Winter’s Heart Read Along Part III

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or something like that. ;)

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

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

Other Tidbits

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

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

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

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

Winter’s Heart Read Along Part II

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

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

This week we covered Chapters 3-7. Spoilers are having a party below!

1) What did everyone make of the Shaido’s treatment of Faile, Maighdin, Alliandre, Bain, Chiad, Lacile, and Arrela during the march through the snow? Harsh? As expected?

At first, this made sense. It is much, much harder for captives to get all uppity and host ideas of escaping if they are trussed up naked and forced to march through the snow. But then things got a little weird. We had Faile being carried over Rolan’s shoulder and repeatedly slapped on the ass – and her deepest thoughts liking it because it kept her awake (nudge, nudge, wink, wink). We had two of the ladies thrown naked into the snow and switched, leaving red stripes on creamy white buttocks. Uh…..yeah. Totally the wet dream of 13-30 year old males. If we had a few males captives that received the same treatment, I could have lent this scene more credence. As it stands, I think it was written to appeal to a certain segment of the fans.

Why don’t we take a moment and picture some of the guys naked, trussed, and marching through the snow. They have learned to ignore their nudity and are just focused on surviving. But now they are faltering. Do the Shaido sling them over their shoulders and carry them the rest of the way? Do the men balk at it? Do they scream and contort as they get switched? Do they learn to like the slaps on the ass because it helps keep them awake?  Hmm…..Well, I know who I pictured for this scene. Who did you picture? ;)

2) Faile and crew meet the Shaido Wise Ones (Therava & Someryn) and also the Aes Sedai Galina. What do you think of the Wise Ones speaking so openly of Sevanna’s orders? Will Galina be of any help to Faile?

I was a bit surprised that the Wise Ones were so openly disparaging Sevanna’s plans to take so many captives. I wonder if this is a reflection of the huge level of dissent among the troops, or is it a reflection of Aiel culture – meaning that the Aiel don’t expect gaishan to make anything of their comments, good or bad, about the leadership. It’s build into the Aiel culture that the gaishan are completely subservient, so they might feel 100% comfortable discussing nearly anything around them.

Or they might be ready to gut Sevanna themselves.

If Galina does help Faile and crew, I expect it will come at a high price. I do have to say I am a little concerned that Faile and crew will botch any escape attempt and have to pay a steep price for it. Galina knows this and I don’t think she will lightly risk her hide to help Faile (even if Galina stayed behind).

3) It seems that Berelain is taking advantage of Faile’s absence and Perrin’s fatigue. Where do you think her flirtations will take her? Given the chance, what would you do with her at this point?

In general, I don’t agree with hitting people in the face (unless it is a bit of slap to bring them out of some hysteria or to keep them from sticking a knife in someone you care about), but I may just make an exception in Berelain’s case. And I think Perrin should be the first allowed to smack her.

As to what it will get her? I am not sure what she is playing for. Is it simple lust? Does she think that Perrin has lands and armies to offer Berelain and her country? She would have a stronger alliance in Faile if only she could make friends with her, but I can’t see that happening after this last bout of stupidity. Perrin isn’t going to want to bed her, even if she manages to break him and Faile apart.

Perhaps the Aes Sedai could lend her a smooth white rod? ;)

4) They are on the hunt! Talanvor left on his own to pursue the Shaido hours ahead of Perrin and crew. Perrin had to chastise the Cha Faile for their spying activities. The Asha’men want to lead the charge. Add to that, Masema offering to assist. Will Perrin’s anger explode? How can this hunt possibly be derailed?

So many possibilities! For entertainment’s sake, let’s say Talanvor finds the Shaido first, but decides to try to rescue the ladies all on his own instead of heading back and getting reinforcements. So he ends up captured and forced to walk naked in the snow, trussed in his own pants. Maybe he will even get switched or carried like a sack of grain. We can only hope, as we have heard how handsome he is.

I expect the Cha Faile will totally forget they promised to follow Perrin’s orders as soon as they catch sight of the Shaido. They are not thoroughly trained as warriors, not like the Aiel, and I expect plenty of blundering into the Shaido, ending in them being captured too. Meanwhile, the Asha’men are teleporting all over the area scouting for the Shaido. They may have some success and it would be interesting if one or two of them actually teleported directly into the Shaido camp. They may even kill a few Shaido before teleporting out or being killed. This should stir the pot.

