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 Gathering Storm, Part VI

JordanGatheringStormBannerWelcome everyone to Book 12 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. You can find the schedule to The Gathering Storm over HERE. Everyone is welcome to join us!

This week, I am your host. Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia, can be found in the comments. Make sure to swing by Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia  for cool fan art. Sue at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers has critical thinking skills and tiny violins.

This week, we covered the Chapters 36-42. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1) Verin demands a deal for Travelling his army & Mat demands a compromise. What do you think is in Verin’s sealed letter of instructions? Will Mat hold to his bargain?

Ugh….what could Verin have in mind? Well in light of what we learn later on in this section, I think she has left instructions that will 1) make amends for some of her past bad deeds and 2) help the Dragon Reborn’s efforts to defeat the Dark One. But I really don’t have any idea on specifics.

I am not sure if Mat will hold to the bargain. Obviously he is reluctant to agree to carry out sealed instructions (which seems remarkably prudent of him – must be because he so strongly distrusts Aes Sedai). If Mat hears about Verin being Black Ajah but that she died in order to reveal the Black Network to Egwene, then I think he will be more inclined to carry out her request. But I don’t see Mat and Egwene having a chat before the time limit is up.

2) Tuon, now referred to as Fortuna, carried through with her decision to attach the White Tower. What did you think of her discussion with Selucia concerning how this action might very well turn the Dragon Reborn against the Seanchan? Is Fortuna’s concerns well founded, or should she be more concerned about how the Aes Sedai will react?

I think Tuon is having second thoughts about her decision to attack the White Tower and defy the Dragon Reborn. But of course she can’t outright say that and she sure as hell can’t act on these misgivings in any way that would lower her eyes.

She has stirred up a hornet’s nest one way or the other. Face the wrath of the Dragon Reborn or face the fury of a trampled on and surly united White Tower? Hmmm… I would rather face Rand. either way, Fortuna is in deep shit.

3) Rand is certain he has removed Graendal from the picture. Do you agree? Will Nynaeve forgive Rand for having her play a part in his ruse?

I am one of those people that always needs a body. Or a head. Or a heart. In the case of balefire, I need to see with my own eyes the person who is being wiped out of existence. So while I hope that Rand’s little ruse told true, I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if Graendal popped up later.

Nynaeve is pretty cool about telling Rand that she despises the action he has taken. She is very careful to separate the action from the man. She doesn’t hate Rand but she sure as hell hates having been a party to killing an entire castle full of servants and playthings (even if they were little more than mindless zombies). It think that if Rand defeats the Dark One and saves the world, and lives to talk about it later, then Nynaeve will be able to forgive him.

Though she will probably take pains to gather up all the mentally tortured and broken who were affected by the Forsaken, myrrdraal, etc. and tuck them away in a very comfortable basement while she strives to find a way to heal them all.

4) Nynaeve swallows her pride and asks Cadsuane and the Wise Ones to let her in on The Plan. Why do you think they want Perrin? Any ideas on what The Plan is?

I am not sure why they want Perrin, though I think that whatever they are planning won’t work unless you have the trio together (Rand, Perrin, Mat). I hope they have already figured this out. Though it does seem to be a bit childish to keep the entire plan from Nynaeve as I think she has proven to be one of Rand’s truest friends.

While listening to this section, I really felt that Cadsuane had backslid and was being an arrogant ass once again. Sigh…..Is Min the only one to realize that Rand needs support not bludgeoning? He needs guidance, not to be herded? I wonder why Sorilea didn’t take a greater lesson from Cadsuane’s banishment.

5) And the big reveal for this section concerns Verin. Did you see that coming? What more did she leave in her notebook for Egwene to decipher?

Argh! OK, so no offense at all to my compatriots in this read along. But since it had been asked more than once during past books if we thought Verin was Black Ajah, I had kind of figured that she must have some tie to them or be one, otherwise why keep asking? So, I had a sinking feeling that Verin was going to turn out evil and I was deeply concerned for Egwene when Verin turned up in her room.

But, Verin held true to her character – deeply curious about the world around her, she fond herself in this horrible situation where she could either die or become Black. And yet, she plans her death so that she has some time to leave Egwene a pretty powerful gift – all the info she has collected on the Black Ajah. I bet is like a huge PhD dissertation. So I was very happy to see that Verin is indeed a good guy, even if she had to do some horrible things (which she regrets deeply) to get to this point.

