Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Path of Daggers by Robert Jordan: Week 4

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 21

1) Egwene has shown the Salidar Aes Sedai some of her strength. Do you think they will fall into line now or continue to push for power of their own? If you could step into Egwene's shoes for a few minutes, how would you handle some of the more 'uppity' Aes Sedai?

She has certainly out-maneuvered them all for the moment, which was rather gratifying and made me want to cheer quite a lot! :D

I find it hard to believe that Romanda and Lelaine will simply fall in line with Egwene now, even though they were shocked into submission by her declaration of war. However, we saw how the Sisters in Ebou Dar responded to Elayne’s power play, so I would not be surprised if they really do see this as a change in the political climate. I sincerely hope that they give up their petty bickering and throw their influence behind Egwene because I am rather tired of all the pointless politicking when the end of the world is looming large. They all have much more important things to worry about at the moment: perhaps the Seanchan will clarify that point for them. I suspect that they will continue to jockey for position, although they will now treat her with the respect that she deserves.

I think that Egwene has been remarkably patient with them: I would have been tempted to take the strongest one, Shield her and then beat her with flows of Air until she was a horrible teary mess. Ultimately, I think that Egwene’s approach has probably been more effective and a testament to the self-control that she learnt during her time with the Wise Ones. 

2) Siuan has constant advice for Egwene, telling her the Secret Histories of other Amyrlin Seats. Do you think the irritation of her constant advice will outweigh the knowledge she is passing on and Egwene will snap and tell Lord Bryne of Siuan's affections? Or do you want to know more of the Secret Histories?

I do not get the impression that Egwene is irritated by Siuan’s advice, although she is frustrated by the former Amyrlin’s irritability and wandering mind. I loved the moment when she simply spoke out to Siuan with brutal honesty: I really like Siuan, but it was good to see her gaping like a fish! I think Bryne is quite aware of how Siuan feels, but is playing it very cool and allowing her to work things out for herself. The little smiles that Egwene caught are probably enough to let her know that he knows what is going on, so I doubt that she will feel the need to say anything to him. I am also fairly certain that she trusts and respects Siuan a great deal, and truly values her friendship, so I think that it is unlikely that she will blurt out anything too bad. I like the way that she finds fault with Siuan and then automatically thinks of how she moons about over Gawyn, so I think that she has plenty of sympathy to keep her in check.

Although I am not sure that I want to know the entire history of the Tower in excruciating detail, I am certainly fascinated to learn that they have been busily rewriting their history ever since it was founded. Although I can understand their desire to present an impression of unwavering power to the general populace, I have to wonder why they have not altered their rules and traditions to improve the way that power is managed within the Tower. Surely they should learn from the problems that are being hinted at and adjust the rules to try to minimize the chances of them happening again. This seems like a much healthier approach than simply pretending that they never happened. However, this inability to break with tradition goes a very long way towards explaining the way that modern Aes Sedai think and interact with the world. Thank goodness that the Super Girls are going to shake everything up.

3) Roedran Almaric do Arreloa a'Naloy has a plan to use the Band to unite the Murandian nobles behind him. Do you think it is that simple and will go so easily? Should Talmanes listen to his inner heart and go fetch Mat instead?

Nothing unites a people quite so well as an enemy on the doorstep, so this plan could work. Like Egwene, I worry that he may go back on his word and try to defeat the Band once he has an army at his command, but that seems unlikely because of their connection to Mat and, therefore, Rand. It would be nice to meet a ruler that is both devious and also honest, so I hope that it all goes smoothly and with minimal loss of life.

It is difficult to argue against Talmanes rushing to rescue Mat, who we know must be trapped in Ebou Dar with the Seanchan. Indeed, Egwene should know that he is not with Elayne and the others, although his fate is still a mystery to all of us. Perhaps he is busily lounging about in bed with the Daughter of the Nine Moons and having a fine old time, but I doubt that. I suspect that the tug that the Band is feeling will pull them south eventually and that they will be crucial in helping him to escape from something.

4) War on Elaida has finally been declared and Egwene plans to have the Salidar Aes Sedai and their warriors Travel in one month. What could possibly go wrong with this plan?