Then we got Masema and crew who are fanatical idiots. I am sure they will find some reason to hate the Shaido and therefore, want to eradicate them from the face of Randland (for the good of the Dragon Reborn, may the light illumine his name for all eternity!). At this point, I think Perrin should lead a group of his Aiel into the fray and quietly and quickly collect all the people they want left alive and remove them to some hilltop to watch the fracas.

5) The men escorting Naean and Elenia were ambushed and killed outside Caemlyn. What do you think this portends? Will Elayne be able to unite the houses behind her or is this move the first of several by houses against her? Should the ladies be more concerned about defenses instead of clothing?

It didn’t sound like Naean and Elenia were killed, so I am guessing they were either freed and helped away or captured for whatever info they can give on Elayne and the current state of Caemlyn. Is Elenia one of those ladies who came on to Rand and then had to explain to him how she is not related (at least not even closely) to Elayne?

Anyway, sounds like someone wanted these two free of Elayne – and probably so that they can go against Elayne. I know Elayne is concerned that not all the house are for her, so I am expecting at the least some major political pushing and shoving, and at worst some kind of rebellion, even civil war. Knowing that we still have so many books, I am leaning towards the later.

And, yeah, if I can be concerned over the possibility of civil war, than Elayne can too….which means a focus on defenses is needed instead of forcing her most trusted friends (and now guards) into ‘proper’ attire.

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

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

Other Tidbits

Is Someryn (one of Sevanna’s Wise Ones) the one with the hawk nose? Is this suppose to be the hawk that Min sees around Perrin? Is she and Faile going to hook up and become the best of friends?

Haha! When master Gil was going on about Perrin sampling from too many dishes and Perrin pointed out that he had not even had breakfast, I had to laugh. Giggling over that aside, I was a little sad at how easily people believed Perrin had been dabbling in Berelain, even against his protests.

That short scene with Perrin as a wolf was great. Really enjoyed the switch from wolf-Perrin to groggy, confused, angry, naked Perrin.

Winter’s Heart Read Along Part I

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

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

This week we covered the Prologue through then end of Chapter 2. Spoilers are having a party below!

1. With Talene’s capture, do you think we have seen the beginning of the end of the Black Ajah? Do you think the rebel moles will do more good hunting darkfriends than they did spreading dissent?

I think it is going to take quite a bit more to bring down the Black Ajah. While they haven’t been the best at planning, they have done a decent job of compartmentalizing. Many only know a few others, and I expect very few, if any of them, know all the Black Ajah. Besides, I want to see some momentous stand off between the Black Ajah and some good guys.

Considering how many Darkfriends, etc. are in the White Tower currently, I think the moles will spread dissent and disquiet by ferreting out Darkfriends. Pretty amusing, if you think about it. They weren’t very good at spreading rumors and dissent on their own. Maybe they saw it as a stupid task. But hunting Darkfriends is real, something they can sink their teeth into. They can do a very good job of causing disorder behind the scenes by forcing the Black Ajah to swear loyalty to them.

And is that messed up or not? What if they had been wrong? I wonder what they would have done after torturing Talene so thoroughly if it turned out she was not Black Ajah.

2. Elayne expects to have to battle for the throne. Do you think so too? Are we overdue for Gawyn to come back? Where is he anyway?

Yes, I expect Elayne will have to battle someone in some way for the throne….just as Rand had to battle various people to keep it safe for her. Of course, she is going to chose to have a fight with Rand over the fact that he ‘gave’ her the thrown. I still find that immature in the extreme. One can acknowledge the effort, the gift (if you must call it that) and still draw the line at allies instead of one being subservient to the other.

But back to Elayne and her real enemies. Yes, folks see the opportunity to yank the thrown out from Elayne’s family line. And why not, with her off doing far more important tasks like trying to seduce Thom, perfecting her high wire act, and pursuing the angreal of all angreals (the Bowl of Winds). Maybe my opinion on Elayne and her ‘right to rule’ are leaking through a bit. I am hoping that she is tested through conflict and that she proves worthy of ruling. Hoping. Not expecting.

Oh, yes! Let’s bring angry, sullen, deadly Gawyn back into the mix! That could be quite fun. Hie heart is torn in two or three between Andor, Egwene, and the White Tower. It is probably time something forced him to chose a side, instead of three.

3. Elayne and Aviendha are ‘born again’ as sisters! What did you think of this birth scene? Do you expect Min to have to go through the same thing?

