Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Gathering Storm Read-Along, Week 7

Welcome to week 7 of our The Gathering Storm Read-Along! This week we read Chapters 43-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. Eivind Fonn is hosting this week and will probably post his answers over at Dab of Darkness. Hop on over and check out his answers as well!
Egwene al'Vere (Source)

1.  Egwene appears very reluctant to forgive Siuan and Gawyn for having rescued her from Tar Valon.  Do you think she went overboard?  Has Siuan lost her status for ever?  What sort of thing might it take for Egwene and Gawyn to finally get together as they should?

This is one of those things that just needs a bit of time. First of all, Egwene thought that their rescue of her would lose her all the ground she'd gained in the Tower. As we see at the end of her story for this book, that was not the case. The fact that it works out so well alone will probably go a long way toward her forgiving them. Even if it hadn't worked out, though, Egwene is under a lot of stress and, despite her strength, has been beaten several times every day for quite some time. Having all that go to waste would piss anyone off. With a little bit of time and distance, I think she would have come to forgive her friends one way or another.

And no, Siuan won't lose her status. She and Egwene are too good of friends and her advice and knowledge are too valuable. As for Gawyn, I think I'm going with the same answer. Give it time. The two of them are crazy about one another--even if he's in the dog house right now--and I think a hookup is kind of inevitable.

Hunters in the Tower: Seaine, Yukiri, Egwene & Saerin (Source)
The Black Ajah is purged and all its members are now either dead or missing.  Do you agree with Egwene's plan, or would you have waited until after the reunification, to get all of them at once? Would you have liked to see the hunters in the White Tower (Saerin et al) play a larger role?

I think she did the right thing. First of all, she didn't know at the time that she wouldn't have to do battle to re-enter the Tower, so she might as well take care of the ones she could. But even so, it sends a powerful message--that the White Tower won't tolerate darkfriends among them--and trying to take control of two hundred sisters all at once could easily have turned into yet another disaster. 

I wouldn't have minded seeing more of the hunters in the Tower, but maybe they will assume a new role of hunting Black Ajah. That would be kind of cool. :D

Elaida's Hall of the Tower-No Blue Ajah (Source)
The Aes Sedai are reunited, eight books after the split, with no more bloodshed.  What do you think of everything?  Do you agree with the decision to take Silviana as a keeper, and to distribute the blame?  What will now happen with the Red?  And just how epic were those speeches?

I think Silviana as Keeper was a stroke of genius. She'll certainly be more tolerable--and probably more efficient--than Romanda or Lelaine. Besides, she'd already shown considerably loyalty to Egwene, especially as a Red. 

I'm not sure I entirely agreed with the whole make-the-rebels-apologize thing. Egwene really wasn't hypocritical about it, as she included herself in the blame, but even so. The reason the rebels did what they did was because the law was being broken. To make them apologize for it doesn't exactly seem right. I mean, I get what she said about not letting the Tower be divided. There were obviously things in play long beforehand that led to Siuan's downfall and the division, and they shouldn't let those things happen. That I get. But once it was done, the rebels were the ones who wouldn't stand for the law being abused, for a corrupt (ahem dingbat) Amyrlin, etc. And making them apologize for taking steps to right a wrong seemed a little off to me.

I hope the Reds now become hunters of the Black Ajah, rogue channelers, be they male or female, and just Darkfriends all around. If they choose to move forward rather than being stubborn and close-minded, they really could become the badasses of Randland. 

Hurin's sigil (Source)
Were you happy to see Hurin again?  Do you think he was happy to see Rand?  What can be done now, from Rand's side, to fix this problem with the Borderlanders?

I was happy to see Hurin after so long, even if the exchange with Rand was rather sad. If anyone can help him with the Borderlanders, Hurin can. Let's hope they can become friends again, once Rand gets his own head on straight. 

5.  Rand has a surprise meeting with Tam, for the first time since book one, and it does not go well!  Even though Rand was insane, how much blame rests with Cadsuane and Nynaeve here?

I couldn't find a good picture of this, so I put together a collage. From left to right, Tam finding Rand as a baby, Rand taking care of Tam after the trolloc attack on Winter's Night, Tam as he is now--awesome as ever--and Rand as he is now, struggling with madness.
Oh this was so sad! I remember hating it (how it went, I mean) when I read it the first time and it was equally sad the second. Tam is so great! He said all the right things. I really think he is the only one in the entire series who has ever rebuked Rand outright for expecting to die and telling Rand he had confidence that he could survive the last battle. Go Tam! True father! But then of course, everything went south. It was so sad that, in his head, Rand wanted Tam to call him son, wanted to hug him, etc., but wouldn't let himself do it.

