Monday, August 18, 2014

Knife of Dreams by Robert Jordan: 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 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 23.

1. Our favorite Ogier bachelor is finally married.  Any wise words for the newlyweds?  The Ogier are torn on whether to leave this world or help humanity out.  Do you think Loial will be able to sway them?

I guess my wisest words are: “Find a really strong bed!” :D

In some ways I was a little disappointed by the speed of this wedding, but I can also appreciate the no-nonsense attitude to simply getting things done. It would have been so much easier to take this route when I married my hubby! I am not sure that Covril will find it easy to stop bullying poor Loial, but I am certain that Erith is firmly in control now. Of course, that may not give Loial much more freedom, but I guess that Erith might be slightly more open to persuasion, especially from her new husband.

I am still coming to terms with the idea that the Ogier are not originally from this world. This throws up so many questions about their origins, but I seriously doubt that we will never learn many details and they will remain as mysterious as the Aelfinn and Eelfinn. It makes me wonder how their departure would affect the Longing: will there be steddings in their new location or will they need to keep hopping to new worlds in the hope of finding one that is suitable? Also, will the move take all the Ogier, including those who live within Seanchan society, or does the book open a portal of some kind? Argghhhh!!!!!

I sincerely hope that the Ogier will stay and fight because they will be a very effective ally against the Shadow. However, I would hate to think that they would all be wiped out because they chose not to leave: I am actually quite eager to see baby Loials running around, much more so than baby Rands! :D

2. It's been a while since the last surprise trolloc attack.  Who could have been behind this one?  Why now, and why so incredibly many?  Lews Therin took control of Rand's channeling.  Will we see that again, and what kind of consequences might it have?

A much more suspicious person might see Verin’s disappearance at about the same time as a huge clue to the identity of the attacker. However, Verin continues to be a help to Rand and has not yet done anything to hurt him, as far as I can remember. This makes me very reluctant to think that she might be behind the attack. However, she does warn Rand not to trust any Sister apart from Cadsuane, which seems like a rather large hint that a Black Sister could be behind the attack. We already know that Elza is not to be trusted, so perhaps she is the culprit. However, I am not sure what she would gain from the attack, nor how she could have organized it whilst remaining glued to Rand’s side. This leaves us with the usual option in these cases: one of the Forsaken. It seems unlikely to be Moridin, who wants Rand alive for some reason, but there are still plenty of other options.

In this case, Lews Therin was actually very useful in killing Trollocs and teaching everyone some interesting new ways to wage war. His weaves may leave a bit of a mess, but they certainly seem to be effective at mowing down the enemy. However, I can see how Rand might be more than a little wary of letting Lews Therin take control: next time it could be Aes Sedai, Asha’man or anyone else in the way that get ripped into tiny, bloody pieces. I definitely feel that Rand needs to do something about Lews Therin, but I have no idea what that should be. The ideal situation would be for him to come to some sort of understanding with the man so that they can share his body in some way. We have seen Mat integrate his ancient memories relatively successfully, so I hope that Rand can do something similar. 

3. Lan departs to fight his own war, but Nynaeve won't let him do it alone.  Any thoughts on the actions of either?  Any chills during the scene in the inn?

Oh, Lan, are you off to renew ‘The Blade That Was Broken’? Sometimes Lan’s similarity to Aragorn is a little too obvious, I think, although Arwen is NOTHING like Nynaeve! :D

As with Aragorn, it has always seemed very important that Lan is the last King of a dead kingdom that holds a massively important geographical position in the defense against the Shadow. Whilst it would be very cozy to see him follow Nynaeve around for the rest of the series, we now see him striking out on his own to reclaim his birthright and, no doubt, save the world by being terribly heroic and noble. That seems fitting and appropriate for a man of his talents, so I can hardly say that he should not do it.

