The Gathering Storm, Part VI

JordanGatheringStormBannerWelcome everyone to Book 12 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. You can find the schedule to The Gathering Storm over HERE. Everyone is welcome to join us!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Squatch being cute.
Squatch being cute.

Other Tidbits:

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

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

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

The Gathering Storm, Part V

JordanGatheringStormBannerWelcome everyone to Book 12 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. You can find the schedule to The Gathering Storm over HERE. Everyone is welcome to join us!

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

This week, we covered the Chapters 29-35. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1) We journey to yet another impressive city. What are your impressions of Bander Eban and its inhabitants? Do you think that Rand will succeed in bringing peace and unity to the region, or will it all dissolve into chaos again as soon as he moves on?

I think  Bander Eban, like many cities Rand touches, will hold together until the Last Battle and that is where their fate will be decided. If they hold strong through it, and aren’t swarmed and destroyed by trollocs or other minions, then they will be around to help rebuild the world afterwards.

2) I feel as if I am being overly harsh towards Gawyn, but he does seem to be very slow on the uptake! Do you think that he will ever see sense and stop trying to rescue Egwene? Will their reunion be all magical and gushing, or will Egwene take exception to Gawyn’s image of her as only a helpless puppet and not the awesomely powerful woman that she has become?

I think Gawyn will only see reason when he sees Egwene call down lightning and take out a dozen Aes Sedai, or when the the entirety of the White Tower (reunited) bows to her. So, yeah, he needs a slap upside the head. If he insists on saving her at any point and calls her a puppet (of course, in a very well meaning let-me-rescue-you-silly-girl kind of way), then she just might use a bit of balefire to demo her sincere commitment to her curse.

3) Cadsuane has decided to enlist the Wise Ones in her efforts to ‘guide’ Rand. Do her thoughts suggest that she is starting to truly understand him and do you think that her efforts will have a positive or negative result?

We are nearing the critical mass moment in the series; that point where if something doesn’t give, then all is lost. I don’t think we want everyone dead and the world on fire at the end of the series. So I am pretty confident that soon we will see some of our more stubborn characters (Cadsuane, Nynaeve, Egwene, etc.) learning how to bend and work with Rand instead of just pushing him around. So, yes, I am very hopeful that Cadsuane’s efforts will have a positive outcome.

Or Rand loses his shit and balefires her, unraveling this time thread as we know it, and sending the wheel of time off into the cosmos with a broken axle.

4) Nynaeve decides to go off and ‘help’ Rand behind his back. Were you surprised by what she discovered or how she went about it? Do you think that there is any chance at all that she will be able to moderate her behavior to guide Rand in a similar way to Moiraine?

Ah….remember those early days when many of our characters had little or no power, so they had to actually go chat with folks to figure out what was going on? Yeah, it was nice to see Nynaeve returning to her sleuthing ways. I was only a little surprised at her discovery, as it made sense.

I am really hoping that Nynaeve, like Cadsuane, can learn to bend a bit in order to help Rand relearn how to bend.

5) Mat spent hours coming up with very interesting, and thorough, backstories for his group of spies. Was this a justifiable use of his time or were his men correct in finding it all rather funny? Aludra demands all the resources in the world for her ‘dragons’: will Rand go along with this plan or see it as pointless?

Since Mat probably would have spent the time carousing, dicing, and drinking instead of writing backstories, then yes, I think it was an excellent use of his time. Besides, his handwriting probably needed the practice and we all know his men needed the laugh.

I think Rand will need a simple demonstration of Aludra’s fireworks/weapons and then he will be on board. Perhaps this will be useful is swaying Tuon’s take on the Dragon Reborn?

6) Verin has returned! Any ideas why she has been hanging around in the mountains distributing flyers rather than Travelling about trying to find Mat and Perrin?

Well, she did mention that Mat’s ta-veren-ness was holding her in place and she was damn tired of hanging out in these particular mountains. She could be right, if her finding Mat and then transporting his army turns out to be critical to the plot. We will have to keep reading to find out if this is so.

On the other hand, she could be a Dark Friend, as she is kind of hard to read, lacking social graces as she does. I know we get asked every few books as to whether or not we trust Verin and so far, she only done one or two slightly questionable things (remember the Compulsion on the Aes Sedai t swear to Rand several books back?). So, yeah, so far I trust her and it is apparent so does Mat.

7) Could Rand’s meeting with Tuon have gone any more badly? Do you think that this will signal open warfare between Rand and the Seanchan, or is there still a chance of a truce?

As you all know, I am not feeling the love for Tuon. Even when I take into account her upbringing, both as the the daughter of the Empress and the Seanchan love and dedication to hierarchy, I still can’t believe she is so bullheaded! She spent several weeks to a few months traveling with Mat seeing a bit of the local culture and she is still so utterly out of contact with these people she believes she rules. Dork.

Anyway, yes, it could have gone a little worse – like if someone from Rand’s party had drawn a weapon when Tuon’s guard did.

I don’t think we will have open warfare until (and unless) Tuon successfully attacks the White Tower and the Rebel Aes Sedai and enslaves a chunk of them. But if I recall Egwene’s dream correctly, then a Seanchan warrior was offering Egwene a hand up, right? That alone gives me hope that this can still be salvaged. Oh, and that we are nearing the end and these folks all have to get their shit together if they want to even make it to the last party.

Squatch being cute.
Squatch being cute.

Other Tidbits:

When Mat was going over the backstories with the guys, I loved Talmanes’s dry humor, especially when he suggested he be a wandering Aiel who had heard there was a horse (or was it a goat?) who had insulted his father within the city.

I think Tuon is handicapped by the fact that she doesn’t really have friends All the people who would be her friends, she sees as inferior, and ultimately, she can command them to kill themselves. Real friends don’t do that. So, unlike all the other stubborn fools we have, Tuon doesn’t have an equal-footed friends to tell her when she is being an idiot.

