Sunday, September 28, 2014

New Spring Read-Along, Week 3

Welcome to week 2 of our New Spring Read-Along! This week we read chapters 17-END. Remember that everything in this section as well as everything that's come before (in the main series) is fair game for spoilers, so read at your own risk. I'm hosting this week. 

Young Moiraine (Source)
1. What do you think of the fact that Moiraine met Cadsuane. I don't think we knew that before. What's Cadsuane up to? Do you think Moiraine's eventual conclusion that she's Black Ajah is valid? Logical?

I remember being really surprised that they'd met before. We weren't introduced to Cadsuane until well after Moiraine went through the red doorway ter'angreal, so it never occurred to me that the two of them might have had a history. 

While I understand why Moiraine suspects Cadsuane is Black Ajah, I think coming to the conclusion that she must be Black Ajah is jumping the gun a bit. They have no real evidence that she is. Of course, with everything they've been through, they're bound to be a bit paranoid. So it's understandable, if not logical.

Sierin Vayu (Source)
2. Do you think Tamra was killed by a Darkfriend? Do you think the new amyrlin, Sierin, is Black Ajah? If so, why, and what do you think will happen next?

I think it's very possible that Tamra was murdered. Her death was quite convenient for darkfriends, and quite inconvenient for good people. Sierin, while she didn't do anything overtly evil, definitely seems like she might have been put in place to report to someone higher up. Politically, especially as she seems more like a red who happened to choose grey, it seems a bit convenient (again, for darkfriends) for her suddenly to ascend the Amyrlin Seat.

3. We saw the scene with Lan, Moiraine, and the lake that was mentioned briefly clear back in book 2. What was your reaction to it? Did it play out the way you'd imagined?

Hilarious! I loved this scene. I remember thinking there was a lot more too it than I originally thought, but that's probably just because we only got two lines about it in book 2. It was much more fleshed out here. For me, though, it definitely didn't disappoint. Of course this is how they met and felt about one another at first. We have yet more examples of how much like Nynaeve Moiraine was as a young woman. The major difference of course being that Lan was impressed with Nynaeve almost right from the start. Moiraine, not so much. (Poor guy.)

4. Someone tried to assassinate Lan. He was an idiot who was told to kill Moiraine first, but didn't. Who do you think the attack was aimed at and who was responsible for it?

Chances are it was the work of the Black Ajah or darkfriends in general. We didn't know it when it happened, but my money would be on Merean. She's revealed as Black Ajah at the end and--I think?--Moiraine had already met her at the inn before this attack happened, which means she might have suspected that Moiraine being in the area posing as someone else might be a threat to Merean's own schemes. She probably just decided to eliminate that threat. Bitch.

Iselle (Edeyn's daughter) Source
5. What did you think of the Lan-Edeyn relationship, and all of Edeyn's plans for Lan?

Yeah, I was not a fan of this relationship at all. The whole, she-holds-his-severed-braid-so-he-has-to-do-what-she-says thing was both weird and kinda creepy. It felt like he was her sex slave. Now, Lan is all awesomesauce, so I felt this was a major disservice to his character. Edeyn was kind of predatory. And yeah, I know, he's too chivalrous to punch a woman, but I can't I just do it for him? Or maybe Moiraine could? And on top of everything else, after using him as her toy (Toy?) she wants to marry him off to her daughter? That's just twisted.

6. In the end, a Black sister is revealed, and several innocents die. The fight scene was pretty epic. Thoughts? Feelings? Regrets?

Yeah that was a pretty major scene. I'm sad Bukama died, but glad Rhyne got what he deserved. Both he and Merean were darkfriends. But it seriously sucked that the prince and his son both died. As for Edeyn's daughter, meh. I probably should care about her, as an innocent, but I found her rather annoying. (Not as bad as her mother, but still...)

I also thought this scene illustrated both Moiraine and Lan's characters well. Both for the readers, and in each other's eyes. Who wouldn't trust Lan after that?

7. What did you think of final scene that led to Moiraine bonding Lan? Did you like it? Want more? Think it was legit?

I've heard some criticism at the ending that her wanting to Bond him, and his decision to let her, was too abrupt. But I didn't feel that way. Once she told him everything, and he really understood what she was doing and why, it makes sense that he'd want to join her. He may be set on death, but Lan is actually very logical. If you want to fight the shadow, it would make more sense to join Moiraine looking for the Dragon Reborn, than to do the suicide-by-trolloc thing in the Blight. 

I actually think it was very epic just because it was so prophetic. And I loved that Lan could read her emotions right away and told her to move on from the tragedy. I really loved the entire final scene.


