, shatter a well made trunk, and still 3 Aes Sedai all in one go.

As to her endgame….well, those of us who haven’t read the entire series have been wondering about Verin for a long time. Should Rand & crew trust her? Is she Black Ajah, or just absorbed in the search for info? Mostly, I think Verin is out for herself. She isn’t out for power, though knowledge can bring a side dish of power with it. No, she wants info, and lots of it. Her endgame is still unclear to me, but I would definitely be worried if she ever became part of Rand’s camp. Verin is one who would be willing to sacrifice a sample of some precious artifact in order to see the computer read out of results.

3) We get yet another jaunt in Moridin’s twisted head. What do you make of him at this point? Does he have things as well in hand as he seems to believe?

Haha! The bad guys are all psychos thinking they have it all together and that total power is nearly in their grasp. Really? Moridin is minus card in his playing deck and I think I hear more cards being shuffled out as we speak. On one hand he acknowledges that he has seen the impossible again and again from the current lot of channelers. Yet he still refuses to think of them anything beyond wild or savage or lucky. Then he goes a little psycho over the Bowl of the Winds and kills the messenger, squeezing out his blood, etc.

On the other hand, sounds like he was around a long time ago. Has he been active all this time or in a stasis box? Is he newly rebirthed? Either way, he has all this older, ancient knowledge to call upon and that probably makes him more dangerous coupled with his wavering hold on sanity.

4) Aviendha picked a weave apart. Do you think we’ll see this in the story again? In what capacity? Do you think Moridin will find them before they use the Bowl? How about the gholam?

I can see someone being stuck in a really bad situation and choosing to sacrifice themselves for some greater good. And of course this could entail picking apart a weave until it snaps and destroys everything within 100 paces or more.

Well, the story likes to have climatic reckonings, so I think the gholam or Moirin will find them as they are attempting to use the Bowl and this will cause all sorts of havoc. Of course, this will be a highlight of the story and I will quite enjoy reading it!

5) Elayne discovers many objects of the One Power from the stash brought out of the Rahad. Any guesses as to what might be their intended uses?

There was a set of jewelry that seemed to be made to be used all together. I would guess that each piece amplifies the abilities of each other. Then there was that dull knife that Aviendha had trouble leaving be. I wonder what captivated her about that? Then a carved lady in a sitting position (am I remembering that right)? I really don’t know what each of these is used for. Since Aes Sedai can wear jewelry to a ball, a political meeting, or a battle, the jewelry could be nearly anything. The knife is dull, so maybe it isn’t made to cut anything in the corporeal world? Maybe it cuts weaves? As for the carved lady, she seemed serene; I don’t have any guess for her.

I can guess that each of our Lady Heroes may very well end up with one of these unique angreals and we will get to see what they do.

6) We finally learn the details of Nynaeve and Elayne’s bargain with the Seafolk–Aes Sedai required to teach Windfinders and even live among them for a period of time, among other things. Will this bargain work out? Will our girls be in big trouble for making it? Do you see all these different groups and cultures of women ever being able to get along?

The Windfinders are given a groups of Aes Sedai to live among them and teach them anything they wish to know. Also the Windfinders will be allowed to enter the White Tower as guests, be taught anything they wish to know, and can leave at any time. But I thought there were hints that there was one final thing to the bargain, something that really rankled the Aes Sedai and had Elayne worried. Do I have that right? Maybe the last part of the bargain is that the Sea Folk get the Bowl of Winds, since they claim it is theirs by right. Whatever. Still, I can see why that last one would upset the Aes Sedai who think anything saidar related should be stuck in the White Tower (item or person).

I get the impression that the Windfinders were getting a bit highhanded, but we didn’t really see them being jerks or mouthing off until Aviendha was turned loose on them. So, I am not too sure what Elayne and the Aes Sedai were getting all snippy about. Maybe the Sea Folk are just annoying when away from their ships. I know Elayne was trying to think of ways to twist out of their bargain, or parts of it. So, I expect people on both sides to balk at some of the bargain sooner or later.

Elayne and Nynaeve are always in trouble, so I don’t think they will be in any notable trouble over this. The gains are too great, right? They are going to save Randland from drought and therefore, from famine.

No. Randland is not made up of people who can get along permanently. Will Rand & crew unite the bulk of them long enough to save the world (and perhaps the known universe)? Yes. But then things will go back to grumbling and positioning and trade and making fun of others’ clothing.