And yes, some blame rests with the women. This is the one time I want to slap Cadusane upside the head and tell her not to be such an idiot. Tam hasn't seen his son in years, since before he first Channeled. And now Rand is on the brink of madness, but they just decide not to tell Tam the entire story? Really?

They should have told him outright now to mention Cadsuane's name. More than that, they should have just told him everything--that Rand was struggling with madness and the weight of his destiny, and that perhaps seeing his father would help. If they'd have just said that, Tam likely would have known exactly what to say. Instead, they gave him a script--having him say what they thought he should say rather than just letting the bond between father and son do it's work. *Sigh*

I did like Tam's reaction afterward, though. He was afraid when Rand almost killed him--rightly so--but after that, he actually wasn't sad. He reacted with anger, immediately accepting the reality of the situation, yelling at Cadsuane for not telling him the truth, and seeking to help Rand. Love this guy!

6.  We got some more hints about the nature of Callandor, and now that the male Choedan Kal is also destroyed, they are more relevant than ever.  Does anyone want to try guessing what it's for?

Yeah I won't spoil.

Notice the city in the background.
Awesome! (Source)
Rand travels to Dragonmount and has his epiphany.  Is he now sane for good?  What do you think he will be like when we see him again?  Was this what Cadsuane needed to teach him?  Feel free to speculate on the nature of the Lews Therin voice.

I loved this part! I thought it was masterfully done. Despite Cadusane's moment of idiocy, I think everything that happened was meant to play out that way. It took not only Tam's about the why being as important as the what, but also almost killing Tam to help Rand come to his epiphany.

And yes, it was terribly interesting that Lews Therin played a part, and Rand is sure he's gone now. Rand says they weren't two men and never were. Either he is Lews Therin reborn--the same soul--or maybe Lews Therin was just a manifestation of his own conscience, or what he was trying to tell himself.

It occurs to me that Rand has never really dealt with Lews Therin's tragedy. Emotionally, we all know that if we run from our feelings, we don't heal. We have to deal with our realities, no matter how painful they are. Now, maybe it sucks that Rand has to deal with the tragedy of another man's life, but being the Dragon Reborn, Lews Therin will always be a part of him in some way. Every time Lews Therin wept or muttered about death or Ilyena, Rand would always tell him to shut up, shy away from what was being said, or just ignore him. He never really dealt with or accepted what happened. I think he did that here.

ealizing that he has a second chance to fix what Lews Therin broke was him accepting what happened and choosing to move forward in a positive way. I liked that he said they had to do it again and again until they got it right. It's a really powerful universal truth that Jordan/Sanderson are hitting on. 

I won't spoil what to expect from Rand from here on out, but just based on the psychology of it, I think we can expect Rand to be a lot more optimistic from now on. Less tortured, and more willing to embrace his destiny as Dragon Reborn without so much sadness. 

And yes, Cadsuane succeeded. She wanted to teach him to laugh again, and at the end, he did. She may have stumbled along the way, but she succeeded. And she may have just saved the world doing it.

In short, LOVED this book. As we near the end of the saga, there are so many great aspects of the story that come together just perfectly. And it only gets better from here on out. :D

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1 comment :

  1. Sorry for being late. This past week was crazy busy.

    I see your point about Egwene. She took a lot of beatings and belittling and the thought of losing all that progress would make anyone angry. Still, I am not sure there is anything to forgive in this very specific case. Gawyn, Brynne, and Siuan were under fire from multiple sides (Tower Aes Sedai & Seanchan). Who wouldn't do what they did?

    Can you see the Reds and the Children of the Light combining forces to hunt Darkfriends? Ack! Of course, they would have to lighten up a bit and stop torturing innocents if they were to make any head way. But if they could do that, and if regular folks and world leaders could trust them, then they would be totally badass.

    I really like your collage of Rand and Tam. And so true! Cadsuane, Nynaeve, and Min should have had a long talk with Tam first, telling him most, if not, all of what they know about Rand's adventures these past few years. I think if Tam had known that Aes Sedai had tortured him and kept him locked in a box, and that is when the ugly dark madness probably got its first foot in the door, then Tam could have done more good.

    I think more of the credit has to go to Tam, ans even Min for her viewings, and yeah, even Nynaeve for locating Tam and bringing him back than to Cadsuane. What Cadsuane did, she did out if a desperate need for control. I am not ready to heap laurels on her for the fact that Rand fought some inner demons and won.