I liked that we saw something of how Siuan would end up on her path, but not all of it. Jordan is good at leaving just enough things unsolved for realism, but not so many that you feel unsatisfied.

Overall, I think Jordan did an awesome job with this prequel. Prequels, by definition, can do little to surprise us. We already know where they're going, so it's hard to be anything but bored with them. But we saw lots of things in this book that we'd never seen before--the test for the shall, stuff from Lan's POV, people Lan knew that were never in the main series, etc. And when we saw things we did know--like younger versions of the sisters we are used to seeing in the main series--he just did it so masterfully that we were left wanting more, rather than being bored. I dearly wish Jordan had lived to write the other prequels he planned. He was really good at writing them!

Lines I loved: 

"She had questions of her own for the woman, and the fate of the world might rest on the answers." (pg. 324) *shivers*

"She had no courage left, no strength. Only determination." (pg. 325) - Go Moiraine!

Lan shook his head slightly. "He was better. But he thought I was finished, with only one arm. He never understood. You surrender after you're dead." (pg. 327) - This entirely encapsulates Lan's character. Especially once we get to the final book, you'll understand why. 

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

What did everyone else think of the ending?


  1. 1. This is actually the reason why, if you go to a WoT forum and ask when you should read New Spring, people will tell you to wait until after book seven. That's when Cadsuane shows up in the main storyline, and I guess we feel that people shouldn't be introduced to her in New Spring, in a way that Robert Jordan didn't intend.

    Knowing what we know about Cadsuane, she is highly unlikely to be Black. Logical... ehh, not sure. It's logical to act as if she might be, and it's logical not to trust her. But the evidence that she's Black is entirely circumstantial. I wonder if Moiraine will meet Cadsuane after she's rescued, or if she ever met her again between the events in this book and the main series. She certainly never warned Rand about Cadsuane.

    2. I'm almost positive Tamra was killed by the Black Ajah. Too coincidental otherwise. Sierin is probably not Black, because that doesn't appear to be the Modus Operandi of the Black Ajah.

    3. I think the first time I read this I had almost forgotten that this scene had already been mentioned. But yeah, at least it makes for a great how-we-met-story. Not that Moiraine and Lan are the types to go around and share it willy-nilly.

    4. I have no clue actually. The Encyclopaedia (saving my ass yet again) says he was really sent to kill Moiraine, and not Lan, but he wasn't told that she was Aes Sedai. Which leads me to suspect the attempt was by one of Damodred's rival houses vying for the Sun Throne.

    5. Pretty bizarre. It's not like Lan to just let someone mess around with you like that. I don't care how much custom or tradition dictates it, he's supposed to be more or less the ultimate badass and it just rubs me all the wrong ways to see him like that. I'll try to forget it. ;-)

    6. I just want to point this out: "He never understood. You surrender after you're dead." Major, major foreshadowing. :-D

    Otherwise I felt like it was a bit forced. It happened so quickly that I never really had the time to get to know Brys or his son, or Iselle, or feel much hatred for Merean. It feels a bit like Jordan just wanted a climax so he threw one in there. Then again, Lan had to have a reason to let Moiraine bond him, so I guess Bukama had to go, one way or another...

    7. Yeah, I like it. A nice "adventure starts here" type ending, fits perfectly for prequels. Almost brotherhood of the ring-esque.

    1. Other.

      So now that we are finished with all the Robert Jordan books (the ones he wrote entirely on his own, anyway), I want to try to set the stage a bit. First, some posts from Robert Jordan's blog around September 2007 (this blog had been set up about a year earlier I believe):

      "Yes he is continuing to work through all of this medical calamity. MOL is going into the word processor and onto audio tapes almost daily. Not every day mind you, because the medical fight takes first priority. But, he told you he'd finish and he will. Fact is that it has been finished in his head for years. During a recent family sit around, he became the Gleeman and told the bones of it ALL to Harriet and me. You read that right, I did say ALL. Don't ask, ain't telling. Two and a half hours of story telling by the Creator himself went by in the twinkling of an eye. Truly magical. All I can say is WOW! Best stuff he's ever done. MOL is going to knock your socks off! That's a promise."

      (I can vouch for his promise.)

      Brandon Sanderson's eulogy for Robert Jordan, which was what prompted Harriet to consider him for finishing the series:

      There's also a rather long post here when they decided to split the final volume into three, which I find interesting:

      And there is also a foreword in book 12 that I urge everyone to read. I'm not sure if the audiobook has it, so if it doesn't make sure those of you who use it get a paper copy for the foreword. :-)

      Finally, this wonderful picture, showing Robert Jordan passing the Dragon Banner to Brandon Sanderson, while the Wheel of Time cast watches in a bit of an eerie, shadowy quality.

