A Memory of Light, Part II

WOT 14Welcome everyone to Book 14 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and the final week of this read along. Here is the schedule for A Memory of Light if you want to join us.

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

This week, we covered Chapters 2-8. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1) Pevara and Androl have done some mutual Bonding, which seems to have created a rather uniquely intimate link between the two. Do you think that the other Aes Sedai /Asha’man pairs could create something similar, or do we have an example of mushy, romantic specialness in this case? Have you been surprised by the Red’s ability to work with male Channelers, or do you think that she is unusual for her Ajah?

I expect that other Aes Sedai/Asha’men bonds will happen – perhaps not in this book, but after the big battle is won and folks have a chance to get back to normal lives.

I think there are other Reds like Pevara that will be able to overcome their squeamishness towards male Channelers, if for no other reason than they don’t want to look weak and silly in front of other Aes Sedai.

I have to say that when Pevara had her little panic attack and Bonded Androl, without his permission, I wanted to slap her. Aes Sedai are such bullies. I did cheer a little when Androl turned around and Bonded her so that she could experience it first hand. I think this is nearly the only way the Aes Sedai can learn.

2) I was beginning to worry that Aviendha’s quadruplets would need to be the product of some sort of bizarre ‘virgin’ birth scenario, but now there is at least a biological chance that they could be created in the normal way! Yay! Do you really think that it was necessary for her to use sexytimes as a way to persuade Rand to grant her a boon? Were you disappointed or relieved not to have more details of what was obviously a rather extended night of baby-making?

I expect that Elayne will become injured in some fashion, perhaps end up in a coma, and Aviendha will have to raise her kids along with Elayne’s.

No, I think Rand would have granted her a boon just for getting a look at her tits. Though I am sure he is grateful for the sexytimes. Plus, the three ladies had to gather and discuss how they were going to handle Rand. I wonder what Min and Elayne did to distract themselves from the night of bedroom gymnastics they surely sensed through the bond.

Well, I think you all know me by now. I like the sexytimes to be as descriptive as the rest of the book, so, yeah, I would have enjoyed seeing how Aveidnah (who is super athletic) put Rand through his paces.

3) Apparently, being Turned to the Dark Side does not improve your intellect very much. Do you think that we will ever see a truly intelligent Darkfriend? Did the sequence with Dobser make you more hopeful of Androl and his party surviving against Taim’s attack?

No, I don’t think we will ever have a truly intelligent Darkfriend or Forsaken…. well, not one that can work with others. Cyndane/Lanfear has some cunning to her, but she despises everyone and has difficulty playing nice on Team Dark One.

Yes, I expect that Androl and Pevara will do some major ass kicking before this book is through and one of those asses may very well be Taim. Up until this week’s reading, I had expected that Logain (maybe with Rand’s help) would be the one to take out Taim. But now I suspect that Androl and Pevara will take out Taim, perhaps with Logain’s help (though he is merely a bit of a drool monkey right now due to his long imprisonment and ill treatment).

4) Rand is beginning to manifest some startling new powers and can now manipulate the Dream more successfully than Moridin. Do you think this will cause the Nae’blis to alter his plans and be more aggressive in his pursuit of Rand? It seems that Lanfear is managing to somehow slip away from his control via the mindtrap: or was that all staged for Rand’s benefit?

I think Rand’s new abilities within the Dream will irritate Moridin and while making him more aggressive, it will also make him more careless. Basically, I don’t think Rand is in increased danger on account of this.

I think Lanfear is indeed managing to escape Moridin’s complete control and this will also make him more aggressive and more careless. I don’t think he is cautious enough to have staged the whole Lanfear crying for help thing. Plus, Lanfear is not really a team player (and there are suspicions she was giving Slayer/Luc/Issam orders to kill Rand, which is in direct contradiction to Moridin’s orders).

5) And, yay verily, there will be much politicking and arguing and then Moiraine will appear and quote the Prophecy, thus creating peace and harmony amongst the leaders of the World. Did anyone else expect her to wink at Perrin in a conspiratorial way as she walked past him? Do you think that the new and improved Dragon’s Peace will hold and also stop the future we saw in Aviendha’s visions? Who do you think Rand expected Roedran to be?

So much to say here! First, I don’t know why Rand suspected Roedran. I expect that is something I will pick up on a reread.

