Crossroads of Twilight, Part III

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And the WoT Quad returns with Book 10, Crossroads of Twilight! If any of you silent stalkers want to join us, you are always welcome to. You can leave me a comment or email me (nrlymrtl [at] gmail [dot] com) to get on the weekly email of the discussion questions. Check out the schedule.

This week, our host is Eivind, our keeper of esoteric WoT knowledge, can be found in the comments over somewhere (perhaps at Liesel’s). Make sure to swing by Sue’s at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers for excellent guesses as to what the future might hold and Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia for cool fanart.

This week I am a little slow as I am suffering from a head cold and a kidney infection. If my answers seem a bit dimwitted, just kindly pat me on the head and pass me some kleenex, Tylenol, or vanilla icecream with fresh strawberries.

This week, we cover Chapters 5-8. Spoilers for this section run free below!

1. We learn a lot about Darkhounds from Masuri and Elyas. Do you expect that this will be the wolves’ role in the last battle? Whom could this large pack be after, if it’s not Perrin?

I was surprised when signs of the Darkhounds showed up again, and yet no dead bodies, not yet. And, yes, it sounds like the wolves are going to have be the one to free their brothers from the torment of being encased in Darkhound bodies and forced to serve the Dark. I bet that will be epic if a bit sad.

Since this large group didn’t tear Perrin’s encampment apart, but instead circled, and then left, I have to wonder if they are hunting Morgase. I wonder how they got her scent to hunt her in the first place?

2. Perrin has no goal other than freeing Faile. Could he be fixating on her to the degree of endangering the actual mission at hand? Does he need a wake up call?

Yes, his fixation on Faile has already endangered the mission. And while I think Faile is probably not the right woman for Perrin (with her ridiculous jealous ways), I don’t think she would want him to fail at his mission for the sake of her. Especially since she knows she isn’t in imminent danger from the Shaido – just uncomfortable and inconvenienced.

But I doubt Perrin would accept a wakeup call even if it came from Faile. In some ways, I really like this about Perrin, in others….well, the fate of the world does rest on the shoulders of a few individuals, and one of those individuals is Perrin.

3. Masuri and Annoura have been meeting with Masema, and so, it seems, have Suroth. What are all these characters planning?

Suroth is a Darkfriend, Masema is insane, and I forget where Masuri and Annoura sit on that spectrum. Masema won’t settle for less than the entire world swearing allegiance to the Dragon Reborn (through Masema, as his prophet). While Suroth is playing two lords – the Empress (may she live forever) and the Dark One. I expect Suroth is making false promises to Masema in order to bring him and his followers under some control while the Seanchan deal with total domination of Randland.

As to what they are planning together or separately….well, I am too medicated to come up with a even a silly guess.

4. Masema’s letter from Suroth conveniently does not mention his name or description, so Perrin could potentially use it himself. What would be on your wishlist?

When I heard that letter being read off, at first I thought it was one of those letters Siuan issued (when she was Amyrlin Seat) to our lady heroes many, many books back. Very similar wording.

And if Perrin, or someone riding with him, is smart enough to point out that Perrin can use the letter to his benefit, well then:

1) Enough armed soldiers to safely take the Shaido and rescue their captives

2) More armed soldiers to safely ‘escort’ Masema to Rand

3) More armed soldiers to protect the people and villages Perrin designates

4) Supplies – lots of roasted pheasant and bread and tents and blankets and mead. Yes, we need mead.

5. Everyone in camp believes Perrin was unfaithful with Berelain, and she’s not too concerned with denying it. Could she be endangering morale? Do you really believe that she’s as concerned with rescuing Faile as she seems to be?

I think Berelain was hoping that if everyone believed Perrin had bedded her, he would eventually do so. She has now seen that is not how Perrin works. I am hoping that she has shifted her motives and will assist Perrin in every way, just as she says. And yet…..She hasn’t denied the rumors of bedding Perrin nor has she asked her maids to do so.

And, really, it is quite stupid. I know she is the ruler of a small country and has to play these silly games to keep her seat. But with Perrin, and Rand, she doesn’t. Perhaps she is finally seeing that she won’t get what she wants by playing Perrin the fool.

I don’t think she cares for Faile at all, but she is also the daughter of a ruler and rules Perrin’s heart. So it wouldn’t hurt Berelain to do well by her.

6. Mat is heading north from Ebou Dar at the exact same time as Perrin finds the Shaido in northern Altara. Could we… could we have a meeting?

I hope so! These boys need to synchronize their Rainbow Swirls! And if we do, I expect it to be epic – since the Darkhounds are following the Shaido to get Morgase. Then if the Borderlanders we saw in the Prologue are also marching on the Shaido, that could add some unexpected excitement to the meeting. Plus we Tuon and the Seanchan looking for her.

Has Mat ever met Morgase? Can he ID her? Haha! I’m such a dork. Thom is traveling with Mat, and he can definitely ID Morgase.

Other Tidbits

I know Elyas is already wondering about this, but I wonder too: What has Masuri been doing with her life to put her in near contact with 7 packs of Darkhounds?

The Tinker’s lad (forgot his name) seems jealous of Perrin giving his time to anyone else (except for Faile). I have to wonder if this will be a problem in the future? Will there be a one-sided bromance?

 

Crossroads of Twilight, Part II

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And the WoT Quad returns with Book 10, Crossroads of Twilight! If any of you silent stalkers want to join us, you are always welcome to. You can leave me a comment or email me (nrlymrtl [at] gmail [dot] com) to get on the weekly email of the discussion questions. Check out the schedule.

This week, Liesel at Musings on Fantasia is playing host. Eivind, our keeper of esoteric WoT knowledge, can be found in the comments over there. Make sure to swing by Sue’s at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers for excellent guesses as to what the future might hold.

This week, we cover Chapters 1-4. Spoilers for this section run free below!

1. Why do you think no alarm was raised when Mat kidnapped Tuon? How will this play out going forward?

I think the reasoning is two fold and both reasons have to do with the Seanchan culture and their love of order and hierarchy. First, it is deeply embarrassing to lose one of such high noble birth. Perhaps those who hold responsibility are honor bound to first locate and free her, and then kill themselves. Basically, they can’t simply shout to the world and put out a major search party as the embarrassment would then touch Tuon and her family.

I think the second reason may be that Tuon was under the veil, which seems to mean she is traveling incognito so she can’t be acknowledged as anything more than of the blood.

And, then, she has disappeared before, at least once by her own doing. So I am sure that lends a certain question to the the current disappearance – did she wish to disappear again?

2. Juilin’s Thera turns out to be the former panarch, Amathera. We knew Amathera had been taken by the Seanchan, but did anyone make this connection? What, if any, complications do you think this will cause for Mat and his group?

I had guessed that Juilin’s lady love was the former panarch when I heard the name Thera. He near-constant need for reassurance also fit with her personality. I don’t see any immediate complications, beyond the fact that Juilin stole Seanchan ‘property’. However, as time goes by, if the Seanchan are defeated, kicked out of Randland, or some mutual compromise/agreement is made with the Seanchan in the future, Thera may very well want her rulership back. She may go back to high and mighty ways, and perhaps even toss Juilin off as not worthy.

