The Wheel of Time Reread

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Gathering Storm, Part 22

Let me hear you, let me hear you say yeah, WOTlings! It’s a Wheel of Time Re-read!

Today’s entry covers Chapters 38 and 39 of The Gathering Storm, in which we have some lovely tea, some light reading, and oh yeah ALL THE AWESOME IN THE HIZZOUSE, CAN I GET A WITNESS.

Previous re-read entries are here. The Wheel of Time Master Index is here, which has links to news, reviews, interviews, and all manner of information about the Wheel of Time in general, including the newest release, Towers of Midnight.

This re-read post contains spoilers for all currently published Wheel of Time novels, up to and including Book 13, Towers of Midnight. If you haven’t read, read at your own risk.

And now, the post!


Chapter 38: News in Tel’aran’rhiod

What Happens
In a randomly-chosen location in the Dreamworld, Siuan pleads with Egwene to reconsider her decision to stay imprisoned. Egwene tells her that to escape now would be to undermine everything she has worked for re: Elaida. Siuan points out that her trial will be a sham, and if Elaida manages to make her accusation that Egwene is a Darkfriend stick, Egwene could be executed. Egwene doesn’t think that will happen, but promises that if it comes to execution she will allow herself to be rescued. Siuan is dissatisfied, but lets it go. Egwene asks for the news, and Siuan tells her that an “old acquaintance” of hers has arrived in camp: Gawyn Trakand. Egwene starts in shock, then gets herself under control and casually remarks that that is odd.

Siuan smiled. “That was nicely handled,” she said. “Though you paused too long, and when you did ask for him, you were overly uninterested. That made you easy to read.”

“Light blind you,” Egwene said. “Another test? Is he really there?”

“I hold to the oaths, thank you,” Siuan said, affronted.

Siuan tells her that as Amyrlin, Egwene will constantly be tested and should get used to it. Egwene reluctantly concedes the wisdom of that. Siuan is not sure what exactly Gawyn is doing, but knows that he visits often with Romanda and Lelaine, which Egwene finds troubling. She finds it even more troubling that from what Siuan tells her, the faultlines between the factions in camp are widening. Siuan worries about how hard Egwene is pushing herself; Egwene pooh-poohs the notion, but admits that her cell is so cramped she can’t stand up or lie flat in it, and vows to have all the cells like it destroyed once she is Amyrlin in the Tower.

“No person should be kept in such a manner,” she said, “not even…”

Siuan frowned as Egwene trailed off. “What was that?”

Egwene shook her head. “It just occurred to me. This is what it must have been like for Rand. No, worse. The stories say he was locked in a box smaller than my cell. At least I can spend part of the evenings chatting with you. He had nobody. He was without the belief that his beatings meant something.” Light send that she didn’t have to endure as long as he had.

Egwene repeats, though, that Elaida will not break her, and her support erodes every day Egwene refuses to capitulate. Siuan regards her, and remarks that Egwene is Amyrlin; nonplussed, Egwene answers that she knows, but Siuan clarifies that she has just proven it beyond doubt, and thinks that Egwene might end up the best Amyrlin since Hawkwing’s reign. Egwene is surprised and pleased by the praise. Siuan leaves, and Egwene finds herself visiting the reflection of the rebel camp as she mulls over what she will do if she runs out of time to reunite the Tower. She thinks that will either mean war, or setting up a second Tower, which she thinks will be disastrous for the Aes Sedai’s reputation and influence in the world.

She would bring the White Tower Aes Sedai to her side. Elaida would fall. But if not… then Egwene would do what was necessary in order to preserve the people, and the world, in the face of Tarmon Gai’don.

Though she knows it is dangerous, she does Amys’s “need walk,” and finds herself in a Tinker camp. It reminds her of the time she and Perrin had spent with the Tinkers so long ago, and wonders what happened to Aram and Raen and Ila, and thinks they must be safe in a camp like this one, waiting out Tarmon Gai’don. She remembers how simple and joyful the Tinkers had made things, how invested they were in living life regardless of what else is happening, and reexamines her motivations for reuniting the Tower. She thinks about how she would have joined the Green Ajah if she’d had the chance, and admits to herself that Gawyn is part of the reason for that.

Among the Green Ajah, marrying one’s Warder was common. Egwene would have Gawyn for her Warder. And her husband.

She loved him. She would bond him. Those desires of her heart were less important than the fate of the world, true, but they were still important.

