Sunday, December 29, 2013

Crown of Swords Read-Along, Week 1

Hello Everyone, Hope you all had a Merry Christmas!

I'm going off line until the New Year. I'll be back January 1st with new posts. I do have some read-along posts scheduled between now and then, which I've mostly prepared in advance, but other than that, I won't be posting or be on line much at all for the next week and a half.

Everyone have a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a Happy New Year!

Welcome to Week 1 of our Crown of Swords read-along. We officially started book 7 this week. This week we read from the Prologue through chapter 2. Remember that everything in this section as well as well as everything that came before is fair game for spoilers, so read at your risk!

1) Elaida has a new office, plenty of schemes, and lots of confidence. What do you think of all this? Will she be successful? Should she be afraid of Bryne's approaching army? Will she be the woman to 'save humankind?' (Totally didn't snort while typing that.)

Wow. The scope of Elaida's ego and the depth of her stupidity just seem to be growing. The woman who saved humankind? Really? Her high tower office and the castle she's building herself are very telling. Not only of her ego and what's really important to her, but also of her stupidity and how much she's living in her own world. If you want to go against thousands of years of tradition and do your own radical thing, you might want to keep a close eye on those who may or may not be happy about it. She's isolating herself. The Hall and other sisters could be plotting against her, talking freely in the hallways of the Tower, and she wouldn't even know it. Unless she decides to descend and start residing on planet earth (or planet Randland, or whatever) I think it's only a matter of time before something happens that she doesn't seem coming. People like Elaida put themselves on an inevitable course with disaster and then have the nerve to be shocked when it happens.

Oh, and by the way, if an army with a world-renowned general at its head is coming for your city, you should be at least a tinsy bit worried. Even if they don't look like much, there must be some reason they feel confident to march on the most intimidating city in the world, right? Again, Elaida=ding bat. Oh, and kudos to the Ogier for telling her to stuff it when she asked them to build for her! :D

Sevanna and her...cleavage.
2) Sevanna seems to be planning to make use of her little boxes. What do you think she's planning? What will she use them for? (Does anyone else want to put her and Elaida together in a really small room. Just to see what happens?)

I honestly can't remember what the boxes specifically pertain to, but it'll be interesting to see. Obviously her plans, like Elaida's, involve being Queen of the World and marrying Rand. (Because while juggling Elayne, Min, Aviendha and Alanna, he'll totally be open to marrying an older-than-him Aiel woman who flashes her cleavage at everything male that moves!) 

And yes, I'd love to put Elaida and Sevanna together. It'd be nice if they could just kill one another, clearing the path for Egwene to assume her place in the Tower and make an alliance with Rand. But, of course it's not that simple. Elaida can channel and Sevanna can't, which means Sevanna would be flattened. Not that I would mind that, as far as Sevanna goes, but then Elaida would just go back to her castle and world domination plans.

Pedron Niall - Doesn't look much like an old man in
this picture, does he?  Source
3) Pedron Niall is assassinated in his fortress, followed by the death of his dim-witted assassin, Omerna. What do you think the message he received said? What do you predict will happen in the wake of the assassination, both in general and more specifically concerning Morgase and her retinue?

This was pretty intense, wasn't it? And unexpected. I didn't remember that this was when Niall got killed. Before it happened, I thought it was actually kind of a boring section. Then it was like, 'whoa!' I actually kind of felt bad for Omerna (sorry I misspelled his name in the question), but given what a nitwit he was, without Niall watching out for him, he probably wouldn't have lasted long one way or another. And he definitely bit the hand that fed him, so I suppose it was poetic justice. 

This is going to put Morgase in quite a pickle though, isn't it? The chaos might be a great opportunity to escape. Let's just hope she's not stupid enough to try and forge an alliance with the Questioners. Based on what we've seen of her so far, though, I doubt that's much of a worry. This will definitely shake things up in the world at large. Maybe it will help Rand in that, until the Whitecloaks get new leadership put in, they'll be too busy to harass him. On the other hand, if someone like Aswuana becomes Lord Captain Commander, that can only bode ill for everyone in Randland.

Gawyn Trakand
4) Gawyn tries to get his bearings in the aftermath of the battle and seems to be aware of a plot against him and the Younglings, which we've already had hints of. Do you think this plot will ever reach fruition? Will he make it back to Tar Valon alive? And what do you think happened to the wounded sister who disappeared before he could rescue her?

