Towers of Midnight, Part VI

JordanTowersOfMidnightBannerWelcome everyone to Book 13 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. You can find the schedule to Towers of Midnight over HERE. Everyone is welcome to join us!

This week, I am the host. Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia, can be found in the comments. Make sure to swing by Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia  for cool fan art.  Sue at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers  has the insight and wicked humor.

This week, we covered the Chapters 34-40. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1) Perrin goes through his trial. What did you think of it? Morgase provides judgement but hands off the punishment decision to Galad; why do you think she did so? What do you think Galad has in mind for punishment? Will Perrin ever see that punishment?

I found the trial to be incomplete, anticlimatic, and not really satisfying. I didn’t feel that Perrin particularly explained the situation. Also, I really wanted the Two Rivers stuff to be covered, at least in part. I think it is important for both Morgase and Galad to hear how the Whitecloaks and the Andorran government failed Two Rivers. So even if that is not relevant to the death of the two Whitecloaks, I was sure Bayar was going to bring it up to ‘disprove’ Perrin’s character.

I think Morgase passed the buck on assigning punishment for multiple reasons. She just got back in the saddle of acting like a ruler and probably needs to share the power; Galad obviously needs to have some accountability in the outcome instead of simply ‘following his mom’s orders’; and I think Morgase is genuinely curious to see what Galad does.

Right now, I don’t think Galad had decided on the punishment, especially with Bayar’s testimony proving to be unreliable. He was probably relieved when Perrin insisted it wait until after the Last Battle. As such, I am not sure Perrin will ever see a punishment from the Whitecloaks as there is so much that could happen by then.

2) Perrin spent a lot of time in the Wolf Dream during this section. He and his small band of wolves fought Slayer more than once. What did you think of these multiple fights? How about Egwene’s reaction to Perrin (and vice versa) in the Wolf Dream/T’A’R?

I really liked these fights. They were intense and showed more of Slayer’s personality, which is great since we have only had glimpses of him up until now. It was pretty hard to lose Hopper, and the other wolves. In some ways, Perrin has now lost a second family.

Egwene’s reaction to Perrin was so funny! OK, I know, each of them assumed that the other had simply wandered in and didn’t know what they were doing and needed to be kept safe. But Egwene actively attempted to wrap Perrin up in bands of air, and then ropes! Her Amyrlin stole has made her a little arrogant, just a teensy bit.

3) Egwene has a meaningful meeting in T’A’R with the Sea Folk, the Wise Ones, and some of her Aes Sedai. Why do you think the Kinswomen were not invited? Will these leaders be able to convince their folk that trading apprentices is a good idea?

I am not sure why Egwene left them out. Perhaps she felt it would have been too much for the Wise Ones, Sea Folk, and Aes Sedai to accept all at once. After all, a good chunk of the Kinswomen are rejected women who weren’t powerful enough to be Aes Sedai. So if Egwene set them down at the same table, it would be proclaiming them as equals (which Egwene could probably do in her head, but the other ladies might have serious issue with). Perhaps she will make that a future step.

And, yes, I believe these leaders will be able to convince their respective folks that this is a good idea, and if not that, then inevitable and necessary. Some of the Aes Sedai argued that the White Tower’s surpeme dominance among Channelers should not be given up, but Egwene made excellent arguments as to why that was a dumbass idea.

4) Egwene battles Mesaana and wins. Do you think Egwene received a valuable nudge from Perrin (he blocked Balefire!!!) and was able to apply that to the a’dam? Who do you think Mesaana was impersonating in the real world?

Yes, I believe Perrin’s easy blocking of Balefire in T’A’R and his comment about how they are just weaves was in Egwene’s background thoughts as she struggled with Mesaana and the a’dam. Perrin rocks!

I am not sure who Mesaana was disguised as in the real world, but I am not convinced that she was in the White Tower. Tar Valon is more than the Tower, it is also a main city, with plenty of nobility and ruling merchants.

5) Gawyn and Egwene are now Bonded! But at what cost? Was it too little too late? Or are these stubborn lovesick fools going to have a lifetime to irritate each other?

You know, I am going to go against the flow here and say I do hope it is too little too late. These guys have been idiots for far too long and this story line needs some real consequences. So, I am OK with either Gawyn dying here and now or the two of them turning out to hate each other and having to get separated by the end of the book.

6) We spent just a tiny amount of time with Aviendha as she is headed to Rhuidean. She meets a mysterious woman, Nakomi, in the wastes. What did you get out of their conversation? Any guesses as to who/what Nakomi is?

This is one of those meaningful moments that is also a WTF moment. Nakomi does give Aviendha plenty to think about and since she is First Sister to Elayne, bonded to Rand, and will most likely be a leading force of the Aiel, her thoughts, words, and actions will hold importance. Their conversation was interesting and I am pretty sure it will turn out to have significance later.

But it was also out of the blue and it appears that Nakomi has powers that Aviendha can’t explain. She may very well be something that us readers haven’t been introduced to yet, at the 11th hour of the series.

7) Perrin has forged a new hammer. Feel free to comment on this scene. What powers do you think the hammer has? Will Perrin & his Channelers make more weapons for the coming Last Battle?

Perrin is finally getting his shit together, thank goddess! The hammer forging scene was pretty awesome. Perrin needed to create, since he had spent so much time of late destroying, and he did an awesome job making something new with a skill that hasn’t been seen in an age.

I am not sure what powers the hammer has but I am hoping for imbued strength & endurance to the wielder, shielding, and lightning. That shouldn’t be too much to ask for, right?

I expect that once Perrin & crew get a moment to breathe that they will either teach others how to make such weapons, or do the making themselves.

Squatch having a snack
Squatch having a snack

Other Tidbits:

I liked that Morgase left with Perrin after the trial, showing everyone that Perrin has her confidence in the fact that he is a good man.

Did anyone else get a Samwise, the Ring, & Mount Doom vibe when Perrin destroyed the Dreamspike?

Slayer and Perrin fight & fight and then Perrin sees this door of Darkness and charges Slayer. So, did I miss it? Is Slayer dead, falling through the dark abysses of the The Ways? Are we not suppose to know yet?

