Sunday, January 25, 2015

A Memory of Light 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 7.

1. Pevara and Androl have done some mutual Bonding, which seems to have created a rather uniquely intimate link between the two. Do you think that the other Aes Sedai / Asha’man pairs could create something similar, or do we have an example of mushy, romantic specialness in this case? Have you been surprised by the Red’s ability to work with male Channelers, or do you think that she is unusual for her Ajah?

I am rather surprised that none of the other pairs have tried this, although I suspect that everyone thinks that it is a one-way thing and so have not even made an attempt. I guess that it could be rather uncomfortable having that sort of link, especially for those who have never had even a Warder before, but it would be exceptionally useful. I can only imagine how excited the Greens and Browns will be when they find out . . . though for very different reasons! :D

I suppose it is possible that their Bond will prove to be unique, just like Androl’s Talent for Gateways, and I do detect a kind of strange romance developing between these two. However, they are both wonderfully pragmatic, so I think we should be spared from too many longing glances and vomit-inducing baby talk.

As with Silviana, I have been pleasantly surprised by Pevara. She has proven to be remarkably adaptable, especially considering her great age. It has been good to see a staunch Red behave with good sense and show that they are not all just frothing man-haters. I hope that she is more representative of the Ajah than some of the other Reds that we have encountered, but I suspect that the removal of the Blacks within its ranks will have culled most of the worst lunatics. 

2. I was beginning to worry that Aviendha’s quadruplets would need to be the product of some sort of bizarre ‘virgin’ birth scenario, but now there is at least a biological chance that they could be created in the normal way! Yay! Do you really think that it was necessary for her to use sexytimes as a way to persuade Rand to grant her a boon? Were you disappointed or relieved not to have more details of what was obviously a rather extended night of baby-making?

I could not help noticing that Bair did not suggest that Aviendha NOT have sexytimes with Rand and, therefore, avoid the conception of the quads: that would have certainly altered the future pretty dramatically! We all knew that this scene had to happen sooner or later, but I was rather glad that it had a practical and business-like feel rather than a prolonged series of mushy exchanges and coyness. Of course, Aviendha is hardly the blushing virgin type and I did snort out loud when she was so blunt about what was going to happen next. I liked the response of the Maidens, though I was rather glad that we did not have to hear them cheering on the happy couple for the rest of the night! :D

3. Apparently, being Turned to the Dark Side does not improve your intellect very much. Do you think that we will ever see a truly intelligent Darkfriend? Did the sequence with Dobser make you more hopeful of Androl and his party surviving against Taim’s attack?

It does seem to be a prerequisite for evil that you have to be somewhat stupid, although you would think that the Dark One would be a little more choosy about his minions given all the eons that he has tried to seize control of the world. Of course, he might be equally dumb and so incapable of understanding why he keeps losing! :D

I enjoyed the elegant way that Emarin / Algarin exploited Dobser’s personality: it showed a remarkable understanding of human nature and was a nice change from the more usual violence. It makes me wonder how much of the original person remains within these Turned individuals and, therefore, how truly ‘evil’ they now are. Whilst Taim is likely to be surrounded by his most trusted men, who were quite happy to be evil even without being Turned, it makes me hope that some of the others might hesitate before blasting Androl into oblivion, which might give a slight chance at survival. I find it unlikely that Androl will simply be killed at this point, but I am not quite sure how he will defeat Taim with the Dreamspike in position.

4. Rand is beginning to manifest some startling new powers and can now manipulate the Dream more successfully than Moridin. Do you think this will cause the Nae’blis to alter his plans and be more aggressive in his pursuit of Rand? It seems that Lanfear is managing to somehow slip away from his control via the mindtrap: or was that all staged for Rand’s benefit?

I got the distinct impression that Moridin was seriously shocked and worried by Rand’s new control, which suggests that he has now surpassed the Nae’blis in power and skill. This places Moridin in a difficult position, because he would ideally want to remove Rand as quickly as possible, but I believe that the Dark One still wants the Dragon kept alive, presumably with the intention of trying to sway him to the Dark Side. I guess that Moridin is also worried about being replaced as Nae’blis, but is too fearful to act against explicit instructions. Poor guy: he must have terrible ulcers! :D

Again, Moridin seemed surprised by this news and I suspect that Lanfear might regret her attempts to circumvent his control. Unless he is remarkably good at play-acting, I doubt that her actions were staged because they took place in the Dream and we know that she has a reputation for being extremely skilled in manipulating Tel’aran’rhiod. I was very pleased to learn that Rand was pretty much ignoring her plea for help because she cannot die soon enough for me.

