Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan: Week 8

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 Musings on Fantasia.

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

1. Perrin believes Verin and possibly Alanna are trying to use and/or manipulate him in some way. What do you think their agenda is?

We have seen much more of Verin so I feel a little more confident in saying that I think that she has a similar agenda to that of Moiraine and Siuan Sanche. However, I might be entirely wrong and she is actually much more interested in just writing a good history book about ta’veren!

At times I think that Alanna is more interested in Perrin’s excellent physique than in his role in history, but that does not mean that she has an agenda that will do any harm to him or the ultimate fight against the Dark One. We have not really seen a great deal of her so I find it hard to judge how trustworthy she is, but she has lost a warder tot he Whitecloaks and has certainly stuck around to help out, so I am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt at the moment.

2. Aram, a tinker, takes up a sword. Do you think this is a good thing or a bad thing? How do you feel about Aram's reasons?

I cannot judge this as either good or bad because it all comes down to his personal decision about how to react to the deaths of his friends and family. His reasons seem entirely understandable to me, as I would also want to exact revenge from the monsters that killed, and probably ate, my mother.

Of course, I can also understand Ila’s distraught reaction to his choice, especially as he takes up a sword, the most hated weapon to those who subscribe to the Way of the Leaf. I find it fascinating that we are seeing exactly the same splintering in the modern Tuatha’an as occurred in the distant history of the Aiel. This emphasizes the unbalanced, impractical nature of their way of life and suggests that they have probably been losing people in the same way throughout their long history.

3. Perrin agrees to let the Whitecloaks into Emmond's Field if they will put off arresting him until after the Trolloc threat is neutralized. Do you think this was a wise decision? How do you predict it will all turn out?

I was surprised by this decision, but, as Bornhald seemed to be almost frothing at the mouth, the chances of avoiding a bloodbath were remarkably slim. This allows Perrin some time to work on Dain, but I seriously doubt that the Commander will ever see the reality of his father’s death. Perhaps, if he can lay off the booze for a bit, he might be able to see Perrin as a useful ally against the Shadowspawn, but I am not holding my breath. The absence of Fain was a surprise, but a fortunate one, because I cannot imagine that Perrin would have allowed HIM into the village.

As for my prediction of future events: I suppose that the best that we can hope for is that a mass of Trollocs attack and kill all the Whitecloaks. I sincerely doubt that there will be any useful cooperation between the self-righteous and those they consider to be beneath them, even if they are attacked by Shadowspawn. Somehow, I suspect that the Two Rivers folk are more likely to protect the Whitecloaks than vice versa.

I was very intrigued by Lord Luc’s intense interest in Fain and his whereabouts. Could it be that he is a Darkfriend trying to destroy Fain as a secondary objective to his harassment of the Two Rivers? I think we all agreed last week that we did not trust the man, but I now trust him far, far less than I did, which seems almost impossible. When the villagers were showing him all their defenses I really wanted to shout at them to stop it because I was so sure that he was there to scout out how they had coped with the Trolloc attack, which he had sent against them.

Also, did anyone else notice Luc’s comment about the unfairness of only Queen’s being allowed to hold a throne? This seems to be a major hint that he is indeed Tigraine’s brother.

4. A woman who favors doing evil from behind the scenes "like a spider" visits Nynaeve and Elayne and compels them, first to tell her everything they've done and are doing in Tanchico, and then to forget they told it to her. Who do you think she is? What is her agenda? Will our girls ever remember what happened?

That was seriously scary because it was so unexpected and so very, very successful. It is at times like this that I wonder about the wisdom of these inexperienced girls running around in the big, bad world trying to deal with people who are so much more powerful or more proficient with the One Power. When will they ever learn and will they live that long?

She must be one of the Forsaken, but she is definitely not Lanfear because she is far more subtle and intelligent than our favorite Lady Forsaken. She also displays an amazing talent for Compulsion that makes Liandrin look like a small child torturing flies. If Lanfear could exert that kind of control we would have seen her use it already. She is certainly very powerful, much more than the Black Ajah, because she detects Elayne’s channeling from a distance and is then able to track them down after that. I am not sure if we have had the names of any other female Forsaken yet, so I cannot suggest a possible name for her. From the very brief description, I wondered if she was the maid that we noticed last week spying on Liandrin and her crew as that would seem an ideal situation to use to gather information on them and yet stay just out of sight. Whatever her name, I assume that her agenda is total world domination as the final remaining supporter of the Dark One: something that she has in common with all the Forsaken we have met so far.

I am not sure if they will be able to break the Compulsion that she has placed upon them, but I have to assume that they will eventually realize that something has happened to them. I wonder of Compulsion is affiliated with Healing, in which case we can expect Nynaeve to be most likely to detect and reverse its effects because she is such a powerful Healer herself.

Is it too much to hope that this new Forsaken Compels Liandrin to become a nice person? :D

5. Siuan Sanche is deposed and the White Tower is broken. Siuan and Leane vow revenge on Elaida. Will they be able to see that vow through? What kind of Amyrlin do you think Elaida will prove to be?

I really do hope so, because I believe that Siuan is quite correct in her assessment of Elaida’s motivation. The coup is much more about Elaida’s belief in her own superiority than in any concern about how the White Tower has been governed or about Siuan’s policies. I imagine that it is going to be a long road, but if anyone can hold onto their anger and need for revenge long enough, it is surely Siuan Sanche.

