A Memory of Light, Part I

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Talmanes is my hero!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Tidbits:

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

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

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

 

 

Towers of Midnight, Part VIII

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Squatch having a snack
Squatch having a snack

Other Tidbits:

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

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

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

 

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. 🙂