In this entry of my first reading of The Path of Daggers, Egwene finally overcomes the manipulations of the Sitters! This war is actually happening!
Chapter 15: Stronger than Written Law
Egwene has various dreams: of Rand in various masks, until one becomes him; of Perrin and a Tinker fighting their way off a cliff; and of Mat weighing two Aes Sedai, his decision monumental. Siuan awakens her. Egwene’s headaches have only been successfully Healed by Halima. Bryne reports an army of Andorans and Murandians approaching from the north. Egwene has Bryne organize a meeting.
Egwene and Siuan discuss the importance of the Three Oaths, Siuan imploring that they remain instated, despite her lies about Logain and the Red Ajah. Egwene recognizes Siuan’s romance with Bryne, and has her send Beonin, Anaiya, and Myrelle to the nobles. Egwene intends to become a successful Amyrlin, not a failure.
And thus we return to Egwene’s storyline for a few chapters. I have to admit, I wasn’t exactly thrilled by her section in ACoS, so I was tentative going into this. This chapter definitely shows off how slow the pace is in TPoD, but it still had a few interesting bits to it. Like I said, Egwene’s plot has plenty of potential, and I’m curious to see where it goes. I’m just waiting for Aran’gar to strike, ha-ha.
Anyway, still can’t decipher much of Egwene’s dreams, although I assume Perrin’s Tinker is Aram (yes, very perceptive of me). Rand’s masks, I’m suspecting, are the various voices and madnesses in his head. Is Lews Therin going to consume him? I have no idea about Mat’s Aes Sedai or what immense choice he has to make. Believe it or not, I almost forgot about Mat…
An army of Andorans and Murandians? As if this army’s passage wasn’t slow enough. I guess I can understand why Andor wouldn’t want an army of Aes Sedai marching through, though. Still, prolonged plots for the lose!
Other than that, not much to say on this chapter. Pretty slow so far.
Chapter 16: Unexpected Absences
Egwene has Sheriam summon a meeting of the Hall. Once the Hall gathers, Egwene announces they will rest for a few days. She and Siuan study petitions from various Sitters relating to the financial problems. Egwene refuses to deprive the soldiers of their pay. She decides to learn more of the White Tower’s history from Siuan, refusing to become a figurehead.
Aran’gar buries a servant’s body in the snow, and thinks about dreams. She restrains from murdering the Aes Sedai on the Dark One’s command.
Lelaine and Romanda, accompanied by Egwene’s spies, approach the Amyrlin’s tent. They discuss Rand’s relations with the Sea Folk, in both Cairhien and Caemlyn. Once they leave, Siuan reveals the movement of soldiers south from Kandor. She also ruminates on a peculiar pattern amongst the Sitters, in that they are much too young. Romanda returns to the tent and orders siuan out. She chastises Egwene on the arranged meeting with the Andoran nobles, and orders her to permit her to speak. Lelaine replaces her and demands the same, having revealed Egwene’s plot to the entire Hall. Egwene’s plan is working.
Sheriam returns to her tent, and is suddenly shielded and beaten because of her ignorance. She regrets ever speaking to a sister in the Hall.
Wow, this was actually a great chapter, for an Egwene chapter. Some really interesting developments. Aes Sedai politics still confuse me, somewhat. I can’t say I completely understand the significance of Sitters’ ages or how exactly Egwene’s plot is working, but it’s interesting enough. So she intended for the entire Hall to know about the planned meeting with the Andoran army? Why?
More Sea Folk negotiations? Do not want! My god, they were annoying in the Elayne chapters, please no more. Didn’t Rand already settle the Sea Folk embassy in Cairhien (or was that in Caemlyn)? It didn’t seem to have much of a point. Do these Sea Folk have anything but attitude and selfishness to bring to the table, other than the Bowl? Why does Rand need them? It’s not like with the Aiel, in which he had a reason to prove himself their champion. Argh.
I presume the army moving out of Kandor is one organized by that peculiar little Borderlander meeting in the prologue. I was wondering when we were going to hear about them again. Please let them be trying to help Rand, not complicate things further… Romanda and Lelaine are seriously annoying. Really. Their audacity in treating Egwene like that is pretty astonishing. I’m so glad Egwene’s plan is apparently working, because it seems they’re really imposing their manipulations on her.
But, of course, the most interesting part of this chapter was the Aran’gar portion(s). Did she kill one of Egwene’s servants? That’s what I understood… Really, I’m fascinated with whatever her orders were. She’s serving Shaidar Haran directly, and obviously has a scheme, but hasn’t been doing much since Lord of Chaos. But giving Egwene peculiar head massages and randomly killing a servant is certainly ominous. I can’t wait until she finally strikes. I feel like we’ve seen Osan’gar already. Are their orders connected?
But furthermore, what the hell is Sheriam’s deal? She’s always been a slightly confusing and intriguing character, but I never suspected her of this. It really looks like Aran’gar was the one beating her. I mean, who else? If it was her, that must mean Sheriam is a Darkfriend (i.e. Black sister), right? That means nothing but trouble, considering Sheriam is sort of Egwene’s confidant. Even if she’s got nothing to do with the dark, she’s obviously working against Egwene for whoever this tormentor is.
Chapter 17: Out on the Ice
Egwene and her party approach the lake where the meeting with the nobles is arranged. A thousand soldiers headed by Uno accompany her. Talmanes and several of his Redarms are also present. Sheriam introduces Arathelle, Pelivar, Aemlyn, and several Murandian nobles eager to have the Aes Sedai off their lands. The nobles speak of Aes Sedai and Tower Guards sneaking into Andor, and wish to avoid a conflict, therefore wanting the army away from the country.