3. When Luca’s troop gets ready to leave, the dice roll in Mat’s head. They stop when he makes a bargain with Tuon. What do you think they mean in this case? How will this agreement between Mat and his future wife be fateful for him?

I think Tuon just accepted his proposal to wed (or perhaps even sealed the marriage). She has agreed to assist him, and to not give him away or hinder him and his. So long as Mat keeps his promises. Hmm….So Mat promised to not harm her, to keep her as comfortable as he can, and to release her once they were far enough away. His words from the end of Book 9 (She is my wife) could also be seen as a promise.

So, if he ever balks at publicly marrying her, she may very well be tempted to turn him and his people in the Seanchan, along with throwing more things at his head.

4. The Aes Sedai with Mat can feel Rand and Nynaeve trying to cleanse the Source, even if they don’t that’s what they’re doing. Rather than just see the swirl of colors when he thinks of Rand, he actually sees them sitting on the hillside. How do you see this ta’veren ability progressing? Will it be a help or a hindrance?

Well, based on this, I am hoping that sooner or later Mat will be able to communicate with Rand and Perrin via his rainbow swirls. The ladies have Tel’aran’rhiod. Even Rand and Perrin can sort of travel there (though not with real safety). So the men need a good way to communicate.

Of course, Mat won’t actively explore this anytime soon. He balks left and right at using his powers. Kind of like Perrin. Kind of like Rand. I think his hesitancy to use his powers will cause him more odd viewings, which will make him fall off his horse or stop talking mid sentence.

5. Tylin, it seems, is dead. Found by the gholam. How do you feel about her death, and Mat’s reaction to it?

Wow! Did not see that coming! From the end of Book 9 and the comments by our experienced readers (Eivind and Liesel), I had guessed that the Seanchan would either not believe Tylin’s story completely or not care and that she would be punished. I was expecting a lashing or the sul’dam allowing their leashed domane to ‘beat’ her. Something like that. However, it appears that the Seanchan are just as disturbed by Tylin’s sudden and messy death.

I can see why Mat would immediately think the gholam could have done this. He’s strong enough and doesn’t mind violence. However, there are other suspects. We learned at the end of this section that Tylin was being made of the blood because of certain sensitive things she knew of the Seanchan, not because she was ruler of Ebou Dar and said the oaths. So this makes me look at Suroth, our Darkfriend Seanchan. What if she ordered one of the Seanchan Ogier to rip off Tylin’s head to silence her forever? Just saying there may be other culprits.

I was actually a little touched that Mat had such a heartfelt reaction to Tylin’s death. He may have been irked by the woman, may have just been passing time with her in bed, but it still struck him hard to have her dead so suddenly and in such a way.

6. Furyk Karede is on a mission of sorts. What did you think of this chapter and what he’s up to? How will it play out? Affect other characters and the fate of the world? Predictions?

Well, Furyk is a dedicated body guard and has been one for years. So, I expect he plans to tract down Tuon and save her ass whether she needs or wants it saved or not. I expect things will go one of two ways. Either he will ride up to Tuon and her ‘captors’ and Tuon will simply order him to guard her and her new ‘friends’ as per usual, or things will be very, very messy with Furyk slaughtering part of Luca’s circus, etc. He may even make a permanent enemy of Mat, if they don’t have a final reckoning right at first.

Other Tidbits

The thought of Mat and Egeanin play kissing makes me giggle. And the thought of Mat, Egeanin, and Domon all sharing one tiny traveling wagon makes me snicker. 😉

I want to try Noal’s fish stew.

I wonder where I put my skull wine goblet…….

 

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!

 

Winter's Heart Read Along Part VI

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.

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

This week we covered Chapters 24-29. Spoilers are having a party below!

1) Cadsuane has come home. What do you think it was like for her growing up in Far Madding and finding out she can channel? What did you think of the Counsel’s reception of her?

I wonder if Cadsuane’s ability to channel made her something of a pariah to her home town? I can only imagine it would be awkward at the least and possibly have her tossed out at worse. Perhaps that would explain some of the reception she received? Granted, all but her most extended family is probably dead and gone, but the rulers of the city would definitely have her name in a little black book with a little black mark beside it.

2) Alanna and Rand have a little heart to heart. Has your opinion of her changed? What do you think of Rand’s reaction to her and the orders he issues to her?

Yes, my opinion has changed. When she initially bonded Rand she was suffering from the loss of her Warders, and was a bit insane. It wasn’t cool of her but perhaps forgivable. Alas, we see that while her grief has come under control she still feels quite entitled to Rand, in every sense. She doesn’t apologize for her actions nor does she release him. So now I think even less of her.

Alanna needs to get used to being ordered around. He is the Dragon Reborn and she is not his chosen boon companion. And I think it is interesting that rand trusts her with this task. I think he is placing a lot of trust in Min’s viewings and her interpretations of those images.

3) Egwene and Elayne meet in Tel’aran’rhiod in Emond’s Field. What do you think of Egwene’s concerns of going home, whenever she does get around to that? Do you think Elayne’s concerns about the possible threat to Andor from Emond’s Field is well founded?

Well, I think it is a viable concern. She hasn’t been out of the Two Rivers very long and even though she has gained this title (sort of), she doesn’t have the years of experience of past Amyrlins. She will need to think of a healthy way to demonstrate her authority, if there is ever a need, to Emond’s Field. After all, Andor has ‘ruled’ Emond’s Field, etc. for how many centuries and Egwene and crew barely knew that when they left Two Rivers.

And Elayne’s passing concern that Andor may be threatened by the Menetherin flag and Perrin’s flag is also a viable concern. After all, what did Morgase and the Andoran crown do for Two Rivers and Emond’s Field all these years? They didn’t garrison the area nor patrol the highways. They didn’t think the area worth the effort of keeping a presence in. So, yeah, I would totally follow Perrin’s flag over Elayne’s.

4) Elayne decides to rush off to meet the Borderlanders. Mellar stays behind to ‘see to his duties’. What do you think he is really up to? Do you think Elayne’s suggestion to the Borderlanders to go south is wise or merely selfish?

I think Mellar was up to no good. In fact, he might have spread the word to whoever orchestrated those marching on Caemlyn.

I think Elayne’s suggestion for the Borderlanders to go south is a mix of both wisdom and selfishness. If she can make it look like Andor is threatened by outsiders and then decisively put an end to that threat (without blood shed) she will look like an awesome ruler indeed. However, now that it looks like Caemlyn is under threat, the Borderlanders might turn into the heroes.

5) Noal and Mat have an interesting conversation, mostly abut the gholam. Is Mat under utilizing Noal? Has the gholam met his match in an old man?

Yep, Mat is being an idiot in this regard. I think his mind is too full of bedding ladies. Obviously Noal has some knowledge and some real-time experience dealing with gholam(s). I am starting to think that it may very well be Noal who ends this gholam and not Mat.

6) Beslan seems married to the idea of rebellion. Who else will side with Beslan? Will the possible rebellion mess up Mat’s plans for escape?

