A Memory of Light, Part IV

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

This week, I am the host. Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia, can be found in the comments. Liesel at Musings on Fantasia has cool non-spoilery fan art. Sue at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers has tiny violins for our bad guys.

This week, we covered Chapters 15-21. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1) Mat and Tuon finally consummate their marriage. Do you think it was all Mat hoped for? Will Tuon’s ideas for him in her empire pan out? Tuon gets to keep her damane: how do you think Mat will deal with or adjust to this in time?

Tuon seemed more affectionate before she became Empress, back when she was just the head of an invading army and could get a little girlish over Mat’s kisses. I think Mat was surprised that Tuon did not admit to loving him when he said he loved her.

Sigh….Tuon and her cultural need for slavery. It really bothers me. The fact that Mat has rescued (or stolen property) damane in the past will probably come up again when Mat protests the treatment of some of the Channelers. At least, I hope it comes up and I hope it makes Tuon think. I can’t see Mat adjusting to the sometimes brutal methods of breaking and training Channelers.

2) Rand and Tuon have their meeting. Feel free to comment away! Also, Mat and Rand have a quiet little bragging contest. What other characters would you enjoy seeing in a bragging contest?

Wow! I loved that Rand employed his little singing trick to get some greenery going while he was shielded. I am guessing he learned the ability from the Ogier and I am betting the Seanchan assumed he was some how using the Power to make the greenery. This might make the Seanchan hesitant to shield him again in the future.

I also thought it was great how Rand essentially puled rank on Tuon and then also kneeled and offered her peace. I am a bit disappointed that Tuon pushed so hard to hold on to the captured damane when Rand essentially gave her lands in Randland – lands that are not rightfully hers. Well, if Mat gets Tuon to see the error in slavery, then he will win the bragging contest.

I would love to see Lan and Bashere have a bragging contest. Or Moiraine and Cadsuane! Nynaeve would win against anyone purely on her stubbornness and turning her nose up and sniffing at anyone else’s accomplishments.

3) Lan’s battle continues, though he has to give ground. What do you think about his conversation concerning female warriors? Taim has shown his face at Lan’s front; does that change your mind on who might finally get to kill this baddie?

Haha! I loved Lan’s half of the conversation about trained, equipped female warriors in battle. It was generous of him to offer a decent burial to the fool who had issue with women fighting. It’s THE Last Battle – of course the women will fight. Dork.

Way back when we realized Taim was up to no good, I thought Rand would have to take him out. Later, I thought it would be Logain. Then, with Logain captured and weakened, I thought it would be Androl. But now Taim is far from any of those guys. However, we also know that Egwene plans to send the Red Sisters hanging out at the Black Tower to Lan, so I think there is still a chance that Androl (along with Pevara and the Reds with their newly Bonded men) will get to face Taim. I am hoping Androl opens a teeny tiny gateway right in the middle of Taim’s black heart. Or his brain.

4) Do you think there is any significant Dark Friend left in Rand’s forces, in disguise/hiding? Lan was asked to keep an eye on Aglemar and Aviendha doesn’t care for Al’salam. Is it just so many cultures being thrown together? Or do we have reason to be suspicious of something darker?

We know that Demandred is still out there some where, but I think he might be leading the Sharran forces (see Q.6). But I also worry that there are one or more Dark Friends in key positions. Rand seems to be able to look into the hearts of men and tell if they are Dark Friends, but he needs to be facing them and perhaps even concentrating on them to tell. So there’s a who slew of folks he hasn’t been able to do that with.

I can’t recall if he has taken the time to face Al’salam, but since he is at Shayol Ghul with Rand, and is a relatively unknown and untested character, I would be concerned about him.

I expect Aglemar is simply weary like everyone else. Mistakes will happen.

5) In a short conversation with Egwene and Gawyn, Rand reveals that he is Galad’s half-brother and that the seals are fakes. Which do you think caused Gawyn more grief? Who do you think switched the seals and for what purpose?

Haha! I think Gawyn might be a little ill over learning that his half brother Galad is also half brother to Rand. He was perturbed enough to learn of Elayne’s liking for Rand.

