New Spring, Part III

JordanNewSpringBannerWelcome everyone to Book 0 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan which is a prequel to the series set several years before Book 1. You can find the schedule to New Spring over HERE. Everyone is welcome to join us!

This week, Liesel at Musings on Fantasia is the host. You can catch Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia, in the comments.  Stop by Sue’s at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers, a place for deft reasoning.

This week, we covered Chapters 17-END. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1. What do you think of the fact that Moiraine met Cadsuane. I don’t think we knew that before. What’s Cadsuane up to? Do you think Moiraine’s eventual conclusion that she’s Black Ajah is valid? Logical?

I think that most of the Sisters eventually meet Cadsuane, so it was a nice touch that Jordan tossed her in this book. As usual, I think Cadsuane is searching for false Dragons, and perhaps even searching for the real Dragon.

No, I don’t think Cadsuane is Black Ajah and I think Moiraine’s reasoning is faulty. She and Siuan are both real new to the Shawl, but also to the reality of the Black Ajah. I think that both of them are still in ‘aghast, reaction’ mode and haven’t had time and opportunity to collect enough facts about the Black Ajah at this point.

Though to call Cadsuane blunt is to be kind. So I can see how Moiraine, who is still attached to being treated with the deference due a high born lady, would find Cadsuane rude and crude and may think vile thoughts about her.

2. Do you think Tamra was killed by a Darkfriend? Do you think the new amyrlin, Sierin, is Black Ajah? If so, why, and what do you think will happen next?

Since we don’t know how Tamra was killed (did she die of a fall or illness or a knife to the chest?), I waver between Darkfriend and Black Ajah offing her. If it looks like she died peacefully in her bed, then I would be inclined to say someone with the power killed her.

I don’t think Sierin is Black Ajah simply because the Blacks seem to use nitwits in power and control things from the shadows. Also, we learned from Eivind last week that Sierin doesn’t last many years before suddenly dieing. And we all know that eventually Siuan is raised to the Amyrlin Seat.

3. We saw the scene with Lan, Moiraine, and the lake that was mentioned briefly clear back in book 2. What was your reaction to it? Did it play out the way you’d imagined?

This was a great scene! I was laughing out loud. Of course, Moiraine is suspicious of the three men for her own reasons, but then so obviously following them, and then Lan alone, into the woods – I wanted to slap her upside the head! But then she tried to take Lan’s sword away, the simpleton! So I was quite happy to see her flying through the air and splashing down into the lake. But then she tries to pull Lan in! This is one of those times where Moiraine’s tenacity was not working in her favor. I loved the imagery of Moiraine dangling in the air from Lan’s arm.

4. Someone tried to assassinate Lan. He was an idiot who was told to kill Moiraine first, but didn’t. Who do you think the attack was aimed at and who was responsible for it?

This scene confused me a little bit. Lan, Bukama, and Rhyne recognized the dying would-be assassin. But this man also had been told that Moiraine was an Aes Sedai. Now Moiraine is still new to traveling the world and new to keeping her identity secret. So I am sure she did reveal her Aes Sedai nature 101 ways to the observant person. So this means that at least some of those asses trying to kill Lan could have ordered their minions to kill the Aes Sedai first.

At least, that is what sense I could make out of it.

5. What did you think of the Lan-Edeyn relationship, and all of Edeyn’s plans for Lan?

Fucked up. But I shall elaborate. Lan is bound by custom (because he is an idiot) and Edeyn is taking great advantage of that custom. If the roles were reversed and Lan was taking such advantage of his position over Edeyn, we would be cheering on those would-be assassins. But Lan is a full-grown man and has a lot of choice about where he puts his penis. I can see custom dictating that he show Edeyn some affection. But later on, we see him without his shirt and will all sorts of crazy monkey sex love marks on his back. So if he isn’t into Edeyn, and seems actually repulsed by her plans for him to marry her daughter, than why would he put on such a stunning performance in her bed? Does he have such pride in his sexual prowess that even in such a situation he feels he must perform to the utmost of his ability?

I was not looking forward to Lan marrying Edeyn’s daughter. I feared we would see one of those most awkward threesomes down the road consisting of Lan, Edeyn, and her daughter. *shudder*

6. In the end, a Black sister is revealed, and several innocents die. The fight scene was pretty epic. Thoughts? Feelings? Regrets?

Wow! I wasn’t expecting such death in this book. I think New Spring may be my favorite Jordan book just because there are so many intense scenes. It was hard to lose Bukama, and so suddenly. Then to have the Black sister tossing hosts over the railing was pretty awful. While Moiraine says she is just as guilty of Edyen’s daughter’s death as Meren (spelling?), I think she is wrong. Moiraine needs to realize that her actions, while they failed, were noble.

