Tuesday, December 29, 2009

who has finished reading THE GATHERING STORM and wants to chat about it with me?

Don't click on the comments unless you've finished, since it will be FULL OF SPOILERS!


Your resident Wheel of Time fanatic,




moonrat said...

I don't want to go first. It's my blog, I ALWAYS have to go first. Anyone else want to suggest threads of conversation?

Elspeth Antonelli said...

Are we discussing Churchill's book or the incredible movie starring Finney and Redgrave? Please say its the movie; I could discuss (and gush) for HOURS.


moonrat said...

hahaha HATE to disappoint, but i meant book 12 of the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson. woopsies.

The Rejection Queen said...

Maybe I should pick this one up.

Liz Kreger said...

Oh, man ... I still have to re-read the last three or four books to brush up on what's happening with that series. Just havin' a hard time finding the time to indulge myself.

When I get through that I'd LOVE to chat about the series. This has been one of my favs for probably the last twenty or so years.

moonrat said...

HURRY UP AND READ THEM!!! then come back here!! i was reading in tandem with my brother for a long time, but he's fallen behind!! boo. i'm desperate to actually TALK about the book instead of reading the amazon.com consumer reviews and PRETENDING i'm talking to the reviewers ;)

Pamala Knight said...

I've just started the Magician's by Lev Grossman and The Gathering Storm is next in line on my TBR list. BUT, my kids are home this week and the hubba is on mini break from the firehouse, which means that my time is usually not my own. So I'll try to hurry up and read so we can chat, maybe in a week or two? K?

moonrat said...

ok, Pamala. i will be very, very patient. ::sob::

(just kidding. i can wait :)

Doug Hill said...

I finished TGS a few weeks ago, and re-read the entire series in the months before then.

Is there a specific part of it you want to talk about?

moonrat said...

oh, thank goodness, Doug. oh, let's star with the basics!

-what did you think? in general?

-were you surprised with any plot twists?

-what did you think of the pacing?

-what about the style?

Doug Hill said...

Forgive me if my answers are a little bit rusty. I devoured the book and have not reread it yet. I also had only read Knife of Dreams for the second time right before then, so hopefully those events don't creep into my head.

-what did you think? in general?

In general, I thought it was quite good, although I honestly expected for more cliffhangers than we got. Then again, I was happy to have a "mostly" full resolution to the Aes Sedai war.

If there were any part I didn't like, it felt like Mat and Perrin were in the book quite a bit but didn't really do a whole lot. They "did" things, but it was more to show the world's transformation.

-were you surprised with any plot twists?

I was surprised by how Masema was killed off and dismissed near the beginning. It felt much more like a dismissal of an unwanted character than a satisfying conclusion to a story arc.

I was surprised at the meeting between Rand and Tuan, and how poorly that went. I was expecting some sort of resolution, but instead it simply escalated. Considering Rand's end-of-book transformation, I'm sure that will work itself out.

Honestly, I also wasn't expecting Rand's "Grinch" moment (heart grows several sizes on the mountain) at the end. I anticipated him actually doing something devastating. That was satisfying, although having just watched 'The Grinch,' the parallels were unavoidable.

-what did you think of the pacing?

I could definitely tell that it wasn't Jordan writing.. and this felt better. Pacing was never Jordan's strength. TGS did a great job of not over-focusing on any one character for too long while still moving a large amount of events forward. Some of the earlier books went so long between events that I would forget what had happened. No such issue here.

-what about the style?

Brandon does a great job of using Jordan's voice and language while adapting to his own pacing. It creates a new style that reminds me of the more action-paced books in the WoT series such as Eye of the World and Knife of Dreams.

