The Wheel of Time Reread

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Fires of Heaven, Part 11

*BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP*
This is a test of the Emergency Wheel of Time Recap System. This is only a test.

The Interwebs of your area, in voluntary cooperation with the Internets, Interwebz, and Intarweb(s), have developed this system to keep you distracted in the event of real work. Or an emergency. Whichever.

If this had been an actual recap, as in the past, the annoying Attention Signal you just onomatopoeically heard would have been followed by official flamewars, website breakage, and/or lolcats.

It would also have included discussion of Chapters 26-28 of The Fires of Heaven, if it had been a real recap. Which it is not.

Please stand by.

Chapter 26: Sallie Daera

What Happens
Min does not understand why the halo promising greatness has appeared around Logain more and more often since they left Lugard, as he has become increasingly morose, lethargic, and withdrawn in that time. She also wonders if Siuan really knows where she’s going or if she’s just lying to herself. Leane drops back to Logain’s side and tries to rouse him from his torpor, and Min suggests she kiss him, earning a glare from Leane she ignores.

How could you be intimidated by a woman who had told you in dead seriousness that there were one hundred and seven different kisses, and ninety-three ways to touch a man’s face with your hand? Leane actually seemed to believe these things.

She wonders if Leane might actually have feelings for Logain, though she has certainly not given up flirting with other men, which has sometimes worked to their advantage and sometimes really hasn’t. Siuan pulls up next to Min and asks if she’s viewed him today, and Min patiently tells her that it is still the same, and thinks that Siuan still doesn’t get that it wouldn’t matter if she had only seen it once, it would still happen.

She knew the same way that she had known the first time she saw Rand al’Thor that she would fall desperately, helplessly in love with him, the same way she had known she would have to share him with two other women. Logain was destined for glory such as few men had dreamed of.

Siuan tells her sharply that she needn’t get all sullen, and Min apologizes, disgusted with herself that it sounds sincere. Leane wants to know if they have much further to go, as she does not think they will be able to get Logain back in the saddle if they stop tonight. Siuan doesn’t think so, and sounds annoyed that she had to stop for directions. They ride on, and suddenly come upon a village. Min thinks there is something odd about it, and abruptly realizes that most of the men and women watching them come in have flickering auras and images around them, and thinks that Siuan has found her gathering. Everyone stares at them unreadably, and Min uneasily comments that someone could at least say hello. Siuan stops in front of the town inn, dismounts, and tells Min to bring Logain in. Inside the inn, four Aes Sedai come to meet them – Sheriam (Blue), Carlinya (White), Myrelle (Green), and Anaiya (Blue).

Sheriam’s tilted green eyes fixed immediately on Min’s face. Rays of silver and blue flashed about her fiery hair, and a soft golden light; Min could not say what it meant.

Sheriam wants to know how Min found them and why she brought Logain with her, and Carlinya puts in that it would have been far better if he had died as rumor suggested. Min sees an image of a raven next to her, but more like a drawing of one; Min thinks it might be a tattoo. Myrelle and Aniaya chime in, chivvying Min to speak, and finally she remembers that they have no idea who her companions are.

“I am not the one you want to talk to,” Min told Sheriam. Let “these other two girls” have those stares on them for a change. “Ask Siuan, or Leane.” They stared at her as if she were mad, until she nodded to her two companions.

The Aes Sedai study Siuan and Leane, and discuss whether stilling produces this kind of effect exactly, and whether they can believe they are not imposters. Leane tells them to ask things only she and Siuan would know, and Siuan adds that her face may have changed, but at least she knows what she is doing, which doesn’t look like the case for them. Min groans, but Myrelle nods and says that’s Siuan’s voice. Carlinya is not convinced, and they begin grilling Siuan and Leane about things they did and said as novices and Accepted. Min is amazed at the sheer amount of rule-breaking and pranks they apparently pulled back in the day.

