The Dragon Reborn Part V

JordanDragonReborn BannerWelcome back all! Here we are in week 5 of The Dragon Reborn, where we cover chapters 40-48. I’ll be hosting this week, so please leave your link to your post in the comments so we can visit one another. Spoilers roam free below.

1) In this section, we see Mat putting on a tough demeanor and then shelling out coins to those who need it. Do you think such behavior will perpetuate his good luck, in a karmic sense, or will he be taken advantage of?

Can I say both? I know, I made up the questions this week. But Mat needs all the karmic help he can get because 1) He’s up against some mighty foes and fumbling around in the dark and 2) He keeps trying to slack off his load. Slacker. Yep, I just called Mat a slacker.

And yes, sooner or later, someone may well use Mat and his kind inner core to do either him harm or someone close to him. I applaud him for shucking off Lanfear earlier in the book, but can he recognize a sneaky male foe in the same way? Well, some dude who wants to be buddies as I don’t get the impression that this epic fantasy will be inclusive of the homosexual or bisexual male population (pouty face).

2) Loial is writing a journal of sorts of his adventures. What do you think he is focusing on?

OK, so the little kid part of me that still believes that The Neverending Story is for real, says that we are reading Loial’s journal. Yes, that Loial and all live in some alternate universe and Loial wrote down the adventure and then somehow, through some worm hole or other, Robert Jordan was gifted with it. Then Jordan spent decades translating the work and putting polish to it to bring us The Wheel of Time.

That’s my theory, and I am stikcing to it.

3) At Easing the Badger Inn, Perrin is treated to some bawdy songs, making him blush furiously. Have you ever found yourself in such a situation unexpectedly?

The first time I saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show was the college stage silliness with the movie playing in the background. I had not seen it in highschool and my housemate was playing the blonde lady (Janet?). So, she dragged me along to it on Halloween night. I was also to meet my new-ish, sort of boyfriend there and perhaps go to some party afterwards. Well, I didn’t get a lot of the audience participation because it was all brand new to me and the fishnets were so fishnetty and the androgynous characters made me think of 80s rock bands (I grew up on country music – which I abandoned for alternative as soon as I left the house). Anyway, it was culture shock – in a good way. Yes, I was blushing. And then my date stood me up.

I went back to the house after the show. He called, gave me some lame excuse, I called him on it. 20 minutes later, he showed up drunk, dressed as an angel. We chatted. He fell asleep on the table. I kicked him out. He called late the next day, sober, apologized profusely. 15 years and 6.5 months later, we are still together.  The power of fishnets.

So, maybe this blushing episode will mean a future lasting relationship for Perrin. And I wouldn’t mind seeing him in a fishnet shirt.

Pico is fixated on another kitty off-camera.
Pico is fixated on another kitty off-camera.

4) Illian has issues. Darkfriends, Darkhounds, Grey Men, and a Forsaken. Do you think all that badass evil is there for Perrin or Moiraine, or is there something else about Illian that brings them?

Ooooo! This is a good question because I still haven’t made up my mind on it. On one hand, we know that Perrin is ta’veren, so the Dark One wants him in a bad way. We know Moiraine has done much to thwart the Dark One, so he probably wouldn’t mind removing her from the picture – but has he designated resources to do that? Hmmm… But on the other hand, Illian seems to be in the throes of some mass depression and paranoia. So, I am guessing some of these baddies have been in residence for at least a few months. But why? That I don’t know yet. Let’s say the Grey Men are after Perrin. Moiraine is simply bonus points if eliminated. And the group of good guys happened to walk into a snake pit that was busy minding it’s own evil business ruining lives and trying to take over the world.

5) Mat makes it to Caemlyn and proceeds to play delivery boy for Elayne’s letter to her mum. As luck would have it, he overhears a plot to take Elayne’s head. Whose danger is greater: Morgase’s or Elayne’s?

Right now, I would say Elayne. Obviously whatever dark forces want Elayne dead have decided that Morgase is currently useful to them (I assume without her knowing). Elayne has plenty of danger on her plate to avoid, but she isn’t expecting this danger. So while she is on high alert, she probably is tightly focused on the Black Ajah she hunts and looking out for Grey Men.

6) Egwene, Elayne, and Nynaeve make it safely to shore and nestle down with a Wise Woman called Mother Guenna. What do you think of Nynaeve’s caution and Egwene’s snippy behavior?

OK, you know how several people find Nynaeve’s abrupt behavior annoying in the first 2 books? Well, Egwene is turning into that annoying person with all her snippy behavior. On one hand I understand she wants to be treated as an adult, not a child. On the other hand, I think she is seeing conflict where there is no conflict. Perhaps she is being subtly influenced by her dreaming, some dark influence as I believe that TAR place is, and has been for many decades, the stomping ground of grief, consternation, and evil concentrated.

Nynaeve’s caution does her credit and I can see that she has learned the benefits of trying to blend in and stay below the radar. Perhaps she will live a few more books.

Other Tidbits:

Mat has fireworks. Is anyone else concerned? I know Thom is concerned.

Hopper is very concerned that the Grey Men are after Perrin. But Hopper doesn’t really answer Perrin’s questions. I think this is because Hopper was deeply concerned, perhaps shocked, and then focused on keeping Perrin safe, which means kicking him out of Dream Land while warning him to flee.

