Lord of Chaos Read Along Part X

JordanLordOfChaosBannerWelcome all! Here we are at the end of the book and it was a crazy, intense one! Eivind, our awesome commenter, came up with this week’s questions and you can read his thoughts below in the comments.

Spoilers run free and uninhibited below!

1. There seems to be a serious lack of cooperation in Ebou Dar, and things are not so easy as they seem. Do you expect the girls to be able to complete this mission on their own (without Mat’s help)? We know that the key to finding the bowl is to find the one who is no longer. Have we already met this person?

I think the ladies will need someone’s help…maybe not Mat’s, but someone’s. Perhaps when they find ‘the one who is no longer’ they may even politely ask for assistance. Maybe.

So, who is ‘the one who is no longer’? Well, if it is someone we have met before, it is also someone who has moved on from the earthly plain, majorly transformed themselves, or is from a past age recently reborn into the world again but hasn’t woken to the fact. When put like that, that leaves the door open for all sorts of people. Moiraine and Lanfear fell in battle through that freaky doorway. What if one of them is back in some guise? Then the Big Dark One resurrected 2 Forsaken, so either of them could qualify. And Mat and Rand and probably a few others carry other, ancient folks & their memories in their heads.

I think I will enjoy seeing who Jordan puts in this role.

2. Two escapees from Salidar. Logain flees with Egwene’s help, and Moghedien by Aran’gar’s doing. Where do you see the story going for these two? Was Egwene right in setting Logain free? Should she, in hindsight, have executed Moghedien earlier?

I think Logain wants to bring down the Red Ajah, and perhaps the White Tower. So I see him joining forces with someone who can make that happen. Hopefully he chooses a decent sort – like Rand – instead of the indecent sort – like Padan fain.

Moghedien will do what Aran’gar tells her to do, and right now that is to report the DO at his semi-secret batcave. Moghedien is great at disguise, so I expect she will be set to spy on someone. Should be interesting once Egwene, Elayne, Nynaeve, or Birgitte catch up to her. 🙂

I think Egwene was right to free Logain since she could not make him an open ally of the Salidar Amyrlin. She may have to kill him later if he turns towards the dark side, but I think she can handle it.

And, yes, Moghedien should have been executed earlier, but I can see all the reasons while the ladies held off doing that. She was a maid, a source of ancient and lost knowledge, and generally didn’t cause a ruckus. So the ladies would have been executing her on past mideeds and her reputation, and not on her current somewhat helpful demeanor.

3. Lan returns to the story as Myrelle’s warder, with a heavy heart and apparently near death. Nynaeve is none the wiser. Does Myrelle even know about their relationship? Has she agreed to send him on to her? Do you expect this to happen soon, or will she have to be forced?

I am not sure Myrelle knows of Nynaeve’s relationship with Lan, but Myrelle did make some passing thought-comment about wanting to keep him alive long enough to fulfill her orders. It is possible Moiraine had an agreement with Myrelle, or just plain ordered her, to pass on Lan’s wardership to Nynaeve once Nynaeve was a real Aes Sedai. Or Myrelle was ordered to pass Lan on to yet a different Aes Sedai, who will then pass him to Nynaeve.

If this is so, Lan will be passed around like a toned stripper at a bacherlorette party. 😉

Or Myrelle is really one of the bad guys and some middle-management Dark Friend gave her orders to pass Lan off to trollocs or myrrdraal or such. Who will then pass him around like a blow up doll at a campsite beer brawl.

Either way, Lan is not going to like NOT being in charge of his life.

4. The loyalist Aes Sedai seem to have really gone out of their way in torturing Rand after he killed a couple of warders. Justified? What do you think this has done to Rand’s psyche? Could there be a connection to the first genuine direct conversation with Lews Therin?

Those Aes Sedai are idiots in so many ways. Their torture was not justified as Rand was in self-defense mode. Their treatment of Rand has definitely reinforced his own natural distrust of Aes Sedai, but has also reinforced/reawakened Lews Therin’s distrust, even hate, of Aes Sedai. This is going to make things so much more difficult between Rand and Egwene, Elayne, and Nynaeve (people he once trusted). Egwene plans to boss him around. Elayne plans to warder him (not sure if she will ask permission first). Nynaeve will demand to heal him (that still half-healed wound in his side) regardless of his desires on the matter. So, I can’t say I would blame rand for shying away from these women.

5. The Battle at Dumai’s Wells really had everything, didn’t it? Except for the Seanchan and the Whitecloaks, it seems every faction was represented. As Liesel suggested, feel free to nerd out about it here. 🙂

My favorite parts were Perrin and his wolves. I loved when he was requesting aid from the wolves and explained to them the Aes Sedai had Rand. Their response was simple and eloquent – We come! Things are so simple with Perrin’s wolves. Though I was a little surprised he didn’t warn his people, so as not freak them out.

Then later, Perrin kind of brings Rand down to earth by shouting at him about how many people have died for him already that day. Perrin and Loial want out from behind the protective shield so they can go tell the team to retreat since Rand is safe. And that is when Rand joins the fray with Mazrim and the asha’mon. It was excellent.

