The Fires of Heaven Read Along Part VI

JordanFiresOfHeavenBannerWelcome back all! Liesel over at Musings on Fantasia is our awesome host this week, so make sure to stop by her place and enjoy intelligent discussion (unlike my asinine comments :P).

This week, we covered Chapters 33-39. Spoilers are waiting below to pounce on the intrepid and naive alike.

1) The first thing we see in this section indirectly, more cat fights between Nynaeve and Cerandin. Nynaeve ends up with a black eye. So, Wheel of Time death match! Who wins?

Are powers allowed? If so, Nynaeve. But I think she would withhold her aes sedai powers unless absolutely pressed, in which case, my vote is for Cerandin. Nynaeve is stubborn and practical, but not trained in hand-to-hand combat at all. Switching errant children doesn’t count. Whereas, Cerandin has military training, including close quarters hand-to-hand.

Can they both be wearing those infamous red dresses in this fantasy death match?

2) Elayne believes she can make a’dam and other objects of the One Power. Do you think this is a good idea? What do you think she’ll do with this ability?

Personally, Elayne is scaring me just a little. She is fascinated with the idea of making a’dam, but not really contemplating if she should, what would she do with the items she makes, how would she keep them out of nefarious hands, etc. Also, a little later in this section we see her contemplating binding Rand as her Warder, potentially without his consent. Hmmm….control freak in the making? If she keeps going down this road, she may need someone to put the a’dam on her for a few days to bring her to her senses.

3) Nynaeve and Brigitte eavesdrop on a meeting of Forsaken, where they hear talk of linking. What do you think these arrogant baddies are planning?

Well, they are planning a trap of some sort for Rand. For some reason, Rand or Asmodean would notice if the Sammael guy linked with the rest, so it probably takes a bit of the One Power. I think this might be like how it takes 13 aes sedai to still another aes sedai. In order to block Rand from the source, like he did with Asmodean, several of the Forsaken will have to be linked and work in concert to accomplish the same affect.

4) Brigitte is ripped from T’A’R and into the human world. What do you think of her as a mortal? Do you think she’ll find Gaidal Kane, even though she wasn’t spun out as she ought to have been? What did you think of Elayne’s solution to save Brigitte’s life?

I like Brigitte a lot. She is even more practical and blunt than Nynaeve, but so much more confident in herself. I think she will find Gaidal Kane and 10 or 20 years age difference in a relationship can be overcome. Folks do so all the time. I think Elayne was honest in that she couldn’t think of anything else to do to save her and I believe she was sincere about releasing her if Brigitte demanded it. I really liked this twist – a female Warder to an Accepted.

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

5) Nynaeve is not acting much like herself. What do you think of her reaction to Brigitte’s plight? How about being talked into being a human target and wearing revealing clothes?

Nynaeve is having a mid-life crisis in her 20s. Her identity has shifted greatly from what she was, and what she expected for herself, to this crazy ride we call The Wheel of Time Roller Coaster with Bumper Cars. First, people started to question her authority. Then she started to doubt and question herself. Now, she witnessed the injury to an epic being and feels responsible. But she has taken it too far, waiting on Brigitte hand and foot, acting like her personal slave. But I think Brigitte has the trick of snapping her out of it. I expect these two ladies will become great companions once Nynaeve gets her head straight.

The clothing makes sense. The show is about the ‘Wow!’ factor, and that includes clothing whether skimpy or covered in sequins. Brigitte is also very practical about this aspect, being proud to be female and not at all hesitant to let people know it.

6) Liandrin is not having such a great day. Are you surprised about where she’s ended up? Where do you think she’ll go from here?

Let me just say that it was satisfying to see Liandrin in such dire straights. To hear her begging, while slightly disturbing, also seemed just. We had not seen her at the White Tower serving Elaida, so it makes sense that she was serving one of the Forsaken. While I had not thought of it, it did not surprise me. I expect that once she gets over the shock of being tied off, at least temporarily, from the Source, she will be scheming and wreaking plans left and right. Some of these plans will be the Forsaken’s plans, which is exactly what I want (evil grin).