Berelain tells Faile that Rand wanted her to pursue and marry Perrin. This woman is rather delusional. So she should be a good match for the equally delusional Galad.

Speaking of Mr. Delusional, I really hope he figures out quick that Perrin & army are fighting the trollocs, instead of directing them to attack Whitecloaks.

 

Towers of Midnight, Part V

JordanTowersOfMidnightBannerWelcome everyone to Book 13 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. You can find the schedule to Towers of Midnight over HERE. Everyone is welcome to join us!

This week, Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia, is our host and can be found in the comments. Make sure to swing by Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia  for cool fan art.  Sue at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers  has the insight and wicked humor.

This week, we covered the Chapters 26-33. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1.  Slayer prowls the World of Dreams, where a strange violet dome prevents access.  Meanwhile, gateways fail in the real world.  Is there a connection?  It’s building to a battle between Perrin and Slayer very soon.  Do you think Perrin’s work with nightmares will bear fruit or is it still too soon?

Yes, definitely a connection between the failing gateways and the violet dome, and possibly even the bubble of evil that turned nearly everyone’s weapon against their users.

I think Perrin will have to face Slayer before the armies can leave the valley through gateways. But since Perrin’s timeline is behind everyone else’s, we might not see that fight until next book.

2.  Perrin avoids a battle by submitting himself to a possibly pointless trial.  Do you agree with this choice?  How risky is it for Perrin?  At the same time, Morgase is finally revealed and will act as judge!  What do you think about that?  Does Berelain strike you as smitten by Galad?

Personally, I think the trial could wait until after the Last Battle, you know that big looming, possibly world ending battle with the Ultimate Evil? Yeah, prioritize guys!

I think Morgase is making Galad recall his sense of honor (like proving someone guilty before killing them) and making him question his ideals of ultimate right and ultimate wrong. There is plenty of grey between the two. So, this trial might not be so risky for Perrin. Plus, Perrin hasn’t agreed to submit to punishment and Faile is secretly planning an escape route for him. If anything, this trial is probably more dangerous for Galad – he could loose face with the Whitecloaks, he could force a confrontation that leaves him dead, or (worst of all) his ideas of right & wrong could be shattered and he will loose all confidence and go hide in some cave for the rest of his life.

I think Morgase will do fine as a judge. She may still think Perrin is beneath royalty, but she is not about to have him hanged for being an upstart.

God, yes! Please let Berelain and Galad distract one another to prevent them from wrecking other peoples lives!

3.  Sitters attempt to undermine Egwene (again) and Egwene wraps them up neatly (again).  Have we seen the final political battle or do you expect more?  What do you think of Egwene’s proposed changes?

I hope this is the last Tower politics we see, at least until after the Last Battle. These ladies need to get their shit together or they won’t be able to make a difference in the Last Battle.

I am glad the Egwene has cut off most of their political maneuvering power, for now. Until they think of something creative. But she also set them a big task (minding the armies) and that should keep them sufficiently busy.

4.  Shots fired!  The dragons are in production and work well, but the Last Battle is near and time is short.  How many will they be able to make, and much of an impact will they really have?  Birgitte thinks the world has changed.  What are your impressions?

I am thinking that time is getting short, so perhaps they only have enough time to make cannon for the palace. But as it is a governmental seat, that could mean a lot in the Last Battle.

Since so few people have seen cannon and know what they can do, I think the initial impact on enemies will be large. But, as with every weapon, folks will find ways to counter them or avoid them. So Elayne will have to plan carefully and get the most out of their initial use.

Apparently, the world in times past has come up with cannon before and Birgitte has seen it. And, yes, the world has changed. City states can no longer rely on strong, high walls for protection (both because of gateways and now because of cannon). Instead, leaders will have to build strong relations and cooperate in order to maintain healthy cities/kingdoms/etc.

5.  Wolves gather at Dragonmount and Perrin observes the “Veins of Gold” event from the World of Dreams.  The Last Hunt is now upon us and the wolves are mobilizing.  What are your thoughts?  Did you enjoy seeing this scene from another perspective?

This was an awesome scene! I really enjoyed revisiting this pivotal moment through Perrin’s eyes. And seeing the wolves so excited, relieved, and battle ready was awesome too. I want to think that Perrin’s presence in the dream world just might have helped Rand, all in the background, of course.

6.  Mat finally disposes of the gholam, helped out by some Kinswomen and a gateway.  What do you think?  Was this the solution you had in mind?

I think this was the best they could do at this time. Of course, I always want to see such evils things destroyed completely. We all know that evil things tend to come back around (like certain Forsaken). Still, it was an awesome fight scene and it was pretty satisfying. Also, I like to see that Mat has learned to play nicely with at least 1 Channeler instead of insisting he do everything on his own.

7.  Rand lands in Maradon in the eleventh hour, bringing aid.  He then shows off some impressive channeling.  Do you think he made a dent in the shadow army?  Do you agree with his assertion that he must stay away from the main battle?  Feel free also to comment on Torkumen and King Alsalam.

Since we don’t know how the Trollocs, Myrdraal, etc. are spawned, then I am not sure if he made a dent at all. My guess is that the Dark One can generate at least the Trollocs pretty easily, so this blasting of the bad guys, while satisfying, probably didn’t affect the total numbers all that much.

I am not sure what he considers the main battle – Lan’s fight? Ituralde’s battle? Breaking the final seals? They are all important, but I am not clear on where the Dark One will appear and have the one-on-one with Rand (and wouldn’t that be the main battle then?).

Well, it turns out that Torkumen was a Dark Friend of some kind. I thought he was just a self-interested idiot. But that may be enough in these times to allow the Dark One into your heart.

Have we met Alsalam before? Ituralde seems to hold him in high regard so that speaks well of him.

8.  Egwene plans an elaborate trap in the World of Dreams.  Do you expect it to be as easy as she imagines it?  Meanwhile, Gawyn has discovered important information in Caemlyn, but refuses to return. Does this strike anyone as a potentially disastrous case of miscommunication?

