Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Shadow Rising Read-Along, Week 4


Welcome to week 4 of The Shadow Rising read-along. This week we read chapters 18-23. Remember this post may contain spoilers for this section as well as anything that came before it, including earlier books. Read at your own risk!

Perrin
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1) Perrin and Co. are on their way. He thinks he's headed to his death. What kind of reception do you think he'll find in the Two Rivers? How long will he and Faile's stubborn, silent treatment of one another last? (Bonus question: Moiraine made a brief reference to secrets Faile is keeping from Perrin. What do you think they might be?)

I somehow doubt Perrin's gonna die the second his foot hits the ground in Emmond's Field, but I also think he should brace himself for a difficult time. Whitecloaks aren't exactly the cuddly type, and some of them are somewhat homicidal when it comes to Perrin. I think Perin and Faile's contest of wits will probably end when things get tough. If things get sticky, they'll get to the point where they need to lean on one another too much to keep up the games. As for the bonus question, I can't really answer it without giving spoilers. (I did ask it, after all.) I will, however, call your attention to the things Jordan has already revealed. Faile claims to be the daughter of--what is it?--a farmer or ice pepper merchant or something, but she knows an awful lot about different lands and customs, the economics of trade, etc. Are these things a working-class girl would know?

Sea Folk woman
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2) What do you think of the Seafolk and their strange clothing customs? Were you surprised to find hidden Channelers among them?

Strange, but also kind of hysterical. Could you imagine if Mat had gone with Elayne and Nynaeve? When I first read this, I think I was kind of surprise to find channelers among the Sea Folk, but it makes a lot of sense, too. Especially when we learn about how fast their ships can go and how particular they are about passengers. It just shows the arrogance of those in the Tower, who believe they know about every woman on earth who can channel.

3) Rand dealt, after a fashion, with the Tairen High Lords, extra export inventory, famines in other lands, Callandor, and a few other things all in one fell swoop. How do you think he did?

Considering he's a bumpkin from nowhere small town, I think he did pretty well. He managed to intimidate a bunch of high lords, and get them to do his bidding concerning the grain, however much they didn't want to. Granted, he had to threaten them with death (literally!) to do it, but we're already seeing how much he's changed from that reserved country lad he was at the beginning. I was a little disappointed that he disposed of Callandor so soon after obtaining it, but I suppose it would have been cumbersome to carry it around the Waste. The image of him stabbing it into the floor of the stone was pretty awesome, though.

Rhuidean
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4) Into the Waste. Do you think Rand was wise to use the Portal stones again? What are your first impressions of Rhuidean and the Aiel homeland?

Portal stones are always a little scary because they're so unpredictable, but after hearing Moiraine say that the Wise One Dreamwalkers saw that they would arrive that day, I guess it was supposed to happen that way, which means he wouldn't have failed. Not that he knew that. (Thanks for the heads-up, Moiraine!) I love the images of Rhuidean--spires poking up through the fog and clouds. Even the slopes of the desert mountain (being in Utah, I can relate to the landscape) and the tent camps nearby were very vividly described. It seems an unforgiving place, but suitable as the one that shaped the Aiel. Love this quote by Bair: "The Three-Fold Land is not soft, Aes Sedai. Soft things die here." (Pg. 379)

Couladin
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5) Couladin sure seems to be looking for trouble. What kind of role do you foresee him having in the story?

Another question I totally can't answer, but let's just say he and Rand aren't destined to be BFFs. He's an interesting character because he shows so much emotion for an Aiel, and he obviously wants power, which most Aiel don't aspire to. You wonder how much of a misfit he's been his whole life. I think it's a safe bet that he'll be causing Rand and the others more trouble.

6) The instant they hit the slopes above Rhuidean, there's lots going on. Aviendha can channel, both Moiraine and Mat end up going to Rhuidean, and the Wise Ones accuse the Tower of coddling its trainees. What kind of learning experience do you think Egwene is in for in the Waste?

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I think it'll be more difficult than she imagined, but if I was her, I'd be way excited. It's gonna be like bootcamp--tough as hell--but you'll be stronger than anyone else you come out the other side. I think this will make her one of the most knowledgeable and capable trainees in the Tower. Plus, she will get to stay close to Rand, which means she may get a front row seat to the Last Battle. :D

Extras:

I love this quote by Perrin: "No point in crying when the iron split; you just reforged it." So great! I think, especially with Perrin, Jordan does a good job of always have him think in a blacksmith mindset. Everything he says and does hearkens back to his roots. I totally love it!


Aiel Wise Ones
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I really like that the Wise Ones treat Moiraine as an equal--with respect, but they don't bow and scrape and fall all over themselves either. It shows a lot of dignity on their part. Ji'e'toh is certainly interesting. I don't think I ever realized before now that both ji and toh, which are both used as words on their own, are incorporated into the word ji'e'toh. Maybe obvious, but it just never occurred to me before. :D I think Jordan does a great job of not only coming up with customs that are so different from Rand's world, but also of explaining them pretty well.

Aan'allein (Lan)
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I also think its really interesting that they know who Lan is and have an old tongue name for him. They've heard of him and his war against the shadow. Makes me like him even more because they respect him. Did anyone catch that he only "might" have come to Rhuidean? The implication being that he might have chosen to go with Nynaeve instead. Interesting. Of course, the Wise Ones said if he had, Moiraine would have died. Interesting to consider the implications.

What did everyone else think of this section?

5 comments :

  1. Here are my answers for the week:

    http://dabofdarkness.com/2013/06/23/the-shadow-rising-read-along-part-iv/

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  2. I was totally thinking about Mat when the seafolk dress code was revealed. He would have a hard time learning to look but don't touch - tho loosing a pinky finger might get the point across to him.

    Haha! I definitely expect some soft things to die in the Waste. And for several of our heroes to return with tans and calloused, dry skin.

    Ji'e'toh sounded like a respectable way to get around slavery. Folks step out of line, make some transgressions, guess what - they get to be servants for a determined amount of time. Loose in battle? Well, your life isn't over, but now you must learn the fine art of chamber pot scraping, napkin folding, and goat milking.

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    Replies
    1. I now have a mental image of Mat with an uncontrollable hand like the one Doctor Strangelove has! :D

      I can see how Ji'e'toh is a great way to hone the skills of a war-like culture without causing the population to destroy itself in a couple of generations: life in the waste is harsh enough without all feuds being fought to the death.

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  3. Here's my link: I'll be back tomorrow to do my comments for this week and last . . . real life keeps getting in the way! :(

    http://coffeecookiesandchilipeppers.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-shadow-rising-by-robert-jordan-week_23.html

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  4. 1. I'm fairly certain that Faile is of noble birth, although I doubt that she's a runaway princess.

    2. I suspect that the White Tower will gradually be revealed to be far too insular and self confident to be truly effective, which is going to be an unpleasant surprise for some of the sisters.

    3. I was also surprised by his decision to leave Callandor behind, but I guess that it is a permanent reminder of him and his power.

    I find the Aiel very interesting and also a wonderfully drawn people. Although they remind me a great deal of Frank Herbert's Fremen, they are not a simple copy and have a well-developed culture and tradition which makes a lot of sense when you see where they live.

    I am also intrigued by their knowledge of Lan: it makes me wonder what he was up to before he became a Warder. Somehow, I cannot see him breaking his vow to Moiraine to be with Nynaeve, but it does seem as if he is struggling with the fact that he wants to follow his heart: how romantic! :)

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