7) We finally learn the identity of the Prophet, and he’s someone we’ve seen before. Were you surprised? What do you think of his new-found faith?

Yes, I was surprised to see Uno and then Masema. I had not been paying attention to the Prophet twitterings going on the background, so when Nynaeve stumbled upon them, I was completely surprised. It definitely complicates things. Even Masema’s men are uncomfortable with his religious fervor. Masema does sound like he wants to take things a little too far – telling men & women how to dress, forcing people into mass marriages without knowing one another, etc. I expect sooner or later Rand will have to address this butt blister of a man.

Other Tidbits:

Nynaeve’s contemplations about how the men gather at their campfire except for nights when she cooks. Hmm…I wonder why that is? đŸ˜›

Sounds like Elayne was pushing it with the latest tightrope act – where she refused to use the Power in case Moghedien or her underlings were nearby and felt the use.

I like that Elayne told Jullin and Thom most of what was going on in Tel’ara’rhiod, about Moghedien, and some (but not all) about Brigitte. These men have and continue to risk their lives to keep these ladies safe, so they deserve some if not all of this knowledge. I am glad Elayne took this approach, instead of what appears to be the typical aes sedai approach of doling out as little info as possible.

Nynaeve’s inner and outer comments on Uno’s and Ragan’s cussing – I loved it. First, they are soldiers and this is part of their subset-culture, so it is to be expected. Yet, Nyaneve with a few choice words and a few raised eyebrows modifies their behavior, a little. I think it is funny because the men with simple looks and grins modify Nynaeve’s behavior concerning her red dress and the placement of her shawl. Ha!

The Fires of Heaven Read Along Part IV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Tidbits:

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

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

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

The Fires of Heaven Read Along Part II

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Haha! what fun. hehe… let’s see:

A Heron’s Failed Landing;

Goats Snickering

Donkey Tail to the Face

Beetle-Entranced Cat

Dog Dances Along Chairbacks

Other Tidbits:

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

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

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

The Shadow Rising Read Along Part X

JordanShadowRisingBannerHere we are at the finale of Book 4 of The Wheel of Time series, The Shadow Rising. There were some twists that I wasn’t expecting. We’ll be jumping right into Book 5, The Fires of Heaven. You can see the schedule over HERE if you missed it and want to join us.

This week our fearless and insightful commenter Eivind came up with the excellent questions.

The spoilers don’t want you to avert your eyes, but I suggest you do if you have not read this book.

1. Seems like Rand is not the only one who can stand toe-to-toe against a forsaken. Surprised? Could there be others, and if so, who?

No, I was not surprised that Nynaeve could at least hold her own against Moghedien. I expect we will see others, like Mat and Egwene. Also, we might groups of folks who face a forsaken together and win, like the Ogier. I expect we still have plenty to learn about their culture and strengths.

2. What went on between Elayne and Amathera? Should she lay off the forceful reeducation of foreign monarchs or just keep at it, you think?

I expect it was girl talk. I don’t think Elayne hurt Amathera, but rather, showed her that she really is out classed and that prettily pouting and stamping her little foot won’t get her what she wants. In this case, I think Elayne is doing some good, though I do find it a little hypocritical in that Elayne was sheltered and pampered most of her life and it has only been recently that she has been rubbing elbows with the masses and having to tend to her own needs. Yet, perhaps that is why she feels that such an education is so necessary for Amathera.

3. So we have our first “proper” battle, of many more to come no doubt. Please air your thoughts here, since I can’t find anywhere to put a question mark.

I liked that the women of Emon’s field were present, armed, and competent. They had the children taken into the forest in hopes that they at least would escape the slaughter. It was really hard on Perrin, but he stood with them to the last, never balking. Of course Faile showing up in the nick of time with armed men from Debin (spelling?) was great. She said that she was the first woman of her land to lead soldiers in battle. I didn’t laugh a little as she lead men to  versus in a battle, but I don’t recall her actually doing more than finding Perrin.

