Sunday, May 18, 2014

Winter's Heart Read-Along, Week 7

Welcome to week 7 of our Winter's Heart Read-Along. This week we read chapters 30-35 (the end). 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. Mat helps a Seafolk woman being held as damane escape. She promises to remember his good deed. How do you think this will affect the plot of the story, and Mat specifically in the future?

I won't say much about how this will work out--honestly I don't remember much; just a few things--but it can't be anything but good to have Mat (a friend and fellow ta'veren of the Dragon Reborn) owed a favor by a Sea Folk channeler, right? Besides, karma's a real thing. With all the worries Mat is juggling, he needs to do as many good deeds as he can get his hands on.

2. Mat finally learns who Tuon is. What did you think of this situation? Of Egeanin's reaction to his announcement? Predictions?

This was Robert Jordan at his best. "...and he shivered. Oh Light how he shivered." I think I kind of shivered the first time I read it. Kind of gave me goosebumps. Overall it was a rather amusing situation--things never work out the way poor Mat intends--but it kind of had to be that way, right? He wouldn't be Mat if things went perfectly as planned.

I don't think I noticed it the first time reading, but Egeanin's reaction was significant. Mat said, "She's my wife," and Egeanin freaked out. Her exact words were, "You can't say that!" I think we'll find out what she meant some time in the next book. Just keep in mind her specific reaction was significant.
Padan Fain (Source)
3. Rand goes to kill Torvel and Gedwyn, but Padan Fain has done the deed for him. After a brief fight, Fain flees yet again. Do you think he will resurface? What does he have planned? What did you make of Toram Riatin (from Cairhien) being there?

Stupid Fain. Why hasn't anyone killed him yet. While he's always dangerous--and granted, he did sort of do some dirty work for Rand here--he's more of a nuisance than anything at this point. Someone needs to put him out of his misery.

Incidentally, Rand pretty much destroys Shadar Logoth at the end of this book (more on that in question 6) and you have to wonder how that will affect Fain, given that that was the fount from which his evil springs.

Lan and Rand on rooftop (Source)
4. Lan has been wary of Rand since the two reunited, but when things go bad on the rooftop, the two men show deep loyalty to one another. What did you think of this scene? How will it affect their relationship going forward?

I loved this scene! My heart kind of hurt when Lan returned to Nynaeve and he and Rand acted like two wary animals around one another. They were so close before! I just want them to be buds again. This scene shows that, underneath, they still remember how they once were and are loyal to one another and their causes. 

Not to bash Rand or anything, but I can kind of see Lan being loyal to him, for his cause if nothing else. Rand, on the other hand, we've seen using people more and more, so you could assume that he might let Lan go because he himself has to make it to the Last Battle. But that wasn't what happened. I loved that Rand kind of did a Backdraft and refused to let go. Such a great scene!

5. Cadsuane has to intervene in Far Madding to get Rand and Lan out of prison. What do you think she had on Aleis that made Aleis surrender so quickly, to her own shame and ruin?

This was pretty intriguing. I don't think we ever find out what the history is between Cadsuane and Aleis, but obviously it's pretty dramatic. Aleis just went pale and completely surrendered. But by doing so, Cadsuane suggests that she will be ruined, so her secret must have been worth losing her position and status and reputation among her peers. Yeah, I'd totally like to here that story. Yet another index that Mr. Jordan never got around to writing. :(

Rand and Nynaeve on hilltop (Source)
6. The last chapter was crazy! Rand seems to have done the impossible and cleansed the taint. We got tons of different viewpoints and characters. Along with plenty of interesting revelations. What stuck out to you? What surprised you? How will a clean saidin change things?

Okay, first things first. Revelations: Cyndane is definitely Lanfear, and was "held" by the Aelfinn and Eelfinn for some period of time. Dashiva was Osan'gar (a.k.a. Aginor resurrected) all along. Pretty sure he was killed by Elza, who is a Darkfriend. (One down. Again. I actually think we should worry for Elza, despite her DF status. She said the Great Lord wouldn't mind because Dashiva was just an asha'man. She didn't realize who he actually was.) Moghedien is still a coward (shocking!). Shadar Logoth is no more. (There should be a party just for that. And I wish we could have gotten something from Fain's POV, just to see how it affected him). The Source has been cleansed.

Casuane during cleansing. (Source)
Things that are unclear: What happened to Demandred? I'm assuming he slinked out of sight when he realized he couldn't win, but we don't know for sure. Also, what went down with Verin's group. She was fighting one of the Forsaken, and then somehow Kiruna died. That whole thing was a bit suspicious to me.

As for the rest, I thought the whole Rand-cleansing-saidin thing was sort of awesomesauce. I love the idea of Nynaeve helping him. I love the idea of Cadsuane directing and protecting everyone throughout the process.

Love the images of the choedan chal here. Also notice
 the black dome rising behind Rand. (Source)
See, this is, yet again, why the Forsaken are so stupid. Lots of good guys, working together to accomplish a supposedly impossible task; or, lots of evil people working alone and against one another, and end up hiding, dying, or slinking away. Hmm. I wonder who's going to win the last battle. I mean, they had SO many key players all together on that hilltop. If the Forsaken would have just worked together to take everyone out at once, they might have actually accomplished something. But, you know, no need to worry that that will ever happen.

I think having saidin clean can only have good consequences going forward. They won't have to worry about men going mad, which means male and female channelers can work together again, which hasn't been done since before the Breaking. It also means that, no matter how mad the asha'man and Rand are now, at least they won't get any worse. This is major!

