Sunday, October 20, 2013

Lord of Chaos Read-Along, Week 1


Welcome to week 1 of the Lord of Chaos Read-Along. We're all congregating over at Coffee, Cookies and Chili Peppers this week, and there will be a post at Dab of Darkness as well. We just read the first section this week--the Prologue and first two chapters--but everything in this section as well as everything that's come before is fair game for spoilers so read at your own risk!

So this week I started a Wheel of Time board on Pinterest. Once I started searching for WoT images, I found tons, including some I'd never seen before! Dah! So I've included a few, of course. :D

Forsaken pledging to Shai'tan
1. Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that we have now met all of the Forsaken in the flesh. What are your impressions of the last three to be revealed: Demandred, Mesaana and Semirhage? Any guesses which of the Forsaken have been reborn as Osan’gar and Aran’gar?

I think the ones Jordan waited to reveal until last are perhaps the cruelest and least stupid. They'll make fewer mistakes, be harder to beat, and do more damage before Rand can stop them. Unlike those Rand has already fought, they'll be more sly about showing their hands and be more careful about where they are and who they show themselves to.

I won't say much about Osan'gar and Aran'gar, except this. I don't know if everyone caught it--I certainly didn't the first time through--but Aran'gar is apparently very angry about her body, even though Osan'gar describes it as very attractive. So why would she be angry about "this body"? What does it say about the gender of the former Forsaken who is now in the female body? Just sayin'.

Concept Art for the Pit of Doom
2. We also get our first look at Shayol Ghul and enter the presence of the Dark One himself. Was this what you expected and how horrific did you find the experience related by Demandred? Also, Shaidar Haran: is he the scariest thing that we have come across yet or not?

Yeah Shadiar Haran is pretty twisted. The thing about Fades is that, while they're deadly, they don't seem particularly smart. So, to have a fade that seems very individualistic and more twisted than any shadowspawn we've seen before is all kinds of scary. I also think the whole metal-spikes-that-brush-your-hair is pretty creepy. *shivers* As for the Dark One, it's hard to make a thing seem perpetually terrifying once you've defined it. As time goes on, the DO will start to seem more and more like a really loud, booming voice. At this point, he's pretty scary, but he doesn't change much as time goes on.

He-he. Totally
3. What do you think of the girls’ solution for containing Moghedien? Do you think they can hope to keep this secret, plus all the others they have?

Probably not. Not forever. Too many secrets will come spilling out sooner or later, but I think it's as good a solution as any, given what they're dealing with. They might as well try to get what knowledge they can out of her. I was irritated by the fact that she said the boys with her were traumatized when she found them and they believe her. Maybe it's true, maybe not, but given that she's flat out refusing to tell them anything on her own--unlike Asmodean who became almost cooperative with Rand after a while--I'm kind of annoyed that they just take her at her word. She very well could have killed their parents. But, at least they're being well looked after now by Brigitte.

Perrin and Faile
Source
4. Yay! Faile and Perrin are back in the narrative, and Loial is mentioned if not actually shown (grump). Were you surprised by the changes that we see in the Two Rivers? How likely do you think it is that Perrin will be able to leave Faile behind when he travels off to meet up with Rand?

I think I was surprised the first time through. It's one of those things that have both good and bad aspects. Part of the charm of the Two Rivers and especially Emmond's Field was its small-town-ness. It's kind of sad that that's gone, now. On the other hand, we're bringing Emmond's Fielders into the New Age, and it was probably bound to happen the instant Moiraine set foot in the vague direction of their town. At least there's someone to boss the Coplins and Congars around now. I think it's hysterical that they simper for Perrin but treat Faile like a headstrong apprentice. 

House Trakand
Source
5. It seems that the members of House Trakand, with the possible exception of Elayne, are making some pretty dreadful choices at the moment. How long do you think Gawyn will stay with the White Tower Aes Sedai before he decides to call it quits and go to look for Egwene? Morgase seems to have lost most of her former composure: could she use a ‘good seeing to’ from young Tallanvor and his shapely calves????

