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……

A Memory of Light, Part III

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

This week, we covered Chapters 8-14. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1.  Rand is traveling around, giving precious gifts to Elayne and Lan (so far.)  Is this his way of saying goodbye, his final will? Do you think he is being unnecessarily fatalistic?

Yes, I think this is one way in which Rand is saying goodbye, and no, I don’t think he is being fatalistic. It’s the Last Battle. Any and all could die and it is a big hairy deal to everyone. For many, it will be the last thing they do – though I hope we don’t lose any of the main characters.

My fatalistic side is afraid that Perrin may be the one to fall…..but I may just be overly worried about losing my favorite character of the series.

2.  Egwene stands strong in Kandor, but the other two battlefields are suffering setbacks.  Do you think the Light has to do something drastic, or will they be able to weather the storm with the current plan?

I expect there will need to be something drastic, otherwise this will be a very long and boring book. 🙂 If Tarwin’s Gap falls, and if they can’t reclaim Caemlyn and close off the Waygate, then a whole lot of people will be screwed. But, at the same time, our heroes will have to realize that they can’t save everyone. They simply need to save enough and defeat the evil in order to be able to rebuild.

3.  Mat joins the story, on his way to Tuon in Ebou Dar.  Will the “Seanchan Question” finally be resolved?  Rand seems to be hesitating, too…

The Seanchan question has to be resolved before the end of this book, and I expect that Mat will be instrumental in that. I have to wonder if the married couple need to exchange some boon or such in order to be completely wedded. Maybe Mat could ask Tuon to stop conquering and enslaving folks as his boon?

4.  Rand takes his turn on the battlefield, but is turned back.  Do you expect him to try again, or is this the last we see of him on the field before the invasion of Shayol Ghul?

I have a hard time seeing Rand sitting things out. While I can understand the logic – he needs to minimize the chances of being taken out by a baddie and also conserve his strength, he still has this big bleeding heart that makes him think he needs to protect everyone. Besides, it is more fun (or nerve racking) seeing him risk his neck.

5.  Perrin leaves and takes the battle to the World of Dreams… in the flesh.  Do you think it is as evil as it’s claimed?  Did you like his speech?  Was it wise to bring Gaul, untrained, to this fight?

I think Perrin has the right of it. It doesn’t smell evil to go into the Dream World in body, but it is very risky. And, obviously, it has been used by evil people for evil deeds.

Perrin’s speech was very cool. To the point and I think it crystallized some things for Rand – there are no ‘good’ choices left.

I think it was wise to take Gaul. He is good in strange circumstances and should be able to handle most things on the fly. However, I do worry that he is the Red Shirt for this adventure.

6.  Lanfear makes another plea to Rand, and he lets her into his mind to prove he is over her.  She then appears in the World of Dreams to pester Perrin.  What game is she really playing at?

She’s looking for a protector that is also a patsy – she needs help getting out of her predicament but also wants to control/use her would-be rescuer. Since Rand is obviously not going to assist her and can’t be manipulated by her, she has to find someone else.

Of course, I think the Wheel will Weave her actions into the Pattern for the good of our heroes and Lanfear may very well end up ‘assisting’ the good guys even though that is not her intention.

7.  We find out how people are turned to the Shadow.  What do you think of this mechanism?  Are the turned really turned, or just taken over, as Androl seems to think?

It seems that if a person is willing to be Stilled (or perhaps it is a voluntarily giving up the Power) then they can’t be turned. Now that we the readers know that Stilling can be healed to some extent, I think more folks will be able to resist this turning. Logain has been unStilled once before, so hopefully all his loyal Channelers will recall that be able to unTurn themselves. Then the healers can return some of their Channeling ability afterwards.

Or we might not have time for that and the lot of them will have to be killed, or Still en masse by Rand and left to muddle through the end of the world as best they can.

8.  It appears Taim and his cronies are finally ejected from the Black Tower, although Taim is still alive.  What do you think of how this went down?  Will we now see the good Asha’man lend their strength to the fight?  Could that turn the tide of the war?

