Swan Tower - oh, why not

Jan. 8th, 2013

03:11 pm - oh, why not

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Herewith my liveblog of reading A Memory of Light. (Which may replace the "reactions post" in its entirety; we'll see.)


Holy shit. This book is, like, real. And in my hands. I'm not sure I believe it.

Opening quote: I see what you did there, ripping off Revelations.

Huh -- no glossary. Anybody who doesn't know names and terms by now can SUCK IT.

Squishy metal! And flint-knapping . . . with slate. Which you mostly don't knap, actually; you grind it. But hey, archaeologist fist-bump to Bayrd, even though I'm not sure why his grandfather taught him to make stone tools.

Bye, Talmanes. You might survive this, but I doubt it.

A part of me is annoyed that Isam/Luc/Slayer is still alive, because I'm so tired of the "not really dead" thing with villains in this series. The other part of me is hoping this means his strand of the plot will seem less pointless. Read and find out, I guess.

Leilwin: maybe we're going to try to resolve the damane thing after all? RAFO. Making herself da'covale, though -- that's creepy.

I am probably more amused than I should be by Taim being made a new Forsaken. Him showing up does, of course, put paid to the last die-hard insistence by some fans that he really is Demandred, but for some reason making him Chosen just makes that even more pointed. Ditto with making Graendal ugly; I like Moghedien's hypotheticals regarding that.

K, at least Talmanes is going to get a CMoA or two before he goes out. (His ramblings as his mind starts to go are pretty funny, too.) And a reverse Helm's Deep!

Never mind! Talmanes: not actually dead. (Nynaeve: still awesome.)

Go, Androl and Pevara, go! If I have to put up with kudzu plots like the one that gave rise to Pevara's entire corner of this series, at least it's nice to get someone like her, i.e. a non-stupid Red. Mind you, the entire linking/bonding mishegas is kind of a clusterfuck (remember how Verin or somebody compared what Alanna did to rape? Does that mean Pevara and Androl just raped each other?), but it has the two of them working together in ways that may turn out to be really satisfying.

Two other things that please me about Pevara: the fact that she admits, in her own head, that sitting quietly is her way of hiding the fact that she's scared shitless, and the moment where she body-checks Leems to distract him so she can shield him. Yay for being creative enough to use multiple tactics.

Poor Rand cannot get laid now without the Maidens shouting it for everybody to hear. But hey, acknowledged polyamory for the hero -- that isn't exactly a common thing in fantasy, so it's still interesting to see here.

Telepathy for Androl and Pevara. It's a nifty idea; let's see what use gets made of it. (Since I doubt they're both going down in their raid, even if it has ended with "rocks fall, RAFO who dies."

My fic has been jossed: turning somebody to the dark side takes a while, and longer with they're strong-willed. Oh well!

Gawyn is better (thank god), Roedran is an ass (and not Demandred), and I feel like there's an inconsistency here. Earlier Egwene was admitting the seals needed to be broken, just not at the beginning of the fight. Then she gets into the meeting with Rand and it's all "screw you and your seal-breaking idea." Which, sure, sets up Moiraine to do her thing, but I don't think it fits with what went before. Better if those thoughts had been delayed until after Moiraine convinced Rand to give Egwene the seals.

As for Rand's entire plan: I'm glad it isn't perfect, that other people do in fact get an opportunity to improve it (go Aviendha!), but man, it's kind of a fine line to walk in a book, trying to engineer a HEA on a worldwide scale. Like the kind of thing a college poli-sci major would dream up on his third beer, y'know?

(The clerks, however, are kind of adorable. I want fanfic for them now, writing up world peace and freaking out because their handwriting is messy.)

Seriously, Rand? Are you really going to let the Seanchan cruise along with their fascist slave state, just because "strong leadership" is good for the countries they invaded? <headdesk>

Lan's on his fifth standard-bearer. It's little details like that which make the story more touching. That, and "We've already moved the mountain, Lan. Let's budge this feather and be through with it."

And then the Rohirrim Malkieri and friends get more friends! I gotta admit, that's kind of an awesome image. :-D (I think Lan's mental recitation of the Malkieri oath during the charge probably owes something to Pippin's song during Faramir's charge against Osgiliath in the film of Return of the King -- but that's okay; if you're going to steal, steal from something good.)

Lan himself is better here, too. He doesn't come across as petulant the way he did during his ride to Tarwin's Gap.

I have to admit, college poli-sci major moment apart, it's kind of satisfying watching people divide themselves up to go be competent at stuff. The captains, and Perrin making a good point about using Faile to guard the Horn.

(So Mat is in Ebou Dar, huh? That should be interesting, when I get to it. RAFO! Though it's kind of surreal, knowing that I'll get to it in this book. No more wondering what will be deferred until the next one!)

With Traveling being used left, right, and center, it's actually getting a bit confusing, figuring out where everybody is. I thought at first that the timeline was tangled, that Rand's visit to Elayne happened before the previous bit where she went to set Caemlyn on fire. I don't think so, though. Everybody's just ricocheting all over the map.

Nice effort by Sanderson to provide a rationale for why Rand loves Elayne. He did it with Aviendha, too, though it was less obvious there. I'm betting we'll see a third iteration with Min pretty soon? But given how little effort Jordan put into justifying any of his romances, I appreciate the attempt here.

Hah! I was wondering about setting gateways in midair. For a different purpose than scouting, but this works, too. Yay for thinking creatively, again.

I am weirdly amused by all the women swearing. :-) I think because it shows a human side to them that Jordan all too often failed at . . . and because it was funny to see Elayne make Uno spit-take.

