The Shadow Rising Read Along Part I

JordanShadowRisingBannerWelcome everyone to Part I of The Shadow Rising read along. Sue over at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers is hosting this week, so make sure to swing by her place for lively chitchat. This week, we covered Chapters 1-3. Spoilers are having a picnic below, complete with peppermint tea and peanutbutter cookies. You have been warned.

1. Min’s viewings when she returns to Tar Valon are enough to make anyone worried: any guesses as to what will cause the death and mayhem? Also, is anyone else curious to know the story behind the name Elmindreda?

Well, both Min and Siuan seem to think there will be some large battle. That could be Whitecloaks or the Seanchan. But we could also be looking at some sneaky and well planned attack by a small force of powerful Black Ajah/Dark Friends/Myrrdraal. I’m sure the Black Ajah have a back door or two into the White Tower, and therefore, security wouldn’t really prohibit several aes sedai dying in one night if the enemy was sneaking around the place offing folks.

Obviously, one of Min’s parents had a soft spot for silly romantics. I am betting it was her father, poring all his notions of beauty and femininity into his daughter, providing her with the perfect name for catching the boys’ eyes…..or snickering jests, is more like.

2. We now know some of Elaida’s reasons for being so fixated with Morgase, but do you think that she will actually help or hinder the fight against the Dark One?

Tough one. I am going to split hairs and say that Elaida will first hinder, maybe even help the dark side or inadvertently kill some good guys, come to her senses and help the (hopefully) winning team, the Light Side. I want to see her smug ass be saved by a male, and better yet, by a male that can channel.

3. We are introduced to Ordeith, but there is little description of him. Do you think we have met him before, using a different name, or is he yet another in the growing list of baddies? Also, how do you think Two Rivers will cope with him and the Whitecloaks and will we get to see Mistress Luhhan in action again?

I am guessing that Ordeith is what his face…. the gollum wannabe. Darn it! I need a master character list. Padan Fain. That’s who Ordeith is. He has a grudge against Rand, swore to do his family and friends harm if he didn’t show, and he is also well familiar with Two Rivers. I want Mistress Luhhan to knock his head in.

I am guessing that those few Traveling Folk who wandered off are going to warn Two Rivers. Now, whether the folk of Two Rivers pay them any mind until too late… that is another thing. Two River folks can be distrustful of outsiders and complacent in their idea of all being right with the world.

4. High Lady Suroth seems to think that she will be able to capture Rand and make him into a type of damane. Do you think this is likely, or is she underestimating him and being wildly optimistic?

Now like any other hot-blooded woman, I wouldn’t mind seeing Rand in a color on his knees, but this isn’t that type of book. So, if somehow Rand is ever collared, it won’to last for long and the jerks who collar him will be mighty sorry. In this particular case, I don’t think Lady Suroth will be the one to collar Rand in any way and I look forward to him schooling her in the ways of her ineptness.

This is Waffles. Normally she is a sweet, toothless kitty. Today, I am concerned she will burn a hole through me with the Evil Eye.
This is Waffles. Normally she is a sweet, toothless kitty. Today, I am concerned she will burn a hole through me with the Evil Eye.

5. Holy bubbles in the Pattern, Batman! Was I the only one frantically reading to see if the three lads would even survive their ‘interesting’ evening? This made a nice change from the Trolloc attack motif of the earlier books, but how long do you expect our characters to survive with things like this happening more frequently?

These boys are going to have to get use to sleeping in armor. Or taking shifts, one sleeping while the others stand guard. Yes, this is a very nice change from the trolloc thing. I am sure we will see trollocs again, but I am glad they are not the first evil & disruptive thing to rear it’s ugly head in the book. I am still looking forward to seeing Mat’s reaction to Perrin’s and Rand’s evening encounters, because he is still under the impression that it was Rand’s wandering powers that caused his near death carding.

