Lord of Chaos Read Along Part V

JordanLordOfChaosBannerHello WoT Fans! This is week five of the exciting and detailed dissection of Lord of Chaos. Our awesome host this week is Sue from Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers, so make sure to head over to her place for some higher thoughts and excellent deduction. You can also catch Eivind our Commenter over there and swing by Liesel’s at Musings on fantasia for fan art!

We’re covering Chapters 17-24 this week; Spoilers await the unwary below, with balefire!

1. We get to see a little of how Cairhien is working with Berelain in charge. Wetlanders trying to apply ji’e’toh: can this end well? What did you think of Rand’s decision to execute Mangin?

As much as I like the Aiel (high sense of honor, equality within the society, warriors, etc.), they are pretty immovable and inflexible in many things. They believe and act as if their set of standards and ideals should apply to everyone, whether they are Aiel or not. On the other hand, we started off with the kids from Two Rivers doing the same thing, although they didn’t take it to extremes and try to kill anyone who severely offended their sense of honor through a tattoo or head scarf or certain jewelry.

I admire Berelain for allowing the ladies to stay and train as they will instead of sending them home to be proper daughters, wives, etc. While Berelain is trained in some sort of hand & foot self-defense, I have to wonder if she felt trapped in a ‘feminine’ role all her life, forced to use her charms instead  respected for her brains and organizational skills.

If Rand did not kill Mangin, after having set down very clear rules with very clear consequences, he would have lost major respect from the Aiel as a whole. In fact, I would bet money that Mangin was well aware of the likely consequences of his actions before he killed that man, and still weighed it as needing done. However, part of me would like to think that if Moirraine or Elayne or perhaps Nynaeve had been about, one of them could have come up with a clever way to punish Mangin without hanging him, and without Rand losing face. It was wrong of Berelain to leave it for Rand, and perhaps a little cruel? Cowardly?

2. Ogiers, Shadar Logoth and a missing Aiel, oh my! How great was it to meet some more Ogiers, especially Elder Haman and Loial’s mother? Do you think it was wise for Rand to take so many Aiel with them? Oh, and how do you think Loial will react to his reunion with Erith?

So while we haven’t had a Loial fix in some time (I’m missing him quite a bit actually), this was a nice substitute. We had that brief visit to a steading….Book 4? Book 3? But other than Loial, we haven’t really gotten to see other Ogier. I was a little surprised that Rand ordered maps and ink and quills brought to the courtyard rather than asking them all in, ordering tea and cakes, while the maps were all fetched. Still, each side was in a hurry for their own reasons.

The Aiel are constantly fighting Rand on this point. Rand wants to keep them safe, and they all want to keep him safe. I liked that Rand was adamant with them about staying together, staying out of buildings and shadows, and not taste testing of anything! Still, someone wasn’t paying attention, or Shadar Logoth has more tricks than even us readers know. It is not Rand’s fault one went missing and couldn’t be found. He was right to forbid the Aiel to search within the buildings, because then all sorts of folks would have gone missing.

Loial and Erith haven’t seen each other in 5 years. If this wasn’t a PG fantasy, I would say that I wouldn’t expect things to turn out as rosy as Erith pictures them. But this is a PG fantasy (a very entertaining one, but still PG), so I expect some shuffling of feet, some harsh words, some light misunderstandings, and then some love poetry and an Ogier wedding. Personally, I find it a bit irritating that the Ogier all assume that Loial is being an errant, selfish child by insisting on traveling. But they don’t all know what I as a reader know about Loial’s efforts to save people and the world at large.

3. A group of dead Tinkers, complete with ominous message, and Travelling groups of Aiel assassins. Any suggestions as to who is responsible for these two incidents and do you think that the message was written by the Tinker or one of the attackers? Was anybody surprised that Olver sneaked away from his foster home and followed Mat?

My rough guess is that whoever set the Aiel (most likely Shaido) on Mat, also had the Tinkers killed at that location. By doing this, the attacker could be reasonably sure that Mat would halt his troupes nearby for the night in order to allow for burial of the Tinkers. This would give the attacker the advantage of knowledge of the terrain. Once again, I turn to one of the Forsaken. I don’t think Sammael is that clever to set this up, so he’s out. Semirhage has enough wits and cleverness, so perhaps her. Moghedien is out and Lanfear too, for obvious reasons. Graendel could do it, but would she? Anyhoo, one of the powerful bad guys did it, most likely a Forsaken or a Black Ajah powerful enough who has been taught the trick of it.

I think the tinker left the message and I think it was simply that – tell Rand about the dead Tinkers. It would matter to him.

No, I wasn’t surprised that Olver slipped his keeper and came after Mat. It was sweet of Mat to give him a job to do and some pocket change.

4. Sammael tells Graendal that he has a truce with Rand and she actually believes him. Is she having a really bad day or has Scarface suddenly got a lot better at play-acting? Also, why does he want her to believe that he has a truce?

Perhaps Sammael feels he would lose face with the other Forsaken if they knew how quickly and completely Rand turned him down. It’s like asking someone to prom and they shooting off with the wrong answer without any hesitation at all, but you don’t want all your friends to think you are really that uncool, so you fib a bit and say that they already have a date, but that you plan to do coffee with them later.

