A Memory of Light, Part VII

WOT 14Welcome everyone to Book 14 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and the next to final week of this read along.

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

This week, we covered Chapter 37, entitled ‘The Last Battle’. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1.  What did you think of the structure?  That is, one huge chapter with no breathers.  Was it appropriate for the battle, or did you find the difference from before jarring?

I thought the structure worked. We got to see the battle from several view points and I never felt like I had battle fatigue. In fact, I am eager to see what the final week brings, because things are still happening!

2.  Tuon orchestrates a fight with Mat, and decides to return only after some careful deliberations.  Ice-cold gamble or foolhardy move by Mat?  Am I the only one who thinks the Seanchan have gotten away with very little fighting so far?

I was surprised that Tuon agreed to the fake (or semi-fake) argument as she can get stuck on what is appropriate for her station.

But then I was more surprised that she was actually contemplating not returning to the battle! Has she not been paying attention? Ugh! I wanted Min to give her a slap.

And yes, the Seanchan as a whole have not been as engaged in the Last Battle as everyone else. I hope Mat can change that. After all, they do have a sizable force made up of competent warriors and a solid command structure.

3.  Androl and Pevara spend much of the battle behind enemy lines to recover the seals, practicing telepathy and other fascinating effects.  Why not another lava trick?  Logain also challenge Demandred.  What do you think of his motivations?  Where will his glory come from?

I think it is great that Androl and Pevara are exploring this double bond and also building a solid friendship (and perhaps something more?). Maybe Androl isn’t capable of such a big trick unless he is the recipient of a circle of channelers? Still, it would be cool if he made tiny little gateways that shot out little lava streams. That would distract the bad guys, if nothing else.

I think Logain wants to do good, but his time in captivity has also made him want to lash out. It really does remind me of Rand shortly after he was released from the Aes Sedai and their box. I am not sure where his glory will come from. I had hoped that he would get to take out Taim, but we saw that he did not. Perhaps Mogedien or Padan Fain? They’re lurking around somewhere, right?

4.  In the meantime, Rand and the Dark One exchange visions for the future.  What do you think of all these?  Can Rand really kill the Dark One now?

This was unexpected, but I really liked it. A few weeks ago, I asked if the Dark One could be killed, because he/it was kind of like a force of nature or Elemental. Now that we have seen this exchange of visions, including one in which the Dark One and evil no longer exists, we see that life would not be balanced or complete. So, no, I think Rand will have to find a way to contain or minimize the Dark One.

5.  Some choose not to fight for various reasons.  What do you think of Ila’s thoughts on violence, now, at the Last Battle?  Did you expect the gai’shain to fight?  Any difference between them and the reluctant mercenaries from the prologue?

The forces of the Dark are not going to give quarter. They are not interested in taking captives, except maybe a select few. They are not interested in a swift and honorable defeat of the enemy and will then rule in relative peace and efficiency (like the Seanchan). No, the Trollocs want to kill you and then eat you. The Red Aiel are literally mad with blood lust. The Sharans will enslave at best, and torture and kill at worst. The elderly, the young, the weak, the inebriated will not be spared. Essentially, if the Dark wins and you are left alive, you will wish you were dead.

So, it’s silly to try healing Trollocs, or simply turning them free to run wild in a lightly populated place. I think the Aiel as a whole will understand if the gai’shain pick up arms and fight at this time. I am sure there can be a way found to ‘regain’ any honor lost in such an act. And, yes, I think there is a philosophical difference between the gai’shain and the reluctant mercenaries – honor versus coin. But in practicality, no. They all need to get armed and get busy.

6.  Faile and Co. make it to the battle, only to be betrayed by Aravine.  Do you think anyone other than Olver made it out (Faile, especially)?  What did you think of Bela’s heroic death?  Where does the Horn go from here?

Aravine! Argh! Dark friends pop up in such inconvenient places.

I am not sure if Faile made it out alive. She was horsed and uninjured when she lead off the Trollocs. But it is a messy battle field. Quite frankly, if Faile dies I will be sorry for Perrin’s loss but not particularly sad that Faile is gone.

Fuck! Bela! Man, that was hard. She was there from the beginning. She will be mourned.

I am not sure how Olver will get the Horn to Mat. Perhaps Mat will figure out somehow that Olver has the Horn and will borrow one of the Seanchan flying beasties, swoop down, pick up the boy, and then boy fly to glory blowing the Horn!

7.  Gawyn, Galad and Lan all decide to challenge Demandred.  Gawyn pays the ultimate price: foolish move, or a reasonable gamble to remove the most dangerous enemy on the field?  Galad tries to avenge him, and fails, only for Lan to do the deed and finally fulfill his series-long death wish.  What do you think of these events?

Demandred is definitely a bad ass, even if he is an arrogant ass. So I think we all saw it coming that Gawyn would attempt something foolish with his fighting skills and the Seachan assassin rings. However, I didn’t see him be quite this foolish and accomplishing nothing. He didn’t even wound Demandred nor take out some key commanders in Demandred’s army. I was surprised that there was such an empty death for Gawyn.

I thought it was interesting that Mat sent Galad a note and the necklace with the duplicate foxhead medallion. Mat actually does do a lot of thinking, but I guess he has to be under some pressure for it to manifest.

Lan has been looking for his death since before we met him. So I am not surprised that he found it on this battlefield (though we haven’t seen his head on a spike nor had Nynaeve feel his last breath yet – resurrection?).

8.  Egwene, having lost her warder and husband, slays M’Hael (WITH a sa’angreal) and then lays waste to the Sharans, and kills herself, Lews Therin style.  Did you expect Egwene to be the first out of the original crew?  Was her fate sealed already when Gawyn died?  What will her legacy be, as Amyrlin?  And what of this new weave—the Flame of Tar Valon?

I was not expecting Egwene to die at all, even with Gawyn’s death! This totally surprised me. Yet, I was OK with it. This is the Last Battle and I don’t think everyone is going to make it out alive. After all, we have several heroes in the series and sometimes heroes die spectacularly.

As to Egwene’s legacy, well I expect all these crystals she created in sealing cracks will become pretty valuable. Maybe even turned into angreals of some sort. Also, nearly all her words were recorded for some reason or another, so I think the aes sedai who are left will take greater heed of them.

I think this new weave, the Flame of Tar Valon, will be very, very hard to teach without turning oneself into a giant crystal pillar. It will be studied, as best it can be, and written about ad naseum. But I am not sure anyone will be able to duplicate it until the Wheel turns again and we have another Last Battle and the need is great.

9.  Elayne, having suffered huge losses for the whole battle, is taken by Mellar, threatening to cut her babies out.  What will come of this?  Is Birgitte now permanently dead, or is she just waiting on the other side for the Horn to blow?

OK, as incompetent as Elayne is, I don’t particularly want to see her dead through said incompetence. Sigh….who will save Elayne this time? Bryne is gone, Bashere too. Birgitte too. Maybe Mat will blow that Horn soon and Birgitte’s first act will be to save Elayne’s ass one more time.

And yes, I totally think Birgitte is waiting in the ethereal wings for the Horn to blow.

