A Memory of Light, Part VIII

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

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

I want to take a moment to thank everyone! First, Anya of On Starships & Dragonwings who kicked off this mad read along over 2 years ago. A big thanks to Liesel, Eivind, and Sue who kept is going! And a wee little thank you to all you silent stalkers out there. Here we are at the end of this 15 book (including the prequel) read along. It’s been a magnificent ride!

This week, we covered Chapter 38 to the END. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1. Egwene speaks to Rand from beyond the grave and he has a hard time “letting go” of those who’ve died on the battlefield. What did you think of this part and it’s solution?

This was one of my favorite parts of the ending. Rand finally got it! He is not the only hero in this tale! I know others have been trying to tell him this for ages now. Sometimes it was frustrating to watch Rand feel like he had to carry all this on his shoulders and let no one help him. Then when he was suffering from all the deaths in the Last Battle, I kind of wanted to slap him. Of course, there will be deaths!

So it was great to see Egwene giving him this last message, watching him realize the truth, and then part of the self-imposed load being lifted from his shoulders.

2. There’s a new horn blower, and we see more of Brigitte, Noal, Artur Hawkwing, and others. Comment on what you liked of this section. What did you expect, not expect?

This was also awesome! I loved that Olver could call the Heroes of the Horn and the Noal was the one to step in and save him. It was also great, if a bit predictable, that Brigitte appeared and saved Elayne one more time. I am sure this helped Elayne get over her pain of losing her Warder and friend, not to mention preventing her belly from being cut open.

However, I do wish that the rules of the Horn had been explained a bit more by the end of the book. Everyone, including Mat, thought the Horn was tied to him. So was it his balefire death wierdness that severed that tie? Or his hanging by the Aelfinn? Or do you simply need to be somewhat pure of heart and in desperate need?

3. Lan lives, Alana dies, and Thom is successful at killing many members of the Black Ajah outside the pit. Questions? Comments? Happy dances?

I was totally emotionally prepared for Lan to be dead, just like he has been emotionally prepared to die for his entire life. That said, I was quite happy to see him live! Hooray!

I am glad that Alana let go of her Bond to Rand prior to dying. I have to wonder if Rand sent her off (how many books ago) in order to get caught and be used by the Dark One as a leash at this point. Rand must have put trust in her to release the Bond, if that is in fact why he sent her off.

Then again, since Alana forced the Bond onto him, he might have been a little distracted by her death, but not devastated.

Thom’s role, while perhaps not considered major, was still awesome. At the very first, as an Aes Sedai approached, and Thom put a knife in her, I had this horrible moment where I thought that just maybe Thom was a super secret Dark Friend, but was then immensely relieved that he was simply taking out Black Ajah and the like.

4. Androl impersonates Rand to trap the evil idiots, Grady opens a gateway to Hinderstap (dah!), and Logain breaks the seals. What was your favorite and why? (Feel free to comment on all.)

Androl is getting a lot of practice with his impersonations! And once again, we see that the uncoordinated efforts of the bad guys keep leading them to doom and despair! Mmaaahhhhwwaaaaa!

While it was interesting to glimpse Hinderstap again, I found Logain’s final actions to be the most interesting. Logain was definitely craving power and vengeance and it was nice for him to hold both within his sights, and then let it go. His actions to rescue and protect some noncombatants, and his subsequent realization that the Black Tower and Asha’men could become protectors, was excellent! I really like how his character arc ended.

5. Aviendha vs. Graendal. Aviendha loses her feet (ouch!), and kills Rhuarc. Ultimately Graendal’s compulsion backfires. What did you think of the final solution here?

Aviendha’s time as a fighter have most likely come to an end. At least she will be able to go on as a teacher of one kind or another. It was a little hard losing Rhuarc, mostly because I think he will kick himself for an eternity in the next life and the one after that for falling to Compulsion.

While we see Graendal’s Compulsion backfire and she becomes an adoring servant to Aviendha, I wonder what happens to her afterwards? Does Aviendha keep her around long enough to pick her brain? Does Nynaeve release Graendal from the Compulsion (while she is shielded) and then execute her?

6. Perrin takes out Lanfear and Slayer, and the worlds flicker. Meanwhile, the Wild Hunt comes to Thakandar and the spirits of dead wolves appear on the slopes. Um, discuss!