I would love for there to be a side story on Verin!

As to what else (besides the very long list of Black Ajah) is in the book… well, I would think there would be a list of Dark Friends, especially those in stations of power or influence. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some detailed notes on Weaves of torture or Compulsion or How To Be A Sneaky Bitch.

6) The Seanchan finally attack the Tower! Feel free to gush about your favorite parts. What did you think of Bryne’s demand of Warder status of Siuan (and his still unnamed second demand)? Was Egwene bad-ass enough for you? Pleased or surprised by the actions/reactions of the other Aes Sedai?

I loved how Egwene took control of the battle in her section. When she was challenged by one Sister (who said something like – Oh, so you think you are in charge?) and Egwne bluntly tells her yes and asks her if she would prefer to be in charge. Of course, the Sister declines because who really wants to be in charge in a fucked up situation like that (and if you just raised your hand and said, ‘Pick me!; then you need to get a job in Emergency Management.

I also like how Sierin (spelling?) had a central place for info to flow into and back out, and for the wounded to stumble to if there were no Aes Sedai on hand to do the healing on the front line.

And then Siuan and Bryne have to save each other. So romantic! In a totally kick ass kind of way.

And I like tht Bryne made the demand to be Siuan’s Warder. I look forward to seeing what his second demand turns out to be. Perhaps he will ask her to stop doing his laundry and consider that debt paid. It might be a bit too gushy if he asks her to marry him.

7) The aftermath: Do you think the Seanchan raid on the White Tower will be seen as a success or a loss by the Seanchan? How will Egwene react to being removed from the Tower? How will the Tower react to it’s loss of Elaida?

I am really hoping the Seanchan see it as a loss, but I am not sure their collective pride will allow that. Also, I am not sure what their body count was compared to the number of captured and/or dead Aes Sedai.

I know Egwene was mumbling not to remove her from the Tower, but if they start flying a white flag of truce and talks the next morning, then Egwene may not be too upset about it. Plus, she will have a chance to snuggle kiss Gawyn.

Well, once they have confirmed that Elaida is missing, I think many will sigh a big sigh of relieve. Then they will have to struggle with the moral question of trying to rescue or ransom her (which might not be possible due to the Tower losses). It would be funny if it was Egwene of all people who insisted they rescue Elaida – but Egwene hates the a’dam enough that she might just insist on freeing every Sister from such a fate, even Elaida.

Squatch being cute.
Squatch being cute.

Other Tidbits:

Verin describes the ritual for becoming Balck Ajah as rather singular. *shiver* I just want to say that is messed up and that maybe becoming Black Ajah isn’t for the faint of heart.

But where are the rest of those specialized assassins? How long do they live again? Could they still be creeping around?

OK, I know this was in this section, but I felt I had asked one two many questions as it was. The last chapter is Rand getting ready to leave Bander Eban in Arad Doman. The Sea Folk ships have arrived and all the food is spoiled, every last bit. He has to walk away leaving all these starving people. And…. well, he was right. He had done everything he could. Arad Doman and the Merchant’s Council needs to pull their own weight and try to save their people and themselves. The world may be ending and Rand has the big chore of saving the known world. It would be great if a few more folks stepped up and took a few items off his to-do list.

The Gathering Storm, Part V

JordanGatheringStormBannerWelcome everyone to Book 12 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. You can find the schedule to The Gathering Storm over HERE. Everyone is welcome to join us!

This week, Sue at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers is  your host. Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia, can be found in the comments. Make sure to swing by Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia  for cool fan art.

This week, we covered the Chapters 29-35. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1) We journey to yet another impressive city. What are your impressions of Bander Eban and its inhabitants? Do you think that Rand will succeed in bringing peace and unity to the region, or will it all dissolve into chaos again as soon as he moves on?

I think  Bander Eban, like many cities Rand touches, will hold together until the Last Battle and that is where their fate will be decided. If they hold strong through it, and aren’t swarmed and destroyed by trollocs or other minions, then they will be around to help rebuild the world afterwards.