10. Anything else you feel I missed?  Ogier?  Dragons?  The beautiful Shendla?  Demandred’s approach to the battle?  All the minor deaths: Hurin, Mr. and Mrs. Bashere, Bryne and, dare I say Siuan?  Min’s spy-hunting?  Leilwin?

There was so much in this chapter! I am pretty sure Siuan and Bryne are gone. Min’s visions don’t lie and they did separate in order to get some things done. I was worried how Egwene would take the loss of one of her closest advisors (Siuan) but with Egwene’s death, that is no longer a concern.

If Faile lives, I am sure she will take the loss of her parents hard. Though they did pass in glory, so that will be celebrated. Faile is enough of a warrior to see that.

Egwene freed Leilwin from the Bond before doing her last act, right? So, I am sure Leilwin will mourn her in some way, but she won’t be crushed by it. Perhaps she and Bayle will go on to do some more good deeds.

Since the Seanchan aren’t doing too much at the moment, I guess Min has time to hunt for spies. I wouldn’t be surprised by how many she might uncover.

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!

Towers of Midnight, Part VI

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, I am the host. Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia, can be found in the comments. Make sure to swing by Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia  for cool fan art.  Sue at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers  has the insight and wicked humor.

This week, we covered the Chapters 34-40. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1) Perrin goes through his trial. What did you think of it? Morgase provides judgement but hands off the punishment decision to Galad; why do you think she did so? What do you think Galad has in mind for punishment? Will Perrin ever see that punishment?

I found the trial to be incomplete, anticlimatic, and not really satisfying. I didn’t feel that Perrin particularly explained the situation. Also, I really wanted the Two Rivers stuff to be covered, at least in part. I think it is important for both Morgase and Galad to hear how the Whitecloaks and the Andorran government failed Two Rivers. So even if that is not relevant to the death of the two Whitecloaks, I was sure Bayar was going to bring it up to ‘disprove’ Perrin’s character.

I think Morgase passed the buck on assigning punishment for multiple reasons. She just got back in the saddle of acting like a ruler and probably needs to share the power; Galad obviously needs to have some accountability in the outcome instead of simply ‘following his mom’s orders’; and I think Morgase is genuinely curious to see what Galad does.

Right now, I don’t think Galad had decided on the punishment, especially with Bayar’s testimony proving to be unreliable. He was probably relieved when Perrin insisted it wait until after the Last Battle. As such, I am not sure Perrin will ever see a punishment from the Whitecloaks as there is so much that could happen by then.

2) Perrin spent a lot of time in the Wolf Dream during this section. He and his small band of wolves fought Slayer more than once. What did you think of these multiple fights? How about Egwene’s reaction to Perrin (and vice versa) in the Wolf Dream/T’A’R?

I really liked these fights. They were intense and showed more of Slayer’s personality, which is great since we have only had glimpses of him up until now. It was pretty hard to lose Hopper, and the other wolves. In some ways, Perrin has now lost a second family.

Egwene’s reaction to Perrin was so funny! OK, I know, each of them assumed that the other had simply wandered in and didn’t know what they were doing and needed to be kept safe. But Egwene actively attempted to wrap Perrin up in bands of air, and then ropes! Her Amyrlin stole has made her a little arrogant, just a teensy bit.

3) Egwene has a meaningful meeting in T’A’R with the Sea Folk, the Wise Ones, and some of her Aes Sedai. Why do you think the Kinswomen were not invited? Will these leaders be able to convince their folk that trading apprentices is a good idea?

I am not sure why Egwene left them out. Perhaps she felt it would have been too much for the Wise Ones, Sea Folk, and Aes Sedai to accept all at once. After all, a good chunk of the Kinswomen are rejected women who weren’t powerful enough to be Aes Sedai. So if Egwene set them down at the same table, it would be proclaiming them as equals (which Egwene could probably do in her head, but the other ladies might have serious issue with). Perhaps she will make that a future step.

And, yes, I believe these leaders will be able to convince their respective folks that this is a good idea, and if not that, then inevitable and necessary. Some of the Aes Sedai argued that the White Tower’s surpeme dominance among Channelers should not be given up, but Egwene made excellent arguments as to why that was a dumbass idea.

4) Egwene battles Mesaana and wins. Do you think Egwene received a valuable nudge from Perrin (he blocked Balefire!!!) and was able to apply that to the a’dam? Who do you think Mesaana was impersonating in the real world?

Yes, I believe Perrin’s easy blocking of Balefire in T’A’R and his comment about how they are just weaves was in Egwene’s background thoughts as she struggled with Mesaana and the a’dam. Perrin rocks!

I am not sure who Mesaana was disguised as in the real world, but I am not convinced that she was in the White Tower. Tar Valon is more than the Tower, it is also a main city, with plenty of nobility and ruling merchants.

5) Gawyn and Egwene are now Bonded! But at what cost? Was it too little too late? Or are these stubborn lovesick fools going to have a lifetime to irritate each other?

You know, I am going to go against the flow here and say I do hope it is too little too late. These guys have been idiots for far too long and this story line needs some real consequences. So, I am OK with either Gawyn dying here and now or the two of them turning out to hate each other and having to get separated by the end of the book.

6) We spent just a tiny amount of time with Aviendha as she is headed to Rhuidean. She meets a mysterious woman, Nakomi, in the wastes. What did you get out of their conversation? Any guesses as to who/what Nakomi is?

This is one of those meaningful moments that is also a WTF moment. Nakomi does give Aviendha plenty to think about and since she is First Sister to Elayne, bonded to Rand, and will most likely be a leading force of the Aiel, her thoughts, words, and actions will hold importance. Their conversation was interesting and I am pretty sure it will turn out to have significance later.

But it was also out of the blue and it appears that Nakomi has powers that Aviendha can’t explain. She may very well be something that us readers haven’t been introduced to yet, at the 11th hour of the series.

7) Perrin has forged a new hammer. Feel free to comment on this scene. What powers do you think the hammer has? Will Perrin & his Channelers make more weapons for the coming Last Battle?

Perrin is finally getting his shit together, thank goddess! The hammer forging scene was pretty awesome. Perrin needed to create, since he had spent so much time of late destroying, and he did an awesome job making something new with a skill that hasn’t been seen in an age.

I am not sure what powers the hammer has but I am hoping for imbued strength & endurance to the wielder, shielding, and lightning. That shouldn’t be too much to ask for, right?

I expect that once Perrin & crew get a moment to breathe that they will either teach others how to make such weapons, or do the making themselves.

Squatch having a snack
Squatch having a snack

Other Tidbits:

I liked that Morgase left with Perrin after the trial, showing everyone that Perrin has her confidence in the fact that he is a good man.

Did anyone else get a Samwise, the Ring, & Mount Doom vibe when Perrin destroyed the Dreamspike?

Slayer and Perrin fight & fight and then Perrin sees this door of Darkness and charges Slayer. So, did I miss it? Is Slayer dead, falling through the dark abysses of the The Ways? Are we not suppose to know yet?

Berelain tells Faile that Rand wanted her to pursue and marry Perrin. This woman is rather delusional. So she should be a good match for the equally delusional Galad.

