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 8
1. The bleakness has returned in force and Rand’s Aiel are seeping away. Do you think that this will stop once he is visibly back in control in Cairhien or has this episode done permanent damage to his position as Car’a’carn?
I sincerely hope that Rand’s reappearance will stop the bleakness from spreading because the Aiel are vital to his success. Not only are they a warlike nation, and seasoned fighters, but also their huge numbers must make them a significant proportion of all the fighting forces in Randland. If their numbers are seen to reduce then his other forces may chose to go back on their oaths.
However, he I do think that he has been weakened by his abduction by the Aes Sedai and it is going to be very difficult to persuade everyone that he is a totally free agent. I think that the Aiel will be the easiest to convince, because they will understand the significance of the Wise Ones taking the Sisters in hand. I am not so sure that the other nations will be so easily swayed, because they still see the Aiel as unsophisticated savages.
2. On a scale of 1 to a Google, how cute is Loial offering relationship advice to Perrin? Does anyone understand what is going on between Gaul and Chiad?
Obviously it was a Google-load of cuteness and quivering ears: especially the bit when Loial blurted out how much he cares fro Erith by accident. However, I have to say that Loial is very wise when it comes to handling women, even though he appears to have no direct experience. He was quite right to think that Faile could look after herself and that Perrin should try not to worry about her. Of course, it is always so much easier to give advice than to actually do the right thing when you are in a relationship . . .
I am not sure that I will ever understand the Aiel. Their mating rituals seem very strange, as does their humor. it seems that Chiad is sending Gaul all the signals to say that she is interested in him, but does not want to put aside her spears to get married. This is upsetting Gaul because he wants to settle down as her husband . . . I wonder why they cannot come to some kind of compromise, but I suppose that would be far too simple!
3. Were you surprised or impressed by Faile’s actions during Colavaere’s power play? Do you think she was actually in any real danger?
Faile is such a changeable character that I find it difficult to predict what she will do next. Although sometimes she is all spikey and aggressive, she can also appear all meek and mild when it suits her purpose. In a way, I was not surprised that she immediately tried to gain a useful position that would help her husband when he returned. However, I was a little surprised that she allied herself with the pretend-Aiel, because of their troubled relationship with the true Aiel. But then, she was a Hunter for the Horn, so she respects women who step outside the normal female role and people, in general, who chose to fight for what they believe.
Whilst I think that Colavaere was having too much fun watching Faile and Berelain fight, I can easily imagine that both women would have been very useful as hostages. Rand seized the initiative and so she did not have a chance to prepare for his arrival, but I am quite sure that she would have threatened Faile to get Perrin’s cooperation.
4. What do you think of Rand’s decision not to execute Colavaere: was it wise or foolish? Were you surprised that Perrin agreed with him?
I suppose if the other nobles had not turned their backs on her quite so quickly this could have been a rather unwise decision. However, it seems that her supporters were very fickle and too terrified of Rand to continue their support. But, then again, I wonder if this decision will be seen as weakness from Rand, giving other noble women the belief that he will not harm them.
It seems that all the Two Rivers men have this phobia about harming women, so I was not overly surprised by Perrin’s reaction. We have seen his gentle treatment of other women in the past and we saw his discomfort at how Rand treated the Aes Sedai after Dumai’s Wells, both showing how this is a cultural thing and not just Rand’s hang-up.
5. I am still completely confused by Faile’s reaction to Berelain, how about you?
Poor Perrin: I have no idea how he is going to survive this woman. I feel like these two need a few good sessions with a marriage counselor, because they do not know how to communicate with each other. They make far too many assumptions and then get angry about what they think the other one is doing or thinking: this is not healthy and only so much of it can be overcome by animal magnetism and great sex!
6. It seems that Dyelin has also seized power in Rand’s absence. She previously said that she would only hold the throne for Elayne: do you think that she means to stick to that pledge?
Unlike Colavaere, I think that Dyelin plans to do exactly what she has said: she will hold the throne until Elayne arrives. When she first confronted Rand she came across as a very honest individual, so I believe that she will do as she says. The fact that she made no effort to flatter Rand or gain influence with him makes her seem much more trustworthy in my opinion.
7. It seems like Egwene is managing the Aes Sedai quite well, even though it is like herding very headstrong cats. Does this seem likely to continue, or do you think they will start to realize how she is manipulating them? Do you think they will ever get to Tar Valon?
I am rather impressed by Egwene as Amyrlin Seat: so far, at least. However, I am not sure that her control of the situation will continue as the more powerful Sisters get increasingly annoyed by her decisions. Unless she can squelch their discontent quickly and decisively she might have real trouble on her hands.
I think that they will get to Tar Valon, but that Egwene will need to keep poking at them to get this accomplished. Of course, I am not at all sure that they will successfully get rid of Elaida once they do arrive: I predict messy times ahead.