Lord of Chaos Read Along Part VIII

JordanLordOfChaosBannerWelcome all! This week the WoT Quad and it’s fans are gathering over at Musings on Fantasia. So make sure to swing by there to see what everyone else thinks of this week’s section.

We covered Chapters 39-45 this week. Spoilers lurk below!

1. Egwene wants to send Mat to Ebou Dar with Elayne and Nynaeve. Because of his promise to Rand, he goes. What do you think of this situation? Good idea? Bad idea? Where do you think the plot will go–for Mat or the girls–from here?

Mat treats the ladies like they are juvenile idiot lasses with stuck up noses on the public green. The ladies treat Mat like he is some prankster jackass with an errant, and somewhat pissed off, badger. All of these characters have grown since leaving Two Rivers, but they haven’t been with each other to see the changes. So, I expect that they will treat each other as they did back in Two Rivers and I will laugh quite a bit at this. Then they will get into some nasty little fight, perhaps Trollocs or a Myrrdraal, and then they will see what each other now brings to the table.

2. Aviendha and Elayne finally have a…ahem…heart to heart. What did you think of each of their reactions, Elayne’s refusal to “meet toh” and the fact that Aviendha later ended up in a frilly dress?

Well, first just let me get this out of my system. I am still finding it difficult to believe Rand gets 3 women, and that they turn out to be OK with it. After all, they are each headstrong in their own ways, rather possessive, etc.

OK, thanks. Now, setting that disbelief aside, I think Elayne showed remarkable restraint. But I think this was, in part, because Aviendha was so straight forward about the matter, and because she offered up her flesh in payment for her ‘transgression’. Aviendha’s actions were in keeping with her character and I found that believable.

Part of me is amused that the ladies are treating Rand as an object, as if he has no say in how they divvy him up. *eye rolling*

3. Min comes to Rand. She’s obviously trying to win him. What do you think of her methods and his reaction to her? I know in my own (Liesel Hill’s) writing, whenever I try to make a character as clueless as Rand seems to be about Min’s feelings, I always get criticized for it. How does Jordan pull it off? Or does he?

I’m not trying to be all negative this week….but I am not trying real hard to be all positive either. Perhaps I am just an imp.

Anyhoo, Min was not acting according to the character we know and is well established after 6.5 books. So, that was the main problem I had with this section. Faile did this squirming on a man’s lap thing, I could see Elayne doing so in private, but not Aveindha. I am looking for character consistency and that was not present in this scene.

As for Rand, well he was way more friendly and inviting to Min than he has been to any of his friends, confidantes, guards, advisers, horse, cooks, pillow fluffers than he has been since Thom Merrilyn way back in….Book 3? So, again, this seemed a bit out of character. Plus, Min and Rand have not spent much time together at all, so why Rand views her with such open affection was odd.

As for him being clueless at first, that made sense. Again, they have not had much time together. But then he caught on and let her rest on his lap and later even pulled her back down when they were interrupted. As for what he will do with these new found affections – probably try to shove them in a little box and ignore them for next 5 books.

4. The formation of the Black Tower. What do you think of it? The name, the different levels of asha’man? When Rand put the pins on Taim’s lapel and proclaimed him second only to Rand, Taim seemed angry. What do you think he was so mad about?

I, like Rand, am uncomfortable with the name ‘Black tower’, but it fits so well with the themes – good versus evil, the ancient aes sedai symbol on the seals, and of course, the White Tower. I am sure some of Rand’s opposers will see the ‘Black’ in Black Tower and proclaim it evil without looking deeper.

I do like the different levels of asha’man as it gives structure to Rand’s little empowered army, and gives the men something to strive for. So, smart thinking on Rand’s part with that.

I would guess that Taim feels he is equal or superior to Rand, so to be publicly proclaimed a ‘second’ was infuriating to him. Perhaps Taim is also starting to lose his grip on sanity here and there, and it starts with his ego. Hence, this impingement on his ‘command’ struck his ego, his sanity slipped a little, and Rand caught a glimpse of the anger, ego, and insanity that lurks beneath.

