Sunday, December 22, 2013

Lord of Chaos Read-Along, Week 10--Thank Goodness for Epic Battles!

Hello Everyone, and Merry Christmas!

I'm going off line from now 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 10 (our final week!) of the Lord of Chaos Read-Along. What an epic conclusion. We read roughly 100 pages a week for this read-along, so ten weeks should give you an idea of how long this installment is, but the ending is totally worth it!

Remember that this section, chapters 52-the end, as well as anything that's come before is fair game for spoilers, so read at your own risk.
My Little Mat Cauthon
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1. There seems to be a serious lack of cooperation in Ebou Dar, and things are not so easy as they seem. Do you expect the girls to be able to complete this mission on their own (without Mat's help)? We know that they key to finding the bowl is to find the one who is no longer. Have we already met this person?

Should we expect them to complete the mission? I'd say yes. Otherwise, why would Jordan have sent them there? But complete it without Mat? Maybe not so much. This might not be the most relative-to-the-story way of seeing things, but Jordan never puts any character anywhere without purpose. There's a reason Mat is in Ebou Dar. And, granted, at least some of that has to do with his own story, independent of our girls, but this is an excellent example of, if our lovable characters would just all get over themselves and learn to work together, they'd probably accomplish their aims much more quickly. Just sayin.'


Logain Ablar
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2. Two escapees from Salidar. Logain flees with Egwene's help, and Moghedien by Aran'gar's doing. Where do you see the story going for these two? Was Egwene right in setting Logain free? Should she, in hindsight, have executed Moghedien earlier?

I think she was right by Logain. It would have been hypocritical to support Rand, but gentle or kill Logain. And after Min's viewing of him, I don't think I'd dare mess with fate like that. Not only for the sake of the world and what he might contribute to Rand's efforts and the Last Battle, but for my own sake. I wouldn't want Fate trying to kill me off for messing with it, you know?

As for Moghedien, it was always a risk keeping her prisoner, and one that all involved accepted. Should she have executed her earlier? Logically, yes. But it's not that simple is it? Without keeping her prisoner and learning from her, they wouldn't know how to invert weaves, or a host of other things she taught them. I also think, psychologically, this was important. We've already seen Nynaeve's confidence spike back in Tanchico when she realized she was just as strong, maybe more so, than one of the Forsaken. Having Elayne, and then Egwene who is now the Amyrlin, hold her hostage, showed them how human the Forsaken actually are. I think this could make a big difference in their views and resolve when fighting any of the baddies in the future.

al'Lan Mandragoran
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3. Lan returns to the story as Myrelle's warder, with a heavy heart and apparently near death. Nynaeve is none the wiser. Does Myrelle even know about their relationship? Has she agreed to send him on to her? Do you expect this to happen soon, or will she have to be forced?


I totally know what happens with this--Nynaeve and Lan have always been one of my favorite storylines--but I will say that, based on Myrelle's inner dialogue, she does seem to know something. She talks about keeping him alive "long enough," and I can't imagine even someone like Myrelle would accept a man's bond from Moiraine--it's frowned on at least and practically illegal at worst, and Moiraine and Myrelle didn't seem to be that close--without asking careful questions. So, I'd say she has at least some idea of the overall situation. The real question is what, if anything, she'll do about it. She doesn't seem the type to easily relinquish one of her warders, whether or not she is rightfully hers.

My Little Rand al'Thor
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4. The loyalist Aes Sedai seem to have really gone out of their way in torturing Rand after he killed a couple of warders. Justified? What do you think this has done to Rand's psyche? Could there be a connection to the first genuine direct conversation with Lews Therin?


Interesting question. Of course the Aes Sedai are upset about their warders deaths, and you might expect some kind of punishment, but torturing a prisoner you have stuffed in a trunk for trying to escape? Not exactly taking the high road here, are we? Rand thinks many times that he will never trust another Aes Sedai again, so obviously this is effecting his psyche. In a way, I think this is exactly what Moiraine warned him about. In her letter, she told him to trust no woman that was Aes Sedai at that time. This gives him license to trust Nynaeve, Elayne, and Egwene, but even Siuan Sanche, Moiraine's good friend and trusted confidant, was not included. Not that I think Siuan is untrustworthy, you understand, but I think Moiraine, with all her years of experience in the White Tower and the other Sisters, had some inkling that this sort of thing could happen. 

It makes sense that, as Rand trusts the people around him less, he would listen to Lews Therin more. It's not necessarily a good thing, but I think it will shape the story as we head into the latter half of the series. I know in terms of number of books we aren't half way yet, but some of the later books are shorter than earlier ones, so I always think of Dumai's Wells as the half-way point. Don't know how true that is in terms of pages, though. :D

5. The Battle at Dumai's Wells really had everything, didn't it? Except for the Seanchan and the Whitecloaks, it seems every faction was represented. As Liesel suggested, feel free to nerd out about it here. :)



Awesome Pic: The Battle of Domai's Wells; Note the little details like the wolves.
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Don't mind if I do.


