A Memory of Light, Part VIII

WOT 14Welcome everyone to Book 14 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and the final week of this read along.

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

I want to take a moment to thank everyone! First, Anya of On Starships & Dragonwings who kicked off this mad read along over 2 years ago. A big thanks to Liesel, Eivind, and Sue who kept is going! And a wee little thank you to all you silent stalkers out there. Here we are at the end of this 15 book (including the prequel) read along. It’s been a magnificent ride!

This week, we covered Chapter 38 to the END. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1. Egwene speaks to Rand from beyond the grave and he has a hard time “letting go” of those who’ve died on the battlefield. What did you think of this part and it’s solution?

This was one of my favorite parts of the ending. Rand finally got it! He is not the only hero in this tale! I know others have been trying to tell him this for ages now. Sometimes it was frustrating to watch Rand feel like he had to carry all this on his shoulders and let no one help him. Then when he was suffering from all the deaths in the Last Battle, I kind of wanted to slap him. Of course, there will be deaths!

So it was great to see Egwene giving him this last message, watching him realize the truth, and then part of the self-imposed load being lifted from his shoulders.

2. There’s a new horn blower, and we see more of Brigitte, Noal, Artur Hawkwing, and others. Comment on what you liked of this section. What did you expect, not expect?

This was also awesome! I loved that Olver could call the Heroes of the Horn and the Noal was the one to step in and save him. It was also great, if a bit predictable, that Brigitte appeared and saved Elayne one more time. I am sure this helped Elayne get over her pain of losing her Warder and friend, not to mention preventing her belly from being cut open.

However, I do wish that the rules of the Horn had been explained a bit more by the end of the book. Everyone, including Mat, thought the Horn was tied to him. So was it his balefire death wierdness that severed that tie? Or his hanging by the Aelfinn? Or do you simply need to be somewhat pure of heart and in desperate need?

3. Lan lives, Alana dies, and Thom is successful at killing many members of the Black Ajah outside the pit. Questions? Comments? Happy dances?

I was totally emotionally prepared for Lan to be dead, just like he has been emotionally prepared to die for his entire life. That said, I was quite happy to see him live! Hooray!

I am glad that Alana let go of her Bond to Rand prior to dying. I have to wonder if Rand sent her off (how many books ago) in order to get caught and be used by the Dark One as a leash at this point. Rand must have put trust in her to release the Bond, if that is in fact why he sent her off.

Then again, since Alana forced the Bond onto him, he might have been a little distracted by her death, but not devastated.

Thom’s role, while perhaps not considered major, was still awesome. At the very first, as an Aes Sedai approached, and Thom put a knife in her, I had this horrible moment where I thought that just maybe Thom was a super secret Dark Friend, but was then immensely relieved that he was simply taking out Black Ajah and the like.

4. Androl impersonates Rand to trap the evil idiots, Grady opens a gateway to Hinderstap (dah!), and Logain breaks the seals. What was your favorite and why? (Feel free to comment on all.)

Androl is getting a lot of practice with his impersonations! And once again, we see that the uncoordinated efforts of the bad guys keep leading them to doom and despair! Mmaaahhhhwwaaaaa!

While it was interesting to glimpse Hinderstap again, I found Logain’s final actions to be the most interesting. Logain was definitely craving power and vengeance and it was nice for him to hold both within his sights, and then let it go. His actions to rescue and protect some noncombatants, and his subsequent realization that the Black Tower and Asha’men could become protectors, was excellent! I really like how his character arc ended.

5. Aviendha vs. Graendal. Aviendha loses her feet (ouch!), and kills Rhuarc. Ultimately Graendal’s compulsion backfires. What did you think of the final solution here?

Aviendha’s time as a fighter have most likely come to an end. At least she will be able to go on as a teacher of one kind or another. It was a little hard losing Rhuarc, mostly because I think he will kick himself for an eternity in the next life and the one after that for falling to Compulsion.

While we see Graendal’s Compulsion backfire and she becomes an adoring servant to Aviendha, I wonder what happens to her afterwards? Does Aviendha keep her around long enough to pick her brain? Does Nynaeve release Graendal from the Compulsion (while she is shielded) and then execute her?