It seemed pretty sudden to me. I think Taim must have had some place he was suppose to be and couldn’t put as much time or effort as he wanted in fighting back. In any event, it leaves our good Asha’men free to join the fight. Under Androl and Pevara, I can’t see them doing anything else.

Will the Asha’men be the thing that turns the tide? I don’t think so. We have a lot of tides to turn and a lot of people chipping in to help win this battle. No, I think the force that will change the tide one way or the other are the Seanchan. Will they continue to harrass and enslave Randland as they fight the Last Battle? Or will they see the light and come to the aid of Rand and his fellow warriors? I really hope Mat knocks some sense into Tuon…..by bedding her! 😉

Other Tidbits:

Elayne gave Rand a dagger that makes him invisible to the Dark One. I wonder how it works and what’s it’s limitations are. I can’t recall where Elayne picked it up, perhaps in that stash she had Birgitte lugging around for a while.

 

 

Towers of Midnight, Part VIII

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Squatch having a snack
Squatch having a snack

Other Tidbits:

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

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

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

 

Winter's Heart Read Along Part VII

WintersHeartBannerWelcome everyone to the continuation of The Wheel of Time saga. Here we are with Book 9, Winter’s Heart. As always, anyone is welcome to join us, so check out the schedule if you would like to do so.

Swing by Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia, our host for this week, with the non-spoilery fan art. Eivind, our commenter with an encyclopedic knowledge of WoT, can be found in the comments there. Don’t forget to swing by Sue’s at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers for in-depth analysis.

This week we covered Chapters 30-End. Spoilers are having a party below!

1. Mat helps a Seafolk woman being held as damane escape. She promises to remember his good deed. How do you think this will affect the plot of the story, and Mat specifically in the future?

Well, I expect that Mat will have free passage on Sea Folk ships once this becomes known. This will allow him to travel quickly, perhaps even taking his army with him. It could allow him to take the battle to the Seanchan on the high sea.

2. Mat finally learns who Tuon is. What did you think of this situation? Of Egeanin’s reaction to his announcement? Predictions?

Haha! This was awesome. Tuon was totally kicking his arse. But with her subdued and Egeanin totally in shock, then she tells Mat he can’t treat the Daughter of Nine Moons this way. And that is when it clicks for Mat, and with his declaration that Tuon is his wife, it seems to click for her too. So, I think Mat will have far less trouble smuggling her out now than he initially expected. However, once they enter into a real relationship, I expect Mat will have all sorts of woman troubles because 1) the cultural difference and 2) because it is Mat.

3. Rand goes to kill Torvel and Gedwyn, but Padan Fain has done the deed for him. After a brief fight, Fain flees yet again. Do you think he will resurface? What does he have planned? What did you make of Toram Riatin (from Cairhien) being there?

Of course Padan Fain will resurface. Definitely. 1) I want him to be annihilated in a permanent fashion for my entertainment; 2) He is too good a villain to be set on the side lines for long; and 3) Padan Fain himself can’t help but meddle.

But what does Fain have planned? Hmmm…This is a good question. I think he doesn’t really plan details. I get the impression that he makes broad swooping plans and his evilness pulls off the details. So, I am going to say that his plan is to kill Rand. Period.

I have forgotten who Toram is and what he has done. And I am afraid to google his name or go look at the WoT Wiki to help jar my mind. Lots of spoilers out there. OK, I was brave and went and peeked anyway. Right so he was hanging out in the snowy foothills with that intelligent lady that didn’t give Rand away at the tent party where Padan Fain tried to kill him. So, Toram has been in the near vicinity of Fain twice now. Hmm….Either Toram is hunting Fain or Toram is a naughty bad guy. He seemed decent enough when we first met him, so for right now I will reserve judgement, without falling asleep in his presence. Just in case.