5. At the end of chapter 43, we see several of the Caemlyn Aes Sedai manipulating Andoran nobles. And then there was Egwene’s manipulation of Mat. Apparently she wanted to get him away from the Band and keep his soldiers close to her. What do you think everyone’s plans are and how will they play out?

Well, no one’s plans are going to work out as planned. You notice that Jordan in general doesn’t allow plans that lack mutual respect to work out? Whereas those that are a true cooperative act actually stand a chance of happening?

Egwene doesn’t respect Mat’s authority, few respect Rand’s authority, the Aes Sedai are losing authority left and right, and the Andoran nobles are in a jumble. So, yeah, things will not go according to anyone’s plans, and I will thoroughly enjoy reading how things DO turn out.

6. Halima dances with Mat and then tries to channel at him, though Mat comes to the conclusion it wasn’t her. What do you think s/he was trying to do? Can you think of something else significant we learned in this exchange?

I think Halima was trying to Warder Mat. Then she would have some significant intel and perhaps control over a ta’veren and a close friend of Rand’s. Oh yeah, that would make her pretty powerful right there. I am so glad that Mat’s charm flummoxed her.

Well, we learned that Halima is a bad dancer – probably because she is more use to leading than being led.

Then we learned that Mat’s powers of observation are lacking  – asking Siuan to dance! Then being snatched up by Leane! I found this amusing. All these forward, powerful-willed women were so off-putting to Mat.

7. Hooray! Perrin is back! What impressions did you get of his and Rand’s reunion? How about the introduction of Faile and Min?

It was predictable that the men got to talk of marriage and war and the ladies got to sort out who was top dog and who had a crush on who. Though I did find it funny that Perrin’s nose told him what state Faile was in, and yet he had a hard time figuring out why Faile went from jealous to bonding towards Min so quickly.

Other Tidbits:

I am looking forward to Faile’s reunion with her father….and her introducing him to Perrin.

Anyone else find Min’s embroidered pants and little ringlets too cute?

Lord of Chaos Read Along Part VII

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Tidbits:

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

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

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

Lord of Chaos Read Along Part II

JordanLordOfChaosBannerWelcome everyone! This week our awesome commenter Eivind is our host (see his answers to the questions below in the comments section). We covered Chapters 3-6. Spoilers roam free and underfed below!

1. Rand seems to have taken Lan’s advice and is avoiding Aviendha at all costs. How will this turn out for them? Who do you think he had in mind when he asked Mat about being in love?

Rand seems to think that Aviendha is avoiding him, wants nothing to do with him, but he is spending a lot of time thinking about her. I loved the Wise Ones’ advice on how to attract her eye – such as offering to brush her hair with eyes demurely down cast, or dancing a little jig in his small clothes (or nothing) before tucking in for the night! Since he only had 1 passing thought about Elayne (and that was in reference to Aviendha keeping an eye on him for Elayne), I will say that he was asking Mat about love in regards to Aviendha.

2. A bunch of men waiting to go mad, what could possibly go wrong?! What lies in the future for these fellows? Is Rand right in trusting Taim with this?

Haha! I expect that this little Mad Men’s Farm will be a source of angst and entertainment for a book or 3. But I also have to keep in mind that the male Forsaken stay sane; they say it is the Dark One who keeps them sane, but I am guessing it could just be a closely guarded secret that another man could learn. So, if Rand has had the same idea, perhaps he is hoping that a group of male aes sedai together could mess around and stumble upon it. Look at Taim, he’s got like 10-15 years on Rand. How has he stayed sane all that time?

Rand has to trust Taim with something, for several reasons. He has to see if Taim will follow his leadership – and testing him by giving him a task he thinks demeaning is a great way to do that. On the other hand, he just handed Taim a potential army the likes the world has not see in many thousands of years, right? Hmm…. could get messy, and very entertaining for the readers.

3. Rand’s forces just won’t cooperate. Do you expect more rebellions? Is Rand making the right choice in leaving this one to fester?

