Wheel of Time Marathon – Book 13: Towers of Midnight

Started: 2/12/2016
Finished: 5/2/2016

Towers of Midnight begins with a confrontation between Perrin and Slayer in the Wolf Dream. Perrin’s progress to Caemlyn is blocked by Galad and the White Cloaks, who still want Perrin to face justice for killing two White Cloaks during the Two Rivers’ folks flight from Shadar Logoth. Not wanting to needlessly kill warriors who will be needed at The Last Battle, Perrin attempts to come to a peaceful resolution with the White Cloaks, but battle seems unavoidable. However, when Galad discovers that his stepmother Morgase is alive and posing as a servant in Perrin’s camp, Perrin agrees to be put on trial, with Morgase as the judge.

Morgase finds Perrin guilty in the trial, but Perrin persuades Galad to hold off on passing his judgement until The Last Battle is over. Meanwhile, Perrin discovers that Slayer is using a device that both traps wolves in the wolf dream and prevents gateways, effectively blocking Perrin from using Traveling to move his forces towards Caemlyn. With the help of Hopper and some other wolves, Perrin confronts Slayer in the Wolf Dream and seizes the device, called a dreamspike, and proceeds to move it away from his location, so that the Asha’man can make gateways to move his people. Perrin makes his way to Tar Valon with the dreamspike, with Slayer in pursuit.

Rand visits the White Tower and informs Egwene that he intends to break the seals on the Dark One’s prison. Rand requests that Egwene meet him at the Field of Merrilor in the Borderlands at a future date. Convinced that Rand’s plan is insane, Egwene persuades the rulers of most of the great nations to bring their armed forces at meet her at the Field of Merrilor to stop Rand from breaking the seals.

Meanwhile, Egwene is attempting to find and capture Mesaana in the White Tower. Gawyn requests that Egwene make him her warder, but she refuses, due to the fact that Gawyn keeps messing up her plans by insisting on protecting her. When Gawyn interrupts one of Egwene’s schemes to trap Mesaana, while battling with a Seanchan assassin, Egwene becomes furious and Gawyn leaves Tar Valon to visit his sister in Caemlyn.

Egwene then switches tactics and decides to draw Mesaana out by arranging an important looking meeting with Wise Ones and Sea Folk Windfinders in Tel’aran’rhiod. Egwene’s plan works and Mesanna and the Black Ajah attack. Mesanna attempts to leave Tar Valon, intending to draw Egwene into a trap, but is unable to travel, because Perrin has moved the dreamspike within range of the Tower. With neither party able to leave the Tower, the two factions are forced to square off. Mesaana temporarily captures Egwene with an a’dam, but Egwene uses her superior knowledge and ability in Tel’aran’rhiod to escape the a’dam and break Mesaana’s mind.

While Egwene is battling with Mesaana in the dream world, Gawyn learns from a captured sul’dam in Caemlyn, that the assassin he fought in the Tower was sent by the Seanchan, not by Mesaana and Gawyn rushes back to Tar Valon via a gateway to warn Egwene. Gawyn arrives just in time, as three assassins are closing in on a sleeping Egwene. Gawyn manages to barely fight off the assassins. When Egwene wakes, she discovers Gawyn is badly injured and bonds him as her Warder in order to keep him alive long enough to be healed.

In the Wolf Dream, Slayer kills Hopper, but Perrin is able to destroy the dreamspike by throwing it into a lava pit created by a nightmare and then escapes Slayer be returning to the real world. Perrin discovers that the trap the Forsaken had intended to snare Perrin’s army in, is about to be sprung on the White Cloaks and decides to use his army to save them. Because of his efforts in the battle, Galad decides to pass a light sentence on Perrin. An infuriated Byar attempts to kill Perrin, but Dain Bornhald, who was convinced during Perrin’s trial that he did not kill his father,  kills Byar instead. Graendal, who had been responsible for the dreamspike and the failed attempt to destroy Perrin and his army, is punished by Shadar Haran for her failure and her role in Mesaana’s death, due to the dreamspike being taken to Tar Valon.

Back in Caemlyn, Matt finally meets up with Elayne, after another run in with the Gholam. Matt makes a bargain with Elayne to get his dragons put into production. As part of the bargain, Matt agrees to lend the Band of the Red Hand’s services to the defense of Andor, allows Elayne to study his foxhead medallion and attempt to copy it and agrees to split the dragons with Elayne. Elayne succeeds in making some imperfect copies of the medallion, which Matt uses in a trap he set for the Gholam. With the help of some of the Band members and one of the Kinswomen, Matt manages to cause the Gholam to fall into a skimming gateway.

Perrin makes his way back to Caemlyn and Elayne learns that her mother is still alive, but has renounced the throne. Morgase convinces Elayne to allow Perrin to be an official lord in the Two Rivers. Elayne impresses some of her rivals for the Cairhien throne with a display of the dragons’ power and manipulates them into helping her secure the throne of Cairhien.

Though Perrin’s clash with Slayer in the Wolf Dream has helped him to accept the wolf part of his nature, Perrin mourns the loss of his friend Hopper and attempts to bring him back in the Wolf Dream, but fails. Before his death, Hopper instructed Perrin to seek out a wolf named Boundless. Perrin finds Boundless and discovers that he is the man named Noam, that Perrin set free long ago, believing the man had been consumed by the wolf. Perrin learns that Noam actually chose to live as a wolf, instead of a man, because his life as a man had been so difficult and full of pain. This greatly reduces Perrin’s fear that he will someday be consumed by the wolf and cease to be a man.

Aviendha encounters a strange woman on the way to Rhuidean, who causes her to question whether the A’iel should continue with their traditions and return to the three-fold land, now that the purpose behind those traditions is gone. She uses her unique ability with ter’angreal to pass through the glass columns in Rhuidean a second time and the columns reveal to her a possible future in which Aviendha and Rand’s children touch off a series of events that will lead to the destruction of the A’iel and the fall of the White Tower and much of the rest of the world to the Seanchan. Aviendha is horrified by what she sees in the columns and determines to attempt to find a way to prevent the future she has seen from happening.

Matt, Thom and Noal enter the Tower of Ghenjei, hoping to rescue Moiraine. The three take along fire, musical instruments and iron weapons to assist in their confrontation with the Aelfinn and the Eelfinn. When they have difficulty navigating in the tower, Matt uses his luck to choose their path and the three are eventually able to reach the Chamber of Bonds, where he hopes to make a binding bargain that will allow him to escape the tower with Moiraine.

Matt discovers Moiraine a prisoner in the Chamber of Bonds and realizing the meaning of the foretelling he received that he would “Give up half the light of the world to save the world,” agrees to allow the Eelfinn to take one of his eyes, in exchange for safe passage out of the Tower with Moiraine. Unfortunately, Matt forgets about the Aelfinn when he makes his bargain, which only ensures that the Eelfinn will not attack, and the Aelfinn block Matt and his friends from escaping the Tower. Noal, who is really Jain Farstrider, sacrifices himself to hold off the Aelfinn long enough for Matt and Thom to attempt to escape with Moiraine. Unfortunately, Matt is unable to find a way out of the Tower and resigns himself to dying in the Tower, before it occurs to him that the ashandarei he received from the Eelfinn is actually a key that will allow him to escape the Tower. Matt uses the key to open an exit and escapes the Tower with Thom and Moiraine. After their escape, Moiraine reveals that the Eelfinn fed off her ability with the One Power, leaving her capacity greatly diminished, though she was able to mitigate this by making a bargain with them that gained her a powerful angreal that allows her to channel at a much greater capacity than before she was imprisoned, even though unaided, she is no longer strong enough to even be raised as an accepted. Moiraine also reveals her feelings for Thom and the pair agree to get married.

Egwene, Elayne, Perrin and the rulers of most of the powerful nations all converge on the Field of Merrilor to either aid or attempt to stop Rand from breaking the seals on the Dark One’s prison.

Back at Caemlyn, after unexpectedly winning the game of Snakes and Foxes, Olver discovers and decides to open the letter Verin gave to Matt. Talmanes reads the letter and learns that Verin had thought Matt would open it after only a few days and had included a warning that a large force of Shadowspawn were converging on Caemlyn via the Ways. Verin’s letter warns Matt to convince Elayne to destroy the Waygate before they arrive.

Talmanes rushes off, sword drawn, only to discover that Caemlyn is already under attack. Talmanes marshals the Band to defend Caemlyn and prevent the dragons from falling into enemy hands.

 

Wheel of Time Marathon – Book 12: The Gathering Storm

Started: 11/10/2015
Finished: 2/11/2016

The Gathering Storm is the final book of The Wheel of Time series that was begun before the passing of original series author Robert Jordan on September 19, 2007 from cardiac amyloidosis. Brandon Sanderson took over the book and the remainder of the series, based on notes Jordan had produced before his death.

As the novel begins, Rand is in Arad Doman, searching for the Forsaken Graendal and Rand’s Aes Sedai allies are busy interrogating Semirhage, who was captured after attacking Rand in the previous novel.

Just as Cadsuane seems to be making progress in breaking Semirhage, Shaidar Haran frees Semirhage from her captivity and provides her with the domination band, a sort of male a’dam, which she uses, with the aid of a Black sister named Elza, to capture and control Rand. Semirhage uses the domination band to force Rand to attack and nearly kill Min, but Rand, in desperation and unable to embrace Saidin while under Semirhage’s control, uses the True Power, through his link to Moridin, to free himself from the domination band and then to destroy Semirhage and Elza with balefire. Disturbed by both his nearly being forced to kill his lover Min and flashbacks to his imprisonment in the box by Elaida’s followers, Rand resolves to become hard and emotionless. Blaming Cadsuane for both Sermirhage’s escape and for not keeping the domination band safely locked away, Rand banished Cadsuane from his sight, under pain of death.

Still hoping to forge an alliance and avoid having to battle the Seanchan and the Dark One at the same time, Rand arranges a meeting with Tuon at Falm. However, Rand’s new cold demeanor and the aura of darkness that surrounds him since his use of the True Power concerns Tuon and she refuses to ally with him, unless he agrees to submit to the will of the Crystal Throne first. Rand refuses and departs and Tuon decides to proceed with a raid on the White Tower, hoping to strengthen her own forces, while weakening the Dragon Reborn by capturing as many Aes Sedai as possible and leashing them as damane.

Rand determines that he can not save Arad Doman from the Seanchan, but before he leaves, he seeks out and destroys Graendal, by completely obliterating her palace and all of the people in it, with balefire and the aid of the Choedan Kal. His actions greatly disturb Nynaeve and Min, who seek Cadsuane’s assistance in bringing Rand back from the brink of madness, before it is too late. After destroying Graendal, Rand returns to Tear.

Egwene is still a captive in the White Tower, subject to increasingly harsh punishments at the behest of Elaida, in an attempt to break Egwene and squash the rebel Aes Sedai camped outside the Tower.

Egwene, who had forbidden the rebel faction from attempting to rescue her, is attempting to undermine Eladia’s power from within the Tower, while also attempting to heal the damage Eladia’s reign has caused, so that an undivided Tower may stand to face The Last Battle.

Elaida initially allows Egwene to roam the Tower, under guard, shielded and dosed with a tea that leaves her barely able to channel. Egwene makes great progress in winning over the hearts and minds of many of the Aes Sedai and novices before a confrontation with Elaida leads to Elaida having Egwene imprisoned and tortured. When Egwene refuses to be broken, Elaida eventually releases her, choosing to scapegoat the mistress of novices Silviana, in an attempt to save face.

Shortly after Egwene is freed, she encounters Verin in the Tower. Verin reveals to Egwene that she has been working as a double agent within the ranks of the Black Ajah for many years. In order to circumvent her oaths to the Dark One, which prevents her from betraying the Black Ajah, until the hour of her death, Verin has poisoned herself. Verin reveals to Egwene the names of every Black Sister she has been able to uncover, including Alviarin, and that there is a Forsaken hiding in the White Tower, disguised as an Aes Sedai.

Not long after Verin’s death, Egwene’s vision of a Seanchan attack comes to pass. Egwene, weakened by the forkroot tea, is barely able to channel on her own, but she is able to gather a group of novices and organize a circle, aided by a powerful sa’angreal she retrieves by traveling into the Tower storeroom, and mount an effective defense against the Seanchan and eventually drive them away. Egwene is able to greatly reduce the losses the Aes Sedai would have suffered, but many sisters are captured by the Seanchan, including Elaida.

Meanwhile, fearing for Egwene’s safety, Siuan, Gawyn and Gareth Bryne, mount a rescue, against Egwene’s express wishes and remove an exhausted Egwene from the White Tower and take her to the rebel camp. Back at the camp, Egwene uses the Oath Rod, which she took from the Tower by traveling, to prove the identity of the Black Sisters within the rebel camp that Verin had revealed to her, including Egwene’s Keeper, Sheriam. Egwene orders the 70 sisters within the camp to be rounded up and executed, but 20 manage to escape.

After the execution of the Black Sisters, Egwene orders her army to advance on the White Tower, hoping to mount an attack while the Tower Aes Sedai are still reeling from the Seanchan attack, however when she arrives at the Tower bridge, she discovers that Elaida was captured by the Seanchan and that the sisters in power in the Tower have decided to raise Egwene as their new Amyrlin and an attack will be unnecessary. Once Egwene is in power, she works to mend the divisions between the Ajahs and the Tower Loyalists and the Rebels, by appointing Silviana, a Red, as her new Keeper and requiring that the Rebels make a formal apology, before being taken back into the Tower. Egwene also attempts to root out the Black Sisters within the Tower, but finds that most of them managed to escape, including Alviarin and in spite of forcing the Tower Aes Sedai to reswear on the Oath Rod, she is unable to determine which sister is the Forsaken Mesaana.

In an attempt to save Rand from himself, Cadsuane orders Nynaeve to locate Perrin and bring back Tam Al’Thor from Perrin’s camp. Cadsuane instructs Tam in what to say to Rand, in the hopes that Tam is the one person that can break through Rand’s emotional barriers. Tam seems to make some progress, but once Rand learns Cadsuane put Tam up to confronting Rand, Rand is furious and loses control, nearly killing Tam in the process.

After his confrontation with Tam, Rand makes a gateway to Ebou Dar, intending to use the Choedan Kal to wipe the Seanchan out. However, when Rand realizes how peaceful the Seanchan rule is and sees their concern for him when he collapses after seizing Saidin, he has second thoughts and leaves via gateway to the summit of Dragonmount.

Teetering on the brink of madness, Rand contemplates the futility of being born over and over again, only to repeat the same mistakes. He convinces himself that the world would be a better place if he just ended it all and draws a massive amount of power into himself via the Choedan Kal. As Rand is on the brink of destroying the world, Lews Therin speaks to Rand, convincing him that being reborn through the turning of the Wheel provides them with a second chance to make up for past mistakes and that the opportunity to live and love again is worth the pain of living. Rand turns the power of the Choedan Kal on itself and destroys the Sa’angreal. His actions create the first break in the unnatural storm clouds that have covered the world in weeks, which provides a literal ray of hope to the people, including Egwene, who witness it.

Rand’s revelation frees him from his darkness and allows him to laugh and feel joy again. It also fuses Rand and Lews Therin as the one man, who they have been all along, fulfilling an earlier vision of Min’s.

Wheel of Time Marathon – Book 10: Crossroads of Twilight

Started: 9/10/2015
Finished: 9/28/2015

Crossroads of Twilight continues Perrin’s search for his wife Faile. Perrin and his followers have located the Shaido camp, but are stumped at how to rescue Faile and the other captives, due to the sheer number of Shaido in the camp and the large number of Shaido Wise Ones who can channel that are with them. In his desperation, Perrin resorts to torturing Shaido prisoners, but they revealed little information of value and Perrin is so disgusted with himself, he hurls his ax away and leaves it stuck in a tree. Meanwhile, Faile and her followers are trying to work on an escape plan of their own, but it doesn’t go according to plan, due in large part to being betrayed by the captured Black Ajah Aes Sedai, Galina, who is attempting to blackmail Faile into stealing the oath rod from the Shaido. Faile does locate an unexpected potential source of help, in the form of an Aiel warrior who takes a romantic interest in Faile. In his desperation, Perrin begins to consider attempting an alliance with the Seanchan, in an attempt to drive the Shaido out.

Matt and his companions, including his future wife Tuon, are on the road with Luca’s traveling show, attempting to flee Seanchan controlled territory. Though he professes to not be ready for marriage, Matt begins to attempt to court Tuon, only to learn he had unintentionally initiated the process of actually making her his wife back in Ebou Dar when he spoke that she was his wife three times in front of witnesses. If Tuon declares Matt to be her husband in the same manner within a year and a day, they will be considered married by Seanchan custom. While Matt was away from the show with Tuon, one of the Sul’dam Egeanin blackmailed into helping them escape Ebou Dar stabbed Egeanin and then fled towards a nearby encampment of Seanchan. Egeanin revealed to Matt and Tuon that she had learned that the Sul’dam were all women who could learn to channel, a fact that disturbed Matt, because Tuon had revealed that one of her hobbies was training damane, which meant she probably also could learn to channel. Fearing that she intended to betray their location to the Seanchan, Matt pursued the Sul’dam and one of his men killed her. When Matt returned to the camp, he found that Tuon had bought Luca off with a letter placing him under her protection.

Back in Camelyn, Elayne continued to work at securing the Lion Throne, while the Black Ajah and her rivals continued to plot against her. It is also revealed that Elayne is pregnant with twins, though she keeps the indentity of the father a secret from all but her closest friends.

Rand learns that Logain has joined the Asha’man and Logain warns him about a potentially dangerous split in the Black Tower with Mazram Taim’s followers being set against Logain’s. Rand decides that he can not possibly deal with everything he has on his plate and fight the Seanchan too, so he sends Logain, Bashere and Loial to negotiate a truce with the Seanchan. Logain returns and informs Rand that the Seanchan have accepted, but they demand Rand appear before the “Daughter of the Nine Moons” first.

Egwene and the rebel Aes Sedai have begun their siege of Tar Valon, but are not making much progress. The rebels decide that they should attempt to negotiate with Elaida and also that they need to make a pact with the Black Tower. To make matters worse, the camp is on edge, due to sisters having been murdered by someone using Saidin. Egwene contrives a plan, which involves her ability to turn metal into cuendillar, but while she is attempting to put that plan into motion, she is captured by the White Tower, the result of an apparent betrayal by one of Egwene’s followers. Before she is captured, Egwene sees a bat like creature flying across the moon, which foreshadows an attack on the White Tower by the Seanchan, which Egwene has seen in one of her visions.

Inside the White Tower, Elaida has managed to wrest control away from Alviarin and in her desperation, Alviarin seeks help from Mesaana, only to find that Mesaana is on the outs with Shaidar Haran, who Alviarin believes to be the Dark Lord himself, taking on the form of a too tall myrddraal. Shaidar Haran marked Alviarin as his own and charged her with rooting out the sisters in the tower who were attempting to expose the Black Ajah.

All of the various groups begin to experience difficulty in finding food to eat, since the grain stores have become infested with weevils. Rats and other vermin are also on the rise, even in places formerly protected by Aes Sedai wards. In addition to the increase in vermin, strange happenings, like people thinking they see the dead walking also seem to be in the rise.

 

Wheel of Time Marathon – Book 9: Winter’s Heart

Started: 8/25/2015
Finished: 9/10/2015

Winter’s Heart begins with Perrin, Berelein and his other followers pursuing the Shaido Aiel who kidnapped Faile, Morgase and several others. Meanwhile, Faile and Morgase are plotting to arrange their own escape and receive an unexpected offer of help from the captive Aes Sedai, and unknown to them, member of the Black Ajah, Galina. Perrin also receives a potentially dangerous offer of help from Masema, AKA “The Profit.”

Elayne is working to secure her spot on the throne of Andor, while also dealing with the challenges of the bargain she and Nynaeve made with the Sea Folk and narrowly escaping an attempt on her life. As a result of the assassination attempt, Elayne agrees to allow her warder Birgitte to hire and train bodyguards. Elayne also consummates her relationship with Rand, after she, Min and Aviendha all bond him as a Warder. Min reveals that she has had a viewing that Elayne would become pregnant as a result. As part of her plan to secure Andor, Elayne met with the Borderlands army that was searching for Rand and reached an agreement with them that would send them into Murandy, however shortly after dealing with that army, she learns there are four armies approaching Camelyn and begins planning for war.

Mat has been living as Queen Tylin’s “toy” in Ebou Dar, while recovering from the injuries he suffered when a building fell on him, while he was searching for Olver during the Seanchan invasion. The Seanchan have captured the city and made Tylin one of the Blood. Darkfriend and High Lady Suroth, is in charge of the city, but is soon joined by a higher ranking member of the blood, Tuon, who is a daughter of the Empress. Tuon seems to take an interest in Matt and even offers to buy him from Tylin. When Suroth takes Tylin away to show her the lands she will rule in the Empress’ name, Matt plots to escape the city, but his plans are complicated by a request to smuggle two damane captives and an Aes Sedai who had not been captured out of Ebou Dar. Matt’s plans are further complicated by Egeanin, the Seanchan who assisted Elayne and Nynaeve in Tanchico, and Bayle Domon asking Matt to assist in getting them out of Ebou Dar before the Seekers arrest Egeanin for her activities in Tanchico. Matt decides to use Egeanin to assist him in freeing the damane and Aes Sedai and along with Thom Merrlin, Juilin, Olver and the surviving Redarms, the group attempts to flee the city. While attempting to get out of the palace, Matt encounters both Tylin and Tuon. Tylin agrees to allow Matt to tie her up and hide her under the bed, so that he can escape without getting her in trouble, but Tuon attempts to stop him from leaving. Matt manages to subdue Tuon and tie her up, but when he learns that she is the Daughter of the Nine Moons that he was fated to marry, he decides to take her with them instead of leaving her behind.

Rand is still focused on two things, hunting down and killing the Asha’man who tried to kill him in Cairhien and cleansing Saidin of the Dark One’s taint. Rand approached Nynaeve and asked her to assist him with cleansing the source, by linking with him and using the female Sa’Angreal that was one of the two most powerful ever made. Nynaeve agrees, but first Rand wants to take out the Asha’man, so he leaves for Far Madding with Nynaeve, a former damane named Alivia, who is even more powerful than Nynaeve, and Lan in tow. Cadsuane, along with a group of Aes Sedai, Seafolk and Asha’man follow Rand to Far Madding. Rand succeeds in killing one of the Asha’man, but a second escapes and then unknown to Rand is killed by Padan Fain. Fain sets a trap for Rand and kills two more of the Asha’man in the process. Rand springs the trap and confronts Fain, but he escapes, while Rand and Lan are injured in a fall and then captured by the guards in Far Madding. Cadsuane manages to arrange for their release and Rand moves on to his plan to cleanse the source.

Given the idea by the way the evil in the wound from Fain’s dagger seems to war with the evil in the wound he received during his battle with Ishamael, Rand travels to Shadar Logoth with Nynaeve, Lan, Cadsuane and their companions. Rand and Nynaeve link through the sa’angreal and Rand makes his attempt to cleanse the source, while Cadsuane organizes a defense against attacks by the Forsaken, who are drawn to Shadar Logoth by the massive amounts of the One Power being used by Rand and Nynaeve. Osan’gar, in the guise of Dashiva, one of the rogue Asha’man who attacked Rand, is killed by an Aes Sedai, who is actually a member of the Black Ajah, during the battle. The fate of the other Forsaken who joined the battle is not revealed, though it is strongly suggested that one of the Forsaken is Lanfear, returned from captivity with the Aelfinn and Eelfinn, though either her apperance is changed or she is in a new body like Osan’gar and she has been made a prisoner of Moridin. Rand’s companions suffer some losses, but manage to defeat the Forsaken and the Asha’man believe that Rand was successful in cleansing the source, since they can no longer feel the taint, though Cadsuane remains skeptical.

Wheel of Time Marathon – Book 7: A Crown of Swords

Started: 7/25/2015
Finished: 8/10/2015

A Crown of Swords features two major plot lines involving Rand and his crew and Elayne and Nynaeve and their’s, a bit of time on a third plot involving Egwene and the Salidar Aes Sedai and a fourth plot involving Moghedien. There are also side plots involving the Shaido Aiel and Sammael and Morgase and Pedron Nial.

In Cairhien, Rand is dealing with the aftermath of his abduction by the Tower Aes Sedai. Due to some groundwork laid by his kidnappers, a number of Rand’s rivals have taken the opportunity to push their positions, including a Cairhienin noble by the name of Colavaere, who had herself crowned Queen in Cairhien. In addition to problems with the nobles, there are rumors of more Aes Sedai gathering in the city and problems with the Aiel, some of whom believe the rumors that Rand submitted to the White Tower and is now merely an Aes Sedai puppet.

Meanwhile, Egwene is attempting to assert herself as a true Amyrlin and not just a figure-head with the Salidar Aes Sedai and with Siuan Sanche’s help push them into confronting Elaida. She also is trying to find out who freed Moghedien and dealing with a blackmail attempt by a novice and a Hunter for the Horn, who know she, Elayne and Nynaeve had been posing as full Aes Sedai before being raised.

In Ebou Dar, Elayne and Nynaeve continue their search for the Bowl of the Winds, though their search is complicated by the other Aes Sedai in Ebou Dar refusing to acknowledge them as full sisters because they were not raised in the Tower.

Moghedien is summoned to Shayol Ghul, where as punishment for her failures, she is fitted with a mindtrap and placed under the control of a man named Moridin, who sends her out on a mission in Ebou Dar that we are not fully privy to the purpose of. While in Ebou Dar, Moghedien, spots Nynaeve and attempts to kill her, even though this was not part of her orders from Moridin.

Sevanna and the Shaido Aiel have made a bargain with Sammael, though they don’t know the man and woman they are dealing with are really two of the Forsaken, that Sevanna hopes will led to her capturing and marrying Rand Al’Thor. However, both Sevanna and Sammael are attempting to betray the other to their own advantage, leading to plans not quiet going as either expected.

Rand begins to attempt to right the ship in Cairhien by dealing with Colavaere. Though her treason and her murder of a couple of nobles who stood in her way call for her to be hanged and Min has told Rand of a viewing that revealed that Colavaere would die by hanging, Rand is unable to bring himself to order her execution and instead orders her to be exiled. However, Min’s viewing proves true when Colavaere hangs herself rather than accepting Rand’s exile.

Rand meets with a number of Aiel leaders and parades the Aes Sedai who have sworn fealty to him before them, as a means of proving he is not a puppet on Aes Sedai strings, but his efforts are complicated by the arrival of Cadsuane, the oldest known living Aes Sedai, who Min tells Rand will teach him and the Asha’man something they need to learn, but will not enjoy learning from her. Cadsuane also shakes Rand’s confidence by telling him that one of the first signs a man who can channel is going mad is that he begins to hear voices, causing Rand to doubt that the voice of Lews Therin is real and not a manifestation of madness.

Rand also makes plans to kill Sammael via a ruse involving Bashere’s army and the Aiel, designed to draw Sammael out of Illian, so that Rand can enter the city and defuse Sammael’s traps before Sammael can return to confront him. Sammael attempts to interfere with Rand’s plans by sending some of the Shaido Aiel into battle with Rand’s army, gathering outside the gates of Illian, but his plan is spoiled by the fact that Sevanna keeps all of the Shaido Wise Ones who can channel with her group, which are sent to some unknown location, leading to the Shaido who are sent against Rand being slaughtered without much affect on Rand’s plan. Sevanna has also managed to capture Galina, a member of the Red and Black Ajah, who was primarily responsible for Rand’s capture and torture at the hands of the Tower Aes Sedai. As part of his bargain with Sevanna, Sammael provides Sevanna with the Tower’s oath rod and tells her she can use it to force Aes Sedai to do her bidding.

Meanwhile, in the wake of everything Rand and Min suffered at the hands of the Tower Aes Sedai, the pair have sex, which Rand initially thinks was him forcing himself on Min, which combined with his fears that Lews Therin is not real, sends him into a deep depression, but eventually Min convinces him that she was a very willing partner and that she loves him and inadvertently calms his fears about Lews Therin by revealing a viewing she  had that Rand believes proves that Lews Therin is real. Rand admits that he loves Min as well, but that he also loves Elayne and Aviendha and wants to send Min away to protect her from himself and his enemies. Min refuses to leave and remains by his side, but not before Rand makes her promise not to hold back any  more of her viewings from him. In spite of her promise, Min withholds a viewing that indicates that Rand will fail without the help of a woman who is “dead and gone,” and reveals to the reader that a viewing she had about Moiraine is the only one that has ever proven wrong.

By using Matt’s Band and her army to frighten people into thinking a war is coming, Egwene is building her army, under the command of Gareth Bryne and marching towards Tar Valon. With the help of Siuan, she discovers along the way that Myrelle Sedai has been hiding that Lan has returned to her and that Moiraine had passed his bond to her without his consent, a violation of Tower custom, if not law. Myrelle explains that a consequence of the bond, leads most Warders to court death after their Aes Sedai dies and she is one of the few Aes Sedai who has managed to save more than one. Egwene uses this information as a lever to get Myrelle to swear fealty to her and then uses that act as a lever to get members of the Salidar Hall to do the same. She also decided to send Lan to Ebou Dar, with orders to protect Nynaeve, believing that this mission will do a better job of keeping him alive than Myrelle’s plans.

In Ebou Dar, Nynaeve and Elayne are having no success in locating the Bowl of the Winds, so they decide to resort to using Matt’s ta’veren luck to locate it for them. This tactic leads to them making a bargain with the Sea Folk to assist in using the Bowl once found and also leads to the discovery of a group of women who can channel, who call themselves the Kin, who they decide to recruit to join the Salidar Aes Sedai and also enlist their aid in finding and using the Bowl of the Winds.

While in Ebou Dar, Matt discovers that the darkfriend who tried to stab him in a barn on the road to Caemlyn is in the city and follows her to Jaichim Carridin, who, with the aid of Thom, Juilin, Birgitte and Aviendha, he discovers is hosting a number of darkfriends. However, Matt’s plans to deal with Carridin and protect Nynaeve and Elayne are disrupted by Queen Tylin’s taking an interest in him and making him her lover and her son’s companion.

Morgase’s situation in Amadicia goes from bad to worse when Pedron Nial is murdered by his own spy master, resulting in Morgase being put to the question and subjected to the attentions of Nial’s replacement. Morgase considers suicide, but is interrupted by a Seanchan attack that results in the Seanchan demanding Morgase submit to ruling Andor in their name. Instead, Morgase decides to renounce her throne, so that Elyane can rule in her stead. Morgase then escapes Amadicia with the aid of Nial’s former secretary, who is not fond of the new Whitecloak regime.

Back in Cairhien, Rand and Perrin stage an argument, so that Rand can send Perrin and Faile along with an Aiel escort, on a secret mission. Rand also sends Loial on a mission with one of his Asha’man to find and place guards on all the Waygates.

Rand finally meets with the Sea Folk and begins the process of striking a bargain with them that will provide him with the services of the Sea Folk ships, before going off to confront the rebels in the countryside. Rand discovers that both Padan Fain and Cadsuane, as well as six other Aes Sedai are in the rebel camp. While he is there, a strange fog descends on the camp and begins solidifying into monsters that tear people limb from limb. With the aid of Cadsuane, Min and two of the nobles, Rand attempts to escape the fog, but he is attacked by Fain, who cuts him with the Shadar Logoth dagger. The Aes Sedai manage to stave off death, but it takes the efforts of one of the Asha’man, who has discovered a different, or perhaps lost, method of using the One Power to heal, to contain the evil from the dagger to the point that Rand can survive it.

Once Rand is recovered, he launches his attack on Sammael, who has come out of the city to confront Rand’s army, believing Rand to be incapacitated by the dagger. Claiming that he doesn’t want Rand destroying Illian, Sammael leads him to a confrontation in Shadar Logoth, where Rand encounters a maiden of the spear he believed to be dead. He also encounters a strange man who can channel, but does not use Saidin, who aids him for unknown reasons. However, Rand’s plans to kill Sammael with balefire are foiled when he kills the maiden instead, in order to save her from being consumed by Mashadar. Rand then returns to Illian, believing that Sammael must have been killed by Mashadar, where he is presented with the laurel crown, later to be renamed the crown of swords and named king of Illian.

Meanwhile, matters escalate in Ebou Dar when while on a boat to meet with the Sea Folk, Moghedien attempts to attack Nynaeve with balefire, resulting in the boat sinking. Nynaeve comes close to dying, but is saved by Lan, who had been following her. In the process, she finally learns to surrender to Saidar and overcomes the block that had prevented her from channeling without being angry. In spite of Lan’s protests, Nynaeve convinces him to marry her on the Sea Folk ship.

Once Nynaeve returns from her mission, she, along with Elayne, Matt, Tylin’s son, a number of the Kin and Matt’s Band journey into the Rahad to retrieve the Bowl of the Winds. The group is attacked by darkfriends, two members of the Black Ajah and a gholam, a creature created to kill Aes Sedai, who is immune to the One Power and extremely resistant, if not immune, to physical attacks as well. Matt is able to fend off the gholam by burning it with his foxhead medallion, but a number of their companions are killed in the process. One of the Black Ajah escaped, but the other was captured by Nynaeve and held prisoner by the Kin. In spite of the fact that the darkfriends made off with much of the contents of the storeroom, they left behind the Bowl of the Winds.

After using Matt’s nature as a ta’veren to strike a bargain with the Sea Folk, Nynaeve, Elayne, Thom, Juilin, Birgitte and Aviendha left for the Kin’s farm to use the Bowl of the Winds with the Sea Folk Windfinders. Matt was to go with them, but stayed behind to find a young boy he had taken charge of named Olver, who was out in the city. While Matt was searching the city for Olver, the city was attacked by Seanchan and Matt is apparently buried under the rubble of a building collapsed by a damane using the One Power.

 

Wheel of Time Marathon – Book 6: Lord of Chaos

Started: 6/28/2015
Finished: 7/25/2015

Lord of Chaos begins with Rand trying to juggle ruling both Cairhein and Camelyn and fending off plotting nobles long enough to hand the thrones over to Elayne.

Though he has concerns about the man’s loyalty and ambition, Rand placed false Dragon Mazrim Taim in charge of his school for men who can channel, whom he names “Asha’man.” The school comes to be known by the name “The Black Tower.”

Meanwhile, both the White Tower and the rebels in Salidar have sent emissaries to try to convince Rand that their faction are willing and able to support him. Alanna and Verin, who have not aligned with either faction yet, also arrived in Caemlyn, with a cache of Two Rivers girls who can learn to channel in tow. When Rand met with them, Alanna bonded Rand without his consent, further increasing his distrust of Aes Sedai. Eventually, Alanna and Verin decided to throw their lot in with the Salidar rebels, though Verin appeared to have her own plans for using the embassy.

Egwene, who was still training with the Wise Ones and recovering from the injuries inflicted upon her by Lanfear in Cairhein, discovered that Gawyn had accompanied the Tower Aes Sedai and believing Rand had killed his mother, wanted to kill him. However, Egwene and Gawyn professed their love for each other and Gawyn agreed not to raise a hand against Rand.

Prompted by Siuan’s manipulation of the Salidar Aes Sedai, Egwene was summoned to Salidar to be raised to the Amyrlin Seat. The Salidar Aes Sedai hoped they would be able to control her, but Egwene had other plans and one of her first rebellious moves was to raise her friends Nynaeve and Elayne to full Aes Sedai and send them off to Ebou Dar to search for a ter’angreal that they believed could fix the unnatural heat and drought that was plaguing most of the world. This action also disrupted Rand’s plan to have Matt and his Band of the Red Hand bring Elayne to Caemlyn so she could be crowned and Matt ended up accompanying Elayne and Nynaeve to Ebou Dar instead, along with Thom and Juilin.

Elayne and Nynaeve had gained some notoriety of their own in Salidar, as a result of passing off “discoveries” they had gained by controlling Moghedein via the a’dam Elayne made, as their own. Nynaeve further complicated matters by accidently healing Logain and restoring his ability to channel. She was also able to restore Siuan and Leane’s ability, though they were much weaker in the power than they had been before being stilled.

Egwene took over control of Moghedien when Elayne and Nynaeve left for Ebou Dar and forced her to teach Egwene how to travel, though she merely confirmed what Egwene had already puzzled out on her own. Once Egwene, with the aid of Leane and Siuan was able to manipulate the Salidar Aes Sedai into marching on Tar Valon with their army and Matt’s band in tow, Egwene intentionally freed Logain, hoping that he would join Rand. One of the forsaken, disguised as a camp follower, freed Moghedien that same night.

Back in Caemlyn, someone arranged for one of the Salidar Aes Sedai to be attacked in such a way that it made it look like Rand was trying to send a message. The Salidar Aes Sedai retaliated against Rand and then when the two Aes Sedai who had been sent to look for Rand in the Aiel Waste arrived, bringing the number of Aes Sedai in Camelyn to 13, Rand panicked and fled to Cairhein, taking Perrin, who had been drawn to re-join Rand by ta’veren pulling, Min, who had come with the Salidar Aes Sedai, Faile and Loial with him.

The Tower Aes Sedai set a trap for Rand, disguising several younger Aes Sedai as servants to hide their numbers and trapping him and carrying him out of the palace inside of a chest. They also took Min prisoner. Using Rand’s habit of traveling without alerting his Aiel guards to give them a head start, the Tower Aes Sedai, led by a Red sister named Galina and escorted by Gawyn and his Younglings, set off for the White Tower, with Rand still confined and shielded in a box. They tortured him severely along the way.

Once they determined the Aes Sedai had captured Rand, Perrin organized and led a party of soldiers, Aiel and Wise Ones, along with Loial to rescue Rand from the Aes Sedai. Along the route, Perrin’s band of Two Rivers men encountered the Salidar Aes Sedai, who had been traveling to Cairhien to attempt to approach Rand again and they joined Perrin’s group in their attempt to rescue Rand.

Perrin and his group caught up to the Tower Aes Sedai at Dumai’s Wells and discovered they were already battling with the Shaido. Perrin and his supporters attempted to fight their way through both Aes Sedai and Shaido to get to Rand, but it appeared they would all die in the attempt, when suddenly Rand’s Asha’man began arriving by gateway and joined the battle.

Once the Tower Aes Sedai were distracted enough by the battle, Rand managed to free himself from the shield and the box and rescue Min. Meanwhile, the Asha’man began to turn the tide of the battle in Rand’s favor.

Mazram Taim wanted to take Rand and flee the battle, leaving most of the Aiel and Two Rivers men to their fate, but Rand ordered the Asha’man to continue the battle. The Asha’man gruesomely destroyed the Shaido, until they and the remaining Tower Aes Sedai and Younglings fled the battle.

Rand then demanded and received an oath of fealty from the Salidar Aes Sedai, fulfilling one of the prophecies of the Dragon Reborn.

Wheel of Time Marathon – Book 5: The Fires of Heaven

Started: 6/3/2015
Finished: 6/28/2015

The Fires of Heaven primarily follows the stories of Rand, Egwene, Avienda, Moriaine and Lan in their pursuit of Couladin and the Shaido and Elayne, Nynaeve, Thom and Juilin attempting to return to the Tower after their exploits in Tanchico.

Rand and his companions begin the story departing Rhuidean in pursuit of Couladin, who has taken the Shaido out of the three-fold-land and into Cairhein. Before departing Rhuidean, Moiraine loads the merchant wagons up with as many of the objects of power as she can fit from Rhuidean. She seemed particularly concerned with the twisted door frame ter’angreal that Matt passed through while in Rhuidean.

During the pursuit of Couladin, Rand and Aviendha grow closer, eventually consummating their relationship, after Aviendha attempted to flee her feelings for Rand through a gateway into Seanchan territory. Aviendha revealed to Rand that she had foreseen that she would fall in love with Rand when she visited the three rings in Rhuidean, which reveal all of the possible branches a person’s life might take, though they remember only a few. However, due to Aviendha’s view that her near-sister Elayne has a pre-exisiting claim on Rand, Aviendha tells Rand that their romantic encounter would be a one time thing and she would deal with discharging her toh with Elayne when she next saw her.

Rand’s relationship with Moiraine also evolved on the journey. In her desperation to get him to listen to her counsel, Moiraine agreed to obey Rand’s commands, which was a source of conflict between Rand and Egwene, who felt Rand was becoming unreasonably arrogant.

Egwene continued her training as a Dreamwalker and learned how to speak to other people in their dreams, though she continued to forge ahead on her own against the wishes of the Wise Ones.

Aviendha also progressed in her training as a Wise One and began studying channeling with Egwene and Moiraine, greatly increasing her ability with the One Power.

Once Rand and his companions caught up to Couladin at Cairhein, he wanted to confront Couladin one on one and kill him with his sword, but the Maidens and his other companions convinced him to remain with Egwene and Aviendha and use the One Power to assist the Aiel warriors in battle.

Matt attempted to leave before the battle began, but found himself in the thick of things and using the battle knowledge he had gained from the memories gifted him in the twisted stone door ter’angreal to lead a band of Cairhein and Tairen soldiers to several key victories and ultimately kill Couladin in single combat. In recognition for his combat prowess, many of the soldiers volunteered to form a company called the Band of the Red Hand under Matt’s command.

During the fight with the Shaido, Sammel attacked Rand and his companions with the One Power, injuring Rand, Egwene and Aviendha and killing a number of Maidens in the process. Rand vowed to try to keep the Maidens out of danger after that fight.

Nynaeve, Elayne, Thom and Juilan encountered Galad, who had joined the Whitecloaks, while attempting to return to the Tower. Galad wanted to haul the pair of them back to Caemlyn, but they managed to forestall him.

After learning that the Siuan had been deposed and the White Tower had split from a number of different sources, Nynaeve and Elayne determined to try to find the group of Blues and other Aes Sedai that Nynaeve had discovered were gathering in Salidar, while she was riffling through Elaida’s papers in Tel’aran’rhiod. Unfortunately, Nynaeve couldn’t quite remember the name of the town.

The girls, along with Thom and Juilin, determined to hide themselves in a traveling menagerie while they searched for Salidar, in the hopes of avoiding entanglements with Galad and the Whitecloaks. After having one of the Tower’s agents attempt to drug them with a herb that prevented channeling and haul them back to the Tower, they also hoped to avoid further problems with Elaida’s supporters.

While in Tel’aran’rhiod, both Nynaeve and Elayne encountered a hero tied to the Wheel named Birgette, who agreed to help them spy on the Forsaken. While listening in on a meeting where several of the Forsaken were plotting to draw Rand into a trap by baiting him into attacking Sammael, Birgette and Nynaeve were discovered and attacked by Moghedian.

Moghedian immobilized, shielded and tortured Nynaeve, until Birgette shot her with an arrow, allowing Nynaeve to escape. However, in the process, Moghedian ripped Birgette out of Tel’aran’rhiod, causing her to appear in the waking world, but in an extremely weakened state. In order to save her life, Elayne bonded Birgette as a Warder.

Panicked by the fact that Moghedian had discovered they were traveling with a menagerie, Nynaeve sought assistance in finding a ship from Masema, who was now calling himself The Prophet and stirring up a lot of trouble, and Galad. Elayne revealed the plot against Rand to Egwene in Tel’aran’rhiod, but kept Birgette’s identity a secret.

Nynaeve finally remembered the name of the town and both Galad and Masema attempted to secure a ship for her, setting off an eruption of deadly riots and the destruction and flight of most of the menageries. With the assistance of Thom, Juilin, Galad and the Shienaran soliders who were not followers of Masema, Nynaeve and Elayne were able to board a ship and travel to Salidar. Along the way they picked up three companions, who were refugees on the ship.

Once in Salidar, Nynaeve and Elayne were tasked with teaching the Aes Sedai how to use the ter’angreal that allowed access to Tel’aran’rhiod that they had taken from the Black Ajah. Nynaeve also began giving Siuan private instruction, in exchange for Siuan’s agreement to allow her to study her, Leane and Logain to determine if stilling could be healed.

Siuan had arrived in Salidar, along with Min and Leane prior to the girl’s arrival and convinced them to allow Siuan to run their eyes and ears network. She also convinced them that the Red Ajah had convinced Logain to become a false dragon, so that they could pull him down, in order to push them into attempting to depose Elaida, instead of hiding out in Salidar. She also convinced them to form their own Hall and raise their own Amyrlin.

Min revealed to Elayne that she had, had a viewing that she would fall in love with Rand and have to share him with two other women, one of which was Elyane. The pair agreed not to let Rand stand in the way of their friendship.

Thom, Juilin, Uno and the other Shienarans offered to assist Elayne and Nynaeve in fleeing Salidar and returning to Rand, but they decided to stay and the men agreed to assist Gareth Bryne, who had been convinced to form and lead an army to assist the Salidar Aes Sedai in retaking the White Tower.

Back in Cairhein, while Rand was attempting to maneuver the Cairhein nobels in preparation to hand the throne over to “someone with a claim,” Rand learned from Matt, who he sent on a scouting mission, that Rahvin had crowned himself king in Andor and Morgase was missing and presumed dead.

Unknown to Rand, Morgase had actually fled Andor, along with a solider named Tallanvor, her old nurse Lini, Basil Gill, and a street tough and his girlfriend. She had intended to seek the aid of her former general Gareth Bryne, but upon discovering he had left Kore Springs in pursuit of Siuan, she headed for Amadicia instead.

Grieved that Elayne’s mother had been killed while he was too busy dealing with Cairhein to do anything about Rahvin, Rand vowed to travel to Camelyn and kill Rahvin. Though he meant to run off alone, he was convinced to take Egwene, Aviendha, Moiraine and as many Aiel warriors as he could transport, but before he could leave, Moiraine insisted he come to the docks to see something.

Once at the docks, a jealous Lanfear, who had learned Rand had slept with Aviendha, attacked the group, capturing and torturing Egwene and Aviendha. When Rand refused to become Lanfear’s lover, Lanfear lashed out at him and nearly killed him, because he could not bring himself to kill Lanfear, because she was a woman. During Rand’s battle with Lanfear, Moiraine pushed her into the stone doorframe ter’angreal, where it was presumed that they both died.

A letter Moiraine had written Rand before her death revealed that she had foreseen the battle with Lanfear in the rings in Rhuidean. According to her, if she had not sacrificed herself to kill Lanfear, Rand would have either died or been consumed by Lews Therin and ended up Lanfear’s devoted lover. She also left a letter for Rand to deliver to Thom, but Rand did not read it.

After Moiraine’s death, Rand was confronted by the Maidens, who were angry that Rand had planned to leave them behind when he confronted Rahvin. Rand agreed to no longer try to protect the Maidens. Lan departed, advising Rand that his bond had been passed to another and asking him to tell Nynaeve that he had found a new love and to forget him and advising Rand to do the same with any woman he loved.

Meanwhile, Matt’s Aiel lover attempted to kill him and revealed herself to be a Darkfriend in the service of Sammael, which prompted Matt to accompany Rand to confront Rahvin, along with Aviendha, Asmodean and a number of Aiel. Egwene stayed behind due to injuries suffered at the hands of Lanfear.

When Rand arrived in Camelyn, he set off wards set by Rahvin and was immediately set upon by lightning which killed Matt, Aviendha and Asmodean. Rand continued on to pursue Rahvin, while the Aiel fought Trollocs in the city.

Back in Salidar, Nynaeve spotted Moghedian  spying on her and Siuan in Tel’aran’rhiod and attempted to flee, but Moghedian  followed and attempted to capture her. Birgitte, using the stone ring ter’angreal, arrived in Tel’aran’rhiod and distracted Moghedian long enough for Nynaeve to capture her with an a’dam she created by manipulating the dream.

Moghedian revealed to Nynaeve that Rand had walked into a trap and Nynaeve determined to use Moghedian’s power, via the a’dam, to assist Rand in battling Rahvin. After traveling to the palace in Andor, Nynaeve discovered that Rand and Rahvin had entered Tel’aran’rhiod in the flesh during their battle. Nynaeve was able to sneak up behind Rahvin while he was pre-occupied with Rand and attack and gravely injure him with fire, when Rahvin turned to confront her, Rand destroyed him with a powerful burst of balefire.

Once Rand returned to the waking world and left the palace, he discovered that due the balefire’s effect of erasing Rahvin’s past actions, Matt, Aviendha and Asmodean were alive and busy fighting Trollocs. Rand helped the Aiel defeat the remaining Trollocs.

Nynaeve revealed to Moghedian that she knew she must have been in Salidar to know the things she knew and drugged the woman with forkroot tea and advised her she would find her soon in the waking world.

The story ended with Rand meeting up with Davram Bashere, general of the Saldaen army, who were in pursuit of Mazram Taim. Rand revealed his plan to offer an amnesty to any man who could channel, including Taim, in order to build an army to fight the new dreadlords in the Last Battle.

Meanwhile, Asmodean stumbled across someone he knew, but who was not revealed to the reader, who killed him.

Wheel of Time Marathon – Book 4: The Shadow Rising

Started: 4/19/2015
Finished: 6/3/2015

The Shadow Rising begins with all of the Emond’s Fielders plus Elayne, Moiraine and Lan, Faile and Loial in the Stone of Tear. By seizing Callandor, Rand has now declared to the world and learned to accept himself, that he is The Dragon Reborn. Now, he must decide what his next move is.

Moiraine wants Rand to use the Tairens to declare war on Illian and root out the Forsaken who rules there. However, Rand has his own ideas and is determined to make a move he thinks no one will suspect.

Matt and Perrin find themselves caught in Rand’s taveren pull and all three boys encounter strange and dangerous enemies that Moiraine refers to as “bubbles of evil.”

Elayne reveals her feelings to Rand, but knows she must leave him to continue her hunt for the Black Ajah. Through their interrogation of the captured Black Sisters from the raid on the stone, Nynaeve, Elayne and Egwene learn of a possible plot against Rand in Tanchico.

As all of the main characters are making their plans, the Stone suffered an attack by Shadowspawn. Lanfear makes another appearance and claims to have helped Rand fend off the attack by sending in Trollocs of her own.

After the attack, Rand and Matt step through a stone doorway ter’angreal and what they learned there set them on the road to Rhuidean in the Aiel waste. Moiraine also went through the doorway, but she keeps what she learned to herself. In addition to being told to go to Rhuidean, Matt was told he was fated to die and live again and to marry the daughter of the Nine Moons.

While trying to learn of the potential danger to Rand in tel’aran’rhiod, Egwene encounters an Aiel dreamwalker who commands her to come to the Aiel waste to learn to control her dream walking ability.

Nynaeve and Elayne determine they should travel to Tanchico to hunt for the remaining 11 Black Ajah and determine what the threat to Rand is. The three boys learn of a Whitecloak threat to the Two Rivers, but Rand and Matt decide they have to journey to Rhuidean. Thinking he can end the Whitecloak threat by turning himself in, Perrin decides to journey to the Two Rivers via The Ways, with the help of Loial. Faile and three Aiel also go with Perrin.

Moiraine, Lan and Egwene decide to accompany Rand to Rhuidean, prompted in part by a letter from the Aiel Wise Ones. Rand uses a portal stone to transport the Aiel who helped him take the Stone and the rest of his party to the Aiel waste.

At Rhuidean, Rand encounters hostility from a group of Aiel called the Shaido and their wannabe clan chief Couladin. Rand and Matt both enter Rhuidean and while there, Matt enters another stone doorway ter’angreal, while Rand views the history of the Aiel through his ancestor’s eyes and learns the Aiel originally followed The Way of the Leaf, before splitting off into three groups that became the Aiel, the Jenn Aiel and the Tuatha’an.

Matt, thinking he gets to ask questions like before, ends up unintentionally requesting a way to protect himself from Aes Sedai, a way to fill the holes in his memory and a way out of the ter’angreal. As a result, Matt received a silver foxhead medallion, a spear-like weapon tipped with a sword blade and fragments of the memories of other men, mostly regarding battle tactics and the old tongue, and was hung from a tree in Rhuidean.

Upon coming out of the crystal columns in Rhuidean, Rand spotted Matt and was able to save him by giving him mouth to mouth.

When Rand left Rhuidean, arriving with the dawn, as prophesied, he discovered his arms had been marked with two dragons, fulling both a portion of the prophecy of the Dragon Reborn and marking him as the Car’a’Carn or “chief of chiefs,” of the Aiel.

Moiraine also journeyed to Rhuidean, after learning one of the Dream Walkers had forseen that if she did not, Rand would die.

On the advice of the Aiel, Rand then set out to an Aiel meeting place called Alcair Dal to declare himself as the Car’a’Carn to all of the clan chiefs. Rand also received a companion to teach him the ways of the Aiel named Aviendha. Aviendha was a Wise One in training, who had formerly been a Maiden of the Spear. Rand assumed she was there to spy on him for the Wise Ones. Aviendha seemed to resent Rand for reasons he did not understand. Along the way, they encountered a caravan of merchants and a Trolloc attack.

Upon arriving at Alcair Dal, Rand discovered that Couladin and the Shaido had arrived ahead of him and called the clan chiefs to a meeting. Rand crashed the meeting and Couladin revealed he also had the two dragons on his arms and claimed he had gone to Rhuidean in the night after Rand came out. In order to prove Couladin a fraud, Rand revealed to the assembled Aiel what he had learned of the Aiel history in Rhuidean. Many of the Aiel were distraught at the news that they had once followed The Way of the Leaf like the hated Tuatha’an, but in the end, all of the clan chiefs and most of the Aiel at the meeting accepted Rand as the true Car’a’Carn, while the Shaido and a fraction of the other Aiel fled.

After the annoucement, Lanfear confronted Rand and was angry at him for disrupting her plans. She had been hiding among the peddler caravan, along with another of the Forsaken, Asmodean, with the intention of convincing Asmodean to become Rand’s teacher. However, Asmodean had gone off on his own, searching for a powerful sa’angreal hidden in Rhuidean and Rand determined he must confront and stop Asmodean, as well as find a way to use Lanfear’s idea to force Asmodean into teaching him more of the One Power. Lanfear also revealed that Coluadin’s counterfeit dragons were Asmodean’s doing and was meant to keep Rand distracted while Asmodean searched for the sa’angreal in Rhuidean.

Rand battled Asmodean in Rhuidean and during their fight they destroyed much of the city, however their battle created a flow of water into the city that would allow it to be inhabitated again. Eventually, Rand won the battle and secured the sa’angreal after cutting Asmodean off from the Dark Lord. After threatening him, Lanfear eventually relented and decided to help Rand by putting a shield on Asmodean that would allow him to teach, but keep him too weak to harm Rand. On the way out of Rhuidean, Rand retrieved the statue that allowed control of the female twin to the powerful sa’angreal he had taken from Asmodean.

Meanwhile, in the Two Rivers Perrin learned his entire family had been killed by Trollocs, though in truth they had actually been killed by a pack of Whitecloaks led by Ordeith. He also learned that two Aes Sedai, Verrin and Alanna, had come to the Two Rivers seeking girls who could channel.

After rescuing some Emond’s Fielders who had been taken prisoner by the Whitecloaks, Perrin, along with a number of young men from the Two Rivers set out to hunt Trollocs.

While in the wolf dream, Perrin encountered a man who looked similar to Lan, who the wolves called “slayer,” who had killed all of the wolves in the area. He also met a hunter for the horn named Luc, who reminded him a bit of Rand, who had been helping organize defenses against the Trollocs. Eventually, Perrin would come to suspect Slayer and Luc were linked somehow and Luc fled the village after Perrin wounded Slayer in the wolf dream.

Perrin was forced to make common cause with the Whitecloaks in order to attempt to protect Emond’s Field from Trolloc attacks and even promised he would turn himself in to be hanged if they would assist in the final battle. However, the Whitecloaks did not hold up their end of the bargain and only reinforcements from Watch Hill and Devin Ride saved the village from being overrun. As a result, Perrin refused to hand himself over and ordered the White Cloaks out of the Two Rivers. In the final battle, the Trollocs chanted the word ISAM, the name of Lan’s lost half-brother, before attacking.

Faile and Perrin were married before the final battle with the Trollocs and the people of the Two Rivers began to refer to them as the Lord and Lady of the Two Rivers and erected a banner with a wolf head symbol. Perrin also encountered the Tinker with a Sword that Min had predicted in the previous novel, when Aram, the grandson of the Tinker Seeker Perrin had previously met, decided to take up the sword and devote his life to Perrin after his parents were killed in a Trolloc attack in the Two Rivers.

Min, who had previously been sent to the White Tower to update Siuan on what was happening with Rand, arrived to discover disturbing visions that foretold some kind of attack on the White Tower.

Min’s vision would come to pass when Elaida, Queen Morgase’s former advisor, orchestrated Siuan being deposed as Amyrlin and stilled, along with her Keeper Lian. Elayne’s brother Gawyn, led a group of students in battle against a group of Warders who meant to free Siuan and helped Min get Siuan and Lian out of Tar Valon, after interrogating them about the whereabouts of his sister.

On their way out, they enlisted the help of the false Dragon Logain in Siuan’s plan to tear down Elaida and get her revenge on those who had taken the tower.

Elayne and Nynaeve traveled to Tanchico on a Sea Folk vessel, accompanied by Thom and Juilin. They discovered that the Seafolk windfinders could channel, which was why Seafolk usually didn’t allow Aes Sedai on their vessels. They learned the Seafolk were looking for their Cora’moor, who they believed to be Rand.

In Tanchico, Elayne and Nynaeve befriended a Seanchan captain named Egeanin, who they eventually learned had been trying to determine why Sul’dam were able to be controlled by the a’dam. They also discovered Bayle Domon, the smuggler who had tried to help them escape Falme and enlisted his help in discovering and defeating the Black Ajah.  Egeanin assisted Elayne and Nynaeve in rescuing the Panarch and obtaining a ter’angreal that could control a man who channels and one of the seals on the Dark One’s prison before the Black Ajah could find them. While in the palace, Nynaeve battled Moghedien, a Forsaken who had used compulsion to learn why Elayne and Nynaeve were in Tanchio and make them forget about it. Nynaeve was able to capture Moghedien and shield her, but Moghedien was able to escape the shield while Nynaeve was battling a black sister, using a ter’angreal that produced balefire.

Once they determined there was no way to destroy the collar and bracelets that could be used to control Rand, Nynaeve charged Bayle Domon with dropping it in a deep part of the sea where no one would find it.

The Shadow Rising found all of the main characters greatly increasing in power. Rand added the armies of the Aiel to his resources, as well as increasing his ability with the One Power, aquiring a powerful sa’angreal and a teacher to assist him in learning to use the One Power.

Matt gained a head full of other men’s knowledge, as well as protection from the One Power. Perrin grudgingly became the Lord of the Two Rivers and learned his wife Faile was the cousin of the Queen of Saldea. Egwene began to learn to use her Dream walking ability from the Aiel Wise Ones. Nynaeve took on one of the Forsaken and won. Elyane increased her channeling ability by learning to control the weather from the Sea Folk windfinder.

The novel also brought about major change, with the White Tower being broken into factions, with Elaida taking over the Tower and most of the Blue and Green Ajahs, as well as portions of the other Ajahs fleeing the tower, while Siuan and Lian found themselves cast out and stilled.

The story also set up all of the pieces of the future love triangle that Min had foreseen in her vision, as being Rand, Min, Aviendha and Elayne. Though Lanfear intended to have Rand all to herself, if it meant she had to destroy her rivals to achieve it.

The character of Birgette was also introduced through encounters in Tel’aran’rhiod and the Wolf Dream. Birgette revealed that the heroes who were bound to the Wheel waited in the world of dreams to either be born again or called by the Horn of Valere. Though the precepts forbid it, Birgette decided to help fight against the Forsaken, who were also present in the dream once again.

Wheel of Time Marathon – Book 3: The Dragon Reborn

Started: 3/10/2015
Finished: 4/19/2015

The Dragon Reborn began with Rand, Perrin, Moiraine, Lan, Min and Loial camping in the mountains near Toman Head and Egwene, Nynaeve, Elyane, Matt and Verin on the road to Tar Valon.

Rand left the mountain camp on his own, in the wake of a Trolloc attack, with the intention of both escaping Moiraine’s plans for him and seeking out a powerful sa’angreal called Callandor in the Heart of the Stone in Tear. Rand intended to attempt to fulfill one of the prophicies that was considered one of the greatest signs that the Dragon has been reborn as a way of confirming to himself one way or the other whether he was truly the Dragon Reborn or whether the Aes Sedai were trying to use him as a false Dragon.

Upon discovering what Rand had done, Moiraine, Lan, Perrin and Loial set out in pursuit of Rand. Moiraine ordered Min to carry a message to Tar Valon to update the Amyrlin on what was happening with Rand. On their journey to Tear they encountered a caged Aiel named Gaul, who Perrin freed, a Hunter for the Horn named Zarine a.k.a. Faile, who took a special interest in Perrin and discovered that two more of the Forsaken were loose. Sammael, was posing as one of the council of the nine in Illian, while Be’lal had assumed command as a High Lord of Tear. They also learned that someone had set a pack of Darkhounds and Grey Men on Perrin and Rand’s trails.

Matt, who had been at death’s door by the time they reached Tar Valon, was healed of his connection to the Shadar Logoth dagger, though he still suffered from gaps in his memory. Elayne and Egwene were raised to the Accepted. The Amyrlin recruited Egwene and Nynaeve to hunt down the 13 members of the Black Ajah who had fled the tower and they brought Elayne in on the chase. Once the girls decided the Black Ajah had gone to Tear and they would have to follow, Elayne charged Matt with carrying a letter to her mother in Camelyn.

On the journey to Tear, the girls met Aviendha, a member of a group of Maidens of the Spear who were searching for He Who Comes with the Dawn. Once in Tear, they recruited a theif catcher by the name of Juilin Sandar to help them find the Black Ajah, but Liandrin used her compulsion ability on Sandar to find and imprison the girls in the Stone as bait for Rand.

Matt discovered Thom Merrilin performing at an inn in Tar Valon and convinced him to come with him to Caemlyn. In the process of delivering Elayne’s letter, Matt discovered that the queen’s new advisor and paramour was plotting to kill Elayne, Egwene and Nynaeve. Matt and Thom rushed to Tear to attempt to save the girls. With the aid of Sandar, Matt was able to break into the Stone and rescue the three girls with an assist from Egwene, who had used her ability as a Dreamer to disable the Black Sister who was guarding their cell before Matt arrived to let them out.

Rand and a large group of Aiel also broke into the Stone that night. While the Aiel battled the Defenders of the Stone, Rand confronted Be’lal, who was attempting to goad Rand into taking Callandor, so that he could then take Callandor from Rand, however Moiraine arrived and killed Be’lal with balefire. Rand was then immediately forced into a conflict with Ba’alzamon, who fled to tel’aran’rhiod when Rand confronted him with Callandor. After battling in the world of dreams, Rand was able to kill Ba’alzamon with Callandor and thinking he had won the Last Battle, declared himself the Dragon Reborn.

While all of that was going on, Perrin was fighting his own battle in the Wolf Dream, in an attempt to rescue Faile, who he had fallen in love with, from a trap set by the Black Ajah for Moiraine. Perrin was able to save Faile, but was seriously injured in the attempt.

In the aftermath, Moiraine revealed that she believed “Ba’alzamon” was actually one of the Forsaken, possibly Ishamael, posing as the Dark Lord and that the Last Battle was far from over and that 9 of the Forsaken still remained loose in the world. She also learned from an Aiel leader named Rhuarc, that the Aiel are the “people of the Dragon,” mentioned in the prophecies.

The Dragon Reborn, begins the major transition from Rand as a young man running away from a fate he does not want to becoming a formidable weapon against the shadow and leader of men. Perrin also begins to become more accepting of his connection to the wolves, while Matt is still fighting against his role in events, though he finds himself unable to actually abandon his friends in order to escape it.

Nynaeve, Egwene and Elayne’s abilities with the One Power continue to expand, with Nynaeve discovering the ability to wield balefire and to heal without her herbs and Egwene beginning to utilize her rare talent as a Dreamer.

Moiraine continues to try to guide Rand down the path she feels he must take, but finds events outpacing her and instead of guiding Rand’s path, she must follow him and settle for just trying to keep him alive.

The world continues to grow more dangerous for all of the major characters, with the Forsaken attempting to use or kill them as part of their various plots to gain power and advantage.

Much like the previous two novels, The Dragon Reborn, is full of action which culminates in a grand battle against the Forsaken at the end of the novel.

Wheel of Time Marathon – Book 2: The Great Hunt

Started: 3/9/2015
Finished: 3/31/2015

The Great Hunt picked up with all of the major characters still in Fal’Dara preparing to leave for Tar Valon, except for Rand, who was planning to flee to some isolated area to escape what he thought was an Aes Sedai plot to use him as a false Dragon and to avoid harming the people he cares about when he inevitably went mad due to the Dark One’s taint on saidin.

However, an unexpected turn of events, sent Matt, Perrin, Rand and Loial off on a journey to recover the Horn of Valere and the cursed dagger Matt picked up in Shadar Logoth in Eye of the World, while Nynaeve, Egwene, Moiraine and Lan headed for Tar Valon to begin the girls’ Aes Sedai training.

Along the way, Rand encountered Lanfear, another of the forsaken, Verin, one of three Aes Sedai who knows he is the Dragon Reborn, and battled Ba’alzamon for a second time as well as dealing with a threat from Padan Fain to harm Emond’s Field if Rand didn’t show up on Toman Head. He also picked up a couple of Heron brands on his palms, fulfilling one of the many prophecies about the Dragon Reborn. Matt recovered his dagger and sounded the Horn of Valere, calling dead heroes to battle the Seanchan and binding himself to the Horn. Egwene, Nynaeve, Min and Elayne were hoodwinked by Liandrin, a member of the Black Ajah, into a journey to Toman Head, where they were reunited with the boys, after freeing Egwene from a life of servitude to the Seanchan.

The story ended with an injured Rand discovering that Matt, Egwene, Elayne, Verin and Nynaeve had departed for Tar Valon, so that Matt could be healed and the girls could continue their training. Moiraine, Min and Perrin stayed behind with Rand. Rand learned that his battle with Ba’alzamon had been seen by many as a vision in the sky and that thousands had declared for the Dragon. However, Rand remained convinced that he was being used.

Over the course of The Great Hunt, the boys all begin to come to terms with their various abilities, but are still resisting full acceptance. Rand begins to take on the role of a leader, but continues to be suspicious of the Aes Sedai’s motives. Egwene, Nynaeve and Elayne all greatly increase their abilities with the One Power, but learn some hard lessons about being too trusting of Aes Sedai and engage in activities forbidden by the Tower by using the One Power as a weapon. Min confirms that she has fallen in love with Rand and that she and Elayne are two of the women her vision revealed would have to share Rand, though she did not tell Elayne this.  The motives of the Aes Sedai in general, and the Amyrlin, Moiraine and Verin in particular continue to be murky. While it seems Moiraine and Siuan are concerned with preparing Rand for Tarmon Gai’don, it is less clear what Verin is up to and the Black Ajah is confirmed to exist within the Tower.

Much like Eye of the World, The Great Hunt is an action packed romp, mostly centered around a perilous journey and a climatic confrontation with Ba’alzamon, but it also serves to further develop the characters transformation from simple village youths to major players in the battle with the shadow.