Feb 2 2009 2:58pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Eye of the World, Part 5

Greetings and salutations! I do be pleased to bring you Part 5 of the re-read of The Eye of the World, part of the ongoing saga of The Wheel of Time Re-read, now in its new timeslot and channel.

Today we will be covering Chapters 36-41, in which I do not play, so strap yourselves in. Previous entries can be found here. As per the usual, spoilers for the entire Wheel of Time series may occur, so if you haven’t read, don’t read.

Before we begin, I would like you to bow your heads for a moment’s silence, for the cover of my TEOTW paperback is no more. I always thought I would lose it someday (and really, it’s amazing it’s lasted the twelve years I’ve been hauling it all over the country it has), but I can honestly say I never expected its demise would be as a result of an ill-advised attempt to switch to the express train to Times Square. Freakin’ train conductors and their hair-trigger door closings. Book-manglers!

Um. Anyway. Yes. The re-read.

Chapter 36: Web of the Pattern

What Happens
Master Gill brings Rand and Mat a meal, and Rand tells him an edited version of their travels, adding that helping them could bring trouble. Gill waves this away, saying that he wouldn’t turn his back on a friend of Thom’s. Rand asks about the possibility of going to Elaida, but Gill advises against it, because of their connection with Thom. The cook summons Gill, and he mentions before leaving that there’s been a plague of rats in Caemlyn lately. Mat thinks that Gill was awfully quick to help them, and Rand just tells him to eat. They go up to their room, and Mat lays down, clutching the dagger. Rand asks if he’s just going to lie there, and Mat says it’s no use, their friends are all dead. Rand gives up and leaves him there. He goes back downstairs, but sitting in the common room makes him nervous; a maid tells him he could go in the library instead. Rand goes, and is marveling at all the books when he sees Loial for the first time, and yells in fright, thinking he’s a Trolloc. Loial wishes humans wouldn’t do that, and introduces himself. He’s been stuck in Gill’s inn ever since he came to Camelyn. Rand realizes that Loial is an Ogier, and Loial tells him about how he left the stedding to see the groves the Ogier built in the great cities of the world, even though technically he was too young to go (ninety years). He’s very sad that most of the groves are gone, and half of the cities he’d read about fallen to ruin or gone altogether. Rand tells him he can’t give up, and Loial nods:

“Yes, that’s the way of your kind, isn’t it?” The Ogier’s voice changed, as if he were quoting something. “Till shade is gone, till water is gone, into the Shadow with teeth bared, screaming defiance with the last breath, to spit in Sightblinder’s eye on the Last Day.” Loial cocked his shaggy head expectantly, but Rand had no idea what it was he expected.

A minute went by with Loial waiting, then another, and his long eyebrows began to draw down in puzzlement. But he still waited, the silence growing uncomfortable for Rand.

“The Great Trees,” Rand said finally, just for something to break that silence. “Are they like Avendesora?”

Loial sat up sharply; his chair squealed and cracked so loudly Rand thought it was going to come apart. “You know better than that. You, of all people.”

“Me? How would I know?”

“Are you playing a joke on me? Sometimes you Aielmen think the oddest things are funny.”

“What? I’m not an Aielman! I’m from the Two Rivers. I never even saw an Aielman!”

Loial shook his head, and the tufts on his ears drooped outward. “You see? Everything is changed, and half of what I know is useless. I hope I did not offend you.”

Loial asks what brings Rand to Caemlyn, and to his shock Rand finds himself telling Loial the whole story, even the dreams. He waits for Loial to think him crazy, but Loial explains the concept of ta’veren to him instead. Rand doesn’t think that’s the right explanation; he’s just a shepherd, after all. Loial tells Rand he would like to travel with him. Rand is tempted to say yes, but then thinks about the difficulty of hiding with a ten-foot Ogier in tow, and politely refuses. Loial sighs, and asks if Rand will at least visit with him while he’s in Caemlyn. Rand says of course he will.


Ta’veren,” Loial said.

Rand blinked. “What?”

Ta’veren.” Loial rubbed behind a pointed ear with one blunt finger and gave a little shrug. “Elder Haman always said I never listened, but sometimes I did. Sometimes, I listened. You know how the Pattern is woven, of course?”

“I never really thought about it,” he said slowly. “It just is.”

“Um, yes, well. Not exactly. You see, the Wheel of Time weaves the Pattern of the Ages, and the threads it uses are lives. It is not fixed, the Pattern, not always. If a man tries to change the direction of his life and the Pattern has room for it, the Wheel just weaves on and takes it in. There is always room for small changes, but sometimes the Pattern simply won’t accept a big change, no matter how hard you try. You understand?”

Rand nodded. “I could live on the farm or in Emond’s Field, and that would be a small change. If I wanted to be a king, though . . . ” He laughed, and Loial gave a grin that almost split his face in two.

Um, yeah, Rand, about that...


Whole lotta exposition here. But that’s okay, because the minute you meet Loial you want to run up and give him a hug, just like the big giant head characters at Disneyland. Or maybe that’s just me.

Ta’veren: As Magnetic Plot Devices go, it really is one of the better-justified — and fully plot-integrated — ones I’ve ever seen. It’s even better than living on a Hellmouth!

I’m not going to get into the whole ta’veren thing more here, as this post is hella long as it is, but fear not; we will be revisiting this topic.

Chapter 37: The Long Chase

What Happens
Nynaeve hangs out with the horses, annoyed, while Moiraine and Lan scout ahead. She thinks back to their journey from Whitebridge. They had followed the Caemlyn Road for some days, until Moiraine turned them north to follow the trail of the boy who still had his coin. One night Moiraine became agitated, saying the boy had lost his coin; later that night, though, she relaxed, telling Nynaeve that he got it back. Nynaeve is jerked back to the present when Lan puts a hand on her arm, scaring her. They hobble the horses, and Lan leads her to where he and Moiraine are hidden, watching a camp of some two hundred Whitecloaks downhill from them. Lan tells her the boy they’re after is in the camp, as a prisoner. He asks her if she’s willing to take a chance; Nynaeve says of course, to help a fellow Emond’s Fielder. Lan wants her to sneak down to the picket lines and cut them, so that when Moiraine creates a distraction the horses will all escape and, hopefully, prevent pursuit when Lan gets the boy out. Nynaeve swallows, and agrees. Lan also warns her that he saw wolves around, and that they aren’t acting like normal wolves. Nynaeve creeps through the woods and comes upon the picket lines. She cuts the lines, and is about to head back when she sees that one of the horses is Bela, and realizes that must mean Egwene is in the camp too. She quickly unties Bela’s reins, and then steals a second horse as well. Just then lightning and thunder crashes into the night, and Nynaeve is almost pulled apart by the panicking horses. Finally she manages to get them under control. She sees wolves attacking the other horses, but for some reason they are ignoring the two she’s stolen. She quickly rides off away from the camp.

Yay, Bela!

I… don’t really get what the title of this chapter means, here. It doesn’t seem to match the bulk of what happens within it, which is much less “chasing” and much more “skulking”, if you ask me.

Speaking of which, I’m not sure whether to be pleased that the female characters get to be competent members of the Away Team even before they acquire magical powers (Nynaeve’s successful stealth mission here, Egwene’s raven-killing proficiency with her sling earlier), or to be annoyed that this is rare enough that I feel the need to point it out.

Chapter 38: Rescue

What Happens
Perrin and Egwene have not been having a fun time with the Whitecloaks. Perrin thinks about how they’ve been leashed to a horse and made to follow the train on foot by day, and made to sleep on the ground, tied up, with no blankets by night. Byar, who’s appropriated Perrin’s axe as his own, comes by regularly to explain in detail all the tortures they will be put to once they reach Amador, and also to beat on Perrin. But this night, he comes to them and tells them that they are slowing the column down, and it is presenting the Lord Captain with a dilemma; Darkfriends must be brought to justice and punished, but thanks to the wolves they have no spare mounts for the prisoners, and it is of vital importance that they reach Caemlyn in time. If they escaped, however (Byar says), the Whitecloaks would be forced to let them go. He tosses a sharp rock down in front of Perrin. Perrin is astounded, and tries desperately to figure out if this is for real or if it’s a trap. Then suddenly the wolves send him a message: Help comes! Byar sees the change in Perrin’s expression, and wants to know what Perrin’s thinking. Perrin can’t think of anything to say, and watches as Byar reconsiders letting them escape. Byar is about to decide, when Lan comes out of nowhere and knocks Byar (and the other Whitecloak guards) cold. Lan cuts their bonds and tells them to get two cloaks from the felled Whitecloaks; Perrin gets his axe back, too, and thinks that he can almost still smell Byar on the cloak. Then Moiraine’s lightning storm begins, and Lan leads Perrin and Egwene out of the camp. They get back to Moiraine, who tells them that Nynaeve never returned. Lan spins around to go back for her, but Moiraine orders him to stop. When he hesitates, she sharply takes him to task:

“Remember your oaths, al’Lan Mandragoran, Lord of the Seven Towers! What of the oath of a Diademed Battle Lord of the Malkieri?”

Perrin blinked. Lan was all of that?

Then Nynaeve returns with Bela and a horse for Perrin. She starts toward Egwene, overjoyed, but Lan grabs her arm, and she stares up at him. Moiraine tells him they have to leave; Lan lets Nynaeve go, and she laughs. As they start out, Perrin feels the wolves say goodbye: One day again. They make camp, and Nynaeve pulls out her ointments to treat Egwene and Perrin’s injuries. When she treats Perrin, his bruises seem to almost completely go away, and Nynaeve looks frightened. Then she notices his eyes, and grabs his face to examine them, trying to figure out what kind of illness would turn the irises of his eyes yellow. Moiraine overhears this, and examines Perrin herself. She murmurs that there was no foretelling this. Nynaeve demands to know whether Moiraine knows what it is, and Moiraine merely tells her that it will not harm Perrin directly. Perrin realizes she and Lan know what it means. Lan asks if he met a guide, and Perrin tells him about Elyas. Lan recognizes the name, and tells Perrin that Elyas used to be a Warder. Perrin asks if the wolf thing is of the Shadow; Lan hesitates, then says he doesn’t think so, but who can tell? Lan goes on that the old barriers are weakening, and this may be the end of the Age — or of the world:

Suddenly he grinned, but his grin was as dark as a scowl; his eyes sparkled merrily, laughing at the foot of the gallows. “But that’s not for us to worry about, eh, blacksmith? We’ll fight the Shadow as long as we have breath, and if it overruns us, we’ll go under biting and clawing. You Two Rivers folk are too stubborn to surrender. Don’t you worry whether the Dark One has stirred in your life. You are back among friends, now.”

