Sunday, September 21, 2014

New Spring Read-Along, Week 2

Welcome to week 1 of our New Spring Read-Along! This week we read chapters 1-6. Remember that everything in this section as well as everything that's come before (in the main series) is fair game for spoilers, so read at your own risk. Susan Voss over at Dab of Darkness is our host this week. Hop over and check out her answers as well!

Young Moiraine and Lan (Source)
1) Throughout this section, we see that Moiraine is still having dreams about the babe born on Dragon Mount. Since we know dreams can have deeper meanings in this series, do you think it is just an anxiety nightmare? Or do you think it is something more? 

Hmm. Interesting question. We don't see any sign in this book that she's entering T'A'R or anything, but it would be interesting if this was some weak form of Foretelling about her own future. If she wasn't meant to seek out the Dragon Reborn, I don't think she'd have such powerful dreams, or be quite so haunted by them. It's almost like she's trying to tell herself something. I'm sure it was these dreams, at least in part, that spurred her on to look for Rand for so many years.

Random WoT Characters (Source)
There were several side characters/minions from the series in this section too. Who do you wish we got to see a bit more of? Is there anyone you wanted to snuff out here and now? 

It was great to see many of the Aes Sedai we've come to know and love (or hate) from a slightly different perspective. I totally loved that Sheriam was known as an incorrigible gossip. I wish we could have seen that first hand. And it was funny to see Lelaine as kind and motherly, without her arch-rival Romanda to get under her skin. I would have liked to see what Romanda was up to while Moiraine was still trying to attain the shall. We've also seen Myrelle (I thought her younger self was VERY in keeping with what we know of her from the main series) and Leane has also made an appearance. This stuff is just so intriguing, I wish there was time to see more of it all around.

Thought this was funny. (Source)
Moiraine and Siuan are raised to the shawl. Do you think the ter'angreal used in the testing was created for that purpose? Or do you think it has another, long lost purpose, and the Aes Sedai of old found it and put it to this use? 

Based on what we know of other ter'angreal, probably the latter. I actually really loved that we got to see this. When you think about it, it's really surprising that we've never seen the test for the shawl in the main series. We saw the Accepted's test, but not the one the full sisters have to pass. I thought it was really cool to see it. (Wouldn't want to have to do it myself, but...)

The Amyrlin Seat (Source)
The Amyrlin Seat, Tamra Ospenya, died. How, do you think? What do you make of the new Amyrlin Seat, Sierin Vayu? 

Hard to say here. Of course assassination by a darkfriend is always a potent possibility, but it might also be the Pattern weaving as it wills. Maybe Tamra just wasn't the person meant to be on the Amyrlin Seat after Rand was born. Sierin Vayu is definitely not the pleasant type. And the fact that she began her reign with an iron fist, with punishments, banishments, and other cruelties, predisposes me to really NOT like her. 

That said, maybe it was meant to be that way. Maybe having a cruel Amyrlin who seems to me like nothing less than a disaster waiting to happen is what leads the Hall to put Siuan on the Seat soon after. And heaven knows Moiraine needed that ally to accomplish what she did. So maybe it was fate working itself out over decades.

Moiraine (Source)
What do you think of Moiraine's decision to leave the White Tower? Is she leaving for the right reasons? Do you think Siuan will be punished for Moiraine's actions? 

I think Moiraine's reasons were pretty kosher here. Yes they were selfish, but that fact is actually a bit of a coincidence. Just because they were selfish doesn't actually make them wrong in this case. I wouldn't want to be mired in the bloody politics of her homeland. I'd much rather be out wandering, having adventures, and searching for the Dragon Reborn. I think this is a calling thing. Only she can say why she feels compelled to find him, and it's not something she could possibly explain to anyone else. But she's being true to herself, and we already know it will lead to something fateful.

