Sunday, March 8, 2015

A Memory of Light Read-Along, Week8


Welcome to week 8 of our A Memory of Light Read-Along! This week we read Chapters 38-END. Our final week! :( 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. 

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1. Egwene speaks to Rand from beyond the grave and he has a hard time "letting go" of those who've died on the battlefield. What did you think of this part and it's solution?

I totally loved this part! (And by loved, I mean sobbed through.) I can just totally visualize Rand in his agony, holding onto his grief for dear life, and then the relief when he finally lets it go. In a way, Egwene's voice is the only one Rand would have listened to at this point, so she saved him even after she was dead. And I loved her speech:
"You march to your death. Yet you forbid anyone else from doing so?...Let go, Rand. Let us die for what we believe, and do not try to steal that from us. You have embraced your death. Embrace mine." 
He let go...he let them be heroes...    (pg. 808)
There's really no better argument she could have made!
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2. There's a new horn blower, and we see more of Brigitte, Noal, Artur Hawkwing, and others. Comment on what you liked of this section. What did you expect, not expect?

I loved seeing Olver as the horn-blower. As much as I loved Mat in that role, it gave Olver something important to do (and I didn't miss the like-father-like-son aspect of it, which was pretty cool). Mat got to ride with the heroes anyway, and it's not like he didn't have enough going on that he needed to take on the burden of the horn, too. 

I thought it was interesting when it occurred to Mat that he wasn't sure which side blew the horn, and who the heroes would fight for. Hawkwing assured Mat they would never fight for the shadow (darn right!) but I thought that was interesting. I don't think I would even have thought of the Shadow blowing the horn.

And I loved seeing Brigitte and Noal again. It was so fitting that Noal (a.k.a. Jain Farstrider) take his place among the heroes of the horn. And it was so great to see Brigitte in all her glory again. Nice to know she had her memories back and would be with Gaidal again. Wouldn't have it any other way.

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Lan in battle Source
3. Lan lives, Alana dies, and Thom is successful at killing many members of the Black Ajah outside the pit. Questions? Comments? Happy dances?

Though it would have been totally understandable if Lan died in his war against the shadow, I thought it was much more fitting that he live (and I swear it's not just 'cuz I love him!). There was always all the talk about Malkier and him being the last crowned king. And then he finally managed to marry Nynaeve and she holds his bond. It just wouldn't have been cool if they couldn't rule Malkier together. Now that the Blight has retreated, they'll be able to do just that. (Nynaeve's going to be a natural queen. LOL.)

I thought it was kind of sad that Alanna died. No, I didn't like her or the way she always tried to manipulate Rand, but I kind of felt like her motivations always came out of grief, and things never really got better for her. She was kind of pathetic, but in the end, I couldn't help but feel sorry for her.

Thom killing Black Ajah outside the pit was awesome! When he killed that Cadsuane wannabe and deposited her body with all the other Black Ajah corpses he'd already killed, I kind of did do a happy hobbit dance. :D

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4. Androl impersonates Rand to trap the evil idiots, Grady opens a gateway to Hinderstap (dah!), and Logain breaks the seals. What was your favorite and why? (Feel free to comment on all.)

Hinderstap (Source)
I loved all these developments. The Rand impersonation was ingenious. It's one of those things that, if they hadn't been dead center in the chaos of battle, and everyone wasn't so exhausted, it would have been all too obvious. But the circumstances were just perfect enough--and the bad guys stupid/arrogant enough--that it worked like a charm. 

The Hinderstap thing was awesome, and crazy. Cool that they got to be part of the battle, though. And we know they could have just kept coming back each morning. (Too bad there weren't more people in that predicament to help with the Last Battle!

And Logain finally finds his glory. Surprisingly, it wasn't so much in the breaking of the seals, though there was that as well, but in the way people began to revere him. He'll be the new leader of the Black Tower (obviously a billion times better than Logain) and he'll probably do great things, leading the world into a time when male and female channelers again work together. (Imagine the alliance between him and Cadsuane, LOL. That's going to be interesting.)

I think this is supposed to be Melissandre of GoT, but given that Aviendha was
 zapping Black Ajah with fire, I thought it was fitting. (Source)
5. Aviendha vs. Graendal. Aviendha loses her feet (ouch!), and kills Rhuarc. Ultimately Graendal's compulsion backfires. What did you think of the final solution here?

Poor Aviendha! And it was so sad that she killed Rhuarc. It was something of a mercy, though, as he'd become Graendal's minion. It was very fitting that Graendal, after all her manipulations and love-of-simpering, ended up being the simperer. Fitting ending to someone so terrible.

