A Memory of Light, Part II

WOT 14Welcome everyone to Book 14 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and the final week of this read along. Here is the schedule for A Memory of Light if you want to join us.

This week,  Sue at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers is our host this week. Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia, can be found in the comments at Sue’s. Liesel at Musings on Fantasia has cool non-spoilery fan art.

This week, we covered Chapters 2-7. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1) Pevara and Androl have done some mutual Bonding, which seems to have created a rather uniquely intimate link between the two. Do you think that the other Aes Sedai /Asha’man pairs could create something similar, or do we have an example of mushy, romantic specialness in this case? Have you been surprised by the Red’s ability to work with male Channelers, or do you think that she is unusual for her Ajah?

I expect that other Aes Sedai/Asha’men bonds will happen – perhaps not in this book, but after the big battle is won and folks have a chance to get back to normal lives.

I think there are other Reds like Pevara that will be able to overcome their squeamishness towards male Channelers, if for no other reason than they don’t want to look weak and silly in front of other Aes Sedai.

I have to say that when Pevara had her little panic attack and Bonded Androl, without his permission, I wanted to slap her. Aes Sedai are such bullies. I did cheer a little when Androl turned around and Bonded her so that she could experience it first hand. I think this is nearly the only way the Aes Sedai can learn.

2) I was beginning to worry that Aviendha’s quadruplets would need to be the product of some sort of bizarre ‘virgin’ birth scenario, but now there is at least a biological chance that they could be created in the normal way! Yay! Do you really think that it was necessary for her to use sexytimes as a way to persuade Rand to grant her a boon? Were you disappointed or relieved not to have more details of what was obviously a rather extended night of baby-making?

I expect that Elayne will become injured in some fashion, perhaps end up in a coma, and Aviendha will have to raise her kids along with Elayne’s.

No, I think Rand would have granted her a boon just for getting a look at her tits. Though I am sure he is grateful for the sexytimes. Plus, the three ladies had to gather and discuss how they were going to handle Rand. I wonder what Min and Elayne did to distract themselves from the night of bedroom gymnastics they surely sensed through the bond.

Well, I think you all know me by now. I like the sexytimes to be as descriptive as the rest of the book, so, yeah, I would have enjoyed seeing how Aveidnah (who is super athletic) put Rand through his paces.

3) Apparently, being Turned to the Dark Side does not improve your intellect very much. Do you think that we will ever see a truly intelligent Darkfriend? Did the sequence with Dobser make you more hopeful of Androl and his party surviving against Taim’s attack?

No, I don’t think we will ever have a truly intelligent Darkfriend or Forsaken…. well, not one that can work with others. Cyndane/Lanfear has some cunning to her, but she despises everyone and has difficulty playing nice on Team Dark One.

Yes, I expect that Androl and Pevara will do some major ass kicking before this book is through and one of those asses may very well be Taim. Up until this week’s reading, I had expected that Logain (maybe with Rand’s help) would be the one to take out Taim. But now I suspect that Androl and Pevara will take out Taim, perhaps with Logain’s help (though he is merely a bit of a drool monkey right now due to his long imprisonment and ill treatment).

4) Rand is beginning to manifest some startling new powers and can now manipulate the Dream more successfully than Moridin. Do you think this will cause the Nae’blis to alter his plans and be more aggressive in his pursuit of Rand? It seems that Lanfear is managing to somehow slip away from his control via the mindtrap: or was that all staged for Rand’s benefit?

I think Rand’s new abilities within the Dream will irritate Moridin and while making him more aggressive, it will also make him more careless. Basically, I don’t think Rand is in increased danger on account of this.

I think Lanfear is indeed managing to escape Moridin’s complete control and this will also make him more aggressive and more careless. I don’t think he is cautious enough to have staged the whole Lanfear crying for help thing. Plus, Lanfear is not really a team player (and there are suspicions she was giving Slayer/Luc/Issam orders to kill Rand, which is in direct contradiction to Moridin’s orders).

5) And, yay verily, there will be much politicking and arguing and then Moiraine will appear and quote the Prophecy, thus creating peace and harmony amongst the leaders of the World. Did anyone else expect her to wink at Perrin in a conspiratorial way as she walked past him? Do you think that the new and improved Dragon’s Peace will hold and also stop the future we saw in Aviendha’s visions? Who do you think Rand expected Roedran to be?

So much to say here! First, I don’t know why Rand suspected Roedran. I expect that is something I will pick up on a reread.

1) Egwene almost cost the world not only peace, but existence with her inflated sense of importance. I am so glad Moiraine pointed it out (and in such a way that Egwene could swallow it).

2) Yes, Moiraine is extra awesome, and I definitely could see her and Perrin trading nudges and winks back and forth. They were the two even-headed ones on scene.

3) Aviendha was right to demand the Aiel be included in the Peace and Perrin was great to point out that they needed a job. The Aiel can not meet toh nor generate honor unless they have a task before them, be it small or large.

4) I think rand left out some folks and that may or may not cause issues later – like the Dark Tower and the Traveling Folk (though since they follow the Way of the Leaf, it may not be such a big deal for them). Perhaps even the Ogier should be allowed to sign the Peace and guarantee their rights in this new United Nations of Randland. And the newly risen Malkier, will they sign?

5) Here is my biggest criticism of the Peace – Elayne will lead the armies! At first, I thought it was a joke or some sort of subterfuge by Rand. But, nope, he meant it. Sigh….OK, Elayne is an entertaining character and she has her moments. But she is entertaining because she keeps messing up and she has her shining moments because she has dug herself into yet another trap. The entire series, she has walked into one trap or another, acted on impulse and feelings instead of logic. In fact, just last book (like 300 pages ago) she was threatening to execute Perrin. So I am guessing that this is a plot point that Sanderson was committed to via Jordan and he hasn’t had a whole lot of time to make Elayne look competent. But I also expect that Elayne will be competent the rest of the book and this will be a huge character change for her with little reason/time to make it happen. I expect this point will continue to bother me. Some people believe that beauty = competence. Alas, that is not one of the magical qualities of this world.

You know who would make a good leader of the united armies? Someone who has a lifetime of training and experience? Someone who’s culture and training allows them to absorb new tactics and use them immediately? Someone who has Channelers and flying beasts to sends swift messages? Tuon/Fortunata, Empress of the Seanchan. So, I am quite surprised that Rand didn’t try to bring them into the fold by offering the Seanchan this chance to prove that they are worthy leaders to the folks of Randland.

6) Great Trees and a singing Ogier army, then Gateways bringing aid to Lan’s final charge. Discuss, with specific dimensions for the size of your grin and/or the number of tears shed! 😀

This was pretty fricking awesome. I really enjoyed the whole scene of Lan’s final charge. He rallied the men, but didn’t lie to them about their odds. He had Nynaeve in his thoughts (but somehow couldn’t sense her exuberation at finding out Rand meant to go to his aid). The charge beginning and then suddenly being joined by 4,000 extra men. Then another gateway, and another, and another. Yes, that was great. I had dramatic theme music rolling in my head for the entire scene.

It was nice to see Loial and his mum too.

7) Mat is off in Ebou Dar doing something mysterious. Can we hope that he is trying to talk some sense into Tuon? Will he accept the Horn from Faile or run away screaming?

So Perrin knows that Mat is married to the Seanchan empress, right? Has he mentioned that to anyone? that could be a very important and useful piece of intel right now. I expect Mat is either trying to get some sexytimes with his wife (and he needs some after the Tower of Ghenjei) or arguing with her about how slavery is basically evil and she really needs to saddle up and ride with the White Hats on this one.

I think Mat will accept the Horn readily enough. He might not like it, but he already knows the necessity of it. I expect grumbling and perhaps a badger to mysteriously appear in Elayne’s sleeping quarters at some point (for ordering Mat to blow the Horn).

Other Tidbits:

Aviendha sneaking into Elayne’s tent was awesome! And she was just trying not to be a bother to the guards. But this also has me worried about the capability of the evil Aiel and the inability of Elayne’s guards and scouts to detect them.

Rand comes up with the first shower this Age has seen! Hooray! Maybe Aviendha will tell Elayne and Elayne will commission some castle engineers to make it possible for the royalty. And in perhaps 200 years, the middle class will have showers. Then all will smell better.