I am afraid that Thom may very well stay behind to help Beslan and try to keep him from getting killed. Sigh….well Thom never learn to cut a lost cause lose? I expect Beslan will be unable to wait long enough to allow his friends to get a safe distance away. Oh, he may not plan it to mess them up; I can totally see him losing his head and doing something in the heat of the moment.

7) Bayle Domon enters the scene and whisks Mat away to meet with Egeanin. Is this going to work or will we see a slaughter? What do you think Bayle had to do in private to convince Egeanin to go along with this?

Since Egeanin has already agreed, I don’t think we will see a slaughter. At least, not by her word or deed. However, we are now counting on the sul’dam that Egeanin brings into the scheme. How much will they need to know? Will they tattle in order to climb the ladder?

And I am guessing that Bayle had to use some serious sailor’s tricks in bed to keep Egeanin happy. 😉 Or perhaps he had to play the submissive?

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

Other Tidbits

Verin decided to go by an alias while in Far Madding. Apparently, she isn’t interested in being detained or flogged. And she did it so cleverly by telling the council what to call her in front of the entire party.

Haha! Min carefully placed her on Rand’s chest for Alanna to see and then Cadsuane walked in. Too funny!

Wow! Elayne might just let Mellar pinch her bottom in order to spread rumor and deflect eyes from Rand. This will probably make it that much easier for Mellar to pull off whatever scheme he has in mind for Elayne (death? kidnapping?).

Mat has developed an unhealthy liking for lace.

 

Winter's Heart Read Along Part V

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.

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

This week we covered Chapters 18-23. Spoilers are having a party below!

1. Who knows what an illuminator might want with a bellfounder? Do you? Do you expect Mat to figure it out or will he have to keep seducing Aludra?

Cannon, of course. That’s what I would do with a good bellfounder. Or explosive mines of some sort. Or explosive caltrops. Hmm… lots of things that need a thick shell of metal to make the explosion having meaning.

And, no, I don’t think Mat will figure it out until it is staring at him in the face. Of course, if he spent more time thinking on it rather than planning how to weasel the next kiss out of Aludra, he would stand a better chance at figuring it out.

2. Egeanin and Bayle Domon are back! What do you think of their peculiar relationship?

I am a little surprised that Bayle has been OK with being a kept man for so long. It must be love. And the inherent danger of leaving a ranking Seanchan woman in the dust.

I like that Egeanin is changing her views, at least a little, because of her affection for Bayle. For instance, he did something inappropriate (by Seanchan standards) and she had him beaten. And he refused to join her in bed until she sincerely apologized for it. Which she did. So this shows that the Seanchan are capable of compromise, especially behind a closed door so that the whole world doesn’t have to witness it.

3. It seems like there are already a handful of people who know that sul’dam can channel. So far Suroth has been able to keep a lid on it. Do you think the latest events will inadvertently speed up the plan to bring down the Empire by sending ‘un-brainwashed’ sul’dam into Seanchan-held lands?

Originally, I thought this plan to send some sul’dam who have ‘seen the light’ back to Seanchan lands was not a good idea simply because we didn’t have enough time for it to bear fruit (though Sue did point out that many of those sul’dam would most likely be executed if they mentioned anything, which I also agree with). But this little tidbit changes the playing field a bit. It seems that a few people, high and low, know that sul’dam are Channelers (at least very weakly). If the good guys do manage to send back several educated sul’dam at once, it may be too big for Suroth and others to keep a lid on.

However, I think it will take something more to bring down the Empire. After all, we have seen domane (spelling?) that live to serve. Perhaps they will have to be paid a pittance and no leashes, but they will still serve. I think this will be true especially for those who have grown up in the Seanchan culture where this is not only accepted, but expected.

4. Quite a few people are now looking to Mat for help: three Aes Sedai, Egeanin and Bayle, Bethamin. Will Mat be able to satisfy them all and lead a proper exodus? And where does Tuon fit in?

Well, there will be cannon and perhaps a ship (with Bayle captaining it). Aes Sedai making fire balls and lightning can make a distraction. And if Tuon either orders them to be allowed to escape or is taken along with them, that could be the last thing needed. Oh, and what will Thom and maybe Tylin’s son add to the mix? Mat is ta’veren so I think he will be able to help most of them and maybe even take out the gholam too.

5. Rand has brought his entourage into Far Madding, where nobody can channel, to kill renegade Asha’man. Is this a good plan, or does it leave him needlessly exposed to non-channelers (such as two old friends we saw again this week: Slayer and Padan Fain)?

I think it is a good plan as it levels the playing field a bit and keeps either the bad guys or Rand from maximizing the collateral damage (either intentionally or not). And while Slayer and Padan Fain are crazy fucks, they will also underestimate Rand (because he can’t channel in this location) and so won’t give his sword abilities much heed. Rand may end up injured, yet again, but he now has three ladies (and a fourth if you count Alanna) to fuss over him and make it more sexy, if not better.

6. Alanna is back on her feet, and Cadsuane is using her to home in on Rand. Will she needlessly complicate things, or do you expect her and her people to be useful?

I think Cadsuane will be useful, but Alanna may complicate matters. Cadsuane strikes me as very practical without being all huffy about it (like Nynaeve) or having to be acknowledged the center of things (like Egwene or Elayne) before acting. Remember that slap she gave Rand a few books back to bring him to his senses? Who else would walk up and do that to the Dragon Reborn?

Alanna on the other hand may go all weepy and either homicidal or suicidal over Rand. I can see her throwing herself in harm’s way to either protect Rand or to get his attention. This could make all sorts of carefully laid plans go messy.

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

Other Tidbits

Bayle recognized Mat, and Mat is ta’veren. So I wonder what all that means – what does the Wheel want out of this situation? Bayle + Mat + ships + Aludra’s cannons = glorious chaos and much entertainment for the reader. 🙂

The image of Mat burning a bundle of pink ribbons was highly amusing. Despite all his fussing, he also notes several times in this week’s reading that he doesn’t mind bedding Tylin. He just doesn’t want to wear pink while doing it.

Winter's Heart Read Along Part IV

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.

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

This week we covered Chapters 12-17. Spoilers are having a party below!

1. Elayne gets to ‘entertain’ the worst looking man in the universe, at least as far as her bodyguards know. Do you think that they will actually prove to be any protection against assassins and what did you make of Hanlon’s hints to them that Elayne likes rough men?

I was surprised that Elayne was left alone, all night long, with an unidentified man, especially since the guards did not receive an OK from Brigitte, head of the body guards. So, no, I don’t think they are particularly good at their jobs.

The audio editing of this particular book has left something to be desired. All through out so far there have been several sentences repeated one after the other. But this week’s reading was the worst and I think the audio editors actually left some little bits out of this section. Like I don’t recall listening to Hanlon talking to the guards about rough men and Elayne’s preferences. Though I would guess that he would reinforce this idea as to make it easier for him later to help sneak a rough man in, or out.

2. Any suggestions about what Elayne and Rand were doing to make Birgitte seek solace in a bottle of strong liquor? Do you think it was so shocking that it put Alanna into her coma?