Overall, I really, really enjoyed this fight scene. Oh, and I loved how Rand treated all the Aes Sedai, including the ones who came to ‘rescue’ him. Haha!

6. It seems likely that our heroes would have been defeated without the timely arrival of Taim (you could say he was “on Taim”). With him having put his life on the line to save Rand, do you think he can now be trusted?

Was Taim’s life ever at risk? Really at risk? The dude brought an army, wields the Power, and can create a door in the middle of anywhere to a save place have a world away, if needed. If Taim is really a bad guy, or perhaps he is just on the fence about the matter, then this would be a fairly safe thing to do in order to try to gain Rand’s trust.

But I did notice that Rand wouldn’t allow Taim to heal him. I think Rand’s paranoia is going to be extra high for a while, and I can’t say that it isn’t wise.

7. “…and the world was changed forever.” Rand now has nine Aes Sedai under his command. Do you expect this to lighten or heighten tensions between him and the rebels and/or the loyalists? What other things might come from this?

First, how true is the sworn loyalty of an Aes Sedai, especially one under duress? Will it hold? If it holds, I think this will create stress between Rand and Egwene. Who would the Salidar Aes Sedai obey first – Rand or Egwene? Next, the leaders of the White Cloaks are convinced that Rand uses Aes Sedai to perform all his Power tricks, and this will just add credence to that lie.

Now Alanna is sworn to Rand, right? And Rand is her Warder. That could get messy, mostly for Alanna. She hasn’t been able to force him to do anything through the bond. Can Rand force her through her oath? Will be interesting to find out.

8. After their second thorough defeat, have we now finally seen the last of the Shaido, or do you think there are there still misdeeds to be done? Sevanna was thinking about some “call boxes” given to her by a wetlander. What and who could this be?

Much of the Shaido is captured or killed. Those captured have to do their servitude time and I am not sure how many will hold to those ‘old’ ways. Those Shaido that retreated….well, I am not sure how Aiel treat those who flee from battle, even when it is obvious they will lose. Perhaps some of those will go to the other Aiel clans and go into servitude for a time to repent for their stupid, mislead ways. Some may instead regroup and build strength before being pains in the asses again.

I don’t recall Sevanna and her call boxes. Sounds like some long-range communication device, one that doesn’t rely on birds. I am going to guess that Padan Fain is involved in that one.

9. Herid Fel was assassinated by… something. Why? He seemed harmless enough! We also learn that the Daughter of the Nine Moons is likely someone related to the Seanchan, and that they have designs on Ebou Dar (or at least spies there). With Mat in town this seems like a prime opportunity for some first-class prophecy fulfillment, no? Who do you expect her to be? Have we perhaps already seen her?

Herid Fel was working on new weapons for Rand, but also researching whatever he could find on the Aes Sedai-Warder bond. I think Rand really, really wants to break that bond. I know I would, like a recurring blister in a most uncomfortable place. So, who controls a golem? We haven’t seen golems before, right? So if they are a Sea Folk or Seachan thing, then I say Herid was killed for his masterly skills at coming up with new weapons. If the Aes Sedai, like Alanna, control golems, then I say he was killed for his research in the Warder bond.

Yes! It is time we have Mat meet the Daughter of the Nine Moons. Honestly, I really don’t know who to expect, and I don’t know if we have met her before. Robert Jordan is great at pulling in characters from previous books and showing them in a new light or putting them in a new situation. So I wouldn’t be surprised if we have met her, that she is a Seanchan warrior badass, and that Mat and she detest one another from the beginning. Haha! Perhaps Mat loses a bet and therefore his money bag, his clothes, and his unmarried status.

Anyway, I look forward or jumping into the next book to see what happens.

Other Tidbits:

Perrin physically removed Berelain from the room, yelling at her! Go Perrin! But Faile didn’t spring up and thank him, or kiss him, or reassure him that his actions were appropriate. Sigh….

I am really, really glad that Rand and Lews have finally got a dialogue going, one that useful, like breaking out of Aes Sedai jail. I am just sorry to say that it took nearly a week of Rand being bent over double smelling his own ass crack for this little communication breakthrough to occur.

The Fires of Heaven Read Along Part X

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Tidbits:

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

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

The Fires of Heaven Read Along Part IX

JordanFiresOfHeavenBannerWelcome all to the ninth week of read along goodness of The Fires of Heaven. This week, we covered chapters 50-53. Make sure to check out my cohorts, Eivind’s answers will be below, and then Sue from Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers, and Liesel from Musings on Fantasia!

We’ve got spoilers unclothed and running free below!

1) How long do you think Birgitte will be able to keep her identity mostly secret? What do you think the Salidar Aes Sedai would do with Birgitte if they knew?

