The Wheel of Time Reread

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Gathering Storm, Part 23

Fear not, citizens of WOT! It is I, Wheel of Time Re-read, here to rescue you from all that work you’re supposed to be doing!

Today’s entry covers Chapters 40 and 41 of The Gathering Storm, in which our Ooh-Ooh Girl gets her HULK SMASH on, and it is glorious.

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 40: The Tower Shakes

What Happens
Siuan awakes, convinced something is very wrong. Bryne is also awake, and Siuan tells him Egwene is in danger. Bryne starts dressing, and soon a soldier comes to report to Bryne that bursts of light and dark shadows in the air around the Tower have been spotted, that could be Shadowspawn. Bryne sends him to rouse the guard. Remembering Egwene’s prophecy, Siuan realizes it must be the Seanchan. Bryne is inclined to sit tight, but Siuan insists they must seize the opportunity to rescue Egwene. Bryne reminds her she gave her word, but Siuan replies that she knows what the Seanchan do to women who can channel, and will not be budged. He refuses to help her, and Siuan shoots back that she will go to someone who will.

Egwene and Nicola are thrown against the wall as the Tower shakes again, and Nicola wails that it is the Dark One. Egwene snaps at her to pull herself together, and hurries to a window, where she confirms that it is to’raken outside, flying with sul’dam-damane pairs aboard.

Portions of the Tower’s wings below were alight with flames, and to her horror, Egwene saw several gaping holes directly in the sides of the Tower. To’raken clutched the side of the Tower, climbing up like bats clinging to a wall, unloading soldiers and damane into the building. As Egwene watched, a to’raken leapt free of the side of the Tower, the height allowing it to forgo its normal running start. The creature wasn’t as graceful as one of the smaller raken, but its handler did a masterful job of directing it back into the air. The creature flew right by Egwene’s window, the wind of its passing blowing back her hair. Egwene faintly heard screaming as the to’raken swept past. Terrified screaming.

It wasn’t a full-scale attack—it was a raid! A raid to capture marath’damane!

The Tower shakes again, and Egwene fights against a wave of panic and despair as memories of her captivity threaten to overwhelm her.

She had to run! She had to hide, flee, escape…


She pushed herself upright.

No, she would not flee. She was Amyrlin.

The forkroot has worn off enough that Egwene can embrace the Source, but she can only channel a tiny trickle. She declares that they will fight, and Nicola sniffles that Egwene can barely channel. Egwene exhorts her to stand firm, and promises to protect her; Nicola takes heart and falls in. Egwene hurries toward where she thinks she hears faint screaming, and finds a group of over fifty novices huddled together, terrified. They all babble questions at her, and Egwene quickly and calmly explains what is happening, and assures them that she does not intend to let a single one of them be taken.

“Nicola, Jasmen, Yeteri, Inala,” Egwene said, naming off some of the more powerful of the novices. “Come forward. The rest of you pay close attention. I’m going to teach you something.”

“What, Mother?” one of the girls asked.

This had better work, Egwene thought. “I’m going to teach you how to link.”

There were gasps. This wasn’t a thing taught to novices, but Egwene would see that sul’dam did not find easy pickings in the novices’ quarters!

She is very worried by how long it takes to teach the girls the technique, but Nicola already knows the basics and is able to help her demonstrate. Soon she has a circle formed with Nicola, Yeteri and Inala. She weaves a gateway, warning the novices that they are under no circumstances to try the weave, and leaves them to practice forming circles while she and her circle go through to the storeroom where the Tower’s objects of Power are stored. She finds the rod the Aes Sedai had used to Heal Mat, and the novices gasp at the torrent of Power Egwene pulls through it.

Few women had ever held such power. It surged into Egwene, like a deep breath drawn in. It made her long to roar. She looked at the three novices, smiling broadly. “Now we’re ready,” she announced.

Let the sul’dam try and shield her while she was wielding one of the most powerful sa’angreal that the Aes Sedai possessed. The White Tower would not fall while she was Amyrlin! Not without a fight to rival the Last Battle itself.

