Fri
Jan 23 2009 1:33pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Eye of the World, Part 2

Hi all! Here be the next post in the on-going Wheel of Time Re-read series. Today’s post will cover Part 2 of The Eye of the World, Chapters 10-18.

Before I start, I just want to say thanks so much to everyone who read and commented on the first post! It was like a giant pile of warm fuzzies came spilling out of my monitor. (Just like Tribbles!) Even if I didn't get a chance to respond to every one directly, I read and appreciated them all. Y’all rock.

Now, onward! As before, ’ware spoilers for the entire Wheel of Time series in the commentary below. If you haven’t read, don’t read. Previous entries can be found here.

Chapter 10: Leavetaking

What Happens
Lan, Rand and Mat meet Perrin in the stable, who assures them no one else is around. Mat notes Rand’s sword, and Perrin shows them the battleaxe Haral Luhhan (the blacksmith) gave him. Moiraine arrives, and they are getting ready to set out when Egwene appears and announces she is going along. The boys try to talk her out of it, but to everyone’s surprise Moiraine agrees to let her come. Lan suggests Egwene take the gleeman’s horse, but then Thom pops up from the loft and informs them that he will be coming along as well. Lan gives Perrin the stinkeye, and Moiraine reluctantly agrees to Thom coming with them. They arrange for Egwene to ride Bela instead. Everyone mounts up and heads out, Rand already feeling homesick. Then he sees a black batlike shape fly across the moon. Lan says it is a Draghkar, and Moiraine says it will find them soon if it hasn’t already. Lan tells everyone to gallop for Taren Ferry.

Commentary

Best Line:

“Wolves!” Perrin exclaimed.

Not as funny as Mat’s line in Chapter 4, but still: heh.

Also, yay, Bela!

Is it just me, or does “Draghkar” sound like it should be the name of a cheesy cologne? Just me? Okay, then.

Chapter 11: The Road to Taren Ferry

What Happens
The party gallops toward Taren Ferry. Rand is worried about Bela, and mentally wills her to keep up:

Run! His skin prickled, and his bones felt as if they were freezing, ready to split open. The Light help her, run! And Bela ran.

They reach Watch Hill, and Moiraine washes away the horses’ fatigue with the One Power, remarking in passing that Bela seems the least tired of any of them. The Draghkar sweeps over them, and the horses panic. They get them under control and take off again. Moiraine creates a fog bank to hide them till they get to Taren Ferry, and Lan wakes up the ferryman and bribes him to take them across the river.

Commentary
I confess, the first time around I completely missed the big thing that happens here, which of course is that Rand channels for the first time without knowing it. I even missed the hint Moiraine drops a moment later.

One of the things that really made TEOTW work, in my opinion, was the subtlety of Rand’s One Power Acquisition Fever Syndrome; even once Moiraine explicitly explains the symptoms to Nynaeve later on, I still don’t think I realized that this particular moment was the first until much later.

Of course, I didn’t guess the ending of The Sixth Sense until the big reveal either, so possibly I’m just spectacularly unobservant. What about you guys? Does anyone else recall twigging to something hinky this early on?

Chapter 12: Across the Taren

What Happens
The party goes to wait for the ferryman (Master Hightower) at the landing, and Lan has Perrin and Rand make it obvious that they are armed. When Hightower arrives, everyone acts dangerous, and the ferryman decides not to give them any trouble. They cast off, and Lan and Rand have a brief discussion about the trustworthiness of strangers. When they reach the other side, Lan lures all the haulers off the ferry with more bribes, and Moiraine causes a whirlpool to destroy the ferry. They move off, and Moiraine explains that to throw off the Draghkar, she has cloaked the river with fog, rather than the road they’re traveling to Baerlon. The party makes camp to rest, and Moiraine goes off alone with Egwene. When the rest join them, Moiraine is teaching Egwene about the One Power, and a little bit about Aes Sedai and the Red Ajah. She tells Egwene that she knew the moment she saw Egwene that she would have the ability to channel, and gives Egwene her first lesson. Egwene creates a tiny spark of light and is wildly excited, declaring that she is going to be an Aes Sedai.

Commentary

Best Line:

[Rand] had never really understood what the Ajahs did. According to the stories they were societies among the Aes Sedai that seemed to plot and squabble among themselves more than anything else…

Oh, honey, you have NO IDEA.

Another example here of an infodump done gracefully, with Moiraine’s One Power lesson to Egwene. Characters explaining things to other characters for expositional purposes is generally lame – unless the people being explained to are realistically clueless within the context of the story.

Which is why this works and, say, 80% of the dialogue on any given medical show doesn’t. Yes, please explain to the neurosurgeon what lupus is, Dr. House…

Also, I’m not sure why but I’m always faintly bemused at how everyone’s always about to rob and murder everyone else in these kinds of stories. I’m never certain whether it’s just an excuse to introduce more tension/action into the narrative, or whether it really was that dangerous to go anywhere in medieval-ish times. Probably both.

Chapter 13: Choices

What Happens
Moiraine repeats her washing-tiredness-away trick on the humans, and they rest for a bit before setting out again. Egwene makes fun of the boys for already being tired of the adventure. They travel to Baerlon, Lan taking care to hide their trail. On the way, Lan trains Rand and Perrin in how to use their weapons, and Thom teaches them gleeman’s tricks. One morning Egwene unbraids her hair, saying that Aes Sedai don’t have to braid their hair if they don’t want to, and she and Rand get into a shouting match over it, during which he calls Aes Sedai Darkfriends in front of everyone. Later, Mat opines that they must have lost the Trollocs by now and that they should consider going somewhere else besides Tar Valon, a notion Moiraine doesn’t care for:

“The Dark One is after you three, one or all, and if I let you go running off wherever you want to go, he will take you. Whatever the Dark One wants, I oppose, so hear this and know it true. Before I let the Dark One have you, I will destroy you myself.”

Another night, Rand sneaks off to eavesdrop on Moiraine and Egwene’s One Power lesson, during which Moiraine lets slip that there is another woman in Emond’s Field besides Egwene who can channel, but refuses to say who. They reach Baerlon, and the Emond’s Fielders are overwhelmed at their first sight of a “city”. Moiraine cautions them to watch their tongues while in town, and tells them she is known there as Mistress Alys, and Lan as Master Andra. They go to a gate where the guard knows Lan and Moiraine, and he tells them that there are Children of the Light in Baerlon, and that the man calling himself the Dragon in Ghealdan is supposedly moving his army toward Tear. Rand asks Thom about it as they ride into town, and Thom explains that the Prophecies of the Dragon say that the fall of the Stone of Tear is supposed to be one of the major signs that the Dragon is reborn; it also says that the Stone will never fall until the Sword That Cannot Be Touched, which is at the center of the Stone, is wielded by the Dragon. Rand is confused by this seemingly unfulfillable prophecy. The party arrives at the Stag and Lion Inn and sneaks in the back.

Commentary
It ain’t an epic quest if it doesn’t have a “traveling” section. This is only the first of many in WOT.

Travel bits are tricky, in that they have the potential to be the most deadly dull parts of the story if not done well. Jordan uses the time to fit in more world building, of course. Loooot of exposition in this chapter. It was kind of dull for me, but that’s only because I know all this stuff so well; I’m pretty sure it was fascinating the first time around, especially the inevitable I Do Not Think That Prophecy Means What You Think It Means.

On a completely random note, I have to laugh at myself at how relieved I was when Lan actually bothered to teach Rand and Perrin how to use their weapons on this trip.

Look, all I’m saying is, my completely-untrained self was once allowed to play with a katana, and it was a bad idea. So really, let’s please not let these idiots walk around with sharp pointy lethal things without knowing how to use them, mmmkay? Trust your Auntie Leigh on this one.

Chapter 14: The Stag and Lion

What Happens
The innkeeper, Master Fitch, ushers them in and reassures “Alys” that the Whitecloaks aren’t going to cause trouble. Moiraine asks if Min is there, but Rand and the others are whisked off to baths before he hears the answer. While bathing, Thom, Perrin and Rand have to practically tackle Mat to keep him from blurting about Trollocs to the attendant. Lan comes in and gives them all a tongue-lashing. Afterwards, Rand sees Moiraine talking with a shorthaired girl wearing men’s clothing. At dinner, Rand and Egwene still aren’t speaking to each other, and Lan tells them that the would-be Dragon in Ghealdan is named Logain, and that he has just won a victory in battle, according to rumor. Rand goes to bed soon after, and dreams he is in a shadowy hallway. He enters one of the rooms off it, and meets a man whose eyes and mouth periodically fill with flames. Rand tries to run, but the doorway only leads right back to the same room. He tries to reassure himself that it’s only a dream, and the man offers him a drink, which Rand declines. He asks who the man is, and he replies that some call him Ba’alzamon. Rand freaks, thinking the man is the Dark One. Ba’alzamon wants to know if he is “the one”. He asks Rand if “they” told him that the Eye of the World would serve him, and tells him that the White Tower will use him as a puppet, just like all the other false Dragons. He also claims he was never bound in Shayol Ghul, and boasts of all the havoc he’s wrought, claiming responsibility for the Trolloc Wars and Artur Hawkwing’s attempt to siege Tar Valon. Then he breaks a rat’s back and starts to do the same to Rand, until Rand wakes up. Rand thinks of going to Moiraine about the dream, but asks himself if he’s really ready to trust an Aes Sedai.

Commentary
Yay, Min!

On the flip side, this is right around the point where Mat started to seriously irritate me. It doesn’t help that half of what he says is modified by words like “snickered”, “sniggered”, etc. I enjoy a good snicker now and then, I ain’t gonna lie, but for that to be the only thing that ever comes out of your mouth? Shut up, Mat.

Also, Lan is much more bad-tempered in TEOTW than I remember him being. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but throwing a bucket on the floor, as he did during the bath scene, seems kind of… petulant for him. He's much cooler in the next book.

On Ba’alzamon, two things. First, I didn’t catch until much later that he basically tells you immediately who he really is:

“Fool, I have never been bound! […] I stood at Lews Therin Kinslayer’s shoulder when he did the deed that named him. It was I who told him to kill his wife, and his children, and all his blood… It was I who gave him the moment of sanity to know what he had done.”

Ba’alzamon, then, has to be the guy from the Prologue, even though he’s probably lying about the part where he actually told Lews Therin to kill Ilyena et al (the Prologue makes it seem like he was pretty surprised to see Ilyena’s corpse). And that guy (who we only know as Elan Morin Tedronai at this point, but we’ll find out he’s Ishamael later) was definitely not the Dark One, as is obvious from the conversation he has with a re-saned Lews Therin.

Secondly, the name “Ba’alzamon” is incredibly annoying to type. I’m just saying.

Chapter 15: Strangers and Friends

What Happens
Rand wakes up stiff and headachy, and heads down to the kitchen to get something to eat, where he learns from the cook that a dozen rats were found in the inn, all with their backs broken. Thom is busy telling stories in the common room, so Rand goes to find Perrin. They discover they both had the same dream, and Perrin thinks Mat did too, even though he laughed it off. Rand asks if they should tell Moiraine, but Perrin isn’t sure whether to trust her either. Rand leaves the inn, and meets Min in the alley. She reveals that she knows who (and what) Moiraine really is, and explains that she, Min, sees “pieces of the Pattern”, according to Moiraine. She tells Rand what she saw around him and his companions. Rand is unnerved, and gets away from her quickly. He wanders around, gaping at the town, until he sees Padan Fain, looking much the worse for wear, dashing into an alley. He chases Fain down, expressing gladness that Fain survived the Trollocs, and invites him to come back to the inn. Fain evades the invite, but reconfirms the name of the inn, and begs Rand not to tell Moiraine about him before dashing off into the crowd. Rand begins to chase him again, but runs into Mat instead. He asks Mat about the dream, and tells Mat about the rats with broken backs in the inn. Mat is adamantly against telling Moiraine about the dream, and wants to get back to the inn to warn Perrin to keep mum, too. He heads off, but Rand just stands there. Mat asks him what’s wrong, and Rand says he thinks he has a cold. On the way back, they see Whitecloaks on the street, strutting around importantly, and Mat decides to take them down a peg. He shoots out a strut supporting barrels with his sling, splashing the Whitecloaks with mud. Furious, the Whitecloaks (led by one called Bornhald) look for the culprit, and find only Rand on the street, laughing and generally acting high. They confront him, and only the Watch showing up prevents violence. Rand and Mat both wonder what possessed Rand to act like that, and they go find Thom. Thom confirms the names Ba’alzamon gave them in the dream (Guaire Amalasan, etc.) as real false Dragons, but balks at the notion that the White Tower used them as puppets. He advises them to keep quiet about the dream, though. They head back to the inn; Perrin meets them at the door and tells them that Nynaeve is waiting for them inside.