Considering the warm reaction Nynaeve and Elayne have received from the Salidar aes sedai, I would not want them to find out about Birgitte. Even though Siuan brought dire tidings, these ladies haven’t really woken up to the fact that there are superior forces out there and also tasks that must be accomplished in order to preserve some part of the world in the coming tide of evil. It’s like the Salidar aes sedai haven’t read the back of the book jacket at all!

As to Birgitte keeping her ID secret…..The longer she is in Salidar, the greater the chance is. However, being bonded to Elayne means that she can’t simply pack a few supplies and hike away. I am hoping that the Wheel will send Nynaeve and Elayne off on more tasks soon and Birgitte will be safe from the prying microscope known as the aes sedai for a while longer. However, there are still plenty of other people who would be fascinated by her true ID, and exceptional abilities. I think Thom and Jullin will have to be brought into this secret sooner or later too, if they haven’t already figured it out.

2) What good, if any, will come out of Siuan’s and Nynaeve’s agreement? Is Nynaeve smoking leaf and reaching for the stars?

Well since these two ladies seem highly incompatible, perhaps Nynaeve will get mad enough to heal a stilling. But will she get the results she wants? Not all cures take you back to your original state. How many folks have completely different hair, or no hair, after cancer treatments? Still, Nynaeve is reaching for the stars on this one. I think part of it is that she is so use to her stubborn manner being unwilling to except another outcome, that she is relying on it still to carry her through.

I can’t see Nynaeve being a particularly good teacher (having a deep set lack of impatience) and I also have equal difficulty seeing Siuan being a good student (inability to follow directions). While these attempts will most assuredly be entertaining for me as the reader, I am sure they will be a huge source of irritation for both ladies! Will Siuan end up walking Tel’aran’rhiod? Perhaps. Will she much about an end up getting someone killed? Distinct possibility.

3) Elayne and Min had a little heart to heart. How do you think this will affect their relationship in the future?

Actually, I felt that Elayne was a little dismissive of Min, caught herself doing it, and curbed it. Still, I can still see her thinking, ‘Why would Rand want plain (in every way) MIn when he has all my charms on offer?’ Hopefully Elayne will continue to keep an open mind and let Rand figure out his own mind about which woman, and how many, he wants to share himself with.

Still, whatever Rand decides, no matter how gentlemanly he acts, I expect there will eventually be some competition between these two ladies. I am still a suspicious of Min’s love for Rand, considering how little time she has spent with him. It could be a super intense crush under stressful times.

4) What do you think of Rand’s latest ways of dealing with the never-ending parade of court ladies?

Wow! Rand, you have come a long way from the sheepherder of Two Rivers and are infinitely more interesting. Part of me cheered his scaring the ladies and part of me was reluctant to cheer openly because it would be impolite. But I did it anyway. He didn’t lie; he just pointed out that he is the bogeyman of all horror stories, and do they really, really want to spend time with such a man? Let alone bed him? Have his children? Have their fate tied to his? Yep, Rand, you cut to the heart of the matter in a few sentences….and then added creepy chuckling. Muuuwaaahahah!

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

5) Rand received two interesting letters from the White Tower. Should he trust either? How do you think  this latest ‘news’ from Tar Valon will affect his actions?

Trust no one. I think he needs that embroidered on his underwear to remind him every day, multiple times a day. While the letters are each interesting, and he should keep their info in his head as background info, trust them? No. I don’t care what assurities Elaida offers, Do NOT Trust!

Still, the two approaches are interesting. One is clipped, decided, yet polite. The other worshipful, even begging for recognition. I guess if Rand ever needs to get inside the White Tower (openly, instead of simply Traveling there), these letters are his in.

6) Do you think Mat will be scarred for life by the death of Melindrha? What about their last encounter triggered her attack?

Yes and no. I think he will regret the necessity, he may even become more cautious about who he beds from now on. Will he get a Rand-complex concerning killing women? No. He’s a little too practical for that, and also very attached to his own skin. I wonder if his tastes will skew towards weaker women, shorter than him, etc. from now on?

I think Melindrha decided that Mat was no longer necessary as a source of info for Samiel’s plans. Perhaps she even intended to leave his dead body in place to sew confusion, sadness, terror (one attacked in the palace, and that one a close confidante’s of The Dragon Reborn!).

7) Moiraine and Lanfear: they have passed through the doorframe ter’angreal. Assumptions have been made that both are dead. If they are, how do you see that affecting the ones left behind? If one or both were to reappear later, how do you think that would happen?

Well, Lan will eventually end up in Nynaeve’s hands, and hopefully not too long from now. She needs a protector because her ornery attitude is making her enemies. I expect Moiraine’s letter to Thom will have a significant, if private, affect on his life and I look forward to that unfolding. Loial will be crushed, such a big sweetie that he is. I think Perrin and Nynaeve will be shocked in different ways – he may feel that yet one more thing he thought stable and permanent for this ongoing conflict has been yanked out from under him; Nynaeve because she put so much angst into teaching Moiraine specifically that she can’t just yank good kids out of Two Rivers without having a reckoning.

