Oi, mates! This here’s a Wheel of Time Re-read, and don’t you forget it!
Today’s entry covers Part 2 of the Prologue for Winter’s Heart, in which I assiduously avoid even the merest hint of controversy, totally, because I would Nevah!
Previous re-read entries are here. The Wheel of Time Master Index is here, in which you can find links to news, reviews, and all manner of information regarding the newest release, The Gathering Storm, and for WOT-related stuff in general.
This re-read post contains spoilers for all currently published Wheel of Time novels, up to and including Book 12, The Gathering Storm. If you haven’t read, read at your own risk.
And now, the post!
Prologue: Snow [Part 2]
Elayne had been expecting this summons, and knows that it must be obeyed instantly. She stands as Nadere walks in, ignoring the Asha’man completely (to Taim’s astonishment). Dyelin tries to put her off, but Elayne tells her it can’t wait. She is going to send everyone away first, but Nadere tells her “a child waiting to be born” doesn’t have time to send people away, and holds out a thick cloak, asking if she should tell Aviendha Elayne’s modesty is greater than her desire for a sister. Elayne releases saidar, turns her back to Taim, and asks an appalled Dyelin to help her with her buttons. One of the Asha’man snickers; Taim commands them to turn around, but she doesn’t know if he did too. The other women, even Zaida and Renaile, join ranks to form a somewhat inadequate wall between her and the men.
Focus, she told herself. I am composed, I am tranquil. I am . . . I’m stripping naked in a room full of people is what I am!
She finishes undressing and wraps the cloak around herself, sure she feels Taim watching her, and forces herself to give Reene, Dyelin, and Birgitte instructions calmly before walking out. Outside, she says to Nadere that the timing was on purpose, wasn’t it, to make sure she wanted this badly enough, which Nadere acknowledges.
“Those men, turning their backs, and those women, guarding you. I would have put a stop to it if the man in the embroidered coat had not kept looking over his shoulder to admire your hips. And if your blushes had not said you knew.”
Elayne missed a step and stumbled. The cloak flared, losing the little body warmth it had trapped before she could snatch it closed again. “That filthy pig-kisser!” she growled. “I’ll… I’ll… !” Burn her, what could she do? Tell Rand? Let him deal with Taim? Never in life!
Nadere eyed her quizzically. “Most men enjoy looking at a woman’s bottom. Stop thinking about men, and start thinking about the woman you want for a sister.”
They reach a room with a dozen Wise Ones and Aviendha, who is also naked. She and Elayne smile at each other nervously. Amys is there, having Traveled from Caemlyn; Elayne says she had hoped Melaine would be there, but another Wise One, Monaelle, tells her that Melaine can’t be there, as it might kill her unborn children if the weaves brush them, or make them part of the bond. Elayne hadn’t realized that saidar would be used in this ceremony; she’d thought it was just a ritual. She asks hesitantly what will happen with her Warder bond with Birgitte, but Monaelle assures her it will have a negligible effect. The Wise Ones gather in a circle, and Monaelle begins the ceremony by asking if Elayne and Aviendha’s mothers are present. Viendre and Tamela offer to stand in, and kneel behind Elayne and Aviendha (who are also kneeling).
“Who will suffer the pangs of birth for them?” Monaelle asked, and Amys stepped forward.
Two others came with her, a fiery redhead named Shyanda, whom Elayne had seen with Melaine, and a graying woman she did not know. They helped Amys strip to her skin. Proud in her nakedness, Amys faced Monaelle and slapped her taut belly. “I have borne children. I have given suck,” she said, cupping breasts that looked as if she had done nothing of the kind. “I offer myself.”
She kneels as well, and every woman in the room except for Amys, Elayne and Aviendha embraces saidar. Monaelle tells them she will ask them questions, and if they refuse to answer, or lie, they will be sent away and never allowed this chance again. She first asks each of them what is the best they know of the other, and weaves saidar so that their answers come together.
“Aviendha is so confident, so proud. She doesn’t care what anyone thinks she should do, or be; she is who she wants to be,” Elayne heard her own voice say, while Aviendha’s words suddenly were audible at the same time. “Even when Elayne is so afraid that her mouth dries, her spirit will not bend. She is braver than anyone I have ever known.”
Elayne stared at her friend. Aviendha thought she was brave? Light, she was no coward, but brave? Strangely, Aviendha was staring at her in disbelief.
