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 the links to the other posts can be found at the bottom of this post.
This week we read through to the end of Chapter 16.
1. Do you think that it is possible that Nynaeve and Elayne will be more cautious in the future and avoid the next very obvious trap that arises? Also, any ideas where the extra pigeons were going after Mistress Macura’s recovery?
I am not sure if I am just judgmental, but I am getting a little tired of their never-ending ability to walk directly into any trap, even the ones that are so obvious that they could have a sign on them saying “This is a trap!” Seriously, why would you trust some random woman just because she has the correct sign for the Yellow Ajah nailed to her front door? I would hope that this episode will FINALLY make them realize that trying to hide from the Black Ajah and at least one of the Forsaken means that there are bad people about! Good grief!
I found the extra pigeons rather intriguing. I can understand why someone would want to keep a watchful eye on a woman supplying information to the Tower because we know that there are divisions between the Ajahs and that not all the Sisters get along. Of course, there are plenty of other people who might want to be kept informed, with the Forsaken and Whitecloaks at the top of the list. As for Mistress Macura’s extra pigeon, I have to admit that I am a little disappointed that she is not just a simple supporter of the Yellow Ajah. It seems like straightforwardly honest people are few and far between in this world, so it would have been nice if she had just been following her orders with no additional political intrigue.
2. We now know that the Blue Ajah is massing in Salidar, and I wonder if other renegade Sisters will head that way as well. Is anyone else feeling that their choice of meeting place is nice and convenient for our wayward Amyrlin? Do you think that Nynaeve and Elayne will hear the location and join up with our merry band?
It would have been Murphy’s Law if the Blues had been banding together thousands of miles away from Siuan’s current location. However, I can understand why they chose Salidar now that I have looked it up on a map. It is relatively central, but not too close to Tar Valon, while its proximity to Whitecloak central makes it an unlikely choice. Siuan mentions it as the birthplace of a famous Blue, which seems to make it an obvious selection, but we also know that many of the settlements in this borderland have been abandoned, so maybe it has been empty and forgotten for a long time.
From Nynaeve’s comments it sounds as if she read the name, although it would mean nothing to her even if she remembers it. However, a quick conference between Egwene and Moiraine will solve that mystery and I expect the girls to motor towards Salidar once they throw Galad off their scent.
3. Were you surprised to discover that Gareth Bryne had the hots for Siuan? Are we going to have a soppy love story involving fishing metaphors?
I was rather surprised by this, as there was no real suggestion in the earlier chapters that his interest was at all romantic. I had assumed that his interest was because he had a vague feeling that he had seen Siuan before or something similar. Also, and I hope this does not sound too awful, but I find it a little difficult to imagine Siuan being all that loveable. However, Bryne did have an affair with Morgase, so I guess that he must like pushy women!
We know that he is smitten for some reason, but we have not seen Siuan pining away for him in the same way. However, she does seem very determined to keep her word to him, so perhaps there is something there as well, and she did do a lot of staring . . . I cannot wait to hear the fishing sayings that are suitable for flirting, dating and catching a husband!
4. Is anyone else hoping that Birgitte will have a larger role in the story in the near future? Is Egwene really a prude or do you think that Nynaeve’s dress in Tel’aran’rhiod was amazingly slutty?
I find Birgitte a really interesting character and I like reading her appearances, so I really hope that she becomes more important and soon. It seems that she may be about to be woven back out into the Pattern, but I worry that she will not have much time to grow up and become a stunning archer before the Last Battle arrives. I am intrigued by her decision to break the rules and help the girls: I wonder if this means that one or both of them are Ta’veren?
We have talked about Egwene’s prudish attitudes in past weeks, but I do get the impression that Nynaeve’s outfit is more than a little revealing. I would also imagine that it is a shock for Egwene to see Nynaeve dressed like that, because the Wisdom has always advocated sober, practical clothing in the past. It is episodes like this that make me really like Nynaeve: she is so unintentionally funny whilst being terribly realistic.
5. Were you surprised by the sudden reversal in the power dynamic between Nynaeve and Egwene? During her testing to become Accepted, Egwene saw herself as Amyrlin, does her increasing self confidence make this future seem more likely?
At first I was a little shocked by this, but it shows that the Wise Ones are teaching Egwene more than just Dreaming. It is good to see her becoming much more confidant and forceful, as she has been a little too submissive and passive-aggressive in the past, especially towards Nynaeve. However, she is also very headstrong, so I worry that she may become overconfident and rash, which could be a deadly combination. As for Nynaeve’s sudden weakness, I found this rather more surprising but a welcome relief from her constant self-righteousness.
While the new Egwene appears to be channeling her inner Siuan Sanche, I fear that she is still too young to be taken seriously by the other Aes Sedai. It seems that Moiraine is starting to treat her more as an equal, but her age will always be a disadvantage when she deals with those Sisters that are unfamiliar with her. I wonder if she will be used as a compromise candidate because she has no associations with the major factions. I would imagine that the dominant sitters would expect her to be easily manipulated, although I predict that they would be in for a surprise there.
The one thing that strikes me as most strange in all of this is their relative strengths with the Power. We have been told over and over again that Nynaeve is much more powerful, even though she can only channel when she is angry at the moment. We have also seen that Sea Sedai use relative power as a way to establish their hierarchy, so Nynaeve bowing to Egwene does against the norm.
6. Do you agree with Elayne that Galad would actually hand them over to the Whitecloaks? I can see Thom fitting in with the travelling Menagerie, but how much braid-pulling do you expect from Nynaeve?
If what Elayne and Gawyn have said is true, then Galad would have no qualms about doing what he considers to be ‘right’ and handing the girls over to the Whitecloaks. He is obviously a person who sees everything in terms of black and white and pays little attention to the possibility that he is the only person to behave in that way. His stubborn refusal to consider bending rules is very arrogant and could place the girls in grave danger, but he will walk away with a clear conscience because he has behaved ‘correctly’. It seems to me that he is deceptively beautiful on the outside: a clear example of beauty being a poor indicator of character. I find him very annoying and self-righteous.
I have to admit that I did not see that plot twist coming. However, we have had people join up with ‘gypsies’, so why not have others run away with a ‘circus’? I did think it strange that the menagerie got so much description, but did not expect it to become a hiding place for the girls so soon: I expected a more subtle reintroduction much later on. I am sure that Thom and Juilin will fit in very well, but I am not sure how Elayne will earn her keep: I am not sure that people will pay to see her raise her chin regally! However, I can imagine Nynaeve drawing quite a crowd as she shoots fireballs from her eyes! :D
Am I the only one who loves the fact that Bella is still alive and adding her own shaggy presence to the story? I also love how Siuan expects this most placed of horses to eat her face off! :D