Monday, November 10, 2014

The Gathering Storm 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 42.

1) Verin demands a deal for Travelling his army & Mat demands a compromise. What do you think is in Verin's sealed letter of instructions? Will Mat hold to his bargain?

Even the Big Reveal about Verin’s Blackness offers no hint at what she has included in her letters. I wonder if they are all the same, independent of who receives them, and if she managed to deliver anymore of them. The fact that they were pre-written simply adds to the mystery. I have no idea what they might contain, because she seems to have passed all her relevant knowledge to Egwene. I am officially stumped! :D

I am not sure if Mat intends to keep this bargain or not. He may very well try to avoid it but then find that he gives in at the last moment, with lots of moaning and whining. I have to assume that the letter contains something rather important, and not just a request for someone to feed Verin’s cats after her suicide, so I rather hope that Mat actually does as he has agreed. But then again, this series has been filled by incidents that could have been prevented by simple communication, so I could be wrong and Mat will ignore the letter until it is too late and then wish that he had opened it on time.

2) Tuon, now referred to as Fortuna, carried through with her decision to attach the White Tower. What did you think of her discussion with Selucia concerning how this action might very well turn the Dragon Reborn against the Seanchan? Is Fortuna's concerns well founded, or should she be more concerned about how the Aes Sedai will react?

I am not altogether sure about how Rand will view this attack on the White Tower. Whilst he distrusts most Aes Sedai, he knows that they are a very valuable resource and that he will need all of them in the Last Battle. Tuon’s actions have reduced the pool of the Light’s channelers, so I doubt that he will be overly happy with her. Of course, we have seen him take a very pragmatic stance towards her refusal to become an ally, so he may simply see this as unfortunate and then pretty much ignore it.

In theory, the Aes Sedai should be a force to be feared by the Seanchan now that they have been attacked. However, I doubt that they will do anything in retaliation because it would simply place them back in danger and increase their risk of being made damane.

3) Rand is certain he has removed Graendal from the picture. Do you agree? Will Nynaeve forgive Rand for having her play a part in his ruse?

Whilst it would be very nice to think that she has been removed from the War, I am a little suspicious that we did not see a body or have a witness to her destruction. We know that she is extremely cunning, so I am not sure that Rand actually managed to outwit her with his plan. Somehow it all seemed a little too easy . . . However, I have no idea how this can be true when the Compulsion on Ramshalan was removed by the balefire blast.

I am sure that Nynaeve will eventually move past her shock and horror to accept the necessity of Rand’s actions. However, I am sure that she will hold herself for it somehow: because she is responsible for absolutely everything! :D

4) Nynaeve swallows her pride and asks Cadsuane and the Wise Ones to let her in on The Plan. Why do you think they want Perrin? Any ideas on what The Plan is?

I found it strange that they mentioned only Perrin, and not Mat at all. This suggests that it may not be Perrin himself, but one of his followers that they actually want to find. This makes sense because Perrin has a contingent from the Two Rivers in his army. As Rand has no particular friends left in that group, I can only assume that they want Tam to talk some sense into his son. However, I have no idea how the poor man could have any more success than Nynaeve at making Rand ‘normal’ again.

5) And the big reveal for this section concerns Verin. Did you see that coming? What more did she leave in her notebook for Egwene to decipher?

I think that we had worked out that she must be Black because she had lied in the past and was quite happy to use Compulsion on the sisters that she drove to swear fealty to Rand. However, her apparent lack of evilness made this a little difficult to accept. Discovering that she was a mole made a lot of sense, although it does rather make me worry about the oversight and management of Darkfriends, as we never saw her do anything remotely useful to the Shadow. I can only suggest that her direct supervisor has been a little lax in monitoring her evil doings: I suspect the Verin failed to make a quota on a regular basis! :D

As well as the lists of Black Ajah, I suspect that she has gathered lots of juicy information on the Forsaken and their actions. Other than that it could be just about anything. I hope that most of it proves to be useful in a strategic way, rather than just interesting snippets of information filed away for posterity. However, Egwene’s assessment that Verin had been acting much more absentminded and ‘Brown’ than she really was leads me to think that it will all be solid gold.