Understandably, Perrin is less than comforted by this.

It’s a cliché, but it’s still true: the eyes are the windows of the soul. Which is why in sf intimations of Other are so often indicated by a change in the eyes. If you go with the notion that the eyes, more than anything else, show who you are at the core, then it’s only logical that something so profound as to change your very nature would be reflected in them as well.

Also, funky-colored eyes are Cool. Just ask Mary Sue!

Lan’s never been among my favorite characters in WOT (though he’s certainly firmly on the plus side), but there’s no doubt the man is an all-around badass. (Though I have to admit the title “Diademed Battle Lord” makes me snort, just a little. Irony is a hard habit to shake, y’all.)

Chapter 39: Weaving of the Web

What Happens
Rand watches the crowd run through the streets from the window of his room, excited to see the false Dragon. He asks Mat if he’s coming along, but Mat just glowers and mutters imprecations about Loial being a Trolloc. Rand sighs and leaves. Downstairs, Gill tells Rand that someone’s been asking about him in the city—a half-mad beggar—and to be careful out there today. Rand heads out, and sees that the number of men wearing the white far outnumber the ones wearing red; Rand has learned that the red means support for Morgase, while the white means the Queen’s involvement with Aes Sedai was to blame for everything that’s been going wrong. Rand wishes the white cloth had been cheaper. The mood in the city is edgy and belligerent as Rand makes his way to the Inner City. He works his way to a good vantage point in the crowd lining the route Logain’s captors will take to get to the Palace, but then notices people clearing the way for a beggar dressed in disgusting filthy rags, face hidden by a cowl. The beggar draws opposite Rand’s position, and suddenly shrieks and points straight at Rand. The beggar begins struggling to get to him through the crowd, and Rand takes off in the opposite direction. He gets away from the throng and wanders at random for a while through the empty streets, upset that he’s going to miss seeing the false Dragon. He notices he is next to a high wall, and decides to climb it and see if he can still see the procession from there. He does so, and is thrilled to be proven right. He watches the massive wagon carrying Logain come into view, surrounded by soldiers and Warders. In the corners of the wagon, six Aes Sedai sit and watch the cage in the center with Logain inside. Rand stares at the false Dragon, fascinated, and notes that Logain carries himself like a king even in a cage, and where his gaze falls, people go silent. He wonders aloud to himself why the Aes Sedai are watching him like that, and a girl’s voice replies, “They’re keeping him from touching the True Source, silly.” Rand jerks in surprise, loses his balance, and falls inside the wall.

Again, I can’t remember if I had figured out by this point that the beggar who’s hunting Rand here (and earlier, on his and Mat’s way to Caemlyn) was Fain. I seriously doubt it, though; we don’t know at this point about the whole merging with Mordeth thing, and though Fain is the only really raggedy guy we’ve met thus far (when Rand sees him in Baerlon), the connection is subtle enough that I’m pretty sure I missed it.

Unlike Chapter 37, this title makes perfect sense. “Weaving of the Web”, indeed; this whole chapter is nothing but a series of ta’veren-y happenstances pushing Rand into position for the single most story-altering event to happen in TEOTW, other than the actual climax at the end.

Yay! Let’s get to it.

Chapter 40: The Web Tightens

What Happens
Rand regains consciousness to find he is inside the wall in what looks like a park. The girl who spoke to him is climbing down from the tree next to the wall, and Rand is alarmed to see how richly dressed she is. He also notes that she is extremely pretty. A boy who resembles her closely also drops down out of the tree, just as splendidly dressed as she is. The boy tells the girl that they will get in trouble with their mother for this, and she tells him to be quiet; the exchange reveals their names to be Gawyn and Elayne. Elayne asks Rand if he’s hurt. Rand says he’s fine and he’ll just be going back over the wall now, but falls down dizzily when he tries to stand. Elayne pulls out medicinal supplies and begins tending the wound on Rand’s head, ignoring him when he protests. Rand asks Gawyn if she always expects everyone to do what she tells them; Gawyn looks startled, then laughs, saying yes, she does, and usually, they do. He and Elayne have a rambling conversation about who does and does not obey her as she tends Rand’s scraped hands, and Rand finally asks who their mother is:

Elayne’s eyes widened in surprise, but Gawyn spoke in an ordinary tone that made his words all the more jarring. “Morgase, by the Grace of the Light, Queen of Andor, Protector of the Realm, Defender of the People, High Seat of the House Trakand.”

Rand begins to panic and scrambles to his feet, intending to try climbing the wall again. Elayne observes in surprise that he really didn’t know. Gawyn asks for his name, and without thinking he gives them his real name, adding that he’s from the Two Rivers. Rand notes that Gawyn looks surprised at this. Gawyn starts babbling about the Two Rivers and how Elayne should marry a man from there; Elayne and Rand stare at him, until they are interrupted by an extremely good-looking dark-haired man, who eyes Rand warily and demands that Elayne and Gawyn step away from him. Elayne refuses, telling the man, Galad, that Rand is under her protection, and Rand realizes this must be Galadedrid Damodred, Gawyn and Elayne’s half-brother. Galad tries to convince Elayne that Rand might be dangerous, but she orders him to leave. Galad does so reluctantly, and Elayne tells Rand they must get him out of there quickly. Before they can do anything, though, armed guards rush up and surround Rand. Gawyn and Elayne immediately jump in front of him. Elayne has an altercation with Tallanvor, the head of the guards, and does an end-run around him by demanding that all three of them be taken to Morgase, or none. This backfires when another guard brings a message that the Queen does command that all three of them be brought to her.

They head into the Palace, Elayne advising Rand to speak clearly and follow her lead; Rand thinks he would feel better about this if Gawyn didn’t also look nervous. After a long walk they arrive at the hall where Morgase awaits them, where Elayne refuses to let Tallanvor take Rand’s sword, saying that guests of the royal family may go armed even into the Queen’s presence. They enter, and Rand copies the way Gawyn bows, only to see Tallanvor glaring at him. Rand surreptitiously looks around and sees that Morgase is even more beautiful than her daughter. She is flanked by a man Rand surmises to be Gareth Bryne, and behind the throne a woman sits on a stool, knitting. Morgase commands them to rise, and rebukes Elayne and Gawyn for sneaking off to look at Logain. The woman knitting behind her chimes in, saying that Elayne’s lessons in Tar Valon will shape her into a proper Queen, and Rand realizes this must be Elaida. He is very glad, seeing her, that he never tried to contact her. Morgase turns her attention to Rand, and Elayne tells her the story of how Rand ended up inside the Palace walls, pleading for leniency for a loyal citizen of Andor. Morgase sighs, and informs Elayne that she doubts Two Rivers denizens are even aware they are citizens of Andor; Rand’s expression confirms this. Elaida puts down her knitting and examines Rand, declaring he looks nothing like a Two Rivers man; Rand replies that his mother was an outlander, but his father was a Two Rivers shepherd. Elaida reaches out and feels the raised engraving on his sword hilt under the wrappings.

“A shepherd from the Two Rivers,” she said softly, a whisper meant to be heard by all, “with a heron-mark sword.”

Those last few words acted on the chamber as if she had announced the Dark One. Leather and metal creaked behind Rand, boots scuffling on the marble tiles. From the corner of his eye he could see Tallanvor and another of the guardsmen backing away from him to gain room, hands on their swords, prepared to draw and, from their faces, prepared to die. In two quick strides Gareth Bryne was at the front of the dais, between Rand and the Queen. Even Gawyn put himself in front of Elayne, a worried look on his face and a hand on his dagger. Elayne herself looked at him as if she were seeing him for the first time. Morgase did not change expression, but her hands tightened on the gilded arms of her throne.

Only Elaida showed less reaction than the Queen. The Aes Sedai gave no sign that she had said anything out of the ordinary. She took her hand from the sword, causing the soldiers to tense even more. Her eyes stayed on his, unruffled and calculating.

Morgase says that surely he is too young to have earned the heron-mark, but Bryne disagrees, saying that he is too young, but the sword fits him. Elaida asks how he got the blade, and Rand replies that his father gave it to him. She observes that his story is absurd, and awfully convenient. Morgase asks if Elaida is naming him Darkfriend; Elaida avoids answering directly, but states that “this one is dangerous”. Morgase orders her to speak plainly for once: is this a Foretelling?

“This I Foretell,” Elaida replied, “and swear under the Light that I can say no clearer. From this day Andor marches toward pain and division. The Shadow has yet to darken to its blackest, and I cannot see if the Light will come after. Where the world has wept one tear, it will weep thousands. This I Foretell.”

A pall of silence clung to the room, broken only by Morgase expelling her breath as if it were her last.

Elaida continued to stare into Rand’s eyes. She spoke again, barely moving her lips, so softly that he could barely hear her less than an arm’s length away. “This, too, I Foretell. Pain and division come to the whole world, and this man stands at the heart of it. I obey the Queen,” she whispered, “and speak it clearly.”

Rand felt as if his feet had become rooted in the marble floor. The cold and stiffness of the stone crept up his legs and sent a shiver up his spine. No one else could have heard. But she was still looking at him, and he had heard.

Rand repeats that he is a shepherd from the Two Rivers. Bryne and Elaida both advise Morgase that it would be best to lock him up for a while, at least until Elayne and Gawyn are gone. Morgase considers this, but then declares that Andor is drowning in suspicion and fear, and she will not participate in it. Elaida starts to protest, but Morgase cuts her off. She asks Rand if she means any harm to her or her family, and Rand swears that he doesn’t. Morgase advises him not to be seen on the Palace grounds again, and tells Tallanvor to escort him out.

Gawyn and Elayne accompany him to the Palace gates. Elayne tells him that if she had told Morgase that she, Elayne, thought Rand was handsome, he would surely have been locked in a cell. She smiles at him and leaves Rand gaping. He recovers, and half-asks Gawyn why no one believed he was from the Two Rivers.