6. Sexytimes! Last week we discussed the relationship between Perrin and Faile and it seems to have ‘progressed’ quite a bit. Do you think that they are an item now, with full sexytimes privileges, even though it seems a little unclear from the book so far? Also, what about Berelain and her ever so subtle attempt to seduce Rand: how funny was it when she thought he was just talking dirty to her? Finally, how far do you think the Maiden’s Kiss game went to keep Mat awake all night???? 😀

Haha! I loved all these bits and so much of it left up to the reader’s interpretation. First: Perrin & Faile. OK, I don’t think they are into full privileges yet because Perrin seems to be missing a lot of hints, etc. In fact, he seems down right innocent on some things.

Second: Rand & Berelain. Haha! rand had that awkward, but totally natural for a young man, dream. Then Berelain walks into his rooms with him just in his underclothes. Wow! She was offering everything with no strings attached, if that can be believed. On one hand, I applaud her for being so clear on her desires, on the other, there will always be strings attached when it comes to sleeping with the most powerful man in the world. Dorkess for thinking she could just have Rand ignore that bit while she flashes some skin.

Third: Mat & Any Woman. So Mat likes to chase the skirts, we all know that. Perfectly normal for young males and females to enjoy sport sex. But the Aiel ladies take this to a whole new level, and bless their athletic looks and pointy spears, I sure do enjoy watching them teach Mat a thing or two. I expect the Maiden’s Kiss game went beyond kissing, but not into heavy petting as Mat seemed more disgruntled by the experience than satisfied. And, let’s face it folks, by and large, ladies are better at and more enthusiastic about drawing things out, whereas men are hardwired to sew their oats as quickly as possible, again and again. So, the Maiden’s Kiss game could go on for hours at Level 1 (kissing) easily with armed ladies in charge of the game.

Other Tidbits:

Rand’s dream about Min, Elayne, and Egwene seems to point to him realizing that he has to let that dream of marrying Egwene go. Perhaps he will be happy with Elayne or Min, or both, and perhaps not.

While Mat is a flirt, i did appreciate his reaction to the Tyran (spelling?) nobleman’s drunken remarks about the commoners, especially his uses for the commoner women.

They are going to put Min in a dress, makeup, and curls. Not sure how I feel about that. On one hand, yes, a disguise is a good idea. On the other, being a practical woman myself and not inclined to makeup, curls, and skirts only on hot dates with my man, I know the feeling of a forced make over: Not Fun.

When Faile slapped Perrin, right after the mad axe incident, and Perrin caught her hand as she was preparing to slap him again and commanded her not do so again, I cheered. I get that she was deeply worried about him, that her emotions and adrenalin were pumping, and that slapping and yelling at him was her way to let off some of that. But if it had been Perrin slapping Faile for all the same reasons, it would have been a big Hell No! So, I thought Perrin’s reaction was firm, appropriate, and even restrained as he didn’t harm her.

The Dragon Reborn Read Along Part II

JordanDragonReborn BannerHello everyone! This week, our host if Liesel over at Musings on Fantasia. Make sure you stop by over there to leave your link and catch her savvy comments.

This week’s reading was Chapters 9-20. Spoilers roam free and eat the unwary from this point on.

1) Perrin saw Hopper in his dreams right after Moiraine warned him to be cautious of them. What do you think it means that he saw Hopper? Should he be as paranoid about his dreams as Moiraine leads him to be?

I don’t really think being paranoid is helping Perrin, just like with Rand. Moiraine and Lan keep saying to be cautious of this and that, but without the background knowledge, it is only making these boys paranoid and freaking them into poor choices. Personally, I like to think that the wolf’s spirit goes on, so seeing Hopper protecting him in his dreams by waking him the only way Hopper could is a good thing. Perrin has folks on his side, they just happen to have four legs, fur, and butt sniffing predilection.

2) Some kind of large, deadly dog was hunting Rand. What do you make of it and Rand’s plans to go to Tear?

