Jump to content


  • entries
  • comments
  • views

Book 10 Chapters 16-22



In this entry of Crossroads of Twilight, there are new developments abound amongst both the rebels and the White Tower.


Chapter 16: The Subject of Negotiations




Egwene and Gareth Bryne survey the White Tower, finding Northharbor blocked with an iron chain. Ships are bringing in troops via the river, which Egwene could sink with the One Power, but refuses to because of the Three Oaths. She refuses to use gateways to bring battle into the city, intent on preserving the White Tower. She rides back to her escort, and is approached by Delana, who has continuously provoked the Hall. Delana asks if Egwene intends to bond Gareth, and then explains there has been discussion of negotiating with Elaida. A party has been dispatched to investigate the strange channeling. Only Beonin of Egwene’s council believes negotiations should be considered. Egwene allows her to approach Elaida with the condition of her resignation and exile, to the surpise of the others. Egwene is willing to do anything to ensure the Tower’s survival.




After Elayne’s abysmal chapters, I’m tentative going into Egwene’s. To be honest, her chapters weren’t bad in TPoD, and I was curious to see what she was doing in WH. But considering this is CoT, I’m expecting this siege to amount to little, and this chapter did little to assuage those concerns. However, I’m generally interested in Egwene’s plot, if not satisfied with the pace so far, so I’m hoping these chapters won’t be as unbearable as Elayne’s.


This chapter had some gratuitous description, but the conversation with Delana actually had some interesting bits. It’s no surprise of mine that the siege has been unsuccessful and because of Egwene, it doesn’t look like there’ll be much progress any time soon. Egwene’s faith in the obviously corrupt Tower can get a little grating. What the hell did she expect, when she set out to besiege the White Tower? When she declared war on Elaida, did she not expect, you know, war? I understand trying to uphold the Tower, but no matter what, this is gonna result in battle. Listen to Bryne, Egwene, he understands.


But I’m glad she sees through Delana. I suppose that’s not all that impressive, considering how incompetent she’s proven as a Darkfriend. She’s hardly subtle in attempting to spread discord, is she? More concerning is Beonin. Her behavior was highly suspicious in this chapter. She’s the only one who wants to negotiate with Elaida, I find that rather suspicious, and now she’s doing precisely that. I’m hoping Egwene didn’t make a tremendous mistake here, as so much could go wrong if Beonin is a traitor. On a lighter note, CoT has officially surpassed WH chronologically, as this chapter took place long after the cleansing. I wonder how the scouting party will react to what they find…


Chapter 17: Secrets




Egwene returns to the war camp, and discusses Delana with her council. She reminds them to keep secret Traveling from the White Tower. Food in the encampment has been mysteriously rotting despite Aes Sedai intervention. Egwene approaches the tent where the ability to make cuendillar is tested. Tiana, Mistress of Novices, and the proficient novice Sharina Melloy supervise. The novices have been making cuendillar for a secret plan of Egwene’s, intended to seize Tar Valon.




This was a large chapter containing some passages that were quite difficult to endure, yet there were, again, some minor developments. Still, Egwene’s chapters have hardly redeemed the book so far… The rotting food seems consistent with the rest of the decay present in the novel. I suppose it’s Jordan’s way of reminding readers there’s still a Dark One present, what with all the nobles and Seanchan and Aes Sedai slowing the plot. Yet if the only sign of the Shadow in this book are weevils… I remember scathing reviews of CoT mentioning the only significant threat was that of weevils, and I admit it’s rather absurd. From trollocs to weevils, huh? I’m not entirely certain what a weevil is, to be honest, but even the name itself hardly evokes fear. Well, I’ll wait with bated breath how Randland recovers from the Dark One…contaminating grain.


In more positive news, Egwene’s cuendillar scheme is interesting. What does she intend to do with it? I honestly haven’t a clue. When we finally get to the siege of Tar Valon, I’m excited to see how this project comes into play. This chapter reminded me of a few key players in Egwene’s story. First, there’s Nicola, and my god, she’s still irritating as hell. Seriously, is she only useful for making bullshit predictions? So far, she’s only been a thorn in the heroes’ side. She and her buddy Areina are just incredibly aggravating. Sharina Melloy, I’m not certain what to think of. I’m not entirely behind the idea of an elderly novice surpassing Nynaeve’s skill, especially to such an extent (is there really a cap to channeling skill? I thought skill could be theoretically infinite).


Chapter 18: A Chat with Siuan




Egwene returns to her study. Novices have been fearful of her recently. She dispatches Halima from the tent, in order to speak with Siuan privately. Siuan again notes the peculiarly young ages of Sitters amongst both the rebels and the Tower. Egwene has her investigate this mystery. Egwene intends to introduce her plan for the Kin before the Hall discovers the bargain with the Sea Folk. Siuan explains how Lord Gregorin has been threatened by Seanchan in Illian, and Darlin Sisnera by the besieging nobles in Tear. Merana Ambrey was sighted at the Stone negotiating, which Egwene fears will have Aes Sedai believing Rand is Compelling Aes Sedai. Siuan suspects that Cadsuane is a Darkfriend. Anaiya appears with news that Akarrin and the scouting party have returned.




