Winter's Heart Read Along Part III

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or something like that. 😉

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

Other Tidbits

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

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

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

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

Winter's Heart Read Along Part II

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

This week, I am our host this week. Eivind, our commenter with an encyclopediac 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 and Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia for non-spoilery fan art.

This week we covered Chapters 3-7. Spoilers are having a party below!

1) What did everyone make of the Shaido’s treatment of Faile, Maighdin, Alliandre, Bain, Chiad, Lacile, and Arrela during the march through the snow? Harsh? As expected?

At first, this made sense. It is much, much harder for captives to get all uppity and host ideas of escaping if they are trussed up naked and forced to march through the snow. But then things got a little weird. We had Faile being carried over Rolan’s shoulder and repeatedly slapped on the ass – and her deepest thoughts liking it because it kept her awake (nudge, nudge, wink, wink). We had two of the ladies thrown naked into the snow and switched, leaving red stripes on creamy white buttocks. Uh…..yeah. Totally the wet dream of 13-30 year old males. If we had a few males captives that received the same treatment, I could have lent this scene more credence. As it stands, I think it was written to appeal to a certain segment of the fans.

Why don’t we take a moment and picture some of the guys naked, trussed, and marching through the snow. They have learned to ignore their nudity and are just focused on surviving. But now they are faltering. Do the Shaido sling them over their shoulders and carry them the rest of the way? Do the men balk at it? Do they scream and contort as they get switched? Do they learn to like the slaps on the ass because it helps keep them awake?  Hmm…..Well, I know who I pictured for this scene. Who did you picture? 😉

2) Faile and crew meet the Shaido Wise Ones (Therava & Someryn) and also the Aes Sedai Galina. What do you think of the Wise Ones speaking so openly of Sevanna’s orders? Will Galina be of any help to Faile?

I was a bit surprised that the Wise Ones were so openly disparaging Sevanna’s plans to take so many captives. I wonder if this is a reflection of the huge level of dissent among the troops, or is it a reflection of Aiel culture – meaning that the Aiel don’t expect gaishan to make anything of their comments, good or bad, about the leadership. It’s build into the Aiel culture that the gaishan are completely subservient, so they might feel 100% comfortable discussing nearly anything around them.

Or they might be ready to gut Sevanna themselves.

If Galina does help Faile and crew, I expect it will come at a high price. I do have to say I am a little concerned that Faile and crew will botch any escape attempt and have to pay a steep price for it. Galina knows this and I don’t think she will lightly risk her hide to help Faile (even if Galina stayed behind).

3) It seems that Berelain is taking advantage of Faile’s absence and Perrin’s fatigue. Where do you think her flirtations will take her? Given the chance, what would you do with her at this point?

In general, I don’t agree with hitting people in the face (unless it is a bit of slap to bring them out of some hysteria or to keep them from sticking a knife in someone you care about), but I may just make an exception in Berelain’s case. And I think Perrin should be the first allowed to smack her.

As to what it will get her? I am not sure what she is playing for. Is it simple lust? Does she think that Perrin has lands and armies to offer Berelain and her country? She would have a stronger alliance in Faile if only she could make friends with her, but I can’t see that happening after this last bout of stupidity. Perrin isn’t going to want to bed her, even if she manages to break him and Faile apart.

Perhaps the Aes Sedai could lend her a smooth white rod? 😉

4) They are on the hunt! Talanvor left on his own to pursue the Shaido hours ahead of Perrin and crew. Perrin had to chastise the Cha Faile for their spying activities. The Asha’men want to lead the charge. Add to that, Masema offering to assist. Will Perrin’s anger explode? How can this hunt possibly be derailed?

So many possibilities! For entertainment’s sake, let’s say Talanvor finds the Shaido first, but decides to try to rescue the ladies all on his own instead of heading back and getting reinforcements. So he ends up captured and forced to walk naked in the snow, trussed in his own pants. Maybe he will even get switched or carried like a sack of grain. We can only hope, as we have heard how handsome he is.

I expect the Cha Faile will totally forget they promised to follow Perrin’s orders as soon as they catch sight of the Shaido. They are not thoroughly trained as warriors, not like the Aiel, and I expect plenty of blundering into the Shaido, ending in them being captured too. Meanwhile, the Asha’men are teleporting all over the area scouting for the Shaido. They may have some success and it would be interesting if one or two of them actually teleported directly into the Shaido camp. They may even kill a few Shaido before teleporting out or being killed. This should stir the pot.