Oh, and I am pretty sure that Sammael had to practice lying in the mirror, for hours!, in order to fool anyone.

On the other hand, you would think that the Forsaken all have their human spies near Rand in some shape or form and that some of them would have a first hand report of Rand’s utter rejection of Sammael’s pathetic offer. Hence, Sammael the idiot once again.

5. We know that Rhuarc had to give her a good whipping in Tear, but do you have any idea why the Wise Ones have adopted Berelain like a daughter? Does she seem to be a good choice as interim ruler in Cairhien?

Berelain seems to be keeping order, getting shit done, and even allowing women a larger role in the military, work force, and government. I think the Aiel are more about practicalities rather than getting hung up on what someone wears. Hence, they first judged Berelain on what she could do and what she chose to do, rather than her wardrobe. The fact that she no longer pursues Rand, now that she has a day job, probably didn’t escape their notice.

I do enjoy how Berelain teases Egwene by making lewd remarks to her about Rand. Yes, I am a little imp inside :).

6. The envoy of Aes Sedai from Elaida has arrived in Cairhien. What do you think about the inclusion of a Red sister in the group? There are six that Egwene spots in the street, but do you think there are more lurking about, possibly another seven?

I think this is very much in keeping with Elaida’s character. She is a red so it would be unlike her to leave red out of the envoy. It would also be like her to sneak a further 7 into the city somehow, perhaps weeks ago, in singles or pairs. Sooner or later, someone is going to try to cut Rand off from the source, and gentle him. I think it should be Elaida and crew and I look forward to seeing the looks of consternation and surprise on their faces when it doesn’t go down as they expect. :)

Other Tidbits:

Rand is having to travel a tough road and he’s got my respect for calling the rough calls. He was right to enforce his rules, but showed further wisdom by not making Mangin’s hanging special by being present for it.

The way Loial’s mum kept looking at Erith was great! Territory issues? Haha! Should be interesting to see how that works out between mum and soon-to-be daughter-in-law.

Hooray for Rand for finally closing off/guarding the Ways!

Lord of Chaos Read Along Part II

JordanLordOfChaosBannerWelcome everyone! This week our awesome commenter Eivind is our host (see his answers to the questions below in the comments section). We covered Chapters 3-6. Spoilers roam free and underfed below!

1. Rand seems to have taken Lan’s advice and is avoiding Aviendha at all costs. How will this turn out for them? Who do you think he had in mind when he asked Mat about being in love?

Rand seems to think that Aviendha is avoiding him, wants nothing to do with him, but he is spending a lot of time thinking about her. I loved the Wise Ones’ advice on how to attract her eye – such as offering to brush her hair with eyes demurely down cast, or dancing a little jig in his small clothes (or nothing) before tucking in for the night! Since he only had 1 passing thought about Elayne (and that was in reference to Aviendha keeping an eye on him for Elayne), I will say that he was asking Mat about love in regards to Aviendha.

2. A bunch of men waiting to go mad, what could possibly go wrong?! What lies in the future for these fellows? Is Rand right in trusting Taim with this?

Haha! I expect that this little Mad Men’s Farm will be a source of angst and entertainment for a book or 3. But I also have to keep in mind that the male Forsaken stay sane; they say it is the Dark One who keeps them sane, but I am guessing it could just be a closely guarded secret that another man could learn. So, if Rand has had the same idea, perhaps he is hoping that a group of male aes sedai together could mess around and stumble upon it. Look at Taim, he’s got like 10-15 years on Rand. How has he stayed sane all that time?

Rand has to trust Taim with something, for several reasons. He has to see if Taim will follow his leadership – and testing him by giving him a task he thinks demeaning is a great way to do that. On the other hand, he just handed Taim a potential army the likes the world has not see in many thousands of years, right? Hmm…. could get messy, and very entertaining for the readers.

3. Rand’s forces just won’t cooperate. Do you expect more rebellions? Is Rand making the right choice in leaving this one to fester?

Yes, there will be more rebellions, and I don’t think all will be rebellion against Rand. The world needs to be united to fight off the DO and his minions in the final battle, right? And the world is a big place, with several lands not even explored by our main characters yet. Also, not everyone seems to think Rand is the Dragon Reborn, so of course there is going to be more rebellions. Until he does something even bigger than fighting Ba’alzamon in the sky with a sword made of fire with the Great Hunt riding at his side, not everyone is going to unite behind him.

Rand has to pick and choose his battles right now. In leaving the little lordlings to rebel, and focusing on a Forsaken, I think he is right. After all, he doesn’t need an army to deal with those lords and ladies who are being idiot children. He does need an army to take out the Forsaken, even one at a time. He can always step through his little Saidin-powered doorway to whisk an errant lord away in the middle of the night – or slit their throats as needed.

4. It seems like the theme of chapter 4 is humor. Who did you find funniest? What’s your best joke?

I laughed the most when the Aiel didn’t get Rand’s joke and kept asking about the pond. And then the rooster. Ha! I think Robert Jordan was the funniest in this chapter, cleverly showing the differences between the cultures through the jokes. I have heard variations of Rand’s farmer joke before and I can totally see some of my neighbors telling a version of it at the next big shindig.

My best jokes would be considered crude by most and involve a lot of impudent and rude hand gestures. :)

JordanLordOfChaos5. Did Mat just… become an adoptive father? Mat doesn’t strike me as the fatherly type. How do you think this will work for him (and his officers, and of course Olver)?