Gawyn nodded as if it was for this he had been waiting. Still he hesitated. Rand opened his mouth to take back the unspoken question, and Gawyn said, “Wrap a shoufa around your head, Rand, and you would be the image of an Aielman. Odd, since Mother seems to think you sound like a Two Rivers man, at least.”

Gawyn bids him farewell, and leaves. Rand stumbles outside the gate and stands there numbly, thinking about Gawyn’s words, until he realizes how easy it would be for Elaida to find him there, and hurries away.

This is hands-down my favorite chapter in the book. Screw that, this is one of my favorite scenes in the entire series. I apologize for the ridiculously long recap of it, and the extensive quoting, but I couldn’t bring myself to edit it down any further.

This is where the whole story shifts and re-centers, in tone, in scale, and in focus. Before this point, though of course a lot of significant stuff happens, we’ve basically been dicking around in the backwaters of Randland; now, as they say, we’re suddenly on a much larger playing field.

However much Elaida will come to suck later on, her presence in the series is totally justified on the basis of this one scene. Her Foretelling, besides just being generally awesome, eliminates any lingering doubt we might have had by this point over just who is at the center of this story, and gives the reader the first really clear indication of just how big this thing is going to get. I remember I got chills the first time I read it.

Not to mention, this whole chapter is nothing but one big smorgasbord of self-realization moments, which as I might have mentioned a few billion times is one of my favorite things ever. Not only Elaida’s Foretelling, but Bryne’s observation that the heron-mark sword belongs with Rand, and Gawyn’s statement that Rand looks like an Aielman—even Elayne’s assertion that he is handsome—these are the things that fill my geeky little heart with joy. Intrigue and portent and drama, oh my.

The effectiveness of these revelations has a lot to do with the third person limited narrative mode Jordan employs. Ninety-five percent of the time in this novel, we are seeing things only from Rand’s perspective, and those POVs we’ve had which are not Rand’s have thus far only happened while Rand is not present (plus, Nynaeve and Perrin both had much more pressing matters than Rand on their minds at the time). Since Rand is clearly not given to much self-introspection as a character (most of Jordan’s characters aren’t, actually), we are forced to rely on those relatively rare occasions when other characters make vocal observations to him about himself to see how he might be perceived from a more omniscient point of view.

(This is a method of characterization that is very easily abused, especially when the author is a little too enamored of the character being observed (see Sue, Mary), but in my opinion Jordan had a very good grasp of how much was just enough. And one thing Jordan’s never had a problem with is characters in WOT over-romanticizing other characters. If anything his flaw lies in the opposite direction.)

That’s how you do it. Don’t lay it out on the table like week-old ham; give a tantalizing glimpse here, a little taste there. Leave ‘em wanting more, by gum.

And, yeah. Made Of Awesome, my peeps. MADE OF AWESOME.

Okay, I will shut up now. Well, I won’t, actually, but I will at least shut up about this chapter. Onward!

Chapter 41: Old Friends and New Threats

What Happens
Rand returns to the inn and finds Gill in the library, losing a game of Stones to Loial. He tells them what happened, all of it except what Elaida had whispered to him and what Gawyn had said about him looking like an Aielman. Loial murmurs about ta’veren. Gill tells him he’ll have to leave the city immediately; he offers to give Rand and Mat horses, and Rand tells him he is a good friend, embarrassing Gill. Loial repeats that he would like to go with Rand, and Rand reminds him of the danger. Loial seems unruffled by that part of it:

“Darkfriends,” the Ogier replied in a placid rumble, “and Aes Sedai, and the Light knows what else. Or the Dark One. You are going to Tar Valon, and there is a very fine grove there, which I have heard the Aes Sedai tend well. In any case, there is more to see in the world than the groves. You truly are ta’veren, Rand. The Pattern weaves itself around you, and you stand in the heart of it.”

This man stands at the heart of it. Rand felt a chill. “I don’t stand at the heart of anything,” he said harshly.

Gill and Loial are taken aback, and Rand feels bad, and says that Loial can come with him. Then a maid comes in and tells Gill that there are Whitecloaks in the inn. Gill jumps up and heads to the common room; Rand follows, hanging back so he won’t be seen. Gill greets the Whitecloaks, and their leader interrupts rudely and tells him they’re looking for Darkfriends: “a boy from the Two Rivers–” Gill cuts him off, furious, declaring that his inn harbors no Darkfriends, that everyone here is a good Queen’s man. The Whitecloak officer sneers and says something about the Queen and her “Tar Valon witch”, and every patron in the inn stands up. The other Whitecloaks look nervous, but the officer continues to threaten Gill, saying he wouldn’t like it much if he ended up with a Dragon’s Fang on his door. Gill tells him to get out, and gives him a count of three. The officer snaps that this isn’t the end of it, and tries not to scurry too much getting out of the door. Gill asks Rand what he’s been up to, with Elaida and Whitecloaks, but Rand protests he has no idea why the Whitecloaks are after him. The maid comes back and says there’s a lady in the kitchen asking for Rand and Mat by name. Gill looks alarmed, but Rand realizes who this must be and breaks into a huge grin. He bolts off to the kitchen, Gill yelling after him to wait, and charges in to see Moiraine, Lan, Perrin, Nynaeve and Egwene waiting for him. The Emond’s Fielders have a joyous reunion, though Rand notices Perrin seems subdued and is keeping his eyes downcast. Rand introduces everyone to Gill; Moiraine and Lan give him sharp looks when he uses their real names. Nynaeve asks where Mat is, and Rand tells her Mat is upstairs, sick. Nynaeve wants to go see him immediately, and Moiraine suggests they all go up while she has a word with Master Gill about rats.

The Emond’s Fielders all go upstairs. Perrin asks where Thom is; stricken, Rand tells them a Fade killed him. Inside the room, Rand says look who’s here, Mat; Mat is sweating and feverish-looking, and only asks how Rand can be sure they are who they seem. Nynaeve goes to the bed at once to see what the problem is.

“Pretty Nynaeve,” Mat spat. “A Wisdom isn’t supposed to think of herself as a woman, is she? Not a pretty woman. But you do, don’t you? Now. You can’t make yourself forget that you’re a pretty woman, now, and it frightens you. Everybody changes.” Nynaeve’s face paled as he spoke, whether with anger or something else, Rand could not tell. Mat gave a sly laugh, and his feverish eyes slid to Egwene. “Pretty Egwene,” he croaked. “Pretty as Nynaeve. And you share other things now, don’t you? Other dreams. What do you dream about now?” Egwene took a step back from the bed.

Moiraine enters, sees Mat, and hisses at Nynaeve to get away from him. When Nynaeve doesn’t move, Moiraine grabs her and hauls her away from the bed. Mat snarls silently at Moiraine as she reaches out to touch him. Suddenly Mat whips out the dagger and tries to stab her with it, but Lan appears out of nowhere and grabs his wrist, stopping him. Moiraine asks why they didn’t listen to her warning, and Rand explains he didn’t know Mat had the dagger until after they were separated. Moiraine says that Fades and Darkfriends would feel the evil of the dagger for miles off and be irresistibly drawn to it; she’s amazed they got this far with it. Lan says there are Fades and Trollocs gathering in the countryside even now, and that they may well have brought another Trolloc War to Caemlyn. Rand is aghast, but Moiraine says it might not come to that, if they can get out of the city. Perrin says bitterly that they bring death with them everywhere they go, and Rand is shocked to see his eyes are yellow. Moiraine returns to the subject of Mat, and Egwene asks what’s wrong with him.

[Moiraine] pointed to the ruby-hilted dagger, careful not to let her finger touch it. The blade trembled as Mat strained to reach her with it. “This is from Shadar Logoth. There is not a pebble of that city that is not tainted and dangerous to bring outside the walls, and this is far more than a pebble. The evil that killed Shadar Logoth is in it, and in Mat, too, now. Suspicion and hatred so strong that even those closest are seen as enemies, rooted so deep in the bone that eventually the only thought left is to kill. By carrying the dagger beyond the walls of Shadar Logoth he freed it, this seed of it, from what bound it to that place. It will have waxed and waned in him, what he is in the heart of him fighting what the contagion of Mashadar sought to make him, but now the battle inside him is almost done, and he almost defeated. Soon, if it does not kill him first, he will spread that evil like a plague wherever he goes. Just as one scratch from that blade is enough to infect and destroy, so, soon, a few minutes with Mat will be just as deadly.”

Appalled, Nynaeve asks if there’s anything to be done; Moiraine hopes so, and tells them to leave her with Mat.

Again, sorry about all the quoting. But especially with the last, I couldn’t think of a more concise way to convey the concepts involved than the dialogue itself.

And, ugh, Shadar Logoth funk. I remember that I had known from the moment we see Mat playing with the dagger on Domon’s boat that it was Bad News, because I am genre-savvy, yo, but the way Moiraine actually describes it here was even worse than I had been supposing. Even now it kind of makes me want to go take a shower. Yick.

Perrin should really pipe down; of the three boys, he by far got the least raw deal. Of course, that’s not very fair of me, since he (and we) haven’t yet been clued in to Rand’s channeling tainted goopy saidin, and how much that’s going to suck for him. But still.

(Insert incoherent parenthetical observation here about the Law of Contagion in magic systems, and the reiterated parallel to biological warfare. I’m not sure what I’m trying to say here, but I’m sure it’s something.)

Veddy interestink that the thing Evil Mat chooses to taunt Egwene with is dreams, eh? Another example of foreshadowing so subtle I never noticed it till now. Very sly, our Jordan.

One last note on this chapter: the icon is the staff, which was used in the early books to represent Moiraine. I haven’t been talking about the icons much thus far, but this one I wanted to point out because I distinctly remember that this was the first one that jumped out at me the first time around. Though the chapter title was probably hint enough that Rand was about to have a reunion, this was the first time I recall looking at the icon and going, “Oh! That must mean Moiraine’s in Caemlyn.” Previous to this, I had been kind of not seeing them (even though I did note the wolf icon for Perrin); after this chapter I started paying more attention to them.

