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 you can find links to everyone else’s thoughts at Dab of Darkness.
This week we read through to the end of Chapter 10.
1. The "supergirls" are at an impasse, and they have conflicting testimonials on Liandrin's plans. Who do you believe? Where would you have them go?
I find it very difficult to believe either of the Black Sisters, especially as their stories do not support one another. However, I am not sure that I could completely ignore what they say either, because there might be some truth in it. As for where they should go: that is a difficult decision to make. I can only assume that the Aes Sedai guarding Mazrim Taim can be warned to expect an attempt to take control of him. However, the suggestion that Tanchico is important is too vague at the moment and seems like something the girls will be sent to investigate.
I really wish that Moiraine and Siuan would let the girls do some more training before letting them run around loose again. I know that they are all very powerful, but their lack of training and experience is a serious problem that leaves them horribly exposed to danger. However, I imagine that pressing matters will push their training to the background again, and they will be sent to Tanchico.
2. Moiraine claims she knows her future husband better than the other girls know theirs (and no, it's not Lan). What could she possibly be on about?
I think this simply means that Moiraine has had much longer to come to terms with the realization that she will never marry. The girls are still young enough that they see it as a possible outcome for them, especially Elayne after all the kissing in this week’s reading!
3. Saidin and Saidar are revealed to be very different things. This is the first time we have some real info about male channeling. What do you think of this magic system?
I think it makes perfect sense that the way men and women access the Power is slightly different. After all, the two aspects of the one Power are mutually exclusive, so there is no reason why they should both be used in exactly the same way. However, it would seem that they are very similar in the way that they use weaves of power, as we can see from Lanfear’s ability to combat Rand’s channeling.
I like the way that the magic system allows for variations in power and skills, with different people having strengths and weaknesses in the five elements. This makes the system much more like an innate natural talent rather than a set of tricks to be learnt. I also appreciate that the most powerful acts require both male and female channelers to work effectively, probably because they need the correct balance of the five elements. This makes it much more difficult for one person to be such a super-power and hints that the girls are going to be vital to Rand for the Last Battle, where I have to assume they will all need to work together on some uber magic to defeat the Dark One.
4. Elayne seems to approach this seduction business from a different angle than Berelain does. Successfully so, it seems. Rand and Perrin have both apparently found love. What about Mat? Are there anyone for him?
Admittedly, Elayne has been more successful than Berelain, but I do not think that this has anything to do with her approach: Rand has feelings for her and not for the First of Mayene. I really enjoyed being in Elayne’s head as she tried to work up the courage to lay her heart at his feet, although I did have a quiet snigger as both Rand and Egwene were a little disappointed not to break the other one’s heart when admitting their lack of feelings for each other!
Whilst I do not condone Berelain’s attempts to seduce Rand, I can understand that she is a young ruler who has been taught how to use everything at her disposal to get what she wants. I would guess that she has been successful in the past because Tear seems to be ruled mostly by powerful men who would enjoy the attentions of a young woman like her.
I doubt that Mat is really husband material, so I predict that it will be quite some time before we see him being tied to one single woman. At the moment he seems to be working his way through the women in Tear, although they are becoming more wary of him so that might not continue for much longer. He has a real fear of being pinned down, so I would expect him to steer clear of commitment, but he might settle down for that one special woman . . . eventually, if she can beat him over the head and tie him to something very heavy! :D
5. In the depths of the Stone there is a doorway ter'angreal, through which one can get true answers to three questions. Will someone end up using it, and if so, who? What might they ask? What would YOU ask, if given the chance?
I expect Mat to use it eventually because he is the only person rash enough to risk it. Plus, he has a genuine need to refill all those gaps in his memory. Perhaps his luck will help him to survive the event intact, or at least help him to choose suitable questions. It sounds like it will be very tricky to avoid any subject connected to the shadow though, so I am not sure if even he could manage that.
I am not sure that I would want to risk going through the doorway, but if I could do it without possibly dying or going mad, I do have one question. I would like to know how to finally rid my Dad of prostate cancer. He was diagnosed a couple of years ago and had his prostate removed, but he still has cancerous cells wandering around somewhere that are proving fairly resistant to treatment. If we could nail them down and get them out of him it would be truly wonderful.
6. Trollocs fighting people, trollocs fighting trollocs, and Lanfear in the middle of it, denying any involvement. What do you think happened here, exactly? Do you believe Lanfear?
I do not generally trust Lanfear as far as I could spit her, but in this case I think she is telling the truth. I genuinely think that she wants to keep Rand safe from the attack so that she can have him, and his power, all to herself. I am pretty certain that she was responsible for the trolloc that saved him, but other than that I think that the attack is all due to one or more other Forsaken.
I did wonder if the in fighting were due to there being two separate forces each sent by a different Forsaken. That might explain why they arrived by two routes, but it seems odd that they would both attack on the same night, so perhaps that is wrong.
7. Rand promises to announce his intentions the next day. You're in his place, the future of the universe rests on your shoulders, and you have who knows how many sides expecting you to act in their interest. What do you do?
That is a really tough decision, because any action will create both supporters and enemies. The most obvious choice is to attack Illian, but I doubt that he will do that because he wants to avoid open warfare and the mass casualties that will follow. I predict that he will do something that seems completely crazy, like walking into the sea or simply vanishing for some time.
An Extra Thought:
Where is Loial and what is he doing? Why have we not seen him for ages? :(