Sunday, January 5, 2014

Crown of Swords Read-Along, Week 2

Welcome to week 2 of our Crown of Swords Read-Along. This week we read chapters 3-8. Remember that everything in this section as well as anything that came before is fair game for spoilers, so read at your own risk.

1. The bleakness has returned in force and Rand’s Aiel are seeping away. Do you think that this will stop once he is visibly back in control in Cairhien or has this episode done permanent damage to his position as Car’a’carn?

A little of both, I think. Shows of power or just of organization, having a situation well in hand, always encourages people. Yet, the Aiel that can lose themselves to the Bleakness to begin with obviously aren't the strongest, most forward-thinking people. I don't know that I'd phrase it as necessarily having done damage to Rand's position, but to the Aiel as a whole, his hold on them, and the part of his fighting force they represent.

Gaul     Source
2. On a scale of 1 to a Google, how cute is Loial offering relationship advice to Perrin? Does anyone understand what is going on between Gaul and Chiad?

How cute is Loial? I'd put him at a billion or so. So adorable! And I loved when he accidentally let slip how much he cares for Erith. Both sweet, and hilarious. 

You know, I found the Bain/Chiad stuff really interesting. I've had some family members over the past few years that were in some less-than-healthy relationships. Even if they weren't particularly abusive or controlling, the fact of the matter is that if someone really wants to be with you, they'll make it happen. If they don't really want to be--make up excuses and stuff--then it's probably better just to walk away from that relationship. It's more fair to everyone that way. No one should be with someone who doesn't really want them, or who they don't really want. I kind of felt bad for Gaul. I mean, crimany! He's willing to marry a woman he doesn't really like so he can have Chiad. And she wont' actually marry him. No worries, Gaul. I'd marry you in a heart beat. Stupid feminist maidens. Okay, I'm done now.

3. Were you surprised or impressed by Faile’s actions during Colavaere’s power play? Do you think she was actually in any real danger?

Yes and no. I think the danger could have been very real, but I'm kind of with Loial on this. Faile can really take care of herself. Not that her stubbornness means she can't be killed, which is why Perrin was worried, but someone as shrewd and determined as Faile is always finds a way to survive. Finding out that she might have been plotting murder was a bit surprising--she's so different than Perrin--but at least she's on the right side of things. The more we learn about Faile, the more I realize how much I wouldn't want her for an enemy.

Colavaere     Source
4. What do you think of Rand’s decision not to execute Colavaere: was it wise or foolish? Were you surprised that Perrin agreed with him?

I'm not sure it was wise or foolish. I understand about how it might be seen as a sign of weakness, but mercy is not weakness. Yes, it could cause trouble for him down the road, but personally I think it might be something of a comfort to people to see that Rand isn't as brutal or sadistic as the rumors make him out to be.

The real question is whether it will make a difference. We know that Min had viewing that Colavaere will die by hanging, and Min is never wrong. I think it might be a safe bet that she'll make her way to the noose sooner or later. Maybe it won't be for years, but given that the noose was mentioned in conjunction with this incident...hmmm.

5. I am still completely confused by Faile’s reaction to Berelain, how about you?

Yeah, me too, but really I find that I just don't care. I get so irritated by how badly she treats Perrin about this that I find myself skipping it. Just get over it, Faile! He's not cheating on you. Again, it has everything to do with Saldean culture. It would just be nice if she could try to understand how Perrin was raised, rather than trying to bend him to her.

6. It seems that Dyelin has also seized power in Rand’s absence. She previously said that she would only hold the throne for Elayne: do you think that she means to stick to that pledge?

I'm not going to say much about this, because I know how it turns out. I will say that the first time I read this, I totally thought she was full of crap and really wanted the throne. To tell even my reaction to what happens would be to tell you what happens, so I guess everyone will find out soon.

Egwene al'Vere     Source
7. It seems like Egwene is managing the Aes Sedai quite well, even though it is like herding very headstrong cats. Does this seem likely to continue, or do you think they will start to realize how she is manipulating them? Do you think they will ever get to Tar Valon?

I think Egwene is doing an excellent job. She knows how to play people off one another and get what she wants. Really, it's just glorified politics with a good dose of psychology thrown in. Will they realize she's manipulating them? Perhaps. But more importantly, will they realize eventually that they cannot manipulate her? I certainly hope so. Will they reach Tar Valon? Yeah, eventually. It might take a while, though. :D


It threw me through a loop to go back to before Moghedien got away. I was reading chapter 8 late at night (a.k.a. trying to stay awake) and Egwene put on the bracelet and felt "Marigan's" emotions, and I went, "wait, what? I swear she already escaped." As I went along I figured it out, of course. Guess I ought to read when I'm more alert. :D

Also, did anyone notice the mention of the headaches Egwene keeps getting. That might be important later. Oh, and who totally loves Chesa, and her talk of wicked run away slaves. Using 'wicked' like that reminded me of Anne of Green Gables. Just made me smile. 

What did everyone else think of this section?


  1. 1. Perhaps we should look on the Bleakness as more of a benefit as it prunes out the less devoted, loyal Aiel and gets them out of the way?

    2. You're right: it is always easy to spout advice when you are not in the situation yourself. I can't help feeling bad for the guy because Chiad is messing him about and I hate people who play with other people's emotions.

    3. True: and she has tons of experience at court, which Perrin doesn't.

    4. I ended up thinking that this was an almost no-win situation for Rand: no matter how he reacted it would upset some people, so being merciful was probably good for his own piece of mind. I'd forgotten about Min's viewing, so perhaps we will have a someone trying to administer their own justice in a sneak attack.

    5. Yep - she is very immature in her dealings with a man who truly adores her, so I just want to slap her! :D

    7. I agree: she has been much more effective than I had hoped. I was quite worried that Sheriam and the others would manage to manipulate her much more than they have. Go, Egwene!

    Yep - I had a WTF? moment when Moghedien escaped and felt all disorientated for a bit, so it wasn't just you!

    So, Egwene's headaches are important: note to self!

  2. Hmm...sister-wives so we can share Gaul? I just need Wednesdays. ;)

    Both you and Eivind hint that it will be a while before they reach Tar Valon. Like next book?

    I totally did a WTF moment too when Egwene was going over Moghedien's escape. A few times my audio place has gotten lost and I have ended up way ahead or back in time with it. So I thought that had happened, again. But I was much relieved when it was just Egwene fretting over the full truth of that coming out too soon.

    Is Chesa the elderly one who is always giving Egwene sideways advice? I like her. Of course, Egwene's headaches could be a result of all the unsolicited advice.....