So Rand says the seals are fake, but only he can tell. The fakes would have to be made of cuendillar to pass for real. Egwene and some of the Aes Sedai she trained can make cuendillar, but I am not sure they can shape it to closely resemble the real seals. Rand was pretty open with the info concerning breaking the seals, so I can see a lot of people wanting to steal the seals and keep them save. yet very few people, if any, would have the ability to make convincing fakes and swap them.

So perhaps Rand is lying. But why? Does he need the misdirection? Is it, in part, to keep Egwene safe? If everyone believes the seals to be fake, then Egwene is less of a target. But I think only Gawyn and Aviendha have heard the news. So, I lean towards Rand going for misdirection, but I am not totally sure why. And who would he leave word with to tell Egwene they are real and should be broken? Argh!

6) Bashere and Elayne are trying to outmaneuver 2 armies of trollocs. Meanwhile, Egwene’s forces are routed by the sudden appearance of the Sharran army. Will the forces of good be able to recover prior to Rand’s duel with the Dark One? Any ‘in retrospect’ comments concerning the Sharrans? Did you see that coming?

I am thinking the forces of good will be fighting by the skin of their teeth while Rand fights the DO. Even though Elayne and Bashere have a plan, something else will come up. Even though Rand has asked the Seanchan to join Egwene’s forces, I don’t think they will totally annihilate the Sharran army. Nope. This is epic fantasy, and the climax of a very long series. We need to have blood and death and the chance that things won’t turn out good in order for the end of the battle, when the good have won, to make us cheer.

I didn’t see the Sharrans showing up and fighting for the forces of evil. They have been mentioned briefly here and there throughout the series, but never in any major detail. We knew they had some Channelers, but I can’t recall the details. Honestly, it kind of felt like a weak plot ploy to help move things along.

7) Lorella Aes Sedai and the rest of the Reds hanging around outside the Black Tower insist on Bonding their promised 47 male Channelers. Egwene has sent riders to fetch them back in order to send them to Lan. Are we about to see the moment the purpose of the Reds changes? Do you think Pevara and Androl have shared the double Bonding technique with the male Channelers?

Yes! I think we are about to see that magical event that takes the bitchy, man-hating Reds and turns them into an awesome fighting force that will make adult Channelers tremble in their boots! Hooray! I expect great things from these small-minded women.

I am really hoping that Pevara and Androl have shared the double Bond idea with the other guys. I expect the ladies will get a few surprises more than they expected. Lorella, and perhaps most of the Reds, are going into this expecting being able to control their Bonded men to some extent. Haha! I expect to be amused by their attempts to order the men around.

Other Tidbits:

That practice session between Tam and Rand, with Tam’s new sword, was great. Rand initially wanted the Asha’men to train with weapons because it would give you an edge if you couldn’t access the power, or were weak. It seems Rand was slipping into that idea of ‘I have the Power, why bother with the sword’ and it was good to see Tam pull him out of that.

Some of the Whitecloaks felt the Ogier were little more than Trollocs and worried about them turning and fighting the humans. Silly! I am glad to see Galad keeping them in check.

Rand plans to not just capture or contain, but kill the Dark One. I always think of such supreme forces as akin to Elementals – it would be like trying to kill Mother Nature or Father Time. How would you do it? Should you do it? I thought it interesting that Aviendha counseled that it was more honorable to take the DO as gai’shain.

Gawyn has leanred a bit more about the Seanchan assassin rings. I know he feels underutilized, at least until the Sharran showed up, and I worry he will use one or more of the rings in some heroic effort, and he will die, and Egwene will cry.

A Memory of Light, Part III

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

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

This week, we covered Chapters 8-14. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1.  Rand is traveling around, giving precious gifts to Elayne and Lan (so far.)  Is this his way of saying goodbye, his final will? Do you think he is being unnecessarily fatalistic?

Yes, I think this is one way in which Rand is saying goodbye, and no, I don’t think he is being fatalistic. It’s the Last Battle. Any and all could die and it is a big hairy deal to everyone. For many, it will be the last thing they do – though I hope we don’t lose any of the main characters.

My fatalistic side is afraid that Perrin may be the one to fall…..but I may just be overly worried about losing my favorite character of the series.

