Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Gathering Storm Read-Along, Week 2

Welcome to week 2 of our The Gathering Storm Read-Along! This week we read Chapters 7-13. 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. Eivind Fonn is hosting this week and will probably post his answers over at Dab of Darkness. Hop over to see his answers too! :D

1. Questions are being raised about the loyalty of the Aiel, and that Rand keeps misusing them. What are your thoughts? Could we really see another Shaido-like uprising?

I understand why that would be a concern, but I kind of doubt it. When Rand conceded that perhaps he was being too harsh with the Clan Chiefs, their instant response was, 'you have no toh.' I think they'll be trying to keep him in line, and be frustrated when he does things they don't understand, but they've come too far and been through too much to decide to schism now. Besides, the Last Battle is looming. I doubt anyone will want to start more conflict with the Dragon Reborn than is strictly necessary.

2. Siuan and Bryne have a heart to heart. Do you see this relationship to finally blossoming? Everyone still thinks Moiraine is dead. What impact do you think she could have on the story when she returns?

I won't say much about Siuan and Gareth because I know how it turns out, but I really liked this little heart to heart. It's nice to see Siuan opening up to him a little bit, and him responding to that. He didn't exactly concede that she was right about trying to postpone her service, but you can tell me understands more now and respects her for it. I also liked that we got to see that Bryne is just as shrewd and observant as she is. Most of the Aes Sedai--even the ones we like and respect--tend to think that people are daft as a general rule. Bryne is a good match for Siuan. They're just smart enough together to maybe be able to take over the world, you know?

As for Moiraine, I think this is something that kind of got away from Jordan. I think he meant for her to come back in a book or two, but the story took on a life of it's own and probably got away from him. Her returning could have a profound impact, or very little, depending on when, if and how she finally shows up.

3. Perrin is belabored by refugees, but is still reluctant  to take on his lordly duties. Will something more have to happen here, before Perrin achieves his "final form" before the Last Battle?

Again, I don't want to give spoilers, but I think the key is in the final line of the chapter where he talks about feeling a pull to go find Rand. I really liked this explanation because I think it's very human to need a cause. He was focused so intently for so long that suddenly he feels like he has no direction. Think Inigo Montoya: "I've been in the revenge business for so long, now that it's over, I don't know what to do with the rest of my life..." Perrin needs to find his cause, and I doubt it's in the Two Rivers. He, Mat, and Rand came from the same village, are life-long friends, and are ta'veren together. It would only be fitting for them to be fighting side by side in the Last Battle. 

4. Ituralde is delivered from his death trap and is sent to Bashere's homeland, while Bashere is in Ituralde's. Would it perhaps have been prudent to switch places? If a shadow invasion of the Borderlands really is imminent, wouldn't it be good to actually approach the Borderlanders instead?

Interesting question. I don't know. Maybe. But I think the fact that the Borderlanders have willingly--for some reason Rand has yet to learn--left their posts on the border of the Blight makes Rand think he can't trust them. Ituralde has proven his prowess on the battlefield and his willingness to do battle, so Rand wants to put him where he most needs someone he can trust. On the flip side, I think he wants to keep Bashere by his side. Bashere has become one of Rand's most trusted advisers, and he never tries to lie to or flatter Rand in any way. At this point in the story, that's invaluable.

5. Egwene's infiltration is gathering momentum. She's talking to sitters as a near equal and has even been in contact with the Black Ajah hunters. Meanwhile, Lelaine is winning the political war on the outside. Should Egwene start hurrying? Having earned the respect of these sisters, what would be her next step?

I think you'd need a lot of patience to do what Egwene is doing. Knowing myself, I'd be stressed out all the time and want to hurry things along, but that wouldn't necessarily be the right way to do it. First of all, the wheel weaves as the wheel wills. So there's that. But it's also just a really delicate balance. She has to go fast enough to capitalize on everything she accomplishes, but not so fast that things get away from her either. 

As for the next step, gaining respect is one thing, but she needs more than that. She has to find some way to spur the Sisters of the White Tower into action. To make them actually stand with her and declare their loyalty. Something big will probably have to happen to get her where she needs to be.

6. Gawyn is finally on the move, but where? Egwene does not want a rescue... do you expect him to listen or will he just make a mess of things?

I won't say anything about his plans, but I think this is what we've been waiting for from Gawyn: for him to really examine his own actions and why he placed his loyalties where he did. And (gasp!) when he did, his own reasoning didn't hold up. Of course, it helped that he learned the woman he loves is in trouble, but still. He was already wondering where his loyalty should be, even before he learned about Egwene's captivity. 

So, I'm glad Gawyn is finally on the move. Things are about to get interesting.


Sorry, no fan art this week. I was offline all week, and quite unexpectedly. My life's a little crazy right now. Even this post is going up almost twelve hours late. Don't know how this week will be, but next week's post should be back to normal. Have a great week, everyone! 

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  1. Oh yes. I could definitely see Bryne and Siuan being quite the crime solving duo, capable of taking over the world, once the Last Battle is all settled and put to bed. They would definitely be a force to be reckoned with.

    Perrin definitely functions better when he has a cause. Look how driven he was to find Faile, or to carry out Rand's orders (that mostly fake fight they had), or even fighting the White Cloaks and trollocs back home.

    Too bad is took Gawyn so long to realize that his loyalties were misplaced. But I have been there too and he is young and this is probably the first major time an entity, not just 1 person, has used him. I still want to slap him for taking so long though.

  2. 2. That is an interesting thought about Moiraine. She is certainly very late in rejoining the narrative, although I find it difficult to work out the passage of time. If we assume that she is fulfilling a similar role to Gandalf, she should have been back several books ago! :D

    3. I would be amazed if we did not have all three lads fighting in the Last Battle, and I expect Perrin to arrive with all the wolves in the world behind him. I can relate to the disappointment of actually retrieving Faile: when we moved to the US my husband came out here 6 months before me and it was really rather awkward when I finally joined him. You imagine something all emotion-laden and romantic and the real experience is so much more practical and mundane!

    4. You make a good point about trusting Ituralde . . . but I still wish that Rand would simply go and ask the Borderlanders what they are doing. Seriously, it would only take him 5 minutes! Grrr!

    5. Agreed: the Aes Sedai are spectacular at inaction and they will not want to overthrow a second Amyrlin so soon . . . it will make them look very stupid and indecisive.

    6. Gawyn: dumber than a bag of hammers! :D