Spoilers for books 1-5 and Lord of Chaos to ch.4| More info and previous posts |Please no spoilers for future books/events
In my plan to read The Wheel of Time, and post about my experience, I’m now on book 6, Lord of Chaos. This post covers the Prologue and chapter 1-4.
Demandred is going to visit his boss, at Shayol Ghul. This is the first time we see Demandred as well as Shayol Ghul. The description is suitably creepy for the Dark One’s prison. I wonder what the Dark One looks like. Is Shayol Ghul an actual prision, holding an actual physical being called the Dark One? I kinda doubt it, but I can’t really think of what else it might be. There is a description:
Here he could sense the Bore, the hole drilled through so long ago to where the Great Lord had lain imprisoned since the moment of Creation. Here the Great Lord’s presence washed over him. Physically, this place was no closer to the Bore than any other in the world, but here there was a thinness in the Pattern that allowed it to be sensed.
But it doesn’t help at all.
The Dark One talks to Demandred, in ALL CAPS, but the big takeaway is that he can’t undo Balefire (a hint about the importance of Balefire in the final battle?). Demandred is given orders, but unfortunately we don’t find out what.
In Salidar, Nynaeve is studying Siuan and Leane in an attempt to understand how to heal them, and what the hell, she’s still got Moghedien bound? Are you totally nuts, woman? It was one thing to use her to try and save Rand’s life, but this is just too much. I had expected to find Moghedien dead, or at least stilled, but here Nynaeve is, using her as a portable Power source. Madness.
And just to make me more nervous, Nynaeve is now passing around the controlling bracelet like it’s nothing. Leane and Siuan can both sense Moghedien’s thoughts through it, but they can’t use it to reach the Source, or to make Moghedien feel stuff. It’s progress of a sort, and I’m ever more convinced that Nynaeve can undo the stilling. But again, using Moghedien is just madness.
Elayne barges in next, all riled up because the Aes Sedai are sending an embassy to Rand, and she’s not included. Also, she refuses to believe that Morgase is dead. Good for you Elayne! I’ll love to see her meet her mother again. But Min is going. Nynaeve wonders whether all the knowledge she gets from Moghedien justifies keeping her from justice.(Hint : No it’s bloody well not!). They’ve also been using this knowledge from Moghedien to basically impress all the Aes Sedai. Which, again, doesn’t seem like a good idea to me. It would take one curious Brown asking where they found this stuff to put them in hot waters. I know they pretend like they work it all out themselves, but if I was an Aes Sedai, I would be suspicious as hell of three Accepted figuring stuff out so much so fast. Elayne has even been manufacturing ter’angreal.
Elayne and Min have a heart to heart about their shared love of Rand, and wonder who the third one might be. It actually feels a bit weird how cool they are about sharing this man they all love so much. I mean, if I were in that position, I would at least try to have my loved one to myself.
In Emond’s Field, Perrin and Faile have basically become Lord and Lady, complete with holding court to which people bring their petitions. Faile is fretting about Perrin not acting all lordly and high and mighty with his people, which I think is a little unfair of her. There’s also rising worry about the oft-mentioned unnaturally hot weather. Actually, if the Dark One can indeed control climate, maybe he doesn’t even need to bother with wars and Forsaken and whatnot, just destroy everything with really bad weather. It would be so darkly funny, all these people all raging to fight the Darkness, and they just die of thirst and hunger and heat. Anyway, Perrin decides that honeymoon’s over, and he has to go rejoin Rand. Faile is intent on putting a stop to this though.
Gawyn and his younglings (still can’t believe he sided with Elaida, even if he did let Siuan go) are escorting an Aes Sedai contingent that are meeting with Wise Ones from the Shaido Aiel. Oh man, I thought we were rid of the nutters. A wandering peddlers tells Gawyn that his mom is dead, and worse, that Rand did it. Meanwhile the Aes Sedai are cutting some sort of shady deal with the Shaido, and to make matters worse, two of the Sedai are Black Ajah. I don’t know the exact agreement, but it’s clear that both parties believe the other to be kinda dumb and intend to not stick to whatever deal they cut.
In Amador (man this sure is turning into a rather long prologue), Morgase is still trying to get Ailron to supply her with an army to retake her throne. This is so… frustrating to me. Like, this is all definitely going to lead to all sorts of trouble, and it’s so unnecessary – Morgase need only to return to Caemlyn and Rand will be more than happy to hand over the city to her. There are also signs of a romance to come between Tallanvor and Morgase. Niall offers to “help” her though – basically trying to do what he did in Tarabon – ostensibly the Whitecloaks will help Morgase retake Andor, but really, they’ll be the one gaining power. Niall spins a pretty convincing web, and I’m afraid Morgase will end up taking his offer.
More intriguing is the arrival after Niall departs, a fellow called Paitr Conel. He claims he and his Uncle Jen came to help Morgase escape the palace, but call me paranoid, I’m getting a feeling he’s not what he claims to be. Morgase believes him though.
