Crossroads of Twilight, Part IV

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

This week, our host is Sue over at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers. Eivind, our keeper of esoteric WoT knowledge, can be found in the comments over at Sue’s. Make sure to swing by Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia for cool fanart.

This week, we cover Chapters 9-12. Spoilers for this section run free below!

1. Well, I suppose that we now know that Faile is alive and well, more or less. Do you think that Nadric will avoid her from now on, or will he simply wait until she is more alone? What do you think is going on between Galina and Therava?

I think Faile will keep a better eye out for single men around the camp now, since she knows now that her status does not protect her from harm. And I also doubt that Faile is the first captive to be treated this way. So, yes, I expect Nadric or another to have similar ideas about Faile (or the other women she was captured with).

I really want Galina hurt, or stilled, or banished to the Seanchan homelands. She is double crossing Faile and crew and messing up their plans for escape, and getting them hurt.

As for Therava, well, I think she wants to undermine Sevanna, perhaps even take over. And I also still think Therava makes a better predatory bird than Berelain. Surely there is some discussion board somewhere that thinks the two predatory birds perched on Perrin’s shoulders are Faile and Therava?

2. Still with Faile, what do you think of her growing relationship with Rolan? Do you think that he might even help her to escape, or is that simply wishful thinking on her part?

I think the term ‘awkward’ covers much of this growing relationship. After all, he forcibly stripped her naked, made her march through snow, then carried her slung over his shoulder occasionally slapping her bum, later rescues her from Nadric, and now….is massaging the cramps out of her bound, naked muscles. Hmmm….I think Robert Jordan is once again playing out some sexual fantasy using these characters and elaborate setting that he created. Not that I mind so much, except that so much of his books are PG rated, so it always stands out to me.

I am not sure if Rolan wants to be free of Sevanna and sees a potential path with Faile, or if he simply wants sexy times. If Rolan does escape with Faile, it could make for a very interesting conversation with Perrin down the road.

3. Poor Elsie sees a ghost, but Elayne dismisses it as nerves. We do not seem to have had much supernatural activity in this series, so this seemed very significant to me. Was the ghost real or do you think that there might be some other explanation? Feel free to say if you think I am simply being overly suspicious! 😀

This incident stood out to me too. I think it was a Grey Man, or some Aes Sedai that has learned how to cloak herself in invisibility. Either way, I think Elayne should be more suspicious all around (see Q.4).

4. I am getting rather tired of Mellar and his evil smugness, but I am a little concerned about Elayne’s decision to berate him in public. Does this mean that she realizes that his moment of heroism was completely staged? Do you think that he might try to retaliate for the embarrassment?

I don’t think Elayne has even considered that Mellar’s heroism during the assassination attack was staged. Again, I think she (or Aviendha or Brigitte) needs to be way more suspicious of the people around her. Mellar is giving everyone the bad vibes, except for that one Aes Sedai who was singing his praises…what was her name? She and two others are on the list of possible suspects for killing Vandene’s sister.

And, yes, eventually Mellar will retaliate for the embarrassment. Of course he might save it all up for his final move (assassination or kidnapping) and be real nasty about it.

5. We have lots of coming and goings in Caemlyn. Do you think that the Aes Sedai at the Silver Swan are Elaida’s, independents or parts of Cadsuane’s group? What about the group that Mellar ‘helped’ to get into the city: are they trustworthy at all?

Let’s see. They are Aes Sedai, so no matter who they ‘promised’ to serve, they have their own agenda. Elayne thinks they are watched closely, but yet we haven’t heard about their agendas. And if Mellar helped a few in, then I would watch out for Black Ajah or Forsaken.

6. What is it with the Seafolk and square miles of land? I thought that Rand had granted them that as part of his agreement with them, but maybe Zaida does not know about that yet. Do you have any ideas about why this land is so important to a sea-faring people?

Perhaps this land is in addition to what Rand had already grated. And perhaps it has something to do with the location? I think the Sea Folk want several basses of operation throughout Randland – safe harbors, places to conduct business, trade, etc. Have we learned where the Sea Folk come from? Do they have a set of islands they call home or are they strictly ship and sea? If they don’t already have a homeland, then perhaps this is why the land gained during the bargains is so important.

Other Tidbits

I liked that part where Faile admits to herself that her only weapon is her wits. Oh boy! She is definitely not armed for this situation!

the whole point of babying Elayne (no wine, early to bed, goat’s milk) is to keep her well rested and healthy. It seems snide of Brigitte to be getting drunk every night and being hung over every morning. I know she is sad, but she has a job to do and being drunk every night can’t help with that.

 

Crossroads of Twilight, Part III

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

This week, our host is Eivind, our keeper of esoteric WoT knowledge, can be found in the comments over somewhere (perhaps at Liesel’s). Make sure to swing by Sue’s at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers for excellent guesses as to what the future might hold and Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia for cool fanart.

This week I am a little slow as I am suffering from a head cold and a kidney infection. If my answers seem a bit dimwitted, just kindly pat me on the head and pass me some kleenex, Tylenol, or vanilla icecream with fresh strawberries.

