Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Path of Daggers by Robert Jordan: Week 6

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 book.

Good grief, I am so glad that we are going straight on to the next book because this one ends with so many cliffhangers!

1. The Sea Folk have made a Bargain with Rand. Do you agree with him that it is not as restricting as it might seem? Were you impressed with his scheming way of immediately seeing a way to their demands to reduce their impact?

At first glance, it did seem to be highly favorable to the Sea Folk, so I was not surprised that the Sisters were worried about admitting that they had agreed to it. I automatically thought that it would give them almost total control over all the ports and their trade, just like Dobraine does. However, I thought Rand’s solution was rather neat and crafty: fulfilling the letter of the agreement, but not necessarily the intention.

I have to admit that I was very impressed by Rand’s quick thinking here. I am not sure who has been so successful at teaching him to be crafty and picky with the wording of agreements, but they have done a very good job. However, I was rather cross with his attitude towards the Aes Sedai that he left to do the real negotiating: he walked out of the talks, taking his ta’veren effect with him, so he should not be angry that things went much less smoothly afterwards.

2. I honestly thought that Cadsuane had met her end and that Rand was going to burn her into a tiny, crispy pile of ashes. Knowing what we do about her intentions, were you surprised by how she dealt with him? Are you worried about his anger management issues?

After the careful thinking involved in finding a way around the Bargain with the Sea Folk, I was sorely disappointed with his reaction here. Yes, I know that Cadsuane was being deliberately provocative, but his actions seemed to be driven by pure emotion and could have had a very bad outcome. Of course, I did snicker quite a bit as she was totally unruffled by all his bluster and displays of strength. She and Sorilea are wonderful characters and I hope that they survive to entertain us for the entire series.

I honestly think that her approach was fairly successful. It certainly shocked Rand into being polite and more than a little compliant, and it showed a huge strength of character on her part. However, I am not sure that Min, or I, can cope with too many displays like that! :D

3. The Super Girls have a murderer in their midst. This was a total shock to me, but did you see it coming? Do you have any suggestions for the murderer’s identity and the reason behind the deaths?

I was not terribly surprised that Ispan bit the bullet because she could presumably spill a lot of secrets that other Darkfriends, or Black Ajah, would want kept quiet. However, I was totally shocked by Adeleas’ death and I have to admit to tearing up a little when we heard Vandene’s screams of anguish. I have a sneaking suspicion that the murderer will suffer some rather unpleasant revenge from the aged Sister.

As so many of the group come from Ebou Dar, there are many possibilities. I am trying to remember if we have had any indication of Darkfriends amongst the Sea Folk, but they could hardly have had a connection to Ispan and therefore would not fear her revealing them. For a similar reason I doubt that it is any of the Kin that were at the Farm. The use of the herb suggests that it could have been one of the Healers from the Kin that had been in the city and possibly in contact with Ispan. However, I feel that the prime suspects have to be the other Sisters that were in the city. They are most likely to be known to Ispan and threatened by her torture. Other than that, I do not have any particular suspect in mind, mainly because I do not feel as though we have seen much of those Sisters.

4. We witness the rather unpleasant demise of Jaichim Carridin and Falion Bhoda being terrified into submission. Any thoughts on Lady Shiaine and her activities? Is anyone else seriously creeped out by Daved Hanlon and his unpleasant memories?


I have to assume that Shiaine is actually Mili Skane, who we saw working at a similar level in the Darkfriend hierarchy as Carridin in Ebou Dar. However, it would seem that his obsession with Mat and refusal to follow orders has caused him to be demoted rather permanently. In some ways I felt quite sorry for him and the manner of his death, but knowing that he had effectively raped Morgase made me much less sympathetic. The same holds true for Falion: she would administer this punishment to someone else in a heartbeat, so I cannot feel too upset about it.

It would seem that Daved Hanlon is being set on Elayne’s trail, so I guess that we will need to keep an eye out for likely candidates in her associates in the near future. His memories were truly distasteful so I hope that Aviendha or Birgitte, or both, get the chance to kill him slowly very soon.

5. It would seem that there are some rogue Asha’man. I think that Dashiva has always seemed rather ‘off’, but were you surprised that they attacked Rand so openly? Do you think that this will postpone any chance of him ‘visiting’ Elayne in the near future?