Washing a disliked Accepted’s shifts with itchweed when she was a novice? Sneaking out of the Tower to go fishing? […] From what Min knew of novice training, and Accepted for that matter, these women were lucky that they had been allowed to remain long enough to become Aes Sedai, much less that they still had whole hides.

At last Anaiya pronounces herself satisfied, but Carlinya points out there is still the question of what to do with them. Siuan answers by telling them how she found them – by contacting one of her agents – and Min realizes she is letting them know she still has access to the Blues’ intelligence network. The Aes Sedai nod at each other and hustle Siuan and Leane out of the room, instructing Min to stay in the common room with Logain. Min sighs and makes Logain sit at one of the tables, and thinks that at least she doesn’t believe anyone else besides Siuan and Leane know about her viewings. She can’t afford to get trapped here by Aes Sedai wanting to study her.

Helping Siuan find this gathering, helping bring Aes Sedai to Rand’s Aiel, was all very well and important, but she still had a personal goal. Making a man who had never looked at her twice fall in love with her before he went mad. Maybe she was as mad as he was fated to be. “Then we’ll make a matched pair,” she muttered to herself.

A novice comes by to offer her food, and Min asks where they are. The novice tells her Salidar is in Altara, a mile west of the Eldar River and the Amadician border. An Accepted Min recognizes as Faolain joins them and snaps that Aes Sedai shouldn’t have to hide, and demands to know why “she” came here (meaning Siuan), when it is her fault they have to hide. A Yellow sister named Edesina walks up and chases Faolain off, and examines Logain, who doesn’t appear to notice.

To Min’s eyes, a silvery collar suddenly appeared, snug around the woman’s neck, and as suddenly seemed to shatter. Min shivered. She did not like viewings connected to the Seanchan. At least Edesina would escape somehow.

Edesina studies Logain, and says that it is the gentling; he’s stopped wanting to live, and there’s nothing she can do, not that she’s sure she would. She walks off, and Min tries smiling at a Green named Kiruna who had been friendly to her in the Tower, but Kiruna ignores her and sweeps out. Min hopes Siuan and Leane are getting a better reception.

Commentary
There seems to be a direct relationship between how much trouble an Aes Sedai got into as a novice/Accepted, and how powerful/influential she ends up being, which smacks strongly to me of something Jordan pulled from his time in the armed forces. The Tower, like the military, enforces extremely strict and harsh discipline on its trainees, the purpose of which is only partially to instill conditioned obedience in its members. It’s also just as much to determine who has the will and stamina to endure such treatment, and come out of it with their sense of self intact. Acts of mischief and minor rebellion are traditionally considered very good indicators of this.

A good Aes Sedai will obey orders, yes, but she must also be able to take the initiative and think proactively in situations where there is no time or capability to receive orders, and additionally must be able to endure hardships and stresses, both mental and physical, that might break other people. She must also be able to determine when it is appropriate to ignore orders.

Sound familiar? I thought so.

Interesting that of all the viewings Min has in this chapter, only the one about Edesina has happened as of KOD. Including Logain; he’s certainly doing a lot better as of KOD than he is here, but I personally don’t think Logain’s current rank as second banana in the Black Tower counts as “glory such as few men have dreamed of.” That seems like it needs a little more oomph, if you nome sane.

Feel free to speculate on Sheriam’s halo, cause I’ve never been able to figure it out. Although for some reason it’s always had a slight martyr-like flavor to me. I like Sheriam, but she always seemed rather doomed to me; it would be cool, if I’m right, that she would get to go down in a blaze of glory. Maybe taking Halima with her? That would be sweet.


Chapter 27: The Practice of Diffidence

What Happens
Siuan envies the way the Aes Sedai do not sweat as she tells them bluntly that they are “rudderless”, and she can tell that all the bustle and activity in Salidar is nothing more than show. She wishes Morvrin and Beonin had not been added to the group, both of whom were extreme skeptics.