2) I feel as if I am being overly harsh towards Gawyn, but he does seem to be very slow on the uptake! Do you think that he will ever see sense and stop trying to rescue Egwene? Will their reunion be all magical and gushing, or will Egwene take exception to Gawyn’s image of her as only a helpless puppet and not the awesomely powerful woman that she has become?

I think Gawyn will only see reason when he sees Egwene call down lightning and take out a dozen Aes Sedai, or when the the entirety of the White Tower (reunited) bows to her. So, yeah, he needs a slap upside the head. If he insists on saving her at any point and calls her a puppet (of course, in a very well meaning let-me-rescue-you-silly-girl kind of way), then she just might use a bit of balefire to demo her sincere commitment to her curse.

3) Cadsuane has decided to enlist the Wise Ones in her efforts to ‘guide’ Rand. Do her thoughts suggest that she is starting to truly understand him and do you think that her efforts will have a positive or negative result?

We are nearing the critical mass moment in the series; that point where if something doesn’t give, then all is lost. I don’t think we want everyone dead and the world on fire at the end of the series. So I am pretty confident that soon we will see some of our more stubborn characters (Cadsuane, Nynaeve, Egwene, etc.) learning how to bend and work with Rand instead of just pushing him around. So, yes, I am very hopeful that Cadsuane’s efforts will have a positive outcome.

Or Rand loses his shit and balefires her, unraveling this time thread as we know it, and sending the wheel of time off into the cosmos with a broken axle.

4) Nynaeve decides to go off and ‘help’ Rand behind his back. Were you surprised by what she discovered or how she went about it? Do you think that there is any chance at all that she will be able to moderate her behavior to guide Rand in a similar way to Moiraine?

Ah….remember those early days when many of our characters had little or no power, so they had to actually go chat with folks to figure out what was going on? Yeah, it was nice to see Nynaeve returning to her sleuthing ways. I was only a little surprised at her discovery, as it made sense.

I am really hoping that Nynaeve, like Cadsuane, can learn to bend a bit in order to help Rand relearn how to bend.

5) Mat spent hours coming up with very interesting, and thorough, backstories for his group of spies. Was this a justifiable use of his time or were his men correct in finding it all rather funny? Aludra demands all the resources in the world for her ‘dragons’: will Rand go along with this plan or see it as pointless?

Since Mat probably would have spent the time carousing, dicing, and drinking instead of writing backstories, then yes, I think it was an excellent use of his time. Besides, his handwriting probably needed the practice and we all know his men needed the laugh.

I think Rand will need a simple demonstration of Aludra’s fireworks/weapons and then he will be on board. Perhaps this will be useful is swaying Tuon’s take on the Dragon Reborn?

6) Verin has returned! Any ideas why she has been hanging around in the mountains distributing flyers rather than Travelling about trying to find Mat and Perrin?

Well, she did mention that Mat’s ta-veren-ness was holding her in place and she was damn tired of hanging out in these particular mountains. She could be right, if her finding Mat and then transporting his army turns out to be critical to the plot. We will have to keep reading to find out if this is so.

On the other hand, she could be a Dark Friend, as she is kind of hard to read, lacking social graces as she does. I know we get asked every few books as to whether or not we trust Verin and so far, she only done one or two slightly questionable things (remember the Compulsion on the Aes Sedai t swear to Rand several books back?). So, yeah, so far I trust her and it is apparent so does Mat.

7) Could Rand’s meeting with Tuon have gone any more badly? Do you think that this will signal open warfare between Rand and the Seanchan, or is there still a chance of a truce?

As you all know, I am not feeling the love for Tuon. Even when I take into account her upbringing, both as the the daughter of the Empress and the Seanchan love and dedication to hierarchy, I still can’t believe she is so bullheaded! She spent several weeks to a few months traveling with Mat seeing a bit of the local culture and she is still so utterly out of contact with these people she believes she rules. Dork.

Anyway, yes, it could have gone a little worse – like if someone from Rand’s party had drawn a weapon when Tuon’s guard did.

I don’t think we will have open warfare until (and unless) Tuon successfully attacks the White Tower and the Rebel Aes Sedai and enslaves a chunk of them. But if I recall Egwene’s dream correctly, then a Seanchan warrior was offering Egwene a hand up, right? That alone gives me hope that this can still be salvaged. Oh, and that we are nearing the end and these folks all have to get their shit together if they want to even make it to the last party.

