Sunday, May 4, 2014

Winter's Heart Read-Along, Week 5

Welcome to week 5 of our Winter's Heart read-along! This week we read chapters 18-23. 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!

1. Who knows what an illuminator might want with a bellfounder? Do you? Do you expect Mat to figure it out or will he have to keep seducing Aludra?

Yeah, I remember--uh, for the most part--so I won't say. What this leads to is pretty cool, though. I actually forgot that Mat actually made out with Aludra. I was thinking she always shut him down, so I had to laugh as I read this part. I'm sure Mat with figure it out eventually, but I wouldn't necessarily bet on the information coming from Aludra herself. She's digging her heels in and doesn't seem likely to suddenly be forthcoming.

Egeanin and Bayle Domon are back! What do you think of their peculiar relationship?

I can't help but like it. I always loved Bayle Domon. I love his accent. While on some of the Aes Sedai and other characters, I don't care about it either way, on him, it's just so endearing. I love that he's bucking the Seanchan system. Egeanin thinks he just doesn't "get it" but I tend to think he's doing it on purpose so that it's not entirely controlling who he is. Go Bayle! I also love that, despite how frustrated Egeanin gets with him at times, she's still entirely devoted to him and wants to marry him. I love these two. They're swell. :D

It seems like there are already a handful of people who knows that sul'dam can channel. So far Suroth has been able to keep a lid on it. Do you think the latest events will inadvertently speed up the plan to bring down the Empire by sending ‘un-brainwashed’ sul'dam into Seanchan-held lands?

I think it's a distinct possibility. The Seanchan showed up in Randland as imperialist dictators who were simply going to take over everything. It's an incredibly arrogant agenda, so I think it's fitting that someone rip the rug out from under them, at least somewhat. About some things. Bottom line, no matter who wins or loses or if they ever manage peace, both civilizations will have to change, adapt, and accept hard truths. 

Quite a few people are now looking to Mat for help: three Aes Sedai, Egeanin and Bayle, Bethamin. Will Mat be able to satisfy them all and lead a proper exodus? And where does Tuon fit in?

It's interesting how he's finding himself in a very similar situation to the one Perrin is in--leading men and trying to juggle multiple groups of people. For that matter, our super girls have had to do that, as has Rand, of course. I'm sure Mat and his ta'veren-ness will figure everything out, but not without plenty of drama. Now that he and Tuon have met, I doubt they'll simply separate. Mat will have to juggle her as well. I'm sure it will be interesting. And highly amusing.

Rand has brought his entourage into Far Madding, where nobody can channel, to kill renegade Asha'man. Is this a good plan, or does it leave him needlessly exposed to non-channelers (such as two old friends we saw again this week: Slayer and Padan Fain)?

I think it could go either way. Does it leave him exposed? Yes. But it also puts he and the renegade Asha'men on even ground. Their battles won't be with the One Power, which means that--potentially anyway--fewer people will be hurt. I understand why Rand decided to do it this way, and in many ways, it might just have been the smartest way to go about it. But of course he needs to be very careful and watch his back. I'm actually glad Nynaeve and Lan went with him, even if he didn't plan it that way originally. Rand needs good people he can trust around him. 

Alanna trying to control
Rand. (Source)
Alanna is back on her feet, and Cadsuane is using her to home in on Rand. Will she needlessly complicate things, or do you expect her and her people to be useful?

You know, Alanna has proven over and over that, while she'd like to complicate things for Rand, she doesn't really have the ability. He won't let her. So, complicate isn't the word I'd choose. Will she try? Probably. I kind of wish she'd just realize her error in bonding him and let him be, but that would probably be too much to hope for. 

On the other hand, if she can help Cadsuane help Rand, that she and her people might be somewhat useful after all. 


Let's talk about Isam/Luc/Slayer. The first time I read the series, I was so excited to read this short section from his POV, because I wanted more insight into this complex baddie. Of course, we end up with more questions than answers.

Battle of Emmond's Field. Trollocs
chanted "Isam." (Source)
Back in book 2, when Padan Fain escaped the dungeon at Fal Dara, killing two guards and leaving a dark prophecy written on the wall in blood, Verin wrote it down and read it to Moiraine and Siuan (still the Amyrlin back then). Part of it read: 
Luc came to the Mountains of Dhoom.Isam waited in the high passes.The hunt is now begun. The Shadow's hounds now course, and kill.One did live, and one did die, but both are.
Now we're seeing this person morph between at least two identities, and as each one he refers to himself in the first person. It's almost like a multiple personality disorder. It's almost like Luc (who was Tigraine's brother, and hence both Rand and Galad's uncle) and Isam (Lan's cousin who somehow got out of Malkier and can apparently control Trollocs, as Perrin noted they were chanting his name in the Two Rivers at the end of book 4) melded together somehow. 

From what we've seen, he most often appears as Lord Luc in the waking world, and Isam (who the wolves call Slayer) in the World of Dreams. 

I've said it before. If people would get together and tell their stories, they might understand just how evil this dude is.

1) He's obviously a murderer and some kind of hit man for the Forsaken.
2) There's the whole Perrin/Slayer he's-killing-wolves-in-T'A'R dynamic.
3) At one point, while Nynaeve was searching T'A'R, someone who looked enough like Lan to scare the tar out of her tried to kill her. Pretty sure that was Isam. (Being Lan's cousin, they look a lot alike.
4) Someone who looked a lot like Luc was eavesdropping on our girls in the Heart of the Stone.
5) Back when we learned about Rand's birth parents, the Wise Ones said that his father, in grief after Tigraine died, went into the Blight and was killed by trollocs. Then they said he was actually killed by a man. As the story went, the man who killed him looked so much like his beloved, deceased wife that Rand's father wouldn't raise a spear against him and was killed. Luc was Tigraine's twin brother. So...chances are, Luc also killed Rand's birth father.
6) Don't think Lan knows his cousin survived the downfall of Malkier.
7) In this section, Luc says he was looking forward to killing his nephew. I'm assuming that's Rand. I don't think the Forsaken would go to so much trouble to assassinate Galad, which means Luc/Isam is also (on orders of the Forsaken) hunting Rand.

Is that everything? These are most of the major references, but I may be missing a few. Anyway, fascinating character. One I wish Jordan would have spent more time with. Keep an eye out for more on him.

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1 comment :

  1. I also have the impression that Bayle intentionally bucks the system and I like that quite a bit.

    I agree that Rand probably picked Far Madding to reduce collateral damage, which makes him a nice boy scout, doesn't it?

    Wow! Thanks for that summation on Luc/Isam. I am still a bit fuzzy on how Tigraine's brother and Lan's cousin melded into one man, but it is the Blight and there was Big Evil involved, so odd stuff can happen. And if Luc is on orders to hunt down Rand, then I want Rand to be concerned, for real.