Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Path of Daggers Read-Along, Week 1

Welcome to our Path of Daggers Read-Along. We made it to book 8! This week we read the Prologue through chapter 4. 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!

Borderlander General (Source)
1) The major players of the Borderlands all have a pow-wow at the start of the prologue. Other than the obvious, stated goal of finding Rand, what do you think they're up to?

I do have some idea where this is going, but I think it's interesting that they all came together to do this. They mention that the Blight is too quiet. Borderlanders are definitely go-getters. They can see that things are happening around them and they want to take a proactive approach--which is not to say it will necessarily be a good thing for all our beloved characters--but still. It makes me respect them.

Did anyone else pick up that bit about how Tenobia, queen of Saldea will probably die childless, which means the throne would fall to her brother Davram...or his...heir? Yup, that's right, folks. Perrin and Faile have an excellent shot at being King and Queen of Saldea some day. That's one thing I love about this later part of the series. We start to see all our Two Rivers kids, and those that originally came out of the village with them, being maneuvered into important positions. Twenty years from now--assuming everyone survives Tarmon Gai'don, which is a big if--all our main characters will probably be ruling and calling all the shots. 

Verin and her little book (Source)
2) What do you make of Verin's covert work? What is her endgame?

I can't tell you on this one, because it's very specific and I know what it is. I will say that, when I finally received an answer, I was truly surprised. Not that the truth isn't hinted at here, but I kept thinking I had to be wrong and there had to more to it. Nope. Be prepared for a little eyebrow raising on this one. Though, I don't think we get the answer for quite a few books. Maybe even the last one. Can't remember for sure. Of course, she does mention Compulsion by name, so obviously it's not the most innocent, happy-go-lucky thing in the world, right?

I am intrigued by Verin here. She's got a nifty little cipher, and more going on in that head of hers than anyone gives her credit for. For a Brown, not so absent-minded and really really not so dumb. Just sayin'.

Moridin's Game of Sha'rah (Source)
3) We get yet another jaunt in Moridin's twisted head. What do you make of him at this point? Does he have things as well in hand as he seems to believe?

He's definitely got an arrogant streak, doesn't he? And I think he could give Rand a run for his money in terms of insanity and that maniacal laugh. To be honest, I'm surprised he doesn't mess up his own plans more often. He started stroking those boxes and almost smashed them by accident before stopping himself. He's somewhere between too proud and too absent-minded. And no, he obviously doesn't hold as many cards as he thinks he does. He's actively underestimating Rand and all our other beloved characters. Idiot.

This shows an Aes Sedai reading
the trace of a recent weave, such
as with Traveling. (Source)
4) Aviendha picked a weave apart. Do you think we'll see this in the story again? In what capacity? Do you think Moridin will find them before they use the Bowl? How about the gholam?

Um...again, I know the answers to these questions. I did think her picking apart the weave was pretty dang cool. And we will see it again--I can't remember when--and it's even more interesting then than it is now. 

This is a good example of the arrogance I spoke about above for Moridin. He had them in his sights, let them go, thinking they couldn't do much damage, then realized that Bowl might be a problem, went "oh sh**" and hurried after them. Yeah, let's trust the fate of the world to this guy. 

I think they should be less worried about the gholam at this particular juncture. He seemed pretty unhurried about getting to them. It's creepy because they don't know he's coming, but it doesn't sound to me like he's the most imminent threat.

5) Elayne discovers many objects of the One Power from the stash brought out of the Rahad. Any guesses as to what might be their intended uses?

Only one of these stood out to me as something that will be used in the story later. I could definitely be wrong, but they might be used for anything. The angreal--especially the bracelet that attaches to finger rings--we will see more of.

Atha'an Miere (Source)
6) We finally learn the details of Nynaeve and Elayne's bargain with the Seafolk--Aes Sedai required to teach Windfinders and even live among them for a period of time, among other things. Will this bargain work out? Will our girls be in big trouble for making it? Do you see all these different groups and cultures of women ever being able to get along?

Chances are this will be a point of contention between all these groups of women for a long, long time. I don't see either side giving, accepting, or fulfilling their part of the bargain with any degree of meekness. I think it's an excellent idea for the Windfinders and the Aes Sedai to work together and learn from one another--as in, why hasn't anyone thought of this sooner?!!--but it will definitely open a can of worms in terms of getting along and keeping everyone happy. If there are many more days like the one we saw in this section, I'm sure there will be no end to the glaring, sniffing, and general hilarity.

7) Sounds like they're about to use the Bowl of Winds. Predictions as to what will happen when they do?