I’m listening to the audio….and there’s a large dog hunting Rand? Hmmm….Was that a dream sequence? I always find those a bit vague. Well, if it’s a real dog, and it does catch Rand, I am sure I will make note of it. As for Rand’s plans to go to Tear, same kind of answer as I said for #1. Moiraine provides a great big serving of Be Careful, Caution, Guard Yourself, etc, but not enough background info for Rand to make real good, informed decisions. Her reasons for this are not clear to me. Perhaps she is trying to protect him. Perhaps she is trying to maneuver him. Could be both. Could be Moiraine is playing us all and is Black at heart and we will all be crushed emotionally to find out.

3) What do you think of Nynaeve and Egwene being asked to hunt the Black Ajah and the all-access passes the Amyrlin gave them? Do you think the Amyrlin is wise to trust them and Verin?

See, this section got me all paranoid. Basically, we know Min, Nynaeve, and Egwene are NOT Black Ajah. At least, not now. This is a long series. But the Amyrlin….well, we’ve heard a little of her internal monologue, but not enough to know if she herself is on the Good Guy side. Same for Verin. I really want Verin to be on the good side because I love her geeky, scientist nature. But I could see how she could be all about the knowledge gained and not so interested in good Vs. bad. Unfortunately, I can see Nynaeve becoming all about the payback and not so much about the Good Side in the future. In short, this could get very complicated very quickly.

4) Who do you think sent the Gray Man and who was he aiming to kill? (Who stabbed him, for that matter?) Nynaeve seems to suspect Sheriam of something. Do you concur?

Egwene holds great potential. So does Nynaeve. So, a simple rival for power could have wanted either of them dead. Both those ladies know what was brought to the Amyrlin – the Horn of Valere. So, someone could want them dead for their knowledge. If Verin is naughty Black Ajah, she would be logical. Supposedly, she told the Amyrlin everything about their adventures and the Seanchan. But the Amyrlin never verified that info with Egwene and Nynaeve. So, Verin could be playing both sides. If Egwene and Nynaeve know something that Verin doesn’t want the Amyrlin knowing, then they are targets again.

As for Sheriam – nah. Too damn convenient. Nynaeve suspects everyone expect Two Rivers folks. I hope this turns out to bite her in the ass. Even peaceful villages have dark friends.  I could point my little finger at some folks in my little village.

Pico is fixated on another kitty off-camera.
Pico is fixated on another kitty off-camera.

5) Elaida’s visit to the Accepted’s quarters was…interesting. What information do you think she was fishing for? Between the two, who would you more readily believe to be Black Ajah–Elaida or Sheriam?

Elaida obviously wants Rand, and not in a good way. More like in a vivisection way. But is she Black Ajah? Well, Robert Jordan already was obvious about Leandrin being a bitch and then also Black Ajah. But can we say that all the bitchy Aes Sedai are Black Ajah? I hope not – I hope Jordan wasn’t that obvious throughout the series. So, no; Elaida is not Black Ajah. Sheriam could be, but I still think it was convenient of her to walk onto the Gray Man issue. She would be in the perfect place at the perfect time to take the suspicion from someone else.

6) Once again we find Mat plotting to “get away” from all Aes Sedai. Do you think he’ll succeed this time?

Hell no! He’s Ta’veren. He sounded the Horn of Valere. There is no way the Aes Sedai will let him wander free. Heroic efforts would have to be made to free Mat from their clutches – which could happen. We still have like 11.7 books to go. But for right now, no. Mat is not savvy enough, hasn’t fully grasped the stakes, and is still weak from his near-death. Plus, there may be just a touch of evil left in Mat, which will make things complicated – and entertaining for me the reader.

7) Selene came to visit Mat and when he wasn’t as submissive as she wanted, she started doing something to him that gave him a headache. What do you think it was?

Naughty Selene. tsk, tsk. Normally it is the woman’s role to have a headache at an inopportune time, driving the man a little nuts. Perhaps since Mat was driving her a little nuts, she chose the vicious headache as a form of gender payback. I don’t know how she did it. Certain odors can do so, visual stimuli (like pulsing beams and such). But most likely, since this series is all about the mental powers, she used her enormous will to try to wake to dormant, weakened evil within him.