5. And, yay verily, there will be much politicking and arguing and then Moiraine will appear and quote the Prophecy, thus creating peace and harmony amongst the leaders of the World. Did anyone else expect her to wink at Perrin in a conspiratorial way as she walked past him? Do you think that the new and improved Dragon’s Peace will hold and also stop the future we saw in Aviendha’s visions? Who do you think Rand expected Roedran to be?

I have to admit that I was a little frustrated by this section of the reading. I think that I can safely say that I have had more than enough of political intrigue in this series and so I was rather hoping that someone would simply knock all their heads together and make them play nice. After all, they were busy worrying about what might possibly happen if they managed to avoid the END OF THE WORLD!!!!! Arghhh!???!???!!!!!

I loved Moiraine’s return and they way that she simply walked in and seized control of the entire debate. I DID expect her to wink at Perrin, though that might simply be because Ian McKellen does that to Aragorn when he returns as Gandalf the White. She was rather awesome though, and I did almost come close to cheering at one point! :D

It seems as if the new, and hastily rewritten, Peace Treaty might just work. The Aiel become the independent, unbiased policemen of the New Order, which is really just a continuation of the role that they have fulfilled so far, whilst the whole thing is null and void if Tuon cannot be convinced to accept it. I was a little confused about what exactly was supposed to happen to the lands that the Seanchan have already captured: were they excluded from the borders that Rand had assigned to all the rulers present or not? I am still concerned about how Rand will get Tuon’s agreement, but at least he has everyone else working together.

This confused me at first, but then I realized that he expected Roedran to be Demandred, who has been so conspicuously absent from everything so far. This makes me even more convinced that I was correct to suspect that he has taken control of Shara, which is the only nation that we have not truly encountered yet. We know that Lews Therin expects Demandred to have sought out a great army to lead and that is the only one left to be revealed. I predict that it will be very nasty when it arrives, presumably through a huge Gateway.

6. Great Trees and a singing Ogier army, then Gateways bringing aid to Lan’s final charge. Discuss, with specific dimensions for the size of your grin and/or the number of tears shed! :D

It is so good to finally have Loial back: I have missed my favorite bibliophile! :D

We did have a tiny hint about the Ogier when Elayne, I think it was, thought about the Stedding nearby. I presume that there is also a Waygate there and that is how the Ogier arrived so suddenly. I have to admit to grinning like a lunatic when the Great Trees were revealed and the soft sound of singing. Then we had Elder Haman, Loial’s mum being grumpy and Loial himself being all happy and coy about being a married man. Sigh!

This week was certainly packed with images reticent of the Lord of the Rings, and I could not help thinking of the Rohirrim charging across the Field of Pelennor. I loved the image of the Gateways opening and cavalry charging straight through towards the Trollocs. All it needed was some giant eagles to make me perfectly happy! :D

7. Mat is off in Ebou Dar doing something mysterious. Can we hope that he is trying to talk some sense into Tuon? Will he accept the Horn from Faile or run away screaming?

As it stands now, I find it hard to predict how he or Rand will be able to convince Tuon that she is wrong-headed in her thinking about the world. I know that it has to happen, and that she must eventually sign the Peace Treaty, but I cannot foresee what leverage they will use to alter her perspective. We know that she has been told that she could learn to Channel, but her view of the marath’damane has not been altered, and that could be a major problem if she is to cooperate with any of the other forces who will all deploy Channelers in some form or another. The Seanchan’s entry into the Last Battle needs to be as a trusted ally, not as someone that the others need to guard against, so this will need to be resolved and I doubt that even Mat has enough charm to simply talk her around.

