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Problems I had with Book 7, Crown of Swords


Arkelias
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Hi there! This is my first post here at Dragonmount, but I've been a fan of the Wheel of Time since 1993 (back in high school).  Much of my drive to become an author came from reading these books.  I wanted to lead with that, because I realize my post may come across as negative. 

 

I've been re-reading the series since March, and breezed through the first six books again.  Those have always been my favorites, and to be honest I disliked the series from that point.

 

I have a very good friend who also loves the series, but he is more forgiving of the later books.  He asked me why I disliked them, and because it had been so long since reading them I didn't have an answer.  I decided to go back with a fresh eye and see if I could identify what my problems with later books are. So, back to Book 7.  I am a few chapters from the end and have some major issues with the book.

 

Problem #1- Cadsuane.  Say what now?

 

Since book 1 Rand has been working to break the hold Aes Sedai have over him.  He is arrogant, proud and frighteningly strong.  If you look at the way he treated Moraine in book four and five you see that Rand is ready to stand on his own.

 

In book six he is stuffed into a box by Elaida's Aes Sedai, and when he gets out he says he will never trust an Aes Sedai again.  Ever.  He has to restrain himself from stilling them, and even considers a strike at the White Tower with the Asha'man (which he decides against). Every Aes Sedai he deals with either swore fealty or is a prisoner of the wise ones.  They hop when he says hop, and literally fetch his tea. 

 

Enter Cadsuane.  This is a woman Rand doesn't know and has never heard a rumor of.  She leads off by insulting and provoking him in his own room.  She makes inferences about him going insane and does everything in her power to get a reaction from him.  Bear in mind this is less than a month since Rand was beaten for hours daily, and trapped in a box for weeks. 

 

If you look at the Rand we've seen through six books his reaction is clear.  He will not be bullied by Aes Sedai.  Why didn't he shield her and give her to the wise ones?  Why not send her away?  Why put up with her BS at all?  It feels sooo out of character, because at every other instance in the several thousand pages leading to this point Rand has reacted far differently.

 

Instead Rand rolls over meekly, which is as far from his character as being sweet is from Nyneave.  Later Cadsuane slaps Rand for using balefire.  He never, ever would have put up with that from Moraine, a woman he respected and whose opinion he valued.  Yet this woman he's never met gets away with it like she's his mother and he's a meek child.

 

None of this makes sense and as the reader it makes me lose empathy with Rand.  For the first time he is making decisions that seem out of character.  This is one of the biggest reasons I dislike book 7.  It's the book that breaks Rand in my opinion. For the rest of the series he has been getting stronger, both in the power and in his own presence and ability to command.  Yet in book 7 he takes nine gigantic steps backwards.  He becomes petulant and ineffective, accomplishing little. 

 

Problem #2- Morgase

 

I don't care about Morgase.  At all.  She is a side character. She is no longer the queen of Andor, and as I know from later books Elayne sits the Lion Throne, not her.  I don't care about Tallanvor's calves.  Seriously.

 

I'd be ok with the occasional short snippet from her point of view.  After all knowing she's alive and roughly where she is helps the story.  However, that was done at the expense of characters like Perrin. You know, the main characters that came out of the two rivers?

 

These chapters could have advanced the plot with Egwene solidifying her power, the Bowl of the Wind being used, the Black Tower growing stronger or just cut entirely and I'd have not felt like I missed anything.

 

The chapters with Sevanna are bad enough, but at least those show you what your antagonists are doing.  That's not necessary, but does help the reader understand the whole situation.  The Morgase story arc, on the other hand, does nothing to bring Tarmon Gaidon closer or to advance the plot.  It gets worse once she gets captured by the Aiel, but I'll cover that in another post when I re-read books 8-9.

 

 

Problem #3- I read a thousand pages, but what happened?

 

What did Rand accomplish in Book 7?  Nothing.  Nothing at all.  No forsaken down.  No discoveries.  The Asha'man don't get further developed.  He doesn't use a Sa'Angreal.  He doesn't fight Galad or Gawyn.  He doesn't meet with the Salidar Aes Sedai, or those from the White Tower.  He doesn't even speak with Taim after the first few chapters, or deal with the Black Tower at all.

