Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Shadow Rising Read Along, Week 3


Welcome to the Wheel of Time Read-Along. We're on book 4, The Shadow Rising, week 3. Remember this post contains *spoilers* for what we read this week. Anything that came before this is also game, so read at your own peril! :D

Aiel Wise Ones
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1) Egwene dives back into Tel'aran'rhiod to investigate Tanchico and comes out with an Aiel Wise Woman's contact info. Egwene kicks herself for not having the knowledge and skill to interpret her dreams. Have you ever given dream interpretation a shot? Do you think Egwene's plans to train and pass that on to Nynaeve and Elayne will work out as she plans?

I love the idea of WoT "contact info! :D My sisters and I try and interpret our dreams all the time, but we aren't very serious about it. We generally get a sentence or two of serious stuff but then go off on ridiculous interpretations and end up laughing hysterically. Chances are Egwene's plans won't work out as she thinks they will (when do they?) but I still think this is a wise choice on her part. If I were in her shoes, I would jump at the chance to learn from people who could teach me tons of stuff about T'A'R. And besides, the Aiel Waste is a place few have ever been. It would be fun to explore it. You'd definitely bring some stories back with you.

2) Robert Jordan loves setting up the battle of the sexes, doesn't he? In this section we see Perrin and Faile are having a contest of wills. Rand versus the Aes Sedai (Moiraine in particular). Thom versus Moiraine. Even Min! What do you think of Jordan's use of this? 
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I sort of think Jordan's brilliant at it. His characters are just spunky enough and intelligent enough to make this a lot of fun. I think it serves Jordan well, in that it furthers the story while also making his characters pop.

3) Mat, Perrin, and Rand finally hear about Whitecloaks in the Two Rivers. Perrin feels an obligation to return, tries to break some ties, and then finds out he won't be going alone. Were you surprised at Perrin's self-sacrificial take on this situation? Will the White Cloaks get more than they are looking for?

I thought Perrin's reaction was very in character for him. Ever since his first encounter with the Whitecloaks in book 1, he's thought a lot about it. It kind of haunts him. And because he's such a down-to-earth, loyal guy, of course he wants to make certain no one he cares about is hurt on his account. And of course the Whitecloaks will get more than they bargained for. This is the Two Rivers...and Perrin is awesome! :D

Zarine Bashere
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4) Ladies and their weapons: We saw some hand-to-hand altercations and some subtler weapons in use in this section. Who do you deem the more dangerous - Berelain or Faile?

I love that Robert Jordan arms most of his women and that, while they may think they are a little more invincible than is realistic, they use the weapons with spunk and confidence. When I was first reading this in high school, I totally wanted to get some belt knives. As to the question of Faile vs. Berelain, with actual weapons? Faile definitely has the upper hand. Berelain is dangerous in her own way, but if it ever comes to a Faile-Berelain smackdown, Berelain's gonna lose a lot of that pretty hair of hers.

5) Of course Mat goes through the doorway! But once he is done with his question and answer session and tossed out, he realizes he wasn't the only one seeking answers. What kind of beings do you think the folk in the doorway were? What do you think Rand and Moiraine asked and had answered?

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Snake People
I thought it was hysterical that Mat, Rand, and Moiraine had the same idea at the same time--and then were angry at one another for it! Or at least Moiraine was. The beings in that other dimension definitely weren't human, but it was like they were trying to do an imitation of one. It's important to note that Mat described them again and again as being snake-like. Keep that in mind, as it will be important later. We will eventually get some insight into what Moiraine asked, though I don't remember if we get that insight into Rand. It's also important to remember that they asked Mat if he had any iron, fire, or musical instruments, then Rand reported that they were afraid of his fire sword. An indication of their weaknesses, perhaps? I love this thread of the story. It's one of my favorite and, in my humble opinion, one of Jordan's most original and ingenious.

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Mat asking his questions
6) Finally, Loial is back in the story. While he seems to be content as a chronicler, I do you think The Wheel will let him sit in a corner with pen and ink the entire book? What do you think of Faile's twisting his arm to visit The Ways?

Poor Loial! He's so nice, he tends to get caught between people who are being...less than nice to one another. I didn't think it was particularly kind of Faile to do what she did, but she's desperate to keep Perrin from leaving her behind, and I have to admire her tenacity and determination. Note to both Perrin and Berelain: it's in your best interest not to underestimate this woman! As for Loial, he'll definitely get to do more than just chronicle, but don't worry. It's all awesome stuff! ;D


Extras:

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Thom Merrilin
Totally loved the scene between Moiraine and Thom. It was great to have Moiraine be caught snooping. We all know she does it, but it was kind of nice for her to be caught, even if she didn't have the grace to show embarrassment. This is one of those scenes you should try to remember. Once you get farther in the series, it becomes really interesting. (Not that it isn't now, but it becomes more so.) There's so much both these two are trying to find out from one another without actually saying much. Given how much they both meddle and scheme, and how embroiled in the Great Game they both are, you'd think they'd be awesome friends, you know?


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Also, we got to see more of Gawyn, who I'm always a fan of. This chapter is a perfect example of why Gawyn is better than Galad. Uh, you know, in my opinion. Not only is Galad letting himself be brainwashed by Whitecloak philosophy (shouldn't that be an oxymoron?) but he doesn't recognize Min. At all. Gawyn recognized her right away, even in her Elmindreda costume. He's just more down-to-earth and aware of what's going on. And, you know, not so focused on his own awesomeness that he doesn't know his friends when he sees them. Just sayin.

How did everyone else like this section?

3 comments :

  1. Note to self: Watch out for snake people! Yes, thank you for pointing out their weaknesses. I will be keeping iron with me...probably in the form of a belt knife ;).

    Gawyn is cool. And I loved his back and forth with Min in front of others. I fear that Galad will end up working for or becoming one of the bad guys, but I've had that little fear since we first met him with Rand falling in the garden.

    Thom and Moiraine sitting in a tree, KISSING. That is a far fetched guess of mine, but part of me, the imp part, really hopes it happens.

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    1. Thom and Moiraine!?! Now that would be an interesting marriage! :D

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  2. 3. I think that the Whitecloaks are going to get a whole lot more than they bargained for once Perrin arrives in Emond's Field, but I suspect that they have some nasty surprises in store for him as well.

    5. I thought the introduction of this species in their alternate, and very strange, dimension was pure genius and totally unexpected. I had expected Mat to see his future somehow and to find answers that way, but this was so much more mysterious. I got the impression that the snake people were predatory in some way, and I am not sure how trustworthy they are, but at least we know what they are afraid of.

    6. Poor Loial and his droopy ears: this alone could make me dislike Faile! :D

    I find Galad rather difficult to like because he is so unbending and because all the girls are overwhelmed by his appearance. I always feel rather sorry Gawyn, who has had a rather miserable life so far with his oh-so-perfect older half-brother and destined-to-be-queen kid sister.

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