Loial, Son of Argent
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Uh, way cool. Like...way cool. I loved the wolves coming up out of the ground and attacking people. I loved when the gateway opened and Asha'man jumped through. As trustworthy as Taim isn't, you gotta admit, that was pretty cool. We also did get to see Loial doing battle--AWE-SOME--which was great. I couldn't remember if he was in the battle or not, but he was! :D I loved the picture of him and Perrin and Aram fighting back to back. Of course, we also saw more of Aram's sadism in battle. That dude has gotten pretty twisted. 
Asha'men in Battle
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The way Rand broke free of the chest was cool. I did kind of feel bad for the women that were stilled, even if they kind of deserved it. But the drama of it all was so well-written. The first confrontation between Rand and Gawyn was full of tension and angst. I always thought it was sad that these two don't along, both because I love both the characters and because they were buds during their first meeting in Caemlyn. But, you can't blame Gawyn for being angry, thinking Rand killed his mom. Who wouldn't be? And you can't really blame Rand for being, you know, the Dragon Reborn. So, it just isn't in the cards for these two.

I also loved that the Aes Sedai walked right into the battle with their warders, spewing fire from their hands. We haven't gotten to see a great deal of this sort of thing, with the exception of Lan and Moiraine. Because they can only use the One Power in defense, we don't get to see them do this often, but it's sure awesome when they do. These weren't our favorite Aes Sedai or anything, but they instantly earned my respect when they left the relative safety of where they were "supposed" to stay and marched into the heat of the battle. 

Overall, great battle, epic ending, all kinds of tragedy and drama that just gave me chills. Especially seeing the prophecy about the broken Tower bending knee. Loved the reiteration of that last prophecy after the epilogue.

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6. It seems likely that our heroes would have been defeated without the timely arrival of Taim (you could say he was “on Taim”). With him having put his life on the line to save Rand, do you think he can now be trusted?


Yes and no. He gets lots of brownie points for showing up here, but I still wouldn't put the same trust in him as you would in Mat or Perrin. I think Taim has thrown his lot in with Rand for now, but the moment he sees a way to get gain, especially to out-shine Rand in any way, he'll take it, so I think Rand should still use caution. Given that Rand couldn't stand to let Taim touch him with the One Power, even for healing, I don't think Rand is too gung-ho about Taim yet.

And holy exploding heads, Batman! I think it's safe to say you really shouldn't piss off an Asha'man. Unlike the Aes Sedai, they don't have the three oaths, which mean they can use the One Power as a weapon anytime into their black-clad, somewhat insane heads. *gulp*

Aftermath of Domai's Wells
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7. “…and the world was changed forever.” Rand now has nine Aes Sedai under his command. Do you expect this to lighten or heighten tensions between him and the rebels and/or the loyalists? What other things might come from this?


Both. You might say he has an "in" now in terms of negotiations or treaties with the White Tower, but the tension is still sure to be there. Even Egwene probably won't like the idea of her "daughters" swearing fealty to Rand. And I don't think we have to muse about what Elaida's reaction will be. (I'm thinking PMS times a billion. Envisioning furniture being thrown through the window of her study, high in her tower, and falling all the way down to the courtyard.)

This is where we're really going to start to see Egwene, Elayne and Nynaeve struggle with their loyalties. Of course they want to be loyal to Rand, each for their own reasons, but they also have loyalties to the Tower, and they're all actual Aes Sedai now. Not only has the Tower broken on it's own, but what Rand is doing might just shatter the pieces. Oh, the delicious angst of it all! Okay, I'm done, now.

Rand and Min
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8. After their second thorough defeat, have we now finally seen the last of the Shaido, or do you think there are there still misdeeds to be done? Sevanna was thinking about some “call boxes” given to her by a wetlander. What and who could this be?


Each time the Shaido are decimated, their threat, as a whole group, becomes less. More of them contract the Bleakness. More are made gaishan. I can't remember how much more they do as a group, though I don't think we've seen the last of them yet. Sevanna is another story, though. She's not the kind of woman who will give up just because her people have broken. What she does, she does for herself and her own power. And, as we've seen, she's far from being broken. Count on her to be around for longer.

9.
Gholam attack
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Herid Fel was assassinated by… something. Why? He seemed harmless enough! We also learn that the Daughter of the Nine Moons is likely someone related to the Seanchan, and that they have designs on Ebou Dar (or at least spies there). With Mat in town this seems like a prime opportunity for some first-class prophecy fulfilment, no? Who do you expect her to be? Have we perhaps already seen her?