4. Lan has been wary of Rand since the two reunited, but when things go bad on the rooftop, the two men show deep loyalty to one another. What did you think of this scene? How will it affect their relationship going forward?

It was good to see Lan’s dry sense of humor again. I think Lan may eventually come out of his funk. I am sure he had a lot of grief and anger (directed at Rand) to work through due to Moiraine’s death. Rand feels terribly responsible for that and hopefully Lan can see that and also have that knowledge work as a balm.

I am hoping these two will have the relationship they once had when Lan was training him in the sword. Of course, Rand will have to learn to loosen up a bit too. Perhaps Lan can see Rand becoming hard like stone, and since Lan knows what kind of dreary existence that his, he will help steer Rand around it and wave it goodbye.

5. Cadsuane has to intervene in Far Madding to get Rand and Lan out of prison. What do you think she had on Aleis that made Aleis surrender so quickly, to her own shame and ruin?

I am guessing we won’t ever know for sure. But since Cadsuane grew up in Far Madding, and was probably thrown out at some point, and that any return visits haven’t gone well, I am going to guess that she knows some important things about the Guardian. She hinted that not every defense is perfect. Of course, she didn’t tell them about the angreal Well that Nynaeve was wearing…and I assume Cadsuane is wearing one as well.

Whatever it is, Aleis knows it too, and picked up quickly that Cadsuane knows it. So perhaps it is some historical city secret passed on to the ruler (and maybe not the entire Counsel).

6. The last chapter was crazy! Rand seems to have done the impossible and cleansed the taint. We got tons of different viewpoints and characters. Along with plenty of interesting revelations. What stuck out to you? What surprised you? How will a clean saidin change things?

Oh yes, that was a crazy chapter! I got a little muddled, to be honest. Two things stuck out for me. 1) Handling that much Saidin/Saidar as a pair was basically orgasmic. So happy times for all involved in this feat. 2) While the cleansing took lots, and lots of power, it was basically straight forward and over pretty quickly. I could compare this to another bodily function, but I know fans might be offended. So, let you guess on that one.

How will things change? Well, if Rand is still moody and a touch insane, then we know it is all him. So folks can feel free to slap him instead of coddle him. Also, I think we will see a shift in the Black Tower. If Mazrim Taim continues to poison the ‘unhinged’ then I expect Rand to do something about it, or at least switch his trust to Logain and let Logain go deal with it. Additionally, I hope that the common populace and the lady Channelers will start to trust the Saidin wielders, though this might be really hard. There are generations of stories and fables and bad limericks warning people to fear saidin and to behead anyone using it. So, huge hurdle to get over.

The Wheel of Time, bringing angry cats together again and again.
The Wheel of Time, bringing angry cats together again and again.

Other Tidbits

Mat’s little goodbye to Tylin was far more civil than I expected. And she kept a pretty level head with her insisting that he tie her up.

With Suroth back, I worry that Beslan’s distraction might not be enough!

Sue was so right! Like 1-2 books back when she guessed that Cadsuane’s hair ornaments were angreal. Very cool!

Rand doesn’t like being boxed, and I can’t blame him. Still, this was quite different than the Aes Sedai who beat him daily and folded him into trunk. I hope he recovers far more quickly.

Holy Hell! It is Lanfear, as we all guessed. And she is pissed!

 

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 Fires of Heaven Read Along Part I

JordanFiresOfHeavenBannerWelcome everyone! The WoT Quad continues their Wheel of Time adventures with The Fires of Heaven, Book 5 in the series. Peek over here for the schedule if you think you would like to join us.

I’m you’re lucky host this week and if there are any quirks in the questions, or my answers, I blame sleep deprivation because sleep deprivation is too tired to fight back and say that it is not at fault, haha!

Anyway, spoilers are having a party below. Avert your eyes if you fear that your Wheel of Time innocence will be forever tainted.

1) Elaida doesn’t seem to have as strong a hold on the White Tower as she would like. Do you think her tactics to demand obedience and courtesy will work with all? How would you go about defying Elaida if you were stuck in the White Tower with her?

