If you haven't read the book, or the whole series, why not join in and read along with the rest of us? This week the links to the other posts can be found at the bottom of this post.
This week we read through to the end of Chapter 31.
1) Why do you think Semirhage's disguise of the Power failed? Did you see the Rand-losing-his-hand thing coming?
Mr Jordan specifically mentions that both Cadsuane and Nynaeve are wearing all their many, many angreals and ter’angreal, so I have to assume that one of them disrupted the disguise weave that Semirhage was using. This came as a definite shock to her, so I suspect that the specific object is very rare, or was considered lost in the War of Power. Now we just need Cadsuane to wander through the White Tower until she uncovers Mesaana!
Rand losing his hand was a complete surprise to me and rather abruptly done, I thought. At first I thought that Semirhage would use balefire and so I was confused by her choice of the fireball, but the discovery of the ‘male’ a’dam showed why she did not want to risk zapping him out of existence. We know that Moridin’s instructions have been very clear on this front, but taking Rand captive would not really go against his wishes. I am not sure if she was actually aiming at Rand, though I cannot imagine that targeting Min would have been a very sensible way to overpower him. I have to say that I was rather underwhelmed by Rand’s response to the attack. Considering that he is supposed to be the most amazing channeler of the age, etc, etc, I rather expected him to throw up a shield when it became obvious that the expected trap had been revealed. This does not bode well for his ability to survive until the Last Battle!
Also, did anyone else get a flashback to The Empire Strikes Back???
2) Do you think Mat's plan against the Seanchan is a good one? Will it turn the tide?
I was a little confused at first when we found ourselves following Mat in to attack the Seanchan. I thought I must have missed out a chapter or a few pages! :D
I can understand Mat’s reasoning, and it seems like the only possible way for him to get out of the area unmolested. However, I was surprised by Tuon’s lack of emotion when hundreds of her men were massacred. I did not expect her to get upset or angry, but I thought that she might have persuaded him to try a different way to accomplish the same goal. But then, I suppose she is used to the idea that her subjects die in battle all the time, so perhaps she is simply far more pragmatic than I had expected. However, I am not sure that she will stay quiet for a prolonged campaign against her own troops.
I suspect that Mat’s plan will succeed, not only because he is very good at strategy, but also because his guerilla tactics take advantage of the highly organized Seanchan military machine. It is unlikely that any of the high-ranking officers will see the pattern of his attacks until it is too late and he has rode off into the sunset.
3) Tam showed up! (Yea!) What did you think of his reaction to confirmation that Rand is the Dragon Reborn?
I assume that he suspected the truth all along, but was saddened to hear it confirmed by someone whose opinion he could not dismiss. As someone who spent a great deal of time as a soldier, and fought in numerous wars, he knows how terrible battle can be and so he would not want his son to follow in those footsteps. He must also be aware of the prophecies that suggest that the Dragon will either go mad, and kill everyone he loves, or die during the battle with the Dark One. Neither of these is something that you would want to see someone go through, let alone your child.
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 suspect that Masema has lots of plans that involve getting rid of anyone who can challenge his position as the Prophet for the Dragon Reborn. He obviously spent some considerable time working on Aram until he could twist the young man’s thinking to his own ends. I suspect that he does not actually believe that Perrin is Shadowspawn, but it provides a very convenient excuse for murdering one of Rand’s friends and primary supporters.
Masema has shown again and again that someone needs to take him into a secluded spot and remove some of the more important bits of his anatomy, such as his head. He obviously has no real intention of moving his ‘army’ to join Rand, but is more interested in the power that he can wield when the Dragon is a conveniently long way away and cannot point out to all and sundry that Masema is actually a raving lunatic and has nothing to do with him! I suspect that his attempts to remove Perrin will become increasingly overt until Faile stabs him in the eye . . . at least I hope that someone does, because he is getting very irritating! :D
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?
Aram’s treachery was fairly well signaled I thought, and it was monumentally stupid of Perrin to take the young man with him on the attack. Even the mighty ex-blacksmith thinks that Aram might be looking a little more deranged than usual . . . good going there, Lord Perrin! I can only hope that the return of Faile will keep other totally obvious assassins away from Perrin’s immediate vicinity in future. Otherwise he really does deserve to get a sword through his ribs.
Oh dear, Sevanna naked and angry strung across a horse! I have to admit that I did chortle quite a bit at that scene and there may have been a little bit of gloating as her jewelry slowly all slid off onto the ground. I am glad that she did not simply die in the battle, as she deserves to suffer long and hard for all the chaos and destruction that she has caused. I sincerely hope that this is the last we see of her, but that she spends her remaining days doing something truly horrendous and menial . . . such as wiping the bottoms of a huge herd of very incontinent and flatulent elephants! :D
As for Galina: she is another that does not deserve a quick and easy death. We only know about her very recent activities, but I am quite sure that her list of atrocities is both long and impressive. As a person who was willing to do absolutely anything to gain power over others, I believe that it is very fitting that she will be a helpless slave for the rest of her very long life. However, I suspect that her sanity will break and she will eventually forget her previous life as the leader of the Black Ajah.
Of the three incidents, the only one that I think could have unexpected ramifications is Galina’s. Now that she is lost to the Black Ajah, they may be leaderless for a short period. However, the way that they are organized into cells makes me think that her loss will not have serious consequences. After all, she has been away from the tower now for quite some time and the Blacks have been carrying on quite happily without her leadership. I guess that Therava has saved her from the ignominy of being denounced in front of the whole Tower and then Stilled, so perhaps this is actually a good ending for her.
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?
Why are so many of the characters in this series really, really, REALLY stupid and blind to the blazingly obvious!???!???! First we have Perrin and the obviously deranged Aram, and now Elayne runs into yet another trap! How many times is that now for the supposedly wise and intelligent future Queen of Andor? I think I may have lost count! :D
Now, I know that Elayne is supposed to be pregnant, but can that really explain why she continues to behave in such a rash and stupid manner? The very fact that the unidentified Black sister was not more frantic to prevent this plan from going forward should have been a huge warning sign. Plus, we have Elayne’s impressive history of always underestimating the danger and walking straight into deadly situations. When is the girl going to learn some caution?
I can only assume that some miracle of luck will allow Birgitte and the other Warders to distract the Blacks long enough for the good guys to make their escape. Or, more likely, we will finish this book with not one, but two of the Super Girls imprisoned by the ‘bad guys’. No wonder Book Twelve had to stretch so much when Brandon Sanderson came to tie up all the loose ends and complete the plotlines that need resolving. Hopefully, once she is rescued, someone will give Elayne a good slapping for being so stupid: I suspect that Birgitte might do the job!