Feb 4 2009 12:24pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Eye of the World, Part 6

’Allo, guvnors! Welcome back to this ’ere WOT Re-read, wot?

Today, chaps, we will be having ourselves a bit o’ Part 6 of The Oiye of the World, right, Chapters 42-47 to be exact! The old entries, why, you kin find ’em ’ere. Bloody brilliant, that is.

...No, I don’t know why I’m trying to irritate the British. Anyway.

Y’all know the drill: Spoilers for the whole series may lurk below, so if you haven’t read, sod off! Just kidding. I really will stop now. Let’s get to it, shall we?

Chapter 42: Remembrance of Dreams

What Happens
The now subdued Emond’s Fielders head back down to the library to wait; Rand notices that Perrin’s eyes seem to almost shine in the dark, and shudders. In the library, Rand doesn’t understand for a second why the others are all gaping and frozen, then realizes that Loial is sitting there, and hastily introduces him. They soon recover and begin questioning Loial eagerly; Perrin is particularly interested to know about steddings. After a bit, Mat comes in, to Rand’s amazement, looking like his old self, with Moiraine and Lan in close attendance. Mat hesitantly says he doesn’t really remember a lot after Whitebridge, and apologizes for whatever he might have said earlier. Everyone welcomes him back gladly, but Rand notices that he’s touching something under his coat, and gasps quietly. Moiraine tells him softly that yes, Mat still has the dagger; she can’t separate him from it without killing him. She’s cleansed the taint from him for now, but it will creep back, until Mat can get to Tar Valon and be Healed there. Loial introduces himself to Moiraine, and she greets him kindly, but then politely asks him to excuse them. Rand interjects that he promised Loial that he could come along with them, and after a moment Moiraine accepts this, and sends Lan to guard the door while they plan.

She tells the others that between the Whitecloaks inside the city and the Trollocs outside it, they have to get away immediately; in the conversation that follows, Loial lets slip that Rand met Elaida, and Rand rather incoherently explains his adventures in the Caemlyn Palace. Mat grins, Egwene wants to know who Elayne is, and Perrin grouses disingenuously that all he got to meet were Whitecloaks and Tinkers. Loial begins to ramble about Tinkers and singing, and how trees never listen when humans sing to them, but he has a little of that talent. Moiraine tries to cut him off, but Loial quickly takes the opportunity to ask her about a man who came to the stedding twenty or so years ago and gave the Ogier a curious message:

“He said the Dark One intended to blind the Eye of the World, and slay the Great Serpent, kill time itself. The Elders said he was as sound in his mind as in his body, but that was what he said. What I have wanted to ask is, can the Dark One do such a thing? Kill time itself? And the Eye of the World? Can he blind the eye of the Great Serpent? What does it mean?”

Perrin chimes in that the Tinkers received a similar message from the Aiel three years ago, and tells the story he heard from Raen. Moiraine seems very struck by this. Perrin then blurts out “Ba’alzamon”. He tells Mat and Rand they can’t keep it a secret any longer, and Rand reluctantly tells Moiraine about the dreams they’ve all been having, and that Ba’alzamon had said in them that the Eye of the World would never serve him. After she recovers her calm, Moiraine tells them that Ba’alzamon is able to find them this way because for now, the three of them are central to the Pattern. Loial observes that they are all ta’veren, and Moiraine agrees:

“So they are,” Moiraine said. “Three of them, when I expected one. A great many things have happened that I did not expect. This news concerning the Eye of the World changes much.”

She muses aloud that the Pattern is forcing their path; she just wonders whether or not it’s the Dark One doing so. Regardless, she says, they must act on the information; they no longer have time to go to Tar Valon. They must go straight to the Blight and warn the Green Man about this. She ignores everyone’s startled reaction to this:

“The Pattern presents a crisis, and at the same time a way to surmount it. If I did not know it was impossible, I could almost believe the Creator is taking a hand. There is a way.”

She turns to Loial and asks him if he knows about the Ways, and whether he can find his way to the Waygate near Fal Dara. Loial says that he does, but they cannot go that way; if they do they will surely all die.

This is a really short chapter with a bloody ton of exposition in it. I’ve elided a lot of the more random bits in the recap above, so I recommend you go back and read the chapter itself if you don’t want to miss anything.

I’m torn between the coolness of all the things we learn in this chapter, and the clunky uncoolness of the talking-heads manner in which it is presented. I don’t know if I’m being over-critical here, because I certainly can’t think of another way Jordan could have gotten all this across without just info-dumping it on the reader, but there you go.

I’m also not sure how I feel about the practically fourth-wall-breaking discourse Moiraine indulges in about the plot device Web of the Pattern forcing their path to the Blight rather than Tar Valon. On the one hand, at least Jordan’s not being coy about it. On the other… enh. It’s just weird to me how in some ways Jordan is so good at subtlety, and in others he’s like the proverbial bull in a china shop.

