The Path of Daggers re-read at Tor Publishing
The Dreams and Speculation Discussion
One of the most tedious aspects of the Wheel of Time (so far) is the unreflective dominance/bondage/submission theme. But I felt at least in Path of Daggers that the Aes Sedai played out the theme within a larger cultural background, more context-conscious and less prurient. The reader sees the Aes Sedai clinging to the claims of knowledge and wisdom in their elaborate hierarchies even when actual knowledge is absent or lost, and that since the Asha'man (male channelers) and Dragon Reborn have become realities, the Aes Sedai are losing their certainties and must become more individually engaged in problems of knowledge and action, not merely asserting dominance and superiority. In other words, they seem more human. The scenes of the worst cringing, by the Kin (the not-so-secret-after-all ex-Aes-Sedai society) are alleviated by the mockery they suffer from the Atha'an Miere Windfinder and Wave Mistress channelers, who as outsiders (with their own deeply hierarchical dominance culture) aren't especially impressed by the Aes Sedai. The Forsaken have a more peripherally menacing role in this book, so we're not entertained by extended gratuitous torture scenes, nor are there many detail-relishing Aes Sedai debasing scenes, and Egwene doesn't have her bare bottom spanked, thank the Light.
I had the distinct impression that Path of Daggers benefitted from judicious editing, rather more than Crown of Swords. There were cases where I suspected that would-be drawn-out scenes were cut down to paragraph summaries — quite a relief.
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