7) Sounds like they’re about to use the Bowl of Winds. Predictions as to what will happen when they do?

Well, the naughty imp inside is hoping that either Moiridin and/or the gholam shows up to the party and wreaks havoc because it would be cool to see all those channelers in action. Maybe with the power of the Bowl of Winds they could actually rip one of the bad guys limb from limb? Yeah, I know, I am demented.

As for actually successfully using the Bowl, well, nice healthy weather doesn’t happen all at once. So I expect them to mess up and try to summon rain right away and therefore, we’ll have flooding. They will learn their lesson, and redo their efforts to call forth a more gentle change in the weather so that life can continue without mud and flash floods every where.

Extra Tidbits

Verin is a sneaky one and not really minding doing some damage down the road for a tiny smidgeon of info now!

And the gholam feasted upon the wring dry corpse that Moiridin left it. We saw it’s thoughts briefly, about how it was made to be controlled, that it was still controlled, but that it thought about life without being controlled. Hmm….I think I am concerned. A gholam with personal goals of freedom is not a good thing.

Also, I want to note that Moiridin suspected there may be some angreals for men in the pile. And we know that part of that pile was discarded….and that only a male channeler would be able to tell the male angreal from the rubbish. So I am really curious if Elayne & crew threw out some priceless male angreal and if they will be kicking themselves later?

Elayne & Aviendha hand over Ipsan to Vandene and Adilis (spelling on those last two names?). Was that the right thing to do? 1) I think Elayne should have taken some part, even if just as witness. 2) Can Vandene and Adilis be trusted to give a full account of whatever they learn?

Aviendha was casually discussion rand’s kissing techniques with Elayne. Hmm….I am surprised Elayne took that so well considering her upbringing and also her deep want to be in Rand’s bed.

A Crown of Swords Read Along Part V

WOT 7 BannerWelcome back everyone! This week Liesel is our host and you can find cool fanart of the non-spoiery kind over at Liesel’s Musing on Fantasia. Eivind, our awesome commenter should be there as well. And don’t miss Sue’s intellectual take over at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers.

This week we covered Chapters 19-24. Spoilers Below!!!

