Sunday, December 7, 2014

Towers of Midnight Read-Along, Week 3

Welcome to week 3 of our Towers of Midnight Read-Along! This week we read the Chapters 14-20. 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. I'm hosting this week!

1. Egwene gets Nynaeve and Elayne to agree to obey her as Amyrlin. Then she slays a member of the Black Ajah and catches a glimpse of Alviarin. What do you think Alviarin is up to these days. How big a part will she continue to play? How will this turn of events change the relationship between our girls?

WoT girls (Source) Left to right: Min, Brigitte, Moiraine, Tuon, Egwene, Nynaeve, Aviendha, Faile, Elayne
I personally prefer when our super girls conduct themselves as BFFs rather than superiors and inferiors, but that said, I think this had to be done at some point. Egwene needs to establish her authority and, as she said, she desperately needs the full, 150% support of her friends. As long as she's cool with them in private, I think this was necessary. Despite her strength as Amyrlin, her position is still quite precarious. I was glad that both Nynaeve and Elayne saw the necessity of it, falling into line to support Egwene rather than digging their heels in, as they usually do.

The whole Alviarin thing was pretty intense. I sort of remember what happened to Alviarin...kind of...a little bit. So I won't spoil. :D

Healing (Source)
2. Nynaeve heals madness. Will she be able to heal Rand? Does she even need to?

This was so cool! I thought the whole barbs-in-the-brain thing was really interesting. I know it's one of my dad's favorite angles. (Hi Dad! :D) This is yet another one of the reasons I love Nynaeve so much. She got frustrated, determined to do something, and just did it, making yet another amazing, as-yet-unrealized discovery in the process. And now the poor Asha'man she was with (can't think of his name?) doesn't have to walk around thinking phantom Fades are chasing him all the time. 

Now, Rand's case was super interesting. He had such a vast network that she had no hope of pulling them all out, at least not quickly. She was so exhausted after working on the Asha'man that I almost think a few of the yellows might have to work together to get it all out.

And yet, it was wrapped in something white, which probably happened up on Dragonmount when he had his whole emotional breakthrough. It's almost like he healed himself. Or maybe didn't actually heal himself (the barbs are still there) but somehow managed to cushion it so it wasn't affecting him anymore. I loved that we got the emotional, human stuff with Rand, and then a (somewhat) more scientific look from Nynaeve's POV. Just really interesting.

Egwene al'Vere (Source)
3. Sounds like Egwene wants to use herself as bait to capture Mesaana. Do you think this is wise? Will it work? Will she and Gawyn ever be married?

It's generally not wise for the all-powerful leader to use herself as bait, but we all know Egwene is stubborn, and honestly may be the most capable person to flesh out the Forsaken. I certainly wouldn't trust any of the other sisters in the Tower to be able to do it (except Nynaeve, now that she's there).

Again, avoiding spoilers, so I can't say anything about what works, if anything, or Gawyn. 

Rodele Ilturalde's banner (Source)
4. Ilturalde seems to be in big trouble in the Borderlands. Do you think Rand will come through for him and keep his promise?

Okay, I'm not going to say anything about this story line because it's one I definitely remember. I think I said on a previous week that this is one of my favorite short arcs in this book. Just keep routing for Ilturalde. It'll be good. :D

5. Berelaine and Faile have a heart to heart. Do you think their plan will work to dispel the rumors? Can they pull it off when they hate one another so much?

BFFs? (Source)
I think they're right that it's the only way to (maybe) dispel the rumors, but they seem more confident than I would be that it will work. I'm surprised Faile isn't more touchy about maybe being taken for a fool--the woman who befriended the woman who slept with her husband, you know--but it probably is the only plan that has any chance of working. I'm sure neither of them is looking forward to it, but these two have all kinds of secrets. If anyone can pull off a fake friendship, they can.

6. What do you think of Mat and Elayne's contract about Aludra's dragons. Will this work? Cause contention?

Funny character pics (Source)
I really liked the way they negotiated this. They went back and forth, both being reasonable about the other's needs, but not giving ground too easily about their own. In the end, they came to an agreement that required both of them to compromise but that they were both also both okay with. That's how a negotiation should go. Not that it means there won't be conflict in the future (this is Mat after all) but it was nice to see them come to a good arrangement without fighting or either of them feeling gyped. (Or at least, not much, on Mat's part. 'Cause, you know, everyone's always out to get him. :D)

Nynaeve, noble Aes Sedai- Actually, I think this is
supposed to be Moiraine, but it's totally how I picture
Nynaeve during her test. :D  (Source)
7. Share your thoughts--anything that stood out to you--on Nynaeve's testing and her finally obtaining Lan's bond.