Well, since Elayne and Rand have only this one night together, and who knows when they will get to play around again, I think they probably tried as many things as possible. And I will leave it up to each person’s imaginations as to what that list might entail. 😉

And I think Birgitte was enjoying being drunk enough to dance naked on a table so as to share that through the Warder bond with Elayne as a kind of payback for what she was sharing through the bond. Of course, once Birgitte was dancing nude on the tables, I expect the list of adult acts for Elayne and Rand got a bit longer as Elayne’s inhibitions would have been lowered if not removed entirely. 😉

And I think that is probably when Alanna fainted from the shock of it all.

3. Cadsuane seems to have her hands full with angry Sea Folk and strangely subdued Aes Sedai. What do you make of the Sisters’ sudden decision to support Rand, even the Reds? How angry will Nynaeve be to discover that she is not the only one to be able to Heal Stilling?

I worry about the Reds swearing fealty, especially so many. Perhaps the skill of chatting in Tel’aran’rhiod has spread among the captive Aes Sedai? If some are Black Ajah, I wouldn’t be surprised if their Dark Friends Dream Club taught them this skill. With that skill, they can continue to plot, and part of the plot could be to swear fealty to Rand.

Haha! I think Nynaeve will initially be miffed, and then she will learn it was a man who did the healing, and she will be curious. However, this curiosity will give way to snottiness as she tells the man he is doing it all wrong and making it 10 times harder than it should be.

4. When Cyndane popped up I assumed that she was our good old friend, Lanfear, reincarnated. However, she seems to be too weak in the One Power. Any thoughts about this?

My Lanfear Alarm Bells, so long dormant, also rang when Cyndane opened her pretty mouth. Perhaps going through the angreal portal weakened her. Either she has been reincarnated or she is in disguise – I haven’t figured that out yet. If she is back, that means Morgase Moiraine could be back too. I wonder if Lan would be able to tell (perhaps proximity matters if Morgase Moiraine is also weak?) or if that bond was severed when she ‘passed on’.

5. We finally get to meet the Daughter of the Nine Moons. Is she what you expected? What about Anath: was anyone else very suspicious that Tuon’s previous Truthspeaker died suddenly and was replaced by this unlikely candidate?

The Daughter of the 9 Moons is not quite what I expected. I thought she would come storming into Mat’s life on the back of some winged beast, weapons in hand. This entrance is pretty good too, just different. She is not his usual physical type but seems to have a firm grasp of what she wants. Apparently, she wants him for some reason. Curiosity? Maybe his ta’veren-ness is influencing her libido?

Anath is creepy. I know she is paid to be blunt, but she also strikes me as malevolent. And of course it is suspicious that Tuon’s previous Truthspeaker recently died. So far we have seen lots of hierarchy from the Seanchan and pretty much acceptance of this (especially from the lower orders). But i expect that the higher one climbs, the plots and intrigues that go on behind the scenes. Those Andorran nobles think they know something of scheming! They know nothing compared to the Seanchan!

6. It seems that we were right to suspect that the Gholam would feel a personal need to kill Mat. Do you see any way that Mat can get rid of it? What about Noal: is he only an old man who happened to be in the right place at the right time?

I am guessing Mat will have to be the one to get rid of him. I would suggest the two tried and true methods for dispatching zombies, vampires, demons, witches, ogres, trollocs, myrrdraal, and even wicked humans: stab through the heart and remove the head. He can start by damaging its eyes to give himself a fighting chance.

Was Noal the old man standing outside Shiane’s place that one time? If so, he keeps turning up in Mat’s life. This could be Mat’s ta’veren-ness pulling the old man in again. So far he seems harmless and on Mat’s side. While his hands appear to have been broken at some point, he also has a strong grip. I wonder if he will turn out to be another legend come to life, like Birgitte.

7. Mat meets Tuon and his dice stop thundering. Any ideas of how he is going to end up married to this woman, or will she simply ‘borrow’ him permanently from Tylin?

Haha! Well, it has certainly been interesting seeing the similarities between how the Seanchan treat their pet female channelers and how Tylin treats Mat. i expect Tuon will start off treating Mat the same way and the audience will rally to his defense and set her straight on that. He’s not just a personal pet pogostick to be toyed with.

I was a little surprised that Mat didn’t stop to consider the Seanchan more. I can see why his initial reaction was to be surprised that no event happened, as that has been the case in the past. But then that thought should have turned to the people in the room and their possible significance.

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

Other Tidbits

Anyone else surprised by Min’s visions concerning Elayne, Aviendha, and children? Looks like Elayne will be having twins, whereas Aviendha will have 4 children all at once. Min isn’t sure what this means. I fear it means that either Elayne or Min or both die and Aviendha inherits their children.

If I understood correctly, an Asha’man healed a Stilled woman. I find this interesting because we have had such separation in the powers of the sexes. I think it’s cool, but like Nynaeve, I want to see how it is done.

Moridin and crew know that Rand wants to try to heal saidin with angreal and those statue things. How do they know? Who is the snitch? Or is Rand so blatantly obvious in his moves?

I didn’t really understand Tuon’s veil and the significance of it. I got that she swore to wear it until she got a clear sign, which I thought she did with the porpoises (or was it dolphins) – stay your course! But then we see her later in Tylin’s chambers still in the veil.

What could Tylin’s son be up to? Will Thom help him? There’s going to be rebellion against the Seanchan, isn’t there? Sigh….Thom may get himself killed yet.

Mat really, really, really needs to listen to his own ta’veren’ness when it comes to Rand and Perrin.

The Path of Daggers Read Along Part IV

PathOfDaggersBannerWelcome everyone! This is the third week of the dissection of Robert Jordan’s Book 8 of The Wheel of Time Series. Anyone is welcome to join us, so check out the schedule over HERE.

This week, I am you host. Our walking WoT encyclopedia, Eivind, can be found in the comments. Make sure to also check out Sue from Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers and Liesel from Musings on Fantasia.

This week we covered Chapters 16-21. Spoilers run free and in their birthday suits below!

1) Egwene has shown the Salidar Aes Sedai some of her strength. Do you think they will fall into line now or continue to push for power of their own? If you could step into Egwene’s shoes for a few minutes, how would you handle some of the more ‘uppity’ Aes Sedai?

I totally expect for the some of the stronger personalities to keep pushing Egwene. Actually, I am kind of looking forward to it as that means Egwene will have to put them down and I expect that to be highly amusing. So far, Egwene has mostly played by the rules but I expect her to come to a point where she needs to break, change, or bend some significant rules, and in public. Of course, she will need to make the Aes Sedai aware of her strengths when she does this and I am expecting that to be quite awesome.

If I were in her shoes, it would be terribly tempting to smack certain Aes Sedai around. Doesn’t make it right. But still very tempting. Ok, maybe I would do it. Can I possess Egwene’s body for just a few minutes while I smack Romanda’s and Lilaine’s heads together? Or perhaps I can lock them in a very small closet together for a day or two.