And I’m spent. Mosey on back this Wednesday for the penultimate section of the re-read of TEOTW, in which we’ll get through Chapters 42-47. Be there or be square!

Kate Nepveu
1. katenepveu
Thank goodness, something *happening*. I'd gotten behind, and having to plow through the Rand and Mat Journey of Pain that was covered last time . . .

What, no comment about how the Ogiers are Ents? I mean, animals instead of trees, but that _dialogue_ when we first meet Loial . . . it was as strong an echo for me as Shadar Logtoh = Moria, or even stronger.

Agree on the "Diademed Battle Lord" thing. You haven't read Walter Jon Williams' Drake Maijstral books, have you? They are light fluffy SF caper novels in which the Diadem is an invite-only group of celebrities so famous that they go by only one name, and now I can't help but think of Lan stalking through a space station hotel with cameras hovering all around him. =>

I found Elaida's knitting a little _too_ obviously Dickensian this re-read, and Morgase a little _too_ obviously saintly, but mostly I was distracted by how young all the characters are here, once again. Oh, the changes that are in store for them all . . .
Joseph Olson
2. olsonizer
Speaking of the covers...Am I the only one that wishes that TOR would commision all new Cover art for the series. I would like to see a new revamped look when AMOL comes out. No offense to Darrel K. Sweet but his later covers stink. I loved the first 2 or 3 then they all became midgets and uninspired.

I like either extremely crisp realistic fantasy art like from Michael Whelan and Keith Parkinson, or stylized Song of Ice and Fire type covers.

3. dubtrix
Thanks for the first 5 installments. This re-read has become a looked-forward-to event min my life. Ho!
J Novak
4. Novak
There's not a lot I didn't like in tEotW, as a book. Contrary to some, I didn't mind the pacing of Rand's and Mat's not so excellent adventure through the hinterlands, because the pacing worked. As you note, prior to Rand's appearance before Morgase, Rand and Mat not only considered themselves bit players (or non-players!) but they hadn't even any idea of the size of the board. The early slow trek across the backwoods of Andor worked, because it was appropriate to the characters and because we were still learning valuable things along the way.

It's only in later books, when Rand and the crew are world striding colossi and we're still dealing with day to day stuff that the pacing is off.

And in addition to the symbols and foreshadowing you point out, I was always struck by the notion that in one chapter we have Loial giving us our first real expository chunk about the Pattern and what happens when you try and force it... and in the next one, we have Elaida sitting there knitting her own Pattern. That seems to be a particularly sin-like moral attitude in Randland-- trying to force the Pattern to your own ends, or even thinking you can. The Whitecloaks try something similar, letting Rand run free so they can unite the whole continent behind them, against him.

Rand falls prey to that, too, I think.

But then, if I were writing the end of this book, the last words would be Ishamael whispering, "I win again, Lews Therin," as he died, because he manuevered Rand into breaking the Wheel of Time-- not destroying the world, but doing something so radical that the seven-age pattern would never recover.
5. GregLamont
WOW! This was a long one, but you really couldn't have left any of that out! I have to say that these are among my favorite chapters of the entire series as well. From the rescue of Perrin and Egwene all the way through to the end of the book I was entranced. I think on my first read through that I finished it all in one sleepless night.

I have to say that your commentary on these chapters has me waxing nostalgic for the days when I had the time to read and re-read this series.

Thanks so much for what you are doing here!
6. MargaretJ
Thank goodness the Fellowship is back together and the slogging part is over. The Rand and Mat's Bogus Journey bit is important for plot and character development, I guess, but I just find it so tedious.

Speaking of the Fellowship, the bit with Perrin and Egwene and the Whitecloaks really reminded me of Pippin and Merry being captured by the orcs in The Two Towers, especially in the bit where Byar nearly frees them. He's not opposing Bornhald, exactly, the way Grishnakh and Ugluk are opposed, but he definitely represents a different point of view about what to do with the prisoners.

In fact, that makes me wonder if the chapter title, "The Long Chase", which as you say, Leigh, doesn't seem to match the contents of the chapter very well, is an echo of Aragorn and Legolas and Gimli's long chase after Pippin and Merry. Okay, or maybe I'm stretching the Tolkien similarities a little here. :)

When Rand meets Elayne, her self-possession reminds him of Nynaeve or Moiraine -- strikes me as a hint that she can channel. (Though that ought to be pretty clear later on in the chapter, when we learn that she's going to Tar Valon with Elaida.)
7. Rossage and Bee
I agree, cover art could be better, but still good
lets me see what some of the places are like i suppose, though i obviously don't rely on them - most of my books just have the snake and wheel symbol anyway. However, what is that... thing... in the inside cover of The Great Hunt? It really distresses me! There are obviously Trollocs, but the thing in the middle, that whitish, pinkish thing with red eyes. What is it?
8. Zeynep
Oh, so you finally lost your picture of Moiraine With DDD Cups, Version 1.

Since you are being evil and linking to TVTropes occasionally, thus guaranteeing that one hour of my night that evening will be totally unproductive for anything whatsoever, let me refer to them (though without linking): I always saw the moment when all the patrons in the inn stand up against the Whitecloaks as a Crowning Moment of Awesome.

So is Mat's taunting of Nynaeve and Egwene, although in the very not-awesome sense.

Not too much time for in-depth commentary today, sorry.
9. locosweetie
I always thought that chapter icon represented Nynaeve. Early on it describes that she carries a cudgel that looks like a knotted length of wood that is bigger on one end than the other. The item tapers too quickly for it to last the length it would need to be to be Moiraine's staff, but not so for Nyneave's cudgel. Plus, Moiraine's staff is described as being intricately carved. I may be way off on this one since I'm just going off my causal observances and my initial impressions and I haven't looked anything up.

Oh, and about the ‘Long Chase’. I think it is that the long chase after Perrin is finally over. By the by, I love this chapter with Nyneave being sneaky!
10. Cosmix
You left out my favorite line in the book!

"One minute Lan was in the doorway, the next he was at the bedside, as if he had not bothered with the
intervening space. His hand caught Mat's wrist, stopping the slash as if it had struck stone."

Unlike you, I'm a big Lan fan, probably because I first read the series as a 13 year old boy. :P
11. Jason17
Yes I think you have taken it to the next lev Leigh. Your finest work so far! The forshadowing is incredible in these chapters, to me it shows how much Jordan is truly into his work and also his genius. He really takes this kind of story telling to another lev( In my opinion) than other writers of this genera. Also the complexity of the body of work makes me start to get a headache. Thats what I love about the series.

Thanks again Leigh really look forward to your write ups!
12. Heather J.
I could be remembering this completely wrong here, but the Rand watching Logain thing – isn’t there a part where Logain looks directly at him? I can’t remember for sure, but I thought there was some reader speculation about Logain being able to see ta’veren, or at least taking some interest in Rand from afar … does that ring a bell to anyone, or am I way off here?

And I totally agree with COSMIX in comment #10 – I’ve always loved Lan, but I think it was more of a teenage girl crush thing (I was in high school when I first read TEOTW).
Leigh Butler
13. leighdb
Heather J:

Logain himself talks about it later, but at the time Rand doesn't notice Logain looking directly at him. The TEOTW quote is:

As the wagon rolled through the Palace gates, he turned to look back at the assembled masses. They howled at him, beyond words, a wave of sheer animal hate and fear, and Logain threw back his head and laughed as the Palace swallowed him.

Somewhere in LOC, I think, Logain tells Siuan et al about how he saw a man in Caemlyn who "glowed like the sun", or something similar, and knew the real Dragon was out there, and understandably found that hilarious under the circumstances.
14. Heather J.
thanks for the clarification leighdb!
15. Jambo
"Veddy interestink that the thing Evil Mat chooses to taunt Egwene with is dreams, eh? Another example of foreshadowing so subtle I never noticed it till now. Very sly, our Jordan."

I'm not sure if you're refering to Egwene's Dreamwalking by this, but when I read this I always assumed it was refering to the shared dream Egwene and Nynaeve have of becoming Aes Sedai (though obviously for different reasons).

Anyway, awsome work!
16. markp
Thanks for the reread its good to read this again after over 10 years.
I was sure i remembered Logain looking at Rand as well, maybe it occurs in another book.
This chapter reminds you how young the characters are especially Elayne.
17. Erdrick
Leigh, your covers lasted that long!? I don't think any of mine ever survived the first read.

Some thoughts about each chapter...

Ch36: Rand joking about being a king is repeated (or "pre-peated?") in the "From the Two Rivers" prologue "Ravens."

Ch37: "The Long Skulk" just does not sound right.

Ch 38: This is where Lan became my all time favorite character.

Ch39: Just before she heals him, Logain tells Nynaeve:
"You know, I saw a man once who will cause more trouble than I ever did. Maybe it was the Dragon Reborn; I don't know. It was when they took me through Caemlyn after I was captured. He was far away, but I saw a ... a glow, and I knew he'd shake the world. Caged as I was, I couldn't help laughing."

Ch40: Most of my friends really dislike Galad, but he is actually one of my favorite characters. I thought it was just brilliant when I found out he was Rand's half brother (as well as Elayne's, but thankfully on the other side).

Ch41: About the dagger...I like the idea someone pointed out when discussing why Mordeth freaked out in Shadar Logoth. After saying they can take anything "except . . . except . . ." the dagger perhaps? It could be that Mat's ta'verenness led him to pick up the one thing that Mordeth didn't want them to have. That makes the dagger more special than just a tainted Shadar Logoth relic.
18. krukurr

Just got this idea today at work while I was thinking about today's new re-read...As I see it, this might be the best time to give the WOT series one last hurrah. By this I mean that as we are following this re-read, there is some very good information dealing with the series being passed along. And it would be ashame if something really important is forgotten.

I realize there are some very good WOT places to get some really good info on the series already, but it is so spread out and often hard to find. So what I am thinking about is anyone interested in trying to set up a database (for lack of a better term) that could be put together as we are reading along with Liegh.

For example, there are a lot of really good pictures of the characters in this series, but I often have found conflicting results (of course, there are vague discriptions at times, and we really have little to go with as this is fiction, after all ;o) at times) I have noticed even from the book covers and the descriptions of some of the characters.