Wow! Just wow! Perrin took a real beating, and I didn’t expect him to play much more of a role in the final chapters of this book. So I was both delighted and a little worried to see Perrin back in play. Let me just say I was quite relieved that Perrin lived as I was worried he was Rand’s Red Shirt in this series.

Having so many wolves lost was a little heart rending, but we all knew that was coming books ago. They died well and accomplished much before the end.

7. Rand, Nynaeve, and Moiraine exploit the flaw in Callandor to trap Moridin. How well-thought-out was that? Are you surprised it worked?

OK, now please be kind, but I still don’t fully understand Callandor. For me, listening to the audiobook, things happen really fast sometimes and I don’t have the luxury of rereading a sentence or paragraph or page.

So, with that in mind, I am very glad that the trick worked. Obviously, for the ending, it was fairly important that it did work. On the other hand, I am pretty foggy on just what the big deal was, why Callnador was needed, and what role Moiraine played (other than looking intense and serious for the past several chapters).

8. What did you think of Rand’s final solution for the DO’s prison? Will it hold?

I liked how this was resolved. Last week, we saw Rand come to the conclusion that destroying the Dark One would not benefit the world, but instead create a world where folks were not truly themselves and couldn’t experience true free will.

So, of course he had to come up with a new solution and I liked what he came up with. As this is a world where the Wheel weaves as it wills, and there are no true endings or beginnings, I don’t expect it to hold forever. We will have another massive confrontation sooner or later.

9. Comment on some (or all) of the aftermath: our ta’veren heroes are ta’veren no longer, Ilturalde will rule, Tuon is pregnant, Moghedien survives…as a damane!!!, Faile lives, Cadsuane as Amyrlin, Rand vs. Moridin and the three women around the funeral pyre, and Loial’s writing makes an appearance. In the end, Rand doesn’t channel, but thinks his pipe is lit and it is. What does it all mean? What did you like/dislike? Was there anything unresolved you wanted to see? General thoughts, feelings, reactions. (This is your last chance to geek out! :D)

I think all 3 Ta’veren are very relieved to no longer be Ta’veren. Plus, Rand has to disappear now so it’s probably good that Mat and Perrin can’t track him with the rainbow sensory ties they use to have.

Ituralde has a good head on his shoulders, so I think things will go well with him leading.

Tuon is pregnant and threatening Mat’s life….again. I think he is amused and likes a woman who keeps him on his toes.

I had mixed feelings about Moghedien. Part of me really wants her dead, because alive she will eventually wreak havoc. Also, it’s obvious some of the Seanchan were scouring the done & dead battlefield for possible slaves to be collared while no one was really paying attention – against the agreements laid down by Tuon and Rand. Naughty Seanchan!

For Perrin’s sake, I was glad to see Faile still alive. I wouldn’t have mourned her passing, but I would have hated to see Perrin mourning for the rest of his life.

Cadsuane will make a decent Amyrlin. She has a wealth of knowledge, years, and hands-on experience. Hopefully she has learned some tact and won’t be such a bully.

It was awesome to see Loial lived and gets to go on to write his book – perhaps the very books we read!

And finally, Rand gets to do a body swap at the last minute. He gets to take over Moridin’s handsome and whole body and ride off into the sunset, with his Bonds in tact with his mini-harem. Um…..WTF? Did anyone else have a moment there? OK, we have seen for several books now that Moridin and Rand are somehow attached to each other. But this sudden leap to a whole body swap at the end…well, I didn’t feel it was necessary. I was OK with Rand dying because he was OK with making the ultimate sacrifice. Plus, he had already reproduced with Elayne and perhaps Min & Aviendha as well.

And, of course, I would have loved more info on how Demandred came to be in charge of an entire nations of Dark Friends. So I must (happily) run off to read the short story in the anthology Unfettered.

I would also like to know how Taim came to have the Seals. I know Eivind gave some very plausible ideas of how this came about. Still, I would have liked it explained in the narrative.

OK, now that I have picked apart the ending, over all I really enjoyed it. Yes, there was some death and tears, but we won! The world goes on and most of our heroes continue on with their lives. There will be more adventures!

Will the WoT world be opened up for other writers to write in? How about an HBO series based on the books? One can only hope.

A Memory of Light, Part VI

WOT 14Welcome everyone to Book 14 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and the final week of this read along. Here is the schedule for A Memory of Light if you want to join us.