Speaking of Mr. Delusional, I really hope he figures out quick that Perrin & army are fighting the trollocs, instead of directing them to attack Whitecloaks.

 

Towers of Midnight, Part V

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, Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia, is our host and can be found in the comments. Make sure to swing by Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia  for cool fan art.  Sue at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers  has the insight and wicked humor.

This week, we covered the Chapters 26-33. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1.  Slayer prowls the World of Dreams, where a strange violet dome prevents access.  Meanwhile, gateways fail in the real world.  Is there a connection?  It’s building to a battle between Perrin and Slayer very soon.  Do you think Perrin’s work with nightmares will bear fruit or is it still too soon?

Yes, definitely a connection between the failing gateways and the violet dome, and possibly even the bubble of evil that turned nearly everyone’s weapon against their users.

I think Perrin will have to face Slayer before the armies can leave the valley through gateways. But since Perrin’s timeline is behind everyone else’s, we might not see that fight until next book.

2.  Perrin avoids a battle by submitting himself to a possibly pointless trial.  Do you agree with this choice?  How risky is it for Perrin?  At the same time, Morgase is finally revealed and will act as judge!  What do you think about that?  Does Berelain strike you as smitten by Galad?

Personally, I think the trial could wait until after the Last Battle, you know that big looming, possibly world ending battle with the Ultimate Evil? Yeah, prioritize guys!

I think Morgase is making Galad recall his sense of honor (like proving someone guilty before killing them) and making him question his ideals of ultimate right and ultimate wrong. There is plenty of grey between the two. So, this trial might not be so risky for Perrin. Plus, Perrin hasn’t agreed to submit to punishment and Faile is secretly planning an escape route for him. If anything, this trial is probably more dangerous for Galad – he could loose face with the Whitecloaks, he could force a confrontation that leaves him dead, or (worst of all) his ideas of right & wrong could be shattered and he will loose all confidence and go hide in some cave for the rest of his life.

I think Morgase will do fine as a judge. She may still think Perrin is beneath royalty, but she is not about to have him hanged for being an upstart.

God, yes! Please let Berelain and Galad distract one another to prevent them from wrecking other peoples lives!

3.  Sitters attempt to undermine Egwene (again) and Egwene wraps them up neatly (again).  Have we seen the final political battle or do you expect more?  What do you think of Egwene’s proposed changes?

I hope this is the last Tower politics we see, at least until after the Last Battle. These ladies need to get their shit together or they won’t be able to make a difference in the Last Battle.

I am glad the Egwene has cut off most of their political maneuvering power, for now. Until they think of something creative. But she also set them a big task (minding the armies) and that should keep them sufficiently busy.

4.  Shots fired!  The dragons are in production and work well, but the Last Battle is near and time is short.  How many will they be able to make, and much of an impact will they really have?  Birgitte thinks the world has changed.  What are your impressions?

I am thinking that time is getting short, so perhaps they only have enough time to make cannon for the palace. But as it is a governmental seat, that could mean a lot in the Last Battle.

Since so few people have seen cannon and know what they can do, I think the initial impact on enemies will be large. But, as with every weapon, folks will find ways to counter them or avoid them. So Elayne will have to plan carefully and get the most out of their initial use.

Apparently, the world in times past has come up with cannon before and Birgitte has seen it. And, yes, the world has changed. City states can no longer rely on strong, high walls for protection (both because of gateways and now because of cannon). Instead, leaders will have to build strong relations and cooperate in order to maintain healthy cities/kingdoms/etc.

5.  Wolves gather at Dragonmount and Perrin observes the “Veins of Gold” event from the World of Dreams.  The Last Hunt is now upon us and the wolves are mobilizing.  What are your thoughts?  Did you enjoy seeing this scene from another perspective?

This was an awesome scene! I really enjoyed revisiting this pivotal moment through Perrin’s eyes. And seeing the wolves so excited, relieved, and battle ready was awesome too. I want to think that Perrin’s presence in the dream world just might have helped Rand, all in the background, of course.

6.  Mat finally disposes of the gholam, helped out by some Kinswomen and a gateway.  What do you think?  Was this the solution you had in mind?

I think this was the best they could do at this time. Of course, I always want to see such evils things destroyed completely. We all know that evil things tend to come back around (like certain Forsaken). Still, it was an awesome fight scene and it was pretty satisfying. Also, I like to see that Mat has learned to play nicely with at least 1 Channeler instead of insisting he do everything on his own.

7.  Rand lands in Maradon in the eleventh hour, bringing aid.  He then shows off some impressive channeling.  Do you think he made a dent in the shadow army?  Do you agree with his assertion that he must stay away from the main battle?  Feel free also to comment on Torkumen and King Alsalam.

Since we don’t know how the Trollocs, Myrdraal, etc. are spawned, then I am not sure if he made a dent at all. My guess is that the Dark One can generate at least the Trollocs pretty easily, so this blasting of the bad guys, while satisfying, probably didn’t affect the total numbers all that much.

I am not sure what he considers the main battle – Lan’s fight? Ituralde’s battle? Breaking the final seals? They are all important, but I am not clear on where the Dark One will appear and have the one-on-one with Rand (and wouldn’t that be the main battle then?).

Well, it turns out that Torkumen was a Dark Friend of some kind. I thought he was just a self-interested idiot. But that may be enough in these times to allow the Dark One into your heart.

Have we met Alsalam before? Ituralde seems to hold him in high regard so that speaks well of him.

8.  Egwene plans an elaborate trap in the World of Dreams.  Do you expect it to be as easy as she imagines it?  Meanwhile, Gawyn has discovered important information in Caemlyn, but refuses to return. Does this strike anyone as a potentially disastrous case of miscommunication?

No, nothing is going to easy in these last fights & battles. Egwene is underestimating her foe. But, you know, she has only recently become a badass fighter (and part of that is because she had a foretelling and know the Seanchan were coming). She doesn’t know about the Seanchan assassins and while she is pretty sure who lurks in T’A’R, she could be completely wrong…again. How many times did she and Nynaeve walk into traps earlier in the series?

Gawyn is a twit. May I slap him? I know lots of the characters are getting prickly over their pride lately, but this strikes me as extreme.

Squatch having a snack
Squatch having a snack

Other Tidbits:

Elayne being hoisted up in a bed was an image! Birgitte found this amusing and so did I.

Yoile is dead. sniffle.

It was very good that Gawyn could let go of his anger at Rand (of course, part of the reason he can do so is because he believes he will die – what happens if rand doesn’t die?).

The captured Seanchan channelers are being so silly! I say that if collaring makes them more comfortable and useful for the Last Battle, then do so, save the world, and then work on rehabilitation.

 

Towers of Midnight, Part IV

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, Sue at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers is your host. Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia, can be found in the comments. Make sure to swing by Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia  for cool fan art.

This week, we covered the Chapters 21-25. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1) Morgase discovers that she was manipulated by one of the Forsaken. Do you think that her discovery will finally alter her attitude towards Tallanvor, or will the poor lad have to go off and die in the Last Battle all unrequited and depressed? Does this information make it more likely that she will reveal her true identity to Perrin and Faile?

