Sunday, July 27, 2014

Knife of Dreams by Robert Jordan: Week 2


If you haven't read the book, or the whole series, why not join in and read along with the rest of us? This week the links to the other posts can be found at the bottom of this post.

This week we read through to the end of Chapter 7.


1) Beonin, Ashmanaille, & Phaedrine chat about theories on who the channeling male murderer is. Did you enjoy Beonin's logic? Do you think other Aes Sedai are drawing the same conclusions? Will such assumptions and conclusions hinder Rand's plans in preparing for the Last Battle?

I suppose that Beonin has come to some fairly sensible conclusions, given the limited information that she has to work with. She is unaware that a male Forsaken is wandering around camp in a female body, so she can hardly be faulted for not spotting the person who seems to be the most likely culprit. However, I do think that she carries her deductions a little too far and ignores the obvious problem of motive: what would a male channeler have to gain from the murders of these particular women?

We all know that the Aes Sedai each have their own interpretation of the world and are rather reluctant to accept anything else: this alone will give Rand a very difficult time in persuading them to do anything. However, some powerful Sisters see the value in supporting him in the last Battle, primarily I am thinking of Egwene and Cadsuane, but even some of the Reds see the sense of at least trying to survive Tarmon Gai’don and recognize his importance to that effort. Rand will struggle with the Aes Sedai no matter what else happens, and I doubt that this will add significantly to his woes: after all, it is going to be like herding cats anyway! :D


2) Elaida had thought to show the world her power by snatching a monarch in the night and she plans to show even greater power by putting that monarch back on his royal seat. Do you think Mattin Stepaneos, king of Illian, will be cooperative? What other setbacks to Elaida's plan can you predict?

I have to say that he did not sound awfully cooperative during his determined ranting session. To be honest, he sounds fearful to me and this is likely to make him irrational and uncooperative with everyone, not just Elaida. I have to admit that I did enjoy his rant, even though he finally ran out of steam, because it was so good to hear someone giving Elaida a good telling off! :D

Elaida’s plans have so many holes in them that it is difficult to know where to begin. Firstly, Rand is never, ever, ever, ever, ever, EVER going to cooperate with her, so that is just delusional on her part. Nobody is going to bend his knee to a woman who had him tortured and locked in a chest for weeks on end. Secondly, she has as much chance of reuniting the Tower as my cat has of writing a sequel to War and Peace: mainly because everyone hates her and thinks she is an idiot. Thirdly, Egwene is now in the Tower and she is going to start looking more and more like the true Amyrlin as she withstands Elaida’s petty punishments and tries to undo the damage caused by the coup. Fourthly, Elaida discounts Egwene’s Dream of the Seanchan attack as impossible . . . which strikes me as the usual prelude to exactly that kind of thing happening.

I could go on, but that seems like enough to keep Elaida busy for now, even though she has no idea that these are issues that she needs to address. Oh dear, what a shame! :D


3) Once again the Forsaken get together for a tickle and tell dinner party. We saw some new technology on display. Do you think we will see further advanced tech and in more prominent use as the series continues? Do you think Moiridin can keep them all in line?

We keep hearing about things called stasis boxes, which I have to assume keep things in some form of suspended animation until they are opened. I guess the only limit to the technology that we will encounter is that these boxes may have been in limited supply, and only for personal use, which means that they contain almost random items. It seems unlikely that they were used to lay down caches of useful supplies for a future war if they contained such items as the zomara and streith cloth: neither of which are anything other than luxuries. I guess that the Forsaken can recognize such boxes and know how to open them, but they are much like random items of mail, or safety deposit boxes, and will probably contain very little that they find directly useful.

We are back to herding cats again! Moridin has control over Lanfear and Moghedien because of the mind-traps, but even that will vanish if they ever take the traps from him. As for the rest: they are all convinced that they have a shot of becoming the Nae’blis if they can just get rid of Moridin. This selfish delusion is one of the major reasons why the Shadow is destined to fall before the cooperative forces of Light. I guess that it will be fun to see how they work against one another and ultimately ruin the excellent chance that they have of ruling the world forever. It is interesting to note that Aran’gar is even determined to go against the strict order not to harm Rand: such reckless individualism is not a good way to survive for long in the service of the Dark One! :D  


4) Perrin meets with the Seanchan. Were you impressed with his display of martial capability? What about that sulfur stench? Even if this plan goes off without a hitch, do you see continued friendly relationships between Perrin's forces and the Seanchan?

In many ways, Perrin seems to show the fewest ta’veren qualities of the three lads, but here we see that he is destined for greatness: he has a fine military mind and knows how to use his forces to the best advantage. He certainly impressed the seasoned leaders of the Seanchan, so he must be pretty good.

I got the impression that the sulfur stench was similar to the one mentioned in Chapter One, and is just a manifestation of the Dark One’s power increasing. My geography of Randland is not that good, so I am not sure if it could even be the same wind moving across the land.

It seems to me that Rand and the Seanchan will need to ally for the Last Battle, although this is most likely to occur via Mat and Tuon. However, I suspect that Perrin’s honest bravery will impress the Seanchan that he fights alongside, and they will be quite happy to maintain friendly relations after the Shaido are destroyed. Of course, Masema might have a hand in creating a rift there, so I am not completely convinced that everything will be happy and cozy from now on.