“Elaida has the Tower in her fist, and you know she will mishandle Rand al’Thor,” Siuan said scornfully. “It will be pure luck if she doesn’t panic and have him gentled before Tarmon Gai’don. You know that whatever you feel about a man channeling, Reds feel ten times more. The White Tower is at its weakest when it should be at its strongest, in the hands of a fool when it must have skilled command.” She wrinkled her nose, staring them in the eye one by one. “And you sit here, drifting with your sails down. Or can you convince me that you are doing more than twiddling your thumbs and blowing bubbles?”

Anaiya asks calmly if Leane agrees, and Leane is placating, congratulating them on their progress while agreeing that Elaida will botch dealing with al’Thor. Siuan sniffs loudly, and Carlinya coolly tells her that she does not seem to understand that she is not only not the Amyrlin Seat anymore, but she is not even Aes Sedai anymore, and cannot expect to take her old place among them, even if they agree that she is innocent of most of the charges laid against her, and that her deposing and stilling violated the spirit if not the letter of Tower law. Sheriam adds gently that they are not to worry about being cared for, and Leane thanks her in a tremulous voice; Siuan grimaces and informs them that right now all the Blues’ information is still going to the Tower, but she can divert it so that it comes here instead, and send false information to Elaida via the same route. Leane puts in that as Keeper, she had eyes-and-ears in Tar Valon itself. Morvrin asks bluntly why they should let two stilled women handle such an important task, and Siuan snaps back that her face is different, but what is inside her head is not, and they should use it. She then brings up Logain, and says they haven’t asked her why she brought him here.

“Very well, Siuan,” Sheriam said. “Why?”

“Because the first step to pulling Elaida down is for Logain to reveal to the Tower, to the world if need be, that the Red Ajah set him up as a false Dragon so that he could be pulled down.” She certainly had their attention now. “He was found by Reds in Ghealdan at least a year before he proclaimed himself, but instead of bringing him to Tar Valon to be gentled, they planted the idea in his head of claiming to be the Dragon Reborn.”

She continues that Logain does not know who she and Leane are, and spoke of it on the journey here; he didn’t say anything before because he thought the whole Tower was in on it. Morvrin demands to know why the Reds would do such a thing, which goes against their very raison d’etre, and Siuan suggests that maybe they thought catching and gentling a false Dragon would gain them more than just gentling a random male channeler.

Siuan watched them mull it over in silence. They never considered the possibility that she was lying. An advantage to having been stilled. It did not seem to occur to them that being stilled might have broken all ties to the Three Oaths.

She’s not worried about Logain going along with it; he wanted revenge against the whole Tower, but he would have to settle for revenge against the Red Ajah, and she thinks to herself in satisfaction that there might not be a Red Ajah when she was done. Finally Sheriam says this changes things; they cannot follow an Amyrlin who was party to such a thing. Siuan is truly startled, and blurts that surely they couldn’t have been seriously considering it, but Carlinya retorts that the Last Battle is nigh, and the Tower must be whole. Anaiya adds that she does not like Elaida, but then, she didn’t really like Siuan either; one does not have to like an Amyrlin. They agree, however, that now they cannot approach the Tower until they are in a position to see Elaida deposed, and Sheriam says it seems they will have a use for Siuan’s agents after all. Siuan cannot contain a sigh of relief, and tries to appear meekly grateful. Then it is Leane’s turn; she points out that it is not enough to wait until they have enough support in the Hall to depose her, for in the meantime Elaida will have every opportunity to paint them as rebels and dissenters.

“You can give the world a true Amyrlin.” Leane spoke not to the White sister, but to all of them, eyeing each in turn, sure of what she was saying yet at the same time offering a suggestion that she merely hoped they would take. It had been Siuan who pointed out that the techniques she employed on men could be adapted for women. “I saw Aes Sedai from every Ajah save the Red in the common room, and in the streets. Have them elect a Hall of the Tower here, and let that Hall select a new Amyrlin. Then you can present yourselves to the world as the true White Tower, in exile, and Elaida as a usurper. With Logain’s revelations added in, can you doubt who the nations will accept as the real Amyrlin Seat?”