There was a very specific mention of Mat being bound to the Horn until he died, which makes me wonder of we will see a rather neat switch up ahead. Mat nearly died in Rhuidean when the Finn hung him from that tree, but he definitely died in the siege of Caemlyn, along with Aviendha. Surely this means that the Horn is now free to be used by someone else, so Mat’s like of enthusiasm about using it will be somewhat irrelevant. I suspect that he would use it if the situation warranted it, because I see him taking over from Elayne as the general in charge of the military attacks against the Forces of Darkness. After all, he IS possibly the greatest captain ever to exist in Randland and Elayne is bound to have a pregnancy issue at some point. Just saying! :D


  1. 1. I'm pretty sure it's not unique to them, except, of course, they being the only ones who have tried it. In time I suppose others will have a go, but there aren't that many channeling Aes Sedai-Warder pairs around. We might not get to see it happen.

    A little surprised, but I hope that Pevara and Silviana are not the rare glimmers of sensibility that they appear to be. :-)

    2. I don't think she DID use sexytimes as a way to persuade Rand. I think they were separate things that just happened to take place at the same time, and I'm sure Rand would have been reasonable enough about it even were it not for the playtime just before.

    I don't think we needed more details, to be honest. I was quite happy enough to see Aviendha trying to be seductive.

    3. Intelligent or not, the Dark is clearly quite capable of creating problems for our heroes, so I'm not sure it matters that much. I think we have seen intelligent Darkfriends, even though they all have a flawed personality in some way. In Dobser's case, his flaw was stupidity, but most of them are more interesting than him.

    This came up and was the seed for a couple of theories that Pevara is Black Ajah:

    "He cannot hear what we say?"

    "No," Pevara said.

    Pevara knew quite well that Dobser could hear, so she is apparently lying! However, there's a double negative. Emarin asks if he CANNOT hear what they say, and Pevara answers that no, it is incorrect that he CANNOT hear what they say.

    I wonder if anyone has gone through the other books trying to find out whether this is consistent...

    4. I'm not sure. I suspect that the Shadow has cast the die, more or less. They still have a couple of tricks up their sleeves, otherwise this last book wouldn't be very exciting, but I'm not sure I expect something ultra drastic.

    Lanfear is probably acting on her own, somehow. I'm not sure to which degree, or what she is really after. It stretches sensibility that she is now a good guy, but we also know that it's anathema for a Darkfriend to work against the Dark One and Nae'blis. It seems a decent theory that she was the one who ordered Slayer. We'll just have to see what she is up to.

    1. 5. I liked this scene, although I know a lot of fans left it with a bad feeling of Egwene. Brandon Sanderson was apparently told that Egwene and Rand had to almost come to blows, and this is how it happened. Personally I still think Egwene is awesome for her show in book twelve, so I don't care so much.

      Moiraine was really great, the way she took command of everything. I liked that she quoted so much of the prophecies, because I think this is the most complete version we have so far. (There's an encyclopaedia due out later this year, maybe it will have more.) I also liked her reunion with Nynaeve.

      Pretty sure that the future of the Aiel is now secure. If the Seanchan sign the treaty, then I think all things from the vision are accounted for.

      I thought Roedran was a bit of fan service, but Sanderson shot down my theory on Reddit, unfortunately. One of the biggest mysteries before the release of the last book was the identity of Demandred. We know that he has armies and that his alter ego was not sighted on screen in the first ten books (Robert Jordan's words). Since it would seem unsatisfying to have him come in from Shara or the continent of Seanchan, places that we haven't really seen at all, the prevailing theory was that he was actually Roedran.

      Rand apparently agreed with the fans, even though Rand could not have gotten that crucial tip from Robert Jordan. Which is why I found it a bit weird... But apparently Sanderson thinks it was quite possible for Rand to suspect him to be Roedran. Okay, fine :-). In any case, we now know that Demandred is NOT Roedran.

      I also thought the way Elayne got the supreme commanding role felt a bit off. I don't really mind THAT she got it. I consider it more of an administrative role than a military one (most of the war appears to be up to the great captains so far), but HOW she got it. Oh, the rest of the known world has signed the treaty after two chapters of bickering, you're the last one and all of a sudden it's HARD FOR YOU? Well cry me a bloody river.

      6. Yes, this was a great scene. I really liked the imagery, and how the Malkieri oath was interleaved with the action in the deciding moments. Very beautiful.