1) Egwene almost cost the world not only peace, but existence with her inflated sense of importance. I am so glad Moiraine pointed it out (and in such a way that Egwene could swallow it).

2) Yes, Moiraine is extra awesome, and I definitely could see her and Perrin trading nudges and winks back and forth. They were the two even-headed ones on scene.

3) Aviendha was right to demand the Aiel be included in the Peace and Perrin was great to point out that they needed a job. The Aiel can not meet toh nor generate honor unless they have a task before them, be it small or large.

4) I think rand left out some folks and that may or may not cause issues later – like the Dark Tower and the Traveling Folk (though since they follow the Way of the Leaf, it may not be such a big deal for them). Perhaps even the Ogier should be allowed to sign the Peace and guarantee their rights in this new United Nations of Randland. And the newly risen Malkier, will they sign?

5) Here is my biggest criticism of the Peace – Elayne will lead the armies! At first, I thought it was a joke or some sort of subterfuge by Rand. But, nope, he meant it. Sigh….OK, Elayne is an entertaining character and she has her moments. But she is entertaining because she keeps messing up and she has her shining moments because she has dug herself into yet another trap. The entire series, she has walked into one trap or another, acted on impulse and feelings instead of logic. In fact, just last book (like 300 pages ago) she was threatening to execute Perrin. So I am guessing that this is a plot point that Sanderson was committed to via Jordan and he hasn’t had a whole lot of time to make Elayne look competent. But I also expect that Elayne will be competent the rest of the book and this will be a huge character change for her with little reason/time to make it happen. I expect this point will continue to bother me. Some people believe that beauty = competence. Alas, that is not one of the magical qualities of this world.

You know who would make a good leader of the united armies? Someone who has a lifetime of training and experience? Someone who’s culture and training allows them to absorb new tactics and use them immediately? Someone who has Channelers and flying beasts to sends swift messages? Tuon/Fortunata, Empress of the Seanchan. So, I am quite surprised that Rand didn’t try to bring them into the fold by offering the Seanchan this chance to prove that they are worthy leaders to the folks of Randland.

6) Great Trees and a singing Ogier army, then Gateways bringing aid to Lan’s final charge. Discuss, with specific dimensions for the size of your grin and/or the number of tears shed! :D

This was pretty fricking awesome. I really enjoyed the whole scene of Lan’s final charge. He rallied the men, but didn’t lie to them about their odds. He had Nynaeve in his thoughts (but somehow couldn’t sense her exuberation at finding out Rand meant to go to his aid). The charge beginning and then suddenly being joined by 4,000 extra men. Then another gateway, and another, and another. Yes, that was great. I had dramatic theme music rolling in my head for the entire scene.

It was nice to see Loial and his mum too.

7) Mat is off in Ebou Dar doing something mysterious. Can we hope that he is trying to talk some sense into Tuon? Will he accept the Horn from Faile or run away screaming?

So Perrin knows that Mat is married to the Seanchan empress, right? Has he mentioned that to anyone? that could be a very important and useful piece of intel right now. I expect Mat is either trying to get some sexytimes with his wife (and he needs some after the Tower of Ghenjei) or arguing with her about how slavery is basically evil and she really needs to saddle up and ride with the White Hats on this one.

I think Mat will accept the Horn readily enough. He might not like it, but he already knows the necessity of it. I expect grumbling and perhaps a badger to mysteriously appear in Elayne’s sleeping quarters at some point (for ordering Mat to blow the Horn).

Other Tidbits:

Aviendha sneaking into Elayne’s tent was awesome! And she was just trying not to be a bother to the guards. But this also has me worried about the capability of the evil Aiel and the inability of Elayne’s guards and scouts to detect them.

Rand comes up with the first shower this Age has seen! Hooray! Maybe Aviendha will tell Elayne and Elayne will commission some castle engineers to make it possible for the royalty. And in perhaps 200 years, the middle class will have showers. Then all will smell better.

Androl! Gosh, this late-to-the-party side character is turning out to be pretty interesting. I could definitely enjoy a book (or trilogy) just about Androl and his adventures prior to the Dark Tower.

Elayne finally announces who the father of her twins is (though Bashere had to show her the logic in it). It was overdue and I am glad that whole Evil Mellar Daddy rumor can be put to bed for good.

I did like that Elayne was direct with Aiel, making it clear that they simply couldn’t run off and do their own thing, no matter how competent they believed themselves to be.