6. Perrin takes out Lanfear and Slayer, and the worlds flicker. Meanwhile, the Wild Hunt comes to Thakandar and the spirits of dead wolves appear on the slopes. Um, discuss!

Wow! Just wow! Perrin took a real beating, and I didn’t expect him to play much more of a role in the final chapters of this book. So I was both delighted and a little worried to see Perrin back in play. Let me just say I was quite relieved that Perrin lived as I was worried he was Rand’s Red Shirt in this series.

Having so many wolves lost was a little heart rending, but we all knew that was coming books ago. They died well and accomplished much before the end.

7. Rand, Nynaeve, and Moiraine exploit the flaw in Callandor to trap Moridin. How well-thought-out was that? Are you surprised it worked?

OK, now please be kind, but I still don’t fully understand Callandor. For me, listening to the audiobook, things happen really fast sometimes and I don’t have the luxury of rereading a sentence or paragraph or page.

So, with that in mind, I am very glad that the trick worked. Obviously, for the ending, it was fairly important that it did work. On the other hand, I am pretty foggy on just what the big deal was, why Callnador was needed, and what role Moiraine played (other than looking intense and serious for the past several chapters).

8. What did you think of Rand’s final solution for the DO’s prison? Will it hold?

I liked how this was resolved. Last week, we saw Rand come to the conclusion that destroying the Dark One would not benefit the world, but instead create a world where folks were not truly themselves and couldn’t experience true free will.

So, of course he had to come up with a new solution and I liked what he came up with. As this is a world where the Wheel weaves as it wills, and there are no true endings or beginnings, I don’t expect it to hold forever. We will have another massive confrontation sooner or later.

9. Comment on some (or all) of the aftermath: our ta’veren heroes are ta’veren no longer, Ilturalde will rule, Tuon is pregnant, Moghedien survives…as a damane!!!, Faile lives, Cadsuane as Amyrlin, Rand vs. Moridin and the three women around the funeral pyre, and Loial’s writing makes an appearance. In the end, Rand doesn’t channel, but thinks his pipe is lit and it is. What does it all mean? What did you like/dislike? Was there anything unresolved you wanted to see? General thoughts, feelings, reactions. (This is your last chance to geek out! :D)

I think all 3 Ta’veren are very relieved to no longer be Ta’veren. Plus, Rand has to disappear now so it’s probably good that Mat and Perrin can’t track him with the rainbow sensory ties they use to have.

Ituralde has a good head on his shoulders, so I think things will go well with him leading.

Tuon is pregnant and threatening Mat’s life….again. I think he is amused and likes a woman who keeps him on his toes.

I had mixed feelings about Moghedien. Part of me really wants her dead, because alive she will eventually wreak havoc. Also, it’s obvious some of the Seanchan were scouring the done & dead battlefield for possible slaves to be collared while no one was really paying attention – against the agreements laid down by Tuon and Rand. Naughty Seanchan!

For Perrin’s sake, I was glad to see Faile still alive. I wouldn’t have mourned her passing, but I would have hated to see Perrin mourning for the rest of his life.

Cadsuane will make a decent Amyrlin. She has a wealth of knowledge, years, and hands-on experience. Hopefully she has learned some tact and won’t be such a bully.

It was awesome to see Loial lived and gets to go on to write his book – perhaps the very books we read!

And finally, Rand gets to do a body swap at the last minute. He gets to take over Moridin’s handsome and whole body and ride off into the sunset, with his Bonds in tact with his mini-harem. Um…..WTF? Did anyone else have a moment there? OK, we have seen for several books now that Moridin and Rand are somehow attached to each other. But this sudden leap to a whole body swap at the end…well, I didn’t feel it was necessary. I was OK with Rand dying because he was OK with making the ultimate sacrifice. Plus, he had already reproduced with Elayne and perhaps Min & Aviendha as well.

And, of course, I would have loved more info on how Demandred came to be in charge of an entire nations of Dark Friends. So I must (happily) run off to read the short story in the anthology Unfettered.