(Oh, and I put that quote about the Creator in there just to annoy Certain People, and you know who you are. Why can’t the Creator take a hand? Because there’s no religion in Randland, silly! Your heads may now explode.)

Chapter 43: Decisions and Apparitions

What Happens
Loial explains why the Ways are so dangerous: Back during the Breaking, when all the male Aes Sedai were going mad, the Ogier decided to offer them sanctuary in the steddings, since they would not be able to use or even feel the True Source there. Many male Aes Sedai took them up on it, but were not able to bear to stay too long, cut off from the One Power. They left, but before they went they gave the Ogier a gift: the Ways, so that the Ogier could move between steddings without having to travel the broken and altered land that separated them. Over the centuries, however, the Ways, once bright and beautiful, went dim and foul, and people who entered them did not come out again, or came out mad, raving about Machin Shin, the Black Wind. Eventually the Ogier made an edict forbidding anyone to travel the Ways. Loial wants to know why he should break that edict.

“Humankind and Ogier, everything that lives, we are at war with the Dark One,” Moiraine said. “The greater part of the world does not even know it yet, and most of the few who do fight skirmishes and believe they are battles. While the world refuses to believe, the Dark One may be at the brink of victory. There is enough power in the Eye of the World to undo his prison. If the Dark One has found some way to bend the Eye of the World to his use . . . ” [...]

“What can we do?” Mat burst out. “Why are we so important? Why do we have to go to the Blight? The Blight!”

Moiraine replies that it is not chance, but the Pattern that brought them here. They can try to hide, and maybe doom the world, or they can try to help; the choice is up to them. Rand says he’ll go, and Mat and Perrin echo him. Nynaeve and Egwene also say they will go, and Moiraine turns to Loial. Loial hesitates, and then finally says it would be a fine thing to see The Green Man, and agrees to guide them. As the party makes plans for the trip, Rand pulls Egwene aside and tries to convince her not to go. She smiles and thanks him, but reminds him that Moiraine says she and Nynaeve are part of this Pattern too. Finally everyone goes to bed. Rand dreams he is the same hallway as his first dream of Ba’alzamon; he tries to wake himself up, but cannot. He enters the room, and sees that there are three figures on the table; their faces are indistinct, but one has a wolf next to him, one clutches a dagger with a ruby on the hilt, and the third wears a heron-mark sword. Ba’alzamon tells him he’s hidden too long; Rand replies that he denies him; Ba’alzamon laughs and says that he always thinks it is that easy, but each time, he either kneels to Ba’alzamon or dies wishing he had. Rand calls him the Father of Lies, and Ba’alzamon taunts him about the Black Ajah, asking if he’s sure those who are helping him aren’t part of it. Rand yells at him, asking what Ba’alzamon wants from him.

“Kneel!” Ba’alzamon pointed to the floor at his feet. “Kneel, and acknowledge me your master! In the end, you will. You will be my creature, or you will die.”

The last word echoed through the room, reverberating back on itself, doubling and redoubling, till Rand threw up his arms as if to shield his head from a blow. Staggering back until he thumped into the table, he shouted, trying to drown the sound in his ears. “Noooooooooooo!”

As he cried out, he spun, sweeping the figures to the floor. Something stabbed his hand, but he ignored it, stomping the clay to shapeless smears underfoot. But when his shout failed, the echo was still there, and growing stronger:


The sound pulled on him like a whirlpool, drawing him in, ripping the void in his mind to shreds.

Rand falls out of bed, and wakes to see Mat twisting and yelling in his sleep. He wakes Mat up, and Mat asks him if he saw the three figurines. Rand says he did, and Mat tells him despairingly that Ba’alzamon knows which one is him, because he picked it up. Rand feels pain in his hand, and examines it to see a splinter from the table in his dream driven into his palm. He pulls it out, and the splinter melts into nothing, but the wound is still there. Frantically he cleans the wound. Moiraine enters, and tells them to make ready to leave; she sees their faces, and asks if the dreams came back. Rand shows her his injury. Moiraine makes no comment, but takes his hand and Heals it. Moiraine then tells them to hurry; time grows short.

Time may grow short, but this post sure doesn’t. Hokay.

Most clear-cut chapter title we’ve seen yet; if Jordan had just added “and Expositions”, it’d have been perfect.

On the question of whether the Ba’alzamon dreams are in Tel’aran’rhiod: I’ve been thinking about it, and I have tentatively concluded that the question is kind of not answerable, because I get the distinct impression that Jordan had not quite hammered out at this point whether he was treating these dreams as metaphysical or metaphorical, if you see what I’m saying. We will be coming back to this topic later.

(I’m going to get really tired of the apostrophe key doing this re-read, aren’t I.)

