Monday, September 1, 2014

Knife of Dreams by Robert Jordan: Week 7

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 31.

1) Why do you think Semirhage's disguise of the Power failed? Did you see the Rand-losing-his-hand thing coming?

Mr Jordan specifically mentions that both Cadsuane and Nynaeve are wearing all their many, many angreals and ter’angreal, so I have to assume that one of them disrupted the disguise weave that Semirhage was using. This came as a definite shock to her, so I suspect that the specific object is very rare, or was considered lost in the War of Power. Now we just need Cadsuane to wander through the White Tower until she uncovers Mesaana!

Rand losing his hand was a complete surprise to me and rather abruptly done, I thought. At first I thought that Semirhage would use balefire and so I was confused by her choice of the fireball, but the discovery of the ‘male’ a’dam showed why she did not want to risk zapping him out of existence. We know that Moridin’s instructions have been very clear on this front, but taking Rand captive would not really go against his wishes. I am not sure if she was actually aiming at Rand, though I cannot imagine that targeting Min would have been a very sensible way to overpower him. I have to say that I was rather underwhelmed by Rand’s response to the attack. Considering that he is supposed to be the most amazing channeler of the age, etc, etc, I rather expected him to throw up a shield when it became obvious that the expected trap had been revealed. This does not bode well for his ability to survive until the Last Battle!

Also, did anyone else get a flashback to The Empire Strikes Back???

2) Do you think Mat's plan against the Seanchan is a good one? Will it turn the tide?

I was a little confused at first when we found ourselves following Mat in to attack the Seanchan. I thought I must have missed out a chapter or a few pages! :D

I can understand Mat’s reasoning, and it seems like the only possible way for him to get out of the area unmolested. However, I was surprised by Tuon’s lack of emotion when hundreds of her men were massacred. I did not expect her to get upset or angry, but I thought that she might have persuaded him to try a different way to accomplish the same goal. But then, I suppose she is used to the idea that her subjects die in battle all the time, so perhaps she is simply far more pragmatic than I had expected. However, I am not sure that she will stay quiet for a prolonged campaign against her own troops.

I suspect that Mat’s plan will succeed, not only because he is very good at strategy, but also because his guerilla tactics take advantage of the highly organized Seanchan military machine. It is unlikely that any of the high-ranking officers will see the pattern of his attacks until it is too late and he has rode off into the sunset.

3) Tam showed up! (Yea!) What did you think of his reaction to confirmation that Rand is the Dragon Reborn?

I assume that he suspected the truth all along, but was saddened to hear it confirmed by someone whose opinion he could not dismiss. As someone who spent a great deal of time as a soldier, and fought in numerous wars, he knows how terrible battle can be and so he would not want his son to follow in those footsteps. He must also be aware of the prophecies that suggest that the Dragon will either go mad, and kill everyone he loves, or die during the battle with the Dark One. Neither of these is something that you would want to see someone go through, let alone your child.

4) Masema shows up at an inconvenient time to (somewhat) ruin Perrin's plans. What do you think he's doing? What's his endgame?

I suspect that Masema has lots of plans that involve getting rid of anyone who can challenge his position as the Prophet for the Dragon Reborn. He obviously spent some considerable time working on Aram until he could twist the young man’s thinking to his own ends. I suspect that he does not actually believe that Perrin is Shadowspawn, but it provides a very convenient excuse for murdering one of Rand’s friends and primary supporters.

Masema has shown again and again that someone needs to take him into a secluded spot and remove some of the more important bits of his anatomy, such as his head. He obviously has no real intention of moving his ‘army’ to join Rand, but is more interested in the power that he can wield when the Dragon is a conveniently long way away and cannot point out to all and sundry that Masema is actually a raving lunatic and has nothing to do with him! I suspect that his attempts to remove Perrin will become increasingly overt until Faile stabs him in the eye . . . at least I hope that someone does, because he is getting very irritating! :D

5) All kinds of crazy stuff in this chapter! Aram tries to kill Perrin and dies himself. Tylee captures Sevanna. And Galina ends up in Therava's clutches, headed for the Waste. What did you think of all these twists? Did you wish for other outcomes? How do you think they'll affect the story going forward?

