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Book 8 Chapters 1-6




Today in my read-through of The Path of Daggers, we return to Elayne, Nynaeve, and friends as they leave Ebou Dar for the safety of the Kin farm, hoping to use the Bowl and fix the weather at last.


Chapter 1: To Keep the Bargain




A wind passes the island of Tremalking, populated by the Amayar, who have a prophecy concerning the giant statue. The wind proceeds to the palace in Ebou Dar, where everybody is preparing to leave. They encounter Teslyn in the halls, who refuses to believe their warnings about Moghedien and the other dangers in the city.


The girls enter the courtyard, where the Sea Folk, the Aes Sedai and their Warders, and the Kin are waiting. Ispan remains under guard. Aviendha has trouble opening a gateway, and as the party passes through, she sights a man watching from the palace rooftop.




So…practically nothing happened in this chapter. That doesn’t exactly bode well for the book. Yeah, it’s a reintroduction chapter, but still…it was pretty much 20 pages of the Supergirls leaving the Palace and setting up a gateway. Is that level of description really necessary? I guess that’s TPoD for you. I mean, it’s not completely devoid of occurrence, but still, it was rather tedious.


But let’s see what did happen. Most important was the dude on the rooftop. I initially thought it could be either Moridin or the gholam, but it became increasingly obvious it was the latter. I almost forgot about that thing. Whether it tracks the Supergirls or sticks around in Ebou Dar to cause trouble for Mat, it’s definitely a concern. But whose orders is it going to follow now, with Sammael dead? And where are the other five gholam? By the way, are we going to learn anything about Mat? I know, what with the wall collapsing on him and everything, he’s sitting this book out, but are we actually gonna hear about it? I mean, with the Supergirls leaving Ebou Dar, it seems unlikely. And does that mean Olver’s fate is left equally in the dark? Poor kid’s in Seanchan territory! I wouldn’t mind if Tylin doesn’t make it, though…


I can’t say I understand too much about the big statue on Tremalking, although I feel this has been explained way back in the series. I think it becomes relevant soon, though. I wonder what these islanders’ prophecy is, concerning it.


Those two annoying-as-hell Aes Sedai are welcome to ignore Nynaeve and get killed. It would serve them right.


Chapter 2: Unweaving




Elayne watches the Sea Folk pass through the gateway. She needs to teach them linking in addition to Traveling for using the Bowl, which still requires thirteen people. Elayne starts sorting through the ter’angreal. Vandene warns her about the dangers of them, as Martine Janata accidentally burned herself after studying ter’angreal for 40 years.


Aviendha unweaves the gateway when the Warders finally ocme through, which horrifies the Aes Sedai and baffles the Sea Folk. Aviendha doesn’t intend to leave any residue behind, and Wise Ones are trained in the art. The Aes Sedai press that it’s too dangerous. Aviendha has the rare Talent of reading residues after as long as two days. They begin the journey.


Moridin watches the party leave from the Ebou Dar palace. He remains in the city out of curiosity, considering Sammael’s death. He is intrigued by the new developments since the Age of Legends, such as Warder bonds and weather control. Moridin is concerned about the girls fixing the weather with the Bowl, and accidentally kills a Darkfriend servant in a rage. He intends to stop them.


The gholam enters the same room when Moridin leaves. He feels the True Power as well. He can feel the gateway and decides to follow the women instead of Mat, as they’re easier targets. First, he feasts on the remains of the dead servant.




Well, this chapter was practically the irritating group standing around and snapping at each other, save the interesting little bit at the end. The Sea Folk and the Kin are annoying enough on their own, are we really gonna have to suffer their constant arguing?


I never followed the Kin and Setalle Anan plot in ACoS particularly well, so I had to research and clarify what the deal with Martine Janata is. It doesn’t seem particularly relevant, considering Anan was such a minor character, but I suppose it shows Elayne the dangers of tampering with ter’angreal. I’m curious if there’s anything significant about the angreal she’s discovered.


This unweaving deal is completely new to me. Was it ever mentioned before? The collective reaction from all the women obviously implies it’s not frequently done amongst Aes Sedai. I love how nonchalant Aviendha is about the whole deal. Anyway, so unweaving is like letting go of a weave, except erasing any possible trace? It makes sense, I’m just surprised we haven’t heard about it until now (unless I’m just forgetful).


