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 12.
1) We finally get more details on Aludra's plans with the elusive bell founders and all. Do you see this plan succeeding? What will it mean for the Last Battle? How will it play out?
I think we has all pretty much guessed what she wanted the bell founder for, but we have the advantage of already knowing what a cannon looks like so we did have a bit of an advantage over poor Mat. We also know that cannons are very effective weapons even today, although they are certainly more sophisticated these days, so I expect Aludra’s dragons to be very dangerous in battle. Of course, we do not know if the various channelers can learn to counteract them by producing barriers of some sort or using gateways to remove them from the field of battle, but I suspect that they will be very deadly the first few times they are deployed.
The only real problems that I can imagine are the practical issues of manufacturing them in large numbers and then transporting them into position. This culture seems to be fairly good at using carts, wagons and teams of horses, so I am sure that they can work out how to transport the dragons if they can get them built. The other major issue will be the problem of friendly fire, but we have already seen the channelers having the same trouble when engaging in a confusing battle.
2) Mistress Anan finally reveals some of her past. Were you surprised by anything she said?
I think that it was pretty obvious, even before this, that she was an Aes Sedai at some point. The fact that she could not channel suggested that she had accidentally burned herself out rather than being Stilled, because she had not succumbed to the depression associated with that. She knew far too much about the Tower and its customs and rituals to be anything else and basically carried herself like a full Sister, even more so than the Kin. The fact that she attributes her survival to the love of a good man also sounds typical of such cases.
I seem to remember mention of a Sister who was burned out that trying to study ter’angreal: she was mentioned many, many books ago when Verin gave the Super Girls the dream ring. This also fits with her intense fascination for Mat’s foxhead medallion, which is much stronger than that shown by the other Sisters and probably explains why she knows details about Cadsuane’s collection of ter’angreal.
3) We saw tons of Mat and Tuon this week. From her snapping a'dam onto Aes Sedai necks to finding out she might have had her siblings assassinated to seeing Suroth's plan to declare her an impostor and have her killed in action to participating in a knife fight for/with her, Mat had his hands full. Feel free to comment on any part of this story line. What stood out to you, shocked you, delighted you? Where do you think it will go from here? What repercussions will it have?
I have to say that I was rather happy to see her slap those a’dam onto the Aes Sedai. Whilst I abhor the idea of the devices and how they are used, it was certainly a reasonable response to such ignorant and bullying behavior from the Sisters. I am afraid to admit that I quite enjoy seeing Aes Sedai being reminded that they are not infallible or all knowing! :D
I was not surprised to find out about the infighting in the Imperial family, nor at Suroth’s decision to remove Tuon. The Seanchan ruling class is very hierarchical and totally ruthless, so I would expect such behavior from them. The same could also be said of Tuon’s ability to fight. Just as with Berelain, she has been taught that she cannot always depend on others to defend her and has been trained to fight without a weapon to hand.
I find that I am growing to really like Tuon, mainly because she is such a fun character to read. I think Mat is winning her over, and they will get together in the near future and produce lots of incredibly annoying and hardheaded children!
4) A Shiota ghost town makes a rather disturbing appearance in Mat's life. What do you think was the cause of it, and what does it mean for our characters?
This was a truly horrible image, what with the screaming horses and everything. I would not have criticized the circus folk if they had voted to turn around and run screaming in the opposite direction.
It seems to be yet another ‘bubble’ of the dead appearing, which seems to indicate that the Dark One is near to breaking through into this world. I can only assume that such incidents will become more frequent and more intense as he gets even closer. I cannot say that I am looking forward to any other similar events . . .
5) Apparently Mat, Thom, and Noal might be setting out to rescue Moiraine. Were you surprised by this, or by what was finally revealed to be in her letter to Thom? Do you think they can succeed?
I had a sneaking suspicion that she was not dead. If we agree with most of the other Chosen in believing that Cyndane is Lanfear reborn, then we know that it is possible to return from wherever they went. I believe that Min had a viewing at one point that Rand would need the help of a woman who had already died and Egwene had a dream of Thom pulling Moiraine’s hair gem out of a fire. Both of these were quite some time ago, but seemed to add to the evidence that our favorite meddling Blue would ‘do a Gandalf’ and reappear just in time to save the world. Although I am not sure that she will now be Moiraine the White! :D
I think that I was much more surprised by the obvious affection in the letter and that she is actually expressing it openly. I do not remember any suggestion of a romance between the two before her death, so this was somewhat of a surprise. I can only assume that she saw it during her first trip through the red doorframe and spent quite some time thinking about the implications before accepting that it would not be so terrible. Personally, I think that they will make an awesome couple!
6) Someone tried to assassinate Perrin. Who do you think it was and why? What do you think of how things are going with his alliance with the Seanchan? Will their forkroot plan work?
I suppose the most obvious candidate would be Masema, but it could be just a Darkfriend and we know that they exist even amongst the Seanchan. Politics amongst the Blood could also suggest agents working against Tylee Khirgan, but it does seem to be an attack aimed directly at Perrin, so this is less likely. My money remains on Masema, mainly because he is as crazy as a rabid ferret.
I am quite sure that the forkroot plan will be a massive success, Sevanna and many Shaido will die or be captured and Faile will return to making Perrin’s life miserable! :D