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This week we read through to the end of Chapter 20.
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?
I like the way that we, and The Dark One, are still guessing about which of the lads is the Dragon Reborn and what role the other two will play. At the moment it seems like all of them are equally important, but only if they are together, which is a nice change from the usual trope of ‘The Chosen One’. I wish I could stop seeing similarities with Tolkien, but this is similar to the important roles played by the rest of the Fellowship in Frodo’s success.
Min’s visions hint at lots of interesting aspects of the future or their destinies, which will keep us alert for those things to appear. I like this effect of prophecies in books, as they keep us looking for ways that they are being fulfilled. It also gives me confidence that the author has a larger plot to lay out over the series and is not simply making it up as he goes along! :D
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?
Mat’s tricks are very funny to him, but his rashness is starting to get annoying. As people trying to keep a low profile, his prank with the Whitecloaks was extremely stupid. Also, his sudden decision to act, without saying anything to Rand, placed his friend in real danger and drew very unwanted attention. I have a horrible suspicion that his tricks are going to cause serious injury soon.
3) Nynaeve found them! What do you think Moiraine and Nynaeve said to each other behind that closed door at the inn?
If only I could have been a fly on that wall!
Although Nynaeve is very strong willed and opinionated, I doubt that she got the best of Moiraine. This made me think that it could be the ultimate definition of “If looks could kill!” :D
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?
There is Mutch in the stables who seems very grumpy, although he might just be like that with everyone, so it seems much more likely that it was the man who was watching them while they danced. His badly scarred face and intent scrutiny make him an ideal candidate for being a darkfriend. He might not have Min’s talents, but he could certainly spot newcomers from the Two Rivers and pass that information on to the Fade.
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?
We have certainly been seeing more of her powers, and they are very impressive. It is difficult to imagine that she could draw much more because she had to use the angreal to accomplish so much, but she might be able to do more with a more powerful one.
6) A lot happens at Shadar Logoth, where the party hopes to hide from the Trollocs and Myrddraal. What do you think Mordeth is? And the misty Mashadar? As Lan contemplates, the Myrddraal must drive the Trollocs into the city to search for them, but what is driving the Myrddraal?
I think that Mordeth is precisely what Moiraine says he is, as I cannot think that his story can be any more unpleasant than that. The Mashadar is certainly very scary, but I hate to think what it is. The story suggests that it is a physical manifestation of pure evil and it is horribly lethal. I can understand why both the Trollocs and Myrddraal are unwilling to risk encountering it. I dread to think what can scare the Fades enough to make them enter the city.
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?
I am not really worried, as it seems far too early in the book for everyone to be killed! :D
It looks like it will be quite some time before they meet up again, possibly not until they all reach Whitebridge or even Caemlyn. We know that Perrin has survived his swim in the river, but I am a little concerned about Egwene, although we do not know if she actually went into the river as well, so she might be stuck in amongst the Trollocs.
It does seem strange that Trollocs have been chasing the boat already. I can only assume that he is carrying someone or something that is drawing their attention, although I have no idea what it could be.
My Own Question
Am I the only one who thinks that Mat has brought a piece of treasure out of Shadar Logoth?