4. Could these whitecloaks be any more pathetic if they tried? REALLY HARD?

I have to wonder what all the Whitecloak soldiers think of this. I mean, we have the leaders, who are into ineffectual, single-minded idiots. But what does the average Whitecloak piss ant think? Did they sign up to fight the dark, but then their leaders keep them from taking out trollocs? I would be pissed. Or were most of them coerced into joining and silently sighed relief at not having to join in the fighting? At any rate, they were the best equipped to assist in the fighting and they did not. Loosers.

5. So now (or soon enough) EVERY Aiel knows their history, and many are none too pleased. Was this the right call? How much support has Rand lost now?

Rand had to prove that he had been to Rhuidean, which meant publicly revealing something major he learned there. By Couladin calling Rand and idiotic liar, the senior Aiel who had also been to Rhuidean could immediately tell who was the liar. I think Rand was right to do it in that moment, and I think he was right in what he chose to reveal. The Aiel cannot come together as a people, let alone fight side by side with non-Aiel, without acknowledging their roots.

I expect that initially there will be some who will not want to support Rand, and I know the clan chiefs are pissed. But eventually his Ta’veren-ness will pull them all together, or destroy those who continue to oppose him.

6. With the massive sa’angreal access keys in hand, shouldn’t Rand be able to just steamroll through the next 10 books? Do you think he has a use in mind for them?

Well, we wouldn’t have another 10 books if Rand suddenly became all powerful and could just take out all opposition. So, these sa’angreal will be a boost, but won’t be the answer to all problems. I expect he has a few ideas in mind for their uses, but I bet there is plenty to learn about what they can do, but also their limitations or dangers. I wish they came with warning labels, even simple obvious ones like: Do not cook meat in dryer; Do not hold wrong end of chainsaw; This sign has sharp edges.

7. Asmodean… teaching Rand? On a scale from Kim Kardashian* to Stephen Hawking, how good of an idea is this, really? (*) Please ignore if you’re a fan.

So, I did not see this coming at all, and yet, it is obviously what Rand needs. Not only was he expecting at least 1 Forsaken to try to take him out in the Aiel Waste, he was hoping it would be a man, so he would have a servant teacher on hand. I really like that Rand is using his brain instead of just reacting on gut instinct to the situations he finds himself in.

But, yeah, Asmodean doesn’t seem to be the brightest of the bunch of Forsaken. So, Rand might not have picked the best teacher, even though his choices are limited.

Other Tidbits:

Nynaeve was ticked that somehow Moghedien escaped her bonds without her noticing, while she was busy with one of the Black Ajah and her Bale Fire Stick. I thin Moghedien is a great one for disguise and camouflage, and that she was there all the time but had camouflaged herself in to the background.

Perrin wrote Aiel a love note. Well, a goodbye note. He is more of a romantic than I thought.

Haha! Rand tricked a Forsaken and captured another. I’m sticking out my tongue at Lanfear!

The Shadow Rising Read Along Part IX

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

There be spoilers below. Ye have been warned!

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

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

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

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

Still, snort laugh.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Tidbits:

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

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

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

The Shadow Rising Read Along Part VII

JordanShadowRisingBannerWelcome everyone! Lots of craziness went on in this section (Chapters 37-42). This was my week to come up with the questions and I had a hard time sticking to singles that would work for our mixed group (folks who have read the book/series before and those newbies, like me), so you’ll see most questions are doubled up. I encouraged the rest of the WoT Quad to pick and choose which questions they would like to answer. After all, this is all about having fun. Oh, and living vicariously through Perrin, at least for me.

Without, further ado, here are the questions, full of spoilery bits, questionable humor, and one risque video.