Or how about the 20 most liked scenes of the series, or the 30 most despised cliche's, or how about the 5 best looking women in the series? How about the number of times Nynaeve tugs at her braid.....things like that.
At the least give some good links to answer some of these questions where it would be in a centralized much as practical...IE as elaborate as anyone wants to make this databade...

And after reading some of today's comments, It seems like maybe some of you might be ready to take on this and come up with some kind of WOT refference that would at least pertain to this re-read.
Jason Denzel
19. JasonDenzel
I whole-heartedly agree that the chapter where Rand meets Queen Morgase is one of the finest scenes in the entire saga. It routinely makes my "Top 10 WoT scenes" list. :)

Gives me chills every time I re-read it. The way Elaida whispers that last part of the Foretelling to Rand is just plain evil and creepy.
20. tearl
@12. Heather J.
I could be remembering this completely wrong here, but the Rand watching Logain thing – isn’t there a part where Logain looks directly at him? I can’t remember for sure, but I thought there was some reader speculation about Logain being able to see ta’veren,....

From LOC, ch. 30 To Heal Again
"You know, I saw a man once who will cause more trouble than I ever did. Maybe it was the Dragon Reborn; I don't know. It was when they took me through Caemlyn after I was captured. He was far away, but I saw a . . . a glow, and I knew he'd shake the world. Caged as I was, I couldn't help laughing."

From TEOTW, ch 39 Weaving of the Web
As the wagon rolled through the Palace gates, he turned to look back at the assembled masses. They howled at him...and Logain threw back his head and laughed as the Palace swallowed him.
21. hummingbird
I admit ,I had - and still have - a crush on Lan. He was/is just awesome. Quiet strength but still waters run deep...*le sigh*...

But this section - these chapters is what made me fall in love with the series. Once the gang was all back together and the plot really started to thicken, I began the journey that was my obsession with TWOT.

Admittedly, I had trouble getting "into each new book.. struggeling the first few chapters until I got the "feel" ofit again. Im thinking this re-read will ease that struggle a bit.

I'm off to get ahead in TGH.... so Im ready for the re-read posts later this week.
Leigh Butler
22. leighdb

What, no comment about how the Ogiers are Ents? I mean, animals instead of trees, but that _dialogue_ when we first meet Loial . . . it was as strong an echo for me as Shadar Logtoh = Moria, or even stronger.

You are completely right of course, but I was going to wait until we got to the Eye to bring it up, because if you think the echo is strong *here*...

Now, of course, you've totally ruined it. Ruined!
Leigh Butler
23. leighdb

I was always struck by the notion that in one chapter we have Loial giving us our first real expository chunk about the Pattern and what happens when you try and force it... and in the next one, we have Elaida sitting there knitting her own Pattern.

That's... kind of an awesome observation.

That seems to be a particularly sin-like moral attitude in Randland-- trying to force the Pattern to your own ends, or even thinking you can.

Something which Elaida in particular is guilty of. In her defense, sort of, her particular talent, Foretelling, is a huge factor in her thinking she has the right to manipulate events, but that doesn't excuse how badly she screwed up at it, or change how soundly she is going to be smacked down for it (or so I devoutly hope).

(I mean, seriously. Did the woman ever *once* correctly interpret her own Foretellings?)
24. FunBob

I think you're right about Elaida, that she never correctly interpreted her own Foretellings...I think this has to do with her being so self centered and hung up on her own importance that she wouldn't think beyond the first thought that popped into her head....

'What!' shouted Elaida. 'I? Wrong?....'

Till next time....sorry about the cover loss :(
25. aFinn
Hi all,

I've just been observing and enjoying up till now, but there is something that happens in this section that I have always wondered about.

When Rand is speaking with Morgase, Morgase says she has the advantage over the others cause she has heard Two Rivers speech before. What I want to know is where she heard it. If she had been to the Two Rivers when she was young you would think that the Two Rivers people would still be taliking about it when another lady (Moraine) shows up. Also no one ever leaves the Two Rivers, except Tam.

So did she meet Tam at some point in time? Is there another explanation that I've missed? And if she met Tam will he recognize her now that they are both in Perrin's camp?

Anyways, really enjoying the reread.
26. RobMRobM
Misc comments

36. Can't believe I didn't pick up the express references to Rand as an Aiel before. thanks for quoting.

37. "If you are half as good as I think you are..." you'll get by the guards and cut the ropes. Love that Lan/Nyneave foreplay. (P.s. Long chase means that they've been chasing boys with coins since Shadar Logoth - that pretty darn long as far as I am concerned).

38. You omitted Moraine's belief that the Dark One caused Perrin to turn wolf, a conclusion Lan didn't buy for a second. Yet another sign that Aes Sedai, even talented ones, are narrow minded and clueless about some things. (And, yes, Lan is tres cool.)

39. No comment - other than I didn't know it was Fain either.

40. Truly awesome but four points. A. You didn't mention the puzzle of how Morgase was acquainted with Two Rivers speech when she was younger. One of best throwaway mysteries in the series. Please tell me this will be explained in AMOL. I'm betting Tam is involved somehow (see below) - but you would have thought she'd have remembered the name. B. Gareth Bryne is tres cool. C. Morgase is tres cool. D. Finally, given how weasily Tallanvor acts in this chapter, it would be a huge downer if Morgase ends up with him at the end of AMOL. She is fated to be with someone who will treat her right -- the lonely widower from Emonds Field who happens to have just joined Perrin's army in Book 11. Call me a romantic but Rand (in whatever body he'll be in) and Elayne need to ride off into sunset with their parents in the castle with them.

41. Mat refers to the interest in men experienced by Nyneave and Egwene. (No, I don't think the reference is to sharing an interest in becoming AS.) A pretty clear way to freak out N and E given how straightlaced and Victorian the Two Rivers folk are but, strangely, the comment might have some truth in it, given their respective interests in Lan and Aram.
27. Dr. Morganstien
to leighdb:

Thanks so much for this! I just re-read entire series again for AMOL and this is hitting all the stuff I'm too dense to notice.

to cosmix:

Good call on the Lan quote. It is the best way Jordan ever describes the true talents of the man. Its almost like a Chuck Norris fact, only more cool.
28. dmp
Myths and legends seem to be the major means of transferring knowledge and culture across the gap between the ages with literature being the main vehicle. I always had the impression that Loial is the voice of this age in the next age. He is a companion because he wants to write a history. To me, Loial is the narrator for this series. Sometimes I like the think that the book Loial is trying to write is the book(s) we are now reading.
Leigh Butler
29. leighdb
aFinn and RobMRobM:

I never thought the thing about Morgase being familiar with Two Rivers speech was all that much of a mystery, myself. I mean, maybe there's some big thing behind it, but I always assumed, Occam's Razor-like, that at some point she met someone who had left the Two Rivers (yeah, they're all insular, but *some* people surely leave from time to time), and noted the accent, end of story.

But if you want the big conspiracy theory, hell, it is true that Tam was involved in the Aiel War, apparently (if I recall correctly) in some type of command capacity, and was near Tar Valon at its end. I'm not sure of the timing of when Morgase was at the Tower, but twenty years ago sounds plausible, so sure. Maybe she met Tam there.
30. IanGH
For all my dislike of Elaida, I can't say that misinterpreting a foretelling sets her apart. How many dreams/foretellings/prophecies has anyone gotten right in the whole series? It seems to be kind of a theme.

31. Germaine
I think RobM is right about what Mat thinks about E and N's dreams. After all, what happens when E gains more control over her dreams, and dreams about Gawyn?

For the opposing view, dreaming about becoming AS would be villianous to Mat, and lead him to do some heckling.
32. Germaine
Loial, in the LOTR alternate reality, is Bilbo, writing in his red book.
33. Erdrick
RobMRobM @26,

You said "Rand (in whatever body he'll be in) and Elayne...," implying what exactly? I'm wondering if you are hinting at something I've been suspecting for some time now. I don't frequent any theory sites, so if I am stating something already discussed elsewhere, please let me know where; I'd really like to see what others have to say about this.

Here it goes: the Rand body we know dies while he somehow (with Alivia's help) boots out Ishy and takes over Moridin's body. Perhaps the body swap occurs and it's Ishy who dies in Rand's body. This is the "something odd" Min sees about Aviendha's future children...they will be fathered by a Rand in a different body. Perhaps his occupancy of Moridin will give him True Power access, which may be the key to victory over the Dark One.

This body swapping idea comes from both the Min vision about Rand merging with someone (one of them lives and one of them dies), and reading about the struggle for control of the Fisher piece in Moridin's game.

Sorry this is a bit off topic. I'll try to stick to the chapters being covered, but that previous comment sent me off on this tangent. Again, sorry, and thanks Leigh for taking us along on this reread. I'm really enjoying these posts.
34. Erdrick foolish of me to think that any theory (however outlandish) about the WoT has not already been posted and discussed somewhere by now. After that previous post I got curious and did a search for this theory. Here you go:
35. SteelBlaidd
Lots of good stuff in this section.

“Till shade is gone, till water is gone, into the Shadow with teeth bared, screaming defiance with the last breath, to spit in Sightblinder’s eye on the Last Day.”

This is the first real example of one of my favorite aspects of Jordan's writing. Whether it's Aeil greetings and endearments, Borderland funerary practice, or the pop of the Hall of the Sitters, I've always found his ear for ritual and ceremony to be deft and very real.

Also Loial Rocks.

@Edrick: I'm in the Galad fan club too. I think the reason people don't like him is they can't accept that he is really that honorable. Elayne, for example, can't accept that he dosen't resent Gawyn displacing him as First Prince of the Sword.

He's a lot like Faramir in LotR. Unlike Faramir I don't think he really understands that people can deliberately chose to be dishonorable till his confrontation with Eamon Valda in KoD.

@Leigh I think Elida's problem is that she believes that she because has the Fortelings she should be the important one. Also because shes a Red she has a real hard time with the fact that the Prophecies give all the important stuff to do to a MAN.

