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 the book. We will be starting Crown of Swords this week . . .
1. There seems to be a serious lack of cooperation in Ebou Dar, and things are not so easy as they seem. Do you expect the girls to be able to complete this mission on their own (without Mat's help)? We know that they key to finding the bowl is to find the one who is no longer. Have we already met this person?
To be quite honest, I am not at all impressed by the way that the girls are searching for the bowl. Firstly, they do not seem to be using a systematic approach to working through the streets, which is just plain stupid. Secondly, they have a ta’veren who seem to be the master of luck at their disposal. I simply do not understand why have they not asked Mat to try to lead them to the bowl: sometimes I think they need a good slapping! Doh!
“The one who is no longer” does seem rather confusing, but I wonder of it means a Grey Man or perhaps the Gholam that we just saw ripping Hedrid Fel to pieces. However, I fail to understand how finding one of these lethal beasties will help them to find anything other than a world of pain and possible limblessness.
2. Two escapees from Salidar. Logain flees with Egwene's help, and Moghedien by Aran'gar's doing. Where do you see the story going for these two? Was Egwene right in setting Logain free? Should she, in hindsight, have executed Moghedien earlier?
I expect Logain to travel to the Black Tower and then become a useful counterpoint to Taim. I suspect that he will throw himself behind Rand completely and fulfill his glorious destiny. I am not quite sure why I trust him so much more than Taim, but he certainly does not set my skin crawling in the same way. I do believe that Egwene was right to let him go: the Salidar sisters were unlikely to make a decision quickly and too stupid to send him to Rand.
Moghedien back in the world is going to be very, very bad news for Nynaeve and Elayne. She knows that they were headed to Ebou Dar and will no doubt spend the rest of her life trying to track them down and make them suffer for all the indignities that she had to suffer. I am sure that the Dark One has some other orders for her, but we have already seen how petty and personal she is, so I expect her to spend a considerable amount of time trying to get her revenge. Although it is easy to criticize Egwene for not killing Moghedien earlier, one could also say the same thing about Nynaeve and Elayne. However, I can also understand why they wanted to extract information from her instead of simply killing her.
3. Lan returns to the story as Myrelle's warder, with a heavy heart and apparently near death. Nynaeve is none the wiser. Does Myrelle even know about their relationship? Has she agreed to send him on to her? Do you expect this to happen soon, or will she have to be forced?
I cannot imagine that Moiraine would purposely seek to keep Lan apart from Nynaeve, so I would expect Myrelle to be aware of their relationship. However, I expect her to try to get Lan into a healthier situation before passing him along to Nynaeve. As they are in separate places, this should be relatively easy at the moment, but I wonder what will happen when Nynaeve returns to Salidar.
I suppose one aspect that might be a problem with the hand-over is Nynaeve’s block. This may make it difficult for her to make the Bond or might cause Myrelle to hang on to Lan until Nynaeve proves that she really is Aes Sedai and capable of acting like one.
4. The loyalist Aes Sedai seem to have really gone out of their way in torturing Rand after he killed a couple of warders. Justified? What do you think this has done to Rand's psyche? Could there be a connection to the first genuine direct conversation with Lews Therin?
Last week I was all impressed by their plan to capture Rand, but they have returned to form and shown their utter stupidity in this torture. Have they never heard the saying about “catching more flies with honey than vinegar”? What exactly did they expect him to do when they started beating Min? He has already killed several of the Forsaken, rallied the Aiel and conquered three kingdoms: he is light years away from your average Joe, who is intimidated by Aes Sedai and their power. This was possibly the most stupid thing that we have seen Aes Sedai do in the entire series so far.
It appears to have had two rather important effects on Rand’s mind. Firstly, it has pushed him to a new level of endurance and mental control. This will improve his ability to channel in the future and concentrate on what he is doing to the exclusion of all emotion. Secondly, it seems to have opened the way for he and Lews Therin to integrate and cooperate. This will hopefully give him access to a lot of knowledge and skill that has been lost in the last three thousand years.
These seem like good consequences, but I am not too sure if that is true. Rand’s new control and mental toughness is likely to be linked to a reduction in empathy and kindness, which will not necessarily be a good thing. I hope that Min can help him to retain his humanity, otherwise he may become too detached and ruthless to be a successful leader. Also, we already know that Lews Therin has strong reactions to Taim and other channelers: if they integrate, Rand may find it much more difficult to reject the temptation to simply vaporize some people who are useful and important.