7. What did you think of final scene that led to Moiraine bonding Lan? Did you like it? Want more? Think it was legit?

I am very, very glad that Lan did not run away from a stupid marriage via the Warder way. Instead, Moiraine had to humble herself by chasing after him, and then had to be genuine by telling Lan the entire truth. I was very satisfied with how this all came about.

Other Tidbits:

I think, from numerous hints tossed around in this section (especially by Cadsuane), that Moiraine and Siuan were casual lovers while in training.

Moiraine used her super secret Blue Ajah powers to coax ants into Lan’s small clothes! If I was Blue Ajah, I would be in constant trouble from pulling such pranks.

Is Lan a minor ta’veren? Moiraine & Siuan speak of the Black Ajah systematically taking out any male who shows any hint of being able to Channel. But I don’t think Lan is a Channeler.

That evil inn keeper with her special spiced wine got a harsh kind of justice indeed.

Knife of Dreams, Part V

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

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

This week, we covered Chapters 19-23. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1. Our favorite Origer bachelor is finally married.  Any wise words for the newlyweds?  The Ogier are torn on whether to leave this world or help humanity out.  Do you think Loial will be able to sway them?

My wise (ass) words to Erith would be to keep Loial stocked in good traveling clothes and scribing materials and to perhaps travel often with Loial just to avoid regular conflict with her mother-in-law. Of course my words of wisdom to Loial would be to let Erith think all the traveling is her idea.

Once again, I am reminded of Tolkien’s Ents, and their Entmoot where they take a very long time deciding on whether or not to help out the hasty humans, elves, dwarves, and humans. Knowing how that turned out, and also suspecting that the Dark One won’t leave the Steadings & Ogier alone, I think the Ogier will eventually fight evil rather than flee.

And I hope that Loial will be able to sway them sooner rather than simply walk away to join Rand at the Last Battle and have Ogier decide that is much more exciting than any Ogier business and join him later. Though I suspect that Covril or Erith may have a hand in persuading the Ogier, even if it means shaming them into caring about this world.

2. It’s been a while since the last surprise trolloc attack.  Who could have been behind this one?  Why now, and why so incredibly many?  Lews Therin took control of Rand’s channeling.  Will we see that again, and what kind of consequences might it have?

I wasn’t expecting a massive trolloc attack on the heals of an Ogier wedding!

Since the Dark One and Moridin want to keep Rand alive for now, I don’t think they were behind this attack. No, my eye turned toward Mazrim Taim. After all, if Rand, Logain, and a bunch of their closest followers fell in a trolloc attack, he could reign supreme (at least until the Dark One had him bale fired). Of course, this would mean that he has a hotline into a Forsaken who wants Rand dead now (as I don’t think Taim has been given command of so many myrrdraal). Taim would guesstimate that it would take oodles of myrrdraal and oodles X 20 to take out both Rand and Logain. Good for him that he miscalculated.

In this case, it was a very good thing that Lews took over the channeling and saved the day. But Lews isn’t the most stable Channeler out there, so I can see him losing it in a moment of disturbed surprise or intense anger and wiping out half of Rand’s army. Rand seriously needs to lock that shit down. Perhaps this is what Cadsuane needs to teach Rand, but first he would need to trust her enough to 1) confide in her about Lews and 2) Allow her to guide him, perhaps even entering his dreams or thoughts for a short time to do so. Good thing she is such a snuggable motherly type woman that Rand could so easily learn to trust. Not!

3. Lan departs to fight his own war, but Nynaeve won’t let him do it alone.  Any thoughts on the actions of either?  Any chills during the scene in the inn?

And yet for the third time during 1 reading session, I was surprised! I know that Lan has had a death wish since he learned he was the last Malkiri King, and that it intensified when Moiraine disappeared through that door angreal, but he really is a dense idiot sometimes. First, he can’t hold some pass in the north against hordes of trollocs and myrrdraal BY HIMSELF, no matter how good he is, no matter the terrain. So wrapping his suicidal inclinations up in honor and duty and heroics isn’t going to fool anyone in that scenario. Two, thinking that Nynaeve would simply let him do so is silly. She owns him now. Yep. You can put the love spin on it if you wish (and I do believe she does love him), but she is very, very possessive too. His life is now hers and she won’t be tossing it away.

And I was a bit surprised that Nynaeve was grown up enough to let Lan go and do his duty. I was also quite pleased to see her spreading the word near and far, calling in men to join Lan. Essentially, it’s like organizing a big party on sheep butchering day back in Two Rivers. Nynaeve is definitely the one to organize such an affair.

4. Rand again works his ta’veren magic and the rebellion in Tear is no more.  Darlin, who was a rebel not four books ago, is king.  Do you think he has sufficiently demonstrated his loyalty, or are you worried?  Rand is focusing on Arad Doman.  What do you think his plan there is?