Lanfear was one of the most organized and driven of the Forsaken. I expect some of the Forsaken plans will fall apart with her out of the picture, which will be good for most of our characters. However, she was also, in her deranged way, protecting Rand/Lews. Without her protection, I expect we will see an increase in attacks on Rand.

If Moiraine can turn up later, so can Lanfear. Hmm…. should I wish for it or not? I think I have to for multiple reasons. Moiraine has a lot of knowledge and has backed Rand from the beginning. She has also learned her lesson that Rand and the Wheel will not allow the aes sedai to guide or control him. Also, I feel that Rand needs to face Lanfear on his own. While he has acknowledged his shortcoming (his inability to harm a woman, even an evil one in the act of destroying the good), he has not found a solution for this shortcoming.

8) Rand had a very intense discussion with Sulin. Do you think that Rand will be able to overcome his hesitancy to harm women in light of that discussion and Moiraine’s sacrifice?

I can see that Rand is already starting to think of this shortcoming differently. Sulin & crew are warriors. They have chosen this life and Rand cannot deny them their choice. By refusing to harm Lanfear he ended up sacrificing Moiraine and nearly lost Egwene and Aviendha too. While it was probably a virtue for 99% of his life to never, ever harm a woman, here he saw how that ‘virtue’ held him back from protecting good people. Not good women; not good children. Simply good people. I think Robert Jordan will keep this conundrum going for a few more, if not several more, books. But I am hoping to see Rand face and overcome his deeply ingrained hesitancy for the right reasons.

Other Tidbits:

Gosh, the Salidar aes sedai superiority streak has me wanting them to be faced with some horrendous set back or attack or such just to break that superiority complex! For the first time, I am not actively rooting for the aes sedai. Anyone else feeling this?

I wonder what the aes sedai will find upon testing Nicola and the other lady. Since it was made a deal of, I have to think Robert Jordan does something with one or both ladies. If one is a Forsaken in disguise, I wonder if she will be able to shield her abilities from detection…..

About time Rand told Mat straight up that he needs him and his past lives at his side. Mat obviously doesn’t like it, but at least he now knows that Rand, and the Wheel, won’t easily let him walk away.

Robert Jordan used plenty of foreshadowing concerning Moiraine’s sacrifice, going back….1 or 2 books. When she handed over the letters, I thought for sure something would click with the more logical of our party, like Lan or one of the Aiel. The Aiel know about sacrifice, so even if it clicked, perhaps they would keep silent. Still, I wonder why Lan didn’t raise an eyebrow on that one?

Lanfear is insanely jealous. Not healthy. She needs impulse control management therapy and some deep counseling concerning her possessiveness disorder.

The Fires of Heaven Read Along Part II

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Haha! what fun. hehe… let’s see:

A Heron’s Failed Landing;

Goats Snickering

Donkey Tail to the Face

Beetle-Entranced Cat

Dog Dances Along Chairbacks

Other Tidbits:

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

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

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

The Shadow Rising Read Along Part VII

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Tidbits:

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

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

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

What Others Think:

Musings on Fantasia

Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

The Great Hunt Read Along Part IV

JordanGreatHuntBannerOnce again we meet to discuss a Robert Jordan book in detail – and so much good stuff happened in this section. This week, we are covering Chapters 21-27 and On Starships and Dragonwings is hosting, so make sure to stop by there for good times. If you want the schedule for the the read along, click HERE.

Cage Free Spoiler Section!

1. Rand had quite a connection with that statue that Captain Caldevwin was digging up. What do you think it is?
I kind of remember this part. It was more of a footnote for me. I mean, they keep running into old ruins, abandoned cities, and leftover statues left and right since they left Two Rivers, so this was just one more to torment Rand with his destiny of saving the world or dooming us all. Was this the large Artur Hawkwing one that Caldevwin didn’t want to chat about? Perhaps its only a relic and perhaps it will be a teleportation stone of some sort. Let’s let Rand sleep next to it and find out.
2. We had quite an informative look into Moraine and Lan’s relationship. What do you think about Moraine’s actions concerning Lan’s bond?
Moiraine has never compelled him before, so perhaps Lan should slow down a bit and ask himself why she has set up a spell to do so upon her death. Normally this guy is pretty level headed, and I would like to see him use that trait now. Think with your mind and experience Lan, not with your pride!
Obviously Moiraine feels the stakes have risen and that either she is in imminent danger from something set in motion recently or she is about to do something necessary and very dangerous. Either way, I expect that I will be highly entertained by it.
3. Poor Nynaeve had to go through quite a lot in her trials. What do you think each were about (especially that first one….)?
Nynaeve is one of those well meaning folks who is highly driven and who honestly believes that if they are not there to see to things, then they will go to shit. So, she is deeply afraid she is correct in her assumption that she was the only competent person of Two Rivers and now that she is no longer there, BAD THINGS will happen left and right without anyone stepping up. I think this shows Nynaeve’s flaw – her pride. We met several competent and well-meaning folks in Two Rivers back in Book 1. It hasn’t had enough time to go to compost yet. Chill Nynaeve!
I wanted to see her go all kissy face and get entangled with Lan before she walked away. But that is probably just the smutty side of me. Sigh…..
Waffles & Streak sleeping in the bed. Yes, I did tuck him in.
Waffles & Streak sleeping in the bed. Yes, I did tuck him in.