 

A Memory of Light, Part I

WOT 14Welcome everyone to Book 14 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and the final week of this read along. Here is the schedule for A Memory of Light if you want to join us.

This week, Liesel at Musings on Fantasia is out host. Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia, can be found in the comments at Liesel’s. Sue at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers has fine intellect and a wicked sense of humor.

This week, we covered the Prologue through the end of Chapter 1. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1. We get a terribly interesting chapter from Isam’s POV in the Town below Thakandar. So many things we could talk about here, including the pointy-toothed Aiel. What stood out to you? What did you think? What do you want to know more about?

There’s a lot going on here. First, I enjoyed getting this little insight into Isam/Luc/Slayer. When he saw the scruffy child across the street, his thoughts about urging him/her to try crossing the desert, that it is better to die than growing up in the Town, were fascinating. It seems Isam grew up in this creepy Town. That explains a lot about his inability to make friends.

Next, there was a caravan (or large wagon) that came in with 13 aes sedai. Isam concluded the ladies had trapped another male Channeler, but he wondered why since the Taint had been cleansed. Now I wonder too.

2. Talmanes becomes a freaking hero in his own right. Will Nynaeve’s healing be enough to save him? What did you think of his antics against the trollocs in Camelyn?

Talmanes is my hero!

I really want him to live but I fear he may have been living with the Red Shirt far too long. Nynaeve is a great healer, but she may only be able to put off the inevitable. Plus, there is this whole Last Battle thing. So, even if Talmanes is now healed, he has to go fight the big battle. He has learned that the best way to take out Myrrdraal is to be dead yourself. This kind of thinking could save thousands, but at the cost of the hero.

I LOVED how Talmanes ‘recruited’ the mercenaries and got them to fight the Trollocs.

3. Leilwin offers her services to Egwene. What do you think will come of this? Will Egwene be accepting of a Seanchan servant?

Well, we got a chunk of Leilwin’s thoughts. She is Seanchan in blood and she is desperately worried that the whole empire will collapse if/when the truth of the Channelers is finally realized. So she is offering to serve the Amyrlin Seat to either 1) show the Seanchan that there is another way and so the nobility doesn’t have to go all suicidal; or 2) she plans to assassinate Egwene to forestall the fall of the Seanchan empire.

Egwene will be stubborn and distrustful at first but, yes, she will accept Leilwin into her service.

4. Bair goes to Rhuidean after hearing Aviendha’s account. Do you think she’ll see what Aviendha saw, or something different? Do you think she was wise to send herself?

I think she will see something similar. I get the impression that each person sees similar things, but not the exact same images. Or perhaps each person can only retain so much of what they are shown, so individual recollections would vary a bit.

Yes, I think Bair is a good choice. She is not as reactionary as some of the Wise Women. Also, she is the one who can walk Tel’Aran’Rhiod but isn’t a Channeler, right? So she has skill and power without relying on Saidin.

5. Evil Mofo Meeting! Taim is raised to the level of Chosen and Moghedien is commanded to “help” Demandred. What disasters do you see arising from these decisions, if any.

So way back in like Book 4 or 5, whenever we first start getting Asha’men, we had a discussion question about them and I couldn’t recall names. So I stupidly went to the WoT Wiki to look up Asha’men names. Under Taim, the sentence about him being raised to Chosen by the Forsaken was like the first sentence. Ack! Big fat spoiler slapped right across my face like 10 books before it actually happens! Ugh!

Now that I have that off my chest, on to the question.

So Taim, Demondred, and The Dark One all want to be THE one to kill Rand. I don;t think any of these guys are team players, so I expect there to be a lot of wrangling for power on the Baddie side. In fact, Demondred and Taim may even decide to kill one another off. All this could be good for the good side, but it also means there are 3 Baddies dedicated to killing Rand. Oh, and Isam has explicit orders from a female Forsaken to kill Rand too. Maybe Isam will take out Demondred? Could be amusing.

6. What do you think of Egwene’s argument about when to break the Seals? Is she right?

Egwene has just won her seat and it was a long hard battle. Of course she wants to be cautious and if the world had even 6 months, I would say, sure, call an assembly of world leaders and argue it out for 3 or 4 months about whether or not to break the seals. But, alas, the world doesn’t have 6 months. Perhaps someone could show Egwene a calendar?