We just saw Rand and his entourage take out thousands of trollocs and several dozen to a few hundred myrrdraal. If Darlin hasn’t heard about that yet, he will soon. So if he is planning any kind of subterfuge now, he will probably reconsider upon hearing that tale. So, no I am not particularly worried. Plus, he also was privy to seeing Cadsuane call Rand on his rude manners, so he knows he can be both pushed and reigned in without exploding. So it is unlikely that Darlin will decide to rebel ‘for the sake of the realm and to save his people from the mad Dragon reborn’.

I don’t know what Rand is planning in Arad Doman. Would he be leaving certain Waygates open to kind of channel where the trollocs turn up?

I think Eivind mentioned this in the last two weeks, that Robert Jordan had only planned 12 books and so he was trying to wind up some things in this book so that all could be tied off in the next book, right? But for us, we could have to wait to Book 14 to find out what goes down in Arad Doman.

5. The Sea Folk have chosen a new Mistress of the Ships and are being conscripted for the Arad Doman plan.  Meanwhile, a whole race of islanders commit suicide!  Where on Earth did that come from? Will it have any impact at all or is it just one of those… things?

I think the mass suicide was balance that Rand was contemplating earlier when he rode through town and the man fell out of a balcony onto his feet instead of his head, etc. Min says that for every evil, there is a good, while Rand takes the pessimistic opposite. Perhaps this mass suicide was the balance for all those who escaped Ebou Dar.

I expect it will sadden Rand when he hears of it, but I don’t expect any major ripples from it. I think it will just be another of those things that Jordan throws in to give the world depth.

6. An important sitting is called and the rebel Aes Sedai finally learn some important news (Saidin is clean, and they’ve been harboring a Saidin-channeling female forsaken for six books).  Are you happy that Halima was rooted out?  Sad that they weren’t caught?  Will they rethink their Asha’man policy now?

There was a lot of great stuff in this section. Being carried around in Ramanda’s head was interesting (romance adventure novels! prudish about ankles and boobs! set in her ways despite evidence to the contrary, especially concerning the new elderly novices, etc.).

I have been taken an impish glee in shocking the Aes Sedai. And I expect I am not alone in this. I really enjoyed the reactions to the Asha’man, and the announcements about bonding, both the offering up of Asha’men to be bonded and the fact that silly Sisters were already bonded to Asha’men.

I was surprised that Ramanda put it together first and called out Halima. Since Halima is a Forsaken in disguise, I figured that she wouldn’t be caught yet. Though I think it might have been pretty spectacular to have her fight an entire encampment of Aes Sedai.

Some of the Sisters are already moving along and not living in the past (cool with getting rid of the age limit on entering the Tower, etc.), and I think most of them will come to treat the Asha’men as equals in time. However, we will always have some sticklers like Ramanda and they will make it that much harder to prep for and win the Last Battle.

Other Tidbits:

That was a swift, simple wedding and I totally didn’t expect it. I wonder what does happen when you fondle an Ogier ear? And if they pierce their ears, is that the same as in humans piercing their nipples?

Lews Therin is starting to make some sense to me and I think I like the chap well enough to buy him a pint of beer: Only those who trust no one are truly insane (paraphrased).

Is it just me or is Nynaeve becoming some sort of a prude in her ‘old’ married life? What was that interesting dress she wore in the circus in which she met Masema?

I loved watching Logain stroll in and chat with the Sea Folk, calling them to pay service to the Dragon Reborn. And with the end of the world just around the corner, I think he is right to hold them to it even in their grief.

Knife of Dreams, Part IV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Tidbits:

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

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

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

Crossroads of Twilight, Part VII

JordanCrossroadsOfTwilightBanner

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

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

This week, we cover Chapters 21-26. Spoilers for this section run free below!

1. I am sure that we are all so sorry for Alviarin, now that she is about to be outed as Black Ajah by Elaida and has seen Mesaana reduced to a terrified wreck by Shaidar Haran . . . or perhaps not! Do you think that Elaida actually has any evidence to use against Alviarin, or is it all bluff and self-delusion from the Amyrlin we love to hate? Has Alviarin got any hope of uncovering the Black Hunters, even with her newly minted ‘Mark’?

I think Elaida is all bark and no bite concerning Alviarin at this point. Sure, lots of Aes Sedai are tired of Alviarin being all high and snooty, but no one can toss her in chains (or they would have done so by now).

I thin Alviarin is desperate and will try exceedingly hard to locate the Hunters. And unfortunately, the Hunters haven’t been as subtle as they could have been. I mean, Alviarin could just bitch slap Elaida a few times with the Power and get an answer from her about who brought her the info on the Black Ajah. From there, Alviarin can hunt down the Hunters.