I think she will eventually admit her feelings for Tallanvor and give the lad a real chance. I’ll be very surprised if it doesn’t happen.

Morgase has probably wondered for a while now if she temporarily lost her wits when she was with Gabril/Ravin. Finding out that he was a Forsaken in disguise must be somewhat of a relief (hooray! I wasn’t crazy!) and also terrifying at the same time (shit! I was under the influence of the Forsaken!). So I expect she has some feelings to work out.

I really think Morgase will have to reveal herself sooner or later – either to prevent Perrin and Galad from killing one another or to prevent Gawyn and Rand from killing one another. I am just not sure how it will play out.

2) Phew! Maradon has finally opened its gates for Ituralde and his troops. Personally I could have kissed Yoeli at first, but do you think that he will really refuse to continue fighting Shadowspawn in order to submit to execution for his actions? What did you make of Lord Torkumen: Darkfriend or idiot?

I think Yoeli (and his would be executioners) will see the sense in living to continue the fight against the Shadowspawn. Also, I think Ituralde’s force would be mightily pissed if Yoeli was executed. Who in their right mind wants Ituralde pissed at them?

I think Lord Torkumen is an idiot. But by calling him a Darkfriend, Ituralde is pointing out that it would be that easy to turn his own troops against him. Hopefully his slow wit will come to the conclusion that it is better to ally with Ituralde rather than declare war on him.

3) Speaking of idiots . . . yet again Gawyn rushes in and ruins Egwene’s plans. Do you feel any sympathy for the poor lad, with his love-addled brain, or are you getting frustrated with his inability to let Egwene take care of herself? Any more thoughts on the identity of the assassin and Egwene’s assumption that it is Mesaana? Will Gawyn be any more sensible once he returns to Caemlyn?

In this specific case, I did have sympathy for Gawyn. After all, he had made the active decision to leave her be when he saw something strange, and that strange through a knife at his heart. What else could the lad do at that point? So I think that Egwene is being a little harsh (seems to be her modus operandi all the time now) as Gawyn had to do something. I would have done something and I think anything at that point would have scared off the assassin.

Again, I believe we have a few (many?) Seanchan assassins running around the Tower. Egwene is foolish to dismiss Gawyn’s gut feelings about the assassin(s).

I think Brynn gave Gawyn some good advice – He needs to figure what he wants, and go do that. Then he will have a better idea of how Egwene would fit into his life and Egwene will have a better idea on if she wants to fit into this life. Egwene has already figured out what she wants to do with her life (be an integral part of the Aes Sedai culture/society) and I think she is still figuring out how/if she wants Gawyn in her life.

4) So, Birgitte entered the Tower of Ghenjei, wandered around it for a few weeks and then died. Can we expect a better outcome for Mat, Thom, and Noal? Obviously they are going to survive, but apart from Mat’s luck, do they have any other advantage that you can think of that Birgitte was lacking?

I too expect that they will survive, thought they might come out maimed or changed in some way.

Mat’s luck alone is a huge advantage. But, yes, I think they have more info than many adventurers who are crazy dumb enough to enter the Tower of Ghenjei on purpose. Also, Mat has his medallion, which the inhabitants may recognize. Noal is a kind of unknown, as we have all guessed he is some unique person spun out into the thread by the Wheel to do something incredible at this time. Thom of course is wicked awesome as he can walk right up to a myrdraal, kick it in the balls, and live to tell about it.

5) What is it about idiot Trakands this week?!!??! So, just for a change of pace, Elayne dashes off and places herself in terrible danger and then somehow manages to survive by the skin of her teeth. I doubt that any of us were surprised by her rashness, but what did you think of her disguise: effective or not? Was anyone at all surprised to discover that the secretary/torturer was a Darkfriend? How much do you want to see Mellor with a knife through his eye?

I thought her disguise very clever. Why haven’t the Aes Sedai in general tried this kind of trickery? And I think she was getting somewhere before she was so rudely interrupted.

I wasn’t surprised the torturer was a Dark Friend. After all, if you take some deep, repeatable pleasure in torturing people, then you probably lack the fuzzy warm lining to your soul that makes most people palatable to one another. I was surprised that the jailbreak for the Black Ajah/Darkfriends was happening that night.

Oh yes, I definitely want to see Mellor with a few too many body piercings gone awry! I hope Elayne gets to kill him, but considering how ridiculously easy she is to trick and capture, it will probably be Brigitte who gets to kill him.

6) It seems that Perrin may be coming to terms with his inner Wolf. Do you think that this will happen in time for the battle with the Whitecloaks, or will he need a few more ‘training sessions’ with Slayer before he can take that final step?

I am still hoping the battle with the Whitecloaks will not happen, because Morgase reveals herself and talks sense into Galad. But if she doesn’t step forward, then they will fight and I don’t think Perrin is ready to unleash his inner wolf in that battle. I do expect he will be ready for the Last Battle. Maybe he has to unleash on the Whitecloaks in order to learn how to reign himself in.

7) Lan’s little army is growing steadily and he is thoroughly annoyed by it! How funny is this? I was disappointed that we did not get to experience the swapping of his Bond to Nynaeve in this section: am I just impatient, or are you looking forward to that scene as well?

I too was waiting for that moment when he notices a bond to Nynaeve. So, maybe it hasn’t happened yet for him on the timeline. Something to enjoy in next week’s reading?

Lan needs to get over his one-man suicide run. He can’t hold the tide by himself and if they don’t hold back the flood of Trollocs, etc. then more people will die. So, either these brave men sacrifice themselves (I expect most of them to die) or they stay home and die with all their friends and family. Both options suck; it’s just one has a smaller body count. If Lan could set aside his pride for second, then his brain would have the power to do that math and see the reason of taking an army.

Squatch having a snack
Squatch having a snack

Other Tidbits:

Is anyone else disturbed by the thought of Trollocs using human speech? If they can chitchat, can they be reasoned with? Is it possible to have tea with them and get them better wages so that maybe, just maybe, they would stop warring on humans and eating them?

I LOVED Brigitte’s comment about sticking a sign on all those portals that lead to the Tower of Ghenjei to warn folks. She made it sound like someone had left the warning sign off of a broken elevator, or such.

So where was Rand when Elayne was being attacked? Or even Aviendha? Both can make Gateways. I understand both are busy doing Important Things, but this was an emergency!

 

Towers of Midnight, Part II

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, I am your host. Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia, can be found in the comments. Make sure to swing by Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia  for cool fan art.  And Sue at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers has intellect and teensy violins.

This week, we covered the Chapters 5-13. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1) Gawyn and the Warder Sleet are playing detective over the murdered Aes Sedai. Care to compare them to other literary detectives? Do you think Egwene is correct in thinking a Forsaken is behind the murders?

Well, they definitely aren’t Sherlock & Watson. Though Sleet could be a Miss Marple, quietly going about collecting facts and asking a handful of questions here there, all the while doing some leather work, looking so innocent wielding a little knife and leather punch. I picture Gawyn more as a Hercule Poirot, so proper and in everyone’s face with his properness.

I am thinking it is one or more of those pesky Seanchan assassins that were left to stealth around the Tower, killing as many Aes Sedai as they can before their time is up.

