Sunday, March 23, 2014

Path of Daggers Read-Along, Week 5


Welcome to week 5 of our Path of Daggers read-along! This week we reach chapters 22-26. Remember that everything in this section as well as everything that came before is fair game for spoilers, so read at your own risk!


Seanchan Animal (Source)
1. Most of this section comprised Rand's battle against the Seanchan. What are your thoughts about this section? You can address the nobles, how Rand handled it, how the battle went, how it was written, and/or what the ramifications will be. Basically anything you want.

While this section had it's interesting moments, I'll admit to getting a bit bored with it. I totally understand the reason for writing it the way Jordan did. There was no reason, at this juncture, for Rand to be in the thick of the battle. Being the Dragon Reborn, why would he be? But that meant he was observing from far back and outside the action, which made it less interesting than other, previous battles. By far the most interesting part was when he pulled out Callandor and tried to use it. But we'll cover that in #4. 

I thought it was really interesting that both sides considered this a major loss. That could be an advantage for Rand in the future, except that he doesn't realize it. Hmmm...



Rand al'Thor (Source)
2. The two noble women with Rand pulled out belt knives when Rand was thrown from his horse. He wondered if they'd been meaning to kill him or protect him before Bashere came crashing to the rescue. What do you think?

I couldn't decide. I really wouldn't put it past them. But Rand has become supremely paranoid. The woman who pulled the belt knife didn't actually say anything about killing him, which initially made me think she would have defended him. But then when Bashere showed up, she quickly put away the knife in a way that smacked of guilt.

In truth, maybe they didn't know what they would do, exactly. They're all so afraid of Rand, that any of them might lash out in a moment of terrible judgement, without any kind of premeditation. Either way, Rand's paranoia isn't completely unfounded, it seems.

Liandrin (Source)
3. Liandrin is a slave to the Seanchan! Thoughts? Feelings? Expletives?

Fitting. Very fitting. 

I actually didn't remember this particular detail. When it described her as having honey colored braids, I kind of went, "Hey. Is that..." And then when they said her name, I had to pump my arm. "YES!"

Interesting, though, that she's still very defiant. I'll give her points for not being submissive. But good luck to the master that underestimates her. Doubt we've seen the last of her yet.


Source
4. Rand's bundle turns out to be Callandor. What do you think of the way he tried to make use of it and why it didn't work? Or did it?

I think it shows his arrogance, and how un-prepared he is to fight the Dark One. I can't be mad at him for it, though. He wants so badly to abolish what he sees as evil, be it the Dark One or the Seanchan. I truly wish he could have succeeded. But obviously he's going to have to learn better control if he doesn't want to destroy exactly what he's trying to preserve. There's a lot of talk throughout the series of him breaking the world again even as he saves them. This may be the first taste of how something like that could happen.

Source
5. We see a major shift in Rand's thoughts/personality here. He's gone from the bumbling farm hand to a somewhat arrogant battle lord. Thoughts about this? How will it affect events and his chances of making it to the Last Battle?

I've talked about this before. This is exactly what Cadsuane and Sorilea spoke of together. Of making him humble again. Of making him human again. I don't like Rand like this. I miss how he was at the beginning of the series--sweet and bumbling and always doing the gentlemanly thing. Let's hope Cadsuane and Sorilea can find a way to restore him to that. 

Honestly, I think this sort of blunder will keep happening until he finds his humanity again. It's almost like it's his very arrogance that might lose him The Last Battle. 

Elaida and Alviaran (Source)
6. Alviarin disappeared from the Tower for two weeks before suddenly returning to stomp all over Elaida again. Where do you think she went? And what is Mesaana up to with that decree recognizing claiming the Tower is "guiding" the Dragon Reborn?

Well, I'm assuming Alviarin was on Dark Friend/Forsaken business. Can't remember where she went specifically or if we ever find out, but I doubt it makes much difference. Douche-baggery is douche-baggery, yes?

As for Mesaana, I think it's obvious she's trying to cause chaos. The Forsaken are the kind of people that thrive on fear and anarchy. Even aside from Rand and the Forsaken's more general designs on the fate of the world, the Tower is a powerful entity. Undermining it would only serve to (at least in their minds) help the Forsaken achieve their aims. 

I think thistactic kind of backfires, if I'm thinking about it right. Guess we'll find out.

Logain and Toveine (Source)
7. The sisters Elaida sent to break (*snorts*) the Black Tower is easily brought to heel. What do you think Logain did to Toveine and what will happen to the Tower sisters who were captured?

I know what he did, and while I didn't care one way or the other the first time I read it, it leads to one of my favorite aspects of the end of the series. 

I thought it was hysterical that Toveine was looking down her nose, sure she'd be "the woman who broke the Black Tower" and 2 pages later she was screaming and thrashing like a three-year old, dignity be damned. Yeah, obviously you're destined for awesomeness, lady. Anyway, I guess there's never a dull moment where the Black Tower is concerned.

Extras: 

Anyone else find Logain strangely attractive in this section? She was all, "I'm going to break you!" And he was like, "That's cute." *does something to make her weep*

 I also really like that he's being somewhat rebellious against Taim, even if it is in a very subtle way. Min saw greatness for him. Here's hoping that greatness involves punching Mazrim Taim in the face.

Because this section was made up entirely of the Seanchan battle, and then minor, somewhat antagonistic characters, I found myself missing our other characters. Can't wait to get back to them!

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

What did everyone else think of this section?

7 comments :

  1. 1. I thought it was pretty cool. Classic Jordanesque battle scene where you have to pay a bit of attention to piece together the big picture. Easy to get lost in the timeline, too. I think the whole thing lasted about a week?