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6. Perrin takes out Lanfear and Slayer, and the worlds flicker. Meanwhile, the Wild Hunt comes to Thakandar and the spirits of dead wolves appear on the slopes. Um, discuss!

Yeah, Perrin was awesome. Loved that he got to take out both Lanfear and Slayer. I loved that he did both quickly when the moment came, and with no looking back. 

And I definitely loved the spirits of the wolves appearing to help fight the Darkhounds. So cool! I loved that Perrin shifting into the World of Dreams seemed to be the sign they were waiting for, so he literally led them into the Last Battle. I always have this image of dozens of wolves not only attacking Darkhounds, but piling on Fades and pulling them from their horses, with Perrin at their center, wielding his hammer. So great!

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7. Rand, Nynaeve, and Moiraine exploit the flaw in Callandor to trap Moridin. How well-thought-out was that? Are you surprised it worked?

Yeah this was really awesome too. You'd think Moridin would have been a little smarter about this, but again we go back to their arrogance, and the fact that Moridin wanted oblivion more than anything else. 

We see, finally, the real reason Nynaeve and Moiraine had to be in the pit with Rand. It would have been so hard to wait for the right moment, especially for Nynaeve and Moiraine, who had to just sit there, fighting the wind and watching Rand locked in battle. (Granted, Nynaeve had a little something to do with Alanna, but still.)

I also loved that we didn't know this was the plan until it actually happened. Jordan/Sanderson didn't tip his hand before the fact. So it was a nice surprise to see how it all played out.

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8. What did you think of Rand's final solution for the DO's prison? Will it hold?

I think it will hold as long as no one stupid enough to re-drill the Bore tries to do so. He said he'd obliterated the patch and reforged the prison itself, so I don't think the DO will be able to break through on his own. Overall, I thought the ending and final solution was perfect. Rand realized people had to be given freedom of choice, but still found a way to lock the DO away in his problem. Awesome job, Rand.

9. Comment on some (or all) of the aftermath: our ta'veren heroes are ta'veren no longer, Ilturalde will rule, Tuon is pregnant, Moghedien survives...as a damane!!!, Faile lives, Cadsuane as Amyrlin, Rand vs. Moridin and the three women around the funeral pyre, and Loial's writing makes an appearance. In the end, Rand doesn't channel, but thinks his pipe is lit and it is. What does it all mean? What did you like/dislike? Was there anything unresolved you wanted to see? General thoughts, feelings, reactions. (This is your last chance to geek out! :D)

Cadsuane as Amyrlin? (Source)
It's kind of sad that our ta'veren are no longer, but I suppose with the DO no longer a threat, they don't need to be. Awesome that Ilturalde will rule. I tend to think a general who has seen and experience everything he has is about the best choice of ruler anyone could ask for. Mat and Tuon's kids! So fun to think about, but I wonder which traits they'll inherit from which parent. I think it'll be an interesting combination. Moghedien as damane? About as fitting as Elaida's fate, which was very. I know not everyone is in love with Faile, but I never minded her, and for Perrin's sake I'm glad she lived. Perrin needs babies to follow in his footsteps, both in the Two Rivers, and perhaps in the wolf dream. (Can't you just see Perrin teaching little curly-haired kids (with Saldean noses, of course) how to navigate T'A'R'?) When the Tower Aes Sedai descended on Cadsuane like a pack of vultures, that was hysterical. I actually think she'll make an amazing Amyrlin, but watching them corner her was very amusing.

Rand swapping bodies with Moridin? I'll admit I found this a little weird. It's like Robert Jordan had a man crush on Moridin or something. I personally would have preferred that Rand stay in his own skin, but he got to survive, which is the most important thing. And none of his three ladies seemed to have a problem with it. If they can live with it, so can I. And of course we got to see the fulfillment of Min's original vision, three women around a funeral pyre. (And it occurs to me that if Rand wants to live a quiet life after the Last Battle, he'd have to have a different face.

I've never known what exactly to make of Rand thinking the fire to light his pipe. It reminds me a lot of what Perrin can do in  T'A'R', but Rand can do it in reality. It's almost like he's transcended ta'verenhood, Forsaken/Chosenhood, and Dragon Rebornhood. He's just something more now. (Awesome!)