Commentary
(I should note here that I’m generally not going to be detailing all the prophecies/visions/dreams as they occur unless I want to comment on one specifically; the summaries are long enough as it is. If you want to catch up on them, this will tell you more than you ever needed to know, at least up until Crossroads of Twilight.)

As a general comment on Min’s visions, though, I find it kind of amazing that some of the things Min sees here still haven’t come to pass. Does Rand even have time to go wandering around as a beggar before Tarmon Gai’don? Maybe that part comes after.

Rand’s various conversations with Perrin, Mat and Thom about whether to tell Moiraine about the dreams is as good a place as any to bring up another of the central themes that run through WOT: trust.

Or rather, the lack of it, and how people failing to trust others is about nine tenths of why the series is so long things get so screwed up all the time.

I’m not going to belabor the point here, since in TEOTW Rand et al are still kind of trusting (i.e. naïve), and where this theme really comes into play is in later books (Lord of Chaos most particularly), so we’ll revisit it then.

Chapter 16: The Wisdom

What Happens
Rand and the others head into the inn to see Nynaeve, but Min pulls Rand aside first, and tells him that Nynaeve is “part of it”, and that they are in greater danger now than before Nynaeve arrived. They go into the dining room, where Egwene is trying to hide, and Moiraine and Nynaeve are having a staring contest. Once they all sit down, Lan asks how Nynaeve found them. She replies that she followed their trail; Lan is flatteringly impressed, and Nynaeve blushes. They all try to convince Nynaeve that Rand, Mat, Perrin and Egwene cannot go back with her to Emond’s Field, and that they are safer with Moiraine than anywhere else, but Nynaeve isn’t buying it. Moiraine sends everyone out to talk to the Wisdom alone. Afterwards, Nynaeve comes out and talks with Rand, remarking that he’s grown since leaving the Two Rivers. She says that Moiraine wanted to know if any of the three boys had been born outside the village, and Rand realizes Nynaeve knows that he wasn’t born there. He blurts out what Tam had said about finding him, but Nynaeve reassures him that people talk nonsense when they’re feverish, and also assures him that she did not tell Moiraine about Rand’s outland birth.

Commentary
I do think it speaks well of Lan that the thing that initially makes him notice Nynaeve is her competence and skill. It’s just the rest of it I can’t figure out.

Regarding Nynaeve and Rand’s conversation at the end of the chapter: I’m not sure, but I think this might be the last time the two of them have a non-antagonistic interaction until Winter’s Heart.

Chapter 17: Watchers and Hunters

What Happens
Rand joins the others in the common room, and listens to Thom tell stories and play songs, and Rand and Perrin get up to dance. While dancing, Rand notices a man with a scar on his face scowling at him. Rand ends up dancing with both Nynaeve and Moiraine, to his extreme discomfiture. Later Rand mentions the scar-faced man to Lan, who replies that he was a spy for the Whitecloaks. Lan dismisses the man, but says that something is wrong, and they’ll be leaving very early the next morning. Left alone, Rand goes to get some milk from the kitchen, and comes back out to find a Myrddraal coming down the hall toward him. Rand freezes, terrified. The Fade goes to kill him with its sword, but stops, saying that Rand belongs to the “Great Lord of the Dark”, and runs off right as Lan arrives in the hallway. The party makes preparations to leave immediately. Moiraine tries to warn the innkeeper about Darkfriends, but Fitch doesn’t take her very seriously. Rand sees how frightened Egwene is, and apologizes to her for their fight. The party heads out, and arrives at the Caemlyn Gate. Before the guards can get the gate open all the way, five Whitecloaks, led by Bornhald, show up and demand to know what supposedly Light-abiding citizens are doing sneaking out of town in the night. Then Bornhald sees and remembers Rand, and declares that he is arresting them all as Darkfriends. Moiraine begs to differ, and suddenly seems to grow taller. Bornhald recognizes that she is an Aes Sedai, and attacks. Moiraine fends him off easily, and seems to grow to the size of a giant. Lan herds the rest of the party through the gate while the Whitecloaks are distracted, and Moiraine steps over the gate to join them, returning to her normal size on the other side. Everyone is unnerved. They head out, until Mat looks back and points out the fire visible within Baerlon, which they realize is almost certainly the Stag and Lion Inn. Nynaeve and Moiraine have a brief argument about the ethics vs. the practicality of going back to help Master Fitch, and then the party makes camp to rest briefly before setting out.

Commentary
Teenage boys who like dancing? This really is a fantasy.

More LOTR flavor here again, with the common room storytelling hour, but at least Jordan keeps the actual quoting of song lyrics to a minimum. Maybe this is heresy, but I’ll take Thom Merrilin over Tom Bombadil any day. (Sorry, Kate!)

Ah, Whitecloaks: Just like Jehovah’s Witnesses, except instead of pamphlets, they want to give you grievous bodily harm. Awesome. D’you get the feeling Jordan didn’t care much for fundamentalism?

Also, I still don’t understand how the Jolly Blue Giant thing worked. If it was just an illusion, as I seem to recall it being explained as later, then how did Moiraine actually get over the gate?

Chapter 18: The Caemlyn Road

What Happens
The party travels toward Caemlyn, keeping an eye out for Trollocs. On the third day, they hear horns behind them and to the west, and Lan goes to scout while the rest continue on. He comes back and tells them there are at least five hundred Trollocs out there. Then they hear more horns from in front of them, and realize they are mostly surrounded. Lan observes there is a place where even Trollocs won’t follow them, but Moiraine rejects the idea sharply. They head north, and run into a line of Trollocs led by a Fade. Lan charges the Fade, shouting “For the Seven Towers!” Rand and Perrin follow, shouting “Manetheren!” in imitation of Lan, but Mat shouts something in a strange language instead. They fight the Trollocs, Rand barely holding his own, until Lan beheads the Fade and all the Trollocs fall down, convulsing as the Fade dies. The party races off, and more Trollocs give chase, led by three Fades this time. Moiraine stops and faces them. With her angreal, she knocks the Trollocs to the ground with waves of earth, and then creates a vast wall of fire between the humans and the Fades. They gallop north again, an exhausted Moiraine barely able to stay in her saddle, until Nynaeve gives her some herbs. They stop to rest, and while Lan and Moiraine argue, Egwene asks Mat what it was he shouted earlier. He says he doesn’t know, and Egwene says she thought she almost understood it for a moment. Moiraine tells them it was the ancient war cry of Manetheren, and everyone stares at Mat and Egwene. Rand wonders if this means that it’s really Mat that the Shadow is after, and not all of them, and then feels guilty for thinking it. The Trollocs horns sound again, and Lan tells Moiraine they have no choice but to take his suggestion. Moiraine reluctantly agrees, and lays a false trail for the Fades. They head out, and to the rest of the party’s surprise soon arrive at the gates of a vast, ruined city. Moiraine tells them it was once called Aridhol, and was an ally of Manetheren, but now it is called Shadar Logoth.

Commentary

Carai an Caldazar,” Moiraine said. They all twisted to stare at her. “Carai an Ellisande. Al Ellisande. For the honor of the Red Eagle. For the honor of the Rose of the Sun. The Rose of the Sun. The ancient warcry of Manetheren, and the warcry of its last king. […] The blood of Arad’s line is still strong in the Two Rivers. The old blood still sings.”

Mat and Egwene looked at each other, while everyone else looked at them both. Egwene’s eyes were wide, and her mouth kept quirking into a smile that she bit back every time it began, as if she were not sure just how to take this talk of the old blood. Mat was sure, from the scowling frown on his face.

Okay, that right there?

That is why I love this shit.

The first time I read TEOTW, I was hooked well before this point, but after this chapter you couldn’t have pried me away with a crowbar. So much awesome.

I’m preaching to the choir here, I know, but I think what gets me so about moments like this is how they involve self-realization. A paradigm shift, however slight (or major), where the characters are forced to confront something scary/extraordinary/beyond the normal, not about the world around them but about themselves.

It’s a literary trope that does exist outside the sf genre, but it’s much harder to find, and in my mind at least is rarely as viscerally satisfying.

Fortunately for me, there’s going to be a whole lot of those kinds of moments just in TEOTW alone. Almost too many, really, but we’ll come to that discussion at the proper time.



And that concludes Part 2 of The Eye of the World re-read. Check back in next Tuesday, where we will be covering Chapters 19-26, in which Shit Really Starts To Happen. See you there!

133 comments
Sam Kelly
1. Eithin
I agree, the self-realization thing is great. And something that hadn't really struck me until now is just how much the protagonists develop on their own, rather than being guided and brought up.

The whole Tai'shar Manetheren thing is another LotR reference, and one which still gets me going despite finding it really socially dodgy when I think about it. We've got all these nations, and a few people have the "true blood", but what've the rest of us been breeding with? Goats? Or is a crossbreed just naturally less cool?
AnneW
2. AnneW
Regarding Nynaeve and Rand’s conversation at the end of the chapter: I’m not sure, but I think this might be the last time the two of them have a non-antagonistic interaction until Winter’s Heart.

I'm up to the end of The Fires of Heaven in my slooooooow re-read (re-listen, actually) and if I'm not mistaken they've been completely separated since the end of TEOTW. Unless you count her unseen help in T'A'R Caemlyn. Which was helpful, really.

I had forgotten how much traveling around there was for the first five books, and I can't for the life of me remember what happens after TFOH. I think I didn't reread much after that?

It's funny how my new(ish) really long commute actually gives me time to catch up on this stuff.
AnneW
3. byronba
Re: Chapter 17 and the Jolly Blue Giant thing.

One possible explanation I can see is that everybody is so intent on the illusion of Moiraine getting bigger that nobody notices the "real" Moiraine simply walking out the gate.
AnneW
4. Earthrift
This is great, Leigh! I've had a few "laugh out loud" moments reading this and the previous post!
AnneW
5. Zeynep
Commenting as I read along:

I definitely missed Rand's first channeling (and did not remember it when Moiraine dropped hints and/or explained the sickness later in the first read-through; I don't rememmber when I realized al'Thor was The One. But the second read-through, as soon as I reached the Bela passage, I appreciated it threefold.

Also, let me echo you: Yay, Bela! I really hope Sanderson knows to throw us readers a bone there...

I Do Not Think That Prophecy Means What You Think It Means. *giggle*

Nynaeve and Rand do have a.... an at least neutral moment at the end of Fires of Heaven, when Nynaeve Heals him in Tel'aran'rhiod after Rahvin's demise. Rand is so shaken and angry and cold that Nynaeve tries to be tender, but is scared of him.

Ah, Whitecloaks: Just like Jehovah’s Witnesses, except instead of pamphlets, they want to give you grievous bodily harm. *bwah*. And so true.

The way I read the Illusion scene was that Moiraine was maintaining the Illusion in such a way that she seemed to step over the gate while she actually passed through. It's a damn difficult bit of visual effect, I bet, but then she is actually in the top tier of Aes Sedai strength and ability.
Joe Sherry
6. jsherry
“The Dark One is after you three, one or all, and if I let you go running off wherever you want to go, he will take you. Whatever the Dark One wants, I oppose, so hear this and know it true. Before I let the Dark One have you, I will destroy you myself.”

Not to harp on it, but this is part of what I think is key about Moiraine. She, perhaps more than anyone else in the series, gets the very real fight against the Dark One and that winning the battle is the ONLY thing. It's part of the desperation I belive Mo has.

Chapter 16: Regarding Rand and Nynaeve, I think they have a handful of those conversations. It's not often, but pay attention to this in the next two books (I've re-read the first three so far). They have the occasional quiet moment where Rand is willing to talk to Nynaeve like a person, remembering where they both came from but getting past Nynaeve the Wisdom.

Each and every moment of those is beautiful, because looking across the scope of the whole series, Rand is going to get fewer and fewer of those moments - even when he's got the Elayne / Min / Aviendha relationship going.