Rand's meeting with Mierin is interesting. I was sort of rooting for her to actually turn, but the point he makes about why she can't is reasonably convincing.

Okay, Perrin does not appear to have believed Slayer was dead. I guess that was just me, then. But somebody needs to explain to him that "the bad guys do this horrible thing, ergo I need to do it, too" is not good logic.

Go, Green Ajah! You kinda sucked when the White Tower was attacked, so I'm glad you're kicking ass now. (Though I also hope I'm not going to have to wade through four hundred more pages of Risk. Big battles are cool, but they also get old.)

Bornhald: shitty timing, dude. But maybe Sanderson just felt that needed to come out before the end. Or maybe Perrin will be the one to kill Fain? SOMEBODY needs to.

Gaul: "Turns out I'm tired." Heh. Reminds me of Rand's line earlier, though, echoing what Aviendha said in TFoH about the Aiel being his dream, and vanishing when he "wakes" from this life. I forgot to say it then, but that was a really touching moment, too.

"This isn't evil, it's just incredibly stupid."

There is probably Perrin/Gaul slash out there somewhere. (Or at least their buddy adventure into Tel'aran'rhiod makes it seem inevitable.) Also, surprise Lanfear! "The one who caused my imprisonment" -- I'm actually not sure who that is. Moridin? Demandred? Which imprisonment are we talking about, anyway?

Easier for men to Turn women, and vice versa. Well, I guess that makes sense, given the Healing thing. I wonder if we'll get a direct view of how it works? But my money's on this getting disrupted before they succeed at Turning Logain, so I doubt it.

No, seriously, we have a Perrin/Lanfear team-up here, and it's kind of hilarious. If she's telling the truth, I guess it's a nice pairing with Moridin: both of them are just totally sick of their situations, but see very different routes out of them.

"I'm running short on eyes these days." Sanderson still keeps misstepping with Mat (hammering us with hypocrisy every page, flirting with outright misogyny), but sometimes he gets it right.

Okay, missteps with Mat aside, my problems with Tuon and her fascist slave society aside . . . I really do kind of love the scene with them in the garden. "That's the most loving gesture I think a man could receive from a woman" -- it's actually a relationship model I can get behind. Tuon assumed, without even thinking, that Mat's knife was for someone else, and she was right. You know what that is? Trust. Given how rarely men and women show that to one another in this series, it's kind of awesome.

Forgot to mention that Androl continues with the creativity theme. I'm going to pretend, though, that it worked because he's got that Talent for gateways, and not because nobody at the Black Tower ever thought of using them in that fashion.

Erith! In battle! Alongside Loial! The marriage politics of the Ogier may be all kinds of messed up, but kudos to them for equality in battle tactics. (Also, Trollocs picking on somebody their own size. Heh.)

AHAHAHAHAHA. Sanderson may misstep, but the conversation between Mat and Rand is hilarious. "Are you really trying to get into a bragging contest with the Dragon Reborn? [...] Besides, I cleansed saidin. I win."

Aaaand then we go from that to Rand giving his stamp of approval to Tuon's fascist slave state. I am not happy about this.

Gawyn, stop being a fuckhead.

Baldhere! Openly gay! Well, in that "open secret" kind of way. Prior to this our only reference (I think) was a passing allusion in New Spring, so hey, look, actual male homosexuality in Randland.

So that's what Taim was doing. (I wondered what he meant about "keys.") Uh, that is not so good, methinks.

HOLY SHIT SHARANS

Seriously, I did not think they were ever going to show up in the story. But apparently that's where Demandred was. I feel like I should have called that, but honestly, I don't think it ever occurred to me. (I wonder if we'll have a cameo appearance from the Land of the Madmen before we're done?)

Now Lanfear is trying to hit on Perrin. What is it with him and rapacious women who can't have Rand?

Credit where credit is due: Gawyn is at least making good use of that ring. Doesn't mean I approve of him hiding it and generally being an asshole for the last couple of books, of course.

I thought channeling that close to Shayol Ghul was dangerous? Maybe it's only true in the mountain, and not in Thakan'dar.

<singing> We're off to see the Dark One, the Terrible Dark One of Doom . . . </singing>

FUCK YOU AND YOUR "I DON'T HAVE TO HONOR ANY TREATY I'VE SIGNED" BULLSHIT, FORTUONA.

Rodel Ituralde appears to have PTSD. I can't say I blame him.



And that concludes our live-blogging for the evening. I'm 450 pages in, out of 909; I would keep reading, but I have a book of my own to write. Tune in tomorrow for the thrilling continuation and possibly conclusion of this read!

This entry was also posted at http://swan-tower.dreamwidth.org/569895.html. Comment here or there.

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(2 comments)

Comments:

From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 26th, 2013 10:29 pm (UTC)
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all right. this was amazing to read. "HOLY SHIT SHARANS!" perrin/gaul porn! "we're off to see the dark one...!"

i love the way your brain works.

also it's funny because things that bothered me about this book don't bother you! and vice versa! e.g. i think Tuon's "i don't need to adhere to any treaty i signed" is frustrating but realistic. also Rand's writing off damane going forward. but eg Lan's character in this book drives me CRAZY!

continuing on to part ii.

juliet
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From:swan_tower
Date:January 31st, 2013 10:14 pm (UTC)
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I know Tuon isn't accustomed to recognizing anybody as anything like a peer, but still -- I don't buy the notion that she doesn't feel any obligation to keep her word once she gives it. That, for me, moves Seanchan into the realm of "totally unrealistic Villain Culture."

Lan wasn't perfect here, but he was substantially better than before. He didn't feel petulant anymore.
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