Hi friends! My apologies, but there isn't a new post ready for this week! I was on vacation, and between vacation brain and the labor day holiday, work kind of got away from me. I promise we'll be back to our regularly scheduled posts next week, thanks so much for understanding.
Hi friends! Little error at the end there: Next week will cover Chapters 37-39, not 40-42 as was originally stated. Sorry for the confusion, and happy reading!
Well now that we're talking more about Sauron and Saruman I am guaranteed to smash them up, lol. Y'all have seen me do it with Egwene and Elayne... heck, I've typed Rand instead of Perrin more than once! It is a skill I have.
But in any case, I believe I said Maia in the origional post itself, and that was what I meant, I specifically wanted to include Sauron, and not just talk about the wizards. Appologies if I've confused the issue since; I've been commenting on my phone while on the subway/waiting at the doctor's office so I may have misread/mistyped something somewhere along the line!
@ Whitespine and Silvertip. Yeah I think that's really the correct takeaway! A+
@Rombobjörn (#30) Oh good point! I hadn't even thought of that. Possibly because of the spelling: I've been calling him "Keith" in my head and giggling. Not sure why.
I'll have to revisit my understanding of Radagast! I always just think of the Maia as veing assigned the grand, big-picture roll of protecting against the influence of Melkor and Sauron, but you're right that there's more to it than that.
@ adjbaker (#13) Jesus and the Catholic church is not the most apt comparison for the Dragon and his followers, in my mind. If anything, Rand is more like the Dali Lama, except for the whole warrior thing. Of course no religion is a good comparison to Rand, because all religion is about faith, whereas we the readers know which answer is objective truth for the books. And I would argue that the Whitecloaks miltiance and scale of influence fits certian sects of Christianity throughout history much more than it can be fit as a comparison to Jewish sects.
Climate change is not a religion. It is based in scientific fact. Science is imperfect, we may disagree with what our findings mean, but it is not faith. It is the study of observable phenomena.
@Lisamarie (#2) Actually I did mean Sauron. He was one of the Maia/istari too, and was corrupted by Melkor, the origional Dark Lord of Middle-Earth. But you're right, I wasn't even thinking of Sauron, who goes basically the same way.
@olethros6 (#8) Thank you for that pun, you just made my week.
@hassanbh: Oooh I knew I was forgetting something! I had that quote in the back of my head and then I forgot to go look for it. Someone has a sense of humor, doesn't he? I love it.
@ Emily Wyman: There are many reasons someone might lust after power: greed and a desire for self-preservation are two good ones. I realize that there must be a variety of reasons, some very complex, others perhaps more simple, that people become Darkfriends. But when I think of what I’ve seen of the Darkfriends in the Prologue (which, granted, are only the more high-ranking Darkfriends) I do see power-lust. The man who called himself Bors specifically thinks about how he will supplant those Darkfriends above him, and his disgust at having to deal with certain other types of people feels like the kind of self-superiority which has always gone hand-in-hand with the desire for power when it comes to fantasy baddies. And it seems like many of the upper echelon of Darkfriends are after that promise of eternal life, which is more than just self-preservation. That’s self-extension, and the main reason to want that is a sense of superiority and self-entitlement. (Obviously there’s also plain-old fear of death, which I realize might happen to anyone, but generally speaking most people who want to live forever want it because they think they’re so great and special and deserve it.) It was certainly what was going on with Gode back in The Eye of the World. The narration straight up says it. “‘….Think of it. Life everlasting, and power beyond dreams.’ His voice was thick with hunger for that power himself.” (Chapter 32) So that’s where I’m getting my analysis from.
I’m curious as to what influence the Dark One can wield on behalf of lesser-ranking Darkfriends. Since it’s said that he can’t touch the Pattern (or at least couldn’t until very recently), it’s not like he can change events in someone’s favor. There’s no selling your soul in exchange for having someone fall in love with you, or to win the lottery. But with the Shadowspawn to act as his agents, he could have money given to people or perhaps have other Darkfriends give them favors or raise their status in some way. I’d love to learn more about what advantages being a Darkfriend has in this life; honestly, who have we met who actually profited by it? Seems to me like it’s a lot of work and mortal fear of failure.
As for my predictions about Ingtar, I think that I laid out enough evidence from the earlier chapters to show where my conclusions came from. Jordan does a lot of work on building his themes and setting up his foreshadowing, and it helps that this is a fairly standard, Boromir-style redemption story. One doesn’t have to read ahead to put those clues together; based on what Jordan wrote, it’s the most obvious choice.