 

Instead we get a practice sword fight against Toram, another blademaster.  Now don't get me wrong, I loved the build up for that fight.  But instead of rewarding the reader and letting it play out the fight is stopped midway, with Rand being driven back and basically losing.  If this were an earlier book Rand would have won that fight.  Why?  Because its cool and builds reader empathy.

 

The man can break out of a box and kill two warders with his hands, but he can't win a duel against a noble.  Even though five books ago he killed a Seanchan swordmaster and has become far, far better since then.

 

Rand has all of these amazing powers.  Not just his swordwork, but the power itself.  In previous books, every single one through book six, he used these powers to do amazing things.  Book 7 is the first book where he does...nothing of any real import. 

 

He and Min finally had sex.  He spent time in his quarters sulking afterwards.  He drank a lot of punch.  Really though, that was it.  It makes Rand feel less somehow, and I definitely liked him less after reading the book.

 

Anyway, super long post I know.  You see my three issues.  Do you agree?  Disagree?  Why?  I'd love to hear any feedback people have.  I wanted to finish by saying I actually enjoyed book 7 more than I expected.  I certainly like it a lot more than when I first read it when it came out.

 

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I'm currently just over 200 pages into aCoS

 

I was gonna say about Sammael...but anyway, its also setting up the plot of the Rebel Aes Sedai, the bowl of winds strand and the kin....also we see touches on Perrin and we get to read about Mat (closing in on tDot9M)

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The parts with Mat were great.  I also liked Egwene solidifying her hold over the Salidar Aes Sedai.  I was more meaning what did Rand accomplish?

 

I guess I spoke too soon...I have about another 100 pages to go.  I'll amend my post after I've read the finale =X.  Besides, I seem to remember Sammael being saved by Moridin, but its been a long time since I've read book 7. 

 

The book does set up a number of plots to be resolved in the next few books, but that's actually my point.  Books 1-6 resolved major plots while introducing others.  I feel like this is the first book that introduces more plots than it resolves.

 

What about Morgase and Cadsuane?  Does you have any thoughts on those characters and plots?

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Well, with Cadsuane, at least a fair part of Rands initial reaction, or as you see it, lack of reaction, comes as a result of him not being able to understand her. He is used to being surrounded by people who are intimidated by by him, who suck up to him for various reason, who try to sneak their way into his confidence etc. Cadsuane is a different story. She is not afraid of him, she does not suck up to him. And Rand does not have a clue how to handle this.

 

Morgases arch may not advance the plot, at least not on its own. But it does play a part. When you have finished KOD, you should see at least one of the reasons why RJ put some focus on her arch.

In a sense, you can to some extent compare it to Failes captivity, especially since Morgase is a part of that. A lot of people hated that arch, and could not see the meaning with it. Then came KOD, and all of a sudden that arch was seen in a completely different light.

This is one of the things RJ has been brilliant with from the start; nothing ever happens without reason.

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I have read KoD.  I've read each of the books as they came out since the fourth.  I didn't see anything at any point that made the Morgase chapters any less boring, but that's just my opinion.

 

Your argument about Cadsuane brings up a question.  How is she any different than Moraine?  Moraine was not afraid of Rand and did not suck up to him.  She treated him nearly exactly as Cadsuane does, for the first four books of the series.  The difference is that Rand was a scared boy at the time. Now he is a man, well aware of his power and knowledge.  A man with reason to hate and distrust all Aes Sedai, including Cadsuane.  Wasn't it Moraine, the one Aes Sedai he trusted, that told him, "Do not trust any woman currently wearing the shawl."  Cadsuane would definitely fall into that lot, which means Moraine told Rand not to trust her.

 

Besides, Amys and Sorilea are just two more examples of women in his life who are neither afraid of him nor suck up.  Since Rand has dealt with them for multiple books, and discussed this at great length in his own internal monologue his reaction to Cadsuane still doesn't wash.  Again, just my opinion.

