Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan: Week 3

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 21.

1) We get a little more quality time with Semirhage. Cadsuane seems to have come up with a way to get under her skin. Do you think it will be enough to get answers from Semirhage? Cadsuane believes it is important to keep Semirhage alive in order to learn useful weaves from her. Do you agree with this logic? Or are you all for killing her?

I was sure that Sorilea would simply fix the Forsaken with her beady old eyes and we would see Semirhage soil herself, so I was a little disappointed with this solution. It seems to work, which is a massive improvement over everything else that they have tried, but I am not yet convinced that it will allow them to extract information from her. We saw Moghedien broken and thoroughly defeated, and yet she only gave away drips of knowledge rather than spewing out everything that she knew. I expect Semirhage to be much more tough to crack, so they could be trying to get anything useful for a very, very long time.

There is some logic in trying to get information from one of the Forsaken, but I am not at all sure that they truly appreciate the risk of trying to hold Semirhage indefinitely. As we saw with Moghedien, she will do everything in her considerable power to escape, and there are allies that might decide to help her (Shaidar Haran springs to mind). Personally I would balefire her as soon as possible, but that would be a whole lot less fun than having her escape and then try to get revenge for her humiliation.

2) Moridin and Rand have a heart to heart. Rand seems to understand the two of them are connected somehow. Do you think he will make use of this information? Upon waking from this chat, Rand confesses to Min about Lews Therin. Will Min tell others as she told others about Rand's time in the box? And would that be a good or bad thing?

I doubt that Rand can use the connection for spying purposes, because it would risk revealing his own actions to Moridin, which is a shame. Other than preventing further injury until Moridin can work out how to kill Rand without dying himself, there seems to be few advantages in this link.

I suspect that Min will end up telling some people, most likely Cadsuane or her sister-wives. However, it is not made clear that she believes that he actually has Lews Therin inside his head. Perhaps she thinks that he is merely hearing voices and will, therefore, keep this information to herself. The possible implications of her sharing her knowledge will depend a great deal on what exactly she shares and with whom, so it is difficult to make a prediction at this point.

3) Egwene matches wits with three White Sisters (Ferane, Miyasi, & Tesan). And then she is forced to match wits with Elaida in front of the Sitters. Will there be harsh punishment for Egwene, beyond the beating Elaida gave her? How will the Sitters react to this? Or will we still have to wait for the Seanchan to invade before the Aes Sedai get their act together?

I seriously doubt that anyone, apart from Elaida, will see Egwene as deserving punishment for this confrontation. It was very clear from their reactions that the Sitters were horrified by Elaida’s attack on a supposed novice. This is a clear violation of the Third Oath and can only be excused by Elaida’s assertion that Egwene is a Darkfriend. Even so, she has clearly lost any power she had to influence the Sitters: they are actively speaking out in support of Egwene in the run up to the attack. The only thing that will save Elaida from a public removal from office is the Hall’s desire to avoid the disaster of removing a second Amyrlin in such a short space of time.

I suspect that the Hall will be unwilling to remove Elaida, but her power is now truly broken. However, I suspect that the Seanchan attack will provide the Sitters with the excuse that they need to replace the Amyrlin, or she may even be killed or captured if we are exceptionally lucky. Either way, I am sure that Egwene will prove very useful in the defense of the Tower and be unanimously accepted as the true Amyrlin in the aftermath.

4) The rebel Aes Sedai have word that the White Tower now has the art of Traveling. Do you believe Elaida is aware of this weave? Or is it just a handful of Red Aes Sedai testing it out? And what do you make of Lelaine's latest actions? What can Siuan do from this point on in holding the Aes Sedai together?

I am pretty sure that if Elaida knew about the weave then we would have heard about it by now: she would not have been able to resist gloating to Egwene about her newfound knowledge. I am also not sure if the Reds involved are actually Blacks because I am starting to lose track of the multitude of Sisters that we have encountered. It is certainly bad news for the rebels, but I suspect that the Seanchan will swoop in before anything significant comes of this discovery.

I suspect that Lelaine is rather less talented at manipulation than she believes. It certainly seems rather obvious that she is trying to create panic as a way to seize control of the rebels, but she obviously thinks that she is being terribly subtle. I suspect that many Sisters will resent her clumsy attempts to gain power and will, therefore, act against her out of pure spite. However, I imagine that all of this will become somewhat irrelevant once the Seanchan attack occurs, so Siuan only needs to hold out a little longer.