@Austin (#29) Yes, I only read enough for the next post. Since this is a read and not a reread, I don't want to have any knowledge of later events that color my analysis. Sometimes by the time a post goes live I've started on the next one, so I might be a chapter or two ahead of what's gone up, but not this week. I just finished reading Chapter 46 this evening, so I'll start writing up next week's post tomorrow and see how long it ends up before I start on Chapter 47. (I usally feel safe reading two chapters at a time, but these are the big ones.)
@Anthony Pero re #2.
I think it's going to be Ingtar. I know there's something going on with him, am suspicious that he may either be/have been a Darkfriend or at least had something to do with the attack on Fal Dara. His feverish need to reclaim the Horn, ("I must!") has already had me thinking along those lines for the past few weeks, and I think that perfect quote from Rand ("What does finding the Horn count if I abandon Egwene to this? If I did that, the Horn couldn’t save me. The Creator couldn’t save me. I would damn myself.") and Ingtar's reaction to it is a particularly pointed piece of foreshadowing.
My initial read on Ingtar back in the beginning of the hunt to reclaim the Horn was that he felt dishonored that the Horn was lost while under his/Fal Dara's care, and that he needed to prove himself by finding it again. This tracked with what I knew of him from The Eye of the World. But there's been a fear in him that seems to have risen over the course of the story and subsumed any talk of honor or Shienaran determination, and his focus on finding the Horn has always been on himself. He never once, for example, expressed fear that the Darkfriends might use the Horn, or that there might be consequences that cause the Light to lose in the Last Battle.
For a while I thought maybe he was truly just a Darkfriend, and his concern for recovering the Horn was because Fain had taken over, and the Horn wasn't being taken where Ba'alzamon wanted it. I thought perhaps Ingtar was concerned that he might be punished for this. But that didn't track either, and there is too much nobility and goodness in Ingtar for me to feel like it is quite so straightforward. I also don't see much power-lust in Ingtar, which so far has been the hallmark of the worst of the Darkfriends, as far as I can tell.
Now I suspect that Ingtar got tangled up with the Dark or Darkfriends, possibly a mistake made under duress or in an attempt to do something good through the wrong means. We know that the Shienaran fight against the Blight is one that they are slowly losing, and we've seen despair in Ingtar before, so I could see him having made some kind of mistake, maybe even back in The Eye of the World when all of Fal Dara's forces thought they were riding to certain death in the Gap. Probably his desperation to regain the Horn has something to do with regaining his place in the Light.
Ingtar was so struck by Rand's words, I imagine there will be some kind of redemption death for him, in which he's injured or chooses to sacrifice himself to save the Horn/the rest of the company. I think Rand's choice will have reminded him of who he is and where his duty lies, and that his redemption is something he can earn by being a good man and by doing his duty, as he once urged Rand to do. He doesn't need the great deed of recapturing the Horn to bring him back to the Light, only himself.
Given that it's really too early to kill off Perrin or Mat or Rand, the only other choice would be Hurin, which wouldn't serve any narrative purpose other than making the reader sad, so I think even if some/most of my assumptions about Ingtar's exact motivations are off, I'm probably right in at least a general sense.
Okay but seriously why would you name two of Rand's love interests who are also friends and spend a lot of time together Elayne and Egwene? It's like Jordan is trolling me, specifically!
Also thanks everyone for the clarification on how one is born a channeller. I did not remember how those explanations work! Also for the update on Domon's Illianer accent. I just assumed he talked that way because he used to be a pirate, haha.
So much good analysis here friends! I don’t have much to add but I will say that flowers are meant to create seeds, but they are beautiful to attract pollinators, so I think that it is fair to say that they are also meant to adorn. “None mind, as long as you do not take too many.” Leave enough blossoms for the plants to be able to reproduce, and they are happy to share their beauty for other purposes.
@The Mega Sage (#9) I will be continuing to book two! I’m working with our editor on a schedule but we’ll probably have a week or two of general musing/recap and then maybe a one week break and then on to The Great Hunt!
@Rombobjorn (#10) That's a really interesting read that the Light and the Creator are two separate deities. I had thought that the Light is just another name for the Creator/the Creator’s power, but I kind of like the suggestion that the Light is a force on its own. Kind of like the Pattern is, not necessarily a personage but a force with its own will/designs.
