I've realized, we're still getting a lot of clothing description here! But at least not pages upon pages of it, so it's not as jarring.
Huh. Well, Rand's pretty... open about being Lews Therin. Cads doesn't seem to like that much!
That reminds me... what DID happen to Rand's channeling sickness? Was that caused somehow between the split between personalities?
"I've never heard of a paralis-net." Hrm. I could have sworn we've heard that name before... was it not from Cadsuane? Maybe she actually hasn't heard the term. If she has... that's... chilling. Black Ajah? Despite her appearance in New Spring?
Whoah, I'd almost forgotten about Hurin! It's sweet that Rand wants to apologize to him.
Rumors about the Sea Folk and Seanchan allying? Oh dear, that can't be good!
And hah. So now we've got the Sam Vimes "boots" theory of economics, and the Mat Cauthon "boots" allegory of economics. Any others?
Huh... what are these references to "The Highest" from the Aes Sedai at the Black Tower? Seems an awfully odd way to refer to the Amyrlin. (Maybe remnants of Elaida's ego? Maybe she insisted on something like that?)
And Mat is a "bad influence" on Perrin? How very... stereotypically wifey of Faile. *sigh*
Just who is this Aravine? it's apparent that she's supposed to be SOMEBODY, but I don't know who!
So Noal starts making a map inside the tower. Talk about your flashbacks to RPGing... and then with the room exits changing around, I'm flashing back to MUDs/text games. Hell, I'm almost surprised Mat didn't think something like "we're in a maze of twisting passageways, all alike..."
A new icon for the Snakes and Foxes? I don't recall seeing that one before. And the "Light of the World" chapter title is pretty... blatant. Pretty much at that point, I think everyone has to know what bargain's going to be made.
"Save the Aes Sedai, Save the World," anyone?
And yeah, as soon as Mat started with his self-congratulatory bit, did everyone KNOW they were fucked? I mean, really now.
And yet another pretty blatant chapter title, "The One Left Behind." Especially since we know WHO is going to be left behind. It's not going to be Thom since he's linked to Moiraine, it's not going to be her, and it's sure not going to be Mat. Oh well, at least we find out that Noal WAS Jaim Farstrider. And he's presumably Malkieri? I guess that'd make sense - his nation falls, and he ends up a famous wanderer.
I wonder how the doorway in Tear became broken!
And ooo, we also finally see just *why* Mat was given the Ashandarei! Yay!
Now I'm curious why Gawyn's being all closemouthed about the rings he picked up off the fallen assassins. Also curious about who those mysterious farmers are that show up among the armies for the Last Battle.
Back to Mat's group, I wonder who the hell it was that was in the Tower with Moiraine - she speaks of a man saying she's not the one he was looking for. WTF? But at least we find out just how Lanfear died.
"Dearest Thom"? The hell? Okay, that's just not like Moiraine at all. Where did that come from? THAT coupling doesn't seem totally forced or anything!
Well hey, been a while since we've seen Shaidar Haran. I'd almost forgotten about him! We still haven't found out just who/what he's supposed to be, have we? And I don't want to think about what exactly happened to Graendal, especially given Myrddraals' reputation. That's way too... well, way too fucking offhanded for what I suspect happened.
And whoah, so THAT'S what happened to Noam. At least Perrin has that loose end tied up. Although I have to wonder just how his body's surviving.
We FINALLY get to see what Verin's letter says. And wow, looks like she made a big error in judgment there! I wonder why the hell she didn't set up something a little more... direct, and effective. I mean, seriously! That was just contrived. But at least we don't have the Invasion of Damocles hanging over our heads anymore...
So who are the red-veiled "Aiel"? Eelfinn, come out into the real world somehow, for some reason? Now that I think about it, "Aiel" is close to "Aelfinn/Eelfinn." Hrm... interesting.
And what does everyone think of the Prophecies of the Shadow? The bit about the Fallen Blacksmith/Broken Wolf? It doesn't necessarily imply that they're the same person, but whoever dies is going to cause people to despair so... hrm. Ponderings! Although this does seem to link the Forsaken to the Towers of Midnight... which otherwise are pretty much Sir Not Appearing in This Book. Other than the title, and possibly the Prologue.
And then of course I look into the Glossary, not even reading most of it but just skimming through a bit, and happen to read Graendal's entry. Whoah whoah What. The. Fuck?? I guess I should throw in a spoiler warning here since it talks about something not *overtly* revealed in the actual text of the book, but... what? I mean, seriously, what?
Anyhow, Overall thoughts:
I'm sorta like some other people, left not knowing what to say! Although I suspect that's partly from the effects of finally finishing an 800+ page book! I mean, seriously yo, that causes some mental fatigue!
Overall, stuff is happening at a rapid pace, but as much as I want to see the series wrapped up in good time, it's feeling at times less like a narrative, and more like a damn footrace. It's damn good to see things wrapped up/revealed, but when it's done with all the eclat of a wet sponge hitting the pavement, well, it's a bit flat.
I've also noticed less of the former tics of the series fading, which is welcome. (Less birchings and spankings and nekkid wimmins for a start)... but then Branderson has some tics of his own. Especially with Mat, damnit. And he just doesn't *quite* nail the voice of some of the characters, although he's gotten a bit better with Mat. (Or maybe I'm just getting more used to it.)
So.. I don't know! I do appreciate a lot of what the new author has done, but I guess it's just not... perfect. So, yeah. And unfortunately some of the flaws of before (the huge cast of characters, too much stuff to remember and keep straight, etc.) is still in force. But at least we're almost done!