(reading the comments since when I started this, I may be thinking of Egwene / Rand, but i would have sworn it is N)

Eithin @ 1: Think about dogs. Despite the fact that dogs probably are descended from wolves, we (humans) have bred them into distinct breeds so that when you talk about a cocker spaniel, you know what you mean and that a cocker spaniel is not a newfoundland. A pure breed cocker will have particular characteristics (tendencies, plus appearance) that a newfie may not have. Yet, they are both dogs and both descend, ultimately, from the same wolf stock.

I think that when we have a fantasy world where continental travel isn't widespread and in particular, a secluded area like the Two Rivers, with enough time and little enough travel, you can probably hold onto enough cultural characteristics that it's almost as if the identity really is in the blood. That the blood runs "true".

Whether that would play out in the real world is another story, but I'm willing to accept it when presented in fantasy.
AnneW
7. Johan G
Regarding Nynaeve and Rand’s conversation at the end of the chapter: I’m not sure, but I think this might be the last time the two of them have a non-antagonistic interaction until Winter’s Heart.

Actually, as others have pointed out, I think they do have some between. I remember the bits in Fal Dara as non-antagonistic, also after the battle in tFoH, etc. In fact, what struck me during my last reread was that in spite of the mild conflict between them (Rand starts bucking against authority, Nynaeve is authority) the two of them actually get along pretty well. Certainly not like the Mat/Nynaeve powderkeg (Nynaeve is authority, Mat is anti-authority; other than that they're near mirror-images). They don't meet that much after Fal Dara, but truth be told I can't remember a real argument or fight worth mentioning. Granted, Nynaeve has thoughts about Rand all the time, but that's a different story...
Jason Denzel
8. JasonDenzel
Ah, Whitecloaks: Just like Jehovah’s Witnesses, except instead of pamphlets, they want to give you grievous bodily harm. *bwah*. And so true.


You know, there was a story I heard once about Robert Jordan where he uh... "greeted"... some Jehovah's Witnesses at his home when they came to visit once. I either heard the story from Wilson in person, or it was put on RJ's blog. I can't seem to find it though.
AnneW
9. MargaretJ
I'm really enjoying these posts, Leigh. I had been thinking about rereading the books before the new one comes out, and this is a fun way to do it.

Regarding the Jolly Blue Giant:

"As watched, mouth hanging open, the Aes Sedai stepped over the wall. The gates began swinging shut frantically. As soon as her feet were on the ground outside, she was suddenly her normal size again."

So, yeah, given the sequencing here -- she "steps over", then the gates begin swinging shut, then she's back to normal -- I agree with other commenters that she simply walked through while maintaining the illusion, then let go. Heck of an illusion there.

I find myself particularly paying attention to the foreshadowing this time through. At the end of the battle with the Trollocs just before going into Shadar Logoth, there's a little bit with Mat nearly getting caught in a noose and then rubbing at his throat, which I'd like to read as foreshadowing.
Tim Kington
10. TimKington
Stout Bela ran with neck outstretched and tail and mane streaming in the wind of her running, matching the larger horses' every stride. The Aes Sedai must have done something more than simply ridding her of fatigue.
---
Rand created SuperBela.


Before I let the Dark One have you, I will destroy you myself.
---
She said it straight out, so it must be true :) I love this - that Moiraine is going to do whatever it takes. The only other characters that I think might have this much focus are Ishamael, Verin, and Cadsuane.


Back where the others were sleeping, he managed to slip in among them silently. Lan moved as he dropped to the ground and jerked his blanket up, but the Warder settled back with a sigh. He had only been rolling over in his sleep. Rand let out a long, silent breath.
---
Rand almost got himself skewered. Badass.


Then Lan was on the Myrddraal, as the human folk fell on the Trolloc line. Warder's blade met black steel from the forges at Thakan'dar with a clang like a great bell, the toll echoing in the hollow, a flash of blue light fining the air like sheet lightning.
---
The flash is produced because Lan's sword is Power-wrought, right?


Beast-muzzled almost-men swarmed around each of the humans, catchpoles and hooks flailing.
---
It seems that the DO's minions go back and forth on this, but it seems pretty clear that in TEOTW, they're consistently trying to capture rather than kill the boys. Any ideas on why they switch back and forth?
AnneW
11. Heather J.
I’m with you on not noticing Rand’s channeling – I didn’t suspect that ANYTHING was going on at all, despite the (now-so-obvious) hints. I don't think I even noticed it on my first re-read.

I also agree about Mat being irritating. I really disliked him from this point through the dagger deal and actually up ‘til book 10, when he finally started to grow on me again.

"I Do Not Think That Prophecy Means What You Think It Means." HA!
Adam Miller
12. AdamM
On the thought of Moiraine and the gate, I was thinking what's already been mentioned here. The gate was already open, and isn't one of the key functions of illusion misdirection?
AnneW
13. alandp
The Ancient War Cry of Mantherin.....I completely agree that it is what makes me love the books...I got chills just rereading that part! Thanks for the blog...and for making me not feel like such a freak for having read these books over and over and over
Peter Moore
14. NaClH2O
I think the Mo illusion at the gates is just another example of RJ not having everything codified yet. Just as there are discrepancies in Traveling, Channeling etc it is just another one. Later on (LoC?) RJ clarifies the rules of Illusion so that Mo wouldn't have been able to "step over the wall" But this early on such inconsistencies happen quite frequently.
One of the things I really like about this part of EotW is that Mo is massively awesome. In the beginning I was completely taken by the AS, it wasn't until tGH or maybe tDR that I became disillusioned with them. I'm not sure whether it was the trolloc fight on the way to Caemlyn or earlier during the story of Manetherin, that I decided that EoTW was "worth it" but if not the "weep for Manetherin" it the fight on the way to Caemlyn certainly cemented it for me.

NaCl(those two were among my fave scenes in the book)H2O
Kate Nepveu
15. katenepveu
does “Draghkar” sound like it should be the name of a cheesy cologne?

Worn by forever-teenaged vampires.

Re: the acquisition syndrome: yes, it was subtle enough that even on *this* re-read I missed the acting-high around the Whitecloaks as part of it, and thought that maybe Ba'alz-y had done something in Rand's dream to make Rand draw attention to himself. D'oh.

And that guy was definitely not the Dark One, as is obvious from the conversation he has with a re-saned Lews Therin

Oh, that must be one of the reasons I could never understand why Rand was so certain the Dark One His Own Bad Self had been destroyed. Besides, of course, the several books that had already been published by the time I started reading.

I’ll take Thom Merrilin over Tom Bombadil any day. (Sorry, Kate!)

Hey, just because I don't loathe Bombadil doesn't mean I'm excited about him either!

but now it is called Shadar Logoth

AKA Moria. I distinctly remember getting major Moria flashbacks in the lead-up to their decision to go there.
Leigh Butler
16. leighdb
AnneW:

It's funny how my new(ish) really long commute actually gives me time to catch up on this stuff.

My long-ass train commute is the only reason I'm keeping up on this thing!

Earthrift:

Aw, thanks!

byronba, Zeynep, MargaretJ, AdamM:

I bow to the consensus that Moiraine just walked through the gates. That's some damn spiffy SFX.

TimKington:

It seems that the DO's minions go back and forth on this, but it seems pretty clear that in TEOTW, they're consistently trying to capture rather than kill the boys. Any ideas on why they switch back and forth?

This is actually specifically addressed later on in TEOTW. Wait and see!
Leigh Butler
17. leighdb
katenepveu:

does “Draghkar” sound like it should be the name of a cheesy cologne?

Worn by forever-teenaged vampires.


AAAAHH THE TWILIGHT, IT BURNS US

(Heh.)

Oh, that must be one of the reasons I could never understand why Rand was so certain the Dark One His Own Bad Self had been destroyed.

Yeah, exactly. I'm trying to remember when exactly I twigged to the whole Ba'alzamon/Ishy/Not Dark One thing, and I really can't, but it must have been at some point during TEOTW, because I remember having the same reaction as you at the end.

Hey, just because I don't loathe Bombadil doesn't mean I'm excited about him either!

Oh, good. Whew.

AKA Moria. I distinctly remember getting major Moria flashbacks in the lead-up to their decision to go there.

Hell, what happens inside is pretty parallel-ish, too. But we haven't gotten to that yet.
Evan Langlinais
18. Skwid
Tim@#10:
The thing with the power-wrought blade v. Thakandar blade is actually in the WoTFAQ.

And guys, seriously...I never thought I'd be doing that again...it's a little goosebumpy.
AnneW
19. darxbane
I missed the Bela healing trick the first time, but I knew Rand was channeling when the lightning bolt saves him from those darkfriends after everyone is separated. He gets really sick afterwards, as well.

Timkington, The actions of the Trollocs depend on which Forsaken sent them, and at what point in the story.
AnneW
20. Jormengrund
I am LOVING the re-read.

Yes, I picked up immediately on the Rand channeling, but that's because I was looking for why Rand was such a central character to the book at this point.

At the beginning, we have three boys who are as thick as thieves, and yet nothing real specific about their traits other than Rand and Mat get into trouble (a lot!) and Perrin is an overly thoughtful boy.

When the bomb is dropped that Moiraine is looking for someone, and that she might have found them in these three boys, then you start looking for the "little" things dropped in the text.

Mat's sketchiness. Also known as a survival technique when in unfamiliar territory. Also, in Alzheimer patients, laughter at all things is a sign that the brain degeneration is progressing. This may be one reason Mat has the "holes" in his memory later on.

Perrin and his axe. Good thing Lan's there to teach, even if he's more familiar with a sword than an axe!

Rand: Nothing really stands out, aside from the Heron-blade and his need to get into trouble without trying! Or is that the clue??

Anyway, I'm eating this stuff up, and LOVING it.

Can't hardly wait for the new post!
AnneW
21. Existentialism
I am a Jehovah's Witness, and I find your comparison of us to Whitecloaks a bit offensive. beyond that though, this post was much better than the last. You echoed a lot of the sentiments I felt on re-reads. I completely missed Rands fever as an after effect of his channeling.
AnneW
22. Rikka
I'm feeling like I need to pick up these books and reread them again. It's been maybe 1.5-2 years since I last did it. Looking forward to following along with you. (I didn't bring any of my books with me to school and the library is decidedly lacking in fantasy titles...)

I, myself, didn't notice Rand channeling til he and Mat were locked up by darkfriends and he channels to get them out and then gets sick. However, once I had that, I thought back and several instances came to mind, including Bella's healing.

Also.
“Carai an Caldazar,” Moiraine said. They all twisted to stare at her. “Carai an Ellisande. Al Ellisande. For the honor of the Red Eagle. For the honor of the Rose of the Sun. The Rose of the Sun. The ancient warcry of Manetheren, and the warcry of its last king. The blood of Arad’s line is still strong in the Two Rivers. The old blood still sings.”

Mat and Egwene looked at each other, while everyone else looked at them both. Egwene’s eyes were wide, and her mouth kept quirking into a smile that she bit back every time it began, as if she were not sure just how to take this talk of the old blood. Mat was sure, from the scowling frown on his face.

Okay, that right there?

That is why I love this shit.


I completely agree. Mat, with all his memories from other people, is fighting for the 'my favorite character' position. I love the entire idea. It's creepy, terrifying and absolutely badass and definitely throws some doubt into the whole 'the dark wants Rand' idea.
J Novak
23. Novak
Okay, maybe this comment will make it through.

Some scattered comments on your commentary and my recollections (since I'm not doing my own read-through at this time....)

I think the constant air of menace from the surrounding countryside is one of those things where the hayseed villagers are acting paranoid, but in this particular case paranoia is the right course of action. In other words, the citizens of all the other villages and towns and cities are not unremittingly evil, but there are Darkfriends out there, and they are the highest possible value targets.

I also don't recall precisely, but I'm pretty sure that by the end of the book I had figured out that some of the descriptions of weird things happening to Rand were his One Power Acquisition Syndrome. I probably didn't have it narrowed down to the first exact time until a later re-read.

I know that I did not realize that Ishamael was playing it almost completely straight with Rand until much later, although I really really should have. I think I was suspecting something, but didn't really confirm it until the end of the third book, when Jordan bashed us on the head with it.

I do remember Lan being a bit of a dick in the first book, but I don't think it was unreasonable for him to do so-- seriously, those three boys were idiots, in the scene you mention.