@SCMof2814: Yes okay that sounds so right to me. There is something very like Mashadar about the Black Wind, for me. And it explains why it seems so outside of anyone's knowledge base or instincts, even Lan and Moriaine's. It is something new born out of a corruption that isn't straight from the Dark One's hand, as it were.
@warderwannabe (#15) Oh yes, I forgot I wanted to talk about the Gollum parallel! ! I made a joke about that in last week’s read when I was still just guessing that it was Fain following them in the Ways. The fact that Fain was tortured in Shayol Ghul in order to give him his ability and compulsion to track the boys makes that comparison all the more apt, since Gollum was also tortured in Mordor for his knowledge about the one ring, and then purposefully set loose so that he could be followed to it.
I think the comparison of Aglemar to Boromir is an interesting one. I felt really bad for Agelmar working so hard to convince Lan or Moiraine to help him, or to let him help them. It’s not his fault he doesn’t know all the secret things that they know, and he was just doing the best he could to his own abilities. And he is about to take his soldiers to what is almost definitely going to be their doom. He handles it pretty well though, and his learned and courteous nature also reminds me of Faramir. I hope we see more of him.
@Tomas (#18) Actually, one of my big complaints right now is that I don’t get to see more of Shienar, and get more of the characters’ reactions to it. I’ve started into doing the post for next week and it’s like, woosh off to the next setting. What we have seen of Shienar is so tantalizing.
The idea of a city that is sort of constantly under siege is a really interesting one, with the emphasis on the functionality that Rand notices, as well as Loial’s lesson in understanding the beauty of simplicity. Also Agelmar’s skill as a host, while not necessarily directly from Shienarian custom, gave the culture a very grounded feeling, I thought.
The Ogier are a fascinating culture, too! Right now I am mostly enjoying the ent-like feeling of Loial’s perspective; humans are so hasty and have such short memories, etc, but then by the standards of his own people he's that way, too. The detail in of how the language sounding like low-voiced birds singing was a beautiful one, and seemed so interesting when paired with the natural, vine-like description of Ogier script.
Gotta say those commas are quite intriguing. I am looking forward to it!
@burog35c (#17) It has been very interesting reading slowly too! I usually am gobbling books up, rather than taking them in 2-4 chapter sections and then stopping to think about it. I was a little worried when I started to read that I’d get too impatient, but actually it’s been wonderful to really take time to sit with the story.
Nibbling at the bait, I love that. I bet I could read WoT quite a few times before I’ve caught everything. :-)
So we’ve been getting questions about pointing out things that I may have missed in the chapters. I say go for it! We’re doing our best to avoid spoilers, but as long as it doesn’t give away future events that Jordan later explains clearly to the reader, I’d love to have your input. It's one of my favorite parts of doing the read, actually, when someone points something out in the comments and then we can chat about it.
Just a reminder while we’re here (although y’all have already been doing a great job with this). Feel free to have spoilery discussions in the comments section as well, just make sure to hide anything that would give too much away to me or any other first time readers that may be following along. Make whatever portion of the text that might contain spoiler white, and put the little // secret secret, look how wrong Sylas was in that guess, haha // around it so other commenters know where to highlight over to read your thoughts.
@burog25c (#9) I agree. ta’veren might be the best deus ex machina device I have ever encountered, if it’s even fair to call it that. It’s fascinating to discover.
@DarkX (#12) Even as I was writing those words I was thinking to myself, can I even put the word end knowing how much more there is to come?
@skockie (#8) That makes total sense. Maybe he’ll feel a bit differently when everyone else is “out” Nynaeve about her abilities and Rand about being the Dragon? I mean, Mat is half-possessed by a cursed dagger, no one has anything to feel bad about anymore. ;-)
It has been discussed in the comments sections in other weeks how the theme of mistrust keeps coming up in WoT, and I think it’s mostly my instinct as a reader wanting to scream at everyone to confide in each other. Plus Perrin’s ability is so cool from our perspective, even if it isn’t from his.
@RobMRobM (#6) Yeah it took me reading parts of the chapter over a couple times before I was sure I understood what the title really meant; on the first pass I thought Dai Shan was just a general term like “lord" or “sire.” When Rand or the pov character doesn’t know what titles mean it can get a little harder to parse through the narration.
Ooh, I missed that she phrased it that way! So cool.
