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 26.
1) Egwene is holding strong in the Tower. Have you had a similar experience to her revelation about embracing the pain?
Why does the phrase “embracing the pain” always make me think of Fifty Shades of Gray???? :D
I am not a great fan of pain, so I am not sure that I could ‘embrace’ it quite so enthusiastically as Egwene. However, I do share her ability to have a really good cry and then walk away feeling relatively normal . . . although I am pretty sure that I would be limping if someone had just been beating MY bottom!
Having said that, I do think I understand her determination to endure the discomfort and not give way to it. During my teenage years, my family and I did a lot of cycling and there were many occasions when I had to steel myself to keep turning those pedals in order to get myself home. At the time, I was not massively impressed by the exhaustion and resented my parents for making me suffer so much. However, by the time I got home to a bath and hot food I felt an unmistakable sense of achievement and pride in my own ability to push through a difficult situation. I am quite sure that it helped me to become more resilient and self-reliant . . . and I still prefer to get myself out of uncomfortable situations rather than relying on others to do it for me.
It seems that Egwene’s acceptance of her pain is having a much more significant effect on the others in the Tower, especially those who have the most contact with her. I seriously doubt that Silviana will remain quiet about Egwene’s punishments for much longer: they obviously are not having the effect that Elaida wants.
2) Egwene seems to be hoping for a mutiny from within the Tower. Do you think this will happen? If so, is it more likely to start with the initiates or with the Aes Sedai closest to Elaida?
There is so much tension in the Tower that I am almost surprised that it has not happened already. However, the inter-Ajah hostility has deflected attention away from Elaida and her total incompetence as Amyrlin: once the Sisters start to look beyond that division then Elaida is doomed.
We know that an attack by the Seanchan is coming, and that has a very good chance of being the stimulus for removing Elaida, especially as Egwene has given a very specific, and public, warning about it. However, I think it is much more likely that Elaida will eventually visit reality long enough to realize that her treatment of Egwene is being completely ineffective, and is, in fact, creating sympathy and support for the rebel Amyrlin. Once that sinks into her immensely thick skull, I predict that she will lose the plot quite dramatically and show how unstable, vindictive and petty she really is. This will provide the Hall with the excuse that it has been waiting for and she will be removed from her position so quickly that her feet will not touch the ground.
Of course, I could be wrong, and the Hall might simply sit and watch as Elaida tries to turn Egwene into a tiny pile of ashes . . .
3) Egwene hears that Aes Sedai have been bonded to Asha'men and that some Aes Sedai have sworn oaths to Rand. What did you make of her reaction that it is inappropriate (at the least) for Aes Sedai to swear oaths to any man?
Many times during this Read Along we have discussed Mr Jordan’s apparent belief that men and women are completely different and incapable of understanding one another. I can only assume that he and his wife struggled to communicate, because I cannot think of a single pairing in this series that shows any form of easy understanding between people of opposite sexes. I would be interested to learn of an example, but none spring to mind at the moment, and the books do seem to carry a definite taint of antagonism between the sexes.
Whilst I would agree with Egwene that Sisters should not be bound to obey anyone, I also understand why Rand has demanded that they swear these oaths. I fear that Egwene has been around Aes Sedai for too long and has started to forget how they treat other people. Obviously, her time as a damane has made her extremely sensitive to being controlled, and she is unaware of the details surrounding his kidnapping and treatment by Galina and the others sent by Elaida, but I am still disappointed that she automatically sides with her Sisters rather than wondering what cause Rand to behave so tyrannically.
I hope that he gets a chance to explain it all to her, but the series is littered with so many examples of poor communication and misunderstandings that I doubt that we will see that happen. I suspect that Egwene may never know, or understand, his reasons and will simply resent his ‘male wrongheadedness’.
4) We spent a little time in Tuon's head this reading. What surprised you the most? Did you find Tuon's reaction to her first kiss amusing?
I have to admit that I find Tuon as confusing as Mat does. I still have no idea why she suddenly decided that he could kiss her. Even being inside her head provided little extra understanding for her motives, so I am truly perplexed by her.
Her obvious ignorance about Mat’s link to Rand and his status as ta’veren make it all the more surprising that she has stayed with him for so long. What game is she playing and what does she hope to gain from her time with him? I wish I could work it out, but I simply have no clue at the moment.
5) Grady and the other Asha'men with Perrin are looking pretty haggard, worn out from making gateways to move troops around. Will they hold up for the Shaido fight? And young Aram is also looking pretty haggard, but from some different reason. Is he the weakest link in the forthcoming fight?
The Asha’man have a couple of days to rest before the assault on Malden, but I do worry that they will still be exhausted when the attack comes. Hopefully, the shock of the Wise Ones being ineffective will cause the Shaido to collapse with not much of a fight and then Perrin, Faile and the rest can go home all safe and sound. Unfortunately, I suspect that it will not by that simple and the Asha’man may be pushed to breaking point before the Shaido are routed.
Aram is very obviously going to betray Perrin: it could not be more clear if he had a hand-written sign hanging around his neck. I assume that Masema has been worming his way under the young man’s skin and filling his head with perceived slights and imagined grievances. He is a liability and I will be happier once he is removed.
6) Play a kissing game with Rolan or meet with Galina in the burned out half of Malden to pass off the Oath Rod.... Which would you choose?
That is a very easy choice, although I do not condone infidelity. I am surprised that Faile is desperate enough to trust Galina at all, but we all know that the Aes Sedai is planning something unpleasant. Hopefully, Perrin’s attack will come before Galina bops Faile over the head with a rock and buries her body in a collapsed house.