5) Tuon holds court in Ebou Dar. Did you find her offer to Beslan fair? Now that she has seen the heads of trollocs, creatures she believed to be of myth, do you think she will be more open to listening to Randlanders?

It was pretty much what I would expect from a ruler who makes use of existing monarchs to impose power upon a vast Empire. It is the same methodology that has worked well throughout our history, and something similar was implied with Tylin, so I was not surprised. However, I expected Beslan to be somewhat less practical in accepting the inevitable simply because he has always struck me as being rather immature.

I would hope that the Trolloc heads would have some effect, but her decision to attack the White Tower suggests that Tuon still has not understood how to deal with the locals on this side of the sea. Rand will be more than a little cross once he hears the news.

6) Mat opens by comparing women to goats. Did you find his behavior to be 'husbandly'? Was his own ta'veren-ness working against him in keeping the Aes Sedai with him or was it his own goat-like behavior?

Ah, yes: it is always nice to be compared to a goat! :D

In many ways, Mat has been behaving quite like a husband ever since he met Tuon. He has certainly been a lot less like his roguish, old self and has kept away from barmaids and girls with dainty ankles (as far as I can tell). I find this rather hilarious, but it is very pleasing to see a character grow and change as he matures. I just wish that he was still Tuon so that he could point out what a terrible mistake she is making by attacking Tar Valon. Of course, the attack is needed to remove Elaida, but it would be nice if it could be avoided.

I suspect that the Aes Sedai are determined to stick to him like glue because of his newly acquired role as consort to the Seanchan Empress. Mat’s ta’veren quality will no doubt add to this impulse, but there are more than enough reasons for them to hang about without it.

7) Perrin returns to the dream-wolf world, promptly insults the wolves, and is tossed out. Will he be able to conquer his own fears? And if he does, what will he do with the wolves then? Faile has yet more secrets from Perrin. Do you find this good or bad?

Yay, Hopper! I am so pleased to spend more time in his company: who doesn’t love a happy, flying wolf?

I am sure that Perrin needs to accept his ‘inner wolf’ and unify his character in the same that Mat has done with his multiple memories, and Rand will do with Lews Therin. Unfortunately, Perrin will lead the wolves into the Last Battle and many of them will die, which makes me very sad even though it will be wonderfully epic to imagine.

Faile has good reasons to keep these secrets, and not only because she is ashamed of how she acted towards Rolan. She is quite right that Perrin will berate himself about killing an innocent man, so this is one truth that she is correct to withhold from him. I was rather touched by their little ceremony, and it was certainly the honorable thing to do. I am a little less certain about Masema’s disappearance. She could say that one of her followers found the Prophet’s body, which would remove Perrin’s worry that the idiot is still out there to cause trouble whilst avoiding any suggestion of how he died. On the whole I find it difficult to trust Faile because she often behaves in an overly secretive way, which causes no end of mistrust and angst for Perrin.


  1. "Personally I would balefire her as soon as possible, but that would be a whole lot less fun than having her escape and then try to get revenge for her humiliation." Um...your idea of fun scares me, just a little.

    True. The Tower's supposed embarrassment at removing a second Amyrlin in such a short amount of time will probably be the thing that will hold them back. Silly women.

    While reading your answers, a thought occurred to me about the Reds using Traveling. Perhaps they are some of the Sisters bonded to the Asha'men? Hmmm... I wonder if we will ever know or if this will be one of those little mysteries that Jordan/Sanderson never solves for the reader.

    Very true. What Aes Sedai could turn down the chance to witness history in the making - with a ta'veren and consort to a major invading force for them to study first hand?

    Yep. I am not yet in the Faile fan club due to her secret keeping.

  2. I agree with your points about Semihrage, Moridin and Egwene. I think we all came to the conclusion that if Elaida had Traveling we would have seen it on Egwene's end. Yeah, gotta love Mat's comparisons. And I was super-excited to see Hopper again too. This part of Perrin's story is one of my favorites! :D My WoT Post

    1. "I think we all came to the conclusion that if Elaida had Traveling we would have seen it on Egwene's end."

      Hey now. Some of us remember things. ;-)

    2. If Elaida had Traveling, I would have expected her to turn up in the Rebel camp and give them all a good scolding! :D


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