Then we got Masema and crew who are fanatical idiots. I am sure they will find some reason to hate the Shaido and therefore, want to eradicate them from the face of Randland (for the good of the Dragon Reborn, may the light illumine his name for all eternity!). At this point, I think Perrin should lead a group of his Aiel into the fray and quietly and quickly collect all the people they want left alive and remove them to some hilltop to watch the fracas.

5) The men escorting Naean and Elenia were ambushed and killed outside Caemlyn. What do you think this portends? Will Elayne be able to unite the houses behind her or is this move the first of several by houses against her? Should the ladies be more concerned about defenses instead of clothing?

It didn’t sound like Naean and Elenia were killed, so I am guessing they were either freed and helped away or captured for whatever info they can give on Elayne and the current state of Caemlyn. Is Elenia one of those ladies who came on to Rand and then had to explain to him how she is not related (at least not even closely) to Elayne?

Anyway, sounds like someone wanted these two free of Elayne – and probably so that they can go against Elayne. I know Elayne is concerned that not all the house are for her, so I am expecting at the least some major political pushing and shoving, and at worst some kind of rebellion, even civil war. Knowing that we still have so many books, I am leaning towards the later.

And, yeah, if I can be concerned over the possibility of civil war, than Elayne can too….which means a focus on defenses is needed instead of forcing her most trusted friends (and now guards) into ‘proper’ attire.

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

Other Tidbits

Is Someryn (one of Sevanna’s Wise Ones) the one with the hawk nose? Is this suppose to be the hawk that Min sees around Perrin? Is she and Faile going to hook up and become the best of friends?

Haha! When master Gil was going on about Perrin sampling from too many dishes and Perrin pointed out that he had not even had breakfast, I had to laugh. Giggling over that aside, I was a little sad at how easily people believed Perrin had been dabbling in Berelain, even against his protests.

That short scene with Perrin as a wolf was great. Really enjoyed the switch from wolf-Perrin to groggy, confused, angry, naked Perrin.

Winter's Heart Read Along Part I

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Tidbits

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

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

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

The Path of Daggers Read Along Part IV

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

This week, I am you host. Our walking WoT encyclopedia, Eivind, can be found in the comments. Make sure to also check out Sue from Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers and Liesel from Musings on Fantasia.

This week we covered Chapters 16-21. Spoilers run free and in their birthday suits below!

1) Egwene has shown the Salidar Aes Sedai some of her strength. Do you think they will fall into line now or continue to push for power of their own? If you could step into Egwene’s shoes for a few minutes, how would you handle some of the more ‘uppity’ Aes Sedai?

I totally expect for the some of the stronger personalities to keep pushing Egwene. Actually, I am kind of looking forward to it as that means Egwene will have to put them down and I expect that to be highly amusing. So far, Egwene has mostly played by the rules but I expect her to come to a point where she needs to break, change, or bend some significant rules, and in public. Of course, she will need to make the Aes Sedai aware of her strengths when she does this and I am expecting that to be quite awesome.

If I were in her shoes, it would be terribly tempting to smack certain Aes Sedai around. Doesn’t make it right. But still very tempting. Ok, maybe I would do it. Can I possess Egwene’s body for just a few minutes while I smack Romanda’s and Lilaine’s heads together? Or perhaps I can lock them in a very small closet together for a day or two.

2) Siuan has constant advice for Egwene, telling her the Secret Histories of other Amyrlin Seats. Do you think the irritation of her constant advice will outweigh the knowledge she is passing on and Egwene will snap and tell Lord Brynne of Siuan’s affections? Or do you want to know more of the Secret Histories?

Well of course I want to know more about the Secret Histories….but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want Siuan and Brynne to finally come to terms with their burning and adolescent love either. Maybe I can have both? Surely Siuan would eventually 1) get over her anger of Egwene (or myself) telling Brynne of her crush and 2) would eventually need to come up for air from kissing Brynne that she could continue the Secret Histories lessons.

I was very taken with the idea of the Secret Histories. I wonder how many long term rulerships through out history have had something similar that very few have ever been privilege to. While fascinating to me, who will likely only ever rule over the home washing machines, I can see how any rulership would have to closely weigh the pros and cons of having any Secret Histories, whether written or oral. What if the wrong people, like the public, got a hold of them?!?

3) Roedran Almaric do Arreloa a’Naloy has a plan to use the Band to unite the Murandian nobles behind him. Do you think it is that simple and will go so easily? Should Talmanes listen to his inner heart and go fetch Mat instead?