Yes, there will be more rebellions, and I don’t think all will be rebellion against Rand. The world needs to be united to fight off the DO and his minions in the final battle, right? And the world is a big place, with several lands not even explored by our main characters yet. Also, not everyone seems to think Rand is the Dragon Reborn, so of course there is going to be more rebellions. Until he does something even bigger than fighting Ba’alzamon in the sky with a sword made of fire with the Great Hunt riding at his side, not everyone is going to unite behind him.

Rand has to pick and choose his battles right now. In leaving the little lordlings to rebel, and focusing on a Forsaken, I think he is right. After all, he doesn’t need an army to deal with those lords and ladies who are being idiot children. He does need an army to take out the Forsaken, even one at a time. He can always step through his little Saidin-powered doorway to whisk an errant lord away in the middle of the night – or slit their throats as needed.

4. It seems like the theme of chapter 4 is humor. Who did you find funniest? What’s your best joke?

I laughed the most when the Aiel didn’t get Rand’s joke and kept asking about the pond. And then the rooster. Ha! I think Robert Jordan was the funniest in this chapter, cleverly showing the differences between the cultures through the jokes. I have heard variations of Rand’s farmer joke before and I can totally see some of my neighbors telling a version of it at the next big shindig.

My best jokes would be considered crude by most and involve a lot of impudent and rude hand gestures. 🙂

JordanLordOfChaos5. Did Mat just… become an adoptive father? Mat doesn’t strike me as the fatherly type. How do you think this will work for him (and his officers, and of course Olver)?

I can totally see Olver becoming glued to Mat, or at least his horse. Mat’s father is a horsetrader, among other things, and Mat himself considers he knows a fair amount about horses. And horses like Olver, so there is that connection. Yes, I can definitely see Mat taking on more than he thought he was when he gave that child-beater a pounding with his fancy spear (naginata?). Pretty soon, Olver will become a little mascot of Mat’s men and he’ll have his own pony and little uniform and will start basic training. He’ll grow up a bit over the next several books and will die a tragic but meaningful death in service to Mat – possibly even saving Mat or Rand’s life. I’m a bit sniffly over it already.

6. It’s time to discuss forsaken intrigue yet again. Could you decipher anything from that chat between Graendal and Sammael? Does anyone else feel like Sammael has made a big mistake somewhere?

With Graendal & Sammael, they each think they have out maneuvered each other. I think that is amusing. It is probably also a big mistake for each of them, though I bet Sammael pays for his mistakes before Graendal. Graendal also thought it important enough to use authentic Chazon (spelling?) and Chabon (spelling?) in her scheme, though it was unlikely that Sammael would tell the difference. I also have to think that her well-placed whispers to herself, that Sammael could only hear because he was embracing Saidin, were on purpose.

And yes, Sammael seems to be making a big mistake. The other Forsaken are using him, pointing him right at Rand. Sammael doesn’t believe Rand is Lews reincarnated, so he’s underestimating him from the start. Next, even if Sammael doesn’t take Rand out, just his attempt, which is apparently against the DO’s current wishes, will probably land him in hot water with the DO.

7. Just how scary is Semirhage now, and what could Shaidar Haran possibly want with this poor Aes Sedai (who, I believe, we have never seen before)?

Wow! Semirhage takes the prize for being the most insanely self-righteous. She can heal some of the most desperate and hopeless cases, but she also believes this gives her the right to enjoy her little pleasures – which apparently entails torture of various kinds. *shudder*.

Shaidar Haran is looking for someone or something and needs an Aes Sedai to tell him where that person or things is. Perhaps it is Fain’s dagger, or Fain, or the Great Horn, or the location of one of the Ta’veren or Elayne & Nynaeve.

Other Tidbits:

I think Mat is a serial monogamist. He keeps picking one woman to place his serious affections on. Plenty of fun dancing this section!

Do aes sedai reproduce? If yes, does that mean the Forsaken can reproduce?