1) We got more of Cadsuane when she interviewed (grilled) the other Sisters around Rand. What did you think of how she handled them? What do you think her endgame is?
My first impressions of Cadsuane were two-fold: Arrogant and daring. But now I think she might be a bit wiser as she is gathering info, as she can, from the other sisters. This info is far from complete and accurate, but it is a start and I hope she doesn’t let her arrogance lead her down the path of Aes Sedai assumptions about male channelers.
2) Rand and Min take their relationship to the next level. (Poor Elayne!) What did you think of how this happened? How will it change Min and Rand’s friendship? And how will Elayne and Aviendha react?
Well, Rand and Min had just learned of some deaths and they needed comfort. Who can comfort Rand? Probably only his three ladies, and only Min is around. Who could comfort Min? Colavere wasn’t exactly popular and anyone who might understand Min sad over it might also fear being seen with her and mourning an enemy of the Dragon Reborn. If Elayne was around, or Egwene even, they might have been able to comfort her. But they were not. So, Rand and Min it is.
Of course it will change their friendship. Is Rand capable of just being friends with a woman he has bedded? Is he capable of being friends, or even a beau to a woman he has bedded out of wedlock? No. Rand hasn’t been able to expand his culture-based morals that far, yet.
I think Elayne will be OK with it. OK, as in, she won’t hate Min nor channel her into a crisp. Aviendha may have a harder time because she hasn’t gotten to know Min and become friends with her. But Aviendha may demand some ‘honor’ from Rand and that may entail marriage to all three ladies. I think Elayne will back Aviendha up on that.
3) Sevanna and her little retinue use the call boxes to speak to a man and a woman, who we later learn are Sammael and Graendal. What do you think their plan is? And who do you think the Watcher keeping on eye on them is?
I am not sure what Sevanna is up to. Nothing good, obviously. I think she is still set on forcing Rand to marry her or acknowledge her in some way so she could rule all the clans. But I think even she realizes that she will need a channeler, whether Wise One or Aes Sedai, to ‘collar’ Rand and make him compliant. If this is so, it is a sucky plan and she will fail. Much to my amusement.
I am not sure who the Watcher is. Is this the one with black dot that moves across their eyes? I don’t think this one is batting for the Light Side, but rather for the Dark Side. Still, anyone who can follow 2 Forsaken and go unnoticed is formidable.
4) After a (somewhat hilarious) evening of drinking with Brigitte, the dice in Mat’s head stop when Elayne and Nynaeve ask him to move into the palace. Obviously it’s an important event. What do you think it means? What will happen?
I loved the tipsy-through-the-bond Elayne. She seemed much more relaxed and personable.
I am not sure what will happen with Mat’s dice, but I am pretty sure what with happen with his man parts. Queen Tylin has been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to give them a try, and I think his closer proximity to her will allow that relationship to move forward. I am hoping it proves to be amusing….for us readers. 🙂
5) Nynaeve and Elayne discover a Circle of women who are either too weak to become Aes Sedai or have been kicked out of the Tower for some reason. What do you think of the Kin and their odd customs? How will they figure in the story from here on out?
This was a very amusing scene. Here Nynaeve and Elayne have the opportunity to discover some pretty important info. While Nynaeve is all for giving it a try, she is so blunt and impatient, things do not go well at all. Meanwhile, Elayne sees it as a waste of time from the beginning. The Wonder Girls each have moments of infuriating Aes Sedai arrogance!
Still, the same could be said for the Kin who don’t believe Nynaeve and Elayne. I think discovering the Kin may turn into a little bookmark event that the Wonder Girls come back to in the future and draw upon.
6) Nynaeve’s weather sense tells her a storm is about to break over the city, which we now know is something of a Talent. It doesn’t always mean the weather, but sometimes other kinds of storms. What do you think her weather sense portends this time?
The shit is about to get real.
Yeah, I think Nynaeve needs to add that label to her weather sense dial. Would make it much easier for her and those around her to know when to go find a hole to hide in or to get out of town.
As for this specific time, well…Mat’s got dice in his head, we know that White Cloaks, Dark Friends, and at least 1 Forsaken all know they are in town. lots of people (including some Black Ajah) are hunting the angreal stash. I think just maybe, all this stuff will come together into some street, or perhaps even palace, fight. I am hoping it will be spectacular.
7) While making their way back from the Kin’s manor, Nynaeve and Elayne are attacked in the street. Who do you think did it and why?
Remember last week how I made that joke about the Wonder Girls not falling into anymore traps? Well this was a very near thing. Idiots! They have free body guards on call via Mat, the Palace, could even hire some. Lots of choices.
Anyway, as to who did it…..well there was at least 4 people involved, right? We had whoever fired the blunt-tipped arrows, the man helping them to the carriage, the woman in the carriage, and the carriage driver. Possibly the shop keeper? But I tend to dismiss her as she offered Nynaeve a cup of water afterwards. She would have to be a ballsy one to stick around afterward if she was part of the kidnap crew.
So, who could either hire or be a part of that team? Well, there are those 2 Black Ajah ladies…..but I can’t recall if Nynaeve & Elayne know what they look like. Still, they could have hired a team. There is the Darkfriend Shiaine. I don’t think Nynaeve and Elayne know what she looks like. So that might be the better bet. Or we may never know, kind of like the attack on Mat.

Other Tidbits:

Has Min gotten a bit more clingy? Has she gotten a bit more fascinated with her looks? Like when she heard that Hered Fel (spelling?) was dead (due to the gholam), her thoughts turned to the fact that he was a nice man who’s head she had distracted with her looks from his studies.

I was pretty amused with Sevanna & Crew versus Sammael & Graendal – they each think they have the upper hand, are more clever. Only time will tell which of these two groups is more clever, but I don’t think either is going to outwit Rand & crew.

Mat & Birgitte are getting to be pretty buddy-buddy. I like this a lot. I think they should become an item. I think they would both enjoy the company and not having to hide their pasts from one another. Also, I have never really understood women who frown on men enjoying the view offered to them by other women (cleavage on display), especially when those women display too, at least from time to time. So it is refreshing to have Birgitte’s take on such things.

A Crown of Swords Read Along Part IV

WOT 7 BannerWelcome back everyone! This week I’m your host, and you can catch Eivind’s discussions below in the comments. You can find cool fanart of the non-spoiery kind over at Liesel’s Musing on Fantasia and don’t miss Sue’s intellectual take over at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers.