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I am in complete agreement about your opinion on Morgase's story arch. I don't feel that her story is important at all. I have read the books a couple of times now and I don't even bother to read her storylines anymore. Of course that was after I read them the first time. I think it is important to read the first time but I agree they really were not fun to read.

 

However about the rest I don't really agree so much. First of all I would say that he is not putting up with her much. If you think that I would suggest rereading the passage where he first met here, I thought it was very much in character. With that said, I am a bit sketchy on what happens with Rand and Cadsuane after that first meeting so maybe he does roll over meekly as you put it, later on.

 

I would also disagree that nothing happened in this book, if anything the previous book Lords of Chaos I believe, had much less happen in it. As others have mentioned Sammael is a big deal. Also I think that meeting up with that guy in Shadar Logath is also going to play a part in later books.

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The part that bothers me about Cadsuane in Book 7 is where she slaps Rand after he uses balefire on the Shadar Logoth cloud of mist.  I expected him to stand up for himself, but he rolls over and takes it which is completely different than every other confrontation he's been involved in.  Rand doesn't roll over before Aes Sedai, he rolls over them.  At least until Cadsuane show's up anyway.

 

I didn't think that nothing happened in the book.  Plenty of good plots were covered.  I said that this is the first book where Rand didn't accomplish anything.  Even that last is probably innacurate as I still have about another 100 pages to go. 

 

Still, the feel is different in this book.  In book 1 Rand got to the eye of the world.  Book two saw him fight a blade master and fight the Seanchan, all while learning who and what he is and dealing with Selene (Lanfear).  Book three saw him take the stone and proclaim himself the Dragon Reborn.  Book four saw him go to the Aiel waste and become the Car'a'carn.  Book five showed the war with the Shaido.  Book six saw the birth of the Asha'man and Dumai Wells.

 

Book seven saw Rand hang out in his quarters agonizing over Min.  It showed some political machinations, but none felt as strong as those in previous books.  Even with the Sammael fight it doesnt amount to much.  Nearly every book is capped with a Forsaken fight.  It's the 1000 pages leading up to it that made those fights cool in previous book.

 

Also remember that for the whole of book six and seven we've been waiting for Rand's plan with Sammael to come to fruition.  The best part of that build up was in book six, and little was covered about it book seven.

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Cadsuane - As pointed out Rand had no idea how to treat her, but as for the constant "meekness" or more pointedly "Civility", the major thing stopping Rand from flying of the handle is Min's viewing "You Need her, She's going to teach you something... You wont like it but you need to learn it"

 

At least that is how is perceive the change with Cadsuane, and you notice he ante like that around anyone else.

 

Then there is your comment about Moraine's warning.... Didn't Cadsuane come out of retirement, and thus did not wear the shawl when Moraine gave this warning... Again that's how I perceive it.

 

Morgase - Here we tend to agree, I think it was overly drawn out, but covers alot that does progress the story and you can not get this info from anyone apart from her. Her abdicating her throne, You have Pedron Niall getting killed and being usurped (OK this was done from his POV be still ;) ), you have the assault on Morgase her self, and you have the Seanchan attack on the Fortress, which lead to her escape, which leads to tying in with Perrin/Faile story arc..

 

These points alone I see will bring the remnant of the Whitecloaks to Perrin, as they are now lead by Galad, due to the assault on Morgase.  But yeah, I still think it was long and overly drawn out...

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I have read KoD.  I've read each of the books as they came out since the fourth.  I didn't see anything at any point that made the Morgase chapters any less boring, but that's just my opinion.

 

There is a difference between thinking some bits are boring to read, and thinking that they are not important to the greater story. And her part here is important. For starters, look at some of the things we get thanks to her POV being there. We learn that she is raped by Valda, a knowledge that adds a lot to Galads POV in KOD. We see the whitecloaks pretty much get wiped out by the Seanchan, which, especially when combined with the rape, explains how Galad can be where he is in KOD. We learn why Morgase and her group leaves Amador the way they does, which means that when they later meets up with Perrin, they do not appear out of nowhere, and we get an explanation to how it can be that Balwer is with them.