    Happy to see some Seanchan points of view, particularly that of Furyk Karede. Make a note of him, because he'll be back and he's pretty boss.

    Both sides thought they lost, and they might be closer to the truth than they realize. With the last battle looming, nobody wins if the good guys fight (let us consider the Seanchan as good guys on account of not being darkfriends). And frankly, Rand could use a wake up call.

    2. I am unsure but leaning towards them not intending to kill him. Maybe I'm just being naive or wanting to see the good in people, or I have a WoT-typical hopeless view of women…

    3. Wow, Liandrin is so four books ago. I'd kind of forgotten her to be honest, and we're on the next level of evildoers now (Alviarin), so… go away, please. I like that drawing though. Ehm…

    4. Oh wow, this was an intense scene. It's easy to ascribe the craziness to Rand's increasing megalomania, but something very similar happened last time he used Callandor, during the “Stone Stands” scene. Could be that there's more to this sword than we know. After all, Rand has the Choedan Kal now so it's not very clear why it's so important for the last battle that he has Callandor, which is weaker…

    That said, Rand is still a lunatic.

    5. He has a job to do, and the people around him too. Cadsuane in particular I suppose… but she will get or need help from others close to him. I believe someone said it elsewhere in the series (if it's in the future I apologize, but it's not a genuine spoiler anyway) that if he goes to the last battle in this condition, there might not be a big difference between losing or winning it. And I can believe that.

    6. I assume she wasn't exactly helping out at a soup kitchen! I don't recall if we ever find out… and frankly Mesaana is thinking on a different level than I am. Not sure what the idea is here, but if Elaida is right that signing it would break the Tower, then I assume that's it. Presumably they still think that Elaida has the upper hand in the rebellion, so they're trying to bring her down a bit and back Egwene so that the rebellion can continune unresolved for as long as necessary.

    7. Did they bond them as warders? Wardresses? I admit I was speeding through this part late last night to catch up and I might have missed something. Whatever is about to happen it will definitely complicate the Black Tower storyline. I wonder what Taim will think about this and if he planned this together with Logain, or what… aarrgh, so much speculation, so few facts!

    Other: Am I the only one who got a major kick out of the scene with the Oath Rod in the Tower basement? First Black Ajah discovered against her wishes, if I'm right. I hope Seaine and company can do some real good!

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    1. When we have been given the chance to see individual Seanchan, they haven't been bad people (except for Suroth) in large. So, yeah, I can go with your Seanchan Good Guys theory for a while. Still, both Rand and the Seanchan probably needed this 'defeat' to show them that arrogance doesn't pay.

      That scene int he basement with the Oathrod was intense. It left me a little WTF, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I have a ton of questions now, but it will be fun to figure them all out. It seems some of the sisters have figured out a way to get out of their Oaths, if they have an Oath Rod to play with.

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    2. Yup, I remember Furyk. I was excited to see him. And I thought that scene in the Tower basement was pretty interesting. I'm always all about clandestine meetings in dark, dusty corners of the Tower. It's also nice to see that there are quite a few non-Darkfriends still in the Tower. Granted, they were dumb enough to follow Elaida, but at least they won't be betraying anyone to Alviarin and Mesaana! :D

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    3. 1. Yep: everyone needs to set aside their petty differences and unite against the Dark One.

      3. I liked knowing that she was having a miserable time - she most certainly deserves to suffer.

      4. I suspect that Callandor is a '2 edged sword' in more ways than one - amazingly powerful, but also incredibly dangerous.

      5. I really felt Min's absence during this section: he needs her to keep him grounded.

      6. I assume that it is meant to prolong the split between the Tower and Rand as well - he is not going to like the decree because it is a total lie.

      7. Anything that works against Taim is good in my mind.

      I loved this simple approach to finding the Black Ajah - and it is the first (and probably only) sensible thing that ELaida has done.

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  2. Thanks for sharing that pic of the lopar! I love reading about the Seanchan beasties.

    I too am not convinced the two noble ladies were intending to defend Rand and I'm very glad that Bashere showed up before the ladies decided what action to take.

    I think Rand's character is more entertaining as the arrogant Battle Lord, even if I don't particularly like this side. He is far more unpredictable than the farm lad he started out as, and I like that aspect.

    Oh yeah, I was definitely feeling the Logain animal mojo going on in this section. We could definitely have more of him. ;)

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    1. Yeah they have cool beasties. I'll have to find more picks of them. I guess I haven't shared many of those. And don't worry. We'll definitely see more of Logain. :D

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  3. 1. the whole campaign was a strange mix of excellent strategy and Rand being a total idiot. It was rather worrying though, and Rand's madness seems to be approaching fast.

    2. I seriously doubt that they had any clear idea of what to do and the moment passed so quickly that they didn't get a chance to act.

    3. That picture is nowhere near sulky enough for Liandrin! :D She must be the world's worst maid, but it would be worth it for the satisfaction of see in ghee hate every single moment.

    4. The thing I found most worrying was the way that he ignored the very obvious problem with channeling in the area. I am not sure if this was arrogance or desperation, but he really needs an intervention.

    5. I suppose we are seeing the possibility that he could easily 'turn to the dark side' and become a new Forsaken, which I assume the Dark One is hoping will happen.

    6. We know that the DO has ordered the Forsaken to create chaos, so this seems like a really good way to cause doubt and in-fighting in so many places.

    7. I seriously hope that we stop seeing all these stupid, over-confident Aes Sedai - they really need to wake up and smell the coffee! At least she gets hooked by Logain, who is a good guy, and not Taim . . .

    I was also relieved that Logain is suspicious of Taim.

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