Despite his words, Bryne has followed Siuan to Gawyn’s tent. Gawyn bursts out at her shout, asking if they are under attack. Siuan tells him no, but that Tar Valon might be.

“Egwene!” Gawyn cried, hurriedly doing the last loops on his belt. Light, but the boy was single-minded.

“Boy,” Siuan said, folding her arms. “I owe you a debt for getting me out of Tar Valon. Will you take my help getting you in to Tar Valon as repayment?”

“Gladly!” Gawyn said eagerly, sliding his sword in place. “Repayment and then some!”

She sends him ahead for horses, and wishes she had the strength to make a gateway. Bryne says this is madness, and wants to know how she expects to get into the city. Siuan tells him she’s going in the same way Shemerin got out. Bryne says she and Gawyn have no chance on their own, and he will not be party to Siuan breaking her oath again. Siuan temporizes that Egwene said they could rescue her if it looked like she was in danger of execution, and Siuan has decided this counts. Bryne deeply disapproves, and she dares him to stop her. Bryne curses, and abruptly tells her that he will come, but on two conditions: one is that she will bond him as her Warder. Siuan is shocked, then eager, but hesitates as she remembers the pain of losing Alric.

Did she dare pass the opportunity to have this man bonded to her, to feel his emotions, have him by her side? After all that she had dreamed and all that she had wished?

Feeling reverent, she stepped back up to Bryne, then laid a hand against his chest and wove the required weaves of Spirit and laid them over him. He breathed in sharply as new awareness blossomed inside of both of them, a new connection. She could feel his emotions, could sense his concern for her, which was shockingly powerful. It was ahead of his worry for Egwene and concern for his soldiers! Oh, Gareth, she thought, feeling herself smile at the sweetness of his love for her.

Bryne marvels at the strength and stamina he feels now, and Siuan rolls her eyes. Gawyn returns with a horse for himself, and Bela for Siuan, to her pleased surprise. She asks Bryne for the second condition, but he refuses to tell her until later. She warns him it had better not be “indecent”; Bryne senses through the bond that she kind of wishes it might be, to Siuan’s mortification and his amusement. He salutes her mock-solemnly and goes to gather men for the rescue attempt. Gawyn asks what’s going on, and Siuan tells him they’re not going in alone anymore.

“That means our chances of surviving long enough to take Egwene just improved. Which is fortunate, since after what we’re about to do, she’ll undoubtedly want the privilege of killing us personally.”

Adelorna Bastine runs through the Tower, bloodied and stricken, ashamed that the Greens have done such a poor job of defending themselves and the Tower; she had seen one sister captured with some kind of silver collar, and more killed. One of her Warders is dead and another is wounded, but she can’t reach him. She comes upon a party of invaders and runs the other way; she feels someone try to shield her and fail. She rounds a corner and almost falls out of a gaping hole in the side of the Tower. As she backtracks, another shield comes her way and cuts her off this time, and she struggles wildly as flows of Air pull her toward two pairs of women with a squad of soldiers. One of them clips a collar on her, and tells her she will be a good damane. Then the collar suddenly falls away, and the woman before Adelorna is consumed in fire. Chaos breaks out, the women in gray weaving fresh shields, but both their collars come off too, and the other women die in lightning and fire. The soldiers flee.

Adelorna turned hesitantly. A woman in white stood atop the rubble a short distance away, a massive halo of power surrounding her, her arm outstretched toward the fleeing soldiers, her eyes intense. The woman stood like vengeance itself, the power of saidar like a storm around her. The very air seemed alight, and her brown hair blew from the wind of the open gap in the wall beside them. Egwene al’Vere.

Egwene orders novices to help Adelorna up and collect the women in gray, who are oddly just kneeling there, and “put them with the others”. Egwene then pauses to blast two more flying creatures out of the sky, and Adelorna sees she is using Vora’s sa’angreal. She asks about captives on the creatures, and Egwene replies that they’re better off dead if they were there. Adelorna automatically tries to take command of the situation, and Egwene stops dead.