We have had so many hints about Dashiva and his strange behavior that I was hardly surprised that he was behind this attack, although I have to say that I was rather startled by its blind ferocity. After all the time on the campaign against the Seanchan, when Rand could quite easily have been removed by a well-placed arrow, it seemed rather foolish to try this form of attack. However, we know that most Darkfriends are somewhat lacking on the ‘sensible planning’ talent. I wonder what precipitated the attack now, although we may never know if Rand did indeed manage to convert them into black smudges on the floor.

I was somewhat surprised that Rand did not simply grab Min and Travel somewhere far away once the dust settled. A trip to see Elayne and Aviendha might be just what he needs after such a traumatic event, especially as his bedroom has been completely destroyed. In fact, I think some well-earned sexytimes might do them all some good, although I am not sure that I want to know too many details of how they manage their strange arrangement.

6. The aftermath of the attack was rather strange and I was seriously disturbed by Rand’s murder of Fedwin Morr. Why did he suddenly have the mind of a child and why did Rand kill him? Did Taim’s appearance make you more or less suspicious of him?

Yet again, I was really shocked by this, which was becoming a bit of a motif in these final chapters! :D

At first I thought that Rand had killed him because he suspected him of treachery, but that makes no sense at all, given that Rand set him to protect Min. I can only assume that the poor lad’s mind had snapped during the event, because there was no mention of him being simple-minded before the attack. This makes much more sense, because then Rand was using the poison to give him an easy death, which he had earned through his loyalty.

By now, I could see treachery in Taim going to the bathroom! He may have been genuinely innocent of this attack, but he could also have been trying to appear innocent, so he has not made me trust him just yet. It seems very likely to me that he sent his men to kill Rand and then showed up to appear all surprised and shocked once he realized that they had failed. I guess that he might prove his loyalty by hunting them down, but somehow I feel as if they will prove elusive. 

7. The last ‘real’ chapter was packed with “Argh!” moments! Do you think that Masema might give himself a coronary if Perrin aggravates him enough? Did Berelain escape to warn Perrin about the Shaido taking Faile? Why on Earth did we have to stop just as the rebels arrived at Tar Valon??????

I honestly thought that Masema was about to have an aneurism or a stroke when he got all worked up at Perrin’s ‘rude’ behavior. As with Taim, I find it difficult to trust him and learning about his dealings with the Seanchan does not improve my opinion of him. I know that these dealings do not automatically make him an enemy of Rand’s, but I fear that he will be reluctant to relinquish his personal power to anyone, even the Dragon Reborn. I suspect that he will prove dangerous to Perrin.

Can someone PLEASE kill Sevanna as soon as possible? She is such a total nuisance and is leading a lot of presumably reasonable Shaido into doing Very Bad Things because of her greed. I suspect that Berelain escaped and will thoroughly irritate Faile by helping to rescue her and the other prisoners. Then, perhaps, Faile can take some knives to Sevanna’s hide and do us all a huge favor! Or Perrin could beat her to a pulp with his hammer, or fists, I really do not care as long as she ends up dead . . . of course, she is probably going to be around for many more books to come just to irritate us . . . boo! :(

NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Mr Jordan: how could you stop your book with the rebels arriving outside the White Tower????? I wanted Elaida’s horrified reaction and realization that her term as Amyrlin is going to end very soon. I imagine that it will be a little like that scene in The Two Towers, where Saruman leads Grima Wormtongue out onto the balcony overlooking his giant army . . . although I doubt that Elaida will shed tears of stunned joy! :D

Other Thoughts

I felt so sorry for the poor souls who read this book when it was published. I know how frustrated I am waiting for Mr Martin’s The Winds of Winter . . . and The Thorn of Emberlain by Scott Lynch . . . and Brandon Sanderson’s next volume in The Stormlight Saga . . .

Oops: I forgot to ask what everyone thought about Dyelin and her claim to be supportive of Elayne’s claim to the throne. I know that we had already discussed her and whether or not she intended to go through with supporting Elayne. She has always struck me as straightforward and honest, and this has not changed now that Elayne has arrived. If she is not a staunch supporter, then she is a very good actress!

I am really looking forward to finding out what Mat has been up to in Ebou Dar with the Seanchan and, hopefully, the Daughter of the Nine Moons. I am also a little worried about Loial and would appreciate an update on his visits to the Stedding.


  1. 1. I would be pissed off too, if I had to spend my last days on Earth dragging around bloody Harine din Togara Two Winds. But I honestly don't recall Rand being much at odds with the Sea Folk so I think he's probably right, this deal won't slow him down much. I had to laugh though… caulking their hulls. :D

    2. I never quite got that vibe. But you're right, Cadsuane sure is badass. I hope Rand will eat his words eventually and come around because she is smart and resourceful, if perhaps a touch cynical. And yes, I'm worried about Rand's temper. Sooner or later he will do something he'll regret.

