Sunday, May 11, 2014

Winter’s Heart 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 Chapter 29

1) Cadsuane has come home. What do you think it was like for her growing up in Far Madding and finding out she can channel? What did you think of the Counsel's reception of her?

I imagine that it is much like the Aes Sedai who come from Tear: channeling is so hated that it must be very difficult to discover that you can do it. However, I find it hard to imagine anything that could shake Cadsuane’s self-confidence, so I am sure that she took it in her stride. Of course, she might have been all sweetness and light when she was a young girl and had to struggle with this revelation . . . but I doubt it! :D

I suspect that the Counsel has encountered her quite a lot in the past and so have developed a deep respect, and fear, for her. This seems more likely because that is the effect that she has on everyone she meets. I would also expect her to be a local legend, especially given her immense age, so the Counsel would have grown up hearing stories about this indomitable woman.

2) Alanna and Rand have a little heart to heart. Has your opinion of her changed? What do you think of Rand's reaction to her and the orders he issues to her?

I find it difficult to like Alanna because of how she Bonded Rand without his consent. I found this section rather confusing: was her joy due to ‘normal’ feelings for a Warder, or is she in love with Rand? I do hope that it is the former, because the poor guy does not need any more love interests!

I am still rather surprised that Rand has not burnt her to a crisp, or at least asked her to severe their Bond. In short, I think that she is very lucky that he speaks to her at all and that he is remarkably civil when he does.

3) Egwene and Elayne meet in Tel'aran'rhiod in Emond's Field. What do you think of Egwene's concerns of going home, whenever she does get around to that? Do you think Elayne's concerns about the possible threat to Andor from Emond's Field is well founded?

Being back in the UK after four years away, I can identify quite closely with Egwene’s shock at how things change. I am quite sure that if I went back to my home town the differences would be even more affecting. Egwene has matured very dramatically since she left Emond’s Field, so it would be very difficult for her friends and family to accept her in such a powerful role. The last time they saw her she had only just been allowed to wear her braid, so it would be almost impossible for them to accept her current position. However, I think the problem might be much more in her mind rather than those.

I seriously doubt that Emond’s Field regards himself as a part of Andor. However, I cannot see why it would threaten Andor’s safety: it is much more likely that it would be a staunch supporter of Elayne because she is an ally of Rand and Perrin.

4) Elayne decides to rush off to meet the Borderlanders. Mellar stays behind to 'see to his duties'. What do you think he is really up to? Do you think Elayne's suggestion to the Borderlanders to go south is wise or merely selfish?

I took this to mean that Mellar needed to report to Lady Shiane. I presume that all this information about the Borderlanders was news to him and he would be expected to pass it along as soon as possible.

Although I can understand Elayne’s reason for the deception, but I cannot help being disappointed that she has purposely sent them in the wrong direction. Rand still needs as many allies as he can get, and her actions are not going to help him at all.

5) Noal and Mat have an interesting conversation, mostly abut the gholam. Is Mat under utilizing Noal? Has the gholam met his match in an old man?

I am totally convinced that Noal is much more than he seems: he is certainly much more pragmatic about the gholam than any normal, sensible person. Mat seems to find this rather suspicious, which is perfectly understandable, but I am not inclined to think of Noal as a threat of any type. I wish that Mat would trust him more, although I am not sure how much more help he can be compared to any other of the Band.

Erm . . .no. So far, we have seen only one thing that has any effect on the gholam, and that is Mat’s medallion. From the gholam’s response to it, I would place a rather large bet that the medallion is the only thing that it has ever encountered that can hurt it. This makes me think that Noal is highly unlikely to have anything that could actually help in a fight against it, apart from a level head.

6) Beslan seems married to the idea of rebellion. Who else will side with Beslan? Will the possible rebellion mess up Mat's plans for escape?

I am not sure quite what Beslan thinks about Mat’s decision to leave, which means I do not really trust his intentions in this situation. I suspect that he is so eager to raise a rebellion because he is a very young man with a very low sense of personal danger and a need for excitement. I can certainly see his actions causing problems for Mat, as an insurrection would pull all the Seanchan out onto the streets. As for his supporters, I am not sure that the average man in the street will actually want to get rid of the invaders. It seems like the Seanchan have stimulated trade and increased security, so most folks will be quite happy to see them stay.

7) Bayle Domon enters the scene and whisks Mat away to meet with Egeanin. Is this going to work or will we see a slaughter? What do you think Bayle had to do in private to convince Egeanin to go along with this?

I certainly do not think that the addition of Domon and Egeanin will reduce Mat’s chance of being successful. Both of them are very talented and resourceful people, and they have a very good reason to do everything that they can to make this attempt work.

I suspect that Domon had to flex his muscles and use all his best moves in bed to persuade Egeanin to listen to his advice. I am sure that it was very R rated! :D


  1. Yeah, it is interesting that Rand didn't ask Alanna to sever the bond. You'd think that would be the fist thing he'd do when he was forced into the same room with her. Either he's just trying to remain unpredictable or--more likely--he just wants to get as much use out of her as possible. Noal = definitely more than he seems to be. :D

  2. I like the idea of the Counsel growing up hearing scarey bed time stories about Cadsuane!

    I agree with you about Emond's Field - hasn't thought of itself as part of Andor in generations, if ever, and the people would support Elayne because she is allied with Perrin and Rand.

    Good point about the Seanchan having a positive influence on the city. They came in, neutralized the resistance, but didn't destroy the infrastructure nor slaughter the masses. Instead, trade continued, and increased, and there is more law and order on the streets, at all hours, than there was before. So you might very well be right that the average person doesn't really want the Seanchan removed. At least, not in some bloody, death-filled way.

    Haha! I agree with you about Bayle and his persuasive moves.


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