Androl! Gosh, this late-to-the-party side character is turning out to be pretty interesting. I could definitely enjoy a book (or trilogy) just about Androl and his adventures prior to the Dark Tower.

(Ooops! I read a chapter too far and this little comment is actually from Chapter 8). Elayne finally announces who the father of her twins is (though Bashere had to show her the logic in it). It was overdue and I am glad that whole Evil Mellar Daddy rumor can be put to bed for good.

I did like that Elayne was direct with Aiel, making it clear that they simply couldn’t run off and do their own thing, no matter how competent they believed themselves to be.

 

Towers of Midnight, Part II

JordanTowersOfMidnightBannerWelcome everyone to Book 13 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. You can find the schedule to Towers of Midnight over HERE. Everyone is welcome to join us!

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

This week, we covered the Chapters 5-13. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1) Gawyn and the Warder Sleet are playing detective over the murdered Aes Sedai. Care to compare them to other literary detectives? Do you think Egwene is correct in thinking a Forsaken is behind the murders?

Well, they definitely aren’t Sherlock & Watson. Though Sleet could be a Miss Marple, quietly going about collecting facts and asking a handful of questions here there, all the while doing some leather work, looking so innocent wielding a little knife and leather punch. I picture Gawyn more as a Hercule Poirot, so proper and in everyone’s face with his properness.

I am thinking it is one or more of those pesky Seanchan assassins that were left to stealth around the Tower, killing as many Aes Sedai as they can before their time is up.

2) Graendal was interrupted while reading A Light in the Snow (what genre book do you think that was?) to have a meeting with Moridin, wherein he reveals the book or prophecies. What prophecies do you think the dark side has? And what about the prophecy that Perrin shall die at the bad guys’ hands?

I think it is a fashion magazine. I can’t see Graendal reading anything too heavy (like a biography) nor to think in plot (like a good epic fantasy).

The dark side seems to skew everything (but who doesn’t when it comes to world dominating politics?) so I would think that the prophecies have to do with the Dark One triumphing over all after several epochs of crushing all the fun out of the populace.

I don’t think this is the kind of series where one of our main heroes will be killed. So far, with very few exceptions, this has been a pretty PG13 series. So I expect Perrin will have a close call, maybe even be declared dead by some fool who runs off before hearing what a medic says. And if for some reason Faile lets Perrin be killed, he has some kick ass work he can do from the wolf dream world.

3) Did anyone else get a giggle when Morgase demands of Perrin, ‘Do you know my heart?’ in regards to her feelings for Talanvor? What did you think of Perrin’s & Galad’s meeting? How do you think the face off on the field of battle shall go?

Haha! Yes! Perrin’s nose tells him quite a bit about the people around him. So I am pretty sure that not only can Perrin tell that Morgase is in heat for Talanvor, that she also has deeper feelings for him and isn’t just looking for a booty call.

I was ready to vote for Galad, being all reasonable about the Whitecloaks in regards to the Questioners. But then it is like he decided to start storing his brains in his boots and just go with what his zeolist friends say about Perrin. Galad took one look at Perrin’s golden eyes and decided he was indeed a Dark Friend. I wanted to slap the idiot. Like golden eye color is the weirdest, darkest shit Galad has seen in the past several months. Sigh…. I may have to kill him.

Well, last week I was hoping there would be some sort of interruption (like Rand showing up with a big gateway and ordering Perrin and his army to go somewhere else) so that Galad could save face and maybe get some good done elsewhere. Now I hope they do get it on and that Perrin unleashes his Asha’men. The Questioners really don’t need to be around for the Last Battle and I am wondering if we need any Whitecloaks at all.

4) We run into Mat at the Seven Striped Lass tavern (is that yet another reference to spanking?) and toying with Verin’s letter. Later that night he battles the golem. Do you think the threat of the golem will be the thing that forces Mat to open Verin’s letter? Teslyn speaks plainly and honestly to Mat, thanking him, and then fights the golem with him. Do you think this will alter his attitude towards Aes Sedai in the future?

Yes, I think the golem’s threats to hurt/kill Mat’s friends will tear at his conscience and he will open Verin’s letter and we will finally know what her last machinations are.

I really like that Teslyn made this effort to treat fairly with Mat. However, I think he will need several more examples like this before he is able to trust Aes Sedai. Perhaps Teslyn will continue to work with Mat? That would be cool. It would be funny if Mat decided he needed to be a Warder to an Aes Sedai to get that extra bump in speed, strength, and endurance to achieve some task, like freeing Moiraine.

5) Elayne has to make a decision soon about what to do with the captives (those who did not support her). What do you think she should do? Also, she plans to take Cairhein. Do you think this is wise and will be as easy as she thinks it will be?

I think she should arrange marriages between the Houses that declared for her early on the Houses she holds captive now. This will bind those detractors to her supporters. Plus, there will be feasting during a trying time and everyone appreciates the chance to get toasted and fat.

Rand took and held the thrones of Andor and Cairhein for Elayne and she still had to fight for the Andorran thrown (or rather, she had to bullocks it up and Birgitte and Dyelin had to rescue her ass). I really hope that Cairhein is easier for her because we don’t have the time for another revolt. And I think Rand could, and would, step in and give her a hand even if she scowled at him for it.

6) Rand returns to Tear. Please comment upon his reunion with everyone there such as Min, Tam, Nynaeve, Cadsuane, the Aiel, etc. Where do you think Alanna has gone? Who will Rand set Cadsuane to finding? Will Rand be able to meet his toh towards the Maidens and the Aiel in general?

This was an awesome scene! I really enjoyed how Min could feel the total difference in him. It was great that he apologized to Cadsuane (even though she showed no grace in accepting it), hugging his dad, promising to help Lan, owning that he owes the Aiel toh. It was all great.

I am not sure where Alanna has gone but I would not be surprised if Rand snuck into her room and left her a note directing her to leave. Maybe he sent her to fetch/assist Aviendha in returning? Though he could do that himself….but he might get slapped for it. So probably safer to send Alanna.

I am not sure who Cadsuane will be sent to find. Before he tells her he has this task for her, he asks about Mattin Steppeneos, a ruler that Elaida stole from his own bed and was holding in the White Tower. I would think that sending her to find Fain could be very, very useful, but Fain may not be on his radar at all.

I think Rand’s future role in the Last Battle will almost assuredly meet any toh he has to anyone.

Squatch having a snack
Squatch having a snack

Other Tidbits:

Graendal has a Dreamspike and Moridin’s permission to use his minion, the man with two souls (who I think is Slayer). This does not bode well for Perrin!

Morgase was being such a pill in her thoughts about the ‘upstart Two Rivers ruler Perrin’ and yet she refuses to step up and let the world know she is alive. I think she is something of a coward. If she were to take on rulership, or even just act as mentor to Elayne, she would have so many people (a nation of them?) to apologize to for her past bad behavior.

Mat’s letter to Elayne was terribly funny and I enjoyed his mix of frustration for having been ignored and apologies (sort of) for checking out her backside.

Grady wants to return to the Black Tower to see his family. I think he is sincere and has no ulterior motives. Still, I worry that if he goes back now/soon, then he will be held hostage or tortured for info.

 

The Gathering Storm, Part III

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

This week, I am your host. Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia, can be found in the comments. Make sure to swing by Sue’s at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers for logic and tiny, tiny violins (on occasion). Stop by Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia. There’s plenty of cool non-spoilery fan art.

This week, we covered the Chapters 14-21. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1) When get a little more quality time with Semirhage. Cadsuane seems to have come up with a way to get under her skin. Do you think it will be enough to get answers from Semirhage? Cadsuane believes it is important to keep Semirhage alive in order to learn useful weaves from her. Do you agree with this logic? Or are you all for killing her?

I think that Cadsuane’s first victory with Semirhage was partly due to the surprise factor. It has probably been millennia since someone spanked Semirhage (there is a lot of spanking in this series, don’t you think?). But I expect Semirhage will get over this initial shock and the ladies will have to come up with more insidious ways to disrespect Semirhage. What could be worse than being spanked in front of servants and eating your green beans off the floor? Well, the Aiel are pretty good at degrading people, so I expect Sorilea will play a part in breaking Semirhage.

I don’t agree with Cadsuane about keeping Semirhage alive in order to learn weaves from her. We have some Aes Sedai who are 1) very strong in the power and 2) have been developing new weaves and rediscovering old forgotten weaves. I would sleep easier knowing Semirhage was dead.