This week, we cover Chapters 5-8. Spoilers for this section run free below!

1. We learn a lot about Darkhounds from Masuri and Elyas. Do you expect that this will be the wolves’ role in the last battle? Whom could this large pack be after, if it’s not Perrin?

I was surprised when signs of the Darkhounds showed up again, and yet no dead bodies, not yet. And, yes, it sounds like the wolves are going to have be the one to free their brothers from the torment of being encased in Darkhound bodies and forced to serve the Dark. I bet that will be epic if a bit sad.

Since this large group didn’t tear Perrin’s encampment apart, but instead circled, and then left, I have to wonder if they are hunting Morgase. I wonder how they got her scent to hunt her in the first place?

2. Perrin has no goal other than freeing Faile. Could he be fixating on her to the degree of endangering the actual mission at hand? Does he need a wake up call?

Yes, his fixation on Faile has already endangered the mission. And while I think Faile is probably not the right woman for Perrin (with her ridiculous jealous ways), I don’t think she would want him to fail at his mission for the sake of her. Especially since she knows she isn’t in imminent danger from the Shaido – just uncomfortable and inconvenienced.

But I doubt Perrin would accept a wakeup call even if it came from Faile. In some ways, I really like this about Perrin, in others….well, the fate of the world does rest on the shoulders of a few individuals, and one of those individuals is Perrin.

3. Masuri and Annoura have been meeting with Masema, and so, it seems, have Suroth. What are all these characters planning?

Suroth is a Darkfriend, Masema is insane, and I forget where Masuri and Annoura sit on that spectrum. Masema won’t settle for less than the entire world swearing allegiance to the Dragon Reborn (through Masema, as his prophet). While Suroth is playing two lords – the Empress (may she live forever) and the Dark One. I expect Suroth is making false promises to Masema in order to bring him and his followers under some control while the Seanchan deal with total domination of Randland.

As to what they are planning together or separately….well, I am too medicated to come up with a even a silly guess.

4. Masema’s letter from Suroth conveniently does not mention his name or description, so Perrin could potentially use it himself. What would be on your wishlist?

When I heard that letter being read off, at first I thought it was one of those letters Siuan issued (when she was Amyrlin Seat) to our lady heroes many, many books back. Very similar wording.

And if Perrin, or someone riding with him, is smart enough to point out that Perrin can use the letter to his benefit, well then:

1) Enough armed soldiers to safely take the Shaido and rescue their captives

2) More armed soldiers to safely ‘escort’ Masema to Rand

3) More armed soldiers to protect the people and villages Perrin designates

4) Supplies – lots of roasted pheasant and bread and tents and blankets and mead. Yes, we need mead.

5. Everyone in camp believes Perrin was unfaithful with Berelain, and she’s not too concerned with denying it. Could she be endangering morale? Do you really believe that she’s as concerned with rescuing Faile as she seems to be?

I think Berelain was hoping that if everyone believed Perrin had bedded her, he would eventually do so. She has now seen that is not how Perrin works. I am hoping that she has shifted her motives and will assist Perrin in every way, just as she says. And yet…..She hasn’t denied the rumors of bedding Perrin nor has she asked her maids to do so.

And, really, it is quite stupid. I know she is the ruler of a small country and has to play these silly games to keep her seat. But with Perrin, and Rand, she doesn’t. Perhaps she is finally seeing that she won’t get what she wants by playing Perrin the fool.

I don’t think she cares for Faile at all, but she is also the daughter of a ruler and rules Perrin’s heart. So it wouldn’t hurt Berelain to do well by her.

6. Mat is heading north from Ebou Dar at the exact same time as Perrin finds the Shaido in northern Altara. Could we… could we have a meeting?

I hope so! These boys need to synchronize their Rainbow Swirls! And if we do, I expect it to be epic – since the Darkhounds are following the Shaido to get Morgase. Then if the Borderlanders we saw in the Prologue are also marching on the Shaido, that could add some unexpected excitement to the meeting. Plus we Tuon and the Seanchan looking for her.

Has Mat ever met Morgase? Can he ID her? Haha! I’m such a dork. Thom is traveling with Mat, and he can definitely ID Morgase.

Other Tidbits

I know Elyas is already wondering about this, but I wonder too: What has Masuri been doing with her life to put her in near contact with 7 packs of Darkhounds?

The Tinker’s lad (forgot his name) seems jealous of Perrin giving his time to anyone else (except for Faile). I have to wonder if this will be a problem in the future? Will there be a one-sided bromance?

 

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 VI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Extra Tidbits

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

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

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

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.

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 II

WOT 7 BannerWelcome back everyone! This week Sue from Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers is our host, so make sure to swing by her place for intelligent discussion. You can find cool fanart of the non-spoiery kind over at Liesel’s Musing on Fantasia.

This week we covered Chapters 3-8. Spoilers Below!!!

1. The bleakness has returned in force and Rand’s Aiel are seeping away. Do you think that this will stop once he is visibly back in control in Cairhien or has this episode done permanent damage to his position as Car’a’carn?