Through Rand’s POV, we learn that he thinks Asmodean ran off. So whoever killed him also got rid of his body – through some basic means like removing it and dumping it in the pig pen, or through some magical means that would disintegrate his remains – like through Balefire. Hmmm….

It seems that the DO had a little private meeting with each of the Forsaken, promising them glory, etc. Yet they, the Forsaken, are left to think that each of them was singled out and offered this ‘exclusive’ gift. The DO probably thinks he is being clever, but I think he just managed to keep the Forsaken backstabbing each other for several more books, instead of uniting against Rand. Haha!

The Fires of Heaven Read Along Part X

JordanFiresOfHeavenBannerThe END! Yes, we have reached the End of Book 5, The Fires of Heaven, of The Wheel of Time series. Wow! I wasn’t expecting that, or that, or that. Oh dear. That can’t be good. What the Hell!?! That was my quick summary of the various things I said while reading the ending.

Musings of Fantasia is our host this week, so make sure to visit her for intelligent chit chat and awesome fan art.

This week covers Chapters 54 to the End of the Book. Spoilers – they are big, crunchy, and will stain if you happen to glance upon them!

1. As soon as they get to Caemlyn, Rahvin lashes out, killing Mat, Aviendha, and Asmodean. Later, after Rand balefires him, the recoil in the Pattern brings them back to life. How did you feel about this roller coaster twist? Did you see it coming?

I was sad to see Aviendha dead, but thought it would happen sooner or later to Asmodean. It seemed just a tiny bit nebulous as to whether or not Mat was dead, or just severely wounded and unconscious, so I expected him to pull through. A few books back when Jordan killed off Perrin’s family, I finally felt that this series was getting real. I mean, if the main characters can be killed off, or severely hurt like that, then I really do feel for them, and fear for their safety. So, when Jordan killed off Aviendha, and perhaps Mat, my respect ratcheted up for his writing. It was real; Rand and his entourage are not untouchable.

And then the balefire recoil kicked in, and they are all back, untouched. Sigh…. All I could think was that this would truly fuel Rand’s dual obsessions with protecting/not harming women and also bringing the dead back. So, I expect to see some Rand angst in the future when this doesn’t work as intended.

Little Fella sniffing the book.
Little Fella sniffing the book.

2. Rahvin had a rough afternoon, not that he didn’t deserve it. First he got his face–one to rival Galad’s apparently–melted off. Then he got disintegrated out of existence. How did you feel about how Rand handled Rahvin’s execution?

It needed doing and he did it swiftly. It worked for me. I didn’t need Rahvin tortured for a day or week before execution. Though Rand might have gained some knowledge by questioning him on Morgase and/or the plans of the Forsaken. So, maybe 10 minutes of a torture & question session wouldn’t have gone amiss.

3. Nynaeve captured Moghedien. Again. With an a’dam. What do you think about holding one of the Forsaken hostage with the metal device? What’s your opinion of Moghedien after seeing her at Nynaeve’s mercy in this section?

It seems the Forsaken are pretty much human, with extra strengths, kind of like our heroes. I think Moghedien, and perhaps the rest of the Forsaken, have gone too long without a challenge, and so they themselves have forgotten that they are subject to the same issues anyone would have if, say, an a’dam was slipped over their heads. I think Nynaeve made a very useful tool out of Moghedien, by drawing on her power. Part of me wants to call Moghedien a coward for her actions in this scene, and that is part of it, but also I have to keep in mind that no one (not yet anyway) enjoys wearing an a’dam, and also Moghedien’s fear of both Rand and Rahvin in Tel’aran’rhiod told me as the reader that they were both very, very dangerous. Nynaeve and Moghedien could have both been fried, or worse. I have to say that Moghedien may have been exhibiting a touch of prudence, and deeper knowledge of possible effects of such two powerful entities wandering T’A’R as they were.

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

4. Nynaeve has now openly battled two Forsaken, capturing Moghedien and full on attacking Rahvin, even after being told that he was far stronger than she, being in T’A’R in the flesh. Do you think her actions were foolish or wise? What further role do you think she’ll play in the story?