2) Moridin and Rand have a heart to heart. Rand seems to understand the two of them are connected somehow. Do you think he will make use of this information? Upon waking from this chat, Rand confesses to Min about Lews Therin. Will Min tell others as she told others about Rand’s time in the box? And would that be a good or bad thing?

Rand has a lot on his plate right now and I don’t think he will put too much thought into the fact that he is tied to Moridin. I expect that this little fact won’t occur to him again until some critical moment where either someone damages/kills Moridin and it sends Rand into shock or Rand needs Moridin taken out and decides to put a sword through his own foot to distract Moridin.

I expect that Min will tell someone at some point. Perhaps Cadsuane real soon in order to explain to her why Rand is snappish. Perhaps she will tell Elayne or even Aviendha later in order to explain why Rand is trying so hard to keep them all at arm’s length. In this particular case, I don’t think it would be a bad thing, though if Rand were to feel a little betrayed by Min being chatty, I couldn’t blame him either. This struggle with Lews Therin has been very private and very personnel for several long months.

3) Egwene matches wits with three White Sisters (Ferane, Miyasi, & Tesan). And then she is forced to match wits wits with Elaida in front of the Sitters. Will there be harsh punishment for Egwene, beyond the beating Elaida gave her? How will the Sitters react to this? Or will we still have to wait for the Seanchan to invade before the Aes Sedai get their act together?

Oh yeah. I expect that Elaida may even order Egwene Stilled. I think this is my greatest concern for Egwene right now. If Elaida ordered her killed, I believe too many of the Tower Aes Sedai would object or even outright smuggle Egwene out. Of course, Egwene can show others Sisters Traveling and be out of the Tower that way too. But Elaida could order her Stilled and Egwene might not have the time to escape that punishment.

I really, really want the Sitters and the rest of the Aes Sedai to rise up against Elaida but I expect we will need the Seanchan to come boiling over the Tower walls before the Aes Sedai decide Elaida is too stupid and arrogant to lead a paper doll making class. So I expect the Sitters will talk amongst themselves, maybe even among the strongest of each of their Ajahs. Perhaps they might even start making plans, drawing up draft letters to Elaida asking her to step down, etc. But I wouldn’t expect any of them to take action right away.

4) The rebel Aes Sedai have word that the White Tower now has the art of Traveling. Do you believe Elaida is aware of this weave? Or is it just a handful of Red Aes Sedai testing it out? And what do you make of Lelaine’s latest actions? What can Siuan do from this point on in holding the Aes Sedai together?

I don’t think Elaida is aware of this weave, nor does she know how to do it herself. If she did, she wouldn’t be able to hold back from throwing that fact in Egwene’s face. I this it is the Black Ajah that has finally learned it and is testing it out while gathering tribute. The rebel Aes Sedai would be wise to check with their folks on the inside of the Tower to see if any gates have opened behind the walls or if there is talk about this new miraculous weave.

Lelaine is an idiot. She won’t be seen as the hero of this mess that she helped create. Of course she thinks by encouraging chaos and panic that she will be able to step in and be the voice of reason. But things won’t go down that way. Of course, I have a bit more knowledge than she does – like Egwene’s current conflict inside the Tower and also the Seanchan plans to invade the area.

Siuan is taking the correct actions- making sure the camp is as secure as possible. Of course, when the Seanchan show up she will still be surprised, but at least the camp is already on full alert. As to holding the camp together, I expect more Novices will be coming to her to help carry her laundry, bringing her info and listening to her advice. But Egwene needs to hurry up!

5) Tuon holds court in Ebou Dar. Did you find her offer to Beslan fair? Now that she has seen the heads of trollocs, creatures she believed to be of myth, do you think she will be more open to listening to Randlanders?

OK, I have to say that I wasn’t a fan of the Seanchan when they first appeared and it has taken like 10 books for me to start to like them as individuals. Tuon’s high-handed take with Beslan just ticked me off once again. Beslan was given 2 choices – swear fealty or be executed (with honor). That’s it. And Tuon made it sound like both were favors. The Seanchan don’t understand why the Randlanders resist them so, continue to uprise, don’t take the Seanchan oaths seriously and it is because of this kind of thing. Tuon did not show respect for Beslan’s culture nor for his sovereignty. Leaving him in place to rule under the Seanchan is a convenience for them. I think Tuon needs a spanking.

I really hope that she takes on a Randlander as a consultant, even if it is Mat. Having trolloc bodies and heads as examples should give her pause the next time a Randlander says something about ta’verens or bubbles of evil, etc. It might be easier to convince her Truthsayer/Speaker and then have her convince Tuon that she needs to put weight behind reports of such things.

6) Mat opens by comparing women to goats. Did you find his behavior to be ‘husbandly’? Was his own ta’veren-ness working against him in keeping the Aes Sedai with him or was it his own goat-like behavior?

Ha! Well, for Mat, yeah, he was acting a bit protective of Tuon. I guess I need to see him in a tavern, a little toasted, with plenty of flirtatious young ladies around to see if he is truly acting husbandly.

I am guessing that Mat will run into some trouble soon and that the Aes Sedai will come in handy. Therefore, I think his own ta’veren-ness kept him from sending them off with 20 horses and being free of them. Perhaps he will need their help getting off to his super secret mission to rescue Moiraine.

7) Perrin returns to the dream-wolf world, promptly insults the wolves, and is tossed out. Will he be able to conquer his own fears? And if he does, what will he do with the wolves then? Faile has yet more secrets from Perrin. Do you find this good or bad?

Perrin has set his mind to conquering his fear of his inner wolf and I expect he will do just that. Perrin takes a while to consider and decide his course of action. but once he has made that decision, that is what he does.

I expect that we will see Perrin using his inner wolf and the willing wolves around him as scouts at first, but then as soldiers. In the end, I am pretty sure they will be at the last battle and once that is all done, I expect Perrin will have to howl in grief as he buries their numerous bodies. sniffle

I think Faile is silly to keep the secret of Masema’s death from Perrin. But I can see why she would find it difficult to tell Perrin about Rolan, how it protected her even as he flirted with her, how Perrin killed him. For now, I say let her have her privacy in this matter but I expect their relationship would be the stronger if she shared this tale later, perhaps after Tarmon gaidon.

Squatch being cute.
Squatch being cute.

Other Tidbits:

You know how some movies and books do body counts – the total number of dead by the end of the story? Well, WoT needs a spanking count – total number of characters spanked, and yes, if a character gets spanked more than once, we can count each individual spanking. Swats to the bottom while being carried through snow by an Aiel counts too.

We have several arrogant groups who all try very hard to hold to their ideas of honor and justice; the Aiel, the Aes Sedai, and the Seanchan. I could toss in the Sea Folk but we haven’t heard much from them this book yet. I sometimes find myself wanting to smack all their heads together. Each seems convinced their way is the best way and to hell with learning about the others.

Everyone wants the Dragon Reborn to kneel at their feet – the White Tower (even Egwene!) and the Seanchan in particular. I find this notion very amusing. Rand, kneel. Ha!

The Seanchan still want to enslave all the women who can channel! Argh! I can’t root for these folks no matter how organized they are, no matter how likely they would be the ones to actually get the job done of uniting Randland.

The Gathering Storm, Part II

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

This week, Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia, is our host and can be found in the comments. Make sure to swing by Sue’s at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers for logic and tiny, tiny violins (on occasion). Stop by Liese’sl at Musings on Fantasia. There’s plenty of cool non-spoilery fan art.

This week, we covered the Chapters 7-13. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1. Questions are being raised about the loyalty of the Aiel, and that Rand keeps misusing them. What are your thoughts? Could we really see another Shaido-like uprising?

Once again, we have culture clash. While the Aiel feel they have worked hard to teach Rand proper Aiel etiquette, few have tried to learn wetlander ways. And, really, they have only had several months, not several years, to get to know each other, and under stressful circumstances. Normally, I would say slap them all upside the head and tell each of them they each have to meet the other partway. But in this instance, Rand really does need their backing and he has been rather callous in several ways. But Rand probably doesn’t need yet another slap upside the head. He needs a life assistant with some political finesse.