And finally, the Whitecloaks, ah, the Whitecloaks. I thought less of Mormons and more of Knights Templar, but either way, they very strongly conjure up the imagery of the militant arm of a religious group. The only problem is, um, there are no religions in Randland, are there? No, there are not. People are either deists or Darkfriends (although I guess those are not mutually exclusive) so what the Whitecloaks were doing is kinda beyond me. Likewise, the extremely pagan-flavored description of the spring celebrations in the Two Rivers, dancing around the Maypole, or whatever it was called.

Always irritated me.
AnneW
24. Erdrick
I'm not a Jehovah's Witness, but I also think the comparison is offensive. The White Cloaks are modeled off Crusaders like the Knights Templar, and other fanatical militants. The enthusiasm and methods with which many Jehovah's Witnesses share their beliefs may annoy you, but to compare them with this murderous organization is unfair. Let's not knock the belief systems of others.
J Novak
25. Novak
Enh? Mormon? Wtf am I talking about?
You said JW, and I meant JW, and my fingers did something else. Bah.
AnneW
26. John Hamby
This is probably one of my favorite sections of the book. In hindsight. There are so many things to trip up the the re-reader. Okay. Me. At least in terms of stuff that never relaly mattered but now takes on new (false) meaning. Whether it is Moiraine talking about how many sisters in the Tower can replicate her fog (the fellow strength table nuts know what I am talking about) to the reaction to the name Logain on Lan and Moiraine's part (ties to Cadsuane and New Spring and all that stuff immediately spring to mind).

Then we have the re-surfacing memories of Mat and Egwene that never seem to occur again.

Funny, first read I picked up on the Bela Healing bit right away but missed the follow-ups on the results of Rand channeling (the whacking of the Trolloc on Bayle's boat I think is the next reference that stuck out). Looking back it is always interesting to see the details of Rand's reactions. And though we don't get insight into Egwene's own progression and it is apples in oranges in many ways as to male versus female in channeling, I can't help but wonder at Moraine's approach and Siuan's later apology for forcing Egwene along. I can definitely allow the argument back in the newgroup's heyday that the forcing was started by Moiraine not long after leaving Emond's Field.
J Novak
27. Novak
Enh? Mormon? Wtf am I talking about?
You said JW, and I meant JW, and my fingers did something else. Bah.
AnneW
28. Erdrick
I love RJ's style of subtle foreshadowing. It not only demonstrates how well he knew where he was going from the beginning, but also in some way makes rereading the books a new experience.
AnneW
29. HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
Let's not be too sensitive on the Jehovah's Witness thing. I'm all for not bashing religions, but I know Jehovah's Witnesses and the ones I know are aware full well that their prosletyzing is fairly irritating to most. And Leigh wasn't comparing them to a murderous group, the comparison was specifically that the JW's were Whitecloaks WITHOUT the grievous bodily harm. It's like saying Marilyn Manson is like Charles Manson without the murders -- just a middling musician with an uncanny ability to influence people.

And yes, the comparison of Marilyn Manson to the Jehovah's Witnesses was intentional. But all in jest. Wakka Wakka wakka, and such.
AnneW
30. buddhacat
There is more foreshadowing with the catchpoles here and after Shadar Logoth. Here, during the fight with the Trollocs, Mat is the only one unhorsed, and he rubs at his throat like he was noosed. Heh.
AnneW
31. LetsRollTheDice
Novak@23:

I'm a bit rusty on my WoT history, but if memory serves, the Whitecloakes were founded exclusively for the purpose of eradication of darkfriends. They didn't start out militant, but gradually became more and more aggressive. Typical of any group that are answerable to nobody but themselves (as one of the Seanchan comments later on - Suroth maybe?). Therefore, if they were formed for the eradication of darkfriends they were/are deists - radical deists (i.e. fundamentalists).

I for one am glad Jordan included this type of group into the series though. After them being such all-round dicks for the entirety of the saga, I'm pretty sure the their new Lord Captain Commander (is that title correct?) Galad will lead a suicidal charge against Trollocs/Myrddraal/ Dreadlords/Forsaken in the Last Battle to save Rand's/Mat's/Perrin's ass. Remember - Galad always does what is right - "NO MATTER WHAT THE COST".

Leigh - excellent work. Keep it up. This re-read will help relieve the constant 'itch' I've been waiting to scratch for the past 3 or 4 years since I finished KoD for the first time.
AnneW
32. OldMan44
Leigh,
Just discovered this Blog today when I received the email from Tor.com, and just wanted to Thank You for writing it. Have been a reader of the WoT series for a number of years now and have been looking forward to reading the final book for some time. Read the series initially by borrowing them from the library, where I first discovered them. Re-read them again when KoD was released, only this time bought volumes 5-10 from Tor. So I guess that Tor will have to thank you for causing me to purchase 1-4 & 11 to complete my set, because now I will have to re-read them at least one more time.

In any case, have found your posts and those of others posting here very interesting reading. Have book marked the site and am looking forward to reading your future postings.
Julia McDermott Swanson
33. SonomaLass
Yes, Leigh, thanks for writing this. It's reminding me how very much I loved this book when it was brand new, all those years and sequels ago (not to mention all the tea services, women's fashions, clouds and crossed arms). I liked the ways it echoed Tolkien, I got engaged with the characters and the story, and I was really excited thinking of the two or three books that would follow and finish the story.

Ha! It's nice to go back to a more innocent time....
AnneW
34. MattB
Leigh's comment:

"As a general comment on Min’s visions, though, I find it kind of amazing that some of the things Min sees here still haven’t come to pass. Does Rand even have time to go wandering around as a beggar before Tarmon Gai’don? Maybe that part comes after."

---

Wasn't Rand dressed as a beggar during his visit to Far Madding MUCH farther along in the series? I may be wrong, but I seem to remember that. In any case, you should be covering those chapters in a few months.

One thing I find endearing about the Re-Read is all the reminiscing. I've never encountered so much WoT nostalgia and it's refreshing to know so many others continue to hold these books so dear.
Daniel Mullins
35. moachaen
I absolutely LOVE that you're doing this blog! I'm very excited!

I'm fairly confident that the Trolloc Tribes are referenced a few times in later books, though the chapters escape me at the moment. Also, I think the staff comes up a time or two more as well. I'm sure we'll get there.
AnneW
36. JohnA
@Novak et al on the whitecloaks:

It's strange I had an entirely different take on the whitecloaks at first glance. Back in the old college days, my US History teacher was a big photography fan. He used many images and films in every lecture, with texts like "How the other Half Lives" and others to create a great course. One week was spent on "Birth of a Nation."

Anyway, given Rigney's background, and the fact the BoaN was set in South Carolina, I always thought of the Whitecloaks as the Klan. That image at the end of the movie of the white robbed riders galloping into town to "save the day" just popped into my head when they rode into the Two Rivers in Perrin's best moment. I'd almost think it was his inspiration for naming their enemy "Darkfriends", as another play on words.

I know a lot of southerners take it personally when they are thought of as racists for just being from the south. Being from Charleston and a history buff, I'm wondering if this wasn't a jab by him at the KKK. Has he ever mentioned them in any interviews, or in other books? I bought "The Fallon Blood", but never read it, so I'm not sure if it's something he ever addressed on paper. Thoughts?
Cate T
37. kehtani
Thanks for doing and sharing this, it's a great way to revisit the series!

Re: Rand's channelling, I did realise right away that Rand's odd behaviour/symptoms with the Whitecloaks matched the description of 'new channeller syndrome', but it was ages before I discovered what had triggered it. Which was confusing - I think for a while I had the irrational idea that it must have been pre-emptive symptoms for his next trick - but I was too engrossed in the ongoing story (and then the next one, and the next... there were 8 books at that point and I think I was reading in every spare moment for 6-8 weeks) to go back and check for other possible explanations.
scott rutherford
38. smashingsilver2
I am also a Jehovah's Witness, and while I don't find your comment offensive, I also don't quite get the joke. Perhaps there's something I'm missing? I usually find these types of jokes pretty funny, and I hate that everyone else seems to be getting it...
Richard Boye
39. sarcastro
First of all, hooray, re-read.

The part about Moiraine and the fog bank is among my favorite parts in the series, and it's quite subtle. From what I recall, and I didn't actually re-read these chapters (bad Rich!), Moiraine cloaked the entire riverbank in fog and then smugly tells Lan that there are not ten women in the Tower who could do that - that was a very oblique way of telling us that Moiraine was a bad ass, as we shall learn.

I just assumed that the Jolly Blue Giant was just Moiraine pantomiming stepping over something (to her, personally, on scale) but the projected Moiraine then looks like she was stepping over the wall.... This was from Rand's POV, correct, so he was probably gobsmacked by it and didn't really notice what she was doing.

As for another of the awesomely subtle parts - no, the fact that Rand channeled for the first time went right over my head. For several re-reads, at that.

I always thought that as initially presented, particularly in the early books, the Whitecloaks were going to represent some actual counterweight to the Aes Sedai, with various nations hewing to one or the other, with the riots in Caemlyn later in tEotW being vaguely reminiscent of the squabbles that erupted from the Protestant Reformation. To follow up on Novak's point up there at...er.... (damn, I miss usenet!) #23, there is a nuance that was there in the two "religions" -

On the one hand, we have "Darkfriendism" - you worship Shai'tan and after the Last Battle and you will RULE THE WORLD!!!!. On the other, you have "Creatorism" - this has two stripes which are present, but very, very underdeveloped by our author:

1) The Creator set the whole thing in motion and watches the cycles turn, blah blah - you can affect your lot in life to a limited extent but there is a cycle of rebirth and predestination and ultimately you reach salvation. Everyone works through life as they may, be they a soldier or goodwife or wisdom or queen, being virtuous as they can be, until the end. Of course, some people can access the One Power and use it to affect their lots in life.

2) Same as above, except that a segment of the populace disapproves of the use of the One Power to affect your lot in life, or more importantly, affect *other* people's* lots in life (hell, the lots in life of entire nations), thus annoying the Creator and setting off his grand design. Channeling/Witchcraft is an offense to the Creator and must be stamped out. Based upon reading this book, and paying close attention to WC dogma, you might get the impression that a sizable segment of the populace adheres to Option Two, right?

But then the WCs just sort fade into the background noise as another fractious faction. :sigh:

It would have been nice if we saw at least one or two other WC friendly nations, IMHO.
Richard Boye
40. sarcastro
Heh.

I shoulda known.

John at #26, I should have realized that you also would have been thrilled at Moiraine's comment re: fog and the sisters who could do that.
AnneW
41. locosweetie
Thank you Erdrick and HeWhoComesWithTheNoon

to liegh

About the Whitecloaks/Jehovah's Witness thing: When finding about the whitecloak culture I was actually put in mind of a real life fanatical military group centered around Germany. Which seems like a much better comparison. Plus, I'm pretty sure that if you mentioned such a comparison you wouldn't run the risk of offending as many people. I'm pretty cooled down now, as a Witness who went to a snooty public school, I'm more used to the prejudice than I once was. However, that doesn't make it acceptable.
AnneW
42. cubarey
"On Ba’alzamon, two things. First, I didn’t catch until much later that he basically tells you immediately who he really is:"

My view of the true identity of this character was tainted by RJ's use of Sha'tan for the DarkOne. The connection between Sha'tan and Satan is quite obvious. But so are the similarities between Ba'alzamon and Beelzebub (another name for Satan in the Bible, as is Balial but that's just to confusing to go into now).We're are also later told that Ba'alzamon is another name for Sha'tan. So was Ba'alzamon really Sha'tan or they guy we meet in the Prologue? What really got me confused later on was when it became clear that he not only was posing as the DarkOne but at least at some level believed himself to be the DarkOne.Its only when we get the insight that he is also insane that this dichotomy is explained (at least to my satisfaction. The fact that he is also a lot harder to kill then other Choosen made me wonder exactly who or what he was.

ON the WhiteCloak/JW comparison I also thought it was a bit offensive and uncalled for. Annoying and possibly obnoxious does not equate with enforcing their beliefs at the point of a sword.Further, deep religous conviction does not equate with believing that you can impose your beliefs on others. Moreover, I think that the similarities between the WhiteCloaks and the Templers and/or Tuetonic Knights is quite obvious as is an almost direct comparison between the Questioners and the Spanish Inquisition.
Michael Ikeda
43. mikeda
JohnA@36

I also made a mental association between the WhiteCloaks and the KKK. I think the reason was I drew a connection between the white clothing the KKK wears and the name "WhiteCloaks".