@zdrakec (#3) and @whitespine (#4) and incurablyGeek (#5) That was definitely my impression about Lan’s loyalties, that they were to Moirane specifically. I don’t know any other Warders yet so I can’t analyze things very deeply, but it makes sense that a personal guard would be focused solely on the person they are guarding. Warders serve their Aes Sedai, and the Aes Sedai serve Tar Valon.
Ooh, but if Nynaeve becomes an Aes Sedai, does that make her and Lan’s romantic thing a conflict of interest? He already belongs to another Aes Sedai!
@whitespine (#10) Yeah, I think that’s right about the red and white both belonging to Andor. It did seem like the descriptions of the guards and the procession bringing in Logain heavily favored red, though.
@padan_fain (#11) Yeah, I wasn’t sure what to make of it, tbh. To me it sort of felt like a generic Evil power, you know, like something Ba’alzamon would have said. The perception of people’s fears and the things they felt that were weaknesses. The most interesting thing about it is the information the reader gains about how the characters are feeling. I did mean to mention that this feels like confirmation that Nynaeve is developing feelings for Lan, though!
I definitely have the advantage of reading the story slowly and doing it for analysis. If I was just reading straight through, I wouldn’t have time to stop and think about what certain things might foretell because I’d be too busy tearing ahead to see what the next chapter holds! It is a very interesting way to consume a book.
Gotta say, y’all are tempting me with the white-outs this week. But I will remains strong! I am, however, going to start looking more closely at the icons! So thank you all for that. ;-)
@princessroxana (#9) and @mp1952 (#10) And nothing speaks more of out-of-touch privilege than saying, "well, can’t help everyone so no point in helping anyone!" Bet she could come up with something that would be helpful and avoid the appearance of favoritism, if she really wanted to.
@Biter (#13) I haven’t paid much attention to the icons. I do look at them but nothing in particular has jumped out at me. Perhaps worth looking a little closer? And I am quite certain I am missing loads of stuff! I really enjoy when commenters allude to it or when I see those whited out bits and know there are surprises ahead.
@MDNY (#3) Yes, exactly! I think the pattern device is a really clever one, and even though I’m still at the beginning of a very long journey I’m already basically sold on it. I think it was the explanation of ta’veren that did it for me; the idea that the pattern guides people and events, but also that some people are forces for change, that guide the pattern around them instead.
@Zero-G (#4) Honestly, that statement comes more from what I know of the works through interviews and fan comments, including some that were made on earlier posts in the read. But there are also little things that I have seen come back, like the Artur Hawkwing stuff, the info about Thom, and the mentions of Rand being as tall as an Aielmen starting as early back as chapter 65 (Thom calls him that). But yeah to be fair I’ve also encountered conversations amongst fans about that, and been warned to watch for certain things to come back around by commenters in the read!
@John (#5) Thank you! I somehow got it in my head that Logain had an “e" at the end and I just couldn’t get it out! ;-) Went and gave ‘er another pass.
I have very much enjoyed reading all your survey answers! Thanks for starting that Thomas!
@John (#63) Ah yes the taint. I keep forgetting about that! Seems a big thing not to remember.
@SeekingZero: (#28) Hello and I am glad you are enjoying it!
@padan-fain: (#47) I hope I finish to! It is a daunting, but exciting prospect. And I don’t think there is any point in doing this read without really getting into the nitty-gritty; the books are just too rich and detailed for anything less! I’m glad you’re enjoying the read and I look forward to many more as well. :-)
@ Tyler (#20) I can see that association, especially with the shared B in our last names!
Yeah I imagined that it would not be the most discussion heavy week for the comments section, except if people wanted to do long spoiler conversations amongst themselves. I wanted to get another chance to theorize and look at the foreshadowing before things start to pick up again with the action. Can’t wait to get to next week!
@Rombobjorn: (#21) Oh yes, good point. Most people probably don’t meet him or have any contact with him directly, especially the underlings. Makes me wonder how they find their way to serving him. Do Fades serve as intermediaries, the way a lesser demon might serve to tempt in the name of the Devil in christian cannon? Interesting.
@19ridolf67 (#9) Is that sarcasm, I hear? ;-)
@noblehunter (#11) And perhaps how much people are willing to ignore their own instincts in order to pursue greed, I think. And then after a while of ignoring/suppressing that instinct, no doubt it fades. (Heheh, Fades.)
@jadis66 (#13) Maybe you mean Arthurian, with the prophesied return of Arthur to Albion in the hour of it's greatest need? I was also thinking along the line of Buddhism and how the bodhisattva choose to remain attached to samsara to serve humanity. One question I have been pondering is how the physical land is shaped by the Wheel; I get how the pattern works on people’s lives but where do the building blocks come from?