I liked Rand’s chat with Perrin about forging metal. He’s right. This has to be done. It’s going to suck, but it will suck more the longer they wait. So Egwene needs to get her Big girl Panties on, and perhaps some sensible boots instead of slippers, and get ready to kick ass.

7. Rand says it is the last night of peace they will know before the end, and on the morrow he will meet with every leader of the known world to forge an alliance. Predictions?

In Aviendha’s Ruidean visions, the Dragon Reborn’s peace was a theme that was repeated. I think that is what Rand will be forging at this big meeting. And I think this is where Aviendha will have to step in and save the Aiel from whatever inadvertent mistake Rand will make that would doom the Aiel to a slow dwindling death.

Other than that, I am not sure at all what to expect. Perhaps he will give them all a tongue lashing and rousing, inspiring speech all together about how differences and grievances must be put aside in order to face the Last Battle, etc.

Other Tidbits:

The book opened with a crazed military dude and his starving men, who basically mutinied, left him tied to a tree, and walked out on him. I think they are wise, because who wants to miss the Last Battle, really? And metal that has turned to putty! Good thing there are still stone workers!

The Wise Women (and the Aiel as a whole) seem snubbed that Rand told them not to worry about whatever he has planned at the big powwow. But Aviendha was good to point out that his insults have mostly been by accident/ignorance and not intentional slights. Still, the Aiel are stuck believing that their ways are the best ways, 100%. If they don’t get a bit more flexible, they won’t do well in the world that is left after the Last Battle.

We haven’t heard from Padan Fain in some time. Where is he? What is he doing? It can’t be good. And when is Mat going to return and get his Horn? Where is the gholam? elayne just lost a throne, good thing she has a second spare. Tuon is still planning to attack the White Tower and she has Traveling now. This could really fuck things up.

 

 

Towers of Midnight, Part VIII

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Squatch having a snack

Squatch having a snack

Other Tidbits:

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

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

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

 

A Memory of Light Read Along: The Schedule

JordanSandersonAMemoryOfLightHello everyone! The WoT Quad have made it! This is the final book, A Memory of Light, in The Wheel of Time series. And this may just be the longest read along ever, as we started in December of 2012. As always, anyone is welcome to join us, whether you have a blog or not. If you want the discussion questions a few days before the post dates, just leave me a comment or send me an email (nrlymrtl@gmail.com) with your request.

Once again, a huge thanks to Sue (Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers), Liesel (Musings on Fantasia), and Eivind (The Nordic WoT Encyclopedia) for keeping this read along going. It’s been an awesome adventure with them and I am very much looking forward to this final book and seeing how all this turns out.

Please note that chapter 37 has a week all to itself and it is nearly double our weekly page numbers.

Week 1: Jan 18 MOF Prologue-Chpt. 1 (95 pages)

Week 2: Jan 25 CCCP Chpts. 2-7 (106 pages)

Week 3: Feb 1 Eivind Chpts. 8-14 (97 pages)

Week 4: Feb 8 DOD Chpts. 15-21 (100 pages)

Week 5: Feb 15 MOF Chpts. 22-28 (106 pages)

Week 6: Feb 22 CCCP Chpts. 29-36 (112 pages)

Week 7: Mar 1 Eivind Chapter 37 (190 pages)

Week 8: Mar 8 MOF Chpts. 38-END (102 pages)

 

Towers of Midnight, Part VII

JordanTowersOfMidnightBannerWelcome everyone to Book 13 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. You can find the schedule to Towers of Midnight over HERE. Everyone is welcome to join us!

This week, Liesel at Musings on Fantasia is the host. Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia, can be found in the comments. Sue at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers  has the insight and wicked humor.

This week, we covered the Chapters 41-48. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1. Galad names a punishment for Perrin. What did you think of it? Also Perrin becomes, in essence, Galad’s commander (and therefore commander of the Children of the Light!) for the Last Battle. Thoughts? Predictions?

I thought Galad’s punishment for Perrin was pretty just. It wasn’t over the top and it gives the grieving families some closure (assuming there are grieving families, because these Whitecloak are a bunch of assholes and perhaps the families are actually relieved to have them permanently gone).

That said, I would still like to see Galad dig into the Whitecloaks actions at Two Rivers and meet out some justice.

