The Great Hunt Read Along Part II

JordanGreatHuntBannerWelcome back everyone. This week we are dissecting Chapters 7-11 of Book 2 of The Wheel of Time series, The Great Hunt. Please stop by On Starships and Dragonwings, who is hosting this week. Next week, we’ll be back here for Chapters 12-20. If you want to see the entire schedule, it is over HERE.

1. What do you think of the potential dark prophecy the Halfman wrote on the wall? Do you think it is a prophecy or a taunt?
If it is prophecy (which is used left and right in this series), then I think the Halfman is using it as a taunt. The dark side only shares information to sow despair and breed factions among the light side. Naughty Halfman! I don’t think this is spontaneous prophecy as in the Halfman and his crew were storming the castle, made it all the way to the dungeon, and then the gift of seeing struck him stupid until he could eviscerate something and scrawl the keys phrases in gore on a hard surface.
2. We finally got to find out more of Rand’s birth and Tam’s history. Did it meet your predictions/expectations? What did you think?
While I don’t think it will happen this book, I am hoping we meet up with Tam again and then get some flashbacks to get the full stereovision version of Tam’s rise int he ranks, his learning the sword, the final battle that brought him a baby, a wife, and finally home to Two Rivers. Can you see how Tam’s earning a heron blade is kind of like Rand hopefully eventually also being heron blade quality? I’m getting wrapped up in Rand’s story, so I expect that I would get caught up in Tam’s.
3. Oo lala, Lan gave Nynaeve a ring! How are you liking the development of this romance?
A little over dramatic. Wouldn’t it just be easier to agree to have a romantic relationship with hazards? It’s not like either of them has chosen an easy, protected life. Or they could choose a friendship with benefits, when they happen to be in the same city. See if it goes anywhere from there, but without the complicated, unsatisfying, ties of deep-meaning romance that we have now.
My goatmilk raised kitty Chupacabra.
My goatmilk raised kitty Chupacabra.

4. Rand kept feeling a pair of eyes on him and given that someone shot an arrow in his vicinity, it might not be unfounded paranoia. Who/what do you think is watching him?

I am watching him! He can feel my eyes, hear my snarky comments, and wonder why the hell he keeps catching the mixed scent of sandal wood, cat dander, and mesquite firewood whenever I pick up the book to read.
But you are asking about the plot. So, I think someone who came with the Aes Sedai has malevolent intentions; not necessarily an Aes Sedai, but I am pretty sure they brought some retainers to do the laundry, brush the cat, press the veils, and provide pedicures.
5. Poor Domon! What do you think of the trouble he has gotten himself into with the heartstone? Are you happy that it seems Domon will be integrated back into the story?
Domon was a favorite side character from the first book and he left us with many, many questions. So I am glad he has returned to the story to answer some of my stories. The heartstone could very well explain why trollocs and perhaps worse would be after him. And if I ever get paid a lot of money to make a mystery trip with a sealed letter, I am going to be a nosey person too!
6. What did you think of Mat and Perrin’s reaction to Rand telling them about his channeling? Anyone else feel like they need a pamphlet in supporting your friend through difficult times?
Dorks. Yep. That sums it up. All three of them.
OK let’s break this down. 1) Rand and Mat have known Perrin has changed and is feeling awkward about it for months. AND done nothing to comfort him, help him through it, or try to understand his new self with him. Dorks.
2) I think Mat has gotten the most understanding from the group. This is probably because Moiraine was able to explain the basics to everyone, freeing up folks to be empathetic and ask questions and support Mat. So maybe Mat could reflect some of that group love back at his closest friends.
3) Perrin seemed far more interested in evaluating Rand as predator or prey item. Oddly, I was OK with this.
Other Tidbits:
I wonder when Egwene and Nynaeve will have their meetings with the Amyrlin Seat… and what those will be like.
Hehe! Looks like the overall story arc from Book 1 is being repeated here – trollocs last week, separation of the Two Rivers folks this week.

The Great Hunt Read Along Part I

JordanGreatHuntBannerWelcome Everyone! Anya (On Starships and Dragonwings) and I are continuing our madness in reading The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. I hope all have enjoyed the beginning of Book 2 of the series. If you are just hearing about this, you are most welcome to join in the fun. Over here is the The Schedule and also you can sign up to receive the discussion questions a few days a head of time.

What follows are discussion questions for the Prologue through the end of Chapter 6, so spoilers abound! Also, if you put together a blog post, include the link in the comments and I will make a list so everyone can jump around visiting each other’s sites.

1) That prologue was pretty intense. If you haven’t read the book/don’t remember, any wild guesses as to who all these spooky characters are? If you know, feel free to make snarky comments.

Gosh. I have totally forgotten this book. I don’t know who those folks are, but they obviously love masquerades. There were 2 Aes Sedai, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more than 2 of the Black Ajah lurking some place. Wouldn’t it be something is Eliada was one of them? Placed beside the Queen’s side, she could do so much damage at the right moment. On the other hand, she might turn out to be a very grumpy good guy with a control freak attitude.

Time will tell, right?

