Monday, October 13, 2014

The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan: Week 2

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 13.

1. Questions are being raised about the loyalty of the Aiel, and that Rand keeps misusing them. What are your thoughts? Could we really see another Shaido-like uprising?

I think that Rand is very lucky to have both the Wise Ones and the Clan Chiefs on his side: if either of these groups decide to rescind their support he will be in very dangerous waters indeed. It sounds like the Wise Ones in particular are doing a great deal to soothe the Clan Chiefs and their wounded honor, so we may be much closer to a break down of Aiel support than Rand understands. I am not even sure that Cadsuane and Nynaeve would see the dishonor that he is heaping onto their broad shoulders with all his talk of kidnapping and forcing peace upon Arad Doman.

However, I am not convinced that we are likely to see another collapse in Aiel unity similar to the one caused by his revelation of their pacifist origins. Rand may be somewhat blinded to their unhappiness by his multiple worries, but he has learnt a little of how to satisfy their honor whilst getting them to do what he wants. Despite all their grumbling, the remaining Aiel do seem to be doggedly loyal to their Carn’a’carn and there are many of them who would tell him directly if mutiny was likely to occur.

2. Siuan and Bryne have a heart to heart. Do you see this relationship to finally blossoming? Everyone still thinks Moiraine is dead. What impact do you think she could have on the story when she returns?

This is possibly the cutest romance in the whole series. I am fairly certain that Gareth Bryne knows exactly what is going on, but is waiting for Siuan to finally accept the inevitable and admit her feelings for him. I am sure that it will happen eventually . . . although it is likely to be almost unrecognizable because of her use of fish-based metaphors! :D

So, I guess we can assume that Mat, Noal and Thom manage to rescue her quite successfully then? Phew! :D

Apart from lots of surprised exclamations of “I thought you were dead!” I suspect that we will people moving along quite nicely. After all, we have the End Of The World on the horizon and I am quite sure that everyone will be happy to have an extra Aes Sedai of her strength to joint he forces of Light. Rand might actually be nice to her for a change when she reappears!

3. Perrin is belabored by refugees, but is still reluctant to take on his lordly duties. Will something more have to happen here, before Perrin achieves his "final form" before the Last Battle?

I am not sure that Perrin, or Mat, will ever become comfortable with their roles as Leaders Of Men. Neither of them is happy about their talents and their positions in History. However, both have managed to acquire wives who are most definitely going to insist upon them becoming the Heroes that they are destined to be. I suspect that we will still see plenty of moaning and self-doubt from both lads, but the inevitable will finally happen.

In many ways, I think that Perrin has already started to think like a true leader. His feeling of responsibility towards the refugees is a good case in point and mirrors a lot of the things we see Elayne worrying about. However, I am quite sure that his journey back to Rand will be full of interesting diversions that will provide him with many opportunities to grow into his role as King of the Wolves.

4. Ituralde is delivered from his death trap and is sent to Bashere's homeland, while Bashere is in Ituralde's. Would it perhaps have been prudent to switch places? If a shadow invasion of the Borderlands really is imminent, wouldn't it be good to actually approach the Borderlanders instead?

Yes, this did seem a little backwards to me as well. However, Bashere has been very creative in following his orders from Queen Tenobia, so it also seems prudent to keep him away from her. I can also see the wisdom of removing Ituralde himself from Arad Doman, where the Seanchan are likely to continue pursuing him with their usual dogged persistence.

However, I would like to see Rand actually spend five minutes spinning a Gateway to go and have a quiet word with the Borderlanders. That is all it would take and then he could put them to good use and move on to something more important. It seems highly unlikely that they are trying to find him in order to murder him or tell him that they will not support him, so I am not sure why he simply does not get this over and done with. In fact I am getting rather frustrated with his lack of effort in this regard: but he does sometimes seem to have strange priorities.

5. Egwene's infiltration is gathering momentum. She's talking to sitters as a near equal and has even been in contact with the Black Ajah hunters. Meanwhile, Lelaine is winning the political war on the outside. Should Egwene start hurrying? Having earned the respect of these sisters, what would be her next step?

We know that the Seanchan are going to attack the Tower, so I have to admit that they are my primary concern in this regard. At the moment, I am not sure that Tar Valon will be able to withstand their attack, even with the Rebel Sisters helping in the defense. I can only hope that we reach the tipping point soon and Egwene is able to rally an effective force to repel the attack. Somehow, I am not convinced that Elaida will be very effective in this regard . . . but perhaps she will look good wearing an a’dam . . .

It seems that her actions are bringing increasing numbers of Sisters to support her stance against Elaida, so the key is to allow them to realize this. Once they see that they are in a majority, Elaida’s fall should be fairly swift. At least, I hope that it is! I am not sure that there is any more that Egwene can do to engage this critical mass of support, so she will probably be alright if she simply carries on in the same way. Of course, one of her admirers could trigger a sudden switch in mood: at the moment my money is on Silviana finally refusing to continue with the absurd punishments that Elaida has imposed.  

6. Gawyn is finally on the move, but where? Egwene does not want a rescue... do you expect him to listen or will he just make a mess of things?

Ah, Gawyn! Last week we were moaning about his uselessness and now he is rushing off to almost certain death in his effort to rescue Egwene. If only she wanted to be rescued, or even needed it!

I suspect that he will go to the Rebels and try to encourage them to rescue Egwene. In fact, I predict that he will be most indignant that they have not tried this themselves already. Of course, Siuan will simply tell him that Egwene does not want to be rescued and that they could pull her out of the Tower whenever they wanted to by using a Gateway. This will be very embarrassing for the poor lad and he will go back to being depressed and feeling useless.

Sadly, I still want to slap him around the head . . . I had hoped that he would improve once he made a decision! :D


  1. The Aiel are amazingly blunt, unless it would inflict toh on someone. So hopefully telling the carn'a'carn that he is a jackass and that mutiny is imminent wouldn't put the teller under some sort of toh obligation or shame.

    Very true - Perrin doesn't actually need to be king of any land. He is just simply King of Wolves. It is like saying that Perrin is broad shouldered or likes to think things over. He simply is.

    Yes, since Rand can spit out Gateways left and right, he could stroll into the Borderlander camps and sort them out. In fact, he could even whisk them all away via Gateways before Elayne would have a chance to yell at him for stealing her 'invaders' that helped win her the crown.

    That would be awesome if Silviana decided that Egwene no longer required punishing, or even admitted that she should never have been dealt punishment.

    1. The way that Rand used a Gateway to get to Ituralde just made me want to slap him for NOT using one to deal with the Borderlanders! :D

  2. You're right about Rand having plenty of Aiel advisers that would just tell him if mutiny were imminent. Good point. I think Siuan and Bryne are super-cute too. And I agree about Bryne being much more perceptive than Siuan ever gives him credit for. It was nice to see the tables turned on her in this section. I agree that Rand should just go talk to the Borderlanders. Actually, everyone should. Very few people (Elayne being the exception) have even bothered to try and figure out what they're doing. Sort of gives me a headache. :D

    1. Of course, the Borderlanders are simply sitting there waiting for . . . something . . . to happen, which is also very irritating! :D


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