2) Graendal was interrupted while reading A Light in the Snow (what genre book do you think that was?) to have a meeting with Moridin, wherein he reveals the book or prophecies. What prophecies do you think the dark side has? And what about the prophecy that Perrin shall die at the bad guys’ hands?

I think it is a fashion magazine. I can’t see Graendal reading anything too heavy (like a biography) nor to think in plot (like a good epic fantasy).

The dark side seems to skew everything (but who doesn’t when it comes to world dominating politics?) so I would think that the prophecies have to do with the Dark One triumphing over all after several epochs of crushing all the fun out of the populace.

I don’t think this is the kind of series where one of our main heroes will be killed. So far, with very few exceptions, this has been a pretty PG13 series. So I expect Perrin will have a close call, maybe even be declared dead by some fool who runs off before hearing what a medic says. And if for some reason Faile lets Perrin be killed, he has some kick ass work he can do from the wolf dream world.

3) Did anyone else get a giggle when Morgase demands of Perrin, ‘Do you know my heart?’ in regards to her feelings for Talanvor? What did you think of Perrin’s & Galad’s meeting? How do you think the face off on the field of battle shall go?

Haha! Yes! Perrin’s nose tells him quite a bit about the people around him. So I am pretty sure that not only can Perrin tell that Morgase is in heat for Talanvor, that she also has deeper feelings for him and isn’t just looking for a booty call.

I was ready to vote for Galad, being all reasonable about the Whitecloaks in regards to the Questioners. But then it is like he decided to start storing his brains in his boots and just go with what his zeolist friends say about Perrin. Galad took one look at Perrin’s golden eyes and decided he was indeed a Dark Friend. I wanted to slap the idiot. Like golden eye color is the weirdest, darkest shit Galad has seen in the past several months. Sigh…. I may have to kill him.

Well, last week I was hoping there would be some sort of interruption (like Rand showing up with a big gateway and ordering Perrin and his army to go somewhere else) so that Galad could save face and maybe get some good done elsewhere. Now I hope they do get it on and that Perrin unleashes his Asha’men. The Questioners really don’t need to be around for the Last Battle and I am wondering if we need any Whitecloaks at all.

4) We run into Mat at the Seven Striped Lass tavern (is that yet another reference to spanking?) and toying with Verin’s letter. Later that night he battles the golem. Do you think the threat of the golem will be the thing that forces Mat to open Verin’s letter? Teslyn speaks plainly and honestly to Mat, thanking him, and then fights the golem with him. Do you think this will alter his attitude towards Aes Sedai in the future?

Yes, I think the golem’s threats to hurt/kill Mat’s friends will tear at his conscience and he will open Verin’s letter and we will finally know what her last machinations are.

I really like that Teslyn made this effort to treat fairly with Mat. However, I think he will need several more examples like this before he is able to trust Aes Sedai. Perhaps Teslyn will continue to work with Mat? That would be cool. It would be funny if Mat decided he needed to be a Warder to an Aes Sedai to get that extra bump in speed, strength, and endurance to achieve some task, like freeing Moiraine.

5) Elayne has to make a decision soon about what to do with the captives (those who did not support her). What do you think she should do? Also, she plans to take Cairhein. Do you think this is wise and will be as easy as she thinks it will be?

I think she should arrange marriages between the Houses that declared for her early on the Houses she holds captive now. This will bind those detractors to her supporters. Plus, there will be feasting during a trying time and everyone appreciates the chance to get toasted and fat.

Rand took and held the thrones of Andor and Cairhein for Elayne and she still had to fight for the Andorran thrown (or rather, she had to bullocks it up and Birgitte and Dyelin had to rescue her ass). I really hope that Cairhein is easier for her because we don’t have the time for another revolt. And I think Rand could, and would, step in and give her a hand even if she scowled at him for it.

6) Rand returns to Tear. Please comment upon his reunion with everyone there such as Min, Tam, Nynaeve, Cadsuane, the Aiel, etc. Where do you think Alanna has gone? Who will Rand set Cadsuane to finding? Will Rand be able to meet his toh towards the Maidens and the Aiel in general?

This was an awesome scene! I really enjoyed how Min could feel the total difference in him. It was great that he apologized to Cadsuane (even though she showed no grace in accepting it), hugging his dad, promising to help Lan, owning that he owes the Aiel toh. It was all great.

I am not sure where Alanna has gone but I would not be surprised if Rand snuck into her room and left her a note directing her to leave. Maybe he sent her to fetch/assist Aviendha in returning? Though he could do that himself….but he might get slapped for it. So probably safer to send Alanna.

I am not sure who Cadsuane will be sent to find. Before he tells her he has this task for her, he asks about Mattin Steppeneos, a ruler that Elaida stole from his own bed and was holding in the White Tower. I would think that sending her to find Fain could be very, very useful, but Fain may not be on his radar at all.

I think Rand’s future role in the Last Battle will almost assuredly meet any toh he has to anyone.

Squatch having a snack
Squatch having a snack

Other Tidbits:

Graendal has a Dreamspike and Moridin’s permission to use his minion, the man with two souls (who I think is Slayer). This does not bode well for Perrin!

Morgase was being such a pill in her thoughts about the ‘upstart Two Rivers ruler Perrin’ and yet she refuses to step up and let the world know she is alive. I think she is something of a coward. If she were to take on rulership, or even just act as mentor to Elayne, she would have so many people (a nation of them?) to apologize to for her past bad behavior.

Mat’s letter to Elayne was terribly funny and I enjoyed his mix of frustration for having been ignored and apologies (sort of) for checking out her backside.

Grady wants to return to the Black Tower to see his family. I think he is sincere and has no ulterior motives. Still, I worry that if he goes back now/soon, then he will be held hostage or tortured for info.

 

Towers of Midnight, Part I

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, Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia, is our host and can be found in the comments. Make sure to swing by Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia  for cool fan art.  And Sue at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers has intellect and teensy violins.

This week, we covered the Prologue – Chapter 4. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1.  Everyone who thought Graendal might not be dead can pat themselves on the back.  With Aran’gar’s death that leaves six.  Are there any others, thought dead, that you fear we might see again?

I’m afraid to look on the WoT Wikipedia for a round up of Forsaken names. Of course I want to know who killed Asmodean, but I am not worried about him coming back. Let’s see, who haven’t we balefired lately? Semirhage is balefired. Several of the male Forsaken (probably because it took Rand so long to get over his sissy squeamishness about permanently disabling women). Moghedien is still running around, but tightly leashed by Moridin.

Eh. We’ll see if any spring back to life. Who was it that Rand took out in Shol ghul and we had no body? Moridin helped him out that time. So we might see that pesky Forsaken again.

2.  Is this the first time we’ve seen Padan Fain since book nine? Running around the Blight setting world records for creepiness… What role do you think he has to play in what is coming?

I don’t recall where and when we last saw Fain. Sometimes he gets a short little bit in a book here and there and that’s it, so it fades from my might what book(s) that happens in.

