Sunday, January 26, 2014

Crown of Swords Read-Along, Week 5



Welcome to week 5 of our Crown of Swords Read-Along. This week we reach chapters 19-24. Remember that everything in this section as well as everything that's come before is fair game for spoilers, so read at your own risk!


Cadsuane Sedai (Source)
1) We got more of Cadsuane when she interviewed (grilled) the other Sisters around Rand. What did you think of how she handled them? What do you think her endgame is?

I kind of have to admire anyone who can intimidate other Aes Sedai. She has a self-possession and confidence that's obviously difficult to dent. Despite the fact that she'd be a formidable enemy (let's hope she's not that to Rand) I admire how she doesn't let anyone push her around or even influence her enough to reveal anything she doesn't want to. I also love that she's an adventurer. Despite her white hair, she talks about riding from one side of Randland to the other, seeking knowledge and information. This is my kind of woman. The last Aes Sedai we saw that was anything like her was Moiraine. Just sayin'.

Rand and Min (Source)
2) Rand and Min take their relationship to the next level. (Poor Elayne!) What did you think of how this happened? How will it change Min and Rand's friendship? And how will Elayne and Aviendha react?

I always thought this scene was hysterical. Rand has chosen to be all kinds of clueless about Min. With how much he resisted, he kinda raped him. If a guy did this to a gal, all the feminist claws would come out. But women can totally get away with this in Randland, apparently. Just makes me laugh. 

Beyond that, I totally know how their relationship will change, so I won't say much. It seems to me that Elayne and Aviendha are going to have to accept this. Given that they've already resigned themselves to sharing him, it shouldn't be such a huge stretch. It'll definitely be interesting to get them all in the same place, though. :D

Sammael (Source)
3) Sevanna and her little retinue use the call boxes to speak to a man and a woman, who we later learn are Sammael and Graendal. What do you think their plan is? And who do you think the Watcher keeping on eye on them is?

Sammael and Graendal. These two always strike me as two doofases of equal (that is to say, low) intelligence, who work together well because of it. As per usual, their plan is most likely to snare Rand somehow. (Again, the fact that they think Sevanna is an awesome, efficient way to do this reveals their collective IQ) and already things aren't looking particularly promising.

I know who the Watcher is, so I won't say, but I will point out some things to remember that will be important later. He is important. He mentions dark flecks floating across his vision, and the True Power (as opposed to the One Power). Those things are important.

Interesting lines from the Watcher: "Small increases in chaos are as important as large." 
"But today's truth need not be tomorrow's. The watcher had seen the truth change a hundred times between a single sunrise and sunset. More than once he had changed it himself." (pg. 454)

Source
4) After a (somewhat hilarious) evening of drinking with Brigitte, the dice in Mat's head stop when Elayne and Nynaeve ask him to move into the palace. Obviously it's an important event. What do you think it means? What will happen?

I totally love the image of Mat and Brigitte clinking mugs of ale and having a good time together. As well as the fact that Elayne got drunk (or at least felt the effects of it) just because Brigitte did. Very amusing. Again, I know the answer to this, so I'll just say that this move into the palace is very important and will be the beginning of some things we've been waiting for concerning Mat for a long time.

Source
5) Nynaeve and Elayne discover a Circle of women who are either too weak to become Aes Sedai or have been kicked out of the Tower for some reason. What do you think of the Kin and their odd customs? How will they figure in the story from here on out?

This is one of those the-Tower-is-so-stupid things. If they want the Tower to be powerful, they ought to be gathering anyone and everyone who can channel. Even if they're too weak to become Aes Sedai, they ought to find positions for them, make them feel special, and then being part of the order or guild of women who Channels would be a privilege and the Tower would just be much stronger. Instead, they turn their noses up and, even women who are very strong, but simply have a minor meltdown during the testing are given the boot. And it doesn't seem to occur to them that these women might gather anywhere else in the world.  *rubs bridge of nose for Aes Sedai stupidity* 

I like that their customs--especially who stands where in influence--are different than the Tower. I also like that they are kind to one another--overly apologetic and such. It's so refreshing given how most Aes Sedai treat one another. And I like the fact that they've managed to keep themselves so secret, given how the Tower prides themselves on knowing everything. Given that Egwene is trying to gather anyone and everyone who might channel even a little bit to her cause, I think she might just be ecstatic at this discovery.

I also liked that, for once, about this one thing, Nynaeve seemed to be thinking more clearly than Elayne. Oh, and it was hysterical when she started crying because they were going to have to ask Mat for help after all. :D

Nynaeve (Source)
6) Nynaeve's weather sense tells her a storm is about to break over the city, which we now know is something of a Talent. It doesn't always mean the weather, but sometimes other kinds of storms. What do you think her weather sense portends this time?

Yeah...I know the answer to this. We won't get it in it's entirety until the end of this book, but it's pretty epic. 

7) While making their way back from the Kin's manor, Nynaeve and Elayne are attacked in the street. Who do you think did it and why?