I don’t think things will go so easily. Either the fates won’t allow such simplicity to exist…..or Roedran is smarter than he looks and is planning to use the Band for something more. I can see how things may very well get out of hand. It is human nature to not want to put their toys away without playing with them once they got them out of storage. Basically, a large united armed force is going to want to tussle with another large armed force before going home.

Sooner or later, Talmanes is going to be pulled by the ta’varen and will head towards Mat. Personally, I vote he does so right now and screw any plans with Murandy. And screw Egwene’s orders too. But, I doubt things will fall out that way. Instead, I expect things to get messy with Murandy, and Talmanes will need to flee with what he can pull together of the Band, and why not flee towards Mat? We all know he needs assistance due to how things were left last book.

4) War on Elaida has finally been declared and Egwene plans to have the Salidar Aes Sedai and their warriors Travel in one month. What could possibly go wrong with this plan?

hehe….So much could go wrong with this. First, Egwene has given all the idiots surrounding her one month to raise any and all possible objections and subtle obstacles. Secondly, she has also given the evil ones among her group time to muck things up. Sigh……Plenty of entertainment for me (from a reader’s perspective) but not so good for our heroine.

Romanda and Lilaine are going to be tarts about the whole affair. Halima has her own agenda of course, so I expect Egwene’s headaches to intensify. This also gives any nearby nobles with any differing plans or ulterior motives time to mess with Egwene’s plans. Yes….all sorts of problems might very well crop up in the next month.

5) Elayne has been playing with the angreals. In fact, she was playing with a rod when something happened. No one will tell her what happened, though everyone grins when it is mentioned. What do you think that angreal is and what do you think Elayne did and why can’t she recall?

The rod angreal is described as wrist thick, a foot long, and smooth like stone. Now the immature imp in me want sot imply that Elayne had some kind of personal affair with this rod….but I expect that is unlikely. From the way everyone grins, it was apparently highly amusing whatever it did. Yet they won’t tell her, so this means it was either unladylike for a royal lady or outright embarrassing no matter who you are. I am going to say that this either grants one the ability to cuss in any language or causes one the extreme need to dance naked before a crowd. 🙂

6) Narishma fetched something for Rand. What do you think it is? Do you think Rand was a little harsh with Narishma? What would Lews Therin say to all this?

Hmm… OK, I know that I am not the smartest of the batch in this read along. I am not good at guessing such things. I am not sure what Narishma fetched nor why Rand needs it kept such a secret. Is it a surprise that he and he alone wants to unveil at the correct moment to have the most impact? Or is it something for his personal use and he doesn’t want that revealed for fear of whatever weakness that may tell his enemies about?

We know that it is not a large item as it was easily carried. Perhaps some symbolic weapon? Maybe Rand had some new standard or scepter made that symbolizes his rule over more than Illian and Andor? Some sort of rulership symbol that puts his sign above all others in Randland?

Of course Rand was harsh with Narishma and I don’t like that side of him. But as I don’t know what the object is, perhaps it is warranted (depending on the importance of the item). I don’t think Lews Therin would hesitate to kill Narishma – he would kill to keep the secret instead of asking, cajoling, demanding, or threatening. Sick bastard.

Extra Tidbits

Egwene’s wonky chair had me in giggles. There is nothing like falling on your ass due to furniture malfunction to tarnish one’s dignity.

It’s nice that the Aes Sedai got all prettied up for their meeting with the nobles. Light help them if they actually looked like they had been roughing it in winter on the road.

If Elayne has such a reaction to such a mild-looking angreal, I can’t wait for Rand to start going through the male angreal. 🙂

The Path of Daggers Read Along Part III

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

This week, our walking WoT encyclopedia, Eivind, is our host. You can catch his answers in the comments. Make sure to also check out Sue from Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers and Liesel from Musings on Fantasia.

This week we covered Chapters 10-15. Spoilers run free and in their birthday suits below!

1. Winter is finally here, and Perrin gets a whole country from Santa, even if it’s a small and war-torn one. What a jolly mix of unwilling rulers, weak rulers, strong rulers, sexy rulers and ex-rulers… never mind the Prophet! What will this look like when Perrin gets back to Rand, whenever that could be?

Perrin is inadvertently gathering his little collection of followers. Potentially, this could exacerbate any kind of falling out Rand and Perrin could have in the future. There is already some disagreement over how the Aes Sedai (given over to the Aiel) have been treated. Personally, I think Egwene needs to give Perrin bat to his ears as she had to go through much of the same as the Aes Sedai. The Aiel are tough on everyone, not just obnoxious Aes Sedai.