Squatch being cute.
Squatch being cute.

Other Tidbits:

When Mat was going over the backstories with the guys, I loved Talmanes’s dry humor, especially when he suggested he be a wandering Aiel who had heard there was a horse (or was it a goat?) who had insulted his father within the city.

I think Tuon is handicapped by the fact that she doesn’t really have friends All the people who would be her friends, she sees as inferior, and ultimately, she can command them to kill themselves. Real friends don’t do that. So, unlike all the other stubborn fools we have, Tuon doesn’t have an equal-footed friends to tell her when she is being an idiot.

And at the end of this section, we learned a little about the Seanchan prophesy for the Last Battle, and, did I hear this right?, rand needs to be blind before the Seanchan can ride to glory, and then send Rand in to do single combat with the Dark One? Did I get that all right? WTF?!?

 

 

The Shadow Rising Read Along Part VIII

JordanShadowRisingBannerWelcome all! This week Liesel from Musings on Fantasia is hosting, so make sure to stop by her place for great fan art and more discussion. Chapters 43-48 are covered.

My answers will be a bit shorter than usual as I have had an exhausting weekend that involved a bit of a flood (click the link to see cool photos of my (questionable) endeavors to protect our home and farm).

Spoilers reside below and are well established. Merely glancing at them will not protect your innocence.

1. Perrin believes Verin and possibly Alanna are trying to use and/or manipulate him in some way. What do you think their agenda is?

I think Alanna wants his body (and who doesn’t?) but that doesn’t mean she should have it. Verin wants to study the affect of a ta’veren like it is her graduating paper in a PhD in Intellectual Haughtiness.

2. Aram, a tinker, takes up a sword. Do you think this is a good thing or a bad thing? How do you feel about Aram’s reasons?

I think people who have read my last responses to questions concerning The Way of the Leaf probably know what my answer is. If you repeatedly do nothing to prevent or stop the violence then you are part of the problem. I think Aram is correct in seeking a way to defend him and those he cares for. The Tinkers shunning him are committing emotional/mental violence and I do not hold them in regard for it.

3. Perrin agrees to let the Whitecloaks into Emmond’s Field if they will put off arresting him until after the Trolloc threat is neutralized. Do you think this was a wise decision? How do you predict it will all turn out?

I think Perrin was right to put the human-on-human violence on hold until the trollocs and/or Myrdraal are dealt with. However, I expect that one or more of the Whitecloaks will force the issue before the agreed upon time and end up dead and Perrin on the run from them again.

4. A woman who favors doing evil from behind the scenes “like a spider” visits Nynaeve and Elayne and compels them, first to tell her everything they’ve done and are doing in Tanchico, and then to forget they told it to her. Who do you think she is? What is her agenda? Will our girls ever remember what happened?

Off hand, I would say this is one of the Forsaken. Her mind-control or compelling powers are unlike what we have seen before, kind of like when the Seanchan first came on scene. She obviously craves info, especially on how many aes sedai are in her city. Apparently, she can sense when someone nearby uses the one power, which could be a pretty nifty party trick (like being able to correctly pick out the silent farters at a cocktail party). I don’t know what her agenda is, but I hope she brings me the reader plenty of dark entertainment. I don’t know if our ladies will remember the exchange. If they do, Nynaeve will be thoroughly pissed.

5. Siuan Sanche is deposed and the White Tower is broken. Siuan and Leane vow revenge on Elaida. Will they be able to see that vow through? What kind of Amyrlin do you think Elaida will prove to be?

Yeah, that was messed up, wasn’t it? Siuan and Leane will have to find new inner strength instead of relying on the one power. Part of me hopes they have their vengeance on Elaida, but it really depends on whether or not she can kick ass as the Amyrlin. I expect she will be highly organized, given to extremes once she has made up her mind, and extremely hard to kill.

6. Gawyn Trakand killed at least two prominent warders who were once his friends and mentors because they were trying to free Siuan. Then, even knowing who she really is, helps her, Leane, and Min escape. Where do you think his true loyalties lie? What do you think of the reasons he gives for his actions?