Glad to see that Gawyn isn't totally oblivious to the Aes Sedai plots swirling around him, though I hope he doesn't try to return to Tar Valon at all, until Egwene is instated there. It seems to me that, if you think the Aes Sedai might be trying to assassinate you and your men, you should just steer clear of their capital all together. 

I don't know what the significance of that sister disappearing is. Maybe someone snatched her up for their own plans--the Aiel? One of the Aes Sedai? Sevanna? A Forsaken? I honestly don't remember, but hopefully we'll figure it out eventually. 

5) Perrin and his companions observe all the bad blood between groups following the battle. Do you think all this animosity will blow up eventually, or will they work out their differences? What did you think of Rand's decision to hand the Aes Sedai over to the Wise Ones and send Taim back to the farm? And how about how he handled Alanna? The fact that Rand memorized the names of 151 dead Maidens? Anything stick out to you about Perrin's observations, or what are your other general impressions about this chapter?

Not much happened in this section, but it definitely established the state of things in the aftermath of this horrific battle. Poor Loial! He gets so nervous when Perrin mouths off to the Aes Sedai, I just want to give him a hug. Though I am glad that Perrin isn't letting anyone bully him. 

In terms of who took over with the captive Aes Sedai, I think Rand did a good job. There was no way to placate everyone, but giving them to Taim might have been considered downright sadistic, and we've seen how the Wise Ones teach their apprentices. They're hard, but fair, which might be exactly the kind of thing these Aes Sedai need. And a great big gold star for how Rand handled Alanna. It might not be terribly transcendent of me, but I was totally thinking, "Take THAT, Alanna and Verin!"

The part where Perrin found Rand reciting the names? So stinkin' sad! This doesn't bode well for Rand's state of mind. He was shouting at Lews Therin and so full of grief. But I love the way Perrin handles this! He doesn't criticize Rand or try to give advice. He just listens. And yes, he worries a lot about Rand's sanity, but he doesn't freak out about it. As Rand's psychological state goes downhill, we'll see that Perrin tends to observe it a lot. Certainly a lot more than Mat does. Even though they aren't close in a chummy-chummy sort of way, I think it's cool that Perrin gets to see it in this way. He totally agonizes over it, which is sad, but I think it also helps him understand Rand more and be closer to him.

An Asha'man

Thought it was interesting that Perrin said Taim's scent was "complicated." He had a hard time pinning it down. Just more interesting stuff to consider about Taim.

How uncomfortable the Two Rivers and other wetlanders are about Aiel nudity is still funny, though I do kind of feel bad for these young guys who were raised to be proper gentlemen. Poor guys! They have zero chance of keeping their cool or finishing a sentence without stammering.

Keep an eye on Dashiva, the seemingly absent-minded Asha'man that Rand allowed to stay with him. He'll figure more in the story in the future. 

What other bloggers thought:     Dab of Darkness     Coffee, Cookies and Chili Peppers

How did everyone else like this section?


  1. 1. Let's just say Elaida is misenterpreting everything in the worst way imaginable. In fact, if she wanted to fail she could hardly do a better job. Her foretelling is in fact real, but she's reading it the way she wants to. It does not mention her by name and the more ominous parts should (as is often the case in WoT) be understood literally instead of figuratively.

    Even though all of her arguments in isolation seem to make sense in some way, they combine into a staggeringly warped view of reality. I'm afraid that having met Fain in the beginning of book five may have had quite the effect on her.

    And the palace… well, modesty was never one of her talents.

    2. Oh hey, what's this? A flashback scene? Evidently the call boxes are ter'angreal, so we can surmise that they will summon some forsaken or darkfriend. While Sevanna is a **** of the first order, we have no indication that she's a darkfriend herself, so presumably she's been duped by someone. I would assume that whoever answers her call they'll use her for their own ends.

    I would be fine with putting both her and Elaida and a couple of other people a small room and promptly forget about them for the rest of the series. I don't even want to know what happens…

    3. I assume the message confirmed the Seanchan invasion of Tarabon and presumably also the threat of them moving on Amadicia, and that this is why Pedron Niall has been stalling. Old and dickish though he may be, he's a remarkable commander and I doubt the Seanchan would have found the Fortress of Light to be easy pickings. However, now that Eamon Valda has taken over, he has NO IDEA of the looming threat! He's not half the military genius of his predecessor, and he's metaphorically blind to boot. This will not end well for the Children I think… and frankly I wouldn't mind so much if Morgase weren't hanging out there (and let's hope that this choice of words will not turn out to be prophetic).

