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 Musings on Fantasia.
This week we read through to the end of Chapter 16.
1) Nynaeve, gutsy as ever, managed to find an open window and eavesdrop on what was happening in the Little Tower behind the wards. What do you think was being talked about? Later, Sheriam mentions not wanting to tell Nynaeve and Elayne what only a handful of (women) in the world know. What do you think the Salidar Aes Sedai are planning?
I am fairly certain that Elaida wants Nynaeve and Elayne returned to the Tower ASAP, but then she wants everyone to come back and bow down before her and respect her authority (why do I have an image of a petulant Cartman from South Park just now?). This is later confirmed by the envoy and it is easy to see why Elaida would pay special attention to these two young women in particular.
However, it also sounds as if the Salidar Six have someone in mind to use as an alternative puppet Amyrlin . . . someone young and far away . . . someone who is a powerful channeler . . . someone they think that they can manipulate . . . Who could that be???? I am going to make a wild guess and suggest that this person is Egwene. She fits all the criteria, although they will find her far more mule headed than they would like, and she saw herself as Amyrlin in her trip through the ter’angreal to become Accepted. This also explains why they are frustrated by the lack of cooperation of the Wise Ones, who are probably restricting their access to Egwene.
2) In T'A'R, Nynaeve and Elayne fine a bowl ter'angreal hidden in a dusty store room in Ebou Dar. They only know that T'A'R pointed them to it as something that might bring the Little Tower around to supporting Rand. What do you think it does and how--if at all--will it help bring Rand support?
It appears to control, or manipulate, the weather, so it could be used to break the unnatural summer that is plaguing the land. This would prove to be a significant sign for many people, as it would show that the Dark One was now able to influence the world directly, which presumably shows that he is close to breaking free. It will also humiliate the White Tower if the Salidar Aes Sedai can honestly claim to have solved this problem, especially as a second suitable artifact is sitting in a Tar Valon storage room.
However, I do not understand how any of this will persuade the Aes Sedai in Salidar to make a decision to support Rand. I quite liked Elayne’s idea to pretend that he is needed to get the bowl to work, but we shall see if that plays out. Perhaps it will force them to support Rand because it will highlight how useful and powerful some of his allies are, because it looks as if Elayne and Nynaeve may not be powerful enough together to use the bowl, which suggests that one of the other very powerful women will need to link with them. This could be Egwene or Aviendha but it will still prove that Rand has the most powerful channelers of the age standing behind him.
3) Egwene was sucked into Gawyn's dream where there were professions of love, make out sessions and, from the way her face heated when she woke, probably some sexy times. What do you think of Gawyn's professions of love and the fact that Egwene seems to reciprocate? What do you think their future looks like?
Egwene is such a prude, but it is rather endearing. I am surprised that the Wise Ones did not notice the spring in her step after the sexy times: I was expecting them to grill her about who did the deed and try to extract all the gory details! :D
It has been painfully obvious that Gawyn loves Egwene, although the idiot is prepared to stand aside for Galad. This makes me want to give Gawyn a good slapping, but I can understand how it shows his self-sacrificing character and determination to do his duty, both of which are quite laudable. Egwene had always met the two young men together, so poor Gawyn was almost eclipsed by his gorgeous half-brother, but when she thought back about the meeting it was Gawyn that she was drawn to. I seem to recall this being shown during her decision to tell Rand that he was free to love another.
Egwene has several dreams where she cups Gawyn’s head in her hands. This seems to suggest that she will make him her Warder at some point. She also had that dream of him closing a door on her and it leading to her death, which seems to mirror Min’s viewings of Siuan and Gareth Bryne. However, there are also dreams that suggest that they will argue or not see eye to eye. This makes a lot of sense if she is fated to be elected as the rebel Amyrlin and he is still supporting the Tower. He is obviously fated to save her life at some point, so I hope that they can work things and perhaps share some sexy times for real.
4) Nynaeve and Elayne link with the other Salidar women to guard against another bubble of evil. What do you think of the linking process (useful? will we see it again?) and what do you make of Anaiya's apparent disappointment that it was a bubble of evil and not one of the Forsaken?
The linking process appears to be very useful in allowing a skilled channeler to harness more power. I imagine that this will be needed for Elayne to successfully use the bowl: she has the weather-manipulation skills but not enough power by herself. I would also imagine that we will see linking used during the Last Battle if not before. For example, Rand’s plan to cleanse Saidin will surely require linking.
We have seen several examples of the Aes Sedai being unable to accept the truth if it goes against what they want to believe, so I imagine that this is yet another case of their blindness. I can understand why it is easier to not believe in totally random events of evilness just popping up now and then, but they have tried to ignore anything that does not comply with their worldview. It is starting to get very frustrating to read their continued obstinacy, but I suppose that it just emphasizes how long it has been since they were faced with unexplained events. They have grown very complacent and self satisfied, and at the moment I want to give them all a good slapping.
5) Rand meets with a handful of Andoran nobles. What is your impression of them, especially Dyelin? Do you think they are sincere? Does Dyelin truly not want power herself and seek to see Elayne on the throne? Will they be a help or a hindrance to Rand?
I come from the North of England, where we pride ourselves in being honest and direct, so I can really relate to these particular nobles. They feel no need to flatter or pretend: they are openly hostile and I find that very refreshing. They are also willing to stand behind their convictions, which is why Rahvin had to get rid of them in the first place, so they have shown great courage already. I believe her when she says that she will not take the throne until she is sure that Elayne is dead.
If they can be persuaded that he has Elayne’s best interests at heart I think that they could be a great support to Rand, because they will deal with him honestly and little personal interest to motivate their choices. However, I can see them being a hindrance at first as they try to decide whether or not they can trust him.
6) We get confirmation here that Tigraine was Rand's mother, and he muses on all the things that had to happen--including many deaths--so that he could be born at the proper time to save the world. General thoughts and impressions on this?
This is one of the aspects of his meeting with Dyelin that persuades me that she is being honest with Rand. His blood relationship to Tigraine gives Rand himself a claim to the Lion Throne, although it would go against the traditional choice of a Queen. He could use her confirmation of his lineage against Elayne if that were his intention so it would be foolish to give him such ammunition if she were actually wanting to wrestle control out of his grip herself. I got the impression that she was stunned by his appearance and honestly moved to share what she thought.
It also serves to show how highly unlikely it was that the Prophecies could be fulfilled by his birth. Even a small deviation from the path would have led to a failure. This shows how tightly he is bound by the Pattern and how hopeless it would be for him to try to escape his fate.
7) Sammael offers a truce, which Rand rejects. Do you think he was right to do so? What do you think Sammael will do now?
Erm, let me think . . . Should Rand accept a truce from a man who enchants some poor bloke to deliver a recording of his voice message and then makes the guy ooze bleed from every pore when he gets the ‘wrong’ answer? I think I will go with a resounding “NO!”
We do not need Lews Therin gibbering about not trusting people to know that this is a truce that is totally worthless, and certainly not worth the cost of the poor messenger’s life. I cannot imagine that Sammael expected Rand to be stupid enough to accept, but I am not sure what it was supposed to achieve. Perhaps it was just an attempt to get in some pre-battle gloating: I do not understand Sammael’s thinking in most things, so I am not too worried that it makes no sense to me.
I assume that Sammael has some ‘cunning plan’ that he will unleash on Rand in the near future. I predict that it will end very badly for the deranged Forsaken.