Viendre tells Elayne that courage will leave her one day, and Tamela tells Aviendha that ji’e’toh means that she will care “to her bones” what others think of her; both Elayne and Aviendha nod impatiently, accepting these. Next Monaelle asks for the worst of the other.
“Aviendha…” Elayne’s voice said suddenly, hesitantly. “She… she thinks violence is always the answer. At times, she won’t think beyond her belt knife. At times, she’s like a boy who won’t grow up!”
“Elayne knows that…” Aviendha’s voice began, then gulped and went on in a rush. “She knows she is beautiful, knows the power it gives her over men. She exposes half her bosom sometimes, in the open air, and she smiles to make men do what she wants.”
Elayne is astounded by this, and they frown at each other. Tamela tells Aviendha that she knows she is beautiful too, and has used her beauty to influence men, and that her skill and strength will leave her in time, while Viendre exhorts Elayne to admit that she has been violent as well, and to warn her that beauty flees. Monaelle asks for the most childish thing of the other (Aviendha won’t learn to swim; Elayne gobbles sweets), and then for the thing they are most jealous of in the other.
“Aviendha has lain in the arms of the man I love. I never have; I may never, and I could weep over it!”
“Elayne has the love of Rand al’Th . . . of Rand. My heart is dust for wanting him to love me, but I do not know if he ever will.”
Elayne peered into Aviendha’s unreadable face. She was jealous of her over Rand? When the man avoided Elayne Trakand as if she had scabies?
Monaelle commands each of them to slap the other, twice, which they do hard enough to send the other sprawling. Then she tells them they can leave now if they want, but if they love each other enough to continue, to embrace. Elayne and Aviendha hug fiercely, whispering apologies.
Monaelle was standing over them, now. “You will know anger at one another again, you will speak harsh words, but you will always remember that you have already struck her. And for no better reason than you were told to. Let those blows pass for all you might wish to give. You have toh toward one another, toh you cannot repay and will not try to, for every woman is always in her first-sister’s debt. You will be born again.”
The feel of saidar in the room was changing, but Elayne had no chance to see how even had she thought of it. The light dwindled as if the lamps were being put out. The feel of Aviendha’s hug dwindled. Sound dwindled. The last thing she heard was Monaelle’s voice. “You will be born again.” Everything faded. She faded. She ceased to exist.
Elayne experiences being in the womb again, and being born, but this time with Aviendha as her twin. When they come out of it, resting on Amys, she and Aviendha weep and embrace.
“This is my daughter Aviendha,” Amys said, “and this is my daughter Elayne, born on the same day, within the same hour. May they always guard one another, support one another, love one another.” She laughed softly, tiredly, fondly. “And now will someone bring us garments before my new daughters and I all freeze to death?”
Elayne did not care at that moment if she did freeze to death. She clung to Aviendha in laughter and tears. She had found her sister. Light, she had found her sister!
Toveine Gazal wakes from a pleasant dream of strangling Elaida, and is forced by Logain’s orders to get up immediately. She curses the man and his “filthy bond,” and vows to escape somehow so she really can kill Elaida. The other sisters in the building glare at her or turn their backs, as they all blame Toveine for what had happened; Toveine is further angered that she owes Logain for stopping them taking their revenge on her the first night, and walks out proudly. The size of the village outside amazes her anew, and the wall the Asha’man are building (eight miles in circumference) indicates how many more than the current five hundred members they expect to eventually have.
Made using the Power. The male half of the Power. When she thought of that black wall, she saw an implacable force that could not be stopped, an avalanche of black stone sliding down to bury the White Tower. Impossible, of course. Impossible, but when she did not dream of strangling Elaida, she dreamed of that.
She sees a party on horseback approaching, Queen’s Guards escorting two blonde women, one of whom Toveine sees is wearing a coat fashioned like that of the Captain-General of the Guard, which makes no sense to Toveine. She hides herself automatically, and almost weeps when she realizes she’d just obeyed Logain’s orders to do so without even thinking about it. The Asha’man in the lead is commenting to “Lady Elayne” about how they can make anything they need, and Toveine jerks, wondering if that was Elayne Trakand, and silently hopes she is very careful not to fall into Elaida’s hands, since that would mean Elaida getting something she wanted. Then she realizes through the bond that Logain is getting up, and is compelled to run to his house; on the way she is attacked by dogs, and is (to her surprise) rescued by a group of women, who shoo the dogs off her.