The sisters turn this over, and Sheriam remarks sadly that it would mean the Tower is truly broken. Siuan retorts that it already is broken, and instantly wishes she had not, as she needs them to continue thinking they had put her in her place. As damage control, she says that she hadn’t thought of Leane’s idea, but it is a good one; a way to rebuild the Tower without completely destroying it first. They begin discussing who the new Amyrlin should be, and Morvrin and Myrelle immediately endorse Sheriam. Siuan knows she has to head that off at the pass, and meekly suggests that the best thing would be if the new Amyrlin was a woman who had not been in the Tower on the day she was deposed, and thus could not be accused of having chosen a side. Leane adds that it should be someone strong in the Power, and Siuan wants to kick her for introducing that part of it too quickly, but the sisters accept it, and reflect on the possibilities.

Siuan kept her face smooth, her smile on the inside. The breaking of the Tower had changed many things, many ways of thinking besides her own. These women had led the sisters gathered here, and now they were discussing who should be presented to their new Hall of the Tower as if that should not be the Hall’s choice. It would not be difficult to bring them around, ever so gently, to the belief that the new Amyrlin should be one who could be guided by them. And unknowing, they and the Amyrlin she chose for her replacement would be guided by herself. She and Moiraine had worked too long to find Rand al’Thor and prepare him, given too much of their lives, for her to risk the rest of it being bungled by someone else.

Siuan changes the subject, to tell them that word is that Rand al’Thor has left Tear, and she thinks she has reasoned out where he went: the Aiel Waste. The sisters are highly doubtful of this, but Siuan points out that there were Aiel in the Stone when it fell, and in the old texts the Aiel are called the People of the Dragon; she pushes the idea that they should at least send an Aes Sedai or two to check it out. They discuss it, and decide to send two Greens, Kiruna Nachiman and Bera Harkin, and Siuan sighs in relief, sure she can get them to carry a letter to Moiraine. They are interrupted by Arinvar, Sheriam’s Warder, who tells them that there are about twenty riders to the east, not Whitecloaks. In his opinion they would be difficult to capture, but they are about to order him to try anyway when another Warder, Nuhel, enters.

He winked at Myrelle, his Aes Sedai, even as he said in a thick Illianer accent, “Most of the riders do be stopped, but one does come on by himself. If my aged mother did say different, I would still name him Gareth Bryne from the glimpse I did get.”

Siuan goes cold, thinking it’s madness that he actually followed her all this way, and remembers how bending him to her will back when they met as Amyrlin and Captain was like bending an iron bar. In a panic, she says that they must send him away or kill him, and knows it for a mistake the moment it comes out. Sheriam states that she knows why Bryne is here, and she will tell them.

“There do be few great captains living.” Nuhel marked them off on gauntleted fingers. “Agelmar Jagad and Davram Bashere will no leave the Blight, I think, and Pedron Niall will surely no be of use to you. If Rodel Ituralde do be alive, he do be mired somewhere in what do remain of Arad Doman.” He raised his thick thumb. “And that do leave Gareth Bryne.”

Anaiya remarks that it seems they have not fooled the Gaidin about their purpose here after all, and they immediately begin discussing how to bind Bryne to them; Sheriam tells Arinvar to bring Bryne to them, but tell him nothing. Then she turns to Siuan, who takes a deep breath and begins to tell the truth.

Commentary
Talk talk talk talk agh. Good chapter for reading, bad chapter for recapping. I still can’t decide if talking heads are worse than action scenes, or vice versa.

I honestly cannot remember if I guessed that Siuan and Leane’s plan was to put Egwene in the hot seat (ba dum dum) before Egwene was summoned to Salidar in LOC. I know I knew it the moment she was summoned, but I don’t know that I twigged to it this early on, even though the remark about needing someone strong in the Power was certainly a big fat clue.