As this is the end, we don't need to spend paragraphs and pages extrapolating on the differences between the sexes or of different cultures. Those are best left to subtleties and occasional comments. Mr. Sanderson handles that well.

moonrat said...

thanks, doug.

i definitely agree re: pacing. i was so pleased that the book moved along, and felt that about twice as much happened in it as did in Crown of Swords through Crossroads of Twilight combined.

i was disappointed, though, that there were no emotional moments. i didn't really feel an emotional connection at any particular time--even the scene with Tam, which I think should have been a real heart-wrencher.

i was really pleased that Nynaeve was brought back in as a real person--in later books, she'd kind of become a cardboard cut-out of her former self, with no clear motives and lots of stupid pigheadedness. she's such a potentially powerful character; i'm glad to see her take on more humanity.

conversely, i felt some of the other characters actually became thinner or MORE like cardboard cutouts of their former selves. eg Cadsuane.

and yeah, the Perrin and Mat sections seemed like they didn't really go anywhere.

also, WHY HAVEN'T WE RESCUED MOIRAINE YET?!?!? argh. i was REALLY counting on that in this book.

Doug Hill said...

I became more emotionally involved in Egwene's struggle. I felt her frustration a lot, and cheered whenever she got even a small victory.

The emotion for Rand will come in the next book now that the walls are down. Even the meeting with Tam was an intended struggle for him, and his resistance was the culmination of him becoming the alien that even scared him. Book 13 will show us a VERY different Rand.

It is ironic that you mention Nynaeve and Cadsuane since they literally changed places in the book along with their level of character changing. This also felt like Sanderson re-emphasizing a core character while putting a side character "in her place" - significant to the plot but not stealing too much attention from those who need it more.

I felt the same frustration when Morraine wasn't rescued, but I see two good reasons why it wasn't done in TGS.

One - To do it justice, it has to be a good chunk of the book. That either reduces or pushes back the resolution of the Aes Sedai war. Pushing it back loses us the White Tower view of the ending scene, while reduction just makes something that was awesome.. well, less awesome.

Two - Morraine is still viewed as this grand leader by the core group. Had she been re-introduced directly into the story before the Aes Sedai conflict ended, there may have been a mental conflict of leadership for readers. It should be much better for the story for Egwene to be the established Amyrlin Seat before that happens.

moonrat said...

Yeah, Egwene's thread was very real and pretty* convincing to me.

Good call re: Moiraine. I reread the entire series in prep, and she (surprisingly) emerged as my favorite character in this read-through (maybe because I'm older now?). But, to your point, I would probably happily sit through a whole book about rescuing her. I've found that the narratives of Jordan's I reacted to the best were the long, single-perspective ones, not the scattered, short ones. Eg EYE OF THE WORLD and GREAT HUNT are perhaps the strongest books in terms of being compelling novels. The best stuff happens in SHADOW RISING, but the first two are better books. And yeah, the whole series has been almost meaningless to me since Moiraine's been gone.

I found Rand very changed from his previous self, though. And I don't mean "hardened." I mean... not really the same character as in KoD.

Re: twists: I was disappointed with the way Sheriam's character was eliminated. It felt weak not to give her more nuanced motives. But I loved what happened with Verin. Although (I'll admit it) at first I hated it. I sent about 5 angry text messages to my dad and brother while reading the beginning of that chapter, but when I got to the end I had come around.

I thought the twist with his pulling the True Power was very, very clever--and I liked the way it developed. But wouldn't there have been other repercussions? I would have liked to see what Hurin responds to fleshed out a little more. Also, would the Dark One not totally hunt Rand down for doing that? Or Moridin, at least?

And just generally thank god I didn't have to read about Elayne in this book. Her plot line has gotten SO boring. And the Sea Folk. I can't stand them. Phew.

*I say pretty convincing because I found myself a little disengaged from the characters I was used to since the writing style was different--not Sanderson's fault, as I think he did right in not trying to falsely immitate, but I was certainly less engaged with the characters in this book. Probably one of the cons of the excellent pacing--simply not what I was expecting.

Doug Hill said...

VERIN! Oh my, now that you remind me of that, it may be one of my favorite moments in the series. It made me want to go and re-read every part of the series she had been in to get clues.