2) Hehe! What do you think of all of Rand’s attempts to escape from the keep?

Juvenile! Really, he waited until the last moment, and then his attempts were half-hearted at first, then grew more desperate, at which point his higher mental functions went out the window. I am glad that Egwene finally sat on him and forced some reason into his thick skull. Alas, I was dismayed at how he lashed out at his friends, especially Loial.

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

3) What do you make of Egwene’s visits to the dungeon and to specifically visit Padan Fain?

Some might say I have a harsh view of the world, but I have to ask why is Padan Fain still drawing breath? Should this guy not be dead? If he was captured and incarcerated in Two Rivers, yes I can see how they might keep him alive, hoping he would reform. But Lord Agelmar, Moiraine, and Lan have seen the broader, harsher world. So, at the least I would expect there would be a zero visitor without written approval rule.

With that said, I can see Egwene with her soft, yet practical, heart believing she could draw some goodness out of Padan Fain. Too bad that looks like her efforts were misplaced.

4) We have a shift in point of view pretty quickly in this book (as opposed to The Eye of the World). Has your view of Moiraine altered any by riding around in her head?

Wow! Moiraine has friends in high places! I am very excited that we are going to be seeing things from other peoples’ POV. Rand’s head is interesting, but I think I’ll enjoy 1st person from the other characters quite a bit. I especially want to ride around in Nynaeve’s head for a while and listen to her acerbic remarks first hand.

5) We finally get to meet some more Aes Sedai – in force. What are your impressions?

Quite a variety of philosophies there. I am surprised that the Red Ajah have so little use for males – replaceable breeding stock, soldiers, etc. We got some feminine chauvinism going on there, which is bound to make things very interesting for our characters and amusing for the readers. I am looking forward to their reactions in the next few chapters. All these big tough warriors to protect the keep and women – and yet the trollocs made their way in side.
6) Trollocs! Any guesses as to how they got in? Anyone else amused that the overall atmosphere is abruptly jarred by the unexpected appearance of Trollocs in both The Eye of the World and The Great Hunt?

I was totally not expecting trollocs in the keep! Indeed, this was a WTF moment for me. As they discussed towards the end of Chapter 6, someone must have let them in. Still, we have some interesting suspects. Perhaps Padan Fain escaped to let them out. Perhaps a single myrrdraal got in and wreaked a little havoc before letting them in. Perhaps there is a Black Ajah Aes Sedai running loose. I doubt it was any of Agelmar’s men.

Yes, I am highly amused at the parallel with The Eye of the World already. Trollocs at Tow Rivers, trollocs at the keep, who knows where they will pop up next? If the story arc follows the same as in Book 1, we will see the Two Rivers folk leaving with Moiraine and Lan very shortly, encountering various hazards along the way, eventually getting separated, etc. We shall see if that turns out to  be so.

Other Tidbits:

OK, that whole bit about only Moiraine, Lan, Egwene, and Nynaeve know what he really is seems a little silly. I mean both Mat and Perrin have shared in the dreams. They must have some inkling. Is Rand fooling himself? Have these boys really not had a chit chat about all that over a pint and a smoke?

What Other Folks Said:

On Starships and Dragonwings

Musings on Fantasia

Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

JordanEyeOfWorldAudioWhy I Read It: Participated in a read along.

Where I Got It: Own it.

Who I Recommend This To: Epic fantasy aficionados (with reservations, see chit chat below).

Narrators: Kate Reading, Michael Kramer

Publisher: MacMillan Audio (2004)

Length: 29 hours 32 minutes

Series: The Wheel of Time Book 1

If you haven’t heard of this series, then you might be living in a small hole in the ground. Not a nasty hole, but a comfy, hobbitish hole. Yes, I have already started with the jokes. But let me set that aside til a little later. Rand al’Thor and his friends Mat and Perrin live in Two Rivers, a small community of farmers and merchants. They are young and inexperienced in the greater ways of the world. But then Moiraine and her friend/guard Lan turn up asking questions about the history of the place. What follows are creatures out of tales and a chunk of Two Rivers is left burnt to the ground. Moiraine convinces the three young men they must away with her and Lan for not only their safety, but for the safety of the folks of Two Rivers. Soon they are joined by others on a quest to save the kingdom, if not the world, from the Dark One.  The Eye of the World launches the 14 book series that Robert Jordan started and Brandon Sanderson finished this past January (2013).

I read this book back in college when I was 18/19. I had forgotten nearly all of it in between then and now, roughly 1.5 decades. In order for me to review this honestly, I have to get the Tolkien aspect out in the open. I do remember feeling a bit cheated the first time around at how much Jordan took from Tolkien. Tolkien himself borrowed heavily from European myths and hence, much of the fantasy genre has borrowed from him in a typical trickle down effect. Still, the similarities between The Eye of the World and The Lord of the Rings are some of the closest I have found in the fantasy genre. With that acknowledgement, I still found myself getting attached to the main characters and wrapped up in their quest. And yes, grimacing a little every time some character mimicked an Ent line, or an altercation resembled hobbits vs. nazghul, or there was smoking of the leaf.

