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 18
1) Bravery comes up more than once in Chapter 13. Aviendha on the water, Elayne offering to discuss Rand....What do you think about how the ladies measure bravery?
Poor Aviendha: all that undrinkable water and no view of land!
I have always thought that bravery was the ability to deal with something that scares you witless, no matter what that is. It makes perfect sense that Aviendha would struggle with all that water simply because she comes from a desert environment. For her it is not much different from being suddenly dropped onto an alien planet, although then she would not be the only one to be afraid. Personally, I have never been too scared about admitting that I am terrified of something (like dental work), but the Aiel come from such a harsh environment that only the strong can survive. Plus Aviendha’s time as a Maiden has made her even more sensitive to showing fear. I thought she did rather well. At least she hung on to her stomach contents much longer than Nynaeve didi!
2) Within this section, we see Nynaeve and Elayne beginning negotiations with the Sea Folk for info on the Bowl of Winds, and yet Rand is still ignoring the Sea Folk. When the ladies find out Rand ignored the Sea Folk for so long, what do you think they will do? Why are the Sea Folk so interested in Rand? And if they find out the connection between Rand and the ladies, what do you think the Sea Folk will do?
I know what I want to do to Rand becasue he is ignoring the Sea Folk: give him a good slapping! I would hope that the girls would have a similar reaction, because he is ignoring a very powerful potential ally. This is a people that have tried to speak to him on numerous occasions and he is just ignoring them, which is just plain rude if nothing else. We know that Rand fulfills the prophecies of the Coramoor, but I wonder how long he can ignore then before he mortally offends them forever. I hope that someone makes him realize what an idiot he is being and gets him to talk to them soon, because I think they want to offer him their allegiance.
I am not sure that a connection to Rand will make any difference at the moment to the Bargain that the girls are thrashing out. If he had met with the Sea Folk and made a Bargain things might be very different: what an idiot!
3) Mat recognized Darkfriend Shiaine and followed her to White Cloak Inquisitor Carridin. In turn, Carridin recognizes Mat, and then tells Sammael. Do you think this will change Sammael's plans at all?
It certainly confused Sammael quite a bit, presumably because he had thought that Mat was approaching Illian. This might make him disregard the army marching against him to a certain extent, but it is still a huge mass of men, so I doubt that he will alter his plans too much. I noticed that Sammael mentioned sending ‘someone’ to deal with the Aes Sedai. The way he said this made me think that he was not talking about a normal person, and I wondered if he meant the gholam that killed Hedrid Fel. Removing Fel would certainly be in Sammael’s interest and the gholam could also be the “one who no longer is” that we have been wondering about.
Can I just say that Carridin is walking a very dangerous line by ignoring Sammael’s orders? But he seems to be drinking himself to death, so perhaps he will avoid being toasted by a Forsaken or thrown to a Myrddraal.
4) Mat and women and the example they set for Olver. What did you think of Mat's reaction to Queen Tylin's straight-forward interest? Were you amused by Olver imitating Mat in his interactions with women? Foresee Mat changing his ways?
Poor Mat: he really did not know how to cope with Tylin, did he? This is not the first time that we have seen him terrified of a woman determined to chase him, but it is certainly funny. I think this indicates how truly young and immature he is: you would expect a more experienced man to be able to cope with this. Somehow I can never imagine James Bond looking like a startled rabbit in this situation! :D
I suppose it is funny that Olver is trying to pinch the girls’ bottoms, but it is also a little worrying. I hope that Thom has a good sit down with the young man and teaches him a little of how to approach women in a more dignified manner. However, until Mat calms down and sets a better example, I do not see Olver taking much notice . . . and I cannot see Mat changing much in the near future.
5) Why do you think Mat was attacked at the inn and who do you think sent the men?
Following the earlier chapter, it seems likely that the men are agents of Miri / Shiaine or Carridin. However, he did not have such an agreeable meeting with the Aes Sedai sent by Elaida, so perhaps it was them instead . . .
6) Moghedien seems to be back in the game, at least directing folks from the sidelines. Falion doesn't believe there to be a cache of angreal, but Ispan is ready to search for it. However, Falion has another plan. How do you think that will fare?
So far we have not seen the Black Ajah being particularly successful at anything they attempt, so I am not convinced that they will accomplish much. Also, I cannot believe that anyone would be stupid enough to try to capture someone when the person they are trying to impress has not been in touch for a long time. Plus, if they have been given a task, surely they should concentrate upon that if they want to remain alive.
Their idea of torturing the Wise Women is pretty good, although horrible, and could very well lead them to the cache. However, if the Women are at all organized then they know how significant the cache is and will have made sure that it is well secured and protected. They are also likely to notice if their members start to disappear and take precautions.
7) Rand has women problems, and not because he is bedding too many (at least not yet). Between Berelain demanding she stay, Rand's 'tame' Aes Sedai, and now Cadsuane Sedai, he may need a holiday. Why do you think Cadsuane has appeared and has chosen to show the Dragon Reborn such cheek?
I can understand why Berelain is unhappy about giving up the political advantage of being useful to the Dragon Reborn: she fears that Mayene will be forgotten if she leaves his court. However, this fear stems from her lack of understanding of Rand and how he thinks. He will not betray her, but I she is used to always assuming the worst.
I am not sure if we have heard about Cadsuane before this, but I get the impression she is some sort of ancient Aes Sedai of almost mythical status. It is obvious that she has been retired, and growing roses, for many years, probably because she got tired of all the bickering in the White Tower and wanted a rest. She seems like a great candidate for the Amyrlin Seat, personality wise, so I assume that there is a very interesting story about why she does not hold that position.
As she has come out of a very quiet retirement, I can only assume that Cadsuane is not associated with either of the factions in the breaking of the Tower. She has seen that the Dragon has appeared and decided that he needs her to tell him what to do. She probably thinks that he should be grateful for her advice, but her attitude is going to make it very difficult for him to hear anything she says. I hope that they can come to an understanding because she strikes me as someone who could be very useful to him. However, I think that she will find it difficult to offer him any respect because she has spent her long life telling people what to do and capturing male channelers. I cannot imagine how disgusted she will be when she learns that some of the Sisters have sworn fealty to him. I am also expecting some fireworks when she and Sorilea first meet: either that or they will bond like first-sisters within five minutes!
Note to self: never, EVER, let Nynaeve do any negotiations! :D
Finally, someone has noticed Fel’s death. I am not sure what impact this will have on Rand, but I doubt that he will be very happy.
Mat is looking to find an Illuminator. I wonder if this has anything to do with the dream that Egwene had last week?