Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan: Week 1

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 I came up with the questions, so you can find links to everyone else’s thoughts at the bottom of this post.

This week we read through to the end of Chapter 3.

1. Min’s viewings when she returns to Tar Valon are enough to make anyone worried: any guesses as to what will cause the death and mayhem? Also, is anyone else curious to know the story behind the name Elmindreda?

It would seem that Min is seeing the aftermath of a full assault on the White Tower, but I guess that the real problem is trying to identify who would be stupid enough to attempt something so suicidal. It does not seem likely that it would be the Whitecloaks, even though they are camped not far from Tar Valon, and the Seanchan are an awfully long way away at the moment. This makes me wonder if it will actually be a force from within the White Tower itself: either the Black Ajah or a coup to wrestle the Amyrlin Seat from Siuan Sanche. This would explain the horrific amount of death and damage caused and I can certainly see an idiot like Elaida justifying such an action.

It appears that Elmindreda is a seriously embarrassing name, in much the same way as Zarine, Faile’s true name. I would love to hear more about the stories behind these names, but I imagine that we will only get hints.

2. We now know some of Elaida’s reasons for being so fixated with Morgase, but do you think that she will actually help or hinder the fight against the Dark One?

Elaida strikes me as a very arrogant person, who will not trust anyone else with her insights. This leads her to make poor decisions with no other perspective to allow her to see other alternative possibilities. She is adamant that she, and only she, knows what is best for the world and will blindly distrust who does not agree with her decisions.

I suspect that she genuinely thinks that she is working for good, but that the Forsaken will ultimately thank her for doing some of their job for them. The fact that she has held such an important position of power, as Morgase’s advisor, and has not been recruited as a Darkfriend says an awful lot about how she is seen by the Dark One. He either believes that she is ineffectual or that she will actually help his cause in her own misguided blunderings.

3. We are introduced to Ordeith, but there is little description of him. Do you think we have met him before, using a different name, or is he yet another in the growing list of baddies? Also, how do you think Two Rivers will cope with him and the Whitecloaks and will we get to see Mistress Luhhan in action again?

I get the feeling that he is Padan Fain. The description does not seem to match exactly, but the way he was babbling on about warning someone, presumably Rand, about what he would do to the Two Rivers sounds very familiar. We know that Dain Bornhald has his obsession with Perrin so I predict that the next few months are going to be pretty miserable for the people of Emond’s Field. I really hope that Bornhald manages to keep some kind of control on Ordeith because I hate to think of him dragging any more people away to ‘question’ them.

I suspect that Mistress Luhhan will try to send the Whitecloaks packing with a few smacks of her trusty frying pan, but I might be wrong!

4. High Lady Suroth seems to think that she will be able to capture Rand and make him into a type of damane. Do you think this is likely, or is she underestimating him and being wildly optimistic?

Her attitude to Rand seems to border on the insane. However, I suppose that she comes from a culture where female channelers are always overwhelmed and collared, so I can see why she might expect the same to happen to a man. I am always rather dubious of people who show such total belief in their ability to control the future, as they are so blind to the possibility of failure. I know that confidence is a good thing, but there is something to be said for admitting that things might not go as planned.

5. Holy bubbles in the Pattern, Batman! Was I the only one frantically reading to see if the three lads would even survive their ‘interesting’ evening? This made a nice change from the Trolloc attack motif of the earlier books, but how long do you expect our characters to survive with things like this happening more frequently?

I thought that these three sequences were very worrying, as the guys almost did not escape alive. The possibility of these incidents happening frequently, and totally at random is very scary: much worse than the idea that they were a byproduct of Rand’s madness. How do you ever sleep again after going through that experience?