I found Mat’s whole escapade to get into to see Morgase quite amusing. He made it sound so simple. Then he was denied at the gate. So he climbed Rand’s wall and lurked around corners and in bushes, where he overhears that plotting death conversation. He ‘brilliant’ idea to simply tell Morgase about the plot didn’t work out so well.

What Others Think:

Musings on Fantasia

Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

The Dragon Reborn Read Along Part III

JordanDragonReborn BannerApologies for the late posting. I spent yesterday arguing with inanimate objects (busted water pipe, raspberries, and warp threads) and my hands, back, and mental acuity were used up by these endeavors. Anyway, this week is being hosted by Sue at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers, so make sure to stop by her place to see what everyone else thinks. This week covered Chapters 21-30. There be Spoilers throwing a party below.

1. We see Verin hoarding a collection of Corianin Sedai’s writings on Dreaming. Do you think that she should share them (or selected portions) with Egwene or do you think that blundering around in the dark is the best way to learn how to do something?

If Verin is secretly Black Ajah, then letting Egwene blunder in Dreaming is a great way for the Dark One to influence her or at least see what she is up to. If Verin is not Black, then she is a short sighted idiot in this manner. Or she was directed by someone, perhaps the Amyrlin Seat, to let Egwene blunder in order to fulfill some brainless prophecy. Either way, makes for an entertaining story and that is why I am here.

2. In her testing for becoming Accepted, we see Egwene as Amyrlin. Can you accept this as a possible future for her or is it too improbable?

Well, this is a 14 book series, and I expect the Two Rivers folks will age at least 2-5 years during the course of this adventure. Supposedly we are going to be dodging breaking the world and yet still defeat Mr. Black Supremo, so a lot can happen. You guys have seen Battlestar Galactica, right? Chain of command and all put the Secretary of Education as Head of State. So, yeah, it could happen to Egwene. I expect lots of folks would have to die to make it so.

3. Mat seems fairly nifty with a quarterstaff, even when he is half dead. Did his defeat of Galad and Gawyn seem to be based upon his skill, rather than luck, and did you find it convincing?

At first, I was like, Where the Hell did that come from !?! But I really enjoyed the scene, so I am willing to give Jordan time to build in some backstory to make it more believable. And I want to see Mat trounce some other arrogant folks again. I’m greedy that way. At this point, not too sure about the luck thing. Is Luck it’s own beast, or does it belong to one side or the other in this fantasy of Good and Evil?

4. It seems that the realm of Dreams, Tel’aran’rhiod, is very important to the Black Ajah because they have stolen many ter’angreals that were thought to be associated with Dreaming or Corianin Sedai. Why do you think they are so interested in Dreaming? 

Dreaming is a portal to places best left unmentioned, if you are a Good Guy. The Bad Guys rule in dreaming, because they can create infinite terrors there. Anyway, this seems intuitive to me. If a good Sedai can safely, and secretly, navigate these waters, they could gain lots of intelligence on the Bad Guys. But as we know, Egwene has been left to stumble around a bit on her own.

5. Now that we know that Else was definitely an impostor, it seems that Lanfear has more than one set of tactics. Do you think that she might also be the true identity of Silvie, the old woman that Egwene encounters in her Dream of the Stone of Tear and are you surprised by the way in which she approaches women? 

I was wondering how Landfear’s sex mojo would, or would not, effect women. I am a little sad that she doesn’t enrapture the women quite as well as the men. I had not really made the connection between the old woman in the dream and Lanfear. Perhaps since this is my first time reading this book, I am still trying to figure out all the side characters who later become major characters or important characters. While Lanfear has been interesting so far, she hasn’t really accomplished anything. So, I simply put her on The Watch List, rather than The Pay Attention To List.

Tofu being Shy Kitty.
Tofu being Shy Kitty.

6. We know that the Black Ajah ‘evidence’ is a trap set by Lanfear. Do you think their plan to spring the trap intentionally will work or will it lead them into some other trouble?

Well, the evidence points to Tear. And Rand is going to Tear. So, either way, the ladies have got to go to Tear. Rand is ta’veren, and secretly I believe Nynaeve, Egwene, and Elayne are too, so they pull the world around them to shape destiny, whether they like it or not. So, yes, all the good guys will end up at Tear with some heavy weight bad guys to duke it out and create lots of entertainment for the reader.

7. Suddenly, Mat has been revealed as a gambler with incredible luck. Does this fit with the young man that we met in the first two books and did you detect any unusual luck before his Healing in the White Tower?

I found this a little convenient. I have mulled over whether or not this is some left over evil from the dagger doing what it can to get what it wants – namely, to get away from the Tower full of Aes Sedai. While Mat liked to think himself lucky and clever before being hauled off to the White Tower in a sick bed, he often got caught at this pranks in Two Rivers and often had to have his butt saved by one or another of the party as they ventured forth. On the other hand, this little turn in Mat’s character has made him much more interesting.

Other Tidbits:

Does Mat judge all women on their pretty faces first, danceability second, and everything else third? If so, can I take my quarterstaff to him?

The Amyrlin, if she is Black Ajah, could have been lying abut burning the left over objects that once belonged to the Aes Sedai that fled.

We don’t know for certain that all those missing Aes Sedai are Black – some could be prisoners….or stuffed down some unused well.