@RobMRobM (#2)- My assumption was that Ba’alzamon means it more literally than that: Rand’s ability to channel literally saved him because he drew the lightning down to kill Gode and bust a hole in the wall. And it also literally gave away his location to Ba’alzamon? But on the other hand, Moiraine often says that the presence of a chaneler is some protection in a way that sound more spiritual/astral so maybe there is something in the power itself that puts out goodness vibes, as it were?
Also re: #7, it makes sense to me that the wolves have an actual presence in Perrin’s mind which present symbolically as the image of the wolf. After all, they are communicating through some kind of telepathy and seem to be able to do so either as a group or as one individual to another. It is pretty cool, I agree!
To those asking about my use of the word “chora”: I must have accidentally picked it up when I was double checking my spelling of Avendesora! I don’t read any blogs or wikis to stay spoiler free, but sometimes I google spellings or look up name references (like the time I forgot who Mistress Luhhan was) instead of flipping through the book, just ’cause it’s faster. So funny, I didn’t even notice until y’all mentioned it and I went back to check my copy, totally convinced that Loial had used the word!
(Just tried it, yeah, when you google Avendesora it comes up with an entry for “Chora” on the Wheel of Time Wiki. Not really a spoiler I guess, since I just figured it was another word for the Great Trees. But I am NOT reading more than a few chapters ahead of the posts each week.)
Dang, ya’ll are sharp though. :-)
#13, #15. Ah, very cool. I don't know how to play Go so I'll still have to learn. ;-)
@princessroxana (#10) I would stay there for sure. It’s definitely my favorite inn so far. We can learn to play stones!
@Lisamarie (#4) I mean, they kind of are, but sometimes info dumping can still be fun. I definitely like the way Loial’s conversation expanded the world for me, and because his perspective and knowledge base is so different from Rand’s, it felt really organic, rather than a conversation that was just there to inform the reader. It felt important for Rand to be learning from Loial, and I just got the benefit of that.
@tbgh: (#7) That’s a really interesting point. While Perrin has found a mentor/guide of sorts in Elyas and Nynaeve and Egwene will have the ability to look up to other Aes Sedai, there isn’t exactly someone who can guide Rand on his journey of self-discovery. Maybe Thom will come back and give him a hand.
@KalvinKingsley: (#8) Ah yes, thanks for the catch. Sometimes my initial notes get confused and I miss correcting them. So many names!
@Tyler (#35) Oops I forgot! Next week will be Chapters 31-33.
Can I just say, you have all been so much fun to engage with, and I really appreciate all your conversations and compliments. I am so glad everyone is enjoying the read, and I just wanted to take a moment thank you, since you’ve all been thanking me!
@Sonofthunder (#27) The only thing about that (re the Whitecloaks’ perspective on the attack) is that the wolves didn't start attacking until after the Whitecloaks saw Wind and brought out fire to hunt the wolves down. They did this because they consider wolves to be servants of the Enemy, and would have been perfectly safe if they had made camp and stayed away from the pack. They decided the wolves, and therefore Elyas, Perrin and Egwene, were Darkfriends first, before anything happened, and thus made their own enemies.
@whitespine (#26) Yes! This is a good visual, and it makes more sense of the use of the term “ridges” vs something more traditional such as "hiills” or “peaks."
@Tyler (#22) What you’re saying makes a lot of sense to me. I don’t know enough about the Whitecloaks to weigh in about the differences in approach in the large-scale yet, but I agree that Byar is not in on it. Bornhald is thoughtful in his approach, methodical, using all tools to his advantage and not getting ahead of himself. Byar, to me, seems to just want to cut down every threat (and every perceived threat) on sight and be done with it. I’ll be interested to see how these dynamics play when I see more of the Children in action.
@AaronH Oh, yes, I am sure that none of this compares to what is to come. Thank you for reading!
@13 There’s definitely a lot of different aspects to Perrin’s decision and the fallout that he feels, which I think is where Elyas misses the mark a little in understanding what Perrin is upset about. It’s not just as simple as “would it have been a moral decision?" it’s all these questions about autonomy (as mutantalbinocrocodile put it in comment 9) and responsibility and when you can/have a right to make choices on behalf of others. I think that Perrin has had a taste of what it means to be a leader, and this is probably the first of many such struggles and many such burdens.