 

Your argument about Cadsuane brings up a question.  How is she any different than Moraine?  Moraine was not afraid of Rand and did not suck up to him.  She treated him nearly exactly as Cadsuane does, for the first four books of the series.  The difference is that Rand was a scared boy at the time. Now he is a man, well aware of his power and knowledge.  A man with reason to hate and distrust all Aes Sedai, including Cadsuane.  Wasn't it Moraine, the one Aes Sedai he trusted, that told him, "Do not trust any woman currently wearing the shawl."  Cadsuane would definitely fall into that lot, which means Moraine told Rand not to trust her.

 

Thing is, rand does not trust cadsuane at first, it takes him quite some time, a viewing from Min and Cadsuane saving his life to get there.

Moiraine was not intimidated by Rand because she trusted him. Cadsuane is not intimidated by him because frankly, there is not a lot he can do, other than pointing his finger angrily at him.

hat should he have down differently? Acted like a spoiled brat, and yelled at her to get out? Tried to attack her because she spoke harsher than he has become used to?

 

Besides, Amys and Sorilea are just two more examples of women in his life who are neither afraid of him nor suck up.  Since Rand has dealt with them for multiple books, and discussed this at great length in his own internal monologue his reaction to Cadsuane still doesn't wash.  Again, just my opinion.

 

There is a great difference between the Wise Ones and Cadsuane. Rand knows how the WO view him, and what they expect of him. Cadsuane is a completely different story. For starters, she acts nothing like any Aes Sedai he has ever been in contact with.

 

The part that bothers me about Cadsuane in Book 7 is where she slaps Rand after he uses balefire on the Shadar Logoth cloud of mist.  I expected him to stand up for himself, but he rolls over and takes it which is completely different than every other confrontation he's been involved in.  Rand doesn't roll over before Aes Sedai, he rolls over them.  At least until Cadsuane show's up anyway.

 

As you said yourself, Rand has become a man. He knew that what he did was wrong.

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I will certainly agree that ACoS is not one of the better books in the WOT.  As it stands this book is my 10th favorite in the series with only CoT being lower.   The book started off exciting enough with the confrontation between Rand and Perrin.  I remember the first time reading this sequence and thinking "Wow, some tension between two of the ta'veren this ought to be good."  But what did it all lead to?  Well Perrin goes off and essentially does nothing for three books while Rand does nothing else worth reading about until the end of the book when he confronts Sammael and meets Moridin.  Aside from these two scenes I did find Mat's and Nyneave's adventures in Ebou Dar to be enjoyable.  I especially enjoyed the way Nyneave played the Kin right into her hands even after being taken captive by them.  This sequence, however, would have been better if it had been told from Nyn's POV as opposed to Elayne's who constantly and erroneously bitched about how big an idot Nyn was being.  I mean was RJ just out to make me like Elayne less than I already did?   Beyond these story lines there wasn't much else worth reading, I really don't care much about Morgase, Tallanvor, Master Gill, Langwin or Breane (where the hell did she come from anyway?).  I've always been a big fan of Perrin, why did he have to get stuck with the Scrub Club?

 

I will have to say that aside from ACoS and COT I really don't have a problem with the latter books.  I enjoyed POD and WH very much and KOD is one of the best in the series.  As the earlier books go I really felt that TDR was a let down after the way TEOtW and TGH delivered.  Yes, Rand claiming the sword was very significant but up until that scene not much happened.  It essentially just chronicled everybody's (except Rand's) journey to Tear, and Mat and Thom's was the only one that was particularly exciting.  Had TSR not turned out to be the bastion of awesomeness that it is I might have given up on the series right then and there.

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Cadsuane is an enigma to Rand. Every Aes Sedai or rather woman who can channel has an agenda. Rand's skilled enough to deduce what all their motives are. However, with Cadsuane he knows nothing about her. She's not affiliated with the White Tower or Salidar and she doesn't attempt to bribe him or bully him, just provoke him. She also isn't impressed with the Asha'man channeling which is unique because almost every Aes Sedai has a negative reaction.