So Moridin and the gholam were the interesting parts of the chapter. I still don’t really know what his agenda in Ebou Dar is, considering Moghedien was never there to kill Nynaeve. But if he wants to stop them from using the Bowl, I suppose that means trouble down the road. The gholam’s agenda is equally ambiguous. It’s interesting receiving a POV from a character that’s more a magical entity than a real person. Will it be able to track the Supergirls, because of the unweaving? And who is it working for?


Chapter 3: A Pleasant Ride




The party proceeds north towards the farm. There is constant tension and argument between the Sea Folk, the Kin, and the Aes Sedai. The bargain for the Bowl included the Sea Folk receiving it after its usage, twenty sisters learning from the Folk, and Windfinders being welcomed in the White Tower as guests. The Aes Sedai and the Kin take turns suggesting to Elayne that Ispan’s custody be passed to the former. Merilille even suggests that the Kin are Darkfriends, much to Elayne’s ire. They eventually reach the farm.




So even less happened in this chapter. Yeah, the prose has been good as always, but the pace is getting irritating. This was just 20 pages of Elayne talking with increasingly annoying characters on a not-so-pleasant ride.


At least we know about the bargain. Damn them Sea Folk, they got quite a deal out of the poor girls. I know for certain there’re some Aes Sedai who could’ve haggled better than that. After all this debating over Ispan, she better have something interesting to say… At least they finally reach the farm at the end of this.


Chapter 4: A Quiet Place




Elayne and the procession reach the farm, stirring a panic. The Warders disperse to slowly retrieve them. The leader of the Kinswomen there is Alise. Vandene and Adeleas prevent her from questioning Ispan, which they do themselves. Elayne notes that Tower law on interrogation is too restrictive. She continues to sort through the ter’angreal and find a few of note. After Healing the Sea Folk of their riding bruises, Nynaeve decides it’s time to use the Bowl.




And four chapters of the Supergirl section of this book have passed, and they could’ve been summarized in a few pages. They leave the palace, take a gateway, Aviendha sights the dude on the rooftop, unweaves the gateway, they all arrive on the farm. Did that really require 50 plus pages? I mean, I’ve gotten used to Jordan’s more wordy writing style over the series, but I definitely agree with the criticism that TPoD markedly slows it down.


Anyway, this new Kinswoman, Alise, is as irritating as the others. It’s intriguing how utterly abrasive some of these women have been to some characters and then ridiculously submissive with the Aes Sedai. Really, running around like that? Having a nervous breakdown out of manhandling a Black sister? I mean, I see where they’re coming from, but get a grip.


It’s irritating how quickly Elayne submitted to Vandene and Adeleas budging in and interrogating Ispan, not only because we’ll never know what she has to say, but also because of how little respect Elayne and Nynaeve are still getting from the others. The Tower policy on interrogation sounded rather peculiar, unless I’m misunderstanding. Really, they can’t use any force on prisoners? Even in a matter of life or death, the worst they can give to an Aes Sedai prisoner is a slap on the ass? That sounds inefficient, although I suppose Aes Sedai have their ways of getting around this, as this chat Vandene and Adeleas are having with Ispan doesn’t sound all that pleasant.


But the end of the chapter provided hope for some action, finally! Bowl time! I’m getting eager for winter to start coming! It’s interesting how the heat’s been such a big problem in Randland. I bet Westeros would be begging for a false winter right now…


Chapter 5: The Breaking Storm




The group ascends to a tall hill, which is useful for the ceremony. Aviendha apologizes for her failures to Elayne, and Nynaeve does the same for acting foolish. The thirteen women encircle the Bowl, led by the Windfinder Caire, who has comprehensively studied it. Nynaeve and Elayne thoroughly teach the others how to link.


Caire actives the Bowl, which starts to draw saidar and even saidin. A column rises into the sky. They eventually finish, but the Bowl has yet to take affect. Elayne refuses to relinquish the Bowl to the Sea Folk until the weather itself is restored.


They see lightning near Ebou Dar, first thinking of the Forsaken. Nynaeve is concerned for Mat’s fate, but Elayne realizes they have no choice but to leave them behind. A raken flies by, and they kill it. Elayne recognizes that the Seanchan are approaching. She urges the women to descend to the farm and prepare to leave.