Let me say that Fain has his shit together, unlike many of the other baddies. He didn’t rush his badness either. He let it bloom and swell slowly over many, many books. He is beholden to none (unlike so many of the Forsaken and all of the Darkfriends and Black Ajah). He has this major creepiness power going on that gets him servants for his evil bidding. And he is goal oriented. So many of our Forsaken don’t have a solid goal in mind. Also, I don’t think Fain cares about becoming Nebless – nope. He’s definitely has his own idea of power and domination to attain.

All that said (which kind of looks like a strange fan letter, now that I reread it), I think Fain will go on to march to his own drum which will screw up the few plans that the Forsaken and/or the Dark One have going on, making it that much harder to take over the world.

3.  The blightborder in Kandor is attacked and will probably not hold for long.  Meanwhile, Lan is in Saldaea, heading east. Will he even make it to Tarwin’s Gap, or will he be caught up in the invasion?  How many followers do you expect to see before he gives up the lone wolf plan?

Lan’s an idiot. He can’t accomplish any good by himself in the border, unless you count adding your bones to the soil in order to enrich it after the Trollocs have sucked out all the marrow.

Maybe some Asha’men will join him and make gateway(s) so he can get to Tarwin’s Gap and die in relative comfort.

And I think he already gave up the lone wolf crap when he accepted the supply boy into his entourage.

4.  Yet another reunion happens as Rand reveals part of his plan to Egwene, but she is not pleased.  Rand looks quite sane but Egwene is not so sure.  Do you expect this to be a big conflict before the Last Battle?  Who do you think is right?

No one is going to like the idea of breaking the last seal, so yeah, I expect plenty of people to be yelling at Rand for this idea. But I also expect Min (our little, quiet, knife-weilding brainiac) to figure out the riddles and then explain them to the others, speaking slowly and using small words, so they can absorb the content of the message easier.

I expect Rand is right but I also think that right now he doesn’t fully understand why. he needs Min too.

5.  It looks like we’ll be spending a lot of time this book with Perrin and Hopper in T’A’R.  Excited?  Anything special you want to see?  Will we maybe run into Slayer again?

Hooray! I am so glad that Perrin is finally girding his loins and tackling this problem that has been dogging him for so many books. Running from it doesn’t work. Hiding from it doesn’t work. Ignoring it doesn’t work. So, yeah, he has to go through this training and I bet it will be awesome!

I want to see the wolves explain to Perrin that his loss of control on the battlefield is more a human thing than a wolf thing; Perrin feels great remorse in taking a life, any life, no matter how justified it is. He needs to learn to either set that aside (until after the Last Battle) or let go of such a false notion.

It would be great to see Slayer again. He is so mysterious and deadly! (Ack! It sounds like I am some fan-flousy for the bad guys – I’m not! Really!)

6.  It also looks like we’ll see a confrontation between Perrin and the Whitecloaks, world champions in grudge-keeping.  How will this play out?  How do you think Galad is doing as Lord Captain Commander?

Ugh. The Whitecloaks have the biggest, thickest sticks up their asses. I use to think that Galad was pretty stuck up, but then he joined the Whitecloaks and I now see how mellow he is compared to them.

Once again, i expect Perrin will offer to submit to their judgement in exchange for a temporary truce between them. I hope that Galad will continue to play the voice of reason, will listen to Perrin’s truths of the slaughter of his family and the Whitecloaks’ role in the Two Rivers nastiness, and their with holding of assistance when the town was attacked by Trollocs. I think that once Galad corroborates that (which might have to happen after the Last Battle), Perrin will be free of the Whitecloaks.

Though it might be way cooler if Perrin had to square off one on one with the pesky grudge holder, smacked him down, and showed mercy by not fatally wounding him.

If the Whitecloaks have to be alive, healthy, and still kicking at the Last Battle, then I hope Galad is around to teach them the power of humbleness and acceptance of others. Galad seems to struggle with these things too, but I feel that he at least recognizes his struggle to accept others.

Squatch having a snack
Squatch having a snack

Other Tidbits:

So Graendal can use doves, not just crows and rats, to do her spying. I am going to guess that she is not the only dark power to use other, less noticeable, animals for spying. I kind of hope Graendal does more spying with a plump dove and that dove is shot and eaten by the starving Randlanders, giving Graendal a nasty shock.

It was nice of Rand to take the time to give people apples. But I bet they will be sick of apples once all this is said and done. I would be surprised if we see decorative crab apple trees planted in Rand’s name after he saves the world, while they also plant peach orchards for main sustenance.

I was complaining to my man (who has already finished the book) that Asunawa (spelling?) really needed to be dead. And then, there it was, his head, without a body! It is like the book heard me griping and gave me a little present.

 

Knife of Dreams, Part I

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

This week, Eivind is our host and you can probably find him in the comments. Make sure to swing by Liesel’s Musings on Fantasia for cool non-spoilery fan art and hop on over to Sue’s Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers for some great deductive reasoning skills in calculating how things will fall out with the plot.

I had to post late this week because we had a flood last week and I was just wiped out from the actual event and then clean up efforts.

This week, we covered the Prologue and Chapter 1. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1. Eamon Valda finally buys it, and Galad is now (at least de jure) Lord Captain Commander. Do you think he will be able to muster the children and fight back in any meaningful way? Or is this effectively the end of the order?

Well, I was looking for something else perhaps 2 months ago (perhaps a list of the Forsaken) and the answer to this question was revealed. I guess folks aren’t big into spoiler warnings for this series since it has been out for so long. Perhaps I should reveal the ending to The Hobbit?

Digressing…….Back to the question. First, before stumbling upon that bit of info, I would NEVER have expected Galad to rise to Lord Captain Commander. While he is a stickler for the rules, he is also a good person. I can’t see him raping and torturing his way through a country like Masema’s men do (and some of the Whitecloaks). And the 2 previous Lord Captain Commanders have been pretty ruthless.

So with that in mind, Galad is going to have to get a bit more ruthless, and suspicious, in order to stay alive, let alone retain the title of Lord Captain Commander. But I can’t see Jordan just letting this constant nuisance dressed in snazzy cloaks & armor fade out. So I expect them to be around for the end of the world.

2. The Seanchan suffer some shocking defeats at the hands of Ituralde. Suroth is furious and sends away almost all the air scouts. Will this help Mat out? What do you think is in the future for Ituralde?

First, Ituralde has incredible fashion sense, with the lace and the beauty patch on his face. Very chic.

I think anything that unbalances Suroth, who we know to be a Darkfriend, will help Mat or one of our other heroes. So if Ituralde’s sense of style (on or off the battlefield) does that, I am all for it.

Some of our WoT Quad have mentioned that Ituralde is the last of the greatest battle generals to enter the storyline. So I expect him to win a lot of battles, some of them decisive. I don’t know if he will survive to the end as we have had only tiny little bits of him so far. And I expect some of the key players will have to die in the final 3 books.

3. Semirhage has been busy in Seandar, and Seanchan as we know it (or more accurately, didn’t know it), has ceased to exist. Without support from their homeland, do you think the return is now doomed (in the long term)? Might this force them into accepting an alliance with Rand, once it becomes known?

Yes!!!!! Oh, when I heard this, I did a little dance. I know, I shouldn’t root for Semirhage, but the Seanchan have been pissing me off since they first appeared on Randland thinking they could just conquer the entire land and that they were entitled to do so.

