Towers of Midnight, Part VIII

JordanTowersOfMidnightBannerWelcome everyone to Book 13 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and the final week of this read along. We start Book 14 next week and here is the schedule for A Memory of Light if you want to join us.

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

This week, we covered the Chapters 49-END. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1) Aviendha’s visions finally show us the decision that will place the Aiel upon their path to destruction. That first step seems so logical, so will she be able to persuade the Wise Ones to avoid it when only she has seen this future? Can you see any way that Randland can avoid being overwhelmed by the Seanchan, even if the Aiel try to preserve the Dragon’s Peace?

Well, Aviendha is Bonded to the Dragon Reborn, so if the Aiel won’t listen to her, then Rand will. She just needs to convince one party or the other….or prevent Tuon from being assassinated. That was part of the vision, too, right? That the Seanchan had a leader who seemed amenable to some kind of reasonable peace, but then she died and the new ruler is a ruthless pain in the ass. So, with 3 paths to change this future, I think Aviendha will be able to make it happen.

The Seanchan are driven by honor. I think that if someone pointed out their lack of honor in abandoning their homeland, then a chunk of them would go home to stomp out the trollocs (or whatever the Seanchan equivalent is). Then perhaps trade would ensue and there would be no need for whole sale Seanchan dominance. Plus, I really don’t like the Seanchan and if the series ends with them ruling Randland I will be mightily put out.

2) Elayne takes the Sun Throne without bloodshed. Were you impressed by her method of uniting the two countries or do you think that it will offer her enemies a neat way to gain power? Will she ever beat the Daes Dae’mar out of the Cairhienien nobility?

I haven’t been Elayne’s biggest fan of late. I have found her choices to be driven by childish whim or need without a whole lot of thought being put into them (gaining her first throne was more Birgitte’s work, challenging the Forsaken and nearly being killed, threatening to execute Perrin, etc.) so her well through out path to teh Sun Throne both surprised me and seemed out of character. She has been playing the twit for the past few books, so has she finally slowed down a bit, learned from her mistakes? Is she listening to her mom? We’ll have to see if she reverts back to her twitness in the final book.

No, I think Daes Des’mar is here to stay.

3) It seems that I was wrong for wanting Rand to deal with the Borderlanders earlier. Do you feel as if this plotline has reached a satisfying resolution or do you think that the Borderlanders should have been keeping a watch on the Blight instead? Where do you expect Rand to send them next: to their respective homes or to Tarwin’s Gap?

While I was amused and a little awed that the Borderlanders basically set aside their lives to deliver a few bitch slaps to Rand, I also have to tilt my head to the side and quirk an eyebrow. Really? They couldn’t be doing anything better with their time? And they felt the need to bring such a large contingent? Really, it would only take like 3 of them to do this little prophesy test of theirs. All the forced they brought with them couldn’t keep them safe if Rand decided to kill them.

I think Rand will have a use for them and Tarwin’s Gap sounds like a good one.

4) Both Pevara and Androl have detected people who have undergone mysterious changes. I guess that we all think that Taim is responsible, but do we have any idea of what has actually happened to them? I was a little unsure of Javindhra: has she undergone a similar transformation to Tarna, or does she have some other reason for wanting to stay in the Black Tower?

Could it be some kind of Compulsion or perhaps possession? We have seen Graendal possessing birds and spying. So is it possible for other Forsaken or even the Dark One to possess some Asha’men? Even and Aes Sedai or two? Whatever it is, it’s not good.

If Tarna is Black Ajah and she is working with Taim to create these transformations, then that could also be the answer in her case.

5) Foxes and Snakes and blindings, oh my! The Tower of Ghenjei certainly took its toll on our heroes, but at least Thom and Moiraine are happy now! This section was so jammed with action, revelations and fulfilled prophecies: did you manage to follow it all or were you a little overwhelmed? It seems that the second red doorway, in the Stone of Tear, has also been destroyed: do you think that Finn will finally stop receiving visitors now?

Wow! There was so much in this section and no, I didn’t follow it all. This series has gotten ever more complicated as we moved through it, so I am sure there are several small things that I missed. Plus, it looks like TOR is or just has released a WoT book with back stories for some of our side characters, stories that never made it into the series. So, yeah, I expect I missed stuff through out this big chase/fight scene.

I expect the Finn have more than just the 2 ways for people to wander in and out. Those two red doorways might have once been the Aes sedai ways, but I bet the Finn deal with more than just the Aes sedai.

6) So, Noal WAS Jain Farstrider. Were you surprised by this revelation? What did you think of his ‘death’: is he really gone, or trapped like Moiraine? Alternatively, did he die such a hero’s death that he might become bound to the Horn like Birgitte?