4. Reunion time! How do you feel about all these old faces showing up all over the place?

So we have Captain Domon, who is in an interesting pickle with his death warrant. Now we have Tom Merrylin back in the picture. Did anyone else feel that Rand was way more happy to see him than Tom was to see him? Is Tom trying to stay out of Aes Sedai business because he has his own secrets or because he doesn’t want to tackle a myrrdraal again? Hmmm…. I was a little confused by Tom’s luke warm response.
5. Selene sure showed up at a convenient time didn’t she? What do you think she is plotting?
She wants Rand’s lower anatomy. Haha! She wants the Horn, I am sure, and perhaps to turn Rand to the dark side to earn extra points with The Dark Lord. As for plotting, not sure yet because Rand has been foiling her without really trying but by simply being a decent guy……and remarkably inexperienced with women so he doesn’t know how to make a first move and hence get ensnared by Selene’s feminine charms.
Other Tidbits:
Loial sure does seem very cautious about being seen by other ogier. What do you think would happen if he bumped into some? Would they somehow compel him home?
Hurin seems like a good chap, always helping Rand, guarding the Horn. However, I am deeply afraid he is wearing a Red Shirt.

The Great Hunt Read Along Part II

JordanGreatHuntBannerWelcome back everyone. This week we are dissecting Chapters 7-11 of Book 2 of The Wheel of Time series, The Great Hunt. Please stop by On Starships and Dragonwings, who is hosting this week. Next week, we’ll be back here for Chapters 12-20. If you want to see the entire schedule, it is over HERE.

1. What do you think of the potential dark prophecy the Halfman wrote on the wall? Do you think it is a prophecy or a taunt?
If it is prophecy (which is used left and right in this series), then I think the Halfman is using it as a taunt. The dark side only shares information to sow despair and breed factions among the light side. Naughty Halfman! I don’t think this is spontaneous prophecy as in the Halfman and his crew were storming the castle, made it all the way to the dungeon, and then the gift of seeing struck him stupid until he could eviscerate something and scrawl the keys phrases in gore on a hard surface.
2. We finally got to find out more of Rand’s birth and Tam’s history. Did it meet your predictions/expectations? What did you think?
While I don’t think it will happen this book, I am hoping we meet up with Tam again and then get some flashbacks to get the full stereovision version of Tam’s rise int he ranks, his learning the sword, the final battle that brought him a baby, a wife, and finally home to Two Rivers. Can you see how Tam’s earning a heron blade is kind of like Rand hopefully eventually also being heron blade quality? I’m getting wrapped up in Rand’s story, so I expect that I would get caught up in Tam’s.
3. Oo lala, Lan gave Nynaeve a ring! How are you liking the development of this romance?
A little over dramatic. Wouldn’t it just be easier to agree to have a romantic relationship with hazards? It’s not like either of them has chosen an easy, protected life. Or they could choose a friendship with benefits, when they happen to be in the same city. See if it goes anywhere from there, but without the complicated, unsatisfying, ties of deep-meaning romance that we have now.
My goatmilk raised kitty Chupacabra.
My goatmilk raised kitty Chupacabra.

4. Rand kept feeling a pair of eyes on him and given that someone shot an arrow in his vicinity, it might not be unfounded paranoia. Who/what do you think is watching him?

I am watching him! He can feel my eyes, hear my snarky comments, and wonder why the hell he keeps catching the mixed scent of sandal wood, cat dander, and mesquite firewood whenever I pick up the book to read.
But you are asking about the plot. So, I think someone who came with the Aes Sedai has malevolent intentions; not necessarily an Aes Sedai, but I am pretty sure they brought some retainers to do the laundry, brush the cat, press the veils, and provide pedicures.
5. Poor Domon! What do you think of the trouble he has gotten himself into with the heartstone? Are you happy that it seems Domon will be integrated back into the story?
Domon was a favorite side character from the first book and he left us with many, many questions. So I am glad he has returned to the story to answer some of my stories. The heartstone could very well explain why trollocs and perhaps worse would be after him. And if I ever get paid a lot of money to make a mystery trip with a sealed letter, I am going to be a nosey person too!
6. What did you think of Mat and Perrin’s reaction to Rand telling them about his channeling? Anyone else feel like they need a pamphlet in supporting your friend through difficult times?
Dorks. Yep. That sums it up. All three of them.
OK let’s break this down. 1) Rand and Mat have known Perrin has changed and is feeling awkward about it for months. AND done nothing to comfort him, help him through it, or try to understand his new self with him. Dorks.
2) I think Mat has gotten the most understanding from the group. This is probably because Moiraine was able to explain the basics to everyone, freeing up folks to be empathetic and ask questions and support Mat. So maybe Mat could reflect some of that group love back at his closest friends.
3) Perrin seemed far more interested in evaluating Rand as predator or prey item. Oddly, I was OK with this.
Other Tidbits:
I wonder when Egwene and Nynaeve will have their meetings with the Amyrlin Seat… and what those will be like.
Hehe! Looks like the overall story arc from Book 1 is being repeated here – trollocs last week, separation of the Two Rivers folks this week.