“Go on with you, Aes Sedai,” a skinny, graying woman told her, slicing at a spotted dog with a switch. “They won’t bother you more. I’d like a nice cat, myself, but cats won’t abide the husband now. Go on.”
Toveine hadn’t realized the women knew too, but thinks they clearly wouldn’t help her escape, then, and runs on to Logain’s surprisingly modest house, where a group of Dedicated (including Vinchova, Sandomere, Genhald, and Kurin) are waiting outside patiently, as every morning. The door opens, but instead of Logain, it is Gabrelle, the Brown sister also bonded to Logain. Toveine is disgusted; she’d known through the bond what Logain had been doing the night before, but had never thought it was Gabrelle. Gabrelle seems completely unashamed, and Toveine yanks her aside and tells her they may be captives, but that is no reason to surrender to Logain’s “vile lusts”; then she hesitates and asks if Logain had “ordered” her to do it, but Gabrelle replies that it took her four days to convince Logain to go to bed with her, as she considered it a good way to get him to “gossip.” She then wonders if “it” is like that for ordinary women; Toveine doesn’t understand.
That musing expression never left the other’s face. “I felt… helpless. Oh, he was gentle, but I never really thought before on how strong a man’s arms are, and me unable to channel a whisker. He was… in charge, I suppose, though that isn’t quite right. Just… stronger, and I knew it. It felt… strangely exhilarating.”
Toveine decides Gabrelle is insane. Logain comes out of the house and smiles at Gabrelle (who smiles back), and takes reports from the men. Genhald reports that there are two interested in the “new kind” of Healing Logain had told them about, but it’s not going well so far; Toveine notes the mention of the Accepted Nynaeve al’Meara, though she doesn’t understand what they’re talking about. Vinchova is upset about the Two Rivers recruits, opining that some are far too young; Logain shakes his head and tells them to look out for them where they can, as he doesn’t think the Lord Dragon will appreciate it if they “kill too many” from his district. Another man mutters that he doesn’t think the Dragon cares at all, from what he can see, but Logain rebukes him, which he accepts meekly. Toveine thinks that she’s not so sure al’Thor has turned his back on his home, and wonders why Gabrelle is watching her.
“Last night,” Sandomere said after a moment, “I learned that Mishraile is having private lessons from the M’Hael.” He stroked his pointed beard with satisfaction, as if he had produced a gem of great price.
Perhaps he had, but Toveine could not say what kind. Logain nodded slowly.
Toveine is frustrated at this cryptic news. They are interrupted by Welyn Kajima (who has bonded Jenare), running up to tell them that the M’Hael is back, and has posted seven unbelievable names on the Traitor’s Tree; Genhald repeats the names Rochaid, Kisman, Torval, and Gedwyn in disbelief, wondering why they would desert when the M’Hael gave them “everything a king would want,” and Sandomere can’t believe it of Flinn, Hopwil, or Narishma either, though Dashiva always “had his head in the clouds.” An Andoran man (Canler) spits and remarks that maybe they were less enthused after “the butcher’s yard” that was the Seanchan campaign. Logain asks if Canler is worried about the butcher’s yard, and Canler shrugs and replies they’re all headed there, one way or the other.
“As long as you’re there on the day,” Logain said quietly. He addressed the man called Canler, but several of the others nodded.
Logain tells Gabrelle and Toveine to go inside and have some tea until he gets back, frustrating Toveine’s hopes to wander around and reconnoiter. The men leave and she and Gabrelle go inside, where Gabrelle tells her she’s learned that Logain is the only full Asha’man to live in the village; the others all live in Taim’s “palace.” She also mentions that Logain found Toveine’s lapdesk; Toveine is horrified, thinking of the order it had contained from Elaida, to gentle and execute every man they caught without a trial—an order that could have gotten them all stilled and hanged themselves if it got out—but then Gabrelle tells her he burned it. Toveine relaxes, and downplays the contents to Gabrelle (only Toveine had known of the order) but asks why he would do them any favors. Gabrelle replies that he is no more a villain than most men, but maybe it was just because he didn’t want to experience their executions through the bond. Gabrelle, however, suspects what the order actually was, and speculates that the real reason is that they are more valuable to the Black Tower alive than dead, as a way to stay Elaida’s hand for a while. She goes on that the Black Tower is splintered into factions; Taim’s and Logain’s, and possibly more, and fifty-one Aes Sedai ought to be able to do something with that even with the bonds. Toveine considers, and says that if they do manage to splinter the Asha’man, they’ll have dozens of bands of channeling men roving across the land, which could rip the world apart like a new Breaking; but if they don’t break them up, she’s not certain even the entire reunited Tower would be able to destroy the place. Gabrelle agrees, and then argues that she and Toveine must submit themselves to Lemai and Desandre’s authority, who stand highest among the sisters here, as it is the only chance of keeping them all united. Toveine agrees, but doesn’t tell Gabrelle about the plan she has started to form on her own.
