Sunday, December 1, 2013

Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan: Week 7

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 38.

1) Morgase is summoned to the Lord Captain Commander hours before attempting to flee. What did you think of her summoner, the 'short way' past the scaffold, and her signing the treaty?

What a cheery chap! The type of ignorant bigotry that he displays is the main reason that I have so little time for the Children. I do not think that we have met a single one of them that displays any form of mercy or forgiveness, which I would hope form the basis of the Light’s teachings. They seem to reflect Mr Jordan’s deep suspicion of organized religions and how they often become a home for the self-righteous.

For once, it seemed that coincidence worked against our characters. The men organizing the escape were rounded up at random and hung as Darkfriends on spurious evidence. I am quite sure that the demonstration was meant to unsettle Morgase, but was much more effective than they could ever have imagined. Although I had hoped that she could avoid signing the treaty, it appeared to be the wisest choice at that moment and so I cannot fault her for trying to protect her people. I just wish that she had not decided to go to Niall in the first place. Poor woman, I have no idea how she will ever get out of this mess.

2) Egwene attempted to board a Seafolk vessel, and got a dunking for her efforts. What did you make of the Seafolks taunt, 'Tell the other, disguises do not fool us. You do not frighten us. You are all refused the gift of passage.'? Did you like Egwene's reaction?

I have to assume that the Aes Sedai in the envoy from the Tower had already approached the Seafolk and tried to boss them about. The Windfinder could no doubt feel Egwene’s ability to channel, so they assume that she is a Sister in disguise. I can also assume that the Tower Sisters were stunningly rude and confrontational in their dealing with the Seafolk because that is how they seem to deal with everyone.

I was impressed by Egwene’s strength and skill, but this was ultimately a real dumb move on her part. Any of the Sisters looking in her direction would have seen her massive use of Power, which could have been very dangerous for her.

3) 'Only you know the worth of your honor.' Egwene finally confessed to the Wise Ones and met her toh. Do you feel the method of meeting toh was satisfactory? Do you think it was too harsh, or too light?

In a strange way I actually think that it is quite a good way of dealing with deceit. Everyone gets to work out their anger about the deed and then it is over with and forgotten: everything goes back to normal and relationships continue as if nothing had happened. In many ways this seems much better than apologizing and then agonizing over what everybody thinks about you now that the truth has been revealed. It makes sense in a society where survival is so difficult that any group should be able to trust each other totally at all times: this allows them to deal with problems and then move on.

Judging the necessary severity of it is the difficult part. The Aiel expect the person receiving the punishment to be the judge of the depth of their debt, which seems to work quite well, because most people judge themselves much more harshly than others do.

4) Egwene did a tricky and apparently dangerous thing traveling through Tel'aran'rhiod. Was Egwene reckless? Showing off? Just eager to have it over with? Do you think there will be any ill affects from that trip?

It did not seem overly reckless to me because she knew that there were dangers and was cautious about choosing this way to travel. However, if she had tried to make the journey in the real world she would have been much more likely to have come across brigands or other dangers, so it was probably a relatively safe alternative. I cannot see how there would be ill effects from travelling this way, but I would assume that repeated visits in the flesh could make you complacent which could be extremely dangerous.

On a side note, I loved the idea of good old Bella racing across the world like some kind of Superhorse! Go, Bella!

5) Egwene is made Amyrlin, and one of her first questions is what would have happened if not everyone had consented. Exile is the answer. Care to speculate on when was the last time some Amyrlin candidate was exiled and what were the consequences?

I do not think that we have heard of this happening before, but that does not mean that it has never occurred: I would not be surprised to find that it happens regularly but the Tower does not let it become public knowledge. If it has happened in the past I would bet on a Red-Blue clash because these two Ajahs really, truly hate each other.

Side note: the need to prove that all the people present are female reminds of the legend of Pope Joan, a woman who was raised to the papacy and then gave birth during a procession. This gave rise to the belief that part of the ceremony around the raising of a new pope required the candidate to sit on a throne with a hole in the seat so that someone could confirm that he was indeed male!

6) Nynaeve and Elayne are raised to the shawl and reunited with Egwene, and promptly spill their guts about nearly everything - such as the ter’angreal bowl and Moghedien. Do you foresee tension between the ladies as each knows what's best?

I am not sure how much tension there will be. I would expect them to have the usual disagreements that friends have, just as we have seen between Elayne and Nynaeve. However, I know that they will all appreciate a slightly larger group of trusted friends to provide them with advice and sensible suggestions. The biggest problem that they will have is in keeping their relationships professional in public: it will be vital that Egwene does not show favoritism. I am fairly certain that Elayne will be able to understand this and talk Nynaeve around eventually.

7) Not all is roses & tea in Salidar. We have two Sitter Factions - Lelaine and Romanda, with Delana playing both for one goal - sever or kill Logain. What complications do you see coming out of this little knotted mess?

I have always thought that being Amyrlin must be like trying to herd very annoying and stubborn cats, so I do not envy Egwene at all. At the moment she has the advantage of several trusted supporters to help her in her maneuvering, but I am not sure how long that will work before Lelaine and Romanda become suspicious.

As for Logain, I really hope that Egwene sends him off to the farm as soon as possible. Until he leaves Salidar he will continue to be a focus of dispute and so getting rid of him will be a great relief to all involved. I still firmly believe that Min’s viewing suggests that he will be important to Rand, so I want to see him off and training straight away.

8) Ah, Mat, ever the source of amusement! Mat leads the Band to Salidar, where he meets with the Amyrlin. Were you amused? Also, on the ride to Salidar, Aviendha accompanies him, along with Olver. Do you think Olver will ever come to accept the Aiel?

I loved the scene with Mat mouthing off at the girls because he thinks they are messing about in the Amyrlin’s study. So patronizing, but it was funny to watch them keep digging that every deepening hole!

I am really looking forward to Aviendha and Elayne sorting themselves out, although I am not so sure that Rand will be happy with the results. I hope that Olver can finally come to realize that not Aiel are the same. So far, the poor kid has not had much interaction with them, and we know that Mat tries to avoid them most of the time, so perhaps a little time with Aviendha will show that some of them are all warm and fuzzy . . . or perhaps not! :D


  1. Ah, that is so true. I had not thought about Egwene's channeling in regards to the Seafolk also acting like a beacon for any Aes Sedai in the area paying attention. I was merely thinking of how the Seafolk would take her dunking of them.

    And yes, I agree that Egwene would judge herself more harshly than any other person, so the punishment fit her own needs as much as anyone else's.

    It was good to have a Bella appearance, even a small one. Hooray! And I could totally relate to riding a plodding, steady mare. We have 2 mammoth donkeys and I imagine riding Bella would be much like riding one of them.

    That's an interesting story about Pope Joan and it does make me wonder if Robert Jordan had his all female ceremony with the male Pope seat ceremony in mind.

    1. I still giggle every time I think of Siuan's opinion of Bella as a vicious, biting beast! :D


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