Well, it seems to me there are really only three possibilities: they'll fix the weather, they won't, or the whole thing will blow up in their faces or otherwise go completely opposite of the way they think it will. If Moridin, the Seanchan, or the gholam show up, that third option is a definite possibility. What does everyone think? Can I get $5 on Moridin?

Just thought this was funny. :D (Source)

I know I've said before--like twelve times--but I love the cover on this book. So epic!

I think it's hilarious that the Kin don't want to hold Ispan, the Aes Sedai do want to hold Ispan, and it's all Elayne can do to make them do as she asks. They're all trying to manipulate her--in really not so subtle ways--to change her mind.

I did think the exchange with Vandean and Adeleas over the torture of Ispan was really interesting, though. Sometimes even our main characters need to trust others; to trust that maybe they all have the same goals and they aren't the only ones willing to do the hard thing to achieve them.

Any guesses as to Ispan's fate? Chances are it ain't gonna be funny.

Also, check out this link: I used to read this guy all the time when I was first going through the series. I believe he came up with his "Loony Verin Theory" back around the time book 8 was written. Just an interesting perspective. We'll have to see if he turns out to be right. :D

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

How did everyone else like this section?


  1. 1. I always found this borderlanders plotline kind of puzzling. They just leave the north, practically emptying their homelands of soldiers, which is stupid even when the last battle is NOT quickly approaching. I don't care how quiet the blight is, at least they ought to realise that by now there's a fair chance that Rand actually is the Dragon Reborn so it's not like the last battle is a well kept secret. All this for one of the most anticlimactic plotline resolutions in living memory! (In my opinion, that is.)

    2. Well, in stark contrast to the previous question, the answer to the Verin question is going to pay off bigtime when it comes. I have this big grin on my face just thinking about it. Hahaha… I'm so evil…

    Verin's motivations remain clear as mud, but something is definitely up with her. I guess we'll know more, or at least be able to guess more, if we ever see Beldeine or some of the other Aes Sedai prisoners act out of character. That would be Verin's little compulsion project. So keep an eye out for that.

    Some other tantalising hints dropped too, such as Verin having made a big mistake 70 years ago. ;)

    3. Twisted head, indeed. Moridin is quickly sailing up to the spot of primary human antagonist (the Dark One being perhaps the primary antagonist). There is one more scene I would like our new readers to see before we start discussing his identity, so I'll keep my mouth shut for now.

    I suspect he's about to lose the weather battle at least, so he's at least slightly behind the times.

    4. Yeah, we'll see it. Twice, if memory serves me right? Equally awesome every time.

    It would sure make for a great scene I think, if Moridin or the gholam caught up with them, but frankly they're about to do it right now, and Moridin wasn't even sure they had anything that could fix the weather. Then again, we don't know how quickly it works, so…

    5. Aside from the angreal, at least I recall the dull dagger. The black rod that felt warm also has an interesting use, for the future comic relief or embarrassment of everyone. :D

    6. It didn't seem THAT outrageous, did it? 20 sisters, sure, but with 2000 kinswomen about to return to Tar Valon (or so we hope), in the long run I'm sure they'll be able to manage. And Egwene is deft (as we will soon see, if it wasn't already obvious), I think she can mitigate the damage. I doubt Elayne and Nynaeve will be picked for bargaining duty for the next 70 years however.

    7. So, lots of channeling will be involved. A circle of 13 quite powerful women, it might be the most significant channeling event since Rand and Asmodean were reorganising the mountains around Rhuidean. Any female channeler within miles will likely notice, and we know there are a few of those! So expect the Seanchan to be very interested indeed. Probably Moridin and the gholam has no idea where they are. There's no reason to believe Moridin can locate saidar being channeled, although he probably knows all kinds of things we don't. The gholam can sense channeling after a fashion, but I've no idea exactly how that works, or if he even can make it all the way to the farm before the bowl has been used.

    Other: I have a soft spot for Easar, the poet king of Shienar. Not a common trait to have in a fantasy story (for a monarch, no less). Maybe my viking heritage coming through, where poets were held in very high regard. Wish we'd see more of him.

    1. Yup, gotta love Verin and her tantalizing hints! And yeah, I think everyone will think twice before giving Elayne and Nynaeve bargaining power for awhile, though I doubt they'll have any qualms about that. Egwene definitely has the brains and prowess to deal with it. Check out this link: I'm gonna update my post here in a minute, because I meant to put it in. This guys hasn't written about WoT for years,but he came up with this theory back around the time book 8 was written. Just fun to get another fan's perspective. :D

    2. Oh, that's interesting. I've never heard anyone raise the point about Verin's warder before. He really is conspicuously absent a lot of the time.