So all that aside, Rand, Mat, Perrin, and Egwene are all very real, young, and in way over their heads. Moiraine and Lan are mysteries that only unravel a little by the end of the book. Nynaeve, the Wisdom of Two Rivers, was one of my favorite characters – she tracks, rides, heals, and grumbles. I am capable of one of these skills, and I will let you guess which one. The world building was detailed and happened bit by bit, growing as the Two Rivers folks ventured further and further from their home. There were moments of humor or reflection mixed in with the action, making the pacing quite good for a lengthy first book to a lengthy series. Most of the tale is told through Rand’s eyes, which was adequate, but I often found myself wishing for more points of view, especially wanting to hear the inner thoughts of Moiraine.

Michael Kramer narrated like 90+% of the book, as we only had a few short blips of POV from the female characters (narrated by Kate Reading). Both did an excellent job, providing a variety of voices for the multitude of characters in this novel. I look forward to hearing their voices in the next book. This case, I think I found the audioversion more enjoyable than the print simply because I didn’t get hung up on the Tolkien-isms as we were moving right along to the next scene and I couldn’t physically linger over the similarities.

What I Liked: The world building provides depth to the entire world and in turn, each character; even the side characters had histories, etc; the ladies are equally as developed, flawed, and dangerous as the men; Bela the horse gets a spotlight throughout the tale.

What I Disliked: Lots of Tolkien similarities; the dream sequences were a little nebulous for me.

If you’d like a more detailed discussion, check out the Read Along posts. Also, we will be continuing along with Book 2, The Great Hunt (schedule HERE) if you would like to join us.

Part I          Part II

Part III       Part IV

Part V         Part VI

Part VII      Part VIII

The Eye of the World Read Along Part VIII

eyeoftheworldbannerWell folks, we have reached the end of the Book 1 of the The Wheel of Time. Are there a few sniffles? Or simply cheers that we will be jumping into the second book? See Posted Schedule for The Great Hunt HERE. This week, Anya at On Starships and Dragonwings is hosting, so please stop by her place and leave your link. I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone’s final thoughts on the book are.

1. Oo la la, Nynaeve and Lan are finally confirming there is something going on between them, and of course Rand has to creepily eavesdrop…. What do you think of this brewing star-crossed love?
Hopefully kisses and PG-13 rated or higher love scenes 😉 But, realistically, I think this will be a long-drawn out, dramatic affair before we even get to the first kiss. sigh….I have needs…and those needs will have to be filled by a different book…or The Tudors Showtime series.
Picabuche - Just a smidge demon?
Picabuche – Just a smidge demon?

2. Wow, the Blight is a scary place, but what did you think was the creepiest critter/thing that the team encountered or fortunately didn’t encounter?

I LOVED the Blight – because I am a biologist and this place was totally creeptastic. My degree is actually in Environmental Biology, which means I spent lots of time studying industrial waste dumps, toxicology, and ecology. So, of course I have all sorts of theories about how the Blight came to be, none of them based on fact. I wanted to ride along with the time in a full-face respirator, with heavy duty vinyl gloves and several collection jars. Didn’t you?
I appreciated how everything was deadly or detrimental to humans in some way, especially the plant life. And I spent several long minutes thinking on what it would take to bring the Blight back to healthy. Time, of course. But also there are several mosses and fungi that are capable of absorbing and/or breaking down toxic metals, so we definitely need to get those going first. Probably some hardcore bacteria, like the kind we find at Chernobyl and in large ocean oil spills. Yep, I have already made a to-go list.
Of course, The Green Man man just simply fix it with a twiggy wave.
3. We got to meet the Green Man! We discussed last week what everyone thought he would look like, how did he measure up to your expectations? What did you think of his head scar?
I thought he was a little more nebulous than I wanted – I mean we only got to see him for a short time and there are still many questions about him. He kicked some ass there at the end, good for him. I would like to know why he is set up in the Blight… and I know Moiraine talked about how he responds to great need, and Moiraine & crew had that great need in the Blight, but is that all? And how did the Green Man detox his little sphere of the Blight anyway? Biologist minds want to know.
As to the scar, nature is incredibly resilient, so the initial injury would have to be mighty to have left such a scar, especially with time. I am thinking lightning was involved.
4. The epic battle ended up being mostly in the dream realm apparently, what did you think of Rand’s various battles?
I am split on this. I wanted more definition in the final battle scenes of the book, so taking it to the dream realm didn’t really work for me. On the other hand, Rand’s interactions with the Dark One has been in the dream realm all book long, so it makes sense to tie that in here at the end. It probably also points to the Dark One still being trapped in some sense.
5. Congratulations everyone, we finished! What did you think overall? If this was a re-read for you, how was the second time around? Are you planning to read book two (with or without us, no pressure, hehe)?
Thank you everyone who played along, either blogging or just stopping in and commenting. This whole read along has made this book fun for me. I read it when I was 18/19 and was taken aback at all the Tolkien….well, more than references. Is scene stealing too strong? Anyway, I was a know-it-all back then. Now, at 34, having read so much in between those years, I can see how parts of this book are more of an homage to Tolkien. I truly enjoyed the characters and the additional world building Robert Jordan accomplished. I definitely plan to read Book 2, and I hope folks will be joining us for the read along.

