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 12.
1. Well, I suppose that we now know that Faile is alive and well, more or less. Do you think that Nadric will avoid her from now on, or will he simply wait until she is more alone? What do you think is going on between Galina and Therava?
I have to admit that I found that whole episode with Nadric rather unpleasant to read because I could not see any way that Faile could escape him. I had pretty much forgotten about Rolan, but at least he came to her rescue in the nick of time. I know that Nadric made that comment about her not being all that pretty, but I would not be surprised if he now nursed a grudge against her. Of course, he might not behave as expected because of the whole strange Aiel ethos, but I would be constantly looking over my shoulder if I were Faile.
OK, I have to ask this because it is making me question myself: does anyone else get the impression that Galina and Therava have some sort of sexual relationship going on? It sounds as if it is not exactly consensual on Galina’s part, but that seemed to be the hints that I was picking up from all those comments about Therava enjoying dominating the Aes Sedai . . . or perhaps I am totally wrongheaded in this case. We know that Galina has been forced to swear an oath to be obedient to the Wise Ones, but Therava seems to be taking this to an extreme.
2. Still with Faile, what do you think of her growing relationship with Rolan? Do you think that he might even help her to escape, or is that simply wishful thinking on her part?
I was very relieved when he showed up and saved her, but I can see this being a possible problem for her. It seems as if she is already feeling drawn to him, and it might be very easy to do things that she might regret later once she has escaped. Of course, he might play a part in actually allowing her to survive that escape, but I doubt that everything will end well for both of them.
It is difficult to say whether or not he will help her to escape because the Aiel have such strange ideas about what is honorable. He does seem to question Sevanna’s warping of Aiel tradition, but that does not mean that he will feel strongly enough to commit a dishonorable act. We see both Chiad and Bain willing to fulfill their obligations as gai’shain, so I imagine that he will behave in a similar way to them. However, I do worry that, if he does help Faile to escape, we will find both she and Berelain playing with Perrin’s affections later on, which will drive me even further to distraction! :(
3. Poor Elsie sees a ghost, but Elayne dismisses it as nerves. We do not seem to have had much supernatural activity in this series, so this seemed very significant to me. Was the ghost real or do you think that there might be some other explanation? Feel free to say if you think I am simply being overly suspicious! :D
I do not know why this jumped off the page at me: perhaps because we have had so little of a similar nature. I worry that it might have been a Forsaken eavesdropping on Elayne or simply a Darkfriend, though it seems unlikely that they would be able to follow her because she has been Travelling.
I also wondered if this could be some sort of loosening of the barriers separating the dead from the world of the living. Mr Jordan’s world is very explicit in its use of reincarnation, but we have no idea about where the various ‘souls’ go to wait for their rebirth. This makes me wonder if there is an afterlife of sorts, and that gives us the possibility of nasty dead things crawling back from their graves. I can see how that might work in the Dark One’s favor, as it would surely cause vast amounts of chaos and distract everyone from finding and killing Darkfriends!
4. I am getting rather tired of Mellar and his evil smugness, but I am a little concerned about Elayne’s decision to berate him in public. Does this mean that she realizes that his moment of heroism was completely staged? Do you think that he might try to retaliate for the embarrassment?
As with Taim, this guy seems to have “I am a Really Bad Guy!” tattooed on his forehead, so I fail to understand why he is still alive and given a position of trust. I hope that someone makes him familiar with the pointy end of a dagger as soon as possible, but I doubt that this will happen as so few of the irritating baddies in this series get what they deserve.
I was not at all sure about Elayne’s thinking in this chapter. It seemed to hint that she knew that Mellar was untrustworthy, and yet she has not set Birgitte on him yet, which strikes me as a colossal mistake. Equally, I have no idea at all why she thinks that it is a good idea to set him up as her baby-daddy: I cannot see how that would win her any support from single person who has met him. He is truly evil and I am quite sure that he will try to stab Elayne as soon as he thinks that Mili will not punish him for the action: she is playing a very dangerous game with this viper.
5. We have lots of coming and goings in Caemlyn. Do you think that the Aes Sedai at the Silver Swan are Elaida’s, independents or parts of Cadsuane’s group? What about the group that Mellar ‘helped’ to get into the city: are they trustworthy at all?
We know that Aes Sedai at the inn want to keep Cadsuane’s name quiet, which suggests that they are part of her group. I have forgotten whether or not Elaida knows that the elderly Sister has come out of retirement, so I doubt that the group has anything to do with her. Also, it makes sense that any Sisters trying to remain impartial would be more circumspect in their movements in a city held by one of Rand’s allies.
Even if Luan’s men are as honest as the day is long they will surely now feel an obligation to Mellar, which he will try to use to manipulate them or gain information. This will make them suspicious in Elayne’s eyes, and her need to keep an eye on them has effectively reduced her useable forces rather than increasing them.
6. What is it with the Seafolk and square miles of land? I thought that Rand had granted them that as part of his agreement with them, but maybe Zaida does not know about that yet. Do you have any ideas about why this land is so important to a sea-faring people?
In more normal times it seems like a wonderful idea for the Seafolk to have an area near every major city where they can conduct trade without attracting so much taxation. However, with the Seanchan destroying their fleet and collaring all their channelers, it seems like commerce should be a little lower on their list of priorities. Of course, we do not know what their prophecies say, so it could be that they include a similar promise that Rand will destroy their way of life, just as the Aiel ones do. Perhaps it says that he is the “Great Bringer of Warehouses” or something similar! :D