The Dragon Reborn Read Along Part II

JordanDragonReborn BannerHello everyone! This week, our host if Liesel over at Musings on Fantasia. Make sure you stop by over there to leave your link and catch her savvy comments.

This week’s reading was Chapters 9-20. Spoilers roam free and eat the unwary from this point on.

1) Perrin saw Hopper in his dreams right after Moiraine warned him to be cautious of them. What do you think it means that he saw Hopper? Should he be as paranoid about his dreams as Moiraine leads him to be?

I don’t really think being paranoid is helping Perrin, just like with Rand. Moiraine and Lan keep saying to be cautious of this and that, but without the background knowledge, it is only making these boys paranoid and freaking them into poor choices. Personally, I like to think that the wolf’s spirit goes on, so seeing Hopper protecting him in his dreams by waking him the only way Hopper could is a good thing. Perrin has folks on his side, they just happen to have four legs, fur, and butt sniffing predilection.

2) Some kind of large, deadly dog was hunting Rand. What do you make of it and Rand’s plans to go to Tear?

I’m listening to the audio….and there’s a large dog hunting Rand? Hmmm….Was that a dream sequence? I always find those a bit vague. Well, if it’s a real dog, and it does catch Rand, I am sure I will make note of it. As for Rand’s plans to go to Tear, same kind of answer as I said for #1. Moiraine provides a great big serving of Be Careful, Caution, Guard Yourself, etc, but not enough background info for Rand to make real good, informed decisions. Her reasons for this are not clear to me. Perhaps she is trying to protect him. Perhaps she is trying to maneuver him. Could be both. Could be Moiraine is playing us all and is Black at heart and we will all be crushed emotionally to find out.

3) What do you think of Nynaeve and Egwene being asked to hunt the Black Ajah and the all-access passes the Amyrlin gave them? Do you think the Amyrlin is wise to trust them and Verin?

See, this section got me all paranoid. Basically, we know Min, Nynaeve, and Egwene are NOT Black Ajah. At least, not now. This is a long series. But the Amyrlin….well, we’ve heard a little of her internal monologue, but not enough to know if she herself is on the Good Guy side. Same for Verin. I really want Verin to be on the good side because I love her geeky, scientist nature. But I could see how she could be all about the knowledge gained and not so interested in good Vs. bad. Unfortunately, I can see Nynaeve becoming all about the payback and not so much about the Good Side in the future. In short, this could get very complicated very quickly.

4) Who do you think sent the Gray Man and who was he aiming to kill? (Who stabbed him, for that matter?) Nynaeve seems to suspect Sheriam of something. Do you concur?

Egwene holds great potential. So does Nynaeve. So, a simple rival for power could have wanted either of them dead. Both those ladies know what was brought to the Amyrlin – the Horn of Valere. So, someone could want them dead for their knowledge. If Verin is naughty Black Ajah, she would be logical. Supposedly, she told the Amyrlin everything about their adventures and the Seanchan. But the Amyrlin never verified that info with Egwene and Nynaeve. So, Verin could be playing both sides. If Egwene and Nynaeve know something that Verin doesn’t want the Amyrlin knowing, then they are targets again.

As for Sheriam – nah. Too damn convenient. Nynaeve suspects everyone expect Two Rivers folks. I hope this turns out to bite her in the ass. Even peaceful villages have dark friends.  I could point my little finger at some folks in my little village.

Pico is fixated on another kitty off-camera.
Pico is fixated on another kitty off-camera.

5) Elaida’s visit to the Accepted’s quarters was…interesting. What information do you think she was fishing for? Between the two, who would you more readily believe to be Black Ajah–Elaida or Sheriam?

Elaida obviously wants Rand, and not in a good way. More like in a vivisection way. But is she Black Ajah? Well, Robert Jordan already was obvious about Leandrin being a bitch and then also Black Ajah. But can we say that all the bitchy Aes Sedai are Black Ajah? I hope not – I hope Jordan wasn’t that obvious throughout the series. So, no; Elaida is not Black Ajah. Sheriam could be, but I still think it was convenient of her to walk onto the Gray Man issue. She would be in the perfect place at the perfect time to take the suspicion from someone else.

6) Once again we find Mat plotting to “get away” from all Aes Sedai. Do you think he’ll succeed this time?

Hell no! He’s Ta’veren. He sounded the Horn of Valere. There is no way the Aes Sedai will let him wander free. Heroic efforts would have to be made to free Mat from their clutches – which could happen. We still have like 11.7 books to go. But for right now, no. Mat is not savvy enough, hasn’t fully grasped the stakes, and is still weak from his near-death. Plus, there may be just a touch of evil left in Mat, which will make things complicated – and entertaining for me the reader.

7) Selene came to visit Mat and when he wasn’t as submissive as she wanted, she started doing something to him that gave him a headache. What do you think it was?

Naughty Selene. tsk, tsk. Normally it is the woman’s role to have a headache at an inopportune time, driving the man a little nuts. Perhaps since Mat was driving her a little nuts, she chose the vicious headache as a form of gender payback. I don’t know how she did it. Certain odors can do so, visual stimuli (like pulsing beams and such). But most likely, since this series is all about the mental powers, she used her enormous will to try to wake to dormant, weakened evil within him.

I know. It’s a piddly little theory.