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

This week, we covered Chapters 29-36. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1) Finally, Graendal’s Compulsion of the Great Captains has been uncovered. Do you think that Mat’s medallion will protect him from her ‘advances’? It seems as if Ituralde was the only Captain to resist the Compulsion: any ideas about why that might be?

I expect Mat will be able to resist as long as he has the medallion and/or doesn’t sleep. It seems Graendal only worked her Compulsion on the captains while they rested. And perhaps that is why Ituralde held out longer than the others – he was getting less sleep. Maybe? His battle line was being pretty hard hit, so most folks weren’t getting much if any sleep.

Or maybe Graendal was running out of time and hit the other 3 harder because those battle lines were considered more critical? We’re running out of time for all the answers to be laid out before us, so we might have to settle for speculation on things like this.

2) Mat rides into battle and is suitably awesome. Do you think that Tuon is reassessing her ability to control her Prince? Could this be the end of formal Seanchan society as it has existed for thousands of years?

Yes, I think Tuon is reassessing many things right now. I am not sure how much that reassessment will change her mind tho. No matter how proper it is for her to control her man, that won’t happen in this relationship. So, she can either fight it and look the fool (even if she executes Mat she will look the fool) or she can pretend that it is right and proper and change society.

So, I am hoping that Mat can show that change is a good thing under fire, and later on show that it is also a good thing in times of peace. After all, there is that whole slavery issue that won’t sit well with him or the folks of Randland.

3) Perrin and Slayer clash again. It seems like Perrin is still outmatched, although he is continuing to improve, but will he ever be able to dispatch his enemy? Were you surprised that Lanfear proved to be as fickle as we had suspected? Will Perrin take any further part in the Last Battle now that he has returned to the waking world?

So I was terribly worried that Perrin might not make it out of this series alive….but now that he has landed back in the Waking World, injured but alive, I think he will make it. I am not sure he will be the one to take out Slayer. After all, Perrin had to leave his Aiel buddy in the Dream World and I would be surprised if Slayer had taken serious note of him. So he might be able to sneak up on Slayer and take care of business. Of course, he might die too.

Lanfear! Erg! Well, we knew that she is playing her own game.

4) The battle outside Cairhien is almost lost and even the mighty Ogier are starting to fall when Androl produces a miracle. What did you think of Logain’s comment about the notes in Taim’s rooms: does he have a list of all the Shadow’s battle plans? Please comment on the epicness of Androl’s miracle! 😀

I am both glad and a little concerned that Logain will be stepping up. His character line has been building for books now, and then he was MIA for a good while, and now he is back in time to help out in the Last Battle. But did he come off as a little too focused or even egotistical to anyone else? I drew a vague correlation between Logain and Rand – two men who suffered greatly at the hands of others while completely helpless. I am concerned that Logain may lash out as Rand did once upon a time, but not be nearly as successful….or perhaps take out some of the good guys as collateral damage while attempting to get Taim.

Androl’s miracle was awesome! If he can somehow open gateways to lava, what else can he open gateways to? Snow storms? Epic hurricanes? Deep, icy ocean waters? Androl may just be the scariest man on the field!

5) Tuon is taking the End Of The World in her stride, with her giant travelling throne and making full use of Min’s Talent. Are you a little disturbed by her serenity at this time? Do you think that Min’s demands will be met, or will she eventually refuse to reveal her viewings?

Tuon has been raised since birth to command the world and maintain absolute, total control at all times. So, quite frankly, I am not surprised that she and her court have all these trappings and still hold to ceremony and hierarchy. Tuon has to maintain serenity on the outside, even if she has concerns or fears going through her head.

Min rocks! I think Tuon needs folks to push back on her, and I am so glad that Min is doing so in such a public way without pleasantries, etc. I think Tuon will behave for the duration of the Last Battle. But after that…well, I hope Min has some type of security that will give her an out is Tuon gets imperialistic.

6) Just for a change, things go horribly wrong. Do you think that the black spikes were a deliberate attack against Faile’s group? Can you believe that Vanin and Harnan are actually Darkfriends, or were they just after the tobacco? Is there any chance that the Horn will make it back to Mat’s hands?

The black spikes seem too convenient for the attack to be happenstance. I would suspect intentional fuckery from the side of evil. But I am not sure the Evil knows Faile’s mission. So, maybe just trying to upset/hurt Perrin, an important Ta’veren, by killing his wife.