This scene was way more intense than I expected. Aviendha and Elayne really had to lay everything out there and once having done so, had to decide if they still wanted to be sisters. I was pretty impressed with this scene actually. For every point, good or bad or silly, that the two had to proclaim aloud, the Wise Ones then shot it down, showing how human they each are. I do wonder what the bond will do going forward. Is it something like a Warder bond in that each will feel some of the other’s feelings or pain or inebriation through the link? If so, maybe that is why Aviendha has been so open with Elayne about Rand.

In Aiel culture, do women married to the same man have to be bonded Sisters? Or are they simply just sister wives? I am not sure Min will have to go through the same ritual. After all, she has spent far less time with the Aiel, isn’t as familiar with their culture. Perhaps she will refuse to marry Rand anyway and will just be a sort of friend with benefits. I can see her doing that as it allows her to keep her independence – both from Rand and his wives.

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

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

4. Taim added a few ‘deserters’ of his own. Can we now finally add him to the evil list? Do you think Logain might be able to do something good? Maybe Elayne will be able to help, now that she has visitor’s access?

Yes, I think we can add Taim to the Evil List even though it is quite a long list and it would be nice to add a few more people to the Good List (but we seem to keep killing off the good guys so it’s hard to get new people to apply). It seems that Logain is already very suspicious of Taim and has collected a circle of guys loyal to him. They also seem to have independent plans from Taim and keep tabs on his comings and goings. So as long as Logain doesn’t get killed any time soon, then yes, I think we can see some good come from him.

Elayne’s access to the Black Tower may be her chance to shine as a leader. After all, many people want the Black Tower dead and buried; let’s see how and if she defends it. Next, there is Taim who is just bad mojo in a nice impressive suit. I look forward to seeing Elayne square off with him.

5. Rand has decided to leave palace life and go hunt bad guys. Are you excited? How do you even hunt someone who can travel anyway? And what do you think his idea is to cleanse Saidin?

Well, I always get excited when Rand leaves his entourage behind. It usually means he is off to do something stupid, and may also mean that he will get his ass beat when he returns to the entourage.

It sounds to me like he is trying to lay false trails. As Min points out, he should lay a trail he wants someone(s) to follow and wait in ambush. Short Min with her knives, hiding in the bushes, tall Rand standing behind a tree, sword drawn. OK, they should sit down and work out some of the details. But for a start, that isn’t too bad. I wonder if they will catch Slayer or Moridin or a Forsaken or two. At least some Darkfreind underlings.

I have no idea how Rand will cleanse Saidin. I can’t see that happening easily. He’ll probably run the risk of burning himself out. Min will probably have to carry his near-carcass back to civilization. Honestly, I think this task is so huge, so momentous, that it can’t happen until the last book. And wouldn’t it need more than Rand, like maybe 13 Asha’men and Aes Sedai linked to carry it out? If it was simple, something a single determined man could do, then it probably would have been at least attempted before if not accomplished.

6. Perrin’s problems are just piling up: Masema will join him, and now he has to chase down Shaido while keeping his own Aiel safe from his other soldiers. Will this unlikely alliance ever hold together, or do you expect some spectacular blow-up sometime?

Blow up. We need one. Since Faile can’t be yelling at Perrin or throttling Berelain while she is held captive, we need some other source for the drama. So, yeah, I can see some of the wool-headed louts in Perrin’s entourage deciding to go after the Aiel in Perrin’s group. The Aiel will not take this well and they are already on edge, having lost some of their own. I am also not sure about Berelain and which road she will take. At first, it seemed she was trying to give Perrin sympathy (in a professional way) but then she went all seductive on him. So inappropriate. I liked that Perrin told her off, but somehow, I don’t think she will take the hint.

Then the wolves are even telling Perrin to let Faile go, to mourn her, and to move one. So sad. But it would be wrong to slap the wolves, wouldn’t it?

Other Tidbits

Mazrim Taim kept stealing glances at Elayne’s bum! While I understand that Elayne wants to handle Taim herself, does she really expect no one else will tell Rand?

Very interesting about the 51 Aes Sedai captured by Logain and his men, and all bonded to Asha’men. Logain himself has two now, and the one bedding him found the experience quite educational and exhilarating. ;)

Very cool to have some steam engines going on at the university. I foresee some Steampunk goodness in the WoT future!

The Path of Daggers Read Along Part VI

PathOfDaggersBannerHere we are at the final week of The Path of Daggers, but don’t worry, we’ll be continuing with Book 9, Winter’s Heart, next week. Anyone is welcome to join us, so check out the schedule over HERE.