I have to say that I am very disturbed by Aram’s ‘conversion’ to Masema’s way of seeing the world. I predict that this will end badly for everyone involved.


5) Faile has a lot of decisions to make, and soon. She is determined to escape before Perrin can attempt a rescue; she has the Oath Rod; Galina appears near breaking; and Rolan is still putting flowers in her hair. Will her actions muck up Perrin's rescue? Will Galina's duplicity be undone? Will Rolan get even one romantic night, one which will never be spoken of again?

I doubt that she will jeopardize the rescue plan too much, but there is a good chance that her actions will increase the tension and risk involved in getting her out of the camp safely. We know that Galina has absolutely no intention of doing as Perrin asked, so that part of his plan will fail anyway, although I am not sure how vital that will be to the overall outcome. I sincerely hope that Galina remains as Therava’s plaything for the rest of her miserable natural life: she deserves it for her treatment of Rand if nothing else.

Unfortunately, I do not think that things will end well for Rolan. I doubt that Faile is the type to have a quick, ‘no regrets’, night of passion and then forget about it, no matter how many flowers he puts into her hair. I suspect that he will play a pivotal role in the escape and then get killed by ‘friendly fire’ of some type because he is mistaken for an enemy Shaido. Poor guy! :(



6) Mat has bought a new horse, razor breed, and given Tuon a pet name (Precious) to counter her little pet name for him (Toy). And then we learn that Noal is related to Jain Farstrider! Guesses as to why Noal has such strong feelings on the adventures of his cousin?

I wondered if the new horse was for Tuon, although I am not sure why she would want a horse that looks an awful lot like a zebra! :D

Of the romance plot lines that we have had to endure, I think that this one is probably my favorite. Mat is honestly in love with Tuon, as we can see from his reaction to her simply smiling at him, and he is trying to earn her respect. This is doubly impressive because Mat has been so much of a playboy up until now: I love the way that he is baffled by where Olver learnt to leer at women! Compared to all the Faile-Berelain garbage, Egwene giggling over Gawyn and Rand’s polygamy, this is perhaps the most normal of all the relationships that we have seen developing.

I think that it is pretty obvious that Noal IS Jain Farstrider. ‘Noal’ is obviously describing things that he has seen with his own eyes and his broken body testifies to a long life of adventuring. The way that he calmly fought the gholam showed that he was a man very comfortable with the strange and unusual, and possibly even the supernatural. I thought it was also obvious that the terrible regret about his wife was personal and not the disparagement of a relative as he claimed. I am not clear as to when the book was written, so I am not sure if Jain could still feasibly be alive, though it is possible that he is bound to the Wheel of Time and has been reborn like Birgitte.


7) Mat's little ter'angreal secret is out and the Aes Sedai traveling with the circus are VERY curious. Do you think this will cause a problem later? Bethamin, a former sul'dam, channeled some powerful weave, to her great distress. Could she turn out to be a powerful Aes Sedai in the future?

I suspect that anything revealed to Aes Sedai has the potential to cause problems at a later date, but this one could actually have positive repercussions. Apart from allowing people to move safely against channelers, we know that the medallion is the only thing that is effective against the gholam. As I am absolutely sure that we will see his horrible oozy body again, I would suspect that Mat will want everyone he cares about to have a copy of the medallion to keep them safe. Of course, this means that he needs to get to Elayne, who is likely to be the only person who can replicate it for him.

It makes sense that Bethamin could be very powerful in the future. Her culture has effectively placed a block on her ability to channel, but we have seen such blocks give way to produce very powerful channelers, such as Nynaeve. I hope that she embraces her ability and learns to use it safely. Hopefully she can become a type of ambassador for the other sul’dam and help to break the tradition of the use of a’dam.





2 comments:

  1. I'm not a huge fan of the Rolan plot line, myself. I really hated it while I was reading it the first time, but because it ends in a way I'm okay with, I'm not as freaked out about it the second time through. Aram converting to Masema: be afraid; be very afraid! Like you, I thoroughly enjoy the Mat/Tuon romance. It's so entertaining. And I think you're right that it might just be the most normal romance in the story. :D My Wot Post

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  2. Hehe - I too enjoyed Mattin Stepaneos going off on Elaida. Very satisfying even if it didn't do him any immediate good. And I think you may be right in that this act (kidnapping a ruling monarch) will make Elaida very unpopular with other rulers - yet one more idiotic move she makes.

    I am kind of rooting for each individual Forsaken - since they can only succeed if they pull together. Haha! And Aran'gar, have fun trying to kill Rand and then explaining your failed, but very noisy and noticeable, attempt to your boss.

    I'm really kind of liking Rolan, since he has kept Faile and other female captives safe from brutality. I don't expect his kindness to be rewarded per se, but I would be sad if he was killed for it.

    I have heard that when zebras bite, they don't let go, hence ripping off chunks of whatever they bit down on. And this is why we don't see a whole lot of domesticated zebras. Good luck Tuon!

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