I also felt very dumb for never having thought about there ever being a spy for the 'good guys' as it were.

I never found Sheriam to be that strong of a character, honestly. I wasn't disappointed in her swift dismissal as I was tired of her.

As far as the "long, single-perspective" narratives versus the "scattered, short ones," I must point out that even the first two books have quite a bit of separation. Jordan simply handles it better at that point as there's nothing else important for the reader going on in the world. It is just 2-4 plot lines and still not that many characters and nations that we have to juggle.

Now we need a full Wiki just to keep track of all of the characters, nations, and events going on in the world.

Considering that there were a large amount of events still going on in the world, I thought Sanderson did a great job balancing it all while still focusing primarily on just a few major plots. It just unfortunately left a few major characters with little to do.

More than anything, I cannot wait for the characters to get back together again. That is what I miss about the early books - they'd start together, separate, come back together. I'm guessing that won't happen until the end of the next book at the earliest.

As far as being disengaged from the characters.. I'm somewhat emotionally disengaged in the real world, so I'm not surprised I didn't notice that.

J.D. Klousia said...

I didn't re-read the series before picking up TGS, because I got so angry with the last few books. I think it was Crossroads of Twilight that nearly made me give up on the series altogether - it simply went nowhere slowly.* The focus had also been taken off Rand, so I was very glad to see him front-and-centre in TGS.

I think overall Sanderson has done a good job of taking so many plot lines and shifting the focus back to where it should be. I agree with Doug that it seems as though Masema was discarded, but I think it probably had to happen.

Maybe I just missed it in my reading, but I thought that Rand was supposed to cry when he was on top of Dragonmount (a prophecy). But perhaps we'll see him up there again.

You're right that Perrin and Mat didn't seem to go anywhere, but I'd also add Aviendha to that list. She was my favourite of Rand's three mistresses, but in TGS all she did was mope around wondering how she'd pissed off the wise ones. But the answer was so simple that I felt like yelling at her for most of the book.

Gotta cut this post off here.......

* I call it the 'Robert Jordan effect' - when a writer's work becomes successful and they attempt to extend the series beyond what they had originally planned. Same thing happens with TV quite a bit.

moonrat said...

Doug--I was saying just that to my dad the other day, that I miss the books where there's kind of a "quest" element that culminates in reunion among all the central characters. (But hey, if the Last Battle can't do that, I guess nothing can...)

JD--YES I wanted to KILL Aviendha. Even *I* knew what the Wise Ones wanted and I'm pretty dense! And yeah, she was my favorite too.

On the subject of Rand's mistresses, I'm trying to figure out how they're all equal. I mean, Min seems to have him pretty exclusively--and has for a long time. Before that, Aviendha sort of did--only in a violent, un-sexual way. Elayne's never really been able to spend much time with him at all--but I guess she has his spawn? Is that her compensation? It all doesn't seem very fair.

onefinemess said...

My brief opinion is on the blog here.

Briefer take:

I really enjoyed it, and just thinking back on it now has me metaphorically foaming for the last two.

I'm really hoping that weird town scene with Mat means something. I didn't have any issues with how any of the characters were written really (yes, Gawyn IS annoying) and I found Rand's realization actually convincing.

Robert W. Leonard said...

I loved it, it made me even more excited about the next two books.

Regarding Verin, my wife and I wondered if this was going to happen. She happened to catch Verin lie in book 2. And in another she mentioned a specific number of years ago that she made her last big mistake. The two pointed toward her being black ajah. I thought her scene was fantastic.

I think the reason Moiraine didn't get rescued in 12 was because of all the other ties to Arthurian Legend. In many ways Moiraine is what Merlin was to Arthur. And Merlin only came back in Arthur's great time of need before the end. I can't wait for her to get rescued!