No, I don’t think Elaida will get obedience from all. She knows that she did not rise to power on her own, and those that put her in power know that too. I do believe she will be able to dominate many of those, but not all. After all, I am reading this for entertainment and I believe Robert Jordan knew that Elaida butting heads with at least one person in the White Tower would greatly amuse me.

If I was stuck in the the White Tower at this time, I would wiggle my way into having some control over Elaida’s food or bed linen. I will let your evil minds run amok with the kinds of unpleasant and sneaky things I could get up to ;).

2) A few of the Forsaken get together at the end of the Prologue for plotting and sniping at each other. Will any of their plans come to fruition? If you were Rand, who would you neutralize first?

I think that whatever Lanfear puts her mind and will into stands a chance of coming to fruition. She is focused and capable. For these same reasons, I would put her at the top of the list to neutralize.

With that said, I can see a few reasons why Rand has not done much to take Lanfear out. She is powerful and has a brain, so Rand might not feel ready yet to go toe to toe with her. Also, she has a vast amount of knowledge that Rand could benefit from, if he could get it out of her. So, on my personal list I will put Rahvin first because he irritates me with treating mere humans as puppets for his pleasure. Oh, and because he is breaking Wheaton’s Law – Don’t be a dick!

3) Leane, Siuan, & Min nearly get hanged for some burnt hay and stolen coin. Each woman chose a different approach to appealing to the judge; whose did you appreciate the most? What do you think of Siuan’s reaction to Lord Gareth Bryn?

While I don’t flash my boobies or bat my eyes at men to get what I want, I do see that it works very, very often. However, in a case like this where the villagers were threatening hanging, I would not be above trying such a tactic. I see that Siuan’s reaction – a mix of fear and defiance – was more effective in a way. Yet, she also peaked Bryn’s interest and he will be pursuing their escape. Poor MIn, in the middle thinking it is all mad and truly concerned about breaking her oath. I had to laugh a little. I mean, these ladies are trying to save the world so I think that obligation trumps doing maids’ work for a few seasons to pay back a black eye, some burnt hay, and some stolen coins.

Siuan obviously knows Bryn for some reason and fears him recognizing her. I smell a romance that was set aside for Aes Sedai glory.

4) Couladin still has not entered Rhuidean, even though it is now open to all. Rand plans to use the Aiel to quell the other other nations before he tackles the last battle. Do you think Couladin & the Shaido could jeopardize that plan?

Oh, I hope so! It would be oodles of fun for me as the reader to see Couladin presenting a major threat to Rand’s plans and then watching Rand quell that threat – with flaming sword, shirtless. He should have a decent tan going on now, right?

I am not too sure how the Aiel will feel about being used as a weapon to force the other nations into compliance. I assume many will quite enjoy the task, but others may feel that it is below their dignity and honor.

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

5) Rand continues to pluck info from Asmodean about use of the Power and also details about the Forsaken. How much do you think Asmodean is holding back? What little tricks would you play on Rand if you were his ‘guest’?

While Asmodean appears to be the densest of the Forsaken, he would not have survived this long without some tricks, sneakiness, or other useful abilities. So I will assume at this point that he is withholding from Rand – and I think Rand at least suspects this. Good for him. He really isn’t the Farm Boy we started with The Eye of the World anymore, is he?

If I was Rand’s guest, I would first make sure that all his small clothes mysteriously turned to ash. Next, I would do my best to see that whatever he drank, or whenever he bathed, the liquid was just short of what he desired – just enough to be irritating.

6) At the end of Chapter 3, Melindrha hints at things she would like to do by moonlight with Mat. Hehe. What are some of the craziest moonlit excursions you have ever been a part of?

First, just let me say that I am very glad to see that Mat has become the prey in this hunt for love. I think it is good for him.