2. Last week we were thinking about what the Reds might do now that male channelers will not go mad, and now we have some actively talking about Bonding Asha’men! Do you think Elaida would have a fit strong enough to bring on a stroke if this idea was suggested to her? Or will we need to wait until she hears the news from Toviene?

Personally, I think most of the Reds would be a bit more relaxed if they indulged in some male company….nude. But that’s just my personal opinion.

And yes, Elaida doesn’t want to share power and bonding Asha’men as Warders would be a type of sharing. As we have seen, even when the bond is forced, the bond does work both ways for several things, like the sharing of feelings.

While I think this would be a good way to chill the Reds out, I doubt the Asha’men will see it that way. So far we have seen the bond work one way or the other. I would be very interested to see if it can be a mutual bond, so that one is not dominant over the other.

3. Life seems to be throwing a lot of surprises at Cadsuane at the moment. What do you make of her distrust of Verin, an Aes Sedai who seems to have been a whole-hearted supporter from the very beginning? Were you surprised that she almost lost her cool when she discovered that the Asha’men had Bonded some Sisters?

I think that anyone who hangs out with Rand for a length of time starts loosing their cool more easily. Cadsuane is just another example of the exasperated female.

I think Verin hunts knowledge. So far Rand and all the events and people around him are fascinating enough to her that she has sided with him. But as soon as it becomes more interesting to go against Rand or even side with Black Ajah, etc. I think Verin would very well be tempted. Hence, I believe Cadsuane’s distrust to be a good thing.

Cadsuane started off cool (slapping Rand when he needed it) and stayed cool…until this little section. I don’t know why I keep being surprised by Aes Sedai being all high and mighty. Of course Asha’men will be bonding their version of Warders. Silly Aes Sedai!

4. Loial has returned, but with mixed news. Were you surprised that not all the steddings were willing to listen to his advice? What do you think will be discussed at the Great Stump and will Loial’s mother be there to force him into marriage?

No, I was not surprised that the Steddings were not all in total agreement. That would be too much to ask for. And I have to wonder if there are Dark Friend Ogier in some of the Steddings mucking things up. We have seen Dark Friends every where else, so why not among the Ogier?

I think Loial may be very surprised when Erith agrees to travel around with him. 🙂

5. Logain has finally decided to warn Rand about Taim. Do you think that Taim’s influence has gone too far, or can Rand save the Black Tower from becoming a center of Darkfriend recruitment? Also, were you surprised that Rand had decided to seek a compromise with the Seanchan?

Yes, I think Taim’s influence has gone too far. Even though Rand has been butting heads with the man, even though there have been these reports from others about the heads on spikes, Rand has not done anything. So even if he believes Logain 100% and jumps on the Black Tower tomorrow, it is going to be very, very difficult to bring it into line. Should be a lot of drama and violence to entertain the readers.

No, I was not surprised that Rand wants a peace with the Seanchan. He was pretty shaken by that ‘loss’ that he incurred and he has all this other shit on his plate. Also, we have enough examples now of the Seanchan restoring order and trade once they have taken a city/country, that Rand now knows they won’t destroy Randland.

6. Elza is revealed as Black Ajah. Were you surprised and who do you think she will send her evil Warder to kill?

OK, I didn’t really remember this character from before though she has probably made a previous appearance. At this point, I am not really surprised when I little known side character turns out to be evil. And I don’t know who her Warder will be sent to kill. There are plenty of choices and knowing Jordan’s plot devices, we could end up with a body and never be told who did it.

7. So Harbor: I have to admit that I was expecting trouble because Masema sent Perrin to the town, which seemed unusually helpful of him. Please discuss how freaky and spooky the place is: what stood out to you as the most chilling aspect? Do you think that the Seanchan have had a good look at it and decided to stay away?

This town is messed up. I get that there are dead walking, or at least the highly visible spirits of the dead haunting the place. Then we have the whole populace spooked and occasionally, accidentally, killing each other. But why are they not washing? That is the part that is bothering me a great deal. I mean clean running water has long been associated with keeping evil spirits at bay. So why not wash regularly? Why not keep clean dishes, etc.? I think there may be more to this mystery than we have been told so far.

Other Tidbits

Did I understand that correctly? Did THE Dark One use Shaidar Haran’s body to Mark Alviarin and terrorize her at the same time? Those seals must be getting pretty weak!

Cadsuane doesn’t know what all her angreal do! I really want her to test them, in a public place, with Loial available to write down the details for posterity.

Winter's Heart Read Along Part VII

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

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

This week we covered Chapters 30-End. Spoilers are having a party below!

1. Mat helps a Seafolk woman being held as damane escape. She promises to remember his good deed. How do you think this will affect the plot of the story, and Mat specifically in the future?

Well, I expect that Mat will have free passage on Sea Folk ships once this becomes known. This will allow him to travel quickly, perhaps even taking his army with him. It could allow him to take the battle to the Seanchan on the high sea.