The Eye of the World Read Along Part VIII

eyeoftheworldbannerWell folks, we have reached the end of the Book 1 of the The Wheel of Time. Are there a few sniffles? Or simply cheers that we will be jumping into the second book? See Posted Schedule for The Great Hunt HERE. This week, Anya at On Starships and Dragonwings is hosting, so please stop by her place and leave your link. I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone’s final thoughts on the book are.

1. Oo la la, Nynaeve and Lan are finally confirming there is something going on between them, and of course Rand has to creepily eavesdrop…. What do you think of this brewing star-crossed love?
Hopefully kisses and PG-13 rated or higher love scenes 😉 But, realistically, I think this will be a long-drawn out, dramatic affair before we even get to the first kiss. sigh….I have needs…and those needs will have to be filled by a different book…or The Tudors Showtime series.
Picabuche - Just a smidge demon?
Picabuche – Just a smidge demon?

2. Wow, the Blight is a scary place, but what did you think was the creepiest critter/thing that the team encountered or fortunately didn’t encounter?

I LOVED the Blight – because I am a biologist and this place was totally creeptastic. My degree is actually in Environmental Biology, which means I spent lots of time studying industrial waste dumps, toxicology, and ecology. So, of course I have all sorts of theories about how the Blight came to be, none of them based on fact. I wanted to ride along with the time in a full-face respirator, with heavy duty vinyl gloves and several collection jars. Didn’t you?
I appreciated how everything was deadly or detrimental to humans in some way, especially the plant life. And I spent several long minutes thinking on what it would take to bring the Blight back to healthy. Time, of course. But also there are several mosses and fungi that are capable of absorbing and/or breaking down toxic metals, so we definitely need to get those going first. Probably some hardcore bacteria, like the kind we find at Chernobyl and in large ocean oil spills. Yep, I have already made a to-go list.
Of course, The Green Man man just simply fix it with a twiggy wave.
3. We got to meet the Green Man! We discussed last week what everyone thought he would look like, how did he measure up to your expectations? What did you think of his head scar?
I thought he was a little more nebulous than I wanted – I mean we only got to see him for a short time and there are still many questions about him. He kicked some ass there at the end, good for him. I would like to know why he is set up in the Blight… and I know Moiraine talked about how he responds to great need, and Moiraine & crew had that great need in the Blight, but is that all? And how did the Green Man detox his little sphere of the Blight anyway? Biologist minds want to know.
As to the scar, nature is incredibly resilient, so the initial injury would have to be mighty to have left such a scar, especially with time. I am thinking lightning was involved.
4. The epic battle ended up being mostly in the dream realm apparently, what did you think of Rand’s various battles?
I am split on this. I wanted more definition in the final battle scenes of the book, so taking it to the dream realm didn’t really work for me. On the other hand, Rand’s interactions with the Dark One has been in the dream realm all book long, so it makes sense to tie that in here at the end. It probably also points to the Dark One still being trapped in some sense.
5. Congratulations everyone, we finished! What did you think overall? If this was a re-read for you, how was the second time around? Are you planning to read book two (with or without us, no pressure, hehe)?
Thank you everyone who played along, either blogging or just stopping in and commenting. This whole read along has made this book fun for me. I read it when I was 18/19 and was taken aback at all the Tolkien….well, more than references. Is scene stealing too strong? Anyway, I was a know-it-all back then. Now, at 34, having read so much in between those years, I can see how parts of this book are more of an homage to Tolkien. I truly enjoyed the characters and the additional world building Robert Jordan accomplished. I definitely plan to read Book 2, and I hope folks will be joining us for the read along.

The Eye of the World Read Along Part VI

eyeoftheworldbannerWelcome back everyone! I hope everyone got an eyefull (or earfull) with this week’s reading (Chapters 34-40)! My, oh my, did some big things happen here. Definitely getting interesting. Remember that this week Anya over at On Starships and Dragonwings is hosting. So, make sure to stop by her space to read her thoughts and add your bloggy link.

Also, we had a winner in The Wheel of Time audiobook giveaway. Congrats to @mattperrin! I hope he is still doing a happy dance, as we are excited for him too.

Last bit of administrative stuff before we play: When do you want to start Book 2, The Great Hunt? Yes, we do care what you think. Read alongs are funner with friends. So, below you will find a poll to answer on this most serious question before you leave today. Or, just leave me a comment on your preference. We will most likely go with Majority Rules as there are no American Politics involved in this vote 😉 For your reference, Book 1 read along ends on Sunday Feb. 10th.

Now, onto the questions! Spoilers Abound!