Egwene disobeys Lelaine and Romanda, speaking for herself and promising not to enter Andor. She pledges to rest in Murandy for a month before departing. The Andorans consent to the agreement, but decide to remain to ensure none trespass into Andor. Egwene announces that women of any age are now welcome to become novices.
So I was definitely looking forward to this confrontation on the lake, and while it wasn’t entirely thrilling, I’m surprised by how bearable these Egwene chapters have been. Sure, nothing entirely exciting, but given the general pace of TPoD, they’re definitely more interesting than I would’ve expected.
Uno’s back! I suppose he’s been with Egwene’s army the whole time? I don’t, I sort of completely forgot about him since Lord of Chaos, but he’s an awesome character and hope he sticks around. On a random note, Elaida is Murandian, right? Just judging from the names of the various Murandian nobles… Damn, they’re mouthfuls.
The Aes Sedai and guards sneaking into Andor were sent by Elaida to attack the Black Tower, right? I remember that from ACoS’s Prologue, I can’t believe it’s been a book and a half and we haven’t heard more about that. They have to be nearing the Black Tower, right? Yeah, that raid is going to end up a complete disaster.
I have to admit, I love how Egwene just totally ignored Lelaine and Romanda and asserted herself. I can’t wait to see how pissy they get next chapter. So this agreement of hers is rather confusing. Obviously, she was trying to placate the nobles, but just what is her plan, if she’s not cutting through Andor? Why sit around in Murandy for a month again? I know Bryne wanted to give his soldiers a rest, but Tar Valon is nowhere nearby. Hmm, interesting.
Chapter 18: A Peculiar Calling
The nobles immediately start conversing with the Sitters, ignoring Egwene’s authority. Romanda and Lelaine are infuriated, but cannot confront Egwene, being surrounded by nobles. Egwene manages to reach Talmanes, and the ensuing conversation is observed by Halima. The Murandians are submitting to the Andoran army in the hopes they leave eventually.
Talmanes explains to Egwene his (and the Band’s) desire to aid Mat, as if he needed them in the south. She hints that Mat is on his way through Andor. Talmanes also wishes to remain in Murandy after the Aes Sedai depart, to help King Roedran for pay. Egwene reluctantly agrees, but encourages Talmanes not to start a war. The nobles continue to avoid Egwene, Pelivar seemingly neutral on the subject of Elayne’s return. The Aes Sedai prepare to return.
So this was a more uneventful chapter, but pretty short, so not a big deal. It’s quite frustrating how Egwene’s authority is still undermined by that of the Sitters. I mean, not even a single noble respects her opinion and commands, flocking instead to the Sitters. It’s sort of depressing that Egwene currently has little to show for her secret political wrangling with the Sitters, because when she acts independently, people automatically assume she’s being ordered around. Damn, ageism is certainly prevalent in Randland, isn’t it? Elayne and Nynaeve were experiencing the same thing in ACoS.
Talmanes is sort of an interesting character. I’m curious what he’s going to be doing in Murandy. Murandy is one of those WoT nations we’ve had little experience with, like Arad Doman and the Borderlands (sans Shienar). Hopefully we’ll learn a little more about them, although I’m not sure whether we need more complex political situations right now.
Egwene knows something about Mat, doesn’t she? I mean, it’s somewhat frustrating that he hasn’t really been mentioned whatsoever in this novel, not even a word on his survival. Of course, we know he survived, but still. Elayne and Nynaeve probably relayed to Egwene that Mat was stranded in Ebou Dar, but they probably have no idea how real shit got over there. It’s awesome that the Band has that kind of loyalty to Mat, and can sense when he’s in trouble, and it’s not awesome at all that they’ve been dissuaded from helping him, cause he certainly could use it.
Chapter 19: The Law
Egwene returns to the encampment with the Sitters. Delana and Halima converse in secret. Sheriam, on Egwene’s command, summons the Hall forward. Egwene reflects on her romance with Gawyn when becoming irritated with Siuan. She interrupts Romanda and Lelaine during the private meeting, and calls for a vote to declare war on Elaida. Egwene chastises them when they continue to protest. Takima reluctantly cooperates in acting as the voice of law in the Amyrlin’s capabilities.
At first, the Sitters are reluctant to vote affirmatively on the declaration of war. However, Moria’s frustration with Lelaine spurs a string of votes, even from Lelaine herself. Takima cites that once war is declared, the Hall approves all of the Amyrlin’s decrees. Egwene now has control over the Sitters. Delana vomits in distress. Egwene announces that the army will Travel after a month’s rest to initiate the siege of Tar Valon.
Well, this is intriguing. There was a lot of build-up to this moment, the result of Egwene’s plot against the Sitters, and the result was somewhat confusing. These political chapters can certainly get difficult to follow. But I do think I understand Egwene’s plan now.
It’s all piecing together. Using Takima as a source, she managed to pressure the Sitters into declaring war on Elaida (meaning the war effort is no longer tentative. This thing is actually happening!) and submitting to her authority. She managed to placate the concerned Andoran nobles, give Bryne his soldiers a proper rest, and Travel directly to Tar Valon. Damn, now that I think about it, this whole plan is very impressive. I’m sure some of the Sitters will continue to test her authority, but still.
Egwene finally calling out Romanda and Lelaine on their shit was awesome and quite cathartic. I’m wondering what Delana’s deal is. How exactly is Halima controlling her? I’m curious, are they really gonna be capable of Traveling an entire army across Andor to the gates of Tar Valon? If it was that easy, why march through Altara and Murandy? Or did they just need to get a little closer?