Others may also start to encourage Perrin to break from the Dragon Reborn, or even challenge him. So, yeah, lots of potential for grief and consternation.

2. Moridin appears to be marshaling the efforts of the dark side. Do you think they’ll be more successful now that they’re under unified leadership? Now that Cyndane is here, I challenge you all to guess the identities of her and Moridin. Are you expecting any more forsaken to show up?

Oh, I suck at these. I need some rhyme or little song to remember all the Forsaken. But it would probably be wrong to put the Forsaken names to some child’s sing-song rhyme.

Arghhhhhh!!!! OK, I just went over to the Wheel of Time Wiki to look for a simple list of the Forsaken to help jog my memory and bumped into a TON of BIG spoilers for later in the series. Fuck, I hate doing that.

So, It is my memory of the Forsaken and this question. Sammael is supposedly dead and not coming back. Same with Asmodean. Lanfear is MIA and assumed dead by everyone but the readers. I guess Cyndane could be Lanfear redone. Graendal didn’t seem to have any regard for her until she saw that Moghedien was deferring to her.

I don’t really have a guess for Moridin. Well, I don’t have a good educated guess. I have some crappy guesses. Perhaps he is an Asha’man hidden at the Black Tower, poised to strike down the idiot good side at the best moment. He isn’t the laughing Myrrdraal that has so much say, being the walking, talking mouthpiece of the Dark One.

And, yes, I expect Forsaken to keep being regurgitated back into the world during the second half of the series. And can Dark Friends be elevated to Forsaken?

3. The long-awaited meeting between Cadsuane and Sorilea took place. Was it everything you hoped for? What’s your opinion on their common quest?

This was awesome! And I love how they traded some skills as a sign of respect and trust. Quite nice. And yes, I am pleased that they both seem to be united in keeping Rand sane by reminding him he is human.

Now, I want to see them both dogpile him and have a tickle fight with him – to the point where he is laughing and crying at the same time, and perhaps on the brink of peeing his pants. That would nice. Too much to ask for?

4. The latest status report from the Black Tower reveals a good number of deserters, madmen and losses to accidents. Do you feel like Rand has control of the situation? He reveals that he’s thinking about cleansing Saidin, that he asked the Aelfinn about it but doesn’t understand their answer. Do you expect him to be able to, and if so how? Could this help the Black Tower situation somehow?

Wow! This is a messed up situation. Rand needs to step in and have a good hard look himself. I can agree with letting the mad go easily in their sleep, but the heads on spikes thing is a bit much. And why isn’t he asking why people continue to desert even after the heads on spikes policy became a thing? I smell poor management that is too heavy handed….and perhaps enjoys bringing suffering to others.

Since Book 1, I have guessed that Rand would need to cleanse Saidin at some point. But, frankly, I think this will be done in the final book – and it might be more of side effect of defeating the Dark One. It’s cool he is thinking about it now, and starting to try to figure out how to make that happen. After all, none of us really want to see Rand go insane. Well, not unless his women drive him to it. 😉

So, with that in mind, I expect that once Rand saves the world, there will be some version of the Black Tower at the end and yes, having a clean power source would help them. In fact, the Aes Sedai might just deign to bed the Asha’men and live in harmony, etc.

5. Egwene is back, and she has a plan involving the Andoran border defense force somehow. Any guesses as to what’s on her mind?

Hmm…. well, I didn’t really give this much thought at the time. I’m trying to recall how the Andorans fight – knights? archers? Hmm… Maybe she plans to invoke Elayne’s name to get assistance from Andor in gaining a free path to the White Tower? But it would probably go better if Elayne put in a personal appearance.

Then of course there are the Seanchan. I know Egwene is going to want to kick their asses. So maybe she will arrange for the two forces (Seanchan and Andoran border defense) to meet. Hmm….maybe she can arrange for the White Tower to meet the Seanchan and these two forces can strike away at each other, whittling down their forces, making it that much easier for Egwene to come in and assume control.

So, obviously I have no clue. But I certainly look forward to finding out what Egwene has planned.

6. Galina is forced to swear obedience on an oath rod, and a few chapters later we see Egwene and Siuan debate the relevance of the oaths for Aes Sedai (which is not to lie, not to make weapons, and not to use the power as a weapon). If I’m not mistaken it’s the first time we see how it works (it’s physically impossible for Galina to disobey). What are your thoughts on this?