The Eye of the World Read Along Part VI

eyeoftheworldbannerWelcome back everyone! I hope everyone got an eyefull (or earfull) with this week’s reading (Chapters 34-40)! My, oh my, did some big things happen here. Definitely getting interesting. Remember that this week Anya over at On Starships and Dragonwings is hosting. So, make sure to stop by her space to read her thoughts and add your bloggy link.

Also, we had a winner in The Wheel of Time audiobook giveaway. Congrats to @mattperrin! I hope he is still doing a happy dance, as we are excited for him too.

Last bit of administrative stuff before we play: When do you want to start Book 2, The Great Hunt? Yes, we do care what you think. Read alongs are funner with friends. So, below you will find a poll to answer on this most serious question before you leave today. Or, just leave me a comment on your preference. We will most likely go with Majority Rules as there are no American Politics involved in this vote 😉 For your reference, Book 1 read along ends on Sunday Feb. 10th.

Now, onto the questions! Spoilers Abound!

1. Looks like Rand and Mat met another ally finally. What do you think of Master Gill? Do you think his hope in Thom is well placed?
I’m not done with Thom. I want to know the backstory of what he muttered to the boys just before throwing himself at the myrrdraal. And now that Master Gill hints at other tough scrapes, I want to know about those too. So, I really hope that Thom is merely suffering greatly in some sodden ditch instead of dead. I have needs that only he can fulfill by turning up again and revealing more abut himself.
2. Loial the Ogier! How adorable right? We only get a brief glimpse into this new race, but what do you think? What part do you think he’ll play in the story?
I had totally forgotten about Loial from when I read this over 10 years ago. Bad me! He is such an interesting character. I have vague memories of what he does for the rest of the book, but nothing clear on his significance. I do like how Jordan keeps pulling in more and more of the larger world, and scaring the poo out of the kids while doing it!. I think we all have some inherent prejudices and incorrect assumptions of the world and other cultures based on where and how we were raised, and the various experiences the kids have in this book reflect that (like Egwene’s initial reaction to The Tinkers, and now Rand’s response to Loial).
3. During the rescue of Perrin and Egwene, did it seem like Lan was overly concerned about Nynaeve to anyone else? >.> <.<
Ah! Do we have our first adult romance in the blooming? I hope so. Nynaeve has a stiff enough spine to be an equal to the Warder, but will Lan’s past allow him the freedom to pursue a relationship? Hmm…..
Somewhat related, the rescue was intense! Child of the Light Byar even had me believing there for a moment. I am so glad Perrin had his wits about him and thought things through. Also Nynaeve was excellent to grab the horses. Yeah Bela!
Picabuche - Just a smidge demon?
Picabuche – Just a smidge demon?

4. The Dark One has been blamed for all sorts of things lately. Do you think that the Dark One is the root of Perrin’s power like Moraine fears? How about Rand’s?

I don’t think the Dark One is the source of all the bad stuff going on. I mean, we have humans with free choices (some bad, malevolent, or just stupid) going on left and right. Then some of the things that would be labeled EVIL by aes sedai I don’t think really are, but are simply a state of being (like Perrin’s new power). As for Rand… wow. I am going to have to see how the series turns out to really weigh in on that. I have been very careful to avoid spoilers for the series, especially for the final book, so I honestly don’t know if the world is still standing.
5. Very briefly Rand encounters a beggar who is obviously determined to find him specifically. Who do you think this is? What do you think is going to happen with this beggar in the future?
I believe the beggar is Padan Fain, as his neurotic behavior in these chapters is similar to his behavior displayed before. I would guess that a) he is a Dark Friend or b) he is being compelled against his will by the Dark One to track Rand. Rand and crew are not exactly inconspicuous, so I would say sooner or later the beggar will track Rand down. I expect he will try to coerce Rand or try to kill him, just as previous Dark Friends have done.
6. We learn a whole lot about Queen Morgase in this section, including getting to meet her in person! What do you think? Do you like the tradition of sending the royal children to study with the Aes Sedai and Warders?
That was super intense, and filled with humor. I think Rand’s meeting with royal family has been one of my favorite scenes so far. The kids’ dry humor had me laughing out loud at inappropriate moments. I am glad that Queen Morgase upholds her land’s laws, otherwise Rand would be in a world of hurt – the Queen’s aes sedai is intense! I think both kids should get the basic Warder training as no matter how skilled you are in sorcery, there will come a time that tracking your next meal, or wounded enemy, through muddy forest terrain will come in handy. Also, knowing some basics of hand-to-hand combat is healthy for everyone. Once both kids have the basics, then they can go off to specialize.
7. Rand had quite an adventure in the palace there, wow! And we finally get to meet another Aes Sedai. What do you think of Elaida and her dark assessment of Rand’s future?
Fuck Elaida! she may be the most dangerous and deadly thing we have come across yet. I bet she turns up later (maybe not this book, but in the series) and there will probably be a reckoning. Rand is very lucky to have been able to get out of the palace.
And why is everyone going around predicting Rand’s future, like he has no free will, etc. It’s like he has a floating tarot deck about his head that only certain folks can read, but those inconsiderate folks go right ahead and do so, scaring the crap out of Rand with their predictions.