“I am in command until this threat passes. You will call me Mother. Give me penance later if you must, but for now my authority must be unquestioned. Is that clear?”

“Yes, Mother,” Adelorna found herself saying, shocked.

Egwene asks after her Warders, and is impressed that Adelorna is holding up so well after the death of one of them; Adelorna is surprised by the pride she feels at the praise. Upon discovering that Adelorna is well-acquainted with the Tower’s angreal stash, she opens a gateway to the storeroom. Adelorna stares, and comments that she’d thought Traveling was a rumor; Egwene tells her she’d never have shown it if she didn’t know Elaida was teaching it quietly. She adds that this is why it is so important to stop the Seanchan; they cannot risk letting any woman with Traveling fall into their hands. Adelorna thinks it over, and realizes that Egwene could have fled at any time.

Egwene turned back to her, looking through the portal. “Fled?” she asked. “If I left, it wouldn’t have been fleeing you, Adelorna, it would have been abandoning you. I am the Amyrlin Seat. My place is here. I’m certain you’ve heard that I Dreamed this very attack.”

Adelorna felt a chill. She had indeed.

“Come,” Egwene repeated. “We must be quick. This is just a raid; they’ll want to grab as many channelers as possible and be off with them. I intend to see that they lose more damane than they gain Aes Sedai.”


Chapter 41:  A Fount of Power

What Happens
Gawyn watches the Tower seem to burn as the party approaches the hidden access point in the wall, in a string of small boats. In the tunnel, Bryne comments from the boat ahead that it was probably designed for workers; Siuan replies she doesn’t care why it’s here, but she is embarrassed that she never knew it existed as Amyrlin. Bryne snorts and tells her one can never control absolutely everything.

Gawyn calmed himself, breathing steadily. At least he was finally doing something to help Egwene. It had taken far longer than he’d wanted. Light send that he was coming soon enough!

They come to a landing with steps up to the alley above, and tie up the boats. Once out, the soldiers start dressing themselves in Tower Guard uniforms. Siuan is indignant about this until Bryne points out that they’ll have much less trouble getting through if people see them as a company of Tower Guards with an Aes Sedai leading them. Siuan sniffs, but gives in. They travel swiftly through the city toward the Tower.

The billowing smoke reflected red firelight, enveloping the Tower in a menacing crimson haze. Holes and gashes broke the walls of the once-majestic building; fires blazed within several of them. Raken commanded the air, swooping and spinning about the Tower like gulls circling a dead whale in the waves. Screams and shouts permeated the air, and the thick, acrid smoke made Gawyn’s throat itch.

Resistance seems to be coming from two main points, one on the ground and the other halfway up the Tower; the rest of the grounds seem deserted. Gawyn asks what now, and Siuan replies they’ll start at the dungeon level below.

In a room on the ground floor, Saerin demands a report as the Tower shakes again. Moradri (Green) tells her there are at least forty-seven sisters of various Ajahs on the ground floor, fighting in small groups; no one has been able to find Elaida, nor any of the Green Sitters. Saerin supposes that leaves her in charge. Captain Chubain enters, and tells her that the Guard is “all but useless” in this kind of fight. Saerin replies that they must change tactics, and switch to crossbows, engaging from a distance rather than head-on; and they must form a center of operations and get everyone organized.

What she didn’t mention was how embarrassed she was. The Aes Sedai had spent centuries guiding kings and influencing wars, but now—with their sanctuary assaulted—they had proven woefully inadequate in defending it. Egwene was right, she thought. Not just in predicting this attack, but in berating us for being divided. Saerin didn’t need reports from Moradri or scouts to know that the Ajahs were each fighting this battle independently.

She sends Chubain to track down any Yellow or Brown sisters and bring them to her to set up a Healing center for the wounded. She is interrupted when four Red sisters including Katerine come storming in, Katerine shouting about the outrage and how dare they, and declaring that she is taking command. Saerin begs to differ, and says that Egwene al’Vere predicted this, and that therefore she was also right about what the Seanchan do with women who can channel.