This week, Sue from Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers is our host. Don’t forget to check out Liesel from Musings on Fantasia. Our walking WoT encyclopedia, Eivind, can be found in the comments at Sue’s.

This week we covered Chapters 27-End. Spoilers run free and in their birthday suits below!

1. The Sea Folk have made a Bargain with Rand. Do you agree with him that it is not as restricting as it might seem? Were you impressed with his scheming way of immediately seeing a way to their demands to reduce their impact?

I have been pondering this one all night. I have obviously missed something. I recall that there is a deal to allow the Sea Folk a port in every coastal/big river city and that they actually are to be given a small slice of each city. But that was way earlier in the book, right? Hmm….was this is passing before Rand’s rooms exploded?

2. I honestly thought that Cadsuane had met her end and that Rand was going to burn her into a tiny, crispy pile of ashes. Knowing what we do about her intentions, were you surprised by how she dealt with him? Are you worried about his anger management issues?

I am glad that Cadsuane will be serving as Rand’s adviser and also glad that she won’t be groveling when she does so. Rand already has enough people groveling at him (those who do so willingly and those who are forced to). This week, Cadsuane was wearing the Big Brass Balls (in her brazier of course!).

Of course we’re all worried about Rand’s anger management issues, but we also know that he hasn’t lost all self-control (remember that beating he took at the beginning of this section? He totally could have annihilated all those Aiel Maidens if he had wanted to).

3. The Super Girls have a murderer in their midst. This was a total shock to me, but did you see it coming? Do you have any suggestions for the murderer’s identity and the reason behind the deaths?

Halima is still with them, right? In many ways, this death of Ipsan, a Darkfriend, makes a lot of sense with Halima, a Forsaken in disguise, hanging around. Still, this was pretty brutal. Not only were Ipsan and her keeper-of-the-day slipped some paralyzing poison which would eventually kill them, but then they were slaughtered on top of it. I would say that whoever the murderer is, they have some anger management issues. And the list of suspects isn’t limited to Halima. We know that Moridin can come and go as he likes. Plus if Ipsan was the only Drakfreind in Egwene’s army, I will eat my man’s shorts. (He won’t be happy about that as he gets quite attached to his underwear).

4. We witness the rather unpleasant demise of Jaichim Carridin and Falion Bhoda being terrified into submission. Any thoughts on Lady Shiaine and her activities? Is anyone else seriously creeped out by Daved Hanlon and his unpleasant memories?

Daved seems to be the kind of mercenary that revels in his work, specifically the rape and pillage kind of work. And Lady Shiaine asks him if he has ever put hands on a queen before. That limits the list a bit. Perhaps the Darkfriends are trying to recapture Morgase, or they want Elayne taken out. Those would be the first 2 I would worry about. Of course there are other queens. Still, I am not sure what else Daved can do besides fantasy and go for easy targets. Perhaps he looks helpful or harmless or charming and this lets him get hired on and then later, grasp an opportunity.

5. It would seem that there are some rogue Asha’man. I think that Dashiva has always seemed rather ‘off’, but were you surprised that they attacked Rand so openly? Do you think that this will postpone any chance of him ‘visiting’ Elayne in the near future?

Yeah, this attack seemed to lack  planning and forethought. Still, if Rand had not made off to go deal with matters at the drop of a hat, it might just have worked. You can’t distrust everyone.

Min needs to toss the boy through a portal into Elayne’s arms. This needs must be for 2 reasons: 1) They need to have an argument about Rand ‘giving’ her the throne; 2) They need to play kissy face.

And, yes, Rand is giving her the throne. He held it long enough for her, kept it fresh and unsoiled, protected it with blood, cussing, and warriors. She was off playing circus performer and savior of the weather. In this matter, I think Elayne is being childish. I hope she grows up a tad and takes note of how hard it is to hold a crown in waiting for someone else, someone who rather be doing highwire acts.

6. The aftermath of the attack was rather strange and I was seriously disturbed by Rand’s murder of Fedwin Morr. Why did he suddenly have the mind of a child and why did Rand kill him? Did Taim’s appearance make you more or less suspicious of him?

I am not sure how Fedwin got the mind of a child. I am guessing that someone’s use of the Power burned his mind – but I don’t know if that was his use or the close proximate use of the Power by another spilling over onto Fedwin.