I can totally see Olver becoming glued to Mat, or at least his horse. Mat’s father is a horsetrader, among other things, and Mat himself considers he knows a fair amount about horses. And horses like Olver, so there is that connection. Yes, I can definitely see Mat taking on more than he thought he was when he gave that child-beater a pounding with his fancy spear (naginata?). Pretty soon, Olver will become a little mascot of Mat’s men and he’ll have his own pony and little uniform and will start basic training. He’ll grow up a bit over the next several books and will die a tragic but meaningful death in service to Mat – possibly even saving Mat or Rand’s life. I’m a bit sniffly over it already.

6. It’s time to discuss forsaken intrigue yet again. Could you decipher anything from that chat between Graendal and Sammael? Does anyone else feel like Sammael has made a big mistake somewhere?

With Graendal & Sammael, they each think they have out maneuvered each other. I think that is amusing. It is probably also a big mistake for each of them, though I bet Sammael pays for his mistakes before Graendal. Graendal also thought it important enough to use authentic Chazon (spelling?) and Chabon (spelling?) in her scheme, though it was unlikely that Sammael would tell the difference. I also have to think that her well-placed whispers to herself, that Sammael could only hear because he was embracing Saidin, were on purpose.

And yes, Sammael seems to be making a big mistake. The other Forsaken are using him, pointing him right at Rand. Sammael doesn’t believe Rand is Lews reincarnated, so he’s underestimating him from the start. Next, even if Sammael doesn’t take Rand out, just his attempt, which is apparently against the DO’s current wishes, will probably land him in hot water with the DO.

7. Just how scary is Semirhage now, and what could Shaidar Haran possibly want with this poor Aes Sedai (who, I believe, we have never seen before)?

Wow! Semirhage takes the prize for being the most insanely self-righteous. She can heal some of the most desperate and hopeless cases, but she also believes this gives her the right to enjoy her little pleasures – which apparently entails torture of various kinds. *shudder*.

Shaidar Haran is looking for someone or something and needs an Aes Sedai to tell him where that person or things is. Perhaps it is Fain’s dagger, or Fain, or the Great Horn, or the location of one of the Ta’veren or Elayne & Nynaeve.

Other Tidbits:

I think Mat is a serial monogamist. He keeps picking one woman to place his serious affections on. Plenty of fun dancing this section!

Do aes sedai reproduce? If yes, does that mean the Forsaken can reproduce?

Through Rand’s POV, we learn that he thinks Asmodean ran off. So whoever killed him also got rid of his body – through some basic means like removing it and dumping it in the pig pen, or through some magical means that would disintegrate his remains – like through Balefire. Hmmm….

It seems that the DO had a little private meeting with each of the Forsaken, promising them glory, etc. Yet they, the Forsaken, are left to think that each of them was singled out and offered this ‘exclusive’ gift. The DO probably thinks he is being clever, but I think he just managed to keep the Forsaken backstabbing each other for several more books, instead of uniting against Rand. Haha!

Lord of Chaos Read Along Part I

JordanLordOfChaosBannerYep, the WoT Quad made it to Book 6 of The Wheel of Time series. My, Lord of Chaos sure does start off with some fascinating scenes and some interesting reveals. This week, Sue from Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers is our host. Make sure to swing by her place for lively discussion. Musings on Fantasia will also be joining us and you can most likely catch Eivind over at CCCP.

Now, you know the drill, but for form’s sake: Spoilers Reign Supreme from here on out!

1. Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that we have now met all of the Forsaken in the flesh. What are your impressions of the last three to be revealed: Demandred, Mesaana and Semirhage? Any guesses which of the Forsaken have been reborn as Osan’gar and Aran’gar?

Demandred is a bit of a dandy – dressing and acting the handsomest man around, but he’s not. Mesaana describes him as just not quite handsome – which is a lot like how Morgase described Ilodien (spelling?), the ruler who she is trying to make an alliance with. So, of course I have to wonder if Demandred is running around disguised as Ilodien.

Anyway, Mesaana seems a little insecure, and definitely afraid of Semirhage. Semirhage seemed cold, even for a Forsaken.

Then enter Osan’gar and Aran’gar, reborn Forsaken. I wasn’t too sure on this and was chatting with my man on this, who has already finished this book by the way. I try to get him to play with us, but he is a speed reader. Anyhoo, I couldn’t recall these names from previously in the series (but there are lots of names, so it’s easy to forget one or two), and he said they were killed off back in Book 1. Hmm…. So, Moiraine got one and Rand killed the other. I’m not clear if they got new names in this reading section, or if I simply can’t recall them from Book 1. If renamed, i think one may be Ishmael, unless he really, really pissed off the Dark One by posing as Ba’alzamon. Should be interesting to find out why the Dark One wants their rebirth to be kept secret.

2. We also get our first look at Shayol Ghul and enter the presence of the Dark One himself. Was this what you expected and how horrific did you find the experience related by Demandred? Also, Shaidar Haran: is he the scariest thing that we have come across yet or not?

The most chilling part was how removed Demandred was from the lives of the regular humans that were being used one way or another by the dark inhabitants of Shayol Ghul. He had no feelings for them one way or another. He wasn’t disgusted, nor excited by what he witnessed.