I didn’t think of Perrin’s decision as macho/sexist but the fact that the story puts the only woman in the group in the position of being out of the loop does accidentally give that effect to it, I think.
@JamesMB (#8) Interesting. I would probably agree that he seems more reasonable, but that is such a low bar to clear given the behavior we’ve seen from the other Whitecloaks that it doesn’t mean much more than it keeps Perrin and Egwene alive for a little longer. I also found that his “I give you every chance, and you dig yourself deeper with every word” bit completely disingenuous. I really did feel like he’d made up his mind about them as much as Byar had, but that he is more dedicated to some kind of due process, and that he has an interest in (for lack of a better word coming to mind) "conversion" of the wicked. So far my impression is more that he is subtler, and that he seems less ruled by his emotions, but I think he's just as black and white in his thinking.
@mutantalbinocrocodile (#9) Ooh, these are excellent points. The question of whether or not Egwene would have consented to it is glossed over by Elyas’s “I know which one I’d choose.” Because death by ravens is so horrible it is just sort of assumed that of course anyone would have chosen a mercy killing at Perrin’s hands, but that assumption doesn’t make it true.
@mp1952 (#5) We often ascribe a purity to animals that I think makes them being harmed or killed seem particularly tragic and unfair. And that goes double for a fantasy animal who has been imbued with that by the narration: Hopper’s death is definitely supposed to be a mark of the corruption of the Children, thematically speaking. (And of course to show how much Perrin’s connection to the wolves has grown.)
But also I think that it’s a bit easier to fathom the death of an an animal than a human; the fact that it doesn’t strike quite so close to home actually makes it easier to process, and then to feel it properly. At least that’s how it’s always seemed to me.
@fcoulter (#2) Going up and down rather than around is definitely a lot more effort on a trail, and if you’re going for long distance you definitely want to conserve energy whenever you can. I think part of the problem for Elyas, Perrin, and Egwene was not just the going around but the finding a way around, which could have been time consuming and difficult. I also wonder how high/difficult the ridges are.
So far I have found Jordan’s descriptions of cities very evocative and easy to imagine, but his descriptions of landscapes have been less clear to me. I wasn’t really able to picture how the ridges looked in terms of how big or wide they were, or how difficult they would be to go over.
Elyas does say, however, that he is as vexed as Perrin and Egwene are about the delays of going around. “You know how long this is taking, going around every bloody little hill like this? Blood and ashes! I’ll be till summer getting you off my hands.” (pg. 399 in my copy) So it is at least costing them time.
@Peter (#3) Oh wow, I did not figure that out! Is it clear in the text and I just missed it?
Bornhald in Baerlon (That sounds like a rom-com or something, doesn’t it?) is such an arrogant hothead, so it does change my perspective on Bornhald Sr. a bit because I was ascribing some of that recklessness and loudness to him. However I think Bornhald Sr. comes off just as arrogantly in his scene, but more self-possessed and wise about it. He doesn’t need to flaunt his status, he is secure in it, unlike Byar, and perhaps Bornhald Jr. as well.
@Lisamarie (#69) I can see whta you mean. I do like the idea of there being separate parts that make a whole; I think that I would like it better if it was presented without a black and white gender component. But you make an excellent point: I do not see gender as even a little bit distinct, so I’m definitely not set up to buy into the premise even before I’ve seen how it’s executed. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be executed well or do some interesting things, and I fully expect to enjoy a lot of it. But I’m also going to always be seeing that flaw too, I think.
@warderwannabe (#70) I do think that the Aes Sedai are in a difficult position, given that they are carrying a burden that they were never meant to carry alone. The events following the Breaking has probably resulted in a long slow change amongst their ranks where the general distrust and fear of channelers grew over time, and the Aes Sedai became more close and secretive, and then people became more suspicious, and then the Aes Sedai became more secretive, etc. I can’t blame Moiraine for playing her cards close to the vest, but as the person with the best hand she has to realize how that effects those with her. Then again, maybe she knows exactly what she’s doing. Since we’ve been in Nynaeve’s head, it’s easier to identify with and sympathize with her.
@AeronaGreenjoy: A good point, and highly relatable. Poor Perrin.