While hardly exciting, this chapter was actually one of the better in this book so far. I don’t know, I’ve always enjoyed Egwene’s political discussions with Siuan. I’ve always liked Siuan as a character, and I enjoy Egwene tackling this monumental challenge of being leader. And this chapter provided some interesting bits of information, concerning what’s occurring around the world. Egwene’s attitude concerning Rand and the Asha’man continues to be irritating, though. Her loyalty to the White Tower just goes a little too far occasionally. God forbid an Aes Sedai aid the savior of the world…


As politically savvy as Egwene as proven herself to be, I’m detecting some unnerving hints of gullibility in her. First her trust in Beonin, and now Halima. Well, she’s trusted Halima for ages now, which is so uncharacteristic. How can Egwene not be at least a little bit suspicious of Halima and the malevolent headaches? Halima’s obviously up to something (although she still hasn’t seemed to do anything yet), yet Egwene totally trusts her. That’s unnerving.


I have no comment on the young sitters, they’re a confusing mystery I’m hardly invested in. I just assume we’ll have explanation on their significance later. The sieges in Illian and Tear are nothing new, but I’m hoping we have more information on them in the few Rand chapters in this book. Siuan’s fear that Cadsuane is a Darkfriend is peculiar, where did that come from? Finally, the scouting party has returned. I’m curious to see what becomes of that in the next chapter.


Chapter 19: Surprises




Egwene proceeds to the meeting of the Hall. After the slow arrival of all the various Sitters, the meeting initiates. Moria calls for the report from Akarrin. Delana appears out of breath. Akarrin reports the hole her party discovered where Shadar Logoth once was, as well as an alien weave. There was far more saidin detected than saidar. In response to this, Moria, Escaralde, and Malind suggest strengthening their defensive circles with Asha’man, causing Sheriam to shriek, following a string of peculiar behavior. Other Sitters also react strongly. Egwene calls for a vote, and the alliance passes. They begin planning for an embassy to the Black Tower.




The ending of the previous chapter had me rather excited for the meeting of the Hall in this one, but the first of this chapter was incredibly tedious. I think Jordan literally spent ten pages describing the inconsequential members of the Hall, arriving in excruciating detail. I just wanted to get to the politics! But, obviously, some Aes Sedai politics is more entertaining than others. Not to say this chapter was completely irrelevant, though…


For one, I was quite surprised with Moria’s suggestion, as it was actually quite logical. Moria seems like a bit of a fanatic to me. I certainly distrust her, yet I’m nonetheless glad the rebels finally intend to finish their antagonism with the Black Tower, and make an alliance, regardless of their intentions. I’m definitely curious to see how this embassy succeeds, considering the last embassy the rebel Aes Sedai dispatched…


There isn’t all that much to comment on, in regards to Akarrin’s discovery. I suppose it was just relieving to find some official reference and response to WH beyond a channeler noticing a beacon in the west. In addition to Moria’s behavior, I found Sheriam’s equally disturbing. Her little segment in TPoD has me almost convinced she’s working for the Shadow, whether voluntarily or not, and her erratic behavior in this chapter isn’t helping matters.


Chapter 20: In the Night




The Hall discusses the embassy well into the night. The meeting is finally closed with little progress. Egwene finds Halima’s massages helpful, but always has dark dreams afterward. Upon returning to her tent, she finds Halima absent. Egwene enters Tel’aran’rhiod and briefly speaks with Aviendha, warning her about the situation with the Black Tower. Egwene later has dreams, including Mat knocking over dead men like pins, Egwene being rescued from a collapsing cliff by a Seanchan woman, and what she believes a Seanchan assault of the White Tower. When she awakens, Halima returns agitated. The following morning, Nisao reveals that Anaiya and her Warder were found smothered with saidin near the wagons.




This was another overlong chapter (surprise, surprise). I found myself, like I have earlier in the novel, actually skimming sections, which has never occurred in reading WoT before. The journey to Tel’aran’rhiod was completely pointless. The dreams were as cryptic as usual, yet described in far greater, useless detail. I’m not certain what to make of them. Mat’s potentially negative connection to an Illuminator has been hinted incessantly for books now, yet little has become of it, despite actually meeting Aludra. I think the Seanchan woman rescuing Egwene has also been referenced before. A Seanchan assault of Tar Valon certainly wouldn’t be good, though, especially considering the civil war and the siege. The White Tower has never been more vulnerable to invasion.


Egwene’s ignorance concerning Halima is still perplexing. At least the chapter ended with a significant note: Anaiya’s death. I’m wondering whether this will result in a big mystery, as with the last Aes Sedai murder, but it seems rather obvious Aran’gar was the culprit, so I’ll assume not. I’ve been waiting patiently for the last four books to learn about Aran’gar’s agenda. So far, she’s messed with Egwene’s head and dreams, and murdered some maids and now poor Anaiya. But what is she actually working to accomplish?


