Spoilers for books 1-7 and The Path of Daggers to ch.14| 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 8, The Path of Daggers. This post covers chapter 7-14.
A Chance Encounter
Perrin is derping around in Ghealdan. Right now he’s near the town of Bethal, and trying to think how to best approach Queen Alliandre, who’s holed up inside, and everyone’s pretty jumpy because of the Prophet’s men, or rather bandits. The poor man is caught as usual between Faile and Berelain – this time because each wishes to be the one to meet Alliandre. Finally he decided on Berelain – partly because she has an Aes Sedai advisor with her. They depart for the town, while Perrin returns to camp.
On the way, he spots a bunch of bandits attacking some people, and good guy that he is, promptly saves them, though in the fashion of WoT women, one of the women is none too happy with this rescue. I must now rant about her description. RJ describes Aes Sedai as being more regal and commanding than queens, yet most Queens we see are described to be just as commanding and royal, if not more, than Aes Sedai. And now this random woman has a “regal” face. I mean, if everyone is regal, then no one is regal!
Perrin continues to be the good guy though, and invites them into his camp where they’ll be safe. And… Wait a minute, the old woman with the “regal” lady is Lini. Perrin’s run into Morgase and friends fleeing from Amadicia! Hmm, the description of Maighdin/Morgase makes more sense now. Okay, I was wrong this one time but the general point of my rant still stands. Anyway, it seems Morgase has been travelling incognito, and will continue to do so. I’m surprised that Perrin doesn’t recognise them, but of course, he hasn’t ever met Morgase, unlike the other two boys.
One of the bandits is caught and brought to Perrin, and he turns out to be one the Prophet’s followers. Perrin goes into a rare rage at the sight of a bunch of cut ears as trophies that he’s got with him, but eventually lets him go and tells him to warn the Prophet and his followers to stop their shenanigans. An admirable sentiment, but with the kind of force he has with him, he can’t go issuing challenges like that. What if the man returns with a proper huge mob? Plus he was supposed to keep his mission secret. At least his actions have convinced Morgase to stick around for now.
Next, we are treated to a very long winded description of Perrin’s camp. Perrin notices that Maighdin resembles Elayne a lot, but ignores it as coincidence. But he does recognise Basel Gill, in whose inn he has stayed. He asks him what the hell he’s doing in Ghealdan, and Gill and Lini together spin a rubbish tale about a wine deal gone wrong. Perrin is a bit skeptical, but decides to accept the story for now. Weirdly enough, Lini wants Perrin to marry Maighdin and Tallanvor. I’m not sure whether she’s pulling Perrin’s leg or she’s actually serious. I mean, yeah, the two are falling for each other, but just telling a random lord to marry them off is still nuts.
Returning to his tent, Perrin learns that Faile intends to have Lini and Maighdin as her attendants. Surprisingly, Maighdin accepts. I wonder what she’s thinking – that Perrin will keep them safe? Or maybe she wants to sound out what kind of a man he (and Rand) is before revealing herself. I mean, it’s not like she has any pressing business – she’s already relinquished her queenship. Faile also advises Perrin to keep the Manetheren banner around – her reasoning is that it will lead people to think he’s just a random rebel seeking to restore Manetheren, and thus distract them from his true mission. This seems pretty shaky reasoning to me, especially since Perrin just told that bandit his mission and set him free. But Perrin decides to go along with her plan. Well, she is his wife, so can’t blame him too much.
But Faile is up to other stuff too. In the night, she sneaks off to meet with her followers – the wannabe ji’e’toh followers from Cairhien. They’ve become rather attached to her, it seems, and even call themselves Cha Faile, the Falcon’s Talon. Nice name. Faile seems to be planning something about Alliandre behind Perrin’s back, though I don’t know what. I trust Faile, in that I believe she’s not a Darkfriend or anything, but I don’t like her going behind Perrin’s back. Not one bit.
Morgase and Tallanvor have a heated conversation in the night – he’s not happy about this serving maid business, but Morgase’s mind is set. Funnily, they have zero idea of all the stuff Elayne has been up to – falling in love with Rand the Dragon Reborn the Male Channeler, all her adventures in Tear, Tanchico, Salidar andEboud Dar. They think she’s safe in the White Tower. Man, kids nowadays, so bad about keeping their parents informed. Though Elayne believes Morgase to be dead, so can’t blame her. Which reminds me – I can’t believe Morgase hasn’t taken steps to inform Elayne that she’s alive. I mean, I can’t claim to understand since I’m not a parent, but if I was, I’d like my children to know that I wasn’t bloody dead!