      Happy to have the Ogier back now, too. It's gotten to the point that whenever I read about Ogier I picture Sue with a massive grin on her face.

      7. Yes, Mat has been conspicuously absent from the first part of this book. We know he has to play the role of some kind of general at some point, but so far he's been left out of the planning altogether. Not good. Hopefully when the Seanchan problem is solved, he's brought back in the fold.


      First place in (unintentionally?) self depreciating lines:

      "I'm always careful," Elayne said absently.

    2. Interesting point about Pevara and the double negative. I simply thought that her answer was part of the agreed upon playacting. Dobser was meant to overhear them, right?

      I agree with you about Roedran. Us readers, with certain knowledge, had a good suspicion about Roedran. But I don't know why Rand suspected him.....

      Yep, that is Elayne for you. She is a bit of a dramaqueen.

      And, yes, I did snort laugh when Elayne uttered that line.

    3. 2. I guess Rand is pretty laid back and reasonable these days, but I doubt that the sexytimes put him in a bad mood! :D

      3. I didn’t pick this up as a lie, but it does seem to fly very close to one. However, the double negative does explain how Pevara could technically lie without Dobser realizing. I don’t get the feeling that she is Black . . . at least I really hope not, because I am not sure that we need any more complications added at this stage of the game.

      4. Lanfear always seems to work for her own crazy agenda with little regard for anything else. I would assume that she is now trying to enact the “if I can’t have him no one else can” part of her plan, hence the meeting with Slayer. However, I wonder how she managed to meet with Slayer in the real world without Moridin’s permission . . . meeting Rand in the Dream is much more understandable because of her skill in that area.

      5. Interesting: I thought Egwene came out of this strongly, especially as the White Tower is riding to war in Kandor. Her reasoning was perfectly sound, if a little overcautious, so I couldn’t fault her for wanting to temper Rand’s enthusiasm to release the Dark One.

      It seems strange that fans would be dissatisfied with Demandred having an army from Shara because the nation has been firmly established in the series, even though we have seen very little of it. If we reached the end of the series without it entering the war I would have found it much more surprising, so it seems logical for it to be his area of operation. It also makes tactical sense for him to keep his army out of the war until the last moment when it will have the greatest shock value.

      My biggest quibble with Elayne’s appointment is that she is that she is pregnant. We have already seen her questionable mood swings, and I have a horrible suspicion that she will go into labor early and mess things up.

      6. :D

      7. I hope that he talks Tuon into some good sense, and quickly, because adding the Seanchan to the fight would be rather helpful.

      Other: yeah, that’s right, Elayne! *eye roll

  2. I too am hoping the budding romance between Pevara and Androl will be pragmatic and not silly, like so many other relationships.

    I like the idea of Moridin with ulcers. The less sleep he has, the less productive he will be. Fine by me!

    I'm totally with you about all the politicking in this world. Yes, I definitely wanted to knock all their heads together since they were arguing about what happens after they survive the Last Battle. Hello folks! Let's survive first, and then we can nitpick the Dragon's Peace.

    It's kind of poetic to have so many LoTR type scenes here at the end of the series, since the series started off mimicking LoTR.

    Perhaps the happily wedded (and soon to be bedded -hopefully!) couple (Mat & Tuon) have to exchange boons - like wedding gifts. So maybe Mat will ask Tuon to stop being an ass.

    Goo point about the Horn.

    1. It's not that I am violently opposed to romance, more that we have had enough of it and need to concentrate on slightly more important issues for the rest of the book . . . though it was nice to see Loial blushing! :D

      I suspect that Mat willed to do slightly more than knock boots with Tuon to persuade her towards a sensible from of mind, but it probably won't hurt for him to try that approach!

  3. LOL. Greens and browns being excited about the double bond for different reasons. Yeah, no kidding. I loved watching Emarin's manipulation as well. So seemless. He made it look so easy. Guess the good guys better not piss him off, right? Yeah there were a lot of politics at the Field of Merrilor, but it didn't bother me, probably just because I expected it. What would WoT be without the politics? I don't think we get eagles (that I remember) in this series, but you're right. They would make the Tolkien images complete. :D Won't say much about the fate of the horn, except that it's going to be good! :D


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