Rand, I think, is the only one who really understands that the only way to deal with the foretelling at his disposal(Kareathon Cycle, Min's viewings, Red Stone Door answers)is to accept them and try to find the cracks where he can work around them.
36. locosweetie
I think Elaida did interpret at least one of her fortellings correctly. The royal family of Andor will be key to the Last Battle. Probably not the way she thought though. Especially considering both Rand's mother was and Elayne currently is part of that ruling class.
Elaida doesn't hold a candle to Gitara(sp?) in the fortelling department. The only reason why I put up with her as a character is that she is in that tough spot of not being one of the bad guys, but also unintentionally hindering the good guys. I guess I sorta feel sorry for her.
Ryan Thistlethwaite
37. shintemaster
Love the Aeil creed as it were. Probably the most exciting parts of the first book for me right here. There's something about the way Jordan writes Loial in that you just KNOW that he's a good guy from the start.
The whole segment where Rand is in the palace is the highlight of the book for me, not just for Elaida's foretelling either. The Gareth Bryne line about him and the sword 'belonging' was the first moment I remember almost giggling out loud due to the excitement. Rand's character is larger than life at that point and you just know that 'something big' was just said.
Iain Scott
38. iopgod
White cloak questions: 1) I think there is a coment by Byar (it might have been back in chapter 30) about the quality of Perrins axe: something about being the work of a master-weaponsmith. Didnt Perin say the Emonds field blacksmith had made it for one of the merchants guards?

2) Where are the Whitecloacks traveling *from*? I had assumed that they were part of the group around Baerlon, but if so, why are they riding across the (fairly?) uninhabited Caralain Grass, rather than the road through Whitebridge? And how did they cross the Arinelle? (No bridges between Whitebridge and Maradon in Saldaea, Perin only gets across by luck, after loseing horse and saddlebags, Egwene gets across by riding (Super!)Bela) I suppose there could be fords...
39. RobMRobM
Erdrick - I do believe it is a certainty that Rand will end up in another body for exactly the reasons you state. The issue is how will this be accomplished. Could be the taking over of Moridin approach you mention. Could be somehow Rand getting access to the Forsaken-style reincarnation in a new body (Selene into Cyndane, Ishy into Moridin, Aginor into etc). It is only way the prophecies and foretellings make sense and also, given how bad is wounds are, only way for Rand to have a happily ever ending. Query whether access to Semirhage will help Rand or Cadsuane figure that one out.

Leigh - The Two Rivers tongue thing could be a true throwaway but I doubt it. (p.s. Afinn, great minds think alike, as we posted at same time.) I doubt she would have travelled to TR as a youth, or she would have made efforts to extend her realm there. Could be that she encountered some random person or people from TR in Andor but that strikes as being too un-RJlike. It needs to be someone meaningful from TR and we don't know anyone else who possibly could qualify. (Tam rose to Second Captain of the Companions during the Aiel War and other Illian campaigns in neighboring contries before that, so he could have been part of a Royal audience in Camelyn while Morgase was very young. No doubt this would going to be worked into the Tam/Tigraine outrigger novel if RJ lived to complete it) As I noted in a comment to the Part I posts, arguably first theme in the entire series is the riff in Chapter 1 that Tam is the most desirable widower in the TR, and it would make complete sense for RJ to bring that to a close in AMOL - and, if so, Morgase is the best candidate for an emotionally satisfying conclusion for all involved. Brandon Sanderson needs to make it so.

IanGH - your point is correct and made me laugh out loud. Guess that's the trade off; you live in a time of prophecy but no one (except perhaps Rand) can figure out what they mean.

40. Clearlyhere
I love the Logain Laugh! It is one of my favorite subtle things that comes back in the later books.

I always felt that Elaida's description shifts from the first book to her later appearances. Maybe she becomes more fully fleshed out later.
Angel Banchev
41. Tiranas

I was just about to post that Tam was asociated with Illian in the Aiel Wars.I too agree that its possible that he was a part of some audience or such.Later we discover that Morgaise is quite crafty so i can totally see her scuryingaround as a young princess to question a subject asociated with a foreign country.also it strucks as something RJ could have done.Plus dont loose hope about the Outrigger Novels.Sanderson said in his blog that maybe there is a chance still for them.

@Leigh-dude i bow in front of you.Your re-reads are good paced and with proper commentary so keep up the good work.

Now when i read chapter 40 i shivered again and again.Truly made of awesome.I think that here more than anywhere else we see how Rand starts to think that maybe he is more than just a shepard and has a destiny other than been just chased by the Dark One.Well he does get chased but he finds not only the power but the will to fight.I do hope that Leigh will pay attention to that in the following chapters because i think that is very important in understanding Rand`s action later on.

Loial reminded me of a teddy bear i had when i was little.And i second the notion that he is the narrator in TWOT much like Billbo in LOTR.He too gets some adventures but his main drive is to write The Book :) and its also interesting to see how his interests shift but i am getting over my head here.

Ditto on the Lan fan club.He is just a bad ass, though i cant say that the bit about the diadem thingie was lauphable at all.I just took it as it is.RJ made such a good job on him that i just didnt feel like snickering on some dude who just oozes(wtf? :) )coolness...

Cant wait until the next piece.Leigh again nice job and keep it up...
Joe Sherry
42. jsherry
I don't remember if this ever comes up in later novels since Loial spends most of his time with Perrin (if i recall), but I would love a follow up conversation between Loial and Rand about the Aiel, Ogier, and Avendsora in light of what Rand learned in Rhuidian.

Unless the memory does fade for Rand like it was suggested.

It's just amazing how much RJ put into these early volumes that come into play later in a natural way - and that first meeting of Rand / Loial hints at Aiel history that doesn't get revealed until midway through Book 4.
43. RobMRobM
One follow up comment re Tam-Morgase above. Note Gawyn's babbled discussion about how Elayne needs to marry someone from the Two Rivers, so that they won't get steamrollered by her. Same holds trur for Gawyn's even more strong willed mother. Since Rand and Elayne aren't likely to marry, this could be very deep and subtle foreshadowing. Rob
J Novak
44. Novak
That's... kind of an awesome observation.

Well, I am an awesome kind of a guy.

Something which Elaida in particular is guilty of. In her defense, sort of, her particular talent, Foretelling, is a huge factor in her thinking she has the right to manipulate events, but that doesn't excuse how badly she screwed up at it, or change how soundly she is going to be smacked down for it (or so I devoutly hope).

Also in her mild defense, she got kind of brain-screwed by Fain at one point. Prior to that, she was still questionable, but afterwards, she went completely insane.

(I mean, seriously. Did the woman ever *once* correctly interpret her own Foretellings?)

As far as I recall, no, not once, not ever.
Rich Bennett
45. Neuralnet
I always loved the reaction to the heron marked blade and Bryne saying something about how Rand will grow into it. that whole palace scene is a lot of fun.

I remember reading these chapters and thinking how funny it was that whenever Rand, Perrin or Mat are having trouble relating/talking to one of the girls they always envy how smooth with the ladies the other one is.

I still am seriously intrigued about the steadings. what their backstory is etc.
46. Rebecca Starr
Awesome job through this section Leigh - yes it is definitely a turning point in the series and my favorite section of EotW...

Ch. 36
Loial mentions he has no Talent for feeling the Pattern swirl - how similar to Aes Sedai Talents are Ogier Talents? I forget if we get more of this later on or in the Guide...

Ch. 37
"Speaking of which, I’m not sure whether to be pleased that the female characters get to be competent members of the Away Team even before they acquire magical powers..."

Be pleased. Be very pleased.

Also, Nynaeve's thoughts on needing extra horses almost sound like a Foretelling here - "She was as certain as if she were listening to the wind. That stuck a spike of fear into her belly, fear of how she was certain. This had nothing to do with weather or crops or sickness."

I wonder if Jordan was toying with the idea of giving Nynaeve Foretelling powers but then never followed up on it. Kinda like Elayne's random dabbling at being a healer of stray cats and Rand's hands, and then never pulling out her ointments ever again.

Ch. 38
shouldn't Perrin be able to see more of what's going on in this pitch-black scene? We just learned in his last chapter that he now has wolffy night vision. Hmmph

Also, I really hope Dapple's "one day again" means she will make an appearance in the Last Battle

Ch. 40
Leigh - you got chills the first time you read this scene? Girl, I got chills just reading your *recap* of it.

Everyone else has already mentioned all the awesomeness within this chapter so I needn't say more, but I agree with all those who think Morgase met Tam at some point.

Ch 41
""What do you think to gain, for yourself or anyone else, by dying?" The Aes Sedai asked... "The Lord of the Grave... can reach you dead more easily than alive, now."


This reminds me of one of my old WoT questions - what exactly is the Dark One's relationship to death/the afterlife/hell. If all of our good guys are going to die eventually, whether in the time-frame of the books or in their nice old age in front of a fireplace somewhere, then it seems odd that the DO could then pluck them out of death and begin torturing them. I'm sure there is a theory discussion somewhere about "hell" or the afterlife if anyone wants to direct me to it.

Signing off til next time - and yes I have a huge crush on Lan too ::sigh::
Peter Moore
47. NaClH2O
Chapt 37 "The Long Chase"
One thing has always puzzled me. Moiraine loses contact with Perrin when the Whitecloaks take his coin, but I always thought that she should have lost contact with him a couple of hours earlier when he enters the abandoned stedding. Since no channeling will work there, and no terangreal (it's not explicitly stated but implied that the Ways growning terangreal can be used by Ogier) and you can't Travel into a stedding or Dream youself into one. Therefore it seems to me that Mo's coin should have stopped working as soon as Perrin entered the Hawkwing site. But it's clear that she loses contact in late evening, and they entered the stedding before dark.

NaCl(I guess RJ can't catch everything)H2O
48. IanGH
Re: The line about how the heron-marked sword "belongs" to Rand in chapter 40.

OK. So I've succumbed and started to do a reread myself. Trying desparately to catch up. (How did I ever have enough free time to read these things before?)

Back in chapter 16 when Nynaeve reaches Bearlon and has words with Moiraine and, pretty much everyone else, she says to Rand:

She indicated Tam's sword. "That seems to fit you, now, though I would like it better if it did not."

I never appreciated it before but RJ has been building this all along.

This scene also explains why Nynaeve didn't start annoying me until much later on in the series. Here she still seems to have some, well, wisdom.

49. cubarey
"Here it goes: the Rand body we know dies while he somehow (with Alivia's help) boots out Ishy and takes over Moridin's body."