And at the end of this section, we learned a little about the Seanchan prophesy for the Last Battle, and, did I hear this right?, rand needs to be blind before the Seanchan can ride to glory, and then send Rand in to do single combat with the Dark One? Did I get that all right? WTF?!?

 

 

New Spring, Part I

JordanNewSpringBannerWelcome everyone to Book 0 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan which is a prequel to the series set several years before Book 1. You can find the schedule to New Spring over HERE. Everyone is welcome to join us!

This week, our host is Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia, and he can be found in the comments.  Stop by Sue’s at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers, a place for deft reasoning. Make sure to check out Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia, home of the cool non-spoilery fan art.

This week, we covered Chapters 1-6. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1. We find ourselves back at the end of the Aiel war, with a long-lost friend. Are there any other time periods you would have liked to see instead? Other characters you would have liked to follow?

I’m not too sure when the Ogier pretty much stopped leaving their Steddings to do construction (was it before or after this Aiel war?) but I would have liked to see them at work, instead of just their handy work falling into disrepair over the ages.

For this book, I am really hoping we get to see Tam, maybe hang out in his head a bit, and see what he is like as a soldier.

2. Gitara Moroso foretells Rand’s birth. If you recall, she was also the one who told Tigraine (Rand’s mother) to leave and go to the waste. What do you think about one person having such an impact on history?

Maybe that is why Gitara had her heart attack. In her prophesy she saw Tigraine’s face and realized just what her impact on history was.

By now, we have had it repeated quite often that the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills and there is no escaping that will. So someone somewhere had to tell Tigraine to leave for the Waste, or help her, or force her to. So if Gitara had not done so, some other person/mechanism would have done so. With that in mind, no it is not so surprising that Gitara’s actions set in motion other actions that lead to Rand’s birth meeting the specifics of more than one prophesy concerning the Dragon Reborn.

3. Tamra Ospenya hopes to catch the Dragon Reborn in a big list of names. What do you think of this idea? Knowing what we know about Rand, do you find it likely that he’ll be in the lists somewhere?

I’m trying to recall if Tam came back with a big pouch of coins, even if he just tucked them away with his sword…..and I can’t recall. But since Rand was born to a dying woman, and Tam meets up with Rand’s step-mom just before or just after Rand’s birth, I am guessing that Tam wouldn’t have taken Rand to a long list and waited for such sad details to be recorded.

So perhaps someone else on the battlefield witnessed the birth and the death of the mother and will report it to the Aes Sedai when they take their own babe to be recorded, since we saw Moiraine and Siuan asking some of the women if they knew of other babes not being carried in the line. But even then, it might be pretty vague – Aiel mother, son with red hair, etc.

4. Elaida has apparently never been nice in her entire life. Was she even at this point seeing herself as a future Amyrlin, or has she just gotten ambitious later?

Oh I have the distinct impression that Elaida has always had a stick up her ass and has always planned to use that stick to climb as high as she can. And we all know she pulled it off. I feel a little sorry for the stick.

I do find it interesting that she seems to have it in for Siuan and Moiraine at the very start of their Aes Sedai career. I think this makes it that much easier to hate Elaida for what she does to Siuan later.

5. Am I the only one who can’t help drawing comparisons with Hogwarts? Do you have any funny ones?

LOL! I was doing that too throughout this section. The Amyrlin giving Moiraine a smile when it came to using the Power to clean the ink stain out of her skirt made me think of Dumbledore reminding Hermione about time and then casually locking them in so they won’t be disturbed as they rewind time to carry off the rescue.

6. Both Moiraine and Siuan are close to being raised to the shawl. Will we see that in this book? What do you think the testing will be like, and what new thing might we learn about Moiraine and Siuan from it? Lan is around also… will we see a warder bonding?

I expect we will see at least Moiraine raised so that she can bond Lan. Siuan seems ready and prepared to be raised, but will she be tested this book? I am not sure. The senior Aes Sedai seem to enjoy tormenting the young by moving too slowly on such matters.

We’ve heard a little bit that the testers can do anything short of physical abuse/maiming to break an Accepted’s concentration during the test. So I expect anything from outright goofy to vicious words to pains and threats of pain. Perhaps they will even threaten to harm an Accepted’s friends. Aes Sedai can be pretty darn cruel. But I bet if oneof them did something completely out of character, like suddenly appear in a clown suit, that shock factor may very well be enough to break the Accepted’s concentration.

As with Nynaeve’s testing from Novice into the Accepted ranks, I expect we will see some of what makes up the core of Moiraine’s character (and Siuan’s too if she gets to test in this book). Perhaps we will see something that points to her chaotic good nature – basically her deep dedication to save this world, and yet not really beholden to any one authority.

Other Tidbits:

Lan starts off with some interesting ideas of Aes Sedai, considering where he ends up.

I love seeing Moiraine and Siuan as somewhat insecure students still learning what they can do and what roads are possible for them.

It is also fun to see that Moiraine and Siuan totally buy in to some of these Aes Sedai assumptions and lies – like the superiority assumption that the Sea Folk and Tinkers turn over any girls who show a spark of the Power. Then there is the lie that all those who run away from the Tower are caught eventually and brought back to finish out their training.

Green Ajah are one of two warrior Ajahs (the Red being the other)! That’s a new way of looking at it!

OK. I need a family tree again. Moiraine is a Damodred. Elayne’s step-brother, Galad, is a Damodred, right? And Galad is suppose to be Tigraine’s first son, right? So is Moiraine like Rand’s auntie?

Knife of Dreams, Part V

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

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

This week, we covered Chapters 19-23. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1. Our favorite Origer bachelor is finally married.  Any wise words for the newlyweds?  The Ogier are torn on whether to leave this world or help humanity out.  Do you think Loial will be able to sway them?