@Mara K (#42) and Lisamarie (#49)
I’m really interested in this. Some of the other commenters have suggested that there is prejudice in this world against men because of the taint, but that doesn’t seem right to me. Rather, there is prejudice against One Power wielders in general; the Aes Sedai and the Power seem to be considered by most people to be dangerous and possibly evil, and one assumes that is at least partly because people know what happens to male wielders and that association is affecting how people feel about the women as well. And of course if you are a man who has the ability you're even worse off.
Regular society, though, still seems pretty recognizable as generic, ye-old sexism, which varies slightly in different cultures. The problem of the taint does shake up gender dynamics somewhat, but it’s not a fundamental difference as far I have seen at this point in my reading.
As I mentioned in Part 2 of the read, I’m not really a fan of separate but equal as a concept. That doesn’t mean that it can’t ever be done well, though, and I agreed with you, Lisamarie, that there is a suggestion in this world that men and women channelers, at least, are meant to be equal partners working together in harmony, and the fact that they can not be because of the taint is a huge part of the reason things are falling apart. I will be interested to see where it goes.
(Also there’s a trans character coming what???)
@gadget (#39) I wouldn’t say half-cocked. She states clearly enough that, in her understanding of her duties as Wisdom, the kids are in her charge and it’s her job to protect them. And the reason she goes after them instead of the families or other villagers is because she, in her mind, has the skills to back it up. She can track even Lan’s trail, she has the connection to Egwene which she recognized on some subconscious level even if she hadn’t admitted it to herself.
That’s probably also part of her irritation, come to think of it; she’s not just there for her own feelings of protectiveness or guardianship but also for everyone back in the Two Rivers. She is representative of Perrin, Mat, and Egwene’s families (Tam of course, having had that talk with Rand and given his approval) as well as the heads of the town. She is acting with their authority but also with the pressure of their fears and hopes to have their children home safely.
But yeah, if you're out of your depth and relying on someone more knowledgeable for help, it would probably be wise to not be so outwardly antagonistic.
@Tomas (#33) So true to real life, too.
@hassanbh (#34) Oh wow, I hadn’t even thought about it that way. You have an excellent point. Egwene has made a very specific choice, and so she is still making choices, even when things aren’t going as smoothly as she may have hoped. The rest of them, including Nynaeve, are being swept away from what they want by external forces. Of course that would change how you felt about it.
Thank you for this comment. I actually think I sort of forgot what motivated Egwene to be part of this journey to start with.
@whitespine (#21) I love that refrain too! Not really spoilery mention of things to come, but I was just working on an upcoming post and a bit that made me laugh out loud was when Rand is being flirted with by a farmer’s daughter and he thinks that Perrin would know what to say! Meanwhile here in this section, Perrin is thinking about how Rand is the one who knows about girls.
@AeronaGreenjoy (#17) Elyas is wonderful and I am very fond of him. “Weird and wild yet sensible” sums him up quite nicely! And I think I can see a bit of a similarity between his way of thinking and Perrin’s, except for the difference in worldliness and experience. It’s really interesting.
I kind of love how thoroughly Perrin misunderstands Egwene’s intentions in enjoying herself as long as they are with the Tinkers. Her awareness of the fact that this may be the last time she gets to relax and have fun is very mature, I think, and Perrin doesn’t see that, possibly because he’s just too stressed to put himself in that mindset, and also because he really just doesn’t like the kind of guy Aram is. It’s a very relatable misunderstanding.
@burog25c (#14) I am getting that sense. I can see in these chapters the early lessons that the Emond's Fielders are learning and although they're still pretty much in the dark, they are starting to develop instincts of self-preservation and ask themselves harder questions. It's really well done, and I look forward to seeing the character arcs you're talking about and tracing them back here.
@tbgh (#12) If I lived in a world of Whitecloaks, I'd be pretty reticent to say anything too! But I feel like that is a building theme in these chapters; fear and mistrust are such a powerful weapon of the Dark One, and all the followers of the Light being suspicious of each other helps sow discord and prevent them from uniting against the Darkness.
@gadget (#10) and @mp1952 (#11) I think Nyneave does have good reason to feel hostile toward Moiraine. As mp1592 points out, Moiraine’s concern is with the bigger picture, and she makes no qualms about admitting that. Nyneave is absolutely threatened by Moiraine’s experience and poise, and how could she not be? Moiraine has a lot more knowledge than Nyneave does, and therefore more power in every exchange between the two. Nyneave may let her irritation rule her in ways she shouldn't, but for all she knows Moiraine is a very real danger towards Perrin, Mat, Rand, and Egwene, and it’s only the greater danger of the Fades and Trollocs that makes her an appealing ally. If I was in Nyneave’s shoes, I’d be pretty hostile too, although I think I’d make an effort to hide it better. No use in showing your cards if you don’t have to, right?