I think he is conflicted and in the midst of realizing that. I can easily see how, in the heat of the moment, he truly believed he was doing the right thing in preventing Siuan’s rescue, though it cost him greatly. However, when he saw Min had the same agenda, he had to rethink what he thought to be true and right. Though I am curious about what Min’s sees hovering over his head – him at Egwene’s feet, and then him strangling her. Perhaps he will change sides many times throughout the rest of the series?

7. On the road, the three women run into Logain, who is trying to flee Tar Valon and Siuan asks for his help. What kind of dynamic do you think this relationship will yield? We know many Aes Sedai who opposed Elaida have fled the tower. Where do you think they’ve gone and will Siuan be able to find and/or rally them?

I was kind of hoping Logain would get to play a larger role. He is fascinating as a man who has been stilled. I can see a love/hate relatioship blossoming between him and Siuan. I hope they end up in bed together and through their great love for one another reignite their ability to chanel, go kill Elaida, the Forsaken, Mr. Ultimate Evil, and any other scourge that gets in their way and rule the world happily together ad naseum.

But that is probably asking a little too much.

Anyhoo, I doubt that all those who opposed Elaida and managed to flee will end up in the same place to begin with. Siuan will have to pick them up as she goes until she has a large enough force to throw up a flag and call for more followers openly. I hope she will rally them as this would make an entertaining tale for me and that is the whole reason I read books.

Other Tidbits:

I know that Europe and US have a history of paying their soldiers in alcohol, but I really think that Perrin has learned not to leave the inebriated armed and without leadership.

Poor Lioal – having to chop down trees. I hope him and Gaul can accomplish their mission of closing the Waygate – if that is indeed what they left to do.

The Shadow Rising Read Along Part VII

JordanShadowRisingBannerWelcome everyone! Lots of craziness went on in this section (Chapters 37-42). This was my week to come up with the questions and I had a hard time sticking to singles that would work for our mixed group (folks who have read the book/series before and those newbies, like me), so you’ll see most questions are doubled up. I encouraged the rest of the WoT Quad to pick and choose which questions they would like to answer. After all, this is all about having fun. Oh, and living vicariously through Perrin, at least for me.

Without, further ado, here are the questions, full of spoilery bits, questionable humor, and one risque video.

1) Rand and his entourage make a stop in Tardaad land because there is water, and apparently, goats. There is also a dwelling full of the signs of a slaughter. The red veiled woman Isendre had to take a peak. Why? If you know the answer, you can speculate on what will become of the goats.

I think Isendre might be the evil Rand was expecting. I have to giggle and shake my head at Mat’s musings on stealing a kiss from her. His flirtatious nature may land him in trouble this time, but I will sure enjoy the entertainment factor in it. So who is Isendre and the slaughterhouse show? Well, at the least, she is a dark friend. She could be more. Perhaps she has some control over a Myrdraal or trollocs. I expect she wanted to see the handy work of her minions – a cheap thrill for her.

I expect the goats will be rounded up and either sent back with a small group or taken with them. After all, it is a harsh land and such easily movable meat & milk will not be wasted.

2) Natael: Harmless, adverturesome gleeman, or Darkfreind? Will Mat’s skilled ‘avoidance’ of the gleeman’s questioning be enough to keep him out of trouble? If we could reach into Mat’s head and have him translate any phrase into old Manetheren, what phrase would you choose?

OK, not everyone on that caravan can be a Darkfriend, right? Not because they aren’t numerous like the spawn they are, but because that would be too simple and I think we all know that Robert Jordan is not doing simple in Book 4. It would make sense that the Darkfriends Party Train include some entertainment – for themselves and to gain easier access to whoever they come across in the Waste. So, for now, I will say Natael is on the level.

Can I get Mat to say this in old Manetheren: One Rand to rule them all, one Rand to find them, one Rand to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.

3) Liandrin is back in the picture. What do you make of the conflicting orders Bors has received concerning Rand? Do you think Gyldin, the servant who is spying for the Seanchan, knows the full extent of who Liandrin is? What do you think of the idea of tattoos marking you as royal property?

Well, we have already seen glimpses of the competing factions trying to rule the known world. Bors was ordered to kill Rand and now his family members are being taken, one by one, because he has not killed Rand. Liandrin tells him not to, because they want to bind and use him. Does anyone else picture her in some very proper German matron outfit, with Dominatrix leathers underneath? Anyway, this just points to more of that in fighting that is slowing down the bad guys. Let’s not discourage them.