I would also like to know how Taim came to have the Seals. I know Eivind gave some very plausible ideas of how this came about. Still, I would have liked it explained in the narrative.

OK, now that I have picked apart the ending, over all I really enjoyed it. Yes, there was some death and tears, but we won! The world goes on and most of our heroes continue on with their lives. There will be more adventures!

Will the WoT world be opened up for other writers to write in? How about an HBO series based on the books? One can only hope.

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?

 

Knife of Dreams, Part III

JordanKnifeOfDreamsBannerWelcome everyone to Book 11 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. You can find the schedule to Knife of Dreams over HERE. Everyone is welcome to join us!

This week, Liesel at Musings on Fantasia, cool non-spoilery fan art, is your host. And you can probably find Eivind (walking WoT encyclopedia) over there in the comments. And hop on over to Sue’s Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers for some great deductive reasoning skills in calculating how things will fall out with the plot.

For the third week in a row, I am a bit late posting. But this time I have a SUPER GREAT reason (as opposed to the flood and the sinus infection of the previous 2 weeks) – I was at Bubonicon 46! Hooray!

This week, we covered Chapters 8-12. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1) We finally get more details on Aludra’s plans with the elusive bell founders and all. Do you see this plan succeeding? What will it mean for the Last Battle? How will it play out?

Back when we first heard about Aludra’s plans (2 books back?), I thought her super secret weapon (which I expect will turn out to be canons) were to be used against the Seanchan. But here we are, on the road with the circus, and we still don’t have canon. Much to my dismay, we haven’t fired them yet. I do enjoy my weapons.

So it is becoming clearer that Aludra is simply doing this for the shear joy of it. I think she and I could be friends. Good friends. Friends who enjoy the firing range for hours at a time and then go sit around the campfire afterward drinking and talking about the firing range.

But to answer the question, because that is why we are all here, yes, I do expect Aludra’s plan to work and for us to have canons for the Last Battle. And I expect this will give the Last Battle a slightly steampunk feel to it, which Brandon Sanderson will write beautifully and it won’t freak out any of the genre purists.

2) Mistress Anan finally reveals some of her past. Were you surprised by anything she said?

I think I stopped being surprised by things in WoT when Moiraine took Lanfear into the angreal doorway. If Jordan can do that to 2 of his most important characters, then he can do anything (and most of the time make it believable and entertaining). As with so many of the characters in this series, Mistress Anan has a past. This is one of those things Jordan does very well – even his minor characters have a past. Even if Jordan never pulls on the past for a particular character, he has done it for any number of other minor characters. So here we are, Book 11, and I have to assume that any character that walks onto the stage does have a past and that it may be crucial to some plot point later. Basically, Jordan made it so i can’t dismiss any of the characters as mere window dressing.

That ramble said, I would like to know what more Anan knows about angreal and the fox/elfish people that Mat ran into. I was thinking that Anan was a senior Kin woman, but can’t recall if she was ever explicitly called so. She knows plenty about Aes Sedai, weaves, the power, and angreal.

3) We saw tons of Mat and Tuon this week. From her snapping a’dam onto Aes Sedai necks to finding out she might have had her siblings assassinated to seeing Suroth’s plan to declare her an impostor and have her killed in action to participating in a knife fight for/with her, Mat had his hands full. Feel free to comment on any part of this story line. What stood out to you, shocked you, delighted you? Where do you think it will go from here? What repercussions will it have?

The a’dam seen with the Aes Sedai made me uncomfortable. First, the Aes Sedai were being high-handed and annoying, but that is all their training will allow them to do in a case like this. Tuon was also being high-handed and annoying by ignoring them, and ignoring the bigger picture of the war, etc. Yet her training as an upcoming imperial ruler wouldn’t let her do anything else.

So when she had her servants snap a’dam on the Aes Sedai, part of me was highly amused – the Aes Sedai who felt they were in the moral right and also felt superior due to their powers all of a sudden found that they had no powers and the ‘moral right’ didn’t matter without the power to back it up. It was nice to see some of the wind knocked out of their sails. And this made me uncomfortable because it came at the cost of slavery.