I don’t think we will have another Shaido uprising. After all, can there possibly be two Aiel as stupid as Sevanna in a role of power? I think, if anything does happen other than Tarmon Gaidon, it will be that some Aiel choose to quietly leave, melting off into the night, returning to their land of sand.

2. Siuan and Bryne have a heart to heart. Do you see this relationship finally blossoming? Everyone still thinks Moiraine is dead. What impact do you think she could have on the story when she returns?

Well, as slow paced as this relationship has been, I think they might not actually get around to kissing until after Tarmon Gaidon. But, yes, I think they will make quite the formidable team, whether in a time of war or in a time of peace. And I was a little surprised that Bryne had not put together at least the underlying reason Siuan and the rest  put their oaths on pause and ran away. He has known Siuan for some months now and can clearly see she is a serious person, with all her swearing about fish guts, etc.

While I believe Siuan and Moiraine were once upon a time lovers, I don’t think Moiraine’s return to the land of the living will endanger Bryne’s chances with Siuan. I do think that plenty of people will be astounded, maybe to the point of turning into quivering jelly (like Lan) and then the hunt for Lanfear will begin anew.

3. Perrin is belabored by refugees, but is still reluctant  to take on his lordly duties. Will something more have to happen here, before Perrin achieves his “final form” before the Last Battle?

Maybe someone needs to tell Perrin a little white lie, like Faile. And that lie is that Perrin only has to be Lordly until the final battle is said and done and then he can go back to forging, sheep, and carrots. Now, us world savvy people know that is highly unlikely to be the case, but I think if someone with an honest face lied to Perrin he would believe them and get on with being lordly for a bit.

Though I do like his style of holding court. At least he is getting something worthwhile done while telling everyone ‘No, are you an idiot?’

4. Ituralde is delivered from his death trap and is sent to Bashere’s homeland, while Bashere is in Ituralde’s. Would it perhaps have been prudent to switch places? If a shadow invasion of the Borderlands really is imminent, wouldn’t it be good to actually approach the Borderlanders instead?

Once again, I think Rand is just trying to juggle a lot of things and some of them, he doesn’t juggle well. He is rather handicapped in some ways, and I am not talking about his missing hand. He has very little experience dealing with world leaders, and most of that has been under less than pleasant circumstances. He doesn’t know what the final game board will look like. He has all these independent thinking and acting entities, some actively working against him some accidentally acting against him. So, I think he grabs a friendly, usable piece and puts them where they are immediately needed, and then doesn’t bother to switch things around later.

Besides, If either Bashere or Ituralde had to stay behind to keep their country safe instead of honoring a call from Rand, I think that is exactly what they would do in their homeland. And Elayne might very well be pissed at Rand for scooping up the Borderlanders and putting them back in the Borderlands, since she is using them to shore up her own crown.

5. Egwene’s infiltration is gathering momentum. She’s talking to sitters as a near equal and has even been in contact with the Black Ajah hunters. Meanwhile, Lelaine is winning the political war on the outside. Should Egwene start hurrying? Having earned the respect of these sisters, what would be her next step?

Of course I want Egwene to hurry, but these are big reptile squashing tomes for the final 3 books. Really, as much credit as she has garnered from the Tower Sisters, I still think that Elaida will have to do something stupid before they really take Egwene’s side. And then there is that prophetic dream Egwene had back in Book 11 or Book 12 – about the Seanchan washing over the Tower. It would be funny if Rand asked the Seanchan to give Egwene an assist…..

As for what Egwene should do next….Well, I think she needs to start a knitting or sewing circle where novices, Accepted, Sisters of any Ajah are welcomed. There would be biscuits and forkroot tea, of course. She does want to start breaking down all these barriers between Ajahs and this seems like something simple that she would be able to do quietly.

6. Gawyn is finally on the move, but where? Egwene does not want a rescue… do you expect him to listen or will he just make a mess of things?

In many respects, Gawyn isn’t an idiot so I expect he will get clear of the Younglings and the White Tower Aes Sedai before he tries to head for Tar Valon. And, yes, I expect him to bollucks up his ‘rescue’ of Egwene.

I need to consult a map. Is there the slightest chance that while he is dodging the Younglings, he will run into Perrin and Faile, and hence his mom? Because that would take one major task off his list (Kill Rand for killing Morgase). Of course, if Egwene doesn’t get off her high horse about Asha’men bonding Aes Sedai, she may send Gawyn after Rand’s head herself. Egwene will at least have sense to wait until after Tarmon Gaidon, right?

Squatch being cute.
Squatch being cute.

Other Tidbits:

It was fun to watch Cadsuane bring Rand up short in that meeting with the Aiel and have Nynaeve thinking she was just about to do the same thing. Though I don’t think it would have had quite the same effect since Nynaeve has been bossing Rand around for years, whereas Cadsuane just does it when he needs it.

I know Lelaine and Romanda think they are the only two vying for power, but they really have over looked Siuan. She is playing them off each other, buying Egwene time, and holding the ‘rebels’ together. Oh, and has time to do laundry, and do it well.

I think Ituralde took it pretty well, having the Dragon Reborn swing by for tea, a chat, and a magical gate opening to relative safety.

As with so many drugs, can you build up a tolerance to forkroot? The imp in me is hoping that Egwene will be the first one to notice this and put it to good use.

Gawyn’s final chat with the older Warder was chilling. I wasn’t sure Gawyn had a friend there or not until he turned and left Gawyn to saddle his horse.

Knife of Dreams, Part VII

JordanKnifeOfDreamsBannerWelcome everyone to Book 11 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. You can find the schedule to Knife of Dreams over HERE. Everyone is welcome to join us!

This week, Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia, home of the cool non-spoilery fan art, is our host. Eivind, our WoT encyclopedia, can be found in the comments over there. Check out Sue’s post at Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers for insights and deft reasoning and.

This week, we covered Chapters 27-31. Spoilers run rampant for this section and all previous books below!

1) Why do you think Semirhage’s disguise of the Power failed? Did you see the Rand-losing-his-hand thing coming?

I am guessing that one of Cadsuane’s angreals counteracted the glamor. Cadsuane was there for that scene, right? Or am I just making that up? I guess there could be some innate power about Rand that allows him or Lews Therin to see through glamors. It wouldn’t be the first time that some character suddenly sprung a new ability as they gain in power.

I did not see Rand losing his hand at all. That completely surprised me. We haven’t had any of our main characters so permanently and detrimentally wounded before. Yes, Rand does have those irritating never-healing wounds in his side, but they don’t slow him down. Mat has that scar on his neck, but it just gives him an excuse to wear lacy scarves. Thom has a limp, but not bad. Perrin lost his family to Trollocs (which was harsh and he is definitely emotionally scarred from that), but again, he isn’t physically hindered. So, yes, I was quite surprised.

2) Do you think Mat’s plan against the Seanchan is a good one? Will it turn the tide?

I really am not sure if it is a good one. Tuon seems to think he is a lion in the field, and I expect she was trained in military tactics. Mat’s military leaders also think he is pretty hot shit in the field, so that bodes well too. But I think Tuon and her actions/orders to the Seanchan army are going to way in heavily on the outcome. Even if Mat totally rules the battlefield, there will be another battle, and another battle, etc. The Seanchan don’t really have a motto that allows them to retreat or surrender as a whole. Plus, we as the readers know that their homeland is totally screwed. So if they can’t go home, and if they can’t dominate Randland, what choice does that leave them with? I fear it may be fight until the last Seanchan warrior is dead.

3) Tam showed up! (Yea!) What did you think of his reaction to confirmation that Rand is the Dragon Reborn?

Wow! Another thing I wasn’t expecting. And I was a little surprised that Mat put him high up in the pecking order of his army. I know Mat can trust Tam, but Mat hasn’t seen the badass military Tam that we all suspected lurked under that sheepherding, moonshine brewing farmer that we met way back in Book 1.

I think Tam took the news pretty well. But then, he had heard about it before confirming it with Mat so I suspect he had plenty of time to go through all the emotions.

4) Masema shows up at an inconvenient time to (somewhat) ruin Perrin’s plans. What do you think he’s doing? What’s his endgame?

I think Masema was confirming with his own eyes how ‘evil’ Perrin is by working with Channelers, etc. But I also suspect he was giving final instructions to Aram (see next question).

If crazy Masema has an endgame, I think it is Randland domination via religious fervor. But if he were to ever achieve such a victory, Rand would have to be dead. Hence, Masema would have everyone, including himself, dirnk the Kool-aid to join the Dragon Reborn in some afterlife utopia that caters to crazy mass-murderers.