I was completely surprised that Vanin and Harnan were suspected of being Darkfriends! And they ran! So, I really hope they are not as our heroes need to be able to trust valued friends at this time, but damn! It’s totally possible they were up to no good.

I have this silly vision in my head of Mat and Olver riding double on a horse passing the Horn back and forth, calling the Heroes to their aid. Wouldn’t that be epic? Haha! Olver would have the story of his life if he assisted Mat in calling forth these epic Heroes.

7) Red veiled Aiel infiltrate the camp in Thakan’dar and cause mayhem. Do you think that even Cadsuane and Sorilea are powerful enough to defeat Graendal? Will the Aiel ever recover from the shame of learning about the fate of their male channelers?

I think we need Cadsuane to play nice for once and do the whole Team Work thing. If she can do that, then Graendal doesn’t stand a chance against Cadsuane and Sorilea.

That was a powerful revelation – the moment some of the Aiel realized that the red-veiled Aiel were a product of their traditions. I really felt for them in that moment because I know their whole society (whoever remains after the Last Battle) will take it very seriously and will pay toh forward, probably for generations.

8) Rand is frozen in place as he battles the Dark One. Why is Moridin frozen as well? Do you think Nynaeve will be able to do anything to help Alanna before she can release Rand from his Bond? Is there any chance that Nynaeve can save the world by simply bopping Moridin on the head with a big rock?

I can only think that the Dark One wants Moridin frozen as he deals with Rand. After all, the DO has got to have a big ego, so he has to be the one to take out Rand (if he can). If Moridin does it, it would steal all the DO’s thunder.

I am not sure Alanna will release Rand. She has been pretty selfish about that since the beginning. But Rand was forcibly bonded to her and there has never been any real affection, so I am not sure her death will have a huge impact on him.

We all want to hit Moridin over the head with a big rock, but right now, everyone has their hands full and Moridin isn’t doing anything. Perhaps hitting him would disrupt something else?

Other Tidbits:

Min got new clothes! How cute! I just hope they have the ability to conceal more knives, instead of less.

Olver and his cuddle time! How old is he now? 9? 12? I don’t recall how old he was when he was first picked up. But isn’t he getting to be that age where snuggling into any woman’s bosom is a little suspect?

Do you think Nynaeve will be able to teach the Wise Ones the art of healing the male channeler madness? If so, perhaps some of the red-veiled Aiel can be captured and returned to society…maybe.

OK, this might sound harsh. Did Rand send Alanna to the Pit to be captured on purpose? If so, why? I am not sure……

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.

 

The Gathering Storm, Part VI

JordanGatheringStormBannerWelcome everyone to Book 12 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. You can find the schedule to The Gathering Storm 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. Sue at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers has critical thinking skills and tiny violins.

This week, we covered the Chapters 36-42. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1) Verin demands a deal for Travelling his army & Mat demands a compromise. What do you think is in Verin’s sealed letter of instructions? Will Mat hold to his bargain?

Ugh….what could Verin have in mind? Well in light of what we learn later on in this section, I think she has left instructions that will 1) make amends for some of her past bad deeds and 2) help the Dragon Reborn’s efforts to defeat the Dark One. But I really don’t have any idea on specifics.

I am not sure if Mat will hold to the bargain. Obviously he is reluctant to agree to carry out sealed instructions (which seems remarkably prudent of him – must be because he so strongly distrusts Aes Sedai). If Mat hears about Verin being Black Ajah but that she died in order to reveal the Black Network to Egwene, then I think he will be more inclined to carry out her request. But I don’t see Mat and Egwene having a chat before the time limit is up.

2) Tuon, now referred to as Fortuna, carried through with her decision to attach the White Tower. What did you think of her discussion with Selucia concerning how this action might very well turn the Dragon Reborn against the Seanchan? Is Fortuna’s concerns well founded, or should she be more concerned about how the Aes Sedai will react?

I think Tuon is having second thoughts about her decision to attack the White Tower and defy the Dragon Reborn. But of course she can’t outright say that and she sure as hell can’t act on these misgivings in any way that would lower her eyes.

She has stirred up a hornet’s nest one way or the other. Face the wrath of the Dragon Reborn or face the fury of a trampled on and surly united White Tower? Hmmm… I would rather face Rand. either way, Fortuna is in deep shit.