I am not at all sure that the Dragon Reborn with PTSD is what the world needed, but that is what it now has. This is probably not going to end well.
5. The Battle at Dumai's Wells really had everything, didn't it? Except for the Seanchan and the Whitecloaks, it seems every faction was represented. As Liesel suggested, feel free to nerd out about it here. :)
Wow! It was far bloodier than I would have expected, thanks to Taim, and seemed to be a total mess. I remember bringing up the idea of how to tell one group of Aiel from the others back during the attack on Caemlyn, so I was pleased to see that Rand had heard me! However, there did seem to be a lot of casualties amongst the good guys and probably a lot of deaths caused by friendly fire. No wonder Perrin threw up.
Loial in Hulk mode was AWESOME!
I am not sure if I have mentioned this before, but I always get much more anxious about animals than humans in these kinds of situations. I got a real lump in my throat when the wolves sprang up and joined the attack: they are such fearless, wonderful creatures. I was very disappointed that Mr Jordan then promptly forgot that they were involved in the battle and we did not learn about their fates after that initial charge. I wanted to know if they survived or not . . .
6. It seems likely that our heroes would have been defeated without the timely arrival of Taim (you could say he was “on Taim”). With him having put his life on the line to save Rand, do you think he can now be trusted?
In short, NO!!!!!!
I am very suspicious of his timing and how he even found them in the first place. I hope this is explained at some point, although I wonder if it is part of what Demandred was referring to in the Epilogue. I do not think that Taim IS Demandred, but I would not be surprised to find that he is a Darkfriend. Taim’s total lack of any compassion towards the other forces at Dumai’s Wells seems to be a giant indicator that he is EVIL.
7. “…and the world was changed forever.” Rand now has nine Aes Sedai under his command. Do you expect this to lighten or heighten tensions between him and the rebels and/or the loyalists? What other things might come from this?
I cannot imagine that Elaida will be terribly happy about it, but maybe this will finally show the Aes Sedai that Rand is in charge and they need to either bend their knees to him or die. What am I talking about? Elaida is not going to change her mind about Rand until he has her Stilled and beaten with a stick for several years!
I can only assume that their previous divisions will now pale in comparison to the decision of whether to swear fealty to Rand or not, but I do not expect an avalanche of Aes Sedai bending their knees until forced to. I doubt that Egwene will be happy about his demand of fealty, but I suspect that she will try to persuade the rest of the Salidar Sisters that it is the wisest course of action.
To be honest, I think the Aes Sedai should be grateful that they are not all Shielded and stuffed into boxes. I think Rand was remarkably lenient in the circumstances.
8. After their second thorough defeat, have we now finally seen the last of the Shaido, or do you think there are there still misdeeds to be done? Sevanna was thinking about some “call boxes” given to her by a wetlander. What and who could this be?
Sevanna is totally deluded and she is not going to stop being a scheming bitch until she is dead, unfortunately, so I expect that she and the Shaido will be back and bothering us again. I keep hoping that some of the Shaido will actually see her for the self-interested despot that she is and put a spear through her ample cleavage, but no such luck.
I assume that the call box is the Age of Legends equivalent of a mobile phone. I would guess that the wetlander is Sammael or Demandred. It must certainly be a Forsaken or one of their servants because no one else would know what the object is. I presume that she is being given encouragement and advice on how to achieve her heart’s desire: ruling the world through Rand.
Note: I laughed out loud at Rand’s thought that he would rather look into the face of a rabid wolf than Sevanna’s when she was trying to showcase her cleavage for him.
9. Herid Fel was assassinated by… something. Why? He seemed harmless enough! We also learn that the Daughter of the Nine Moons is likely someone related to the Seanchan, and that they have designs on Ebou Dar (or at least spies there). With Mat in town this seems like a prime opportunity for some first-class prophecy fulfillment, no? Who do you expect her to be? Have we perhaps already seen her?
I was rather sad to see Fel die because he seemed quite sweet. He must have uncovered something significant about the Seals and so had become dangerous to the Dark One. The manner of his death was particularly brutal because he was such a peaceful man. I can only assume that the appearance of the gholam to kill him suggests that his research was very, very important, but I doubt that he wrote it down anywhere.
The spy seemed very surprised to hear the title used, which suggests that she is someone very high ranking within Seanchan society, possibly even the Empress. However, if we have already met her, then it is unlikely to be the Empress, unless she has been travelling in disguise, which does not seem like a Seanchan thing to do. I guess that means that we should look more carefully at any high-ranking female Seanchan that we come across in future.