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About thump

  • Birthday 02/03/1969

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  1. Truthfully, having Gawyn die on Egwene's floor would have been a really nice tendency-breaker. It would have introduced a new sense of peril for some of the second-tier characters. "Hey, if Gawyn can die, than some of these other guys aren't exactly safe either." Something like that. Plus, I think his death protecting Egwene while she is away in TAR would do wonders for Egwene herself. It would sadden her and darken her and... well, humanize her a bit--not to mention set up a delicious confrontation when Egwene and Fortuona come face to face--Rrrowl, phft phft, Rrrow-w-w-w-lll!!! In addition, it would probably help to elevate Gawyn to the point where he is seen more as a flawed hero rather than as a hard-headed buttmunch with a superiority complex. Oh well. Opportunity missed there. Coulda been a real nice touch.
  2. One of my biggest complaints about RJ's writing (and BS's continuation of it) is the incessant need to provide unnecessary details about minor characters. We constantly get these overblown pictures of serving girls and village artisans and merchant guards. It gets exhausting sometimes to try to figure out which of the 43,561 characters is going to be significant enough to actually focus our attention on. That being said.... One of the minor characters that I never expected to see again that actually popped up in a major moment of redemption was Noam. I was only a few pages ahead of Perrin in that particular realization--a really nice "oh-h-h-h-h-h, I-I-I get it" moment there. It was one of those times when a significant amount of warm, comfortable feeling came flowing back after re-claiming someone that I had thought had been lost forever. It seemed like some piece of Perrin (the old Emond's Field Perrin) that had been taken away was returned to him. That last little block that was in his way finally fell. For books and books, Perrin had been whining about what the world wanted from him, what the Pattern wanted from him, what the Two Rivers folk wanted from him.... So much of it stemmed from this idea that the wolf had been forced upon him and some part of it had to be constantly kept at bay or else he would lose himself and be "taken over" like that poor wretch Noam. Finding that Noam had chosen the wolf, actively and consciously decided for himself to forsake the pain and solitude of humanity for the freedom and brotherhood of the wolf, reminded Perrin of the responsibility of self-determination in much the same way that Tam's words about fighting for a "why" did for Rand. Noam's character in truth had never needed redemption--he had been right in his choice way back when we first met him. But the realization on the part of the reader (or at least this particular reader) that what we thought had been a lost soul had actually been free all along feels a lot like redemption to me.
  3. I don't know if anyone mentioned this or not (I didn't scrutinize the entire post--sorry), but I think what Rand did at Maradon is much more closely comparable to what Birgitte did when trying to rescue Elayne from the Black Ajah (KoD, I think). That was the only other time (aside from the meat-grinder section of Dumai's Wells) where we have seen a non-channeling force charge head-on into a channeling one. Rand may have stood on a tower and blasted away for a while against the Aiel, and the Aiel may have charged for a short time into the teeth of the Asha'man, but Maradon is the first time a non-channeling force tried in a concerted, all-out rush to get to a channeler from that kind of distance, over that kind of open terrain. If the Sea Folk had not intervened in the Birgitte/Elayne example above, a handful of Black Ajah (admittedly with a pretty potent angreal) would have wiped out pretty much the majority of Caemlyn's standing forces. I don't see Rand performing at any lesser level. Just my two cents.
  4. It's kind of a shame to see Loial so marginalized in recent books. His reluctance and his lack of a focus on himself were both very refreshing characteristics. They came off very real, very much in keeping with his bookishness and his kindness. I really hope we get to hear his speech. It would be difficult to write, true. Even a second-hand report of the effect of his speech, say... by his mother?... would be nice. I'd like to hear her break down a little bit and acknowledge Loial's wisdom and eat a bit of crow herself. Regardless, the dramatic possibilities of a formerly stoic and passive population rising up and following Loial into battle--especially with a rolling, booming, baritone war chant cresting the hill ahead of them--should not be overlooked. I'm picturing something similar in my mind to the ents marching on Isengard---"hoom-HOM!" Just my two cents. Still wondering if anyone else has heard of anything coming?? Sounds like several folks are hoping to hear the speech before the Stump. I'm hoping for that and a bit more, to tell the truth. I'd give up a few dozen pages of Mat's lame jokes or a few hundred pages of Aes Sedai plotting or the entire last appearance of pregnant Elayne to see a bit more of Loial at the end. Meh. What are the chances of that, though?