 

As for Morgase, she's a very important side character. You must remember, most of the world and some of the more important players and rulers believecRand killed her. Morgase showing up and allying with Rand would not only help his cause but clear his name. Also, Perrin having a former queen as his servant is interesting along with the fact that Perrin is heading towards Galad and the Whitecloaks. If Morgase wasn't there, it might be more bloody.

 

And as for Rand...In the fight against Toram he was essentially playing with him. The only reason he lost was because Rand reacted to the fog that started killing people. That was a pretty great scene. I was actually glad Cadsuane slapped Rand. Balefire is too dangerous to be used. There's a reason both the Light and the Shadow made an unspoken truce not to use it in the AoL. The scene where Fain attacks him and the one where the soldiers carry him inside was awesome and well-written. Also, Rand did some pretty amazing things in the book: conquered Illian, killed Sammael etc.

 

aCoS is in my top 7 WoT books. I like the books from TSR and on more than I liked the previous ones but it was the first ones that got me hooked.

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I think it was the 13th Depository where I read this. I claim none of this as an original idea. But the series seems to be structured as a series of thematic trilogies. The first three books are about Rand coming to terms with being the Dragon Reborn and accepting his fate. These books are probably more closely linked anyways, since Jordan originally planned the events covered by them to make up the first book of the series. The second trilogy, which ends with LoC, is about the world coming to terms with Rand being the Dragon.  The rest of the series, up to KoD, cannot be so easily grouped. So ACoS is the first book that doesn't have a thematic element connect it to the others in the series.

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Crown of Swords is the book I crapped out on the first time I tried to read the series. After I was done with it I decided that I was done with the series and swore to never read them again.  A promise that I broke last september...when I starting rereading wot.  I made it past CoS the second time round though  :). 

 

I think part of the problem was the whole bowl of the winds subplot.  It reminded me too much of Elayne and Nyn when they were in Tanchico.  OMG it's another crazy adventure with Elayne and Nyn in a dangerous exotic city! The whole Mat being repeatedly raped thing kinda bugged me as well.  I despise Cadsuane and this hasn't changed throughout the books.  I keep waiting for Rand to slap her back. 

 

As for Morgase...her story is somewhat important, but could be dealt with with less wordage, and less Tallanvor nonsense.  I put Tallanvor and Morgase right under Suian and Gareth Bryne on my list of romantic intrigues I care nothing about.

 

I also thought that the end battle with Sammael seemed a bit rushed.  I was lookin' for less roamin' about Shadar Logoth and more one power battle action.  However I really liked the bit where Rand found Liah there.  It was a nice tie in.  Wish he could have brought her back safe though :(

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The part that bothers me about Cadsuane in Book 7 is where she slaps Rand after he uses balefire on the Shadar Logoth cloud of mist.
You mean the Bubble of Evil?

 

I didn't think that nothing happened in the book. Plenty of good plots were covered. I said that this is the first book where Rand didn't accomplish anything. Even that last is probably innacurate as I still have about another 100 pages to go. 

 

Still, the feel is different in this book. In book 1 Rand got to the eye of the world. Book two saw him fight a blade master and fight the Seanchan, all while learning who and what he is and dealing with Selene (Lanfear). Book three saw him take the stone and proclaim himself the Dragon Reborn.

Compare these with ACoS. Book 1, he wanders around for a while, then we get a big ending at the Eye. Book 2, he wanders around, and we get a big ending at Falme. Book 3, he wanders around, and we get a big ending at the Stone. With any of the books, a similar distance from the end, how much would Rand have accomplished?
Book four saw him go to the Aiel waste and become the Car'a'carn.
Mostly involving a lot of wandering across the desert. Before big endings at Al'cair Dal and Rhuidean.
Book five showed the war with the Shaido.
Big endings at Cairhien and Caemlyn. Lot of wandering.
Book six saw the birth of the Asha'man and Dumai Wells.
Lot of time spent in a box. Big ending at the Wells. RJ frequently builds up to a big ending. So you're judging Rand's actions without taking the big ending into account. Really, ACoS is little different in this respect to the preceding volumes.

