Yay, back to Egwene! I saw it was an Egwene chapter at the end of the previous section of postiness, but figured I'd stop where I did, and leave myself something good to be going on with at the start of the next section. ;)
Man, cracking nuts for Aes Sedai? I find it a bit odd that she can expect to be seen as Amyrlin at all when she's seen doing such menial busy-work. But enh, I guess partly it's how she handles it. Maybe. I'd hate to see how the Aiel would react to becoming Tower Novices, though. (Or come to think of it, maybe I wouldn't...)
For once we get a "Tell, don't Show" what with Egwene giving the infodump on her work within the Ajahs, and I thoroughly approve of it. Because let's face it, seeing her do this bit by bit would just be freaking boring. So... Infodump Good!
Egwene's thinking of the "Idiot Greens!" and so on, so I guess she's still not perfect yet. :p Which is also good. She's matured a hell of a lot, but I'd rather leave her some believable flaws, thanks.
Aaand... things take a swing for the worse. Katerine shows up again, so Egwene is now probably pretty much under the thumb of the Black Ajah. And suddenly she's meant to be doing menial chores. Which makes it pretty unbelievable that she then won't choose to escape when Laras (!) tries to help her do so. Yeah yeah, working from within and having courage and all is all well and good, but you've just been thinking to yourself how your self-imposed task is going to be pretty much impossible given your current conditions, so just GET OUT already. Idiot! I do have to wonder what's Up with Laras now, though. She, like about everyone else in the damn series, seems to be more than she initially appears. Bah.
And a lovely dinner with Elaida, where Egwene gets to deliver a looong deserved verbal beatdown to Elaida. Who finally snaps and delivers a less verbal beatdown to Egwene. We get a bit anvilicious though with the whole "I've been hurting like this every time I see what you're doing to the Tower!" bit, but still, in general, a very good chapter. Things Happen! And I've been wanting to see someone tell Elaida things like that for a loong time.
And hey, at least Gawyn is coming. It'll kinda grate if he has to step in to rescue Egwene, but she's been doing a good enough job of helping herself, and rising above her captivity, that I won't mind quite as much if it happens. That is supposed to be what Warders are for, after all.
Back to Semirhage. Bah.
There still seems to be a bit of politicking between Rand's faction and Cadsuane's. She actually has some good ideas for Rand, but she's still way too self-confident. Or, well, not to put too fine a point on it, smug.
My reaction to seeing (well, hearing. Well, reading) Semirhage throw the food on the floor and the Aes Sedai allowing her to have new, better food was "oh, no. Oh HELL no." Luckily, Cadsuane realizes their mistake, and the mistake they've *been* making with Semi, and steps in to put a stop to that.
And here we have the scene that I suspect prompted leighdb to have the reaction of both wanting to throw the book against the wall and cheering the scene on at the same time. (Somewhat like skwidly, who suspected it of the spanking in general.) Because on the one hand, we have another "ooo, a spanking! a SPANKING!" scene, which gyaaaahgh. But on the other hand, given the circumstances, SOMETHING humiliating of the sort was very very richly needed, and we know that Our Heroes are hampered by Rand the Bland's refusal to let them use actual torture.
And we have a brief and slightly jarring switch back to Perrin, who at least seems to be Getting a Clue. I do have to wonder though, what happened to Elyas? (I suspect it was something I forgot from KoD.) Also also, I have to suspect that there might be SOMETHING going on with the whole Perrin-being-a-smith thing, and the Aiel not wanting to kill/harm a Blacksmith - I wonder if that's going to be important somewhere later on, especially now that Perrin has chosen the hammer over the axe.
(Which we've also finally had it spelled out why that was important, not that it was THAT hard to see, but it's nice that Perrin actually realizes it.)
Back to the Rebel Aes Sedai. We see Sheriam again, who I'd forgotten was under Halima's thumb, but she at least seems to be swinging back to normal.
The big problem though is that Elaida has Traveling. Or at least the Rebels think so - I'm not sure though. I mean, it may just be the Black Ajah, who is keeping it from the main Tower Aes Sedai in general.
We also see a bit of a reference to actual money sources for the White Tower, which is a nice change. Apparently a part of their income at least is from Tributes from other nations.
And then Siuan goes and *gasp* takes some self-blame (although only in her own mind), and registers some Aes Sedai weaknesses, which, *le gasp*
Most of the chapter though serves as an impending Sense of Dread, not so much because of the Traveling thing, but because Lelaine is trying to cause some trouble by grasping power, when Egwene herself is in difficulty. Like there weren't enough problems!