Ah, the body swap theory, go to Dragonmount. com
and visit the Forums. search for keyword bodyswap and find endless theories, arguments and counte-arguments that only a true fan could love.
50. Scathain
I believe in the switching bodies theory, but not the way it has been offered. Here's mine(forgive the excessive use of parenthesis, lol) :

We often forget that Rand is a Hero of the Horn, being the Champion of the Light. In book two "The Great Hunt", we see that in the final chapters when the horn is sounded, the heroes we meet know Rand as Lews Therin Telamon no matter how he looks currently, being that he is the Champion (even though he still denies it to himself at this point). Even when the horn is sounded, it seemed to resonate more with Rand than the others, as if his soul wanted to answer the call right then and there. Something else to consider is how when he stares at the Horn, he is thinking to himself “I have to go back, I have to go back” He thinks he means going after Egwene in Falme, BUT his eyes and mind were concentrated on the Horn as he says it to himself over and over, gazing longingly at the Horn, not blinking or looking away. It’s subtle, but its there.

Something else to point out is the unusualness of Lews Therin/Rand predicament. It is even suggested later from a Forsaken’s POV (I forget which, one of the females I believe as they talked to another Forsaken. Maybe it was Graendal and Sammael) that as far as they know, this is the only case of the Light’s Champion being the same person reborn, or even what it could mean for such a phenomenon. Now, it is accepted that the same souls are reborn forever and ever so long as the Wheel turns, but never the same person, as far as the Forsaken’s knowledge on such things go. Given their not omnipotent nor omniscient, they can be wrong in this, but from a narrative POV, this is important information. We get a hint that perhaps this age or maybe in this specific age through the repeats of the turning of the Wheel, is the only age in which the Champion identity is ever reborn twice in a row (In this Age, Lews Therin himself being reborn rather than just the Champion’s soul. This suggests to me that maybe the HERO form of the Champion of the Light will be Lews Therin Telamon, at least in this particular instance. Still with me? :)

So when Rand dies( I have no doubt that he will), and assuming its not with balefire or some other such “cleaver of rules” type ability that might change or trump what we know of the Pattern and how it works, Rand should reappear in tel’aran’rhiod in his HERO form, which I think will be Lews Therin in appearance (or Predator, whichever you prefer, I don’t think it matters really), but be both Rand and Lews, his death making the halves that were Lews and Rand whole when he dies and comes to his HERO form(This is the critical moment, why the Horn of Valere has to be at Tarmon Gaiden, so as to call the HERO version of Rand/Lews Therin back from the grave to fight the last battle. Now, when the Light wins( again, I have no doubts about this), HERO form Rand/Lews returns to tel’aran’rhiod, but that’s not the end of it.

RJ is a great foreshadower, and brings something up that people seem to gloss over or forget. Resurrection. The only example we have of such a thing is Birgette Silverbow and her ripping from the Pattern, and it isn‘t focused on afterwards. It happened, it’s over now, there is nothing to see here. She should have died, but her bonding with Elayne saved her life. As it will Rand when Nynaeve performs the same weave Moghedien used on Birgette, and he is rebonded by his women(or maybe his bonding would somehow be restored. Again, who knows). I always thought it suspect that Nynaeve and Elayne, having captured Moghedien, and having Birgette with them, never once--not even once!-- asked for the weave that ripped Birgette out of Tel’aran’rhiod? Nynaeve was watching the whole thing, she would have seen it for sure, and if she didn’t learn it at the time of Birgette expulsion, she would have learned it later. I cannot simply buy that she has never reasoned or thought about the event since it happened, or bothered to learn from Mog. RJ is subtle in implanting a reason for them not asking when Egwene arrives and shows them Traveling. Nynaeve and Elayne both are quick to say they did not think to ask about the lost Talents or other secrets… but they did after that. She would have had to seen enough of it to know if Mog was playing them false, and it would fit especially well, since they constantly drop the “you can’t Heal death“ bomb. While not necessarily Healing, it gets the job done. And given the circumstance, it can only be done to a Hero of the Horn( assuming no other souls are bound in tel’atran’rhiod in some manner).

The HERO will come back to life, being both Rand/Lews memories( and maybe all of the champion's if Birgette is a prime example) but having Lews Therin’s body. He will get with Aviendha in said form. That’s where the odd thing comes in with her children. Lews Therin essentially redeems himself as Kinslayer and regains a family. From a narrative POV, this has never been “Rand’s story” as we know him but “Lews Therin's, as Rand, story”. It has always been about Lews Therin. It opens with him, and ends with him. With his knowledge of ages past he’ll bring a new Age of Legends, or he may decide to live the simple life. Either way, I think it’ll be pretty damn cool.

Now I know what you’re thinking,there are some flaws, like “but if the Champion is ripped, who will save the future in ages to come against the shadow?” Well, I don’t know. I don’t think that the souls were removed from that pattern literally, just forced out early. Its is through birth, death, and rebirth the Wheel works. So if someone is forced out and, pending bonding, dies, the soul will inevitable return to the Wheel. Kinda like a reset button, in a way. Whether they return as a Hero is something to consider, but it is the same dilemma in a way. If anyone has any ideas to add/refine to what I offer, your more than welcome to do so. I don't write this as fact, but I do think it is a general guideline. Please use quotes. I would have, but all my books have been lent out and not returned ( All my friends are moochers :P) .
51. Effervescent
Remeber, RJ came up with the initial premise for this book while thiking about a Jesus-style savior. Further, he has said many times that the ending has not changed significantly since he first visioned it.

Does this mean Rand is a cooked chicken? RAFO...

While re-visiting these chapters, I was taken back to my early-20's self during the first read. I was reminded of what I naively wanted to happen, that being Rand having an "natural" ala eastern philosophy ability to be a master swordsman, no practice neccesary.

Then he blew up a few hundred thousand Trollocs, and I forgot all about it. There is cool, and then there is coolness absolute.
52. MoreBooksForMe
Correct me if I am wrong, but if i remember my Authurian legends correctly isn't the name of Guinivere's children Something similar to the names of Galad and Gawyn. I know RJ pulled alot from these stories. Some might even say *gasp* as much as from LOTR. Just a random thought
Michael Ikeda
53. mikeda

Guinevere didn't generally have children in the Arthurian legends.

However, Gawyn is similar to Gawaine which is the name of Arthur's cousin. And Galad is similar to Galahad which is the name of Lancelot's son (as well as Lancelot's own given name). (Galad is also similar to Galeholt. Galeholt is a former enemy of Arthur who Lancelot wins over to Arthur's side.)
Michael Ikeda
54. mikeda
Gawaine, of course, is Arthur's nephew, not his cousin.
55. MoreBooksForMe
Thanks mikeda,

I knew I had seen those names before. Thanks for the clarification.
eric proppel
56. JackStraw
Eye is one of my favorite books of all time. For me it was the begginning, middle and end all be all for me and fantasy lit. Although I have read hundreds if not thousands of others, this one still give me the chills. I am with Leigh about the self realization scenes. I love them. They are my favortie parts of the books.
57. BigJohn1066
Morgase could have heard Two Rivers speech from people that lived nearby, they wouldn't necessarly have to come from Emond's Field. Even someone from Baerlon would probably have a similar accent.
Adam Miller
58. AdamM
BigJohn, you have a point, with the exception that even if she had heard a Baerlon accent before, it might have been identified as a Baerlon accent, not a Two Rivers.

One could most likely infer that there would be similarities, but looking even here in Canada, while the Atlantic provinces do share a similar accent, in that you can usually tell if someone is from down east, you can definitely tell that someone is a Newfoundlander, which is not only a distinct accent, but some call it a distinct dialect of English.

You might say that that is a larger geographical spread than the Two Rivers, but given today's transportation and communication technology, I think it's a fairly reasonable likeness.
Tim Kington
59. TimKington
This may already be obvious, but nobody said it straight out.

Egwene Al'Vere -> Guinevere

I think there are a bunch more like this in the FAQ.
60. David Scotton
Rand's chapters in Caemlyn are some of my favorites, too, as long as Mat wasn't in the scene. I really liked his first encounter with Elayne a lot.
61. Effervescent
Morgase is pretty clear, in my opinion, that she has met someone from the Two Rivers area. There is rarely a time where Jordan comes out and says ANYTHING clearly, but if this tidbit wasn't important, he would have had Morgase ask Rand a question only someone from the Two Rivers area would know.

We know from Elayne that future/present queens of Andor are drilled about their Queendom...she would definitely know a question to ask. Instead, Jordan chooses to tell us Morgase has heard the Two Rivers dialect...hmmmm...
62. michaelt
I found interesting that nobody pointed out the irony of Gawyn saying that Elayne should marry someone from the Two Rivers, and then he ends up being completely smitten with Egwene, who just happens to be from the Two Rivers.
63. Rob Larson
I'm not so sure that the Two Rivers thing is all that unusual. Remember how Elayne complains about her lessons and having to learn things that she thinks she'll never use? Morgause seems like the type or person who would go through the trouble of learning the dialect of a part of her realm that hadn't seen a Queen's representative in generations. Also remember Elayne's reaction to learning about the Red Eagle rising again in the Two Rivers. That's a threat, as Queen, that she can't ignore. Not if she wants to keep Andor whole.

One thing I do find interesting that that while the Whitecloaks and other Meddlers in the Pattern, as I like to call them aren't evil in the sense that the Forsaken and Darkfriends are; the are probably more dangerous. After all, you know what a Darkfriend wants to do. Free the Dark One and gain power. The Meddlers of the Pattern, on the other hand, see no contradiction in using the tools of evil to further their own plans because they do what they do for the "greater good". It's a rather interesting observation on crusaders of all stripes.
Richard Boye
64. sarcastro
The Meddlers of the Pattern, on the other hand, see no contradiction in using the tools of evil to further their own plans because they do what they do for the "greater good."

"the greater good."

This ritual repetition has been brought to you by the film Hot Fuzz
Jon Severinsson
65. jonno
Regarding the Two River dialect:
While Baerlon and Two Rivers probably have distinct dialects, I can't see there being any noticeable difference between Deven Ride, Emonds Field and Watch Hill...