2) Siuan has constant advice for Egwene, telling her the Secret Histories of other Amyrlin Seats. Do you think the irritation of her constant advice will outweigh the knowledge she is passing on and Egwene will snap and tell Lord Brynne of Siuan’s affections? Or do you want to know more of the Secret Histories?

Well of course I want to know more about the Secret Histories….but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want Siuan and Brynne to finally come to terms with their burning and adolescent love either. Maybe I can have both? Surely Siuan would eventually 1) get over her anger of Egwene (or myself) telling Brynne of her crush and 2) would eventually need to come up for air from kissing Brynne that she could continue the Secret Histories lessons.

I was very taken with the idea of the Secret Histories. I wonder how many long term rulerships through out history have had something similar that very few have ever been privilege to. While fascinating to me, who will likely only ever rule over the home washing machines, I can see how any rulership would have to closely weigh the pros and cons of having any Secret Histories, whether written or oral. What if the wrong people, like the public, got a hold of them?!?

3) Roedran Almaric do Arreloa a’Naloy has a plan to use the Band to unite the Murandian nobles behind him. Do you think it is that simple and will go so easily? Should Talmanes listen to his inner heart and go fetch Mat instead?

I don’t think things will go so easily. Either the fates won’t allow such simplicity to exist…..or Roedran is smarter than he looks and is planning to use the Band for something more. I can see how things may very well get out of hand. It is human nature to not want to put their toys away without playing with them once they got them out of storage. Basically, a large united armed force is going to want to tussle with another large armed force before going home.

Sooner or later, Talmanes is going to be pulled by the ta’varen and will head towards Mat. Personally, I vote he does so right now and screw any plans with Murandy. And screw Egwene’s orders too. But, I doubt things will fall out that way. Instead, I expect things to get messy with Murandy, and Talmanes will need to flee with what he can pull together of the Band, and why not flee towards Mat? We all know he needs assistance due to how things were left last book.

4) War on Elaida has finally been declared and Egwene plans to have the Salidar Aes Sedai and their warriors Travel in one month. What could possibly go wrong with this plan?

hehe….So much could go wrong with this. First, Egwene has given all the idiots surrounding her one month to raise any and all possible objections and subtle obstacles. Secondly, she has also given the evil ones among her group time to muck things up. Sigh……Plenty of entertainment for me (from a reader’s perspective) but not so good for our heroine.

Romanda and Lilaine are going to be tarts about the whole affair. Halima has her own agenda of course, so I expect Egwene’s headaches to intensify. This also gives any nearby nobles with any differing plans or ulterior motives time to mess with Egwene’s plans. Yes….all sorts of problems might very well crop up in the next month.

5) Elayne has been playing with the angreals. In fact, she was playing with a rod when something happened. No one will tell her what happened, though everyone grins when it is mentioned. What do you think that angreal is and what do you think Elayne did and why can’t she recall?

The rod angreal is described as wrist thick, a foot long, and smooth like stone. Now the immature imp in me want sot imply that Elayne had some kind of personal affair with this rod….but I expect that is unlikely. From the way everyone grins, it was apparently highly amusing whatever it did. Yet they won’t tell her, so this means it was either unladylike for a royal lady or outright embarrassing no matter who you are. I am going to say that this either grants one the ability to cuss in any language or causes one the extreme need to dance naked before a crowd. 🙂

6) Narishma fetched something for Rand. What do you think it is? Do you think Rand was a little harsh with Narishma? What would Lews Therin say to all this?

Hmm… OK, I know that I am not the smartest of the batch in this read along. I am not good at guessing such things. I am not sure what Narishma fetched nor why Rand needs it kept such a secret. Is it a surprise that he and he alone wants to unveil at the correct moment to have the most impact? Or is it something for his personal use and he doesn’t want that revealed for fear of whatever weakness that may tell his enemies about?

We know that it is not a large item as it was easily carried. Perhaps some symbolic weapon? Maybe Rand had some new standard or scepter made that symbolizes his rule over more than Illian and Andor? Some sort of rulership symbol that puts his sign above all others in Randland?

Of course Rand was harsh with Narishma and I don’t like that side of him. But as I don’t know what the object is, perhaps it is warranted (depending on the importance of the item). I don’t think Lews Therin would hesitate to kill Narishma – he would kill to keep the secret instead of asking, cajoling, demanding, or threatening. Sick bastard.

Extra Tidbits

Egwene’s wonky chair had me in giggles. There is nothing like falling on your ass due to furniture malfunction to tarnish one’s dignity.

It’s nice that the Aes Sedai got all prettied up for their meeting with the nobles. Light help them if they actually looked like they had been roughing it in winter on the road.

If Elayne has such a reaction to such a mild-looking angreal, I can’t wait for Rand to start going through the male angreal. 🙂

A Crown of Swords Read Along Part VI

WOT 7 BannerWelcome back everyone! This week Sue is our host over at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers. And don’t miss Liesel’s Musing on Fantasia. Eivind, our awesome commenter should be at Sue’s.

This week we covered Chapters 25-30. Spoilers Below!!!

1. It would seem that we have the identity of the Watcher from last week, but Moridin is not the name of any of the Forsaken. Is he a new Forsaken, just as Shaidar Haran is a new type of Myrddraal, or is he a reincarnation of one of the dead ones? Were you surprised that Moghedien was allowed to live and do you think she will ever escape the mindtrap?

I wonder if Moiridin is a vessel for the Dark One to go on walk about. He does have that dark fleck in his eyes that seems to move around of it’s own accord and he does seem to be pretty bad ass. So I am thinking he is something we haven’t seen before and held in higher regard than most if not all the other baddies we’ve seen so far.

Moghedien is a tool, and still useful, and Robert Jordan doesn’t seem to kill off the personable baddies very often and not for too long. So, no, I wasn’t surprised that she lived. Will she escape the mind trap? I kind of hope she does, because I think her plotline will be more fascinating if she is free to cause grief & consternation, yet also be on the run from the baddies.

2. So, Valda has proven to be a rapist as well as a murderer: lovely! Do you think that Morgase will successfully evade the Seanchan and do you expect her to tell anyone about her renunciation of the Lion Throne?

I think we just need to leave Valda alone in a room with Elayne and he will no longer be a problem. To anyone. Ever. 🙂

I do expect Morgase to evade the Seanchan and hopefully, fingers crossed, make it to some safe harbor. I think Morgase has learned enough by now to be able to keep a low profile and not order everyone else around like she’s a queen and they are servants. Surely, she wouldn’t do something as asinine as that, which would give her away? Yeah, all fingers crossed on that one.

To me, her renunciation of the throne seemed to have some magic to it. In fact, I have expected Elayne to magically know that the throne had passed to her…but of course, if that was possible, she would know that her mom wasn’t dead, since the throne hadn’t magically passed to her. Anyway, I expect sooner or later, she will have to tell someone – maybe just Elayne. Maybe that lad with the fine legs when she beds him. 🙂

3. I guess we can assume that the Seanchan were that storm that Nynaeve could detect. What did you make of their attack on the Fortress of Light? Our previous impression of Suroth was that she was wildly overconfident about capturing Rand: do these latest events change your opinion?