Re: sweating (and there’s a “re:” I hadn’t thought I’d ever type), I’m thinking this might be a bit of a misstep on Jordan’s part, as I seem to recall there is an episode in LOC where Elayne and Nynaeve get pissed when they find out they could have been not sweating this whole time, because all it is is a trick of concentration, and that it was Siuan who tells them this, and is serenely not sweating at the time. Which begs the obvious question – assuming I’m remembering that right, which I may not be.

Oh, and I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Siuan really really likes fishing metaphors. No, really. I know, you’re AMAZED you haven’t noticed. It’s ichthyotastic!

Technically I suppose it’s unethical of Siuan and Leane to have blatantly lied about the Reds/False Dragons thing in order to manipulate the Rebel Aes Sedai into actually really being Rebels, but I can’t make myself get too excited about it, honestly. Yes, it’s a textbook example of making the ends justify the means, but on a sliding scale the “ends” are so disproportionately beneficial compared to the low-level badness of the “means” Siuan’s employing – at least in my opinion – that, well, moral relativism blah blah so shoot me.

I left it out of the summary, but Siuan reflects here that rumor has it Myrelle has married all three of her Warders. Whether that’s true or not, I think it’s fairly obvious from this and other episodes that at the very least she’s slept with all of them, and all I’m wondering is, did Moiraine know this about her when she arranged to pass Lan to her, or not? (And if so, did she decide to do it despite this, or because of it? Perspiring minds wish to know!)

I’m being slightly disingenuous here, since it’s stated somewhere in LOC (I think) that Moiraine chose Myrelle because she is one of the only Aes Sedai who has successfully rehabilitated Warders whose Aes Sedai were killed, and it’s heavily implied in that scene, as I recall, that sex is an essential element of her therapy method.

You can snicker about this if you like, but I dunno, it kind of makes sense to me. Sex as a therapeutic device is not a new concept, after all (though it is rather… progressive for a quasi-medieval milieu, admittedly). I’m just slightly surprised that Moiraine would be that sanguine about it (assuming she knew, of course).


Chapter 28: Trapped

What Happens
Bryne watches the Warder approach him and wonders what on earth so many Aes Sedai are doing this close to Amadicia, especially considering Ailron (and therefore Pedron Niall) had laid claim to this bank of the Eldar. The Warder greets Bryne by name, introduces himself as Nuhel, and asks Bryne to follow him. Inside the inn Nuhel leads him to, he spots Serenla sitting with a man whom Bryne surmises is Dalyn; when she sees him her jaw drops, and she squints at him as if in disbelief. None of the Aes Sedai and Warders in the place appear to notice, but Bryne isn’t betting on that, and thinks to himself he should have turned and ridden away when he had the chance. Nuhel leads him to a room where six Aes Sedai are seated, and Mara and Amaena are standing against the wall.

The willowy Domani minx was offering him a smile more tremulous than seductive for a change. Mara was frightened, too — terrified out of her skin, he would say — but those blue eyes still met his full of defiance. The girl had courage to suit a lion.

Sheriam greets him graciously and asks what brings him here. He tells them, though he’s sure they already know, and Sheriam tells him she regrets that they cannot let him take the girls back. Bryne asks if they mean to keep them from honoring such a strong oath, and Myrelle (whom Bryne pegs as a Green) tells him they will honor it, but not yet; they did not say when they would serve, after all, and the Aes Sedai have a use for them. Bryne thinks he is a fool for getting himself and his men into this, and knows he is unlikely to leave Salidar alive in any case, but decides he might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb, and says he has no objection to staying here until they are done with the women. He suggests that Mara could act as his “dog robber”, and he would count the hours against her sentence. Mara opens her mouth furiously, but all six Aes Sedai swivel to stare at her, and she chokes it down and glares at him instead. Myrelle laughs and advises Bryne to choose the other as more congenial, and Bryne expects Amaena to redden, but instead she eyes him appraisingly and even shares a small smile with Myrelle.