I know. It’s a piddly little theory.

Other Tidbits:

When Perrin went to Moiraine about his dreams, how he wants it all to stop, and she made that morose joke about being Blue, not Green, Ajah, so she could only have one Warder, I thought Perrin’s blush would last 3 chapters. hehe.

I am a bit frustrated for Egwene and Nynaeve – having nearly everyone at the Tower believe they ran off….when they actually put on their Super Hero costumes and saved the world, with no little cost to themselves.

Gawyn and Galad. Interesting pair. One a goody two-shoes to the point of being slightly evil, and the other too much of a good guy to act. It will be interesting to see what happens with them.

The Amyrlin actually considered NOT healing Mat just so the Aes Sedai could control the Horn. I wonder if Robert Jordan left room in this world for a woman to sound the Horn?

The Dragon Reborn Read Along Part I

JordanDragonReborn BannerWelcome one and all! Here we are at Book 3 of The Wheel of Time Read Along. Book 3 will be hosted by the WoT Quad – Liesel of Musings of Fantasia, Sue of Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers, Eivind – the King of Comments, and myself here at Dab of Darkness. You can check out the schedule over HERE if you would like to join us.

This week, the discussion questions cover the Prologue through the end of Chapter 8, so beware of the free-roaming and ravenous Spoilers with Claws from here on in. Fellow readers, please leave a link to your posts (if you made one) in the comments so we can hop around enjoying each other’s thoughts.

1) Both Niall and Carridan seem to be playing with two-edged swords. Niall wants the Dragon Reborn to create enough panic, sorrow, and destruction to have the populace begging the Children of the Light to do something. Whereas Carridan vows to one lord to keep the Dragon Reborn alive and vows the opposite to another. Did you enjoy this beginning more or less than the first two books in the series?

I love seeing all these enemies stacking up to use or eliminate Rand and his friends. Right off the bat, we get the very real sense that Rand and crew are going to have to go up against some real opponents in this book, opponents with detailed and immediate plans. Also, I like that this book started off where the last book left off (timeline wise), instead of some nebulous history lesson (Book 1 – breaking of the world) or mysterious half-dream meeting of the masqued bad guys (Book 2 – Dark Friends post luck).

2) Throughout this section we see that Min believes herself in love with Rand. What do you make of this one sided romance?

Robert Jordan has told us through Min that Rand’s love/sex life is going to be complicated. But I have to wonder if poor Min fell in love with Rand first or rather convinced herself that she was in love with him because of what she saw in his aura (which is up for interpretation, right?). I have to wonder if Min has had other loves in her life or if this is the first, and since there isn’t really anyone else with her gift for her to commiserate with, perhaps she is taking her fate as given, instead of making active choices about relationships.

Besides, Min would be so cool with knife or bolo skills. And she needs time to develop those, so romance of any sort probably needs to be put on hold for a few years.

3) Within a few chapters, the big picture story arc of this book starts to follow the story arcs of Book 1 and Book 2 – trollocs unexpectedly appear and shortly thereafter our main heroes are separated for one reason or another. What do you think of this pattern?

As with Book 2, this set pattern makes Book 3 feel like an old friend before we even get a quarter of the way into it. I can see that Jordan may have done this on purpose for this reason – familiarity. On the other hand, I am definitely keeping an eye out for a river and potentially a sinking ferry – predictable plot?

Pico is fixated on another kitty off-camera.
Pico is fixated on another kitty off-camera.

4) Rand has run off and some of our heroes follow, tracking him. At one place they come across a village that recently suffered a bout of weddings and Whitecloaks going AWOL. Did Rand make the right choice, leaving? Do you think the decisions made by folks while Rand is around will hold after a few days?