The Fortress of Light was full of arrogant White Cloaks. Now it is full of arrogant Seanchan. I thought the attack was quite the light show – pretty fun to watch as long as you don’t have to be involved. Honestly, I wasn’t sure who to root for. White Cloaks? Seanchan? Pretty much, I was just hoping they created enough chaos for Morgase & crew to escape. Alas, she chose to stay, thinking it was Aes Sedai coming to the rescue.

It seems the Seanchan put a lot of faith? honor? in giving their word to obey the Empress. But not everyone is going to play by their rules. I think the Seanchan, including Suroth, are still pretty self-assured that their way is the best way and can’t really imagine anyone going against it. Should be spectacular when Rand gets a hold of them. 🙂

4. Sneaky! Although I hate a writer doing this, I was happy to discover that the fight between Rand and Perrin was a way to distract their enemies. How successful do you think Perrin will be at finding Masema and subduing the Dragonsworn? I am getting truly sick of it, so any ideas on how and when the whole Faile / Berelain thing will be resolved?

Yeah, that Perrin – Rand fight was faked…at least until Rand threw Perrin into a wall! Rand gets so passionate sometimes and loses his sense of balance in things. Perrin so far has gotten the job done every time he has committed himself. And I expect that tracking down Masema and subduing him will be far easier than returning to Two Rivers to discover his family wipes out. Got a tough job? Get a Perrin & wolf crew!

I think that if Faile and Berelain were to bed each other, that would resolve all the tension and silliness between the two. Alas, The Wheel of Time doesn’t appear to be that type of series. So I think we are stuck with their annoying behaviors until one of them dies. At this point, I am not sure I have a preference.

5. Fancy NOT telling Loial about the subterfuge: I could hold that against certain people, even if they are the Dragon Reborn and a sexy blacksmith! The Asha’man traveling with our favorite Ogier seems mighty untrustworthy: are they all like that or am I getting paranoid?

Sexy blacksmith, indeed! Let me just take a moment…..

OK, back to the question. It seems that many of the Asha’men have chips on their shoulders. To some extent, this is totally understandable as they have been told all their lives that they are not worthy of compassion and should be exiled, stilled, or killed. But I think Mazrim Taim has definitely encouraged this chip on the shoulder to a weighty arrogant boulder that requires both shoulders to carry. I do think the Asha’men have loyalty to Taim first, Rand second (hopefully), and no one beyond that. So, should Perrin and crew be worried? Hell, yes!

6. Tylin manages to snare her ‘little rabbit’, although it seem to scare him half to death. Was I the only one chortling away at Mat’s discomfort? It seems that the plan to use Mat’s Ta’veren luckiness has paid off, but will it be that easy to simply find the Bowl?

I keep going back and forth on Tylin and Mat. On one hand, Mat is being treated like a bed toy, kind of like he has treated a number of women. They were objects, yes, always willing, looking for some fun, but nothing beyond that to Mat. So I giggle at Mat being irritated, even angry, at being seen as a walking sex toy.

But then I swing the other way. Tylin held a knife to his throat as she used another knife to remove his clothes. Reverse the rolls and if Mat had held a woman at knife point for even part of the sexy times, I would have to put Mat on the Predator List.

So my man (who reads the books along with us but almost never comments) and I had this big discussion on this. Now, we both enjoy our sexytimes together. So I asked how he would feel about me using a butter knife at his throat while I peeled his clothes off (just to spice things up), and the answer was a flat NO! Which, of course, put an end to the sexytimes that night, so we chatted about Tylin and Mat in depth. After all that, I think I have to put Tylin on the Predator List.

But your real question is about the Bowl. No, it won’t be easy because both Nynaeve and Mat are involved and those two will butt heads until one walks away with a flattened face. Does Nynaeve’s stubbornness cancel out Mat’s luck? I am starting to think so.

7. Can Elayne’s chin get any higher? Whilst I find the Aes Sedai totally irritating, I am amazed that Elayne managed to browbeat them so successfully. Is this the end of the super girls being treated like idiots? How will Nynaeve cope with this sudden change in their circumstances?

Once Elayne takes the throne of Andor, her chin will go higher. That’s in the job description.

No, it is not the end of the Supergirls being treated as idiots….because I will continue to think of them that way for some time to come! Now, I expect Robert Jordan will continue to throw in new characters and from time to time some of those characters will treat the ladies with scorn, indifference, or as idiots.

I hope that Nynaeve will follow Elayne’s lead for a little while at least. I think that is the safest way for her until they get out of Ebou Dar.

8. Ooooooo, Moghedien tried to totally kill someone in a little boat. Is there any doubt at all that it is Nynaeve? Will Lan get there in time to save her or will she pull her braid out trying to make the water get out of her way?

Yeah, I think it is Nynaeve too. Moghedien probably wouldn’t risk breaking so many Dark Side rules for anyone else.

Will Lan save Nynaeve? I think Nynaeve will save herself just in time for Lan to have stripped out of most of his clothes and dived in. At least, this reader can hope there is a lack of clothing in the upcoming rescue. 😉 I am so looking forward to these two getting together. I wonder if it will be all kisses, or if there will be some Nynaeve shouting? At any rate, should be entertaining.

Other Tidbits:

The mindtrap seems to very delicate. How does the holder keep from inadvertently squishing it? Like when they sleep, or lean forward against a table, or get slammed against a stone wall by a good guy?

One of Morgase’s men saw a large winged beastie of some sort. And then another landed, for Morgase & crew to seem just before the Seanchan attacking. I suspect Dark Friends escaping, or at least sending messages out. I wonder how they contacted the beasties and their riders? Instead of the Pony Express mail service, we have the Winged Beast Express – special rates for all Dark Friend messages!

Loial and his story! He is so cute and so focused on writing his history of events. Sometimes I feel like the tale we are reading is Loial’s completed works. I know, we already discussed that possibility, and it is unlikely. Still, the idea has a certain charm.

A Crown of Swords Read Along Part V

WOT 7 BannerWelcome back everyone! This week Liesel is our host and you can find cool fanart of the non-spoiery kind over at Liesel’s Musing on Fantasia. Eivind, our awesome commenter should be there as well. And don’t miss Sue’s intellectual take over at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers.

This week we covered Chapters 19-24. Spoilers Below!!!