Unfortunately, Gawyn doesn't get with it as quickly as we'd all like, but I can't help liking him anyway. Kinda want to kick him in the pants sometimes, but I think Jordan does a good job of giving reasons why he stays, even if they seem kind of flimsy to most of us. He feels like he should be loyal to the Tower because he thinks it's what Elayne and Egwene would want. And then when the dude shows up, spreading rumors that Rand killed Elayne, that just makes him more determined than ever. Sigh. It's kind of sad, really. I kind of want Rand and Gawyn to be friends.

I kind of pity Morgase at this point. Don't get me wrong, I would never have gone to Altara for help, but now she's feeling the world closing in around her and there's very little she can do. That, and she's probably having a PMS episode with no chocolate around, which is why she flipped her wig. I think a relationship with Tallanvor could only do her good. Having a good--and cute--guy devoted to you can only boost your confidence, which will help her deal with the pickle, or fifteen, that she's gotten herself into. Besides, it says a lot about a guy that he'll hang around when you treat him the way we've seen Morgase treat Tallanvor so far. I do think it's pretty funny that everyone--like Lini and Lamgwin's woman (can't remember her name) are totally rooting for her to sleep with Tallanvor. Makes me laugh.

6. The Shaido have allied themselves with the White Tower. Do you foresee a problem with the cultural differences between these two ‘allies’ or will they work together smoothly? Do you think, as I do, that both these groups are underestimating Rand and his abilities?

Um, yes and yes. Not that I ever had high hopes for Sevanna, but she's really not thinking with her upstairs brain at this point. I think she's allowing her cleavage to do all her thinking. The funny thing is, like Elaida, I think she's just enough of a self-centered dingbat, that she really thinks she's doing the best thing and that it will put her on top of the world. That kind of stupidity in itself doesn't bode well for her fate. And of course they're all underestimating our boy. Enemies always do. This is the kind of arrogance we've come to expect from the White Tower, and have seen among the Shaido as well.

Just for fun!
7. Poor Rand, surrounded by people that he does not really trust, apart from the Maidens. Last week I was totally convinced of Davrim Bashere’s honesty, do you think that his behavior this week proves me right or wrong? Then there is the False Dragon, Mazrim Tain: should Rand trust him or not?

I'm a big believer in gut feelings. Rand says something about Taim rubs his wrong, so I'm inclined to not trust him. Whether Rand is mistrustful for the right reasons or not becomes moot, in my book. The feeling is there. Trust it. 

I actually really liked Bashere in this part. It's what solidified my belief in his being a "good guy" and one of Rand's strongest allies. Rand asked why Bashere didn't fear him, and his answer is awesome! It's because Rand is obviously the true Dragon Reborn, and the world will live or die based on his performance in the Last Battle. That's such a great answer because it's not simpering, or trying to flatter Rand or be buddy-buddy with him. Bashere won't be swayed by money or power or manipulation. The Great Game of Houses can't touch that argument, the Forsaken can't touch it. Dingbat Amyrlins formerly of the Red Ajah can't. Nothing. Bashere will follow Rand simply because he is the Dragon Reborn. Nothing more. Nothing less. Love him!

Extras:

Lews Therin Telamon
I really love the prophecy at the beginning of this book. It's one of only two, I think, that rhyme. Jordan doesn't do the couplets thing often, but when he does, I get chills.

I loved seeing Rand fighting five guys and being mostly successful against them. He's become a Blademaster in his own right--far from when we first encountered him as a sheepherder in the Two Rivers, and I think that's kind of awesome. :D

We're also seeing a lot more of Lews Therin Telamon's thoughts coming into Rand's mind and even influencing his behavior, which is a little scary. Kudos to Bashere for keeping his cool in that situation.

I also love that Elayne and Nynaeve are being credited with "discoveries" they're gleaning from Moghedien. It just feels like poetic justice, and they're becoming legendary, even before being raised to the shawl. Loving that!

So far, I think we're off to a great start. Can't wait to get into the meat of this book!

How did everyone else like this section?