Now with their homeland all in tatters, I hope they realize they will need to make alliances, respect the various peoples of Randland, in order to simply maintain their existence and their possible chance to return home and resurrect their homeland.

4. The Black Ajah hunters have stalled, and Pevara is now being sent away on a mission to bond Asha’men. Talene managed to hide, but Alviarin is still on the right track. Where do you see this storyline going?

Uh….Well, perhaps I wasn’t paying close attention….again.

I expect Pevara to fail at forcing a bond upon Asha’men. Period. Though it could turn rather amusing if she is bonded to one of them.

Alviarin is highly motivated to serve the DO, so I expect her to continue to cause trouble until someone kills her.

5. Of all the things that could happen between Galina and Perrin, what were you wishing for? Do you suppose she succeeded in stalling him?

Galina was doing a lot of lying and I wondered if Perrin could smell her lies and played along with part of it? Of perhaps he could only smell fear on her, which could be explained by the Aes Sedai fear and revulsion towards Asha’men.

If he didn’t pick up on Galina’s lies, then I want to slap him upside the head. He knows that things may not be as they seem. He has met and fought with Wise Women. So he knows that just because you can channel doesn’t mean you are bound by oath to tell the truth.

The rude little evil part of me wishes that Perrin had tortured Galina to verify the truth.

As for stalling Perrin, no. It sounds like they were nearly set to follow through on some plan anyway and that grabbing Galina just gave them a little extra info.

6. Egwene has been installed as a novice again, and sees advantages in her situation. How badly do you think will Elaida regret not having her tried? Is Egwene right in refusing rescue? And do you think she will manage to hold the rebellion together by proxy (in tel’aran’rhiod)?

Oh yes, I definitely hope that Elaida comes to regret not having Egwene beheaded on the spot. I really want Elaida to regret that decision just before she is exiled, Stilled, or killed. Or perhaps all 3. I’m easy that way.

Yes, Egwene is right to refuse rescue just yet. She is in a unique position to learn a lot about her enemies in the White Tower and get that intel to the Aes Sedai outside the Tower through T’A’R.

As for being able to hold the rebellion together….well, I think the Aes Sedai who greatly desire power and see the rebellion as a way to it will hold the rebellion together. Of course, they might not do much to help free Egwene so I hope she packed some clean undies for her (probable) long stay in the Tower.

Crossroads of Twilight, Part I

JordanCrossroadsOfTwilightBannerWow! Can you believe it has been nearly a year and half since we started this crazy, epic read along? Yeah.

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, I am playing host. Eivind, our keeper of esoteric WoT knowledge, can be found in the comments. Make sure to swing by Sue’s at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers for excellent guesses as to what the future might hold. And don’t forget Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia for non-spoilery fan art.

This week, we cover the 99 page prologue. Spoilers for this section run free below!

1) We have a meeting of the minds of Arad Doman. Lots of new side characters were introduced at this meeting. Was it a bit tangled for you? Will this strategy negatively affect the Aiel, and hence, Rand?

Wow! Yes, I was a bit lost. Haha! Nothing new there. But that is OK, because we soon moved past this to characters I knew. I expect that these guys will be quite surprised at how fierce the Aiel fighters are. Of course this tactic will cause a headache for Rand, but the warriors and politicians of Arad Doman might also suffer a headache when they lose to the Aiel.

Now if these Aiel are some of Sevanna’s folks, I will probably root for the Arad Doman soldiers even if they are doing it for the wrong reason. You can see how little motivation means to me in this matter as long as Sevanna and crew get their asses spanked.

2) We have the questionable pleasure of riding around in Valda’s head (Lord Captain Commander of the Children of the Light). Since Morgase slipped through his fingers, her step son Galadedrid (Galad) is no longer a useful tool for him. What do you think Valda will do with him? What do you think it would take for Galad to sever ties with the White Cloaks?

I expect Valda to do one of two things – 1) Ship him off to some no where post that is way out of the way and Valda will hope to never hear from him again; or 2) keep him close until opportunity arises to get rid of him (through deed or trade).

I worry that Galad will never, ever sever ties with the White Cloaks. One of his best characteristics is also his worst – Once he gives his pledge, he is mortally dedicated. Since he has sworn fealty to Morgase and has ties to Elayne, perhaps his bond to the White Cloaks could be broken that way. If he ever learns what the White Cloaks did to Morgase, he could snap. Likewise, if the White Cloaks ever torture, attempt to assassinate, or rape Elayne, Galad might (and hopefully would) give up the cloak. But short of that, I fear he will stay true to them forever, or until they kill him.

3) Mishraile tracks down Logain in the woods and spends some time mocking him. What do you think the M’Hael’s private lessons at the palace include?

Well, I expect ‘Better Leadership through Fear, Mocking, and Treachery’ is the main class held there. I am sure it is broken down in to manageable chunks and given different names such as ‘Lightning Can Be A Powerful Motivator’, ‘A Sharp Wit Deserves A Sharp Tongue’, and ‘Poisoning – A Simple Way to Remove Obstacles’.

Seriously, I think that those who are invited to Taim’s ‘palace’ for these lessons are part of his inner circle. It is rather comforting to see that Logain is not interested in these classes.

4) The wise Sisters of the White Tower are sneaking around trying to ferret out further Black Ajah. How do you think they will ever trick or lure Atuan (who they strongly suspect of being Black Ajah) to a secluded place for questioning? Do you expect their elaborate, if well intentioned, scheming will get noticed?

First, if their scheming hasn’t gotten noticed yet, then the Black Ajah is too complacent. And the other Sisters just aren’t nosy enough to have taken an interest in all the sneaking about that is going on.

As to questioning Atuan, I can see why they hesitate. If she is Black, then she is also most likely very dangerous, since she isn’t bound by the Three Oaths and a reasonable conscience. So whoever does the trickery and luring could very well get hurt, Stilled, or balefired. Also, if they do manage to trick her, and then get caught during the questioning before they achieve desired results, well the results could be the same. So, yes, they need to be very careful. I suggest they get someone innocent all this nonsense and use her to send a simple request – something trivial. Milk and cookies? Help needed in the mending room? Stopped up drain so folks in this section of the Tower need to evacuate to the deepest darkest dungeon? Yeah. I think that will work best.

5) Gawyn is back in the picture, finally! And what a mess! He feels bound to Elayne, Egwene, and the White Tower. Blindly, he agrees to do all he can to carry out Elaida’s orders. What do you think Elaida’s (or perhaps Alviarin’s) orders are?

Gawyn seems to be another blind fool. What is about Morgase and the children she has raised?

If it is Elaida, she might actually want to leave the Tower in order to get away from Alviarin. She could then rebuild her power outside the Tower and retake control from Alviarin. Risky, single-minded, totally Elaida. If it is Alviarin, it might simply be to help smuggle some Darkfriends/Black Ajah in or out of the Tower or perhaps even the rebel Aes Sedai camp.

6) Deira Bashere, Davrim’s wife, was injured when she walked in on two men ransacking their tent. They escaped, only to be found later, already dead. Speculation as to a) what the men were looking for; and b) who killed them?