2.  Egwene stands strong in Kandor, but the other two battlefields are suffering setbacks.  Do you think the Light has to do something drastic, or will they be able to weather the storm with the current plan?

I expect there will need to be something drastic, otherwise this will be a very long and boring book. 🙂 If Tarwin’s Gap falls, and if they can’t reclaim Caemlyn and close off the Waygate, then a whole lot of people will be screwed. But, at the same time, our heroes will have to realize that they can’t save everyone. They simply need to save enough and defeat the evil in order to be able to rebuild.

3.  Mat joins the story, on his way to Tuon in Ebou Dar.  Will the “Seanchan Question” finally be resolved?  Rand seems to be hesitating, too…

The Seanchan question has to be resolved before the end of this book, and I expect that Mat will be instrumental in that. I have to wonder if the married couple need to exchange some boon or such in order to be completely wedded. Maybe Mat could ask Tuon to stop conquering and enslaving folks as his boon?

4.  Rand takes his turn on the battlefield, but is turned back.  Do you expect him to try again, or is this the last we see of him on the field before the invasion of Shayol Ghul?

I have a hard time seeing Rand sitting things out. While I can understand the logic – he needs to minimize the chances of being taken out by a baddie and also conserve his strength, he still has this big bleeding heart that makes him think he needs to protect everyone. Besides, it is more fun (or nerve racking) seeing him risk his neck.

5.  Perrin leaves and takes the battle to the World of Dreams… in the flesh.  Do you think it is as evil as it’s claimed?  Did you like his speech?  Was it wise to bring Gaul, untrained, to this fight?

I think Perrin has the right of it. It doesn’t smell evil to go into the Dream World in body, but it is very risky. And, obviously, it has been used by evil people for evil deeds.

Perrin’s speech was very cool. To the point and I think it crystallized some things for Rand – there are no ‘good’ choices left.

I think it was wise to take Gaul. He is good in strange circumstances and should be able to handle most things on the fly. However, I do worry that he is the Red Shirt for this adventure.

6.  Lanfear makes another plea to Rand, and he lets her into his mind to prove he is over her.  She then appears in the World of Dreams to pester Perrin.  What game is she really playing at?

She’s looking for a protector that is also a patsy – she needs help getting out of her predicament but also wants to control/use her would-be rescuer. Since Rand is obviously not going to assist her and can’t be manipulated by her, she has to find someone else.

Of course, I think the Wheel will Weave her actions into the Pattern for the good of our heroes and Lanfear may very well end up ‘assisting’ the good guys even though that is not her intention.

7.  We find out how people are turned to the Shadow.  What do you think of this mechanism?  Are the turned really turned, or just taken over, as Androl seems to think?

It seems that if a person is willing to be Stilled (or perhaps it is a voluntarily giving up the Power) then they can’t be turned. Now that we the readers know that Stilling can be healed to some extent, I think more folks will be able to resist this turning. Logain has been unStilled once before, so hopefully all his loyal Channelers will recall that be able to unTurn themselves. Then the healers can return some of their Channeling ability afterwards.

Or we might not have time for that and the lot of them will have to be killed, or Still en masse by Rand and left to muddle through the end of the world as best they can.

8.  It appears Taim and his cronies are finally ejected from the Black Tower, although Taim is still alive.  What do you think of how this went down?  Will we now see the good Asha’man lend their strength to the fight?  Could that turn the tide of the war?

It seemed pretty sudden to me. I think Taim must have had some place he was suppose to be and couldn’t put as much time or effort as he wanted in fighting back. In any event, it leaves our good Asha’men free to join the fight. Under Androl and Pevara, I can’t see them doing anything else.

Will the Asha’men be the thing that turns the tide? I don’t think so. We have a lot of tides to turn and a lot of people chipping in to help win this battle. No, I think the force that will change the tide one way or the other are the Seanchan. Will they continue to harrass and enslave Randland as they fight the Last Battle? Or will they see the light and come to the aid of Rand and his fellow warriors? I really hope Mat knocks some sense into Tuon…..by bedding her! 😉

Other Tidbits:

Elayne gave Rand a dagger that makes him invisible to the Dark One. I wonder how it works and what’s it’s limitations are. I can’t recall where Elayne picked it up, perhaps in that stash she had Birgitte lugging around for a while.