5 comments :

  1. Oh hey, seeing that picture I can understand why Rand likes Elayne. *cough*

    You know who Gawyn is? He's that kid who was handsome, smart and told at every street corner he would be great one day. He goes to the White Tower and hangs out with all the cool kids. Then something happens, and all his friends go off doing other things and nobody wants to let him in on the secrets any more. He still thinks he's cool for being in the White Tower, but never got the memo that the White Tower is now old news and all the cool kids are hanging out in Salidar or kicking it with Rand. And he has this thing for a really cool girl who is kicking it with Rand, and he wants her to like him, but (as is often the case with men) he has to get her to like him on his terms. He can't just drag his ass down to Rand and pretend to be cool because now he's several months too late, and admitting he was wrong will sting too much. He's stuck taking his side.

    Actually putting it this way, I can totally understand the guy. Mind blown.

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    1. Yeah, he's not bad, just unlucky and totally outside the loop of what is important. Looking at it that way gives us a good idea of how confusing the world events are for your average schmo in the street who isn't exposed to all the newsflashes for the important folks. Poor guy!

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  2. 1. I got that impression of the last three Forsaken as well. The fact that we have no idea where they are and who they are manipulating is very significant to me - it shows that they are much more calculating and cautious. Semirhage gives me the heebie jeebies, so I will be quite happy if we don't see her for quite some time.

    2. One great disadvantage of the DARK ONE TALKING IN CAPS is that it is how Death speaks in Terry Pratchett's Discworld books as well, so it doesn't seem particularly scary to me. Death has a horse called Binky, which rather ruins his badass reputation in my opinion! :D

    4. Having seen quite a few images of Perrin I can understand why the various Wisdoms might find it difficult to behave like adult women around him . . .

    5. I guess Gawyn is a good example of someone who does what he thinks is right based upon the information that he has to hand. The fact that most of that information is plain wrong or badly warped does not make him a bad person. As for Morgase . . . I think that she just needs to scratch that itch, if you know what I mean! :D

    6. I've never heard of a woman being accused of thinking with her boobs before, but it did make me chuckle. I suppose that it has always worked for her in the past, just as being obnoxious and bossy has done it for the Aes Sedai. What a pity that they are all too dumb to bend with the changing times.

    7. Yep, Bashere calls it as it is, with no flattery or pandering to Rand's ego. He knows that Rand is the only hope for the world to defeat the Dark One, and that is all the incentive he needs to support the guy. Simple. As for Taim, I was rather shocked by Lews continued calls to kill him, because they seemed out of the blue. However, they could be a reaction to Rand's gut response to the man, so I will remain distrustful of him until he proves his loyalty beyond a shadow of a doubt.

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  3. 1. Demandred has to have a ecent size, calculating brain. Even the chosen are clueless as to his plans. Semirhage and Mesaana are the type of people who make huge problems for everyone. They should be popped asap. Osangar and Arangar are just plain irritating. It is totally hiarious that one of the male forsaken is now a woman! Is this a sense of humor from the Dark One or is there a specific plan. He/she manages to completely befuddle everyone with the sex change.
    2. Shadar Haran is definitely one of the better henchmen we've seen. I wish Jordan would give more info on what happens when the big guy "reaches for" someone and they begin to scream.
    4. Perrin is always so humble. Sometimes to a fault. I guess Faile (being the opposite) helps with that. I wonder if she ever scratches his beard for him.
    5. Ya. The Trakands are having a bad year. Morgasse is still foggy from Ravin, Gawyn is clueless and mad, and Galad turned white! Elaine is the only solid one.
    7. I never liked Taim. Before we finally find out his true intentions, he tries to suck up but ends up being condescending. He always seems to dark to be good.

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  4. Sorry for being late to the party. Traffic, you know.

    It's very cool that we have gotten some intelligent, more than one dimension bad guys. This should shake things up a bit and take the series to the next level.

    I'm also rooting for Tallanvor. I like that he refuses to bow and scrape to Morgase like she is use to, and yet is still supportive and obviously interested in her, as a woman, and not as a queen.

    I too can see why Rand would be taken with Bashere. Here is a respected and capable man who shows no fear or kiss-assness to Rand. It must be very refreshing. And supportive.

    I also loved Rand taking on the 5 guys for practice. Yes, he has the power, etc. But keeping the body fit with quick reflexes can't hurt. Perhaps there will come a day when he can't use the one power and will need to rely on his flesh & blood abilities.

    I love the art work you dug up - especially that book cover - haha!

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