Winter's Heart Read Along Part VII

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Tidbits

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

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

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

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

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

 

Winter's Heart Read Along Part 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.