I think we have been told that the oath rods were originally made to force obedience from criminal elements, right? In that sense, it is probably more humane that other punishments, and with better results. However, the original purpose seems to be long outdated and twisted. No wonder the Aes Sedai as a whole are always trying to find a way to twist things, get out of promises, and appear to agree to things when in fact they don’t. If the Aes Sedai spent as much as they do on this twisting everything as on trying to be decent people, then I bet far more would get done.

Sevaana definitely doesn’t need an oath rod sworn follower who hates her guts and wants to skin her alive. Oh, wait, maybe Sevaana does. 🙂 But, in general, free followers are the way to go, not forced.

And Egwene is right in that promising to only fight when forced to it, in defense, ties their hands immensely. They are trying to save the world; I think they need every advantage they can get and this includes the ability to fire first when circumstances warrant it.
Like spotting Graendel or Moghedien from a distance.

Extra Tidbits

Perrin was trying so hard to be forthright and a gentleman to Queen Alliander. And Faile managed to basically dismiss Perrin before he messed it all up with too much honesty.

Who was the young Asha’man that was so concerned reporting to Rand about what he saw in Ebou Dar? He said that Saidin felt strange, that it was trying to control him, etc. Perhaps the Bowl of the Winds is a wee bit more dangerous than any of the ladies know?

It certainly is nice to see Sevaana losing some control over her entourage. Very satisfying.

The Path of Daggers Read Along Part II

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Extra Tidbits

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

Small little tear for the dead horses. RIP Lioness.

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

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

The Path of Daggers Read Along Part I

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Extra Tidbits

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

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

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

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

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

A Crown of Swords Read Along Part VIII

WOT 7 BannerWelcome back everyone! This week Eivind, our awesome commenter, is the host and you can catch him in the comments. You can catch my co-conspirators over at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers and Liesel’s Musing on Fantasia.

This week we covered Chapters 38-End. Spoilers Below!!!

1. In the Rahad we get a bit of a jumble as Ispan and Falion attack downstairs while the gholam cleaned up upstairs. With so many to choose from, who is ultimately behind this mess? Could the two be coordinated attacks or are they unrelated? Were you surprised that Joline and Teslyn (apparently) didn’t interfere (yet)?

Yeah, that fight was a bit of a jumble. I liked that Ispan and Falion were so arrogant and thought it would be so easy. But with the gholam, the good guys nearly lost the day. In reading it, I did not think the two were coordinated attacks. More, this felt like the Super Girls walking into yet another trap and Mat’s luck played a big role in getting them all out safely.

I think this might be yet another one of those little events were we don’t know who ultimately is behind it. I think we can say Ipsan and Falion were out to capture one or more of the Super Girls to hand over to Moghedien. As for the gholam, I am not sure we will know who is directing the beast-man thing for a book or more (or ever). He seems like a pretty complex thing, so I would guess that only a Forsaken (or higher) could create him.

2. The gholam: Immune to the Power and to blades, with superhuman strength and rubber man abilities, only known weakness is Mat’s medallion. What are your thoughts on this latest addition to the Shadow’s arsenal? How could this creature possibly be defeated? Will it try to avoid Mat and cause mayhem somewhere else or does it maybe have a desire for revenge?

Fuck!

Yeah, that was my first thought about the gholam. The good guys already have a shit list of things to take care of before the end of days or whatever comes knocking on their doors and now they have to add this thing to it? Is there more than one? Can it replicate itself?

Sooner or later, one of the good guys will have to defeat it, or one of the bad guys will get angry with it and destroy it. I am guessing it may have to be Mat who destroys it, since he has this medallion thingy. Or maybe, Elayne will be able to replicate the medallion, or certain aspects of it, and that would at least protect certain trap-prone members of the Good Guy Team.

The gholam was definitely committed to the fight, but will it seek revenge? I am not sure. While it had independent thought and motive for the fight while it was going on, does it have such outside of a fight? I can’t say yet.

3. It seems Elayne and Nynaeve are now left heading a jolly mix of Aes Sedai, Kinswomen and Sea Folk channelers (and Lan… poor guy), heading for a farm not far out of Ebou Dar. With the Seanchan invasion, there is no turning back, but do they even know? Can they escape? Where do they even go? How about the nearly 2000 kinswomen who are about to be seized by the Seanchan?

OK. I am not a fan of the Seanchan. Who is? They are the bad guys from across the sea. But I mean, I have never really clicked with their culture, their motivation, etc. in the plot.

With that said, I am really, really hoping that they get their asses handed to them early next book. I think Nynaeve and Elayne need to mobilize the Kinswomen, give them a minimum of training and a lot of motivation (perhaps a wee demo of an a’dam) and then set them upon the Seanchan. Might even make me feel a little sorry for the Seanchan.