The next day, Perrin hangs out in the camp, incessantly mentally grumbling about how people have put him on a Lord pedestal and won’t let him do anything for himself. I’m a total layzypants, so I can’t really sympathize with people not getting to do their chores. Balwer, in an unsurprising move, approaches Perrin and offers him his services. He doesn’t flat out offer to be his spymaster – just his secretary, but there are pretty heavy hints. Perrin accepts the offer. Well, this move from Balwer makes so much more sense than his earlier help to Morgase.
Perrin “inspects” the Mayener encampment next, and it’s a somewhat funny scene, with Perrin 100% uncomfortable and awkward, and yet the soldiers all hyped to see him, especially when he praises them a bit. For the Two Rivers folk I get the enthusiasm – Perrin basically saved them from Trollocs, but why are the Mayeners behaving so enthusiastically? Then Perrin goes and visits the Wise Ones. He’s not happy with how they’re treating the Aes Sedai, but before he can raise the topic, they sidetrack the conversation. They seem to believe that Masema is nuts and must be killed. Former is pretty accurate, and I wouldn’t mind if the latter happened either. The Wise Ones claim they tell this from their dreams, but don’t reveal any specifics. The entire conversation is basically a waste – neither side able to convince the other on either Masema or the Aes Sedai. Surprisingly, the Aes Sedai themselves are not happy about Perrin trying to intercede on their behalf. Pride? Or maybe ji’e’toh is rubbing off on them, like it happened with Egwene.
Returning from the Wise Ones’ tent, Perrin finds Gaul approaching, and Elyas is with him. Elyas, who we last saw halfway through book one. I did wonder a couple of times whether we’d ever see him again. And here he is. Nice to see you man. They have a pretty interesting chat. Firstly, Elyas is a warder, and his Aes Sedai is still alive. He just had to flee when his eyes went yellow. I don’t remember if we were told this in EoTW, if we were I’ve forgotten. Also, it seems Aes Sedai can “fuzz” the warder bond, so that the Warder don’t sense their exact location, only that they’re alive. Elyas also gives Perrin some much-needed advice on how to handle his fiery wife – get angry at her. Perrin is naturally surprised at this, but I hope he’ll take the advice. And here I thought all you people on /r/WoT were so smart to figure out what was going on with Faile, but you’d just read this bit before me! Just kidding, you people are great.
And then Berelain returns, with a woman who turns out to be Alliandre. There’s a short meeting, the long and short of it is that Alliandre is clearly scared to bits and pledges an oath of fealty to Perrin in return for him saving Ghealdan from the Prophet. So, Perrin’s snagged a kingdom of his own. Not too shabby. Though it is a kingdom ravaged by zealots and bandits. Once Perrin leaves, Faile has a talk with her new vassal. Turns out she had a plan in place to kidnap the Queen! I’m glad it didn’t come to that. She basically bullies Alliandre into accompanying Perrin.
Back outside, Perrin has to deal with a bunch of captured zealots, who were caught burning a farm with people inside it. As promised, Perrin has them hanged. Good riddance. And just then we see the first effects of the Bowl – a bit of thunder, a few drops of rain from the cloudless sky. Spooky though the men find it, I sure hope there’s more where that come from, because this is hardly enough to have any effect on the weather.
Questions and an Oath
Somewhere in Amador, Sevanna and her Shaido are being a pain as usual – this time for a captured Seanchan, who they torture to death. But things are not at all well for Sevanna either – though she tries to put a positive spin on things (or is she just in denial?), the defeat at Cairhien, then Dumai’s Wells, then Sammael’s betrayal means they are not nearly as strong as they started off. None of her plans have worked out. And the Wise Ones have noticed this. Resentment is brewing, and Sevanna realised the precariuos position she is in – she’s leading these women who can channel, but she herself can’t. If they have a mind to, they can just dispose of her with a snap of their fingers.
But she has plans. Plans that include an Aes Sedai and an Oath rod. So Sevanna goes to Galina, who is having a very bad time, being literally roasted. Serve her right. Anyway, Sevanna asks her to swear an oath to obey her with the Oath Rod, which will basically give Sevanna accesss to the the Power. Not as good as being able to channel yourself, but an improvement over her current situation. Except that the Wise Ones are on to her, and they, led by Therava, have Galina swear to obey all of them, though Sevanna and Therava’s orders will come first. Then the Wise Ones say they’ve decided Therava will be Sevanna’s “advisor”. The balance of power is indeed shifting. And it’s no wonder – more wonder is that Sevanna managed to control them for so long.