Uh, no, I wasn’t surprised Noal was Jain Fartstrider. I think that was broadcast loud and clear long before we got to the Tower of Ghenjei. I am guessing he is trapped by the Finn and will be drained unless he can find a way to either kill himself or force them to kill him. Once he is truly dead, then I think it would be fitting for him to be bound to the Horn (unless he is super tired and needs one big rest, then I think the Wheel should give that to him).

7) Olver seems to mirror Mat quite a lot, from his way with serving girls to his ability to beat a game that is supposedly impossible to win. It seems that his nosiness was rather fortuitous, but do you think that Verin’s letter will prove at all useful now that the Trolloc attack has already started? Do you think that she should have left instructions that would have actually made Mat open the letter in time to prepare for the attack?

Even though Talmanes and crew will be getting to the party late, I still think the info in Verin’s letter will prove useful: they know how the trollocs are getting in and can shut it down. No one else has that info and it’s already going to be somewhat chaotic inside the city anyway. I fear Talmanes may die a hero’s death in trying to save the city.

No, I don’t think instructions demanding Mat open the letter at a certain time would have been good. He balks at any directions from women, especially from Aes Sedai. So, verin making any such demand would not have worked.

8) Evil Aiel with filed teeth!!?!??!? Discuss!

I can’t recall if the Shaido had a color scheme involving red or not. I figure after Sevanna was captured and hauled off (along with others), then the remaining Shaido probably broke up into smaller bands. This could be one of them. It appears they have no sense of honor, at least in regards to Wetlanders. If they attack the Seanchan and even come close to succeeding in killing someone high up (like Tuon/Fortunata), then the Seanchan won’t bother to discriminate – they will hunt down all Aiel.

9) Lanfear barges into Rand’s happy place and asks him to help her. I suspect that we were supposed to be surprised that she was still alive, especially after Moiraine’s report of her death at the hands of the Finn, but had you already suspected this? Do you think that Rand will dash off to save her, and, if so, will she finally turn from the Shadow, be a decent person and help the man that she supposedly loves?

Wasn’t Lanfear now … uh.. whatever her name is that dresses in slinky clothing? And Moridin has her leashed via one of those little gilded cages he wears around his neck. So, yeah, we know she’s not dead and the Finn lied to Moiraine. Or the Dark One (or a minion) had to kill Lanfear while she was in the Finn’s keeping and then revive her afterwards.

I think Rand will have heartburn over yet another woman being tortured. And, as we saw way back like in book 2 or 3, Rand believes you simply have to want to stop serving the Dark One in order to be counted among the good again. I say, actions speak way louder than words, so Lanfear is going to have to prove herself in my book before I vote for her rescue.

If Lanfear miraculously turns from the dark, I expect that she will then be killed in some heroic attempt to either save Rand or someone he cares about.

Squatch having a snack
Squatch having a snack

Other Tidbits:

Just smile and nod at the evil crazy Asha’men. Just smile a nod and keep walking.

So Mat was stunned by Moiraine and Thom proposing marriage to one another. Uh…So was I. When did they ever get around to kissy kissy? I’ll definitely be paying attention to their every exchange when I do a reread in the future.

Can ta’veren-ness wear off on other people? Like Olver showing signs of incredible luck? Or was that just the Wheel’s way to 1) show Olver that the Finn can be beaten and 2) get him to wrap up the game and go dig through Mat’s mail like a cheeky blighter?

 

Towers of Midnight, Part VII

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

This week, Liesel at Musings on Fantasia is the host. Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia, can be found in the comments. Sue at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers  has the insight and wicked humor.

This week, we covered the Chapters 41-48. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1. Galad names a punishment for Perrin. What did you think of it? Also Perrin becomes, in essence, Galad’s commander (and therefore commander of the Children of the Light!) for the Last Battle. Thoughts? Predictions?

I thought Galad’s punishment for Perrin was pretty just. It wasn’t over the top and it gives the grieving families some closure (assuming there are grieving families, because these Whitecloak are a bunch of assholes and perhaps the families are actually relieved to have them permanently gone).

That said, I would still like to see Galad dig into the Whitecloaks actions at Two Rivers and meet out some justice.

I expect that acceptance of Perrin as Galad’s commander will come slowly – like we have seen with Galad and Bornhald. Others (hopefully only a few like Byar) will never accept it and will either have to be put down or will split off and go cause trouble elsewhere (hopefully troubling trollocs).

2. Gawyn and Egwene finally reconcile and talk of marriage. Gawyn takes three ring ter’angreal from dead sisters. What do you think he plans to do with them?

I found it amusing that Egwene is totally freaked by the idea of marrying without her parents’ permission!

I am not sure what Gawyn plans to do with the rings. Perhaps he will take them to Elayne for analysis and replication (hopefully without the death results). Or, if he hears of Perrin’s new found ability to forge weapons of power, he may ask Perrin and his Channelers to have a look at them and replicate. It would be quite useful to have rings that gave you a boost of stamina or strength or cunning by using up a little of your life force, but of course our good guys will want them not to kill the wearer.

