Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Shadow Rising Read-Along, Week 7

Welcome to Week 7 of The Shadow Rising Read-Along! This week we read pages 595-698. Remember that everything in this section as well as anything that came before is fair game for spoilers, so read at your own risk!

1) Rand and his entourage make a stop in Tardaad land because there is water, and apparently, goats. There is also a dwelling full of the signs of a slaughter. The red veiled woman Isendre had to take a peak. Why? If you know the answer, you can speculate on what will become of the goats.

Ah, Isendre of the seductive smiles. I don't remember the specifics of why, but it seemed to me that she was just putting on a show. Rand noted how fake her reactions were. Obviously she wants to see, but also be seen. It's also interesting to see her on Kadere's arm. Let's just say (from what I do remember, she's got a whole thing cooked up. The questions are, what is it and how will it affect Rand?

Jasin Natael
2) Natael: Harmless, adverturesome gleeman, or Darkfreind? Will Mat's skilled 'avoidance' of the gleeman's questioning be enough to keep him out of trouble? If we could reach into Mat's head and have him translate any phrase into old Manetheren, what phrase would you choose? 

He definitely seems amiable and harmless, doesn't he? And given how much we all love Thom, you kind of want to trust him. But, others have seemed that way as well and turned out to be super evil. I think Mat is right to be cautious. I don't think anything will keep Mat completely out of trouble. Between his luck, his ta'veren-ness, and his propensity to really step in it while looking over his shoulder to avoid trouble, I think he's always going to find himself in deep. A phrase for him to translate. Hmm. I think he should translate, "Let's get outta here." In the Old Tongue, it could be his motto. :D

Bors attending the Darkfriend social
Liandrin is back in the picture. What do you make of the conflicting orders Bors has received concerning Rand? Do you think Gyldin, the servant who is spying for the Seanchan, knows the full extent of who Liandrin is? What do you think of the idea of tattoos marking you as royal property?

It's interesting to find out who Bors really is. If you go back and read that prologue in book 2, it describes different Aes Sedai who are there. None of the descriptions are way obvious as to who they are, but it's interesting, once you find out who some of the black Ajah are, to read and speculate. Now we know at least one of them was Liandrin. I think Carridin's conclusion--that the Forsaken aren't exactly all of one mind--was a good one. See, this is why you shouldn't be an evil mofo! You get yourself into these messes where two different entities on the hierarchy (but both higher than you, of course) are at odds and want you to do different things. No matter how much Carridin things he can handle it, does anyone really think he's going to come out on top? 

Gyldin was interesting. Hard to say if he is who he says he is (he could be a Darkfriend himself) or if he knows much about Liandrin. The tattoos were interesting, but we've also seen the Seanchan use head-shaving and glorified nail polish to show station. This is just another Seanchan weirdness.

Thom Merrillin
After a bit too much wine, an awkward conversation with Thom Merrylin, and a drunken sick in her shared room with Nynaeve, Elayne is still trusted to stand watch as Nynaeve dives into Tel'aran'rhiod. Was it wise of Nynaeve to trust an impaired Elayne with such a duty? The mysterious man resembling Lan who shot at Nynaeve in T'A'R has also been sighted by Perrin. What do you think the connection is, if any, between Lan and this deadly dreamworld walker? 

Was it wise? Maybe not. But I don't think she had much choice. Knowing their personalities, they really aren't about to trust the guys--Thom and Juilian--with what they consider women's or Aes Sedai's business, and there really wasn't anyone else to stand watch. I suppose she could have put it off for the night, but she was obviously worried about Egwene. There's definitely a connection, which will be worked out by the end of this book. If anyone wants to try and figure it out before that, go back to the end of book 1 and read the part where all the kids get to Fal Dara. Moiraine and Lan go to question Fain and Lord Agelmar explains Lan's history (that of Malkier) to everyone. Let's just say, you might want to brush up on names before the end of book 4.

5) Lord Luc decided to leave Perrin's hunting party after the latest batch of trollocs was identified but before Perrin's group was ambushed. Coincidence? Perrin says he trusts Faile, his bow,  and his axe. Which, in your opinion, is the most dangerous? 

Coincidence with Luc? Mmmm, probably not. As for the trust question, it depends on what aspect of Perrin we're talking about. With his heart? Obviously Faile will be the most dangerous there. (Let's hope he wouldn't try to give his heart to his axe.) But the axe represents Perrin's humanity, which we know is in jeopardy every time he gives in and runs with the wolves. It's something he has to keep a handle on (no pun intended...okay, maybe a little bit!) or else he could lose himself completely, and that is probably more dangerous to Perrin than even Faile is. She definitely has her own agenda, but she seems to genuinely care about him, which means she would never harm him. One thing I really love about Faile is how unfailingly loyal she is to Perrin. Even with our other girls, whom I totally love, they always have a split duty between their personal lives and the Tower, or the Aiel, or their training, etc. Faile has no such split loyalties. Even when they disagree or she does her own scheming, she's always one hundred percent with him. Totally love her for that!