As for moonlit stories – well there was the time at the golf course collecting markers left by players so they could continue the next day (no, I didn’t know what they were at the time, but as a scientist I took some home to investigate further). I also rode around in a car driven by a blind man. There was a shrubbery involved. There was also that time stuck in an arroyo in the Jeep. Camping with my man under a full moon was great, until the dogs brought a deer carcass back to camp and into the tent. Sigh….the good old days when I still intentionally ventured out in the depths of night.

Other Tidbits:

Padan Fain is over the deep end and now he is near his dagger. I have to wonder how that will affect his abilities once he gets a hold of it, if he does. Of course, this is coupled with my concerns for the Horn, which is still in the White Tower. Hmm…. Mat may have to go toe to toe with Fain at some point.

As some of you know, I was a bit distracted this past week, but what the hell was Logaine up to? Why did he run in the first place instead of knocking a few more heads and getting the ladies out of there? Why wait until they are being carted up to Lord Bryn’s for a not-heroic ‘rescue’? Did I miss something?

The Shadow Rising Read Along Part X

JordanShadowRisingBannerHere we are at the finale of Book 4 of The Wheel of Time series, The Shadow Rising. There were some twists that I wasn’t expecting. We’ll be jumping right into Book 5, The Fires of Heaven. You can see the schedule over HERE if you missed it and want to join us.

This week our fearless and insightful commenter Eivind came up with the excellent questions.

The spoilers don’t want you to avert your eyes, but I suggest you do if you have not read this book.

1. Seems like Rand is not the only one who can stand toe-to-toe against a forsaken. Surprised? Could there be others, and if so, who?

No, I was not surprised that Nynaeve could at least hold her own against Moghedien. I expect we will see others, like Mat and Egwene. Also, we might groups of folks who face a forsaken together and win, like the Ogier. I expect we still have plenty to learn about their culture and strengths.

2. What went on between Elayne and Amathera? Should she lay off the forceful reeducation of foreign monarchs or just keep at it, you think?

I expect it was girl talk. I don’t think Elayne hurt Amathera, but rather, showed her that she really is out classed and that prettily pouting and stamping her little foot won’t get her what she wants. In this case, I think Elayne is doing some good, though I do find it a little hypocritical in that Elayne was sheltered and pampered most of her life and it has only been recently that she has been rubbing elbows with the masses and having to tend to her own needs. Yet, perhaps that is why she feels that such an education is so necessary for Amathera.

3. So we have our first “proper” battle, of many more to come no doubt. Please air your thoughts here, since I can’t find anywhere to put a question mark.

I liked that the women of Emon’s field were present, armed, and competent. They had the children taken into the forest in hopes that they at least would escape the slaughter. It was really hard on Perrin, but he stood with them to the last, never balking. Of course Faile showing up in the nick of time with armed men from Debin (spelling?) was great. She said that she was the first woman of her land to lead soldiers in battle. I didn’t laugh a little as she lead men to  versus in a battle, but I don’t recall her actually doing more than finding Perrin.

4. Could these whitecloaks be any more pathetic if they tried? REALLY HARD?

I have to wonder what all the Whitecloak soldiers think of this. I mean, we have the leaders, who are into ineffectual, single-minded idiots. But what does the average Whitecloak piss ant think? Did they sign up to fight the dark, but then their leaders keep them from taking out trollocs? I would be pissed. Or were most of them coerced into joining and silently sighed relief at not having to join in the fighting? At any rate, they were the best equipped to assist in the fighting and they did not. Loosers.

5. So now (or soon enough) EVERY Aiel knows their history, and many are none too pleased. Was this the right call? How much support has Rand lost now?

Rand had to prove that he had been to Rhuidean, which meant publicly revealing something major he learned there. By Couladin calling Rand and idiotic liar, the senior Aiel who had also been to Rhuidean could immediately tell who was the liar. I think Rand was right to do it in that moment, and I think he was right in what he chose to reveal. The Aiel cannot come together as a people, let alone fight side by side with non-Aiel, without acknowledging their roots.

