Sunday, June 15, 2014

Crossroads of Twilight 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 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


  1. Hey! I still exist too! At least between the world cup games. :P

    Sorry if my answers are brief. I find it a bit difficult to muster the regular enthusiasm for this book, it's really not my favourite and the Elayne chapters in particular are really dreary.

    1. I believe Nadric was just being opportunistic, and I don't think there's a shortage of girls to rape, so he might find easier prey.

    Interesting theory you have with Therava. I've never heard that before, but I can entertain it at least :). I really, really hate Therava. There are a lot of downright evil characters in the books, but they all appear to have motivations and reasons (however twisted) for how they became that way. You know how they say that everyone's the hero of their own story. However, I find it difficult to believe that Therava is the heroine of hers. She's just being a cunt, but why?

    It's a “testament” to Sevanna and Galina that I have no problem going on hating them even with Therava around.

    2. If she decides to manipulate him like this, it will be interesting once she gets back to Perrin and finds out that he was allegedly unfaithful with Berelain.

    We haven't really met any of the brotherless in-depth before, and I think Rolan is exactly as I imagined them. A guy whose loyalty is primarily to himself, and is just trying to get by in a world that he can't make sense of any more.

    3. Yes, so since Liesel jumped the gun on this I'll expand on her answer. What you're seeing is an early sign of the Dark One's effect on the world as the seals are weakening. Expect more supernatural events, more bubbles of evil and just general weirdness as the final hour draws near.

    4. Elayne starts showing some pretty blatant disregard for her own safety from now on. I suppose it's rooted in the belief that if Min said her babies would be born healthy, she has a get-out-of-jail-free card for the next nine months. Oh, if only there were some other way than dying she could endanger things...

    I don't think the darkfriends want Elayne dead for the time being, so I think she's safe for now. Expect Mellar (AKA Hanlon) to hold quite the grudge however!

    5. I honestly can't remember who they are. I have a vague memory of Samitsu (or someone with a name like hers) being in Caemlyn in one of the later books, if that's her then it agrees with the whole Cadsuane thing.

    6. I can't remember Rand's bargain in detail, but I would assume that since he doesn't hold Caemlyn, he doesn't have the authority to cede Andoran land either. I think Harine din Togara's agreement only works for Tear, Cairhien and Illian?

    1. Good point about Faile manipulating Roland maybe being a mitigating circumstances (sort of) as far as Perrin and Berelain's alleged dalliance is concerned. I'd never thought of it like that before. Both of them are ending up having to put up with...interesting things while apart. :D My WoT Post

    2. Nice to know that you hate Therava so much. I will be keeping my eye on her.

      Ah, yes. In a way, Faile has been unfaithful to Perrin, entertaining ideas of using Rolan, even feeling attraction for him. And yet Perrin has never even led Berelain on. Never given her the time of day. Faile is a bit of a hypocrite.

      Thanks for explaining the ghost in the hallway. The weakening of the seals can explain much that goes without explicit explanation.

      Well, if Elayne is going to get reckless, that should liven up her sections of the story, right?

  2. I thought it the whole ghost thing might have been a breakdown of the barriers between worlds as well, though you make a good point about it maybe being an eavesdropping...someone. Maybe they got careless and revealed themselves, and then when Elsie screamed, hurried and hid themselves again? Interesting. And yeah, let's hope Elayne picks up on Mellar's evil vibes sooner rather than later. "Great Bringer of Warehouses." Love it! :D My WoT Post

  3. I had not thought of the possibility of Therava and Galina having a sexual relationship. But that could explain plenty of the subcontext.

    I too am really wondering why Elayne has let everyone think Mellar is the father of her child. If she proclaims Rand the father, yes, she will have some enemies, but she will also gain many allies. She has gained no allies by letting this farce go in with Mellar.

    'Great Bringer of Warehouses' - LOL!


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