Wheel of Time Reread #11: Knife of Dreams

In anticipation of the Jan 8, 2013 release of A Memory of Light, the fourteenth and final book in the Wheel of Time series, I’m rereading the entire series. Each book gets its own spoiler-filled post.

KnifeDreamsSmallKnife of Dreams is the last Wheel of Time book written entirely by Robert Jordan. I got into the Wheel of Time after Mr. Jordan (or, properly, Mr. Rigney) died, but it still makes me very sad. Thank you for these incredible books, Mr. Rigney.

Okay, back to your regularly scheduled programming. So, stuff starts happening again in this book! A whole lot of stuff!

We start off with Galad being awesome and killing Eamon Valda in a duel (for mistreating Morgase). Since Valda happened to be Lord Captain Commander at the time, Galad gets to take over and insist that the Whitecloaks will fight for the Light at Tarmon Gai’don, even if it’s with Aes Sedai and other former enemies. Yay! I guess this is what Galad joining the Whitecloaks was building towards, but I’m glad the Whitecloaks aren’t a force that need to be destroyed, now.

Speaking of other fanatics, Masema manages to turn Aram against Perrin, but Aram dies before he can do any damage. I’m glad Faile gets rescued, though – that plotline is probably my least favourite. I was hoping Masema would die too, but I guess that happens in the next book. Perrin’s temporary alliance with the Seanchan is awesome; Tylee was pretty cool. I especially loved when they “recognise” him as part of the Prophecies of the Dragon – now both Mat and Perrin are in the Prophecies.

Another scene with Ituralde in the prologue, and he disappears for the rest of the book. At least stuff is happening in Arad Doman, though, with Rand sending his forces there, plus food via the Sea Folk. Graendal, you’ve got it coming.

Oh, and Halima/Aran’gar is finally exposed by a visiting Asha’man who battled her at Shadar Logoth. Unfortunately, she escapes before she gets her comeuppance. And we get a Romanda point of view to expose her.

The Forsaken of the Book is undoubtedly Semirhage, who shows up in style. She’s been masquerading as Tuon’s Voice, but apparently she’s tired of being a servant (even one that gets to legally torture Tuon), so she went ahead and killed most of the Seanchan leadership and thrown the whole continent into chaos. The most impressive Forsaken so far, I think. She also causes Rand to lose his left arm, so that’s pretty cool too. I thought she died in this book, but I guess we have more awesome evilness to look forward to, which is fine by me. (Rand has been so bland that I’m kind of on Semirhage’s side, even if she is a horrible sadist. At least she has personality!)

Oh and Elayne finally becomes Queen of Andor, after a bunch of fighting. She manages to get kidnapped by Darkfriends along the way, but is heroically rescued. This is a major part of the book, and it’s not like I dislike Elayne, but I don’t like her enough to care whether she gets the throne. Rand’s political machinations are fun because the fate of the world depends on him uniting everyone, but Elayne is just a queen. Not to mention that Rand could’ve popped into Caemlyn at any time and insisted that Elayne was queen, but it’s only pride that keeps her from accepting that. It worked fine for the other countries – why not Andor? The only thing about the Caemlyn plotline that I was interested in was Vandene’s revenge for her sister’s murder, and that ended up being anticlimactic.

I’ll get to Mat in a second, but this book was filled with people being awesome. Lan rides off to Tarwin’s Gap and Nynaeve goes around and spreads the word that the last King of Malkier is riding, and raises him an army. Verin leaves Rand a cryptic note warning him about the Black Ajah – this doesn’t seem awesome right now, but considering what Verin does in the next book, it is. And the Moiraine rescue plot begins – Thom, Mat and Jain Farstrider (I refuse to call him Noal) decide to set forth to the Tower of Ghenjei once they can. And Suroth gets totally owned by Tuon – bye Suroth! It was not at all nice to know you.

Egwene is pretty great too, as she convinces everyone that she is the true Amyrlin. I don’t think it’s that hard, given that Elaida is being totally crazy (it has to be Mashadar! No one is that insane.) and the Black Ajah is sowing chaos.

Mat is finally reunited with Talmanes and the Band of the Red Hand, and he gets to use his General skills and cause trouble for the Seanchan that are (unknowingly) trying to kill Tuon. I love the scene where Tuon realises that she’s underestimated him, and he’s only been amusing because a “lion stuffed in a stable” can be amusing – but now that he’s loose, he’s very awesome. Mat and Tuon also get married just as Tuon leaves, but it has to be the strangest marriage I’ve ever heard of.
Tuon: “Maybe we’ll eventually fall in love.”
Mat: “Well, I’m going to continue fighting the empire that you rule.”
Tuon: “And I’m going to try and take over this whole continent.”

I wish there was some definitive solution to damane and slavery – Rand, Mat and Perrin all tolerate damane to achieve their aims in this book (Perrin actually helps hundreds of Aiel get collared!), but I’m really not sure how they’re eventually going to convince the Seanchan that people aren’t property or pets.

I’m terrible at endings as always, so yeah. See you next time!

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