3) Rand is certain he has removed Graendal from the picture. Do you agree? Will Nynaeve forgive Rand for having her play a part in his ruse?

I am one of those people that always needs a body. Or a head. Or a heart. In the case of balefire, I need to see with my own eyes the person who is being wiped out of existence. So while I hope that Rand’s little ruse told true, I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if Graendal popped up later.

Nynaeve is pretty cool about telling Rand that she despises the action he has taken. She is very careful to separate the action from the man. She doesn’t hate Rand but she sure as hell hates having been a party to killing an entire castle full of servants and playthings (even if they were little more than mindless zombies). It think that if Rand defeats the Dark One and saves the world, and lives to talk about it later, then Nynaeve will be able to forgive him.

Though she will probably take pains to gather up all the mentally tortured and broken who were affected by the Forsaken, myrrdraal, etc. and tuck them away in a very comfortable basement while she strives to find a way to heal them all.

4) Nynaeve swallows her pride and asks Cadsuane and the Wise Ones to let her in on The Plan. Why do you think they want Perrin? Any ideas on what The Plan is?

I am not sure why they want Perrin, though I think that whatever they are planning won’t work unless you have the trio together (Rand, Perrin, Mat). I hope they have already figured this out. Though it does seem to be a bit childish to keep the entire plan from Nynaeve as I think she has proven to be one of Rand’s truest friends.

While listening to this section, I really felt that Cadsuane had backslid and was being an arrogant ass once again. Sigh…..Is Min the only one to realize that Rand needs support not bludgeoning? He needs guidance, not to be herded? I wonder why Sorilea didn’t take a greater lesson from Cadsuane’s banishment.

5) And the big reveal for this section concerns Verin. Did you see that coming? What more did she leave in her notebook for Egwene to decipher?

Argh! OK, so no offense at all to my compatriots in this read along. But since it had been asked more than once during past books if we thought Verin was Black Ajah, I had kind of figured that she must have some tie to them or be one, otherwise why keep asking? So, I had a sinking feeling that Verin was going to turn out evil and I was deeply concerned for Egwene when Verin turned up in her room.

But, Verin held true to her character – deeply curious about the world around her, she fond herself in this horrible situation where she could either die or become Black. And yet, she plans her death so that she has some time to leave Egwene a pretty powerful gift – all the info she has collected on the Black Ajah. I bet is like a huge PhD dissertation. So I was very happy to see that Verin is indeed a good guy, even if she had to do some horrible things (which she regrets deeply) to get to this point.

I would love for there to be a side story on Verin!

As to what else (besides the very long list of Black Ajah) is in the book… well, I would think there would be a list of Dark Friends, especially those in stations of power or influence. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some detailed notes on Weaves of torture or Compulsion or How To Be A Sneaky Bitch.

6) The Seanchan finally attack the Tower! Feel free to gush about your favorite parts. What did you think of Bryne’s demand of Warder status of Siuan (and his still unnamed second demand)? Was Egwene bad-ass enough for you? Pleased or surprised by the actions/reactions of the other Aes Sedai?

I loved how Egwene took control of the battle in her section. When she was challenged by one Sister (who said something like – Oh, so you think you are in charge?) and Egwne bluntly tells her yes and asks her if she would prefer to be in charge. Of course, the Sister declines because who really wants to be in charge in a fucked up situation like that (and if you just raised your hand and said, ‘Pick me!; then you need to get a job in Emergency Management.

I also like how Sierin (spelling?) had a central place for info to flow into and back out, and for the wounded to stumble to if there were no Aes Sedai on hand to do the healing on the front line.

And then Siuan and Bryne have to save each other. So romantic! In a totally kick ass kind of way.

And I like tht Bryne made the demand to be Siuan’s Warder. I look forward to seeing what his second demand turns out to be. Perhaps he will ask her to stop doing his laundry and consider that debt paid. It might be a bit too gushy if he asks her to marry him.

7) The aftermath: Do you think the Seanchan raid on the White Tower will be seen as a success or a loss by the Seanchan? How will Egwene react to being removed from the Tower? How will the Tower react to it’s loss of Elaida?

I am really hoping the Seanchan see it as a loss, but I am not sure their collective pride will allow that. Also, I am not sure what their body count was compared to the number of captured and/or dead Aes Sedai.