1) We got more of Cadsuane when she interviewed (grilled) the other Sisters around Rand. What did you think of how she handled them? What do you think her endgame is?
My first impressions of Cadsuane were two-fold: Arrogant and daring. But now I think she might be a bit wiser as she is gathering info, as she can, from the other sisters. This info is far from complete and accurate, but it is a start and I hope she doesn’t let her arrogance lead her down the path of Aes Sedai assumptions about male channelers.
2) Rand and Min take their relationship to the next level. (Poor Elayne!) What did you think of how this happened? How will it change Min and Rand’s friendship? And how will Elayne and Aviendha react?
Well, Rand and Min had just learned of some deaths and they needed comfort. Who can comfort Rand? Probably only his three ladies, and only Min is around. Who could comfort Min? Colavere wasn’t exactly popular and anyone who might understand Min sad over it might also fear being seen with her and mourning an enemy of the Dragon Reborn. If Elayne was around, or Egwene even, they might have been able to comfort her. But they were not. So, Rand and Min it is.
Of course it will change their friendship. Is Rand capable of just being friends with a woman he has bedded? Is he capable of being friends, or even a beau to a woman he has bedded out of wedlock? No. Rand hasn’t been able to expand his culture-based morals that far, yet.
I think Elayne will be OK with it. OK, as in, she won’t hate Min nor channel her into a crisp. Aviendha may have a harder time because she hasn’t gotten to know Min and become friends with her. But Aviendha may demand some ‘honor’ from Rand and that may entail marriage to all three ladies. I think Elayne will back Aviendha up on that.
3) Sevanna and her little retinue use the call boxes to speak to a man and a woman, who we later learn are Sammael and Graendal. What do you think their plan is? And who do you think the Watcher keeping on eye on them is?
I am not sure what Sevanna is up to. Nothing good, obviously. I think she is still set on forcing Rand to marry her or acknowledge her in some way so she could rule all the clans. But I think even she realizes that she will need a channeler, whether Wise One or Aes Sedai, to ‘collar’ Rand and make him compliant. If this is so, it is a sucky plan and she will fail. Much to my amusement.
I am not sure who the Watcher is. Is this the one with black dot that moves across their eyes? I don’t think this one is batting for the Light Side, but rather for the Dark Side. Still, anyone who can follow 2 Forsaken and go unnoticed is formidable.
4) After a (somewhat hilarious) evening of drinking with Brigitte, the dice in Mat’s head stop when Elayne and Nynaeve ask him to move into the palace. Obviously it’s an important event. What do you think it means? What will happen?
I loved the tipsy-through-the-bond Elayne. She seemed much more relaxed and personable.
I am not sure what will happen with Mat’s dice, but I am pretty sure what with happen with his man parts. Queen Tylin has been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to give them a try, and I think his closer proximity to her will allow that relationship to move forward. I am hoping it proves to be amusing….for us readers. 🙂
5) Nynaeve and Elayne discover a Circle of women who are either too weak to become Aes Sedai or have been kicked out of the Tower for some reason. What do you think of the Kin and their odd customs? How will they figure in the story from here on out?
This was a very amusing scene. Here Nynaeve and Elayne have the opportunity to discover some pretty important info. While Nynaeve is all for giving it a try, she is so blunt and impatient, things do not go well at all. Meanwhile, Elayne sees it as a waste of time from the beginning. The Wonder Girls each have moments of infuriating Aes Sedai arrogance!
Still, the same could be said for the Kin who don’t believe Nynaeve and Elayne. I think discovering the Kin may turn into a little bookmark event that the Wonder Girls come back to in the future and draw upon.
6) Nynaeve’s weather sense tells her a storm is about to break over the city, which we now know is something of a Talent. It doesn’t always mean the weather, but sometimes other kinds of storms. What do you think her weather sense portends this time?
The shit is about to get real.
Yeah, I think Nynaeve needs to add that label to her weather sense dial. Would make it much easier for her and those around her to know when to go find a hole to hide in or to get out of town.
As for this specific time, well…Mat’s got dice in his head, we know that White Cloaks, Dark Friends, and at least 1 Forsaken all know they are in town. lots of people (including some Black Ajah) are hunting the angreal stash. I think just maybe, all this stuff will come together into some street, or perhaps even palace, fight. I am hoping it will be spectacular.
7) While making their way back from the Kin’s manor, Nynaeve and Elayne are attacked in the street. Who do you think did it and why?
Remember last week how I made that joke about the Wonder Girls not falling into anymore traps? Well this was a very near thing. Idiots! They have free body guards on call via Mat, the Palace, could even hire some. Lots of choices.
Anyway, as to who did it…..well there was at least 4 people involved, right? We had whoever fired the blunt-tipped arrows, the man helping them to the carriage, the woman in the carriage, and the carriage driver. Possibly the shop keeper? But I tend to dismiss her as she offered Nynaeve a cup of water afterwards. She would have to be a ballsy one to stick around afterward if she was part of the kidnap crew.
So, who could either hire or be a part of that team? Well, there are those 2 Black Ajah ladies…..but I can’t recall if Nynaeve & Elayne know what they look like. Still, they could have hired a team. There is the Darkfriend Shiaine. I don’t think Nynaeve and Elayne know what she looks like. So that might be the better bet. Or we may never know, kind of like the attack on Mat.

Other Tidbits:

Has Min gotten a bit more clingy? Has she gotten a bit more fascinated with her looks? Like when she heard that Hered Fel (spelling?) was dead (due to the gholam), her thoughts turned to the fact that he was a nice man who’s head she had distracted with her looks from his studies.

I was pretty amused with Sevanna & Crew versus Sammael & Graendal – they each think they have the upper hand, are more clever. Only time will tell which of these two groups is more clever, but I don’t think either is going to outwit Rand & crew.

Mat & Birgitte are getting to be pretty buddy-buddy. I like this a lot. I think they should become an item. I think they would both enjoy the company and not having to hide their pasts from one another. Also, I have never really understood women who frown on men enjoying the view offered to them by other women (cleavage on display), especially when those women display too, at least from time to time. So it is refreshing to have Birgitte’s take on such things.

A Crown of Swords Read Along Part IV

WOT 7 BannerWelcome back everyone! This week I’m your host, and you can catch Eivind’s discussions below in the comments. You can find cool fanart of the non-spoiery kind over at Liesel’s Musing on Fantasia and don’t miss Sue’s intellectual take over at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers.

This week we covered Chapters 13-18. Spoilers Below!!!

1) Bravery comes up more than once in Chapter 13. Aviendha on the water, Elayne offering to discuss Rand….What do you think about how the ladies measure bravery?

I really liked how Robert Jordan used this trait to show the differences in culture. Aviendha belongs to a culture that doesn’t have dealings with the ocean, where such words as ‘sea’, ‘ship’, and ‘boat’ are perhaps even mythical. So, for her to face those ‘myths’ head on takes some guts. Add to that, her embarrassment over sea sickness, and you have a pretty brave woman.

Elayne, coming from a monogamous culture, probably finds it both difficult and embarrassing to discuss her beloved Rand with another woman, a woman who she intends to share Rand with. Right now, this sharing is a private thing, but it has great potential to become very public. So Elayne risks public ridicule too, as many cultures will view her part in the polygamous relationship as scandalous. In some ways, that is brave too. Though I think Aviendha is the little bit braver as she knows nothing of large bodies of water, which can prove deadly.

2) Within this section, we see Nynaeve and Elayne beginning negotiations with the Sea Folk for info on the Bowl of Winds, and yet Rand is still ignoring the Sea Folk. When the ladies find out Rand ignored the Sea Folk for so long, what do you think they will do? Why are the Sea Folk so interested in Rand? And if they find out the connection between Rand and the ladies, what do you think the Sea Folk will do?