So now that we have seen this loss of power with the Aes Sedai, and hence they have to approach the problem with a team effort and wits instead of force, I totally expect Jordan to do the same thing to Tuon at some point. How do we ever get the Seanchan to recognize Channelers as full humans? Well, we start with their ruler(s), such as Tuon. And to have Tuon change her core mind on this, there will have to be something drastic – like she will need to be completely helpless without the assistance of Channelers – or better yet, she will have to call down lightning, etc. And if she can Channel, and she is the next Seanchan Imperial ruler, we obviously can’t collar her.

Plus, I expect Mat to point out her inequity at some point in a harsh but loving way and Tuon will have to see how her slavery ideas may loose her the greatest lay she will ever have.

4) A Shiota ghost town makes a rather disturbing appearance in Mat’s life. What do you think was the cause of it, and what does it mean for our characters?

I think this is another one of those Bubbles of Evil things – but with ghosts. And while Mat didn’t have ready arrows to shoot the man and his horses (giving them a quick, easy death), I wonder why no one else in the caravan took car of business. Someone surely had bow & arrows, javelins, stones and sling? These are armed, talented folk. I think it would have been very hard to listen to the horses screaming like that for all those long minutes while they died.

For our main characters, I don’t think it means too much as it is unlikely that any of them will get trapped in a bubble like this and die. It might be that one could wander into a bubble like this and take a while to figure out what was happening and get a good scare out of it before escaping. But I fully expect that they would escape.

5) Apparently Mat, Thom, and Noal might be setting out to rescue Moiraine. Were you surprised by this, or by what was finally revealed to be in her letter to Thom? Do you think they can succeed?

I think I am most intrigued by the ‘Dearest Thom’ part. Dearest? Hmmm…..Past sexytimes?

We have known for a book or 2 now that Lanfear wasn’t dead, so it was quite easy to suspect that Moiraine was not dead either. And I was pleasantly surprised to learn that those fox/elfish people are holding her because they are super intriguing and of course I want some of our heroes to go to their house and raise a ruckus.

Jordan has wrapped these people in dangers and unknowns, so a lot can happen. Truth to tell, I do worry about everyone except Mat and Moiraine. We need those two to come out of this in order to move the plot forward. Thom or Noal could die or be trapped there, which would be tragic and sad, but the plot could still move forward. I suspect that Noal still has some critical part to play in the plot – but I can’t say if that is in freeing Moiraine, or in the Last Battle. So perhaps Thom will have to be the one to fall in this quest.

6) Someone tried to assassinate Perrin. Who do you think it was and why? What do you think of how things are going with his alliance with the Seanchan? Will their forkroot plan work?

Did Moiridin order his underlings to take out Mat and Perrin? And since a lot of folks know where Perrin is, he is the logical first target. I think Moiridin is behind this as he could instill the right amount of fear to have failures poison themselves.

So far, I think Perrin is doing fairly well with the Seanchan. He is straight forward, which they can appreciate, and they are starting to trust him a little bit; this shows in that they fill him in on his social faux pas.

Yes, I expect the forkroot plan to work and for Faile and Perrin to be reunited. Initially, there will be lots of sparks, hugs, kisses, and sexytimes. But then Faile will here the naughty rumors about Perrin and Berelain and she will go back to the jealous dunce we all know and bemoan.

Other Tidbits:

Which Aes Sedai was tossing dirt clods and crap at Mat, via the power? Naughty, naughty!

Nolan was so ready to take on Tuon and her servants when the Aes Sedai were collared. Very, very interesting!

I love the Seanchan hairstyles – and how they freak out the Randlanders (just a little).

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.

The Fires of Heaven Read Along Part VI

JordanFiresOfHeavenBannerWelcome back all! Liesel over at Musings on Fantasia is our awesome host this week, so make sure to stop by her place and enjoy intelligent discussion (unlike my asinine comments :P).

This week, we covered Chapters 33-39. Spoilers are waiting below to pounce on the intrepid and naive alike.