No, nothing is going to easy in these last fights & battles. Egwene is underestimating her foe. But, you know, she has only recently become a badass fighter (and part of that is because she had a foretelling and know the Seanchan were coming). She doesn’t know about the Seanchan assassins and while she is pretty sure who lurks in T’A’R, she could be completely wrong…again. How many times did she and Nynaeve walk into traps earlier in the series?

Gawyn is a twit. May I slap him? I know lots of the characters are getting prickly over their pride lately, but this strikes me as extreme.

Squatch having a snack
Squatch having a snack

Other Tidbits:

Elayne being hoisted up in a bed was an image! Birgitte found this amusing and so did I.

Yoile is dead. sniffle.

It was very good that Gawyn could let go of his anger at Rand (of course, part of the reason he can do so is because he believes he will die – what happens if rand doesn’t die?).

The captured Seanchan channelers are being so silly! I say that if collaring makes them more comfortable and useful for the Last Battle, then do so, save the world, and then work on rehabilitation.

 

Towers of Midnight, Part IV

JordanTowersOfMidnightBannerWelcome everyone to Book 13 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. You can find the schedule to Towers of Midnight over HERE. Everyone is welcome to join us!

This week, Sue at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers is your host. Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia, can be found in the comments. Make sure to swing by Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia  for cool fan art.

This week, we covered the Chapters 21-25. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1) Morgase discovers that she was manipulated by one of the Forsaken. Do you think that her discovery will finally alter her attitude towards Tallanvor, or will the poor lad have to go off and die in the Last Battle all unrequited and depressed? Does this information make it more likely that she will reveal her true identity to Perrin and Faile?

I think she will eventually admit her feelings for Tallanvor and give the lad a real chance. I’ll be very surprised if it doesn’t happen.

Morgase has probably wondered for a while now if she temporarily lost her wits when she was with Gabril/Ravin. Finding out that he was a Forsaken in disguise must be somewhat of a relief (hooray! I wasn’t crazy!) and also terrifying at the same time (shit! I was under the influence of the Forsaken!). So I expect she has some feelings to work out.

I really think Morgase will have to reveal herself sooner or later – either to prevent Perrin and Galad from killing one another or to prevent Gawyn and Rand from killing one another. I am just not sure how it will play out.

2) Phew! Maradon has finally opened its gates for Ituralde and his troops. Personally I could have kissed Yoeli at first, but do you think that he will really refuse to continue fighting Shadowspawn in order to submit to execution for his actions? What did you make of Lord Torkumen: Darkfriend or idiot?

I think Yoeli (and his would be executioners) will see the sense in living to continue the fight against the Shadowspawn. Also, I think Ituralde’s force would be mightily pissed if Yoeli was executed. Who in their right mind wants Ituralde pissed at them?

I think Lord Torkumen is an idiot. But by calling him a Darkfriend, Ituralde is pointing out that it would be that easy to turn his own troops against him. Hopefully his slow wit will come to the conclusion that it is better to ally with Ituralde rather than declare war on him.

3) Speaking of idiots . . . yet again Gawyn rushes in and ruins Egwene’s plans. Do you feel any sympathy for the poor lad, with his love-addled brain, or are you getting frustrated with his inability to let Egwene take care of herself? Any more thoughts on the identity of the assassin and Egwene’s assumption that it is Mesaana? Will Gawyn be any more sensible once he returns to Caemlyn?

In this specific case, I did have sympathy for Gawyn. After all, he had made the active decision to leave her be when he saw something strange, and that strange through a knife at his heart. What else could the lad do at that point? So I think that Egwene is being a little harsh (seems to be her modus operandi all the time now) as Gawyn had to do something. I would have done something and I think anything at that point would have scared off the assassin.

Again, I believe we have a few (many?) Seanchan assassins running around the Tower. Egwene is foolish to dismiss Gawyn’s gut feelings about the assassin(s).

I think Brynn gave Gawyn some good advice – He needs to figure what he wants, and go do that. Then he will have a better idea of how Egwene would fit into his life and Egwene will have a better idea on if she wants to fit into this life. Egwene has already figured out what she wants to do with her life (be an integral part of the Aes Sedai culture/society) and I think she is still figuring out how/if she wants Gawyn in her life.

4) So, Birgitte entered the Tower of Ghenjei, wandered around it for a few weeks and then died. Can we expect a better outcome for Mat, Thom, and Noal? Obviously they are going to survive, but apart from Mat’s luck, do they have any other advantage that you can think of that Birgitte was lacking?

I too expect that they will survive, thought they might come out maimed or changed in some way.

Mat’s luck alone is a huge advantage. But, yes, I think they have more info than many adventurers who are crazy dumb enough to enter the Tower of Ghenjei on purpose. Also, Mat has his medallion, which the inhabitants may recognize. Noal is a kind of unknown, as we have all guessed he is some unique person spun out into the thread by the Wheel to do something incredible at this time. Thom of course is wicked awesome as he can walk right up to a myrdraal, kick it in the balls, and live to tell about it.

5) What is it about idiot Trakands this week?!!??! So, just for a change of pace, Elayne dashes off and places herself in terrible danger and then somehow manages to survive by the skin of her teeth. I doubt that any of us were surprised by her rashness, but what did you think of her disguise: effective or not? Was anyone at all surprised to discover that the secretary/torturer was a Darkfriend? How much do you want to see Mellor with a knife through his eye?

I thought her disguise very clever. Why haven’t the Aes Sedai in general tried this kind of trickery? And I think she was getting somewhere before she was so rudely interrupted.

I wasn’t surprised the torturer was a Dark Friend. After all, if you take some deep, repeatable pleasure in torturing people, then you probably lack the fuzzy warm lining to your soul that makes most people palatable to one another. I was surprised that the jailbreak for the Black Ajah/Darkfriends was happening that night.

Oh yes, I definitely want to see Mellor with a few too many body piercings gone awry! I hope Elayne gets to kill him, but considering how ridiculously easy she is to trick and capture, it will probably be Brigitte who gets to kill him.

6) It seems that Perrin may be coming to terms with his inner Wolf. Do you think that this will happen in time for the battle with the Whitecloaks, or will he need a few more ‘training sessions’ with Slayer before he can take that final step?