As for Nynaeve: she has learnt a great deal about being Aes Sedai in the last few months: she does exactly as he asks, but in her own way. However, her intervention will give the other Malkieri time to gather an army to join him, which makes it much more likely that he will not face hundreds of thousands of Shadowspawn all by himself. It was a crafty move, but showed great wisdom and forethought from Nynaeve.

4. Rand again works his ta'veren magic and the rebellion in Tear is no more.  Darlin, who was a rebel not four books ago, is king.  Do you think he has sufficiently demonstrated his loyalty, or are you worried?  Rand is focusing on Arad Doman.  What do you think his plan there is?

I think that both Darlin and Caraline Damodred are trustworthy and proved their loyalty during the attack by Padan Fain on the rebel camp. I can understand why some nobles would be unhappy at some nobody from nowhere showing up and claiming to be the Dragon Reborn whilst conquering their nation. After meeting Rand in the flesh, they seem to have been persuaded that he is the real deal and are now willing to do what is best for the good of the rest of their people. If only more of the nobility could behave so sensibly in this world!

We know that Arad Doman is a huge mess at the moment, with multiple factions fighting against one another and starvation adding to the mix. I guess that Rand will try to unite the area to prevent further needless deaths and provide yet another ally for the Last Battle. I am not sure how he intends to do that, but we know that he has deployed Asha’man all over the region, so perhaps he intends to produce a massive show of force in order to scare everyone sensible.

5. The Sea Folk have chosen a new Mistress of the Ships and are being conscripted for the Arad Doman plan.  Meanwhile, a whole race of islanders commit suicide!  Where on Earth did that come from? Will it have any impact at all or is it just one of those... things?

We know that they lived on the island of Tremalking. The only other thing that I know about the island is that it was the site of the giant female statue that Nynaeve tapped into whilst she and Rand cleansed saidin. Given that she drew incredible amounts of Power through it, perhaps it glowed brightly or something and the locals took it to be a signal for the end of the world or something similar. Otherwise I have no idea at all.

As I am not sure what role the Amayar played in even Sea Folk life, I have no idea what effect their mass suicide will have. It certainly seems very tragic, but it may have no direct effect at all unless they were highly significant in some way that the Sea Folk keep secret.

6. An important sitting is called and the rebel Aes Sedai finally learn some important news (Saidin is clean, and they've been harboring a Saidin-channeling female forsaken for six books).  Are you happy that Halima was rooted out?  Sad that they weren't caught?  Will they rethink their Asha'man policy now?

I was expecting a little more vomiting from the Sisters at the news that a Forsaken had been living amongst them and wielding saidin at will.

How can anyone NOT be happy that Halima is finally revealed? Hopefully she and her slutty dresses will be hunted down and Egwene can balefire her into a teeny, tiny pile of ashes for all those intimate massages that gave me the creeps! I suppose that it was lucky that nobody tried to stop them leaving because Halima would have cheerfully zapped as many people as necessary to make her escape. At least now they can attack her in the full knowledge of her ability to wield saidin and take along a bunch of Asha’man to deal with her.

As for the policy of Bonding Asha’man: I would hope that this would encourage the Aes Sedai to be a little more pragmatic and practical. However, we know that the Sisters are as stubborn as mules and as easily led as an entire herd of cats, so I doubt that we will see much change there. It would be so much easier if the Bonding was more equal and did not confer a master-servant relationship. Then perhaps more on both sides would be willing to make the connection.

1 comment:

  1. I thoroughly concur on your advice to the newly married Ogier!

    Maybe that is the thing Cadsuane has to teach Rand - integrating Lews Therin peacefully into his mind - so that Rand doesn't go insane from Therin's ramblings and occasional crude remarks about Rand's few friends.

    While this series digressed from Tolkien a while back, we still has Lan/Aragorn. The similarities are too glaringly bright to ignore. But by now I am invested in Lan's character and want him to succeed, so I don't mind too much.

    I bet you are right about the glowing statue on Tremalking and the mass suicide.


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