She returns to the reflection of the Tower and stares at it for a time, wondering if it was time to let it fall, and decides, not yet. She returns to her abused body painfully, and concentrates upon her purpose in order to keep claustrophobia from overwhelming her. She thinks she and Rand have this in common now: they’ve both endured, and overcome, Elaida’s attempt to break them. At noon, her Red guards drag her out roughly; Egwene expects to be beaten as usual, but Katerine appears and stops the guards, telling them (oddly smugly) that Egwene is to be released. The other Reds are shocked, and Katerine explains that Elaida has decided that the blame falls not on the novice, but the one who failed to discipline her: the Mistress of Novices, Silviana. From now on Egwene is to be “instructed” by the new Mistress of Novices, Katerine herself.

Egwene locked gazes with the woman. “Ah,” she said. “And you believe that you will succeed where Silviana failed?”

“You will see.” Katerine turned away and headed down the tiled hallway. “Take her to her quarters.”

On the way, Egwene reflects that Silviana’s fall will be a blow to the morale of the whole Tower, but then realizes that she’d won against Elaida, and is elated by the thought. Everyone they pass stops to look at Egwene, and Egwene sees both surprise and tension in them. Then Saerin (Sitter, Brown, Black Ajah Hunter) stops her to speak, brushing aside the objections of Egwene’s Red guards. Once out of earshot, Egwene points out this is a risk, and Saerin snorts that leaving one’s bedroom is a risk these days, and thinks that right now being seen with Egwene can actually be advantageous. Saerin fills her in on what actually happened with Silviana:

“Silviana demanded to be heard by the full Hall while it was sitting,” Saerin explained. “She stood before the lot of us, before Elaida herself, and insisted that your treatment was unlawful. Which, likely, it was.

[…] “Silviana demanded your release. She seemed to respect you a great deal, I should say. She spoke with pride in her voice of how you’d received your punishments, as if you were a student who had learned her lesson well. She denounced Elaida, calling for her to be removed as Amyrlin. It was… quite extraordinary.”

Egwene is stunned, and Saerin goes on that Elaida ordered Silviana broken to novice right there, and when Silviana refused to obey, declared that she is to be stilled and executed. Egwene is horrified, and replies that they must prevent this. Saerin is surprised, and points out that the Red Ajah is crumbling before their eyes; if Elaida goes through with killing a Red, all her support will evaporate, and the Red Ajah will likely fall apart. Egwene tells her that she doesn’t want to disband the Red; the Tower needs all the Ajahs intact. She orders Saerin to get to the Hall and try to stop this from happening. Saerin nods and leaves, and Egwene turns to her Red guards, who she knows had been eavesdropping, and asks why they haven’t gone to verify the news for themselves. One of them (Barasine) replies that they have to maintain Egwene’s shield; irritably, Egwene flags down a novice and sends her for forkroot tea.

“I’ll dose myself with that, and then at least one of you can go,” Egwene said. “Your Ajah is collapsing. They’re going to need all of the clear minds they can get; maybe you can convince your sisters that it is unwise to let Elaida execute Silviana.”

The other Red hesitates and then dashes off; Barasine insists on staying with Egwene until she drinks the tea. Egwene does so when it arrives, and Barasine leaves. Egwene goes into her room to bathe and change, and finds Verin Sedai sitting inside, drinking a cup of tea. Verin greets her cheerfully, and Egwene recovers from her surprise enough to tell her that she doesn’t have time to visit with her, as she has work to do.

“Hmm, yes,” Verin said, taking a calm sip of her tea. “I suspect that you do. By the way, that dress you are wearing is green.”

Egwene frowned at the nonsense sentence, glancing down at her dress. Of course it wasn’t green. What was Verin saying? Had the woman become—

She froze, glancing at Verin.

That had been a lie. Verin could speak lies.

“Yes, I thought that might get your attention,” Verin said, smiling. “You should sit down. We have much to discuss and little time in which to do it.”

Holy crap!

…is what I said upon coming to the end of this chapter. Because, holy crap!

But more about Verin in a moment! First we have to contemplate the in absentia star of this chapter, which is none other than Silviana Brehon, who firmly places herself here at the very tippy top of the (very shorty short) list of Reds Who Do Not Suck, and also becomes the sole occupant of a brand new list that didn’t actually exist before this moment, called Reds Who Are Totally Kickass.