I am still hoping the battle with the Whitecloaks will not happen, because Morgase reveals herself and talks sense into Galad. But if she doesn’t step forward, then they will fight and I don’t think Perrin is ready to unleash his inner wolf in that battle. I do expect he will be ready for the Last Battle. Maybe he has to unleash on the Whitecloaks in order to learn how to reign himself in.

7) Lan’s little army is growing steadily and he is thoroughly annoyed by it! How funny is this? I was disappointed that we did not get to experience the swapping of his Bond to Nynaeve in this section: am I just impatient, or are you looking forward to that scene as well?

I too was waiting for that moment when he notices a bond to Nynaeve. So, maybe it hasn’t happened yet for him on the timeline. Something to enjoy in next week’s reading?

Lan needs to get over his one-man suicide run. He can’t hold the tide by himself and if they don’t hold back the flood of Trollocs, etc. then more people will die. So, either these brave men sacrifice themselves (I expect most of them to die) or they stay home and die with all their friends and family. Both options suck; it’s just one has a smaller body count. If Lan could set aside his pride for second, then his brain would have the power to do that math and see the reason of taking an army.

Squatch having a snack
Squatch having a snack

Other Tidbits:

Is anyone else disturbed by the thought of Trollocs using human speech? If they can chitchat, can they be reasoned with? Is it possible to have tea with them and get them better wages so that maybe, just maybe, they would stop warring on humans and eating them?

I LOVED Brigitte’s comment about sticking a sign on all those portals that lead to the Tower of Ghenjei to warn folks. She made it sound like someone had left the warning sign off of a broken elevator, or such.

So where was Rand when Elayne was being attacked? Or even Aviendha? Both can make Gateways. I understand both are busy doing Important Things, but this was an emergency!

 

Towers of Midnight, Part III

JordanTowersOfMidnightBannerWelcome everyone to Book 13 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. You can find the schedule to Towers of Midnight over HERE. Everyone is welcome to join us!

This week, Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia  is your host. Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia, can be found in the comments.  And Sue at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers has intellect and teensy violins.

Sorry for posting late, late this week. I had a big show last weekend and this week I have been prepping for 2 smaller shows.

This week, we covered the Chapters 14-20. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1. Egwene gets Nynaeve and Elayne to agree to obey her as Amyrlin. Then she slays a member of the Black Ajah and catches a glimpse of Alviarin. What do you think Alviarin is up to these days? How big a part will she continue to play? How will this turn of events change the relationship between our girls?

Well, it appears Alviarin is spying, but I am not sure if she is spying for herself or on someone else’s orders. I can’t recall if we have seen her in T’A’R before or not. I want to say, no. So perhaps she was given a dream ter’angreal by the Forsaken that ordered Sheriam to gather them up. If this is the case, then I expect we will see more of her.

I can see Elayne and Egwene coming at odds eventually. Elayne still refers to Egwene by her first name when chatting with the Kin, instead of using the title, Amyrlin. So, I think Elayne has some work to do. But Elayne is also looking at Emond’s Field and Two Rivers and seeing a potential ‘uprising’ there. Egwene being from there might be a bit peeved if Andor finally decides that the area truly does belong to the crown, after neglecting it for so long.

I think Nynaeve and Egwene will get on better and that there won’t be any major conflict until long after this series when Lan and Nynaeve are rulers and parents of the Golden Crane nation, newly reformed in the wake of saving the world.

2. Nynaeve heals madness. Will she be able to heal Rand? Does she even need to?

I tend to think the best healing comes with time and from the inside, but in this case, it wouldn’t hurt for Nynaeve to have a peak. If Rand is stable, then I think she should leave him be for the most part. After all, that bit of madness has brought his far, made him bolder, made him consider things he wouldn’t have before.

3. Sounds like Egwene wants to use herself as bait to capture Mesaana. Do you think this is wise? Will it work? Will she and Gawyn ever be married?

I am not convinced that Mesaana is running around the White Tower, so the ruse may only bring Seanchan assassins…..Still, there was that discussion about how an Aes Sedai could weave sounds and thereby trick everyone into ‘hearing’ them take the oaths on the oathrod. So if a Black Ajah slipped through the nets, she could tell Mesaana (if she isn’t there in person) and if Egwene sets up her trap loudly enough, word of the opportunity to take out Egwene could also get to Mesaana.

In short, if Mesaana falls for the trap, i expect it to work. We only have like 1.5 books left, so it’s time for some of our heroes to start capturing/killing the bad guys.

This is one of those series where the good guys get married and have kids. So, yes, I expect Gawyn and Egwene to get married – unless Gawyn dies. Then Egwene can feel bad for her very long life for having been so very harsh with him.

4. Ituralde seems to be in big trouble in the Borderlands. Do you think Rand will come through for him and keep his promise?

Yes! We need a superhero moment and this seems to be the perfect time and place for it. Plus, I like Iturlade and his fashion sense.

5. Berelaine and Faile have a heart to heart. Do you think their plan will work to dispel the rumors? Can they pull it off when they hate one another so much?

I think this will turn out to be one of those cutsy-wutsy female bonding things. At first the ladies will detest each other, but then through this ruse they will come to know each other and become true friends.

Personally, I think I would have enjoyed a duel much more.

6. What do you think of Mat and Elayne’s contract about Aludra’s dragons. Will this work? Cause contention?

I think it will work. After all, Aludra has more allegiance to Mat (more than she does to Elayne or anyone else we know of). If Aludra is smart, she has left out one or more important bits in those basic plans Mat handed over. With time, Elayne’s engineers could perfect it, but there isn’t time. So, they all need Aludra and Aludra likes Mat and still owes him for having her back a time or two.

Of course Elayne being bossy will cause contention and Mat’s skittishness about Aes Sedai and female leaders of any sort will make him contentious. But that is all part of the humor.

7. Share your thoughts–anything that stood out to you–on Nynaeve’s testing and her finally obtaining Lan’s bond.

I think most of the testers wanted to fail Nynaeve before she even stepped into the room. And those that didn’t at first probably wanted to take her down a few notches due to her ‘arrogance’. But I think she did very well. She couldn’t set aside the Aes Sedai cloak, even for this test, without taking away from Egwene’s authority (past and present).