Aram’s treachery was fairly well signaled I thought, and it was monumentally stupid of Perrin to take the young man with him on the attack. Even the mighty ex-blacksmith thinks that Aram might be looking a little more deranged than usual . . . good going there, Lord Perrin! I can only hope that the return of Faile will keep other totally obvious assassins away from Perrin’s immediate vicinity in future. Otherwise he really does deserve to get a sword through his ribs.

Oh dear, Sevanna naked and angry strung across a horse! I have to admit that I did chortle quite a bit at that scene and there may have been a little bit of gloating as her jewelry slowly all slid off onto the ground. I am glad that she did not simply die in the battle, as she deserves to suffer long and hard for all the chaos and destruction that she has caused. I sincerely hope that this is the last we see of her, but that she spends her remaining days doing something truly horrendous and menial . . . such as wiping the bottoms of a huge herd of very incontinent and flatulent elephants! :D

As for Galina: she is another that does not deserve a quick and easy death. We only know about her very recent activities, but I am quite sure that her list of atrocities is both long and impressive. As a person who was willing to do absolutely anything to gain power over others, I believe that it is very fitting that she will be a helpless slave for the rest of her very long life. However, I suspect that her sanity will break and she will eventually forget her previous life as the leader of the Black Ajah.

Of the three incidents, the only one that I think could have unexpected ramifications is Galina’s. Now that she is lost to the Black Ajah, they may be leaderless for a short period. However, the way that they are organized into cells makes me think that her loss will not have serious consequences. After all, she has been away from the tower now for quite some time and the Blacks have been carrying on quite happily without her leadership. I guess that Therava has saved her from the ignominy of being denounced in front of the whole Tower and then Stilled, so perhaps this is actually a good ending for her.

6) Elayne encounters some black Sisters and, in her haste, ends up in hot water. We had a cliffhanger on this. What do you think will happen next? Were you surprised that it was actually Careanne that was Black Ajah, contrary to Elayne's suspicions?

Why are so many of the characters in this series really, really, REALLY stupid and blind to the blazingly obvious!???!???! First we have Perrin and the obviously deranged Aram, and now Elayne runs into yet another trap! How many times is that now for the supposedly wise and intelligent future Queen of Andor? I think I may have lost count! :D

Now, I know that Elayne is supposed to be pregnant, but can that really explain why she continues to behave in such a rash and stupid manner? The very fact that the unidentified Black sister was not more frantic to prevent this plan from going forward should have been a huge warning sign. Plus, we have Elayne’s impressive history of always underestimating the danger and walking straight into deadly situations. When is the girl going to learn some caution?

I can only assume that some miracle of luck will allow Birgitte and the other Warders to distract the Blacks long enough for the good guys to make their escape. Or, more likely, we will finish this book with not one, but two of the Super Girls imprisoned by the ‘bad guys’. No wonder Book Twelve had to stretch so much when Brandon Sanderson came to tie up all the loose ends and complete the plotlines that need resolving. Hopefully, once she is rescued, someone will give Elayne a good slapping for being so stupid: I suspect that Birgitte might do the job!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Knife of Dreams 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 26.

1) Egwene is holding strong in the Tower. Have you had a similar experience to her revelation about embracing the pain?

Why does the phrase “embracing the pain” always make me think of Fifty Shades of Gray???? :D

I am not a great fan of pain, so I am not sure that I could ‘embrace’ it quite so enthusiastically as Egwene. However, I do share her ability to have a really good cry and then walk away feeling relatively normal . . . although I am pretty sure that I would be limping if someone had just been beating MY bottom!

Having said that, I do think I understand her determination to endure the discomfort and not give way to it. During my teenage years, my family and I did a lot of cycling and there were many occasions when I had to steel myself to keep turning those pedals in order to get myself home. At the time, I was not massively impressed by the exhaustion and resented my parents for making me suffer so much. However, by the time I got home to a bath and hot food I felt an unmistakable sense of achievement and pride in my own ability to push through a difficult situation. I am quite sure that it helped me to become more resilient and self-reliant . . . and I still prefer to get myself out of uncomfortable situations rather than relying on others to do it for me.