As Min noted, she had to use all her skills to convince him to play with the wooden blocks instead of taking stones out of the castle walls to play with. I think Rand felt that he had to let Fewin go for 2 reasons – that it was a mercy to release him from a damaged mind and also he was now an unpredictable child with the powers of a full Channeler and could in a temper or in play do real harm to so many people. Still, I wonder why they couldn’t keep them sedated while they check around with the Healers (of all varieties) to see if anything could be done. That would have been less poignant though.

OK, so a few week’s back I popped onto WoT Wiki or some basic info. I was just looking for a list to jar my memory and I accidentally came across a spoiler about Taim. I have been on the fence about him, feeling he is an arrogant sot, but not sure if he is evil or good. Now that I have this blasted spoiler in my head, I know which he is. But I will not give anything away. If I didn’t have that spoiler, I would suspect Taim more because of the Asha’men attack, but I wouldn’t necessarily be convinced. Stranger coincidences have occurred. For instance, for a while, I was very suspicious of Bashere, but of late he has proved himself a true friend and a good guy.

7. The last ‘real’ chapter was packed with “Argh!” moments! Do you think that Masema might give himself a coronary if Perrin aggravates him enough? Did Berelain escape to warn Perrin about the Shaido taking Faile? Why on Earth did we have to stop just as the rebels arrived at Tar Valon??????

Haha! Yes, I do hope that Masema simply undoes himself with some embolism or such. What a hard ass! I would like Perrin to show him a little more disrespect to push him over the edge.

I hope Berelain escaped and I think she will warn whoever she bumps into first. Afterall, it doesn’t necessarily have to be Perrin. Rand or Mat or Birgitte or Nynaeve will do. Really, any of our main good guys.

Next book should have a ton of goodness for us, since the ‘rebels’ have reached Tar Valon. Shit is going down!

Extra Tidbits

I found it very touching that 1) The Maidens were pissed enough at Rand to give him a good beating (but also avoid his lingering injuries); 2) That Rand did not turn them into puddles of goo and agreed with the beating; and 3) That Min tried to protect him instead of joining in. Of course, this beating was followed by a rather public bath, which I found amusing and also may have served as a kind of punishment too.

I think these books are getting progressively a little darker each time and more adult. What does it say that I am enjoying this series more and more as it matures?

I have to admit that I have missed some people this book – Mat and Loial are the two main ones. Looking forward to seeing where their storylines sit.

Once Upon A Time VIII

OnceUponATime8It is that time of the year folks! Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings is hosting his annual fantasy fiction event, Once Upon A time VIII. Hooray! So many folks participate, making this a fun ramble through people’s enjoyments of fantasy fiction.

While I have only participated for the last few years in this event, it has had a special place for me. First, it kicks off on March 21st, the Spring equinox, and the day after my birthday. Consider it mildly egotistical if you must, but I have always found the Spring equinox to be a magical time. Couple that with the event ending June 2oth, the Summer equinox (another special time in my mind) and how could I resist this event? Things change on equinoxes, especially in the mountains of northern New Mexico. Like in my vegetable garden.

WilsonRoadToRebirthThis year, I will be attempting Quest the Third. This quest challenges me to read fantasy fiction that fits into the four categories (fantasy, or folklore, or fairy tales, or mythology) and to read or watch A Midsummer Night’s Dream. If I am lucky, I will also corner my man in the oak grove under a full moon with a soft blanket and tasty libation (but don’t expect a DoD post on it!) ;).

So, what will I be reading? Well, Carl and so many others are joining us in reading Brandon Sanderson’s Words of Radiance (Book 2 of the Stormlight Archive). Also, Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time read along continues with Book 9, Winter’s Heart. Anyone is welcome to join in those group reads.

MartinDeadlyCuriositiesAlso, I have a pile of review books that fit into the fantasy genre, so I plan to use this challenge to help me plow through some of those. Some pretty exciting things lurk in that pile: Dean Wilson‘s sequel to The Call of Agon is itching to be read. The Road to Rebirth looks very exciting! I am also giving Netgalley another try with Deadly Curiosities by Gail Z. Martin and Shanghai Sparrow by Gaie Sebold. Georgina Garrastazu just released her Toltec fiction called Jaguars. That looks intense!

SeboldShanghaiSparrowAnd I am sure I will squeeze in some others. This year I think I will just have fun winging it.

Anyone and everyone is invited to this event, because that the kind of crazy cool Carl is. So head over to his blog if it sounds like something fun!