No, I don’t. At least not yet. She probably knows Liandrin and the others are Aes Sedai, and Black Ajah, but not the full grasp of serving the Evil One. The Seanchan are hierarchical and driven by the need for power and control, but not necessarily evil. So, for most, the Black Ajah are probably just a bunch of rebel Aes Sedai that can currently be used as a tool.

I love it when tatts mean something deep – in this case a live of unquestioning servitude. Oh, and they look cool. Tattos on a nicely muscled human form is always appreciated. Feel free to send pictures ;).

4) After a bit too much wine, an awkward conversation with Thom Merrylin, and a drunken sick in her shared room with Nynaeve, Elayne is still trusted to stand watch as Nynaeve dives into Tel’aran’rhiod. Was it wise of Nynaeve to trust an impaired Elayne with such a duty? The mysterious man resembling Lan who shot at Nynaeve in T’A’R has also been sighted by Perrin. What do you think the connection is, if any, between Lan and this deadly dreamworld walker?

Every once in a while, Nynaeve is an idiot. No, someone drunk, sick, and obviously sleepy shouldn’t be put on ‘guard’ duty. I did enjoy that conversation between Thom and Elayne tho – it confirmed some things hinted at…last book? Thom could be her biological dad – and if not, he can turn into a substitute father.

Well, supposedly Lan has zero living family. So, either the close resemblance is just coincidence (and we all know how Mr. Coincidence has been rather scarce in this series, with Miss Prophecy prancing around), or Lan has some half brother or close cousin running around who has an all-star T’A’R pass. I think it is too simple for Lan to be without any family and to find out he does have at least one male member, and a baddie at that, would create all sorts of grief and consternation. So, I am looking forward to that reveal when it happens.

5) Lord Luc decided to leave Perrin’s hunting party after the latest batch of trollocs was identified but before Perrin’s group was ambushed. Coincidence? Perrin says he trusts Faile, his bow,  and his axe. Which, in your opinion, is the most dangerous?

I still don’t trust Lord Luc, and neither does Perrin. the sequencing of events was too convenient: 1) The Aiel ID location of trollocs and report to Perrin. 2) Lord Luc bows out of the hunt, trying to take Faile off with him. 3) Trollocs appear in the wrong place. Adult Aiel hunters rarely, if ever, make such a location ID mistake. So, I am thinking Lord Luc hustled out of there and told the baddies they had been spotted, and then they managed to circle around and create havoc. Bastard.

Well, if I was attempting to gain Perrin’s affections, I would say Faile. So, since he is so heavily guarded, I won’t. In battle, I will say his axe. If his wolf pack was around, I would say the wolf pack is the most dangerous asset Perrin has.

6) Ila of the Tinkers and Faile have a discussion about The Way of the Leaf: One believes it is for everyone and one believes it is not for everyone. What did you think of this conversation? We finally learn about Faile’s family and upbringing: Surprised? How do you think this will affect her relationship with Perrin?

OK, the Tinkers are peace lovers, singers, vegetarians. But they keep these really large dogs. What do they feed the dogs? Dogs can survive on vegetarian fare for a while, perhaps a few years, but biologically, they are not made for it. So, are they allowed to hunt their own meat, like squirrels and frogs? And The Way of the Leaf allows for group shunning – which is psychological damage. So, I have to say that insisting The Way of the Leaf is for everyone is a bit presumptuous, if I am being polite. I’m with Faile on this one.

I think Perrin and Faile will be closer, for now, because of sharing this info back and forth. they st will be a close couple, sneaking kisses, traded flirts and compliments, and generally being rather too cute about it all in public. At least until Perrin must be introduced to Faile’s relations. In fact, where is the royal hunting party sent out to locate Faile and drag her ass back to court?

7) In Tel’aran’rhiod, Perrin learns that the nearest Waygate, the one shut by Loial when they all came through to Emond’s Field, has been opened. Who do you think did so and why? In your head, how do you picture the sa’sara dance Faile kept threatening/promising Perrin with?

