Sorry for the delay and the briefness of this post, I decided to take a little break between ACoS and starting TPoD, and I'm considering rethinking my blogging patterns, and whether I should start posting on a personal website too, or something like that. Anyway, today we start The Path of Daggers, with a (comparatively) short Prologue!
The Path of Daggers
And thus The Path of Daggers begins! I actually sort of like this book’s cover art, at least in comparison to LoC or some of the other markedly bad ones. There’s nothing immediately wrong with this cover, at least. For the actual book, I’m hoping it’s not as tedious as some claim. I intend to look at the big picture while reading, and acknowledge that TPoD is something of a prologue or opener to Winter’s Heart. Anyway, let’s start.
Prologue: Deceptive Appearances
The Queen of Kandor, Ethenielle, rides through the Black Hills with a coterie to meet with the other rulers of the Borderlands. She convenes with Paitar Nachiman, King of Arafel, Easar Togita, King of Shienar (accompanied by Agelmar), and eventually Tenobia Kazadi, Queen of Saldaea. Tenobia seems unlikely to marry, meaning the throne of Saledaea would pass to Davram. There are thirteen Aes Sedai amongst the Borderlander armies. The four leaders take a blood oath and intend to find Rand al’Thor, to do what needed to be done.
Verin questions various Aes Sedai prisoners in the Aiel camp outside of Cairhien, who have been put to meaningless labor and strict discipline. Verin intends to help the Wise Ones further shame these prisoners, for some reason. She reflects on her last mistake, 71 years before, and observes some of the Aes Sedai inadvertently stilled by Rand. The Wise Ones have been taught linking. Beldeine Nyram is brought for questioning instead of Katerine, who alarmingly escaped. Verin weaves a complex form of Compulsion pieced together from wilders, questioning her on Rand’s belief in supporters in the White Tower. She gives Beldeine instructions. Verin is intent on keeping Rand alive until it is time for him to die.
Moridin studies the convoluted game of sha’rah, from the Age of Lands, wearing his two mindtraps. The key piece to sha’rah is the Fisher, and he nearly crushes both the mindtraps and the Fisher. Moridin is playing both sides of the Westlands, as one does with the board.
Well, this was a rather short Prologue. While I feel I’ll be wanting more of those as the series progresses, I actually really liked the last two books’ huge-ass prologues, as so much happened in them. This prologue was more docile, but thankfully not too long or boring.
The whole Borderlander meeting was definitely unexpected. I had totally forgotten about those dudes. I suppose we’re gonna have a political subplot from them, too? I’ve always liked Shienar, while Saldaea has its bad-asses (Davram), as well as more annoying characters (Faile, of course). However, we’ve seen very little of Arafel and Kandor so far, so I’m somewhat interested to see all of the Borderland nations come together. I have little idea what they’re plotting, although all those Aes Sedai sound rather ominous. I’m hoping the Borderlands aren’t plotting against Rand, because ain’t nobody got time for dat (Rand especially).
Verin is as mysterious as ever. Even when we’re inside her head…we’re really not inside her head. Obviously, she’s in no way trustworthy, considering how manipulative she is, and I don’t like what her plans for Rand are. He’s got enough Aes Sedai trying to use him. I’m additionally curious what orders Beldeine received, and what manner of Compulsion this is, that Verin is employing. Anyway, this scene was nice for establishing just what’s happening to the Aes Sedai prisoners (nothing pleasant, but it’s really no less than they deserve), and getting some tantalizing hints regarding Verin’s agenda. Still, we have no idea what her huge decades-long plan is, and what her big mistake seventy years ago was. I suppose we’ll find out later! By the way, I wonder how Katerine particularly escaped? Hopefully she doesn’t cause trouble. And please tell me Rand still doesn’t think Alviarin supports him…
I’m still eager to see Moridin’s other mindtrap enter the scheme of things. I’m curious what Moghedien is up to, by the way. Did she leave Ebou Dar before the Seanchan invasion, or does she have that to contend with now? If she did escape, what’s Moridin using her for now? Moridin’s agenda is also unclear, and his appearance in Shadar Logoth last book only confused things. He seems to want Rand alive for now, which lined up with some previous orders from the Dark One, but what’s his ultimate plan? That little chess-like game of his is obviously symbolic, and fits Moridin’s manipulator character. He’s similar to Shaidar Haran in the power he seems to be exerting over the other Forsaken (assuming he’s one of them, we still haven’t explicitly learned much about Moridin).
Anyway, some interesting tidbits in this Prologue. Let’s see what Elayne and Nynaeve are up to, in the next chapter.