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Sylas K Barrett

Reading the Wheel of Time: Rand Calls the Shots and Moiraine Hates It in Robert Jordan’s The Shadow Rising (Part 16)

Hello and welcome back after our little one week hiatus from Reading the Wheel of Time. I hope everyone had a wonderful week, and I have brought you a belated holiday gift of finally getting to the chapters I’ve been promising for two weeks now, “Into the Heart” (21) and “Out of the Stone” (22).

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Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

The Love Story of R2-D2 and C-3P0 Comes to a Beautiful Close in The Rise of Skywalker

Now that The Rise of Skywalker has come out and the nine-film epic of the Skywalker saga has been brought to a close, I find myself looking back and reminiscing about the movies’ gorgeous, galaxy-spanning romance. No, not Anakin and Padme. Not Leia and Han either, though there is something beautiful to be said about them finding their way back to each other after all those years. But no, I’m talking about a romance that outlasted both of those, as well as three different governments, two Jedi purges, and one experience in impersonating a deity.

That’s right. I’m talking about the romance between R2-D2 and C-3P0.

(This piece contains mild spoilers for The Rise of Skywalker.)

[50 First Space Dates]

To Prepare for The Witcher, I Read the Book. It Didn’t Help.

I am now four episodes into Netflix’s The Witcher, and I just have to stop and say… What. Is. Happening?

I’m a huge fantasy fan, but I’m not a gamer, so my knowledge of The Witcher has always been always relegated to bits and pieces I’ve absorbed from friends and the internet over the years. (That is to say, all I really knew was that Geralt is a salty old monster hunter who nobody really likes, except there are also a lot of talented and hot ladies who are inexplicably really into him.) But then, after the Netflix series was announced, I found out that it was going to be pulling mostly from a book called The Last Wish.

“There are books?” I thought. “Wonderful! Now I can get my Witcher on.”

[The worst kind of monster. The human kind.]

Reading The Wheel of Time: The True Weapons of the Dark One in Robert Jordan’s The Shadow Rising (Part 15)

So I have been thinking a lot these past few weeks about the myriad of difficulties facing our brave heroes in the fight against the Dark One. As the Shadow rises in this, the fourth book of The Wheel of Time, it’s becoming clearer and clearer that the mistrust that the main characters feel for each other is even more dangerous than the enemies that smuggle themselves into every stronghold, no matter how fortified or well guarded. In many ways, the greatest weapon of the Dark One is not Trollocs and Myrddraal, or the Forsaken, or even bubbles of evil that burst in supernatural waves over ta’veren and those near them—the Dark One wields emotion against his enemies, sowing fear, corrupting once-pure motivations and desires, and encouraging despair in any mind he or his agents manage to touch.

And so, this week we will not cover any new chapters. Instead, we will talk about trust, and the alliances between those in the Light and those who serve the Dark.

[You must trust me, Moiraine. As I have so often had to trust you.]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

Reading The Wheel of Time: Elayne Discovers One Secret and Misses Another in Robert Jordan’s The Shadow Rising (Part 14)

Welcome back again to our read of The Shadow Rising!

This chapter is really wonderful. Although our time in the Stone has given our characters lots of opportunities to chat with each other and examine their feelings, “Winds Rising” really has the feeling of the Locked Room trope that’s so common in TV especially, where characters are stuck in a room or an elevator or something and forced to spend the entire time talking to each other. Here on the Wavedancer, Thom can play the simple gleeman, but he can’t avoid being studied the way he could in the Stone, can’t slip away when people get too interested in him, as he did with the majhere, or make himself seem more innocuous by taking a room in the servant’s quarters. Everyone is in close quarters (I believe that phrase even has a nautical origin), and they will have an ability to study each other that they might not have, before.

And of course, Jorin’s secret is a more literal example of the problem; she can’t avoid being seen by Nynaeve and Elayne, and one moment of channeling is all it takes to be caught.