1) Rand and his entourage make a stop in Tardaad land because there is water, and apparently, goats. There is also a dwelling full of the signs of a slaughter. The red veiled woman Isendre had to take a peak. Why? If you know the answer, you can speculate on what will become of the goats.

I think Isendre might be the evil Rand was expecting. I have to giggle and shake my head at Mat’s musings on stealing a kiss from her. His flirtatious nature may land him in trouble this time, but I will sure enjoy the entertainment factor in it. So who is Isendre and the slaughterhouse show? Well, at the least, she is a dark friend. She could be more. Perhaps she has some control over a Myrdraal or trollocs. I expect she wanted to see the handy work of her minions – a cheap thrill for her.

I expect the goats will be rounded up and either sent back with a small group or taken with them. After all, it is a harsh land and such easily movable meat & milk will not be wasted.

2) Natael: Harmless, adverturesome gleeman, or Darkfreind? Will Mat’s skilled ‘avoidance’ of the gleeman’s questioning be enough to keep him out of trouble? If we could reach into Mat’s head and have him translate any phrase into old Manetheren, what phrase would you choose?

OK, not everyone on that caravan can be a Darkfriend, right? Not because they aren’t numerous like the spawn they are, but because that would be too simple and I think we all know that Robert Jordan is not doing simple in Book 4. It would make sense that the Darkfriends Party Train include some entertainment – for themselves and to gain easier access to whoever they come across in the Waste. So, for now, I will say Natael is on the level.

Can I get Mat to say this in old Manetheren: One Rand to rule them all, one Rand to find them, one Rand to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.

3) Liandrin is back in the picture. What do you make of the conflicting orders Bors has received concerning Rand? Do you think Gyldin, the servant who is spying for the Seanchan, knows the full extent of who Liandrin is? What do you think of the idea of tattoos marking you as royal property?

Well, we have already seen glimpses of the competing factions trying to rule the known world. Bors was ordered to kill Rand and now his family members are being taken, one by one, because he has not killed Rand. Liandrin tells him not to, because they want to bind and use him. Does anyone else picture her in some very proper German matron outfit, with Dominatrix leathers underneath? Anyway, this just points to more of that in fighting that is slowing down the bad guys. Let’s not discourage them.

No, I don’t. At least not yet. She probably knows Liandrin and the others are Aes Sedai, and Black Ajah, but not the full grasp of serving the Evil One. The Seanchan are hierarchical and driven by the need for power and control, but not necessarily evil. So, for most, the Black Ajah are probably just a bunch of rebel Aes Sedai that can currently be used as a tool.

I love it when tatts mean something deep – in this case a live of unquestioning servitude. Oh, and they look cool. Tattos on a nicely muscled human form is always appreciated. Feel free to send pictures ;).

4) After a bit too much wine, an awkward conversation with Thom Merrylin, and a drunken sick in her shared room with Nynaeve, Elayne is still trusted to stand watch as Nynaeve dives into Tel’aran’rhiod. Was it wise of Nynaeve to trust an impaired Elayne with such a duty? The mysterious man resembling Lan who shot at Nynaeve in T’A’R has also been sighted by Perrin. What do you think the connection is, if any, between Lan and this deadly dreamworld walker?

Every once in a while, Nynaeve is an idiot. No, someone drunk, sick, and obviously sleepy shouldn’t be put on ‘guard’ duty. I did enjoy that conversation between Thom and Elayne tho – it confirmed some things hinted at…last book? Thom could be her biological dad – and if not, he can turn into a substitute father.

Well, supposedly Lan has zero living family. So, either the close resemblance is just coincidence (and we all know how Mr. Coincidence has been rather scarce in this series, with Miss Prophecy prancing around), or Lan has some half brother or close cousin running around who has an all-star T’A’R pass. I think it is too simple for Lan to be without any family and to find out he does have at least one male member, and a baddie at that, would create all sorts of grief and consternation. So, I am looking forward to that reveal when it happens.