My wise (ass) words to Erith would be to keep Loial stocked in good traveling clothes and scribing materials and to perhaps travel often with Loial just to avoid regular conflict with her mother-in-law. Of course my words of wisdom to Loial would be to let Erith think all the traveling is her idea.

Once again, I am reminded of Tolkien’s Ents, and their Entmoot where they take a very long time deciding on whether or not to help out the hasty humans, elves, dwarves, and humans. Knowing how that turned out, and also suspecting that the Dark One won’t leave the Steadings & Ogier alone, I think the Ogier will eventually fight evil rather than flee.

And I hope that Loial will be able to sway them sooner rather than simply walk away to join Rand at the Last Battle and have Ogier decide that is much more exciting than any Ogier business and join him later. Though I suspect that Covril or Erith may have a hand in persuading the Ogier, even if it means shaming them into caring about this world.

2. It’s been a while since the last surprise trolloc attack.  Who could have been behind this one?  Why now, and why so incredibly many?  Lews Therin took control of Rand’s channeling.  Will we see that again, and what kind of consequences might it have?

I wasn’t expecting a massive trolloc attack on the heals of an Ogier wedding!

Since the Dark One and Moridin want to keep Rand alive for now, I don’t think they were behind this attack. No, my eye turned toward Mazrim Taim. After all, if Rand, Logain, and a bunch of their closest followers fell in a trolloc attack, he could reign supreme (at least until the Dark One had him bale fired). Of course, this would mean that he has a hotline into a Forsaken who wants Rand dead now (as I don’t think Taim has been given command of so many myrrdraal). Taim would guesstimate that it would take oodles of myrrdraal and oodles X 20 to take out both Rand and Logain. Good for him that he miscalculated.

In this case, it was a very good thing that Lews took over the channeling and saved the day. But Lews isn’t the most stable Channeler out there, so I can see him losing it in a moment of disturbed surprise or intense anger and wiping out half of Rand’s army. Rand seriously needs to lock that shit down. Perhaps this is what Cadsuane needs to teach Rand, but first he would need to trust her enough to 1) confide in her about Lews and 2) Allow her to guide him, perhaps even entering his dreams or thoughts for a short time to do so. Good thing she is such a snuggable motherly type woman that Rand could so easily learn to trust. Not!

3. Lan departs to fight his own war, but Nynaeve won’t let him do it alone.  Any thoughts on the actions of either?  Any chills during the scene in the inn?

And yet for the third time during 1 reading session, I was surprised! I know that Lan has had a death wish since he learned he was the last Malkiri King, and that it intensified when Moiraine disappeared through that door angreal, but he really is a dense idiot sometimes. First, he can’t hold some pass in the north against hordes of trollocs and myrrdraal BY HIMSELF, no matter how good he is, no matter the terrain. So wrapping his suicidal inclinations up in honor and duty and heroics isn’t going to fool anyone in that scenario. Two, thinking that Nynaeve would simply let him do so is silly. She owns him now. Yep. You can put the love spin on it if you wish (and I do believe she does love him), but she is very, very possessive too. His life is now hers and she won’t be tossing it away.

And I was a bit surprised that Nynaeve was grown up enough to let Lan go and do his duty. I was also quite pleased to see her spreading the word near and far, calling in men to join Lan. Essentially, it’s like organizing a big party on sheep butchering day back in Two Rivers. Nynaeve is definitely the one to organize such an affair.

4. Rand again works his ta’veren magic and the rebellion in Tear is no more.  Darlin, who was a rebel not four books ago, is king.  Do you think he has sufficiently demonstrated his loyalty, or are you worried?  Rand is focusing on Arad Doman.  What do you think his plan there is?

We just saw Rand and his entourage take out thousands of trollocs and several dozen to a few hundred myrrdraal. If Darlin hasn’t heard about that yet, he will soon. So if he is planning any kind of subterfuge now, he will probably reconsider upon hearing that tale. So, no I am not particularly worried. Plus, he also was privy to seeing Cadsuane call Rand on his rude manners, so he knows he can be both pushed and reigned in without exploding. So it is unlikely that Darlin will decide to rebel ‘for the sake of the realm and to save his people from the mad Dragon reborn’.

I don’t know what Rand is planning in Arad Doman. Would he be leaving certain Waygates open to kind of channel where the trollocs turn up?

I think Eivind mentioned this in the last two weeks, that Robert Jordan had only planned 12 books and so he was trying to wind up some things in this book so that all could be tied off in the next book, right? But for us, we could have to wait to Book 14 to find out what goes down in Arad Doman.

5. The Sea Folk have chosen a new Mistress of the Ships and are being conscripted for the Arad Doman plan.  Meanwhile, a whole race of islanders commit suicide!  Where on Earth did that come from? Will it have any impact at all or is it just one of those… things?

I think the mass suicide was balance that Rand was contemplating earlier when he rode through town and the man fell out of a balcony onto his feet instead of his head, etc. Min says that for every evil, there is a good, while Rand takes the pessimistic opposite. Perhaps this mass suicide was the balance for all those who escaped Ebou Dar.

I expect it will sadden Rand when he hears of it, but I don’t expect any major ripples from it. I think it will just be another of those things that Jordan throws in to give the world depth.

6. An important sitting is called and the rebel Aes Sedai finally learn some important news (Saidin is clean, and they’ve been harboring a Saidin-channeling female forsaken for six books).  Are you happy that Halima was rooted out?  Sad that they weren’t caught?  Will they rethink their Asha’man policy now?

There was a lot of great stuff in this section. Being carried around in Ramanda’s head was interesting (romance adventure novels! prudish about ankles and boobs! set in her ways despite evidence to the contrary, especially concerning the new elderly novices, etc.).