1. Looks like Rand and Mat met another ally finally. What do you think of Master Gill? Do you think his hope in Thom is well placed?
I’m not done with Thom. I want to know the backstory of what he muttered to the boys just before throwing himself at the myrrdraal. And now that Master Gill hints at other tough scrapes, I want to know about those too. So, I really hope that Thom is merely suffering greatly in some sodden ditch instead of dead. I have needs that only he can fulfill by turning up again and revealing more abut himself.
2. Loial the Ogier! How adorable right? We only get a brief glimpse into this new race, but what do you think? What part do you think he’ll play in the story?
I had totally forgotten about Loial from when I read this over 10 years ago. Bad me! He is such an interesting character. I have vague memories of what he does for the rest of the book, but nothing clear on his significance. I do like how Jordan keeps pulling in more and more of the larger world, and scaring the poo out of the kids while doing it!. I think we all have some inherent prejudices and incorrect assumptions of the world and other cultures based on where and how we were raised, and the various experiences the kids have in this book reflect that (like Egwene’s initial reaction to The Tinkers, and now Rand’s response to Loial).
3. During the rescue of Perrin and Egwene, did it seem like Lan was overly concerned about Nynaeve to anyone else? >.> <.<
Ah! Do we have our first adult romance in the blooming? I hope so. Nynaeve has a stiff enough spine to be an equal to the Warder, but will Lan’s past allow him the freedom to pursue a relationship? Hmm…..
Somewhat related, the rescue was intense! Child of the Light Byar even had me believing there for a moment. I am so glad Perrin had his wits about him and thought things through. Also Nynaeve was excellent to grab the horses. Yeah Bela!
Picabuche - Just a smidge demon?
Picabuche – Just a smidge demon?

4. The Dark One has been blamed for all sorts of things lately. Do you think that the Dark One is the root of Perrin’s power like Moraine fears? How about Rand’s?

I don’t think the Dark One is the source of all the bad stuff going on. I mean, we have humans with free choices (some bad, malevolent, or just stupid) going on left and right. Then some of the things that would be labeled EVIL by aes sedai I don’t think really are, but are simply a state of being (like Perrin’s new power). As for Rand… wow. I am going to have to see how the series turns out to really weigh in on that. I have been very careful to avoid spoilers for the series, especially for the final book, so I honestly don’t know if the world is still standing.
5. Very briefly Rand encounters a beggar who is obviously determined to find him specifically. Who do you think this is? What do you think is going to happen with this beggar in the future?
I believe the beggar is Padan Fain, as his neurotic behavior in these chapters is similar to his behavior displayed before. I would guess that a) he is a Dark Friend or b) he is being compelled against his will by the Dark One to track Rand. Rand and crew are not exactly inconspicuous, so I would say sooner or later the beggar will track Rand down. I expect he will try to coerce Rand or try to kill him, just as previous Dark Friends have done.
6. We learn a whole lot about Queen Morgase in this section, including getting to meet her in person! What do you think? Do you like the tradition of sending the royal children to study with the Aes Sedai and Warders?
That was super intense, and filled with humor. I think Rand’s meeting with royal family has been one of my favorite scenes so far. The kids’ dry humor had me laughing out loud at inappropriate moments. I am glad that Queen Morgase upholds her land’s laws, otherwise Rand would be in a world of hurt – the Queen’s aes sedai is intense! I think both kids should get the basic Warder training as no matter how skilled you are in sorcery, there will come a time that tracking your next meal, or wounded enemy, through muddy forest terrain will come in handy. Also, knowing some basics of hand-to-hand combat is healthy for everyone. Once both kids have the basics, then they can go off to specialize.
7. Rand had quite an adventure in the palace there, wow! And we finally get to meet another Aes Sedai. What do you think of Elaida and her dark assessment of Rand’s future?
Fuck Elaida! she may be the most dangerous and deadly thing we have come across yet. I bet she turns up later (maybe not this book, but in the series) and there will probably be a reckoning. Rand is very lucky to have been able to get out of the palace.
And why is everyone going around predicting Rand’s future, like he has no free will, etc. It’s like he has a floating tarot deck about his head that only certain folks can read, but those inconsiderate folks go right ahead and do so, scaring the crap out of Rand with their predictions.

The Eye of the World Read Along Part III

eyeoftheworldbannerWelcome back everyone to the third installment of The Eye of the World Read Along. This week, we are covering Chapters 15-20. There will be SPOILERS below if you have not read this book yet. If you would like to receive the questions ahead of time in the future, you can sign up over HERE. The schedule is also available over HERE. Make sure to check out my partner in crime in this endeavor over at On Starships and Dragonwings to see what clever answers she has for us.

Without further ado:

1) In this section of the reading, we learn that Perrin and Mat are also having wicked dreams. Add to that, Min’s visions for each of those in the small party. Prophesy, portents and dreams are playing a bigger and bigger role in this epic tale. Are you enjoying this plot device?