The Eye of the World Read Along Part V

eyeoftheworldbannerHello Everyone, welcome back to Part V of the read along. In this section, we cover Chapters 28-33. Please add your link below if you put up a post. If the link mechanism isn’t working, let me know in the comments, and I’ll do it old school. Also, make sure to visit our awesome cohost Anya over at On Starships and Dragonwings. If you want to check the schedule or sign up for the discussion questions email, look over HERE. Oh, and there is still a little time left on our Wheel of Time Audiobook Giveaway, so check that out if you haven’t.

With that, Here Be Spoilers!

1) Perrin, Egwene, Elyas, and Bela had quite the intense ride. What did you think about the ravens and what dark magic could motivate birds, even carrion birds, into such behavior?

I was biting my knuckles the entire time. I have chickens, which are omnivores, and I have seen how intense and ecstatic they get when they find a mouse. And I have seen what little was left of the mouse. So, yes, I had a pretty darn good visual of what those ravens were doing to anything they found moving. I think I can safely say that these ravens are in thrall to Big Bad Dude – hmm.. attempt spelling of Bal’zamon. I wonder what other animals he can control to that extent?

Picabuche - Just a smidge demon?
Picabuche – Just a smidge demon?

2) In Chapter 29, we hear part of the legend of Artur Hawkwing. How do you like Robert Jordan’s nod to such an ancient legend and his use of it and other mythologies in building his world?

I like how Jordan pulls in cultural references like Beltyne celebration and now Artur Hawkwing (King Arthur), as it gives Jordan’s a feeling of age and history. I also have to note that there have been some similarities to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and I tend to think these were done on purpose, perhaps as a nod to Tolkien’s works. I am looking forward to seeing what other myths or legends get pulled into the series.

3) Do you think Lord Captain Bornhald and Child Byar capture the two ends of the spectrum for the men who make up The Children of the Light?

These dudes creep me out. They are both dedicated heart and soul to their purpose, though I do believe Bornhald believes he is doing good while Byar just seems to enjoy the control. Perrin and Egwene are in a difficult situation and I worry that before the end of the book we are going to learn about the Children’s methods for bringing folks to the light….like torture.

4) Mat and Rand have a little fight over whether to sell Mat’s dagger, as they are running out of food. How do you like the solution they came up with?

Quite frankly. I am surprised that Mat didn’t come up with being traveling entertainers earlier. But perhaps that dagger is not only setting his mood dial on permanent Grumpy Suspicion, but also deleting brain cells. Still, after loosing Thom, I am glad the boys are continuing forward and have found a way to provide for themselves.

5) At Four Kings, Mat and Rand play for food and bed at a dive of an inn run by Saml Hake. During the course of the night, Rand spots a man, who turns out to be a Dark Friend, Howal Gode. And this naughty Dark Friend disturbs their sleep in a locked room. What do you think happened there?

Wow! OK, I finally believe that Rand is a male Aes Sedai, with all that lightening. Of course, there is the other tell-tale sign of Rand coming down with illness afterwards. I really wish he could have come into his power with Moiraine by his side to help guide him, or at least provide some info. And if 1 Dark Friend could find them on the road, others could too. These guys are to have to be extra careful.

Other Tidbits:

I am glad that we are seeing parts of the story through other characters now. It was cool to start the book with just Rand’s point of view, but now I am glad the story is branching out.

The Eye of the World Read Along Part IV

Welcome back everyone! This week Anya at On Starships and Dragonwings is our host and provided the questions. She’ll have a link up for bloggers participating along with her entertaining answers. And in case you haven’t heard, we are hosting an audiobook giveaway of 1 Wheel of Time book (except A Memory of Light) and you can find that over HERE. If you want to check out the schedule for The Eye of the World or want to sign up for weekly previews of the questions, you can find both over HERE. Now, without further ado, here is this week’s discussion.
1. Moraine and Lan were discussing how the Trollocs could be amassing such large numbers and other strange occurrences such as the Forsaken and possible opposition from the White Tower early in this section. What do you think about all of these revelations?
Damn! These kids could be getting into more trouble that Lan and Moiraine have let on. Add to the variety of opposition they face, Lan and Moiraine don’t seem to have all the answers, such as how the trollocs are moving about without raising cry and hew throughout the countryside. I am not sure Lan and Moiraine are wise to keep the kids in the dark. Like at spooky city, Shadar Logoth, perhaps Rand, Mat, and Perrin would have benefited from knowing a little more about why the trollocs would be hesitant to enter the city.
2. Turns out a side effect of using magic is taking foolish chances and acting giddy, sound like any boys we know? What do you think is happening to Rand? Mat?
Well, I definitely think Rand may be coming into his magic, but what brand? I mean, is Aes Sedai the only kind of magic Rand can tap into? I am not sure since we met Elyas, who doesn’t seem to be using The One Power. As for Mat, I think he is still a reckless prankster. I’m sure that will play into something serious later on and perhaps Mat will learn to reduce the magnitude and frequency of his pranks. Now Mat also has that dagger of Mordeth’s, so I have to wonder if some of his anti-social behavior is due to some malevolent influence of that dagger.
Waffles in a rare serious mood.
Waffles in a rare serious mood.