“They have brought no ground force; it would be near impossible to march them this far through hostile territory anyway. That means this is a raid, intended to seize as many sisters as possible.

“The battle has already stretched long for a raid, perhaps because we’ve done such a poor job of resisting that they feel they can take their time. Either way, we need to form a unified front and hold our ground. Once the battle goes more roughly for them, they will withdraw.”

Another boom sounds, and Saerin realizes that it hadn’t made the Tower shake. A guard says he thinks it came from within the Tower, and Saerin grumps that at least someone is fighting back. Then there are more blasts, and raken screaming in pain; Chubain runs back in to report that there is a concerted defense going on at the twenty-second level, and the Seanchan are breaking off elsewhere to focus on it.

“The novices’ quarters?” Saerin said. That seemed even more ridiculous. “How in the world…” She trailed off, eyes widening slightly. “Egwene.”

Egwene sees Renna each time she strikes, feeling cold, controlled anger that her Dreaming was even worse than she had feared. She thinks she has taken out at least a dozen to’raken by now, and now the entire raid is focused on her. The novices are fending off attacks from the stairs while the soldiers on the to’raken and raken try to kill Egwene.

But she was a fount of Power, drawn from deep within the fluted rod in her hands, channeled through a group of novices and Accepted hiding in the room behind, bound to her in circle. Egwene was part of the fires that burned in the Tower, bloodying the sky with their flames, painting the air with their smoke. She almost seemed not a being of flesh, but one of pure Power, sending judgment to those who had dared bring war to the Tower itself. Blasts of lightning stormed from the sky, the clouds churning above. Fire sprouted from her hands.

[…] The White Tower, the sacred dwelling of the Aes Sedai, was under attack. They were all in danger, a danger greater than death. Those silvery collars were far worse. Egwene defended herself and each woman in the Tower.

She would make the Seanchan withdraw.

The Seanchan keep trying to shield her, but she is holding far too much power. She deflects each blast leveled at her. She had tried to bring down as many as she could, but she knows some to’raken have gotten away with captives. She vows, however, to make sure that this raid costs them far more than it gains them.

Gawyn shouts a warning, and Bryne barely dodges as a burning raken crashes to the ground, already dead before it hit. His men are fighting a squadron of Seanchan soldiers that have just emerged from the Tower, perhaps expecting to be picked up. They outnumber the Seanchan, but also have to deal with attacks from above. Bryne looks for Gawyn and sees him kill two men at once in one move. Gawyn points up, and Bryne trains his glass on a hole on the upper half of the Tower to see a woman in white standing there, face indistinct, doing massive damage to the Seanchan. He also sees, on the roof, captives being hauled away and feels sick. Gawyn says they have to get into the Tower, and Bryne realizes that Siuan is gone.

Byrne felt a spike of shock, followed by one of terror. Where was she? If that woman had gotten herself killed…

But no. He could sense her inside the Tower. She wasn’t hurt. This bond was such a wondrous thing, but he was too unaccustomed to it. He should have noticed that she was gone!

The Seanchan soldiers are breaking and running, and Bryne gives orders that those of their own men too badly wounded to walk should be left behind, to his regret. Siuan marches out of the Tower, towing a girl in white. Bryne demands to know where she went, and Siuan pulls him aside to inform him that that is not how a Warder speaks to his Aes Sedai. Bryne doesn’t care, and asks what would happen if she’d been recognized. Siuan snorts and says “Moiraine herself” wouldn’t recognize her with this face, and besides no one saw her except the novice, Hashala. Hashala tells them that she’s been in the kitchens the whole time, but she’d heard that Egwene had been released from the cells and sent back to the novices’ quarters, now on the twenty-second floor, and dosed with forkroot. Gawyn cries that they have to get to her, and Bryne tells him, obviously. Hashala declares she is loyal to the real Amyrlin, and wants to go with them to rescue her. Siuan agrees. One of the men comes to report to Bryne that three of the six men too badly wounded to walk will die within the hour. Siuan says she can Heal them; Bryne acquiesces, even though the fighting is dying down and their chances of getting through the Tower undetected are dwindling. As she works, Bryne surveys the wreckage and wonders if the Tower will ever be rebuilt, or if it had fallen that night. Then a shadow moves, and Bryne strikes without thought.