(Tarna Feir would have been on the second list too, actually, but given presumable events in ToM… not anymore. Dammit. Pevara Tazanovni hasn’t quite earned a spot on the RWATK list yet, but given those same ToM events, it looks like she’s going to get her chance to do so Real Soon Now. Go, Pevara and Androl, go!)

Anyway, Silviana. So much respect, you guys. Anyone who has that much courage of their own convictions, that much integrity, and that much just sheer ballsiness gets nothing but mad props from moi, for real.

Imagine the guts it must have taken to defy a woman who is not only your putative leader, a heavily influential member of your faction/sisterhood/whatever, and the one responsible for your personal promotion and success, but has shown herself to be a megalomaniacal loonball as well, who doesn’t so much “hold a grudge,” as she bludgeons the grudge to a gruesome, bloody, whimpering pulp, and then comes back every so often to riverdance on its sad and mangled corpse.

(Warning: link contains riverdancing.)

That is bravery with a capital Brave, y’all. I heart her so much now.

And while we’re at it, we mustn’t forget to give Egwene her own props in the integrity department, for not only not holding a grudge against Silviana (and the Red Ajah in general) but for it never even occurring to her to hold one. I am a little bit in awe of people who have such vast capacity for forgiveness; they are rare and far between.

Other than that, Egwene gets in her obligatory soul-searching in this chapter, since she’s about to really not have time for that sort of thing in a moment here. Honestly I found most of it a tad repetitive at this point, but that’s possibly because I am just impatient to get to the raw uncut Awesome that awaits us juuust over the next hill.

I did think it was interesting, though, that such a point was made of emphasizing the importance of not forgetting to have a life even in mid-impending apocalypse. This lesson was evidently so important, in fact, that the “need walk” showed that to Egwene, instead of the million or so pieces of information out there re: Perrin or Rand or the Forsaken or etc. that it would no doubt highly benefit her to have. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I think remembering to take joy in life where you can is important and all, but seriously, Pattern, can we maybe discuss your prioritizing choices?

…Of course, that’s kind of the point, isn’t it. Mumble grumble okay FINE.

I got a kick out of how much Egwene is totally the boss of everyone in this chapter, including her guards. She was all, “Fine, I will dose myself with forkroot, WHATEVER, now will you stop being morons and get lost?” AND THEY DO. Heh. The Elaida vs. Egwene thing really was just about all over but the shouting in my opinion, even if the Seanchan attack hadn’t happened at all. Of course, that’s easy for me to say now, isn’t it?

Lastly, I feel like I should point out Egwene’s realization re: Rand’s box torture, because it is a significant (not to mention welcome) development that someone finally gets just how horrible and traumatizing and shitty an experience that actually was for Rand, but… yeah, other than pointing it out, I don’t have much to say about it. So, er, there you go?

But enough of this: onward! Or should I say, onward to AWESOME. Oh, yeah.


Chapter 39: A Visit from Verin Sedai

What Happens
Egwene accuses Verin of having the Oaths removed and replaced, which Verin concedes calmly. Egwene then tells Verin that she never trusted her fully.

“Very wise,” Verin said, sipping her tea. It was not a scent Egwene recognized. “I am, after all, of the Black Ajah.”

Egwene tries to embrace the Source and cannot. As she tries desperately to figure out what to do, Verin asks her to compliment Laras on her choice of teas. Egwene asks what Verin means to do with her, and Verin congratulates her on her achievements in the Tower, which Verin had opted to stay out of in favor of watching “young al’Thor.” Verin says she is concerned that al’Thor does not quite understand how the Great Lord works. She digresses into a lecture about the Forsaken, comparing them to “squabbling children” trying to attract Daddy’s attention; she believes that it is selfishness that is the number one quality the Great Lord seeks in his followers.

“It makes them predictable. A tool you can depend upon to act as expected is far more valuable than one you cannot understand. Or perhaps because when they struggle against one another, it makes only the strong ones survive. I don’t know, honestly. The Chosen are predictable, but the Great Lord is anything but. Even after decades of study, I can’t be certain exactly what he wants or why he wants it. I only know that this battle isn’t being fought the way that al’Thor assumes it will be.”

Verin then gets back on topic, and explains to Egwene how many years ago she was faced with a choice: take the oaths to become a Darkfriend, or refuse and be executed. Verin had realized that it was a unique opportunity to study the Shadow from the inside. She reveals that her Warder Tomas was also a Darkfriend, though he had been looking for a way out, and was grateful to Verin for providing it. Egwene notes the past tense, and Verin replies that the oaths to the Great Lord are “quite specific,” and for channelers, impossible to break.