    3. Having read it before I saw it coming :). But I know what you mean… no I didn't. Very likely the murderer was concerned that Ispan would reveal something critical (the identity of the agent perhaps), and decided to snuff her out. That makes it likely the murderer is a darkfriend, and probably (although not necessarily) one of the Aes Sedai: Merilille, Vandene (that would be a shocker), Careane or Sareitha. We'll find out eventually so do keep it in mind.

    4. In case it wasn't clear, Lady Shiaine is Mili Skane, the same darkfriend we met in Ebou Dar under Carridin's command. She also tried to assassinate Rand and Mat on the road back in book one. I guess Carridin finally fell from grace… and Shiaine is supposed to be one of those rare capable evil people. She's pretty bad news, and that's not to mention Daved Hanlon, who was one of Rahvin's henchmen when he held Caemlyn. As far as non-channeling darkfriends go, you won't find many others worse than these two.

    And is it just me or do darkfriends spend an inordinate amount of effort intimidating and punishing their own ranks rather than actually… you know… getting stuff done?

    5. Yes, Dashiva has always seemed off, not without reason! I'm not quite sure why they decided to attack right now, because I believe it's still (for a little while longer) the DO's policy that he doesn't want Rand dead. At least not yet. And I assume that the Asha'man are darkfriends and not just crazy…

    It's interesting to compare this chapter with the beginning of book seven: Taim suggests Rand keep a full Asha'man with him and suggests Torval or Rochaid. Rand picks Dashiva instead, which surprises Taim. When leaving Dumai's Wells, Taim specifically (by name) calls for Torval, Rochaid, Gedwyn and Kisman to accompany him! Those are exactly the same people that Taim reports as deserters at the end of book eight. Coincidence? Not bloody likely… And what's with Dashiva? Why was he not suggested by Taim, why did Rand's choice surprise him and why was he not reported as a deserter? He doesn't fit the pattern! Hnnnggg…

    6. I thought that was pretty clear. Fedwin Morr went insane from the taint. Min can count her blessings that he didn't lose his mind in a more violent manner.

    As for Taim, combined with what I mentioned above, definitely more suspicious.

    7. Time will show whether Masema turns out a friend or a foe, though I'm not holding my breath on the friend bit. We will return to Perrin and Faile in short order so you will see what exactly happened there. And as for Egwene, yesh! Would you believe it if I told you her storyline is absent from Winter's Heart? At least this is the last time one of the main characters take a break in this way, and on the upside, we'll be getting Mat back very soon.

    Other: Verin compels Beldeine, and then a book later she and four others swear to Rand? Also a coincidence? Methinks not!

    1. Haha! Yeah, it does seem that the darkfriends, even the Forsaken, and the mystery baddies like Moridin and the talking, joking Myrrdraal, seem to spend much of their time disciplining, competing with, or offing each other. Don't they have a list of tasks they need to complete before the end of the world? ;)

      Hmmm....Well, now there is a list of Asha'men to keep an eye out for, as I don't think they are all captured or killed at this point.

      Verin, Verin....what are you up to? Helping Rand build an army, or planting spies close to Rand? And spying for what reason?

  2. I too did not suspect the farm Kin or the Sea Folk of Ispan's murder. Though I do like your idea that perhaps a city Kin with Healer's knowledge may have had a hand in it. Thinking on it more now, do we have one murderer with herbal knowledge, patience, and a vicious streak? Or do we have 2 murderers - one the poisoner who spiked the tea.....and a second who came in later and stabbed the bodies?

    haha! Yes, why doesn't Rand take a little sexytimes vacation? And, yes, I do want details, because they are bound to be hilarious.

    Ah yes, it will be amusing to see who ends up rescuing Faile and how. And if anyone is in trouble afterwards for doing so. :)

    While I expect Dyelin to support Elayne, especially for as long as she has Rand's support and his might, I expect Rand and Elayne to get into a little bit of an argument over the throne. Elayne says it is hers by right, and that it can not be given to her. cough, cough.....Yet Rand has been the one keeping it safe and sound while she was off doing highwire acts and searching out windy bowls. If Elayne is to be a good ruler, she will need to recognize that there would not be a throne for her to place her pretty bum on had Rand not secured it for her.


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