Siuan, shocked, looked up from the man she was Healing. Bryne’s sword extended directly over her shoulder and into the neck of a Seanchan soldier in pure black armor. The man silently dropped a wickedly barbed shortsword slathered with a viscous liquid. Twitching, he reached for Bryne’s sword, as if to push it free. His fingers gripped Bryne’s arm for a moment.

The man falls, and Bryne notes that he is not dressed like the others, and surmises he is an assassin. Siuan says that he saved her life, and that “the blasted girl was right.” Bryne asks who, and Siuan explains about Min’s viewing of them. Bryne points out that as her Warder, it’s not likely to be the last time he saves her, and wonders why it’s getting hot.

“Yes,” Siuan said, standing up. “But this is different. Min said I’d die, and… No, wait. That’s not what Min said exactly. She said that if I didn’t stay close to you, we’d both die.”

“What are you—” Bryne said, turning toward her.

“Hush!” Siuan said, taking his head in her hands.

She Heals him, and then pulls a tiny black pin from his arm where the assassin had attempted to poison him, and sets it on fire. She says Bryne will have to thank Min the next time he sees her. Bryne has some logic issues with the viewing but Siuan isn’t interested as long as they are both okay, and suggests they move on.

Exhausted, Egwene sits on a pile of rubble, watching as the fires below are put out. The Seanchan are gone, and Egwene had sent the sorely overtaxed novices to bed immediately. Egwene wants to help those helping the wounded, but she is so tired she can barely move.

She’d fought. She’d been glorious and destructive, the Amyrlin of judgment and fury, Green Ajah to the core. And still, the Tower had burned. And still, more to’raken had escaped than had fallen.

[…] The White Tower was broken, physically now as well as spiritually. They’d need a strong leader to rebuild. The next few days would be pivotal. It made her more than exhausted to consider the work she’d need to do.

She is vaguely aware of being picked up, and sees it is Gawyn carrying her, with Siuan, but she thinks she is dreaming at first. Then she tries to protest, but cannot speak. Gawyn is indignant that she was just left in the hallway. Egwene tries to explain she destroyed them, but can only mumble. She hears Siuan exclaim upon discovering that Egwene is still holding the sa’angreal, and tell Bryne that with this Siuan has the strength to make them a gateway out.

No! Egwene thought, clawing through her drowsiness, forcing her eyes open. I’m winning, don’t you see? If I offer leadership now, when the rubble is being cleared, they’ll see me as Amyrlin in for certain! I have to stay! I have to—

Gawyn carried her through the gateway, leaving the hallways of the White Tower behind.

Saerin sits wearily in her center of operations slash medical station, accepting reports of damage and casualties. Over twenty Aes Sedai are confirmed dead so far, and the room is filled with wounded. She is amazed to see that in Egwene’s group of sixty novices and forty sisters, only three novices and one sister had died.

Ten Seanchan channelers captured, over thirty raken blown from the air? Light! That made Saerin’s own efforts seem downright amateur by comparison. And this was the woman Elaida kept trying to insist was simply a novice?

Chubain brings her an Accepted named Mair, who tells Saerin she had been attending the Amyrlin that night when the wall burst in. She wails that she had been covered with rubble and could do nothing. Saerin stares, thinking the girl could not possibly be saying what she thought she was.

Elaida wakes, disoriented, and realizes she is tied to the back of some strange beast, high in the air. She reaches for saidar and feels agonizing pain, and finds the collar around her neck. A dark figure is next to her, and tells her she will forgive that mistake once, but she is not to reach for the Source again without permission. Elaida shouts for the woman to release her, and the pain returns tenfold; Elaida vomits over the side of the beast.

“Now, now,” the voice said, patient, like a woman speaking to a very young child. “You must learn. Your name is Suffa. And Suffa will be a good damane. Yes she will. A very, very good damane.”