While I can understand why Rand ran away – or at least part of it (not wanting to inadvertently harm friends) – I am not sure it is a useful thing for him to do. Perhaps there is no right or wrong to Rand’s decisions at this point, but simply trying to navigate his way to the least amount of collateral damage.

I have to wonder if the weddings will hold up – Randy Fever may keep them together for a year, but a life long commitment is a much bigger thing. I truly do hope the Whitecloaks that wen walk-about find better lives for themselves and that Rand’s mere presence encourages more of that behavior.

5) Do you believe that Moiraine had not caught fish before in the manner Perrin and Loial ‘taught’ her or do you think it was some clever ploy of her’s?

Either way, she was being clever. By asking someone to teach you a skill, you put them in a position of superiority (Moiraine is such a good kiss ass) but then by catching 3 large fish so easily, she shows them up (forcing Perrin to rethink his near-constant questioning of her decisions and actions). But let me be honest, a little part of me wants to see Moiraine questioning her handling of the Two Rivers folks. Perhaps if they saw her as flawed, and hence, as human, they would be more inclined to put their trust in her.

6) Perrin’s wolfish gifts are growing in strength. Then we come upon a man, Noam, who has lost himself completely to such gifts. Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation as Perrin, facing what you might become if you lack self-control?

Throughout this entire scene I kept hoping Perrin would be able to reach out to him and make some sort of connection, explain things enough to keep Noam from harming folks in general, and to advise Noam to stay away from humans. But things didn’t fall out that way, and it makes it bitter sweet. On a personal note, I have several alcoholics in my family, so I have some idea of what it is to face someone and see the consequences of loosing self-control over a long period of time. Usually, it happens bit by bit and not all at once.

Other Tidbits:

It seems Rand’s power, if not his control, is growing – shaking the earth the way he did. I enjoyed Min’s grumbling about the men being OK with Rand doing that, but not an aes sedai.

The Tinker lady’s philosophy on non-violence was interesting, but not very practical. Can we say ‘Enabler’?

What Others Think:

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Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

The Great Hunt Read Along Part V

JordanGreatHuntBannerToday we are dissecting Chapters 28-34. I hope you have all enjoyed some of the interesting points in this section. Make sure to leave your link int he comments so I can visit all of you. Looking forward to reading your thoughts.

1) Ingtar is really gung ho about the Horn. Is anyone else worried about his obsession? Have you ever experienced such an obsession?

I think perhaps the potential glory has gone to Ingtar’s head. He is desperate to find this horn. Perhaps he feels the need to obtain a certain level of glory before….becoming a ruler? asking a certain lady to wed him? I’m not sure what the underlying cause is that is driving him, but he has monovision for sure.

I often tell folks I have only 2 addictions, which can be like obsessions in the right light: my man, and Dr. Pepper. Yep. Something deeply moving (or sappy) and chemical sugar in just the right combination with a variety of preservatives and cancer-causing agents. Moving to shallow – in the snap of a finger. That’s how I roll.

2) In Chapter 28, we hear about the Jenn Aiel, Rhuidean, and their prophecy of a man of their blood from beyond the Spine of the World. It appears that Rand isn’t tied to just one people/culture and their prophecies, but multiple peoples. Are you enjoying guessing (or watching, if you have read before) how Rand will be ensnared by all these demands upon him?

Poor Rand. Even if he did manage to truly get away from the Aes Sedai, it sounds like he would not escape the prophecy – because it is everywhere, in one form or another. Perhaps he should have the various versions laid before him and he could pick his favorite. All these different titles probably come with different costumes…er, uniforms. He could pick the one that best shows off his physique. He’s been sword training and traveling, so he must have a physique by now.

3) Through White Cloak Bornhald and Captain Domon, we get our first rumors and glimpses of the Seanchan, descendants of Artur Hawkwing’s armies, from across the sea. What do make of them? How do you think the military forces we have met so far will fair? If you have read before, feel free to critique their hierarchy and style of armor.