It seems that Egwene’s acceptance of her pain is having a much more significant effect on the others in the Tower, especially those who have the most contact with her. I seriously doubt that Silviana will remain quiet about Egwene’s punishments for much longer: they obviously are not having the effect that Elaida wants.

2) Egwene seems to be hoping for a mutiny from within the Tower. Do you think this will happen? If so, is it more likely to start with the initiates or with the Aes Sedai closest to Elaida?

There is so much tension in the Tower that I am almost surprised that it has not happened already. However, the inter-Ajah hostility has deflected attention away from Elaida and her total incompetence as Amyrlin: once the Sisters start to look beyond that division then Elaida is doomed.

We know that an attack by the Seanchan is coming, and that has a very good chance of being the stimulus for removing Elaida, especially as Egwene has given a very specific, and public, warning about it. However, I think it is much more likely that Elaida will eventually visit reality long enough to realize that her treatment of Egwene is being completely ineffective, and is, in fact, creating sympathy and support for the rebel Amyrlin. Once that sinks into her immensely thick skull, I predict that she will lose the plot quite dramatically and show how unstable, vindictive and petty she really is. This will provide the Hall with the excuse that it has been waiting for and she will be removed from her position so quickly that her feet will not touch the ground.

Of course, I could be wrong, and the Hall might simply sit and watch as Elaida tries to turn Egwene into a tiny pile of ashes . . .  

3) Egwene hears that Aes Sedai have been bonded to Asha'men and that some Aes Sedai have sworn oaths to Rand. What did you make of her reaction that it is inappropriate (at the least) for Aes Sedai to swear oaths to any man?

Many times during this Read Along we have discussed Mr Jordan’s apparent belief that men and women are completely different and incapable of understanding one another. I can only assume that he and his wife struggled to communicate, because I cannot think of a single pairing in this series that shows any form of easy understanding between people of opposite sexes. I would be interested to learn of an example, but none spring to mind at the moment, and the books do seem to carry a definite taint of antagonism between the sexes.

Whilst I would agree with Egwene that Sisters should not be bound to obey anyone, I also understand why Rand has demanded that they swear these oaths. I fear that Egwene has been around Aes Sedai for too long and has started to forget how they treat other people. Obviously, her time as a damane has made her extremely sensitive to being controlled, and she is unaware of the details surrounding his kidnapping and treatment by Galina and the others sent by Elaida, but I am still disappointed that she automatically sides with her Sisters rather than wondering what cause Rand to behave so tyrannically.

I hope that he gets a chance to explain it all to her, but the series is littered with so many examples of poor communication and misunderstandings that I doubt that we will see that happen. I suspect that Egwene may never know, or understand, his reasons and will simply resent his ‘male wrongheadedness’.

4) We spent a little time in Tuon's head this reading. What surprised you the most? Did you find Tuon's reaction to her first kiss amusing?

I have to admit that I find Tuon as confusing as Mat does. I still have no idea why she suddenly decided that he could kiss her. Even being inside her head provided little extra understanding for her motives, so I am truly perplexed by her.

Her obvious ignorance about Mat’s link to Rand and his status as ta’veren make it all the more surprising that she has stayed with him for so long. What game is she playing and what does she hope to gain from her time with him? I wish I could work it out, but I simply have no clue at the moment.

5) Grady and the other Asha'men with Perrin are looking pretty haggard, worn out from making gateways to move troops around. Will they hold up for the Shaido fight? And young Aram is also looking pretty haggard, but from some different reason. Is he the weakest link in the forthcoming fight?

The Asha’man have a couple of days to rest before the assault on Malden, but I do worry that they will still be exhausted when the attack comes. Hopefully, the shock of the Wise Ones being ineffective will cause the Shaido to collapse with not much of a fight and then Perrin, Faile and the rest can go home all safe and sound. Unfortunately, I suspect that it will not by that simple and the Asha’man may be pushed to breaking point before the Shaido are routed.