But knowing this series, they will probably go to the farm, have a long rambling way to get there full of traps and other dangers. Perhaps they will get the Sea Folk to help them with the Windy Bowl, and then, finally, they will blow the Seanchan navy out of the water, literally. Ha!

4. With all the girls gone, Mat and the men are stuck in Ebou Dar with uncertain fate as the “storm” breaks, and the dice stop rolling in the same moment. Please speculate here on Mat’s future and the reasons why he must stay behind.

Well, we know that Mat is Ta’veren and he also has these dice that he has learned to listen to. So perhaps he has to stay because he can be guided by the Pattern. Also, he has the medallion and the Seanchan can’t touch him with their captive channelers. So this puts him in a unique position to be able to push back. Still, he is just one man and can still be harmed by blades, arrows, and clubs. I am quite curious to see what mat’s plot line does next.

5. Sammael sees fit to trick the Shaido into scattering themselves over a large area roughly in Ghaeldan, Altara and Illian, but not before giving them an Oath Rod! Incidentally this is where almost all of our heroes are at the moment. What do you predict for them and this trio of distasteful women (Sevanna, Therava, Galina)? Which storyline could they mess up next?

I need to be educated here. What does the Oath Rod do? My understanding is that the Oath Rod is really just for binding oaths, right? So, can the oath be forced or does the Rod only recognize freely given oaths? Can Sevanna and crew force people to kneel at spear point and say an oath over the Oath Rod and have it be binding?

Rand and Min are all in Illian (well, Rand having returned from Shadar Logoth). And Elayne and Nynaeve and Mat are all near Altara being in Ebou Dar or just outside it. I know Sevanna wants Rand in all the ways that are wrong. Perhaps she thinks she can force him into obedience with the Oath Rod and that would make him her first target.

And perhaps Min will place her swift knives in Sevanna’s organs in alphabetical order. Just a thought.

6. Rand wastes no time after waking and promptly brings the hammer down on Illian while Sammael thinks he’s out cold. Do you agree with this gambit? How would you rate this attack compared to the last time Rand stormed a forsaken’s lair (Rahvin)? What do you think about Sammael’s decision to retreat to Shadar Logoth?

Again, Rand didn’t take the time to have a snack before running outside to play. The boy will tire himself out, maybe even faint, if he is not careful.

Sammael was surprised, but I found this attack to be rather vague (see answers to next two questions). It makes sense that Sammael retreated to Shadar Logoth, a stronghold of evil and dark deeds. The last question kind of touches on this, but I will go on here.

The ‘death’ of Sammael was very anticlimatic and not very satisfying. Once again, we have a supposed death and I really, really want to slap Rand for not double checking his work before handing it in. I have this sneaking suspicion that Sammael fled to Shadar Logoth for multiple reasons, and one of them was that he had a fail safe fake death planned, if he needed it. And Rand just fell for it! For that alone I kind of hope that Sammael gets to leave a mark on Rand, to help remind him in the future to always, always take the head.

7. While duelling in Shadar Logoth, Rand runs into a mysterious figure (the “Wanderer”). What do you make of this fellow? Friend or foe?

The Warder deifnitely helped Rand, but this might have been to suit his own needs. He did go on a bit about how if Rand died a fair number of plans would have to be scrapped and recreated later. So, I think that so long as Rand is sane and fighting for the greater good, the Warder is a friend. But if rand ever loses it for real, I think we can count on the Warder taking him out, if need be.

And the Warder threw balefire but Rand didn’t feel him engage saidin. Interesting. If the Warder was using the True Power as granted by the Dark One, then the Warder obviously had some reason for wanting Sammael out of the picture. But perhaps there is an equivalent power source on the light side of things and the Warder was drawing upon that.

Or the Warder is a woman’s soul trapped in a man’s body and was pulling on Saidar. We’ve only seen this happen with the Forsaken, but I guess it could happen with the light side too. Perhaps Moiraine is back, with an extra appendage?

8. Rand eventually kills Sammael and is granted the throne of Illian, giving his personal empire a direct border with the Seanchan invaders (or at least soon enough), setting the stage for a spectacular show. How do you think this will come about? Will they have to be defeated, or do you think Suroth can be reasoned with?

I see the plot going one of two ways from here.

1) Rand has to utterly dominate the Seanchan in battle, shaking them to the core of their empire. I think this would take a lot of time and cost a lot of lives. Since we are only at the half way point for the series, this is a doable path.