Elaida screamed again, and this time, she didn’t stop when the pain came. She just kept screaming out into the uncaring night.

It’s a pretty reliable measure of how much I love a scene by how badly I want to see it on film. I would like to see this on film a really, really lot. Fo’ sho. With the sweeping aerial shots and the dramatic lighting and the bombastic music and the whole nine yards.

The visual imagery provided as fodder here is some of the best in the series, easily (in my opinion) equal to the amazingness of the descriptive passages in TGH at Falme, with the Heroes of the Horn. As usual, I have my doubts about the workability of adapting WOT to the screen as a whole, but this scene would unquestionably be completely awesome to watch, and we wantsss it, Precious, oh yess. (Fortunately, I note in a very loud whisper, we do at least have some awesome art of it! *points up*)

You can also tell my love by the over-quoting in the summary, of course. Which was just ridiculous in this case, but what can you do? There were all these juicy bits I didn’t want to squash! I HAD NO CHOICE, SHUT UP.

The drawback to trying to make commentary on a thoroughly awesome scene of Awesome, of course, especially when it is a fairly action-oriented bit, is that there is often not a whole lot you can say about it without ending up in an endless and rather pathetically unoriginal loop of variations on the theme of “Whoo! Yeah! Whoo! Yeah!” Which, that’s real nice and all, but it does get old, I feel.

So why don’t we just assume for form’s sake that you know that I know that you know that every last moment of Egwene’s on-screen time in these two chapters is drenched in absolute buckets of Yay, and I’ll move on to more specific points – and to some of the things in here which were perhaps not so much full of Yay.

Let’s start with Siuan and Bryne! Who are, almost in spite of themselves, kind of ridiculously adorable here. AND BONDED, FINALLY, THANK YOU. And knocked off a viewing while they were at it! Efficiency and romance, I love it. Though I also love how they still have not actually kissed yet, unless I really missed something. They are like the action version of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy: together, they fight evil! Really chastely. Heh.

“You’ll have to thank Min next time you see her, Bryne. She just saved both of our lives.”

“But I wouldn’t have been poisoned if I hadn’t come!”

“Don’t try to apply logic to a viewing or Foretelling like this,” Siuan said, grimacing. “You’re alive. I’m alive. I suggest we leave it at that.”

Heh. I think it’s rather a matter of personal opinion whether their argument over the paradoxical nature of Min’s viewing was – well, not whether it was lampshade-hanging (warning: timesuck link, no clicky), because it was definitely that, but whether it was annoying meta or amusing meta. I went with “amusing”, myself; it’s a bit dicey, what with how rarely lampshading is used in WOT, but I like a little bit of meta as long as it’s not egregiously fourth-wall-smashing, and in this case it’s pretty logical for at least one of the characters to be all “wait, but…” about it. But then, meta in WOT seems to really bug some people, so it’s probably down to personal opinion in the end.

Regardless, Siuan/Bryne for the win, hooray. (I really cannot seem to think of him as “Gareth” no matter what I do. Possibly because “Gareth” is like the epic fantasy equivalent of “John Smith”; every story out there has one, seems like.)

(Randomly: Bela! Yay! Even though I have no idea why they got horses when they were with a hundred presumably non-mounted soldiers and were all going to end up in boats anyway, but whatever. Bela! Yay!)

Gawyn: I’m sorry, but every time he opened his mouth in these two chapters, the only thing I could think of was Prince Edward in Enchanted shrieking “GISELLE!” And then getting clocked by a horde of bikers. This was fortunate, as it meant I spent my time giggling at him instead of wishing for him to spontaneously combust.

(I tried to find a clip of just Edward, but no dice. But that’s an awesome song anyway, watch the whole thing.)

I really don’t remember if I had this little patience with Gawyn the first time around, but right now I find him so very eye-roll-y it’s almost upsetting. Well, whatever; he gets to be awesome later, and there’s enough awesome going on around him that I could afford to be magnanimous and ignore him.