Aram is very obviously going to betray Perrin: it could not be more clear if he had a hand-written sign hanging around his neck. I assume that Masema has been worming his way under the young man’s skin and filling his head with perceived slights and imagined grievances. He is a liability and I will be happier once he is removed.

6) Play a kissing game with Rolan or meet with Galina in the burned out half of Malden to pass off the Oath Rod.... Which would you choose?

That is a very easy choice, although I do not condone infidelity. I am surprised that Faile is desperate enough to trust Galina at all, but we all know that the Aes Sedai is planning something unpleasant. Hopefully, Perrin’s attack will come before Galina bops Faile over the head with a rock and buries her body in a collapsed house.

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.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Knife of Dreams by Robert Jordan: Week 4

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 18.

1. Elayne seems to be having an ‘interesting’ time because of her pregnancy. Do you think that she is right to be so confident of her continued survival just because of Min’s viewing? Are you concerned that she and Birgitte are going to make a massive error of judgment because of either tiredness or pregnancy-induced irrationality?

We know that Min’s viewings have all come true so far, but I cannot help thinking that Elayne is being a little too overconfident about her own survival. I know that she is hardly thinking sensibly at the moments, but I would like to see her being a little more careful and much less resentful towards those trying to ensure her safety. I am constantly amazed that Birgitte has not slapped some sense into her before now! :D

However, Birgitte is hardly taking care of herself properly, so she is hardly the right choice of caretaker at the moment. I fear that the feedback loop of their combined tiredness and scattered thinking will lead to a horrible misstep at some point. The presence of Captain Mellar and at least one Black Sister makes me very nervous.

2. Some new allies have arrived, but the castle and, possibly the whole city, are rearranging themself at random. How do you see the siege of Caemlyn playing out? Will the mercenaries remain loyal or will Arymilla be able to bribe them? Can Elayne attract any of the Great Houses that have adult leaders?

Discovering that the castle itself was the problem, and not Elayne’s hormone-addled brain, was reassuring for only a moment or two before I realized how catastrophic this could be. I am not surprised that everyone is scared witless, what with that and the ghosts walking about in broad daylight. I am surprised that there has not been a severe reduction in the number of servants available: I expected them to run away screaming once this started to happen. Even if it does not actually cause any deaths or injuries, it will certainly play havoc with morale and that could be very dangerous to the defenders.

I am not quite sure how rich Arymilla is, so I am not sure if she can bribe the mercenaries or not. However, I doubt that it would take very much to buy a few men at one of the gates so that they are mysteriously left unlocked one night. I know that Elayne is trying to keep loyal forces on the gates, but it only takes a few coins in the right greasy palms and the siege could be over very quickly. However, I suspect that something miraculous will happen to save the day: probably something involving a rather large gateway and an unexpected force arriving to crush Arymilla’s fragile alliance.

Whilst the young High Seats in Caemlyn are a mixed bunch, at least they all seem willing to stand firm in their support for Elayne. It is a shame that many of the other Houses are waiting to see who wins the siege before making an open choice. All this fighting and loss of men and resources is such an unnecessary waste with the Last Battle approaching fast. In many ways, this series is a very good treatise on why monarchy is such a rubbish way to govern a country.

3. Aviendha discovers a super, new Talent and then gets whisked away by the Wise Ones. I found this chapter rather jarring for some reason: perhaps I am just accustomed to the meandering pace that the past few books have adopted! Do you think that Aviendha’s departure will have a serious effect on Elayne’s morale, or ability to stop herself throwing things? Do you find it a little too convenient that the pair can now identify the use of angreal and also recreate them?

I do worry that Elayne’s increasingly irrational behavior will suffer now that Aviendha’s comforting presence is gone, and she did always act as the last line of defense against an assassin. Now Elayne is alone and unable to channel for most of the time, so she is particularly vulnerable with Aviendha missing.

I suppose it could be argued that the Pattern has woven all these people with extraordinary Talents together into a fighting force for the Last Battle, but it is starting to get a little tiresome that they are all so very, very special. Perhaps this is why I enjoy some of the less gifted, more normal, characters so much!