Other Tidbits:

When Perrin went to Moiraine about his dreams, how he wants it all to stop, and she made that morose joke about being Blue, not Green, Ajah, so she could only have one Warder, I thought Perrin’s blush would last 3 chapters. hehe.

I am a bit frustrated for Egwene and Nynaeve – having nearly everyone at the Tower believe they ran off….when they actually put on their Super Hero costumes and saved the world, with no little cost to themselves.

Gawyn and Galad. Interesting pair. One a goody two-shoes to the point of being slightly evil, and the other too much of a good guy to act. It will be interesting to see what happens with them.

The Amyrlin actually considered NOT healing Mat just so the Aes Sedai could control the Horn. I wonder if Robert Jordan left room in this world for a woman to sound the Horn?

The Dragon Reborn Read Along Part I

JordanDragonReborn BannerWelcome one and all! Here we are at Book 3 of The Wheel of Time Read Along. Book 3 will be hosted by the WoT Quad – Liesel of Musings of Fantasia, Sue of Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers, Eivind – the King of Comments, and myself here at Dab of Darkness. You can check out the schedule over HERE if you would like to join us.

This week, the discussion questions cover the Prologue through the end of Chapter 8, so beware of the free-roaming and ravenous Spoilers with Claws from here on in. Fellow readers, please leave a link to your posts (if you made one) in the comments so we can hop around enjoying each other’s thoughts.

1) Both Niall and Carridan seem to be playing with two-edged swords. Niall wants the Dragon Reborn to create enough panic, sorrow, and destruction to have the populace begging the Children of the Light to do something. Whereas Carridan vows to one lord to keep the Dragon Reborn alive and vows the opposite to another. Did you enjoy this beginning more or less than the first two books in the series?

I love seeing all these enemies stacking up to use or eliminate Rand and his friends. Right off the bat, we get the very real sense that Rand and crew are going to have to go up against some real opponents in this book, opponents with detailed and immediate plans. Also, I like that this book started off where the last book left off (timeline wise), instead of some nebulous history lesson (Book 1 – breaking of the world) or mysterious half-dream meeting of the masqued bad guys (Book 2 – Dark Friends post luck).

2) Throughout this section we see that Min believes herself in love with Rand. What do you make of this one sided romance?

Robert Jordan has told us through Min that Rand’s love/sex life is going to be complicated. But I have to wonder if poor Min fell in love with Rand first or rather convinced herself that she was in love with him because of what she saw in his aura (which is up for interpretation, right?). I have to wonder if Min has had other loves in her life or if this is the first, and since there isn’t really anyone else with her gift for her to commiserate with, perhaps she is taking her fate as given, instead of making active choices about relationships.

Besides, Min would be so cool with knife or bolo skills. And she needs time to develop those, so romance of any sort probably needs to be put on hold for a few years.

3) Within a few chapters, the big picture story arc of this book starts to follow the story arcs of Book 1 and Book 2 – trollocs unexpectedly appear and shortly thereafter our main heroes are separated for one reason or another. What do you think of this pattern?

As with Book 2, this set pattern makes Book 3 feel like an old friend before we even get a quarter of the way into it. I can see that Jordan may have done this on purpose for this reason – familiarity. On the other hand, I am definitely keeping an eye out for a river and potentially a sinking ferry – predictable plot?

Pico is fixated on another kitty off-camera.
Pico is fixated on another kitty off-camera.

4) Rand has run off and some of our heroes follow, tracking him. At one place they come across a village that recently suffered a bout of weddings and Whitecloaks going AWOL. Did Rand make the right choice, leaving? Do you think the decisions made by folks while Rand is around will hold after a few days?

While I can understand why Rand ran away – or at least part of it (not wanting to inadvertently harm friends) – I am not sure it is a useful thing for him to do. Perhaps there is no right or wrong to Rand’s decisions at this point, but simply trying to navigate his way to the least amount of collateral damage.

I have to wonder if the weddings will hold up – Randy Fever may keep them together for a year, but a life long commitment is a much bigger thing. I truly do hope the Whitecloaks that wen walk-about find better lives for themselves and that Rand’s mere presence encourages more of that behavior.

5) Do you believe that Moiraine had not caught fish before in the manner Perrin and Loial ‘taught’ her or do you think it was some clever ploy of her’s?

Either way, she was being clever. By asking someone to teach you a skill, you put them in a position of superiority (Moiraine is such a good kiss ass) but then by catching 3 large fish so easily, she shows them up (forcing Perrin to rethink his near-constant questioning of her decisions and actions). But let me be honest, a little part of me wants to see Moiraine questioning her handling of the Two Rivers folks. Perhaps if they saw her as flawed, and hence, as human, they would be more inclined to put their trust in her.

6) Perrin’s wolfish gifts are growing in strength. Then we come upon a man, Noam, who has lost himself completely to such gifts. Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation as Perrin, facing what you might become if you lack self-control?

Throughout this entire scene I kept hoping Perrin would be able to reach out to him and make some sort of connection, explain things enough to keep Noam from harming folks in general, and to advise Noam to stay away from humans. But things didn’t fall out that way, and it makes it bitter sweet. On a personal note, I have several alcoholics in my family, so I have some idea of what it is to face someone and see the consequences of loosing self-control over a long period of time. Usually, it happens bit by bit and not all at once.

