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 30.
1. The Aes Sedai embassy, even when not meeting Rand, appears to be busy with pointless channeling and undermining Rand's noble support. With the first meeting in mind, what do you think their ultimate intentions are? How will they go about achieving them?
I have no doubt that they are planning to take him back to the Tower, willing or not. I suspect that the endless channeling is to practice holding saidar for a long time so that they are prepared when they have to Shield him for the entire journey to Tar Valon.
Unlike the subtle machinations of Siuan and Moiraine, I think Elaida is much more likely to use brute force and ignorance as her major weapons. I suspect that they will try to be persuasive for a few days and then march into his rooms with a full thirteen Sisters and get that Shield going. We know that Moiraine struggled with how to control Rand and finally learnt that the only way to handle him was by surrendering to his will. Elaida and the other Sisters have not yet learnt this technique and so they have no chance of actually influencing his thinking.
However, I do think that Rand is foolish to allow them to stay in Cairhien en masse. They are a real threat to him and his plans, but he is not treating them as such. His idea to toy with them for a while is terrible – he should send them back to Elaida straight away and surround himself with a few of the men from the Farm just in case he needs them. As he is not taking these precautions, I foresee kidnapping and then some very dead Aes Sedai.
2. Egwene and Gawyn finally have their moment. What will the future hold for these star-crossed lovers on opposite sides of a rift? Will Egwene manage to convince him of the truth? Will she be discovered by the Aes Sedai or can they both manage to elope?
Egwene is such a prude! I know that I did not really expect her to push Gawyn into a dark corner and have her way with him, but her thoughts were very entertaining all the same! :D
At the moment, it seems like everything is going swimmingly and he will be her Warder in a few days. But we know that things do not go to plan in this world, so I doubt that we will see a wedding any time soon. This is mainly because the Tower Aes Sedai are going to mess everything up by kidnapping Rand and getting Gawyn to be part of his guard. I do not think that Gawyn will be converted to the ‘right’ side until he is reunited with Elayne and Morgase, no matter what Egwene says to him.
I was surprised that Egwene did not realize that the Sisters would be able to feel her potential when they were only a few feet away. I suppose that their conclusion that it is Moiraine will help to keep her secret for some time to come, but she is playing a very dangerous game. However, they know that some of the Wise Ones can channel, so that might provide her with some extra protection.
3. The Sea Folk are back and they're hounding Rand for a meeting. Evidently they also have a role to play, but how do they fit in?
It would seem that they believe that Rand is the Coramoor, which I assume is the fulfillment of some prophecies in their history. They would be a very powerful ally, especially as they harbor many powerful channelers, and could be very influential in holding back the Seanchan invasion. However, Rand is being a total idiot by ignoring their requests for an audience so they will get progressively more difficult to deal with. Honestly, I could slap him at the moment.
4. A Gray Man makes an attempt on Rand's life, and Taim just happens to stop by the palace exactly then. Fortuitous timing or something else? Could there be a connection between this attack and the earlier one in the streets, which was apparently orchestrated by Padan Fain?
This certainly set my nose twitching with suspicion. Of course, it could just be a coincidence caused by Rand’s pull as a ta’veren, but there is something about Taim that makes me uncomfortable.
Although Fain is certainly capable of sending Shadowspawn against Rand, I do not think that he would send a Gray Man. Fain wants to kill Rand himself, so it seems unlikely that he would send a being built purely for assassination against him.
5. Siuan and Leane are finally healed, and Nynaeve makes headlines! Now that they're back in the fold, do you see them trying to take over the show again? And what now to do about Logain?
As ranking amongst Aes Sedai is decided in large part by their innate strength, it seems unlikely that the two will be able to regain their original positions now that they are so much weaker. I assume that they may be able to remain in their roles as information gatherers and advisors, but I think that high rank is now closed to them. This seems like a really stupid way to organize themselves, but the words ‘stupid’ and ‘Aes Sedai’ do seem to be becoming a natural pairing . . .
The most obvious path for Logain is to send him to Rand and the Farm, where he can both learn from Taim and also help to teach the new recruits. Because of Min’s viewing, we know that Logain has a glorious future ahead of him, so I am less cautious of him than of Taim. That makes me wonder what Min with see around Taim when she finally catches sight of him . . .
6. A couple of baddies resurface: Padan Fain in Caemlyn and Aran'gar in Salidar. One as crazy as ever, and the other the calculating villain we've come to expect from the forsaken. What do you think Aran'gar's orders are? And could Fain have a plan in mind that's more specific than just… being himself?
Aran’gar is obviously intended to spy on Salidar and maneuver into a suitable position to provide maximum intelligence on the Rebels’ actions and possibly influence their choices. He has attached himself to a powerful Sister and so should have access to all the most secret decisions and information. I suspect that he will stick to Delana as closely as possible to ensure that this pipeline remains open, although I am not sure how the Aes Sedai will explain the presence of such a very ‘exotic’ woman as her secretary! :D
I have no doubt that Fain has lots of plans that involve his dagger and Rand coming together. However, I have no idea what particular path he might choose to take because he is so crazy that it is difficult to predict where he might jump next. I am glad that he has reappeared though: I strongly dislike not knowing where he is.