These Seanchan are really and all or nothing kind of folks. Either you are too far below for them to take notice of you, or they demand everything of you – and if you don’t give it, they will grind you into little flakes of dust to be lost on the wind. I really do hope the military forces we have seen so far – Ingtar and crew, the Aiel, even the White Cloaks, Aes Sedai + warders, – can set aside their squabbles for a little and do some righteous kick-ass action on these Seanchan. Besides, i have grown rather fond of Cpt. Domon and I don’t like the way he was treated.

Waffles & Streak sleeping in the bed. Yes, I did tuck him in.
Waffles & Streak sleeping in the bed. Yes, I did tuck him in.

4) Just for fun, what do you think Padan Fain had on Lord Barthanes?

Fain had something so deeply disturbing on Barthanes to force him to 1) allow Fain to use his Grove, 2) allow a troupe of trollocs through his grounds to the Grove (I assume Fain took at least some of them with him), and 3) carry a verbal message to Rand (way beneath his dignity). Now, Barthanes is one of the most powerful in the city, and I assume he not only has his share of secrets, but knows how to hide them well. It’s got to be something that, if it came to light, he could not bribe his way out of hte consequences (with money, or other people’s naughty secrets he has tucked under his pillow). Hmmm… That leaves a) child sacrifice, b) mating with animals, c) bedding the king, his wife, or his relations,  or d) Fain got a hold of Barthanes’ little black book of Other Peoples’ Secrets and offered it back in exchange for Waygate use. Your guess?

5) Machin Shin, the Black Wind, was waiting for them in the Waygate in the Grove at Barthanes. Coincidence, or set there on purpose?

Ooooo! I know Verin says it is not possible, but yes, I think the Black Wind wants Rand, in a totally bad way – like R for violence kind of way. I wonder how the Dark ones are controlling/negotiating/directing it to sit at the Waygate? What could it want or be afraid of so badly that it would do the bidding of another? Or it is strongly attracted to Rand because he can channel. I am guessing we won’t have the answers to that one for this book, but I definitely look forward to this little puzzle being solved.

6) Ah! Poor Thom! How do you think the latest turn of loosing Dena will affect him? If you’ve read before, feel free to comment on how Robert Jordan’s ability to write in characters and then kill them off pull on your emotions.

Damn! Triple juggling knives damn! I was looking forward to having a female character who isn’t necessarily tied to the Aes Sedai. And I wanted to see if Dena would encourage or discourage Thom from pursuing the Horn. On the other hand, I think it would probably take an act like this to pull Thom out of his hiding and fling him into action. I definitely look forward to seeing what he will do. I think  Thom bent on cold revenge will be quality entertainment for me.

Other Tidbits:

Seanchan = Bug heads *snickering every time their armor is mentioned*

I am listening to the audio version, and Verin & Perrin are traveling together and sometimes I miss the V or P and I have to listen very carefully to figure out who is chatting. Nuts.

I want Fain to piss off Turak very, very badly.

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Musings on Fantasia

The Great Hunt Read Along Part II

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

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

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

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

The Eye of the World Read Along Part VI

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

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

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

Now, onto the questions! Spoilers Abound!

