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Book 8 Chapters 11-14




In this entry in my reading of The Path of Daggers, there's mystery and plotting amongst the Shaido, the Forsaken, Cadsuane, and the Asha'man, and Rand prepares for the Seanchan invasion.


Chapter 11: Questions and an Oath




Sevanna and the Shaido Wise Ones question a captured Seanchan soldier, torturing him to death. The Shaido have been stranded in Ghealdan for ten days, and the Wise Ones are becoming increasingly discontent with Sevanna, her grip on them since Desaine loosening. Sevanna realizes that Caddar betrayed them, but still tries (and fails) to instill hope in the Shaido. The Mera’din are in conflict with the Jumai. Sevanna intends to use Caddar’s binder on Rand.


Galina Casban is suffering the latest in a series of humiliating and excruciating punishments, this time suspended over a fire in a leather bag, coated in a burning powder, all for slapping one of her captors. Sevanna arrives, and demands that Galina pledge fealty. She is at first eager to oblige, anything to gain the Shaido’s trust so that she can escape, but is mortified when Sevanna reveals the binder, which functions exactly like the Oath Rod. Therava and some Wise Ones appear, and Galina swears obedience to all of the Wise Ones, Therava and Sevanna most of all. Galina is now gai’shain. Therava decides to advise Sevanna, and encourages that they distance themselves from the Seanchan. Snow falls.




I don’t believe it, but I’m almost feeling sorry for Galina. This is right off reading GRRM’s A Dance with Dragons not long ago, and inexplicably finding myself forgiving Theon Greyjoy. Funny how an author can change your opinion of a villainous character by subjecting them to the abuse of an even more villainous character! Of course, Galina hasn’t exactly suffered as much as Theon has, nor has she made any attempts at redemption, but the humiliation, despair, and agony she’s been suffering for the last two books has evoked some pity. What makes it worse is that there seems to be no end in sight, what with the Oath Rod.


I have a feeling that Sammael’s little ploy is gonna mean nothing but trouble for our heroes. I mean, that was the intention, of course. Sammael really pulled a nasty little trick, effectively ending the Shaido as a threat by dispersing them everywhere, but still using them to spread discord and destruction against Rand. And yet Sevanna still has a plan. Despite the faith she placed in ‘Caddar’ over the last two books resulting in absolute catastrophe. Well, you have to respect that she doesn’t give up easily… I wonder if she’ll ever get a chance to actually ‘bind’ and control Rand as she dreams about, as she certainly seems way in over her head. But this Shaido subplot that’s been building up for the last two or three books certainly needs to culminate somewhere, right?


It’s snowing! Damn, when that Bowl finally started working, it didn’t hold back.


Chapter 12: New Alliances




Graendal forges a letter from the King of Arad Doman to Rodel Ituralde, to create pandemonium. She is suddenly approached by Moghedien and a stranger named Cyndane. Graendal is startled to find Cyndane even stronger in the Power than she is. Cyndane has precedence over Moghedien because of the latter’s recent mistakes. Moridin has been declared Nae’blis and Graendal has been ordered to serve him. She is suddenly cut off from the True Source by Shaidar Haran. She agrees to obey him and report to Moridin.


Cadsuane approaches the Sun Palace with Daigian and Kumira. The Wise Ones have permitted the Aes Sedai apprentices a free day because of the sudden rain. Cadsuane remains frustrated with Rand’s brazenness. She attempts to exploit Alanna’s bond to learn about Rand, but it proves futile. Sorilea appears to dispatch Alanna and Cadsuane assures her she can punish Alanna without fear of paining Rand through the bond. They discuss Rand being hard instead of strong, and propose an alliance when Sorilea teaches Cadsuane how to Travel.




Ermagerd, Forsaken chapter! Well, partially Forsaken. I’ve been eager to see what Graendal’s been up to, as she’s always been one of the more interesting Forsaken. She’s obviously succeeded in not letting Sammael drag her down with him, but even manipulative Graendal can’t seem to avoid Moridin’s influence. It was surprising and ominous for Graendal to be forced into submission like that. The Forsaken were dangerous enough when they were plotting against each other, lurking in the shadows, but with Shaidar Haran and now Moridin uniting and controlling them, and even having the ability to revive DEAD Forsaken, things don’t look too good for the heroes.


I am quite curious to see what the Dark One’s plan is. Obviously, there’s more organization now than a few books back, when it was just the Forsaken vying for power and taking a stab at Rand. Outside of last book’s confrontation with Sammael, things have been relatively quiet in the war with the Shadow, since TFoH. It’s building up to something huge, and I’m really excited. But what was with Moridin’s interactions with Rand in ACoS? Does the Dark One want Rand converted? That would make sense, even though it’s bound to fail.


It’s interesting to see the weak among the Forsaken culled out. Asmodean was disposed of, Sammael was used as a weapon, and Moghedien has been put firmly into the control of the more competent Moridin (what’s her purpose in the scheme, I wonder?). It’s interesting to see that the two Forsaken already resurrected (assuming the Gars really are Aginor and Balthamel) were those who failed the Dark One most grievously, but also had plenty of potential. This brings the identity of our new Forsaken friend, Cyndane, into the picture. So that’s who Moridin also had mindtrapped.