That said, this test is suppose to be excruciatingly hard. I am not so sure it was any harsher than Moiraine’s raising. But having only seen two now, it is hard to say what is too harsh or not. I do believe Egwene should have to go through it at some point, even though she feels she has already been tested and proved her pace, etc. I think this kind of test provides deep insight for the one being tested and therefore is valuable to each woman on a personal level.

I am very, very happy that Lan and Nynaeve are finally Bonded! Perhaps each will sleep better at night, resting in each other’s minds. And the good sleep will make them each a bit less crabby.

Squatch having a snack
Squatch having a snack

Other Tidbits:

I think Elayne is wise to give the Kin a home and a source of income in exchange for gateways (and free healing).

I really like how Egwene is hearing from multiple corners that the White Tower needs to evolve (or it will be left behind). Gawyn wants her to consider the Aes Sedai as a battle resource and the need for more Warders. Nynaeve wants her to consider that the love of someone/thing outside of the Tower balances the Aes Sedai, instead of weakening or distracting them.

Mat has given his medallion to Elayne for 3 whole days. Is he fucking insane? That is the only thing we know of that can harm the gholam, and that creature wants to harm Mat and/or his friends any way it can. I am a little worried!

Perrin & Faile shared some deep truths. Hooray! It’s been a long time since I felt that Faile was a worthy character, but I found her quite agreeable in this section.

Towers of Midnight, Part II

JordanTowersOfMidnightBannerWelcome everyone to Book 13 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. You can find the schedule to Towers of Midnight over HERE. Everyone is welcome to join us!

This week, I am your host. Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia, can be found in the comments. Make sure to swing by Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia  for cool fan art.  And Sue at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers has intellect and teensy violins.

This week, we covered the Chapters 5-13. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1) Gawyn and the Warder Sleet are playing detective over the murdered Aes Sedai. Care to compare them to other literary detectives? Do you think Egwene is correct in thinking a Forsaken is behind the murders?

Well, they definitely aren’t Sherlock & Watson. Though Sleet could be a Miss Marple, quietly going about collecting facts and asking a handful of questions here there, all the while doing some leather work, looking so innocent wielding a little knife and leather punch. I picture Gawyn more as a Hercule Poirot, so proper and in everyone’s face with his properness.

I am thinking it is one or more of those pesky Seanchan assassins that were left to stealth around the Tower, killing as many Aes Sedai as they can before their time is up.

2) Graendal was interrupted while reading A Light in the Snow (what genre book do you think that was?) to have a meeting with Moridin, wherein he reveals the book or prophecies. What prophecies do you think the dark side has? And what about the prophecy that Perrin shall die at the bad guys’ hands?

I think it is a fashion magazine. I can’t see Graendal reading anything too heavy (like a biography) nor to think in plot (like a good epic fantasy).

The dark side seems to skew everything (but who doesn’t when it comes to world dominating politics?) so I would think that the prophecies have to do with the Dark One triumphing over all after several epochs of crushing all the fun out of the populace.

I don’t think this is the kind of series where one of our main heroes will be killed. So far, with very few exceptions, this has been a pretty PG13 series. So I expect Perrin will have a close call, maybe even be declared dead by some fool who runs off before hearing what a medic says. And if for some reason Faile lets Perrin be killed, he has some kick ass work he can do from the wolf dream world.

3) Did anyone else get a giggle when Morgase demands of Perrin, ‘Do you know my heart?’ in regards to her feelings for Talanvor? What did you think of Perrin’s & Galad’s meeting? How do you think the face off on the field of battle shall go?

Haha! Yes! Perrin’s nose tells him quite a bit about the people around him. So I am pretty sure that not only can Perrin tell that Morgase is in heat for Talanvor, that she also has deeper feelings for him and isn’t just looking for a booty call.

I was ready to vote for Galad, being all reasonable about the Whitecloaks in regards to the Questioners. But then it is like he decided to start storing his brains in his boots and just go with what his zeolist friends say about Perrin. Galad took one look at Perrin’s golden eyes and decided he was indeed a Dark Friend. I wanted to slap the idiot. Like golden eye color is the weirdest, darkest shit Galad has seen in the past several months. Sigh…. I may have to kill him.

Well, last week I was hoping there would be some sort of interruption (like Rand showing up with a big gateway and ordering Perrin and his army to go somewhere else) so that Galad could save face and maybe get some good done elsewhere. Now I hope they do get it on and that Perrin unleashes his Asha’men. The Questioners really don’t need to be around for the Last Battle and I am wondering if we need any Whitecloaks at all.

4) We run into Mat at the Seven Striped Lass tavern (is that yet another reference to spanking?) and toying with Verin’s letter. Later that night he battles the golem. Do you think the threat of the golem will be the thing that forces Mat to open Verin’s letter? Teslyn speaks plainly and honestly to Mat, thanking him, and then fights the golem with him. Do you think this will alter his attitude towards Aes Sedai in the future?

Yes, I think the golem’s threats to hurt/kill Mat’s friends will tear at his conscience and he will open Verin’s letter and we will finally know what her last machinations are.

I really like that Teslyn made this effort to treat fairly with Mat. However, I think he will need several more examples like this before he is able to trust Aes Sedai. Perhaps Teslyn will continue to work with Mat? That would be cool. It would be funny if Mat decided he needed to be a Warder to an Aes Sedai to get that extra bump in speed, strength, and endurance to achieve some task, like freeing Moiraine.

5) Elayne has to make a decision soon about what to do with the captives (those who did not support her). What do you think she should do? Also, she plans to take Cairhein. Do you think this is wise and will be as easy as she thinks it will be?

I think she should arrange marriages between the Houses that declared for her early on the Houses she holds captive now. This will bind those detractors to her supporters. Plus, there will be feasting during a trying time and everyone appreciates the chance to get toasted and fat.