6. Sexytimes! Last week we discussed the relationship between Perrin and Faile and it seems to have ‘progressed’ quite a bit. Do you think that they are an item now, with full sexytimes privileges, even though it seems a little unclear from the book so far? Also, what about Berelain and her ever so subtle attempt to seduce Rand: how funny was it when she thought he was just talking dirty to her? Finally, how far do you think the Maiden’s Kiss game went to keep Mat awake all night???? :D

It certainly seems as if Perrin has been sharing some ‘quality time’ with Faile, given that she gave him a good kissing after the attack. Their relationship still seems rather volatile though, so it will be interesting to see how they cope with each other as the danger increases. I know that Perrin is going to try and send Faile on her way, but I think he will have no chance of persuading her to do it if she decides to stay with him: she does seem a little stubborn!

I have to admit to a sense of smug satisfaction when Rand was totally unmoved by Berelain and her ever so subtle attempts to seduce him. I know that it makes me a bad person, but I always find it hilarious when a beautiful woman gets absolutely nowhere with a guy that she sees as an easy target. Go, Rand! :D

These Aiel and their strange customs! I get the impression that the Maiden’s Kiss is like a much more adult version of Spin the Bottle, but with more spears. Still, it is nice to see a culture that allows women to behave as sexual beings without getting too precious about it.

For some reason the Linky Tool isn't working :(

Here are the links anyway:

Dab of Darkness      Musings on Fantasia  



  1. Morning, Sue! My answers are over at Dab of Darkness (together with Susan's of course.) Here-ish:

    Perceptive answers as usual. You're right about one thing, but I won't tell you which. :P

    "The fact that she has held such an important position of power, as Morgase’s advisor, and has not been recruited as a Darkfriend says an awful lot about how she is seen by the Dark One."

    This sentiment is expressed by another character in a later book, actually. Something about that the Dark One would have been embarrassed to associate with her. :D

    Seems like I'm the only one here who doesn't dislike Berelain. Hm.

    1. You meany! :D

      Elaida is so blinkered that I find it hard to believe that anyone will support her, but many of the Aes Sedai seem to be far too wrapped up in their internal politics so she might just gain support. I can't help thinking that they've lost sight of their goal to defend everyone from the Dark One.

      I am going to make a guess that there might be a different approach to Berelain because we are female??? :D

  2. Hello! I was off rebel-rousing this morning but am all cleaned up and ready to chat about literature over tea.

    I have to wonder if there is fan fiction out there filling in the backstories on Elmindreda and Zarine and how they came by their names. Could be some entertaining reading.

    I wasn't too sure whether to be relieved or not that Elaida was not a dark friend - as one she would be driven, have a purpose, and therefore, would make mistakes that sooner or later would have the good guys barring doors to her. As a good guy, but filled with righteous indignation and know-it-all-ism, she will probably do a lot of harm before she is either killed or humbled.

    When does Padan Fain get his head handed to him? Because I could live with that happening in this before he invades Two Rivers even.

    Ah, yes, believing that you can always mold the future to your liking is ridiculous. Take the weather, for instance. As of yet, the folks in this book do not control the weather. Control freaks, such as Elaida and Lady Suroth, must hate weather.

    I think each of the guys needs a chainmail coat, and also locking your weapons up might be worthwhile, as long as you can trust where you are sleeping (like you won't need your chosen weapon immediately in the middle of the night due to unexpected foes) trollocs being set loose in the keep, which is so bloody unlikely to happen anyway, right?

    If we had the game Maiden's Kiss here, I would play. I totally wouldn't mind sampling a few kissers.....with a spear in my hand.

    1. Elaida is a dangerous person because she could cause a great deal of damage to the Tower at precisely the wrong time whilst being carried along by her self-righteousness.

      Padan Fain vs Mistress Luhhan slapdown FTW!!!!

      They are going to have such fun with Mat, if they ever encounter him! :D

  3. 1. I think Elmindreda was a loopy woman with loose morals who fell in love every other day or something. I don't remember why I think that, though. Either we get told later, or I'm just making stuff up. :D
    2. I agree about her doing the Forsaken's jobs for them. Evil geniuses always use not so bright people (dingbats, perhaps?) to do the dirty work for them.
    3. Mistress Luhan with a frying pan would be awesome! :D
    4. I agree. Suroth = Insane.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog, Sue. Great answers! :D


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