Sunday, December 28, 2014

Towers of Midnight 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 Chapter 40.

1) Perrin goes through his trial. What did you think of it? Morgase provides judgment but hands off the punishment decision to Galad; why do you think she did so? What do you think Galad has in mind for punishment? Will Perrin ever see that punishment? 

To be brutally honest I found it rather anti-climactic. We did all that waiting around and postponing so that the injured could be Healed and then the trial took about five minutes: I had rather expected something a little more prolonged and dramatic! :D

Apart from that, I thought that the judgment was pretty much the only one that Morgase could reasonably reach based upon the very biased evidence offered up by Byar. The fact that we could almost feel the spittle flying off his lips did very little to help his cause and I am sure that his intense hatred made it much easier for her to give Perrin the benefit of the doubt.

I was impressed by her decision to give Galad the task of pronouncing the nature of the punishment. Although the Whitecloaks ‘lost’ the trial by Perrin being found innocent of murder, this gave the impression that they still ‘won’ by having him punished in a manner that they found suitable. I also imagine that Morgase would know that Galad would be unlikely to chose a horribly vindictive punishment. She was probably also hoping that it would make him think about the ‘grayness’ of Perrin’s guilt: he seems to be making some progress in this area of his thinking, which makes him a much more sympathetic character than Byar who is really starting to annoy me at the moment. I suspect that Perrin may never be punished in a way that we would see as negative: Galad will probably demand that he must fight the Shadow in the Last Battle or something equally token.

2) Perrin spent a lot of time in the Wolf Dream during this section. He and his small band of wolves fought Slayer more than once. What did you think of these multiple fights? How about Egwene's reaction to Perrin (and vice versa) in the Wolf Dream/T'A'R? 

I have to admit to shedding a tear or two when Hopper died . . . he was such a terrific character! :(

It seems that Perrin has met his match in Slayer, certainly when they are in the Wolf Dream, so I am not sure that he will be able to kill the man there. This is a shame because of what he did to Hopper, but it seems like sticking a knife into whilst he is awake will be much easier. We know that he is, in some way, the man naming himself Lord Luc and yet he refers to Luc in the third person, which makes me wonder about his sanity: perhaps he has a split personality or is similar to Fain in his being possessed by some ancient evil. Whatever he is, he needs to die but will probably be around for a little longer to annoy Perrin and kill more wolves.

Perrin’s interaction with the Aes Sedai was rather funny because it showed how much Tel’aran’rhiod is based upon what you accept as the truth: they are so wrapped up in their ability to wield the One Power that they see it as the ultimate weapon. It is no wonder that Bair is as dangerous as anyone else in this world because she has an iron will and does not have the delusion that she has a special power that only she can control. I assume that this revelation will improve Egwene’s abilities quite dramatically, as was shown in her confrontation with Mesaana. Of course, the is also quite correct to say that she has trained during a time of great peril whilst the Forsaken spent most of their time as the dominant, dangerous elements stalking the Dream and so they are not actually as powerful as they think they are.

Also, everyone get out your tiny violins to play a sad tune for Mesaana drooling away the rest of her life whilst sitting in a puddle of her own waste . . . :D

3) Egwene has a meaningful meeting in T'A'R with the Sea Folk, the Wise Ones, and some of her Aes Sedai. Why do you think the Kinswomen were not invited? Will these leaders be able to convince their folk that trading apprentices is a good idea? 

Good point about the Kin: I had not thought about their absence. However, Egwene sees them as a part of the Tower’s future, so I assume that she sees them as being subject to her authority. This is probably one case where Egwene is simply thinking as the Amyrlin: the Kin are a branch of the Tower and so will honor the agreement in that capacity.

I almost cheered when this agreement was being beaten out. Finally, some people showing common sense and sharing their strength in the fight against the Shadow! Whilst I can see most channelers having an instant opposition to this proposal, this will mostly be due to their desire to remain independent and self-governing. Just as long as none of the groups, especially the Tower, try to place themselves above the others this will work out beautifully. Of course, it would have been much better if this all could have happened hundreds of years ago so that they were not scrabbling to do it ten minutes before the start of the Last Battle, but better late than never. So much about this world is weakened by the lack of trust between various groups that this kind of open exchange of information is a breath of fresh air.

Of course, they could also learn a great deal from the damane, but that will be a much more difficult challenge to overcome. 