I think Nyaneve did what she felt she had to do. Perhaps they were all foolish to be wandering T’A’R hunting Rahvin. In that light, Nynaeve was no more foolish than Rand. I can’t see her going back to cleaning chamber pots for the Salidar aes sedai. Perhaps they will want to study her. Perhaps they won’t want to remove that block after all, fearing her strength. Whatever her future role, I expect I will be entertained as the reader.

Moghedien will definitely wait to strike until either she is very powerful or Nynaeve is extremely weakened. I wouldn’t expect to see her again for a while.

5. Rand relayed Lan’s message. Do you think Nynaeve will listen? Do you think Rand will follow his own advice and stay away from Elayne?

Oh, hell no. Nynaeve is too stubborn and has set her sights and her heart on Lan. He won’t get off that easy. Nor will Elayne simply let Rand be. I bumped into a spoiler some time ago, that I won’t reveal here. But, yeah, Rand and Lan won’t be pushing their ladies away that easily. Silly boys. Why do they think they are stronger, more capable, and less harmful without a sensible, loving woman at their side?

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

6. Davrim Bashere (that’s Faile’s father, for those who missed it) shows up in Caemlyn and offers his services and (practically) an alliance with his country. What do you think his motivations are? Do you trust him?

I am trying to recall what Faile has said of her family. She has honor, and while her parents expected her to settle down and get married off, she seemed to speak with affection about them. But Davrim is having to the deal with The Dragon Reborn and doesn’t know the sheepherder Rand at all. So, he might be willing to pull a bit of subterfuge, or other, in the name of protecting his people from The Dragon Reborn.

I wonder if things will change when he meets Faile’s husband? That should be quite entertaining.

7. The murder of Asmodean! This was such a big deal on the forums. It drove fans nuts for many thousands of pages. Who do you think killed him and why?

Well, I think whoever killed him knew he was Asmodean and not just Natael, the Lord Dragon’s harpist. So, that limits the number of folks. Rand, all the Forsaken, hmmm… I don’t think Rand told Morraine, Aveindha, definitely not Mat. Morraine may have guessed, which means Lan may have known, but I think he had ridden away before this. Though, the man does have the skills to sneak back in, kill, and sneak away.

If one of the Forsaken wanted him dead (and that was like everyone but Lanfear – at least before she went through that door), then anyone of them could have ordered one of their slavish Dark Friends to stick a knife in Natael the Harpist, and they would. So, I am going to say this is the most likely. It could even be an order that Rahvin gave to his minions before he had his face melted off.

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

8. Morgase is determined to get her throne back, and to not look at Tallanvor with his well-turned calves as a man, apparently. How do you think she’ll fare in either battle?

I expect she will have a hard time on both fronts. First, her people have seen her acting the love-sick fool, turning control of her kingdom over to Gabriel, for several months. I think they will not so easily be ready to accept her rule again.

Second, Morgase is known for her assignations with men – she likes them. So I would expect that sooner or later for her to find a love interest, whether it is Tallanvor or not.

Other Tidbits:

I loved how Nynaeve swallowed her pride and tricked Moghedien – pretending to beg her not to hurt her and then forming an a’dam. It must have taken quite a bit for Nynaeve to 1) beg in front of others (even if it was a trick) and 2) face Moghedien.

The ladies were chatting about something intently with Aviendha before Rand was noticed. I feel so sorry for Rand, because everyone wants something form him, but so few want the whole him. I think Aviendha is pregnant and that the Aiel Wise Women are pretty darn happy about this. I am not sure Aviendha is so happy about, perhaps because Rand may see it as being used.