Why was Fel killed? Because bookish people are the smartest, most dangerous, most badass people on the planet, of course. ;D Obviously he had information that someone didn't want him giving to Rand. He knew too much and, sooner or later, would have been of some major help to Rand, so he was disposed of. For the record, expect to see more of the gholam. He's one nasty critter, and he's far from done squeezing under doors.

I don't think we've seen the Daughter of the Nine Moons yet, but we've definitely heard her name. I think I wrote, back in book 2, how surprised I was that the High Lord Turak mentioned her. Reading it through the first time, I didn't realize Jordan actually knew and used her name that early on. I won't say anything else because of course I totally know what happens in Ebou Dar. Let's just say, things are about to get interesting. :D

Extras:
Aran'gar
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I thought it was interesting--not surprising, but interesting--that Halima/Aran'gar was the one who came to set Moghedien free. I think I would be much more afraid than she was, knowing that the Dark One had sent someone to free her, which suggests he will know that she's been helping the enemy all this time. She mentioned fear, but it certainly wasn't overpowering. Then, with the scene where the DO is laughing at Damondred in the Pit of Doom...yeah, I'd be scared if I was her.

And along with that, we saw again that Aran'gar, though it's a woman's body, because it's a man's soul, still channels saidin. Moghedien recognized this fact and was surprised. I think it's interesting that, though they can change the body, they can't change the true identity of the soul. I wonder if this reflects any of Jordan's ideas about transgenderism or the afterlife or anything. Kind of interesting to think about.

Totally loved that Perrin got to see Sorilea and the Aes Sedai glaring at one another behind each other's backs. Yes, be afraid, Perrin. Be very afraid.

A line I really liked, right after Perrin sees Sorilea produce a flame and realizes for the first time that she and some of the other Wise Ones can channel:

"She let the flame vanish as they began planning, but it remained in Perrin's thoughts. Small, flickering weakly, somehow it seemed a declaration of war stronger than trumpets, war to the knife."

Cool.

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

Alright, I think I've gotten all of the fan-girling out of my system. How did everyone else like the ending of Lord of Chaos.

5 comments :

  1. Argh! So much going on!

    http://coffeecookiesandchilipeppers.blogspot.com/2013/12/lord-of-chaos-by-robert-jordan-week-10.html

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  2. Thank you ever so much for the my little pony versions of Rand and Mat! I had a good chuckle over those and even showed them to my man.

    Good point about Moghedien - Nynaeve, Elayne, and Egwene see her as human, if a bad one, and therefore a lot of the mystique around the Forsaken has dissolved for our Supergirls.

    That's right, the asha'man don't have an oath rod, so none of them have the holy inhibitions that may of the Aes Sedai have. So they totally don't have to be in danger or threatened to let loose.

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  3. Sorry to be so late: no power or reliable internet for the last couple of days has rather slowed me down! Grr!!! :(

    1. It seems a bit stupid not to use Mat's luck talent to find the bowl, but I agree that he must be there for a reason.

    2. Surely Logain is going to be the anti-Taim . . . at least I hope so, because Rand needs powerful male channelers that he can trust and I don't think that Taim falls into that category at all.

    3. I can't help thinking that Lan and Nynaeve have already had enough in their way that it would be very cruel to keep them separated now that Moiraine is gone.

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  4. Doh! No idea why I hit publish there! :D

    4. This was the height of stupidity in my opinion: I simply do not understand how they could go to all those precautions to keep him shielded without truly understanding how dangerous he is. I am just amazed that they aren't all smudges on the ground.

    5. Loial fighting was awesome but kind of sad, but Aram is plain worrying. Whilst I was impressed by the Aes Sedai marching into battle, I was amazed by their utter stupidity of walking up to Rand and acting like they were in charge of everything - total head slapping moment! :D

    6. One thing I found very worrying about Taim's actions was his total indifference to the safety of Rand's allies amongst the Aiel etc.

    7. Yeah, Elaida is going to be soooooo pissed!

    8. Sevanna is going to be a problem until someone kills her, chops up the body and then burns it . . . and even then I expect her to be a nuisance in some way or other.

    9. Poor Fel, such a nice old bloke! I hope someone finds a way to deal with the gholam, because he seems highly unpleasant.

    I wonder if Egwene will suspect Logain of releasing Moghedien because it was a male who channeled the a'dam open?

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  5. I only have two observations. One. The gholam are the ultimate bad a monsters. They seemingly can't be killed or even harmed by conventional methods. --Spoiler Alert-- Even Mat in his future encounters with one of them is only saved by the fox head medallion. It seems to be the only thing that will even slow it down. Everyone definitely needs to be on the lookout for them. Second. Interesting image of Arangar. I didn't picture her quite like that. When did the forsaken get access to breast enhancement surgery? Is it silicone or the one power? Just sayin.

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