Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Gathering Storm Read-Along, Week 6


Welcome to week 6 of our The Gathering Storm Read-Along! This week we read Chapters 36-42. 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. Sue over at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers is hosting this week. Hop on over and check out her answers as well!


Source
1) Verin demands a deal for Travelling his army & Mat demands a compromise. What do you think is in Verin's sealed letter of instructions? Will Mat hold to his bargain?

Given what we see later with Egwene, it must have something to do with whether or not she lives to tell her tale. I honestly can't remember what the letter says, but now that she's dead, obviously Mat won't be hearing from her again. I guess we'll find out soon.

2) Tuon, now referred to as Fortuna, carried through with her decision to attach the White Tower. What did you think of her discussion with Selucia concerning how this action might very well turn the Dragon Reborn against the Seanchan? Is Fortuna's concerns well founded, or should she be more concerned about how the Aes Sedai will react?


This was really interesting to me. While Tuon/Fortuna has come a long way in understanding Randlanders and becoming a potentially better ruler, she still doesn't really get it. She still thinks on some level that, if she defeats the White Tower and collars all the Aes Sedai, the rest of Randland will just fall at her feet. On the other hand, some part of her does feel the gravity of what she's about to do. It sounds like she's worried Rand will go from defending against the Seanchan to attacking them. While Rand really has too much on his plate for that (which she couldn't possibly know) I do think it's something that, as a ruler, she ought to consider. It's interesting, though, that she goes through with the attack anyway. It's like she kind of knows it will be disastrous, but does it anyway. In a way, it might just be another showing of Seanchan arrogance, though it feels more tragic and human than that.

Graendal (Source)
3) Rand is certain he has removed Graendal from the picture. Do you agree? Will Nynaeve forgive Rand for having her play a part in his ruse?

I'm gonna take the fifth on Graendal. And yes, I think Nynaeve will forgive him. She and Mat pretty much hate one another, and we saw her be loyal to Mat in a moment when she thought someone was speaking ill of him. She and Rand came from the same village. She's known him her whole life. And while everyone around him is worried and hoping to keep him sane, I think they're also making allowances for the fact that he's been channeling saidin for so long and, you know, is the Dragon Reborn. Nynaeve will get over it. And probably pretty quickly. After all, the Last Battle is upon them. 

4) Nynaeve swallows her pride and asks Cadsuane and the Wise Ones to let her in on The Plan. Why do you think they want Perrin? Any ideas on what The Plan is?

Yeah, I kind of remember this, so I won't spoil. :D

Verin and her book. (Source)
5) And the big reveal for this section concerns Verin. Did you see that coming? What more did she leave in her notebook for Egwene to decipher?

Man I wish we could read that notebook! Too bad Robert Jordan didn't live long enough to make us Tolkien-like appendices. I would want that entire book and the cipher for it included! This was another shock for me. Like Sheriam, I just didn't believe that she truly was Black Ajah, despite the fact that we've seen her lie before. Of course, she was kind of the Severus Snape of this series, which makes it impossible to hate her. She's the ultimate character you can look for when you re-read the series. Check out what she's doing, and pay attention to her dialogue and her given reasons. It's impossible to tell whether she's lying at any given moment or not. 

Remember when she was practicing Compulsion? Bad as the act was, that's probably how she got the names of so many Black Sisters. And suddenly you're finding yourself being okay with an act of Compulsion. Damn fantasy writers, making us all conflicted!!!

Egwene fighting to'raken (Source)
6) The Seanchan finally attack the Tower! Feel free to gush about your favorite parts. What did you think of Bryne's demand of Warder status of Siuan (and his still unnamed second demand)? Was Egwene bad-ass enough for you? Pleased or surprised by the actions/reactions of the other Aes Sedai?

Loved, LOVED, LOVED this part! Awesome! I remember reading it the first time and Egwene kept saying she didn't want the division in the Tower to lead to war in the streets. And I thought, "why not? that'd be awesome!" Well, this wasn't Sister fighting Sister, but it definitely satisfied my need for a battle. 


Egwene fighting Seanchan (Source)
You had Siuan, Bryne, and Gawyn (a.k.a. the DreamTeam) sneaking through secret cracks in Tar Valon to rescue Egwene, Egwene herself knocking raken and to'raken out of the sky, and group of roving novices, organized like soldiers, fighting for the Tower. It's like, this is what the Tower should always have been. Egwene really is the best ruler it's had in a while and I loved every minute of this!

I loved that Bryne wanted to be her warder. Such a great way to finally cut through all these two's bull and straight to how they actually feel. It was almost like a consummation of the relationship, in a way, albeit on an emotional rather than physical level. (And that's not to say that they won't probably sleep together eventually.) Anyway, I loved it. And I thought it hysterical that Siuan was all about the emotions while Bryne was more concerned with how the warder bond would make him a better soldier. Whatever else you think of him, Jordan was a master at writing the battle of the sexes.

I also liked seeing that most of the women in the Tower--novices, Aes Sedai, and yes even Seanchan looked up to and respected Egwene, and bowed to her authority. This might just cement her as the true Amyrlin.

"A Fount of Power" (Source)
7) The aftermath: Do you think the Seanchan raid on the White Tower will be seen as a success or a loss by the Seanchan? How will Egwene react to being removed from the Tower? How will the Tower react to it's loss of Elaida? 

I don't remember how they choose to view it, but if I had to guess, I'd say it would be a draw at least. They took captives, but they lost many of their channelers and their animals (thanks to Egwene). Egwene said at one point that more to'raken had flown away than fell, but even so, I think she put a pretty good dent in the Seanchan resources. Hopefully this will at least teach Tuon something about the power and authority of the Tower, and that they aren't an entity to just be absorbed.

And oh the comeuppance for Elaida! Oh the poetic justice of it! Death was just too good for her. Bless you, Mr. Jordan, for giving us that! I think we can all agree that the Tower "losing" Elaida will probably be the best thing that ever happened to it. (Couldn't find fan art for this, but someone totally needs to draw her screaming on the back of a to'raken. Just saying.)

Extras:

Do you ever notice that any time Bela appears, someone shouts her name. "Bela!" Admit it, you did it, too, when Gawyn brought her for Siuan. This little pony has seen it all from the Two Rivers and now heading into Tarmon Gai'don. Go her!

Loved the last line of this section. Rand is finally riding to Shayol Ghul. *shivers*

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

What did everyone else think of this section?

2 comments :

  1. Yep. I think Tuon boxed herself in to attacking the White Tower. The Seanchan culture and hierarchy really doesn't make it easy for her to back down, or reconsider, once she has issued a command, such as prepping to take down the White Tower. Very humanly tragic indeed.

    Good point about Verin's use of Compulsion. At the time, I figured it was just to get Rand some much needed support, and maybe, because she is a Brown, to see if she could do it. But now in retrospect, yeah, she could totally use this to gain intel.

    Haha! Yes. Bryne was amusing with his practical comments on his increased warrior abilities, while Siuan was all into the emotional connection. I had to giggle. And Siuan, well, she has experienced this before and Bryne hasn't. So I hope (and expect) she will give him a little slack, especially if he gets all doe eyed and sentimental later.

    Bela! Yes, I did shout her name too. :)

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    1. Yeah I think if Siuan and Bryne were to get married and grow old together, they'd be the most hysterical old couple. So amusing! :D Thanks Susan.

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