[Rand al’Thor may be lucky if the next Age remembers his name correctly.]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

The Name of All Things Expands Jenn Lyons’ Fantasy in All the Best Ways

Jenn Lyons’ A Chorus of Dragons series is a challenging one to review. With world-building that is not only deliciously complex but is also imaginative and ruthless in its exploration and interrogation of gender, sexuality, racism, and imperialism, it feels hard to know where to put my focus in a review. And so many beautiful details seem to slip through my fingers when I try to recall them all. Both with The Ruin of Kings and the series’ second installment, The Name of All Things, I almost felt like I needed to read the book several times before I could even adequately describe it, never mind critique it.

[Oh, like you’ve never been dead before.]

Reading The Wheel of Time: Men and Women Quarrel Until the Stone Shakes in Robert Jordan’s The Shadow Rising (Part 13)

Welcome back to the read of The Shadow Rising. This week is lucky number 13, and our heroes are going to need some luck, as Perrin, Faile, and Loial journey into the Ways (with some company) and Nynaeve and Elayne are attempting to garner passage with the Sea Folk. It’s exciting to be introduced to a new culture, and I’m intrigued by what we see here of the Sea Folk customs and society, as well as the fact that we’re encountering a new set of prophecies.

It’s interesting that people keep being surprised that other cultures would have their own prophecies surrounding the Dragon Reborn, and I think it speaks to the prejudice of the Aes Sedai and the mainland cultures of the world that they haven’t considered that the more secretive societies of the world might have knowledge about its workings that the White Tower, Andor, and other powerful nations might not.

[The White Tower shall be broken by his name, and Aes Sedai shall kneel to wash his feet and dry them with their hair.]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

Reading The Wheel of Time: Thom Is Sent Away and Min Is Still Trapped in Robert Jordan’s The Shadow Rising (Part 12)

Welcome back to our read of The Shadow Rising. This week we’re covering Chapter 17, which is long and complex enough to warrant a post all to itself.

I’ll tell you what, though. I can’t help but be reminded of Star Wars: Episode One during some of these long chapters full of plotting and details that are obviously going to be important later, but much of which I don’t know what to make of yet. Granted, no one is droning on saying the word “treaty” a million times, so maybe it’s like some of the more politically-focused episodes of The Clone Wars? Have y’all watched that show? It’s pretty brilliant.

Sorry, I’ve got Star Wars on the brain, given how close we are getting to The Last Jedi release. But we aren’t here to talk about Obi-Wan, Ahsoka, and the Chosen One. We’re here to talk about Thom, and Min, and the Dragon Reborn. This week we also get a few revelations about Moiraine’s backstory, and we find out that one of my little theories from a few weeks ago was pretty on point. Oh Galad. This is where the path of Lawful Good leads you.

[Rand al’Thor is the wolfhound we will use to defeat the Shadow.]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

Reading The Wheel of Time: Other Worlds and Couple Fights in Robert Jordan’s The Shadow Rising (Part 11)

This week in our read of The Shadow Rising, we get to travel to another world and meet a new species! We also get to watch a lot of stupid couples fights. Also, Loial is fabulous and Lan speaks poetry.

[Surprising what you can dig out of books if you read long enough, isn’t it?]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

Reading the Wheel of Time: Rumors and Fate in Robert Jordan’s The Shadow Rising (Part 10)

It is a time of transition in The Shadow Rising, and everyone is finally making those decisions they’ve been putting off for eleven chapters. I suppose we all got lulled into a false sense of security by everyone’s position in the Stone. The looming threats of the Black Ajah and the Forsaken notwithstanding, this time spent in the Stone is the most secure our heroes have been for a long time. They’re even all together! But of course that couldn’t last, and now it looks like everyone is going to be scrambling to finalize their plans and get this story moving again. I can’t really blame them for wanting to hold onto this time, and each other, as long as they could! And now Perrin is going off on his own, and even the Elayne, Egwene, and Nynaeve dream team is going to split up.