Other Tidbits:

It seems Rand’s power, if not his control, is growing – shaking the earth the way he did. I enjoyed Min’s grumbling about the men being OK with Rand doing that, but not an aes sedai.

The Tinker lady’s philosophy on non-violence was interesting, but not very practical. Can we say ‘Enabler’?

What Others Think:

Musings on Fantasia

On Starships & Dragonwings

Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

Around the Sphere April 2013

Yes, it is that time again. Time for me to be social. Which usually means snarking on things. In this case, other folks have already put together the snark for me. Enjoy!

I love making fun of Disney heroines. Mostly because they are not particularly heroic. Or rather, running through the woods, cleaning house, or reading a book all while looking gorgeous is heroic for the female form. Sigh….

Here is a really cool article about the what ifs of drawing female superheroes fully clothed. I love the idea and I think a competent, mostly clad superhero (of any gender) is far more attractive than stepping out to fight crime in a bathing suit or highheels and thong-bustier combo.

http://www.geeknative.com/38733/drawing-the-impossible-fully-dressed-superheroines/

Remember Mr. Smith (Hugo Weaving) from The Matrix? Yeah, I do. Here he is again in the GE commercial. If all ads were this cool, I would spend more time rotting my brain watching them. Are you ad companies paying attention?

Cracked.com is a great place to visit if you need to kill some time waiting for the bus, that last load of laundry, or you’re stuck at work and can get away with it. Not that I would ever encourage folks to be slackers. Not me. This particular article is on real life places that could be sets for science fiction or fantasy movies. I wish some of these places made up my lawn art.
http://www.cracked.com/article_20357_7-modern-ghost-towns-that-look-like-sci-fi-movies.html?utm_source=thechive.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=7-modern-ghost-towns-that-look-like-sci-fi-movies-pics-article

I’m sure you have seen this trailer by now, but hey, it stars two of my all time favorite actors – Jodie Foster and Matt Damon. So there is no way I was not going to plague you with this trailer one more time.

Ever wonder how to make that superhero Aquaman sexy, useful, and manly all in one go? Well, yeah, I hadn’t actually spent much time thinking about Aquaman either. I mean, who does? Here a cool pic of Aquaman, medieval style. It does the trick.

http://www.ilyke.net/i-thought-this-deserved-to-be-seen-by-more-people–batman–aquaman-medieval-garb/25303/?utm_source=u212&utm_medium=p212137&utm_campaign=aff

Confession time. I love the Riddick movies. I have watched Pitch Black like dozens of times since I first caught on the once appropriately names SciFi channel. When The Riddick Chronicles came out, I hauled my main man off to the theatres to watch it. It was great. Now, a third movie is nearing completion.I know, some of you….perhaps most of you, are quirking your eyebrow at me. I’m OK with that, because I am picturing you all in The Next Generation combat leotard. You look smashing.

This last video is Honest Reviews. Now I love me some Harry Potter – books first, movies second, trick jelly beans third. This video covers all the movies, so beware of spoilers, if you care about such things. Had me chuckling out loud.

Finally, stuff about me that you may or may not care about. I care, and that is good enough. First, I gave an interview over at the Book Store Book Blogger Connection. If you haven’t heard of this, it’s a great site where you can provide little snippets about books you love. Then bookstores, usually small, independent ones so far, print off those snippets and place them on their shelves to entice book browsers to pick up the book and perhaps take it home. Genius. (both the site and my interview).

http://bookstorebloggerconxn.com/2013/04/03/bloggers-who-win-dab-of-darkness/

Almost finally, David Lee Summers, an author, scientist, blogger, and all around fun guy, passed the WordPress Family Award on to me. This is my first bloggity award and I am still figuring out what to do with it. The rules with this award are simple – chat about some other blogs that you enjoy. I assume from the title of the award they are suppose to be WordPress blogs, but I am not one for rules really. I think rules, as well as recipes, are really just guidelines. In some cases they really only denote some end goal and how you get there is up to you.

So, let me take a moment to talk about a few blogs that have been in my life recently. On Starships and Dragonwings has one of the snazziest looking blogs around – not too much glitter or flash, and plenty of dragons. If you love your YA SFF, that’s the blog to check out. We recently wrapped up Book 2 of The Wheel of Time series and we’ll shortly be starting Book 3 (The Dragon Reborn). The Little Red Reviewer, who is also the power and master mind behind the Book Store Book Blogger Connection I mentioned above, has always got something SciFi good going on. I recently participated in her The Emoticon Generation blog tour. Stainless Steel Droppings is running his annual Once Upon A Time reading event that runs the duration of spring and is a celebration of anything fantasy (mostly books and film). It is a wonderful, fun event. We just finished up the Stardust Read Along this past week. Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers has been joining me on all my crazy read alongs, including The Shadow of the Sun Read Along which goes to the end of the month. Barbara Friend Ish is giving away digital copies of her book on her site (just follow the read along link to download yours). Let me just say that Sue from Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers always has such great comments. She really takes the time to read the post and leave meaningful comments. Lynn’s Book Blog has been teaching me UK words, like numpty. Lynn has also been a big participator in recent read alongs. And what is a read along if you ain’t got nobody to play with? Yes, I left the bad grammar in. Yes, I can see you wincing. You’re cute when you wince. There are many more to name, but I think I will save some for the next bloggity award or the next time I am feeling social. Yes, you may very well be on that list. It’s better than being on the Other List.