5) All kinds of crazy stuff in this chapter! Aram tries to kill Perrin and dies himself. Tylee captures Sevanna. And Galina ends up in Therava’s clutches, headed for the Waste. What did you think  of all these twists? Did you wish for other outcomes? How do you think they’ll affect the story going forward?

I was pretty sad to see Aram go in the way he did. I thought he would go out in the fight protecting Rand or someone else in some senseless act of heroism that would torture Perrin’s soul forever. Nope, instead he turns on Perrin, per Masema’s influence, and tries to kill him. Is it just me, or has there been an undercurrent of bromance going on for several books (Aram digging on Perrin, though Perrin is totally oblivious to this)?

I was very satisfied with Sevanna being captured and lugged around as a trophy across Tylee’s pommel having her ass slapped. Originally, I had hoped someone would kill Galina, but her punishment is ever so much better. She gets to live, but it is not the life she wanted at all. Haha! I wish there was a side story about her life of drudgery.

I think that Aram’s death will affect Perrin’s psyche going forward, of course.

6) Elayne encounters some black Sisters and, in her haste, ends up in hot water. We had a cliffhanger on this. What do you think will happen next? Were you surprised that it was actually Careanne that was Black Ajah, contrary to Elayne’s suspicions?

Elayne may be an efficient administrator for a country, but she sucks at espionage, battle, and winning her throne. She already owes Rand a very big kiss for keeping her throne warm for her. Now she needs saving. Rand might have to do it, but he just suffered a nasty injury and has his own worries. So maybe Brigitte and crew can save her? Did all of Elayne’s aes sedai get captured in this folly or are there more that Brigitte can call upon? There’s the Warders, so they might be able to pull it off. Either way, Elayne is going to owe her life and possibly her throne to someone else, again.

Quite frankly, the cast of characters in the Black Ajah/suspected Black Ajah category have run together for me. So I wasn’t particularly surprised, but then I was just going with the story, not having made up an opinion on it.

Other Tidbits:

I get that Min is doing a lot of keep Rand human and connected to the human race, but should she really be on the front lines of what turned out to be a nasty fight? While I respect her knife skills, that’s all she’s got going for her in a fight and this one had one of the biggest, nastiest Forsaken of them all.

Why didn’t Faile & crew pack water for their escape? Why didn’t they have a bit of water to drink before they became trapped? Of course, we couldn’t have Megden drinking the forkroot, but it nagged at me a little.

Didn’t anyone else shed a little tear for the lost Rolan?

Crossroads of Twilight, Part VIII

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This week, your host is Eivind and he can be found in the comments.Make sure to check out Sue and her often insightful answers over at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers. And catch Liesel at Musings on Fantasia who has the cool fanart.

This week, we cover Chapters 27-END. Spoilers for this section run free below!

1. After letting himself go with the Shaido prisoners, Perrin abandons his axe in the forest, as predicted by Elyas. What do you think of his way of breaking the Aiel? Is this a defining moment for him, and in what ways?

I thought Perrin did really well. It was quicker and more humane than letting the previous methods of torture continue. I think it was the concept of being so crippled and left in a city to beg that broke the Aiel resolve. Also, I believe it showed others (like Masema) that Perrin is insightful, decisive, and quite capable to taking care of business.

Unfortunately, I do think this is a defining moment for Perrin and he has defined it all negative. As much as I really enjoy Perrin, he can be an idiot and he will be an idiot over this one. I can see him moping over his decision to remove a hand in order to gain info, beating himself up over it for the rest of the series (all 4000 pages or so).

And, really, who leaves weapons lying around in the woods during times like this? I hope Aram or Elyas fetched it back for him, just keeping it tucked away until in the heat of battle, Perrin swears up a blue streak for having left his axe behind.

2. Tallanvor suggests to team up with Seanchan to defeat the Shaido. Should Perrin agree? Will he just end up having to rescue people from the Seanchan instead?

As far as we know, the Seanchan only enslave female channelers. So if he sends those ladies off, or keeps them in hiding, teaming up with the Seanchan may work. However, if the Wise Ones refuse to be sidelined, and the Seanchan are arrogant pricks (and we all know they will be) then I expect inviting them to the party will only increase Perrin’s headaches as the Seanchan make a point of enslaving the Wise Ones, and the Aiel retaliating by removing some Seanchan heads. It would be immensely entertaining for me, but I would feel sorry for Perrin (eventually).

3. From the female or male viewpoint, what do you make of Mat’s courtship strategy, and Tuon’s response? Bewildered? (I am!)

Quite frankly, I was very surprised that Mat was so able to change his tactics. After all, most other women have fallen for the jewelry lure.

But, yeah, I am still a bit confused. We know so little about Seanchan customs, let along how they go about courtship and marriage back home. I am guessing that Tuon had to be the first to make a move (since she is of the highest royalty). So direct gifts were an insult. But that final little gift of cloth rose buds, simply set beside the game board, well that left all the decisions in Tuon’s hands. She could have tossed them or given them away. But later she deigns to wear them. I am hoping this is a good sign. I think. Can I root for the Seanchan in this instance?

4. Renna betrays our heroes and Mat is presumably forced to leave the circus. Were you surprised? How happy are you to be rid of Valan Luca?

Mat was going to have to leave the circus sooner or later – I mean he has this part to play in saving the world, right? But I was not expecting Renna to stab Egeanin in the back. I didn’t fully understand what she thought she was gaining by that either. I guess her dedication to the Seanchan way was stronger than her obedience to Egeanin or Tuon (if she realized fully who Tuon is).

And since Mat wasn’t putting on a sparkly, thigh revealing suit and doing a high wire act, I am OK with Mat & crew leaving Valan Luca behind.

5. Egwene’s plan is revealed, and the harbor chains of Tar Valon are now cuendillar. How will this change the siege?

The plan was revealed? Hmm…..Well, OK, I thought we had a small smidgeon revealed. I expect the chains being cuendillar will allow Egwene (or some other Sister) to seal the harbor. Egwene wanted to prevent the boats from going in and out, because they allowed movement of the people inside the tower and restocking of goods. So by blocking the Tower harbor off, there would have to be some sort of attack from the Tower or some sort of surrender from the Tower. Anyway, that is what I was thinking. Did I miss something?

6. Egwene is captured! Should she have sent Bode after all? Is she stupid for having risked herself? Never mind the harbor chains… how will THIS change the war?

Well, yes, Egwene was stupid for having risked herself. But this falls back to that fond phrase, ‘The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills’. So Egwene had to be on that boat one way or another.

How does this change the siege? Well, it depends on who captured her. If it is Sisters completely disgruntled with Elaida, then Egwene should be fine because they will want to undermine Elaida. If it is Darkfriends or Black Ajah, then Egwene may be in some danger from them directly, but not from Elaida (as the Dark wants to undermine Elaida). If they are Elaida supporters, then Egwene will have to worry about being stilled and possibly executed.

Then Egwene also has to worry about her detractors in her own camp. I expect they will try to wrest control for themselves no matter Egwene’s status inside the harbor. So Egwene will have to work quickly and come out smelling like a rose to remain Amyrlin.

7. Rand will meet the Daughter of the Nine Moons, but we know she’s nowhere to be found (by Suroth, anyway). An obvious trap or just a really obvious trap? What do you expect to happen?

As the reader, I know that Suroth is a Darkfriend and that Tuon has gone missing, so this is such an obvious trap to me. But Rand doesn’t know those two things. I am hoping that the colorful mind-to-mind phone among our ta’veren will start working soon and Mat can tell Rand about Tuon.

But until then, I expect Rand to agree to meet with Suroth and the Daughter of Nine Moons. If that meeting goes down, I expect Rand to escape immediately with minimal blood shed. After all, he can Travel. Unless they have a convenient leash for male channelers. In which case, i expect Rand to be the first ever to break one with his belligerent personality.

While I personally want to see Tuon kill Suroth, I expect that Suroth will be kiled by one of our ta’veren or by the Dark side for incompetence.

Other Tidbits

Mat still doesn’t see his own influence on Olver when it comes to the ladies. This is amusing and distressing at the same time.