3. Egwene and Perrin end up wandering very far afield, why do you think the land is so thoroughly abandoned? Not just of people, but also of animals, if we assume that Perrin isn’t that horrible of a tracker ;-)?

I expect that both Perrin and Egwene are both reasonable trackers, having lived a chunk of their lives exploring the wilderness around Two Rivers. As for the lack of wildlife in the area, perhaps there is something afoot that scared them off… a motley crew of trollocs? Or something worse? I’m going to go with something worse because the trollocs seem to be loud and somewhat clumsy…and wouldn’t there be hoof prints?
4. Elyas and his wolves! What do you think of this new type of magic and Perrin’s new skills? How about what Elyas said about “Old things coming again” and the Aes Sedai not being happy about it?
It’s pretty obvious that Perrin is startled and perplexed by his abilities with the wolves. And I can’t say whether Elyas is really a friend per se or just in the run because of his curiosity of Perrin. Again, I get the impression that Elyas had some run in with Aes Sedai sometime back and now paints them all with the same brush. As to the ‘Old things coming again,’ I think this goes along with the references to the Wheel of Time, and some perpetual battle.
5. Rand had another dream, but we can’t be sure if the other boys did or not…. In it there was mention of the Eye of the World serving him, what do you think the Eye of the World is? Any other ideas for what this dream meant?
Even tho I read this years ago, I simply don’t remember most of it, like what the Eye of the World is. I’m going to say that it is significant as the book is named after it. I think it’s pretty obvious that Serious Bad Dude Whose Name I Can’t Spell On The Fly is focusing on Rand more than the other kids. If Serious Bad Dude is telling Rand that the Eye will not serve him, then I think there is some potential that there is and Serious Bad Dude is concerned about that.
6. Domon told many tales about fantastic sights across the land, which was your favorite? 😀
Haha! I’ve warmed up to Domon despite his all-but-required threats to throw Rand, Mat, and Thom off when they first met. I like the Tanchico animal bones story the best. I mean, I can take the bones of a turkey, an elk, and a coyote and string them all together in some fanciful beast. Wait, didn’t some folks in the 1800s do that in England and claim that dragons were real?
7. The Tinkers’ had an interesting and scary tale to tell. What do you think about this new omen about the Dark One? Why do you think the Tinkers’ thought Elyas would know more?
Couple the Tinkers’ tale with Rand’s dream, and the title of the book, obviously, the Eye of the World is pretty darn important. I like the idea of warrior women, like with society acceptance and training. The Tinkers probably know something about Elyas, more than we have been made privy to. And because of this knowledge, like perhaps Elyas travels far and wide, the Tinkers were hoping to hear more from Elyas.
Other Tidbits:
I thought Moiraine’s and Nynaeve’s conversation in Chapter 21 was amusing and enlightening. It was also good to learn more of both women.

The Wheel of Time Audiobook Giveaway

JordanEyeOfWorldAudioYep. The first giveaway on this blog, and it’s a great one. As most of you know, Anya over at On Starships and Dragonwings and I are hosting a massive read along of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. In fact, we are only up to Chapter 20 (not even half way) into Book 1, The Eye of the World. MacMillan Audio heard we were doing this thing and approached Anya, asking if we’d like to do a giveaway of one audiobook (exception is A Memory of Light) from the series. Of course, we were very excited to to do so.

Below is the rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you would like to join us in our crazy quest to read along the series, you can check out the schedule for Book 1 and sign up for the weekly email over HERE. If you’d simply like to catch up on what has been discussed so far, here are Part I, Part II, and Part III.

MacMillan Audio also provided Anya with an audioclip from The Eye of the World so that you can check out the quality over at On Starships and Dragonwings. My man and I are listening to Book 1 ourselves, and we are quite enjoying the performance.

This giveaway will run for two weeks. No comment is necessary to enter this giveaway, but comments are always appreciated ; )

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Eye of the World Read Along Part III

eyeoftheworldbannerWelcome back everyone to the third installment of The Eye of the World Read Along. This week, we are covering Chapters 15-20. There will be SPOILERS below if you have not read this book yet. If you would like to receive the questions ahead of time in the future, you can sign up over HERE. The schedule is also available over HERE. Make sure to check out my partner in crime in this endeavor over at On Starships and Dragonwings to see what clever answers she has for us.

Without further ado:

1) In this section of the reading, we learn that Perrin and Mat are also having wicked dreams. Add to that, Min’s visions for each of those in the small party. Prophesy, portents and dreams are playing a bigger and bigger role in this epic tale. Are you enjoying this plot device?