And then he gets to have a chat with the Dark One and has one of those pain mixed with pleasure orgasms over the experience.  I guess that is a simple way to keep people coming back, all the way to Shayol Ghul – give them one of the most pleasurable experiences they have ever had.

Now, Shaidar Haran seems quite interesting. A Myrrdraal with a name, and the clout to kick Forsaken around. The Forsaken are going to have to learn to grease the hands of that particular myrrdraal. I wonder what he did , or who he is a manifestation of, to have such high favor of the Dark One.

3. What do you think of the girls’ solution for containing Moghedien? Do you think they can hope to keep this secret, plus all the others they have?

Moghedien doesn’t like this solution at all, and I think this will make her more dangerous later on. Though I can understand why the ladies are doing it: They can’t simply let Moghedien loose to do as she pleases and they can’t outright kill her because the knowledge she is sharing is very worthy right now.

As to keeping secrets: Haha! Snort. No.

They have so many secrets, and various people know bits and pieces of various secrets, so sooner or later one of them will trip up, or someone will unravel it, or another will betray them, and then it will all come crashing down. then they will face some horrible (and stupidly short-sighted) punishment by the power-hungry Salidar aes sedai, that they will be left with no choice but to run off and join the circus. Again.

JordanLordOfChaos4. Yay! Faile and Perrin are back in the narrative, and Loial is mentioned if not actually shown (grump). Were you surprised by the changes that we see in the Two Rivers? How likely do you think it is that Perrin will be able to leave Faile behind when he travels off to meet up with Rand?

Hooray that Perrin is back. Too bad we had to walk around in Faile’s head to get to chat with him. Sigh…..I think Perrin is my favorite character. Faile seems to be more interesting now that she has some people to rule over. She is using her critical thinking skills more now that she has to watch out for and organize so many people.

I figured Two Rivers had to change some after loosing so many folks in nasty ways to both the White Cloaks and the trollocs. Still, I was surprised to see an increase in the variety of craftsmen – such as a tile maker for roof tiles. As for being more organized and even militant, no, I expected such practicality from Two Rivers’ folks.

I give Perrin a 50% chance of getting out of there without Faile. Faile feels that rulership is important to the ongoing existence of Two Rivers, whether the natives feel the same way or not. Besides, if Faile does turn up pregnant soon, she or Perrin may firmly insist that she stay put.

5. It seems that the members of House Trakand, with the possible exception of Elayne, are making some pretty dreadful choices at the moment. How long do you think Gawyn will stay with the White Tower Aes Sedai before he decides to call it quits and go to look for Egwene? Morgase seems to have lost most of her former composure: could she use a ‘good seeing to’ from young Tallanvor and his shapely calves????

I can understand the difficulty Gawyn was faced with when he made the choices he did during the turnover at the White Tower. Now, he is far from Tar Valon and just heard this horrid news (inaccurate, but he has no way to verify immediately). I expect that he just needs 1 more little straw to send him running off to either kill Rand or find Elayne and or Egwene. Hopefully he will do the second before attempting the first. If he attempts the first, well, rand may have to apologize to Elayne for turning her beloved brother into a blood smear on a ceiling.

Sigh… Morgase has definite ideas of how precious her royal ass is, doesn’t she? If I was getting tired of her mighty airs, Linni (spelling?) must have been ready to tan her backside. Yes, i think she could do with a good seeing to from Tallanvor, but because he is ‘low bred’ , I doubt she would respect him in the morning.

6. The Shaido have allied themselves with the White Tower. Do you foresee a problem with the cultural differences between these two ‘allies’ or will they work together smoothly? Do you think, as I do, that both these groups are underestimating Rand and his abilities?

Well, we know that Savanha (spelling?) has plans of grandeur for herself, plans that aren’t shared by other Shaido Wise Women. Then we have the White Tower aes sedai, and in this case, two of the aes sedai brokering the deal are Black Ajah. Then we have a lack of mutual respect between the aes sedai, the Warders-in-training, and the Shaido. Each group thinks the others are savages or idiots.

In short, rand is lucky once again that his enemies are ill-organized groups of idiots. And yes, all of them are underestimating Rand.

7. Poor Rand, surrounded by people that he does not really trust, apart from the Maidens. Last week I was totally convinced of Davrim Bashere’s honesty, do you think that his behavior this week proves me right or wrong? Then there is the False Dragon, Mazrim Tain: should Rand trust him or not?

I’m on the fence about Bashere. On one hand, I think everyone around Rand, including the Aiel, the Maidens, Egwene, Bashere, even Mazrim, all want something from Rand. If they can’t control him, they will try to channel him, and then once he does go insane, kill him. So, is Bashere as benevolent as Egwene? Probably not. Is he simply doing what he can for his people? Probably. I can totally see why he is such a comforting force to Rand: He doesn’t feed Rand bullshit – making an example of his power in front of everyone was interesting – and he doesn’t show fear even in moments where Rand slips and the mad Lews Therin takes over. I can see Rand coming to trust Bashere….and then perhaps Bashere will show his loyalty, or not, in an intense moment.