“‘I swear not to betray the Great Lord, to keep my secrets until the hour of my death.’ That was what I promised. Do you see?”

Egwene looked down at the steaming cup in Verin’s hands. “Poison?”

“It takes a very special tea to make asping rot go down sweetly,” Verin said, taking another sip. “As I said, please thank Laras for me.”

Verin thinks it a “curious” loophole in the oaths, that one can betray them at the hour of death, and wonders whether the Great Lord perhaps arranged it that way. Egwene asks if this is a quest for redemption, but Verin laughs, and opines that she doubts redemption is so easily earned. She believes, though, that it was worth the cost, or so she tells herself. She pulls out two books and gives them to Egwene, and explains that every Brown seeks to produce something that will last beyond her own death, to discover knowledge that will benefit those who come after them. The smaller book is the cipher key to the larger, which is the work of Verin’s life.

“What is it?” Egwene asked softly, suspecting she might know the answer.

“Names, locations, explanations,” Verin said. “Everything I learned about them. About the leaders among the Darkfriends, about the Black Ajah. The prophecies they believe, the goals and motivations of the separate factions. Along with a list, at the back, of every Black Ajah sister I could identify.”

Egwene started. “Every one?”

“I doubt I caught them all,” Verin said, smiling. “But I think I got the large majority of them. I promise you, Egwene. I can be quite thorough.”

Egwene is awed, knowing the book to be a treasure “as great as the Horn of Valere.” Verin demurs her look, saying that since the Black have so many agents among the forces of Light, it only seemed fair that the Light should have a mole in their ranks as well.

“Few people have had a chance to create something as useful, and as wonderful, as that book you hold. We all seek to change the future, Egwene. I think I might just have a chance at doing so.”

Verin is beginning to fade, and shows Egwene how to use the warded bookmark which hides both books in plain sight. Egwene thanks her, and wishes there were some other way. Verin says she had not intended to kill herself unless there was no other choice, as she still had things she wanted to do, but unfortunately had not been able to find the Oath Rod to try and remove her Black Ajah oaths with. Egwene apologizes, and Verin replies that it might not have worked anyway. She tells Egwene that Mesaana is in the Tower, but regrets that she was not able to discover whose identity she is hiding under. She warns Egwene to be very careful in how she chooses to use the information Verin has given her. She has confidence that Egwene will use it well, and admits that she was not supposed to have given Egwene the dreaming ter’angreal, but did so anyway. Egwene says she is not sure she deserves such trust.

“Nonsense, child,” Verin said, yawning again, eyes closing. “You will be Amyrlin. I’m confident of it. And an Amyrlin should be well armed with knowledge. That, among all things, is the most sacred duty of the Brown—to arm the world with knowledge. I’m still one of them. Please see that they know, although the word Black may brand my name forever, my soul is Brown. Tell them…”

“I will, Verin,” Egwene promised. “But your soul is not Brown. I can see it.”

Her eyes fluttered open, meeting Egwene’s, a frown creasing her forehead.

“Your soul is of a pure white, Verin,” Egwene said softly. “Like the Light itself.”

Verin smiled, and her eyes closed.

After, Egwene checks to make sure Verin is dead, though she feels guilty about it. The Red on her door (Turese) pokes her head in, and Egwene leads her to believe, without actually lying, that Verin is only sleeping. Turese goes, and Egwene begins reading Verin’s book, starting with the list of Black Ajah sisters Verin had compiled. She is deeply disturbed by the names she finds, and horrified to discover that Sheriam’s is among them. Verin counted over two hundred of them: twenty-one in the Blue, twenty-eight in the Brown, thirty in the Gray, thirty-eight in the Green, seventeen in the White, twenty-one in the Yellow, and a “stunning” forty-eight in the Red, as well as various novices and Accepted. Egwene is appalled at how many are Sitters in both Halls, including Moria Karentanis in the Rebel Hall, but is rather irked that neither Lelaine nor Romanda are on the list. Neither is Cadsuane, any of the Black Ajah hunters, or any sisters Egwene counts among her close friends. Neither is Elaida; Verin had made a special note on her, that she had looked very closely at Elaida, but concluded from comments from other Black sisters that Elaida was a dupe of the Shadow, not a member of it. Egwene thinks this makes sense in light of Alviarin’s and Galina’s presence on the list.