That said, there is one negative thing about these chapters that I was not able to ignore, in fact, and that was the disposition of Elaida.

Sorry, I know a lot of y’all were like SUFFA WILL BE A GOOD DAMANE AW YEAH, and I get that, but I have to say for my part I did not care for the entire business. Not that I don’t think there is a certain fittingness to her end (though it makes me a tad queasy to suppose there is anyone I could willingly abandon to such a terrible fate, even Elaida), but the way it happened really bugged me from a story structure standpoint.

For one, while I see the dramatic value in waiting to reveal her capture until the tail end of the scene, it also had the effect of being very abrupt, in a way that I found rather off-putting. Elaida’s been chugging along as a minor-to-middling-major antagonist since the very first book in the series, and then all of a sudden bang she’s disposed of in eight paragraphs, whoops the end. It was… jarring.

Not least because it was a blatant deus ex machina that blithely cut off at the knees every last bit of the political and personal power struggle between Elaida and Egwene that had been the crux of Egwene’s entire storyline in TGS, with what I found to be a somewhat shocking lack of grace. Like, that’s how you get rid of her? Without Egwene, the protagonist to her antagonist, even being involved? So then why did we even have that whole conversation with Meidani in the previous chapters about Elaida’s censure and shoring up of her support in the Hall and blah blah blah, if all of it was going to be rendered completely moot by Elaida pretty much literally dropping off the face of the planet as far as the Tower is concerned?

Enh. I dunno, I just found it a waste of her character and her storyline. As a fan I am totally thrilled she is gone, but as a critic I find the method by which we got rid of her to be dissatisfying and unnecessary.

And yes, in ToM we find out that Suffa The Good Damane is tortured into revealing Traveling to the Seanchan, oh noes, which could be presented as an argument for why her capture was necessary, but as Egwene herself mentions to Adelorna, Elaida had been spreading that knowledge around already anyway, so that plot point could totally have been handled by some other captured Aes Sedai. So, no, it didn’t have to be Elaida.

(Actually, it would have been much more fitting for it to have been Beonin, n’est-ce pas? Seeing as she was the one who spilled the beans to Elaida re: Traveling in the first place, it would have been a nice comeuppance for her traitorousness.)

*shrug* Well, whatever. There remains the possibility that Elaida still has some role to play in AMoL that will justify her disposition as a character, in which case I will cheerfully eat crow on the matter, but until then, blarg.

And as a matter of fact, the way Gawyn gets to be awesome in ToM was totally by way of making my original complaints that the Seanchan ninja assassins were “lame” here in this bit completely unfounded. So we can hope that I will be just as satisfyingly proved wrong on this topic as well. We Shall See!

But other than that, the battle was great. A Crowning Moment of Awesome for Egwene, no doubt, no contest. She came, she saw, she kicked ass. Whoo! Yeah! Whoo! Yeah!

And the fact that pretty much everyone but Egwene completely sucked at defending themselves was the greatest part, actually, as it totally vindicated everything Egwene has been saying all along about the crapfest that is the Tower at this point, and proves without doubt what an utter disaster of a leader Elaida was. (Which is another reason why I was annoyed she got carted off; she should have had that flung in her face, man, and been formally deposed and bitchslapped reviled! Agh.)

Anyway! I should think it goes without saying that as far as I am concerned, as a result of this chapter Egwene – always a favorite of mine – became one of the top three Most Awesome Characters in WOT. In fact, given how annoyed I was at Perrin and Mat at this point, and how Rand is currently severely harshing my mellow with his trip on the last train to Despairsville, I think it’s safe to say that as of this moment Egwene was my favorite character in WOT, period.

The only person who might beat her out for the top spot at this juncture, in fact, is Verin. And Egwene probably wins pride of place purely because for her the honor doesn’t have to be posthumous.

So, in conclusion, the Tower raid might not quite earn The Giant Sparkly Yay™, but the YAY these chapters do get certainly has a very lustrous shine. Well done.

And that is what that is, folks, and there’s more awesome ahead! Have a delightful week, and I’ll see you next time!


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