I honestly don't remember who it is. I don't think it's the Kin, but this is Ebou Dar. This is exactly the reason Lan didn't want Nynaeve going to Tanchico without protection, and Ebou Dar isn't much better. The two of them were clomping through the bad part of town wearing rich silks. They were kind of asking to be mugged. I'm sure there was more to the attack than that, but I honestly don't remember who was behind it. 

Extras:

It's funny that Nynaeve gets irritated with Elayne and Aviendha's "toh foolishness." Toh would make her accountable for all her words, actions, and hypocrisies, so obviously it must be foolishness.
From the Two Rivers: Lan, Moiraine, Perrin, Rand, Mat, Egwene, Nynaeve, Thom Source
Okay, I'm gonna be a sociology geek here for a minute, but I thought the part where Setalle Anan was walking them through the city, telling everyone how they'd spent their money on clothes to appear rich and attract a man was interesting. It seemed to suggest that this really isn't done at all. Basically, they are accused of being gold diggers. Anyone in Randland who does this is taboo and looked down on. Even if a merchant has enough money to buy silks, he/she doesn't because they are merchants, not nobles. Everyone seems to accept their place and that is that. We've also seen this from the other side, with how anyone--Rand, Mat, Perrin--who is considered a lord must wear silks, embroidered coats, etc. Just kind of interesting to think about.

What other bloggers thought:


What did everyone else think of this section?

7 comments :

  1. This is most irregular. No DoD yet!

    1. Cadusane seems like a very interesting person, who has her wits about her, unlike most of her colleagues. I liked how exasperated she seemed with the current situation, when she basically called every other Aes Sedai brainless. I wonder if she suspects intervention by the Black Ajah, or even the Forsaken. Whatever she is, she's not stupid.

    I won't reveal her endgame quite yet, but she's evidently attached herself to Rand (or is attempting to) because she thinks she's the only one left who is capable enough to provide some real advice. And she's not entirely wrong, I suspect.

    2. Wait, isn't that later? Or… do you mean the kiss? I think they take to the bed some time in book 8, so Elayne will have to wait her turn, even though she was the first of the three to “discover” Rand. For someone with three girlfriends, Rand seems to be spending rather little time having orgies, for which I guess I'm thankful. Save the world and all that.

    3. Whatever Sammael is planning, I doubt it involves what Sevanna thinks. It didn't seem to me like Sammael was being very honest, eager or forthcoming. Probably he's come to the conclusion (like we have) that she is full of hot air, and only useful insofar as she can create that beautiful Shaido mess somewhere. And by mess I mean both actual mess and storyline mess…

    As for The Watcher, I could definitely tell you a thing or two about him. However, there's a scene coming up in the first chapter of the next week where we learn some more about this fellow, so I guess I can postpone the discussion for a week. I'll say this however: he's bad, bad news.

    The True Power, by the way, is the Dark One's own force. It's the thing that Lanfear and Beidomon was sensing when they drilled the bore in the hope of tapping a new kind of power. It lets the user do many of the things possible with regular old Saidar and Saidin, but is different from those two in many of the same ways they are different from one another. The only difference is that the Dark One has to personally allow people to use it. So far we have not seen it much, even from other Forsaken, so chances are that this Watcher is very high up in the DO's confidence indeed.

    (And no, the Watcher is not Shaidar Haran.)

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    1. 4. One of my favourite moments from Aviendha is when she basically turned to Elayne and told her that she's been kind of an asshole. Whatever you say about ji'e'toh, at least it managed to resolve this situation to some degree. And can you please grow the fuck up, Nynaeve? (I know she will do so quite soon, but reading this I really wanted to gauge my eyes out.)

      Ok, so it's important for reasons of fate that Mat moves into the palace. The first-time reader might think that this has something to do with Tylin, since she was trying to corner Mat, and clearly this was what Mat had in mind when the suggestion came up. And this is partially true, but there's another, more important reason why Mat has to move in there. Unfortunately this won't be obvious until later.

      5. Is there some kind of rule that says women who can channel must have this severe stand-off-ish nature? Is it too much to ask for someone to come together in mutual respect and friendship instead of trying to bludgeon each other into submission in this way?

      In fact, the Kin is known to the Tower, and tolerated as a way to maintain some measure of control over the non-Aes Sedai channeling population. Apparently Elayne and Nynaeve didn't get the pamphlet when they were raised. However, the Tower is grossly underestimating the size and level of organization of the Kin.

      Of course, Nynaeve is perfectly right. The Kin does have a storeroom of angreal, and this is indeed what everyone is looking for. And the bowl is indeed located there. All we need now is for someone to bludgeon them into showing the way! And unless it wasn't already obvious, Setalle Anan is the one who is no longer, although it's not totally clear at this point what she no longer is. Guesses?

      It was really surprising to see Nynaeve so stubborn in not apologising to Mat, and then immediately after she was able to play the meek, silly girl with Setalle Anan. Knowing how hard this must have been for her, it's all the more perplexing how she's been acting with Mat.