  5. I don't know if this was a topic for an earlier post or not. I did a quick search and didn't find anything recent. I keep waiting for Loial to show up at the head of a small army of chanting Ogier, spending equal amounts of time swinging long-handled axes and singing songs of growing to aid Rand's re-closure of the Bore. Any ideas about whether Loial and his non-Seanchan brethren will have a major impact in the Last Battle? Or is he to be relegated to the role of bystander and scribe--simply a historian for the benefit of members of a later age who want to know something about this odd Al'Thor fellow? I had hoped to see something of a Moiraine-in-the-Two-Rivers moment for Loial, giving the impassioned speech that reminds his listeners of who they are, who they once were, and what their duties are to the future. Anyone have any info from signings or conventions about what the plan is for our great tuft-eared friend?
  6. So, when Egwene tricks Nynaeve into giving advice based on being a young Wisdom in Emond's Field, the substance of Nynaeve's "Advice" is wrong somehow? I think if you read that passage with an unbiased eye, you'll see that what Nynaeve inadvertently advises Egwene to do is precisely what she has done--and in my opinion, precisely what she must do. If you want a justification for Egwene's acts since becoming Amyrlin to the rebels, you can't get much clearer than that. If you want a justification for her actions prior to that, I'd ask you to find a second plausible path that was as likely to lead to her current status. I don't think you'll find one. The world needed Egwene to be raised to the Amyrlin Seat. Now, it needs her to BE the Amyrlin Seat. Lan and Rand are not the only ones who experience the weight of responsibility. Death may be lighter than a feather, but the prospect of having to distance yourself from previously close friends and establish yourself as an authority over them is not exactly "light" duty. Nynaeve has the luxury of throwing her own independence in the faces of the Aes Sedai. Egwene does not. You don't have to like her to understand why her actions are necessary. No one else was so uniquely suited to give the White Tower what it needed at this crucial juncture than Egwene Al'Vere. Like her or not, she is what she is because that was what she needed to be. The fact that she chose to act as she has only underscores the truth in Tam's words when he spoke to Rand about the will to choose. Egwene may have been "chosen" for this task just as surely as Rand was--ta'veren or not. Give the girl a break. She's swimming with the sharks and has managed to hold her own just fine. If she's abandoned some of the niceties that make people want to be her friend and sit and braid each other's hair and tell stories about hearth and home and husbands and babies, then so be it. Sometimes the cause is worth the losses you suffer on the way. Clearly, Egwene was born to be a Blue.
  7. Whenever I visualize characters, only a few pop into my head immediately as actors/actresses. Thom Merrilyn is Sam Elliot--no one else fits quite so exactly. I even hear his voice when Thom speaks. Davram Bashere is Dustin Hoffman. Faile is Marina Sirtis. Lan is Vladimir Kulich (you'll remember him as the head viking Buliwyf in The 13th Warrior--talk about a "craggy" face!) Gaul is Wes Studi. Tam is James Gandolfini. Tuon is Jada Pinkett Smith. That's it for me. The others blur in and out of focus at times, but these few stay consistent in my mind's eye.
