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.
And, it’s book six! Rand has continued to try and unite the nations in preparation for Tarmon Gai’don, now that he holds Caemlyn in addition to most of Cairhien, Tear and the Aiel Waste. Mat has somehow found himself commander of an army, against every instinct he has to get away from trouble. Perrin is relaxing in the Two Rivers while Faile helps him be lordly. Egwene is also relaxing in Cairhien, and Elayne and Nynaeve are back to being Accepted at Salidar.
This is the first book in which there is no clean self-contained “plot” – books 1 to 3 were Rand’s journey to accepting his fate as the Dragon Reborn as he repeatedly confronted Ishmael, book 4 was Rand’s quest to learn how to channel properly while learning how to be the Dragon, book 5 was Rand consolidating power and defeating Rahvin. There are plans made throughout the book to attack Sammael, but no Rand vs. Sammael confrontation occurs. There is a climactic battle, but no Forsaken are involved.
Some notable events: Egwene becomes the Amyrlin Seat of the Rebel Aes Sedai (wow, that was sudden!), Nynaeve figures out how to Heal stilling/gentling and fixes Logain, Siuan and Leane (I really thought Siuan and Leane stayed stilled for longer), Mazrim Taim is introduced along with the asha’man and the asha’man go on their first away mission. Oh, and some more servants of the Shadow crop up – the creepiest Shadowspawn so far, Shaidar Haran, is introduced, and Aginor and Balthamel are reincarnated.
I didn’t make much of it when Lews Therin muttered crazily whenever he was around Mazrim Taim, but now that I know more about Taim’s allegiances and power… I wonder what he was seeing.
I was excited when Graendal started talking about Shara… Shara has always been the most mysterious part of Randland, and I hope to see it or people from it featured in A Memory of Light. I mean, if Graendal was able to “procure” their rulers, there should be some way in, right?
Mat continues to be awesome (except for a tiny bit in Salidar, but he couldn’t have been expected to believe that Egwene was actually Amyrlin) – Olver is introduced in this book, and it’s so adorable how Mat adopts him. I love how Mat’s always trying to pretend that he’s apathetic about everything, but he’s just a big softie. Although, I’m disappointed that Mat and Birgitte haven’t really hung out yet, despite travelling together for a while.
There was some other fun stuff in this book – Perrin meeting the in-laws was hilarious, as was Loial’s impending marriage. I’m kind of sad that the Ogier that came after Loial ended up in the Two Rivers after Loial had left, but I guess it’s worth it.
Some things were definitely not funny though – Morgase and Lan, especially. The Whitecloaks are pretty awful, and it’s terrible that Morgase ended up in their control for no fault of her own. What’s worse is that she hasn’t even been treated that badly yet, compared to what’s coming up. Lan only shows up once in the book, but it’s really, really sad. Why didn’t Moiraine just pass the bond to Nynaeve?
Also, Gawyn continues to be insufferable – why does Egwene suddenly LOVE him? The last time she was around Gawyn, she was ignoring him for Galad… but then she dreams a lot about Gawyn and decides that that means love? The romance in Wheel of Time is not very credible at the best of times, but this is horrible! But Egwene and Gawyn are both sanctimonious to a fault, so I guess that makes sense?
I wish there had been some sort of conclusion to Elayne and Nynaeve’s adventure in Ebou Dar – so far, they’re just looking for the Bowl of Winds (although they don’t know that’s what it’s called), and have no luck.
Last question – what seeds of chaos did Demandred sow? What was carried out under his orders, for him to be so pleased at the end of the book?
And now onto The Crown of Swords, where Sammael gets his comeuppance. And I don’t remember this, but hopefully that’s the book where Cadsuane shows up.