“You should be aware,” Carlinya said coolly, “that the woman you know as Mara is in reality Siuan Sanche, formerly the Amyrlin Seat. Amaena is really Leane Sharif, who was Keeper of the Chronicles.”

Bryne fights not to let his jaw drop, and asks how, but Sheriam gives him a non-answer, and Bryne speculates it must have something to do with the stilling, and wisely decides not to pursue it. He thinks that they are very good, hitting him off balance like that, and has a sinking feeling he knows what they are manipulating him toward. He points out that who Siuan and Leane used to be does not change the seriousness of their oath. Sheriam replies that since he has no objection to staying here, Siuan, Leane and Serenla aka Min can be his body servants. And since he’s going to be here anyway, there is a service he can do for them. The others support her, making vaguely threatening cajolements, and Bryne thinks he’s in the Game all right, and now it’s time to show them he was not so easily manipulated.

“The White Tower is broken,” he said flatly. Those Aes Sedai eyes widened, but he gave them no chance to speak. “The Ajahs have split. That is the only reason you can all be here. You certainly don’t need an extra sword or two” — he eyed Dromand and got a nod in return — “so the only service you can want out of me is to lead an army. To build one, first, unless you have other camps with a good many more men than I saw here. And that means you intend to oppose Elaida.”

He says he can’t think Elaida would make a good Amyrlin, and so he will agree – as long as they agree to his conditions: that they respect the chain of command, that they at least consider his advice on warfare, and lastly that once they begin this, they see it through to the end.

“I will be putting my head in a noose, and every man who follows along with me, and should you decide half a year from now that Elaida as Amyrlin is preferable to war, you will pull that noose tight for every one of us who can be hunted down. The nations may stay out of a civil war in the Tower, but they’ll not let us live if you abandon us. Elaida will see to that.”

He finishes that if they cannot agree to that, he will refuse, and they can kill him or whatever. The Aes Sedai stare at him for a long moment, then go for a huddle, blocking outside eavesdropping with the Power. Leane gives him a “you’ll never know what you missed” smile, and Siuan marches up to him and demands furiously to know why he’s doing this.

“For an oath.” For a pair of blue eyes.

An oath which she broke, he reminds her; he should double her time for that. She snarls that that’s already been taken care of; none of her hours as dog robber to him will count till they are back at the manor. Bryne realizes from this that the Aes Sedai had been willing to give him Siuan and Leane as a bribe before he ever walked in, which means they are desperate. Siuan continues insulting him, and Bryne knows she’s trying to make him angry and ignores it. They discuss her treatment of him when she was still Amyrlin, and he laughs to find out that he had been browbeaten to protect a candidate for the Murandian throne who ended up getting shot by a farmer less than a month later. He feels sorry for her, but hasn’t forgotten the insults, so tells her she can start by cleaning his boots and making his bed; then he is amazed that she apparently interprets this in a completely different light than he had intended it. Then the Aes Sedai conference breaks up, and Sheriam tells him that they accept his conditions as most reasonable, though Carlinya doesn’t look like she agrees. He kneels on the spot.

Trapped by a pair of eyes, like a bull-goose fool country boy. He was carp-brained. “I do pledge and vow that I will serve you faithfully until the White Tower is yours . . . ”

Min looks up to see Bryne come out into the common room with Nuhel, followed by Siuan, who snarls at whatever Bryne says to her and follows the Warder outside; Min heart sinks, guessing what that means. Sheriam and the others come out as well, and Sheriam starts telling the Aes Sedai in the room some news which seems to either shock or please them. Min tells Logain to stay put and gets up.

“She sold me to Aes Sedai.” It was a shock to hear him speak after being so long silent. He shivered, then nodded. “I will wait.”