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

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

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

The Eye of the World Read Along Part IV

eyeoftheworldbanner
Welcome back everyone! This week Anya at On Starships and Dragonwings is our host and provided the questions. She’ll have a link up for bloggers participating along with her entertaining answers. And in case you haven’t heard, we are hosting an audiobook giveaway of 1 Wheel of Time book (except A Memory of Light) and you can find that over HERE. If you want to check out the schedule for The Eye of the World or want to sign up for weekly previews of the questions, you can find both over HERE. Now, without further ado, here is this week’s discussion.
1. Moraine and Lan were discussing how the Trollocs could be amassing such large numbers and other strange occurrences such as the Forsaken and possible opposition from the White Tower early in this section. What do you think about all of these revelations?
Damn! These kids could be getting into more trouble that Lan and Moiraine have let on. Add to the variety of opposition they face, Lan and Moiraine don’t seem to have all the answers, such as how the trollocs are moving about without raising cry and hew throughout the countryside. I am not sure Lan and Moiraine are wise to keep the kids in the dark. Like at spooky city, Shadar Logoth, perhaps Rand, Mat, and Perrin would have benefited from knowing a little more about why the trollocs would be hesitant to enter the city.
2. Turns out a side effect of using magic is taking foolish chances and acting giddy, sound like any boys we know? What do you think is happening to Rand? Mat?
Well, I definitely think Rand may be coming into his magic, but what brand? I mean, is Aes Sedai the only kind of magic Rand can tap into? I am not sure since we met Elyas, who doesn’t seem to be using The One Power. As for Mat, I think he is still a reckless prankster. I’m sure that will play into something serious later on and perhaps Mat will learn to reduce the magnitude and frequency of his pranks. Now Mat also has that dagger of Mordeth’s, so I have to wonder if some of his anti-social behavior is due to some malevolent influence of that dagger.
Waffles in a rare serious mood.
Waffles in a rare serious mood.

3. Egwene and Perrin end up wandering very far afield, why do you think the land is so thoroughly abandoned? Not just of people, but also of animals, if we assume that Perrin isn’t that horrible of a tracker ;-)?

I expect that both Perrin and Egwene are both reasonable trackers, having lived a chunk of their lives exploring the wilderness around Two Rivers. As for the lack of wildlife in the area, perhaps there is something afoot that scared them off…..like a motley crew of trollocs? Or something worse? I’m going to go with something worse because the trollocs seem to be loud and somewhat clumsy…and wouldn’t there be hoof prints?
4. Elyas and his wolves! What do you think of this new type of magic and Perrin’s new skills? How about what Elyas said about “Old things coming again” and the Aes Sedai not being happy about it?
It’s pretty obvious that Perrin is startled and perplexed by his abilities with the wolves. And I can’t say whether Elyas is really a friend per se or just in the run because of his curiosity of Perrin. Again, I get the impression that Elyas had some run in with Aes Sedai sometime back and now paints them all with the same brush. As to the ‘Old things coming again,’ I think this goes along with the references to the Wheel of Time, and some perpetual battle.
5. Rand had another dream, but we can’t be sure if the other boys did or not…. In it there was mention of the Eye of the World serving him, what do you think the Eye of the World is? Any other ideas for what this dream meant?
Even tho I read this years ago, I simply don’t remember most of it, like what the Eye of the World is. I’m going to say that it is significant as the book is named after it. I think it’s pretty obvious that Serious Bad Dude Whose Name I Can’t Spell On The Fly is focusing on Rand more than the other kids. If Serious Bad Dude is telling Rand that the Eye will not serve him, then I think there is some potential that there is and Serious Bad Dude is concerned about that.
6. Domon told many tales about fantastic sights across the land, which was your favorite? 😀
Haha! I’ve warmed up to Domon despite his all-but-required threats to throw Rand, Mat, and Thom off when they first met. I like the Tanchico animal bones story the best. I mean, I can take the bones of a turkey, an elk, and a coyote and string them all together in some fanciful beast. Wait, didn’t some folks in the 1800s do that in England and claim that dragons were real?
7. The Tinkers’ had an interesting and scary tale to tell. What do you think about this new omen about the Dark One? Why do you think the Tinkers’ thought Elyas would know more?
Couple the Tinkers’ tale with Rand’s dream, and the title of the book, obviously, the Eye of the World is pretty darn important. I like the idea of warrior women, like with society acceptance and training. The Tinkers probably know something about Elyas, more than we have been made privy to. And because of this knowledge, like perhaps Elyas travels far and wide, the Tinkers were hoping to hear more from Elyas.
Other Tidbits:
I thought Moiraine’s and Nynaeve’s conversation in Chapter 21 was amusing and enlightening. It was also good to learn more of both women.

The Eye of the World Read Along Part III

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

Without further ado:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Tidbits:

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

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

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