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jameson (ST)

The Wot Cycle Re-read #1

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Issue #1: New Spring the First Hundred Pages

Where to begin? At the beginning seemed a logical choice, but which one? The Eye of the World was published first, but New Spring is chronologically first. Being that I was in no danger of spoilage and not having any idea where else to fit NS into the reread cycle I decided to start there. It may not be the beginning, but it's a beginning.

Oh, I should warn you ... spoilers may lurk below...

Which brings me to the first thing I noticed ... The opener isn't there! I was expecting "The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend.", but it wasn't there. It gave me an odd feeling starting the book and not finding it there, like an old friend was gone. In hindsight, as I write actually, I realize that an old friend is gone. Robert Jordan passed away some four years ago, so maybe its fitting as I embark on this to be reminded of that, however inadvertently.

We start out with Lan and within a few pages I'm reminded of just how hard he is. He's cold, distant, resigned to hit fate. It's a bit sad seeing him like this when I know some of what is coming for him. It gets better man, buck up! We're shown the departure of the Aiel from Randland (not my term, but it works) before switching gears rather suddenly to Tar Valon, that city of white stone and the White Tower, which I realize now is clearly meant to compare to Orthanc.

Moiraine and Siuan as waiting on the Amyrlin when the Keeper has a Foretelling (capital F) of the Dragon's rebirth on the slopes of Dragonmount. Shortly thereafter the Accepted are sent out to catalog every birth during the last days of the war, the goal being to hopefully identify and locate the Dragon as early as possible.

In 100 pages not a lot happens, and yet a lot does happen. Robert Jordan's writing is very dense (especially coming off of a Dresden Files book). More names are bandied about than I can follow, some of which I think I am supposed to remember, while others are simply toss-aways that get a handful of paragraphs anyways because RJ clearly loves characters. Minor characters, like a failed novice soon to leave the Tower, are given enough page time that they are allowed to breathe, even if only for a short time. It's no wonder that RJ ended up getting lost with in the details of minor characters and minor plot threads.

The last bit ends with Moiraine being told that her uncles have been killed, including the King of Cairhein, Laman Damodred. We're given every indication that they are no loss to humanity, being power hungry, corrupt, and generally not "good guys". The Aes Sedai, in their own greedy way, want to leverage what power they have in the vacuum left by the king's death and Moiraine is questioned by a number of sisters about who may next take the Sun Throne. The implication is not hidden, the Aes Sedai want her on it, and under their control.

Political maneuvering is no small facet of this series. When I was younger I wasn't sick of politicians like I am now, I hope this doesn't end up coloring the series poorly as I reread.

There's not a lot of One Power use here. Mention of Lan's enchanted sword is made, the indestructible nature of Cuellendar (sp?) is mentioned, and a few minor power uses as well. Dream Warding, warding rooms against eavesdroppers, Siuan uses the power as a bullhorn, and Moiraine uses it as a stain stick. Nothing exceptional, and yet all of it kinda neat. Mechanically the last two are features at best, any effort to "properly" stat them out is probably useless; a bull horn and a stain remover, if those need mechanics I don't want to play with you. Dream Warding and Sound Warding (for lack of a better term) would be useful however. One might simply be a bonus to resist intrusion to your dreams, the other a simple local area effect that prevents anybody outside from hearing into it. Neither would be difficult in a M&M system, even in a WW system they would likely be pretty straightforward.

That's all I got. See ya next time.

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Read another 2 chappies last night.

Eladia is a BITCH. All caps, underscored, italics, and fucking bold. When she first popped up in this book I remember that I didn't like her, and I couldn't recall exactly what it was that she did later to earn that enmity. Last night she basically beat the snot out of Moiraine and Siuan nightly as "training". She used Healing on to afterwards, but rather than doing so immediately after she did so the morning after. If she were really just trying to get the point across to them that they needed to have unbreakable focus in order to pass the test to gain the shawl she'd have Healed them immediately, that she waited says something about her attitude. It's almost shocking that she didn't say, "This is for your own good," but then I suppose she made that point when she claimed to be helping them.

Ugh.

RJ seems to want us to hate that woman, but why? He takes pains to paint other antagonists in shades of more flattering gray, but I don't recall ever thinking about Eladia in a positive light. Makes me wonder if he's playing a long con...

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