 

Instead we get a practice sword fight against Toram, another blademaster. Now don't get me wrong, I loved the build up for that fight. But instead of rewarding the reader and letting it play out the fight is stopped midway, with Rand being driven back and basically losing.  If this were an earlier book Rand would have won that fight. Why? Because its cool and builds reader empathy.
No. The hero winning all the time is not cool, it is boring, and it doesn't build reader sympathy, or empathy, because it makes him look invincible - it actually makes it harder to care. On the other hand, Rand against someone near his own level in skill, and losing the fight goes to show that while he is good, there are others who have been doing this longer, and he can still be beaten. Which makes for a far more interesting character.
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Mr.Ares said:

Compare these with ACoS. Book 1, he wanders around for a while, then we get a big ending at the Eye. Book 2, he wanders around, and we get a big ending at Falme. Book 3, he wanders around, and we get a big ending at the Stone. With any of the books, a similar distance from the end, how much would Rand have accomplished?

 

The difference is the journey along the way in each of those books was interesting and enjoyable.  They were exciting and showed me new cultures and new people I actually cared about.  The journey in book seven is slow and boring and the payoff was even worse (I finished the book again last night).

 

Also, in each other book Rand had clear goals he was trying to accomplish.  Book seven has nothing to do with Rand fighting Sammael.  At all.  Its not until the very hasty ending that he deals with Sammael or even mentions him.  That lack of buildup made the finale with Sammael feel disconnected from the rest of the book instead of giving a strong ending to a good plot.

 

Mr. Ares also said:

No. The hero winning all the time is not cool, it is boring, and it doesn't build reader sympathy, or empathy, because it makes him look invincible - it actually makes it harder to care. On the other hand, Rand against someone near his own level in skill, and losing the fight goes to show that while he is good, there are others who have been doing this longer, and he can still be beaten. Which makes for a far more interesting character.

 

To each their own.  I don't want to see my hero win all the time, but then Rand doesn't do that.  He (always just barely) wins through happenstance and the aid of unlikely allies.  Also, he IS supposed to win.  He's the Dragon Reborn and the story is about him saving the world in the last battle.  For that to happen he needs to win most of the time, especially given that he's Tavern (I'm sure I spelled that wrong).

 

As far as the finale of the book I was very disappointed.  The buildup for Illian and Sammael took place in book six.  For all of book seven they've ignored that plot, but then all of a sudden at the end RJ sort of tosses it in. The fight between Sammael and Rand doesn't end with Rand killing him, Mashadar does.  That's after Moridin saves Rand, who would have died if he'd been on his own.

 

There wasn't some long sword fight or even power wrought fight where Tel Janin (Sammael) and Rand discuss something from the first age.  After several books of buildup I was hoping for a more interplay between the two at the end.  Lews Therin and Tel Janin hated each other.  I'd have liked to see some dialogue between the two.  Instead the fight felt a lot like Rand killing Rahvin, disjointed and impersonal.  The fights between Ishamael and Rand were much better IMO.

 

Anyway, just my opinion.  Its still a great series but this book just didn't do it for me.  Having finished it for the second time I'll admit that I liked it better this time around, but it doesn't hold a candle to the earlier books.  It definitely represents the point at which I feel the story started to drift and became bigger than RJ could control.

 

There are simply too many point of view characters by this point.  When you can tell a 1,000 page installment and only touch a third of your PoV characters that's going to bother some of your readers. 

 

Anyway, on to book eight.  Expect another post like this from me soon about A Path of Daggers!  Thanks for all the responses too!  The community here is great.  People have disagreed with my stance, but every last one of you has been respectful and I've very much enjoyed the discussion.

 

And of course thank you Robert Jordan for creating something so amazing that people still debate it to this day!

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I'm also on a re-read.

Read books 1 - 6 no problem. But was hesitant about picking up book 7.

So I took a break and read some other stuff for 6 weeks.

I started aCoS this week and it's going well so far (because I haven't had any Elayne chapters yet).