I expect that acceptance of Perrin as Galad’s commander will come slowly – like we have seen with Galad and Bornhald. Others (hopefully only a few like Byar) will never accept it and will either have to be put down or will split off and go cause trouble elsewhere (hopefully troubling trollocs).

2. Gawyn and Egwene finally reconcile and talk of marriage. Gawyn takes three ring ter’angreal from dead sisters. What do you think he plans to do with them?

I found it amusing that Egwene is totally freaked by the idea of marrying without her parents’ permission!

I am not sure what Gawyn plans to do with the rings. Perhaps he will take them to Elayne for analysis and replication (hopefully without the death results). Or, if he hears of Perrin’s new found ability to forge weapons of power, he may ask Perrin and his Channelers to have a look at them and replicate. It would be quite useful to have rings that gave you a boost of stamina or strength or cunning by using up a little of your life force, but of course our good guys will want them not to kill the wearer.

3. Comment on the fact that Lan finally, officially raises the banner of the golden crane.

About damn time! Really, I am still surprised that it has taken so long for our heroes to come to terms with who they are and what they can do and what they must do. I think a lot of epic fantasy has that growth stage for the heroes, but by mid-series they have most of it figured out and are on board with the mission and then spend the rest of the series kicking ass. Here, we are quite near the end of the series and we still have some outstanding errant heroes dithering (yes, I am looking straight at Mat, and perhaps Brigitte, and perhaps just squinting at Loial).

Anyway, that aside, it is freaking awesome that he has finally realized that he is not going alone, even if he still believes he could have done some good as a lone man fighting hoards of trollocs. Idiot.

4. Morgase and Tallanvor marry and Morgase finally returns to Caemlyn with Galad to see Elayne. Just talk about whatever stood out to you.

Morgase had to be asked by Tallanvor. She does need the romance to make it work. I hope Tallanvor is up for it.

It was great seeing the family reunion and also seeing how drama-free things were between Elayne and Morgase over who has what power. It was all very practical.

5. The future of the Two Rivers is discussed and Perrin is given titles. What do you think? Fitting? No so much? Do you think these arrangements will hold in the long term? What of the political “pact” that seems to be forming?

Elayne was a spoiled child during this meeting! WTF? Andor has been ignoring Two Rivers and the greater Emond’s Field for generations and Elayne and Morgase both know this. Also, Elayne has traveled with Perrin, knows that Rand and other Two Rivers folk hold him in high esteem, so threatening to kill him for his ‘rebellion’ was such a petty opening. I know I haven’t been Elayne’s fan throughout this series, but damn! Why did Rand have to mate with the most stupid of the three? Their kids will need the best tutors in the land to keep up with the rest of the noble children.

So, besides wanting to stuff Elayne in a closet and let Morgase handle the chat, I thought the outcome was good. In essence, Two Rivers is autonomous but will ride to Andor’s need whenever there is a need (like the Last Battle) and Andor will assist Two Rivers whenever there are trollocs (hopefully).

6. Androl! I don’t know if we’ve seen him yet (can’t remember) but he’ll play a fairly big role until the end. What do you make of him–good, evil, somewhere in between? And what do you think Taim is up to?

I don’t think we have met Androl before. I think he is good, trying to keep people out of trouble and alive, holding the group together until Logain returns.

I think Taim wants the Asha’men overusing the power to make them a little wild, a little crazy, and that much easier to control and point at a target and turn them loose. I suspect the target will be Rand at some point.

7. What did you think of Mat and Perrin’s little reunion and story swapping? How about the fact that Tuon (Fortunata) still seems intent on destroying the White Tower?

It was so funny to see Mat show up with a badger in a bag! Hopefully, he turned it loose shortly after joking around with Perrin. But I was also, WTF? Where did he come from? Why was he in the trees near Perrin’s camp? Did I miss something? I loved their chitchat about life and being married.

Fortunata is not on my Good List. She not only sees it as a necessity to have tamed Channelers, she also enjoys breaking them! Ugh! I don’t think I can vote for Fortunata. If she doesn’t have some sort of epiphany concerning slavery and basic human rights soon, she will have to die.

Her continued intentions to destroy the White Tower are not well thought out. She knows the Dragon Reborn is good friends with many Aes Sedai and that he supports the White Tower’s continued existence. Do the Seanchan leaders truly feel they could withstand the might of the Tower, the Dragon Reborn, and also the forthcoming tides of darkness? Can’t we just put them all back on boats and send them home to fight hopeless battles!

