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 36.
1. Slayer prowls the World of Dreams, where a strange violet dome prevents access. Meanwhile, gateways fail in the real world. Is there a connection? It's building to a battle between Perrin and Slayer very soon. Do you think Perrin's work with nightmares will bear fruit or is it still too soon?
I think that it is pretty obvious that there is some sort of link between the dome and the no-Gateway zone. We know that Tel’aran’rhiod is not a function of the One Power, however, it seems too much of a coincidence that teleportation is blocked there and Gateways do not work in the waking world. We know that Moridin gave Slayer to Graendal and also some device from the Age of Heroes. I can only assume that it is this device that Slayer is using to hold Perrin in place.
I have to assume that Perrin, as one of our Heroes, will be successful in his battle with Slayer. So far he has surprised his enemy on several occasions and has shown that he is getting stronger and more capable of controlling the Dream. Slayer has the advantage of familiarity with Tel’aran’rhiod, but this could lead him to be complacent and overconfident, giving Perrin the necessary advantage. Also, I suspect that Hopper will play a pivotal role in Slayer’s demise. I suspect that Perrin will need to act in the near future as time is slipping away at an alarming rate: he needs to get back to Rand and start to prepare for the Last Battle.
2. Perrin avoids a battle by submitting himself to a possibly pointless trial. Do you agree with this choice? How risky is it for Perrin? At the same time, Morgase is finally revealed and will act as judge! What do you think about that? Does Berelain strike you as smitten by Galad?
I commented last week on how Perrin was sitting about doing very little at the moment, but I understand his desire to avoid an unnecessary battle. I had suspected that he might try to persuade Galad to agree to a dual, but this is actually a better alternative because both of them will be pivotal leaders in the Last Battle. Although Byar is still frothing at the mouth, I suspect that Perrin will be shown to have acted reasonably in killing those particular Children.
I believe that Morgase will be harsh but fair and that Perrin has nothing to fear from her as his judge. Unlike Galad, she has had plenty of time to observe Perrin and his actions, and she is already convinced that he is not simply evil. I suspect that Galad’s shock at discovering that he wrongly killed Valda for murder and Byar’s increasingly insane ranting will help to persuade him that Perrin could be a good man who was placed in a horrible situation.
Galad and Berelain making calves’ eyes at each other could get very irritating very quickly . . . but at least it will solve Faile’s problem! :D
3. Sitters attempt to undermine Egwene (again) and Egwene wraps them up neatly (again). Have we seen the final political battle or do you expect more? What do you think of Egwene's proposed changes?
I sincerely hope so, because it is getting rather tiring to see them trying to seize control and have Egwene slap them down. Whilst there humiliation is somewhat gratifying, it would be even better to see them finally acknowledge that there are more important things to worry about. At the moment they still seem to be trying to ‘rearrange the deckchairs on the Titanic’, but at least Egwene can predict their idiocy before it arises.
Her changes to the law seem so obvious that I am surprised that they were not included in the first place. But then, of course, when the laws were written the idea of the Sitters overthrowing the Amyrlin was probably beyond anyone’s imagination. Unfortunately, the Aes Sedai have drifted from their original goals and intentions over the centuries of peace and have become a highly inefficient gathering of power-obsessed individuals. This should hopefully focus everyone onto more immediate, and important, problems.
4. Shots fired! The dragons are in production and work well, but the Last Battle is near and time is short. How many will they be able to make, and much of an impact will they really have? Birgitte thinks the world has changed. What are your impressions?
It is hard to predict how many dragons will be forged, but they will certainly be excellent for at least a short time when they are first deployed. As fixed positions they will be very vulnerable to targeted attacks from Channelers, but they will be devastating as long as they keep firing and might be pivotal in the Last Battle.
It seems that Birgitte’s sadness comes from her understanding of what it would be like to stand against the dragons as an attacking soldier. I am not sure if she has ever had to stand against Aes Sedai attack, but we know that she has seen damane at work, and they are the only things similar to the dragons in their power. As an eternal soldier, she can only be sad when she sees something that is designed to be such an efficient killer of men.