Before Logain and Taim and the rest were destroyed, they would help Toveine Gazal bring down Elaida.
From a window at the Academy of Cairhien, Rand watches the crowds gathering to look at the wrecked wing of the Sun Palace and wonders if it was a mistake to come back so soon, but thinks he hadn’t had time to prepare anything. Min is rummaging through Herid Fel’s books, deciding what to take, and Dobraine reports to Rand while Rand watches men in the courtyard below labor over a bizarre metal contraption on a wagon. Dobraine tells him there is no consensus on who attacked Rand or whether he survived the attempt, or whether he’s gone mad and did it himself. Rand implies that he did, but this doesn’t seem to faze either Dobraine or Idrien, who is also in the room. He asks if anyone has left or gone missing, and Dobraine answers that Ailil Riatin and “some high Sea Folk official” have been missing since the attack, and the Wavemistresses are raising hell about it; Flinn, Hopwil, and Narishma are still in the Palace, making everyone nervous. Rand dismisses the Asha’man, and replies that Ailil and Shalon didn’t flee, but are with Cadsuane in Lady Arilyn’s palace, to add (he thinks) to her collection of nobles with valid claims to royalty (with Caraline Damodred and Darlin Sisnera). He wonders if this means she’s not focused on him after all, and tries to be relieved about it.
Perhaps Cadsuane was directing her meddling elsewhere. Min had seen Sisnera wearing a strange crown; Rand had thought a great deal on that viewing of hers. He did not want to think of other things she had seen, concerning himself and the Green sister. Could it be as simple as Cadsuane thinking she could decide who would rule both Tear and Cairhien?
He thinks she’ll have to be disabused of that notion, if so, but then pauses in astonishment as the men below pull a lever on the contraption, making it lurch slowly across the courtyard, without horses. Idrien is disdainful of Mervin Poel’s “steamwagon,” which breaks down constantly, and then complains about the useless bunch of “dreamers and wastrels” she has trying to make sense of ancient manuscripts that are probably nonsense, talking about “people with their eyes in their bellies” and so on. Rand asks what they’re making, and Idrien grumbles about Kin Tovere’s telescope and Maryl Harke’s huge kites she calls gliders, and Jander Parentakis “riverboats with waterwheels off a mill”. She also mentions Ryn Anhara, who “traps lightning in big jars”; Rand spins around at this, scaring her, but she hastily reassures him it’s nothing like that.
“It is a thing of wires and wheels and big clay jars and the Light knows what. He calls it lightning, and I saw a rat jump down on one of the jars once, on the metal rods sticking out of the top. It certainly looked struck by lightning.” A hopeful tone entered her voice. “I can make him stop, if you wish.”
Rand tells her to let them go on; who knows, maybe one of their inventions will turn out to be important. Dobraine and Idrien look doubtful, and Rand thinks to himself how badly he wants to build something to leave behind, to help the world survive the next Breaking.
I thought I could build, Lews Therin murmured in his head. I was wrong. We are not builders, not you, or I, or the other one. We are destroyers. Destroyers.
Rand shivered, and scrubbed his hands through his hair. The other one? At times, the voice sounded sanest when it was the most mad.
He pulls out two packets and hands them to Dobraine; one names Dobraine Rand’s steward in Cairhien, and Rand tells him to use his judgment, and to throw his full support behind Elayne when she claims the Sun Throne. The addressee of the other packet he tells Dobraine to “pry out,” and decide by what he says whether to give it to him or not. Dobraine is surprised by the name on the packet, but only bows and agrees, commenting that it sounds like Rand intends to be gone for a while. Rand shrugs, and Min comes staggering up with three sacks full of books, and makes a grinning joke to Rand about fitting him for a packsaddle that shocks Idrien but makes Dobraine smile. Rand dismisses them, and goes to pick up one of the scrips when a wave of dizziness hits him.
Knees turning to water, he stumbled. A shimmering face he could not make out flashed through his head. With an effort, he caught himself, forced his legs straight. And the whirling sensation vanished. Lews Therin panted hoarsely in the shadows. Could the face be his?
