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 the Chapter 4.
1. Everyone who thought Graendal might not be dead can pat themselves on the back. With Aran'gar's death that leaves six. Are there any others, thought dead, that you fear we might see again?
For once it seemed much too obvious that we had a nice and neat confirmation that could not possibly be wrong even though we did not witness her actual demise. I am glad that Mr Sanderson chose to reveal this surprise soon afterwards, because it would have been annoying for Graendal to reappear during the Last Battle without a hint before then. I am not wildly happy that she deceived Rand, but it is nice to have at least one Forsaken who is not a moron . . . and I am delighted that she is a female!
I am trying to remember if we have had confirmation that Cyndane is actually Lanfear, but I fear that my aged brain is starting to suffer from Wheel of Time overload! Other than the infuriating Lanfear, I think we are fairly certain that all of the other dead Forsaken are staying firmly out of the action in the future. Egwene’s Dream of thirteen black towers reduced to only six seems to confirm that, unless someone can suggest a different interpretation.
2. Is this the first time we've seen Padan Fain since book nine? Running around the Blight setting world records for creepiness... What role do you think he has to play in what is coming?
Good grief, is it really that long since he showed up? I seem to be suffering from some sort of strange time distortion effect as well as memory overload!!
Whilst Fain is possibly the most awesomely horrifying character of all time, though Shaidar Haran runs him a close second, he is very entertaining to read. His sections are so mind-bendingly wrong that they are always a surprise, even though they feel a little like being unable to tear one’s eyes away from a horrific car crash.
I suspect that he will play a role similar to that of Gollum, a character that he seems to mirror in many ways. Whilst he plans to murder Rand and eat his brains before taking on the Dark One himself, I expect him to inadvertently aid the Light at the very end. Or Rand will simply swat him like a bug . . .
3. The blightborder in Kandor is attacked and will probably not hold for long. Meanwhile, Lan is in Saldaea, heading east. Will he even make it to Tarwin's Gap, or will he be caught up in the invasion? How many followers do you expect to see before he gives up the lone wolf plan?
The attack on the towers made me wonder if this invasion was the important information in Verin’s letter. I imagine that it takes quite a bit of organization to gather and target so many Shadowspawn, so she could have learnt about it in time to warn people who could be useful in stopping it. I suspect that the letter delivered to Rand in Tar Valon is also from her.
But to get back to Lan . . . Of course he will make it to Tarwin’s Gap: he is Lan the mighty, if grumpy, warrior-king, so he is guaranteed a spot in the Last Battle! He will also gather a mighty army of people too scared of Nynaeve to refuse to help him. Plus, he seems to have impressed quite a lot of people in his earlier life, so they will be happy to fight at his side. However, I am rather hoping that he does not end up with an army of undead oathbreakers that only he can summon as that would feel a little too similar to Tolkien.
4. Yet another reunion happens as Rand reveals part of his plan to Egwene, but she is not pleased. Rand looks quite sane but Egwene is not so sure. Do you expect this to be a big conflict before the Last Battle? Who do you think is right?
I was rather surprised by how low key this was, especially as the Chapter was titled “The Amyrlin’s Anger”. I was expecting more fireworks and shouting, especially from Egwene, but it was all very civilized.
I suspect that Egwene will be angry at first, but will eventually come to see that Rand is correct. It does make sense that you need to clear away the rubbish before building a new door to the Bore, but I can understand why any sane person would be more than a little reluctant to remove that last impediment to the Dark One’s freedom. Hopefully a combination of Browns and Whites can help her to see the logic of doing what is necessary.
5. It looks like we'll be spending a lot of time this book with Perrin and Hopper in T'A'R. Excited? Anything special you want to see? Will we maybe run into Slayer again?
Yay! Any time spent with Hoper is great fun, because the wolves have such a unique perspective on the world. However, I am increasingly concerned that he will finally die in the Dream and leave the world forever, possibly at the hands of Slayer. We have not seen or heard from Slayer for a very long time, so I am quite sure that he will return very soon and try to remove Perrin before the Last Battle.
6. It also looks like we'll see a confrontation between Perrin and the Whitecloaks, world champions in grudge-keeping. How will this play out? How do you think Galad is doing as Lord Captain Commander?
Oh crumbs! This could be very, very bad, especially if Bornhald and Byar have anything to say about it. However, Galad is a sensible guy, with his eyes firmly set on reaching the Last Battle, so I am not sure that the Children will attack Perrin’s army en masse. But, then again, we know that he will always do what he considers to be right, so perhaps he will challenge Perrin to a duel to prove his innocence. Also, I am not sure if Morgase is with Gill’s party, but she could talk some sense into her stepson if necessary.
Galad seems to be doing a remarkably good job of making the Children into a useful force for the Light rather than an annoying bunch of self-righteous prats. Some of it seems very fortunate, which makes me wonder if he shares some ta’veren aspects with his half-brother, Rand. He is mirroring Egwene in his ability to unite a divided force, but I am not sure that he will be able to persuade both Bornhald and Byar to forgive Perrin.