GarrastazuJaguars

Winter’s Heart Read Along: The Schedule

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

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

Welcome everyone to the continuation of The Wheel of Time Read Along! The WoT Quad returns for Book 9, Winter’s Heart. As always, big thanks to my fellow readers who keep this read along going strong – Sue at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers, our encyclopediac commenter Eivind, and Liesel from Musings on Fantasia.

Anyone is welcome to join us, so if you would like the discussion questions a few days before the post dates, just leave me a comment.

Week 1 April 6  Prologue-Chapter 2, 116 pages, Eivind

Week 2 April 13 Chapters 3-7, 95 pages, DoD

Week 3 April 20 Chapters 8-11, 103 pages, MoF

Week 4 April 27 Chapters 12-17, 115 pages, CCCP

Week 5 May 4 Chapters 18-23, 112 pages, Eivind

Week 6 May 11 Chapters 24-29, 120 pages, DoD

Week 7 May 18 Chapter 30-END, 125 pages, MoF

The Path of Daggers Read Along Part V

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

This week, Liesel from Musings on Fantasia is your host. Our walking WoT encyclopedia, Eivind, can be found in the comments at Liesel’s. Make sure to also check out Sue from Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers.

This week we covered Chapters 22-26. Spoilers run free and in their birthday suits below!

1. Most of this section comprised Rand’s battle against the Seanchan. What are your thoughts about this section? You can address the nobles, how Rand handled it, how the battle went, how it was written, and/or what the ramifications will be. Basically anything you want.

We didn’t get to see much of the action and things were kind of broken up. If I understood correctly, this battle took several days to wrap up, but the individual scenes kind of ran together for me, feeling like they all happened in one day.

I will say that I do like how it started off with Rand almost taking an arrow and ended with Bashere slamming his head into the ground to get him to stop with the lightning bolts on the friendly forces. Bashere has big brass balls!

2. The two noble women with Rand pulled out belt knives when Rand was thrown from his horse. He wondered if they’d been meaning to kill him or protect him before Bashere came crashing to the rescue. What do you think?

Hmm…I think it was a combination of the killing Rand (if it didn’t cost them anything) and possibly protecting themselves from him. If you are protecting someone, then usually one person assists while the other faces outward with their weapon(s) to scare or fight off whoever is attacking. I didn’t see either lady doing that, but then neither are particularly use to fights, let alone battles.

Still, as ignorant as they may be of basics on the battlefield, I wouldn’t trust them while I slept.

3. Liandrin is a slave to the Seanchan! Thoughts? Feelings? Expletives?

Well, at least now I can believe that Liandrin has been punished half-way decently. Just another half to go! :)

If Liandrin gets passed on to a Seanchan Darkfriend, this could be a bad thing as they could do quite a bit of damage together. Still, wasn’t she weeping copiously at one point, when it was just her and her Seanchan mistress left after an encounter with an Asha’man? I kind of wondered if she had been Stilled by the Asha’man, but perhaps it was just a big fright to have to face off with a man who can Channel.

4. Rand’s bundle turns out to be Callandor. What do you think of the way he tried to make use of it and why it didn’t work? Or did it?

Rand seems to be getting further and further away from planning things out. More and more, we see him acting impulsively. Here, we see the same. He took up Callandor in a fit of anger and pride and he didn’t direct his efforts in a direction or towards a certain group of people. Granted, he had to fight Callandor and Saidin. Still, very very sloppy.

5. We see a major shift in Rand’s thoughts/personality here. He’s gone from the bumbling farm hand to a somewhat arrogant battle lord. Thoughts about this? How will it affect events and his chances of making it to the Last Battle?

We still have many, many books to go before the Last Battle….er, unless the Last Battle takes place over 2 or 3 books. Anyway, still several books away. So, we definitely need someone or several someones to take Rand down a notch on the battlefield. If they don’t, we’re going to end up with a burned out or dead Rand and lots of dead allies. If no one else is quite ready to slap the idiot, I volunteer!

Honestly, I expect Cadsuane and perhaps Sorilea to step up to this task and bring Rand back to his center. Then folks can breathe a breath of relief until the Last Battle.

6. Alviarin disappeared from the Tower for two weeks before suddenly returning to stomp all over Elaida again. Where do you think she went? And what is Mesaana up to with that decree recognizing claiming the Tower is “guiding” the Dragon Reborn?