What did you think of the end? Was that Rand accepting he is the Dragon? It would be interesting if he could now have full access to all the memories of past lives. We'd see a whole new level of channeling if so. Or was he finally cracking? I'm a bit nervous to find out. :)

moonrat said...

re: the ending: i wish rand had cried instead.


in a melancholy way, i really miss the sweet boy from Eye of the World and Great Hunt. but he is gone, gone, gone.

Seth said...

Not much to add to what Doug and Moon have already discussed.

I just wanted to note that there are 2 distinct instances of Verin that made my hypothesize that she was a double agent for the Light.

1) (can't remember the exact place) In the Great Hunt Verin obviously lies about Moraine sending her to Rand. This flag her as Black Ajah for certain.

2) In the Prologue of TCoS Verin is using a form of Compulsion when interrogating the captive Aes Sedai. She thinks to her self that she needs to pass on what she has learned and the cipher, as well as how to get Rand safely to the last battle. These 2 thoughts are not very Black Ajah-ish.

Granted it isn't in your face obvious, but her mannerisms in the prologue really tickled my brain about the twist that was revealed in TGS.

Oh, also, was Verin collecting all the pictures of Mat and Perrin that she came across on her way to the little village where she meets Mat?

Oh, and in Ch 13 of WH you will see where Verin gets "poison" that she uses to commit suicide. It is completely in passing and non-obvious until after you know what her eventual fate will be.

"Verin gets a small vial of sleeping potion from Sorilea. She tells Cadsuane about Shalon and Ailil, then accompanies Cadsuane to see about Alanna. (WH,Ch13)"

Sorilea actual states that prescribed use is a couple drops for sleep more than that and you might sleep for a day or more and much more will cause you to never wake up.

moonrat said...

oh my gosh, Seth, you're so right.

I remember the "lie" from Great Hunt--had figured RJ just goofed. Should have known better!!

And yes, the compulsion certainly threw me! I was like, that's not right. But I never knew what all that was about. Also, her note to Perrin not to trust Alanna threw me--especially when Alanna bonds Rand and through various circumstances seems to be revealed as not a bad guy. But I guess I came to the conclusion that she was a lone wolf. And I guess she is, at that.

TOTALLY forgot about Sorilea's poison. You're so, so right.

Phew, this gave me the shivers.

Seth said...

I think the reason that Verin may be warning Perin about Alanna is so that she won't get her hands on all three boys.

I am pretty sure that Verin was not expecting Alanna to bound Rand. Maybe I am wrong though.

Doug Hill said...

I just remembered another part of the book that I need to re-read, but I'm still trying to figure out if it is really as obvious as it seems or if we are being swerved. (I would love other opinions on this.)

Upon reading the book, I felt 100% sure that Mazrim Taim was one of the Forsaken and always had been. Now I'm starting to wonder if it is one of those "so obvious, it must actually be someone close to him" swerves.


Seth said...

Not sure what part of the books in particular you are talking about.

I think Taim is one of Jordan's red herrings (or not so red perhaps). I think that Taim is Taim and is being directed by a forsaken (Moridin is my guess).

He was actually captured by the Saldeans remember? I can't imagine one of the forsaken being captured in that fashion (although we have seen them be captured, so it is not unheard of).

No forsaken point of view has revealed anything about Taim being a forsaken either.

Also remember that Dashiva (Osan'gar) was at the black tower, and we all know how little the forsaken get along.

moonrat said...

Mazrim Taim!! Thanks for bringing him up. When I finished KoD last week, I was obsessed with that conversation and kept looking up things on the internet, but I'd totally forgotten this week because he's not in GS at all!!

Anyway, I am totally 100% convinced that Mazrim Taim is Demandred. Like, beyond a shadow of a doubt. (This in spite of the fact that there's lots and lots of evidence to prove he's not... and also because RJ stated in an interview that he's not. Argh.) But I just can't shake my gut feeling. I mean, when he's proven not to be in the book, I guess I'll come round. But for now I'm staying strong.