I have been taken an impish glee in shocking the Aes Sedai. And I expect I am not alone in this. I really enjoyed the reactions to the Asha’man, and the announcements about bonding, both the offering up of Asha’men to be bonded and the fact that silly Sisters were already bonded to Asha’men.

I was surprised that Ramanda put it together first and called out Halima. Since Halima is a Forsaken in disguise, I figured that she wouldn’t be caught yet. Though I think it might have been pretty spectacular to have her fight an entire encampment of Aes Sedai.

Some of the Sisters are already moving along and not living in the past (cool with getting rid of the age limit on entering the Tower, etc.), and I think most of them will come to treat the Asha’men as equals in time. However, we will always have some sticklers like Ramanda and they will make it that much harder to prep for and win the Last Battle.

Other Tidbits:

That was a swift, simple wedding and I totally didn’t expect it. I wonder what does happen when you fondle an Ogier ear? And if they pierce their ears, is that the same as in humans piercing their nipples?

Lews Therin is starting to make some sense to me and I think I like the chap well enough to buy him a pint of beer: Only those who trust no one are truly insane (paraphrased).

Is it just me or is Nynaeve becoming some sort of a prude in her ‘old’ married life? What was that interesting dress she wore in the circus in which she met Masema?

I loved watching Logain stroll in and chat with the Sea Folk, calling them to pay service to the Dragon Reborn. And with the end of the world just around the corner, I think he is right to hold them to it even in their grief.

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 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.

Winter's Heart Read Along Part III

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.

Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia with the non-spoilery fan art is our host this week. Make sure to swing by there and congratulate Liesel on moving in to a new place this weekend. Eivind, our commenter with an encyclopediac knowledge of WoT, can be found in the comments at Liesel’s. Don’t forget to swing by Sue’s at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers for in-depth analysis.

This week we covered Chapters 8-11. Spoilers are having a party below!

1. The Aes Sedai with Elayne and Nynaeve are trying to convince the Seanchan sul’dam that they can channel themselves and then send them back to Seanchan. Do you think this tactic will work to help bring down the Seanchan empire?

If there were lots and lots of time, yes, I think this idea would help bring down the Seanchan by undermining their command structure. However, as we have seen, the Seanchan are very committed to their command/caste structure and I think it takes something extraordinary to even get a Seanchan to consider an action or belief outside what they have known their whole lives.

And I think Randland is going to need a swift solution to the Seanchan issue as they are very, very efficient at conquering.

2. It seems the Borderlanders are on the borders of Andor. We last saw the leaders making a pact in the Borderlands. What do you think they’re up to and what does it have to do with Andor?

Is this Queen Tenoibia and crew? If so, I think we saw these folks at the beginning of the last book. I think they are pissed that they haven’t been invited to any of the big parties yet, the ones where they decide the fate of Randland. I liken this to Boromir from The Lord of the Rings and his speech about how the lands of the elves, the hobbits, and most men are kept safe by the blood of those living on the border to Mordor.

Or I could be completely off about that, in which case, I am sure someone will educate me. 😉

Aren’t some of the folks blaming Rand for this? And it’s not his doing, poor thing. I think these folks will demand to see him though. I can just see Rand wincing over this one. 🙂

3. Egwene, Nynaeve and Elayne meet in the World of Dreams and there are several people spying on them. Who do you think the multiple eavesdroppers are and what are their plans. Did they hear anything that might be damning to our girls?

Well, we know one lady (who stayed hidden) is working under Moghedien’s orders. She reported some of back to these other ladies (and I have obviously forgotten all their names). I suspect these ladies to be Black Ajah and I think they are in Andor.

The man who resembled Rand didn’t seem proficient in moving about Tel’aran’rhiod. Perhaps it was someone trying to look like Rand (as we know one can change their appearance in T’A’R). So maybe it is one of the Asha’men trying their hand at moving through the World of Dreams while in disguise.

Then there was another lady glimpsed who quickly disappeared. Could have been one of the Forsaken, as she disappeared easily.

And yes, openly discussing that not all the Aes Sedai, especially amongst the rebels, are Oathsworn could be an issue. This little tidbit lets the forces of evil know there are several Channelers open to swearing to a dark lord. Also, if this got out to the Randland leaders, then would any of them trust Aes Sedai in general, ever again? Folks trust Aes Sedai, at least to some extent, because they supposedly cannot lie, nor use powers to maim and kill unless attacked or defending others. Not having those oaths in place makes them very human, but with super powers.

4. Newly captained Mellor is Daved Hanlon! Ahhh! What does this mean? What are he and “Lady” Shiane up to?

Well Hanlon was taked with going after a Queen, and it looks like it is Queen Elayne that he is poised to strike at a moment’s notice. I think Shiane takes orders from a Forsaken and she passes those orders on to Hanlon. I don’t know if they intend kidnap capers or outright death. When (or should I say ‘if’?) Elayne becomes queen, I can see Andor being thrown into turmoil by the sudden death of their queen.

5. At the end of chapter 11, Nynaeve has a “plan” that neither Rand or Lan are too fond of. What do you think it is? Predictions?

I think Nynaeve has been thinking about Rand’s ambitions for cleansing saidin. How could she not be intrigued by this? Of course she wants to do this as it would save so many men from going mad, and possibly heal some that have already gone mad.

And I predict, that once the bad guys figure out what Rand and Nynaeve are up to, they will try very, very hard to stop it. After all, one of the few things the Dark One has to over good men who happen to be Channelers is the ability to keep them sane. Remove that bargaining chip, and recruiting goes down.

6. We might finally get Rand, Min, Aviendha, and Elayne in the same room together. Predictions?

Ah, well, Min left Rand on his own in disguise to deliver his message to Nynaeve. I expect Min ran off to fetch Aviendha and Elayne. I don’t think it will be the foursome I am hoping for as these books are pretty PG.