Often in Fantasy, I see this type of plot device used as a convenient way to move the story forward, or to save the heroes from some nasty end. Robert Jordan isn’t doing that here, at least not so far, and I appreciate that. Rather the dreams, portents, and Min’s visions are building tension in the tale. I definitely feel that Rand, Perrin, and Mat are getting a bit freaked out; but these dreams, etc. don’t dictate their actions. The many, many broken-backed rats was a bit disturbing, even for me as the reader.

2) The Whitecloaks (AKA Children of the Light) make their first real appearance in the tale and of course, Mat has to play one of his tricks. Funny? Dangerous? What did you think of Rand’s reaction?

I get the impression that Mat’s jokes in the Two Rivers never truly got him in trouble, like a couple of village seniors giving their consent to let some farm wives take some sticks to Mat, etc. Does anyone else want to know what Mat and his buddy ended up doing with the badger from the beginning of the book? As for Rand, I don’t really remember this book very well, but since he is central to the story, I have to say that this may be the first glimmer of him manifesting some power. Though I am not convinced yet that Rand or the other two are male Aes Sedai.

3) Nynaeve found them! What do you think Moiraine and Nynaeve said to each other behind that closed door at the inn?

By now, I am wondering if Moiraine has some slight Jedi mind trick capability. Remember when she pressed those silver coins on the boys back in Two Rivers, insisting they take them? Well, I would have loved to see if she tried some similar thing with Nynaeve…and found it didn’t work because she is too stubborn and had to fall back on telling some of the facts, all in truth, and logic.

4) The party has to do a swift exit from the inn because of the Fade Rand saw during his milk run. How do you think they were found?

For one, they are not that far from Two Rivers. I am not sure if the Whitecloaks, while they say they spend day and night stomping on the face of evil, some number of them could be Dark Friends. Then there was that shady guy with the scar at the inn who is purportedly a spy for the Whitecloaks, and if he spies for them, he could spy for others. My last possible suspect is Padan fain, but I am just not sure. He must have run like hell to get there; didn’t he loose his horses at Two Rivers? Was the Fade just a projection? I mean, it didn’t even touch Rand and then it disappeared.

5) Moiraine burns a lot of power in these chapters: appears to become a giantess to step over the city wall; a wall of flame to hold off the Trollocs; laying a false trail; setting wards in the spooky city. Do you think this shows the limits of her powers, or has she got more to give?

Since this is such a long series, I want to say that we haven’t seen all her capabilities yet. However, this could be the edge of her current limits and circumstances later in the book/series push her beyond even what she thought she was capable of. She’s the only Aes Sedai we’ve met so far, and I am getting mighty curious to learn what others are like, in temperament and abilities.

6) A lot happens at Shadar Logoth, where the party hopes to hide from the Trollocs and Myrddral. What do you think Mordeth is? And the misty Mashadar? As Lan contemplates, the Myrddral must drive the Trollocs into the city to search for them, but what is driving the Myrddral?

Mordeth, and I assume he has buddies hiding in the city (all those eyes!), strikes me as vampire-like. He stuck to the shadows, had a odd face, needs the life force of living humans, did that trick with shadow in the treasure chamber. As far as the Mashadar goes, I am not sure. Perhaps if I had been a little more D&D nerd, I would have some monster comparison. The closest I can come to in my little world, is government paperwork. Once it touches you, you are lost in it forever, perpetual slave to it, sucked into the misty white bureaucracy.  I don’t know what is worse than a Myrddral in this collection of nasties. Perhaps there is a Balrog equivalent?

7) This section certainly leaves us on a cliff-hanger with the party separated. Worried? Perrin and Egwene found each other, but then galloped headlong into the river. Mat, Rand, and Thom made it onto a boat, The Spray, captained by Domon. Now Captain Domon makes a comment about the Trollocs following him; why do you think that is?

That whole big scene of them escaping the spooky city was nail biting. I was pretty glad that Thom was able to keep some wits and get 2 of the kids to safety. Hurray for throwing knives! though I can commiserate with Thom over loosing a favorite knife or two. That one comment by Cpt. Domon has me very curious indeed. If the Trollocs are after him, that could mean he is a good guy in a bad situation…..or it could mean that he is an idiot who double crossed some Dark Friends. I look forward to learning more about him.

Picabuche - Just a smidge demon?
Picabuche – Just a smidge demon?

Other Tidbits:

Nynaeve knows something about Rand’s parentage, or she at least suspects. Still, I was a little frustrated that Rand and Nynaeve didn’t share the fact that Rand was born outside the Two Rivers while Tam was roving with Moiraine. Or rather, shouldn’t this be something of common knowledge in such a small village? I can understand why Rand doesn’t want to share his suspicions that Tam may not be his father.

When Lan and the boys charged the Trollocs, they shouted various war cries, in foreign tongues. And afterwards, Egwene felt like she almost understood them. Moiraine translates, revealing the war cries to be of ancient Menetheren. I need to memorize something monumental in ancient Byzantine, just in case I find myself in a similar position some day.