5) Lord Luc decided to leave Perrin’s hunting party after the latest batch of trollocs was identified but before Perrin’s group was ambushed. Coincidence? Perrin says he trusts Faile, his bow,  and his axe. Which, in your opinion, is the most dangerous?

I still don’t trust Lord Luc, and neither does Perrin. the sequencing of events was too convenient: 1) The Aiel ID location of trollocs and report to Perrin. 2) Lord Luc bows out of the hunt, trying to take Faile off with him. 3) Trollocs appear in the wrong place. Adult Aiel hunters rarely, if ever, make such a location ID mistake. So, I am thinking Lord Luc hustled out of there and told the baddies they had been spotted, and then they managed to circle around and create havoc. Bastard.

Well, if I was attempting to gain Perrin’s affections, I would say Faile. So, since he is so heavily guarded, I won’t. In battle, I will say his axe. If his wolf pack was around, I would say the wolf pack is the most dangerous asset Perrin has.

6) Ila of the Tinkers and Faile have a discussion about The Way of the Leaf: One believes it is for everyone and one believes it is not for everyone. What did you think of this conversation? We finally learn about Faile’s family and upbringing: Surprised? How do you think this will affect her relationship with Perrin?

OK, the Tinkers are peace lovers, singers, vegetarians. But they keep these really large dogs. What do they feed the dogs? Dogs can survive on vegetarian fare for a while, perhaps a few years, but biologically, they are not made for it. So, are they allowed to hunt their own meat, like squirrels and frogs? And The Way of the Leaf allows for group shunning – which is psychological damage. So, I have to say that insisting The Way of the Leaf is for everyone is a bit presumptuous, if I am being polite. I’m with Faile on this one.

I think Perrin and Faile will be closer, for now, because of sharing this info back and forth. they st will be a close couple, sneaking kisses, traded flirts and compliments, and generally being rather too cute about it all in public. At least until Perrin must be introduced to Faile’s relations. In fact, where is the royal hunting party sent out to locate Faile and drag her ass back to court?

7) In Tel’aran’rhiod, Perrin learns that the nearest Waygate, the one shut by Loial when they all came through to Emond’s Field, has been opened. Who do you think did so and why? In your head, how do you picture the sa’sara dance Faile kept threatening/promising Perrin with?

I suspect Lord Luc or Alanna, but mostly Luc. I think Verin and Alanna were told that Loial closed it from the outside and Lord Luc could have found out some how, or simply went up to check. Then there is Padan Fain in the area, and depending on whether or not he wants more trollocs (because wasn’t there a hint that he was a renegade and needed to be taken down) Fain could have reopened the Waygate. Then if any of the Emond’s Field folks are Darkfriends, like a Congar or such, they could have been ordered to it.

I picture the sa’sara to be the female version of this:

Yep, Faile definitely will make Perrin’s blood boil with moves like that.

Other Tidbits:

Anyone else wondering what Min is doing? Wasn’t there suppose to be death and mayhem at the White Tower?

Damn, Perrin, you got skewered! Apparently Alanna is the only one who can heal him…or is Verin holding back to put Perrin in Alanna’s hands? I have a deep concern that Perrin is going to end up Alanna’s very reluctant Warder.

I am so very, very curious about Elayne’s letters to Rand. Why does he think they are conflicting? Are they conflicting? Why 2 letters? Egwene and Aviendha assume Elayne said only loving things in those letters, but I suspect that might not be so. Poor Rand.

What Others Think:

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The Shadow Rising Read Along Part VI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Tidbits:

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

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

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

What Others Think:

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The Shadow Rising Read Along Part II

JordanShadowRisingBannerWelcome back everyone! This week, our questions come from Eivind – and I had quite a fun time coming up with answers. As Eivind doesn’t have a blog, just leave a link to your answers in the comments.

This week covers Chapters 4-10. Yes, there are spoilers below. You can also check out the schedule if you want to join us.

1. The “supergirls” are at an impasse, and they have conflicting testimonials on Liandrin’s plans. Who do you believe? Where would you have them go?