They decide to move the Shaido away from the Seanchan, and go east. Apparently they don’t know that east is Altara, and the Seanchan have captured Ebou Dar. The chapter ends with snow starting to fall. Winter is coming. (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)
A Graendal POV. She’s up to some scheming which honestly seems too petty for one of the Forsaken. Anyway, she’s soon visited by Moghedien and another woman, who calls herself Cyndane. Graendal notes that Cyndane is very strong in the power – stronger than herself. Man, I was so happy that Rand and co. were working through the Forsaken at a steady pace, and would soon eliminate the lot. But now there seems to be a new crop of high level Darkfriends – Moridin, and Shaidar Haran, and now this Cyndane.
Anyway, they tell Graendal that Moridin is Nae’blis, and Graendal must serve him. Wait, now I know whose mindtraps Moridin had in the prologue – one was Moghedien’s, and the second was Cyndane’s. I think. Anyway, Graendal believes they’re messing with her, and tells them to go. But the two women instead try to attack her, but Graendal is faster, and soon has them bound with Compulsion. But even bound by Compulsion, they say the same thing – Moridin is Nae’blis and Graendal must serve him. And then Shaidar Haran makes an appearance. Somehow, he make the True Source “vanish”, which seems to be something distinct from regular shielding. The Superfade is creepy enough to scare even Graendal, and finally she bows and scrapes before him. I’m pretty curious where the Dark One found these new creatures – Moridin and Cyndane could be resurrected Forsaken, but I doubt he would make Moridin Nae’blis in that case.
Meanwhile Cadsuane is hanging out at the Palace in Cairhien, being bossy as usual. Alanna gives her a status report on Rand – mostly that he’s Traveling about in Ilian, and then Sorilea comes to meet her. They talk about Rand. About how he must be strong, and not hard.
He needs to be strong, and makes himself harder. Too hard, already, and he will not stop until he is stopped. He has forgotten how to laugh except in bitterness; there are no tears left in him. Unless he finds laughter and tears again, the world faces disaster. He must learn that even the Dragon Reborn is flesh. If he goes to Tarmon Gai’don as he is, even his victory may be as dark as his defeat.
And I agree wholeheartedly. Rand is earnest in his responsibilities, and determined to save the world, but he is changing too much in the process, and for the worse. I miss the nice young man he was at the beginning of this all. And so Sorilea and Cadsuane agree to work together to make Rand less hard and more strong. Also, Sorilea teaches Cadsuane Traveling.
A Hard Man
Rand and a bunch of assorted nobles are camped near a splinter of Sammael’s army. It seems when Sammael was killed and Illian taken, his forces split up and are basically roaming the countryside in small bands. Rand goes to meet this particular band. I really don’t like how he comes off in the exchange – short tempered, arrogant, overconfident, almost childish in his attempts to scare and intimidate. He gives them an ultimatum – lay down their weapons and go home, or join his forces. Eh, I’m not too worried about them. More concerning is a dizziness and weakness that Rand feels for a few moments when releasing the Power. Is the taint starting to affect him?
Rand returns to his camp, and I have to admit, it’s not one to make a man cheerful. Nobles and their followers from three countries, all mistrusting and disliking each other, and not really loyal to Rand. There’s a man with a message from Taim. The Black Tower continues to grow stronger, with almost five hundred men there, and more being recruited daily. There’s also some code about some blackberry bush.
I harvested that blackberry bush myself. A small bush, and thorny, but a surprising number of berries for the size.
No idea what to make of it. Rand is not happy with news of desertions and losses in training, and his desire to see every deserter dead seems a bit too extreme to me. Yeah, the Black Tower might be getting powerful, but it doesn’t seem a pleasant place to be at all. Not to mention people getting poisoned to death when they show signs of madness. Next, Rand receives news of the Seanchan – they’re planning to move against Illian next. Rand shouldn’t have trouble handling them though, especially with the Asha’man to counter damanes.
Rand’s planning to cleanse saidin somehow – he seems to have a plan, or the bare idea of one, but we have no idea what it is. He sends off the Asha’man with various instructions and orders. And the band of men decides to accept Rand’s ultimatum.
Well, that brings us halfway through the book. I have to say, pretty uneventful chapters. And Rand’s two chapters were so.. bleak. I didn’t enjoy them at all. Someone needs to give the Dragon Reborn a sense of humor and some calm. The best part about this book so far is that it’s shorter.