I love the way that the Aes Sedai are all bad-ass and invincible . . . and then someone mentions open warfare with the sitting Amyrlin and they throw up on the carpet! :D

Apart from feeling sorry for the servants who have to deal with the newly soiled carpets, I think that this declaration was long overdue. What did they really think that they were doing? Their flight from the Tower and refusal to obey Elaida’s proclamation to return were indirect declarations of their intention to replace her as Amyrlin. Then they elected an alternate Amyrlin and Hall: placing themselves in open rebellion to the lawfully elected leader of their order. How could this end in any other way? They were incredibly foolish if they thought that there was still any chance that the whole thing could be kept hidden, so the declaration needed to be made formal and public.

I sincerely hope that we get a scene where Elaida receives the news, because I want to revel in her shock and fury! :D

The idea of Travelling has been a very obvious one that was starting to annoy me because nobody had mentioned it. I could have understood if someone had given a rational argument for not using this technique to bypass all the snow, but just ignoring it was irritating. Of course, the vast majority of the Aes Sedai have been in no rush to reach Tar Valon, so they would not even think of a way to get their more quickly.

Again, I hope we get to see Elaida’s reaction when all those rebels and their army spew out of a Gateway on her doorstep. I doubt that the siege will be an easy matter, but it will cause some amazingly entertaining infighting in the Tower.

5) Elayne has been playing with the angreals. In fact, she was playing with a rod when something happened. No one will tell her what happened, though everyone grins when it is mentioned. What do you think that angreal is and what do you think Elayne did and why can't she recall?

Well, it is a smooth, rounded, red rod . . . so my immediate assumption is that it is some sort of sex toy, given the way that everyone finds the whole thing hilarious. My only concern is that it is described as being as thick as a person’s wrist . . . maybe they all have skinny wrists in this world or Elayne is more flexible than I would expect! :D

6) Narishma fetched something for Rand. What do you think it is? Do you think Rand was a little harsh with Narishma? What would Lews Therin say to all this?

I have to assume that he was sent to fetch an angreal that Rand can use in his battle with the Seanchan. It is obviously fairly bulky and it is wrapped in a cloth, possibly to allow Narishma to handle it without ill effect or possibly because everyone will recognize it: this makes me think that it is probably Callandor. This also explains the man’s complaint that Rand had not told him precisely how to retrieve it: we know that it was surrounded by numerous traps and inverted weaves. I assume that Rand had forgotten to mention all the weaves and so Narishma triggered at least one trap and nearly died.

I am quite sure that Lews Therin would be very angry that Rand trusted one of the Asha’man with such a powerful artifact. I am not sure that Narishma could actually wield it effectively, but Rand took a significant risk in allowing the man to fetch it and I am not sure why he did not simply Travel to Tear and draw it himself.


  1. 1. I agree. Romanda and Lelaine are unlikely to EVER come to heel in any way. Egwene is a saint for being as patient with them as she has been.
    2. I agree that Bryne knows more than he says about Siuan's feelings. He's just a very self-possessed guys. One of the many reasons I like him.
    3. Good point that the pull the Band members are feeling is because Mat actually needs help. I hadn't thought of it like that.
    4. I'm with you! I was so glad they finally openly declared war!
    5. LOL. Given Jordan's sense of humor with the Mat/Tylin situation, and several others, it wouldn't surprise me if that's what he had in mind. I can't remember if this is ever explained fully, though.
    6. You're right! It's Callandor, which we'll find out for sure in this next section. Reading it again, I think it's kind of funny that Jordan doesn't describe it as long and thing (and sword-like). He was obviously trying to hide what it was as long as possible. It's always interesting to me to see the cheap author tricks. :D

    1. 2. I think he's just waiting for her to work it out . . . then he will be all bow-chicks-wow-wow! :D

      6. My second thought was the statue of a man angreal that he left in Rhuidean, but Callandor made more sense because of the hints about the traps.

  2. I was a little surprised by the Secret Histories - how much gets rewritten to make it suitable for the general Aes Sedai and the public. And, yeah, i don't need details, but I find it interesting how often the Tower raises someone wholely unsuited to the task. Maybe those closest the newly raised Amyrlin had hoped to direct her, rule from behind the screen?

    So true. Those bad ass Aes Sedai.....and we have put on the schedule the direct and open war with Elaida, Usurper of the Tower. This is followed by puking and fainting. Sigh....Some of these ladies appear to have just been along for the ride.

    Q. 5 - LOL!!!!

    Wow. I had not thought of Callandor. Am I the slowest student in the class, or what? hehe. Anyway, if it is Callandor, I expect the ending of this book to be quite eventful!


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