8. Aviendha feels a resonance with the glass columns and steps through a second time (big no-no, apparently). This time, she’s sure she’s seeing the future, rather than the past. What do you make of what she saw?

At first, I thought all of it was the past. The Seanchan are supposedly descended from Arthur’s armies that sailed east and landed in what is today Seanchan homelands. So I thought the last vision was of Arthur’s armies pushing the early Aiel about.

But if that is not the case and it was indeed a vision of the possible future, then I expect Aviendha will rally the Aiel and the Seanchan and Fortunata will have yet one more force to deal with. Fortunata is not use to loosing and I expect she will have quite a shock to her system when she does. While I am not a big fan of the a’dam, perhaps Fortunata should wear one for a short time to prove to her that she can also Channel, even if it is just a smidgeon. Perhaps she could be Aviendha’s maid in white for a year. Aviendha would be a hard task master, but fair.

Squatch having a snack

Squatch having a snack

Other Tidbits:

I think we all could see that Byar would need to be killed at some point. I did not expect it to be Bornhald, but I did find it quite fitting.

I was surprised so little time was spent on Lan realizing he was now Bonded to Nynaeve.

I am looking forward to Gawyn seeing his mom alive and having to smack himself in the face for wanting Rand dead over her supposed death.

Mat is married and still hasn’t bedded his bride. I am sure that is frustrating!

Best of 2014

ElwesLaydenAsYouWishA big thank you to all the publishers, authors, and narrators who generously provided review copies, especially the audiobooks. Thanks to all my book blogger friends, real life friends, and family who recommended books, or simply let me babble on about books even when you really didn’t care. According to Goodreads (which I don’t use religiously but perhaps I should just for the stats) says I read 116 books this year, the majority of which were audiobooks. Here is my list of favorites from 2014. Enjoy!

SummersLightningWolvesAs You Wish by Cary Elwes – Nonfiction: True adventures of the filming of the movie The Princess Bride. Lots of good stuff to make you laugh.

AlvaVosper'sRevengeLightning Wolves by David Lee Summers – Steampunk: Wild west gets even wilder in this multi-cultural steampunk adventure.

BernheimerPenniesForferrymanVosper’s Revenge by Kristian Alva – Epic Fantasy: Book 3 of the series and a most excellent wrap up to the first trilogy in this world. Intense and insightful!

Pennies for the Ferryman by Jim BernheimerUrban fantasy: Mike Ross is a reluctant detective with a bad eye that lets him communicate with the ghost world. A great nitty-gritty ride. 

Ancient Stout being used as a bookstand.

CampbellDragonsOfDorcastleThe Art of Eating through the Zombie Apocalypse by Lauren Wilson & Kristian Bauthus – Nonfiction: Cookbook, survival book, and snarky humor on the end of civilization as we know it.

ShrumDyingForALivingDragons of Dorcastle by Jack Campbell – Epic Fantasy: Book 1 in a new series with some steampunk thrown in with unreal magic. Excellent world building in this book!

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Dying for a Living by Kory M. Shrum – Urban Fantasy: Jesse is a Necronites who can take the place of another in death….and come back to life. I almost passed this book up and it turned out to be one of my faves of the year. I thank the book gnomes for preventing me from being a total dunce!

PriestMaplecroftWords of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson – Epic Fantasy: Book 2 in the Stormlight Archives and some of the best fiction I have ever read, hands-down.

7912701Maplecroft by Cherie Priest – Gothic Horror: Take Lizzie Borden and Cthulu monsters and you have something cunningly magnificent. Dare I say this is what Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, and HP Lovecraft have been waiting for?

WillisAllClearBoneshaker by Cherie Priest – Steampunk: The Civil War hasn’t ended and the Pacific Northwest remains in shambles due to an industrial accident. Complex world surrounds a complex relationship between a mother and son.

SeboldShanghaiSparrowAll Clear by Connie Willis – Time Travel: Book 2 in the All Clear series is an excellent wrap up to Blackout (WWII historical fiction).

MartinDeadlyCuriositiesShanghai Sparrow by Gaie Sebold – Steampunk: Awesome multi-cultural fiction with a stubborn lass at the center of it.