And one of my favorite aspects of the ending of his book is the fact that Loial got to have a prophecy put in. One of my favorite aspects of this series was reading the prophecies. I developed this habit of reading the beginning and ending prophecies for each installment before actually starting the book. I remember when I first purchased A Memory of Light, I did the same thing. I had to go show my dad (also an ardent fan of the series) the prophecies at the end. I was like, "Dad, look who wrote the last prophecy! Look who wrote the last prophecy!" We totally geeked out about it together. And of course, Loial's prophecy was like...the best one ever! (Okay, it was less a prophecy than something written after the fact, but same sentiments still apply.) :D

Extras:

Padan Fain Source
I totally meant to ask a question about Padan Fain/Mashadar, and forgot to include it. I loved that Mat got to be the one to vanquish this thing. Fitting, because of the ruby hilted dagger and the number it did on Mat. I was glad, given that this evil force was introduced in book 1, that it was included in the final battle. It was a nice way of coming full circle. (And of course everyone is glad that Mashadar is no longer around. :D)

I don't have much more to say, except that I loved every part of this story and the way it ended. There was nothing glaringly unresolved for me. All the characters and plot lines I cared about were addressed and I didn't have a problem with how any of them finished. In many ways, I was afraid I would be disappointed by the ending, just because it was such an epic series and my expectations were Empire-State-Building high. But I wasn't. Not at all. It was done so well, so fittingly, that it became my most favorite and perfect fantasy series.


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

What did everyone else think of this final section and resolution?

6 comments :

  1. "Let them be heroes" should be the title of the next war movie. It's great.

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  2. Wow, I can't believe this is the last of our posts for WoT. It's been a hell of a ride and thank you for being there for all of it. :)

    Yes, it was awesome that Olver blew the Horn. I too liked the 'like father like son' aspect. It would be cool if Olver somehow gets adopted by Mat and then goes adventuring with him in the Seanchan homeland.

    Alanna's character was just sad all the way through. I think death was probably a relief for her.

    It was great to see Perrin's role in the battle continue. I love that he is so pragmatic about it. He isn't flashy, doesn't hesitate, isn't seeking glory: He just gets the job done.

    Ah yes! Padan Fain! I totally forgot to mention him in my post. When the Mashadar/Fain fog snuck up on Mat and spiked him through the chest, I thought we had lost him. As you know, I am listening to the audiobook. When that happened, I totally stopped what I was doing. And of course the POV switches to another scene or 3 before we come back and learn what happened to Mat and the evil Fog.

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    1. I know, I can't believe it either. Thanks for hosting and letting me participate! I remember reading the first time and thinking we'd lost Mat at that point too. (Of course the second time through I remembered that we didn't. :D) Thanks Susan!

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  3. 1. There seemed to be a lot of messages about ‘letting go’ in this series, and this was the best example. It was interesting that several of the Forsaken spoke about this arrogance of responsibility as one of Lews Therin’s biggest weaknesses. I suppose being the most powerful person in the world will do that to you! :D

    2. I’m pretty certain that one of the Darkfriends was talking about handing the Horn to Demandred or the other Forsaken. I assumed that they thought that they could blow it, but perhaps they just wanted to keep it unused.

    3. Somehow, making Lan live was almost more of a punishment for the poor guy. He has spent his whole life trying to throw himself at the Shadow and die like the rest of his people. Now he has the much less glorious task of rebuilding his kingdom, changing diapers and growing old with an increasingly grumpy Nynaeve! :D

    I understand what you mean about Alana. Her actions were always a mistake and she was one of the most pathetic Sisters that we met.

    Thom = awesomeness!

    4. I think that resurrecting too many people each morning would have been a little cliche, what with the Heroes of the Horn as well, but it might have been fun.

    Logain versus Cadsuane will certainly be interesting . . . I wonder if he’ll try to charm her with his manly charms? :D

    7. Most of the Forsaken have been rather short on intelligence, I am pretty certain that Moridin’s death wish didn’t help. Also, he had Alana, which he thought would be his ticket to victory: he didn’t count on Nynaeve to with her herbs and sewing kit.

    Whilst the use of Callandor was a surprise, it was foreshadowed in Rand’s cleansing of the taint with Nynaeve, so it didn’t seem completely absurd when it was revealed.

    9. I guess that the body swap means that Rand doesn’t have to worry about rebuilding the world, or being responsible any more, but I felt it was rather unnecessary. Rand dying would have felt right and would have been a perfectly acceptable end to his journey.

    I was more taken by the implication that Shaisam was an alien . . . what the heck????

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    1. Yeah, Shaisam was definitely an interesting twist, wasn't he? Agree on all fronts. Thanks Sue! :D

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