The Fires of Heaven Read Along Part IX

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

We’ve got spoilers unclothed and running free below!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Tidbits:

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

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

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

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

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

The Fires of Heaven Read Along Part V

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Tidbits:

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

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

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

The Fires of Heaven Read Along Part IV

JordanFiresOfHeavenBannerWelcome all! This week Eivind, our ever fearless and insightful commenter, came up with the questions. We’re covering Chapters 17-24 this time around. For the second week in a row, I am a little behind in the reading. We had family from out of state and some other craziness has been going on in my life. On the other hand, my man is having a birthday today and I will be roasting a turkey in his honor. This means quality time in the kitchen cooking and listening to The Fires of Heaven. I expect I will be caught up by this evening.

With that, keep in mind spoilers are free-ranging below, grazing on the unwary.

1. The menagerie reads like a sitcom on wheels. What are your impressions? Will Cerandin play a role? Do you recognize someone else we haven’t seen for a while?

Haha! I really liked this menagerie scene. Elayne as a tightrope walker makes me laugh. Should be interesting to see what kind of outfit they put her in to show off the legs. Perhaps Jullin will get to show off his legs as well – you know, equality in eye candy and all.

I’m listening to the audio, so I have trouble imagining how some of the names are spelled. Cerandin is the Seanchan in hiding, right? At first I didn’t really like the Seanchan and how they swooped in with their collars, but I do find I like these few remnants left behind to spy and/or hide and try to make new lives. I don’t know what role she will play, but I think it is interesting to see that Nynaeve didn’t outright truss her up. She must be softening.

No, I didn’t recognize anyone else that had been missing for a while… but then again, I wasn’t expecting anyone. Perhaps there is more on the Menagerie in a chapter I haven’t gotten to yet and enlightenment will hit me when I get to that chapter/

2. Moghedien recruits the rogue Black Ajah. Speculations on the orders they were given? Just how much danger is Nynaeve and Elayne in, now?

I expect that 1/3 she sent on important missions – either carrying messages or spying. The next 1/3 were given mediocre missions, such as merely gathering info from well established communication networks – you know the kind of work that requires a little intelligence but not too much discretion. The last third were given tasks for the hopelessly vain or useless such as fetching strawberries from far off gardens, tending to the privy, and gathering goose feathers for a king-sized mattress. All were ordered to learn new bawdy songs and be prepared to sing them aloud to the court.

Nynaeve and Elayne are in plenty of trouble, but this is mostly because they keep ending up in easily avoided traps. Still, if Moghedien had me in her sights, I would be worried.

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

3. Morgase finally escapes Gaebril, with some other old friends returning to the story. Will she ever be back in power? Was Lini as expected?

I loved Lini! She is just the antidote Morgase needed to finally kick the Gaebril habit. She may be the only person who can still treat Morgase like a real person, even give her a bit of well-intended chastisement too.

I was a bit surprised that Morgase had such a high opinion of herself through out this entire scene. I mean, she has managed to alienate, even exile, nearly all her supporters and friends. She is very lucky to have the small following that she does.

4. Rand seems to be having a brewing identity crisis. Is this a manifestation of the madness, genuine memories from a past life surfacing, or maybe both? Do you think his insistence on being himself only will work?

This is where I am in the book. Rand has these memories and insights from his past incarnation as Lews Therrin. I can understand how it would be disruptive to his current life. Still, I keep hoping he will learn to embrace those memories and insights and put them to use, much as he seems to have done with his ability to channel. I don;t think his denial of that part of him will do him good.

But, hey, if I was stuck in the same situation I can’t say that I wouldn’t stubbornly hold onto my current identity and fail to embrace the ancient memories.

5. The Rand-Aviendha plot seems about ready to explode, don’t you think? Is there a resolution in sight?

Haha! I am not exactly sure on this question as I am behind in the reading. But I will tell you that last week I accidentally skipped ahead several chapters. I am listening on Audible, and for whatever reason, my Audible lost my book mark. So, I fired up the book expecting it to pick up where I left off. Nope. I was many chapters ahead, with Rand and Aviendha tucking in for night. I don’t want to say too much because I don’t know what chapter it was from. But I will say, I don’t expect them to have this resolved any time soon.