Elaida will be a totally useless Amyrlin and help the Dark One a great deal by reducing the Tower’s power. We have already seen her chose to kill many Blue and Green sisters without even asking if they will support her. I suspect that she will be an easy target for ambitious sisters who are happy to feed her vanity in order to progress themselves, so I expect that most of those remaining are Black Ajah or those of doubtful morals.

I predict that she will have a short and ultimately disastrous reign as Amyrlin.

6. Gawyn Trakand killed at least two prominent warders who were once his friends and mentors because they were trying to free Siuan. Then, even knowing who she really is, helps her, Leane, and Min escape. Where do you think his true loyalties lie? What do you think of the reasons he gives for his actions? 

I can only assume that he will always automatically try to follow what appears to be the lawful route. When the Warders try to free Siuan he sees them acting against the direct orders of the lawfully elected Amyrlin and so fights to stop them. As a good soldier he has been trained to follow orders and not really question them, which also fits with the role as Warder / protector for his sister that he has been taught ever since she was born. He has been psychologically programmed to do what he is told, and so we see him confused and disturbed when he is confronted with a situation that makes him question whose orders are right.

His true loyalties will always lie with Elayne and the Lion Throne, but they will also be heavily influenced by people that he knows and trusts, such as Egwene and Min. His decision to allow Siuan and Lean to escape is probably heavily influenced by his knowledge of their Stilling: they are no longer Aes Sedai in his mind and are simply two powerless women who will be mistreated if they stay in Tar Valon. He shows them a brief kindness by letting them escape but probably does not see that his actions could have any negative repercussions for the new Amyrlin.

7. On the road, the three women run into Logain, who is trying to flee Tar Valon and Siuan asks for his help. What kind of dynamic do you think this relationship will yield? We know many Aes Sedai who opposed Elaida have fled the tower. Where do you think they've gone and will Siuan be able to find and/or rally them?

This was totally unexpected and yet very intriguing. Now that Siuan and Leane have been Stilled, they have much more in common with Logain than they could ever have imagined. Siuan has always shown herself to be a very perceptive and self-controlled person, so I see that continuing in her reaching out to this young man. I doubt that she has any real idea what use he might be for them, but she recognizes that he has as much reason to hate the new regime as they do and so they can trust him. I imagine that she expects to continue bossing everyone about, so that might not go down too well with Logain, or any of her other companions, but it will be amusing to see how it develops.

I would assume that the fleeing Aes Sedai have scattered in many directions. There must also be many of them all over the world who were not in the Tower at the time of the coup, so I doubt that they will all head to one particular location. I doubt that Siuan will be able to do anything directly to draw them all together as she now has no status and will probably be avoided by any other Sister because she has been Stilled. However, after a few pithy observations about catching fish or juggling eels, she will be content to act as a very important advisor to someone who is still Aes Sedai and who will act as a focus for the opposition to Elaida’s White Tower. I am not sure who that woman will be, but I hope that she is strong-willed enough to withstand the force of Siuan’s personality.

Other Thoughts:

I am really worried that we have not heard about Loial and Gaul. I assume that they have survived and hope that they have somehow closed the Waygate permanently. I want to see my favorite Ogier back in a safe position ASAP!

I was really surprised by Egeanin’s decision to save Elayne and Nynaeve from her hired thugs. I am still not sure why she did it, but she now finds herself in a terrible situation. She has been thoroughly shaken by actually meeting a pair of Aes Sedai: I guess it would be a little like meeting Hitler and finding him surprisingly charming. I suspect that she will have to make a very difficult decision in the future between following her orders and doing what she thinks is right.

I am even more convinced that Keille in Lanfear. Rand describes her as moving surprisingly lightly on her feet for a woman so large . . . plus she really, REALLY hates Isendre flirting with ‘her’ man! :D


  1. You make some great, perceptive points here. I especially like your observations about Gawyn. I think you're right that his training has a lot to do with his decisions. What you said about his perceptions of what's lawfully right made me think about Galad, who always does what's right to a fault. Gawyn idolizes his half brother, and that negative influence probably has a lot of bearing on his reaction to this situation. Great answers!

    1. I can only imagine how soul-destroying it is to have an older brother like Galad . . . poor Gawyn!

  2. I have to wonder if and how Alanna will force Perrin into being her Warder. Perhaps she will offer him some impossible choice - like healing Faile if he agrees to service her Aes Sedai needs. Will be interesting to find out.

    Lord Luc as Tigraine's brother...hmmm.... I need a genealogical map. I've lost track of some of the family ties.

    I'd like the Compulsion powered Forsaken Lady to break Nynaeve of the habit of tugging her braid as it is such a silly habit and there is far too much braid tugging by the owner of the braid.

    I really do feel for Gawyn. I think you are right about his psychological programming. Poor dude. It must have really been a stress on his psyche to let the ladies go. Time will tell how adaptable he is.

    I would pay to see Siuan juggle eels.

    Yes,I had to chuckle a little at Egeanin. Women who channel are not the evil-destined-to-be-slave women that she has been taught all her life. Obviously, she must reassess the situation, but the hierarchical nature of the Seanchan doens't really allow for that on this scale.


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