I actually love that we get to see her defy the Amyrlin at all. That defiance is something her character has always had, even if she didn't always show it. And I hope Siuan isn't punished. Even if she is, though, she's scrappy enough to figure it all out and bounce back, so I'm not particularly worried about her. :D

Lan (Source)
We spent some time in Lan's head in this section. How does young Lan compare to the Lan we know from the main series? What are your expectations of the possible forthcoming reunion between Lan and his first lover, Edeyn? 

As I said last week, we already see a lot of the honor and courage and detachment in young Lan that we've expected from the older. He's all about his war with the Blight and the Shadow, and really doesn't think of much else. He's all caution and self-possession. Moiraine is quite different than how we first see her in TEOTW, but Lan is much the same.

Because I've read it before, I won't say anything about the reunion, except that I thought the entire Edeyn angle was kind of...bizarre. Maybe I'll see it differently the second time through. :D


We're seeing some interesting characters with Lan as well. There's Ryne, who seems like a playboy Malkieri (weird) and Mistress Arovni, who I happened to think was hysterical. And we learned that Bukama carried baby Lan out of Malkier on his back, which makes me like him even more. This is probably the closest thing to a dad Lan ever had.

Lots of great lines this section. Here are a few of my favorites:

"Mortification of the Spirit was always hardest to endure." (pg. 195) *true story*
"And she was off to find the boychild. She was off on an adventure as grad as any ever undertaken by an Aes Sedai.) (pg. 202) *boo ya!*
"Some wars could not be won, yet they must still be fought. (pg. 174) *nice*

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

What did everyone else think of this section?


  1. I would have enjoyed seeing Romanda too! That would have been interesting - seeing if she is in to romance novels (discreetly, of course) at a young(er) age. ;)

    That is a good point - that the Wheel may have been weaving Amyrlin Seats into place. I don't think Rand would have gotten as far as fast as he did if Sierin Vayu was the Amyrlin when he came into his power.

    That whole 'mortification of the spirit' thing was very compelling. Thinking about my own life, the things that really shaped me long term have been events that brought me great joy or events that mortified my spirit. So I loved how Jordan built that little life nugget into Moiraine's life.

    Once again, thanks for all the fan art. I truly enjoy seeing people's renditions of these characters that we have spent so much time with.

    1. Sure thing! I love searching for fan art to do these posts. It's super fun to see different interpretations. Thanks Susan! :D

    2. I'm not sure that these two pictures of Lan are grumpy enough, though! :D

  2. 1. I get the impression that young Moiraine is somewhat obsessional about mysteries, and this is probably the most important one for a few millennia, so I can understand why she simply cannot let go of the idea that she has to find that baby! :D

    2. Unfortunately, this series is riddled with things that I would love to know more about - and I doubt that I will get all my questions answered by the last three volumes :(

    3. From your comment, I assume that we don't get to see any of the Super Girls go through this test once the Tower is united under Egwene's leadership, which is a bit of a shame, because we now know that the test really does set the Aes Sedai apart from normal mortals.

    4. I hadn't thought of the Pattern as the culprit here . . . perhaps I'm getting overly suspicious of the Black Ajah and their Evil Plots! :D

    5. As people who are naturally drawn to the Blues, this self-imposed mission was always going to capture the girls' attention and the whole death-inducing Foretelling and secrecy only added to their sense of feeling especially important. I would have been surprised if either of them could have let it go for a moment.

    6. I think that we get a very different impression of Moiraine in this volume because she is so much less mature and able to mask her impatience. I suspect that she is still a roiling mass of thought and impulse but that she has learnt how to appear serene and suitably Aes Sedai-like. Somehow Lan feels as if he is quite a bit older than her, perhaps not chronologically but certainly because of his life experience, and this means that he has already learnt a great deal of his famous stoicism and self-control.

    I agree with your assessment of Bukama and his lady friend - very funny! Also, it is interesting that we have a direct parallel here with Rand and Tam. I wonder if this explains a little of the bond he seems to share with Lan.

    1. Good point about the Tam/Rand parallel here. I hadn't thought of that as being a reason why Lan and Rand get along so well early on in the series. Thanks so much for the insight! :D