Chapter 21: A Mark




Alviarin returns from Tremalking in the basement of the White Tower library. She is irritated with Mesaana’s treatment of her. There are twelve Depositories on the Library, as well as a secretive Thirteenth. Alviarin proceeds to Elaida’s apartments, where Elaida meets with the Sitters, and has a rude reception. The Sitters discuss the possibility of negotiations with the rebels. Talene seems to defer to Doesine and Yukiri. Elaida agrees so long as the Blue Ajah remains extinct and all rebels serve penance.


The Sitters depart, and Alviarin attempts to threaten Elaida, but is countered. Elaida explains Coiren and Toveine will be blamed for anything Alviarin accuses her of. Alviarin has been replaced as Keeper. Elaida orders Alviarin to constant penance with Silviana. Alviarin flees to her quarters and signals for Mesaana’s help, which is refused. Before she can receive further punishment, Shaidar Haran appears and intends to punish Mesaana for not heeding her summons to Shadar Logoth. Shaidar marks Alviarin as his on her forehead. He orders her to find who is hunting the Black Ajah. Alviarin flees as Mesaana is tortured.




Finally, an interesting chapter in CoT. This is the first chapter in perhaps this entire book that I can say I was interested to read. Not that there hasn’t been a few intriguing twists so far, but this was an actual chapter of excitement, to a degree. I mean, Alviarin’s return to the Tower was definitely gratuitously described, although the information about the Library is slightly interesting. But when Alviarin walked into Elaida’s chambers, this book didn’t feel quite like CoT anymore.


I’ve been expecting nefarious action from Alviarin for some time, as she’s been manipulating a master plan so far and seemed to have Elaida firmly in hand. So this role reversal is an unprecedented twist! Elaida irritates me to no end, while I have a grudging respect for Alviarin as a Darkfriend, so it was definitely shocking to see Elaida deflect the typical threats and discredit Alviarin so. Alviarin’s despair upon realizing she’s lost literally everything was certainly entertaining and well-written. How quickly someone in such a seemingly secure position of power can fall, huh? And the Black Ajah hunt implies daily penances will be the least of Alviarin’s concerns.


After that shocking scene, we actually had (gasp) an appearance from the Shadow not consisting of cryptic Darkhounds and evil weevils. I still have no idea who Mesaana is, and thankfully haven’t spoiled that secret for myself just yet. To see Mesaana punished for ignoring her summons just as Alviarin suffers her own fall from grace was definitely surprising. I did, however, notice that Mesaana wasn’t present at the cleansing, and now it’s clear there are some apparent ramifications. And I certainly didn’t expect Shaidar Haran to exact them! Shaidar Haran is one of my favorite characters in the series for some reason. His appearances are always so memorable, he’s so damn ominous and nefarious, perhaps more manipulative of the forces of Shadow than even Moridin. And after so long an absence, this was alarming. So many of the Forsaken have fallen from grace, either to die or become securely under the control of the Dark One (through Shaidar and Moridin), and now it’s Mesaana’s turn. I wonder what Alviarin’s mark means…


Chapter 22: One Answer




Pevara and Tarna Feir, the new Keeper, have tea. Tarna notes that Pevara is unconventional for a Red, open to Warders. Tarna encountered six Asha’man recruiters during her frenzied return from Salidar, and believes them too numerous to gentle now. She proposes for the Red Ajah to bond Asha’man as Warders. Pevara shows Tarna a message from Toveine, which Tarna finds inconsequential. Pevara believes it changes everything.




Amazing that this book contains a 100-page prologue and several chapters well over 30 pages, and yet this is only 8 pages. Well, I’m not complaining! There wasn’t too much of note in this compact chapter, but I’m certainly curious to see what becomes of these developments. The update on the Black Ajah hunters in the Prologue was utterly useless, so I’m glad we revisited them a little more eventfully, especially since Pevara is probably the only moderately interesting character among the bunch. Tarna Feir is intriguing as well. I have a feeling she’ll be a major player in the fate of the White Tower. Her suggestion was highly shocking, from a Red. Bonding Asha’man as Warders? Well, I can’t say I support that, but better than gentling them… Wow, there’s certain to be plenty of change in the Black Tower, with both the rebels and the White Tower intending to use them for their own purposes. I have no idea what Toveine’s message entails, and what it changes. Hopefully we’ll learn soon enough.


Recommended Comments

I think Egwene trusts Halima because of compulsion. And Siuan suggests that Cadsuane could be a darkfriend because of events in the prequel "New Spring". "Crossroads of Twilight" is the worst wheel of time-book, but friends and me liked it more with the knowledge of the later volumes. Some otherwise boring chapters can be interesting with this.

Link to comment

Thanks for the clarifications. As for New Spring, I have yet to read it, and I'm wondering when I should fit it in. Perhaps after AMoL? 

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Unfortunately, your content contains terms that we do not allow. Please edit your content to remove the highlighted words below.
Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...