Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Shadow Rising Read-Along Week 10

Welcome to week 10 of The Shadow Rising Read-Along. This is the final week for book 4 and we'll be onto book 5, The Fires of Heaven, next week. Remember, this section as well as everything that came before is fair game for spoilers so read at your own risk!

1. Seems like Rand is not the only one who can stand toe-to-toe against a forsaken. Surprised? Could there be others, and if so, who?

I thought this was great! Everyone is so terrified of the Forsaken, but they're still just people. Very powerful people, but still just people. It's true of all bad guys. They always have weaknesses--often in the arrogance realm--but all you have to do to beat them find their weakness and exploit it. This is why I love Nynaeve so much. She's so determined and just gets it done. I think all of our favorite channelers--Rand, Egwene, Elayne, Aviendha--are capable of doing this, and Moiraine has certainly taken on Forsaken before (see book 1). I think it's only a matter of time before we see more smack downs like this.

Elayne Trakand
2. What went on between Elayne and Amathera? Should she lay off the forceful reeducation of foreign monarchs or just keep at it, you think?

I didn't mind a little forceful re-education of Amathera. She was acting pretty ridiculous. And yes, you've gotta cut her some slack since she's been tortured by the black ajah for the last little while, but this situation is exactly the kind where one needs to act queenly. In a way, it was nice to see Elayne take charge. She's really the only person qualified to give another ruler pointers and it was nice to see her conviction. Mat's always going on about how rich and bratty she is, but when she's in her element, she knows what she's about. Go her!

3. So we have our first "proper" battle, of many more to come no doubt. Please air your thoughts here, since I can't find anywhere to put a question mark.

I thought this was a great scene. Rand leaves right in the middle of it, which worked well because both times reading it I went, "But, but, but...the battle!" I would have a hard time leaving that behind. But Rand does. He goes after what he considers the more important fight and so we're left in suspense not only of what we are reading about between Rand and Asmodean, but also wondering what's happening back on the battlefield. 

We keep hearing about how Rand will both unite and destroy the Aiel. I think this was the first fulfillment of that. The only way to unite them is for them to hammer out their differences and perhaps get rid of those who refuse to follow him. And of course, we have them literally killing one another on what they consider sacred ground, so we are seeing the destruction as well.

Jaret Byar
4. Could these whitecloaks be any more pathetic if they tried? REALLY HARD?

I would love to say no, but these are Whitecloaks, and they always manage to reach new lows. It's a sad day when those who have taken oaths to fight against the shadow stand by and watch women and young people battle trollocs. All right, all together now: LOSERS!

5. So now (or soon enough) EVERY Aiel knows their history, and many are none too pleased. Was this the right call? How much support has Rand lost now?

I think this was the right call. Hard though it was and will be--it will cause contention and lose him plenty of followers--I think it's important that he is one hundred percent honest with those he expects to support him. Those who can't handle it, maybe it's best that he knows it now. People like that won't stand a chance in the Last Battle. Just sayin'.

6. With the massive sa'angreal access keys in hand, shouldn't Rand be 
able to just steamroll through the next  10 books? Do you think he has a use in mind for them?

It sounds to me like he has plans for them. In terms of power, you'd think he'd be able to steamroll, but I think he wants to be cautious so that he doesn't blow anyone (including himself) off the planet by accident. Besides, if he starts using it and doesn't succeed the first time, it will attract every Forsaken to him like moths to a flame, and then he'll have them to deal with too. So, I think he'll step with caution where these powerful magnifiers are concerned, and it's probably smart of him to do so.

7. Asmodean... teaching Rand? On a scale from Kim Kardashian* to Stephen 
Hawking, how good of an idea is this, really?

On the surface, it may seem like sticking his hand in a viper pit, but I'm not so sure. Granted, he'll have to take precautions and take everything Asmodean tells him with a grain of salt, but after this battle, Asmodean seems like a bit of doofas to me. He literally made a run for the access key--not exactly subtle or strategic--he rolled around on the ground, grovelling for Lanfear, he allied with her in the first place and was shocked to his toenails when she betrayed him, and he doesn't seem to do much of his own thinking. How did this guy reach Forsaken status to begin with? All I'm saying is that he doesn't seem like a very formiddable foe, but he does have knowledge Rand can benefit from. As long as he isn't stupid about it, I don't think Rand can afford not to take advantage of the captive Forsaken.


Every time I read it, I find myself chuckling at Mat. As soon as things get sticky, he's trying to talk Rand into riding away into the sunset with him. He just doesn't seem to get it. But he's funny.

The fog-covered city is forever changed. I always thought that was kind of sad. With the loss of the fog, it also lost its mystique, and it will be interesting to see how it affects previous Aiel customs, now that Rhuidean is open for all to see. I also always thought it was a shame they damaged so many of the old buildings and the artifacts there. I'd want to try and preserve these things. I know that's very Verin of me, but still. 

Also loved that he's bringing water into the Waste. Yet another example of how he's changing things. Awesome! :D

How did everyone else like the ending of book 4?


  1. Ah, question 3 was actually about the battle in the Two Rivers. Sorry if that wasn't clear. :)

    Also, check this one out (Verin):

  2. Yeah, I could give Almathera a bit of slack since she has been treated pretty rough by the Black Ajah. But, pouty? I would expect either a total break down with sobbing, perhaps dead eyes, or rage against the Black Ajah and deep urgency to do some payback. But no, she is pouting.

    Wow! So the Whitecloaks can go even lower than their non-participation in Emond's Field? Hmmm.... can I give them one big collective bitch slap and send them packing?

    Mat is amusing. I did like how he was very concerned for not only his own skin, but also that of Rand's and kept trying to get him in the saddle for a quick get away if needed.

  3. 1. The Forsaken are all guilty of arrogance and overconfidence, so I did love that moment when Nynaeve realized that Moghedien was terrified! :D

    2. It seems like the Lion Throne gets singled out to be an example of good leadership, although it looks like Morgase might have dropped the ball on that a little bit.

    3. Oops! I seem to have discussed a different battle to you!

    5. I wasn't all that surprised by this revelation, because it neatly fits the prophecy that he would destroy the Aiel. I suppose he might have been able to persuade the clan chiefs in private but I suspect that Couladin and Sevanna would have continued to stir up trouble. I wonder if any of the Shaido switch sides because they despise the trick that Couladin tried to play on them?

    6. It makes sense to me that he needs to learn a lot more about how to control his power before attempting to use them, especially as he doesn't want to break the world again.

    7. I can only assume that Asmodean is one of the weaker Forsaken, either that or he is very powerful but very stupid.

    I agree with you about the destruction of Rhuidean. I wonder if the mist had a protective quality and helped to preserve the angreals - I know they should be indestructible, but they could easily be covered by sand and lost forever. I also wonder if they will be looted and stolen now that there is nothing mystical about the city.