Rand took and held the thrones of Andor and Cairhein for Elayne and she still had to fight for the Andorran thrown (or rather, she had to bullocks it up and Birgitte and Dyelin had to rescue her ass). I really hope that Cairhein is easier for her because we don’t have the time for another revolt. And I think Rand could, and would, step in and give her a hand even if she scowled at him for it.

6) Rand returns to Tear. Please comment upon his reunion with everyone there such as Min, Tam, Nynaeve, Cadsuane, the Aiel, etc. Where do you think Alanna has gone? Who will Rand set Cadsuane to finding? Will Rand be able to meet his toh towards the Maidens and the Aiel in general?

This was an awesome scene! I really enjoyed how Min could feel the total difference in him. It was great that he apologized to Cadsuane (even though she showed no grace in accepting it), hugging his dad, promising to help Lan, owning that he owes the Aiel toh. It was all great.

I am not sure where Alanna has gone but I would not be surprised if Rand snuck into her room and left her a note directing her to leave. Maybe he sent her to fetch/assist Aviendha in returning? Though he could do that himself….but he might get slapped for it. So probably safer to send Alanna.

I am not sure who Cadsuane will be sent to find. Before he tells her he has this task for her, he asks about Mattin Steppeneos, a ruler that Elaida stole from his own bed and was holding in the White Tower. I would think that sending her to find Fain could be very, very useful, but Fain may not be on his radar at all.

I think Rand’s future role in the Last Battle will almost assuredly meet any toh he has to anyone.

Squatch having a snack
Squatch having a snack

Other Tidbits:

Graendal has a Dreamspike and Moridin’s permission to use his minion, the man with two souls (who I think is Slayer). This does not bode well for Perrin!

Morgase was being such a pill in her thoughts about the ‘upstart Two Rivers ruler Perrin’ and yet she refuses to step up and let the world know she is alive. I think she is something of a coward. If she were to take on rulership, or even just act as mentor to Elayne, she would have so many people (a nation of them?) to apologize to for her past bad behavior.

Mat’s letter to Elayne was terribly funny and I enjoyed his mix of frustration for having been ignored and apologies (sort of) for checking out her backside.

Grady wants to return to the Black Tower to see his family. I think he is sincere and has no ulterior motives. Still, I worry that if he goes back now/soon, then he will be held hostage or tortured for info.

 

Legion: Skin Deep by Brandon Sanderson

SandersonLegionSkinDeepWhy I Read It: I really enjoyed Book 1, Legion.

Where I Got It: Own it on Audible.com.

Who I Recommend This To: If you enjoy detective stories and multiple personalities, then check this out!

Narrator: Oliver Wyman

Publisher: Audible Studios (2014)

Length: 4 hours 23 minutes

Series: Book 2, Legion

Author’s Page

Note: Even though this is Book 2 in the series, it can stand on its own.

Stephen Leeds is a kind of modern-day detective. He’s super smart, doesn’t stand out in a crowd, and has a whole team of specialists that help him out. What makes him unique is that he is the only one who can see, hear, and interact with his team; he thinks of them as his Aspects. Hence, he is sometimes called ‘Legion’. In this book, Leeds is hired by a tech company (I3) to track down a morgue and ensure it is cremated. The corpse use to be a leading scientist in a niche industry researching biotechnology and wetwear. He was working on a project that would allow humans to store info in their very cells; but because it’s a new science and there’s always unforeseen outcomes, I3 is deeply worried that corpse could release something biologically unwholesome on the populace.

I enjoyed this book even more than the first in the series. Since much of the mechanics of Leeds and his Aspects were already founded, I could concentrate on the plot. Stephen starts off on a date but soon is distracted by his bodyguard, JC, as he notices a hitwoman dining a few tables over. Of course Stephen’s conversation with JC is all one-sided to his date and pretty soon she is a bit spooked. But then Yall, who is one of the head managers of I3, calls with a job for Stephen (so he doesn’t have to linger over his failed date).

There’s plenty of humor, some suspense, and a good dash of very interesting cutting edge technology. The characters are interesting and I can see that they grow a little in this book (and if you read Book 1, then you can see that they have developed even further). The action is interspersed with either detective sleuthing or with Leeds doing some introspection. Put all together, it’s an excellent installment in this series.

As with Book 1, Leeds learns more about his Apsects and about what they can and can’t do. There’s not a few theories kicked around about just what Leeds’ Aspects are, and not a few of these are put forth by the Aspects themselves. I am very interested to see in future installments what Leeds’ final form will be with all his Aspects, if he ever has a final frm.

The Narration: Oliver Wyman did a great job once again. He’s a great voice for Leeds, but he also has a variety of accents, male and female voices for the host of characters. I especially like his voice for JC.

What I Liked: Interesting core mystery; plenty of humor; very cool biotech.

What I Disliked: Nothing – this was a great book!

What Others Think:

Pat’s Hot List

Thoughts  & Afterthoughts

Towers of Midnight, Part I

JordanTowersOfMidnightBannerWelcome everyone to Book 13 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. You can find the schedule to Towers of Midnight over HERE. Everyone is welcome to join us!

This week, Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia, is our host and can be found in the comments. Make sure to swing by Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia  for cool fan art.  And Sue at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers has intellect and teensy violins.

This week, we covered the Prologue – Chapter 4. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1.  Everyone who thought Graendal might not be dead can pat themselves on the back.  With Aran’gar’s death that leaves six.  Are there any others, thought dead, that you fear we might see again?

I’m afraid to look on the WoT Wikipedia for a round up of Forsaken names. Of course I want to know who killed Asmodean, but I am not worried about him coming back. Let’s see, who haven’t we balefired lately? Semirhage is balefired. Several of the male Forsaken (probably because it took Rand so long to get over his sissy squeamishness about permanently disabling women). Moghedien is still running around, but tightly leashed by Moridin.

Eh. We’ll see if any spring back to life. Who was it that Rand took out in Shol ghul and we had no body? Moridin helped him out that time. So we might see that pesky Forsaken again.

2.  Is this the first time we’ve seen Padan Fain since book nine? Running around the Blight setting world records for creepiness… What role do you think he has to play in what is coming?