(Both groups also rely on religious justifications for their actions.)

I don't know of any evidence that Jordan himself intended to draw a comparison between the two groups.
AnneW
44. Matjess
Say whatever you want about the others, but leave Mat alone. He's a complete crack-up from the start, does whatever appeals to him (including dancing haha), and hates what he must do, but is damn good at it when he must do it.
Trust me on this, when push comes to shove and the shit hits the fan, Mat will be there in the thick of it, and I will even go so far as to say that he will end up as boss of them all.
Meanwhile, Rand and Perrin (and just about everyone else except Thom) take themselves far too seriously
AnneW
45. Matjess
P.S. Ahhhhh.... sorry Cubarey, but isn't that... ahhhmmmm...
"Shai'tan"?
Joe Sherry
46. jsherry
Matjess @ 44: I agree. Siuan calls Mat on this, and I think pegs him early on despite Mat's protests that "I'm not a bloody hero". Siuan tells Mat a story about her uncle (I believe it was her uncle) and how he was a no good-layabout until there was a burning house with children in it and he kept going in again and again pulling out children. She asked if Mat would be there when the flames are high.

We know, or believe, that Mat is one of our heroes. That Mat WILL be there when the flames are high. As the series progresses, this becomes more and more evident.
AnneW
47. Erdrick
Ba'alzamon (Ishy) never claims to be the Dark One. People have long thought that, and he usually doesn't waste his time correcting them, but he did once (in a very subtle way, of course). In the second book (TGH), shortly after visiting Barthanes manor and finding out Fain took the Ways to Falme, Rand has another dream encounter with Ba'alzamon. Ba'alzamon calls him Lews Therin in the conversation, and he responds by saying "I am not the Dragon, Father of Lies!" Consider how Ba'alzamon responded; he laughed and said "You honor me. And belittle yourself...." He is mocking that very misunderstanding.
AnneW
48. Mundviller
I always saw the series as a "inner journey" (i don't want to sound like i'm talking spirituality here). As the series goes on, the world is unfolded through the eyes of the characters, as well as their own self-understanding. The greater the decisions they have to take, the deeper they have to look inside, and they truly rock once they have accepted a part of themselves. Mat is one that accept himself quite fully and quickly (book 7)(although he rejects who he is a lot more than the others), and when he does, he is purely awesome.

I also wondered if you could in your description or commentary talk about the chapters' icons. They are more and more important as the serie advances. I remember being so overwhelmed when I saw for the first time the unified Aes Sedai icon in book 5. They are a part of the narration, implicitly telling us the general theme of the chapter.
Leigh Butler
49. leighdb
To those of you who found the Whitecloak/Jehovah's Witness joke offensive, I'm a bit startled.

I was not seriously comparing the Whitecloaks to JWs; the Whitecloaks are obviously based on the Teutonic Knights/Knights Templar, with a bit of the KKK thrown in for flavor.

The point of the comment was a slam on those groups who think intimidation and violence is a acceptable form of proselytizing - which is clearly *not* a philosophy endorsed by Jehovah's Witnesses. I think it's safe to say that when it comes to religious solicitation, most people would far rather receive a pamphlet than a sword through the gullet. That was the joke.
AnneW
50. iansagefire
regarding moraine's apparent stepping over the gate incident, as well as much of the use of the one power in the early books (mostly eotw): i think rj was still getting a feel for the mechanics of the world he created, and has yet to refine his definition of the use of the one power. there are several inconsistencies between the use of the power early and later; it just takes him a few books to really decide on what the one power is, it's capabilities and shortcomings, and how it can be best used to drive the story along.
AnneW
51. SteelBlaidd
One of the big themes running through the series makes its first appearance in this section. Specifically that positions of power and authority have their duties and restrictions as well as rights and privileges. In this case the boys remark on "the Wisdom" dancing. From what I remember Nynaeve has ben Wisdom since the last one died when she was 21. This abruptly moved her from the batch of marriageable young women to village government. A transition which explains both her stubborn instance on being right as well as her attraction to Lan.

Nynaeve has had to be the leader of one half of her home towns government a good portion of her adult life. An environment in which all of her "peers" are old enough to be her parents, and she was replacing the oldest woman in the whole Two Rivers. On top of that she first channeled when she was in her mid teens and looks like shes at most 20 for most of that time. On top of that she came to the position of apprentice at 14 after a life as a serious tomboy. She's had to put up a facade of supreme self-confidence and competence for years, probably with a constant worry that the Woman's Circle is just waiting for her to screw up badly enough to and send her off to be apprentice again. Part of her probably hopes it happens sooner rather than later.

Lan of course sees her as an almost Aes Sedai but not a Novice or Accepted, respects her wood craft, and is probably the first adult male to treat her as a woman not a Wisdom.


A few other thoughts.

Mats pranking the White Cloaks shows he already has an eye for strategy.

As to why the WCs don't have more allies among the nations. That's simple. Regardless of any Philosophical agreement they may have with the WCs none of the rulers wants to risk becoming a puppet. Consider the treaty they want to set up with Morgase. Additionally the major source of the Templers' prestige and power was that they were the medieval equivalent of a Swiss bank with branches all over Europe. In Randland, the White Tower runs the oldest, richest and most stable bank around. Nobody is going to want to risk losing access to those funds. All the WCs have to offer is mercenaries that won't do what their told and are just as likely to arrest, torture and kill you as what ever undesirables you send them after.
AnneW
52. Rebecca Starr
Still loving this Leigh! A few thoughts for this second batch of chapters:

You forgot the biggest bit of foreshadowing of all at the end of Chapter 12 - "You may go far. Perhaps even the Amyrlin Seat, one day..."

NaClH2O@14, I'm with you - "Weep for Manetheren" gets me every time... Plus I agree with those who have noted how cool the AS were when they were still mysterious - the general sense of awe and mystery around the AS has long since been lost, but then, we as readers have grown up alongside the POV of Rand/Mat/Perrin/Egwene/Nynaeve/Elayne.

which brings to me my favorite reason for re-reads of EotW, echoing Sonoma@33 - yes it *is* amazing to go back to a more innocent time... Whenever my heart aches for Rand and all the pressure on him (and the others) later on, I have only to re-read the 1st hundred pages of the series over again.

Best line in this section by far: "Hold the sword as I showed you, sheepherder. I cannot make a mud-footed villager into a blademaster in an hour, but perhaps I can keep you from slicing off your own foot."
Richard Boye
53. sarcastro
As to why the WCs don't have more allies among the nations. That's simple. Regardless of any Philosophical agreement they may have with the WCs none of the rulers wants to risk becoming a puppet.


Yeah but...

Think about how many of the monarchs we have seen are referred to as weak rulers with barely a hold on their countries (or no hold what-so-ever). It would not strike me as particularly incredible if say, Queen Generica of Ghealdan made the mistake of giving the WCs a toe-hold in her country a few years back in exchange for their aid in propping up her regime to give her control of the whole country, or putting down an insurgent vassal.

Or, even if RJ had continued to develop his "White or Red" dilemma, there might even be a king or two who resents the White Tower's interference and enlists the Dome of Truth's aid to keep those witches at bay (somewhat).
AnneW
54. redeyed
Random tidbit re: Min's "faulty" visions...RJ had originally planned (according to interviews done almost a decade ago) for the series to be anywhere from 16-22 books. The thing to remember is that he had to wrap up quickly before he couldn't do it anymore. I'm sure that, given the original scope of the series, he would have had time to more fully play through those visions.
AnneW
55. FunBob
Leigh, another excellent job...Keep it up.

As for Rand's first channeling, I didn't get it the first time around either. It wasn't until Rand and Matt were locked in Howal Gode's store room that I connected Rand's need (and the desperation that Jordan was transmitting in his prose) with the occurrence of something spectacular. Of course, the lightning was a more tangible example of Rand's need being answered - so we could probably be forgiven for missing it until Jordan hit us over the head with it a second time. The reaction (fever and outrageous behavior) are also more evident after Rand's fever the day after the lightning strike.

Jordan tends to hit you over the head a lot in this first book - especially with the identity of Ba'alzamon. He pretty much tells you that he was Elan Morin Tedronai from the Prologue with his description of himself and that he was never caught in the weaving that sealed the Dark One's prison. This is where the Character's POVs present the reader with false information, as I mentioned in my comments to your last blog, that caused the confusion that most people felt (because Rand did himself!) that the Dark One was dead at the end of the first book. Moiraine's response should have changed that perspective, but we again rely on the Character's POVs to present us information, and we have to realize that Jordan doesn't always have his characters know the truth behind what they believe. This major flaw, that a person's perspective always colors their understanding of an event, is a major theme that Jordan uses throughout the books.

Another major theme Jordan uses to great effect is that Prophecy shapes events, even if no one understands the meaning of the words. Otherwise, all of the action fulfilling the prophecy would just be random activity. This use of prophecy reflects that used by both Terry Goodkind in the Sword of Truth Series and by David Eddings in the Belgariad/Mallorean series. The character's have free will to conduct their lives according to their own perspective, but if they live according to their personalities, values, and are true to themselves, they do what needs to be done to advance the greater Good. Note that Jordan presents a number of other methods of prophecy (Min's pieces of the pattern, Perrin's wolf dreams, Elaida's foretelling, and Egwene's dreaming) to not only validate the Karaethon Cycle, but also to give insight to the characters of what their roles are to be and how they fit into the Pattern. This is a unique perspective to WOT that gives the reader a general feel of how things will happen without outright saying what will happen. A unique foreshadowing tool that is all Jordan...

Lan WAS totally a dick to the Emond's Fielders until Nynaeve started to gain his attention. At this point, he could not have cared less if everyone of them was lost as long as Moiraine was safe. While Moiraine said that she would destroy them all if it was necessary, Lan would have done it to save Moiraine. More on that subject in Book II....

Lastly, Moiraine did use illusion to appear to be stepping over the wall and while everyone was watching the illusion she walked right through the open gate. I went back and read the section to be sure, and sure enough, Jordan was very careful to ensure that the Moiraine-illusion was over the wall and that Moiraine was physically on the other side of the gate when the gate was slammed shut in Geo Bornhald's face. So this wasn't a mistake on Jordan's part - he wrote it to reflect the Houdini-move that Moiraine used to distract everyone, even the reader, from the fact the she walked straight out of the gate under everyone's nose.

Totally enjoying your re-read Leigh....Til next time....
AnneW
56. Landrin
i didnt uddle through all the comments, so please excuse me if i say something that has already been said.
Firstly, did anyone get that rand was having his channeling sickness in Baerlon, and that he was actually channeling when he confrinted the whitecloaks?
rand and nyneave never really see each other again after TEOTW, so its a bit understandable that they dont talk much.
and have you guys noticed the need for people to be clean in this series? in LOTR, they never seemed to care, but i guess RJ is trying to foreshadow book 9 Saidin cleaning.
im with the people who want to know what moiraine did to get over the wall, maybee shell tell us in book 12.
your doing a great job!
AnneW
57. TimMP
1) Re #20 above, I don't think Mat's memory loss is progressive or symptomatic of anything dementia related but is directly related to getting the dagger from Shadar Logoth...correct me if I'm wrong, but his memory holes appear only after he gets the knife and then is restored to himself, first temporarily, and then permanently in Tar Valon. It is as if the dagger burns them out. There really isn't any memory loss until later.

2) In my first read, I didn't notice the icy bones thing with Rand in relation to him healing Bela-the-darkfriend, but I do remember thinking something was fishy with the whole lightning episode later. I thought the WC event was weird but chalked it up to his reaction to the Ishy-rat-dream. After all, Perrin seemed to have a headache too, so it wasn't out of bounds to make that correlation. Even after reading the syndrome explanation later, it never rang a bell. On the second and then SEVEN subsequent rereads, it was much more evident throughout the book.

3) The Matt foreshadowing with the noose was hysterical, and yet impressive that RJ had each character's major moments nailed down that early. Seems to me the outline for what he had planned in these novels must have been as large as one of the novels themselves. That being said, Matt was only a little annoying in the early books, to me, but once he started getting his own POV's, he became BY FAR the most interesting character in the book outside of Rand.