2. Mat finally learns who Tuon is. What did you think of this situation? Of Egeanin’s reaction to his announcement? Predictions?

Haha! This was awesome. Tuon was totally kicking his arse. But with her subdued and Egeanin totally in shock, then she tells Mat he can’t treat the Daughter of Nine Moons this way. And that is when it clicks for Mat, and with his declaration that Tuon is his wife, it seems to click for her too. So, I think Mat will have far less trouble smuggling her out now than he initially expected. However, once they enter into a real relationship, I expect Mat will have all sorts of woman troubles because 1) the cultural difference and 2) because it is Mat.

3. Rand goes to kill Torvel and Gedwyn, but Padan Fain has done the deed for him. After a brief fight, Fain flees yet again. Do you think he will resurface? What does he have planned? What did you make of Toram Riatin (from Cairhien) being there?

Of course Padan Fain will resurface. Definitely. 1) I want him to be annihilated in a permanent fashion for my entertainment; 2) He is too good a villain to be set on the side lines for long; and 3) Padan Fain himself can’t help but meddle.

But what does Fain have planned? Hmmm…This is a good question. I think he doesn’t really plan details. I get the impression that he makes broad swooping plans and his evilness pulls off the details. So, I am going to say that his plan is to kill Rand. Period.

I have forgotten who Toram is and what he has done. And I am afraid to google his name or go look at the WoT Wiki to help jar my mind. Lots of spoilers out there. OK, I was brave and went and peeked anyway. Right so he was hanging out in the snowy foothills with that intelligent lady that didn’t give Rand away at the tent party where Padan Fain tried to kill him. So, Toram has been in the near vicinity of Fain twice now. Hmm….Either Toram is hunting Fain or Toram is a naughty bad guy. He seemed decent enough when we first met him, so for right now I will reserve judgement, without falling asleep in his presence. Just in case.

4. Lan has been wary of Rand since the two reunited, but when things go bad on the rooftop, the two men show deep loyalty to one another. What did you think of this scene? How will it affect their relationship going forward?

It was good to see Lan’s dry sense of humor again. I think Lan may eventually come out of his funk. I am sure he had a lot of grief and anger (directed at Rand) to work through due to Moiraine’s death. Rand feels terribly responsible for that and hopefully Lan can see that and also have that knowledge work as a balm.

I am hoping these two will have the relationship they once had when Lan was training him in the sword. Of course, Rand will have to learn to loosen up a bit too. Perhaps Lan can see Rand becoming hard like stone, and since Lan knows what kind of dreary existence that his, he will help steer Rand around it and wave it goodbye.

5. Cadsuane has to intervene in Far Madding to get Rand and Lan out of prison. What do you think she had on Aleis that made Aleis surrender so quickly, to her own shame and ruin?

I am guessing we won’t ever know for sure. But since Cadsuane grew up in Far Madding, and was probably thrown out at some point, and that any return visits haven’t gone well, I am going to guess that she knows some important things about the Guardian. She hinted that not every defense is perfect. Of course, she didn’t tell them about the angreal Well that Nynaeve was wearing…and I assume Cadsuane is wearing one as well.

Whatever it is, Aleis knows it too, and picked up quickly that Cadsuane knows it. So perhaps it is some historical city secret passed on to the ruler (and maybe not the entire Counsel).

6. The last chapter was crazy! Rand seems to have done the impossible and cleansed the taint. We got tons of different viewpoints and characters. Along with plenty of interesting revelations. What stuck out to you? What surprised you? How will a clean saidin change things?

Oh yes, that was a crazy chapter! I got a little muddled, to be honest. Two things stuck out for me. 1) Handling that much Saidin/Saidar as a pair was basically orgasmic. So happy times for all involved in this feat. 2) While the cleansing took lots, and lots of power, it was basically straight forward and over pretty quickly. I could compare this to another bodily function, but I know fans might be offended. So, let you guess on that one.

How will things change? Well, if Rand is still moody and a touch insane, then we know it is all him. So folks can feel free to slap him instead of coddle him. Also, I think we will see a shift in the Black Tower. If Mazrim Taim continues to poison the ‘unhinged’ then I expect Rand to do something about it, or at least switch his trust to Logain and let Logain go deal with it. Additionally, I hope that the common populace and the lady Channelers will start to trust the Saidin wielders, though this might be really hard. There are generations of stories and fables and bad limericks warning people to fear saidin and to behead anyone using it. So, huge hurdle to get over.

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

Other Tidbits

Mat’s little goodbye to Tylin was far more civil than I expected. And she kept a pretty level head with her insisting that he tie her up.

With Suroth back, I worry that Beslan’s distraction might not be enough!

Sue was so right! Like 1-2 books back when she guessed that Cadsuane’s hair ornaments were angreal. Very cool!