 

One thing that annoyed me was Perrin's POV at the beginning when we see that Colavere has been named Queen. This is where his very annoying "NOTHING is more important than Faile" theme starts.

 

I think it was the 13th Depository where I read this. I claim none of this as an original idea. But the series seems to be structured as a series of thematic trilogies. The first three books are about Rand coming to terms with being the Dragon Reborn and accepting his fate. These books are probably more closely linked anyways, since Jordan originally planned the events covered by them to make up the first book of the series. The second trilogy, which ends with LoC, is about the world coming to terms with Rand being the Dragon.  The rest of the series, up to KoD, cannot be so easily grouped. So ACoS is the first book that doesn't have a thematic element connect it to the others in the series.

 

I agree.

aCoS is where the books open up alot more, bringing in whats happening in the rest of the world in the build up for the Last Battle. The Kin, the Seafolk, the Seanchan, Elayne and Camelyn...

 

But I'm currently reading aCoS and found the theme that this is where everything kind of goes downhill and gets very complicated for Rand and the Light.

Having been kidnapped by the Aes Sedai he returns to find that nobels are rebelling and things are moving faster than he can manage.

 

So in my mind, the next few books will be easier (I generally struggle with books 8 - 10 because of Perrin, Elayne and the Seafolk) if I look at it from a world-setting-itself-up-for-the-last-battle and all-the-political intrigues-and-necessary-actions POV instead of a Rand-kicks-ass POV.

 

 

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I think it was the 13th Depository where I read this. I claim none of this as an original idea. But the series seems to be structured as a series of thematic trilogies. The first three books are about Rand coming to terms with being the Dragon Reborn and accepting his fate. These books are probably more closely linked anyways, since Jordan originally planned the events covered by them to make up the first book of the series. The second trilogy, which ends with LoC, is about the world coming to terms with Rand being the Dragon.  The rest of the series, up to KoD, cannot be so easily grouped. So ACoS is the first book that doesn't have a thematic element connect it to the others in the series.

 

Well, one could say that the third groups thematic element is the world starting to get ready for TG. ACoS is where we see the real start of everyone and everything start moving towards where they need to be. At the end of LoC, the world has more or less come to terms with Rand being the Dragon reborn, but there is no real global agreement about where to go from there. Quite the contrary, with the WT split right down the middle, a rebellion in Tear, Andor risking a civil war, half the manpower of the Borderlanders taking a walkabout, Shaido running around beating everyone in sight, the Seanchan doing their thing...You get the picture. All these things has to be dealt with, to make the world ready to fight TG.

The nature of such a process makes these books greater and broader in scope, which is one of the reasons they seem less focused.

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I kind of liked ACoS... Mat is one of my favorite characters, so he's the main reason why I enjoyed it so much. Rand is... just Rand. I've admitted several times that later on in the series he gets on my nerves. I do agree that Rand acted like himself when he met Cadsuane. As for him not doing much, he did but he didn't. Taking out a Forsaken is huge, but other than that I can't recall him doing much. And to think I just read it not that long ago... apparently my memory has been affected my my kids and their 'sleep all day party all night' philosophy.

 

I agree about Morgase, I never really did like her character that much. We do learn some insightful things from her POV but she reminds me to much of Elayne O.O She gives me a headache sometimes.

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The part that bothers me about Cadsuane in Book 7 is where she slaps Rand after he uses balefire on the Shadar Logoth cloud of mist.  I expected him to stand up for himself, but he rolls over and takes it which is completely different than every other confrontation he's been involved in.  Rand doesn't roll over before Aes Sedai, he rolls over them.  At least until Cadsuane show's up anyway.

 

I think you are misunderstanding that scene a lot. That scene defines why Cadsuane is such a great character even though superficially she can appear to be just another Aes Sedai bossing Rand around.