4) I was confused by the Ba'alzammonlamalamalama = Dark One question, for the same reason as someone above stated, that biblically, Satan is often called Beelzebub. I think RJ uses these terms deliberately for mythological and sociological reference....case in point, Rand al-"THOR." Same with some of the forsaken: LanFEAR. Sammael is the Jewish word for the angel of death, Belal sounds like Belial, also a satan reference, and so on. In Ishy's specific case, I figured that Rand hadn't killed the Dark One because otherwise the series would have been over in book 1 with too many unanswered questions remaining. Also, Rand names the dark one at the end of book 1 and immediately loses some brain cells, which told me right away that the DO was still alive and kicking somewhere.
AnneW
58. Erdrick
redeyed, you said "RJ had originally planned (according to interviews done almost a decade ago) for the series to be anywhere from 16-22 books." When and where exactly did you get that? You need to cite your sources.

Here is what Robert Jordan said in a March 2000 Locus Magazine interview: "I've known the last scene of the last 'Wheel' book since before I started writing the first book, and that's unchanged. I thought 'The Wheel of Time' was going to be five or six books. I didn't think they'd be this long."

He explains more, and you can read it for yourself at
http://www.locusmag.com/2000/Issues/03/Jordan.html
jane reynolds
59. janie
Another great post, Leigh! Thanks so much for doing this!

I'm in the same boat with regards to Rand's channelling, and all the stuff regarding Ba'alzamon/the Dark One/Ishy - I didn't twig to any of either of those points the first time through. I feel a little dense.

I agree with Zeynep et al that Moiraine just appeared to step over the wall, but I hadn't figured that out myself. Great insight, guys.

Oh, honey, you have NO IDEA. - Bah hah hah!
AnneW
60. RobMRobM
Leigh - great job. You didn't mention the archery demonstration, which shows the shockingly high skill level of the Two Rivers men (even the blacksmith can hit a head sized knot at 100 paces), foreshadowing Perrin's troops in the later books. I also like how well at Two Rivers men and women handle themselves in the first battle - reinforcing the "warrior descendents of a warrior people" theme that shows up later as well (Gaul to Perrin "I've seen how you Two Rivers men fight").

Re Min's views, please can someone help with the vision of Thom - a man juggling fire and the White Tower. I thought RJ confirmed that these viewings were all about the future, so it can't be Thom's nephew. 11 books in and I can't make hide nor hair of that one.

Finally, your Part I commentary missed the first foreshadowing issue in the whole series - the discussion of how Tam never remarried and how all of the Two Rivers women were trying to marry him off. My strong bet is he will hook up with someone in AMOL - probably Morgase (beautiful, red haired like Kari, in same camp with Tam at end of book 11, and her current boyfriend is too much of a weasel for that to last). It also may occur during something we've been waiting all of the books to see -- Tam showing off his blademaster skills "on camera". I'd pay to see that.

Rob
Tim Kington
61. TimKington
@cubarey

I don't think Ishamael is confused about being the DO at all. There are some places where you think he's talking about himself in the third person, but he isn't, and he even points out that he isn't the DO once, as Erdrick pointed out above. I've always found it amusing that the other Forsaken thing he's nuts, but it seems that he's actually the only one who really knows what's going on.

@jsherry

I'm not so sure Mat will always come through. He sure has up to this point, but what about his experience during the Portal Stone trip to Toman Head? He's horrified about whatever he did there. I've always thought he would betray/let down Rand somehow at the Last Battle.

Still, it seems like he has a few heroic acts left at least - he has to save Moiraine and give up half the light of the world.

@RobMRobM

Not all of Min's images are about the future:
"Master Andra has seven ruined towers around his head, and a babe in a cradle holding a sword"

It think the Thom one is just Owyn, and the fact that the AS gentled him.
AnneW
62. RobMRobM
Tim - I believe RJ was quoted as saying that all of Min's posts were about the future. I'll bet dollars to donutes that Lan and Nyneave will have a babe and put a sword in the hand of the young prince in Malkier post-TG. So...my question still stands. Rob
Richard Boye
63. sarcastro
re: Min and all her vision are of the future - there is a bit where she views Daved Hanlon aka Doilin Mellar, the mercenary captain hired by Rahvin who later became the captain of Elayne's personal guard - she sees that he has raped and killed before and will again. CoS,Chapter 35.

So, it seems that all of Min's viewings can't be about the future.

p.s. I remembered this tidbit from this exact some conversation over in rasfwrj
AnneW
64. HUMMINGBIRD
I am currently re reading TWOT series in anticipation of the last tome coming out (fingers crossed) this year. Imagine my surprise at finding this commentary re-read. I am so excited.

I missed the fact that Rand was beginning to shadow in the first read. I caught it this time around, however the lightening thing... WOW - I totally missed that one.

So much to learn still. Guess that is why the series is timeless. Even after being hit over the head with THAT fact, there will still be more to discover my third and fourth... and and and times through the books.
AnneW
65. K-ris
I Caught Rand channeling when he got sick on the road to Caemylin with mat. I was flippin through the book trying to find when
Joe Sherry
66. jsherry
I don't know where this comes in or what the best place to mention it - but in retrospect, I really like all the references to Jain Farstrider. First, it's the book that Rand reads and Jordan keeps bringing up, but throughout the next two books we get more references to Jain Charin, called the Farstrider.

I'm 90% positive that this pays off late in the series and that the old guy is Jain (I'll grant a 10% chance of a relative). It's just fascinating how RJ slowly builds the legend from the start.
AnneW
67. RobMRobM
I had a thought about the Thom Merrilin vision from Min. The obvious person (not Tom) who is juggling the White Tower and "fire" is Gawyn, who is struggling with his loyalties to the White Tower and Egwene's crew -- especially obvious when Min's Egwene vision involved the Aes Sedai flame. This of course begs the question that, even if true, why Min associated this vision with Thom. If this theory of Min's vision is correct, the answer must be that Thom is the true father of Gawyn (and Elayne to boot) and that this will be revealed during AMOL. (Some have rumored this connection during commentary on the series.) If so, the family dynamics will be interesting,as it looks like he is fated to save and to be with Moraine, the half brother of the guy he cuckolded. Rob
AnneW
68. Rebecca Starr
A couple more comments as I finish off this week's chapters...

When Ba'alzamon mentions a "doom yet to come" regarding the Seanchan (p. 205), do you think this refers to everything we've seen to date, or something even more dire to come in AMOL?

I think a few other people have already clarified this, but no, we are not ever told Ba'alzamon is a name for the DO - the Glossery explicitly states it is "believed to be the Trolloc name for the Dark One" leaving room for the surprise that it has been Ishy all along.

Finally, it has always annoyed me that RJ didn't follow up with Egwene understanding Mat's spouting of the Old Tongue battle cry - I am secretly hoping she'll turn out to be Ellisande reborn or some such. As to Moiraine's comment that Arad's blood still runs strong in the Two Rivers, who is Arad? Obviously a Manetheren king, but it seems strange to use this one-time-only name, not Aemon's, and never mention him again.
AnneW
69. cubarey
Not only did the other Choosen think Ishy to be nuts its pretty clear that he was/is. His compulsive use of the True power whcih is addictive and leads to madness. Moridin(?)has Ska-in his eyes a sign of habitual use of the True Power and madness. Plus his very convoluted plans, all are signs of his madness (IMO). Moreover, a lot of his comments can be taken at several levels. I think that he can be masquerading as the DO and at the same time at some level thinks that he really is the DO (my opinion but I think it explains his actions and motives)

On Min's viewing of Thom:

From the very beginning Thom is trying to advise/help Rand et. al. and getting caught in their problems while at the same time trying to stay clear of AS-- seems to me that Min's viewing fits exactly the juggling that Thom is doing throughout the series.


"I'm not so sure Mat will always come through. He sure has up to this point, but what about his experience during the Portal Stone trip to Toman Head? He's horrified about whatever he did there. I've always thought he would betray/let down Rand somehow at the Last Battle."

Mat was horrified that he betrayed Rand over and over in the Alternate realities he lived while in the Portal Stone, as Rand is by always failing to forfill his destiny and failing to defeat the Do, as all those who went through the Portal Stone seem to be horrified by what they experienced. I don't think its a foreboding of what will happen in the Randland reality.

Just a last aside: the original KKK patterned its dress and imagry(?) on the Templers/Tuetonic Knights its thus not surprising that they resemble the Whitecloaks to some extent (although I have never read that RJ based on the Whitcloaks on the KKK but I believe he did mention the Templers/Tuetonic Knights (the Tuetonic Knights are actually a closer fit but not as well known as the Templers).

If it's not already obvious I cann't spell to save my life (mildly dyslexic(?)) so sorry for the typo's.
Kate Nepveu
70. katenepveu
RobMRobM, alas, both the Glossary and Jordan deny that Thom is the father of Elayne or Gawyn.
AnneW
71. UK Chris
Chapter 14 comment: What I really never understood (other than as the Big Goal) was everyone's obsession with the Eye of the World. Why does the Shadow care about it anyway? They have clean OP, and while the Horn would be nice, it never seemed like it was the treasures they were referring to, but the untainted Saidin itself. Always makes me wonder if somehow it will make a cameo in book 12.

Chapter 15 comments: This is more about writing style, (and thankfully RJ doesn't do this too much) but I love those one-sentence paragraphs, like "The porridge turned to ashes in his mouth." Always makes me think of someone going "Duuuh duuh" (dramatic noise) in the background.
Also, this chapter for me just makes me realize how amazing RJ was at having this whole incredible plot in his head from day 1.
Finally, though I agree trust is an issue, I think the bigger issue is "communication." Even characters that trust each other *and* have the means to communicate still do not, and so assume something totally wrong. For instance, I believe that at this moment, only the reader knows where all seven seals are.
AnneW
72. UK Chris
Oh, and one quick note now that I made it through the comments, and no one commented on it. The cologne is called Drakkar Noir (even better for Twilight).
AnneW
73. hummingbird
@ceberry

Good observation on Thom. Perhaps that which he is juggeling is not balls at all.
AnneW
74. JermBE
Teenage boys who like dancing? This really is a fantasy.

Not really so. Here in Belgium folkdances are rather popular and I regularly see teenagers (boys and girls) dancing on live music. The folk music here is rithmic and full of good swing so it doesn't seem old and such here.
I assume that in the middle-ages (on which most fantasy is based) dances were the few times of having fun and checking out the other gender.

For proof just check out: http://www.boombal.be/ (click CD for music samples)

Anyway, I love your re-read commentary, keep up the good work.
Kyle Bass
75. bkyle4
Regarding Rand as a beggar, didn't he disguise himself as a beggar in WH when he had to sneak into the palace in Camelyn, right before his tripletastic warder bonding to his ladies (and Elayne, um, having her way with him...)?
Leigh Butler
76. leighdb
MattB and bkyle4:

Rand was dressed either plainly or shabbily in Far Madding and Caemlyn in WH, respectively, but he was never dressed as a beggar the way Min's vision and Perrin's dream seem to indicate - in actual rags, eyes bandaged, with a staff.
AnneW
77. bill (jnatael)
re: beggar Rand
Rand in rags with a staff and bandaged eyes is also how he is depicted in Moridin's Fisher King überchess game. It's gonna happen, and I think that despite good intentions Mat is going to betray Rand to Seanchan. Somehow. I'm absolutely itching to find out!
AnneW
78. RobMRobM
Kate - thanks for blowing up my interesting theory that Gawyn is the man, not Thom, juggling fire and the White Tower. I thought I had something for a while. So, I'm back to drawing board. Either RJ made an early error and had Min's vision go backwards to his nephew Owyn -- or it is a going forward vision and I'm completely stumped with 11/12 (or 11/13) of the series over. My second thought was that it could be a reference to Mat, since Thom has been hanging out with him for most of the series and Mat actually is the one who learned to juggle in EOTW and will shortly need to use "fire to blind" while saving Moirane in Finnland, but Min would have seen that or it would have made it into her visions of Mat. So, I'm at wit's end.

Re Rand as beggar discussion - he started losing eyesight at end of KoD, so we can see that coming in the final book....

Looking forward to Leigh part III tomorrow. Rob
AnneW
79. TimMP
Re: Chapter 14. Oh, and did anyone think that during the bath scene in Freddy Bolgar's house...oops, I mean Baerlon,.... that the fact that the bath attendant can't keep his mouth shut may be an early sign of a taveren reaction?

