Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Gathering Storm Read-Along, Week 4

Welcome to week 4 of our The Gathering Storm Read-Along! This week we read Chapters 22-28. 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. 

Note the lack of hand (Source)
1. We finally learn Rand's logic for swapping Bashere and Ilturalde. Do you agree with his logic? Will it work?

When Rand lays everything out for us, his logic is actually very...logical. At the very least, Rand has good reason for what he's doing. It's good to see that, despite the emotional and mental struggles he's been having, he still has a head for strategy and he's thinking and planning ahead. Swapping the two generals is actually something of a preemptive strike. :D

2. Rand balefires Semirhage, then banishes Cadsuane. He says he has become "cuendillar" but Cadsuane sees darkness around him. What do you think it is? Is this a good thing? Will it help or hinder him in the Last Battle?

We've already seen that his becoming 'harder' rather than 'stronger' is a bad thing. This is the very thing Cadsuane and Sorilea are trying to remedy. And that darkness Cadsuane could only see when she didn't look directly at him was downright creepy. Yeah, I'm gonna go with this being a bad thing. Hopefully Cadsuane and Sorilea can come up with something brilliant. :D

3. Gawyn reaches Gareth Bryne where he IDs an Aes Sedai in hiding, and is told the truth about his mother, Elayne, and Egwene's situation. Even after he sees Egwene, do you think he'll go to be at Elayne's side, or stay to be Egwene's warder? Do you think he'll ever accept that Rand wasn't responsible for what happened to Morgase? What will the discovery of Shemerin do for the rebels?

Yeah this is one that can only be spoilery if I answer it. Gawyn is obviously stubborn, though, and maybe a bit slow on the uptake, which doesn't bode well for major change. I think Shemerin's situation can only galvanize the rebels. Just another example of Elaida being an idiot and making things infinitely worse for herself.

Sheriam = DF (Source)
4. Yup. It's official. Sheriam is a Darkfriend. Were you surprised? Does it bring any clarity for you of her past actions? Do you think she'll be successful at stealing the dream ter'angreal?

I remember being really shocked about this reading it the first time. Not totally blind-sided or anything--I mean we've seen her being punished, so obviously something was going on--but we've known Sheriam for so long, all our super-girls were novices and Accepted under her, and she always seemed so good, that I was sure there was another explanation. She was being blackmailed, or had ulterior motives. It looked worse than it was. And maybe she wasn't the most upstanding person, but I didn't think she was actually a darkfriend. Maybe just naivete on my part, but yeah, my mouth hung open for...many minutes.

Aviendha headed back
to Rhuidean (Source)
5. Aviendha gets her honor back and we finally learned what all the punishments were about. What did you think of the Wise One's tactics? What will Aviendha see in Rhuidean, and what's next for her?

I think it's kind of funny that the Wise Ones spend so many years making their apprentices subservient, only to demand that they be dominant. It makes sense that they want them to stick up for themselves and not let anyone trample over them, but I also noted that it had less to do with self-esteem and more to do with the pride they feel the position of Wise One ought to engender. No one--especially a male, it seems--should be able tell a Wise One what to do. Their reasoning made me laugh. But it's good that Aviendha finally figured it out and is now a Wise One, heading for Rhuidean. I won't say what happens there. :D

6. The cockroach incident was pretty gross. It was definitely a dark omen. What do you think this incident is foreshadowing?

Not sure exactly what Jordan/Sanderson were going for with this, but maybe just to show that the Dark One is still influencing the world, the Last Battle is looming, etc., etc. And I did find it particularly interesting that Shara was mentioned. (These bugs are only seen there.) Not saying any more, though. :D

"Hinderstap After Dark" (Source)
Bears a striking resemblance to The Walking Dead, no?
7. Hinderstap. (Oh good heavens!) What do you think that was all about? And what does it mean for Mat?

Yeah, this was all kinds of crazy, wasn't it? Even reading it the second time I was thoroughly disturbed. I actually felt really sorry for the townsfolk. (Leave it to a fantasy authors to make their readers feel sorry for people who nightly turn into homicidal psychopaths.) I think this--and the cockroach thing as well--may be just to show that the Dark One's grip on the world is increasing. Things have gone from worrisome (book 1) to chaotic (book 6) to batsh*t crazy here in book 12. 

Rand doesn't have much time left.

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

What did everyone else think of this section?


  1. Yep, Cadsuane may need Sorilea's help in remedy this darkness about Rand. How to bleach & soften the Dragon Reborn, that is the question.

    I like the fanart of Sheriam as it shows her with real woman's curves. Hooray!

    Good point - the Aiel have this whole hierarchy thing that is almost as bad as the Seanchan. And they demand obedience and subservience of anyone below them in the ladder. So then to expect Aviendha to decide she is above meaningless chores, etc. Well, it does take a leap (or arrogance) to do it.

    Now I want to go look up the land of Shara but I am afraid of spoilers....choices, choices.....

    Yeah. Hinderstap was crazy messed up. And it was cool that I could be horrified one moment and then sympathetic to the villagers the next moment. Great writing.

    1. Great writing! I agree! Thanks Susan! :D

  2. 1. Poor Rand. If only a few more people would stop yelling at him and actually be supportive, he would do so much better.

    2. Whilst I can agree that Rand suppressing his emotions and becoming a walking ball of fury is a Very Bad Thing, I can also see how it will help him to survive. I find it very difficult to read Rand’s chapters now because they are so sad. He has completely accepted his role in history and even welcomes his imminent death . . . poor bloke! :(

    3. “Gawyn is obviously stubborn, though, and maybe a bit slow on the uptake” That is a massive understatement! :D

    He is going to be massively disappointed when he rushes in to save Egwene and she beats him off with a stick in a very competent and Amyrlin-ish sort of way! :D

    4. I have to agree: I thought that she was being blackmailed in a similar way to Delana, so the revelation was a shock.

    6. Shara has had a few minor mentions, which I find rather worrying. It is a giant landmass, so why is it not involved with this war against the Dark One? I assume that it is, and probably on the wrong side! :(

    7. I think the most horrific thing here was that they would be murdering their own families every night and couldn’t do anything to stop themselves.