Mat pushed their mounts in order to catch Renna, and then pushed himself to order her killed. And yet he returns to Tuon to see that she signed a bit of paper than made the circus and Mat & crew untouchable no matter what Renna told the Seanchan outpost. He had trouble with that……and yet I still want to give him a wake up call. Having a vagina and boobs doesn’t protect you from being killed in war, especially when you stab someone in the back and run off towards the nearest enemy outpost.

Remanda (or is it Remilda? Anyway, the high & mighty snot whose name starts with an R) didn’t take the news about the Oathrod and longevity very well. I thought Egwene had a strong argument – it would keep the Kin tied to the Tower but also give the Sisters a reasonable retirement option.

Crossroads of Twilight, Part IV

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And the WoT Quad returns with Book 10, Crossroads of Twilight! If any of you silent stalkers want to join us, you are always welcome to. You can leave me a comment or email me (nrlymrtl [at] gmail [dot] com) to get on the weekly email of the discussion questions. Check out the schedule.

This week, our host is Sue over at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers. Eivind, our keeper of esoteric WoT knowledge, can be found in the comments over at Sue’s. Make sure to swing by Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia for cool fanart.

This week, we cover Chapters 9-12. Spoilers for this section run free below!

1. Well, I suppose that we now know that Faile is alive and well, more or less. Do you think that Nadric will avoid her from now on, or will he simply wait until she is more alone? What do you think is going on between Galina and Therava?

I think Faile will keep a better eye out for single men around the camp now, since she knows now that her status does not protect her from harm. And I also doubt that Faile is the first captive to be treated this way. So, yes, I expect Nadric or another to have similar ideas about Faile (or the other women she was captured with).

I really want Galina hurt, or stilled, or banished to the Seanchan homelands. She is double crossing Faile and crew and messing up their plans for escape, and getting them hurt.

As for Therava, well, I think she wants to undermine Sevanna, perhaps even take over. And I also still think Therava makes a better predatory bird than Berelain. Surely there is some discussion board somewhere that thinks the two predatory birds perched on Perrin’s shoulders are Faile and Therava?

2. Still with Faile, what do you think of her growing relationship with Rolan? Do you think that he might even help her to escape, or is that simply wishful thinking on her part?

I think the term ‘awkward’ covers much of this growing relationship. After all, he forcibly stripped her naked, made her march through snow, then carried her slung over his shoulder occasionally slapping her bum, later rescues her from Nadric, and now….is massaging the cramps out of her bound, naked muscles. Hmmm….I think Robert Jordan is once again playing out some sexual fantasy using these characters and elaborate setting that he created. Not that I mind so much, except that so much of his books are PG rated, so it always stands out to me.

I am not sure if Rolan wants to be free of Sevanna and sees a potential path with Faile, or if he simply wants sexy times. If Rolan does escape with Faile, it could make for a very interesting conversation with Perrin down the road.

3. Poor Elsie sees a ghost, but Elayne dismisses it as nerves. We do not seem to have had much supernatural activity in this series, so this seemed very significant to me. Was the ghost real or do you think that there might be some other explanation? Feel free to say if you think I am simply being overly suspicious! 😀

This incident stood out to me too. I think it was a Grey Man, or some Aes Sedai that has learned how to cloak herself in invisibility. Either way, I think Elayne should be more suspicious all around (see Q.4).

4. I am getting rather tired of Mellar and his evil smugness, but I am a little concerned about Elayne’s decision to berate him in public. Does this mean that she realizes that his moment of heroism was completely staged? Do you think that he might try to retaliate for the embarrassment?

I don’t think Elayne has even considered that Mellar’s heroism during the assassination attack was staged. Again, I think she (or Aviendha or Brigitte) needs to be way more suspicious of the people around her. Mellar is giving everyone the bad vibes, except for that one Aes Sedai who was singing his praises…what was her name? She and two others are on the list of possible suspects for killing Vandene’s sister.

And, yes, eventually Mellar will retaliate for the embarrassment. Of course he might save it all up for his final move (assassination or kidnapping) and be real nasty about it.

5. We have lots of coming and goings in Caemlyn. Do you think that the Aes Sedai at the Silver Swan are Elaida’s, independents or parts of Cadsuane’s group? What about the group that Mellar ‘helped’ to get into the city: are they trustworthy at all?

Let’s see. They are Aes Sedai, so no matter who they ‘promised’ to serve, they have their own agenda. Elayne thinks they are watched closely, but yet we haven’t heard about their agendas. And if Mellar helped a few in, then I would watch out for Black Ajah or Forsaken.

6. What is it with the Seafolk and square miles of land? I thought that Rand had granted them that as part of his agreement with them, but maybe Zaida does not know about that yet. Do you have any ideas about why this land is so important to a sea-faring people?

Perhaps this land is in addition to what Rand had already grated. And perhaps it has something to do with the location? I think the Sea Folk want several basses of operation throughout Randland – safe harbors, places to conduct business, trade, etc. Have we learned where the Sea Folk come from? Do they have a set of islands they call home or are they strictly ship and sea? If they don’t already have a homeland, then perhaps this is why the land gained during the bargains is so important.

Other Tidbits

I liked that part where Faile admits to herself that her only weapon is her wits. Oh boy! She is definitely not armed for this situation!

the whole point of babying Elayne (no wine, early to bed, goat’s milk) is to keep her well rested and healthy. It seems snide of Brigitte to be getting drunk every night and being hung over every morning. I know she is sad, but she has a job to do and being drunk every night can’t help with that.

 

Crossroads of Twilight, Part I

JordanCrossroadsOfTwilightBannerWow! Can you believe it has been nearly a year and half since we started this crazy, epic read along? Yeah.

And the WoT Quad returns with Book 10, Crossroads of Twilight! If any of you silent stalkers want to join us, you are always welcome to. You can leave me a comment or email me (nrlymrtl [at] gmail [dot] com) to get on the weekly email of the discussion questions. Check out the schedule.

This week, I am playing host. Eivind, our keeper of esoteric WoT knowledge, can be found in the comments. Make sure to swing by Sue’s at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers for excellent guesses as to what the future might hold. And don’t forget Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia for non-spoilery fan art.

This week, we cover the 99 page prologue. Spoilers for this section run free below!

1) We have a meeting of the minds of Arad Doman. Lots of new side characters were introduced at this meeting. Was it a bit tangled for you? Will this strategy negatively affect the Aiel, and hence, Rand?

Wow! Yes, I was a bit lost. Haha! Nothing new there. But that is OK, because we soon moved past this to characters I knew. I expect that these guys will be quite surprised at how fierce the Aiel fighters are. Of course this tactic will cause a headache for Rand, but the warriors and politicians of Arad Doman might also suffer a headache when they lose to the Aiel.

Now if these Aiel are some of Sevanna’s folks, I will probably root for the Arad Doman soldiers even if they are doing it for the wrong reason. You can see how little motivation means to me in this matter as long as Sevanna and crew get their asses spanked.

2) We have the questionable pleasure of riding around in Valda’s head (Lord Captain Commander of the Children of the Light). Since Morgase slipped through his fingers, her step son Galadedrid (Galad) is no longer a useful tool for him. What do you think Valda will do with him? What do you think it would take for Galad to sever ties with the White Cloaks?

I expect Valda to do one of two things – 1) Ship him off to some no where post that is way out of the way and Valda will hope to never hear from him again; or 2) keep him close until opportunity arises to get rid of him (through deed or trade).

I worry that Galad will never, ever sever ties with the White Cloaks. One of his best characteristics is also his worst – Once he gives his pledge, he is mortally dedicated. Since he has sworn fealty to Morgase and has ties to Elayne, perhaps his bond to the White Cloaks could be broken that way. If he ever learns what the White Cloaks did to Morgase, he could snap. Likewise, if the White Cloaks ever torture, attempt to assassinate, or rape Elayne, Galad might (and hopefully would) give up the cloak. But short of that, I fear he will stay true to them forever, or until they kill him.

3) Mishraile tracks down Logain in the woods and spends some time mocking him. What do you think the M’Hael’s private lessons at the palace include?

Well, I expect ‘Better Leadership through Fear, Mocking, and Treachery’ is the main class held there. I am sure it is broken down in to manageable chunks and given different names such as ‘Lightning Can Be A Powerful Motivator’, ‘A Sharp Wit Deserves A Sharp Tongue’, and ‘Poisoning – A Simple Way to Remove Obstacles’.