      6. Ah, Sue has already predicted this, and I suspect her answer to this question will be spot on.

      7. This attack, like the one last week, is never explained. The suspects are generally the same: Teslyn and Joline, Falion and Ispan, Carridin and his circus… To be honest it scarcely matters.

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    2. Yup, Sue is always great at making predictions! As for Nynaeve and Mat, I've said this before, but they're pretty much the same character, only male and female versions of one another. Their actions aren't at all the same, but their personalities are very similar, which is why they simply don't get along. And yes, it gets to be ridiculous, though Mat isn't any better about it than Nynaeve is. I'm excited to get into some of this stuff: the Kin, the storm in Ebou Dar, etc. Lots of interesting stuff on the horizon. :D

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    3. 1. Cadsuane reminds me quite a lot of the Wise Ones in her clear vision of what needs to be done. I am sure that she would spank Elaida if given half a chance . . . here's hoping! :D

      2. Maybe I just have a filthy mind, but I got the impression that it was rather more than a kiss . . .

      3. I agree: I think Sevanna has now been relegated to chief creator of general Shaido mayhem. I suspect that Sammael is hoping that she manages to die somehow.

      Getting more info next week: that seems a little sloppy for Mr Jordan. Surely we should have to wait another 2 books before we get a little hint! :D

      4. I would have to say that both Elayne and Nynaeve are being quite annoying at the moment and I keep hoping that Aviendha will give them both a good slapping. Although we all know that Tylin will be so happy to have juicy little Mat closer to her sweaty paws I can't believe that their union is so important as to warrant the dice rolling to a stop.

      5. As for Nynaeve - she needs a good slapping, end of story.

      I guess it makes sense that the Tower knows all about the Kin but doesn't acknowledge it openly. This might explain why Accepted would not be made aware of it - we know how great the Aes Sedai are at ignoring what they don't want to see.

      6. Flipping heck! Now I'm even more confused! So, I predicted this at an earlier date and have now had a brain fart and forgotten??? If it isn't the obvious dangers from the Black Ajah, etc that are already wandering around Ebu Dar out in the open, then it can only be the Seanchan heading east at full steam. I guess that would be a slight blip on the horizon for everyone involved.

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    4. Yep, Min and Rand seem to get it on. There is a kiss, clothes rustling, and they draw the curtain. And I suspect that even if Rand ever gets around to an orgy, we won't get any details :(.

      thanks for the explanation on the True Power. I had some foggy notions on it, like the Dark One had to grant it or access to it, but I really wasn't sure.

      Oh, I am so glad I am not the only one who felt the need to gouge out a body part (ears in my case) while listening to Nynaeve go on and on. I look forward to her living up to the maturity level she thinks she has attained.

      Setalle Anan as The One Who Is No Longer? Interesting....Well, she seems to be held in high regard by the Kin, her husband, and nearly everyone else we met. And she was pretty calm about the bodies and blood Mat left her when those idiots attacked him last section. Hmmm... Maybe she is no longer Ebou Dar royalty?

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  2. 1. I don't think that she intimidated them so much as made them want to pee themselves!

    I love the way that Cadsuane does not allow her emotions to blind her to the truths of a situation and how she is actually happy to roll up her sleeves and do what is needed. She also reminds me of Moiraine, which almost makes me wonder why she isn't a Blue, but being Green seems to fit her proactive attitude.

    2. I know what you mean about the different way this scene would dread if Rand forced himself on Min in the same way . . . but I think the inherent difference in strength between men and women makes this acceptable. Also, isn't it a bit of a male fantasy?????

    3. It's a good thing that the Forsaken are so dumb - otherwise Rand would have no hope in the Last Battle.

    I picked up on the use of the True Power but couldn't remember if we had come across any of the male Forsaken using it. I seem to remember that Lanfear was responsible for drilling through to it, but I am hoping that we only have 1 gender-swapping Forsaken to worry about.

    4. I really like Birgitte as a female character because she is so asexual in her thinking, unlike all the other male-beating women that we encounter.

    5. The Aes Sedai are wrong on so many levels about so many things . . . no wonder Cadsuane didn't want to be Amyrlin!

    It was nice to see Elayne being the less moderate person for once, and Nynaeve's frustration about Mat did set me chuckling as well, but my biggest take away was that it was very enjoyable for everything to go wrong for once. I am not sure that Elayne could get her chin high enough! :D

    7. Yep: what would Lan know about keeping women safe???

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  3. Cadsuane could be a very interesting character. I look forward to seeing how her plotline progresses. Arrogant aes sedai? Or is she merely testing his will - his ability to hold his power and temper in check?

    Love the Mat image - keep cool, chive on....and roll the dice.

    Also love the Munchkin crew at the bottom.

    I am guessing the Watcher is malevolent. And still sane, so I think that rules out Padan Fain.

    Yes, it would be an interesting experiment if Nynaeve suddenly found she was held to toh. Or even Mat. Haha!

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