Back to Tuon! Who we haven't seen for a bit, and who thankfully made it to Ebou Dar safely, OFF SCREEN. Yay!
I really wish I could remember what happened with Suroth from KoD. I didn't remember that she'd been exposed as a DF!
We get to see Beslan again, and see some of his brains, as well as the high political skill of Tuon. And (assuming he means the Oath, which I think he does, given his surprise at making it) it looks like he's now become firmly under the Seanchan Empire, which could end up bad. Or good. We'll have to see.
The whole "you'll be under us, but still be in charge" deal sounds okay, until you remember just how strict some of the Seanchan ways are... and the whole, y'know, leashing anyone who can channel dealy. Although as Tuon points out in her thoughts, Beslan doesn't exactly have any huge love for the Tower in general, so probably in theory wouldn't mind. I suspect that when the Empire is scouring the streets and taking away daughters from families that are Beslan's loyal subjects though, the midden might hit the windmill. If it gets to that point, of course.
Also, I wonder if Tuon IS meant to be ta'veren.
Blah blah blah, war talk. Zzzz. (Sorry, that sorta thing bores me. :p )
And it looks like the Tar Valon attack is being planned and imminent, which I approved of (since while in theory I don't want it to happen, it looks like it's inevitable, and at least that'd be one more dangling plot thread out of the way), but then we get taken up short by the re-appearance of Tylee (who I can barely remember... was she helping Perrin?), and Tuon decides to meet with Rand after all, and leave the White Tower for the future. Which at least gets the plot moving in another direction, but still.
The Bloodknives sound fearsome, and like a gun over the mantle so to speak, and the whole Voicing thing is weird. That must be some totally subtle yet completely elaborate system of handtalk, bah! Personally, I think it'd just look weird with the High Blood in question sitting around making all these weird gestures instead of just talking, and if they're *that* subtle, how do they get such a lot of meaning into them? But whatever. -_-
Back to Mat! Yaaaay! Loves for Mat!
And of course just after I'm glad to see him show up again, he has to rant about how women are oxen, or mules, or whatever. Grr. *thwap* But at least he's secretly worried about Tuon. And the thought that he's now a nobleman is amusing. Prince of Ravens! Hah! (And very fitting for Odin.)
And although I liked seeing Mat again, the chapter was fairly short and didn't leave me much to talk about. Although I *do* hope we don't really end up with much of a detour before finally dealing with the bloody Tower. Just get there and deal with it, already!
Another chapter where I don't have too much commentary. Perrin in the Wolf Dream again, and more Hopper, which is nice. And it's really refreshing to see Perrin actually admit to himself that there are good bits about the whole Wolfbrother thing. He's still being a bit of a stubborn blockhead, though.
And Faile seems to just be flat-out retconned to actually, y'know, caring about the people below her, and being much more reasonable, even when Berelain is brought up. Which is welcome, although she'll never be my favorite character.
The whole little funeral service thing is nice, though. And the fact that the book actually acknowledges that there are such things as privies in Randland. :p
Back to Semirhage again, le sigh. But at least things happen.
We get a mention of Cadsuane's "paralis-net," which, more new concepts, egh. We also get a re-appearance of Shaidar Haran, who'd I'd completely forgotten about. Wonder what's up with him?
Looks like there's a Black Ajah among the Aes Sedai around Rand/Cadsuane. And frankly I'm not convinced that it was Elza, since she seemed to be Compelled (Compulsed?).
And surprise surprise, it turns out to have been a shockingly bad idea to leave a captured Forsaken a) alive and b) unStilled. *shock* *horror* *surprise*
We do get a bit of Lews Therin being surprisingly... helpful. That of course though is buried by other events.
We get Semi appearing briefly as a Servant, which I expect to add fuels to the Two Servants Theory fire, if that isn't resolved later in this book anyhow.
We also get to see Min actually comport herself well against a Forsaken. Whee! Semi mentions that this is the second time though... was the first time in the whole battle when Semi was captured in the first place, or is this something we don't know about?
And even when being held by Semirhage with Min being in danger in the same damn room, Rand is still going on about how he won't kill a woman. He is such. A. Fucking. Idiot.
Aaaand we have a whole Star Wars scene, what with Rand channeling the Dark Side, and the hand thing, and all. (You... are not my father! Hehhehehehehehehehe... Now we just need his Aiel father to be brought back by the Dark one from the grave...)
Anyhow, this whole chapter ends in a bunch of "oh shit," since Rand has now channeled the True Power (although at least Semi is now blasted into oblivious, a plus) and he's now completely shut off from everyone. That.... is just not going to be good, all around.