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 6.
1. We find ourselves back at the end of the Aiel war, with a long-lost friend. Are there any other time periods you would have liked to see instead? Other characters you would have liked to follow?
I would dearly like to learn more about the Age of Legends and how the Aes Sedai functioned within that society. We have only hints about what it was like from the memories of the Forsaken, but it would be fascinating to have more detail about the technology and scientific capabilities of the time. Chiefly, I would like to know if the existence of channelers made our form of science somewhat redundant, or if there were similar developments in technology for non-channelers to use. Learning more about the Ogier, Nym and Da’shain Aiel would be good as well.
As for other characters, my main interest would be in following the Forsaken on their journeys into the service of the Dark One. However, I would also be interested in learning more about Thom Merrilin and Noal Charin, who I am quite sure have numerous entertaining stories in their pasts.
2. Gitara Moroso foretells Rand's birth. If you recall, she was also the one who told Tigraine (Rand's mother) to leave and go to the waste. What do you think about one person having such an impact on history?
In the series, we follow many individuals who each have an improbably large impact upon the Pattern. Some of those are known to be ta’veren, but not all: some are merely in positions of power that allow them to wield a great deal of influence over world events. This seems fairly consistent with our understanding of human history, so I do not see it as too far-fetched to accept, even in Fantasy fiction. As a powerful Aes Sedai, especially one with the gift of Foretelling, it would have been very surprising if Gitara had NOT played an integral part in the fulfillment of the Dragon Prophecy.
3. Tamra Ospenya hopes to catch the Dragon Reborn in a big list of names. What do you think of this idea? Knowing what we know about Rand, do you find it likely that he'll be in the lists somewhere?
This seems like a very faint hope to me: as witness by the huge lists of birth that Moiraine and Siuan have to struggle through. We know that Tam found Rand and decided to adopt him, but there is no indication that he was a replacement for a stillbirth or miscarried child. This means that Kari al’Thor was not pregnant before the Aiel withdrawal and would probably not be mentioned by the other women as someone who had possibly given birth at about this time. It is also entirely possible that Tam would want to keep Rand’s Aiel origin a secret and so he would be unlikely to mention where exactly he had found the child. All of this makes it very unlikely that Rand’s name will jump out of the lists, although it will be interesting to see if he is mentioned at all.
4. Elaida has apparently never been nice in her entire life. Was she even at this point seeing herself as a future Amyrlin, or has she just gotten ambitious later?
It seems that Meilyn is a very important Sister, so I can only assume that Elaida has attached to her in the hopes of gaining prestige and influence. We know that Elaida was one of the most powerful channelers before the arrival of the Super Girls and the other, newly discovered, channelers, so perhaps Meilyn was one of the few Sisters who could surpass her in strength. Her subservient behavior seems to be somewhat out of character, so I have to assume that it is all part of a ploy on her part.
I suspect that Elaida had a Foretelling at some point that suggested that she would be Amyrlin one day. It certainly seems possible, as she has other Foretellings of events that affect her own life. It might also go some way to explaining her pig-headed sense of self-righteousness . . . or that could just be a major flaw in her personality! :D
5. Am I the only one who can't help drawing comparisons with Hogwarts? Do you have any funny ones?
I had not really noticed a lot of comparisons, but Moiraine’s point of view certainly seems a little like Harry’s at the moment. She and Siuan certainly seem to be at the center of Significant Events in much the same way as Harry, Ron and Hermione. However, I do not really see Tamra as Dumbledore, or Elaida as Draco . . . although I would be quite happy to see Elaida do a few turns as the amazing bouncing ferret! :D
6. Both Moiraine and Siuan are close to being raised to the shawl. Will we see that in this book? What do you think the testing will be like, and what new might we learn about Moiraine and Siuan from it? Lan is around also... will we see a warder bonding?
It seems likely that they will both be raised in the very near future, as I expect them to be out of the Tower and secretly searching for Rand before the end of this volume. I assume that they will indeed need to complete the required one hundred weaves whilst being goosed and assaulted with itching powder by a group of Sisters. It is highly likely that a ter’angreal of some type will be involved, as we saw in the test to become Accepted. However, this does not seem to offer the same opportunity to reveal something about their character or history, unlike a trip through the Silver Arches, so I doubt that we will learn much about them.
Lan is certainly in the vicinity of Tar Valon, and we can expect Moiraine to be riding about being bossy in the near future, so they are obviously going to meet. However, he does not seem to be training to be a Warder, nor massively interested in the workings of the White Tower, so I am not sure what will make him agree to the Bonding. At the moment, it seems likely that Something Bad will happen, wiping out his men and providing a Very Good Reason for him to start obeying her every whim.