I expect that initially there will be some who will not want to support Rand, and I know the clan chiefs are pissed. But eventually his Ta’veren-ness will pull them all together, or destroy those who continue to oppose him.

6. With the massive sa’angreal access keys in hand, shouldn’t Rand be able to just steamroll through the next 10 books? Do you think he has a use in mind for them?

Well, we wouldn’t have another 10 books if Rand suddenly became all powerful and could just take out all opposition. So, these sa’angreal will be a boost, but won’t be the answer to all problems. I expect he has a few ideas in mind for their uses, but I bet there is plenty to learn about what they can do, but also their limitations or dangers. I wish they came with warning labels, even simple obvious ones like: Do not cook meat in dryer; Do not hold wrong end of chainsaw; This sign has sharp edges.

7. Asmodean… teaching Rand? On a scale from Kim Kardashian* to Stephen Hawking, how good of an idea is this, really? (*) Please ignore if you’re a fan.

So, I did not see this coming at all, and yet, it is obviously what Rand needs. Not only was he expecting at least 1 Forsaken to try to take him out in the Aiel Waste, he was hoping it would be a man, so he would have a servant teacher on hand. I really like that Rand is using his brain instead of just reacting on gut instinct to the situations he finds himself in.

But, yeah, Asmodean doesn’t seem to be the brightest of the bunch of Forsaken. So, Rand might not have picked the best teacher, even though his choices are limited.

Other Tidbits:

Nynaeve was ticked that somehow Moghedien escaped her bonds without her noticing, while she was busy with one of the Black Ajah and her Bale Fire Stick. I thin Moghedien is a great one for disguise and camouflage, and that she was there all the time but had camouflaged herself in to the background.

Perrin wrote Aiel a love note. Well, a goodbye note. He is more of a romantic than I thought.

Haha! Rand tricked a Forsaken and captured another. I’m sticking out my tongue at Lanfear!

The Shadow Rising Read Along Part IX

JordanShadowRisingBannerWelcome everyone to the ninth week of this read along where we cover Chapters 49-53. Sue from Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers is our host this week, so make sure to stop by her place for more thoughtful and witty discussion.

There be spoilers below. Ye have been warned!

1. It seems to me that the evidence is mounting that Keille is definitely Lanfear. How long do you think she will endure Isendre’s incessant flirting with Rand and rudeness to ‘Keille’ herself? What revenge do you think Isendre will suffer?

Lanfear will only tolerate it so long as she needs her disguise to be unquestioned. But once that is no longer so, she may end up in a trolloc cook pot. Or perhaps a myrrdraal’s plaything. It won’t be pretty whatever the punishment. I hope Mat isn’t too attached to her by that point because she is clearly something of a gold digger and manipulator.

2. Rand’s relationship with Aviendha has softened somewhat, although he did not intend to give a gift to attract her ‘interest’. Do you think that his dream of her, Elayne and Min means that he has found his trio of wives? If so, what do you think of Aviendha standing on the bank whilst the other two women swim naked with him?

OK, part of me (like the 30-something woman part) rolls my eyes and snort laughs at the blatant male fantasy taking place in that dream…and well, throughout the series concerning Rand’s love life. Now, if I shove that common-sense woman aside, I would say this is most likely the trio of wives, his little harem or stable of fillies. Aviendha standing on the bank instead of swimming naked means that she is not fully committed as the other women are.

Still, snort laugh.

3. Rand’s life seems to get more complicated with each chapter. We now learn that Sevanna, the wife of the dead Shaido Clan Chief is a troublemaker: is this a surprise? Also, any guesses as to who is sending the Shadowspawn against him?

I am not surprised that not all the Aiel respect the cool tatts on Rand. So, no, not surprising that we have Sevanna and others who are being suspicious, negative, or outright rude and challenging about the situation.