As for Mazrim Tain – very interesting. I am excited about this character because he brings so much to the table. First, he is over a decade older than Rand, so he has just simple life experience, then battle experience, then use of saidin experience, and finally, the experience of being a loathed as a man who can channel. Can Rand trust him? Well, I would need to know what evil things Mazrim as done to judge better. Did he burn children? Impale women? Slaughter men wholesale with balefire? Or did he simply proclaim himself the Dragon Reborn because it was the only way to live as a man who can channel? By claiming that ‘honor’ men flocked to his banner, and then battle naturally ensued. I expect the answers aren’t cut & dry and that Rand probably needs to keep him on a short leash while he learns what he can from the man.

Other Tidbits:

Nynaeve & Elayne are getting points for their ‘research’ which lets them have a maid (Moghedien) and other trivial things. Part of me wants to yell, ‘Cheaters!’ at them, but I also see that they could have kept all that new knowledge to themselves instead, so I want to commend them too.

Faile is going in the wrong direction by insisting that Perrin treat the ‘servants’ as servants and not as real people he grew up with. Perrin and the whole community lost so many, I feel that building caste classes into the new Two Rivers would weaken it instead of building a stronger community.

Siuan and Leanne are pretty tough, even without saidar. I thought they were a little rough on Elayne – mentioning that Min was going off to Caemlyn – but then they were too easy on Nynaeve. Haha! I loved when they simply walked out. They do have lives, and chores, of their own.

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? :P

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 V

JordanFiresOfHeavenBannerWelcome once again to the WoT Quad and our peanut gallery attempts to dissect this book, wringing every little tidbit of enjoyment out of it. There was definitely some mighty fine action, intrigue, and bare-ass shenanigans this week. I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.

This week we covered Chapters 25-32. Spoilers lurk in every crevice (yes, even that unmentionable one) below. You have been warned.

1) Egwene nearly becomes trapped in a dream of Emond’s Field. Once she manages to untangle herself, we, the readers, see that Moghedien was lurking. How much trouble do you think Moghedien will cause Egwene & Nynaeve? Do you think Egwene needs to take some of her own advice?

I can definitely see Moghedien being Nynaeve’s nemesis for several books, if not the rest of series. I would expect Nynaeve to win in their final encounter, but Moghedein may take out people Nynaeve cares about deeply before that happens – so I am more worried about Egwene, or Jullin, or even Thom.

As for Egwene and her advice….hehe. So, she is such a prude sometimes, yet she seems to have a few young men in her dreams and on her mind, so perhaps she needs to not be so judgy of others. Also, she has been telling everyone to be careful in Tel’aran’rhiod and there she is, unescorted, and nearly becomes trapped in a beautiful dream that might have ended in a menage a trio wither her, Gawyn, and Galad.

2) Siuan & crew finally make it to Salidar. Did you expect Siuan & Leane to be grilled so by the aes sedai? Was Logain’s reception as you expected?

Yes, I expected the aes sedai to be full of questions and demands for info from Siuan and Leane. I expected them to put Logain under guard at least, and I really expected them to give him a grilling also – so when they didn’t, I have to wonder if they are idiots like Siuan is concerned they are – fussing over their tomato plants instead of planning for an attack.

Also, I wish to say that Siuan proves that even with out the aes sedai powers, the underlying personality is till there – she plotted with Leane a few hours ahead of time, in an effort to steer the aes sedai.

3) Gareth Bryne, his laundry, Siuan’s temper, and Min’s visions; what a mix! Having seen several examples of how Robert Jordan builds couples, do you have expectations for Siuan & Bryne? What do you make of Min’s visions?

Ha! Of course I think Siuan and Bryne will end up together. That is how it is. Two interesting people who have some connection to one another, maybe even attraction, will have to squabble and argue A LOT before they finally become an item… and then they will continue to squabble and argue.

Gosh, Min’s visions. Do we ever learn what every single one means? Is there some cheat sheet out there that has been made up by WoT fanatics? You know who you are – speak up! OK, so she saw a bull tossing roses off of him? Well… if I use some Freudian psychobabble, that possibly means that Bryne will finally loose his virginity? Oh, and Min saw a raven earlier related to one of the aes sedai, but I forget who. That makes me think of those mysterious bird messages that Aluda (spelling?) sent upon catching Nynaeve & Elayne. At any rate, Min’s visions give me something to contemplate late at night when I can’t sleep.

Big Mac smiling. He's a goofy goat.

Big Mac smiling. He’s a goofy goat.

4) Kadere manages to eliminate one of his allies (Isendre) and is hoping to locate another among the Aiel all in one short chapter. In retrospect, how do you feel about the treatment of Isendre by Kadere, Rand, & the Aiel women? Who do you think left the note for Kadere?

I think it is always good to have more than one thing you are good at, and more than one way to get what you want out of people. Isendre was one of those people that never bothered to learn another way to deal with people. Her flirtatious nature had served her well up to this point, and when she realized she wasn’t going to get what she wanted, she could not adapt. You can probably tell that I don’t have much sympathy for her. The opposite side of the flirtatious coin is the bully – both use a behavior set to force, trick, or cajole in order to enact some control over another.

OK, I am putting the soap box away. Kadere was using her because he can’t get into Natiel’s or Rand’s bed. He sees Isendre, and probably all women, as tools. I wouldn’t mind seeing him strangled. Oh, and cutting up a corpse that soon after death – there is going to be a significant amount of blood. I butcher goats from start to finish so I have a pretty good idea about how much blood is in humans and how easily it can be spilled.