If you're interested, there's a fascinating (and one-year-old) conversation. Google "Is Mazrim Taim Demandred" and it's the first hit that comes up. One guy poses a bunch of arguments I totally buy, then someone else academically dismisses them all in a way that is well-argued and should be convincing. BUT MY GUT SPEAKS!

Doug Hill said...

It took me awhile to find the section I remembered as I thought it was in the middle of the book and not in the Prologue. It is the meeting of the Forsaken where Graendal is summoned.

I got the distinct feeling from the description of their location that they just might be in Taim's palace at the Black Tower. After all, what better place to hide that you regularly channel than a place where other men channel regularly? Also, now that they have Aes Sedai there, the female Forsaken can channel there without as much suspicion.

Seth said...


Back to TGS?

the Seanchan having Travelling now could turn out to be interesting. With travelling they are probably the strongest power in Randland now. Hopefully New Rand realizes that it is better to ally with them than fight them.

When will the Seanchan realize that their power base (the Damane/Sulda pairing) is really not what it appears to be?

Nynaeve better be raised Aes Sedai soon cause I am tired of that thread dangling, same with Elayne.

Will Perrin ever be interesting again like he was when he freed the Two Rivers and fought with Slayer in "the Wolf Dream"?

I really enjoyed the pacing of this book and Brandon wrapping up many plot lines, but there are certainly many threads that need finished that have been going on for so long.

moonrat said...

Seth--yeah, we should talk about Seanchan.

According to Tuon, their version of the prophesies say the Dragon must kneel before the Crystal Throne. I feel this won't be quite as linear as Tuon thinks it will be, and that Mat's marriage might play a part in whatever it actually means. (Maybe the Dragon literally kneels? No subjegation implied?) Who knows. But yeah, eventually somethin's gotta close there.

I find the Seanchan uncomfortable--so rigid and un-free!! Blech!! But so benevolent to common folk! (Eg Tuon's whole interaction with Breslan.)

ashi'man said...

i I finish the book after two to three days, after the book came out. so I came up with these questions.

I have A few questions that I would like to know what you think of it.
1. When rand meet Morden in his, or morden, or both dreams could the castle be Lews Therin Telamon’s?
2. Egwene dream that the seah’chan will rescue, her, but did they rescue her?
3. 3 IS THE aes_sedai putting rand in a box again?
4. 4 Min’s read the line saying “that he will hold the light of sword, and the three will become one.” Is referring not to the aes_sedai, but to mat and Perrin?
5 in the dream did morden give rand the way to kill the other chosen, and him?
6 did the writer gives a hint how rand will destroy the dark one?
These are some of the question I have about what was said about in TGS. So here are my answers to the questions.
The first question: when rand meets Morden in his, or morden, or both dreams could the castle be Lews Therin Telamon yes when Rand looked out of the window; he saw tormented faces in the clouds. Rand thought he knew them, but not know them. When Lews Therin Telamon kill his friends, and his family the chapter in teotw IT SAID THAT all the dead had tormented looks on their faces. Also we never were told that they were in a castle, but something, and I do not know why, but I have got this feeling that they are in a part of the castle. That we never saw of the castle.