And just yesterday, Lynn from Lynn’s Book Blog awarded me the Liebster Award. So, I had to come back in here and edit because this was the perfect place to stick this.  She gets a wicked chuckle from me on timing alone. First, she has these questions I am suppose to answer. She says I can’t say ‘both’. But she also says rules are for breaking. Hehehehehehhe.

  1. Beer or Wine – Chocolate milk stout or muscato dessert wine. But not both together.
  2. Dogs or Cats – I have to say both as I live with both and if I picked one, the other would find out and kill me in my sleep. For Reals.
  3. Fantasy or Sci Fi – This is a cruel, cruel question. How about Scitansy? The best of both worlds.
  4. Book or Film – Book. Except for The Hunger Games trilogy. That is one series I hope the movies end better than the books did.
  5. Star Wars or Star Trek – Star Wars for the women and star trek for the bald headed men.
  6. Batman or Superman – Batman all the way. There is nothing sexy about a grown boy scout in a blue and red unitard.
  7. Anime or Manga – Manga
  8. Gaiman or Tolkien – Gaiman for the everyday. Tolkien for the once a decade read.
  9. Reading or Music – Reading. But you knew that already.
  10. Chocolate or Cheese – Chocolate. Unless there are fresh local cheese readily available.
  11. Morning or night – Morning. Shit needs to get done in the morning.

On top of that, I am suppose to reveal 11 things about myself. Well, I already told y’all about my Riddick fascination above. That should really count for 2. My favorite bookmarks are the ones my aunt made several years ago. We live on a small farm and I rather clean chicken houses than fold laundry. Alas, folding laundry happens like every other day, and cleaning the chicken houses happens likes 3-4 times a year. Yes, I do wear a respirator when doing that. I often salt my icecream. I know you want to also. Oh you think it might be weird, but I bet you love other sweet & salty food. I have two addictions in my life – my man and Dr. Pepper. I once hit a puppy with my car on a dark night. I broke it’s neck, but it was still alive. I took it home and my man helped me grant him mercy. He is buried near the apple tree. I have a consuming fear of ladders. No, shaking the ladder while I am on it to prove how stable it is DOES NOT help. Just being clear about that. I have been with the volunteer fire and emergency response for 6 months now and seen two fatalities. The only girly thing about me is my super secret cutsy wutsy collection of My Little Ponies.  I have been peed on by a cat more than once. No, I am not on speaking terms with that cat. I have spent quality time in a public place with one boob hanging out of the bra (still covered by shirt). Lots of odd stairs went my direction, but no one took me aside and chatted about wardrobe malfunctions.

This last part is where I torture others. But I am going to mix it up (see rule breaking previously in this post). Instead of nominating 11 others and posing 11 questions to them, I am going to leave it open to you, my dear readers. Leave your answers in the comments.

1) I love interviewing folks, digging into their lives, etc. Would anyone like to do a real interview on my blog? Leave your email or twitter handle, and I will get in contact.

2) If you took the main characters from Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time, Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn Trilogy, and Brent Week’s Night Angel series and stuck them in a gated, locked grove, who would come out in the end?

3) Honestly, are the fig leaves really necessary?

4) Should they have a third go at turning Dune by Frank Herbert into a movie?

That’s all I got folks. This turned out to be a longer post than expected, but for anyone who makes it to the end, leave me a raspberry in the comments!

The Great Hunt Read Along Part VII

JordanGreatHuntBannerWelcome everyone to the final installment of The Great Hunt Read Along. Today, we cover Chapters 43-End. Thanks to everyone who has participated in this awesome ride. Don’t forget to leave your link in the comments so we can all jump around and visit.

1. Wow! Those a’dam are real mood changers (i.e. Nynaeve’s reaction to having all that control over another). Would you be tempted to put any of the characters we have met so far in The Wheel of Time world in an a’dam? Anyone in real life?

So far the few extremely distasteful folks we’ve met in WoT (Fain, Liandrin), I wouldn’t want to keep alive. At this point, I don’t see a need for their talents and let’s face it, Mother Nature abhors a void and would provide someone else with those talents and hopefully more sense and better personality. Now, in real life, yes, there are several folks that I wouldn’t mind using an a’dam on from time to time. Folks would just be so much happier if they would simply do what I say ;).

2. Perrin still hasn’t revealed the full extent of his wolfish powers to his friends. Do you think he’s making the right choice? Would you do the same?

Well, Mat hasn’t really gotten better at watching his tongue. So, I can see keeping it from him, or telling him and then threatening his life to keep the secret (tho that isn’t Perrin’s way). Still, rand could use some brotherly support and sharing Perrin’s secret might help him emotionally. However, Rand may very well go insane and either blab or decide Perrin’s wolfish nature is evil and kill him, so I guess that isn’t really an option wither. He could safely tell Egwene, except she wants to be part of the sisterhood who would happily dissect Perrin to figure out how the wolf communication works. Damn! I guess Perrin is making the right choice by keeping it to himself as much as possible.