I think the Aiel women started off making a good point, forcing Isendre to go dressed in only the jewelry she ‘stole’. I am not convinced that shaving her (completely, every hair folks) was truly necessary. I look at my little belly fuzz, and I wouldn’t care to have to be that precise or thorough in forcibly shaving another human. Think about Isendre’s personal bits! There’s a reason there is waxing instead of shaving. Who wants a knife that close? We had enough trouble forcibly shaving are well-behaved dog, I can only imagine the chore it would be to do so to a struggling human. Did those two Aiel ladies really shave every hair? I think they probably let a few be, just because of the awkward nature of the task. Personally, I think the nettle beating is what drove the point home.

As to who left the message – Hmm… Who is Mat bedding again? I think it is her. I don’t like her. I mean, I think it is good that Mat is getting some action, but the continued relationship seems a little too convenient.

5) What do you think motivated Edorion to make his bet with Rand on the Aiel arriving at Cairhein in time? Rand makes it clear that Rhuarc & crew are not to use rough methods to gain information from Estean. Should we be concerned for Estean’s safety?

I thought this was an interesting section. It really put in perspective the ‘wet landers’ fear of the Aiel and also the Aiel’s complete disdain for the wet landers. Perhaps Edorion was trying to lighten the mood, maybe to set his men at ease, by making that bet. It surprised me a bit.

Up to this point I have liked Rhuarc. But his readiness, even slight eagerness, to forcibly gain information from Estean was a bit disconcerting. I fear that Rand will be forced to be a steel-fisted ruler sooner rather than later with the Aiel – perhaps by hanging a few or publicly killing them in some way. Rand wants to unite the peoples of Rand-land, perhaps the world, against the coming confrontation with the Dark. I don’t think the Aiel understand that means they will have to learn to respect the so called wet landers.

6) Rand & Aviendha find themselves in the land of the Seanchan. All sorts of things (both physical and metaphorical) are laid bare. How do you think Rand & Aviendha’s relationship will change? Will the Seanchan become a bigger problem sooner rather than later due to this little visit?

I am glad that Rand finally bedded someone. I expect that Aviendha thoroughly enjoyed being the one to relieve him of his virginity. I thought it a bit silly that Rand felt they should get married, but I was also surprised by Aviendha’s flat refusal to sleep with him ever again. Ha! But we’ll see what her Aiel sisters do about that. I do have to say that I am a little weary of Rand and Aveindha, and indeed all the couples in the series, constantly bickering.

I think Rand just put Rand-land on the Seanchan radar square in the center. They want him, and not in any good way (unlike his harem). He is going to need some protection when they come for him, because they will come in force, will be highly organized, and failure will not be an option for those leading the force.

Other Tidbits:

So we have seen Rand use the portal stones, waygates, and even his personal floating disc in never land to go from point A to point B. Why were none of these options discussed in catching up to Couladin, especially after Edorion and his men show up?

Did I miss something – why is Aveindha opening some sort of gate into a blizzard on the other side of the world? When did she get that ability? She didn’t seem surprised by her actions, so I assume she has done something similar before, perhaps lots of times.

Here in the middle of Book 5, we have seen our Two Rivers kids grow up in so many ways. Even Nynaeve is shifting in her personality a bit with no longer having authority over Egwene. So, with all this maturing going on (Perrin saved Emond’s Field, Rand is He Who Comes With the Dawn, Elayne being so far from family & court, etc.), why do they all seem stunted when it comes to personal relationships with the opposite sex?

The Fires of Heaven Read Along Part IV

JordanFiresOfHeavenBannerWelcome all! This week Eivind, our ever fearless and insightful commenter, came up with the questions. We’re covering Chapters 17-24 this time around. For the second week in a row, I am a little behind in the reading. We had family from out of state and some other craziness has been going on in my life. On the other hand, my man is having a birthday today and I will be roasting a turkey in his honor. This means quality time in the kitchen cooking and listening to The Fires of Heaven. I expect I will be caught up by this evening.

With that, keep in mind spoilers are free-ranging below, grazing on the unwary.

1. The menagerie reads like a sitcom on wheels. What are your impressions? Will Cerandin play a role? Do you recognize someone else we haven’t seen for a while?

Haha! I really liked this menagerie scene. Elayne as a tightrope walker makes me laugh. Should be interesting to see what kind of outfit they put her in to show off the legs. Perhaps Jullin will get to show off his legs as well – you know, equality in eye candy and all.

I’m listening to the audio, so I have trouble imagining how some of the names are spelled. Cerandin is the Seanchan in hiding, right? At first I didn’t really like the Seanchan and how they swooped in with their collars, but I do find I like these few remnants left behind to spy and/or hide and try to make new lives. I don’t know what role she will play, but I think it is interesting to see that Nynaeve didn’t outright truss her up. She must be softening.

No, I didn’t recognize anyone else that had been missing for a while… but then again, I wasn’t expecting anyone. Perhaps there is more on the Menagerie in a chapter I haven’t gotten to yet and enlightenment will hit me when I get to that chapter/

2. Moghedien recruits the rogue Black Ajah. Speculations on the orders they were given? Just how much danger is Nynaeve and Elayne in, now?

