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 42.
1) Rand and his entourage make a stop in Tardaad land because there is water, and apparently, goats. There is also a dwelling full of the signs of a slaughter. The red veiled woman Isendre had to take a peak. Why? If you know the answer, you can speculate on what will become of the goats.
Isendre is so obviously ‘Not A Nice Person’ that she might as well have it tattooed on her forehead. She is certainly convinced that Kadere is totally under her control because she was flirting very openly with Rand right in front of him. I suspect that she has always been able to use her ‘charms’ to get everything she wants and is both narcissistic and spoilt. Her reaction to the gory remains in the building was not at what you would expect from a normal person, unless they were a trained biologist of some sort . . . :D
I can only assume that the surviving goats were the ones who had the sense to run away from the Trollocs, but I suspect that they are destined to become a rather tasty goat curry at some point, once their days of producing gallons of milk of useful baby goats are behind them.
2) Natael: Harmless, adventuresome gleeman, or Darkfriend? Will Mat's skilled 'avoidance' of the gleeman's questioning be enough to keep him out of trouble? If we could reach into Mat's head and have him translate any phrase into old Manetheren, what phrase would you choose?
Maybe I am starting to get a little paranoid, but I am going to vote: Darkfriend!
He is travelling with a woman that I am sure is Lanfear in disguise and she seems to treat him as something of an equal, which is totally out of character for her. This makes me wonder if he is actually one of the Forsaken and not just a simple Darkfriend. It would also explain why he is familiar with old Manetheren and ancient songs and history. At the moment he is playing nice, which suggests that he is one of the more subtle and intelligent Forsaken and, therefore, very dangerous. I think that Mat will be able to avoid his questions for only so long before everything goes pear shape. However, I am not sure that there is much that Mat can reveal that the Forsaken will already know, so it might not be such a disaster.
I would like to see Mat trying to translate a classic Scottish term that we saw used quite extensively in The Wee Free Men: “Crivens!”
3) Liandrin is back in the picture. What do you make of the conflicting orders Bors has received concerning Rand? Do you think Gyldin, the servant who is spying for the Seanchan, knows the full extent of who Liandrin is? What do you think of the idea of tattoos marking you as royal property?
Oh, how I hate Liandrin, let me count the ways . . .
In this section I was struck by how intensely stupid she is in a similar way to Elaida and High Lady Suroth. She is so completely absorbed in her own wants and needs that she is blind to the possibility that there might be things that she does not know. She needs to collared as soon as humanly possible.
Anyway, back to the questions . . . I think poor Bors is stuffed anyway because his orders from the Forsaken contradict those from Pedron Niall. Although he has been given a very powerful incentive to kill Rand he now has another equally good reason to keep Rand alive and in good health. No matter what he does someone will be angry with him and I am rather surprised that he has not chosen to commit suicide rather than try to keep everyone happy any longer.
Incidentally, I find it hilarious that so many people think that it will be so very simple to control Rand once they have tracked him down. If they ever do get him in their clutches, I think that they will be in for a very nasty surprise.
While I did assume that Gyldin was a spy of some sort, I did not pick up that she was supplying her information to the Seanchan. However, no matter who she is passing information to, I am fairly certain that she knows that the women are Black Ajah, which is why she pushes them but knows when to stop.
I find the whole idea of slavery or humans as property morally repugnant and the idea of marking them with tattoos seems even worse. However, in Seanchan society it seems that very high-ranking slaves have much more power than many free individuals, much as the Imperial Freedmen did in Ancient Rome, so I can understand why they would be proud of their marks of ownership.
4) After a bit too much wine, an awkward conversation with Thom Merrylin, and a drunken sick in her shared room with Nynaeve, Elayne is still trusted to stand watch as Nynaeve dives into Tel'aran'rhiod. Was it wise of Nynaeve to trust an impaired Elayne with such a duty? The mysterious man resembling Lan who shot at Nynaeve in T'A'R has also been sighted by Perrin. What do you think the connection is, if any, between Lan and this deadly dreamworld walker?
I thought the whole sequence with Elayne getting drunk was really funny, especially as we had her running commentary of what was happening. However, I was rather concerned that Nynaeve trusted her to stay awake. I fully expected morning to bring a panicked Nynaeve out of the dream only to find Elayne asleep in a puddle of vomit by the side of the bed! :D
Last week we were talking about the man who looked like Tigraine and now we have someone who looks creepily like Lan. Again, it only makes sense if this person is a near relative of our happy-go-lucky Warder, but we have been told that all his family is dead. However, his aunt Breyan and cousin, Isam, were only presumed dead because Shadowspawn had overrun the whole kingdom and nobody had seen them alive since. It seems highly unlikely that a young child could survive in such conditions, but I guess that it is a possibility. The fact that he now seems to be operating for the Shadow would certainly fit if he had been raised by Trollocs or something similar.
I know that this is not really part of the question, but I was rather intrigued by the revelations about Thom. We had all come to the conclusion that he was not just a simple gleeman, but to find out that he had once been the court bard in Caemlyn, and Morgase’s lover as well, is probably more than we had expected. It certainly explains why he is good at all that political intrigue.
5) Lord Luc decided to leave Perrin's hunting party after the latest batch of trollocs was identified but before Perrin's group was ambushed. Coincidence? Perrin says he trusts Faile, his bow, and his axe. Which, in your opinion, is the most dangerous?
Coincidence? Are you kidding????? I did not trust Luc further than I could spit him before this incident and this only makes me more suspicious. I think it is linked to Perrin’s discovery that the Waygate is now in operation again and Luc did take off at great speed. I just wish we could figure out from the text if this much larger band of Trollocs came from that direction. The only other answer is that the Aiel were lying and deliberately tried to get everyone killed, but that is just absurd because they could take out the whole party themselves with no help at all.
Faile is the most dangerous, because she will do anything and everything to protect Perrin and the things he loves.
6) Ila of the Tinkers and Faile have a discussion about The Way of the Leaf: One believes it is for everyone and one believes it is not for everyone. What did you think of this conversation? We finally learn about Faile's family and upbringing: Surprised? How do you think this will affect her relationship with Perrin?
Whilst I am always impressed by people who have the strength of character to stand by their decision to lead a non-violent life, it is not for everyone and I like the way that the Tinkers do not try to belittle or berate those who do not chose the Way of the Leaf. I was quite surprised by Faile’s attitude to their belief-system: I thought that she would find them difficult to respect, but she showed a great deal of empathy and understanding of them and their culture.
If Faile is dangerous, can you imagine what her mother is like? Perrin is going to have a tough time convincing himself that he is worthy of her whilst everyone else thinks that she has made a fine match! :D
7) In Tel'aran'rhiod, Perrin learns that the nearest waygate, the one shut by Loial when they all came through to Emond's Field, has been opened. Who do you think did so and why? In your head, how do you picture the sa'sara dance Faile kept threatening/promising Perrin with?
As I mentioned in my answer to Question 5, I would not be surprised to learn that Lord Luc had something to do with this. I do not think it is Fain because there are obviously Shadowspawn in the area that do not answer to him. Whoever it is uses the Ways to bring more Shadowspawn through although their ultimate goal is not clear. If they were trying to remove the Whitecloaks they would mass for a decisive attack, rather than conducting lots of smaller raids. It seems much more likely that they are simply trying to harry and terrify the people of the area in order to attract Rand’s attention.
I imagine that it involves rather small items of clothing being removed gradually! :D