Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Dragon Reborn Read-Along, Final Week
1) We saw Rand at the beginning of TDR, and then VERY briefly throughout, and then at the end. Overall, for the main character, he wasn't in the book much. What do you think of this format? Did it work? 

I think it does. I don't generally recommend this format, but given that this was book 3 of an epic series, and we're quite well-acquainted with the characters at this juncture, I actually think it works well. Of course we want to see more of Rand, but at the same time, he's not doing anything very exciting--just traveling. And with how powerful the ending is, I think it's accentuated by the fact that we've seen so little of Rand throughout the book. I liked it.
2) This time when Rand "killed" Ba'alzamon, there was a body left behind, and everyone seemed to agree that he was dead this time. Yet, Moiraine insists this isn't the Dark One, but probably Ishmael, one of the Forsaken. What do you think of this explanation? Is she right? Is it believable? If so, what does it mean for Rand and his friends?

I always loved this about the story. It was believable to me, perhaps because I'm very religious. We all see a lot of hero worship in our society, especially of celebrities and political figures. I think too often people see power and just decide it's the right thing to worship. Given that Ba'alzamon was always trying to convince Rand (and himself?) that Rand had no chance of defeating him, it almost makes sense that he's human, but putting himself up as a god. Especially right before Rand finally got him, he seemed very vulnerable. Very human. I think Jordan did an excellent job of setting this up so that it was a surprise but, in retrospect, a believable one. As for Rand and his friends, it means the real enemy has yet to be vanquished. (Fitting, given how many books are left in the series. :D)
3) Julian Sandar betrayed our girls, but then felt guilty and helped Mat get into the Stone. Do you think we'll see him again? Will he will be ally or foe from here on out? (Also he's totally crushing on Nynaeve. Do you see that coming back into the story at all?)

Having read it before, I can tell you we'll see more of Julian, though he'll never be central. I always wanted his crush on Nynaeve to be more flushed out. Not that I think Julian stands a chance against Lan--in a physical duel or for Nynaeve's affections--but I thought it would have been a fun (a.k.a. uncomfortable) scene to play out. In all likelihood, Lan would have been all magnanimous and chivalrous, stepping aside, and Nynaeve would have yanked her braid and there would have been pretty much more of the same. :D Good times!
4) Perrin sort of had a meltdown and went into full knight-in-shining-armor mode when Faile was suddenly in danger. He defied both Moiraine and Hopper, putting his life (and perhaps more?) in danger to save her. Did you see that coming? What do you think their relationship will be now?

I don't think I saw it coming the first time I read it. Perrin was so anti-Faile. But once it did happen, I thought it was sweet. It kinda makes me want to smack Perrin upside the head and tell him to stop being such a guy about this. Just admit you like the chick already and get on with it! As for her affections, if they weren't cemented before, I think it's safe to say they are now. After all, best way to make a girl fall for you? You guessed it! Save her from mortal danger! And if you can throw T'A'R into the mix, and morph into an awesome, somewhat hot wolf every now and again, so much the better! Between all that and Min's viewings about the beautiful woman and the falcon on his shoulder, I think it's safe to say Faile won't be going anywhere anytime soon.
5) Quite a bit is revealed at the end of TDR about the role the Aiel will play. This was an earlier question we had. What do you think of their role and how will it impact the story?

They're the People of the Dragon, which makes all kinds of sense given that we've kept hearing how much Rand looks like an Aielman. I'm sure they're the key to learning about Rand's birth and personal history. I also love that Moiraine says they aren't mentioned anywhere in the prophecies. Finally something she doesn't know! I think book 4 is where we get into the history of the Aiel and that's one of my favorite parts of the entire series, so I'm super-excited to be reading about them. Also, their weird humor and their bizarre response to normal humor is hilarious to read about!
6) There were some people who didn't like how nebulous the endings of books 1 and 2 were. How did you feel about this ending? Did it work? Did you have any complaints?

I didn't mind the endings of books 1 and 2 myself, but I especially loved this one. It wasn't epic in a battle sort of way, but I loved that he proclaimed himself, fulfilled the prophecies, and that everyone bowed to him. It had such a return-of-the-king feel and I loved it! I thought it was powerful and well-written. I love that Jordan can make the characters fulfill the prophecies in a way that seems natural and as though they're making their own decisions. The fulfillment of the prophecies are never forced, but that's what makes them so powerful. They all do the best they can, and just happen to end up fulfilling the prophecies. Awesome! :D
Other Tidbits:

Loving that Mat is finally coming into his own by figuring out the randomness of his luck. And I loved the part with Thom and Mother Guenna. There's an old married couple waiting to happen if I ever saw one! (Not that it will.) And I love that Perrin is finally figuring out his way around T'A'R. All these things have been a long time in coming (well, maybe not Thom barking at the healer) but they set the stage well for later events. Of course, Mat is making nice while secretly planning to run for the hills, but that's to be expected by now, right? ;D

What did everyone else think of The Dragon Reborn?


  1. I also really liked Mat's luck magic! It's cool how each of the boy's gets their own special power ;-)

    Here are my answers: Final Week

  2. Here's my link to my post. Be back this evening to chit chat.

  3. I also like that we haven't killed off the biggest bad dude yet. In fact, the biggest bad dude might not even have noticed Rand yet? Hmmm... interesting idea. He might notice now tho since all sorts of minions have been taken out or severely damaged.

    I like your comment about saving a woman from mortal danger to win her affections. Early in our relationship, my man and I were hiking in a shallow river, but there was enough current to slam a rock into my lower shin and knock my leg out form under me. I tumbled head of heels downstream for several turns until my man fished me out like a bedraggled kitten. Smitten indeed.

    1. The idea of the big bad being blind to the real source of his danger feels very LotR, doesn't it? :)

      Strange: I can't think if an example of my hubby being my Knight in Shining Armor, but we are rather odd anyway . . . we met over a dead frog during a dissection practical! :D

  4. Sorry I'm late: I was being forced to be sociable! :D

    Here's my link:

  5. 1. I totally agree: who wants to spend endless chapters following Rand traveling through the countryside doing crazy and disturbing things to the corpses of people that he has murdered?

    2. I also think that it would have been unbelievable if Rand had killed-but-not-really the same enemy for a third time. I know that at some point we discussed why Ba'alazamon had not managed to kill Rand in the earlier books, and we weren't sure if had even really tried, preferring to try to bring Rand under his control instead. I suspect that his final thoughts were something along the lines of "Whoops! I totally misjudged this guy!"

    4. I find the Perrin-Faile relationship really funny, because my first reactions to my husband of 22 years were that he was really irritating! :D

    5. I also like the Aiel and I really appreciate the fact that they are so dramatically different from the other human societies we see, although the same could be said of the Seanchan. This depth of diversity and history is one of the great things about this series.

    6. Absolutely! I feel like this book has an almost cinematic feel to its story arc, with us following all the diverse threads to the final climactic scene where everything comes together perfectly.

    I agree with you about Thom and Mother Guenna: they are such minor characters to the overall storyline, and yet they are fully drawn and we can giggle along at their behavior because it feels so natural and right.