First, I expect each of them to tell Rand what an idiot he is. Then he will protest that he protecting them, tell them how precious they are. Each will then assert that she can take care of herself, thank you very much. He will point out how he is such a good guy and has kept Elayne’s seat warm for her, has obeyed Aviendha’s rules about avoiding impure thoughts of her naked body, and tell Min she looks great in pants and he would never want her to give them up. This will lead to blushes all around and finally hugs and tears on the ladies’ parts and bafflement on Rand’s part. Eventually, he might get to kiss each one in turn behind a curtain, because he is shy about such things. Then he will leave with Nynaeve to go save the world. Elayne will cross her arms and tap her foot. Min will huff and throw herself in a chair and idly carve love notes into the chair arm with her dagger. Aveindha will break down and tell the other two that she is pregnant.

Or something like that. 😉

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

Other Tidbits

I am not sure I agree with Egwene about the Oaths being necessary, though I can see why she wants them in place, at least for now. People already have huge trust issues where Aes Sedai are concerned.

And I also don’t agree with Egwene about the Kin being lower in the pecking order than the Aes Sedai. Arrogance does not suit her!

I guess Lady Dyelin showed her true colors by protecting Elayne with her little lady’s belt knife. I guess I have to take her off the Maybe Bad List.

We had some great descriptions of Lan in this section….but is it just me, or has Lan gotten bigger, more muscley? He’s always been great with a sword, but I thought earlier descriptions had him rangey. Now he has the shoulders of a blacksmith.

The Path of Daggers Read Along Part II

PathOfDaggersBannerWelcome everyone! This is the second 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, Sue from Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers is our host, so make sure to swing by her place. Liesel from Musings on Fantasia will also be joining us. And you can catch our walking WoT encyclopedia, Eivind, in the comments at Sue’s.

This week we covered Chapters 4-9. Spoilers run free and in their birthday suits below!

1. The Super Girls finally got to use the Bowl of the Winds. The power needed and the weaving involved were both certainly impressive, but were you a little underwhelmed by the immediate lack of results?

I guessed it would take time for the overall weather to change. Still, I was hoping a bit of a localized wind around the Sea Folk, considering all the hot air they were spewing out.

As I side note, the day I read that chapter, it finally rained here. Our first moisture in perhaps a month and our first real amount of precipitation in perhaps 2-3 months. It has been a very dry winter. So the goof inside me likes to think that the Bowl of Winds called the rain here….and eventually it will get to Randland. Eventually.

2. The different groups of channelers can certainly work together when faced with the Seanchan. However, do you think that Elayne and Nynaeve have any hope of keeping them together as they travel to Caemlyn, and will Egwene be anymore successful?

I think the Sea Folk will try to bolt as soon as possible. They definitely all need shirts, or sashes for the shirtless, that say DOES NOT PLAY WELL WITH OTHERS. Plus, they miss their beloved boats and don’t really get on well with horses.

Then Nynaeve versus the highly organized Kin. Nynaeve definitely likes to be the one bossing people around. That is her comfort zone. Hopefully she will find another group that needs her bossing, otherwise she may very well drive the Kin away.

I expect Egwene will run into similar issues and I look forward to seeing what they are. 🙂

3. Holy Exploding Weaves, Batman! Last week we saw Merilille’s terror as Aviendha unpicked her weaving, so were you surprised by how much damage Elayne caused? Do you expect the Seanchan to accept the Chulein’s assessment that it was a weapon of some sort?

No, I wasn’t surprised by how much damage Elayne’s unpicking weave caused. Robert Jordan built in the consequences pretty clearly earlier int he story and the little imp in me was hoping we would see it used in the story at some point. I wasn’t expecting it to be used this early, but I was quite happy with the scene as it had me on the edge of my seat.

Yes, I expect the Seanchan will go with the Chulein’s assumption. I believe the Chulein and her co-rider were the only 2 survivors? And, in a way, collapsing a gate like that could very well be used as weapon in a desperate situation.

4. The channelers with Perrin saw the weaving from the Bowl and it appears to have had a lasting effect over a huge area. Do you think that Perrin is really hearing thunder and is it actually starting to get cooler as he and the others mention a few times?

Since multiple people are experiencing the cooler temps, I think that is real. And we know Perrin has great hearing, but I would want to check with some equines first as they and their twitchy ears are good indicators of coming storms.

Of course, Perrin’s distant thunder could be the impending cat fight between Berelain, Faile, and Queen Alliandre…….

5. A certain group of travellers is not quite what they seem. Were you surprised that Morgase did not reveal her identity to Perrin? Do you think that she will give the game away when Perrin tries to marry her to Tallanvor?

No, I was not surprised when Morgase kept her ID to herself. This is completely in keeping with her character….cough…recent bad decisions, lack of judgement, and snap assessments of people that prove incorrect. Not that I am trying to be harsh on the woman…..But I do think Andor will be in much better hands with Elayne ruling.

It was quite fun to watch Linni repeatedly tell Morgase to shut the hell up and act like a proper maid. I liked this section quite a bit just because of that. 🙂

I think Faile will be the true organizer behind the weddings and I don’t think Morgase will give away her ID before the wedding. I think Morgase the Queen could never marry the ‘lowly’ Talanvor. But Megan the maid could marry the and some, dashing, honorable, well-muscled, lithe, obviously knows what to do with his hands Talanvor. Morgase really is a silly woman.

6. Oh good, the Faile-Berelain antagonism is still in full flow. What do you think the Cha Faile are doing in Bethal? Will it work with or against Berelain’s attempts to make an alliance with Queen Alliandre?

Once again, Faile acts rather childish and my original affection for this character is quickly waning. First, she is sneaking out at night and making secret plans with her Cha Faile. These aren’t silly tasks she is sending them on, like scour the countryside for strawberries, or fetch champagne from cellars of some once-fine inn. No, she has bigger plans.