The second question: Egwene dream that the seah’chan will rescue, her, but did they rescue her?
Yes of CORSE they did. The attack on the white tower, by the seah’chan. The attack distracted the aes_sedai they forgot about Egwene, and so that gave an opportunity to be rescue by Galad, Gareth Bryne, and Siuan.
The third question: IS THE aes_sedai putting rand in a box again? This is harder, but
Physically, no; however, they are doing so, by the white tower wants him under control, and cadsuane wants him to go her way, and even the pattern wants him to go another way. Also the sea’chan wants him to go there way. So either bloody way he goes he hits a wall. So a box he is in.
The fourth question: Min’s read the line saying “that he will hold the light of sword, and the three will become one.” Is referring not to the aes_sedai, but to mat and Perrin?
• Again it is yes. In the books said, "Fortune rides like the sun on high
with the fox that makes the ravens fly.
Luck his soul, the lightning his eye,
He snatches the moons from out of the sky.”
"When the Wolf King carries the hammer, thus are the final days known. When the fox marries the raven, and the trumpets of battle are blown." This is referring to mat, being the fox, and the blower of the horn of vallair. Perrin being the wolf, he has chosen, the hammer over the ax, yet he has not acknowledged that he is the king of the wolves. Mat and Perrin has always been pulled by rand.
So therefore, rand will pull them into himself at the end.
The fifth question: in the dream did morden give rand the way to kill the other chosen, and him?
I want to say yes, but no. yes he explains the dark lord can save their sole. So if rand wants to kill the chosen for good then use balefire to kill them, but why did he do this, and knowing that rand can use bailfire on himself? That I do not know.
The sixth question: did the writer give a hint how rand will destroy the dark one?
Humhmhmhm yes in the last chapter, where rand turn the power of the male control_statue on itself. the male control statue destroyed itself. Now rand somehow can touch the true power now maybe will use the true power to sill the darks one prison.

I have many more questions, but I cannot remember them.

moonrat said...

hmm, ashi'man, i thought the three men united by the sword of light would be Rand, Lews Therin, and Moridin, the three men currently in Rand's head. but i like your interpretation. i'll have to think about that.

Seth said...

the 3 becoming 1 could refer to a few things

Saidar/Saidin/True Source
3 users of Callindor (this is my guess)
Avi, Elayne, Min

probably more

moonrat said...

Seth--who would the three users of Callandor be? Rand, Logain (probably, right?), and who?

Ooo related note--I read somewhere online that there's a theory that Galad might start to channel--relating to the way his void was described in the prologue of Knife of Dreams--as if he were experiencing Saidin. Also, he doesn't have a woman attached to him at present, which makes him an ideal sacrificial character, doesn't it?

Seth said...

Hmmm... good question.

If Rand uses it I would guess Nynaeve and Alivia (gonna help him die?)

If Logain: his 2 "warders" would make sense

Galad certainly has the heredity to channel so I wouldn't be surprises at that turn of events.

However, the Void (or oneness) has been described throughout the books as a technique used by many characters; Galad, Gawyn, Rand, Lan, Tam, etc. I think Gawyn would be a better candidate for that twist than Galad.

Galad isn't attached to a woman, yet. Remember that Berelain is destined to fall for her Man-in-White still, and Galad's whitecloaks are conveniently mixed in with Perrin's group at the end of TGS.

Berelain's MIW could be anyone really, but Galad seems like the obvious answer, but misdirection is always fun too.

J.D. Klousia said...

I found the parts about Callandor quite interesting. I'd sorta forgotten about it, but this book gives it a fair bit of attention.

For some reason, I got the impression that it was a special terangreal that had to be used by a man and two women. Seth - I like the idea of Nynaeve and Alivia being those women. Because men seize saidin, possibly Rand will actually have to open himself to the circle (the reverse of what he's used to), and give control to the women.

Seth said...

We really don't know much about Callandor other than it is a Sa'Angreal w/ a "flaw" that requires the a man and 2 woman to be linked to use it properly.

Cadsuane and Min in TGS basically confirm (unless Brandon is attempting to mislead us) that "the 3 become 1" prophesy is in reference to Callandor* and that there is more to this artifact than we currently know.

Rand has opened himself to a circle before, when he and Nynaeve cleansed the source. Nynaeve didn't have control for very long, but Rand is certainly capable of submitting in order to link, or was...

As far as how Callandor was intended to be used by its creators we do not know. unlike the Choeden Kal, Callandor may or may not have been created to defeat the dark one.

* I will try and get a reference to the section I am thinking of.

Liz Kreger said...

Awww ... geez. After reading all these posts I really gotta get off my butt and re-read the last couple of books to refresh my memory. I'm doubly (and triply) eager now to read TGS.