Spoilers for books 1-10 and Knife of Dreams to ch.37| 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 11, Knife of Dreams. This post covers chapter 31-37.
The House on Full Moon Street
Elayne can’t sleep so she’s spending the night doing boring administrative stuff – presumably hoping that it’ll lull her to sleep. JK, this is serious business. There have been more deaths among the Kin, and Elayne is talking Sumeko into talking them into sticking with each other. I’m reminded of that joke about how girls go to the bathroom in groups because otherwise they get in trouble. It had pictures of Hermione in the Philosopher’s Stone. It was funny, trust me, I’m just not telling it right.
Ahem, moving on. A Sister barges in on her – literally. And it’s a Red one to boot. She declares that she’s now going to “advise” Elayne and she should be grateful. Elayne is all thanks but no thanks and sends her off. Quite satisfying.
Norry comes in next with the fellow spying on Mellar. He has successfully followed him to Shiaine’s house, and overheard enough for Elayne to realise that two of the Black Ajah Sisters are there too. Excellent. Elayne orders Mellar arrested, which is good, and she wants to rush off to capture the Blacks right now, which is stupid. Like, she almost got captured by the Seanchan in Falme, did get captured by Be’lal in Tear, got captured by that forkroot woman, barely survived the gholam and still she insists on acting like she’s Rambo or something. And this is even worse, because she knows that one of the sisters with her is a Black. I bet this doesn’t go well.
And Birgitte tries to explain that to her, but Elayne won’t be budged. And so off they go. Getting to the house, Elayne goes with the other three sisters, leaving their Warders behind. Things seem to go off well enough – they have the two Blacks shielded and bound before they can react, as well as Shiaine, but then four more Blacks surprise them and it’s game over. They kill the other two, though Vandene manages to take out Careane (who was Black too) before dying, so that’s good. And now Elanye is captive by six Black sisters and I bloody called it and she had it coming. I’m honestly just pissed at her and her stupid overconfidence.
Fortunately Birgitte has her back. And she at least is smart enough to not go running in against channelers. Instead, she leads all the guards back to the palace and mobilises all her forces to rescue Elayne. Time is of the essence, but, fortunately, they have the advantage of gateways. Arymilla is pressing them hard, but Birgitte is more worried about rescuing Elayne than making her Queen, and rightly so. The Sea Folk are reluctant to make the Gateway – since their bargain forbids helping in war, but Birgitte points out that without Elayne there is no bargain. Just then she gets news of the mercenaries’ betrayal, and Birgitte has to send part of the rescue forces to hold the wall.
They make the gateway outside Caemlyn, just ahead of the escaping Blacks, and the soldiers rush out, and it is of course a slaughter. The Blacks have balefire and no morals. But Birgitte has planned for this. She again points out how important it is to rescue Elayne, and the Windfinders finally directly take part. One lightning bolt takes out the one with the balefire ter’angreal, and they have the rest shielded in short order. And that’s the end of Elayne’s captivity. So many poor soldiers died because of her overconfidence. I almost wish she wouldn’t get rescued so soon every time so the Blacks could put some fear into the woman. Almost.
And the moment she’s rescued the woman is back on the offensive. She has the force with her teleported behind the assaulting army, and Arymilla’s soldiers get caught between a wall and Elayne. The houses with Arymilla just happen to realise that Elayne would in fact make a better queen, and shift their support to her, which brings her to nine supporters, just one short. Meanwhile, Pelivar and the others are also reported to be coming to Caemlyn. Elayne is worried about what they’ll do, but I’m pretty sure they’re going to join her when they get there, so that should put an end to the succession storyline.
A Cup of Kaf
Karede the Deathwatch Guard is still on Mat’s trail, and he’s followed rumors to the rough area where Mat is wreaking havoc. Um, what rumors? Mat and Tuon have actually been really good at staying under the radar so far. Especially after they parted ways with Luca. This honestly feels a way of handwaving away the fact that Karede would be very unlikely to be able to find Mat.
Anyway, he gets to a Seanchan camp and asks their leader some questions over a cup of kaf. Which, by the way, I just realised is coffee. The topic of conversation is Mat’s harrying of the Seanchan forces, and Karede is smart enough to realise what Mat is after – removing the army from the Maldevine Narrows so that he can slip into Murandy.
The Importance of Dyelin
Pelivar, Ellorien and co. arrive at Caemlyn and want a promise of safe conduct before meeting Elayne. She grumbles a lot about it, saying how it implies that she isn’t honorable or somesuch, but I think it’s just good common sense.
While they arrive, Elayne spends a few pages on this and that, such as starting work on a spynet of her own. They arrive, and want a truce to deal with the Borderlands armies. Elayne tells them that they’re just passing through, no danger, and although Ellorien is pissed, the rest realise that there’s not much else Andor could’ve done about them. Trying to pick a fight with hardcore soldiers from four nations is just stupidity.