    2. Thanks for sharing this! I'd seen the pic before (it's awesome!) but I'd never read that blog post before. So awesome!

    3. I think that if I had started with New Spring, I would have all these predispositions about some of the characters. By starting with Book 1, I was just like Rand, wondering if Moiraine and Lan could be trusted, who they were, why they were so secretive and hell bent on getting him out of town, etc. If I had read New Spring first, I would have had all this trust in Moiraine and Lan and Siuan.

      Thanks for all those links. I remember how my man reacted when he heard that the final book was to be split into 3 books. He gave up on the series at that point. Of course, that was before we had ever read any Brandon Sanderson and I have to admit that part of my motivation for tackling this series, was to be able to read Sanderson's work ending this series.

    4. 1. I guess that Cadsuane could seem far more malevolent if we hadn't already met her and realized that she is one of the good guys. Reading the books in this order I had a big grin on my face when she showed up because I knew that she would boss Moiraine about much like our favorite Blue Sister does with everyone else in the main series. It was really nice to draw that parallel between the two 'advisors'.
      2. Sierin reminds me a little of Frodo’s reasoning about Strider: that she would try to appear like a nice person if she really was truly evil, so by being a total cow she is proving herself to be basically good . . . just not very nice! :D

      3. Yeah, I can hardly imagine Lan relating this one over a mug of ale with the other Warders in the local inn!

      4. I suspect that if the assassin had been told that she was Aes Sedai he would have, firstly, probably refused the job, and, secondly, made very sure that he killed her first.

      5. I think we are all in total agreement in our total dislike of this whole hair-braiding, sex slavery tradition. I know that it is the custom, but it seems like it is time for new traditions that are much less icky.

      6. I suppose it did rather come out of the blue, so to speak, but I thought that it worked as a way to show how it hit Moiraine between the eyes as well. She did not see any of it coming and so was a staggered as we were.

  2. OK, I totally wrote a long, lovely comment and went to post and it blanked out when I had to select who I was leaving the comment as. Sigh...

    So, in short - this was an awesome prequel. There were lots of surprises and I totally enjoyed it.

    Edeyn is a major creep and I will hold her still so you can smack the hell out of her. :)

    'Surrender when you're dead' - I love this idea for all our heroes who plan to help save the world.

    1. LOL. I hate it when that happens. As a writer, I'm totally bummed for you about the long comment. I'm cool with smacking the hell out of Edeyn, though. :D Yeah, that's one of my favorite lines from the entire series. Thanks Susan! :D

  3. 1. Yep, Moiraine adds 2 and 2 and gets 47 in this case. I found this an interesting character point for Cadsuane, who could befriended Moiraine fairly easily and then been instrumental in finding the infant Dragon. Of course, we know that she did not do that, but it was fascinating to see how close she came to being involved. I am sure that she has spent a lot of time wishing that she had handled the situation differently.

    2. (Yikes, that is a really grim depiction of Sierein!) I find it very strange that she chose to join the Greys, but I guess that it just shows that the Ajahs are not as distinct as we might imagine. I suspect that she is a puppet, like Elaida, and is mostly meant to disrupt the Tower and hamper any coordinated effort to find the infant Dragon.

    3. I hadn’t made the connection between Moiraine and Nynaeve, but they are both rather rash . . . and stubborn . . . and given to thinking that they are always right . . . and see insults all over the place . . . and need rescuing by Lan a lot . . . I could go on! :D

    4. I hadn’t considered Merean, but she would certainly have seen no problem with ordering a little murder and mayhem. However, the assassin mentions being hired by a man, and I don’t remember Merean having a Warder with her.

    5. I totally agree with you. Her plans and methodology are all kinds of messed up, but the thing that really annoyed me was the finger nail scratches . . . seriously, Lan, you could have had a headache!

    6. Yeah, I couldn’t work up much sympathy for Iselle either, though I would have liked to have found out if she really had the potential to be a powerful Aes Sedai, or if that was all total garbage.

    7. I actually appreciated the brevity of this scene. We all knew that it was coming, so it would have felt strange if it had been dragged out for no good reason. It would also have gone against the personalities of both of the characters. Also, we are told that she told him the entire truth: this would have taken quite some time, even if she was fairly brief about it, and would give Lan a very powerful reason to make this choice. Moiraine specifically thinks that she had made the decision herself very shortly after meeting him, so there was no abrupt decision on her part.

    I agree with you about the deftness with which this prequel was crafted. I was very relieved that it concentrated on only a small fraction of the possible back-story and showed only a few brief glimpses of characters that we would meet in the later series.

    1. I think you're right about the brevity of the final scene. Otherwise, it would have gotten bogged down. Thanks Sue! :D