Tinker Camp
6) Ila of the Tinkers and Faile have a discussion about The Way of the Leaf: One believes it is for everyone and one believes it is not for everyone. What did you think of this conversation? We finally learn about Faile's family and upbringing: Surprised? How do you think this will affect her relationship with Perrin?

It's an interesting conversation, and right on the money with how most people are. If you follow a religion, then you must believe it whole-heartedly. Otherwise, you wouldn't follow it. So it's no surprise that the Tinkers feel this way about the Way of the Leaf. But others can't understand one another's beliefs and think everyone she do as they do. This is definitely true of the world. I don't blame the Tinkers for wanting to stick to their own beliefs and way of life. However, if they stubbornly refuse to avoid danger when they could, and because of that get massacred--including all their innocent children--yeah, I'd totally judge them for that. 

I don't remember if I was surprised to learn about Faile's true station the first time through, but reading it through again, all the signs of her noble birth are there, front and center. Perrin was pretty oblivious, though. I think the main way this will affect their relationship is to just complicate Perrin's life. He's have nobles and royalty in the family to deal with now, on top of everything else. :D Poor guy!

7) In Tel'aran'rhiod, Perrin learns that the nearest waygate, the one shut by Loial when they all came through to Emond's Field, has been opened. Who do you think did so and why? In your head, how do you picture the sa'sara dance Faile kept threatening/promising Perrin with? 

Yeah I totally know who opened the Waygate but won't say. It is connected to everything else that's happening in the Two Rivers (and T'A'R) to Perrin. Given how racy the Tinker dance already way, I'm not sure how much worse the actual dance moves can get. I'm thinking maybe there are costumes (or a lack of them, perhaps?) involved. I thought the whole dance conversation was hysterical, though. Perrin gained some ground by being able to say that he'd seen Tinker women dance before. When Faile tried to come back, she got all embarrassed. It was nice to see the tables turn for once, and also sweet to see them more openly declaring their feelings for one another.


Brigitte Silverbow
We finally found out who the yellow-haired woman who warned Perrin about the Tower of Genji was. Nynaeve recognized her as Brigitte Silverbow, a legendary hunter for the horn. We saw her very briefly in book 2, when Mat blew the horn and summoned all the dead heroes to fight for Rand at Falme. She was front and center, teasing Artur Hawking, with her lover, Gaidal Cain. (He was the shadow Perrin saw of a man with a sword hilt over either shoulder.) Obviously the two of them are hanging out in T'A'R between lives, but Brigitte keeps getting involved and helping our people, which wins her points in my book.

Also, totally love the Perrin hunting Slayer thing. I love how quickly Perrin learns and nearly gets the best of his opponent. It seems to me that Slayer probably is stronger (and definitely more evil) but he's also arrogant, greatly underestimating Perrin. Loser!

Perrin's Wolf Head Banner
We got a little more confirmation about Thom's history in the court of Andor. We already knew most of what Elayne found out, of course, but it's interesting to see her figure out the truth, even if she went about it in a less-than-mature way. Thom is such a nice guy, not embarrassing her about it the next morning. (Had to laugh hysterically at Nynaeve's seemingly sweet, Oh, it's okay, Elayne. Come over here so I can show you something. Then she went all Fessick on Elayne's drunk head!)

Finally, it's cool to see the Two Rivers changing, and Perrin becoming a lord in his own right in his home village. He's obviously not very comfortable with it, but it's nice to see someone as good as Perrin kind of come into his own fate. Very nice!

How's did everyone else like this section?


  1. Wow, that art of Isendre is so radically opposite to how I see her. I think of her more as a beautiful but very typically sheltered and indoorsy girl without the least shred of confidence in herself. Almost as if she has a void personality, raised to be someone's trophy wife. I do not imagine her as someone with the ambition to become a darkfriend, and if she is, I assume she must have been duped into it. I don't know, she is almost totally unlikeable but I pity her still.

    Slayer is a great antagonist, by the way. I really like him. Too bad he has to be a baddie, but he wouldn't be himself if he was a goodie.

    1. I think you might find a male-female split on our perception of Isendre! :D

  2. 1. Isendre has set her sights on Rand, or has been ordered to seduce him, as far as I can tell . . . not that she's obvious about it or anything! :D

    2. Mat reminds me of a cartoon character trying to get through a room full of bear traps in the dark: no matter where he puts his feet he gets hurt.

    3. I can't imagine how Bors will survive for much longer because he has zero chance of pleasing everyone.

    5. I hadn't thought about Faile that way, but you are so right. I guess the only other person we see who is similar is Min, although she is being used by the Aes Sedai at the moment, I imagine she will become Rand's constant companion at some point.

  3. I thought Gyldin was the female servant berated by Liandrin and sent to the kitchen to be smacked by the cook - where she ends up pointing a crossbow at the male Seanchan tattooed badass. Alas, I probably have some names mixed up and that question of mine made no sense.

    I think it would be good for Perrin, and perhaps even Mat, to experience being royalty, even if just for a short time - to see first hand how nearly everyone treats you differently - kind of like how they treated Rand when they found out he could channel.

    I too loved how Nynaeve took such a 'sisterly' way in sobering Elayne up. Ah, friends.