The first question is easy – trust no one. The second question is difficult. I would first see if there is a way to verify any piece of either story and then make a best guess of where to put the limited good guy resources. One story is more disastrous than the other (2nd chatty Black Ajah), so I am inclined to say that is to distract the good guys, to draw their resources away from where they would be needed.

2. Moiraine claims she knows her future husband better than the other girls know theirs (and no, it’s not Lan). What could she possibly be on about?

It is so very interesting to think of Moiraine as a married woman. I almost want to say this is some Min vision that Moiraine has interpreted. I would guess that at some point Moiraine will be forced into a marriage in order to save the world, because until that goal is achieved, I can’t see Moiraine seeing to her personal happiness (or even marrying as a convenient way to provide stability for children).

3. Saidin and Saidar are revealed to be very different things. This is the first time we have some real info about male channeling. What do you think of this magic system?

1) Egwene and Elayne won’t be able to teach or guide Rand as they had hopes. 2) Rand can accomplish a lot, like pissing off everyone in the room, the cleaning staff, and the guards – all in a short amount of time. Way to go Rand! 3) I was a little disturbed when Rand held Egwene and Elayne helpless while he demonstrated his flammatory abilities. Perhaps the taint of Saidar subtly encourages one to questionable uses of the power?

4. Elayne seems to approach this seduction business from a different angle than Berelain does. Successfully so, it seems. Rand and Perrin have both apparently found love. What about Mat? Are there anyone for him?

I was checking out another blogger’s review of Book 3, The Dragon Reborn, and let my eyes flit over the comments. Unfortunately, I read and comprehend quickly. I didn’t mean to, but I now know that Mat will have a relationship that is more than casual. I even have a name. No, I am not going to share here and possibly spoil it for others. I can’t wait until we finish the series and I can safely look at the wealth of fan art.

This is Waffles. Normally she is a sweet, toothless kitty. Today, I am concerned she will burn a hole through me with the Evil Eye.
This is Waffles. Normally she is a sweet, toothless kitty. Today, I am concerned she will burn a hole through me with the Evil Eye.

5. In the depths of the Stone there is a doorway ter’angreal, through which one can get true answers to three questions. Will someone end up using it, and if so, who? What might they ask? What would YOU ask, if given the chance?

Of course it will be used! that’s why it’s mentioned. Will it be used this book? Last book? I’ll have to wait and see. If Moiraine knows of it, there is a chance that other full Aes Sedai know of it, which means the Black Ajah know of it. I bet the Black Ajah want to use it. If they get to use it, I hope they have to pay a steep price for there answers. I expect both the Black Ajah and maybe even the White Tower would want to know if there is a way to control the Dragon as Egwene was controlled by the Seanchan. Yes, I can see a group of women wanting to collar Rand…..for a number of reasons.

6. Trollocs fighting people, trollocs fighting trollocs, and Lanfear in the middle of it, denying any involvement. What do you think happened here, exactly? Do you believe Lanfear?

Hell, no, I don’t believe Lanfear. Obviously, we have some different factions that all showed up to the party. Some want Rand dead, some may just want to capture him – leaving him alive. Lanfear wants to possess him, mind, body, soul, and seed (I expect). So, yeah, Lanfear prefers Rand alive, but she also said that the Ultimate Dark One could destroy his soul. So, if it looks like Rand will be captured by the Dark One’s minions, Lanfear may decide to kill Rand instead of risking his soul being destroyed for all time.

7. Rand promises to announce his intentions the next day. You’re in his place, the future of the universe rests on your shoulders, and you have who knows how many sides expecting you to act in their interest. What do you do?

Well, I would be surprised if Rand hasn’t contemplated suicide as a way to remove him and his immense power from the game board. He may decide to target the Seanchan, as they are a far off foe and Rand wouldn’t actually have to risk lives for a time. He may decide to move to the White Tower and set up a seat of power there. Whatever he tries, I expect things won’t go as planned and I will be highly entertained by everyone’s antics.