I know Egwene was mumbling not to remove her from the Tower, but if they start flying a white flag of truce and talks the next morning, then Egwene may not be too upset about it. Plus, she will have a chance to snuggle kiss Gawyn.

Well, once they have confirmed that Elaida is missing, I think many will sigh a big sigh of relieve. Then they will have to struggle with the moral question of trying to rescue or ransom her (which might not be possible due to the Tower losses). It would be funny if it was Egwene of all people who insisted they rescue Elaida – but Egwene hates the a’dam enough that she might just insist on freeing every Sister from such a fate, even Elaida.

Squatch being cute.
Squatch being cute.

Other Tidbits:

Verin describes the ritual for becoming Balck Ajah as rather singular. *shiver* I just want to say that is messed up and that maybe becoming Black Ajah isn’t for the faint of heart.

But where are the rest of those specialized assassins? How long do they live again? Could they still be creeping around?

OK, I know this was in this section, but I felt I had asked one two many questions as it was. The last chapter is Rand getting ready to leave Bander Eban in Arad Doman. The Sea Folk ships have arrived and all the food is spoiled, every last bit. He has to walk away leaving all these starving people. And…. well, he was right. He had done everything he could. Arad Doman and the Merchant’s Council needs to pull their own weight and try to save their people and themselves. The world may be ending and Rand has the big chore of saving the known world. It would be great if a few more folks stepped up and took a few items off his to-do list.

Lord of Chaos Read Along Part V

JordanLordOfChaosBannerHello WoT Fans! This is week five of the exciting and detailed dissection of Lord of Chaos. Our awesome host this week is Sue from Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers, so make sure to head over to her place for some higher thoughts and excellent deduction. You can also catch Eivind our Commenter over there and swing by Liesel’s at Musings on fantasia for fan art!

We’re covering Chapters 17-24 this week; Spoilers await the unwary below, with balefire!

1. We get to see a little of how Cairhien is working with Berelain in charge. Wetlanders trying to apply ji’e’toh: can this end well? What did you think of Rand’s decision to execute Mangin?

As much as I like the Aiel (high sense of honor, equality within the society, warriors, etc.), they are pretty immovable and inflexible in many things. They believe and act as if their set of standards and ideals should apply to everyone, whether they are Aiel or not. On the other hand, we started off with the kids from Two Rivers doing the same thing, although they didn’t take it to extremes and try to kill anyone who severely offended their sense of honor through a tattoo or head scarf or certain jewelry.

I admire Berelain for allowing the ladies to stay and train as they will instead of sending them home to be proper daughters, wives, etc. While Berelain is trained in some sort of hand & foot self-defense, I have to wonder if she felt trapped in a ‘feminine’ role all her life, forced to use her charms instead  respected for her brains and organizational skills.

If Rand did not kill Mangin, after having set down very clear rules with very clear consequences, he would have lost major respect from the Aiel as a whole. In fact, I would bet money that Mangin was well aware of the likely consequences of his actions before he killed that man, and still weighed it as needing done. However, part of me would like to think that if Moirraine or Elayne or perhaps Nynaeve had been about, one of them could have come up with a clever way to punish Mangin without hanging him, and without Rand losing face. It was wrong of Berelain to leave it for Rand, and perhaps a little cruel? Cowardly?

2. Ogiers, Shadar Logoth and a missing Aiel, oh my! How great was it to meet some more Ogiers, especially Elder Haman and Loial’s mother? Do you think it was wise for Rand to take so many Aiel with them? Oh, and how do you think Loial will react to his reunion with Erith?

So while we haven’t had a Loial fix in some time (I’m missing him quite a bit actually), this was a nice substitute. We had that brief visit to a steading….Book 4? Book 3? But other than Loial, we haven’t really gotten to see other Ogier. I was a little surprised that Rand ordered maps and ink and quills brought to the courtyard rather than asking them all in, ordering tea and cakes, while the maps were all fetched. Still, each side was in a hurry for their own reasons.

The Aiel are constantly fighting Rand on this point. Rand wants to keep them safe, and they all want to keep him safe. I liked that Rand was adamant with them about staying together, staying out of buildings and shadows, and not taste testing of anything! Still, someone wasn’t paying attention, or Shadar Logoth has more tricks than even us readers know. It is not Rand’s fault one went missing and couldn’t be found. He was right to forbid the Aiel to search within the buildings, because then all sorts of folks would have gone missing.