Overall, despite being one of the shorter books in the series, this had so much great stuff in it. SUCH a great ending! I totally loved it!

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

What did everyone else think of this section?


  1. 1. I can't remember if anything specific comes of this. In any case it's a great gesture by Mat. Good on him. Hope it was worth it for the sea folk girls. I honestly can't recall so I guess I'll wait and see like some kind of ordinary person, haha. ;-)

    2. That was pretty fun, nothing like a good fight to kindle romance… maybe? Maybe they can be like fight club: punch me as hard as you can. Uhm…

    Egeanin's reaction: ‘you can't say that!’ Yeah, there's a reason she words it that way, but we won't find out why until book 11 (not 10, sadly, in fact there's altogether very little of note in book 10).

    Prediction: a regular, run-of-the-mill boy meets girl, beats up girl, girl turns out to be next empress, boy kidnaps girl story, boy and girl bicker endlessly until danger situation forces them to cooperate kind of story. I'm sure you know how it goes. :P

    3. Padan Fain is a nuisance, and not the good kind (the ignorable one). I kind of wish someone would off him soon, but presumably he's in it for the long haul and he'll have a role to play (whatever it will turn out to be) at the last battle. As for what he has planned, he doesn't really strike me as the planning type.

    I think Toram Riatin was just an unfortunate guy in the wrong place at the wrong time whom Fain could ensnare with his mind-poisoning tricks. I doubt he's alone, but he's probably the most significant of those. Except perhaps Elaida, whom I still think got her dose back in book 5, which accounts for at least part of her mania.

    4. I think they've always respected each other a lot, it's just that Lan has to keep Nynaeve's honour and safety in mind now. But when that's out of the way, they're just two guys destined for death and they can bond over that… good or bad, who knows? Maybe if Lan finds something to live for (Nynaeve I guess) he can help Rand stay sane too.

    5. I can't imagine, but yeah, this would of course make a great chapter in the hypothetical biography of Cadsuane Sedai. :)

    6. Yeah, that was a zinger all right. Things to take note of:

    - Cyndane is definitely Lanfear.
    - She was ‘held’ by the Eelfinn. This at least opens up the possibility that Moiraine might not be dead.
    - Dashiva was a forsaken (Osan'gar), and he's been getting first-rate intel for two books. Great job, Rand.
    - He was killed by Elsa, who also turns out to be a darkfriend. I guess she serves Rand now because of Verin's compulsion, and that her motivation for this is that Rand has to reach the last battle alive, so that the Dark One can kill him then.

    Overall, great ending, although I think it was a bit rushed. It all took place in one chapter and we didn't get a lot of warning. I know Rand has been planning this a while, but in the end it seemed like it was an oh-by-the-way after the Far Madding fiasco. It's the single most significant thing to happen in 3000 years after all!

    Really feel sorry for Daigian. Having to live her entire life as the weakest Aes Sedai by far, being literally last on the ranking, she goes and falls in love (I assume) with Eben, and bonds him, only to have him die within weeks!

    Other thoughts:

    Hope everyone will make it through CoT all right! It's considered by detractors (not without reason I'll admit) as extremely dull and uninteresting. After that (about midway through book 11), we'll really be in for a wild ride.

    1. Oh is it not until book 11 that we find out what Egeanin meant? By this point in the story it all runs together for me and I can't remember what happens when. :D Yeah, I hope we can all make it through CoT quickly as well. It's after that that things get really awesome. Yeah, poor Daigian. Sucks to be her. Loved the ending of this one, too. :D

    2. Interesting bit about Fain's mind-poisoning abilities and Elaida. That would make him extra dangerous in a long-lasting kind of way. I wonder if he is intentionally doing it or if it is just a side effect of his charming personality?

      I listened to that last chapter and I feel like I missed some of it. I know I am not the quickest in this group, but....Hmm.. Well, i can always go give it another lsiten. It was pretty rushed. I am hoping the beginning of Book 10 helps me sort out some of it.

      And now you have me worried about Book 10. Is it really that boring? can it be? I mean we have Mat all set up to flee Ebou Dar (or fail at fleeing) with Tuon and entourage.

      Rand cleansed saidin so that has to send ripples through the Asha'men society, and hence any who have dealings with him. Plus, last book we left Egwene marching on Tar Valon. And Elayne is about to face down some invading army.

      So, is it possible for Book 10 to be boring?

    3. I don't personally remember it being super boring. I think it's just one of those things where it doesn't have a lot of the mainstream, fan-favorite storylines, but that doesn't mean that nothing happens. It's been a few years since I read it, so I don't remember for sure, but I think it'll be fine. :D

  2. Egeanin was a little freaked out over Tuon being tied up. But then she seemed to really freak when Mat said, 'She is my wife'. Haha! Sue has a great guess and I hope that is the case.

    If Fain just lost his major power source (Shadar Logoth), then this might make him more sane - which means he could put together competent plans to stab Rand. Or it might make him more insane, which means he will do one last big crazy thing that he will have to be killed for.

    There was so much that happened in that last section. I hope that the beginning of the next book will help me sort some of it out by explaining the consequences of it.

    1. I wouldn't ever count on Fain's sanity, but it will be interesting to see what happens from here on out. :D Not sure if the beginning of the next book will clarify or not. Can't remember. Probably not in prologue, but maybe after that. :D