Other Tidbits:

While I was rooting for Elayne, I did find it a bit tacky for Egwene and Elayne to orchestrate such a hand off of Rand’s affections. Yes, I understand there was only 4 days in which to get any kissing in, but still… Even a few hours between Egwene dumping him and Elayne picking him up would have given Rand time to react on his wants and not on his roiling, bruised emotions alone.

Thom Merrilyn, Super Secret Spy!

Rand threatened to hang some lords! On one hand, that’s not the sheepherder we’ve been following around for 3 books. On the other hand, I like his determination.

Why hasn’t Perrin or Rand sent for Mat to chat about the assassination attempts on the the three of them? Mat still thinks Rand’s crazy powers are responsible.

What Others Think:

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The Great Hunt Read Along Part VI

JordanGreatHuntBannerHello folks. This week we cover chapters 35-42 of The Great Hunt. Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings is our host this week, so make sure to stop by her place. Next week we’ll be back here for the final installment of The Great Hunt.

This week’s questions:

1. We got to see a lot more Ogier in this section. What did you think of them and their village?
It was nice to see some Ogier women…..and Loial’s reaction. Poor dude. Hiding behind his book probably won’t be enough to keep him safe from the machinations of marriage. Also, the guest quarters were thoughtful, but in general were too large for most humans. Sounds like an interesting place to visit, and an awkward place to try to set down for a long time.
2. There were some suspicions about what the Aiel women were really doing. Do you think they are looking for Rand or that it was a coincidence?
Well, I think there are a lot of people looking for Rand, or rather their myth’s version of the Dragon Reborn, and they simply don’t know that it is Rand. So, in a way, yes, the Aiel women are looking for the answer to their prophecies. They may suspect Rand at this point, but I don’t think they will interfere with him….yet.
3. When Rand was trying to use the Portal stone, everyone got a glimpse at possible lives. What did you think of Rand’s other possibilities? What do you think were Verin and Ingtar’s?
I think being shown our possible other lives in full technicolor would be hard on anyone, but especially someone who carries the power to destroy people and reshape the world. Verin probably had some of the basics – like being a mother/grandmother, not being an Aes Sedai, choosing a different ajah. Ingtar perhaps had to face not being a warrior, or perhaps not fulfilling some vow. All of them were pretty shaken up.
My goatmilk raised kitty Chupacabra.
My goatmilk raised kitty Chupacabra.

4. Liandrin has finally shown her true colors! How do you think her betrayal will turn out for her and the rest of the Aes Sedai? Do you think she’ll get away with it?

I held out hope for this long that she was simply a prickly person, very stern, had too high of an opinion of herself. Alas, she is all those things and black ajah. Bitch. But we needed a real, non-nebulous bad guy other than Padan Fain. Now I have some one to hate on and hope that the main good guys corner her in some dark alley sometime soon. This is a really long series, so I expect she will get away with it for some few-several books and then get struck by lightning or drowned or suffocated or hit by a large horse. Any number of deaths are OK by this reader.
5. Poor Egwene! Do you think Nynaeve and Elayne can save her before the ship arrives?
I want to say yes, because good always triumphs, right? I really don’t remember how this book ends. I do remember that I don’t like the Seanchan and their collars at all. Still, Egwene is getting some pretty harsh treatment this book.
Other Tidbits:
I read this book many, many years ago and only remember the abrupt appearance of the Seachan and their advanced technology and military organization. I found it too jarring back then and gave up on the series. This time around, I still find it very jarring, but I am assured that things settle down and I just need to push through this discombobulation.
Bela, girl, what will happen to you?!?
Hehe. Loial says Ogier women make all the decisions about marriage, and then inform the involved male. Mat says humans never do it that way. Perrin begs to differ. Then we change scenes and there are the ladies planning how best to divide up rand’s time among the three of them. Lol!