I don’t recall where and when we last saw Fain. Sometimes he gets a short little bit in a book here and there and that’s it, so it fades from my might what book(s) that happens in.

Let me say that Fain has his shit together, unlike many of the other baddies. He didn’t rush his badness either. He let it bloom and swell slowly over many, many books. He is beholden to none (unlike so many of the Forsaken and all of the Darkfriends and Black Ajah). He has this major creepiness power going on that gets him servants for his evil bidding. And he is goal oriented. So many of our Forsaken don’t have a solid goal in mind. Also, I don’t think Fain cares about becoming Nebless – nope. He’s definitely has his own idea of power and domination to attain.

All that said (which kind of looks like a strange fan letter, now that I reread it), I think Fain will go on to march to his own drum which will screw up the few plans that the Forsaken and/or the Dark One have going on, making it that much harder to take over the world.

3.  The blightborder in Kandor is attacked and will probably not hold for long.  Meanwhile, Lan is in Saldaea, heading east. Will he even make it to Tarwin’s Gap, or will he be caught up in the invasion?  How many followers do you expect to see before he gives up the lone wolf plan?

Lan’s an idiot. He can’t accomplish any good by himself in the border, unless you count adding your bones to the soil in order to enrich it after the Trollocs have sucked out all the marrow.

Maybe some Asha’men will join him and make gateway(s) so he can get to Tarwin’s Gap and die in relative comfort.

And I think he already gave up the lone wolf crap when he accepted the supply boy into his entourage.

4.  Yet another reunion happens as Rand reveals part of his plan to Egwene, but she is not pleased.  Rand looks quite sane but Egwene is not so sure.  Do you expect this to be a big conflict before the Last Battle?  Who do you think is right?

No one is going to like the idea of breaking the last seal, so yeah, I expect plenty of people to be yelling at Rand for this idea. But I also expect Min (our little, quiet, knife-weilding brainiac) to figure out the riddles and then explain them to the others, speaking slowly and using small words, so they can absorb the content of the message easier.

I expect Rand is right but I also think that right now he doesn’t fully understand why. he needs Min too.

5.  It looks like we’ll be spending a lot of time this book with Perrin and Hopper in T’A’R.  Excited?  Anything special you want to see?  Will we maybe run into Slayer again?

Hooray! I am so glad that Perrin is finally girding his loins and tackling this problem that has been dogging him for so many books. Running from it doesn’t work. Hiding from it doesn’t work. Ignoring it doesn’t work. So, yeah, he has to go through this training and I bet it will be awesome!

I want to see the wolves explain to Perrin that his loss of control on the battlefield is more a human thing than a wolf thing; Perrin feels great remorse in taking a life, any life, no matter how justified it is. He needs to learn to either set that aside (until after the Last Battle) or let go of such a false notion.

It would be great to see Slayer again. He is so mysterious and deadly! (Ack! It sounds like I am some fan-flousy for the bad guys – I’m not! Really!)

6.  It also looks like we’ll see a confrontation between Perrin and the Whitecloaks, world champions in grudge-keeping.  How will this play out?  How do you think Galad is doing as Lord Captain Commander?

Ugh. The Whitecloaks have the biggest, thickest sticks up their asses. I use to think that Galad was pretty stuck up, but then he joined the Whitecloaks and I now see how mellow he is compared to them.

Once again, i expect Perrin will offer to submit to their judgement in exchange for a temporary truce between them. I hope that Galad will continue to play the voice of reason, will listen to Perrin’s truths of the slaughter of his family and the Whitecloaks’ role in the Two Rivers nastiness, and their with holding of assistance when the town was attacked by Trollocs. I think that once Galad corroborates that (which might have to happen after the Last Battle), Perrin will be free of the Whitecloaks.

Though it might be way cooler if Perrin had to square off one on one with the pesky grudge holder, smacked him down, and showed mercy by not fatally wounding him.

If the Whitecloaks have to be alive, healthy, and still kicking at the Last Battle, then I hope Galad is around to teach them the power of humbleness and acceptance of others. Galad seems to struggle with these things too, but I feel that he at least recognizes his struggle to accept others.

Squatch having a snack
Squatch having a snack

Other Tidbits:

So Graendal can use doves, not just crows and rats, to do her spying. I am going to guess that she is not the only dark power to use other, less noticeable, animals for spying. I kind of hope Graendal does more spying with a plump dove and that dove is shot and eaten by the starving Randlanders, giving Graendal a nasty shock.

It was nice of Rand to take the time to give people apples. But I bet they will be sick of apples once all this is said and done. I would be surprised if we see decorative crab apple trees planted in Rand’s name after he saves the world, while they also plant peach orchards for main sustenance.

I was complaining to my man (who has already finished the book) that Asunawa (spelling?) really needed to be dead. And then, there it was, his head, without a body! It is like the book heard me griping and gave me a little present.

 

Towers of Midnight Read Along

JordanTowersOfMidnightBannerHello all, the WoT Quad is continuing their adventures through Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time world with Book 12, Towers of Midnight. Below is the schedule. Liesel (Musings on Fantasia), Sue (Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers), Eivind (our Nordic WoT encyclopedic commenter) and myself will be hosting the readalong. Anyone is welcome to join us in the comments or with blog posts. If you want to receive the discussion questions a little early each week, leave me a comment on this post or email me (nrlymrtl@gmail.com).

Week 1 Nov. 23: Eivind – Prologue – Chapter 4 (87 pages)
Week 2 Nov 30: DOD – Chapters 5-13 (97 pages)
Week 3 Dec 7: MOF – Chapters 14-20 (115 pages)
Week 4 Dec 14: CCCP Chapters 21-25 (106 pages)
Week 5 Dec 21: Eivind Chapters 26-33 (117 pages)
Week 6 Dec 28: DOD Chapters 34-40 (98 pages)
Week 7 Jan 4: MOF Chapters 41-48 (98 pages)
Week 8 Jan 11: CCCP Chapters 49-END (119 pages)

The Gathering Storm Read Along – The Schedule

Squatch being cute.
Squatch being cute.

Hello folks, we are about to embark on the final 3 books of The Wheel of Time series, written by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. Below is the schedule. Anyone is welcome to join us at any time. If you want to be on the weekly email list for the discussion questions, just leave me a comment with a way to contact you.