I expect that 1/3 she sent on important missions – either carrying messages or spying. The next 1/3 were given mediocre missions, such as merely gathering info from well established communication networks – you know the kind of work that requires a little intelligence but not too much discretion. The last third were given tasks for the hopelessly vain or useless such as fetching strawberries from far off gardens, tending to the privy, and gathering goose feathers for a king-sized mattress. All were ordered to learn new bawdy songs and be prepared to sing them aloud to the court.

Nynaeve and Elayne are in plenty of trouble, but this is mostly because they keep ending up in easily avoided traps. Still, if Moghedien had me in her sights, I would be worried.

Here's Jake, our Mammoth Donkey.

Here’s Jake, our Mammoth Donkey.

3. Morgase finally escapes Gaebril, with some other old friends returning to the story. Will she ever be back in power? Was Lini as expected?

I loved Lini! She is just the antidote Morgase needed to finally kick the Gaebril habit. She may be the only person who can still treat Morgase like a real person, even give her a bit of well-intended chastisement too.

I was a bit surprised that Morgase had such a high opinion of herself through out this entire scene. I mean, she has managed to alienate, even exile, nearly all her supporters and friends. She is very lucky to have the small following that she does.

4. Rand seems to be having a brewing identity crisis. Is this a manifestation of the madness, genuine memories from a past life surfacing, or maybe both? Do you think his insistence on being himself only will work?

This is where I am in the book. Rand has these memories and insights from his past incarnation as Lews Therrin. I can understand how it would be disruptive to his current life. Still, I keep hoping he will learn to embrace those memories and insights and put them to use, much as he seems to have done with his ability to channel. I don;t think his denial of that part of him will do him good.

But, hey, if I was stuck in the same situation I can’t say that I wouldn’t stubbornly hold onto my current identity and fail to embrace the ancient memories.

5. The Rand-Aviendha plot seems about ready to explode, don’t you think? Is there a resolution in sight?

Haha! I am not exactly sure on this question as I am behind in the reading. But I will tell you that last week I accidentally skipped ahead several chapters. I am listening on Audible, and for whatever reason, my Audible lost my book mark. So, I fired up the book expecting it to pick up where I left off. Nope. I was many chapters ahead, with Rand and Aviendha tucking in for night. I don’t want to say too much because I don’t know what chapter it was from. But I will say, I don’t expect them to have this resolved any time soon.

UPDATE: OK, all caught up. So, yes, they have been sharing a room and trying really hard not to come up with mental images as they listen to one another undress. Haha. Too funny. This book is filled with all sorts of denial. Also, I have to say that Aviednha is not doing a good job of teaching Rand the Aiel ways if he still hasn’t grasped the whole gifting a woman means I am interested in getting married thing. Bad teacher.

6. Our heroes turn back another attack out of nowhere seemingly doomed to fail. Moiraine says not to think the Forsaken simple, but I’m having
a hard time not to. Thoughts?

Sorry to say I have not gotten to this attack yet. I will comment on what I have seen of the Forsaken so far. Once we know which Forsaken we are playing with, then we can guess what they will try. They seem to be like old mountain lions. They long ago found a way to live life that got them what they wanted. Why change? Moghedien has always gotten by on sneakiness. Gaebril what’s his name gets by on pupiteering women of power. Lanfear seems a little more complicated in her scheming, but her desires are simple enough: Power and Rand/Lews naked in her bed.

UPDATE: Sammael and his golden bees. That’s a war cry to make one giggle. I think one could also say not to assume aes sedai are simple, but we notice that most seem driven by one or two things, with a handful able to juggle more than 1 thing at a time.

As I catch up, I will post updates to my answers. Thanks everyone for being so cool about my being behind in the reading for yet a second week.

Other Tidbits:

It’s nice to see that Rand has another heron-marked blade. I can imagine how it has some sentimental value as he lost the heron-marked blade his father had given him.

Mat and his little naked massage going on when the trollocs attack. If trollocs kept popping up in my life as much as his, I might not ever be caught naked & without a weapon.

Aviendha saved Rand’s life and he jumped to some conclusions. The shock of nearly loosing your head one way or another can make you act like an idiot.

The Fires of Heaven Read Along Part III

JordanFiresOfHeavenBannerHello everyone! Week 3 of the read along covers Chapters 10-16. Sue from Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers is our host this week, so make sure to swing by her place for intelligent conversation.

I have not been a responsible WoT Quad reader this week. I am behind by a few chapters. So, some of my answers will make sense and others will be utter nonsense. Shall I leave it up to you to figure out which are which? hehe… Well, I should probably mark them with an astrix (am I spelling that right?) or smiley faces or something. I’m at Bubonicon this weekend and will be traveling back home tomorrow. So don’t be alarmed if I am not with it until Monday after 2 PM. Let me apologize. Part of it is a busy week and part of it is exhaustion from some intense events that have speckled my life lately. I am digging out of all the stuff I am behind on.

1. Do you think that it is possible that Nynaeve and Elayne will be more cautious in the future and avoid the next very obvious trap that arises? Also, any ideas where the extra pigeons were going after Mistress Macura’s recovery?

I expect Nynaeve & Elayne, and possibly Egwene, will fall into more traps. They haven’t learned obvious trap avoidance precautions yet. Dorks. Part of being strong, self-sufficient, independent women is basic situational awareness. these ladies need a community college class on this, for starters.