I don’t know what Davrim could have had to warrant ransacking by two random dudes who are later found dead. As far as I know, he doesn’t carry any angreal or seals. Perhaps they planted something? Then their ransacking, and subsequently being seen, was on purpose to make people think they were stealing something, not planting something.

Since I don’t really know what they were up to, I don’t have any strong guesses as to who hired them. Since Davrim is considered a friend of Rand and is the father-in-law of Perrin, perhaps it was something to discredit either them in his eyes or him in their eyes. This would point to a knowledgeable Dark Friend or Forsaken. Beyond this, I really don’t know.

7) Loial and Karldin are trying to track down Rand to report on their efforts. Just as Samitsu gets their true identities out of them, it is announced that Lord Dobraine has been killed. Who do you think attempted to kill Dobraine? What is it that Loial fears they may have found?

I think Loial fears they have found more Seals, broken. Perhaps these are used as the highest of currency among the Darkfriends and Forsaken. If Dobraine was entrusted to keep these safe, to set people to researching how to make them whole again, then it seems like at least one of our bad guys is thinking ahead, and thinking of contingencies by having Dobraine killed (nice try!) and stealing the broken Seals.

Other Tidbits

Ah, the fashion sense of the Arad Doman leaders was quite amusing!

Is it just me, or does Toveine seem like a bit of an idiot? If she can sense some of Logain’s feeling through the bond, surely she suspects he can sense some of her feelings?

It is interesting to see Logain go from this dangerous, deranged man to this broken shell, to this powerful sex figure. Interesting story arc.

Gawyn needs to be taught how to Dreamwalk so that Egwene & Elayne can let him know what they truly want him to do. I have a feeling his blind faith in the White Tower is going to cause grief for one or all.

 

The Fires of Heaven Read Along Part VIII

JordanFiresOfHeavenBannerEveryone, please be welcome to the 8th week of The Fires of Heaven read along. This week, our awesome commenter Eivind came up with the questions (see his thoughts on them below in the comments). We covered Chapters 45-49 this week and a few things changed, didn’t they? Interesting stuff happening all around in Rand Land. As usual, Musings on Fantasia and Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers have joined us.

Spoilers reside below, fully ensconced in each and every sentence.

1. Seems like Mat has made himself the unwilling hero of the day, now with his personal army. What’s in the future for him? Will he ever come to terms with his fate?

I think Mat will need to see something he deeply cares about seriously threatened or destroyed before he embraces his role in this epic fantasy. We saw that with Perrin and his losses at Two Rivers. As to what that thing, place, or person might turn out to be, I am not sure. If Mat had incurred the same losses Perrin has, I could see him getting serious and pulling out the Emond’s Field version of Whoop Ass. However, I don’t think Robert Jordan will play that particular card twice with the Two Rivers’ folks. Perhaps Mat will fall head over heels for a formidable and sensible woman, who is then lost in a flood of trollocs or such. At any rate, it will be interesting to find out.

2. Three books later, and we’re back in Cairhien. How did Rand handle the nobles? Who do you think he means to put on the Sun Throne?

Since Rand is nothing like the Cairhien nobles and not seeking power or glory, he inherently keeps those idiot nobles off balance. Yay Rand! I like that he gave a variety of greetings, glances, and stares just to keep them all guessing who is on his good side and who he is thinking about decorating the city walls with.

As to who will be set on the Sun Throne….well, perhaps Rand will form a Round Table and force the nobles to work together to some extent, needing a majority vote to do major actions. Of course, then they might not do anything, constantly blocking one another, so Rand would have to leave a forceful person there to out vote the entire Round Table when necessary. Hmm…. Ruarc? Moiraine?

3. With two nations and the Aiel behind him, Rand should be more than a match for anyone. Who is next?

Perhaps Tar Valon. It is close and could rear it’s ugly Elaida head any day. The White Tower is probably the biggest organized threat (except for the motley Forsaken) this side of the world. If he gains control of the White Tower, he would have at least broken up both the Black Ajah strong hold and the Red Ajah and their man hate daily tea time discussions. Perhaps I am merely hoping as I wouldn’t mind seeing Rand knock Elaida down a few notches.

4. This moodiness and snapping from Elayne and Nynaeve, is it from the pressure of hiding or something else? Maybe some of the female audience can chime in…

Poor Nynaeve is having a melt down in so many ways. First Egwene and Elayne are acting her equals, and she keeps leading people into traps, then Moghedien spanks her ass in front of Birgitte which results in a major career change for Birgitte, then she is ‘forced’ to wear ‘lurid’ clothing, and lastly, she has to face the fact she is terrified to go toe to toe with Moghedien again. And somewhere in there, she probably had a period or two, and with no chocolate or cool baths. Yes, life does suck for Nynaeve right now as her core Two Rivers Wisdom identity is challenged on all fronts.

As for Elayne, she has the worst of it because she has to share close quarters with the sharp tongued beast known as Nynaeve. So I can totally understand why she is a bit snappish too. Plus, travel seems to unsettle some folks no matter how nice the weather or comfy the accommodations. I expect that Elayne is used to much more comfy, perhaps even pampered, traveling accommodations.

All that aside, this question may be hinting that a certain item, the whosiewhatsit, that reeks of ill-intent may be causing the all around bitchiness, kind of like Samwise Gamgee and Frodo with the One Ring on the their last few weeks heading into Mordor.

5. Looks like Nynaeve sparked quite the mess by having both Galad and Masema look for a boat. Was this at all avoidable?

Masema has been killing people left and right for months now. The White Cloaks have been killing people left and right for years, if not decades. I think it was inevitable that Masema and his followers and the White Cloaks butt heads at some point. Could Nynaeve have staved it off for a time? Not without her full attention and efforts on it. Alas, she was busy working the arrow show in the Menagerie.

6. Who do you think could take Galad on in a swordfight?

Well, Rand, especially if he is channeling. I would also put money on Lan. Also Conan from the R. E. Howard books, Brienne of Tarth from A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin, Joscelin from Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey, and Owen Deathstalker in the Deathstalker series by Simon Green and Vin from the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson.

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

Other Stuff:

I like how Melindrha greeted Mat with a proprietorial gleam in her eye. Mat hasn’t gotten use to looking up at a woman yet, either. And I found it interesting that Mat did not glory in Couladin’s head either.

What do you think the timezones are across Rand Land? 6 hour difference from edge to edge? 10 hours? I wonder how that works in Tel’aran’rhiod. Perhaps that could be why sometimes people miss each other – because they are off by a few hours due to the distance between them.

Galad sure did give the ladies sad looks when they seemed so surprised he kept his word. Part of me wants to think that he is sad that he was doubted when he has ever been true in his heart to his oath to Morgase. Part of me suspects that he is sad that his sister and Nynaeve are foolish, lost souls and he regrets having to turn them over to his superiors……in some sneaky fashion that they don’t know about yet.

Nynaeve got a marriage proposal, or at least a proposal for a long term relationship that would involve kids. I have to say that she must be smoking hot to keep attracting these men when she has such a harsh attitude towards everyone, but especially men.