"He finished with his mouth still open, then snapped it shut, appearing surprised that he had said so much."
AnneW
80. TwoToneMatt
Leigh - loving the posts, keep up the outstanding work! Per the JW topic: I too am startled by the offended nature of some of the posters. As a Jehovah's Witness myself, I didn't find the joke offensive at all. I know plenty of Witnesses who make Bornhald's blind zeal look quite reasonable.

Looking forward to all the subsequent posts - thanks for giving me a reason to reread these fantastic books!
AnneW
81. Alyssa_6_11
I don't know if anyone reads the comments this far down, but I wanted to say that I caught on that Rand was channeling as soon as Mo checked Bella and she wasn't as tired as the other horses. But this is probably because I read New Spring (one of the prequels) before I read any of the other books. Due to that, a lot of the surprises and stuff was no surprise to me (like siuan sanche and Mo being friends) did anyone else read the books in that order and what do y'all think are the advantages and disadvantages of knowing the rules of the world before reading the first book?
Leigh Butler
82. leighdb
Alyssa_6_11:

I read *all* the comments. I may not get a chance to answer them all, but I read them.

To your question, obviously I didn't do it that way, so I can't answer intelligently. I'd think that's not the best way to do it, though - kind of really takes the suspense out, I would imagine, especially in the earlier books...
Joe Sherry
83. jsherry
Alyssa @ 81: I read in publication order and I generally think that's the best way to go. It's how the author unveiled the world, and I think not knowing Moiraine's background up front makes the reveal more powerful.

Plus, publication order in Wheel of Time makes the "Dragonmount" prologue the first thing you read, and that sets the emotional background for the series.
AnneW
84. Kenneth G. Cavness
People always harp on the poor Jehovah's Witnesses, but I really feel that the Whitecloaks most closely resemble Pentecostals or the Islamic Jihad -- total fanatics for their cause, doing more damage than good in their rush to righteousness. This is the first time we see them, but they only become more repugnant as the series goes on.

It took me a second reread (about a decade ago) to find all the "rand channels early" things. But even more so, it took a THIRD re-read for me to realize that Nynaeve's insistence on trying to teach Moiraine about the power of herbs was her attempt to justify the use of the One Power by making it something she could understand. I find that...touching. And it humanizes her.
AnneW
85. Alyssa_6_11
Jsherry, I had never heard of wheel of time, but I saw this pretty interesting looking book in the new release section of my library, after reading it I was hooked and had to order the books online because our library didn't carry them. I sometimes wish that I had read then in publication order, but if I never read new spring, I would have never even known about the series... Sorry if that shows how young I am but in my defense, since the first time, I have read the series at least 3 or 4 times. Excet KOD, I've only read it once for some reason.
Joe Sherry
86. jsherry
No prob, Alyssa. :) Discovering the series is better than not, and starting with New Spring is better than starting with...say...A Crown of Swords.
AnneW
87. Matjess
I tend to liken the Whitecloaks to the US government; what the WC's did in Ghealdan is exactly what the US has done in Latin America, the Philippines, Liberia, etc., and tried to do in Cuba and Vietnam, just so the people can have the privelege of drinking Coca-Cola every blessed day of their downtrodden lives.
AnneW
88. Baravius
I totally didn't get the rand using saidin thing until much later either. I was giving Bela all the credit!! --Silly me...
Joe Sherry
89. jsherry
Baravius @88 - and that's because Bela is the Creator.
AnneW
90. teamroperinaz
hey, Rand has gone around disguised as a beggar!! when he escaped from the attack in Cairhien, he showed up in Caemlyn (and then back to Cairhien dressed in beggar's clothes wearing the illusion of a gross bulbuous nose, and again in cairhien when he was setting up the stewardship before he left to draw the darkfriend asha'man cleanse Saidin...
AnneW
91. Hennah04
I didn't notice Rand's channeling in this book, until the end part obv. In my second read and subseqeuent reads it seems really obvious, with Bella keeping up, the whitecloak confrontation at Baerleon, the bow of the ship moving and stopping a trolloc from killing him after escaping Shadar Logoth, the lightening flash at four kings followed by the sickness, on our first read through we were being quite blatantly led through Rand's first interactions with the one power and we never realised it. Fantastic!!
AnneW
92. Enric62
doesnt Moraine explain to Rand that he was making Bela run faster later on in the story? I seem to remember that.
AnneW
93. jafco
Leigh: Thank you so much. You're doing a great job, and your editorial comments so often mimic mine I find it humorous!

On one point: Rand-Nyn sparring for so long after this particular scene - I think in this book or the next (TGH) Rand wakes up in the Women's Quarter to find Nyn watching over him in a very touching moment. Almost a mother-son feeling to it.

Further, @ 6. jsherry: I agree. I have these little reminisces of Rand-Nyn meeting and sharing some trust and good feeling from time to time.

Ayla is the top heroine in my panoply. Nyn comes next (though I could strangle her on occasion - like whole books). Elven princesses are too much like goddesses to be considered thus (although Luthien is not to be overlooked).

Heh. Maybe the Song will be found, and I'm prepared to try various tunes in searching.
Joanna Schmidt
94. Joanna
I'm disappointed that no one has mentioned Rand's channelling after Shadar Logoth when he jumped onto Bayle Domon's ship. He gets all giddy and sits on top of one of the masts and starts doing acrobatics. I didn't catch the channeling the first time through, but the second time it was that scene that clued me in.
AnneW
95. jtwolfbrother
CH. 14 I think that Lan is irritated that these kids hold the fate of the world in their hands when they are fairly ignorant of the world around them. I'm sure Moraine has relayed to Lan the importance of the Emond's Field boys and he takes it upon himself to become their coach/drill sergeant.
AnneW
96. redgecola
Loving the tone & commentary but "Hands off Greg House" is all I'm saying.. After all, "It's NOT Lupus" :)

Looking fwd to the rest of your re-read.
AnneW
97. u_turnagain
Thanks for the re-read and summary.
I am a very slow reader, so this is great!

Upon reading the re-read and posts, I immediately thought of the boy who Mat has taken under his wing re Min's view of Thom. My mind is all fuzzy about the books and what happens, but this was the only boy I remember involved at this point, and I think I recall Mat commenting on the way the boy juggles the women.

As far as Mat betraying Rand, the way I see it is he will only feel it is a betrayal. The same way he has felt every time, but maybe, this time someone will clue him in. I think his betrayal will be the act that is necessary to "help rand die." It has always been necessary for rand to die, because sooner or later he will revert to insanity. Rand needs to die this time too. I forget who it is who was viewed to help rand die, but I believe she will be instrumental in coaxing Mat to let Rand die. This will act both against Mat's instincts (run into the burning building) and his knowledge (past betrayals) and make the moment all the more powerful. Rand will need to be resurrected to complete the whole Jesus thing and I wonder if the dream world will have anything to do with that (thinking birgette).
AnneW
98. bookwormchris
Just discovered this re-reading thing, I actually enjoyed it when Brandon Sanderson was doing his and posting his thoughts on his blog.

The first time I read TEOTW was back in about 2000 or so, right around when I became a teenager. (I was in middle school.) I was hooked instantly, getting the book as the first, I think, book of our Book Club. I got it at lunch and finished it sometime late that very night. I missed a ton, but then I'm always discovering new things when I re-read the series or things I totally forgot since the last reading.

Most recently I read the series last summer, from New Spring to Knife of Dreams (because I wasn't sure I wanted to re-read the whole series when I started New Spring.) I gave myself a generous week-per-book and it worked out rather well. I keep promising myself that I'll write down all the little thoughts and clues I have/find while re-reading, but that never happens. There is just so much packed into these books, and every re-read they are a new experience. Can't wait for the last book(s) so I can re-read all over again.
AnneW
99. Bonzo4288
Leigh, first time poster and have read two of your chapters. First things first: Congradulations on doing something that I have either wanted to do myself or an "encyclopedia". Kudos to Jordan, but so many names are similar and certain parts are so hard to remember without the rereads.

Second: Please do not give up on this, no matter what people say. Of course you are not going to please everybody. Of course you are going to miss things that other people thought were more important. AND especially OF COURSE your opinions are not going to be 'true' for everybody. That's what is so great about Robert Jordan for him to give us a book that will always be debated. As for your critics, What I say to those people is "You had your chance to try doing this yourself and didn't. Untill you do this and put yourself on the spot, don't complain.

Now, I'll get off my high horse. Thanks again and I will continue to enjoy your comments even if I don't agree.
AnneW
100. Bonzo4288
Leigh, first time poster and have read two of your chapters. First things first: Congradulations on doing something that I have either wanted to do myself or an "encyclopedia". Kudos to Jordan, but so many names are similar and certain parts are so hard to remember without the rereads.

Second: Please do not give up on this, no matter what people say. Of course you are not going to please everybody. Of course you are going to miss things that other people thought were more important. AND especially OF COURSE your opinions are not going to be 'true' for everybody. That's what is so great about Robert Jordan for him to give us a book that will always be debated. As for your critics, What I say to those people is "You had your chance to try doing this yourself and didn't. Untill you do this and put yourself on the spot, don't complain.

Now, I'll get off my high horse. Thanks again and I will continue to enjoy your comments even if I don't agree.
AnneW
101. Deano
As a general comment on Min’s visions, though, I find it kind of amazing that some of the things Min sees here still haven’t come to pass. Does Rand even have time to go wandering around as a beggar before Tarmon Gai’don? Maybe that part comes after.



I think that the beggar reference is more of a reference to Padan Fain when he is in Camelyn
AnneW
102. tshania_sedai
"As a general comment on Min’s visions, though, I find it kind of amazing that some of the things Min sees here still haven’t come to pass. Does Rand even have time to go wandering around as a beggar before Tarmon Gai’don? Maybe that part comes after."

I assumed that this referred to the the chapter "A Lily in Winter" in Winter's Heart. Rand is disguised as a beggar in that chapter, and what follows is definitely significant enough for Min to view it around Rand. I think the only thing we haven't seen come to pass is the bloody rock, (and the three women over the funeral bier...but that one is sort of obvious...) which I assumed wouldn't be happening until the end anyway...
AnneW
103. gwencrist
@ jsherry # 86

lol i actually started with ACOS myself
it was the first one in my library

it made it quite interesting when i finally got around to the 6th one like 2 years or something later
AnneW
104. MarcusCRB
Does Rand even have time to go wandering around as a beggar before Tarmon Gai’don?

I believe he already has - in 'The Fires of Heaven' he disguises himself as a blind beggar, because looking like an Aiel makes him stand out too much.

Ah, Whitecloaks: Just like Jehovah’s Witnesses, except instead of pamphlets, they want to give you grievous bodily harm. *bwah*. And so true.

I actually agree with the JW who posted. Whitecloaks are religious zealots, extremists, nothing like JWs who are merely irritating (Here's a tip - tell them you are Roman Catholic - they will never come back). They are like the modern day religious extremists of any faith.

It seems that the DO's minions go back and forth on this, but it seems pretty clear that in TEOTW, they're consistently trying to capture rather than kill the boys. Any ideas on why they switch back and forth?

Yes we do get this much later on in the series. They go back and forth for 2 reasons:
1) The Plans change - at first, the DO wants to turn Rand to his side, when it is apparent that won't happen then he decides to kill them. We see this preference expressed even in the Prologue of Eye of the World
2) The Forsaken are working to their own plans at the stage before Moridhin whips them into shape and different Forsaken are weaving different webs. This is seen most clearly when Lanfear sends trollocs to kill trollocs sent by another Forsaken (The Dragon Reborn maybe - can't remember sorry - been a while since my last read)

RE: The LotR parallels - Moiraine to Gandalf is an obvious one, especially knowing that she will disappear into a Ter'angreal later, supposedly/probably/possibly/"don't forget to resolve this Sanderson" dead, but I actual find Thom Merrilin to be a bit of a Gandalf figure this early in the story - particularly after the 'Whitebridge' chapter
AnneW
105. Iaeldor
On your comment about teenage boys and dancing: I am a teenage boy, and I do enjoy dancing. I know other teenage boys who enjoy dancing. I am most definitely real.
AnneW
106. Squish
A bit behind, but better late than never. Anyway, noboby mentioned one of my favorite lines:

Chapter 15 where Rand meets Min right before he runs away;
He jerked back from her hand as if it were red-hot. "What do you mean? Do you see anything about rats? Or dreams?"

Min's reply was classic;
"Rats! No, no rats. As for dreams, maybe it's your idea of a dream, but I never thought it was mine."
AnneW
107. Eleutherios
Did anyone else find it a bizarre coincidence that the Whitecloak spy in the common room (Ch. 17) has the same scar as Sammael?