3. We finally learn what has been driving Ingtar to find the Horn. Do you think his final act makes restitution for whatever ills he did as a Dark Friend?
The families of those who died back at the keep due to him letting in the Trollocs may or may not think so. But I have to go with Rand’s belief that once you no longer want to serve the dark, then that is that. Yes, you still need to do acts to follow it up, and you may never make up your past transgressions fully in this life, but I don’t think Ingtar’s soul is going to the Dark One’s Hall of Questionable Deeds and Foul Friends to be a bouncer.
Pico & Heldig don't often snuggle, so I joined them with a book.
Pico & Heldig don’t often snuggle, so I joined them with a book.

4. The Horn was sounded and warriors of old appeared and did mighty battle. How did you like the final large battle scene with Seachan, Whitecloaks, Dead Heroes, and Egwene (running amok)?

Ummm…. well, I have to say that I was really, really looking forward to seeing the Warriors of the Horn stomp some Seachan and/or Trolloc ass. Alas, Robert Jordan went all nebulous on us and kind of glossed over what must have been a very epic battle, a battle of the ages (even if it was brief). Sigh.

5. We get to see Rand in 2 sword fights – one with Turak and one with The Dark One. Which one did you find more satisfying or entertaining?

Definitely the sword fight with Turak. Turak was all smug, and I disliked him because he brought grief and woe to Egwene, Nynaeve, Min and Bela. Jerk. And we actually got to see it play out. Once again, the confrontation between Rand and the Dark One goes all dreamscape on us and, as with the ending of the first book, I did not find this very satisfying.

6. Lanfear chose to reveal her existence to Min, and gave her a message for Rand. Why do you think Min was the lucky one?

I think Min just happened to be in the awkward place at the awkward moment – Rand’s bed. Otherwise, Lanfear would have simply stopped by while Rand was still unconscious from his epic, but nebulous, battle with the the Dark One and tousled his hair, perhaps rearranged his clothing, maybe even left some monkey bite in an awkward and embarrassing place. But no, there would be a witness to this admittedly juvenile behavior. So, she goes with Plan B – looking all ethereal and badass and threatening, nay promising, to make Rand hers. Plan B was probably more effective anyway.

Other Tidbits:

At the end, Loial offers to stay with Rand and see the adventure through, because they are friends. And Lioal would be bored otherwise. Too cute.

Ouch, Min! She said the truth, but still, I could feel the sting of those words from here, a world away and decades after they were put down on paper. Poor Egwene. Still, Egwene had pretty much made her choice when she joined the aes sedai, so this is probably a good example of tinkle or get off the pot. Not that I would compare Rand to a toilet seat – that would be very wrong!

I think Egwene may have gone a little mad once her collar was removed. She definitely didn’t seem to be holding back when it came to blowing up….uh, city blocks.

What Others Think:

On Starships and Dragonwings

Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

Musings on Fantasia

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.

What Others Think:

On Starships & Dragonwings

Musings on Fantasia

The Great Hunt Read Along Part IV

JordanGreatHuntBannerOnce again we meet to discuss a Robert Jordan book in detail – and so much good stuff happened in this section. This week, we are covering Chapters 21-27 and On Starships and Dragonwings is hosting, so make sure to stop by there for good times. If you want the schedule for the the read along, click HERE.

Cage Free Spoiler Section!

1. Rand had quite a connection with that statue that Captain Caldevwin was digging up. What do you think it is?
I kind of remember this part. It was more of a footnote for me. I mean, they keep running into old ruins, abandoned cities, and leftover statues left and right since they left Two Rivers, so this was just one more to torment Rand with his destiny of saving the world or dooming us all. Was this the large Artur Hawkwing one that Caldevwin didn’t want to chat about? Perhaps its only a relic and perhaps it will be a teleportation stone of some sort. Let’s let Rand sleep next to it and find out.
2. We had quite an informative look into Moraine and Lan’s relationship. What do you think about Moraine’s actions concerning Lan’s bond?
Moiraine has never compelled him before, so perhaps Lan should slow down a bit and ask himself why she has set up a spell to do so upon her death. Normally this guy is pretty level headed, and I would like to see him use that trait now. Think with your mind and experience Lan, not with your pride!
Obviously Moiraine feels the stakes have risen and that either she is in imminent danger from something set in motion recently or she is about to do something necessary and very dangerous. Either way, I expect that I will be highly entertained by it.
3. Poor Nynaeve had to go through quite a lot in her trials. What do you think each were about (especially that first one….)?
Nynaeve is one of those well meaning folks who is highly driven and who honestly believes that if they are not there to see to things, then they will go to shit. So, she is deeply afraid she is correct in her assumption that she was the only competent person of Two Rivers and now that she is no longer there, BAD THINGS will happen left and right without anyone stepping up. I think this shows Nynaeve’s flaw – her pride. We met several competent and well-meaning folks in Two Rivers back in Book 1. It hasn’t had enough time to go to compost yet. Chill Nynaeve!
I wanted to see her go all kissy face and get entangled with Lan before she walked away. But that is probably just the smutty side of me. Sigh…..
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. Reunion time! How do you feel about all these old faces showing up all over the place?