UPDATE: OK, all caught up. So, yes, they have been sharing a room and trying really hard not to come up with mental images as they listen to one another undress. Haha. Too funny. This book is filled with all sorts of denial. Also, I have to say that Aviednha is not doing a good job of teaching Rand the Aiel ways if he still hasn’t grasped the whole gifting a woman means I am interested in getting married thing. Bad teacher.

6. Our heroes turn back another attack out of nowhere seemingly doomed to fail. Moiraine says not to think the Forsaken simple, but I’m having
a hard time not to. Thoughts?

Sorry to say I have not gotten to this attack yet. I will comment on what I have seen of the Forsaken so far. Once we know which Forsaken we are playing with, then we can guess what they will try. They seem to be like old mountain lions. They long ago found a way to live life that got them what they wanted. Why change? Moghedien has always gotten by on sneakiness. Gaebril what’s his name gets by on pupiteering women of power. Lanfear seems a little more complicated in her scheming, but her desires are simple enough: Power and Rand/Lews naked in her bed.

UPDATE: Sammael and his golden bees. That’s a war cry to make one giggle. I think one could also say not to assume aes sedai are simple, but we notice that most seem driven by one or two things, with a handful able to juggle more than 1 thing at a time.

As I catch up, I will post updates to my answers. Thanks everyone for being so cool about my being behind in the reading for yet a second week.

Other Tidbits:

It’s nice to see that Rand has another heron-marked blade. I can imagine how it has some sentimental value as he lost the heron-marked blade his father had given him.

Mat and his little naked massage going on when the trollocs attack. If trollocs kept popping up in my life as much as his, I might not ever be caught naked & without a weapon.

Aviendha saved Rand’s life and he jumped to some conclusions. The shock of nearly loosing your head one way or another can make you act like an idiot.

The Fires of Heaven Read Along Part II

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Haha! what fun. hehe… let’s see:

A Heron’s Failed Landing;

Goats Snickering

Donkey Tail to the Face

Beetle-Entranced Cat

Dog Dances Along Chairbacks

Other Tidbits:

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

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

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

The Shadow Rising Read Along Part IX

JordanShadowRisingBannerWelcome everyone to the ninth week of this read along where we cover Chapters 49-53. Sue from Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers is our host this week, so make sure to stop by her place for more thoughtful and witty discussion.

There be spoilers below. Ye have been warned!

1. It seems to me that the evidence is mounting that Keille is definitely Lanfear. How long do you think she will endure Isendre’s incessant flirting with Rand and rudeness to ‘Keille’ herself? What revenge do you think Isendre will suffer?

Lanfear will only tolerate it so long as she needs her disguise to be unquestioned. But once that is no longer so, she may end up in a trolloc cook pot. Or perhaps a myrrdraal’s plaything. It won’t be pretty whatever the punishment. I hope Mat isn’t too attached to her by that point because she is clearly something of a gold digger and manipulator.

2. Rand’s relationship with Aviendha has softened somewhat, although he did not intend to give a gift to attract her ‘interest’. Do you think that his dream of her, Elayne and Min means that he has found his trio of wives? If so, what do you think of Aviendha standing on the bank whilst the other two women swim naked with him?

OK, part of me (like the 30-something woman part) rolls my eyes and snort laughs at the blatant male fantasy taking place in that dream…and well, throughout the series concerning Rand’s love life. Now, if I shove that common-sense woman aside, I would say this is most likely the trio of wives, his little harem or stable of fillies. Aviendha standing on the bank instead of swimming naked means that she is not fully committed as the other women are.

Still, snort laugh.

3. Rand’s life seems to get more complicated with each chapter. We now learn that Sevanna, the wife of the dead Shaido Clan Chief is a troublemaker: is this a surprise? Also, any guesses as to who is sending the Shadowspawn against him?

I am not surprised that not all the Aiel respect the cool tatts on Rand. So, no, not surprising that we have Sevanna and others who are being suspicious, negative, or outright rude and challenging about the situation.

