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 11.
1) Elayne & Nynaeve are teaching Siuan, Leane, and some of the Salidar Aes Sedai about Tel'aran'rhiod. What did you make of first Gera the Cook and then Elaida popping into Tel'aran'rhiod? Do you think Elaida's pronouncement was Foretelling or merely her dreaming?
I thought Gera’s appearance was really funny but not much of a surprise. Seeing the respect that the Aes Sedai receive would be enough to make most women want to imitate them. Also, we know that she used to be a very attractive girl, and used that to her advantage, so it makes sense that she would want to be ageless and powerful.
I am fairly certain that Elaida was indulging in wishful thinking, as I cannot imagine the Tower reuniting whilst she is Amyrlin. I firmly believe that she has a greater chance of farting to the moon than of repairing the rift in the Aes Sedai. Plus, I have no doubt that many of her supporters are Black Ajah who will not want to have their own power diminished by restoring the Tower.
2) While in Tel'aran'rhiod. Leane decides to go check her network, and Sheriam sends Nynaeve to go find her. Then most of the Salidar Aes Sedai stumble into a pocket of nightmare and Elayne has to rescue them. A series of coincidences? What did you think of Elayne's actions?
I do not see how there could be a coincidence between these two actions. However, it makes perfect sense that someone in the Tower would create a terrifying nightmare inhabited by Shadowspawn that gets wedged in the Tel’aran’rhiod version of Tar Valon. I guess that the only coincidence that I can see is that the Aes Sedai had to be reminded about this very issue and then ignored the advice, but I imagine that they have been told the very same thing each time.
I thought that Elayne and Siuan acted decisively and with great courage. There is no doubt that they saved the lives of the Sisters who got trapped in the nightmare, which would have been a serious blow to Salidar. I just wish that the Aes Sedai could be a little more accepting of their own ignorance, because I am starting to despise them and their ‘we know it all’ attitude. Socrates said that wisdom begins from realizing that you know nothing, which suggests that very few of the Aes Sedai have any wisdom at all!
3) Logain is unsettling the Aes Sedai left and right with his claim that the Red Ajah set him up as the false Dragon. How much of what he says do you think is true? How do you think the Aes Sedai, both at Salidar and those visiting from the White Tower, will react to his claims?
I am fairly certain this is a story concocted by Siuan, but it would not surprise me if the Reds had done this. We also know that many of the Reds are actually Black, so the behavior would be perfectly within their remit of undermining the Tower and causing mayhem.
We know that most Aes Sedai find it very uncomfortable to even think about a man that channel, so to hear him talking of his exploits will be difficult for most of them even though he is now Gentled. I have a suspicion that most of the Aes Sedai, no matter their present allegiance, will see the possibility that he is telling the truth. It seems like the Reds are fairly unpopular with most of the other Ajahs and so this kind of betrayal of their stated purpose would be easier to accept from them than from any other Ajah. Adding to the coup in the Tower, which was instigated and led by a Red with the full support of her Ajah, it looks as if they have been making their own policy decisions for some time and acting against the best interests of the whole Tower.
I suspect that envoys from the White Tower will present open criticism of his words, no matter their personal opinions of the Reds and their scheming.
4) The Lord Captain Commander Niall has information coming to him from many sources: his fake spymaster Omerna, his disguised spymaster Balwer, and some unknown via messenger pigeon. What do you make of all this various info and Niall's acceptance or dismissal of it?
Niall is a man who tries to do good but is so blinded by his prejudice that he is actually working against the Light and inadvertently helping the Dark One. It says a great deal about the man’s caution that he uses a decoy spymaster and instead trusts a man whose natural tendency is to distrust anything he hears. However, I suspect that Balwer is frustrated by Niall’s continued refusal to believe certain aspects of the reports about Rand, such as always assuming that he cannot channel and relies upon Aes Sedai subterfuge. This denial of a possible truth is affecting the Whitecloaks’ tactics and reducing their effectiveness. It will also lead to a terrible massacre of their men if Niall sends them against Rand and the Aiel, who are also dismissed as of no consequence. A good general fights the enemy he has, not the one he wants (I think that is a quote that we have read fairly recently, but I cannot find it).
5) As Morgase returns from falconing, she sees many refugees along the road and questions one of her escorts, Norowhin. What do you make of his answers? How do you expect Morgase to proceed from this point?
He seems like the poster boy for self-righteousness that the Whitecloaks embody. No doubt he despises all the refugees, who should simply embrace the Light and all their troubles would be solved. He is very rude to Morgase, who should at least deserve a civil response if she tries to engage him in conversation, but I expect that he was given the assignment because of his single-minded attitude.
I am wondering if Morgase was hit on the head at some point when we were busy somewhere else, because she is matching Niall for delusional thinking. Whilst I admire her persistence with Norowhin, I refuse to believe that she will ever move him from his present worldview. She is well and truly trapped, with no chance to change her course now, so she must hang on and hope that someone acts to rescue her from the mess that she has created.
6) Rand goes to visit Culain's Hound Inn, where he gets more than one surprise. Verin and Alanna are escorting several young ladies from Emond's Field area to the White Tower to train as Aes Sedai. What do you think they will do now that they know of the split? More importantly, how would you have reacted to Alanna's little trap that she set for Rand?
After all we have seen Verin do in support of the three ta’veren, it seems highly unlikely that she will side with Elaida in trying to contain Rand. She is obviously very familiar with the prophecies of the Dragon Reborn, so she knows that Rand has fulfilled many of them and she had seen his channeling even before this event. So, unlike Elaida, she knows who he is, where he came from and what will motivate him from now on: and she realizes that he cannot be simply placed in a box to be wheeled out on the big day. Also, she knows that Elaida is a control freak and will not be able to let Rand remain untethered. Like Moiraine, she has enough wisdom to realize that he is like saidar: you must yield to it in order to control it.
I was amazed that Rand did not burn her to a crisp! I would have been furious if someone did this to me . . . and I can only shout and possibly slap them a bit rather than zapping them with balefire!
7) Mazrim Taim wants to go out looking for men who can channel. Do you think his enthusiasm for building this army is for the Dragon Reborn or his own glory? How do you think he will fulfill Rand's order to bring Henre Haslin, the drunk Master of the Sword, back?
I think that we have all decided that Taim is very difficult for us to trust wholeheartedly, so I expect that his motivations are a little of both. I would certainly feel happier with some of the others from the Farm doing the searching, but Rand is aware of the dangers of this plan and is willing to take the risk. However, I cannot help thinking that Lews Therin is correct and that Rand should simply zap Taim ASAP.
As for Haslin, I suppose it depends on whether he wandered off or Taim killed him. Assuming that he is still alive, I would imagine that he is holed up in the nearest inn drinking himself into an early grave and should be easy enough to find and bring back.