 

Cadsuane doesn't screw around. She doesn't put up a fight unless she knows she's right and it's important. And usually Rand knows it too, so it's very difficult to argue with her. This scene laid the groundwork for that. Rand is the friggin Dragon Reborn, all other Aes Sedai have tried to control, use, or break him. He used balefire and what did Cadsuane do? Did she give a big speech, or faint, or any of the bluster Aes Sedai normally go on about? No, she walked right up to his face and smacked him. There is no reaction that could have surprised Rand more. And the fact that it was such a human reaction, something that Rand could have gotten from his own mother, just sets up a certain relationship between Cadsuane and Rand that no one else has. She's as close to a mother figure as Rand can have. Oh, and has been mentioned, the thing that seals the deal is that deep down Rand knew full well that he deserved that smack for using balefire. There really was nothing he could do but "take it".

 

As for thier first meeting, you must know that Rand's defining trait is that when someone pushing him, he will push back. Thing is, that Cadsuane didn't push him that first meeting. Oh sure, she pushed some buttons, but Rand is used to Aes Sedai coming to him and saying "You have to do this or that". Cadsuane didn't do that. She dangled the carrot to get him intrigued, but she didn't give him anything to rail against. And yeah, Rand started taking a harder line against Aes Sedai in book 6/7, but he is never in the habit of stilling or enslaving women just for mouthing off to him. The worst she would have gotten was shielded, "Big Bad Dragon Reborn" performance, and sent away. She knew that, she went in there and made sure that above all else she wasn't just another Aes Sedai to him. All he could really do was watch, and then stand there scratching her head when she left.

 

Not out of character...there's reason why Rand acted differently around Cadsuance then around any other Aes Sedai. It's because Cadsuane is not like any other Aes Sedai! That's what makes her charactor so great...other Aes Sedai push, and poke, and manipulate. Cadsuane has an aura of, "Here's what you need to do, lets see if your smart enough to actually listen to me, kid...."

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i have read and re-read the series a few times, i agree about the Morgase parts they could have been trimmed ;D

the whole Toram fight was on the day he felt his taveren was in so he thought he would have a taveren twist in that fight to affect Toram, he definately didnt seem to be taking it serious, he was way casual ;)

Cadsuane i think was actually an example of his growth, that he didn't start a fight and held himself in check  ::)

 

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It's arc! >:(!eleven!

 

If Arkelias is this worked up over aCoS, I can't wait for the CoT and PoD lists. After all, the two pages of dress descriptions chapter and the interminable bath scenes are on your horizon. Wondering if knowledge that the Perrin, Elayne, etc drug-out-forever subplots are coloring your opinion?

 

ACoS does have some good payoff moments with other characters, and are related together (say the Egwene shipping Lan off to Ebou Dar and the results of that). It also broadens (deepens?) the world again (not to mention the shorter time frame plus pretty much everyone being just a step away from anywhere), just when we thought there were enough major players and crazy abilities around, I wouldn't rate it as among the dregs of WoT.

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jsut getting to the chapter where cadsuane is introduced....i wanna see what you guys are talkin about....its been so long since i've read this series...prolly before winters heart came out...alot of it i've forgotten, i'm remembering why i love the series though :D

 

so far i'm flying though aCoS though....its been a much faster read than LoC so far

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I'm sure having read the series through before is coloring my opinion, because I do know what's coming.  The endless chapters with Perrin / Faile / Elayne / Morgase are painful, and that does effect my perceptions of book 7 (though I shouldn't let it).

 

A lot of what bothers me is knowing what happens to Rand as well.  Gone is the confident powerful character from the first six books.  In his place we have an insane, irrational cripple who can't sit his saddle for fear of falling out of it. 

 

Granted its been a while since I read the later books, but the only thing that Rand does from book six on that makes me go YEAH!!! is cleansing the true source.  Or course that's why I'm reading the series again, to see if I was too harsh in my intial judgement.

 

Re-reading book 7 definitely improved my opinion of it, and so far the same has occured with book 8.  Neither are as good as early installments like TSR, but they aren't as bad as I'd initially thought.

 

Balefire, I liked your post on Cadsuane.  It's helping me see her in a new light, which makes me hate her less and improves my opinion of the books involving her =p

 

Nothing will make me like the Morgase storyline though >.<

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