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This week we read the prologue through to the end of Chapter 11.
1. What do you think of the potential dark prophecy the Halfman wrote on the wall? Do you think it is a prophecy or a taunt?
I have feeling that it was actually Fain who wrote this on the wall, and not the Halfman, mainly because he quotes it at the end of Chapter 11. I have no idea why Fain wants Rand to follow him to Toman Head, but I am sure that all will be revealed . . . and it will not be a pleasant surprise.
2. We finally got to find out more of Rand's birth and Tam's history. Did it meet your predictions/expectations? What did you think?
It certainly made sense of everything Tam said whilst he was raving and makes everything seem so much more portentous. The story of the ancient Aes Sedai having a Foretelling and then dropping dead was rather shocking, but also emphasized what a world-changing event his birth was. I feel very sorry for Rand: he has this massive destiny and yet he does not feel strong enough to even think about it, never mind trying to grow into his power.
On a side note, I cannot wait to meet the Aiel: they sound totally badass. They remind me of the Fremen in Frank Herbert’s Dune series.
3. Oo lala, Lan gave Nynaeve a ring! How are you liking the development of this romance?
I love the way that it is so restrained and restricted by Lan’s sense of responsibility to both his duty and Nynaeve. Their love is obviously very deep but they are able to hold themselves apart because of circumstances. This is such a refreshing change from all the starry-eyed, insta-love that invades perfectly good stories and ruins them. It adds greatly to their characters, by showing both their depth of feeling and their strength of character, whilst making their love so much more poignant and bittersweet that we are even more invested in seeing them get together.
4. Rand kept feeling a pair of eyes on him and given that someone shot an arrow in his vicinity, it might not be unfounded paranoia. Who/what do you think is watching him?
I imagine that it was Fain, although I would not be surprised to find that it was a Black Ajah Aes Sedai: Liandrin seems like a good candidate. As for the arrow, the large number of Darkfriends that Fain has with him from Fal Dara suggests that there are significant numbers of them, so it is not difficult to imagine at least one left behind to take the shot.
5. Poor Domon! What do you think of the trouble he has gotten himself into with the heartstone? Are you happy that it seems Domon will be integrated back into the story?
His reintroduction was a little bit of a surprise, but I am pleased to see him back in the picture. We know that the disc is actually one of the Seals from the prison holding the Dark One and the Forsaken, so we can imagine how much value it has to Darkfriends. I assume that they want to obtain it so that they can break it, just as the one found at The Eye of the World was broken: this would further weaken the barrier and release more of the Forsaken into the world.
I am interested to learn how they discovered that he had the Seal: I wonder if they can track it somehow. If they can then his run westward will not keep them at bay for very long.
6. What did you think of Mat and Perrin's reaction to Rand telling them about his channeling? Anyone else feel like they need a pamphlet in supporting your friend through difficult times?
I thought their reactions were very much in character: Mat swearing the air blue and Perrin taking it in contemplative silence. I actually think Perrin was fairly supportive, probably because he has always known how it feels to be more powerful than everyone else and to worry about hurting them unintentionally. His recent physical change has also made him feel even more of an outsider, so he at least understands how Rand feels. If someone explained all of this to Mat I am sure that he would be sympathetic, but he is not the most observant or empathic individual and he is somewhat preoccupied by the loss of the dagger.
As the chapter in Illian began with all that mention of gleemen I was hoping to see Thom make a reappearance: it is beyond time that he resurfaced.
How cool is Hurin? It is good to see other examples of the Old Ways making themselves known and I hope that he makes Perrin feel a little less unusual. However, I pity any person who can smell violence: I do not imagine that it is a pleasant smell.