Often in Fantasy, I see this type of plot device used as a convenient way to move the story forward, or to save the heroes from some nasty end. Robert Jordan isn’t doing that here, at least not so far, and I appreciate that. Rather the dreams, portents, and Min’s visions are building tension in the tale. I definitely feel that Rand, Perrin, and Mat are getting a bit freaked out; but these dreams, etc. don’t dictate their actions. The many, many broken-backed rats was a bit disturbing, even for me as the reader.

2) The Whitecloaks (AKA Children of the Light) make their first real appearance in the tale and of course, Mat has to play one of his tricks. Funny? Dangerous? What did you think of Rand’s reaction?

I get the impression that Mat’s jokes in the Two Rivers never truly got him in trouble, like a couple of village seniors giving their consent to let some farm wives take some sticks to Mat, etc. Does anyone else want to know what Mat and his buddy ended up doing with the badger from the beginning of the book? As for Rand, I don’t really remember this book very well, but since he is central to the story, I have to say that this may be the first glimmer of him manifesting some power. Though I am not convinced yet that Rand or the other two are male Aes Sedai.

3) Nynaeve found them! What do you think Moiraine and Nynaeve said to each other behind that closed door at the inn?

By now, I am wondering if Moiraine has some slight Jedi mind trick capability. Remember when she pressed those silver coins on the boys back in Two Rivers, insisting they take them? Well, I would have loved to see if she tried some similar thing with Nynaeve…and found it didn’t work because she is too stubborn and had to fall back on telling some of the facts, all in truth, and logic.

4) The party has to do a swift exit from the inn because of the Fade Rand saw during his milk run. How do you think they were found?

For one, they are not that far from Two Rivers. I am not sure if the Whitecloaks, while they say they spend day and night stomping on the face of evil, some number of them could be Dark Friends. Then there was that shady guy with the scar at the inn who is purportedly a spy for the Whitecloaks, and if he spies for them, he could spy for others. My last possible suspect is Padan fain, but I am just not sure. He must have run like hell to get there; didn’t he loose his horses at Two Rivers? Was the Fade just a projection? I mean, it didn’t even touch Rand and then it disappeared.

5) Moiraine burns a lot of power in these chapters: appears to become a giantess to step over the city wall; a wall of flame to hold off the Trollocs; laying a false trail; setting wards in the spooky city. Do you think this shows the limits of her powers, or has she got more to give?

Since this is such a long series, I want to say that we haven’t seen all her capabilities yet. However, this could be the edge of her current limits and circumstances later in the book/series push her beyond even what she thought she was capable of. She’s the only Aes Sedai we’ve met so far, and I am getting mighty curious to learn what others are like, in temperament and abilities.

6) A lot happens at Shadar Logoth, where the party hopes to hide from the Trollocs and Myrddral. What do you think Mordeth is? And the misty Mashadar? As Lan contemplates, the Myrddral must drive the Trollocs into the city to search for them, but what is driving the Myrddral?

Mordeth, and I assume he has buddies hiding in the city (all those eyes!), strikes me as vampire-like. He stuck to the shadows, had a odd face, needs the life force of living humans, did that trick with shadow in the treasure chamber. As far as the Mashadar goes, I am not sure. Perhaps if I had been a little more D&D nerd, I would have some monster comparison. The closest I can come to in my little world, is government paperwork. Once it touches you, you are lost in it forever, perpetual slave to it, sucked into the misty white bureaucracy.  I don’t know what is worse than a Myrddral in this collection of nasties. Perhaps there is a Balrog equivalent?

7) This section certainly leaves us on a cliff-hanger with the party separated. Worried? Perrin and Egwene found each other, but then galloped headlong into the river. Mat, Rand, and Thom made it onto a boat, The Spray, captained by Domon. Now Captain Domon makes a comment about the Trollocs following him; why do you think that is?

That whole big scene of them escaping the spooky city was nail biting. I was pretty glad that Thom was able to keep some wits and get 2 of the kids to safety. Hurray for throwing knives! though I can commiserate with Thom over loosing a favorite knife or two. That one comment by Cpt. Domon has me very curious indeed. If the Trollocs are after him, that could mean he is a good guy in a bad situation…..or it could mean that he is an idiot who double crossed some Dark Friends. I look forward to learning more about him.

Picabuche - Just a smidge demon?
Picabuche – Just a smidge demon?

Other Tidbits:

Nynaeve knows something about Rand’s parentage, or she at least suspects. Still, I was a little frustrated that Rand and Nynaeve didn’t share the fact that Rand was born outside the Two Rivers while Tam was roving with Moiraine. Or rather, shouldn’t this be something of common knowledge in such a small village? I can understand why Rand doesn’t want to share his suspicions that Tam may not be his father.

When Lan and the boys charged the Trollocs, they shouted various war cries, in foreign tongues. And afterwards, Egwene felt like she almost understood them. Moiraine translates, revealing the war cries to be of ancient Menetheren. I need to memorize something monumental in ancient Byzantine, just in case I find myself in a similar position some day.

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