I don’t think any Aiel are sending Shadowspawn at Rand. Let’s see who else dislikes, wants to use, or eliminate Rand. Hmmm….. The Dark One should go at the top of the list, then the plethora of Forsaken (tho Lanfear I think wants to bed him a few times before eliminating him), the Black Ajah, the White Cloaks, and idiot Aiel. Oh, and those political factions he out foxed back ‘home’. Home is where the sword is, right? So, let’s say that the White Cloaks and Aiel are the least likely to employ/control Shadowspawn. So, Darkfriends of one flavor or another or Forsaken – that’s who I am guessing is currently gunning for him.

4. Now that Egeanin has been ‘outed’ as a Seanchan, are you surprised by how Elayne and Nynaeve chose to handle the situation? Do you think they are being wise or foolish?

Elayne has too much compassion on this one. Even if Egeanin truly enjoys their company, she may not be able to overcome her training and cultural upbringing to avoid doing them harm if pushed by other Seanchan. On the other hand, if Nynaeve at least pretended some sympathy, she may get more info than she will by being so hard nosed about it. Still, it is hard to overcome such a guttural dislike – being tortured will put you off a person/culture/invading force.

5. We now know, courtesy of Birgitte, that the dark-haired woman in Tanchico is Moghedien, sometimes known as the Spider. Any ideas why she has not simply pointed out the ter’angreal in the Panarch’s Palace to the Black Ajah or taken it for herself? How many years of suffering do you think Nynaeve will inflict upon her now that she remembers being Compelled?

Well, first everything we saw in Tel’aran’rhiod may have been staged or manipulated to some extent. Nynaeve is a novice, at best, at Dream Walking and I wouldn’t be surprised if Moghedien noticed her presence in T’A’R and decided to ‘show’ her the ter’angreal. Perhaps it really is guarded and Moghedien is leading her into a trap – perhaps in the hopes and Nynaeve & crew removing some of the Black Ajah, leaving fewer Aes Sedai for Moghedien to take out. Perhaps the Black Ajah do know about it and can’t touch it for some reason – like some virgin or goody-two-shoes is needed to handle it.

If Nynaeve ever gains control of her on/off switch, she may be able to go toe-to-toe with a Forsaken. If that happens, I doubt she will allow Moghedien to live years.

6. Loial has returned safe: hooray! Is there even the tiniest chance that anyone believes Lord Luc rather than our favorite Ogier and Gaul about the number of Trollocs in the area? Any suggestions of why Luc would like Perrin to underestimate the enemy’s numbers?

While I and Perrin believe Loial and Gaul about the numbers of trollocs, I am not certain others will. Perrin may allow the bulk of folks to believe Luc in order to keep their hopes up. As to why Luc wants Perrin to underestimate the numbers, that is probably related to him being Slayer. Whether Luc/Slayer has been ordered to kill Perrin or he is simply doing so out of his personal enjoyment, having Perrin or the townsfolk underestimate the number of trollocs can lead to Perrin’s death.

7. It would seem that Luc is Slayer. However, he looks different in the Wolf Dream, where he closely resembles Lan. Any guesses as to why he has two different appearances, and why they are both so similar to important members of the fight against the Dark One?

Perhaps this is so he can get close to the good guys before sticking a knife in them? Perhaps because he is blood related to both in some distant way? I will probably go with option A here because bad guys are annoying that way. He may be stuck with his real world face, but perhaps enjoys taking on a more hunter-ish aspect in Tel’aran’rhiod – pure vanity may be at play here.

Other Tidbits:

They’re married! It’s too cute. Really. And why shouldn’t the women propose?

My heart goes to Loial, who obviously believes those who stay are doomed. Tho his comment about being away from the Steading too long intrigued me. Perhaps Ogier are tied to their land and need to return to rejuvenate.

Mat flirting with Isendre – talking about how hard of work it is fighting trollocs, etc, but don’t worry, you are safe now. I’m rolling my eyes. I think Mat could truly benefit from a relationship with a woman like Zula.

The Shadow Rising Read Along Part VI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Tidbits:

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

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

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

What Others Think:

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