1) The first thing we see in this section indirectly, more cat fights between Nynaeve and Cerandin. Nynaeve ends up with a black eye. So, Wheel of Time death match! Who wins?

Are powers allowed? If so, Nynaeve. But I think she would withhold her aes sedai powers unless absolutely pressed, in which case, my vote is for Cerandin. Nynaeve is stubborn and practical, but not trained in hand-to-hand combat at all. Switching errant children doesn’t count. Whereas, Cerandin has military training, including close quarters hand-to-hand.

Can they both be wearing those infamous red dresses in this fantasy death match?

2) Elayne believes she can make a’dam and other objects of the One Power. Do you think this is a good idea? What do you think she’ll do with this ability?

Personally, Elayne is scaring me just a little. She is fascinated with the idea of making a’dam, but not really contemplating if she should, what would she do with the items she makes, how would she keep them out of nefarious hands, etc. Also, a little later in this section we see her contemplating binding Rand as her Warder, potentially without his consent. Hmmm….control freak in the making? If she keeps going down this road, she may need someone to put the a’dam on her for a few days to bring her to her senses.

3) Nynaeve and Brigitte eavesdrop on a meeting of Forsaken, where they hear talk of linking. What do you think these arrogant baddies are planning?

Well, they are planning a trap of some sort for Rand. For some reason, Rand or Asmodean would notice if the Sammael guy linked with the rest, so it probably takes a bit of the One Power. I think this might be like how it takes 13 aes sedai to still another aes sedai. In order to block Rand from the source, like he did with Asmodean, several of the Forsaken will have to be linked and work in concert to accomplish the same affect.

4) Brigitte is ripped from T’A’R and into the human world. What do you think of her as a mortal? Do you think she’ll find Gaidal Kane, even though she wasn’t spun out as she ought to have been? What did you think of Elayne’s solution to save Brigitte’s life?

I like Brigitte a lot. She is even more practical and blunt than Nynaeve, but so much more confident in herself. I think she will find Gaidal Kane and 10 or 20 years age difference in a relationship can be overcome. Folks do so all the time. I think Elayne was honest in that she couldn’t think of anything else to do to save her and I believe she was sincere about releasing her if Brigitte demanded it. I really liked this twist – a female Warder to an Accepted.

Little Fella sniffing the book.
Little Fella sniffing the book.

5) Nynaeve is not acting much like herself. What do you think of her reaction to Brigitte’s plight? How about being talked into being a human target and wearing revealing clothes?

Nynaeve is having a mid-life crisis in her 20s. Her identity has shifted greatly from what she was, and what she expected for herself, to this crazy ride we call The Wheel of Time Roller Coaster with Bumper Cars. First, people started to question her authority. Then she started to doubt and question herself. Now, she witnessed the injury to an epic being and feels responsible. But she has taken it too far, waiting on Brigitte hand and foot, acting like her personal slave. But I think Brigitte has the trick of snapping her out of it. I expect these two ladies will become great companions once Nynaeve gets her head straight.

The clothing makes sense. The show is about the ‘Wow!’ factor, and that includes clothing whether skimpy or covered in sequins. Brigitte is also very practical about this aspect, being proud to be female and not at all hesitant to let people know it.

6) Liandrin is not having such a great day. Are you surprised about where she’s ended up? Where do you think she’ll go from here?

Let me just say that it was satisfying to see Liandrin in such dire straights. To hear her begging, while slightly disturbing, also seemed just. We had not seen her at the White Tower serving Elaida, so it makes sense that she was serving one of the Forsaken. While I had not thought of it, it did not surprise me. I expect that once she gets over the shock of being tied off, at least temporarily, from the Source, she will be scheming and wreaking plans left and right. Some of these plans will be the Forsaken’s plans, which is exactly what I want (evil grin).

7) We finally learn the identity of the Prophet, and he’s someone we’ve seen before. Were you surprised? What do you think of his new-found faith?