I suspect Lord Luc or Alanna, but mostly Luc. I think Verin and Alanna were told that Loial closed it from the outside and Lord Luc could have found out some how, or simply went up to check. Then there is Padan Fain in the area, and depending on whether or not he wants more trollocs (because wasn’t there a hint that he was a renegade and needed to be taken down) Fain could have reopened the Waygate. Then if any of the Emond’s Field folks are Darkfriends, like a Congar or such, they could have been ordered to it.

I picture the sa’sara to be the female version of this:

Yep, Faile definitely will make Perrin’s blood boil with moves like that.

Other Tidbits:

Anyone else wondering what Min is doing? Wasn’t there suppose to be death and mayhem at the White Tower?

Damn, Perrin, you got skewered! Apparently Alanna is the only one who can heal him…or is Verin holding back to put Perrin in Alanna’s hands? I have a deep concern that Perrin is going to end up Alanna’s very reluctant Warder.

I am so very, very curious about Elayne’s letters to Rand. Why does he think they are conflicting? Are they conflicting? Why 2 letters? Egwene and Aviendha assume Elayne said only loving things in those letters, but I suspect that might not be so. Poor Rand.

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The Great Hunt Read Along Part VI

JordanGreatHuntBannerHello folks. This week we cover chapters 35-42 of The Great Hunt. Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings is our host this week, so make sure to stop by her place. Next week we’ll be back here for the final installment of The Great Hunt.

This week’s questions:

1. We got to see a lot more Ogier in this section. What did you think of them and their village?
It was nice to see some Ogier women…..and Loial’s reaction. Poor dude. Hiding behind his book probably won’t be enough to keep him safe from the machinations of marriage. Also, the guest quarters were thoughtful, but in general were too large for most humans. Sounds like an interesting place to visit, and an awkward place to try to set down for a long time.
2. There were some suspicions about what the Aiel women were really doing. Do you think they are looking for Rand or that it was a coincidence?
Well, I think there are a lot of people looking for Rand, or rather their myth’s version of the Dragon Reborn, and they simply don’t know that it is Rand. So, in a way, yes, the Aiel women are looking for the answer to their prophecies. They may suspect Rand at this point, but I don’t think they will interfere with him….yet.
3. When Rand was trying to use the Portal stone, everyone got a glimpse at possible lives. What did you think of Rand’s other possibilities? What do you think were Verin and Ingtar’s?
I think being shown our possible other lives in full technicolor would be hard on anyone, but especially someone who carries the power to destroy people and reshape the world. Verin probably had some of the basics – like being a mother/grandmother, not being an Aes Sedai, choosing a different ajah. Ingtar perhaps had to face not being a warrior, or perhaps not fulfilling some vow. All of them were pretty shaken up.
My goatmilk raised kitty Chupacabra.
My goatmilk raised kitty Chupacabra.

4. Liandrin has finally shown her true colors! How do you think her betrayal will turn out for her and the rest of the Aes Sedai? Do you think she’ll get away with it?

I held out hope for this long that she was simply a prickly person, very stern, had too high of an opinion of herself. Alas, she is all those things and black ajah. Bitch. But we needed a real, non-nebulous bad guy other than Padan Fain. Now I have some one to hate on and hope that the main good guys corner her in some dark alley sometime soon. This is a really long series, so I expect she will get away with it for some few-several books and then get struck by lightning or drowned or suffocated or hit by a large horse. Any number of deaths are OK by this reader.
5. Poor Egwene! Do you think Nynaeve and Elayne can save her before the ship arrives?
I want to say yes, because good always triumphs, right? I really don’t remember how this book ends. I do remember that I don’t like the Seanchan and their collars at all. Still, Egwene is getting some pretty harsh treatment this book.
Other Tidbits:
I read this book many, many years ago and only remember the abrupt appearance of the Seachan and their advanced technology and military organization. I found it too jarring back then and gave up on the series. This time around, I still find it very jarring, but I am assured that things settle down and I just need to push through this discombobulation.
Bela, girl, what will happen to you?!?
Hehe. Loial says Ogier women make all the decisions about marriage, and then inform the involved male. Mat says humans never do it that way. Perrin begs to differ. Then we change scenes and there are the ladies planning how best to divide up rand’s time among the three of them. Lol!

The Great Hunt Read Along Part V

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Tidbits:

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

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

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

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