Enjoy!

Week 1: Oct. 5th, Prologue-Chpt.6 (103 pages), Hosted by Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers (CCCP)
Week 2: Oct. 12th, Chpts7-13 (105 pages), hosted by Eivind (our Nordic WOT encyclopedia)
Week 3: Oct. 19th, Chpts. 14-21 (110 pages), hosted by Dab of Darkness (DoD)
Week 4: Oct. 26th, Chpts. 22-28 (105 pages), hosted by Musings on Fantasia (MoF)
Week 5: Nov. 2nd, Chpts. 29-35 (105 pages), hosted by CCCP
Week 6: Nov. 9th, Chpts. 36-42 (113 pages), hosted by DoD
Week 7: Nov. 16th, Chapt. 42-End (103 pages), hosted by Eivind

Interview: Henry Herz, Editor of Beyond the Pale

HerzBeyondThePaleFolks, please welcome author and editor Henry Herz to the blog. I have thoroughly enjoyed his works (Nimpentoad & Beyond the Pale) and just knew Henry would be a lot of fun to interview. Want to know how Seth MacFarlane and Leonardo da Vinci are similar? Curious about Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes? Keep reading and enjoy!

What drew you to organizing an anthology that focused on the sub-genre of paranormal Young Adult/New Adult?

I love the phrase “beyond the pale”, and everything sprang from that. Beyond the Pale is an anthology of fantasy, urban fantasy and paranormal stories that skirt the border between our world and others. Was that my imagination, or did I hear something under my bed? What was that blurred movement in my darkened closet? There is but a thin Veil separating the real and the fantastic, and therein dwell the inhabitants of these stories.

The noun “pale” refers to a stake (as in impaling vampires) or pointed piece of wood (as in a paling fence). “Pale” came to refer to an area enclosed by a paling fence. Later, it acquired the figurative meaning of an enclosed and therefore safe domain. Conversely, “beyond the pale” means foreign, strange, or threatening.

Myths and beliefs that we would consider fiction or fantasy in modern literature once upon a time shaped history (think of all the hunts for unicorns & dragons). Do you see modern fantasy fiction affecting human cultures today and how?

Long ago, fantasy literature (although not labelled as such) directly influenced culture. There was no scientific method – people were scared of the unknown (falling off the edge of a flat earth, comets, dragon hunts, witch burnings, etc.). Today fantasy literature only affects pop culture. Few people seriously believe “Winter is Coming”, but it’s still fun to say at cocktail parties to establish geeky credentials. 🙂

HerzNimpentoadIf you could, what book/movie/TV series would you like to experience for the first time all over again and why?

I’d have to say The Lord of the Rings. I read it in elementary school. Reading it again for the first time as an adult would be a very different experience.

Conventions, book signings, blogging, etc.: what are some of your favorite aspects of promoting a book and what are some of the least favorite parts of promotion?

For me, book promotion is the hardest part of indie publishing. There is always more to do, and if you’re not careful, it can drown out the time for writing. My favorite part is attending events where I can meet the authors and the readers who appreciate their work. I moderated a fantasy/science fiction panel at San Diego Comic-Con featuring award winning and NY Times bestselling authors David Brin, Jason Hough, Jonathan Maberry, Rachel Caine, Jim Butcher, and Marie Lu. That was also the initial public unveiling of Beyond the Pale. What’s not to like?

What book should be made into a game (card, PC, board, etc.) and why? Is there a specific character who you would want to play in this game?

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. In that classic fantasy, he writes about allomancers – wizards who gain power by ingesting small amounts of powdered metals. A game about how such wizards would fight each other could be cool. Maybe there is such a game, and I simply haven’t seen it. Another good choice would be the Iron Druid series by Kevin Hearne.

Who are your non-writer influences?

Great question. Certainly some illustrators have had a strong influence, like Maurice Sendak (yes, he wrote too), David Peterson (Mouse Guard), Aaron Becker (Journey). I’m also awestruck by people who are gifted in multiple disciplines, like Leonardo da Vinci or Seth MacFarlane (I never expected to put those two in the same sentence).

HerzHowRhinoGotHisSkinFrom your own writings, are there any characters you would like to cosplay? Have your kids, and co-writers, done any cosplay?

It would be fun to cosplay Nimpentoad, the protagonist of my fantasy early chapter book of the same name. But that would be quite an elaborate costume. My co-author kids and I enjoy attending conventions, and while we’ve occasionally worn armor and hefted fake weapons, I wouldn’t call it cosplay. We lack the dedication and time to create the truly inspired costumes that would qualify us for cosplay.

What reboots (or retellings) of classics have you enjoyed? Are there ones that haven’t worked for you?

I’m a big fan of retellings. I had the idea of retelling Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes from a fantasy perspective, swapping creatures for the human characters. When I researched the concept, I found a couple of books out there, but they didn’t work for me. The gauntlet was tossed. Our version, Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes, will be published by Pelican in 2015.

Rudyard Kipling’s Just So stories are justifiably acclaimed. But, having been written so long ago, the language is outdated and too complex for today’s younger readers. So, my sons and I indie-published a picture book version, How the Rhino Got His Skin. See www.birchtreepub.com.

Care to share an awkward fangirl/fanboy moment, either one where someone was gushing over your work…..or one where you were gushing over another author’s work?

It is always a pleasure to meet someone who was touched by my writing. That’s why authors write. Similarly, I’ve had my share of gushy fanboy moments meeting such inspiring authors as Jim Butcher, Kevin Hearne, David Brin, Orson Scott Card, Vernor Vinge, and Brandon Sanderson.

Lastly, please tell us a bit about the cover art for Beyond the Pale. Does it represent an overall concept for the book, or does it draw more on a single story contained in the anthology?

The cover art for Beyond the Pale represents an overall concept for the book. It’s entitled Snow White, and was done by Abigail Larson. She illustrated our picture book Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes. Love, love, love her dark style! If you agree it would look great on your bookshelf, please consider getting a copy via Amazon, Kindle, or www.birchtreepub.com.