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 23.
1. Who knows what an illuminator might want with a bellfounder? Do you? Do you expect Mat to figure it out or will he have to keep seducing Aludra?
I suppose that a cannon is very vaguely the same shape as a bell (if you squint a lot), so I suppose that a bellfounder might be able to make them for her . . . assuming that is what she is thinking about and not a personalized set of hand bells . . . I guess that the bellfounder himself might have had some idea, but he was so obnoxious that I doubt that Mat could get him to confirm that the sky is blue.
As Mat has never even seen a cannon, I find it hard to believe that he will have any idea what Aludra is on about, though he might have a past memory of something similar. I suspect that he might be able to kiss his way to an answer, but I do worry about his hide if Tylin finds out . . . in fact, I think Mat should really learn to keep his hands, and other bodily parts, to himself now that Tuon is on the scene.
2. Egeanin and Bayle Domon are back! What do you think of their peculiar relationship?
I did not recognize Egeanin immediately, but Domon only had to say a few words for me to be highly suspicious of his beard! :D
I think they are rather cute and make a good couple. It makes a nice change for cultural difference to be shown causing real difficulties between people: I do get tired of love conquering everything. It seems that Domon is fairly comfortable with their relationship, but Egeanin is struggling with her learnt snobbisms. I had not realized that her mother had such an exalted role in the Empress’ court, so I suppose I can forgive her for being very conscious of rank and position.
3. It seems like there are already a handful of people who knows that sul'dam can channel. So far Suroth has been able to keep a lid on it. Do you think the latest events will inadvertently speed up the plan to bring down the Empire by sending ‘un-brainwashed’ sul'dam into Seanchan-held lands?
Although there are quite a few people who know the secret, I am not sure that the sul’dam will be happy to have their unexpected talents revealed to the Empire at large. Looking at the numbers that have come across the sea with the Return, I have to assume that the Empire has vast numbers of damane, so any rogue sul’dam would have a very difficult time evading capture. I am also fairly sure that the Empire is ruthlessness to simply eradicate anyone who witnesses their exposure or even hears a rumor about it.
4. Quite a few people are now looking to Mat for help: three Aes Sedai, Egeanin and Bayle, Bethamin. Will Mat be able to satisfy them all and lead a proper exodus? And where does Tuon fit in?
Of course he will . . . just not very well! :D
Poor Mat: he is way to nice for his own good. He seems to be incapable of saying “NO!” to anyone, especially if they are of the female persuasion. I suspect that they will all end up running away with the circus, although I am not sure how he will get the Aes Sedai past the damane on duty. I am not sure if forkroot would be one possible way around this issue, or if Mat knows about it.
As for Tuon: I am really not sure what is going on with her. She seems to be popping up all the time, but I cannot tell if that is intentional on her part, or Mat being touchy. As things stand at the moment, I cannot imagine how Mat can escape Tylin, help all the others and get the woman he is supposed to marry, but he is so very lucky, who knows what is possible for him?
5. Rand has brought his entourage into Far Madding, where nobody can channel, to kill renegade Asha'man. Is this a good plan, or does it leave him needlessly exposed to non-channelers (such as two old friends we saw again this week: Slayer and Padan Fain)?
Before I answer the question, I have to ask a simple question: why has nobody mentioned Far Madding and its strange anti-channeling field before now?
Anyway, back to Rand and his appalling plan. All the time that he was pursuing the guy in the red cloak I was convinced that it was a trap. Unfortunately, I was proved right, which was rather irritating because it was so blazingly obvious. There are times that Rand could do with a big slap around the face with a wet fish. I am very disappointed with Min for allowing this stupidity to continue. However, it is just about the only plan that could work, so I guess we will have to deal with it for a little longer.
I had guessed at the identity of Slayer / Luc / Isam, but I did not spot the poisoned knife as belonging to Fain. These two are so very, very dangerous that I am even more concerned about Rand and his overconfidence. I suppose that the Asha’man are so used to depending on their channeling that Rand should be able to deal with them fairly easily, but these two are extra creepy and have supernatural powers that make them horribly capable of ruining his chances of reaching the Last Battle.
6. Alanna is back on her feet, and Cadsuane is using her to home in on Rand. Will she needlessly complicate things, or do you expect her and her people to be useful?
Considering that Rand and Nynaeve are planning to cleanse the taint from saidin, I can imagine that all bets will be off as soon as they start. I expect every Forsaken and all their nastiest minions to arrive to try to stop them – and I doubt that they will just ask nicely. Having some more ‘good’ channelers in the area will possibly allow them to withstand the attack long enough to complete the process.
Still nervous about those Ogier Deathguard . . .