In some unknown place, the remaining Forsaken meet. Though the cost was too high (Moiraine! The feels are real), I’m glad Rand is fairly mowing down the Forsaken. Mesaana, Semirhage and Graendal meet with Demandred to receive the Dark One’s orders. A hint – “Let the Lord of Chaos rule” and the rest is not revealed to us. So, there is an actual Lord of Chaos. Who? I kinda think it’s Rand. That the Dark One for some reason doesn’t want Rand dead. I have nothing to base this speculation on, of course.
And finally, two mysterious people, Osan’gar and Aran’gar. A man and a woman, who it seems have somehow been brought back to life to serve the Dark One again. More unknown schemes of the Dark One. Come on man, either just tell us what the guy is up to, or just leave this stuff out. I hate not knowing. Especially when it’s done by hiding information that the POV characters obviously know. As for the identities of these people, I can’t even hazard a guess. I would say Asmodean, but I doubt that the Dark One will give him another chance. And the woman – there hasn’t even been a dead female Forsaken so far, so I’m 100% clueless.
Rand is practising his sword skills – now that Lan is off looking for Myrella (I think) – by beating up five dudes at once. He’s also totally fed up with the Andoran nobles, which is no surprise because they’re the worst of the lot gathered by Rahvin. Rand thinks he needs them, but I don’t know what for, and I’d rather he just chucked them all out of the city.
Davram Bashere tells him that he doesn’t need to do this, using a bloody assassination attempt to prove his point – that Rand can channel, so he doesn’t even need to learn to use the sword. Wrong. Firstly, what if he’s shielded or maybe in a stedding or just can’t channel for some reason? And secondly, if a fantasy protagonist is not a badass melee fighter, it just doesn’t feel right. Bashere also wants Rand to work with the Aes Sedai, but Rand is justifiably skeptical and suspicious of the lot of them. A good way to be, especially with Black Ajah popping up left and right.
His argument with Bashere is cut short when Mazrim Taim, escaped False Dragon, presents himself at the palace. I am so skeptical of the guy. His escape was helped by the Black Ajah for god’s sake! But Rand is willing to give him a chance, so long as he agrees to obey Rand. Most interesting is the fact that he’s older than Rand, and has managed to not go mad despite using the power for years. Unless he works for the Dark One, which would totally explain it.
Even more surprisingly, Taim pulls out a fricking cuendillar Seal. I think this is the last one. He claims that he found it in some random farm, but I’m not buying it for now. Also, Lews Therin’s voice is continuing to become more and more pronounced. It’s different from Mat though. Mat remembers stuff like it happened to him, but Rand almost seems to have another personality rattling around in his head. And more worryingly, this is not the Lew Therin who led the forces of the Light, but the post-Ilyena totally nuts Lews Therin. Does the madness from the taint carry over across rebirths? I have no idea. But the Lews Therin voice definitely sounds unhinged.
Taim claims that he can test for the ability to channel, so Rand takes him to a secret farm where he’s keeping the men who’ve come after hearing of his amnesty. Some want to return, but Rand pretty much emotionally blackmails them into staying, while hating himself for doing it. Taim tests a few people, and Rand picks up the tricks as well. I find it a bit weird. Not this particular thing, but the way the supergirls and Rand can basically learn how to do most kinds of magic just by seeing it done once. Telling Taim to continue testing, Rand himself decides to go visit his forces in Tear.
There’s a pretty funny section where the maidens tell Rand he has no sense of humor because he never laughs. Sidenote : What the hell? There’s been dozens of instances of Rand randomly laughing thinking dark thoughts. Anyway, Rand’s response is to turn around and launch into a joke that neither I nor the Aiel understand at all. The best part? There’s a pond mentioned in the joke, and this is the maiden’s response to the joke:
The Maidens exchanged blank looks. Finally Somara said, “What happened with the pond? Surely the water is the point of this story.”
Throwing up his hands, Rand started for the red-striped pavilion again.
Behind him he heard Liah say, “I think it was supposed to be a joke.” “How can we laugh when he doesn’t know what happened to the water?” Maira said.
Full marks for trying Rand, but zero for execution.
Rand gets to a meeting with the Tairen Lords, to discover that some lords have started a rebellion, complete with declaring him to be a false Dragon. Rand is not fazed at all, he declares that they are to be arrested, their titles stripped and then hanged, but for now he isn’t actively going to to do anything about them. He has his eyes focused on Illian. The long and short of it is that both the Aiel and the Tairens are raging to be let loose against Sammael’s forces, but Rand orders them to wait for Mat.
More banter with the Maidens – I’m really enjoying this, the Maidens treating the mighty Dragon as basically a child that they have to care for and keep out of trouble, complete with telling him to eat and trying to set him up with Aviendha.
As Rand gets to bed, his thoughts reveal that the forces gathered in Tear are some sort of ruse, and that the real plan is something he has shared only with Mat and Bashere. Damnit, enough with the secret plans from everyone.
And thus we are now on the sixth book of the series, and in what is rapidly becoming a pattern, the plot is taking it’s sweet time getting started. I know this update is rather late, but I had exams, so it couldn’t be helped. With vacations on, the pace should increase to something more reasonable now. As for the book itself, it’s really too early to tell, though I’m glad to finally see Perrin back in the story. And I kinda feel the Lews Therin in Rand’s head thing will need to be addressed sometime soon, probably in this book itself.