4) Egwene battles Mesaana and wins. Do you think Egwene received a valuable nudge from Perrin (he blocked Balefire!!!) and was able to apply that to the a'dam? Who do you think Mesaana was impersonating in the real world?  

I have no doubt that Perrin’s skills were the revelation necessary for Egwene to escape from the a’dam and then turn Mesaana’s brain to mush. As an aside, how sick was it that she could actually hear her mind snap? We have had constant reminders that non-channelers can be just as powerful in the Dream, but Egwene had never really considered how Bair could survive against weaves that she could not even see. This short-sighted approach to the strange world of Tel’aran’rhiod could have been her downfall, but Perrin saved her from her own blinkered view of ‘power’.

We know that Mesaana was masquerading as a woman with short brown hair and blue eyes. I assume that she was posing as an Aes Sedai, but I have not complied a list of descriptions for those that we have met, so I am afraid that I cannot suggest a name. I was a little surprised that none of the other Sisters identified her as I was expecting a gasp of horrified recognition, especially from Siuan or Leanne. Hopefully we will get a name eventually: I am sure that we will have encountered her before, but that she was someone who did not stand out in any particular way.   

5) Gawyn and Egwene are now Bonded! But at what cost? Was it too little too late? Or are these stubborn lovesick fools going to have a lifetime to irritate each other? 

This took rather longer than I had hoped, but at least Gawyn finally got his thick head around the concept of what Egwene actually needed from him. Now that he has worked past his stubborn need to be in charge of everything he should be an excellent Warder and they will probably get along quite wonderfully. However, with the Last Battle approaching rapidly I would not predict a long and happy life for them. It seems very likely that one or both of them will be killed before the end of the series because Egwene is immensely powerful and, therefore, a prime target for the Shadow. She is also very likely to sacrifice herself in order to win the Battle because she will not be held back by simple sentiment.

Did anyone else notice that Gawyn’s warning about the bloodknives went missing? I wonder what happened there?

6) We spent just a tiny amount of time with Aviendha as she is headed to Rhuidean. She meets a mysterious woman, Nakomi, in the wastes. What did you get out of their conversation? Any guesses as to who/what Nakomi is? 

It seems highly likely that this was a vision of some sort because Nakomi was too knowledgeable about world events and used her questions to guide Aviendha’s thinking in a way that almost suggested telepathy. I wonder if Aviendha is already in Rhuidean and has passed through the Glass Pillars: if this is a vision from the ter’angreal she might not be aware that she is not still in the real world.

If this is the real world then I can only suggest that Nakomi is a personification of the Creator. Her appearance and words will no doubt have a significant impact on what the visions in the Pillars reveal and also on the counsel that Aviendha will offer to the Aiel as the Last Battle draws near. We know that the Car’a’carn is supposed to destroy them, but this could simply be by allowing them to fulfill their destiny and then return to a more ‘normal’ life outside of the three-fold land. Yet again, I am reminded very powerfully of the Fremen in Frank Herbert’s Dune: their way of life is totally destroyed by their decision to follow their prophesized messiah.

7) Perrin has forged a new hammer. Feel free to comment on this scene. What powers do you think the hammer has? Will Perrin & his Channelers make more weapons for the coming Last Battle? 

This was certainly a very cool scene and it makes perfect sense that Perrin would have a Talent for making power-wrought weapons. It seems that the hammer is always warm to the touch, so perhaps it burns Shadowspawn?

Whilst it sounds like a grand plan for Perrin to churn out a ton of mega weapons for the Last Battle, I suspect that he will not have enough time to make many. Even with the possibility of swapping out the channelers helping him, assuming that Neald is not unique in his ability to help in their production, I doubt that he could make very many before the fighting starts.  


  1. Yeah, I think we all agree about the trial. Kind of a farce. I totally cried about Hopper, too. You're not alone. And yeah it was weird that Gawyn's message got lost. Sorry I'm so late commenting. Holidays and all. :D

  2. That's a good point about the Forsaken having been the top of the food chain by leaps and bounds for so long that their skills probably aren't as sharp as folks like Egwene, who has been training under fire.

    While Egwene sees the Kin as a branch of the Tower, I am not sure they will see it that way.....However, they have been the most practical and accepting of the Channelers, so they will most likely see the sense in this agreement right away, and will then make suggestions that highly improve it.

    I like the idea of Perrin's hammer burning Shadowspawn. Perhaps his hammer, or another power-wrought weapon, will be what is needed to take out Fain.


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