Loial and Erith haven’t seen each other in 5 years. If this wasn’t a PG fantasy, I would say that I wouldn’t expect things to turn out as rosy as Erith pictures them. But this is a PG fantasy (a very entertaining one, but still PG), so I expect some shuffling of feet, some harsh words, some light misunderstandings, and then some love poetry and an Ogier wedding. Personally, I find it a bit irritating that the Ogier all assume that Loial is being an errant, selfish child by insisting on traveling. But they don’t all know what I as a reader know about Loial’s efforts to save people and the world at large.

3. A group of dead Tinkers, complete with ominous message, and Travelling groups of Aiel assassins. Any suggestions as to who is responsible for these two incidents and do you think that the message was written by the Tinker or one of the attackers? Was anybody surprised that Olver sneaked away from his foster home and followed Mat?

My rough guess is that whoever set the Aiel (most likely Shaido) on Mat, also had the Tinkers killed at that location. By doing this, the attacker could be reasonably sure that Mat would halt his troupes nearby for the night in order to allow for burial of the Tinkers. This would give the attacker the advantage of knowledge of the terrain. Once again, I turn to one of the Forsaken. I don’t think Sammael is that clever to set this up, so he’s out. Semirhage has enough wits and cleverness, so perhaps her. Moghedien is out and Lanfear too, for obvious reasons. Graendel could do it, but would she? Anyhoo, one of the powerful bad guys did it, most likely a Forsaken or a Black Ajah powerful enough who has been taught the trick of it.

I think the tinker left the message and I think it was simply that – tell Rand about the dead Tinkers. It would matter to him.

No, I wasn’t surprised that Olver slipped his keeper and came after Mat. It was sweet of Mat to give him a job to do and some pocket change.

4. Sammael tells Graendal that he has a truce with Rand and she actually believes him. Is she having a really bad day or has Scarface suddenly got a lot better at play-acting? Also, why does he want her to believe that he has a truce?

Perhaps Sammael feels he would lose face with the other Forsaken if they knew how quickly and completely Rand turned him down. It’s like asking someone to prom and they shooting off with the wrong answer without any hesitation at all, but you don’t want all your friends to think you are really that uncool, so you fib a bit and say that they already have a date, but that you plan to do coffee with them later.

Oh, and I am pretty sure that Sammael had to practice lying in the mirror, for hours!, in order to fool anyone.

On the other hand, you would think that the Forsaken all have their human spies near Rand in some shape or form and that some of them would have a first hand report of Rand’s utter rejection of Sammael’s pathetic offer. Hence, Sammael the idiot once again.

5. We know that Rhuarc had to give her a good whipping in Tear, but do you have any idea why the Wise Ones have adopted Berelain like a daughter? Does she seem to be a good choice as interim ruler in Cairhien?

Berelain seems to be keeping order, getting shit done, and even allowing women a larger role in the military, work force, and government. I think the Aiel are more about practicalities rather than getting hung up on what someone wears. Hence, they first judged Berelain on what she could do and what she chose to do, rather than her wardrobe. The fact that she no longer pursues Rand, now that she has a day job, probably didn’t escape their notice.

I do enjoy how Berelain teases Egwene by making lewd remarks to her about Rand. Yes, I am a little imp inside :).

6. The envoy of Aes Sedai from Elaida has arrived in Cairhien. What do you think about the inclusion of a Red sister in the group? There are six that Egwene spots in the street, but do you think there are more lurking about, possibly another seven?

I think this is very much in keeping with Elaida’s character. She is a red so it would be unlike her to leave red out of the envoy. It would also be like her to sneak a further 7 into the city somehow, perhaps weeks ago, in singles or pairs. Sooner or later, someone is going to try to cut Rand off from the source, and gentle him. I think it should be Elaida and crew and I look forward to seeing the looks of consternation and surprise on their faces when it doesn’t go down as they expect. 🙂

Other Tidbits:

Rand is having to travel a tough road and he’s got my respect for calling the rough calls. He was right to enforce his rules, but showed further wisdom by not making Mangin’s hanging special by being present for it.

The way Loial’s mum kept looking at Erith was great! Territory issues? Haha! Should be interesting to see how that works out between mum and soon-to-be daughter-in-law.

Hooray for Rand for finally closing off/guarding the Ways!