Sunday, March 9, 2014

Path of Daggers Read-Along, Week 3

Welcome to week 3 of our Path of Daggers read-along. This week we read chapters 10-15. Remember that everything in this section as well as everything that came before is fair game for spoilers, so read at your own risk!

Perrin Source
1. Winter is finally here, and Perrin gets a whole country from Santa, even if it's a small and war-torn one. What a jolly mix of unwilling rulers, weak rulers, strong rulers, sexy rulers and ex-rulers… never mind the Prophet! What will this look like when Perrin gets back to Rand, whenever that could be?

Under normal circumstances, I'd say it would be a mob at best, an all-out war at worst. But...Perrin is ta'veren, which means he'll probably find some way to get everything all in hand before he has to report to Rand for duty. Of course, there's bound to plenty of twists, turns, and drama before everyone ends up in the same place again. Just sayin'. 

Moridin, though I think this guy's too
pretty to be a Forsaken. Source
Moridin appears to be marshaling the efforts of the dark side. Do you think they'll be more successful now that they're under unified leadership? Now that Cyndane is here, I challenge you all to guess the identities of her and Moridin. Are you expecting any more forsaken to show up?

I wouldn't expect "unified" to mean much to the Forsaken. I think we see this most powerfully in Graendal's thoughts. Of course she falls to obsequiousness when she realizes Moridin really is nae'blis, but she's secretly thinking that she still has plenty of chances to steal the prestigious position from him. The Forsaken are doomed to fail in all of their efforts--as most villains are--because they're too short-sighted to work together or see beyond their own selfish aims. I'm sure that, unified, they could be more formidable, but chances are they won't be. I won't guess identities because I already know. I'm anxious to hear everyone else's thoughts, though.

Sorilea (Source)
The long-awaited meeting between Cadsuane and Sorilea took place. Was it everything you hoped for? What's your opinion on their common quest?

I was always so impressed by this scene. It definitely was a battle of wits, but it was calm, calculated, and obscenely intelligent. Two smart, leading, formidable women sat and talked and found that they actually had similar aims. I love this scene! There are so many layers to be considered here.

This is also the crux of what will be Rand's main internal conflict for the foreseeable future. Jordan does such a great job of explaining it. He's making himself so calloused that he might shatter. Cadsuane and Sorilea have to make him cry, which sounds kind of goofy, but really they have to help him re-find his compassion; his humanity. That's no small feat, but these two women are so determined, I think they could win Tarmon Gai'don just between the two of them. Overall, this scene did not disappoint; just left me rubbing my hands together for more.

Asha'man, though this pose is a little
'male model' for my taste. (Source)
The latest status report from the Black Tower reveals a good number of deserters, madmen and losses to accidents. Do you feel like Rand has control of the situation? He reveals that he's thinking about cleansing Saidin, that he asked the Aelfinn about it but doesn't understand their answer. Do you expect him to be able to, and if so how? Could this help the Black Tower situation somehow?

I don't think Rand has much control of the situation, but he's doing the best he can. Taim is the one holding the reigns, but given how much Rand has to deal with, I doubt he could do much better at this juncture. I won't reveal what I "think" about cleansing saidin, but I definitely think if he could pull it off, it will help. It's the taint making the Asha'men go mad, so if the taint is gone, he'll have much more sane soldiers. If he wants to avoid the Hundred Companions disaster from Lews Therin's time, this is probably a good idea.

Love this pic of Siuan & Bryne!
Egwene is back, and she has a plan involving the Andoran border defense force somehow. Any guesses as to what's on her mind?

Um...I don't remember the details about Andor specifically, but I know where she ends up, so I probably shouldn't say anything. I did love this section, though. I love that Lord Bryne is so loyal (I always want to spell it loial) to Egwene. And it was hilarious that Egwene is only now picking up on the romance vibes between him and Siuan. And I love the visual of Egwene, Siuan and Leane having secret meetings out in the storm and the wind. So conspiracy-theory! Here's to hoping Egwene will become the most legendary Amyrlin of them all!

The Oath Rod (Source)
Galina is forced to swear obedience on an oath rod, and a few chapters later we see Egwene and Siuan debate the relevance of the oaths for Aes Sedai (which is not to lie, not to make weapons, and not to use the power as a weapon). If I'm not mistaken it's the first time we see how it works (it's physically impossible for Galina to disobey). What are your thoughts on this?

I think this whole debate is really interesting. Given how long the Kin live without the Oaths, I totally understand not wanting to swear them. But, Siuan's point about how they define the Aes Sedai and bind them together is a good one. Rand said something similar about the Asha'men's black uniforms and pins. It makes them feel like they're part of a larger organization and have something to aspire to. Without these things, the organization might fall apart. Especially in times of such turmoil, the White Tower is no different. 


And is anyone else annoyed with the obsequiousness of the Tairen and Cairhienin nobles yet? Two words: Brown and nose.

More of Egwene's interesting dreams. The ones about Rand and Mat are especially worth considering. I actually remembered what most of them were this time.

Any guesses about which of the Asha'men surrounding Rand will succumb to madness first? He really wanted to kill Torval (and I didn't blame him; the guy was just annoying!). And it was chilling when he started thinking of their staring or quietness in terms of their sanity. The younger kid (Hopwill, I think?) wasn't too happy to have to do some killing. Rand always thinks of their trouble as having to do with saidin, but it sounds to me like classic PTSD might play a part. He sent Narishma on a "special" errand. Pretty sure I remember what it is, and it'll be interesting. And Lews Therin is back. Maybe. Lots of interesting developments in Rand's life.

What did everyone else think of this section?

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