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The Eye of the World Read Along Part II

eyeoftheworldbannerWelcome back everyone. Hopefully one and all had excellent holidays.

This week Anya over at On Starships and Dragonwings is hosting, so make sure to stop by over at her place. She will also have some sort of link mechanism up to enter your blog post on so we can all visit each other. If you want, feel free to leave a link to your blog post here in the comments too.

This week’s reading post covers Chapters 8 through end of Chapter 14. Click over HERE for the schedule. If you wish to recieve weekly emails with the discussion questions a day or two before the Sunday post, sign up over HERE. Next week will be Chapters 15 through the end of Chapter 20, hosted here.

Without further ado, here are this week’s questions with my questionable answers:

1. The stories of Moiraine and her sisters don’t seem to always match up with who she is, but other times they do (the whirlpool). How do you think these two versions of Moraine compare?
Moiraine has excellent fashion sense – and I am talking about that cloak and dress of hers. I definitely want a Moiraine outfit for next Halloween. Second, I think that with any large organization (and I get the impression that there are many Aes Sedai) there’s going to be a wide spectrum of folks with extremes on both ends. Couple that with the longevity of the organization, and you will have tales of wonder and healing and evil-doings and sinking of ships. I really look forward to meeting more Aes Sedai to have someone to compare Moiraine to.
2. Rand has now had two dreams that seem to be more than dreams. What do you think they mean?
Let me be honest and just say that I am not really digging the dream sequences…at least, not yet. In essence, given the basic outline of this story, I think they mean that the Dark Side is trying to scare him. Perhaps it is also a mechanism to help in tracking him or make him more susceptible to making mistakes (like not trusting Moiraine), and hence, easier to catch.
3. There are two other boys that could be significant to the Trollocs, but Moiraine seems to be paying special attention to Rand. How do you think all of them are involved? Also why do you think all of this is happening now all of a sudden, instead of when the boys were younger?
Perhaps Moiraine knows that rand’s father left The Two Rivers and returned with a child and a foreign wife, while Mat’s and Perrin’s parents are homegrown and never got any further than the farthest pig field or the nearest village. This would make Rand unique in this one regard. Also, the trolloc at Rand’s house said the Shade wanted to chat with him. Now how many people do you know get invited out to tea and a chat with a Shade? That would make me feel pretty darn special.
Pico in his basket, his nap time interrupted.
Pico in his basket, his nap time interrupted.

4. Thom has hinted at an interesting past and reacted to Moraine’s presence when she first appeared. What do you think of this mysterious gleeman?

Anyone who has traveled extensively is going to have many interesting stories, a past, and things they would rather keep to themselves. So the fact that Thom reacted to an Aes Sedai doesn’t concern me too much yet. Though I will say that I am a bit suspicious of him and his motives – as anyone should be of a near stranger who offers to disappear with you suddenly in the middle of the night. And anyone who can play an instrument, can tell of good story, or juggle, and has a fancy patchwork cape can call themselves a gleeman.
5. We’ve been learning more about the Aes Sedai, but also about the lack of male counterparts. What do you think of this? Is it somehow related to the prologue?
I believe the prologue is about the last time the world was broken by the Dragon, creating Dragonmount, and I assume, disrupting the land around it for hundreds of miles. I am still trying to figure out the details on how the magic system is set up. The One Power has male and female sides. So why not male Aes Sedai? They can’t all be bad; they can’t all be driven insane by the use of the power so easily……can they? And how do the Warders weigh into it?
6. Lan noticed Rand’s sword and commented on how Rand’s father taught him to concentrate. How do you think these coincidences are related?
Obviously, there is more to Tam’s past than Rand is aware of. I would really enjoy seeing Tam’s character again, and learning more about his past and the truth of his fever mutterings. I think Lan has some guesses and he obviously knows more about the heron mark than Rand does. I wonder if he will make the opportunity to explain some of it to Rand?
(7) Finally, Anya just wanted to mention that her copy has a map before chapter 13 for the new areas that our adventurers have moved into and she was wondering if anyone else had noticed this map and what people thought of “maps as you go.”
I decided to go with the audio version of this book for the read along. However, I have a paperback that I use to look at the cool maps. I am a map studier; I will take a good 10 minutes to study a detailed map before launching into a book (if one is available). I think it is cool that a small part of the large map (right after the prologue in my book) is put at the beginning of Chapter 13, with a bit more detail. While I love my maps, sometimes they can also giveaway part of the story if you are a map studier like I am. So Maps As You Go are a pretty cool idea.
Other Tidbits:
The last names of Perrin Aybara & Haral Luhhan are similar in sound to local Hispanic last names and since I am doing the audio, this always gives me a warm little smile.
I am glad that both Egwene and Bela got to go on the adventure, though I felt it was a little convenient that it was ‘part of the pattern’.
I think The Children of the Light might turn out to be some of the scariest people in the book/series.
I am pretty sure there is some serious foreshadowing when Thom goes on about the Stone of Tear and the Sword That Cannot Be Touched. Be interesting to see how that turns out.