So we don't know if Tam was the only one who left the Two Rivers at about the right time, only that leaving was rare and that Tam did leave. However, due to the Law of Conservation of Characters I do believe it to be Tam.

Note however that at the time Morgase wasn't the Queen or Daughter Heir of Andor, only the Heir of House Trakand, so a royal audience as suggested above wouldn't have involved her.
66. jafco
Boffo, Leigh!

Ch. 39-40 (actually this entire segment, but those two in particular) are the heart of this book. (And I fall in love with Elayne, again). No wonder I read this stuff 8 or 10 times.

Some other foreshadowing: Rand scampers up a wall never before climbed? and pitches face first into the royal digs. We see Rand (and other Aiel) similarly climb other walls thought insurmountable later on. And, this just happens to be the later avenue for the attack on Rahvin. Never misunderestimate an Aiel!
67. wsean
Late to the party here (just stumbled on the re-read stuff), but wanted to pipe up and say that that's my favorite chapter too. In fact, I skipped ahead in your re-read to see what you had to say about it! It gave me serious chills as well. :)

Also, I can't believe I never noticed the Egwene-Guinevere connection...
68. omastos
and here i come
I belive that Tam and Morgase met when Tam met Kari. we know that she s from Caemlyn so there is the chance for them to have met. and sicne they are about to meet (Perrin and Tam did just free her) i guess we ll find out soon *gg*
69. gwencrist
Yeah i cant take the time out to read everything; so far behind already, but i just wanted to say..

I remember really being wowed by the whole thing with the dagger. At the time I was just like omg its like the Ring but even worse!

this is like my favourite thing about WOT, the moments of high drama. Like this scene, the one in Crown of Swords where Rand freaks out at the Aes Sedai and wrecks the teapot. When i was a kid (well... preteen) and first reading these books, these scenes are what got me hooked and its still what I remember most about the series.
70. Mirax
I'm not even sure if anyone will read this seeing as how I'm coming into this reread so late and I'm so far behind, but... I'll give it a go anyway.

Something that only occurred to me during this reread: Why did Morgase go to the White Tower to train? She was not the Daughter-Heir at the time, Tigraine was. I can't imagine that upon assuming the throne she just up and left for awhile to be trained by the Aes Sedai. I could be wrong, but I don't recall it ever being mentioned that other members of Andor's royal families sent their daughters to Tar Valon, only the Daughter-Heir. It seems like it would have been a major faux pas/forerunner to a play for the throne to send your daughter if she wasn't the Daughter-Heir. Or it might be normal and no one thought anything of it because Andor doesn't play the Great Game. Any thoughts?
Philbert de Zwart
71. philbert
She did have the ability to learn how to channel, even though eventually her strength proved very low. That might have been picked up in the Andoran court where Aes Sedai would likely be around to notice.
72. CarenNH
Yet another late to the party post, but I couldn't resist.

In chapter 40, during Rand's audience with Morgase, Gareth asks how he got his sword and he says Tam gave it to him.

Elaida says, "Yet *another* shepherd from the Two Rivers with a heron-mark blade."

I think she's definitively referring to Tam here, and indicating that she also met him during the Aiel wars.
73. Barnabusiii
This block of summaries reminded me why I started reading your Re-read. Your commentary is mostly concise and when it isn't it's you teasing out plot threads that I either missed in my first readings or just kinda forgot over the read. Nice job and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of your posts!
74. BenM
re Byar: Was Byar really going to let Perrin and Eg go, or was he planning on killing them? I've never really been sure. He hates DFs enough that he could really want to just kill them. On the other hand, his commander did say that Eg at least, had to be tried.

re Elaida mentioning Tam: well yeah, Rand DID just mention his father after all. That doesn't mean she knows who he is. Maybe she do be knowing, and maybe she don't.
75. VannaB
@70: I am pretty sure Morgase went to the White Tower for training because she had a small ability. Not sure if that means it was like Elayne and she was born with the ability to channel so they HAD to teach her? Or if she had designs on the throne even at a young age so she had herself prepped and ready? no idea. But it does make sense that she trained since she does have the ability.

I do know that the only reason she wears the ring is because of her title. (So... maybe they gave it to her after she was crowned? We simply know it's an honorary Ring since she wasn't powerful enough to have earned it.)
76. Dulahey
But if you want the big conspiracy theory, hell, it is true that Tam was involved in the Aiel War, apparently (if I recall correctly) in some type of command capacity, and was near Tar Valon at its end. I'm not sure of the timing of when Morgase was at the Tower, but twenty years ago sounds plausible, so sure. Maybe she met Tam there.

Elaida comments "Yet ANOTHER shepherd from the Two-Rivers with a heron-mark blade" when Rand states that his father gave him the sword. Seems that this also goes with your above theory. Elaida and Morgase could both know of Tam.
77. makloony
@ 70 In TFOH Chapter19 Morgase thinks about the day she left to train in the White Tower never dreaming she would be queen only with a vain hope of becoming Aes Sedai. It was only later after she had the rose crown on her head that the white tower gave her a ring to symbolize the bond between the Tower and Andor.
78. underhill
On the "Web Tightens" chapter, I really like Elaida's characterization at this point. The fact that she's sitting on a stool, knitting, makes her seem much more humble and like-able than her later self. I can't help but feel some pity for her, seeing her now, un-tainted by power and her brush with Fain, as a woman with real strength and goodness. I realize that's probably a much more sympathetic reading of her, but I think that seeing her before her rise to power makes the negative changes that happen to her afterwards even more emotionally powerful.
79. JimF
Oh, I'm rereading Leigh's work again, because I don't have all the books and I don't have the time to read them even if I did. And Leigh does such a fantastic job!

I love these two chapters (40 and 41; and all the preceding ones too); from here on the story gets a little bit hinky, but it still concludes as an outstanding story. There is no quitting tWoT if you got this far!

Re Mat and his sickbed commentary: He seems to see both the past and the future as it were, in both women. Nynaeve has begun to fall in love with Lan (there are several comments and actions that point out the attraction between the two of them, and hers to him), and she is feeling like a woman in a way she has never let run free before. Further she's begun to harbor thoughts of going to Tar Valon for her own benefit. These run contrary to the selfless persona she had long cultivated as The Wisdom. Mat nails her on it, makes her come face to face with these things, and thereby scares the hell out of her. Mat also sees that Egwene has a new focus. Remember at the outset of the story, she and Rand seemed as though they are more or less betrothed. That has vanished, at least for her. She's going to be an Aes Sedai regardless of the consequences, and Rand is no longer part of her dream. Mat gets this too. There may be some connection to Egwene's ability to Dream, but I think it really is about her objectives.

Elayne has always been one of my favorites (only Egwene has almost always not been one). She comes on the scene in a great way: bold, beautiful, commanding. The two future lovers meet and one of them - Elayne - is smitten from the get go. It's not long afterward that she's learning from Egwene every thing she can about this handsome man who fell into her lap. It takes that great scene in tSR(?) where Egwene hands Rand over to her to get Rand thinking the same way.
80. TheBeerPatriot
I agree with Leigh, this section really starts to put Rand in the crosshairs of a much larger destiny. While EOTW had introduced many different factions (i.e. Whitecloaks, Aes Sedai, etc.) the detailing of the Great Pattern and ta'veren really expanded the scope of this world.

I've always loved the part where Elayne and Rand first meet. You can sense the mutual attraction instantly, especially as they seem to notice every aspect of each other. Well described and detailed scene, quite memorable.

It's ironic that the future Dragon Reborn is going to such great lengths to catch a glimpse of the false Dragon. Rand seems awestruck at seeing Logain up close for the first time. I got the sense that Rand that was awestruck by Caemlyn in general, and seemed dwarfed by the events going around him.

When Loial first described Rand as an Aielman, I took it for a case of mistaken identity. But when Gawyn mentions the same resemblance, it made me wonder what direction Rand's path would take going forward. At that point, I felt that they would not be going to Tar Valon, that they would be taken in an unexpected direction.

When the Emond's Fielders are reunited, Lan informs Rand of Trollocs and Fades massing on the gates of the city. Rand thinks of how petty the current infighting is among the Caemlyners between the red/white factions, when the city could be burning by forces of the Shadow. It's just amazing to me how far in advance RJ foreshadowed these events. I had never given this additional thought upon previous re-reads. It goes to show that almost every sentence contains some impact upon the entire series.

Finally, when Mat-under duress from the Shadar Logoth dagger-confronts the party, the twisted power of the dagger gives Mat insight to the past-and future-of Nynaeve, Perrin and Egwene. Again, I had not caught this on the initial read, but RJ again is brilliant in weaving in expository information among the main narrative in EOTW.
Ron Garrison
81. Man-0-Manetheran
My Pre-aMoL Re-Reread continues:

With every new book, I’m always fascinated at the new things I see in tEotW. At the end of Chapter 41:
“Rand felt a sickness in his stomach at the thought of Trollocs in the streets of Caemlyn. . . . He could see the towers burning, flames breaking through the domes, Trollocs pillaging through the curving streets and vistas of the Inner City. The Place itself in flames. Elayne, and Gawyn, and Morgase . . . dead.
‘Not yet,’ Moiraine said absently.”
By the end of ToM, Trollocs are in the streets of Caemlyn. Was the above a paranoid fantasy of Rand’s, or a foreshadowing? If a foreshadowing, then it sounds like Elayne, Gawyn and Morgase will die in aMoL. This lends support to the discussion about Elayne’s kids being raised by Avienda. Though there is the prophecy: “The lion sword, the dedicated spear, she who sees beyond. Three on the boat, and he who is dead yet lives. The great battle done, but the world not done with battle.” I’ve always taken “the lion sword” as Elayne. Do we know that the three are women? Hmmm. Thoughts?
William McDaniel
82. willmcd
mikeda @ 53, good observation on the "Galahad/Galad" and "Gawyn/Gawain" parallels.

There are many parallels between Andor and England (with the Two Rivers of course being very much of the Merrie Olde variety). RJ is quite deliberate throughout the series that Tar Valon and Caemlyn stand alone as the most beautiful cities in the world. Both are intended to represent the ideal of the perfect city (with Tar Valon's name evoking "Avalon"), and Caemlyn specifically carrying strong connotations of the perfect English city (Camelot).

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