3. Comment on the fact that Lan finally, officially raises the banner of the golden crane.

About damn time! Really, I am still surprised that it has taken so long for our heroes to come to terms with who they are and what they can do and what they must do. I think a lot of epic fantasy has that growth stage for the heroes, but by mid-series they have most of it figured out and are on board with the mission and then spend the rest of the series kicking ass. Here, we are quite near the end of the series and we still have some outstanding errant heroes dithering (yes, I am looking straight at Mat, and perhaps Brigitte, and perhaps just squinting at Loial).

Anyway, that aside, it is freaking awesome that he has finally realized that he is not going alone, even if he still believes he could have done some good as a lone man fighting hoards of trollocs. Idiot.

4. Morgase and Tallanvor marry and Morgase finally returns to Caemlyn with Galad to see Elayne. Just talk about whatever stood out to you.

Morgase had to be asked by Tallanvor. She does need the romance to make it work. I hope Tallanvor is up for it.

It was great seeing the family reunion and also seeing how drama-free things were between Elayne and Morgase over who has what power. It was all very practical.

5. The future of the Two Rivers is discussed and Perrin is given titles. What do you think? Fitting? No so much? Do you think these arrangements will hold in the long term? What of the political “pact” that seems to be forming?

Elayne was a spoiled child during this meeting! WTF? Andor has been ignoring Two Rivers and the greater Emond’s Field for generations and Elayne and Morgase both know this. Also, Elayne has traveled with Perrin, knows that Rand and other Two Rivers folk hold him in high esteem, so threatening to kill him for his ‘rebellion’ was such a petty opening. I know I haven’t been Elayne’s fan throughout this series, but damn! Why did Rand have to mate with the most stupid of the three? Their kids will need the best tutors in the land to keep up with the rest of the noble children.

So, besides wanting to stuff Elayne in a closet and let Morgase handle the chat, I thought the outcome was good. In essence, Two Rivers is autonomous but will ride to Andor’s need whenever there is a need (like the Last Battle) and Andor will assist Two Rivers whenever there are trollocs (hopefully).

6. Androl! I don’t know if we’ve seen him yet (can’t remember) but he’ll play a fairly big role until the end. What do you make of him–good, evil, somewhere in between? And what do you think Taim is up to?

I don’t think we have met Androl before. I think he is good, trying to keep people out of trouble and alive, holding the group together until Logain returns.

I think Taim wants the Asha’men overusing the power to make them a little wild, a little crazy, and that much easier to control and point at a target and turn them loose. I suspect the target will be Rand at some point.

7. What did you think of Mat and Perrin’s little reunion and story swapping? How about the fact that Tuon (Fortunata) still seems intent on destroying the White Tower?

It was so funny to see Mat show up with a badger in a bag! Hopefully, he turned it loose shortly after joking around with Perrin. But I was also, WTF? Where did he come from? Why was he in the trees near Perrin’s camp? Did I miss something? I loved their chitchat about life and being married.

Fortunata is not on my Good List. She not only sees it as a necessity to have tamed Channelers, she also enjoys breaking them! Ugh! I don’t think I can vote for Fortunata. If she doesn’t have some sort of epiphany concerning slavery and basic human rights soon, she will have to die.

Her continued intentions to destroy the White Tower are not well thought out. She knows the Dragon Reborn is good friends with many Aes Sedai and that he supports the White Tower’s continued existence. Do the Seanchan leaders truly feel they could withstand the might of the Tower, the Dragon Reborn, and also the forthcoming tides of darkness? Can’t we just put them all back on boats and send them home to fight hopeless battles!

8. Aviendha feels a resonance with the glass columns and steps through a second time (big no-no, apparently). This time, she’s sure she’s seeing the future, rather than the past. What do you make of what she saw?

At first, I thought all of it was the past. The Seanchan are supposedly descended from Arthur’s armies that sailed east and landed in what is today Seanchan homelands. So I thought the last vision was of Arthur’s armies pushing the early Aiel about.

But if that is not the case and it was indeed a vision of the possible future, then I expect Aviendha will rally the Aiel and the Seanchan and Fortunata will have yet one more force to deal with. Fortunata is not use to loosing and I expect she will have quite a shock to her system when she does. While I am not a big fan of the a’dam, perhaps Fortunata should wear one for a short time to prove to her that she can also Channel, even if it is just a smidgeon. Perhaps she could be Aviendha’s maid in white for a year. Aviendha would be a hard task master, but fair.

Squatch having a snack
Squatch having a snack

Other Tidbits:

I think we all could see that Byar would need to be killed at some point. I did not expect it to be Bornhald, but I did find it quite fitting.

I was surprised so little time was spent on Lan realizing he was now Bonded to Nynaeve.

I am looking forward to Gawyn seeing his mom alive and having to smack himself in the face for wanting Rand dead over her supposed death.

Mat is married and still hasn’t bedded his bride. I am sure that is frustrating!