@Cluric (#3) I think that the balance between revealing too much and not revealing enough is a delicate one for any writer to strike, especially an author who is creating an entire fictional world. A little bit of frustration on my part is a good thing, I think; as you say, it's important to keep up that tension and drama. But also I imagine that the style of the read artificially increases my frustration, since if I was just reading on my own I'd have finished at least one of the books by now, haha.
#1 + #2 To be fair, the names would probably frustrate me a less if I was just reading and not trying to talk about everything. It makes sense that people in different areas would have different names for things, that groups would have different names for themselves. Or like how songs have different names in different areas but the same tunes; I definitely laughed aloud when Perrin asked the Tuatha’an to play "The Tinker Has My Pots." I also suppose this is the struggle with really close 3rd person narration, too; since we're in individuals' heads, the narration can't just pick one term to stick to for the reader's sake. But I guess I can, if I want to. ;-)
@Simka (#32) Oh yes, I caught that. ;-)
@princessroxana (#19) Let's be fair, councils in LotR never shut up. That's amazing, though. XD
@sps49 (#15) Yep, you are right. I get those two names mixed up every time.
@brigit (#16) Crap, thank you. I sure am having fun adding all these names to my computer's dictionary.
Yeah, I have noticed that about the mix of characters. It’s very interesting. Makes me think even more strongly that there’s more to Thom’s story than what I’ve seen yet.
@princessroxana (#4) An excellent strategy! My wife always skipped all the poetry. I love that sort of thing, but I can’t blame her either.
@tgbh (#11) The pacing on the read does make a big difference in how one absorbs the material. Breaking it down like this gives me lots of time to get into the meat of the themes, world-building, character arcs, etc. but also more time to realize when I’m just reading page after page of running. Or mountains.
As for the Tinkers, I find them really interesting. Commenters have mentioned to me before how many different types (nations?) of people there are in The Wheel of Time and how they are built from various references in our world--I think it would be really fun to do a post later in the read that just looks at the world-building of the various peoples of WoT. What most interests me at the moment, though, s the question of the Way of the Leaf and how this pacifist belief system fits into a world where there is a literal physical Devil-type being sending monsters to kill and corrupt people. I’m going to touch on that a little more in next week’s read.
@Mr Rune (#12) Thanks for the catch. I tend to put the poor editor through the ringer with my misspellings and typos, haha. Sometimes there's just so much you want to get down in a short space!
@Tonybere (#58) Thank you! I expect you are quite right about the favorite character changing regularly. And I really want to learn more about Lan.
@duga (#59) So glad you’re enjoying it! I’m really enjoying writing the read, and also getting to read everyone’s experiences and observations in the comments. It’s a wonderful community.
@Dr Thanatos (#56) Okay, head cannon accepted. That’s amazing. And as someone who suffers from allergies, I am totally prepared to believe they are the work of the Dark One.
@RobMRobM (#57) I agree wholeheartedly. I find it difficult to talk about in the read because of course the information is given in bits and pieces and it’ll be a while before I’ll have an idea of the cohesive toll. Perhaps I should do a post in the future kind of like I did in Week 4, and take a break from progressing to new chapters. I could just do a post on RJ’s world building technique.
@princessroxana (#52) I mean, who is the ultimate authority on the pronunciations of invented names anyway? I believe Eilonwy is pronounced eye-LON-wee according to Welsh pronunciation rules.
I don’t think wolves are our natural enemies at all. They’re generally very wary of people and are less dangerous to us than, say, bears, at least statistically speaking. I suppose in the case of competing for resources, but mankind has pretty solidly won that battle. And having wolves in an area makes that ecosystem healthier, keeping down deer populations that go out of control and allowing vegetation and other wildlife, which is very good for people!
@mp1952 (#45) I am flattered, thank you.
Can I just say I’m so glad you all love Nynaeve and have such interesting observations of her! This comments section is a joy to read! Thank all of you for this, what a great week.
@berthulf (#36) Yeah, I don’t think that it was intentional at all, but golly does it fit perfectly. It’s kind of beautiful to me that we can find these kinds of parallels in characters where the details are very different but the heart of it is the same. If I ever go back to school, I should do my thesis on the universality of repression as explored in genre fiction. It’s such a fascinating subject.