2) Rand’s ta’veren-ness steps in again and once he gets to Suroth, she feels the need to kneel at his feet and obey his every command. Hey, it’s happened with others, why not the Seanchan.

It will be very interesting to see where the story goes from here.

Other Tidbits:

I found it very interesting how Elayne and Nynaeve reacted to Mat’s discomfort over Tylin’s aggressive affections. They appear to have had a quiet word with Tylin, discouraging her from further pursuits. I think they would have acted quite differently if Tylin was a man and Mat a woman in this situation.

Haha! It was nice to see Mat throw out the charm and simply tell the Sea Folk how it was to be. Very nice!

Is anyone else biting their nails over Olver?

A Crown of Swords Read Along Part VI

WOT 7 BannerWelcome back everyone! This week Sue is our host over at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers. And don’t miss Liesel’s Musing on Fantasia. Eivind, our awesome commenter should be at Sue’s.

This week we covered Chapters 25-30. Spoilers Below!!!

1. It would seem that we have the identity of the Watcher from last week, but Moridin is not the name of any of the Forsaken. Is he a new Forsaken, just as Shaidar Haran is a new type of Myrddraal, or is he a reincarnation of one of the dead ones? Were you surprised that Moghedien was allowed to live and do you think she will ever escape the mindtrap?

I wonder if Moiridin is a vessel for the Dark One to go on walk about. He does have that dark fleck in his eyes that seems to move around of it’s own accord and he does seem to be pretty bad ass. So I am thinking he is something we haven’t seen before and held in higher regard than most if not all the other baddies we’ve seen so far.

Moghedien is a tool, and still useful, and Robert Jordan doesn’t seem to kill off the personable baddies very often and not for too long. So, no, I wasn’t surprised that she lived. Will she escape the mind trap? I kind of hope she does, because I think her plotline will be more fascinating if she is free to cause grief & consternation, yet also be on the run from the baddies.

2. So, Valda has proven to be a rapist as well as a murderer: lovely! Do you think that Morgase will successfully evade the Seanchan and do you expect her to tell anyone about her renunciation of the Lion Throne?

I think we just need to leave Valda alone in a room with Elayne and he will no longer be a problem. To anyone. Ever. 🙂

I do expect Morgase to evade the Seanchan and hopefully, fingers crossed, make it to some safe harbor. I think Morgase has learned enough by now to be able to keep a low profile and not order everyone else around like she’s a queen and they are servants. Surely, she wouldn’t do something as asinine as that, which would give her away? Yeah, all fingers crossed on that one.

To me, her renunciation of the throne seemed to have some magic to it. In fact, I have expected Elayne to magically know that the throne had passed to her…but of course, if that was possible, she would know that her mom wasn’t dead, since the throne hadn’t magically passed to her. Anyway, I expect sooner or later, she will have to tell someone – maybe just Elayne. Maybe that lad with the fine legs when she beds him. 🙂

3. I guess we can assume that the Seanchan were that storm that Nynaeve could detect. What did you make of their attack on the Fortress of Light? Our previous impression of Suroth was that she was wildly overconfident about capturing Rand: do these latest events change your opinion?

The Fortress of Light was full of arrogant White Cloaks. Now it is full of arrogant Seanchan. I thought the attack was quite the light show – pretty fun to watch as long as you don’t have to be involved. Honestly, I wasn’t sure who to root for. White Cloaks? Seanchan? Pretty much, I was just hoping they created enough chaos for Morgase & crew to escape. Alas, she chose to stay, thinking it was Aes Sedai coming to the rescue.

It seems the Seanchan put a lot of faith? honor? in giving their word to obey the Empress. But not everyone is going to play by their rules. I think the Seanchan, including Suroth, are still pretty self-assured that their way is the best way and can’t really imagine anyone going against it. Should be spectacular when Rand gets a hold of them. 🙂

4. Sneaky! Although I hate a writer doing this, I was happy to discover that the fight between Rand and Perrin was a way to distract their enemies. How successful do you think Perrin will be at finding Masema and subduing the Dragonsworn? I am getting truly sick of it, so any ideas on how and when the whole Faile / Berelain thing will be resolved?

Yeah, that Perrin – Rand fight was faked…at least until Rand threw Perrin into a wall! Rand gets so passionate sometimes and loses his sense of balance in things. Perrin so far has gotten the job done every time he has committed himself. And I expect that tracking down Masema and subduing him will be far easier than returning to Two Rivers to discover his family wipes out. Got a tough job? Get a Perrin & wolf crew!