Min makes light of his stumble, but grows angry when Rand tries to bring up again the issue of her staying behind; Rand backs down, and curses himself for being too weak to make her safe. He weaves a gateway to where they had left their horses, and Min comments that she is not blind, bringing up the way he had gone to Rhuidean and asked endless questions about Shara, and then gone to Tear and asked questions about Chachin, and that it is obvious he’s trying to throw everyone off his trail so no one will know where he is. Rand replies that he thinks he needs to lay more false trails, but Min thinks he should just do whatever it is he’s planning with that sa’angreal in his bag and worry about false trails later. Rand is amazed she figured out that much, and Min asks what is his plan, other than killing Dashiva and the rest.
“I’m going to cleanse the male half of the source,” he said in a flat voice. A momentous announcement. A grand scheme, more than grand. Grandiose, most would say. He might have said he intended to take an afternoon stroll, for all of Min’s reaction. She simply looked at him, hands folded on the pommel of her saddle, until he went on.
“I don’t know how long it will take, and once I start, I think everyone within a thousand miles of me who can channel will know something is happening. I doubt I’ll be able to just stop if Dashiva and the rest, or the Forsaken, suddenly appear to see what it is. The Forsaken, I can’t do anything about, but with luck, I can finish the others.”
Min accepts this calmly, to Rand’s further amazement, and comments that maybe she can think of a better way. Rand doesn’t tell her that the real reason to go after Dashiva et al first is because he hopes it will give him time to get over this new sickness that happens every time he wields the Power now.
If not, he was not sure the two ter’angreal riding behind his saddle were going to be any use at all.
While the sister-bonding ceremony is not my favorite scene in WH, I think it was brilliantly done, not least because it was so much more profound an event than what I (and Elayne) had expected it to be. Very much a “whoa” reaction on first reading, for me. Of necessity, I rather short-changed the description of the actual rebirth bit in the summary, but it’s well worth reading for the imagery, which Jordan is still good at, it turns out.
Not everyone shares my reaction to this scene, of course. I have read several sharp criticisms of the sister-bonding ritual (both here in the comments and elsewhere), which vary in what particularly they object to, but generally tend to agree that the overall effect was sexist and exploitative, whether it was intended that way or not. These criticisms are not without their merit, especially those that point out that there exists in WOT the same disparity with ritual nudity as there is with homosexuality; which is to say, the women have both, and the men have neither. This is an extremely valid point, which I do agree reflects the author’s personal… not quite “prejudices,” because I think that has an overly negative connotation, but rather blind spots.
All that being said, I hesitate to agree fully with this interpretation, and in fact my inclination is to reject it—at least in regards to this scene specifically. Explaining why is a bit of a philosophical minefield, but I’ll give it a shot.
Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale is both a brilliantly written near-future dystopia, and a seminal work of feminist speculative fiction. And one of the reasons why it was so important in the latter sense is because Atwood was just as sharply critical of the flaws in the feminist movement of the time (the 1980s) as she was of its opponents. In particular, Atwood was scathing (if you read between the lines) in her contempt for the line of thinking that led some feminists to join forces with right-wing hard-liners in their crusade against pornography, which is one of those boggle-worthy situations that proves that logic and politics are, more often than not, mortal enemies. “Strange bedfellows,” indeed.
In general what you’ve got here is a fundamental conflict between, on the one hand, the desire to throw off the stigma which dictates that the human body, in particular the female body, is an object of shame and inherent immorality, and on the other, the desire to condemn practices which promote the objectification and exploitation of women via their bodies. It’s not difficult to see how the two objectives at some point inevitably end up at cross-purposes with one another.
To say this is an ethical quagmire of epic proportions is probably the understatement of the geological age, and it is certainly not one I propose to solve or even delve into more than is absolutely necessary in this venue. But it is relevant to our discussion here in that this conflict is, essentially, the source of the argument over what exactly this scene is portraying.
To put it baldly: is the sister-bonding ceremony a celebration of femininity, or is it, well, porn?
What tips the balance for me against the latter is a combination of factors. One, I am wary of the slippery slope which leads to the conclusion that because some depictions of female nudity are exploitative and degrading (and these certainly exist) that it follows that all depictions of female nudity are so. Two, I am even more leery of the semi-unspoken implication in many of these kinds of criticisms that female nudity cannot be depicted by a straight male writer, at all, without being exploitative by definition, which seems to me to be a tinfoil-wrapped express ticket to Reverse Sexism Crazytown.
