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 48.
1. Galad names a punishment for Perrin. What did you think of it? Also Perrin becomes, in essence, Galad's commander (and therefore commander of the Children of the Light!) for the Last Battle. Thoughts? Predictions?
“You must promise to go and fight in the Last Battle!” As if Perrin was going to do anything else! :D
The punishment was as token as I had predicted and pretty much showed the whole trial to have been a waste of time, but at least it shows that Galad has finally started to understand that things in life can be grey rather than black and white. I am quite sure that Byar would have had a frothing fit and died of an aneurism if he had lived long enough to hear what the punishment was, but he did make it rather impossible to leave him alive. I feel sorry that Bornhald now has to deal with the guilt of betraying a friend, but Byar was a rabid dog that had needed putting down for quite some time.
I am certain that Galad will honor his agreement to follow Perrin’s orders, but I am not so sure of the other Children. I can only imagine what rumors will start to spread about Perrin’s ability to corrupt the minds of honorable men . . . Of course, I might be being overly pessimistic and the Whitecloaks will actually show some common sense and humility and admit that they were wrong about Perrin being a Darkfriend. I do hope so; otherwise it will make the Last Battle even more difficult for the forces of Light.
2. Gawyn and Egwene finally reconcile and talk of marriage. Gawyn takes three ring ter'angreal from dead sisters. What do you think he plans to do with them?
I have to admit that I share Silviana’s sniffy opinion of Gawyn, so it will take a little more time for me to not see him as a total idiot. However, his actions in this section did leave me with a much smaller urge to slap him, so that is encouraging!
I doubt that he has any solid plan of what to do with the rings at the moment, but we know that the rings are dangerous because they consume the life of their wearers. Hopefully this knowledge will stop him from using them unless there are no other options, but I suspect that Gawyn is not quite as reformed and wise as he now appears. I predict that he will still indulge in some rashness and use the rings in a needlessly dangerous attempt to do something that does not actually need to be done.
3. Comment on the fact that Lan finally, officially raises the banner of the golden crane.
Nynaeve knows him so well: he could never leave Mandarb behind! :D
This moment is one that we knew would happen eventually, but it was rather funny to see how grumpy Lan was about the whole thing. I can understand why he does not want to be responsible for the lives of all these people, but surely they have the right to fight with him if they want to: the Last Battle is coming and nowhere is going to be particularly safe. Still, I have a mental image of him grumbling away under his breath all the time, complaining about all the deluded people coming to his aid!
I was surprised by the subtle way in which he felt the shift of his Bond to Nynaeve. I had not expected it to be such an insignificant event for him, but I suppose it makes sense that he would have kept that part of his awareness turned down for so long that he would not notice a massive difference at first. I just hope that he never admits this to Nynaeve! :D
4. Morgase and Tallanvor marry and Morgase finally returns to Caemlyn with Galad to see Elayne. Just talk about whatever stood out to you.
I think at one point I suggested that Lini would be the one to force these two to get hitched, and it was nice to be proved right. I wonder if anyone ever argues with Lini??? Perhaps Lini will be used to express Morgase’s unhappiness with Elayne’s pregnancy . . . I expect that will be a scene that will need popcorn!! :D
To look at this from a political point of view, I can see that her marriage to Tallanvor will also make it more obvious that Morgase no longer seeks to rule in Andor. A marriage to the head of an important House could have been seen as a move to gain power, but this union is so obviously a love match that nobody could see it as politically motivated.
Was I the only one to snigger at Perrin’s massively understated wedding “ceremony”?? :D
5. The future of the Two Rivers is discussed and Perrin is given titles. What do you think? Fitting? No so much? Do you think these arrangements will hold in the long term? What of the political "pact" that seems to be forming?
The decision to cede the land to Rand was a neat solution and saved face all round. As everyone stands to gain from this agreement, I suspect that it will stand firm unless the Dragon really does Break the world again. I was rather surprised that Berelain was not included in the meeting . . . but I suppose that she was busy mooning about after Galad and could not be trusted to think straight for five minutes.
6. Androl! I don't know if we've seen him yet (can't remember) but he'll play a fairly big role until the end. What do you make of him--good, evil, somewhere in between? And what do you think Taim is up to?
I am not sure if Androl will have a large role to play in the Last Battle, but it seems unlikely that he would be introduced at this stage and then zapped after only one chapter. He seems to be a good person, even though he could do with a visit from Nynaeve to remove the black, spikey madness thingies from his mind. He is certainly opposed to Taim, which makes him a Good Guy as far as I can tell. I suspect that he will be important in removing Taim from the Black Tower and placing Logain in his place, but he might not survive that particular battle.
It seems that his only real Talent is in making Gateways. We later learn that it is impossible to Travel to the Black Tower, which I assume must be due to another Dreamspike, so he might be the only one able to make Gateways in the area and his supposed weakness could give him a massive advantage in any battle because he will be underestimated.
7. What did you think of Mat and Perrin's little reunion and story swapping? How about the fact that Tuon (Fortunata) still seems intent on destroying the White Tower?
I can see why the reunion was necessary in order for Mat to get a Gateway to the Tower of Ghenjei, but it was really just an excuse to show how far each character had come since the beginning of the series. Plus, it let Thom get in some rather nice jabs at their expense. I was rather glad that Mr Sanderson did not stretch the reunion too far: we got a nice taste of their feelings without it becoming too maudlin.
Good grief, Tuon! Before she became Empress I was growing to like her, but now I am consistently annoyed at her total lack of consideration for the cultural differences on this side of the Aryth Ocean. She keeps thinking about fighting the Last Battle, but is completely unwilling to bend her worldview in order to form alliances with the powers in Randland. I know that she was raised from childhood to be an absolute ruler, but she needs to get over her inflexibility before it does some of the Dark One’s work for him.
8. Aviendha feels a resonance with the glass columns and steps through a second time (big no-no, apparently). This time, she's sure she's seeing the future, rather than the past. What do you make of what she saw?
A future dominated by the Seanchan seems highly likely given Tuon’s refusal to form alliances with the other leaders in Randland. This seems to be confirmed by the ‘lightsticks’, which seem to be some sort of musket and are presumably derived from Aludra’s dragons. It is difficult to judge how far into the future Aviendha is seeing in the first vision, but these features are consistent in the other two visions as well, which suggests that the Seanchan gain control relatively quickly after the Last Battle.
It is rather shocking to see the Aiel broken and scattered, but if they were hunted systematically, then this would be a likely outcome. In fact, I was rather surprised that any of them managed to survive at all. I assume that Aviendha will now work to try to prevent this outcome, but it will be difficult with Tuon’s current mindset. Yikes!