5. Wolves gather at Dragonmount and Perrin observes the “Veins of Gold” event from the World of Dreams. The Last Hunt is now upon us and the wolves are mobilizing. What are your thoughts? Did you enjoy seeing this scene from another perspective?
To be honest, I thought that this scene was rather redundant with the exception of the wolves announcing that the decision had been made. I suppose that it helped to confirm the lag between Perrin’s timeline and that of everyone else, but I could have lived without it.
6. Mat finally disposes of the gholam, helped out by some Kinswomen and a gateway. What do you think? Was this the solution you had in mind?
This was a wonderfully simple way to deal with something that cannot be killed. We know that it had originally been contained in an artifact from the Age of Heroes, so it seems highly unlikely that there could be any other way to deal with it, though the Forsaken would be highly unlikely to destroy such a powerful weapon even if it scared them half to death. I just hope that we have seen the last of it: and that it keeps on falling forever . . .
7. Rand lands in Maradon in the eleventh hour, brining aid. He then shows off some impressive channeling. Do you think he made a dent in the shadow army? Do you agree with his assertion that he must stay away from the main battle? Feel free also to comment on Torkumen and King Alsalam.
I seriously doubt that he made any significant dent in the Shadow army as a whole, but it seems that he destroyed that particular section of it. I imagine that there are uncountable numbers of Trollocs being produced wherever, and however, they are created. I suspect that Moridin and the Dark One will be more than a little miffed at this incident, but it will not really alter their plans too significantly as there seem to be armies rolling south all along the Borderlands.
I see a certain similarity with the final destruction of the One Ring. All the armies will be the distraction whilst Rand, Nynaeve and Moiraine (I am certain it will be her) slip into Shayol Ghul to do their thing with the seals and Callandor. This means that Rand needs to be whole and fully ‘charged’ when that final confrontation takes place and that he must ignore what happens to everyone else. I am quite sure that the Dark One will attempt to draw Rand into battle in many places by attacking those he loves, but the Dragon must remain focused on his role in the Last Battle.
I doubt that any of us were surprised by the revelation about Torkumen being a Darkfriend. His actions last week were pretty damning, but Bashere’s comments about how the Trollocs had ignored him were all the confirmation that we needed. Him gouging out his eyes because of Rand’s Light was simply nice to see, because he deserved to be punished for the deaths he had caused.
I do not think that we really saw enough of Alsalam to comment on him at the moment. It seems that the Little Wolf is totally devoted to him, so that is certainly a huge hint that he is quite a good chap.
I want to add a quick note about the male channelers that attacked Maradon. I predict that we will discover that it was Taim and some of his evil Asha’man: he has been suspiciously absent for far too long now.
8. Egwene plans an elaborate trap in the World of Dreams. Do you expect it to be as easy as she imagines it? Meanwhile, Gawyn has discovered important information in Caemlyn, but refuses to return. Does this strike anyone as a potentially disastrous case of miscommunication?
I am always a little uneasy about elaborate plans because there is so much to go wrong . . . but that could just be because I am unable to do all that psychological analysis and plotting myself: I am far too straightforward and simple! :D
I suspect that Mesaana can be tempted out into the open by sufficiently succulent bait. She has been massively unsuccessful in her attempt to destroy the unity of the Tower, so she must be desperate to regain some standing with the Dark One. I can only assume that she will eventually feel unable to ignore Egwene when she offers herself up on a plate. I doubt that the actual defeat will be a simple affair, but the initial manipulation should work very easily.
Arghhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PLEASE CAN SOMEONE HIT GAWYN??!???!???!?
Just when he seemed to be coming to some reasonable conclusions and behaving with common sense he goes and throws a petulant fit and refuses to return to Egwene’s side when she actually needs him. Now, I know that her ‘invitation’ was rather rude, but for crying out loud!??!???! If I was watching this on film I would be throwing popcorn at the screen! :D
I was pleased to learn that my deductions about the assassins were correct, although the Bloodknives sound remarkably difficult to defeat. Hopefully Gawyn will not return to Tar Valon to attend Egwene’s funeral . . .