So one pigeon went to the White Tower. I expect another went to a specific aes sedai – perhaps like Moiraine has ladies that send her messages. Perhaps Moiraine or Verin received that second pigeon. Then that sneakybeak dude copied her message and sent a note off – perhaps to the Seanchan, because others send them love notes and mystery tidbits all the time.

2. We now know that the Blue Ajah is massing in Salidar, and I wonder if other renegade Sisters will head that way as well. Is anyone else feeling that their choice of meeting place is nice and convenient for our wayward Amyrlin? Do you think that Nynaeve and Elayne will hear the location and join up with our merry band?

Was it Nynaeve that was wanting to spend some quality time with Siuan with her unable to channel? Foreshadowing *nudge nudge wink wink*. So I expect they will meet up, but once Nynaeve learns of Siuan’s stilling, she won’t be a jerk. Probably. Maybe. Perhaps the Wheel is pushing everyone together for a hugfest in order to balance out the negative nipple twisting sisters of the White Tower?

UPDATE: Ok, I caught up in my reading. So, yes, I expect Nynaeve will here the location name sooner or later and hopefully it will dawn on her swiftly, and not chapters later in the wrong direction.

3. Were you surprised to discover that Gareth Bryne had the hots for Siuan? Are we going to have a soppy love story involving fishing metaphors?

OK, I haven’t even gotten to this chapter and I am not surprised by this turn of events – so I have to say that it was probably pretty darn obvious. I mean, I have missed all sorts of other ‘obvious’ stuff as my fellow WoT Quad members have probably noticed, yet I didn’t miss this one.

I bet Siuan will wiggle enticingly for Bryne like a worm on a hook before a fish. My Bryne’s fishing spear by straight, strong, and have decent heft.

UPDATE: So, Bryne has remembered exactly where he had seen Siuan. Awkward. I hope he does catch up to her and they can have a heart to heart about that past meeting.

Little Fella sniffing the book.

Little Fella sniffing the book.

4. Is anyone else hoping that Birgitte will have a larger role in the story in the near future? Is Egwene really a prude or do you think that Nynaeve’s dress in Tel’aran’rhiod was amazingly slutty?

Of course I want more Birgitte – strong, knowledgeable, good with weapons, snares, wild animals, and small children. What’s not to like? Egwene is a prude. That is one of her defining characteristics.

A woman, or a man for that matter, can dress in a skimpy outfit and still not be slutty. I haven’t gotten to Nynaeve’s dress, but I expect that she probably felt uncomfortable or very self-aware in it if Egwene found it slutty. I personally belief it is good to let the cleavage or legs show from time to time. People who dress skimpily every day at work, etc. don’t leave much for special occasions (exceptions include people whose professions require little to no clothing such as life guards, exotic dancers, and shark baiters).

UPDATE: I expect we’ll see more of Birgitte. Whether her love is spun out into the world by the Wheel or captured, Birgitte will have a role to play. She’s willing to break some rules some of the time. I like this.

Nynaeve was playing dress up in a somewhat private place (in a private moment anyway) and clothes alone don’t make a person slutty. We have bikini pageants all the time here in the US and we hold those up as respectable pieces of clothing in that context. What would Nynaeve or Egwene make of the bikini?

5. Were you surprised by the sudden reversal in the power dynamic between Nynaeve and Egwene? During her testing to become Accepted, Egwene saw herself as Amyrlin, does her increasing self confidence make this future seem more likely?

Again with the foreshadowing. The switch in dynamic was coming sooner or later. I look forward to getting to this part of the book and seeing just how it comes about.

UPDATE: I quite enjoyed this actually. Nynaeve holds too strongly to her near-tyrannical reign over the younger women because she was once Wisdom and perhaps tanned Egwene’s bottom more than once. Things change and Nynaeve needs to get with the program and stop jeopardizing everyone else’s safety just because she feels the need to be in charge.

6. Do you agree with Elayne that Galad would actually hand them over to the Whitecloaks? I can see Thom fitting in with the traveling Menagerie, but how much braid-pulling do you expect from Nynaeve?

Galad has been enamored with the White Cloaks for a while now, so yes, I think he might had the ladies over.

Oooo! A traveling menagerie! That sounds like fun. Can we just snip Nynaeve’s braid off? I mean, she can keep it, but she has to put it away in her purse or luggage for most of the day. She can have it out once a day for all the braid pulling she was denied the rest of the day.

UPDATE: Yes, I believe Galad is having a major moral quandary going on in his head right now. Either way, he will have to take action that Elayne & Nynaeve will not like – sending the ladies back to Morgase or turning them over to the White Cloaks.

Other Tidbits:

Elayne had to admit remembering Thom from her childhood. Luckily, Galad doesn’t appear to have noticed Thom.

Egwene gave Nynaeve quite a start in Tel’aran’rhiod with her mishapen horrors. At first, I thought she might have went a little too far, but then I realized Nynaeve doesn’t learn from small things – she needed a big shock to get the point (hopefully). Also, the ladies now know that Elaida is Amrylin. Egwene and Moiraine now know too. But Egwene left it up to Moiraine to tell Rand. I have to wonder if she will, or if she will sit on the info to dole out later?