  8. I don't get the hate. Here's a little story.... I used to play softball with a guy who used to play professional baseball for the Pirates. He was just about the cockiest guy I ever played on a team with. Trouble is, he was also every bit as good as he talked himself up to be. He claimed he could make me a better hitter if I just listened to what he said I needed to change. Now, I was a better-than-average player myself at the time, and I had the requisite ego that goes along with being successful at sports. It was very difficult to get past his bombast and accept that he really DID have the ability and knowledge he claimed to have--especially since he was about 7-8 years younger than me at the time. Once I let myself accept his superiority in hitting, he helped me tremendously. Pride pricked. Ego flattened. Swing vastly improved. It ain't braggin' if it's the truth. Egwene is much the same. She has achieved a high standing in the world BECAUSE she has acted bravely and well. Based on that, why wouldn't she expect others to comply with her way of thinking? Yes, she thinks too highly of her own personal view of things, and yes, she has a tendency to infantilize others around her. But those others are going to have to concede that Egwene's way of doing things HAS unified the Tower, HAS brought huge numbers of women who can channel into the Aes Sedai fold, HAS resulted in the deaths of dozens of Black Ajah members, HAS effectively blunted the effect of a Seanchan raid, HAS ferreted out and mentally destroyed a Forsaken in the midst of Tar Valon, and HAS at least normalized relations with the Dragon Reborn. Sorry if you find her condescending and demeaning to her former equals. They are no longer her equals. She is the Amyrlin Seat, and she is responsible for the Aes Sedai--making her responsible for the vast majority of the channeling forces in the world--the rapid growth of the Black Tower notwithstanding. Her obvious competence and the equally obvious necessity for a hierarchy of authority have both conspired to put her in a place where her word must be unquestioned. Is she going to make mistakes? Yes. She's still human, and she's still young. But jumping on her case for getting a little hoighty-toighty??? Like I said, I don't get the hate.
  9. I'd go with Rand's attempted raising of the child from the dead in the Stone of Tear. Incredibly moving. A young man--not even yet aware of the full extent of his power--pushes up against the bounds of the Possible. "Death can not be healed." You can almost feel the anger and futility--"But I'm the Dragon Reborn! That has to count for something, right?" It reminds me of many different times I watched young people come up against the reality of life and begin to question their own immortality and their previously undoubted capacity to "change the world." Kudos to RJ for some fine thematic work there.
  10. We know Fain is in the Blight, but do we know where in the Blight? Did Fain ever say he was waiting at Shayol Ghul? The southern edge of the Blight is not all that far from the Field of Merrilor--reckoning that the site is somewhere north of Tar Valon. And Fain said he knew where Rand was going to be. I don't think he said anything about just waiting at Shayol Ghul. It's possible that that is his plan. But I don't think he came right out and said it. I'm not discounting Fain being there at Shayol Ghul when Rand arrives. It's possible. I just think the Padan Fain story arc needs to end before the climactic battle, and since his evil is a "separate" evil from the Dark One's, the Field of Merrilor would be a nice place to wedge in that little conflict. We're about due to have a taste of the good guys getting a bit of a surprise and taking a little step backwards before the big shebang at the end.
  11. There's a lot of good "meat" in this discussion of the dark prophecy. There are certainly some parts of it that I am ambivalent on--they could mean one thing or something completely separate. They could be a foretelling of what MIGHT be or what IS to be. But as far as the broken wolf who has known Death--wouldn't that apply to any wolf or Wolfbrother who has been to TAR? After all, that is where wolves' spirits go when they die, right? Hopper is the one wolf who has a big role and has known Death intimately--he died for Perrin twice, yet somehow, he still seems to be around. I am not saying that Hopper is part of the prophecy, but there are a number of simple ways that any wolf-related character could be said to be known by Death. I don't mean to oversimplify things, but a personification of death as "Death" with the capital D need not necessarily point to Moridin. In poetry, like in prophecy, death is often made into a figure with a personality and a name. Not discounting the possibiilty that RJ and BS had someone specific in mind. Just thinking simpler.
