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This week we read through to the end of Chapter 34.
1) Ingtar is really gung ho about the Horn. Is anyone else worried about his obsession? Have you ever experienced such an obsession?
Yes, I am getting very worried about his attitude towards the Horn. He seems to actually need to find it, which makes me wonder if he feels the need to atone for something. Has he done something terrible that means he need to regain his honor? If so, what can be so bad that the only way to redeem himself is to regain the Horn? Now you can see why I am so worried!
I suppose the nearest I have ever got to being so obsessed is with the later Harry Potter books: yes I was one of those people who got them on the release date and then read them straight through without stopping. I think that is about as sad as I have ever been . . .
2) In Chapter 28, we hear about the Jenn Aiel, Rhuidean, and their prophecy of a man of their blood from beyond the Spine of the World. It appears that Rand isn't tied to just one people/culture and their prophecies, but multiple peoples. Are you enjoying guessing (or watching, if you have read before) how Rand will be ensnared by all these demands upon him?
It makes sense that there would be a prophecy about him amongst the Aiel as he is one of them. There seems to be no chance at all that Rand will avoid becoming the Dragon Reborn: he keeps trying to run away only to be drawn back in. It does make me wonder what Fate would do if he tried to commit suicide. However, every extra prophecy adds to the feel of an ancient culture and emphasizes how important Rand is to the survival of the world.
Whenever we get another of these prophecies I keep thinking of the Kwisatz Haderach in Dune: he is even trying to avoid being used by a bunch of powerful women.
3) Through White Cloak Bornhald and Captain Domon, we get our first rumors and glimpses of the Seanchan, descendants of Artur Hawkwing's armies, from across the sea. What do make of them? How do you think the military forces we have met so far will fair? If you have read before, feel free to critique their hierarchy and style of armor.
They are very scary and I do not see how anyone is going to stand against them. They certainly seem to have completely subdued the local population with disturbing ease and have a very secure foothold at Falme. It seems like the Questioners are doing more to weaken the local armies than actually helping the situation, which is even more concerning.
Special mention needs to be made about the Damane. I can only assume that they are women who can channel, but it seems like they are totally controlled by the women connected to them by the leash-things. The Seanchan obviously have a massive dislike or distrust of the Aes Sedai, so this could be a very bad place for any of them to make an appearance. However, I am impressed that the invaders are being very thorough in finding all the women able to channel in the area, which shows that they are serious about preparing for the coming battle against the Dark One. I have a feeling that the white Tower should be doing something equally proactive.
4) Just for fun, what do you think Padan Fain had on Lord Barthanes?
I dread to think . . . but I guess that simply knowing that he is a Darkfriend is more than enough. I am more interested in who or what tore him to bits.
5) Machin Shin, the Black Wind, was waiting for them in the waygate in the grove at Barthanes. Coincidence, or set there on purpose?
I would like to think that it was coincidence, but I am rapidly giving up on the idea of anything in this world happening by accident. I believe Verin when she says that it does not respond to threats or anything else, but I wonder if it is similar to the Mashadar in Shadar Logoth. We know that Fain went in there and was very changed when he came out, so perhaps he can control the Machin Shin even if nobody else can . . . which is not a happy thought.
6) Ah! Poor Thom! How do you think the latest turn of loosing Dena will affect him? If you've read before, feel free to comment on how Robert Jordan's ability to write in characters and then kill them off pull on your emotions.
I suppose there was no way that he could have avoided being swept back up into the Pattern surrounding the lads, but I wish that Dena could have survived and travelled with him. However, she was his main excuse for not joining them, so Fate needed to get her out of the way.
I imagine that Thom will be very angry now and determined to make her death mean something. How this will help in the long run, I do not know, but I suspect that he will be a good person to have around.
I see that we will finally be travelling to a Stedding . . . I hope this means that we will get to meet other Ogier and possibly see someone shouting at Loial because he ran away from home. It is not that I want to really see Loial in trouble, but it is going to be great fun to see him all embarrassed about being a bad Ogier! :D