I don’t think any Aiel are sending Shadowspawn at Rand. Let’s see who else dislikes, wants to use, or eliminate Rand. Hmmm….. The Dark One should go at the top of the list, then the plethora of Forsaken (tho Lanfear I think wants to bed him a few times before eliminating him), the Black Ajah, the White Cloaks, and idiot Aiel. Oh, and those political factions he out foxed back ‘home’. Home is where the sword is, right? So, let’s say that the White Cloaks and Aiel are the least likely to employ/control Shadowspawn. So, Darkfriends of one flavor or another or Forsaken – that’s who I am guessing is currently gunning for him.

4. Now that Egeanin has been ‘outed’ as a Seanchan, are you surprised by how Elayne and Nynaeve chose to handle the situation? Do you think they are being wise or foolish?

Elayne has too much compassion on this one. Even if Egeanin truly enjoys their company, she may not be able to overcome her training and cultural upbringing to avoid doing them harm if pushed by other Seanchan. On the other hand, if Nynaeve at least pretended some sympathy, she may get more info than she will by being so hard nosed about it. Still, it is hard to overcome such a guttural dislike – being tortured will put you off a person/culture/invading force.

5. We now know, courtesy of Birgitte, that the dark-haired woman in Tanchico is Moghedien, sometimes known as the Spider. Any ideas why she has not simply pointed out the ter’angreal in the Panarch’s Palace to the Black Ajah or taken it for herself? How many years of suffering do you think Nynaeve will inflict upon her now that she remembers being Compelled?

Well, first everything we saw in Tel’aran’rhiod may have been staged or manipulated to some extent. Nynaeve is a novice, at best, at Dream Walking and I wouldn’t be surprised if Moghedien noticed her presence in T’A’R and decided to ‘show’ her the ter’angreal. Perhaps it really is guarded and Moghedien is leading her into a trap – perhaps in the hopes and Nynaeve & crew removing some of the Black Ajah, leaving fewer Aes Sedai for Moghedien to take out. Perhaps the Black Ajah do know about it and can’t touch it for some reason – like some virgin or goody-two-shoes is needed to handle it.

If Nynaeve ever gains control of her on/off switch, she may be able to go toe-to-toe with a Forsaken. If that happens, I doubt she will allow Moghedien to live years.

6. Loial has returned safe: hooray! Is there even the tiniest chance that anyone believes Lord Luc rather than our favorite Ogier and Gaul about the number of Trollocs in the area? Any suggestions of why Luc would like Perrin to underestimate the enemy’s numbers?

While I and Perrin believe Loial and Gaul about the numbers of trollocs, I am not certain others will. Perrin may allow the bulk of folks to believe Luc in order to keep their hopes up. As to why Luc wants Perrin to underestimate the numbers, that is probably related to him being Slayer. Whether Luc/Slayer has been ordered to kill Perrin or he is simply doing so out of his personal enjoyment, having Perrin or the townsfolk underestimate the number of trollocs can lead to Perrin’s death.

7. It would seem that Luc is Slayer. However, he looks different in the Wolf Dream, where he closely resembles Lan. Any guesses as to why he has two different appearances, and why they are both so similar to important members of the fight against the Dark One?

Perhaps this is so he can get close to the good guys before sticking a knife in them? Perhaps because he is blood related to both in some distant way? I will probably go with option A here because bad guys are annoying that way. He may be stuck with his real world face, but perhaps enjoys taking on a more hunter-ish aspect in Tel’aran’rhiod – pure vanity may be at play here.

Other Tidbits:

They’re married! It’s too cute. Really. And why shouldn’t the women propose?

My heart goes to Loial, who obviously believes those who stay are doomed. Tho his comment about being away from the Steading too long intrigued me. Perhaps Ogier are tied to their land and need to return to rejuvenate.

Mat flirting with Isendre – talking about how hard of work it is fighting trollocs, etc, but don’t worry, you are safe now. I’m rolling my eyes. I think Mat could truly benefit from a relationship with a woman like Zula.