Rand doesn’t like being boxed, and I can’t blame him. Still, this was quite different than the Aes Sedai who beat him daily and folded him into trunk. I hope he recovers far more quickly.

Holy Hell! It is Lanfear, as we all guessed. And she is pissed!

 

Winter's Heart Read Along Part VI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Tidbits

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

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

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

Mat has developed an unhealthy liking for lace.

 

Winter's Heart Read Along Part V

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Tidbits

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

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

The Path of Daggers Read Along Part VI

PathOfDaggersBannerHere we are at the final week of The Path of Daggers, but don’t worry, we’ll be continuing with Book 9, Winter’s Heart, next week. Anyone is welcome to join us, so check out the schedule over HERE.

This week, Sue from Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers is our host. Don’t forget to check out Liesel from Musings on Fantasia. Our walking WoT encyclopedia, Eivind, can be found in the comments at Sue’s.

This week we covered Chapters 27-End. Spoilers run free and in their birthday suits below!

1. The Sea Folk have made a Bargain with Rand. Do you agree with him that it is not as restricting as it might seem? Were you impressed with his scheming way of immediately seeing a way to their demands to reduce their impact?

I have been pondering this one all night. I have obviously missed something. I recall that there is a deal to allow the Sea Folk a port in every coastal/big river city and that they actually are to be given a small slice of each city. But that was way earlier in the book, right? Hmm….was this is passing before Rand’s rooms exploded?

2. I honestly thought that Cadsuane had met her end and that Rand was going to burn her into a tiny, crispy pile of ashes. Knowing what we do about her intentions, were you surprised by how she dealt with him? Are you worried about his anger management issues?

I am glad that Cadsuane will be serving as Rand’s adviser and also glad that she won’t be groveling when she does so. Rand already has enough people groveling at him (those who do so willingly and those who are forced to). This week, Cadsuane was wearing the Big Brass Balls (in her brazier of course!).

Of course we’re all worried about Rand’s anger management issues, but we also know that he hasn’t lost all self-control (remember that beating he took at the beginning of this section? He totally could have annihilated all those Aiel Maidens if he had wanted to).

3. The Super Girls have a murderer in their midst. This was a total shock to me, but did you see it coming? Do you have any suggestions for the murderer’s identity and the reason behind the deaths?

Halima is still with them, right? In many ways, this death of Ipsan, a Darkfriend, makes a lot of sense with Halima, a Forsaken in disguise, hanging around. Still, this was pretty brutal. Not only were Ipsan and her keeper-of-the-day slipped some paralyzing poison which would eventually kill them, but then they were slaughtered on top of it. I would say that whoever the murderer is, they have some anger management issues. And the list of suspects isn’t limited to Halima. We know that Moridin can come and go as he likes. Plus if Ipsan was the only Drakfreind in Egwene’s army, I will eat my man’s shorts. (He won’t be happy about that as he gets quite attached to his underwear).

4. We witness the rather unpleasant demise of Jaichim Carridin and Falion Bhoda being terrified into submission. Any thoughts on Lady Shiaine and her activities? Is anyone else seriously creeped out by Daved Hanlon and his unpleasant memories?

Daved seems to be the kind of mercenary that revels in his work, specifically the rape and pillage kind of work. And Lady Shiaine asks him if he has ever put hands on a queen before. That limits the list a bit. Perhaps the Darkfriends are trying to recapture Morgase, or they want Elayne taken out. Those would be the first 2 I would worry about. Of course there are other queens. Still, I am not sure what else Daved can do besides fantasy and go for easy targets. Perhaps he looks helpful or harmless or charming and this lets him get hired on and then later, grasp an opportunity.

5. It would seem that there are some rogue Asha’man. I think that Dashiva has always seemed rather ‘off’, but were you surprised that they attacked Rand so openly? Do you think that this will postpone any chance of him ‘visiting’ Elayne in the near future?

Yeah, this attack seemed to lack  planning and forethought. Still, if Rand had not made off to go deal with matters at the drop of a hat, it might just have worked. You can’t distrust everyone.

Min needs to toss the boy through a portal into Elayne’s arms. This needs must be for 2 reasons: 1) They need to have an argument about Rand ‘giving’ her the throne; 2) They need to play kissy face.

And, yes, Rand is giving her the throne. He held it long enough for her, kept it fresh and unsoiled, protected it with blood, cussing, and warriors. She was off playing circus performer and savior of the weather. In this matter, I think Elayne is being childish. I hope she grows up a tad and takes note of how hard it is to hold a crown in waiting for someone else, someone who rather be doing highwire acts.

6. The aftermath of the attack was rather strange and I was seriously disturbed by Rand’s murder of Fedwin Morr. Why did he suddenly have the mind of a child and why did Rand kill him? Did Taim’s appearance make you more or less suspicious of him?