They probably had used some kind of leverage against Elaida through Galina—whom Verin noted had probably managed to make herself Head of the Red Ajah—or Alviarin. They had bullied or bribed Elaida to do as they wished without her knowing that she was serving the Black. And that helped explain Alviarin’s strange fall.

At a knock, she hides the books hastily. Nicola enters with a bowl of soup, supposedly for Verin Sedai. She whispers that she is supposed to ask if Egwene trusts Verin, and Egwene says yes. Nicola leaves, and Egwene fishes out the message hidden in the soup, which only says “Wait.” Soon after, Meidani arrives. She looks at Verin and quickly realizes that she is dead. Egwene not-lies that Verin was “poisoned by a Darkfriend,” and came to Egwene to share vital information before she died. Meidani wants to call the guard, but Egwene refuses, and insists on news. Meidani tells her Elaida is still Amyrlin, but was formally censured by the Hall, and warned that her power is not absolute. She’s been given three months of penance as well, and there were many who wanted more.

“Elaida asked for the proceedings to be Sealed to the Flame, but she gained no support in the move. I think that her own Ajah was behind that, Mother. All three of the Red’s Sitters are out of the Tower. I still wonder where Duhara and the others went.”

Duhara. A Black. What is she up to? And the other two?

Meidani also says that Elaida was shockingly silent at the censure, and Egwene surmises that the Reds warned her ahead of time to take it quietly. Meidani says that Saerin thinks Egwene’s own insistence on saving the Red Ajah – overheard by novices and spread all over the Tower – was part of what kept Elaida from being deposed. Egwene is not that happy about this, but decides it is still better than allowing the Red to be disbanded. Silviana’s sentence has been suspended, but she is still being held until the Hall decides what to do with her; Egwene smells a compromise, and thinks that Elaida’s support is not completely eroded yet, then. She wonders if she dares spend the time still needed to bring Elaida down.

If she staged a mass assault on the Black Ajah, would that precipitate a battle? Would she destabilize the Tower even further? And could she realistically hope to strike at all of them like that? She needed time to consider the information. For now, that meant staying in the Tower and working against Elaida. And, unfortunately, that meant letting most of the Black sisters run free.

But not all of them.

Egwene orders Meidani to tell the others that they must take Alviarin captive as soon as possible and test her on the Oath Rod, as according to Verin she is near the top of the Black Ajah organization. Meidani goes pale, but agrees. Egwene orders her to get rid of Verin’s body using a Gateway, regretting the indignity but promising herself that she will honor Verin properly later. Meidani goes, taking the corpse, and Egwene puts herself to sleep to meet with Siuan in Tel’aran’rhiod. As she waits, she contemplates the things Sheriam has been involved with, including Egwene’s own rise to power, and agonizes over how much has been tainted by association.

Egwene felt dirtied, she felt duped. For a moment, she felt herself to be the country girl many thought her to be. If Elaida had been a pawn for the Blacks, then so had she. Light! How the Dark One must have laughed to see two rival Amyrlins, each with one of his loyal minions at her side, pitting them against one another.

[…] She shivered. Whatever his plan, she would fight him. Resist him. Spit in his eye, even if he won, just as the Aiel said.

Siuan arrives, and Egwene tells her about Sheriam and Moria, and that they are to be watched but not arrested. Siuan is dumbfounded, and asks how sure Egwene is; Egwene tells her, sure enough. She is about to explain about her release when she is yanked out of the Dreamworld to find Nicola shaking her. Nicola has a bloody gash on her cheek, and Egwene feels the entire Tower shake. Nicola cries that Shadowspawn are attacking, and Tarmon Gai’don is here. Egwene feels panic for a moment, and then recognizes the description of the “Shadowspawn” Nicola gives her.

Egwene threw off the blanket and leaped to her feet.

It wasn’t Tarmon Gai’don, but it was nearly as bad. The Seanchan had finally attacked the White Tower, just as Egwene had Dreamed.

And she couldn’t channel enough Power to light a candle, let alone fight back.


…is what I said upon coming to the end of this chapter. Because, HOLY CRAP!

But we’ll get to the Seanchan next week! First, we must contemplate the shining pinnacle of ridiculously amazing awesome that is Verin Sedai in this chapter. Because, really, my peeps. How fucking awesome was she?

Oh, she was the most awesome thing ever? YES THAT’S WHAT I THOUGHT YOU SAID, YOU ARE CORRECT, SIR.

She seriously wins everything ever, and I’m not even sure what do about it beyond just gushing madly for days. Which is about what I did, actually, when I first reviewed TGS.