Yes, I was surprised to see Uno and then Masema. I had not been paying attention to the Prophet twitterings going on the background, so when Nynaeve stumbled upon them, I was completely surprised. It definitely complicates things. Even Masema’s men are uncomfortable with his religious fervor. Masema does sound like he wants to take things a little too far – telling men & women how to dress, forcing people into mass marriages without knowing one another, etc. I expect sooner or later Rand will have to address this butt blister of a man.

Other Tidbits:

Nynaeve’s contemplations about how the men gather at their campfire except for nights when she cooks. Hmm…I wonder why that is? 😛

Sounds like Elayne was pushing it with the latest tightrope act – where she refused to use the Power in case Moghedien or her underlings were nearby and felt the use.

I like that Elayne told Jullin and Thom most of what was going on in Tel’ara’rhiod, about Moghedien, and some (but not all) about Brigitte. These men have and continue to risk their lives to keep these ladies safe, so they deserve some if not all of this knowledge. I am glad Elayne took this approach, instead of what appears to be the typical aes sedai approach of doling out as little info as possible.

Nynaeve’s inner and outer comments on Uno’s and Ragan’s cussing – I loved it. First, they are soldiers and this is part of their subset-culture, so it is to be expected. Yet, Nyaneve with a few choice words and a few raised eyebrows modifies their behavior, a little. I think it is funny because the men with simple looks and grins modify Nynaeve’s behavior concerning her red dress and the placement of her shawl. Ha!

The Fires of Heaven Read Along Part II

JordanFiresOfHeavenBannerWelcome back everyone to the second week of The Fires of Heaven read along. This week, Liesel of Musings on Fantasia is our host, so make sure to head over there for more discussion. This week, we covered Chapters 4-9.

Spoilers are jumping around in their birthday suits below. You have been warned!

1. The Wise Ones want Aviendha to sleep in Rand’s chambers. Do you see this leading to any kind of change in her and Rand’s relationship? If so, what?

There’s usually a latent bond of trust built simply by sleeping with, next to, or in close proximity to another. So, yes, even if they sleep on opposite sides of the room with weapons drawn, there will be a build up of trust. I expect the Wise Ones know this and are using it to force a situation or relationship on the two.

2. Our buddies the Darkhounds make an appearance in Rhuidean. Lanfear claims they were sent by Rahvin and reveals to Rand that the Forsaken is Morgase’s manipulative lover. Do you think she’s being truthful?

The Darkhounds were easily defeated, which leads me to believe this was a clumsy, ill-informed attempt on Rand’s life or no attempt at all. As for Lanfear not beign able to get there sooner – I doubt that. So, this could easily be Lanfear trying to manipulate Rand, yet again. She balances this deception with the truth of Morgase and Rahvin, which is probably the more important piece of information for Rand.

3. Moiraine cautions Rand about balefire and promises not to try and manipulate him. What do you think of balefire? Is it worth its consequences? Should Rand use it to take out the Forsaken? What do you think of Moiraine’s promises? Will they work out the way she hopes?

Balefire worked to Rand’s advantage in this case. I think it should come with a caution label. CAUTION: DO NOT USE BALEFIRE SETTING FOR LONGER THAN 1.2 SECONDS. PROLONGED USE WILL UNRAVEL THE HEART STRINGS OF THE WORLD. I bet Rand will have to make a gamble with it sooner or later, much to this reader’s entertainment. If he bruns too long on a Forsaken, and they have such long lives, it could seriously mess up our storyline. I hope he keeps it to a light toasting instead of charcoal.

As for Moiraine’s promises….See, this is where I have to wonder if they is bound to the oath to never lie. She needs the flexibility. Just look at Nynaeve, Egwene, & Elayne – anyone who was outside the White Tower when they were there could full well believe they are full-blown Aes Sedai. Couldn’t this unusual set of circumstances have happened before…. and therefore allow Moiriaine the flexibility of the occasional little fib? Moiraine is a control freak – she wants to control others and also she holds on very tightly to what knowledge she does have, only parceling it out when it suits her. I doubt things will turn out just exactly how she wants them to.

4. Rand’s making lots of changes–his new arrangement with Moiraine, sending for Ogier to help rebuild Rhuidean, making the fountains flow again in the city. What do you think of all these changes?