I have no idea what Alviarin is up to. Maybe meeting with Suroth of the Seanchan, swapping secrets and giggling like only Darkfriend girls can. Wherever she was, she was up to no good as I doubt she would go off to run errands, like picking up carrots and embroidery thread, herself.

I think Mesaana’s decree is a mix of underestimating Rand and underestimating Egwene. Rand doesn’t particularly care if the White Tower, let along Elaida, is behind him. (Granted, part of that is his arrogance and believing he can take care of business on his own). Then we have Egwene who is shortly (hopefully) going to unleash Aes Sedai badassery upon the Tower and wreck so many plans. (Can you tell I am so looking forward to that? :))

As to what Mesaana is planning longer term and is hoping to accomplish with that decree, I don’t know specifically. I am fairly certain it is a bid for control and power, but when is that not the case with the Forsaken?

7. The sisters Elaida sent to break (*snorts*) the Black Tower is easily brought to heel. What do you think Logain did to Toveine and what will happen to the Tower sisters who were captured?

Haha! Well, Logain kissed her, even was polite about it. As to what that kiss did, I am guessing it is some kind of Compulsion or Bond. But obviously it is not like a Warder Bond as Toveine would recognize that kind of Bond. She’s mush more pliable now, and I look forward to more entertaining interactions with Logaine. Maybe this is the only way Asha’men can get dates these days? ;)

If I recall, Rand ordered that all captured sisters were to be brought to him first, and then he was going to hand them over to the Aes Sedai. Though I think he would do better to hand them over to the Wise Ones, but that’s just my opinion.

Extra Tidbits

Rand, dashing through the Traveling gates first…..and nearly taking an arrow or two. Rash, very rash.

What is that silly lady’s name, the one with the horse with no bottom? She tried wiggling her charms at Rand! Haha! I wish Rand had been in a joking mood and had waggled his eyebrows back at her, just to see her face drain of color.

Witch hunting, even for Darkfriends, is a messed up business!

The Path of Daggers Read Along Part IV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Extra Tidbits

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

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

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

The Path of Daggers Read Along Part III

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

This week, our walking WoT encyclopedia, Eivind, is our host. You can catch his answers in the comments. Make sure to also check out Sue from Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers and Liesel from Musings on Fantasia.

This week we covered Chapters 10-15. Spoilers run free and in their birthday suits below!

1. Winter is finally here, and Perrin gets a whole country from Santa, even if it’s a small and war-torn one. What a jolly mix of unwilling rulers, weak rulers, strong rulers, sexy rulers and ex-rulers… never mind the Prophet! What will this look like when Perrin gets back to Rand, whenever that could be?

Perrin is inadvertently gathering his little collection of followers. Potentially, this could exacerbate any kind of falling out Rand and Perrin could have in the future. There is already some disagreement over how the Aes Sedai (given over to the Aiel) have been treated. Personally, I think Egwene needs to give Perrin bat to his ears as she had to go through much of the same as the Aes Sedai. The Aiel are tough on everyone, not just obnoxious Aes Sedai.

Others may also start to encourage Perrin to break from the Dragon Reborn, or even challenge him. So, yeah, lots of potential for grief and consternation.

2. Moridin appears to be marshaling the efforts of the dark side. Do you think they’ll be more successful now that they’re under unified leadership? Now that Cyndane is here, I challenge you all to guess the identities of her and Moridin. Are you expecting any more forsaken to show up?

Oh, I suck at these. I need some rhyme or little song to remember all the Forsaken. But it would probably be wrong to put the Forsaken names to some child’s sing-song rhyme.

Arghhhhhh!!!! OK, I just went over to the Wheel of Time Wiki to look for a simple list of the Forsaken to help jog my memory and bumped into a TON of BIG spoilers for later in the series. Fuck, I hate doing that.

So, It is my memory of the Forsaken and this question. Sammael is supposedly dead and not coming back. Same with Asmodean. Lanfear is MIA and assumed dead by everyone but the readers. I guess Cyndane could be Lanfear redone. Graendal didn’t seem to have any regard for her until she saw that Moghedien was deferring to her.

I don’t really have a guess for Moridin. Well, I don’t have a good educated guess. I have some crappy guesses. Perhaps he is an Asha’man hidden at the Black Tower, poised to strike down the idiot good side at the best moment. He isn’t the laughing Myrrdraal that has so much say, being the walking, talking mouthpiece of the Dark One.