Well, I expect there to be a big muddle. Of course each of the ladies will berate Rand for his short-sightedness in their own way. Perhaps Nynaeve will finally tug her braid out. Or perhaps Rand will cut it off for her if she uses her sharp tongue to harshly.

The Sea Folk have their own prophesy concerning Rand, about the Coramor (spelling?). Perhaps they need to verify he truly is their One & Only via some test or special knowledge. Perhaps they need to whisk him off to some secret Sea Folk island and have him chat with their version of Wise Ones. And once verified, I hope they offer Rand their loyalty because he could sure use it.

I am not sure the Sea Folk would do anything if they knew of the connection between the ladies and Rand. I am not sure they would see any significance to it. Right now, I am not concerned that they would hold the ladies hostage in an attempt to get Rand’s attention. At the most, I think they might refuse to deal with the ladies until Rand chats with the Sea Folk.

3) Mat recognized Darkfriend Shiaine and followed her to White Cloak Inquisitor Carridin. In turn, Carridin recognizes Mat, and then tells Sammael. Do you think this will change Sammael’s plans at all?

I had to break out the maps for this question. Listening to the audio, I don’t pay as close attention to where everything and everyone is. With that, Mat and Rand had some plan to draw Sammael out, or trick him, or box him in. If I remember correctly, Mat was to take his army to Illian for this plan to work. But Rand sent it and him to Salidar to bring back Elayne. I think this was meant to be a quick trip, but, alas, Egwene sent Mat to Ebou Dar, and kept his army for the march on Tar Valon.

I think this leaves Rand’s plan in tatters. Still, Sammael seemed quite shaken to hear of Mat in Ebou Dar. He talked of being betrayed, and I assume he means by whatever Forsaken he confided in. He seems to think that Mat is there hunting or spying on him and his agents. Ha! Mat, and his luck.

Still, Sammael seems set on having Carridin and crew continue to hunt for the stash of angreal. But what will Sammael do on his own? Well, I hope that he goes off in a rage at whatever Forsaken he thinks betrayed him and take her (it was a her, right?) out. Haha! Or perhaps she will take him out. Either way, it would be one less Forsaken for Rand to deal with and will completely discourage the Forsaken from working together.

4) Mat and women and the example they set for Olver. What did you think of Mat’s reaction to Queen Tylin’s straight-forward interest? Were you amused by Olver imitating Mat in his interactions with women? Foresee Mat changing his ways?

Mat was pretty darn amusing, in his rakish way, in this section. Mat seems to be comfortable when he is the hunter, when he is the one to decide a woman should be interested in him. So, yes, I did get a wicked grin on my face with Queen Tylin discomfited him so easily. Still, I was glad that he had enough sense to not jump into what might be a deadly relationship. I don’t think he knows enough of the local customs to safely navigate quickly and easily getting out of Tylin’s bed when he wants.

Olver….tsk, tsk. How old is he? Like 8? 10? Isn’t that still when most boys are like, ‘Girls, ew! Cooties!’ and not interested in doing anything more with women than either avoiding them or setting their pigtails on fire? Anyway, it was still funny, and a little sad, to see that Mat made no connection to Olver’s recent bought of bottom-pinching and his own ways of treating women.

Will Mat change? Maybe the Daughters of 9 Moons can get him to modify his behavior, but that will most likely be because he fears loosing his most favorite appendage by angering her and not because his inner inclinations have changed.

5) Why do you think Mat was attacked at the inn and who do you think sent the men?

Mat seems to write off this attack as due to the gold that noble idiot from the race track put in Mat’s room. However, these men attacked Mat, instead of going for the gold when no one was around. And they had that large, apparently empty box. I think that box is big enough to stash a man in, a man as big as Mat. I think they were sent to fetch Mat in a box, unconscious.

As to who sent them, I am not sure. Sammael specifically told Carridin to leave him be, so I don’t think Carridin would be stupid enough to act against that order. And I don’t think Queen Tylin would have to stoop to such means to arrange a secret tryst with Mat. So I turn my eye towards the two Ebou Dar palace Aes Sedai. Jolin and….??? I forget. I believe these ladies are still loyal to Elaida, and bringing Elaida Mat would be a little feather in their caps. Or they might simply question him about the current whereabouts of Elayne and how best to get through the defenses to stick her in a box with a bow and send her off to Elaida.

6) Moghedien seems to be back in the game, at least directing folks from the sidelines. Fallion doesn’t believe there to be a cache of angreal, but Ispan is ready to search for it. However, Fallion has another plan. How do you think that will fare?

If I was a bad guy, and perhaps I am, and a Forsaken told me to do a thorough search for a cache of angreal, I would do it even if I thought the Forsaken was daft. I don’t enjoy pain…..most of the time, but the definitely not the kind of pain the Forsaken would inflict. So, I would search. Hence, I think Fallion will be in for a nasty surprise when not only does her alternative plan fail but when also her refusal to look for angreal becomes known to Moghedien.

And while I do expect her plan to capture Nynaeve and Elayne to fail, as they have casually walked into enough traps in the past to be on high alert for future traps, I do expect her efforts will inconvenience the ladies. Perhaps, it will speed up their search and leaving of Ebou Dar.

7) Rand has women problems, and not because he is bedding too many (at least not yet). Between Berelain demanding she stay, Rand’s ‘tame’ Aes Sedai, and now Cadsuane Sedai, he may need a holiday. Why do you think Cadsuane has appeared and has chosen to show the Dragon Reborn such cheek?

If I understand correctly, Cadsuane is the oldest living Aes Sedai, and has lead a rather secluded life for many years. I think she is testing Rand, to see if he is truly the Dragon Reborn, and to see how violent a man he is. While she pushed him to the point where he crumpled some serving dishes, he did not harm anyone in the room. I wonder why she appeared unafraid of the possibility? I wonder if she has some power or angreal that shields her from those wielding saidin, like Mat’s pendant.

If she is wanting these answers for herself, to help her decide which side, if any, she will take, than I think she will be cool character. If she is Black Ajah or even a Forsaken in disguise, then I expect she will be a pain in the ass.

Other Tidbits:

Did anyone else enjoy Aviendha’s way of keeping the men from looking up her skirts before boarding the Sea Folk vessel? Haha! And while retrieving her knife, she lifts her skirts above her knees. Very funny.

Birgitte! She used that Sea Folk saying, and now they are all interested in her. Most of the time she thinks before speaking, but this must be an unusual situation. Normally, she is reborn into the world without her prior knowledge (until needed?), and she might not have realized this is an ancient saying among the Folk and no longer widely used.

While hanging around outside Carridin’s place, Mat talks with an old man who tells him whose place it is. Later, we have one little snippet from an unknown character, a man who has lost his ability with a sword due to age and who is trying to remember something important. I think these two characters are the same, but don’t know his significance to the story yet. Any guesses?

Someone has been sneaking notes into Mat’s clothes and they are aren’t all hugs and kisses. No, received a very definite warning for the ladies to be cautious. I think one of the ladies playing tug of war with Mat at the palace is responsible for the note, but I don’t know which one.

Alanna needs therapy to help her deal with the loss of her Warders, and perhaps her guilt over her impulse to bond Rand.