Also: Now past the halfway point! Woot!
Chapter 23: Dealing with the aftermath of the attack on Rand.
I CANNOT keep all of these bloody Aes bloody Sedai (as Mat might say) straight in my head. Too freaking many of them, many with similar names. After checking, Daigian, the one that died, is the one that Nynaeve was speaking to earlier, teaching her the "hundred weaves," and who finally seemed to be unbending toward her. But I really don't want to have to flip back through the book (or through the FAQ or whatever) to figure out who each Aes Sedai mentioned is. -_-
So apparently Ezra or Erza or whatever her name was, WAS Black Ajah, and I'd forgotten. Cadsuane's thoughts still make sense though - how did she manage to get through the shields? Unless Shaidar Haran knocked them out originally, then she inverted the weaves to tamper with them, or something? Argh. Confusing.
I'm glad to see that Narishma at least is still human, and caring enough to check on Min. I still loves me some Narishma, even if he had the bad taste to be bonded to an Aes Sedai. I still wonder what the "he who follows after" or whatever it is business is going to be about.
Well, at least Rand is now apparently over the Killing Women thing. Or bluffing very well about it. Pity's he's showing it in such a completely stupid and horrible way! I mean, I'm not exactly Cadsuane's biggest fan, but this is just Not Good. Especially since unless I'm reading it wrong, Rand now still seems to be using the True Power.
I have to wonder if Rand has already been warped a bit by the True Power, or maybe if Moridin is influencing him now, somehow.
Chapter 24: Gawyn becomes a Rebel Without a Pause
*Ahem* Anyhow, not sure if I'm pleased to see Gawyn again or not. On the one hand, he's been annoying for a while now. On the other, he's had at least some small application of Clue Bat, which will hopefully leave some lasting effect, and make him more tolerable again. Since I used to rather like him.
We get a quick glimpse of an Aes Sedai face in a washerwoman's outfit. Like we're not supposed to realize this is important.
And Gawyn whips out a "non-lethal" swordform that also happens to be good against large groups. Yeah, right, pull the other one, it's got bells on. Oh, that's okay, it's used by blademasters training people. Which I guess totally negates any need for, y'know, actual training sword or anything.
Sorry, just not buying it.
At least we get to see Gawyn admitting he's been a fool. I imagine quite a few readers probably enjoyed reading that! Also nice to see Gawyn get verbally bitchslapped around a bit by Bryne for being a whiny prat who doesn't want to accept the truth.
And we end with the introduction of Shemerin, who I also couldn't place at the time, but after reading a bit more, I have. Of course.
Chapter 25: Sheriam, cutting to Egwene.
So Sherium's still jumpy, even after all that happened. And now we finally stop dancing around the freaking issue and find out that yes, yes Sheriam is Black Ajah. Was hoping it wasn't true. :/ Oh well. :( Well, at least if she manages to steal the Dream Ter'Angreal, Siuan will still have hers.
Egwene: Still not
Chapter 26: Aviendha is Still an Idiot. And the Aes Sedai are Bugged.
Ah, I should have thought about the fact that Aviendha also had a bond to Rand, and could raise the alarm. And did, as it turns out.
And with a bit of an unintentional prod from Min, Aviendha FINALLY breaks down and confronts the Wise Ones. And yes, yes, it was exactly the stupid-assed reason that many of us suspected - she was being punished until she stood up for herself and more or less declared herself a Wise One. And there are reasons given for it, but I still don't buy it as anything but stupid and backward. The fact that Sevanna ended up uncontested and with the authority of a Wise One as a side effect of this method is just one lovely side-effect.
And we jump back to Sheriam and the others, which is a bit weird, and their quick meeting about Shemerin, who's a fucking mouse. I have *no* clue who Magla is, or if we've even seen her before. And Egwene it turns out really IS an idiot and too stubborn for her own good, because even now she's too damn stubborn to let them rescue her and bring her to where she's *needed*.
Chapter 27-28: Fear and Loathing in Las Small Town.
Seriously, I forgot to jot down the name of the place, and didn't remember it.
More "bloody women" whining from Mat. He's turning out to be probably the least smooth transition from one writer to another, so far. Or at least, while other characters have noticeably had a shift, most of theirs is for the better.
Yay, Thom! Hadn't seen him for a bit.
Mat is better than lying than either Rand or Perrin. What a shock, really. ;)
So it was obvious that SOMETHING was going on with the village but... that's just... bizarre. Thoughts on it? Bubble of evil? Some effect we've seen before in some other way?
I'm not sure what the *purpose* of it is, except maybe to get Mat to go investigate who's hunting him and Perrin (which I'm curious about as well!), but it definitely leaves a bit of a chill.
Also: I'm a bit surprised that Delarn lives, and even more surprised that they didn't end up finding him having woken up in the village, now being stuck there. I guess either a) the person has to fully die during the night in order to be trapped in the village, or b) Mat and the others are due for a bit of a surprise when they make it back to the others, although if that were the case I don't know why it wouldn't already have been addressed.
At Mat likes the hat. Don't mess with the hat.
Wrapping-up thoughts: Hrm, halfway through already, and no Loial or Galad as of yet. Kinda looking forward to seeing them again, seeing what they're up to. Although I'm not really looking forward to seeing the Whitecloaks again in general. Maybe they'll get a quick axing, a la the Prophet. One can only hope.