4. Captain Mellar is certainly a man in great need of a sharp dagger to the jugular. Do you think that this latest shadow will be anymore successful than the last few? Do you think that Mellar will be able to hold himself in check much longer, or will Elayne’s rudeness finally provoke him to violence?

It seems like this particular thief is very successful at avoiding detection, so I suppose that he has a reasonable chance of staying alive for a few days. However, I am not sure that Elayne will be able to learn anything useful from him, even if she gets evidence of his activities are a Darkfriend. I think that it is much more likely that he will still be able to slip through her fingers and cause mischief, much as we saw Mili do in Ebou Dar. Of course, she might just push him too far with her hostile attitude and find herself in a very unpleasant position with no Power to fall back upon.

5. Someone is bumping off members of the Kin. Do you think it really is one of the two sisters under suspicion of Adeleas’ murder? Do you think that the Kin will scatter and flee once it is revealed that someone is targeting them, or will they stand firm and try to defend themselves?

It certainly seems to be one of them, although I suppose there is the very faint possibility that it is someone else trying to cause chaos. However, that could only really be one of the Forsaken, and we have no evidence of any of them working in Caemlyn. I hope that the Kin can be persuaded to stay and fight: it is obvious that the murderer is trying to cause panic, so they may be made to see the logic in trying to withstand the terror tactics. However, they are a large and disparate group of head-strong women, so anything is possible.

6. Arymilla has a very unstable alliance built upon threats and deceit. Do you think that she can hold it together long enough to take Caemlyn? What do you make of Nasin and his ‘simple’ granddaughter: am I the only one who thinks that they are playing a very cunning scheme to use Arymilla’s army for their own ends?

As with Sevanna, I feel as if Arymilla is simply a device to provide plenty of conflict and annoyance for our heroes. I doubt that she has much real chance of taking Caemlyn, because Elayne has already been shown to be almost perfectly suited for her role as queen. Even the way that Arymilla has gained her support shows that she would not be a good queen for Andor, so she really has not got a hope of success. Of course, I could be mistaken, but I seriously doubt it.

As we see more of Nasin I become increasingly convinced that he is a wily old fox playing Arymilla for his own purposes. I suspect that his suspiciously astute granddaughter is intended to be the next queen, and Arymilla is merely a convenient way to move towards that goal at the moment. He is playing a long game and will probably still be standing and playing the madman when everyone else is dead.

7. Rand has the link to Mat and Perrin that all three share, but he now has a link to Moridin as well. Do you think that this could work to his advantage, or will it be a massive weakness? Do you think it is connected to his nausea when seizing Saidin?

Although the link with Mat and Perrin is inconvenient for all three of them, it does at least provide each of them with the reassurance of knowing that the others are alive and well. It also gives them some indication of what they are doing, which could have some advantage in the future. However, the link to Moridin is an entirely different matter. This could prove to be massively useful, it if allows Rand to gain some insight into the Forsaken’s plans, but unimaginably dangerous if the reverse is true.

I cannot remember if Rand’s nausea began before or after the fight with Sammael in Shadar Logoth, but it seems likely that the link with Moridin began at that time. Although I always think of Ghostbusters when I think of the balefire incident (“Don’t cross the streams!”), it makes some sort of sense that the interaction between their channeling set up this strange connection. Because they were using two different sources of Power, I can only assume that has set up some form of dissonant resonance, which produces the nausea. I do not think that we have seen Moridin sharing this side-effect, but it would be interesting to learn if he also now suffers in the same way.

8. Covril has arrived with Erith! How quickly do you think that she can organize Loial’s wedding? How does Cadsuane know her?

Yay! Time for a shotgun Ogier wedding! :D

I am fairly certain that Loial will find himself married before he has a chance to finish looking scared. This assumes that they do not need to be in a stedding to have the ceremony, but I assume that nobody would argue with Covril anyway!

I suspect that Covril is much more like her son than she would like to admit, so I imagine that she did some wandering in her youth, which would have led her to meet Cadsuane. This does make me wonder what Loial’s father is like and why we never hear about him . . . perhaps he is too busy with his books to notice that the rest of his family is off and wandering about the rest of the world! :D

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