Also, to disagree with some of the other commenters, I don't think the beggar vision has been fulfilled. Min isn't the only one to mention it - when Moridin is playing not-chess (don't remember which book), he wonders whether the Fisher King - a piece that looks like a blind beggar, and of course reflects the Fisher King myth of our era - is an incredibly ancient recollection of Rand from the last time the Third Age rolled around. I think that this implies the beggar vision is a bit more prominent than any of the potential fulfillments have been so far.
AnneW
108. thepupxpert
I know I'm coming in late to this conversation but in Chapter 11 it was my impression that it was Egwene that channeled into Bela, not Rand. I thought Rand's prickly skin was his way of knowing when a woman was channeling? Thoughts?
T C
109. Freelancer
thepupxpert@108

Well, had Egwene done it, Moiraine would have felt it, seen the weaves, and known Bela had been dealt with, instead of being surprised about it. Also, she later puts together what she knows and deduces that it was Rand. And, since her description of new channeler's sickness refers to incubating for about a week after first touching the Source, with one symptom being taking unusual risks, it's a week later that Rand loses control of himself for the first time in Baerlon, when he challenges the Whitecloaks. There's no other explanation for Rand behaving that way. As for Rand's prickly skin, he also felt as though his bones were freezing.
AnneW
110. chesan
Did anyone else find it a bizarre coincidence that the Whitecloak spy in the common room (Ch. 17) has the same scar as Sammael?

I've always believed that the Whitecloak spy was Demandred because of the way the person focused on Rand with such hatred.
Juan Avila
111. Cumadrin
better late than never. in light of gathering storm, my conclusion about rand and wandering as a beggar is that it just came to pass.

as i'm sure you know, leigh, the parallels between rand and the Fisher King/Moridin's Fisher have been discussed thoroughly. now i'm not a part of any active WoT discussion group/community anymore, so this revelation only just now occurred to me as i just finished my own complete re-read a few days ago, and have since been wandering the net going over everything i can find to illuminate unanswered questions i still have, if with nothing else than theories. one of them was the WOTFAQ you've so generously linked a few times in this blog up to now, which i just completely finished a few hours ago.

anyway... (heh) it's my opinion that the end of gathering storm fulfilled the beggar viewing Min had. going on the assumption that the viewing and what we know of the Fisher are related, i'll point out the relevant points that i think prove Rand is the Fisher and how he's been a 'beggar':

1: the Fisher is connected to the land; i am convinced the same after, among other things, reading a comment from Sanderson implying, that the same is true for rand. and thus they are related. the end of gathering storm has implied that this conflict is over, or about to end, within rand, so this leads me to look more carefully over his actions and events concerning him in the last couple books.

2: the Fisher is depicted wounded on his side in Moridin's game. i should not need to explain more. it's just one of the most obvious pieces of evidence connectins rand and the Fisher

3: the Fisher is blind, with bandages over his eyes. literally or metaphorically speaking, rand was as well as of gathering storm. literally - even tho it was never complete, and has since been healing naturally - thanks to Semirhage, figuratively due to his refusal to trust/feel emotion/ etc that's been creeping on the last few books, and came to a head in gathering storm.

lastly, and this is what convinced me, rand went to ebou dar after confronting tam, and traded his fine coat for a 'ragged cloak stitched in places' and a walking staff. he then ventured into the city and wandered, trying to convince himself to destroy the seanchan. sounds the most truly like a beggar to me than any other instance i've heard so far, and it definitely is a pivotal point for him and the series. when he tried to seize saidin he collapsed from the sickness and noticed, among other things of course, the people's concern for what to them might as well be a beggar.

not long after, he finally stopped trying to isolate himself from his emotions atop dragonmount, 'lifting the shadow from his own heart' so to speak, as far as we can tell at least. and we can venture to assume lifting the effect of decay and corruption spreading through the world despite everyone's best efforts (weevils, rats, keepings failing, crops not sprouting, etc) or at least stopping it's increase and turning it around.
AnneW
112. Felix Velarius Bos
I confess that I didn't notice Rand's channeling there until you said something. I'd thought it was EGWENE channeling.
Although, now that you said it, I'm going all freak-outy. In a "OH MY FREAKING GOD" way.

Mat annoyed me a bit at first, too. After twoish years or so past in the book, however, I got to love him. =) Although, I always wondered how everyone seemed to know he gambled all the time. I can't imagine him doing it too much in the Two Rivers, and certainly not when they were traveling, yet still they all knew.
AnneW
113. Tomelin
And finally, the Whitecloaks, ah, the Whitecloaks. I thought less of Mormons and more of Knights Templar

I thought of US army myself. Either you do what we say - or we bomb your hospitals and eradicate everyone including children with chemical weapons
AnneW
114. Alphaleonis
@ Tomelin 113.

Specific instances of US army bombing hospitals and using chemical weapons on civilians? The closest I can think of would be Bill Clinton bombing civilian manufacturing plants in (Sudan?). Although I consider every Commander in Chief of the military for at least the past 50 years to be a darkfriend.
AnneW
115. Fjor
"... Rand channels for the first time without knowing it."

Hi - brand new poster here (and I'm only through Book 5, so I'm doing my best to avoid spoilers). I wonder if it is possible that Rand was at least partly channeling when he used his bow in Emonds Field in the earliest chapters of TEOTW. Without having the book in front of me, I recall his using a trick that Tam taught him: reaching into the "void" to achieve some sort of calm state and allow him to make an accurate shot. It didn't seem to have the same emotional effect on him as when he later touches saidin, but perhaps it is a lesser sort of channeling.
Grainne McGuire
116. helen79
Fjor@115

I think you might struggle to avoid the spoilers if you keep reading this forum. There's loads of them. (I'm only an occasional poster but have read all the reread and most of the comments).

I don't want to answer your post as my answer would include material from later books. Nothing particularly spoilerish but still....
a a-p
117. lostinshadow
Fjor@115
welcome to the reread!

unfortunately even Leigh's commentary includes spoilers about the series (at this point through to book 11 - meaning excluding TGS and TOM) and the comments definitely include spoilers.

The comments, especially by some of our regular gurus (you'll figure out who they are soon enough) are really insightful and make you think about the series so definitely read them at some point.

To speak very generally without real spoilers - reaching into the "void" is a concentration trick that most high level fighters are taught, it is like our modern equivalent of "centering yourself" so that all is calm within you in carrying out the task at hand (be that shooting a bow or channelling)
a a-p
118. lostinshadow
oops, double post
AnneW
119. emceeclung
leigh -
i think a previous commenter mentioned it already, but Draghkar sounds like the cologne Drakkar Noir.
AnneW
120. Robski
Maybe Rands wondering like a begger thing was when he did a runner and the gang were following the pulls he made on the pattern from town to town?
AnneW
121. Azuarc
My eyes glossed over the comments trying to read them all eventually, but one thing I've kinda wondered about in doing a recent reread of my own...back in Emond's Field, Lan and Moiraine come bursting out of the inn yelling TROLLOC! MYRDDRAAL! SHADOWSPAWN! However, in the inn in Baerlon, a fade gets close enough to them to be able to kill Rand, and neither of them notice? I mean, yes, Lan does eventually step in, and perhaps there's just the one fade, which makes it less likely to trip the radar, but I would think that they'd have been all over that stuff. They must have been pretty severely distracted by the hubbub of leaving to not notice.
AnneW
122. sommer1132
"Is it just me, or does “Draghkar” sound like it should be the name of a cheesy cologne? Just me? Okay, then.: That's because it almost is the name of a cheesy cologne... Drakkar Noir Cologne for Men by Guy Laroche I used to work in a department store... :)
AnneW
123. MFMegazerox
The funny thing is, I noticed the Rand's first channel on Bela, but did not notice that he caused the lightning later on on my first read through.
AnneW
124. TheBeerPatriot
I had missed the reference to Rand channeling on the initial re-read as well. It really is a marvel how well Jordan subtly inserts Rand's first channeling experience in Chapter 11. It is less subtle in his confrontation with the Whitecloaks in Baerlon, which I sadly missed as well the first time.

Yes, very strong LOTR flavor in these chapters as well which Jordan does break from shortly to carve his own path. However, the introduction of Min and her visions immediately told me that this would be a long multivolume series.

I do remember being surprised when Nynaeve found them in Baerlon and joined them. My first impression was that her and Egwene would have similar roles-how mistaken could I be? ;)

The revelation of Ba'alzamon to Rand, Mat and Perrin in Chapter 14 is quite a powerful scene. While Ishamael is merely one of the Forsaken, he is such a forbidding presence that he seems to loom over everything in this book.

Moiraine is such a dominating figure in this book that it blows my mind that she disappears for 8 (!) books. The use of the One Power is nicely interspersed and described during the flight from the Trollocs and Myrdraal. I also like the foreboding nature of Shadar Logoth disclosed during the argument between Lan and Moiraine. Really leaves you hanging for Chapter 19.
Niraj Merchant
126. NirajMerchant
I think most of it has been talked about before, but something that struck me about Rand's character was that he wasnt bland really. He had a flash of anger against the raven early on. He was conservative in his world view and didnt really want to leave the two rivers. We also see the underpinings of some of his later treatment of women here, with the attention he pays to them whenever there is danger. I actually think that his characterization is done really well in hindsight, but without the benefit of someone looking at him, its really difficult to pick up on.

These early chapters really work for me even in a reread because of the excellent foreshadowing and the nice prose... Such a great book!
Ron Garrison
127. Man-0-Manetheran
Today’s Re-Re-Read Jump Outs:
Chapter 12: Moiraine - “You may go far. Perhaps even the Amyrlin Seat, one day, if you study hard and work hard.”

Chapter 13: Egwene - “they were the ones who . . . who tried to free the Dark One and the Forsaken, weren’t they? The male Aes Sedai? The women were not part of it. It was the men who went mad and broke the world.”

Chapter 14: Ba’alzamon - “I whispered in Artur Hawkwing’s ear, and the length and breadth of the land Aes Sedai died. I whispered again, and the High King sent his armies across the Aryth Ocean, across the World Sea, and sealed two dooms. The doom of his dream of one land and one people, and a doom yet to come.” — doom yet to come. DUN!

Chapter 18: For a wonder, Mat was the only one who had been unhorsed. Rand trotted toward him, but Mat tossed a noose away from him with a shudder, gathered his bow, and scrambled into his saddle unaided, though rubbing at his throat.
AnneW
128. Jbravo
Does anyone else think that the Fade that smiles at Rand at the Stag and the Lion in Chapter 17 is the first appearance of Shaidar Haran? It is mentioned in the wikis that he's a Fade with sense of humor.
AnneW
129. RIturalde
I have to disagree with the choice of the best quote from chapter 10 - surely it belongs to Thom. Looking "askance" at Lan's sword: "There's no need for that. I am not a cheese for slicing."
AnneW
130. Rand Trussell
"Maybe this is heresy, but I’ll take Thom Merrilin over Tom Bombadil any day." I heartily agree!!! And, no, it is NOT heresy.
AnneW
131. Rand Trussell
Also, all those "moments" of "self-realization" are probably some the main reasons why I love the series, as well. That one, and all of those that incorporate characters running into people they haven't seen for a while, and those people noticing the changes, and then the characters themselves noticing the difference are fantastic. I tend to like them more than battle scenes. (There is a really great one in The Great Hunt, but I will wait until I get there to comment on it.)
AnneW
132. Daz
Loving this work. Thank you so much.
AnneW
133. Skydyr
Regarding the channeling for Bela, I think Moiraine assumed that Egwene had done the channelling, because the next time they have a moment to rest, she immediately draws Egwene aside and starts teaching her how to touch the source properly. There is a sense of urgency the way she drags Egwene into the hide immediately, while the boys stand around talking for a bit. I think she assumed it was Egwene and that she was too distracted to notice, and now that she has 'touched' the source, she needs to be guided or possibly suffer from the wasting sickness. Her assumption of where the channeling would come from, and the fact that Egwene was on Bela, blinded her to the reality of the situation. It's only after the fact that she puts 2 and 2 together to realize Rand must have done it.
AnneW
134. NebunulEi
Just found this...don't know if anyone still reads these, but I always assumed his wandering as a beggar was when he went to Ebou Dar, right before his epiphany on Dragonmount

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