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!
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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
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?