BowmanArrowThroughAxesDeadly Curiosities by Gail Z. Martin – Urban Fantasy: Certain objects attract ghosts or hold onto malevolent memories. Time to call in the right detectives to neutralize the object!

AlexanderAmbassadorArrow through the Axes by Patrick Bowman – Classic Retelling: Book 3 concludes Bowman’s excellent retelling of the ancient The Odyssey.

JangDearLeaderAmbassador by William Alexander – Science Fiction: Awesome adventure that asks so much from one young lad.

Cats: Picky readers.

Dear Leader by Jang Jin-sung – Nonfiction: A look inside North Korea from a native poet and spy. Absolutely fascinating.

FremantleSistersOfTreasonThe Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman – Historical Fiction: Beautiful story of two young people in NY during one of the worst fires in history.

LornDastardlyBastardSisters of Treason by Elizabeth Fremantle – Historical Fiction: The sisters of Lady Jane Grey must navigate murky political waters for decades, and they do not always succeed.

KozeniewskiBraineaterJonesDastardly Bastard by Edward Lorn – Horror: A fast-paced, intense ride right up to the end.

Braineater Jones by Stephen Kozeniewski – Urban Fantasy: Think noir detective meets zombies. Yeah. Pretty fucking awesome indeed.

One of the few times Smudge has willingly held still for her photo.

JordanNewSpringThe Kingdom of the Gods by N. K. Jemisin – Epic Fantasy: Book 3 of The Inheritance Trilogy offers a beautiful ending to this complex and rich series.

AtwoodMaddAddamNew Spring by Robert Jordan – Epic Fantasy: I believe this to be Jordan’s finest work in The Wheel of Time series.

Grahame-SmithAustenPrideAndPrejudiceAndZombiesThe MaddAddam Trilogy by Margaret Atwood – Dystopian: I read all three of these books this year and each blew me away in different ways. Atwood had me laughing one minute and wanting to punch something the next.

Streak sleeping in his basket.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith & Jane Austen – Classic Retelling: Yep, hoity-toity aristocracy of England has been infested with zombies. And now it is fashionable to send your kids off to Asia to become martial arts experts. A most excellent and entertaining book!

The Mystery of Grace by Charles de Lint – Paranormal Fantasy: A captivating tale of a mechanic who has to figure out a way to free herself and others from a mundane afterlife.

Towers of Midnight, Part VI

JordanTowersOfMidnightBannerWelcome everyone to Book 13 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. You can find the schedule to Towers of Midnight over HERE. Everyone is welcome to join us!

This week, I am the 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 the insight and wicked humor.

This week, we covered the Chapters 34-40. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1) Perrin goes through his trial. What did you think of it? Morgase provides judgement but hands off the punishment decision to Galad; why do you think she did so? What do you think Galad has in mind for punishment? Will Perrin ever see that punishment?

I found the trial to be incomplete, anticlimatic, and not really satisfying. I didn’t feel that Perrin particularly explained the situation. Also, I really wanted the Two Rivers stuff to be covered, at least in part. I think it is important for both Morgase and Galad to hear how the Whitecloaks and the Andorran government failed Two Rivers. So even if that is not relevant to the death of the two Whitecloaks, I was sure Bayar was going to bring it up to ‘disprove’ Perrin’s character.

I think Morgase passed the buck on assigning punishment for multiple reasons. She just got back in the saddle of acting like a ruler and probably needs to share the power; Galad obviously needs to have some accountability in the outcome instead of simply ‘following his mom’s orders'; and I think Morgase is genuinely curious to see what Galad does.

Right now, I don’t think Galad had decided on the punishment, especially with Bayar’s testimony proving to be unreliable. He was probably relieved when Perrin insisted it wait until after the Last Battle. As such, I am not sure Perrin will ever see a punishment from the Whitecloaks as there is so much that could happen by then.

2) Perrin spent a lot of time in the Wolf Dream during this section. He and his small band of wolves fought Slayer more than once. What did you think of these multiple fights? How about Egwene’s reaction to Perrin (and vice versa) in the Wolf Dream/T’A’R?

I really liked these fights. They were intense and showed more of Slayer’s personality, which is great since we have only had glimpses of him up until now. It was pretty hard to lose Hopper, and the other wolves. In some ways, Perrin has now lost a second family.