I am not sure how Fedwin got the mind of a child. I am guessing that someone’s use of the Power burned his mind – but I don’t know if that was his use or the close proximate use of the Power by another spilling over onto Fedwin.

As Min noted, she had to use all her skills to convince him to play with the wooden blocks instead of taking stones out of the castle walls to play with. I think Rand felt that he had to let Fewin go for 2 reasons – that it was a mercy to release him from a damaged mind and also he was now an unpredictable child with the powers of a full Channeler and could in a temper or in play do real harm to so many people. Still, I wonder why they couldn’t keep them sedated while they check around with the Healers (of all varieties) to see if anything could be done. That would have been less poignant though.

OK, so a few week’s back I popped onto WoT Wiki or some basic info. I was just looking for a list to jar my memory and I accidentally came across a spoiler about Taim. I have been on the fence about him, feeling he is an arrogant sot, but not sure if he is evil or good. Now that I have this blasted spoiler in my head, I know which he is. But I will not give anything away. If I didn’t have that spoiler, I would suspect Taim more because of the Asha’men attack, but I wouldn’t necessarily be convinced. Stranger coincidences have occurred. For instance, for a while, I was very suspicious of Bashere, but of late he has proved himself a true friend and a good guy.

7. The last ‘real’ chapter was packed with “Argh!” moments! Do you think that Masema might give himself a coronary if Perrin aggravates him enough? Did Berelain escape to warn Perrin about the Shaido taking Faile? Why on Earth did we have to stop just as the rebels arrived at Tar Valon??????

Haha! Yes, I do hope that Masema simply undoes himself with some embolism or such. What a hard ass! I would like Perrin to show him a little more disrespect to push him over the edge.

I hope Berelain escaped and I think she will warn whoever she bumps into first. Afterall, it doesn’t necessarily have to be Perrin. Rand or Mat or Birgitte or Nynaeve will do. Really, any of our main good guys.

Next book should have a ton of goodness for us, since the ‘rebels’ have reached Tar Valon. Shit is going down!

Extra Tidbits

I found it very touching that 1) The Maidens were pissed enough at Rand to give him a good beating (but also avoid his lingering injuries); 2) That Rand did not turn them into puddles of goo and agreed with the beating; and 3) That Min tried to protect him instead of joining in. Of course, this beating was followed by a rather public bath, which I found amusing and also may have served as a kind of punishment too.

I think these books are getting progressively a little darker each time and more adult. What does it say that I am enjoying this series more and more as it matures?

I have to admit that I have missed some people this book – Mat and Loial are the two main ones. Looking forward to seeing where their storylines sit.

A Crown of Swords Read Along Part VII

WOT 7 BannerWelcome back everyone! This week I am the host but you can catch my co-conspirators over at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers and don’t miss Liesel’s Musing on Fantasia. Eivind, our awesome commenter will be below in the comments.

This week we covered Chapters 31-37. Spoilers Below!!!

1) We finally have Nynaeve and Lan reunited. What did you think of the circumstances of their  fateful meeting? Will Lan ever be whole?

It was nice that there was limited clothing. 🙂

OK, for reals. It’s great that Nynaeve finally broke through her power block and therefore was able to spruce up for Lan upon being dragged to shore. I also like that both of them participated in the ‘rescue’ and that neither was fully dependent on the other. Lan was practical in pointing out the recent balefire-ness and getting the two of them out of sight and moving again. He also was very, very brave to tell Nynaeve about Mierella (spelling?).

As to Lan ever being whole, I am not sure. I am sure Nynaeve’s absolute insistence in marriage and a permanent bond ( of more than one type) will help him, but I think he will always have some shadow on this heart and soul.

2) Reanna Corly reveals the number of the Kin to Elayne after being told the Tower will accept any woman who can channel even the teensiest bit. 1,783 Kin. What do you think the ramifications of this will be?

A channeling army of a magnificence that has never before been seen!

But before we can get anywhere near organized enough to do that, we first have to ask all those Aes Sedai who have their heads of their asses about Wilders to please unstick themselves and mature a little bit. Then there is training and organization….ugh… what a chore. If we believe the bad guys to be uncoordinated, the good guys are a close second.

Eventually, after long painful bouts of Aes Sedai staring one another down and proving who’s will is stronger, again and again, we will have an awesome Channeler Army.

3) Corvarla returns to the White Tower and Elaida, with Alviarin in the room, finally learns of Rand’s escape. What is driving Alviarin to blackmail Elaida? What do you think Elaida will ultimately do in response?

Alviarin wants power. She can see Elaida making mistakes out of pride. I don’t think I like Alviarin, but she had Elaida issue the orders to start protecting the Tower from Egwene’s army. Alviarin isn’t an idiot. I’m not too sure why she targeted first the two with angreal, but then also two others to be rewarded. Did she want to discredit all four? Where the angreal two simply convenient? And she has been withholding news & info from Elaida, which is risky – but paid off in this instance.