And I think she intends for her Cha faile to kidnap Queen Alliandre and bring her to Faile and Faile will present her to Perrin. Of course, this will completely undermine 2 things: 1) Any possibility for a trusting political alliance between Queen Alliandre and the Dragon Reborn. 2) Perrin’s trust in Faile.

Hence, the big impending cat fight between Berelain, Faile, and Queen Alliandre – which sounds like distant thunder in Perrin’s ears.

7. The Wise Ones have decided that Masema must die and at least one of the Aes Sedai agrees with them. Given that he has followers collecting strings of ears, do you think they are correct and the Prophet is too dangerous to be kept alive?

This is a messy one. Personally, I am quite fine with Perrin taking an axe to Masema’s neck. In fact, I wouldn’t mind doing so myself. But I think Rand needs to be a little more politic on this one. Not a whole lot. Just a pinch. Basically, if Perrin can get Masema to acknowledge Rand’s rule, then Rand can have Masema tried by law (of whatever the lastest country he has run through and left earless people mucking about in sorrow) and then executed. But most of Masema’s followers would be transferred to Rand. Hopefully.

However, I expect Masema to be completely uncivil and that Perrin will have to execute him to save others. I look forward to this very much. 🙂

Extra Tidbits

Isn’t Birgitte the greatest badass in the entire series? I love the way she calmly tells Elayne to piss off when Elayne tries to send her off. Such loyalty and machisma all at once.

Small little tear for the dead horses. RIP Lioness.

Lamgwin and Master Gil trust Perrin. And Linni thinks he’s a good man. But Morgase is still convinced Perrin is a henchman. Sigh……Can I slap Morgase? Any objections?

I know Perrin has a lot on his mind, but don’t you think his character was dense in this section concerning Morgase? I mean Perrin has been around enough royalty by now to recognize it when he sees it.

The Path of Daggers Read Along Part I

PathOfDaggersBannerWelcome everyone! This is the first 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, Liesel from Musings on Fantasia is our host, so make sure to swing by her place. Sue from Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers will also be joining us. And you can catch our walking WoT encyclopedia, Eivind, in the comments at Liesel’s.

This week we covered the Prologue – Chapter 4. Spoilers run free and in their birthday suits below!

1) The major players of the Borderlands all have a pow-wow at the start of the prologue. Other than the obvious, stated goal of finding Rand, what do you think they’re up to?

Rule the world, have some tea and cake, and set the fashion sense for the next 100 years? I think that sums it up. But you wouldn’t ask this question if there was something else they were up to. Hmm….Well, many of them have a pretty strong sense that they are the most important person in the world. So it has to be something that would pull them all together. I would say the Dark One has ordered them all to play together, but they can’t all be Bad Guys.

So, I really don’t know. Personally, I think their goal of finding and subduing Rand is quite enough on their To-Do list.

2) What do you make of Verin’s covert work? What is her endgame?

Well, Verin is looking for some piece of info and this is above and beyond her normal, simply curiosity to know everything. Perhaps she wants to know exactly how to push a Dragon Reborn to that snapping point where he can break an Aes Sedai hold, shatter a well made trunk, and still 3 Aes Sedai all in one go.

As to her endgame….well, those of us who haven’t read the entire series have been wondering about Verin for a long time. Should Rand & crew trust her? Is she Black Ajah, or just absorbed in the search for info? Mostly, I think Verin is out for herself. She isn’t out for power, though knowledge can bring a side dish of power with it. No, she wants info, and lots of it. Her endgame is still unclear to me, but I would definitely be worried if she ever became part of Rand’s camp. Verin is one who would be willing to sacrifice a sample of some precious artifact in order to see the computer read out of results.

3) We get yet another jaunt in Moridin’s twisted head. What do you make of him at this point? Does he have things as well in hand as he seems to believe?

Haha! The bad guys are all psychos thinking they have it all together and that total power is nearly in their grasp. Really? Moridin is minus card in his playing deck and I think I hear more cards being shuffled out as we speak. On one hand he acknowledges that he has seen the impossible again and again from the current lot of channelers. Yet he still refuses to think of them anything beyond wild or savage or lucky. Then he goes a little psycho over the Bowl of the Winds and kills the messenger, squeezing out his blood, etc.

On the other hand, sounds like he was around a long time ago. Has he been active all this time or in a stasis box? Is he newly rebirthed? Either way, he has all this older, ancient knowledge to call upon and that probably makes him more dangerous coupled with his wavering hold on sanity.

4) Aviendha picked a weave apart. Do you think we’ll see this in the story again? In what capacity? Do you think Moridin will find them before they use the Bowl? How about the gholam?

I can see someone being stuck in a really bad situation and choosing to sacrifice themselves for some greater good. And of course this could entail picking apart a weave until it snaps and destroys everything within 100 paces or more.

Well, the story likes to have climatic reckonings, so I think the gholam or Moirin will find them as they are attempting to use the Bowl and this will cause all sorts of havoc. Of course, this will be a highlight of the story and I will quite enjoy reading it!

5) Elayne discovers many objects of the One Power from the stash brought out of the Rahad. Any guesses as to what might be their intended uses?

There was a set of jewelry that seemed to be made to be used all together. I would guess that each piece amplifies the abilities of each other. Then there was that dull knife that Aviendha had trouble leaving be. I wonder what captivated her about that? Then a carved lady in a sitting position (am I remembering that right)? I really don’t know what each of these is used for. Since Aes Sedai can wear jewelry to a ball, a political meeting, or a battle, the jewelry could be nearly anything. The knife is dull, so maybe it isn’t made to cut anything in the corporeal world? Maybe it cuts weaves? As for the carved lady, she seemed serene; I don’t have any guess for her.

I can guess that each of our Lady Heroes may very well end up with one of these unique angreals and we will get to see what they do.