  12. I can't see this whole assembly of kings and powers coming together for any reason other than an imminent threat. They will squabble and politick all they can until nothing gets done. They will all mistrust each other to the point that they almost come to blows. Nothing... nothing could unify them except an exceptionally dark and powerful threat that ALL of them immediately recognized and were forced to act in concert against. It can't be the Dark One himself, since that particular confrontation would be the climax of the book. So that leaves.... wait for it.... Padan Fain. My guess is we have something like the scene in The Hobbit where the Elves, Men, and Dwarves are just about to come to blows before the gates of the Lonely Mountain when ...SUDDENLY, down swoop the hordes of Goblins, forcing everyone to come together and fight their common foes. This could also be where Perrin saves Rand's life. During the battle with the twisted trollocs and various Fain-corrupted baddies, Rand is mysteriously weakened in Fain's presence as a result of the proximity of the Shadar Logoth dagger. His side starts to burn and to smoke, and he falls to his knees. Just before Fain can gloatingly stab Rand in the heart, Perrin steps in and methodically gives him a Mjolnir-beatdown, slowly rendering both Fain and his dagger into bits of fractured metal and flesh. An evil, yellow smoke arises from the corpse only to be blown away by a supernatural wind as Moiraine triumphantly arrives on the scene. Angreal blazing with light, she opens a gateway to the Tower of Ghenjei, carves open a portal, and blows Mashadar into the land of the Snakes and the Foxes. Caring little about who survives the titanic struggle that her actions have ensured, she smiles grimly, walks back to Rand, and helps him to his feet. She then turns to Egwene and frowns, a small frown, but one heavy with disapproval. And so the REAL discussion of the Dragon's Peace begins....
  13. There are differences now between the Rand who would not/could not use the full extent of his power on Lanfear at the docks and the Rand who came down changed after his epiphany on Dragonmount. The "old" Rand had the same scruples as the "new" Rand. He still has an extreme distaste for killing or allowing the killing of women. The big difference is that he has now grown up. He is not unlike a lot of people in this world today who have pie-in-the-sky dreams of what a world would be like if only people were nicer to each other. As an ordinary joe--no big deal, just out living my own life--anyone can indulge himself in the high-minded ideals of Rand's (and Perrin's and Mat's) upbringing. When you assume a position of power or influence, though, pragmatism takes a much larger role than idealism. There are bad people in the world, and they have to be dealt with in ways that some people have a hard time stomaching. The Rand of ToM would have destroyed Lanfear on the docks--not because he is more cruel (that Rand would be the Rand post-attacking-Min but pre-"moment-of-enlightenment"), but because he knows that he has a duty to fulfill that takes precedence over his distaste for killing women. He cannot allow her to destroy him, the mountain that he carries on his shoulders cannot be eased in that way. The younger Rand would have thought his "rule" about killing women to be inviolate; the wiser Rand knows that nothing--not even the destruction of a woman here or there--can be permitted to interfere with the completion of the responsibility that is his, uniquely and completely his. The younger Rand would have thought that he could find some way out, some other option that would allow him to live and still not break his precious rule. The wiser Rand would have known that it was his responsibility to act in a distasteful way then (slaying a woman) in order to avoid an even more distasteful event (sa-a-a-a-y... the total victory of the Dark One) later.
  14. It's not like it's just Rand who does this. I find Gawyn's inability to listen to Egwene's words about knowing what she is doing more troubling. RJ and BS both seem to crack down on him about that particular peccadillo--right up until the point where it actually saves Egwene's life. I actually find myself on Perrin's side when he goes through the same thing with Faile. "I'm sorry, dear. Yes, I love you. It's just that I was raised to not raise my voice--let alone my fist--to a woman. Any woman. Especially my own wife." I get the idea of Faile's frustration. She doesn't want Perrin to think of her as some fragile flower that needs protection. Bu-u-u-u-ut... At the same time, she wants him to "grab her by the scruff of the neck and show her who is stronger" (to quote her mother). There is definitely some contradiction in the expectations here. Not unrealistic ones. In fact, those contradictions--and the confusion and frustration they bring to characters of both genders--are part of what makes the series' interaction between genders so... well... so real.
  15. Based on the continuing reliance on myth that RJ has shown through the series, Mat losing an eye is about the only good way to explain "losing half the light of the world." And if he stays true to the story of the Norse All-Father Odin giving up his eye--Mat will have to sacrifice his eye for some kind of wisdom. This falls right into place with Rand losing a hand a la Tyr/Tiu. My siser has always claimed that the Norse triad of Odin, Tyr, and Thor are present in Mat, Rand, and Perrin--but I always argue that, aside from the hammer, I can't see anything of Thor in Perrin. Anyway, if Mat goes to Finnland and is asked what price he is willing to pay, giving up an eye would suit nicely with the Odin-analogy since the main gift the Finns can give is knowledge.
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