As for Elaida, she’s already gone quietly to what’s her name to have her start a quiet investigation. Elaida is hoping this investigation will end with Alviarin discredited, Stilled, or dead. But what’s her name is thinking Black Ajah and probably won’t end her investigation the way Elaida is hoping.

Which means Elaida may well be forced to face Alviarin head on. Lots of flashy Aes Sedai power or a simple dagger to the heart of poison in the tea? I bet Elaida could do poison in the tea, and then claim she narrowly missed be poisoned too and make it look like the Tower has an assassin loose somewhere in it’s dark heart.

But ultimately, I expect Elaida to end up dead. Still plenty of the series for that to happen in. It’s on my WoT Wish List, actually. 🙂

4) So Min and Rand FINALLY talk about their night together. Amused? Irritated?

Haha! I soooooo wanted to smack Rand for his assumptions that Min had nothing to do with that sexual escapade. I am so glad Min gave him a decent thump, forcing him into a chair, and then flashed a dagger or two. Min was so right to point out that Rand was acting like Min and her wants and desires didn’t matter, as if he made all the decisions and moves on his own. Dork.

I am glad Min then proceeded to put Rand through a semi-public bath. 😉

5) Rand finally deigns to visit the Atha’an Miere and he takes along Min, and a few ‘tame’ Aes Sedai (Merana & Rafela). What did you make of the negotiations?

Quite frankly, I found this section to be a little dissatisfactory. I know we have heard previously that the Pattern will sometimes force something, no matter how a person fights against it. In this case, it seems that it was used a little too strongly, making it to easy. I guess we need the plot to go this direction, but it seemed a lazy way to do it.

That said, I thought it was very realistic that Rand started to freak out a bit in that small cabin. And it was totally in keeping with his personality to have little patience for haggling with the Sea Folk, if only for forms sake.

6) Once again, Rand feels the need to disappear without telling the Aiel. And into the woods he and Min go….where they run into the head of the rebels, Lady Caraline Damodred. Why do you think Lady Caraline lied about his identity? Do you think that this whole segment was the Pattern pushing Rand along?

I think this was partly the Pattern having it’s way with all involved and partly Lady Caraline wanting to see what the dreaded Lord Dragon wanted. I really liked that Lady Caraline was not all reactionary to stumbling across the Dragon Reborn while sport hunting. I am sure she had lots of questions and wanted to play out the venture a bit to see what knowledge she could gain.

Of course, she was part of the party that escorted a mortally wounded Rand back to the palace and I have to wonder if she is locked up….or was she overlooked and let go?

7) And then the tentacular fog disrupts the hunting feast and sword play. Where do you think this came from? Cadsuane got some good page time in this section. Did your opinion of her change?

I think the tentacular fog is related to Padan Fain who we saw in the feast tent just prior to the fog disrupting things. I wonder if that is what the Pattern pushed Rand to the woods for – to flush out Fain? Or was it to disrupt the rebels? Still unsure as to why the Pattern needed Rand there, and to take such a dreadful wound from Fain.

As for Cadsuane, she really shined in this section. She took charge, kept people alive, gave Rand a good slap to break him out of his Balefire frenzy, and commandeered a turnip cart. I especially liked that she listened to Min’s advice about where to take Rand and why. I am sure hearing of Rand’s recent torture gave her a deeper knowledge of his personality and current distrust of Aes Sedai.

8) Rand manages to become mortally wounded and it takes an Asha’man to heal him. Do you see a future for Flinn and Samitsu (the Aes Sedai who felt the need to pick his brain afterwards)?

I really liked this scene, even though Rand is not fairing too well. Samitsu initially showed some great fear of the Asha’men in general – men channeling! The horror! But then her need for info, her fascination with male power being used to heal, over came her fear. Could be the start of a collaboration…and knowing Robert Jordan, a romance.

Other Tidbits:

Reanna is 400+!!!! I wonder how Cadsuane compares, and yes, I would ask. Tis silly to be touchy about one’s age as not everyone makes it to old age.

If Corvarla is punished harshly for reporting that Rand escaped, it is not going to encourage the rest of the Tower Aes Sedai to be honest about set backs and failures. Elaida is an idiot.

Now some of Rand’s tame Aes Sedai know Min is the one who seems images surrounding people. I wonder if they will poke and prod her on this or somehow use it against her?

Rand did this whole section on an empty belly! He’s been moping for like 4 days, has his little spat with Min, gets his ass handed to him, has  a bath, and then decides to fix the world’s wrongs all in an afternoon – without lunch! No wonder he wasn’t performing at his finest.

A Crown of Swords Read Along Part V

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

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

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

Other Tidbits:

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

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

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