6) We finally learn the details of Nynaeve and Elayne’s bargain with the Seafolk–Aes Sedai required to teach Windfinders and even live among them for a period of time, among other things. Will this bargain work out? Will our girls be in big trouble for making it? Do you see all these different groups and cultures of women ever being able to get along?

The Windfinders are given a groups of Aes Sedai to live among them and teach them anything they wish to know. Also the Windfinders will be allowed to enter the White Tower as guests, be taught anything they wish to know, and can leave at any time. But I thought there were hints that there was one final thing to the bargain, something that really rankled the Aes Sedai and had Elayne worried. Do I have that right? Maybe the last part of the bargain is that the Sea Folk get the Bowl of Winds, since they claim it is theirs by right. Whatever. Still, I can see why that last one would upset the Aes Sedai who think anything saidar related should be stuck in the White Tower (item or person).

I get the impression that the Windfinders were getting a bit highhanded, but we didn’t really see them being jerks or mouthing off until Aviendha was turned loose on them. So, I am not too sure what Elayne and the Aes Sedai were getting all snippy about. Maybe the Sea Folk are just annoying when away from their ships. I know Elayne was trying to think of ways to twist out of their bargain, or parts of it. So, I expect people on both sides to balk at some of the bargain sooner or later.

Elayne and Nynaeve are always in trouble, so I don’t think they will be in any notable trouble over this. The gains are too great, right? They are going to save Randland from drought and therefore, from famine.

No. Randland is not made up of people who can get along permanently. Will Rand & crew unite the bulk of them long enough to save the world (and perhaps the known universe)? Yes. But then things will go back to grumbling and positioning and trade and making fun of others’ clothing.

7) Sounds like they’re about to use the Bowl of Winds. Predictions as to what will happen when they do?

Well, the naughty imp inside is hoping that either Moiridin and/or the gholam shows up to the party and wreaks havoc because it would be cool to see all those channelers in action. Maybe with the power of the Bowl of Winds they could actually rip one of the bad guys limb from limb? Yeah, I know, I am demented.

As for actually successfully using the Bowl, well, nice healthy weather doesn’t happen all at once. So I expect them to mess up and try to summon rain right away and therefore, we’ll have flooding. They will learn their lesson, and redo their efforts to call forth a more gentle change in the weather so that life can continue without mud and flash floods every where.

Extra Tidbits

Verin is a sneaky one and not really minding doing some damage down the road for a tiny smidgeon of info now!

And the gholam feasted upon the wring dry corpse that Moiridin left it. We saw it’s thoughts briefly, about how it was made to be controlled, that it was still controlled, but that it thought about life without being controlled. Hmm….I think I am concerned. A gholam with personal goals of freedom is not a good thing.

Also, I want to note that Moiridin suspected there may be some angreals for men in the pile. And we know that part of that pile was discarded….and that only a male channeler would be able to tell the male angreal from the rubbish. So I am really curious if Elayne & crew threw out some priceless male angreal and if they will be kicking themselves later?

Elayne & Aviendha hand over Ipsan to Vandene and Adilis (spelling on those last two names?). Was that the right thing to do? 1) I think Elayne should have taken some part, even if just as witness. 2) Can Vandene and Adilis be trusted to give a full account of whatever they learn?

Aviendha was casually discussion rand’s kissing techniques with Elayne. Hmm….I am surprised Elayne took that so well considering her upbringing and also her deep want to be in Rand’s bed.

A Crown of Swords Read Along Part VIII

WOT 7 BannerWelcome back everyone! This week Eivind, our awesome commenter, is the host and you can catch him in the comments. You can catch my co-conspirators over at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers and Liesel’s Musing on Fantasia.

This week we covered Chapters 38-End. Spoilers Below!!!

1. In the Rahad we get a bit of a jumble as Ispan and Falion attack downstairs while the gholam cleaned up upstairs. With so many to choose from, who is ultimately behind this mess? Could the two be coordinated attacks or are they unrelated? Were you surprised that Joline and Teslyn (apparently) didn’t interfere (yet)?

Yeah, that fight was a bit of a jumble. I liked that Ispan and Falion were so arrogant and thought it would be so easy. But with the gholam, the good guys nearly lost the day. In reading it, I did not think the two were coordinated attacks. More, this felt like the Super Girls walking into yet another trap and Mat’s luck played a big role in getting them all out safely.

I think this might be yet another one of those little events were we don’t know who ultimately is behind it. I think we can say Ipsan and Falion were out to capture one or more of the Super Girls to hand over to Moghedien. As for the gholam, I am not sure we will know who is directing the beast-man thing for a book or more (or ever). He seems like a pretty complex thing, so I would guess that only a Forsaken (or higher) could create him.

2. The gholam: Immune to the Power and to blades, with superhuman strength and rubber man abilities, only known weakness is Mat’s medallion. What are your thoughts on this latest addition to the Shadow’s arsenal? How could this creature possibly be defeated? Will it try to avoid Mat and cause mayhem somewhere else or does it maybe have a desire for revenge?

Fuck!

Yeah, that was my first thought about the gholam. The good guys already have a shit list of things to take care of before the end of days or whatever comes knocking on their doors and now they have to add this thing to it? Is there more than one? Can it replicate itself?

Sooner or later, one of the good guys will have to defeat it, or one of the bad guys will get angry with it and destroy it. I am guessing it may have to be Mat who destroys it, since he has this medallion thingy. Or maybe, Elayne will be able to replicate the medallion, or certain aspects of it, and that would at least protect certain trap-prone members of the Good Guy Team.

The gholam was definitely committed to the fight, but will it seek revenge? I am not sure. While it had independent thought and motive for the fight while it was going on, does it have such outside of a fight? I can’t say yet.