Assuming Cyndane didn’t get gender-flipped (did she explicitly use saidin in this chapter? I don’t believe so), the only female Forsaken to die so far has been Lanfear. It’s remarkable that now every male Forsaken except for Demandred has died once, in comparison. So…Cyndane is Lanfear. That would make sense. Of the dead male Forsaken? Be’lal and Rahvin were balefired. Sammael was up and about well after Moridin popped up. I highly doubt he’s Asmodean. Moridin must be Ishamael, unless he’s not even a Forsaken, which I’m doubtful of. It would make sense, considering we’ve seen so little of Ishamael, and he was always the strongest of the Forsaken. Oh, this is all very interesting.


We have a brief little visit from my favorite Fade, Shaidar, and I’m curious how the dynamic between him and Moridin will function. They seem to be working together, on the DO’s direct commands, but does Shaidar still have a little more precedence, or what? Shaidar seems to be the behind-the-scenes manipulator and while Moridin’s been doing a lot of that too, I feel he’ll be the one to directly carry out the Dark One’s orders.


Cadsuane was also in this chapter. Hmm. There isn’t too much to say here, except for the observation on Rand becoming hard rather than strong, which is an excellent point regarding leaders. There most certainly is a difference between a hard leader and a strong one, and if Rand continues to mistake the two, it’ll certainly lead to disaster. Oh, and a Sorilea-Cadsuane alliance doesn’t irritate me as much as it probably should. Sorilea is awesome enough that she should hopefully counteract any irritating Cadsuane meddling.


Chapter 13: Floating Like Snow




Rand rides through eastern Illian accompanied by various lords from Illian, Cairhien, and Tear. They are confronting the remainder of Sammael’s supporters, who dispersed when ‘Lord Brend’ was killed and Mattin vanished. Rand is perturbed by the prolonged absence of Lews Therin and the continuous flashing of swirling colors.


Hopwil alerted Rand about the Seanchan from Amador, and Rand is now developing a strategy to counter the soldiers coming from Ebou Dar. Rand continues to brood on the women who died for him. He speaks with the leader of Sammael’s supporters, giving the ultimatum of joining him or laying down arms and retreating. The man claims to be defending himself from Dragonsworn and Aiel, but Rand retorts that he does not sanction Masema or the Shaido, and intends to deal with them. As Rand returns to his party, he starts to dizzily see double.




And Rand’s back! I didn’t expect to start off with him in this book outside of Illian. I expected a chapter or two familiarizing us with Illianer politics, but instead we’re jumping into the military aspect of things, which is cool. These interlude chapters haven’t been all that bad.


Nothing immensely important in this particular chapter, but Rand most certainly has his hands full. His immediate concern is, of course, the Seanchan, but Perrin’s not making much progress on the Dragonsworn and the Shaido haven’t even been confronted yet. At least Sammael’s supporters are dealt with.


I like this new, colder Rand. I’ve heard many people dissatisfied with his personality change later in the series, but I actually like that he’s cold, hard, arrogant, and all that. Rand’s development into a leader and how he copes with his colossal responsibilities has been one of the most fascinating elements of the series for me, and it makes sense that he would start losing his humanity and kindness after all he’s been through. You can definitely see the distinction between a hard and a strong leader here. However, I do hope he doesn’t go, you know, absolutely crazy. Even with LTT gone, what’s with those colors and swirls and dizziness?


Chapter 14: Message from the M’Hael




Rand returns to the encampment and is approached by Damer Flinn, who reports that Torval has arrived, waiting with Narishma. Accompanied by Dashiva and Hopwil, Rand confronts him. Torval believes there are Aes Sedai in Murandy, but Rand demands he leave them alone. He reads a letter from Taim. It discusses the success of the recruiting parties and the harvest of a ‘blackberry bush’.


Torval reveals that there have been deserters, those discovered killed and hanged to be seen. Reports come in of Seanchan encroaching on Illian. Saidin has been misbehaving recently, much to Dashiva’s confusion, specifically near an explosion northeast of Ebou Dar. Rand openly reflects on the puzzle in cleansing saidin, and the Asha’man are hopeful. Rand has Torval return to the Black Tower with new orders for Taim, and sends Narishma on a special mission. Suddenly, Lews Therin returns.




Some developments here! These Asha’man… I knew from the moment he showed up, Taim was gonna be trouble, but the Asha’man (crazy Dashiva excluded) have seemed stable enough for the last few books. But I swear to god, there’s something up with the Black Tower. Taim’s been corrupting the Asha’man or something, ready to subvert Rand. This Torval alone is bad news, and I’m sure Dashiva is gonna snap any moment here.


What is going on in the Black Tower? We haven’t actually been there since LoC. What about that invasion Elaida had planned? Well, I can imagine it won’t end well, considering the Tower’s newfound numbers. At least Taim has been succeeding in that regard. Hopefully the ‘blackberry bush’ will be elaborated. Obviously, that explosion near Ebou Dar was the unweaved gateway. And the Seanchan are coming! Battle time! But what are Torval’s orders? Will we see Narishma’s mission? So many questions!



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