Seriously, I think that those who are invited to Taim’s ‘palace’ for these lessons are part of his inner circle. It is rather comforting to see that Logain is not interested in these classes.

4) The wise Sisters of the White Tower are sneaking around trying to ferret out further Black Ajah. How do you think they will ever trick or lure Atuan (who they strongly suspect of being Black Ajah) to a secluded place for questioning? Do you expect their elaborate, if well intentioned, scheming will get noticed?

First, if their scheming hasn’t gotten noticed yet, then the Black Ajah is too complacent. And the other Sisters just aren’t nosy enough to have taken an interest in all the sneaking about that is going on.

As to questioning Atuan, I can see why they hesitate. If she is Black, then she is also most likely very dangerous, since she isn’t bound by the Three Oaths and a reasonable conscience. So whoever does the trickery and luring could very well get hurt, Stilled, or balefired. Also, if they do manage to trick her, and then get caught during the questioning before they achieve desired results, well the results could be the same. So, yes, they need to be very careful. I suggest they get someone innocent all this nonsense and use her to send a simple request – something trivial. Milk and cookies? Help needed in the mending room? Stopped up drain so folks in this section of the Tower need to evacuate to the deepest darkest dungeon? Yeah. I think that will work best.

5) Gawyn is back in the picture, finally! And what a mess! He feels bound to Elayne, Egwene, and the White Tower. Blindly, he agrees to do all he can to carry out Elaida’s orders. What do you think Elaida’s (or perhaps Alviarin’s) orders are?

Gawyn seems to be another blind fool. What is about Morgase and the children she has raised?

If it is Elaida, she might actually want to leave the Tower in order to get away from Alviarin. She could then rebuild her power outside the Tower and retake control from Alviarin. Risky, single-minded, totally Elaida. If it is Alviarin, it might simply be to help smuggle some Darkfriends/Black Ajah in or out of the Tower or perhaps even the rebel Aes Sedai camp.

6) Deira Bashere, Davrim’s wife, was injured when she walked in on two men ransacking their tent. They escaped, only to be found later, already dead. Speculation as to a) what the men were looking for; and b) who killed them?

I don’t know what Davrim could have had to warrant ransacking by two random dudes who are later found dead. As far as I know, he doesn’t carry any angreal or seals. Perhaps they planted something? Then their ransacking, and subsequently being seen, was on purpose to make people think they were stealing something, not planting something.

Since I don’t really know what they were up to, I don’t have any strong guesses as to who hired them. Since Davrim is considered a friend of Rand and is the father-in-law of Perrin, perhaps it was something to discredit either them in his eyes or him in their eyes. This would point to a knowledgeable Dark Friend or Forsaken. Beyond this, I really don’t know.

7) Loial and Karldin are trying to track down Rand to report on their efforts. Just as Samitsu gets their true identities out of them, it is announced that Lord Dobraine has been killed. Who do you think attempted to kill Dobraine? What is it that Loial fears they may have found?

I think Loial fears they have found more Seals, broken. Perhaps these are used as the highest of currency among the Darkfriends and Forsaken. If Dobraine was entrusted to keep these safe, to set people to researching how to make them whole again, then it seems like at least one of our bad guys is thinking ahead, and thinking of contingencies by having Dobraine killed (nice try!) and stealing the broken Seals.

Other Tidbits

Ah, the fashion sense of the Arad Doman leaders was quite amusing!

Is it just me, or does Toveine seem like a bit of an idiot? If she can sense some of Logain’s feeling through the bond, surely she suspects he can sense some of her feelings?

It is interesting to see Logain go from this dangerous, deranged man to this broken shell, to this powerful sex figure. Interesting story arc.

Gawyn needs to be taught how to Dreamwalk so that Egwene & Elayne can let him know what they truly want him to do. I have a feeling his blind faith in the White Tower is going to cause grief for one or all.

 

Winter's Heart Read Along Part II

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

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

This week we covered Chapters 3-7. Spoilers are having a party below!

1) What did everyone make of the Shaido’s treatment of Faile, Maighdin, Alliandre, Bain, Chiad, Lacile, and Arrela during the march through the snow? Harsh? As expected?

At first, this made sense. It is much, much harder for captives to get all uppity and host ideas of escaping if they are trussed up naked and forced to march through the snow. But then things got a little weird. We had Faile being carried over Rolan’s shoulder and repeatedly slapped on the ass – and her deepest thoughts liking it because it kept her awake (nudge, nudge, wink, wink). We had two of the ladies thrown naked into the snow and switched, leaving red stripes on creamy white buttocks. Uh…..yeah. Totally the wet dream of 13-30 year old males. If we had a few males captives that received the same treatment, I could have lent this scene more credence. As it stands, I think it was written to appeal to a certain segment of the fans.

Why don’t we take a moment and picture some of the guys naked, trussed, and marching through the snow. They have learned to ignore their nudity and are just focused on surviving. But now they are faltering. Do the Shaido sling them over their shoulders and carry them the rest of the way? Do the men balk at it? Do they scream and contort as they get switched? Do they learn to like the slaps on the ass because it helps keep them awake?  Hmm…..Well, I know who I pictured for this scene. Who did you picture? 😉

2) Faile and crew meet the Shaido Wise Ones (Therava & Someryn) and also the Aes Sedai Galina. What do you think of the Wise Ones speaking so openly of Sevanna’s orders? Will Galina be of any help to Faile?

I was a bit surprised that the Wise Ones were so openly disparaging Sevanna’s plans to take so many captives. I wonder if this is a reflection of the huge level of dissent among the troops, or is it a reflection of Aiel culture – meaning that the Aiel don’t expect gaishan to make anything of their comments, good or bad, about the leadership. It’s build into the Aiel culture that the gaishan are completely subservient, so they might feel 100% comfortable discussing nearly anything around them.

Or they might be ready to gut Sevanna themselves.

If Galina does help Faile and crew, I expect it will come at a high price. I do have to say I am a little concerned that Faile and crew will botch any escape attempt and have to pay a steep price for it. Galina knows this and I don’t think she will lightly risk her hide to help Faile (even if Galina stayed behind).

3) It seems that Berelain is taking advantage of Faile’s absence and Perrin’s fatigue. Where do you think her flirtations will take her? Given the chance, what would you do with her at this point?

In general, I don’t agree with hitting people in the face (unless it is a bit of slap to bring them out of some hysteria or to keep them from sticking a knife in someone you care about), but I may just make an exception in Berelain’s case. And I think Perrin should be the first allowed to smack her.

As to what it will get her? I am not sure what she is playing for. Is it simple lust? Does she think that Perrin has lands and armies to offer Berelain and her country? She would have a stronger alliance in Faile if only she could make friends with her, but I can’t see that happening after this last bout of stupidity. Perrin isn’t going to want to bed her, even if she manages to break him and Faile apart.

Perhaps the Aes Sedai could lend her a smooth white rod? 😉

4) They are on the hunt! Talanvor left on his own to pursue the Shaido hours ahead of Perrin and crew. Perrin had to chastise the Cha Faile for their spying activities. The Asha’men want to lead the charge. Add to that, Masema offering to assist. Will Perrin’s anger explode? How can this hunt possibly be derailed?

So many possibilities! For entertainment’s sake, let’s say Talanvor finds the Shaido first, but decides to try to rescue the ladies all on his own instead of heading back and getting reinforcements. So he ends up captured and forced to walk naked in the snow, trussed in his own pants. Maybe he will even get switched or carried like a sack of grain. We can only hope, as we have heard how handsome he is.

I expect the Cha Faile will totally forget they promised to follow Perrin’s orders as soon as they catch sight of the Shaido. They are not thoroughly trained as warriors, not like the Aiel, and I expect plenty of blundering into the Shaido, ending in them being captured too. Meanwhile, the Asha’men are teleporting all over the area scouting for the Shaido. They may have some success and it would be interesting if one or two of them actually teleported directly into the Shaido camp. They may even kill a few Shaido before teleporting out or being killed. This should stir the pot.

Then we got Masema and crew who are fanatical idiots. I am sure they will find some reason to hate the Shaido and therefore, want to eradicate them from the face of Randland (for the good of the Dragon Reborn, may the light illumine his name for all eternity!). At this point, I think Perrin should lead a group of his Aiel into the fray and quietly and quickly collect all the people they want left alive and remove them to some hilltop to watch the fracas.