    4. I'm not sure to be honest. I assume Gawyn is a political problem to Elaida, but she's about to have a rather larger problem descend on her so if Gawyn doesn't get back home in time to be killed he might end up forgotten. I don't know…

    Pretty sure the sister we saw was Galina.

    5. Yes, with the introduction of the Asha'man, Rand's job of uniting his forces has not become any easier, rather the opposite. But having fought on the same side in this rather spectactular battle, and having faced death together (at least before Taim arrived), we can hope that builds a certain connection between people. They are divided by their differences, but united by at least one supremely important thing—Rand.

    And speaking of Rand, this memorizing has now officialy gone from creepy to insane.

    Oh and keep an eye on those male channelers that Rand picked out. There's something fishy, and I'm not talking about Siuan.

    1. By the way, I finally got around to post my answers to last week as well, if anyone is interested in reading them. (→ Dab of Darkness)

    2. 1. Yep, she couldn't mess things up more successfully if she was really trying: Mesaana must be laughing herself witless.

      2. That is ironic, isn't it, that Sevanna is not actually a Drakfriend. But I suppose that would entail her serving the Dark One and she doesn't strike me as the serving type . . .

      3. Yep - I can only hope that Valda is a stupid as he appears and the Whitecloaks are massacred by the Seanchan because they are a stunning waste of space at the moment. If they could somehow be convinced to support Rand I would offer the a reprieve, but I don't see that happening in the next 1000 years . . .

      4. I assumed it must be Galina because everyone keeps making a point of naming her as missing. Hopefully she is having sharp implements shoved into her tender bits as we speak.

      5. I can only hope that their fear of Rand's enemies keeps his allies in check.

    3. If the Daughter of 9 Moons is Seanchan and the Seanchan are invading Tarabon, there is a slim chance that Morgase and 9 Moons will meet. then perhaps they can both bump into Mat and then we can watch Mat try to evade his destiny. Which would be highly amusing.

  2. Yup, you're right about Niall's message. I couldn't remember exactly what it said, but I was poking around some websites looking for pics of him (there aren't many good ones) and I read about the assassination and that the message was about the Seanchan invasion. I'm assuming that will be revealed later in the book. And the sister was Galina? Good to know. I honestly don't remember where that particular thread is heading. Siuan = fishy. Totally. :D I'll head over and read your answers from last week.

    1. Oh, you don't remember Galina's storyline? Oh my...

  3. Here's my link, back tomorrow to comment:

  4. 1. That dingbat looks far too smart to be Elaida! :D

    You make an excellent point about her isolation from reality: for someone who seized power via a coup she is remarkably blind to the prospect of someone doing the same to her. I'm afraid I had a good snorty laugh when the Ogiers refused to do as she asked and then she dismissed them as irrelevant. Does she seriously not see the danger in this tiny thing called The Last Battle . . . the title is a touch melodramatic if it is nothing to worry about! :D

    2. How does that dress stay so strategically placed???? She must use a whole lot of duct tape! :D

    3. It was certainly a jaw-dropping moment, but I didn't feel too sorry for Omerna: I was too busy being surprised by the whole series of events. Aswuana = raving nutter, so I hope that he buys the big one sooner rather than later.

    4. I suspect that Gawyn will help to round up the escaped Sisters and take them back to Tar Valon because he is all about duty - silly boy!

    5. Loial is almost always in need of a good hug in my opinion, although I am quite sure that he would be mortified by it, especially as I'm not sure where my face would get to on his giant anatomy! :D

    Perrin is such great friend and so in touch with his feminine side: he doesn't try to give Rand solutions but simply offers a shoulder to lean on and an open ear. This is probably what Rand needs most at the moment and I was glad that Perrin was wise enough to give the poor guy some space. I am not sure if Rand will ever tell anyone what he went through int he box, but Perrin would be a good place to start.

    I am starting to agree more and more with Lews Therin about Taim: kill him now! Every time we get more information about this guy it adds to my uneasiness about him.

  5. Oh I so enjoyed hearing that the Ogier basically gave her the bird and refused to help her build her Almighty Tower.

    Totally agree with you about the Niall section. At first, it was king of humdrum boring, Then the message came and I expected that whatever was in that message would liven up the scene. But then Omerna strikes. Wow! Didn't see that coming!

    I like that picture of the Ta'veren. Notice how they are all in heels? Hehe!

    I too found it amusing at how uncomfortable a bit of casual nudity can make the Two Rivers folks. The Aiel are being proper, in their eyes, so this cultural difference adds beauty to the world while at the same time providing opportunity for amusement.