Sunday, June 15, 2014

Crossroads of Twilight Read-Along, Week 4

Welcome to week 4 of our Crossroads of Twilight read-along. This week we read chapters 9-12. 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! Also, Sue of Cookies, Coffee and Chili Peppers is our host today, so make sure to hop over and check out her answers in a few hours too!

1. Well, I suppose that we now know that Faile is alive and well, more or less. Do you think that Nadric will avoid her from now on, or will he simply wait until she is more alone? What do you think is going on between Galina and Therava?

Nadric's presence really depends on how his eye fell on Faile. If he just saw her, decided on the spot that she was pretty and that he wanted her, chances are he doesn't actually care much and won't bother her again unless she unwittingly ends up in his path. On the other hand, if he was watching her a while, he might think of her as a conquest, and that could be trouble. Since we don't get to be in Nadric's head, it's hard to say for sure. Guess we'll just have to wait and see. :D

The whole Galina/Therava thing seems like a battle of wills, but it's hard to say what it's actually about. Is one of them a Darkfriend? Is it a One Power thing? Just a petty rivalry thing? All of the above. I do think it's a credit to Faile's shrewd mind that she picks up on it so clearly.

2. Still with Faile, what do you think of her growing relationship with Rolan? Do you think that he might even help her to escape, or is that simply wishful thinking on her part?

Rolan is interesting, isn't he? I really don't like it that he has designs on Perrin's girl, but Faile being who she is, she might be able to make use of him. I don't think we know enough about him to be able to tell whether he might be persuaded to help her escape, but he seems sincere in what he says and does. At the very least, she has another friend in the camp, and the fact that he tried to help make her more comfortable during her punishment (awkward!) says that he genuinely cares about her.

3. Poor Elsie sees a ghost, but Elayne dismisses it as nerves. We do not seem to have had much supernatural activity in this series, so this seemed very significant to me. Was the ghost real or do you think that there might be some other explanation? Feel free to say if you think I am simply being overly suspicious! :D

I honestly don't remember what, if anything, this leads to. I suppose it might be a ta'veren thing. As the series progresses toward it's end, we start to see breakdowns in the fabric of the Pattern itself, so maybe this is an early example of the walls between worlds thinning? I honestly don't remember, but it was interesting because, as you point out, we don't get much supernatural activity in Randland.

4. I am getting rather tired of Mellar and his evil smugness, but I am a little concerned about Elayne’s decision to berate him in public. Does this mean that she realizes that his moment of heroism was completely staged? Do you think that he might try to retaliate for the embarrassment?

This is one of those things where, in any other situation, I'd be cheering Elayne on. The guy definitely needs to be put in his place. But, we the readers know exactly how evil this Darkfriend is, and Elayne doesn't. It does make me worry for her safety. As long as his plan is still giving him advantages, he probably won't harm her, but the instant revenge becomes worth it in his mind, Brigitte's going to have her work cut out for her. Mellar also seems the kind of guy that might arrange for an accident--like slipping on a banana peel on the stairs or something--which might hurt her, and possibly compromise her pregnancy, but won't actually kill her.

5. We have lots of coming and goings in Caemlyn. Do you think that the Aes Sedai at the Silver Swan are Elaida’s, independents or parts of Cadsuane’s group? What about the group that Mellar ‘helped’ to get into the city: are they trustworthy at all?

At this point, the web of characters is so tangled, I can't remember who is who. I tend to think that Mellar's group are more likely to be Elaida's (and by that, we really mean Alviarin's) just by virtue of the fact that they are all most likely Darkfriends. I really don't know if any of them are from Cadsuane's group, but the fact that they don't want to be heard talking about Cadsuane suggests that either they are or they want to be. 

I really liked Elayne's internal discussion about whether there were pockets of Aes Sedai spread all over Randland, sending messages and exchanging information, and about how the Tower was neatly divided into three factions, not just two. It was just interesting. 

6. What is it with the Seafolk and square miles of land? I thought that Rand had granted them that as part of his agreement with them, but maybe Zaida does not know about that yet. Do you have any ideas about why this land is so important to a sea-faring people?

It's hard to say, but I think it has to do with 1) their prophecies and 2) the looming Last Battle. I think the Sea Folk know that Rand and Tarmon Gai'don will change them and their culture. When the battle ends, they want to have their hands in more than just one basket, especially if all their ships get destroyed fighting the Dark One. On one hand, it might just be good business sense on their part (we saw how shrewd they are by how Zaida bargained with Elayne some more) or it might be a sense of self-preservation that makes them act. Either way, we're seeing a shift in their culture and in everyone else's because now the interactions between the Sea Folk and pretty much anyone on land will be different. Yet another way Rand is changing things.

**Sorry, no art work this week. I had a super-crazy weekend and am literally writing this at midnight. Have to be up early so don't want to spend too much time, but I promise the fan art will return next week!**

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  1. Walls between worlds thinning? Hmm...well, that could make things more exciting, especially with that dude Hunter (?) in T'A'R.

    You're right about Mellar being a bad guy and one that will escalate things if he no longer has the advantages.

    Yet another good point about the Sea Folk and why they want land. If they fear they might lose their ships, then it makes sense to have land.

  2. ** Spoiler Alert ** We get more thinning of the pattern in future parts of the story. (i.e. Opening scene in MOL) All in all, pretty creepy. About Mellar. I hate his guts! Right when I thought I had all the real bad scum bags pegged, along comes Mellar. He is darker than most dark friends and he gets away with stuff to the point where you think about hiring some shadowspawn from the forsaken just to take him out. From a spoiler standpoint, I'll just say we get satisfaction in a big way toward the end.

    1. Yeah, can't wait for that! :D It's interesting going back and reading it again. Makes me hate him more. Such a scumbag! :D