Just a note, last week I said that I would be covering Chapters 12 and 13, but given the short length of this section of chapters, today we will also be covering Chapter 14, which is a dumb chapter that I hate. Seriously, the whole hurt someone to save them trope is one of my least favorites. But more on that later, first, let us recap.

[Why is it always Berelain?]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

Reading The Wheel of Time: Rand Makes a Plan and Egwene Finds a Collar in Robert Jordan’s The Shadow Rising (Part 9)

Welcome back to this week’s episode of Reading the Wheel of Time! In this post, part nine of The Shadow Rising, we are covering chapters 10 and 11, in which Rand fights Shadowspawn and does new tricks with Callandor, while Egwene looks in Tanchico, finds what she needs, but doesn’t notice.

Really excited that she met a Wise One, though! It will be very interesting to see how this new relationship plays out. Now let’s get down to recapping!

[The Stone Stands… just barely.]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

One For All, and All Are Gay: Queer Heroism in Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers

I know there have been dozens of Three Musketeers movies made, but have you ever read the book? Because I have to tell you, that book is quite delightfully, playfully, incredibly gay.

I mean, I didn’t figure out my queer identity until adulthood, but that didn’t stop me from crushing on female heroines like Jo March or Alanna of Trebond, or imagining that I was Robin Hood or Taran the assistant pig-keeper. There are lots of books in my past that queered me, or that I queered in my own imagination, but I will always have a special place in my soul for The Three Musketeers. From Aramis’ “dreamy eye”, to d’Artagnan’s meteoric rise to heroism, to the fact that the book is mostly just there to give you lush descriptions of 17th century Paris (right down to exacting depictions of each of the musketeer’s households and affairs, and also the Queen’s), it was pretty much a fledgling trans boy’s gay dream.

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Reading the Wheel of Time: Lews Therin’s Loves in Robert Jordan’s The Shadow Rising (Part 8)

So my analysis got a bit long, and as a result, this week’s recap only covers Chapter 9. But it’s an exciting one, with Lanfear returning to Rand and revealing herself, and in the process letting us know more about the Forsaken and how they think. We also get a rare glimpse at what life is like for our heroes between all the important dramatic moments; I was talking just last week about how much of the romance and other character interactions happen “offstage” during the quiet moments of traveling or waiting around, which the reader doesn’t see, so I’m happy that half of this chapter was devoted to that. I really love getting to know characters better, and all the little details that don’t always come up when you’re being brave and heroic and self-sacrificing.

And now, the recap.

[It’s like a heat wave, burning in my heart.]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

Reading The Wheel of Time: Egwene Questions the Fish and the Bird in Robert Jordan’s The Shadow Rising (Part 7)

Welcome back to our read of The Shadow Rising! This week, (Week 7!) we’re covering Chapters 7 and 8, in which Egwene tries to learn more about saidin, Elayne and Rand talk romantic feelings, and Mat is presented with an new option besides staying or running. And also the High Lords are annoying but that’s to be expected.

[In which the birds try to teach the fish. Or is it the other way around?]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

Reading the Wheel of Time: Romance and Choices in Robert Jordan’s The Shadow Rising (Part 6)

Hello friends, and welcome to the sixth week of the Read of The Shadow Rising. This week I would like to complain about how boring the title of this book is. Like, it’s to the point for sure. But it doesn’t intrigue me the way The Eye of the World or The Great Hunt did. Even The Dragon Reborn, while also a bit redundant, mentions a specific aspect of the book. But The Shadow Rising? I mean, yes, it has been and will continue to do so in later books.

Of course, the title really doesn’t matter once you’ve started reading a book, and the only reason I’m still thinking about it is because I have to type it out so frequently, but my dog is sick and my stitches itch a lot, so I’m feeling punchy.

Not as punchy as our lady protagonists are, however. Elayne’s love sick, Nynaeve’s pulling her braid out of her head to strangle Moiraine, and Moiraine is uncharacteristically ruffled.

[And now, the recap.]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

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