I’m pretty sure I haven’t been so bowled over by the awesomeness of a scene in WOT since Mat and Birgitte’s confrontation in ACOS. Not that there haven’t been plenty of awesome scenes since then – there certainly have been – but this scene, like Mat and Birgitte’s, just banged every drum and jangled every triangle and dotted every “i” and crossed every “t” on my personal, not-always-clearly-defined-but-I-know-it-when-I-read-it list of Things That Make A Scene Kick All The Ass Regionally Available. It’s like the perfectly punctuated marching band of my literary soul!

…Um. Or something. I may be a little overexcited right now.

I know, you’re like, NO WAY THAT NEVER HAPPENS. To which I say, shaddup, I’m having a moment here.

Because, you guys. YOU GUYS. She sneakified the Black Ajah out of existence. Can we just sit back and admire that sentence for a moment? Sneakified. In one blow, no less!

Well, one blow that came after a seventy-year wind-up, but that makes it even more awesome. Seriously, I can’t even.

Best part of the book, hands down. No, even counting the next chapter. No contest.

Not to mention, this is also one of the best scenes of the entire series, in my opinion. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me on this (not that I ever expect that, heh), but (pending reevaluation post-AMoL, of course) I would in all seriousness place it in the top three of Scenes That Kick All The Ass Ever in WOT.

Because what Verin gives us here, finally, FINALLY, is the first truly decisive and significant blow for the Light against the Shadow, and the harbinger that we are finally, FINALLY moving into the endgame here. And that is just too cool for words, y’all.

…Well, hm. On reflection, I take that back to an extent: the first truly decisive victory for the Light was when Rand cleansed saidin at the end of WH. So, okay. But honestly I’m not even that interested in examining whether my declaration is factually accurate or not, because I’m totally talking about my visceral reaction to the scene, which was, in case you forgot, HOSHIT ZOMG LOOKIT MA THIS TRAIN IS ACTUALLY LEAVING THE STATION.

And after waiting literally decades for this series to round third base and actually start heading for home, and being sure at one point that we would never actually even get to see that final slide to the plate, well. Finally feeling like it’s actually getting started is a frankly amazing feeling.

And the reveal was just so well done, too. It seems so obvious now in retrospect – well of course Verin was a double agent Black sister! – but for eleven books Jordan managed to hoodwink us – us, the most relentlessly conspiracy-theorizing fandom ever! – juuuust enough to keep us all uncertain about what Verin was really doing. I mean, I’m sure someone somewhere came up with more or less the correct theory about Verin, but certainly as far as I am aware it was never a widely known or popular notion among the fandom in general that Verin was actually Black. I certainly never believed it, at any rate, and therefore the revelation of her double agentness was an utterly delicious shocking twist as far as I am concerned.

Thus it is not only the sneakiness of Verin I am celebrating, but that of her authors. Just – brilliant. Bravo. I applaud.

Not to mention, I totally teared up when Verin passed. And while a lot of things in WOT have affected me deeply, emotionally, I think I can count on one hand the number of times it has actually made me cry. (And thus far, two of them are in this book. So there’s a thing to contemplate, too.)

Okay, that is enough gushing outta me, other stuff happened in this chapter too, you know!

…Though really, all the stuff from Meidani about Elaida’s censure and penance and blah blah blah is rendered utterly moot by what happens next, so I’m not sure there is actually any benefit to getting into it at all. So, uh, maybe not?

The only other thing I feel like commenting on, honestly, is Verin’s little digression into the nature of the Forsaken, and her assertion that selfishness is the key criterion that the Dark One looks for in his senior minions, and that Tarmon Gai’don may not mean what Rand thinks it means. Which felt pretty strongly to me like an instance of the authors using a character’s voice to speak directly to the class, so to speak, and Esplain some things.

This can be a very annoying practice, especially when it’s a thinly veiled excuse to retcon or justify or exposit something in the story that by rights we shouldn’t have to have explained to us in so many words, but I didn’t really feel that was necessarily what was happening here. Mostly, in fact, it felt like we were being dropped a big fat Clue about the Last Battle and how that whole shindig is going to go down. Which is to say, probably not the way we might be expecting.

And you know what? I am A-okay with that. Shocking twist I didn’t see coming? THANK YOU SIR MAY I HAVE ANOTHER.

In conclusion:



And with that ridonkulousness, we out! Have a sparkly and awesome-filled week, kids, and I’ll see you next Tuesday!


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