So we have Captain Domon, who is in an interesting pickle with his death warrant. Now we have Tom Merrylin back in the picture. Did anyone else feel that Rand was way more happy to see him than Tom was to see him? Is Tom trying to stay out of Aes Sedai business because he has his own secrets or because he doesn’t want to tackle a myrrdraal again? Hmmm…. I was a little confused by Tom’s luke warm response.
5. Selene sure showed up at a convenient time didn’t she? What do you think she is plotting?
She wants Rand’s lower anatomy. Haha! She wants the Horn, I am sure, and perhaps to turn Rand to the dark side to earn extra points with The Dark Lord. As for plotting, not sure yet because Rand has been foiling her without really trying but by simply being a decent guy……and remarkably inexperienced with women so he doesn’t know how to make a first move and hence get ensnared by Selene’s feminine charms.
Other Tidbits:
Loial sure does seem very cautious about being seen by other ogier. What do you think would happen if he bumped into some? Would they somehow compel him home?
Hurin seems like a good chap, always helping Rand, guarding the Horn. However, I am deeply afraid he is wearing a Red Shirt.

The Great Hunt Read Along Part III

JordanGreatHuntBannerHere we are again, traipsing through the Wheel of Time ‘verse with Rand, Nynaeve, and others as the hide & seek game with the Great Horn continues. I hope everyone enjoyed this section as much as me! Make sure to leave your link in the comments so everyone can hop around visiting each other. And don’t forget to visit my partner in crime – On Starships and Dragonwings. She will be hosting next week.

So here are these week’s questions, which cover Chapters 12-20. Spoilers are everywhere, they are not subtle, so beware! If you want to check out the reading schedule, click HERE. Enjoy!

1) What do you make of Nynaeve’s initial training with Verin? Is she being too stubborn? Do you think the Aes Sedai are messing with her a little?

Part of me wants to give her a little wake-up slap because if being an aes sedai is important to her, then she needs to buckle down and make an effort. Does that mean she needs to bow, and smile, and kiss ass? No, but she at least needs to take the controlling the power lessons seriously. She would cry hard if she inadvertently tore someone apart due to lack of control.

2) Ooops! Is Rand channeling even in his sleep? Or do you think some other power pulled him, Loial, & Hurin into that alternate plane of existence?

At first, I really wasn’t certain what happened there. But as they rode on, and he kept getting lost in the Void, I started to believe that Rand did the channeling equivalent of walking in your sleep and inadvertently tapped into the transport stones. On one hand, he is lucky he had some back up with him, on the other it sucks he endangered his friends so. And the place was so freaking creepy – limited life, stale water, Hurin smells old violence or imminent violence everywhere.

Pico & Heldig don't often snuggle, so I joined them with a book.
Pico & Heldig don’t often snuggle, so I joined them with a book.

3) Perrin is taking a calculated risk in sharing part of his wolfish gift with Ingtar. How do you think that will turn out?

First, Perrin is very brave to use his wolfish gifts to continue the tracking and hence, the need to at least tell Ingtar. However, I definitely worry that this will either backfire on him (Perrin might not make it to the end of the book if they string him up!) or more likely, Perrin will be ostracized further, forced to flee for his life. Perhaps he’ll take numbnuts idiot Mat with him. If Mat doesn’t freak out too much.

Ooo! And that little bit we heard from Ingtar about Elyas once being a warder. That makes Elyas double deadly, and thrice intriguing.

4) Who and what do you think Selene is and from where does she draw her power? What is her hunger for the Horn? If you already know, feel free to critique her choice in clothing.

Wow! So where did this mysterious, deadly, sexy beast of a woman come from? Hmm… Well, I don’t believe she doesn’t know how to get into…..where ever they were. She obviously hates aes sedai, and that kind of hatred is from intimate knowledge, so perhaps she was trained as one once. She really, obscenely wants power and she’ll most definitely use Rand to gain that power. But she has nice white legs, so I am sure she will stay in the storyline for a while at least. Easy on the eyes Evil – that’s Selene.

5) Hehe! What was your favorite part of the first meeting between the Amrylin and Nynaeve & Egwene?

I LOVE that Egwene has so much on Nynaeve now – because she is finally equal, and human in Egwene’s eyes. I think the Amrylin was brave to get Nynaeve all riled up the first time. She probably had a few bruises walking away from that meeting. However, Nynaeve really needed the lesson – because it showed how important control is in channeling.

6) Wow! I did not expect Rand to go for the Horn and Mat’s dagger. What do you think finally pushed him over into doing so?

So many factors here. There’s Selene egging him on with her not-so-subtle sex magic. There’s the Power intoxicating him, defintiely clouding his judgement and hiding the risk factors from his decision making center. Then there is the true need to save Mat’s life and to keep such a powerful artifact (the Horn) away from Darkfriends. In the end, I think that if that last part hadn’t been there, he wouldn’t have strolled into a camp full of trollocs and myrrdraal killing Darkfriend. Ahh! He did if for friendship and the good of the realm! And that is why he’s the hero. An idiot hero right, but a hero.

Other Tidbits:

That dagger is dangerous, as we already know. It is interesting that Selene is not attracted to it in the least, whereas Fain didn’t mind carrying it around at all. So now I have to wonder if maybe Selene draws her evil power and questionable motives from some source other than The Dark One. I mean, we have Perrin and Hurin who have interesting powers not of The One Power and are doing good deeds. Why not the same mirrored on the side of evil?

I am starting to wonder about Egwene and Rand – how much of their ‘love’ is expectation – being raised in a small village, expected to marry, so falling in love is natural? Perhaps they are both suffering from a deep friendship and puppy love?

What Others Thought:

On Starships & Dragonwings

Musings on Fantasia

Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers