Author Topic: The Gathering Storm - First Impressions *SPOILERS*  (Read 24791 times)

talen

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Re: The Gathering Storm - First Impressions *SPOILERS*
« Reply #135 on: November 18, 2009, 01:23:56 AM »
I agree, Kaz. Mat's attempt at humor in this book wasn't very funny.

And did anyone else feel like the whole village-killing-each-other-every-night story wasn't very WoT?

I totally thought of "From dusk till down" during the whole "the-sun-is-going-down-RUN!" scene  :)

The only thing missing was Salma Hayek in the tavern  ;D   btw, loved the "tipsy gelding" tavern name  :)

Bookstore Guy

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Re: The Gathering Storm - First Impressions *SPOILERS*
« Reply #136 on: November 19, 2009, 07:08:08 PM »
I personally found the Verin "reveal" to be horrid.  Talk about "Magic Bullet" syndrome.  How perfectly convenient.  It felt as thought it was shoved in the plot to solve all sorts of problems in one fel swoop.  Not only that, but her character was off.  This bugged me more than Mat.

Other than that, I thought the book was fine.  Not bad at all, but not awesome.  It was certainly better than books 7-11.  Egwene used to be my least fav character, but I really enjoyed her PoV here.
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darxbane

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Re: The Gathering Storm - First Impressions *SPOILERS*
« Reply #137 on: November 23, 2009, 09:36:44 PM »
Bookstore Guy,
Clarify for me, if you don't mind; Do you feel like the Verin scene was a late addition, or that it seemed cheap despite being foreshadowed for 10 books because of the timing?  I seem to recall your dislike with this series having to do with how little the characters have developed recently.  Are you now upset that you got your wish?  Personnally, I feel that choosing to kill yourself in order to help the Light because the Last Battle is very near would "adjust" the way a character behaves somewhat (she had an almost Moiraine at the docks sort of calmness to her).  As for Mat, by the time that first rant was done I knew he was being written as someone who's life had gone so far away from what he planned that he's been knocked completely off his game.  You know you've fallen far when a character like Talmanes can bust your chops with such ease.

On the Hinderstrap debate, Brandon has confirmed that this storyline, along with every other one in this book, was conceived by RJ, and Brandon fleshed it out (I didn't get a vampire or zombie feel from this scene, although I can see why others would).  He didn't add in any storylines himself. 
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happyman

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Re: The Gathering Storm - First Impressions *SPOILERS*
« Reply #138 on: November 23, 2009, 11:51:43 PM »
With regards to Hinderstrap, I feel that it was included because it represents a place even more damaged than any we have yet seen.  That pattern is not just being bent; it has been severly damaged in this town.  We are getting a full feel for what the world would be like under the DO (before he destroys it once and for all.)
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Bookstore Guy

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Re: The Gathering Storm - First Impressions *SPOILERS*
« Reply #139 on: November 24, 2009, 12:32:23 AM »
Bookstore Guy,
Clarify for me, if you don't mind; Do you feel like the Verin scene was a late addition, or that it seemed cheap despite being foreshadowed for 10 books because of the timing?  I seem to recall your dislike with this series having to do with how little the characters have developed recently.  Are you now upset that you got your wish?  Personnally, I feel that choosing to kill yourself in order to help the Light because the Last Battle is very near would "adjust" the way a character behaves somewhat (she had an almost Moiraine at the docks sort of calmness to her).  As for Mat, by the time that first rant was done I knew he was being written as someone who's life had gone so far away from what he planned that he's been knocked completely off his game.  You know you've fallen far when a character like Talmanes can bust your chops with such ease.

On the Hinderstrap debate, Brandon has confirmed that this storyline, along with every other one in this book, was conceived by RJ, and Brandon fleshed it out (I didn't get a vampire or zombie feel from this scene, although I can see why others would).  He didn't add in any storylines himself. 

So you are saying it was foreshadowed for 10 full novels that Verin was going to show up in the nick of time as a Black Ajah double agent?  In my opinion, that wasn't the case.  She just had her own agenda like Cadsuane and every other Aes Sedai.  That's not foreshadowing to me, just a portrayal of all Aes Sedai.  Having her show up when she did was convenient, and cheap in my opinion.  "Guess what! Im a bad guy! But not really! Here's a book to solve a huge majority of your problems."  That's what it felt like for me.

I don't doubt that people loved the Verin section--to each his own.  I just thought it was cheap, regardless of who wrote it.  It felt like the culmination of a major plot thread that didn't have time to develop properly (which is no excuse in this series), and the culmination of a plot thread we really should have seen.  It would have been much more powerful if we'd seen Verin struggle with it, or at least be in danger.

Now you say that I'm upset because characters are progressing and I don't like it?  Did you read my second paragraph where I mentioned how pleased I was that Egwene went from horrible (in my opinion) to a solid character?  Did you go to my book review blog and read the review of TGS where it is mentioned that the book was enjoyable despite what I consider some character issues?  So no, I'm not "upset that I got my wish," because in some cases i didn't.  And I AM pleased in Rand and Egwene (especially Rand getting over the "wont kill a girl" foolishness), who have been some of the biggest problem areas (again, in my opinion).

happyman--yeah, i got that about the Mat section, but I didn't enjoy it.  i also understand how mat feels his world has been up-ended.  for me, it was his attitude that was off.  like him ignoring the dice because he thought nothing ever came of them.  i just don't think the mat sections added anything that wasn't shown somewhere else.  it felt like a deleted scene at the end of a DVD.
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douglas

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Re: The Gathering Storm - First Impressions *SPOILERS*
« Reply #140 on: November 24, 2009, 03:10:54 AM »
So you are saying it was foreshadowed for 10 full novels that Verin was going to show up in the nick of time as a Black Ajah double agent?  In my opinion, that wasn't the case.  She just had her own agenda like Cadsuane and every other Aes Sedai.  That's not foreshadowing to me, just a portrayal of all Aes Sedai.  Having her show up when she did was convenient, and cheap in my opinion.  "Guess what! Im a bad guy! But not really! Here's a book to solve a huge majority of your problems."  That's what it felt like for me.
Specifically as a Black Ajah double agent?  Something along those lines was among the more prominent theories about her, yes.  People have suspected things well beyond the usual Aes Sedai personal agenda deal since The Great Hunt.  Seriously, it was enough to get its own entire section in the WoTFAQ.  Knife of Dreams added more.  I'd say the "Purple Ajah" theory was closest to correct.  I, personally, was not the least bit surprised by the nature of what was revealed about her in TGS.  Only the degree of it and the exact details of her Oath circumvention surprised me, and even those weren't much of a surprise.

There has been substantial evidence for a long time that Verin a) was not bound by the First Oath, b) was not strictly a bad guy gal, c) knew about the Black Ajah activity hunting the Dragon about the time of his birth, and d) had been working on an extremely long term completely secret and vitally important plan for 70 years.  Black Ajah double agent is one of a very small set of theories that makes sense of all of that.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2009, 03:21:37 AM by douglas »

melbatoast

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Re: The Gathering Storm - First Impressions *SPOILERS*
« Reply #141 on: November 24, 2009, 03:16:12 PM »
I liked the Verin reveal, although I agree it could have been better foreshadowed. If I hadn't read the FAQ, I would have been really surprised.
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Bookstore Guy

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Re: The Gathering Storm - First Impressions *SPOILERS*
« Reply #142 on: November 24, 2009, 04:39:44 PM »
Purple Ajah...lol.  Well whatever.  Like I said, to me it felt cheap and rushed.  I think it would have been much more powerful had we seen her journey in the Black rather than a conveniently timed "twist."  But that's just me.  I certainly don't expect fans of the series to agree with me.
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Peter Ahlstrom

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Re: The Gathering Storm - First Impressions *SPOILERS*
« Reply #143 on: November 24, 2009, 04:49:27 PM »
Jordan liked to be extremely subtle with clues and foreshadowing, quite a bit more subtle than he thought he was being. His insistence that Asmodean's killer is obvious being point of fact. I too didn't have any idea what was up with Verin until reading FAQs a couple years ago.
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Bookstore Guy

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Re: The Gathering Storm - First Impressions *SPOILERS*
« Reply #144 on: November 24, 2009, 04:58:05 PM »
Not just that, but a theory in a lot of these WoT scenarios is just a guess.  That thread that was linked--while very cool--postulates all sorts of stuff.  Mostly, it just ends up saying "something suspicious is going on with that chick" and "Verin obviously isn't bound by the oath rod."  That's pretty common knowledge.

It's a great idea in theory--a black ajah realizing she is WAY over her head and figuring out how to absolve herself.  I just think Jordan could have handled it better early on.
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darxbane

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Re: The Gathering Storm - First Impressions *SPOILERS*
« Reply #145 on: November 24, 2009, 08:00:44 PM »
But then we get to the issue that there was so much going on already, was it even possible to go into more detail? (by the way, I apologize for coming off so strongly in my last post.  I don't remember it being so blunt.  Stupid boss must have fired me up more than I realized)  A lot of people lost interest because of so much detail.  I wasn't really surprised by Verin's reveal, although I honestly can't say whether or not I figured it out myself.  I personally didn't find it cheap (although I can see where it would appear to come out of nowhere ).  I felt it helped convey the surprise that Egwene must have felt when she learned it.  Had RJ been more specific with her internal struggles it would have given away the reveal.  With so many betray the good guy plotlines in books, it was nice to see the bad guys get shafted for once.  Her conversation with Egwene lead me to believe that she was a double-agent from the beginning, she didn't just come to her senses after the fact.  She was investigating them and got too close.  She then made the logical choice to continue spying on them from the inside, rather than be murdered.
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Bookstore Guy

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Re: The Gathering Storm - First Impressions *SPOILERS*
« Reply #146 on: November 24, 2009, 08:38:29 PM »
But then we get to the issue that there was so much going on already, was it even possible to go into more detail? (by the way, I apologize for coming off so strongly in my last post.  I don't remember it being so blunt.  Stupid boss must have fired me up more than I realized)  A lot of people lost interest because of so much detail.  I wasn't really surprised by Verin's reveal, although I honestly can't say whether or not I figured it out myself.  I personally didn't find it cheap (although I can see where it would appear to come out of nowhere ).  I felt it helped convey the surprise that Egwene must have felt when she learned it.  Had RJ been more specific with her internal struggles it would have given away the reveal.  With so many betray the good guy plotlines in books, it was nice to see the bad guys get shafted for once.  Her conversation with Egwene lead me to believe that she was a double-agent from the beginning, she didn't just come to her senses after the fact.  She was investigating them and got too close.  She then made the logical choice to continue spying on them from the inside, rather than be murdered.

I get that outlook.  But that whole "so much was going on already" thing I don't agree with.  There have been so many times over the span of the series where nothing of note was going on.  Or--lest I get murdered by fans for saying there were useless moments in WoT--at the very least adding a 1-2K PoV in every other novel building this moment better wouldn't have caused hardly any grief.  And Verin wasn't a double agent from the beginning.  She states that the hard-core oaths were a bit much, and it made her reconsider her previous alignment.  It's not so much even that it was so abrupt (though I do have some issue with it).  It the convenience that she was in exactly the right place at exactly the right time with the perfect information that was the most helpful at this exact moment.  Even taking the "Law of Coincidence" that the Pattern imposes on WoT into account, it was TOO convenient.  It's a reveal that probably should have already happened.  My question to you would be, do you think this was the perfect way to handle this?  I personally don't.  I think we waited too long.  Consider the reveal:  It is actually 2 reveals.  The "I'm Black Ajah" and the "But I'm still good."  The definitive "Im a darkfriend" should have happened earlier, as it's own focal point.  Then later, we get the "but i decided to be a double agent."  by spreading them out, they gain more focus and importance.  Oh wells.  not like we can do anything about it now lol!

Oh and don't stress the tone of your prior post.
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douglas

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Re: The Gathering Storm - First Impressions *SPOILERS*
« Reply #147 on: November 24, 2009, 09:17:24 PM »
And Verin wasn't a double agent from the beginning.  She states that the hard-core oaths were a bit much, and it made her reconsider her previous alignment.
Yes, she was a double agent from the beginning.  She states explicitly that she found herself in the position of choosing between joining them or revealing that she had never wanted to join them.  Her warder was a darkfriend who changed his mind, but Verin was an investigator who got too deep to back out.

I'll find the exact quote for you when I get home if you want.

Personally, I think the four bits of info I listed in my last post, particularly the 70 year plan, were enough foreshadowing of her reveal.  It was obvious to me that she'd been planning something extremely major that the Black Ajah would not approve of for a long time.  She had also shown evidence of not being bound by the First Oath but still had the Ageless face caused by the Oath Rod, and she knew about a highly secret Black Ajah activity 20 years past.  That strongly hinted that she was black, but her secret plan, the fact that she described said activity internally to herself as "vile", and the degree and nature of her cooperation with Rand all hinted at her opposing the Dark One.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2009, 09:33:01 PM by douglas »

Bookstore Guy

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Re: The Gathering Storm - First Impressions *SPOILERS*
« Reply #148 on: November 24, 2009, 09:41:22 PM »
And Verin wasn't a double agent from the beginning.  She states that the hard-core oaths were a bit much, and it made her reconsider her previous alignment.
Yes, she was a double agent from the beginning.  She states explicitly that she found herself in the position of choosing between joining them or revealing that she had never wanted to join them.  Her warder was a darkfriend who changed his mind, but Verin was an investigator who got too deep to back out.

I'll find the exact quote for you when I get home if you want.

Personally, I think the four bits of info I listed in my last post, particularly the 70 year plan, were enough foreshadowing of her reveal.

Ok - I read it as he was a darkfriend who didn't like the rigors of the oaths she was later forced to take, and then made the decision to be a double agent.  But I'll take your word for it.  I don't think those 4 bits were enough to say "Look! These 4 pieces of info mean she is going to be a black ajah double agent who will show up at the perfect time to solve tons of problems."  And working on "something" for 70 years in secret doesn't really prove anything other than her being an aes sedai with a hidden agenda.  Are non darkfriends not allowed to have secret plans?  There could have been several explanations for Verin's actions, and now looking back on it, it is easy to say "oh yeah, everyone thought this. it was super obvious."  Once again, it is the way the reveal was done that really bothers me, and how perfectly convenient it was.  But I covered all this, as well as ways I think it could have been handled differently to make it powerful rather than convenient.

But whatever, we are just repeating ourselves lol!
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mtbikemom

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Re: The Gathering Storm - First Impressions *SPOILERS*
« Reply #149 on: November 24, 2009, 10:51:48 PM »
Purple Ajah...lol.  Well whatever.  Like I said, to me it felt cheap and rushed.  I think it would have been much more powerful had we seen her journey in the Black rather than a conveniently timed "twist."  But that's just me.  I certainly don't expect fans of the series to agree with me.

You make me feel so unsophisticated!  So undiscerning!  I liked the Verin reveal as I read it, but would have liked to have replaced most of the Perrin-hunts-Faile nonsense (and Elayne-sifts-through-Caemlyn-political-intrigue yawn fest) with more about Verin, Hurin, Thom, etc . . . as well as scenes featuring commoners like in TGS prologue.  Liked that.  Of course, best would have been turning books 7-11 into two good, concise novels. 

But oh, the cover art.  Oh. 
What's up with false eyelashes and push-up bras in Randland? (See also KoD) And Rand is a strawberry blonde Charles Bronson?  I guess that's better than the middle-aged whatsisname (y'know, the sunglasses guy on CSI Miami) on the KoD cover. Is that even supposed to be Rand? And Perrin is a dwarfish hairy blondish Sean Connery, and not a young version.

Anyway, I rant.  Thanks for another good review on Elitist, BSG.  I thought The Gathering Storm dragged through the middle, but I still enjoyed it quite a bit.  Brandon told us "Storm Leaders" the other night that he is not exactly pleased with how some of the story lines will end according to RJ's notes.  But he'll have to write them that way.  Interesting, huh?  I'll read and enjoy whatever comes out.