Quite frankly, I think he will need to defeat the Shaido, specifically Sevanna, and marry an Aiel woman before his position as Car’a’carn is secured 100%.  Also, I expect that those Aiel that stay with Rand will want to see the idiot, rebellious Cairhienen punished too. Equality and all.

Perhaps the Wise Ones and Aviendha can convince Rand to marry? 😉

2. On a scale of 1 to a Google, how cute is Loial offering relationship advice to Perrin? Does anyone understand what is going on between Gaul and Chiad?

Haha! That was funny! Even Loial had noticed Faile’s jealousy. And then later in the story, Loial reveals some feelings for Eirth and immediately kicks himself for doing so, blaming the ta’veren influence. I wish I could use that excuse for every time I slip up in a conversation and reveal a bit more than I wanted too!

I think Chiad secretly wants to marry Gaul. But she wants him to submit in all kinds of ways before she finally asks him to marry. But poor Gaul wants marriage, not friends with benefits arrangement. Plus there is Bane (spelling?). He doesn’t like Bane particularly, but Chiad may very well want her as sister-wife. That makes things all kinds of awkward, wouldn’t you say? Here, wed and bed my best friend, who you detest, so that the three of us can be happily married.

Gaul, cut your losses. Move on.

3. Were you surprised or impressed by Faile’s actions during Colavaere’s power play? Do you think she was actually in any real danger?

Faile was too valuable a hostage, if not a maidservant (I could only think she would be horrible at this). Can you see Faile being in charge of helping another lady dress? Assisting her into and out of under clothes?  Fetching stupid stuff likes fans and face creams and toilet tissue? I know Faile only had to play this role for a few days, but it must have been ever so hard on her.

I hope we get flashbacks to pay witness to her frustration and seething anger. *evil grin*

It took a little bit of courage to take an active role in that powderkeg conversation, but not much. It would have been much harder to do when Rand first appeared in the throne room.

Would you think me an ass if I said that I really liked Faile when she first showed up as a Hunter for the Horn, but that my opinion of her keeps steadily going down?

4. What do you think of Rand’s decision not to execute Colavaere: was it wise or foolish? Were you surprised that Perrin agreed with him?

I know Rand had to do so in order to help hold on to his core self. But he already has this long, long, long list of enemies and leaving one alive and devoting resources to getting her set up on a farm and then guarding her….well, someone needs to quietly slip a knife between her ribs.

Still, a life as a peasant farmer isn’t going to be pleasant for her. 😉

No, I was not surprised Perrin agreed with him. He doesn’t like killing the females any more than Rand does. They are both ‘chivalrous’ in that way.

5. I am still completely confused by Faile’s reaction to Berelain, how about you?

Faile obviously has self-esteem issues. I am not sure why she didn’t punch Berelain in the mouth and then show her the knife collection when she was spreading such lies, merely for her amusement. Supposedly Faile is a capable woman, so she should have been able to get her point across to Berelain.

And even if she couldn’t, blaming Perrin for the actions of others, especially when Perrin has done everything he could to discourage those actions, is childish.

Would it be OK if we simply ducktaped Faile and left her in a cozy closet for a book or two?

6. It seems that Dyelin has also seized power in Rand’s absence. She previously said that she would only hold the throne for Elayne: do you think that she means to stick to that pledge?

Publicly, she has stated she is holding the throne in Rand’s name for Elayne. If this is so, I think she will fair better that Colavaere. But if she is a dumbass, she’s going to get the Dragon Reborn Nasty-gram too. If she has spies or contacts in Cairhein, and has heard of what happened there, she may very well rethink her game plan by the time Rand knocks on her door. I am expecting things won’t be as dramatic as they were with Colavaere.

7. It seems like Egwene is managing the Aes Sedai quite well, even though it is like herding very headstrong cats. Does this seem likely to continue, or do you think they will start to realize how she is manipulating them? Do you think they will ever get to Tar Valon?

Egwene is very strong in the Power. I think sooner or later, a show of that strength will be needed to unite a good chunk of the Salidar Aes Sedai behind her. Which will be very fun reading for us I expect. And I think this will have to happen before they get to Tar Valon. But, yes, they will get there and I believe so because of Elaida’s prophesy.

Old, old Claudie woken for a picture.
Old, old Claudie woken for a picture.

Other Tidbits:

Big, sweet, scholarly Loial, book and ink well in one hand, pen in another. Plus that big, deadly axe resting on his shoulder. Wow! Love the imagery.

Did I miss something? Rand travels from Cairhein back to Andor and finds out there are several (10?) Aes Sedai staying at some inn, right? He then thinks he should warn Taim, but then he wonders why Taim didn’t already no, because for certain Taim would have told him. Did I misunderstand that? So, if I have that correct, this is just one more thing to add to the ‘Reasons to Distrust Mazrim Taim’ list. I think I need to get this list to Rand before Taim does him in one way or another.

Haha! Did anyone else take delicious enjoyment in Rand and the Wise Ones completely ignoring the demands, foot stomping, and pouting of the Aes Sedai?

The Fires of Heaven Read Along Part X

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Tidbits:

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

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