3. It seems Elayne and Nynaeve are now left heading a jolly mix of Aes Sedai, Kinswomen and Sea Folk channelers (and Lan… poor guy), heading for a farm not far out of Ebou Dar. With the Seanchan invasion, there is no turning back, but do they even know? Can they escape? Where do they even go? How about the nearly 2000 kinswomen who are about to be seized by the Seanchan?

OK. I am not a fan of the Seanchan. Who is? They are the bad guys from across the sea. But I mean, I have never really clicked with their culture, their motivation, etc. in the plot.

With that said, I am really, really hoping that they get their asses handed to them early next book. I think Nynaeve and Elayne need to mobilize the Kinswomen, give them a minimum of training and a lot of motivation (perhaps a wee demo of an a’dam) and then set them upon the Seanchan. Might even make me feel a little sorry for the Seanchan.

But knowing this series, they will probably go to the farm, have a long rambling way to get there full of traps and other dangers. Perhaps they will get the Sea Folk to help them with the Windy Bowl, and then, finally, they will blow the Seanchan navy out of the water, literally. Ha!

4. With all the girls gone, Mat and the men are stuck in Ebou Dar with uncertain fate as the “storm” breaks, and the dice stop rolling in the same moment. Please speculate here on Mat’s future and the reasons why he must stay behind.

Well, we know that Mat is Ta’veren and he also has these dice that he has learned to listen to. So perhaps he has to stay because he can be guided by the Pattern. Also, he has the medallion and the Seanchan can’t touch him with their captive channelers. So this puts him in a unique position to be able to push back. Still, he is just one man and can still be harmed by blades, arrows, and clubs. I am quite curious to see what mat’s plot line does next.

5. Sammael sees fit to trick the Shaido into scattering themselves over a large area roughly in Ghaeldan, Altara and Illian, but not before giving them an Oath Rod! Incidentally this is where almost all of our heroes are at the moment. What do you predict for them and this trio of distasteful women (Sevanna, Therava, Galina)? Which storyline could they mess up next?

I need to be educated here. What does the Oath Rod do? My understanding is that the Oath Rod is really just for binding oaths, right? So, can the oath be forced or does the Rod only recognize freely given oaths? Can Sevanna and crew force people to kneel at spear point and say an oath over the Oath Rod and have it be binding?

Rand and Min are all in Illian (well, Rand having returned from Shadar Logoth). And Elayne and Nynaeve and Mat are all near Altara being in Ebou Dar or just outside it. I know Sevanna wants Rand in all the ways that are wrong. Perhaps she thinks she can force him into obedience with the Oath Rod and that would make him her first target.

And perhaps Min will place her swift knives in Sevanna’s organs in alphabetical order. Just a thought.

6. Rand wastes no time after waking and promptly brings the hammer down on Illian while Sammael thinks he’s out cold. Do you agree with this gambit? How would you rate this attack compared to the last time Rand stormed a forsaken’s lair (Rahvin)? What do you think about Sammael’s decision to retreat to Shadar Logoth?

Again, Rand didn’t take the time to have a snack before running outside to play. The boy will tire himself out, maybe even faint, if he is not careful.

Sammael was surprised, but I found this attack to be rather vague (see answers to next two questions). It makes sense that Sammael retreated to Shadar Logoth, a stronghold of evil and dark deeds. The last question kind of touches on this, but I will go on here.

The ‘death’ of Sammael was very anticlimatic and not very satisfying. Once again, we have a supposed death and I really, really want to slap Rand for not double checking his work before handing it in. I have this sneaking suspicion that Sammael fled to Shadar Logoth for multiple reasons, and one of them was that he had a fail safe fake death planned, if he needed it. And Rand just fell for it! For that alone I kind of hope that Sammael gets to leave a mark on Rand, to help remind him in the future to always, always take the head.

7. While duelling in Shadar Logoth, Rand runs into a mysterious figure (the “Wanderer”). What do you make of this fellow? Friend or foe?

The Warder deifnitely helped Rand, but this might have been to suit his own needs. He did go on a bit about how if Rand died a fair number of plans would have to be scrapped and recreated later. So, I think that so long as Rand is sane and fighting for the greater good, the Warder is a friend. But if rand ever loses it for real, I think we can count on the Warder taking him out, if need be.

And the Warder threw balefire but Rand didn’t feel him engage saidin. Interesting. If the Warder was using the True Power as granted by the Dark One, then the Warder obviously had some reason for wanting Sammael out of the picture. But perhaps there is an equivalent power source on the light side of things and the Warder was drawing upon that.

Or the Warder is a woman’s soul trapped in a man’s body and was pulling on Saidar. We’ve only seen this happen with the Forsaken, but I guess it could happen with the light side too. Perhaps Moiraine is back, with an extra appendage?

8. Rand eventually kills Sammael and is granted the throne of Illian, giving his personal empire a direct border with the Seanchan invaders (or at least soon enough), setting the stage for a spectacular show. How do you think this will come about? Will they have to be defeated, or do you think Suroth can be reasoned with?

I see the plot going one of two ways from here.

1) Rand has to utterly dominate the Seanchan in battle, shaking them to the core of their empire. I think this would take a lot of time and cost a lot of lives. Since we are only at the half way point for the series, this is a doable path.

2) Rand’s ta’veren-ness steps in again and once he gets to Suroth, she feels the need to kneel at his feet and obey his every command. Hey, it’s happened with others, why not the Seanchan.

It will be very interesting to see where the story goes from here.

Other Tidbits:

I found it very interesting how Elayne and Nynaeve reacted to Mat’s discomfort over Tylin’s aggressive affections. They appear to have had a quiet word with Tylin, discouraging her from further pursuits. I think they would have acted quite differently if Tylin was a man and Mat a woman in this situation.

Haha! It was nice to see Mat throw out the charm and simply tell the Sea Folk how it was to be. Very nice!

Is anyone else biting their nails over Olver?