And third, I have to wonder how much of the criticism directed against this scene is about what Jordan’s intentions were in writing it, and how much is about our own culturally ingrained discomfort with a scene that is so richly and unabashedly female in content.
Especially with its emphasis on childbirth, which historically has been an event fraught with hysterical (pun intended) and often blatantly misogynistic superstitions, sometimes horrific in their consequences, the effects of which still linger today in the reflexive “ew” reaction so many people seem to have to discussions or depictions of menstruation, the birthing process, breastfeeding, etc. Icky female stuff, dontcha know. And I’m including women as much as men here in that kneejerk reaction; sexism, ironically, knows no gender bounds, especially the subtler forms of it.
I say this because I often find I have to fight that ingrained reaction in my own self. No one on this earth is completely free of bias, and no one on earth can completely free themselves of the cultural blind spots they grew up with. What we can do is learn to recognize them when they happen, by examining our own reactions to things and trying to determine why we reacted the way we did—especially when that reaction is a negative one.
I’m starting to slip off target here, so let me sum up by saying: yes, the criticisms leveled against this scene, and the depiction of nudity in general in WOT, have validity. That said, sometimes you just have to make a decision about what side of the coin you’re going to choose to turn up, and what I got out of the sister-bonding ceremony when I read it, initially and now, is not that it was being exploitative, but rather that it was celebrating, in a very SF way, the wonderful mystery of the way we all come into the world, and what it means to be born—or reborn—and be frail, and naked, and human, and yet miraculously not alone.
*shrug* That’s how I see it. Take it for what it’s worth.
Toveine: I appreciated her POV mostly for the all-too-rare glimpse it gives of the Black Tower in a slice-of-life sense, which I enjoyed even with having to filter it through her (somewhat understandable, perhaps) prejudices on the subject. Also, her categorizing a dream of strangling Elaida as “pleasant” was pretty funny.
Lots of reinforcement of Logain’s Good Guy-ness here (his protection of Toveine, his admonishment of Canler) which pleased me as a (sometimes inexplicable) Logain fan. I remember I was startled to realize the implications of Logain’s conversation with his followers, which was that other than the men Rand promoted offsite and Logain himself, every single full Asha’man at the Black Tower is, essentially, a Darkfriend. I mean, I’m not 100% certain this is the case, but that certainly seems to be the logical conclusion to draw here—now, anyway, that I’m positive Taim really is a Darkfriend himself. In which case Eek doesn’t seem to quite cover it.
Also, am confused: which of the eight names brought up (Kisman, Torval, Rochaid, Gedwyn, Flinn, Hopwil, Narishma, and Dashiva) is not on the Traitor’s Tree, which Kajima said only had seven? I’m not sure if that’s a gaffe, or what, unless it indicates that Taim knew Dashiva’s real identity and thus left him off the list. However, I’m under the impression that we find out later Taim never knew who Dashiva really was. Or maybe it’s just that Kisman et al never knew? Argh, I can’t remember. I might come back to this later.
Dogs and cats: Not living together, I guess! This always seemed to me to be one of the more random yin-yang emphasizers in WOT, that dogs like male channelers and hate female channelers, while cats do the opposite. I suppose this guarantees I can’t channel, since I am a dog person. (I don’t mind cats, but dogs are much more fun. And less likely to attack you in your sleep.)
Lord. Look, all I’m gonna say is, if you swing that way that is super A-OK for you, sweetie, but let’s not speak for the whole gender on that score, mmmkay?
Rand: Sees Moridin’s face here even before seizing the Source, so I guess that blows my previous theory about what triggers it out of the water. I don’t have a lot else to say about it at this time, other than that I am very leery of where all this is going.
More fun cusp-of-Industrial-Revolution stuff here, with Rand essentially watching the first horseless carriage being invented under his nose. And electricity, too! Which is maybe jumping the gun a little, but hey.
I confess, though, I have absolutely no idea what is supposed to be meant by Idrien’s comment about “people with eyes in their bellies.” Seriously, the hell?
And I really don’t have a lot else to say about Rand, except that it’s completely obvious even here that his plan for cleansing saidin has holes you can drive a steamwagon through, at least in the sense of not getting immediately killed a lot the moment he begins. Which means, Cadsuane. Sigh. We’ll get to it.
Aaaaand I am so, so done. Have yourselves a merry little weekend, my peeps, play nice in the comments, and I’ll see you next week!