Siuan comes back in carrying a saddlebag and blanket roll, and hisses at Min to watch Logain and let no one talk to him before following Bryne up the stairs. Min goes back to Logain and tells him he should talk to no one before Mara can tell them her plans, and Logain surprises her by replying she means Siuan Sanche, doesn’t she. He observes bitterly that it’s not like anyone here wants to talk to him, and falls silent again. Min watches the Aes Sedai and Warders dash around for a while with renewed energy, and idly wonders who’s going to end up winning the inevitable battle of wills between Siuan and Bryne; she gives Siuan the edge in that one. Siuan comes back down with a bundle of laundry and stalks to the kitchens; Min catches up with her in the hallway and tells her she has to talk to her. Siuan is more concerned with getting to Logain before he talks, but Min catches her arm.

“You can spare one minute to listen. When Bryne came in, I had a viewing. An aura, and a bull ripping roses from around its neck, and… None of it matters except the aura. I didn’t even really understand that, but more than anything else.”

“How much did you understand?”

“If you want to stay alive, you had better stay close to him.” Despite the heat, Min shivered. She had only ever had one other viewing with an “if” in it, and both had been potentially deadly. It was bad enough sometimes knowing what would happen; if she started knowing what might… “All I know is this. If he stays close to you, you live. If he gets too far away, for too long, you are going to die. Both of you. I don’t know why I should have seen anything about you in his aura, but you seemed like part of it.”

Siuan is less than thrilled at this revelation, and tells Min that Bryne is here to lead their army to victory, and make her life miserable while he’s at it. Then she hands the laundry bundle to Min and tells her when she’s finished with that Siuan will get Bryne’s boots to her to clean. She storms off, and Min realizes furiously that she knows exactly who’s going to be doing all of Bryne’s chores, and it isn’t going to be Siuan.

Commentary
So, okay, I know what “body servant” means in this context, as well as “dog robber”, but wow do those terms sound wrong to modern ears. Especially “body servant”, which sounds like a line from an Olivia Newton John song. If You Know What I Mean, And I Think You Do.

I was always a little “enh” about Min’s “if” visions, as they seemed like a little too obvious a way to introduce narrative tension into the story, but it also occurs to me that considering the overall purpose of all the prophetical-type happenings in WOT, this might be a tad pedantic of me. (Min’s other “if” viewing, of course, is the one about Gawyn either kneeling to Egwene or breaking her neck, which I speculate should come to pass in TGS, or at least I freakin’ hope it does, like, shit or get off the pot, viewing!)

I really like Bryne in this chapter, his slightly unfathomable attraction to Siuan notwithstanding. Very few male characters in WOT (other than the Superboys) get to stand toe-to-toe with Aes Sedai and play their game as well as they do, and not come off worst in the experience. Though of course we don’t know Bryne’s ultimate fate, but I have a feeling he’s going to be juuust fine. Very cool character, both literally and figuratively.

Bryne’s also one of my favorite possible real-world references, because it was one of the ones that I never noticed until another WOT fan pointed it out. From the WOTFAQ:

Gareth Bryne: Goetz Von Berlichingen writes, “[TPOD notes that] Gareth Bryne’s horse is named Traveler. Robert E. Lee’s favourite horse during the War between the States was Traveler. Bryne is considered the greatest general of the age, Robert E. Lee received similiar accolades. Bryne’s habit of examining the ground over which he is riding is also similiar to one attributed by some contemporary writers to Lee.”

The name of Bryne’s horse is actually mentioned in this chapter as well, which is what reminded me of this entry. In addition to what Goetz mentions, there is an even more obvious parallel between Bryne and Lee, which is of course that they both are in command of a Rebel army. The difference being, of course, that these are Rebels we want to win.

Don’t worry, I’ve got a fire extinguisher right here. When you press the thing it goes *BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP*


This concludes this test of the Emergency Wheel of Time Recap System. Thank you for your attention. We now return you to your regularly scheduled, boring, actual work. Because we are evil. Mwhahaha.

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