Egwene’s reaction to Perrin was so funny! OK, I know, each of them assumed that the other had simply wandered in and didn’t know what they were doing and needed to be kept safe. But Egwene actively attempted to wrap Perrin up in bands of air, and then ropes! Her Amyrlin stole has made her a little arrogant, just a teensy bit.

3) Egwene has a meaningful meeting in T’A’R with the Sea Folk, the Wise Ones, and some of her Aes Sedai. Why do you think the Kinswomen were not invited? Will these leaders be able to convince their folk that trading apprentices is a good idea?

I am not sure why Egwene left them out. Perhaps she felt it would have been too much for the Wise Ones, Sea Folk, and Aes Sedai to accept all at once. After all, a good chunk of the Kinswomen are rejected women who weren’t powerful enough to be Aes Sedai. So if Egwene set them down at the same table, it would be proclaiming them as equals (which Egwene could probably do in her head, but the other ladies might have serious issue with). Perhaps she will make that a future step.

And, yes, I believe these leaders will be able to convince their respective folks that this is a good idea, and if not that, then inevitable and necessary. Some of the Aes Sedai argued that the White Tower’s surpeme dominance among Channelers should not be given up, but Egwene made excellent arguments as to why that was a dumbass idea.

4) Egwene battles Mesaana and wins. Do you think Egwene received a valuable nudge from Perrin (he blocked Balefire!!!) and was able to apply that to the a’dam? Who do you think Mesaana was impersonating in the real world?

Yes, I believe Perrin’s easy blocking of Balefire in T’A’R and his comment about how they are just weaves was in Egwene’s background thoughts as she struggled with Mesaana and the a’dam. Perrin rocks!

I am not sure who Mesaana was disguised as in the real world, but I am not convinced that she was in the White Tower. Tar Valon is more than the Tower, it is also a main city, with plenty of nobility and ruling merchants.

5) Gawyn and Egwene are now Bonded! But at what cost? Was it too little too late? Or are these stubborn lovesick fools going to have a lifetime to irritate each other?

You know, I am going to go against the flow here and say I do hope it is too little too late. These guys have been idiots for far too long and this story line needs some real consequences. So, I am OK with either Gawyn dying here and now or the two of them turning out to hate each other and having to get separated by the end of the book.

6) We spent just a tiny amount of time with Aviendha as she is headed to Rhuidean. She meets a mysterious woman, Nakomi, in the wastes. What did you get out of their conversation? Any guesses as to who/what Nakomi is?

This is one of those meaningful moments that is also a WTF moment. Nakomi does give Aviendha plenty to think about and since she is First Sister to Elayne, bonded to Rand, and will most likely be a leading force of the Aiel, her thoughts, words, and actions will hold importance. Their conversation was interesting and I am pretty sure it will turn out to have significance later.

But it was also out of the blue and it appears that Nakomi has powers that Aviendha can’t explain. She may very well be something that us readers haven’t been introduced to yet, at the 11th hour of the series.

7) Perrin has forged a new hammer. Feel free to comment on this scene. What powers do you think the hammer has? Will Perrin & his Channelers make more weapons for the coming Last Battle?

Perrin is finally getting his shit together, thank goddess! The hammer forging scene was pretty awesome. Perrin needed to create, since he had spent so much time of late destroying, and he did an awesome job making something new with a skill that hasn’t been seen in an age.

I am not sure what powers the hammer has but I am hoping for imbued strength & endurance to the wielder, shielding, and lightning. That shouldn’t be too much to ask for, right?

I expect that once Perrin & crew get a moment to breathe that they will either teach others how to make such weapons, or do the making themselves.

Squatch having a snack

Squatch having a snack

Other Tidbits:

I liked that Morgase left with Perrin after the trial, showing everyone that Perrin has her confidence in the fact that he is a good man.

Did anyone else get a Samwise, the Ring, & Mount Doom vibe when Perrin destroyed the Dreamspike?

Slayer and Perrin fight & fight and then Perrin sees this door of Darkness and charges Slayer. So, did I miss it? Is Slayer dead, falling through the dark abysses of the The Ways? Are we not suppose to know yet?

Berelain tells Faile that Rand wanted her to pursue and marry Perrin. This woman is rather delusional. So she should be a good match for the equally delusional Galad.

Speaking of Mr. Delusional, I really hope he figures out quick that Perrin & army are fighting the trollocs, instead of directing them to attack Whitecloaks.