This week we covered Chapters 13-18. Spoilers Below!!!

1) Bravery comes up more than once in Chapter 13. Aviendha on the water, Elayne offering to discuss Rand….What do you think about how the ladies measure bravery?

I really liked how Robert Jordan used this trait to show the differences in culture. Aviendha belongs to a culture that doesn’t have dealings with the ocean, where such words as ‘sea’, ‘ship’, and ‘boat’ are perhaps even mythical. So, for her to face those ‘myths’ head on takes some guts. Add to that, her embarrassment over sea sickness, and you have a pretty brave woman.

Elayne, coming from a monogamous culture, probably finds it both difficult and embarrassing to discuss her beloved Rand with another woman, a woman who she intends to share Rand with. Right now, this sharing is a private thing, but it has great potential to become very public. So Elayne risks public ridicule too, as many cultures will view her part in the polygamous relationship as scandalous. In some ways, that is brave too. Though I think Aviendha is the little bit braver as she knows nothing of large bodies of water, which can prove deadly.

2) Within this section, we see Nynaeve and Elayne beginning negotiations with the Sea Folk for info on the Bowl of Winds, and yet Rand is still ignoring the Sea Folk. When the ladies find out Rand ignored the Sea Folk for so long, what do you think they will do? Why are the Sea Folk so interested in Rand? And if they find out the connection between Rand and the ladies, what do you think the Sea Folk will do?

Well, I expect there to be a big muddle. Of course each of the ladies will berate Rand for his short-sightedness in their own way. Perhaps Nynaeve will finally tug her braid out. Or perhaps Rand will cut it off for her if she uses her sharp tongue to harshly.

The Sea Folk have their own prophesy concerning Rand, about the Coramor (spelling?). Perhaps they need to verify he truly is their One & Only via some test or special knowledge. Perhaps they need to whisk him off to some secret Sea Folk island and have him chat with their version of Wise Ones. And once verified, I hope they offer Rand their loyalty because he could sure use it.

I am not sure the Sea Folk would do anything if they knew of the connection between the ladies and Rand. I am not sure they would see any significance to it. Right now, I am not concerned that they would hold the ladies hostage in an attempt to get Rand’s attention. At the most, I think they might refuse to deal with the ladies until Rand chats with the Sea Folk.

3) Mat recognized Darkfriend Shiaine and followed her to White Cloak Inquisitor Carridin. In turn, Carridin recognizes Mat, and then tells Sammael. Do you think this will change Sammael’s plans at all?

I had to break out the maps for this question. Listening to the audio, I don’t pay as close attention to where everything and everyone is. With that, Mat and Rand had some plan to draw Sammael out, or trick him, or box him in. If I remember correctly, Mat was to take his army to Illian for this plan to work. But Rand sent it and him to Salidar to bring back Elayne. I think this was meant to be a quick trip, but, alas, Egwene sent Mat to Ebou Dar, and kept his army for the march on Tar Valon.

I think this leaves Rand’s plan in tatters. Still, Sammael seemed quite shaken to hear of Mat in Ebou Dar. He talked of being betrayed, and I assume he means by whatever Forsaken he confided in. He seems to think that Mat is there hunting or spying on him and his agents. Ha! Mat, and his luck.

Still, Sammael seems set on having Carridin and crew continue to hunt for the stash of angreal. But what will Sammael do on his own? Well, I hope that he goes off in a rage at whatever Forsaken he thinks betrayed him and take her (it was a her, right?) out. Haha! Or perhaps she will take him out. Either way, it would be one less Forsaken for Rand to deal with and will completely discourage the Forsaken from working together.

4) Mat and women and the example they set for Olver. What did you think of Mat’s reaction to Queen Tylin’s straight-forward interest? Were you amused by Olver imitating Mat in his interactions with women? Foresee Mat changing his ways?

Mat was pretty darn amusing, in his rakish way, in this section. Mat seems to be comfortable when he is the hunter, when he is the one to decide a woman should be interested in him. So, yes, I did get a wicked grin on my face with Queen Tylin discomfited him so easily. Still, I was glad that he had enough sense to not jump into what might be a deadly relationship. I don’t think he knows enough of the local customs to safely navigate quickly and easily getting out of Tylin’s bed when he wants.