Awesome. Just awesome. I liked that she took the initiative to change the words of the ceremony to fit her situation. I liked that she made it through the test, even though it was way more brutal than the ones most Aes Sedai are given. It just shows that she's more than worthy to stand beside Rand in the Last Battle. 

I thought the fact that they almost didn't pass her because she didn't "remain cool" in the face of torture was ridiculous. Very Aes Sedai, yes, but still ridiculous. She still managed to do what needed to be done, which is more than most could do. I thought it was great that Nynaeve finally said what someone should have said years ago--that being passionate and human doesn't make you less of a person. Just because an Aes Sedai doesn't look serene 24/7 doesn't mean she's failing as an Aes Sedai.  And I especially loved that Nynaeve was okay with it, whether she passed or not. She chose Lan first, and was okay with whatever their judgement was. That shows a lot of growth on her part.

And thank goodness she finally holds his bond. It's about freakin' time. And then Myrelle just let Nynaeve drop onto the ground and walked back into her tent. Kind of wanted to slap her. Again. Just sayin'.

Oh! And she lost her braid! It got cut off during the test. Nynaeve totally has shoulder-length hair, now. Weird!


Not too many this week. I covered most of the stuff that stood out to me in the questions. As always, I loved seeing Perrin in T'A'R learning from Hopper. He's starting to master his wolf-self, while learning not to lose himself. (Why didn't he do this a long time ago?) And that weird, misty wall he and Hopper saw that "felt wrong" was kind of interesting. We'll see it again, though. :D

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

What did everyone else think of this section?


  1. 1. This is the culmination of a process that started way back in book five. There was a chapter there were Nynaeve met Egwene in the world of dreams, and where she was surprised at how mature Egwene had become and how childish she was acting. The power reversal between them has been going on since then and was brought to a completion this week.

    I wish I knew where the Black Ajah was camped currently. Clearly they haven't given up trying to cause the White Tower problems, although they're going about it in a different manner than before. I don't think Alviarin will continue to play as significant a role as before, but she's still a dangerous and high ranking darkfriend.

    2. I don't think she can heal Rand. She won't need to, and I'm not even sure she should even if she could. Something very special has happened to him, and he's probably become the man he should, even if that doesn't mean he's 100% free of the madness. I'd say let fate run its course with Rand, and do what you can for the others intead.

    It really shows just how far in the deep end Rand had gone. I know people on re-reads find themselves surprised at how obviously insane Rand is. It's less clear on the first pass (at least it was for me) because everything he does is justified, somehow.

    3. Wise? Uhm, maybe. I fully expect her to be able to defeat Mesaana, but I belive she's still acting on incomplete information. She's expecting an assassin, but the assassinations are probably not her doing. So I expect some bungling perhaps, and then we'll see what happens. Maybe a good opportunity for Gawyn to prove himself?

    4. Once again I have to say I really like Ituralde. He's been in the field and at war constantly since the prologue to book eleven, which is longer than pretty much anyone else I think. As it looks now, he's unlikely to get a lot of rest before the Last Battle proper begins.

    5. I think Faile is right in recognizing that Berelain is very good at this kind of thing, so with her help (and it seems the incentives worked) I expect this to work out fine. They'll have to swallow their prides a bit, but I think Faile has learned how, and maybe the prospect of a duel to the death is enough to make Berelain swallow hers.

    6. I like that even though our heroes have been friends before they all rose to such positions, there's still some contention and not just total agreement on everything. Elayne definitely is trying very hard to get all the benefits she can out of this. As she should. I just hope (and believe) it won't come to heads, because that would sure be detrimental.

    7. Quite extreme, and Nynaeve is totally right. And Egwene was also right when she said that maybe this is a crusade that Nynaeve can prosecute at another time. I'm very happy to see her finally getting Lan's bond. All these little things that we've been waiting for for a while are coming together. :-)

    1. You know, what you said about Rand's madness made me think of the final resolution Rand comes to in Shayol Ghul. The duel nature of it. Maybe this was an early foreshadowing of that. I'd never thought of it like that before. (And I totally love Ilturalde too. He's so great! :D