I think that if Faile and Berelain were to bed each other, that would resolve all the tension and silliness between the two. Alas, The Wheel of Time doesn’t appear to be that type of series. So I think we are stuck with their annoying behaviors until one of them dies. At this point, I am not sure I have a preference.

5. Fancy NOT telling Loial about the subterfuge: I could hold that against certain people, even if they are the Dragon Reborn and a sexy blacksmith! The Asha’man traveling with our favorite Ogier seems mighty untrustworthy: are they all like that or am I getting paranoid?

Sexy blacksmith, indeed! Let me just take a moment…..

OK, back to the question. It seems that many of the Asha’men have chips on their shoulders. To some extent, this is totally understandable as they have been told all their lives that they are not worthy of compassion and should be exiled, stilled, or killed. But I think Mazrim Taim has definitely encouraged this chip on the shoulder to a weighty arrogant boulder that requires both shoulders to carry. I do think the Asha’men have loyalty to Taim first, Rand second (hopefully), and no one beyond that. So, should Perrin and crew be worried? Hell, yes!

6. Tylin manages to snare her ‘little rabbit’, although it seem to scare him half to death. Was I the only one chortling away at Mat’s discomfort? It seems that the plan to use Mat’s Ta’veren luckiness has paid off, but will it be that easy to simply find the Bowl?

I keep going back and forth on Tylin and Mat. On one hand, Mat is being treated like a bed toy, kind of like he has treated a number of women. They were objects, yes, always willing, looking for some fun, but nothing beyond that to Mat. So I giggle at Mat being irritated, even angry, at being seen as a walking sex toy.

But then I swing the other way. Tylin held a knife to his throat as she used another knife to remove his clothes. Reverse the rolls and if Mat had held a woman at knife point for even part of the sexy times, I would have to put Mat on the Predator List.

So my man (who reads the books along with us but almost never comments) and I had this big discussion on this. Now, we both enjoy our sexytimes together. So I asked how he would feel about me using a butter knife at his throat while I peeled his clothes off (just to spice things up), and the answer was a flat NO! Which, of course, put an end to the sexytimes that night, so we chatted about Tylin and Mat in depth. After all that, I think I have to put Tylin on the Predator List.

But your real question is about the Bowl. No, it won’t be easy because both Nynaeve and Mat are involved and those two will butt heads until one walks away with a flattened face. Does Nynaeve’s stubbornness cancel out Mat’s luck? I am starting to think so.

7. Can Elayne’s chin get any higher? Whilst I find the Aes Sedai totally irritating, I am amazed that Elayne managed to browbeat them so successfully. Is this the end of the super girls being treated like idiots? How will Nynaeve cope with this sudden change in their circumstances?

Once Elayne takes the throne of Andor, her chin will go higher. That’s in the job description.

No, it is not the end of the Supergirls being treated as idiots….because I will continue to think of them that way for some time to come! Now, I expect Robert Jordan will continue to throw in new characters and from time to time some of those characters will treat the ladies with scorn, indifference, or as idiots.

I hope that Nynaeve will follow Elayne’s lead for a little while at least. I think that is the safest way for her until they get out of Ebou Dar.

8. Ooooooo, Moghedien tried to totally kill someone in a little boat. Is there any doubt at all that it is Nynaeve? Will Lan get there in time to save her or will she pull her braid out trying to make the water get out of her way?

Yeah, I think it is Nynaeve too. Moghedien probably wouldn’t risk breaking so many Dark Side rules for anyone else.

Will Lan save Nynaeve? I think Nynaeve will save herself just in time for Lan to have stripped out of most of his clothes and dived in. At least, this reader can hope there is a lack of clothing in the upcoming rescue. 😉 I am so looking forward to these two getting together. I wonder if it will be all kisses, or if there will be some Nynaeve shouting? At any rate, should be entertaining.

Other Tidbits:

The mindtrap seems to very delicate. How does the holder keep from inadvertently squishing it? Like when they sleep, or lean forward against a table, or get slammed against a stone wall by a good guy?

One of Morgase’s men saw a large winged beastie of some sort. And then another landed, for Morgase & crew to seem just before the Seanchan attacking. I suspect Dark Friends escaping, or at least sending messages out. I wonder how they contacted the beasties and their riders? Instead of the Pony Express mail service, we have the Winged Beast Express – special rates for all Dark Friend messages!

Loial and his story! He is so cute and so focused on writing his history of events. Sometimes I feel like the tale we are reading is Loial’s completed works. I know, we already discussed that possibility, and it is unlikely. Still, the idea has a certain charm.

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.