Now things are moving! Funny how the moment I mentioned how slow things were, the pace ramps up a little. Nothing groundbreaking in this chapter, but I thought the ceremony was well-written and…Seanchan invasion! Damn!


Let me say that Caire is endlessly irritating for a Windfinder. There are plenty of abrasive and pointlessly rude women in WoT, but Caire might just take the cake. Will you shut the hell up for a second and let the others do their thing? The description of linking and using the Bowl was pretty comprehensive and revealing. I had no idea it was so complicated!


But they did it. After two books (at least), this huge weather problem has finally been resolved, and the heat will recede. Winter is coming, y’all. Or so it should. I would assume something like this would take some time to come into affect, but wouldn’t it just suck if the Bowl didn’t actually work? Good thing Elayne decided to hold onto it for now.


I loved Nynaeve’s concern for Mat. After their constant conflict in the last two books, it’s good to see she still has compassion for him. And damn, he could use some help right now, what with walls falling on him, Seanchan running rampant, and, worse still, Tylin still about… Nynaeve’s sudden apologies to Elayne didn’t make too much sense, considering how abrasive she was a chapter back, but the Supergirls will never cease to confuse me.


And Seanchan attack! Those raken are nasty, were they at Falme? It’s been so long since the Seanchan have officially been relevant to the plot. We’ve had glimpses of them in TSR and TFoH, and there’s been buildup to their impending invasion throughout the last two books, but now it’s official: shit got real. As if there isn’t enough to worry about? The Seanchan certainly are efficient conquerors, though. It seems they have Tarabon and even Amadicia (I wonder how the Whitecloaks are reacting to this upheaval, by the way. With Morgase leaving Amador, we’ve officially lost that POV, which sucks, I was hoping to see more of Eamon Valda and friends post-Pedron assassination). And now…they might just add Altara to their little invasion. Rand better get his shit together in Illian and prepare.


Chapter 6: Threads




The Kin immediately prepare to leave the farm, to avoid capture by the impending Seanchan. Ispan has been subdued by her interrogation with Adeleas and Vandene. Elayne makes a gateway, leading to a Trakand estate near Caemlyn.


When everybody passes through, Elayne proceeds to take apart the weave, refusing to let the Seanchan know how to Travel. The others ride away, but Birgitte and Aviendha refuse to leave her, even when worst comes to worst. Elayne starts to struggle to keep hold of the weave, and the Seanchan attack.


They are forced to ride away, and a damane shields Elayne, disconnecting her hold on the unstable gateway. It explodes, slaughtering all of the Seanchan and even nearly killing the raken rider Chulein back at the farm. Elayne barely recovers, and agrees to become first-sister with Aviendha.




Whoo, Seanchan battle! Awesome, their story has officially collided with the heroes’. Well, I suppose that happened in Mat’s last chapter, but still. As befitting this book, a lot of this chapter is just the women scambling around and preparing to leave. There’s actualy little battle in the chapter, but the tension towards the end is still pretty impressive.


Elayne’s predicament unweaving the gateway was rather intense. I almost felt she was in real danger there, even though characters never die in WoT. I’m glad Birgitte and Aviendha stayed at her side. Aviendha made unweaving look so easy, but it’s obviously not. The ensuing explosion (very well-written scene, by the way) definitely proved the danger of unweaving unprepared. It was enough to blow an entire Seanchan battalion to pieces! At least they’re off the trail, as are Moridin and the gholam, I would assume.


And the party’s heading to Caemlyn. Awesome! We’re leaving the Ebou Dar plot behind officially now, it seems. I mean, yeah, we need to see the Bowl start working its magic on the weather, and Mat’s still in Ebou Dar, but I presume he gets outta there in Winter’s Heart. His storyline, as well as Nynaeve, Elayne, and all of these characters, has been occupied with investigating, locating, and using the Bowl for ages now. But with that officially over, their plotlines can officially resume. It’s obvious what Elayne’s gonna focus on: claiming the Lion Throne. About damn time! But I’m really not sure what Nynaeve’s gonna do next. I mean, wedding Lan and losing her block were the two big events sure to happen in her story, and they happened in ACoS. Now what?



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