Crossroads of Twilight, Part III

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Tidbits

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

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

 

Crossroads of Twilight, Part II

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Tidbits

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

I want to try Noal’s fish stew.

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

 

Winter's Heart Read Along Part VII

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

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

This week we covered Chapters 30-End. Spoilers are having a party below!

1. Mat helps a Seafolk woman being held as damane escape. She promises to remember his good deed. How do you think this will affect the plot of the story, and Mat specifically in the future?

Well, I expect that Mat will have free passage on Sea Folk ships once this becomes known. This will allow him to travel quickly, perhaps even taking his army with him. It could allow him to take the battle to the Seanchan on the high sea.

2. Mat finally learns who Tuon is. What did you think of this situation? Of Egeanin’s reaction to his announcement? Predictions?

Haha! This was awesome. Tuon was totally kicking his arse. But with her subdued and Egeanin totally in shock, then she tells Mat he can’t treat the Daughter of Nine Moons this way. And that is when it clicks for Mat, and with his declaration that Tuon is his wife, it seems to click for her too. So, I think Mat will have far less trouble smuggling her out now than he initially expected. However, once they enter into a real relationship, I expect Mat will have all sorts of woman troubles because 1) the cultural difference and 2) because it is Mat.

3. Rand goes to kill Torvel and Gedwyn, but Padan Fain has done the deed for him. After a brief fight, Fain flees yet again. Do you think he will resurface? What does he have planned? What did you make of Toram Riatin (from Cairhien) being there?

Of course Padan Fain will resurface. Definitely. 1) I want him to be annihilated in a permanent fashion for my entertainment; 2) He is too good a villain to be set on the side lines for long; and 3) Padan Fain himself can’t help but meddle.

But what does Fain have planned? Hmmm…This is a good question. I think he doesn’t really plan details. I get the impression that he makes broad swooping plans and his evilness pulls off the details. So, I am going to say that his plan is to kill Rand. Period.

I have forgotten who Toram is and what he has done. And I am afraid to google his name or go look at the WoT Wiki to help jar my mind. Lots of spoilers out there. OK, I was brave and went and peeked anyway. Right so he was hanging out in the snowy foothills with that intelligent lady that didn’t give Rand away at the tent party where Padan Fain tried to kill him. So, Toram has been in the near vicinity of Fain twice now. Hmm….Either Toram is hunting Fain or Toram is a naughty bad guy. He seemed decent enough when we first met him, so for right now I will reserve judgement, without falling asleep in his presence. Just in case.

4. Lan has been wary of Rand since the two reunited, but when things go bad on the rooftop, the two men show deep loyalty to one another. What did you think of this scene? How will it affect their relationship going forward?

It was good to see Lan’s dry sense of humor again. I think Lan may eventually come out of his funk. I am sure he had a lot of grief and anger (directed at Rand) to work through due to Moiraine’s death. Rand feels terribly responsible for that and hopefully Lan can see that and also have that knowledge work as a balm.

I am hoping these two will have the relationship they once had when Lan was training him in the sword. Of course, Rand will have to learn to loosen up a bit too. Perhaps Lan can see Rand becoming hard like stone, and since Lan knows what kind of dreary existence that his, he will help steer Rand around it and wave it goodbye.

5. Cadsuane has to intervene in Far Madding to get Rand and Lan out of prison. What do you think she had on Aleis that made Aleis surrender so quickly, to her own shame and ruin?

I am guessing we won’t ever know for sure. But since Cadsuane grew up in Far Madding, and was probably thrown out at some point, and that any return visits haven’t gone well, I am going to guess that she knows some important things about the Guardian. She hinted that not every defense is perfect. Of course, she didn’t tell them about the angreal Well that Nynaeve was wearing…and I assume Cadsuane is wearing one as well.

Whatever it is, Aleis knows it too, and picked up quickly that Cadsuane knows it. So perhaps it is some historical city secret passed on to the ruler (and maybe not the entire Counsel).

6. The last chapter was crazy! Rand seems to have done the impossible and cleansed the taint. We got tons of different viewpoints and characters. Along with plenty of interesting revelations. What stuck out to you? What surprised you? How will a clean saidin change things?

Oh yes, that was a crazy chapter! I got a little muddled, to be honest. Two things stuck out for me. 1) Handling that much Saidin/Saidar as a pair was basically orgasmic. So happy times for all involved in this feat. 2) While the cleansing took lots, and lots of power, it was basically straight forward and over pretty quickly. I could compare this to another bodily function, but I know fans might be offended. So, let you guess on that one.

How will things change? Well, if Rand is still moody and a touch insane, then we know it is all him. So folks can feel free to slap him instead of coddle him. Also, I think we will see a shift in the Black Tower. If Mazrim Taim continues to poison the ‘unhinged’ then I expect Rand to do something about it, or at least switch his trust to Logain and let Logain go deal with it. Additionally, I hope that the common populace and the lady Channelers will start to trust the Saidin wielders, though this might be really hard. There are generations of stories and fables and bad limericks warning people to fear saidin and to behead anyone using it. So, huge hurdle to get over.

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

Other Tidbits

Mat’s little goodbye to Tylin was far more civil than I expected. And she kept a pretty level head with her insisting that he tie her up.

With Suroth back, I worry that Beslan’s distraction might not be enough!

Sue was so right! Like 1-2 books back when she guessed that Cadsuane’s hair ornaments were angreal. Very cool!

Rand doesn’t like being boxed, and I can’t blame him. Still, this was quite different than the Aes Sedai who beat him daily and folded him into trunk. I hope he recovers far more quickly.

Holy Hell! It is Lanfear, as we all guessed. And she is pissed!

 

Winter's Heart Read Along Part VI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Tidbits

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

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

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

Mat has developed an unhealthy liking for lace.

 

Winter's Heart Read Along Part V

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Tidbits

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

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

Winter's Heart Read Along Part IV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Tidbits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

A Crown of Swords Read Along Part VIII

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fuck!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Tidbits:

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

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

Is anyone else biting their nails over Olver?

A Crown of Swords Read Along Part VI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Tidbits:

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

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

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

The Great Hunt Read Along Part V

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Tidbits:

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

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

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

What Others Think:

On Starships & Dragonwings

Musings on Fantasia