I do have one worry, though. Why now? What made Verin decide to do this at this particular moment in time?

6) The Seanchan finally attack the Tower! Feel free to gush about your favorite parts. What did you think of Bryne's demand of Warder status of Siuan (and his still unnamed second demand)? Was Egwene bad-ass enough for you? Pleased or surprised by the actions/reactions of the other Aes Sedai?

Obviously, Egwene’s awesomeness was well worth the wait and I expect some spectacular artwork portraying her defense of the Tower. It is hard to believe that she is the same person as the naive country girl that we met in the first book because she has changed so much. Surely this will convince the Hall that she is truly suitable as the Amyrlin of the reunited Tower.

Whilst I was a little frustrated by the need to spend time with Siuan and Bryne, I did enjoy their little moment of ‘profound love revealed’. Somehow I expect that the second demand will be a little more romantic: marriage would seem like a very safe bet.

I was pleased to see some of the Reds behaving in a sensible way and was even more happy to see Saerin take control and tell Katerine to get stuffed when the Red started blustering. I was more than a little disappointed by the apparent uselessness of the Greens during the attack, although Adelorna, the Battle-Captain seems competent enough.  

7) The aftermath: Do you think the Seanchan raid on the White Tower will be seen as a success or a loss by the Seanchan? How will Egwene react to being removed from the Tower? How will the Tower react to it's loss of Elaida?

Yet again, I am not sure about this question. Whilst they certainly captured some new damane, I suspect that the raid was a loss overall for the Seanchan. The loss of so many men is not vey important, but the number of to’raken killed will be much more significant, as will the number of fully trained damane who were killed or captured. I suspect that Tuon will not be pleased.

I am pretty sure that Egwene will demand to be returned to the Tower straight away and be very cross with her ‘rescuers’. I also suspect that she will forgive them and understand why they chose to carry her away to safety. As she is likely to be accepted back into the Tower with open arms, I doubt that this action will have a negative impact on her rise to power.

I think that once they calm down most Sisters will see that the Seanchan have actually done them a favor. This effectively removes the necessity of deposing Elaida, which would have been a very difficult decision for them to make. Now they have a perfect excuse for raising Egwene to the Amyrlin Seat and can do it with a clear conscience. The Seanchan attack will also focus everyone’s minds on the really important events happening outside the Tower, which should help in the reunification and the preparations for the Last Battle.

Can we have a brief moment for the playing of my tiny, tiny violin to mark Elaida’s passing into servitude . . . I hope that we will not be troubled by her again! :D


  1. You know, I couldn't remember exactly what Elaida and the Wise Ones were planning with looking for Perrin and everything, but the way you worded your answer made me remember what it was. How funny! Yeah, I was all about the tiny violin for Elaida too. I figure, with her finally out of the picture, it will be the opportune time for Egwene to take her rightful place in the Tower. :D (Check out my blog for that artwork you mentioned. :D)

  2. Verin's final to-do list, left for Mat: 1) Feed my cats, 2) Mail my final Xmas gifts to relatives; 3) Off the remaining Black Ajah; 4) Enjoy my special tea collection. Yeah, I have no idea what she has left in those final instruction either. But I love your idea of her asking Mat to feed her cats.

    Yeah.... I would feel a lot better if we had Graendal's body....or a head. Even a witness to her balefiring would make me more comfortable.

    Oh! I hadn't even thought about Tam and the Wise Ones and perhaps Tam being able to reach Rand on a level that no one else can.

    Perhaps Verin's Dark Friend supervisor suffered an early demise, and hence, she had a freer hand than some other Dark Friends we have seen?

    I always love it when you pull out the teensy, tiny violin! :)


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