5) The men escorting Naean and Elenia were ambushed and killed outside Caemlyn. What do you think this portends? Will Elayne be able to unite the houses behind her or is this move the first of several by houses against her? Should the ladies be more concerned about defenses instead of clothing?

It didn’t sound like Naean and Elenia were killed, so I am guessing they were either freed and helped away or captured for whatever info they can give on Elayne and the current state of Caemlyn. Is Elenia one of those ladies who came on to Rand and then had to explain to him how she is not related (at least not even closely) to Elayne?

Anyway, sounds like someone wanted these two free of Elayne – and probably so that they can go against Elayne. I know Elayne is concerned that not all the house are for her, so I am expecting at the least some major political pushing and shoving, and at worst some kind of rebellion, even civil war. Knowing that we still have so many books, I am leaning towards the later.

And, yeah, if I can be concerned over the possibility of civil war, than Elayne can too….which means a focus on defenses is needed instead of forcing her most trusted friends (and now guards) into ‘proper’ attire.

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

Other Tidbits

Is Someryn (one of Sevanna’s Wise Ones) the one with the hawk nose? Is this suppose to be the hawk that Min sees around Perrin? Is she and Faile going to hook up and become the best of friends?

Haha! When master Gil was going on about Perrin sampling from too many dishes and Perrin pointed out that he had not even had breakfast, I had to laugh. Giggling over that aside, I was a little sad at how easily people believed Perrin had been dabbling in Berelain, even against his protests.

That short scene with Perrin as a wolf was great. Really enjoyed the switch from wolf-Perrin to groggy, confused, angry, naked Perrin.

Winter's Heart Read Along Part I

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

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

This week we covered the Prologue through then end of Chapter 2. Spoilers are having a party below!

1. With Talene’s capture, do you think we have seen the beginning of the end of the Black Ajah? Do you think the rebel moles will do more good hunting darkfriends than they did spreading dissent?

I think it is going to take quite a bit more to bring down the Black Ajah. While they haven’t been the best at planning, they have done a decent job of compartmentalizing. Many only know a few others, and I expect very few, if any of them, know all the Black Ajah. Besides, I want to see some momentous stand off between the Black Ajah and some good guys.

Considering how many Darkfriends, etc. are in the White Tower currently, I think the moles will spread dissent and disquiet by ferreting out Darkfriends. Pretty amusing, if you think about it. They weren’t very good at spreading rumors and dissent on their own. Maybe they saw it as a stupid task. But hunting Darkfriends is real, something they can sink their teeth into. They can do a very good job of causing disorder behind the scenes by forcing the Black Ajah to swear loyalty to them.

And is that messed up or not? What if they had been wrong? I wonder what they would have done after torturing Talene so thoroughly if it turned out she was not Black Ajah.

2. Elayne expects to have to battle for the throne. Do you think so too? Are we overdue for Gawyn to come back? Where is he anyway?

Yes, I expect Elayne will have to battle someone in some way for the throne….just as Rand had to battle various people to keep it safe for her. Of course, she is going to chose to have a fight with Rand over the fact that he ‘gave’ her the thrown. I still find that immature in the extreme. One can acknowledge the effort, the gift (if you must call it that) and still draw the line at allies instead of one being subservient to the other.

But back to Elayne and her real enemies. Yes, folks see the opportunity to yank the thrown out from Elayne’s family line. And why not, with her off doing far more important tasks like trying to seduce Thom, perfecting her high wire act, and pursuing the angreal of all angreals (the Bowl of Winds). Maybe my opinion on Elayne and her ‘right to rule’ are leaking through a bit. I am hoping that she is tested through conflict and that she proves worthy of ruling. Hoping. Not expecting.

Oh, yes! Let’s bring angry, sullen, deadly Gawyn back into the mix! That could be quite fun. Hie heart is torn in two or three between Andor, Egwene, and the White Tower. It is probably time something forced him to chose a side, instead of three.

3. Elayne and Aviendha are ‘born again’ as sisters! What did you think of this birth scene? Do you expect Min to have to go through the same thing?

This scene was way more intense than I expected. Aviendha and Elayne really had to lay everything out there and once having done so, had to decide if they still wanted to be sisters. I was pretty impressed with this scene actually. For every point, good or bad or silly, that the two had to proclaim aloud, the Wise Ones then shot it down, showing how human they each are. I do wonder what the bond will do going forward. Is it something like a Warder bond in that each will feel some of the other’s feelings or pain or inebriation through the link? If so, maybe that is why Aviendha has been so open with Elayne about Rand.

In Aiel culture, do women married to the same man have to be bonded Sisters? Or are they simply just sister wives? I am not sure Min will have to go through the same ritual. After all, she has spent far less time with the Aiel, isn’t as familiar with their culture. Perhaps she will refuse to marry Rand anyway and will just be a sort of friend with benefits. I can see her doing that as it allows her to keep her independence – both from Rand and his wives.

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

4. Taim added a few ‘deserters’ of his own. Can we now finally add him to the evil list? Do you think Logain might be able to do something good? Maybe Elayne will be able to help, now that she has visitor’s access?

Yes, I think we can add Taim to the Evil List even though it is quite a long list and it would be nice to add a few more people to the Good List (but we seem to keep killing off the good guys so it’s hard to get new people to apply). It seems that Logain is already very suspicious of Taim and has collected a circle of guys loyal to him. They also seem to have independent plans from Taim and keep tabs on his comings and goings. So as long as Logain doesn’t get killed any time soon, then yes, I think we can see some good come from him.

Elayne’s access to the Black Tower may be her chance to shine as a leader. After all, many people want the Black Tower dead and buried; let’s see how and if she defends it. Next, there is Taim who is just bad mojo in a nice impressive suit. I look forward to seeing Elayne square off with him.

5. Rand has decided to leave palace life and go hunt bad guys. Are you excited? How do you even hunt someone who can travel anyway? And what do you think his idea is to cleanse Saidin?

Well, I always get excited when Rand leaves his entourage behind. It usually means he is off to do something stupid, and may also mean that he will get his ass beat when he returns to the entourage.

It sounds to me like he is trying to lay false trails. As Min points out, he should lay a trail he wants someone(s) to follow and wait in ambush. Short Min with her knives, hiding in the bushes, tall Rand standing behind a tree, sword drawn. OK, they should sit down and work out some of the details. But for a start, that isn’t too bad. I wonder if they will catch Slayer or Moridin or a Forsaken or two. At least some Darkfreind underlings.

I have no idea how Rand will cleanse Saidin. I can’t see that happening easily. He’ll probably run the risk of burning himself out. Min will probably have to carry his near-carcass back to civilization. Honestly, I think this task is so huge, so momentous, that it can’t happen until the last book. And wouldn’t it need more than Rand, like maybe 13 Asha’men and Aes Sedai linked to carry it out? If it was simple, something a single determined man could do, then it probably would have been at least attempted before if not accomplished.

6. Perrin’s problems are just piling up: Masema will join him, and now he has to chase down Shaido while keeping his own Aiel safe from his other soldiers. Will this unlikely alliance ever hold together, or do you expect some spectacular blow-up sometime?

Blow up. We need one. Since Faile can’t be yelling at Perrin or throttling Berelain while she is held captive, we need some other source for the drama. So, yeah, I can see some of the wool-headed louts in Perrin’s entourage deciding to go after the Aiel in Perrin’s group. The Aiel will not take this well and they are already on edge, having lost some of their own. I am also not sure about Berelain and which road she will take. At first, it seemed she was trying to give Perrin sympathy (in a professional way) but then she went all seductive on him. So inappropriate. I liked that Perrin told her off, but somehow, I don’t think she will take the hint.

Then the wolves are even telling Perrin to let Faile go, to mourn her, and to move one. So sad. But it would be wrong to slap the wolves, wouldn’t it?

Other Tidbits

Mazrim Taim kept stealing glances at Elayne’s bum! While I understand that Elayne wants to handle Taim herself, does she really expect no one else will tell Rand?

Very interesting about the 51 Aes Sedai captured by Logain and his men, and all bonded to Asha’men. Logain himself has two now, and the one bedding him found the experience quite educational and exhilarating. 😉

Very cool to have some steam engines going on at the university. I foresee some Steampunk goodness in the WoT future!