Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan Read Along: Week 5

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 you can find links to everyone else’s thoughts at Dab of Darkness.

This week we read through to the end of Chapter 48.

1) In this section, we see Mat putting on a tough demeanor and then shelling out coins to those who need it. Do you think such behavior will perpetuate his good luck, in a karmic sense, or will he be taken advantage of?

I thought it was so sweet when he gave that poor woman some coins to feed her children: it put a big, cheesy grin on my face. I have a suspicion that Mat’s Luck is connected to his being Ta’veren, although I suppose it could be a Talent of some type, just like Perrin’s wolf thing, as he does not appear to have any other Gift. Whatever it is, I doubt that it is influenced by karma or anything else, but is more likely to be a way for the Pattern to mold the world around him.

I suppose that some people might see his generosity as a weakness to be exploited, but I doubt that it will do any serious harm if they do. One reason that he can give away money is because he can always finds a ready source of more, so it is not as if he is going to be robbed blind and left destitute in a ditch.

2) Loial is writing a journal of sorts of his adventures. What do you think he is focusing on?

I would love to read this story from Loial’s perspective: hint, hint Mr Sanderson! :D

Given his character, I imagine that he is trying to be as honest and detailed as possible, relating what he experiences and hears from trusted sources. I would guess that he is a rather careful historian, unlikely to speculate or wander off into flights of fancy. However, I think that he might perhaps censor some of the things that he thinks might offend the Aes Sedai, and Moiraine in particular, and leave out any of the dissent and arguments that he has witnessed.

I would also expect the book to be full of details about the wildlife that he has observed, especially the trees. I can also imagine him paying close attention to the architecture, especially the Ogier-built buildings.

3) At Easing the Badger Inn, Perrin is treated to some bawdy songs, making him blush furiously. Have you ever found yourself in such a situation unexpectedly?

As a Biologist, I am fairly robust when it comes to bawdy songs. However I do have one incident that springs to mind.

I was about 14 years old and in English class. We were taking turns to read sections of a book set in the English countryside and I was doing quite well until I got to the immortal line:

“It’s so cold the tits are falling down in mid-air!” (Note: tits are small birds similar to chickadees).

As you can imagine, I went bright red and fell around laughing at this mental image of ladies’ boobies dropping all over the place, as did the rest of the class. Of course, my teacher was very cross with me and thought I was being childish.

I was scarred for life! :D

4) Illian has issues. Darkfriends, Darkhounds, Grey Men, and a Forsaken. Do you think all that badass evil is there for Perrin or Moiraine, or is there something else about Illian that brings them?

As the group is chasing Rand, I assume that they might be there for him rather than them, but they did seem to target Perrin, so I am not at all sure. I would also assume that all the Forsaken are now aware that Loial is travelling with at least some of the group, and he does stick out quite a bit and is easily identified by anyone who sees him. However, I am not sure that the Darkhounds and Grey Men are necessarily following anyone in particular. Perhaps the Forsaken running Illian uses those particular resources more than the other ones that we have encountered. Maybe it is a sign that the Forsaken are getting bolder in their actions and are less worried about acting covertly because their grip on the various nations are tightening.

Note: It is interesting that the other Ogier had abandoned their repairs and gone home. I assume that they refuse to work for a Forsaken or are uncomfortable about the general air of evil permeating the city.

5) Mat makes it to Caemlyn and proceeds to play delivery boy for Elayne's letter to her mum. As luck would have it, he overhears a plot to take Elayne's head. Whose danger is greater: Morgase's or Elayne's?

That is a difficult call to make. Elayne is the direct target of the plot, but is many miles away, which might make it far more difficult for Comar to fulfill his mission. Also, it seems that Mat is going to try to thwart that plan by travelling to Tear and warning the girls. Meanwhile, Morgase is under Gaebril’s direct influence and is obviously under some very powerful compulsion. As Master Gill explains to Mat, Gaebril cannot assume the throne himself, but he can certainly rule through Morgase and then reduce her exposure to public sight until he can remove her and do whatever he wants in her name. By the time the people begin to wonder where Morgase is, she could be long dead.

6) Egwene, Elayne, and Nynaeve make it safely to shore and nestle down with a Wise Woman called Mother Guenna. What do you think of Nynaeve's caution and Egwene's snippy behavior?

It seems like both women are showing character development. We have spent a lot of time laughing at Nynaeve’s rash behavior and anger, so it is nice to see her becoming a little more calm and calculated in her actions. I thought this sequence was really good fun, and I liked the interaction between the two Wise Women. We know that Nynaeve’s default setting is to not trust anyone, so the testing was a natural thing for her to do, but I was impressed that she was not angered by Mother Guenna testing her back.

I suspect that Egwene’s time with the Seanchan has changed her quite dramatically, but this impatience seems to be more connected to her possible future as Amyrlin. She has spent a long time being cautious and submissive towards Nynaeve and other powerful women, but is now beginning to come out of her shell and try to assume some control over her own life. She is done with being a follower and unconsciously resents Nynaeve for automatically taking the lead in all their dealings. I am not sure if she will ever wrestle control from Nynaeve, but it is going to be interesting to see them struggling for power, although I do feel sorry for Elayne, who is caught in the middle all the time.

Final Thoughts

Last week we were considering Thom and his possible role in the death of the King of Cairhien. Was I the only one to detect more evidence that he could actually be responsible for this crime during the reading this week?

Also, the issue of Rand’s resemblance to Tigraine was mentioned several times this week by several different characters. Somehow, I think we have found the baby-moma, but then how does he fulfill the prophecy about being born of a Maiden of the Spear?

Somehow, I think that we will finally get very complex answers to these issues because nothing in this series is as simple as it seems.


  1. I'm not so worried as Mat being robbed blind, but more worried that someone will use or stage a desperate situation to catch Mat's eye and then use his trust to damage, thwart, or kill him and his friends.

    Somehow I would think that Loial's version of things would be much like Tolkien's Lord of the Rings - told in actions with lots of descriptions of plant life.

    Ah, yes. Feathered tits. The first time I heard this name for the bird was watching Twin Peaks in college (studying biology, but not birds) when 2 of the characters were going tit hunting. This amounted to bird watching with cameras in the middle of winter. I bit their nipples were puckered the entire time. Not that I was watching ;).

    I must be missing this whole Thom is a King Assassin stuff. I even asked my man about it, who has read this book 2-3 times now, and he missed it too. I will endeavor to pay greater attention to the background politics. I wouldn't mind watching Thom do some knife work.

    Yes, I think Rand's parentage will be complicated. And if Min's predictions about his own love life come anywhere near true, he's going to have some complex parenting of any offspring himself.

  2. Rand's family tree could get a little difficult to draw, but I guess that depends on how long he lives and if he manages to impregnate anyone! :)


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