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 20.
1) Nicola and Areina are still around causing trouble. Do you think they'll stay around? Reveal Egwene's secrets? Get sent home?
I am pretty certain that we have not seen the last of their ability to cause a nuisance. Nicola seems to be very full of herself and has not yet been broken by the rigors of her training as a Novice. I suspect that even Sorilea and Cadsuane acting together would struggle to mash her ego down to size!
I doubt that she will reveal what she knows about Egwene, but she certainly does not seem willing to be a Novice and learn at a pace that the Aes Sedai consider appropriate. We have seen Egwene and the other Super Girls racing ahead of the Aes Sedai schedule, and so we know that it does not always have a happy ending. Unless Nicola learns to swallow her ego and slow down she is likely to burn herself out or do something incredibly stupid in her attempts to rush her education.
2) What do you think Egwene is planning with the newly-rediscovered method of making Cuendillar?
At the moment it seems to be a simple money-making scheme. However, I wonder if she intends to create a stock-pile of Cuendillar for Elayne to make into angreal? That could be very useful, but I am not sure if it is as simple as that. There was quite a lot of emphasis on the chains across the harbors of Tar Valon, so perhaps she intends to turn them into Cuendillar as well, but I cannot see how that will be useful for the siege as she wants to get past the chains to enter the city.
3) Siuan has discovered a strange trend of sisters too young to be Sitters being made Sitters. What do you think it means? Who or what is behind it?
The suggestion seems to be that the youthful Sisters are possibly easier to control or manipulate, which points to the Heads of the Ajahs as the ones behind this trend. We see it in both the rebels and the White Tower because both needed to elect new Sitters after the schism, although I am not sure if the rebels had their own Ajah Heads or were still indirectly controlled by those in the Tower. I cannot remember if the Reds also follow the same trend, but it makes sense that the other Heads would distrust a woman willing to overthrow a sitting Amyrlin by force. They have probably also noticed that Elaida is a rubbish Amyrlin and are trying to wrestle power away from her before she totally destroys the entire Order. This would also explain the meetings between the possible Ajah Heads that has been noticed in Tar Valon.
4) There is talk in Egwene's camp of taking the Red Ajah out of her stole entirely. Given that the Red's main purpose had to do with controlling men who can channel, and now things have changed, both because of Rand and because saidin has been cleansed, do you think the Red Ajah has become obsolete? Will they disappear completely?
I think that it is far too simplistic to see the Reds as all evil or useless because we have seen some very good examples of that in Liandrin, Galina and Elaida. We have seen at least one Red who is not a raving lunatic: Pevara Tazanovni has proven to not only NOT to be Black, but also to be willing to work with members of other Ajahs to hunt for the Black Sisters in the Tower. This gives me hope that the Reds are certainly worth a second chance, and I hope that Egwene gives them the opportunity to join the Hall once Elaida is removed.
Up until now, the Reds have had a vital role in protecting the world from male channelers who would inevitably go mad. I do not see how anyone can argue that their contribution has not been important. However, we know that Rand and Nynaeve have removed the Taint, which effectively removes the necessity for the Reds to exist in their current form. Perhaps they can channel their tenacity into another cause, but I do not think that Egwene will want to disrupt the structure of the Tower by forcing them to disband.
5) Egwene's Hall is arguing about a possible agreement with the Black Tower. It's based on bad information (or just a lack of info, I suppose) but it sounds like it might happen. Do you think this is a good or bad thing? What will it lead to? What form will it take?
In theory this is a good thing in my opinion. It makes sense that the two Towers should work together in order to maximize their capabilities, and we have seen that Bonding could be an excellent way for them to do this. However, I have reservations at the moment because I do not trust Taim as far as I could spit him. Approaching him might place the sisters involved in harm’s way, but if they encounter Logain first this could be a significant step in the right direction.
As we saw with the cleansing of saidin, the greatest uses of the One Power involve male and female channelers working together. We can also assume that the Forsaken will take advantage of this knowledge when it comes to the Last Battle, so it makes sense for the good guys to make use of the same techniques.
6) Egwene dreams both of a Seanchan woman who will save her, and of the Seanchan attacking the Tower. What do you think these dreams mean?
As the Amyrlin is titled The Flame of Tar Valon, it seems likely that the Seanchan attack will disrupt, or possibly change, the Amyrlin. Hopefully this means that Elaida will be removed and Egwene steps into her place. However, the dream mentions the lamp wobbling even after the attack, which suggests that the Tower will remain unsteady and fragile afterwards. This makes perfect sense, as nothing will be able to reunite the Tower completely or heal the wounds caused by the schism and the revelation of the Black Ajah.
The Seanchan woman is described as having a sword on her back, which makes me immediately think of Egeanin. Obviously, she has some important role to play in the future plot line, but I have no idea how she will end up saving Egwene. At this stage, just about anything is possible.
7) Who do you think killed Anaiya and her warder, and why? What was she doing on the outskirts of the camp in the middle of the night?
We know that they were killed using saidin, which immediately makes me suspect Halima, who was suspiciously absent earlier in the evening. This also makes much more sense than some random Asha’man showing up, murdering a random Aes Sedai and then moving on.
It seemed clear from Delana’s reactions that Halima would be massively opposed to the rebels joining forces with the Black Tower, and this murder could help to disrupt those plans. Perhaps it will not prevent them, but it should delay them for some time, allowing Halima time to try to work on a better plan to block them all together.
I have no idea what they were doing out and about in the dark, unless she really was heading to the latrines! Perhaps she was meeting with an informant from another Ajah or even Romande and did not want to be observed.