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 Dab of Darkness.
This week we read through to the end of Chapter 6.
1. Rand seems to have taken Lan's advice and is avoiding Aviendha at all costs. How will this turn out for them? Who do you think he had in mind when he asked Mat about being in love?
I think Rand and Aviendha are destined to be together, so any attempts they make to avoid this outcome will be pointless. At the moment it will probably make them both feel a little more in control of their lives, but it will have no lasting effect on their relationship. After all, Lan is not exactly an expert on the female animal himself, not when it comes to romantic relationships.
He could easily have been thinking of all three of his women, but it seems most likely that he would be most concerned about Aviendha given her proximity and their one night of sexytimes. That episode with Mat was more like a stream of consciousness, so I will draw a veil over the fact that Mat is probably as useful for relationship advice as Lan! :D
2. A bunch of men waiting to go mad, what could possibly go wrong?! What lies in the future for these fellows? Is Rand right in trusting Taim with this?
I was almost surprised to find that any men had volunteered to join his merry band, although it would be interesting to know how many of them were not really interested in being able to channel and just wanted to be part of something famous. It would seem that few of the men will be able to channel, naturally or taught, so most of them will be sent back to their normal lives. This might be pretty bad for them as they obviously left those lives for a good reason. Perhaps the no-hopers will be kept on to labor on the farm or practice various trades.
I think we were all fairly unsure about Taim and his trustworthiness. However, Rand is not walking into this blindly, so if Taim does turn against him it will not be much of a surprise. I think Rand’s approach is understandable and pragmatic: he will use Taim for as long as he can because he needs the help. Who knows, perhaps Rand’s apparent trust will earn loyalty from Taim where indifference might not.
3. Rand's forces just won't cooperate. Do you expect more rebellions? Is Rand making the right choice in leaving this one to fester?
I am not sure that open rebellion will be much of a recurring theme, especially once most people know that the Forsaken are out and about. Also, I suspect that turning one group of rebels into a smoking mark on the floor will do wonders for improved loyalty. I would also question just who is rebelling. I suspect that most ordinary soldiers will switch to Rand’s side once he throws a few lightning bolts about: it is their noble leaders who are the true rebels.
Although I can understand the desire to squash this rebellion at once, I think that Rand is doing the most practical thing and resisting the temptation to waste resources chasing them around in the back woods. I am quite sure that he has consulted with Bashere and Mat about this and is not simply acting alone. These three have some sort of cunning plan set up to destroy Sammael and the rebels pose no direct threat to anything important so they can be ignored at the moment. Perhaps he can just leave them to slowly starve to death whilst they bicker amongst themselves.
4. It seems like the theme of chapter 4 is humor. Who did you find funniest? What's your best joke?
I thought Rand’s joke was funny, mainly because we were not given a proper description of any of the Aiel ones. I fail to see how someone stabbing their wife can be hilarious, but I would have liked to have heard the whole thing so that I could make a judgment.
I am more likely to tell funny stories than quick jokes, so I am afraid that I do not have a favorite joke.
5. Did Mat just… become an adoptive father? Mat doesn't strike me as the fatherly type. How do you think this will work for him (and his officers, and of course Olver)?
Perhaps adoptive uncle would be a better description, as I doubt that he will be a major force for discipline in the poor kid’s life. I thought that this was a surprise, but, then again, we know that Mat is a true softy at heart, so it was probably only a matter of time before he adopted a lost child or abused puppy. He will try to appear all uncaring and macho, but Olver will be well cared for now.
I think that the rest of the Band will totally love this move. They already worship Mat, with his amazing luck and astounding military tactics, so to see him adopting strays will make him even more admirable in their eyes. I predict that Olver will be adopted by the whole group and taken to be their unofficial mascot.
6. It's time to discuss forsaken intrigue yet again. Could you decipher anything from that chat between Graendal and Sammael? Does anyone else feel like Sammael has made a big mistake somewhere?
Sammael is yet another character who is so convinced of his own rightness that he is blind to anything else. I am fairly certain that Graendal outmaneuvered him, although there were so many feints and bluffs within bluffs that I was getting a little confused. However, having been inside Sammael’s head during the conversation, I do believe that she is correct in her assessment of the man and that he has underestimated her. I suspect that she will be one of the last Forsaken to be defeated because she has such a great understanding of the human mind and so can manipulate people with ease.
I was shocked and intrigued by the appearance of the two people from Shara. We know that Graendal herself is based in Arad Doman, but this shows that she, at least, has been to Shara and is actively involved with the people there. I want to know more about this society, especially because it seems to have a very sensible approach to its channelers, with an intensive breeding program in place. This suggests that they will be plentiful and possibly more powerful than those in Randland where the Aes Sedai have effectively been pushing the ability into extinction.
7. Just how scary is Semirhage now, and what could Shaidar Haran possibly want with this poor Aes Sedai (who, I believe, we have never seen before)?
I thought that the descriptions of Semirhage last week were chilling, but we now know that she is a totally evil psychopath. Someone needs to kill her very soon.
I assume that the Aes Sedai has some vital information about the Salidar Aes Sedai. We now know that Mesaana is working within the White Tower, so I assume that she is providing all the intelligence that he needs from there. I can understand how it would be difficult to get a spy into Salidar, where all the Sisters are watching one another and being cautious, though this does seem rather extreme. The fact that we have not heard of her before suggests that she is nobody important, but that would make her a perfect target if you wanted only general information about the place and how it is set up. She would have passwords and such like, but nobody would be too suspicious if she went missing.