Great stuff here
Chapter 41: The Craft of Kin Tovere
So we catch back up with Rand as they are closing in on the city of Cairhien. The city still stands, but the Shaido have surrounded the place. Along the way Rand has gathered in a good number of Tairens and Cairhienins who came in with this Lord Weiramon. For the record this guy just acts and sounds like a fool, how he ever got to lead anyone is beyond me. He will probably get himself killed before long with all his talk of charging into Aiel. The clan chiefs then all follow Rand to this huge tower that was put up. Through these looking glasses they can study the lay of the land around Cairhien from there. Pretty nifty invention for that time, definitely should give Rand the advantage. Especially when he can start channeling and blowing up stuff from that far away. Really just is not fair.
Chapter 42: Before the Arrow
Once again Mat is trying to convince himself to leave, poor guy. It’s kind of sad to see how Rand just sees Mat more as someone he can use now, but a great tool Mat seems to have become. Mat heads to Rand’s tent and waits there until Rand comes back. Unfortunately for him, Lan enters first and they begin to talk about the upcoming battle. Mat gives a quick outline of how he would fight the battle which turns out to be just about the same plan the clan chiefs came up with. Mat notices Rand at this point, who then lets him leave. At first I wasn’t sure if Rand, or Moiraine for that matter, would really let him leave so easily. As we found out over the next couple chapters, though, it was never “so easy” for him haha. It ends with the final preparations being made. I half expected the book to go back to the girls for a while and leave me hanging on this impending battle until the end. Definitely glad RJ went right to it.
Chapter 43: This Place, This Day
The next day comes, and everyone prepares for the battle. Moiraine plans on healing the wounded, but Rand takes Egwene and Aviendha with him to assist in channeling from the Tower. The Maidens have an odd little standoff again, I’m assuming they were just mad at him for not letting him take part in the battle, and force him to let the Maidens escort him to the Tower. Once there, he begins to rain down hell on the shaido.
Mat meanwhile waits for Melindhra to leave before he leaves himself. He keeps having to move to get around different bands of Aiel, and seems to almost be in the clear when he sees a small force of Tairens and Cairhienin about to be ambushed from the Shaido. His conscience wins over and he forms a plan to counter the ambush. Next thing we know, Mat is leading half of the cavalry on a charge down the hill towards the Shaido. Mat really is turning into one of my favorites. Seems to have gained all these battle memories, can speak the Old Tongue fluently, and yet still keeps part of his old personality. How can you not like the guy?
Chapter 44: The Lesser Sadness
Great chapter here. So the battle has been going for a while, and Rand has appeared to be channeling nonstop. Egwene and Aviendha seem to have to right idea and are taking turns channeling so they don’t tire out too quick. Too bad Rand doesn’t have the luxury, and it comes back to bite him as I’d assume one of the Forsaken strike at the tower with Lightning. The Tower falls and wounds/kills many of the maidens. Once Rand wakes up, he narrows the attacker down to Sammael. Smart move there, waiting for Rand to be weak to attack, but why not make sure the deed is done? Probably wouldn’t be too difficult to send multiple other lightning strikes in. Anyway another Aiel brings word that the other clans are moving, though not sure of their intentions. Rand then rides towards the city to take the fight to them personally.
We jump to Mat, whose luck works in mysterious ways. Unluckily he seems to find a fight no matter where he goes or how hard he tries to avoid them, but luckily manages to win them all with minimal casualties. We soon find out that another band of Aiel is approaching and Couladin himself is with them. Mat orders the men to act like the Dragon Reborn is with them in order to hopefully draw Couladin in. I’m just mad we never actually see how this goes down; I feel it has potential for epic-ness (At least we don’t see it through chapter 46).
We go back to Rand one more time as he’s wondering aimlessly around. As great as holding the power is and for being in the void, it definitely hurts Rand here as he has no idea how drained of energy he is. A lot of the maidens, including Egwene and Aviendha, already left hours ago as the battle has already ended. I’m worried we are starting to see more of the insane symptoms seep into Rand. Once they get Rand back to camp, we find out that the four other clans are meeting with the Wise Ones, so things look good for them joining Rand now. Lan finally gets Rand to realize the battle is over, and that he won. This only gets Rand to release saidin and him to pass out from the wave of exhaustion that finally hits him.
Chapter 45: After the Storm
We find out here that Mat indeed killed Couladin, but nothing much about the actually battle which was a disappointment. It definitely looks like Mat’s days as a casual bystander in Rand’s army are coming to a close as he accepts both Talmanes and Nalesean’s vow of loyalty. It all seems to be leading up to Mat being a general of some kind. Maybe of Rand’s Army? Speaking of Rand, he finally wakes up in his tent, and hears about all his visitors. It will be interesting to see if the Shaido actually hold to their ways in being prisoners. They obviously broke a lot of their rules and customs already, can they still be trusted? Anyway Rand bullies his way into getting dressed and decides to surprise everyone and go into Cairhien early. This is probably a smart move considering all the High Lords that currently reside there. Best way to avoid an assassination attempt.
Chapter 46: Other Battles, Other Weapons
Rand finally assembles his escort, and begins to head into town. It’s surprising to see that Moiraine decides not to go. Rand is greeted inside the city by most of the Tairen nobles, and is offered the Sun Throne. He makes some bold moves in political manipulation as he grants some High Lords warmly, and some coldly, regardless of how he felt about them. He also has all the nobility from both Tear and Cairhien rearrange themselves by rank, regardless of nationality. Lastly he has all the Flags, aside one Dragon banner, be replaced with the Cairhien flag. Rand refuses to take the throne, though, announcing it is for someone else. Moiraine? The chapter ends with everyone swearing fealty to Rand.
It definitely had an end to a book type of atmosphere here. Kind of surprised they didn’t have this at the end of the book with everything it had building up to it. Guessing maybe it’ll end with some type of show down between Nynaeve and Moghedien.
Hope everyone (that celebrates it) has a great Fourth of July, and enjoys the holiday!