And so all but Ellorien give their support to Elayne. Makes sense, IIRC Morgase had her flogged or something. And anyways, doesn’t matter, because Elayne now has enough support to officially become the Queen. Whew. I am so glad that these two plotlines have been wrapped up. All that remains is to reunite the Tower and make peace with the Seanchan, and our protagonists can turn their eyes to bigger issues.
Also, I never really trusted Dyelin. I mean, she’s popular enough that she could declare her candidacy and she’d probably get enough support to become Queen without much effort, but she stayed loyal to Elayne. Good woman.
Under an Oak
Continuing his streak of doing improbable things, Karede has managed to track down the Band which has been evading all Seanchan forces in the area, thanks to his exotic exotic follower, Ajimbura. Two exotics because he’s exotic even for the exotic Seanchan, and therefore obviously super good at tracking. I’m being a bit too touchy about this, but what is, is.
So he rides into the Band’s camp and asks for Thom, because he still thinks that Thom is the mastermind behind all this. Talmanes takes him where Mat and the rest are having something of a picnic, and of course he spots Tuon. Karede tries to bluff, saying he’s got a huge army behind him, which will kill them all unless they let Tuon go. But Mat’s on to him. He knows that all Karede has a small number of Deathwatch guards.
And then, to the fellow’s surprise, he’s still willing to send Tuon off with him. Well, I’m a bit surprised too, but Mat did promise, and this is a pretty good time to fulfill it.
Then, to everyone’s surprise, Tuon says that Mat is her husband, and just like that they’re married. Um, yay! That was a bit out of nowhere, honestly. Mat asks her exactly that – we all knew it was going to happen, but why now? Tuon tells him that one of her damane told her this before arriving at Ebou Dar:
‘Beware the fox that makes the ravens fly, for he will marry you and carry you away. Beware the man who remembers Hawkwing’s face, for he will marry you and set you free. Beware the man of the red hand, for him you will marry and none other.’
So. Mat married Tuon because it was prophesied, and Tuon married Mat because it was prophesied. So. Bloody. Convenient. Using this stuff is of course a fantasy tradition, so one can hardly object, but this is way too much. I was looking forward to Mat convincing Tuon to marry her, and it turns out he needn’t have done anything. Not cool, man, not cool.
Vanin brings news of a small army that’s looking for Tuon, totally hungry for her blood and everything. It is decided that Tuon will leave with Karede ASAP, while he leaves behind a few deathwatch guards with Mat, who will distract the army.
Well, the battle happens, and between Mat’s tactics, Aludra’s artillery and the high tech crossbows, there’s not much of a fight. Although I’m sure even without the latter two, Mat would have figured out something. I love Mat’s reaction when he realises that marrying Tuon makes him a prince:
Mat took off his hat and scrubbed fingers through his hair. He had told everyone who would listen that he did not like nobles, did not want to be one, and he had meant it. He still meant it. And now he bloody was one! He did the only thing he could. He laughed until his sides ached.
The irony is real.
Tuon arrives in Ebou Dar. Whew. I trusted Karede, but still, there was some risk. And it’s a mark of the accelerating pace that we didn’t spend about a dozen chapters following her journey. It’s quite satisfying to see her take down Suroth – because turns out the fellow leading that army Mat just wrecked was Suroth’s man. She’s made da’covale. A bad fate, but nothing a Darkfriend like her doesn’t deserve.
Pevara and some other reds come to the Black Tower to meet Taim. It’s really unsettling the way he’s made the place into this hardcore authoritarian mini kingdom, complete with a fancy palace. Anyway, they say they want to bond Asha’man. I 100% accept them to be shooed off, but surprisingly, Taim accepts:
“Accept ‘very well’ and ask who will let you bond them. Besides, you must remember the old saying. Let the lord of chaos rule.” The chamber erupted with men’s laughter.
Just coincidence, or confirmation of his Darkfriend-iness? As though we need any confirmation at this point. More worrying is the laughter, which implies that all of the others might be Darkfriends too. What have you done Rand?
That’s a wrap for book eleven. You guys all promised how things were going to start happening again, and the book certainly delivered. We rescued Faile and finalised Elayne’s succession. Mat got married. Still peeved about how that one worked out. Poor Rand continues to have the worst time of all, adding yet another injury courtesy Semirhage. Moiraine is coming back! So yeah, fun book, gotten things moving, and I’m thoroughly hyped for what’s coming.
Also, this is the last book written by Robert Jordan himself. Man, for all it’s quirks, his writing was really great. RJ spun a tale like no other, and so frigging epic in scope. It’s so sad that he didn’t get to finish his masterpiece. But by all account Sanderson has done the series justice, so that’s good.
Onwards to The Gathering Storm. I feel so lucky that I won’t have to wait at all. Like, people waited years for the next volumes, and I just have them all ready and waiting for me. Expect the first post for TGS tomorrow.