And, yes, I expect Forsaken to keep being regurgitated back into the world during the second half of the series. And can Dark Friends be elevated to Forsaken?

3. The long-awaited meeting between Cadsuane and Sorilea took place. Was it everything you hoped for? What’s your opinion on their common quest?

This was awesome! And I love how they traded some skills as a sign of respect and trust. Quite nice. And yes, I am pleased that they both seem to be united in keeping Rand sane by reminding him he is human.

Now, I want to see them both dogpile him and have a tickle fight with him – to the point where he is laughing and crying at the same time, and perhaps on the brink of peeing his pants. That would nice. Too much to ask for?

4. The latest status report from the Black Tower reveals a good number of deserters, madmen and losses to accidents. Do you feel like Rand has control of the situation? He reveals that he’s thinking about cleansing Saidin, that he asked the Aelfinn about it but doesn’t understand their answer. Do you expect him to be able to, and if so how? Could this help the Black Tower situation somehow?

Wow! This is a messed up situation. Rand needs to step in and have a good hard look himself. I can agree with letting the mad go easily in their sleep, but the heads on spikes thing is a bit much. And why isn’t he asking why people continue to desert even after the heads on spikes policy became a thing? I smell poor management that is too heavy handed….and perhaps enjoys bringing suffering to others.

Since Book 1, I have guessed that Rand would need to cleanse Saidin at some point. But, frankly, I think this will be done in the final book – and it might be more of side effect of defeating the Dark One. It’s cool he is thinking about it now, and starting to try to figure out how to make that happen. After all, none of us really want to see Rand go insane. Well, not unless his women drive him to it. ;)

So, with that in mind, I expect that once Rand saves the world, there will be some version of the Black Tower at the end and yes, having a clean power source would help them. In fact, the Aes Sedai might just deign to bed the Asha’men and live in harmony, etc.

5. Egwene is back, and she has a plan involving the Andoran border defense force somehow. Any guesses as to what’s on her mind?

Hmm…. well, I didn’t really give this much thought at the time. I’m trying to recall how the Andorans fight – knights? archers? Hmm… Maybe she plans to invoke Elayne’s name to get assistance from Andor in gaining a free path to the White Tower? But it would probably go better if Elayne put in a personal appearance.

Then of course there are the Seanchan. I know Egwene is going to want to kick their asses. So maybe she will arrange for the two forces (Seanchan and Andoran border defense) to meet. Hmm….maybe she can arrange for the White Tower to meet the Seanchan and these two forces can strike away at each other, whittling down their forces, making it that much easier for Egwene to come in and assume control.

So, obviously I have no clue. But I certainly look forward to finding out what Egwene has planned.

6. Galina is forced to swear obedience on an oath rod, and a few chapters later we see Egwene and Siuan debate the relevance of the oaths for Aes Sedai (which is not to lie, not to make weapons, and not to use the power as a weapon). If I’m not mistaken it’s the first time we see how it works (it’s physically impossible for Galina to disobey). What are your thoughts on this?

I think we have been told that the oath rods were originally made to force obedience from criminal elements, right? In that sense, it is probably more humane that other punishments, and with better results. However, the original purpose seems to be long outdated and twisted. No wonder the Aes Sedai as a whole are always trying to find a way to twist things, get out of promises, and appear to agree to things when in fact they don’t. If the Aes Sedai spent as much as they do on this twisting everything as on trying to be decent people, then I bet far more would get done.

Sevaana definitely doesn’t need an oath rod sworn follower who hates her guts and wants to skin her alive. Oh, wait, maybe Sevaana does. :) But, in general, free followers are the way to go, not forced.

And Egwene is right in that promising to only fight when forced to it, in defense, ties their hands immensely. They are trying to save the world; I think they need every advantage they can get and this includes the ability to fire first when circumstances warrant it. Like spotting Graendel or Moghedien from a distance.

Extra Tidbits

Perrin was trying so hard to be forthright and a gentleman to Queen Alliander. And Faile managed to basically dismiss Perrin before he messed it all up with too much honesty.

Who was the young Asha’man that was so concerned reporting to Rand about what he saw in Ebou Dar? He said that Saidin felt strange, that it was trying to control him, etc. Perhaps the Bowl of the Winds is a wee bit more dangerous than any of the ladies know?

It certainly is nice to see Sevaana losing some control over her entourage. Very satisfying.

The Path of Daggers Read Along Part II

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Extra Tidbits

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

Small little tear for the dead horses. RIP Lioness.

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

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