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jameson (ST)

The Wot Cycle Re-read #2

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Issue #2: New Spring, more stuff

Another hundred pages or so. The gals tested for the shawl which helped to show that, yes, the Aes Sedia really are rather capable. Moiraine's test featured assaults, nudity, passionate lovers, more nudity, Trollocks, nudity, and a bunch of apparently very complex weaves. And that was less than 10% of the test. The implication is that those who pass are more than capable of using their power, and controlling themselves. We also found out that failures never come out of the Ter-angreal that is used to test. Makes one wonder if they die or simply live on in whatever place they fail to leave.

After that we get treated to filler that while interesting, well written, and generally nice at adding additional texture to the story proves to be, well, filler, it takes sixty odd pages of worrying, bank visits, dress fittings, insights into bizarre Aes Sedai traditions and customs, and a strong indication that there are in fact evil Aes Sedai before things get going again.

At which point we promptly switch POV to Lan and get a little more filler for his background, history and character. I recall now how I felt the first time I read the full novel size version of this story as compared to the novella version from Legends. RJ treated us to a bunch of interesting filler, but the plot was still that of a novella. Its a sign of his fascination with the minor details and bottom tier characters who are in and out in a blip. When people say his narrative is sprawling, this is part of what they mean. If you like this level of detail you will like his books, but if you don't you make get frustrated quickly despite the quality of the prose.

Finally though we get a couple of good chapters where stuff starts to happen. Moiraine has a run in with Cadsuane who is either an old and domineering bitch, or one of the few epicly bad ass Aes Sedai, depending on how many other books you've read. I've read far enough that I'm pretty sure A) she's not evil in secret, and B) I know how bad ass she is. Still at this point all she does is reinforce the conception that most Aes Sedai are stuck up bitchy women who probably need to get laid.

Rather than risk her self given mission to find the Dragon Reborn Moiraine decides for the second time in the book to disobey orders from somebody above her in the White Tower pecking order and flees. She follows three men (who turn out to be Lan and his companions), tries to sneak up on Lan and gets tossed into as lake for her trouble. Pours half of said lake onto his head later than night (which is pretty childish, and give Lan a good reason to doubt her claim as Aes Sedai). In a couple of towns she asks around for various mothers who may be that of the Dragon, but comes up empty handed. She also manages to impress Lan a couple of times, which starts to sow the seeds of why he would agree to be her warder later on.

In general the best take-away from this book is the character building aspects of Moiraine and Lan. We get to see just how stodgy he was before he met Moiraine (and later Nyneave) and see that in the early days of her quest she was must less reserved, much more spirited, and far less experienced. I'm unable to recall how this particular story ends but I find myself hoping for something high energy, a battle or chase. I have always felt that RJ is at his best when there is a true sense of urgency in his prose, the attack on the Two Rivers in Eye of the World was a fantastic hook for that book, and later battles, duels, and the like have always been the high points of the series in my eyes.

Prior Blog Things:

The Wot Cycle Re-read #1

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