Olver….tsk, tsk. How old is he? Like 8? 10? Isn’t that still when most boys are like, ‘Girls, ew! Cooties!’ and not interested in doing anything more with women than either avoiding them or setting their pigtails on fire? Anyway, it was still funny, and a little sad, to see that Mat made no connection to Olver’s recent bought of bottom-pinching and his own ways of treating women.

Will Mat change? Maybe the Daughters of 9 Moons can get him to modify his behavior, but that will most likely be because he fears loosing his most favorite appendage by angering her and not because his inner inclinations have changed.

5) Why do you think Mat was attacked at the inn and who do you think sent the men?

Mat seems to write off this attack as due to the gold that noble idiot from the race track put in Mat’s room. However, these men attacked Mat, instead of going for the gold when no one was around. And they had that large, apparently empty box. I think that box is big enough to stash a man in, a man as big as Mat. I think they were sent to fetch Mat in a box, unconscious.

As to who sent them, I am not sure. Sammael specifically told Carridin to leave him be, so I don’t think Carridin would be stupid enough to act against that order. And I don’t think Queen Tylin would have to stoop to such means to arrange a secret tryst with Mat. So I turn my eye towards the two Ebou Dar palace Aes Sedai. Jolin and….??? I forget. I believe these ladies are still loyal to Elaida, and bringing Elaida Mat would be a little feather in their caps. Or they might simply question him about the current whereabouts of Elayne and how best to get through the defenses to stick her in a box with a bow and send her off to Elaida.

6) Moghedien seems to be back in the game, at least directing folks from the sidelines. Fallion doesn’t believe there to be a cache of angreal, but Ispan is ready to search for it. However, Fallion has another plan. How do you think that will fare?

If I was a bad guy, and perhaps I am, and a Forsaken told me to do a thorough search for a cache of angreal, I would do it even if I thought the Forsaken was daft. I don’t enjoy pain…..most of the time, but the definitely not the kind of pain the Forsaken would inflict. So, I would search. Hence, I think Fallion will be in for a nasty surprise when not only does her alternative plan fail but when also her refusal to look for angreal becomes known to Moghedien.

And while I do expect her plan to capture Nynaeve and Elayne to fail, as they have casually walked into enough traps in the past to be on high alert for future traps, I do expect her efforts will inconvenience the ladies. Perhaps, it will speed up their search and leaving of Ebou Dar.

7) Rand has women problems, and not because he is bedding too many (at least not yet). Between Berelain demanding she stay, Rand’s ‘tame’ Aes Sedai, and now Cadsuane Sedai, he may need a holiday. Why do you think Cadsuane has appeared and has chosen to show the Dragon Reborn such cheek?

If I understand correctly, Cadsuane is the oldest living Aes Sedai, and has lead a rather secluded life for many years. I think she is testing Rand, to see if he is truly the Dragon Reborn, and to see how violent a man he is. While she pushed him to the point where he crumpled some serving dishes, he did not harm anyone in the room. I wonder why she appeared unafraid of the possibility? I wonder if she has some power or angreal that shields her from those wielding saidin, like Mat’s pendant.

If she is wanting these answers for herself, to help her decide which side, if any, she will take, than I think she will be cool character. If she is Black Ajah or even a Forsaken in disguise, then I expect she will be a pain in the ass.

Other Tidbits:

Did anyone else enjoy Aviendha’s way of keeping the men from looking up her skirts before boarding the Sea Folk vessel? Haha! And while retrieving her knife, she lifts her skirts above her knees. Very funny.

Birgitte! She used that Sea Folk saying, and now they are all interested in her. Most of the time she thinks before speaking, but this must be an unusual situation. Normally, she is reborn into the world without her prior knowledge (until needed?), and she might not have realized this is an ancient saying among the Folk and no longer widely used.

While hanging around outside Carridin’s place, Mat talks with an old man who tells him whose place it is. Later, we have one little snippet from an unknown character, a man who has lost his ability with a sword due to age and who is trying to remember something important. I think these two characters are the same, but don’t know his significance to the story yet. Any guesses?

Someone has been sneaking notes into Mat’s clothes and they are aren’t all hugs and kisses. No, received a very definite warning for the ladies to be cautious. I think one of the ladies playing tug of war with Mat at the palace is responsible for the note, but I don’t know which one.

Alanna needs therapy to help her deal with the loss of her Warders, and perhaps her guilt over her impulse to bond Rand.