The Aiel are going to have to grow up and rejoin the larger world. Have water and permanent, stone cities will be part of that. Next will come trade, and hence foreign customs, foods, clothes, etc. I hope the Aiel can show their adaptable side.

When nice, she is Bell Pepper. But mostly she is evil, so she is Pepper Corn.
When nice, she is Bell Pepper. But mostly she is evil, so she is Pepper Corn.

5. Egwene is “rummaging” around in lots of people’s dreams and finding disturbing things there. Do you think this is a good idea? Would you do it, in her position? Do you think it could backfire, and if so, how?

I think Egwene would be able to use her slyly-gained knowledge better if she wasn’t such a prude. You going digging around in folks dreams, you are going to see them naked, and with other people(s) or animals or mythological deities. Instead of turning your nose up at it, use that little bit of knowledge for something. I’m not saying Egwene should manifest some popcorn and sit to watch the show (that would be my job after all), but just tossing the info aside means her time was wasted.

I would totally rummage through people’s dreams if I could. I am very good at keeping things to myself, so no need to blush. But I also firmly believe that you never really, truly know someone until you have been intimate with them. Not that that level of knowledge is needed for all your daily people transactions. I think snooping through their dreams would be the next best thing. And a lot less messy (both emotionally and physically).

Will it backfire? Hell yeah! 1) Egwene is somewhat of an idiot because she is cock-sure and innocent at the same time; and 2) Because it will be highly entertaining for the reader, and that is what Robert Jordan does – entertain his readers.

6. Moiraine muses on Lan and Nynaeve’s relationship. She says she’s already “taken care” of certain things. What do you think she means by that? On the other side of the world, Nynaeve and Elayne are drugged by Mistress Macura. What do you think this woman’s intentions are?

Moiraine takes care of everything. She knows that she may not live out this series, and being the control freak she is, she will make sure to continue to manipulate the lives around her long after she is gone – for their own good of course.

Mistress Macura…hmmm more Black Ajah laying traps for the helpful, and gullible, aes sedai traipsing the world? Maybe Macura isn’t aes sedai at all, but perhaps just a darkfriend acting under instructions? If she is a darkfriend, are her orders to capture aes sedai, or just Elayne? Was it just last book where a price was put on Elayne’s head – so this could be that coming into play.

I hope Nynaeve cuts her braid off for her rash behavior on this one ;).

7. Fun bonus! Now that Rand, according to Lan, is practically a blademaster in his own right, he moves quite naturally through the sword forms. There are whole online communities dedicated to these sword forms that love to come up with new, interesting, often comical ones. (i.e. cat and bird in a nap sack, sparrow blinks uncertainly, cheetah runs and trips, etc. You get the drift.) Come up with one or two sword forms you’d love to see Rand perform! Just ’cause.

Haha! what fun. hehe… let’s see:

A Heron’s Failed Landing;

Goats Snickering

Donkey Tail to the Face

Beetle-Entranced Cat

Dog Dances Along Chairbacks

Other Tidbits:

Isendre in a veil, jewelry, and nothing else? Can they really call her a flip-skirt? She isn’t wearing a skirt! And besides, she really is only pursuing one man – Rand. But she made him blush too hard. He will never accept her advances now.

Aviendha and her tantrum over jewelry and belt buckles. Sigh! The Aiel should realize by now, having traveled with Wetlanders for some months, that they are dense folks and need the ways of the world and society explained to them. She could at least explain to Egwene. Then again, Egwene, Nynaeve, and Elayne all have issues with some Aiel customs, such as sister-wives, and can’t seem to be open minded about several of them.

Is it just me, or did the whole Elayne flirting and hanging off Thom thing seem out of place, forced, ridiculous? 1) It seems totally out of character for Elayne. Did some one slip her some Spanish fly? 2) It seems totally out of character for Thom to not have put a stop to it after day 1. If he is not Elayne’s father, does he really want to live that male fantasy of bedding the mother and the daughter (purely for scientific comparisons, right?)? Sigh……