Imagery: Jordan is still good at it. I liked this bit especially:

“He knows who I am, Rand. I picked up the one with the dagger, and he said, ‘So that’s who you are.’ And when I looked again, the figure had my face. My face, Rand! It looked like flesh. It felt like flesh. Light help me, I could feel my own hand gripping me, like I was the figure.”

Wacky. Also, brrr.

Chapter 44: The Dark Along the Ways

What Happens
Master Gill takes the party down to the stable, where their horses are saddled and ready. Mat mutters to Rand that Perrin’s making him nervous; Rand agrees, but assures Mat that whatever is going on with Perrin, Moiraine knows about it and it’s fine. He doesn’t really believe his own words, though. Gill opens a concealed door in the back of the stable so they can leave without being seen by the Whitecloaks watching the inn, and wishes them well. The party travels quickly through the still-dark streets, following Loial, who can feel where the Waygate is located. Eventually Loial leads them to a shop and says the gate is under it. They break into the cellar of the shop, and see that the gate has been incorporated into the walls of the cellar. Moiraine removes the carving of the Avendesora leaf from the gate, and it opens to show a dull reflective surface.

“I have heard,” Loial said, half mourning, half fearful, “that once the Waygates shone like mirrors. Once, who entered the Ways walked through the sun and the sky. Once.”

One by one they enter the gate. After Rand goes through, he sees that the party members still outside are moving like molasses; Loial explains that the Wheel turns faster in the Ways. Moiraine comes through last, closing the gate behind her, and tells Loial to get going. They travel through the Ways, and the network of bridges and ramps seems oddly familiar to Rand, as if he had seen it somewhere before. The physics of the place make no sense:

After an interminable climb, curving continuously, the ramp let off onto another Island just like the one where it had begun. Rand tried to imagine the curve of the ramp and gave up. This Island can’t be right on top of the other one. It can’t be.

This goes on for a while, and Rand is just beginning to think that the Ways aren’t so bad after all, when Loial comes to a bridge and stops with a grunt; the bridge ends in a jagged gap.

What I find interesting, or amusing, or something about the physics of the Ways is how it all seems so perfectly logical to me, when of course it’s nothing of the kind. I have a theory that the reason Geometry and Physics were my worst subjects in school (seriously; me and special relativity are severely unmixy things) was because I read Through the Looking Glass too young, and so warped my mental space-time continuum forever.

Or, you know. Possibly I’m just stupid. Whichever.

Also, this made me blink:

The bubble of light around them could as well have been a cave surrounded by stone, completely surrounded, with no way out. The horses might have been walking a treadmill for the change around them.

They have treadmills in Randland? Do they also do Pilates?

Re: the end of the chapter, well. I’m 99% positive that the scene in the film version of Fellowship of the Ring, where they have to get across the gap in the stair in Moria, never happened in the novel, so, okay. But I’m just saying, that’s immediately what I thought of.

Chapter 45: What Follows in Shadow

What Happens
Nynaeve wants to know if this means they have to go back to Caemlyn; Moiraine says there should be another way around. Loial is worried this means the Ways are falling apart as they speak, but Moiraine reassures him that the break is old. Loial suggests getting out at Tar Valon or Stedding Shangtai instead, but Moiraine insists on Fal Dara. They travel on for a while, then stop to sleep. The mood is morose as they eat. To cheer them up, Moiraine tells them that she does not think Thom Merrilin is dead. She says that people in Whitebridge would have mentioned it if a gleeman had been killed, and also that Thom is a part of the Pattern that envelops them, important enough that she does not believe it is done with yet.

Too important? Rand thought. How could Moiraine know...? “Min? She saw something about Thom?”

“She saw a great deal,” Moiraine said wryly. “About all of you. I wish I could understand half of what she saw, but even she does not. Old barriers fail. But whether what Min does is old or new, she sees true. Your fates are bound together. Thom Merrilin’s, too.”

Mat makes a laughing comment that the only thing Min was looking was Rand. Egwene is ready to give Rand a hard time about this until Perrin casually brings up Aram, at which point Egwene announces she’s tired and going to sleep. Perrin and Rand grin at each other, and the boys twit each other about girls for a moment before going to their blankets. The mood soon turns sour, though, as each of them worries about what will happen when they go to sleep. Moiraine goes around to each of them, speaking softly; when she gets to Rand, she tells him that his dreams are safe as long as she is close by. Rand is reassured enough to sleep.

They wake and set out again. After a time, Lan announces quietly that something is following them. Moiraine asks Lan if it feels to him like something that serves the Dark One, but Lan is unsure. He volunteers to go back and check it out, but Loial informs him that if he gets separated from them he will never find his way out. Moiraine decides to leave whatever it is alone as long as it doesn’t trouble them, and they continue on. The next guidepost is marked with Trolloc runes, and Moiraine suddenly understands how the Fades were moving such large numbers of Trollocs around without attracting notice; there are Waygates in the Blight, and one where Manetheren used to be. Then they find Trolloc corpses sunken into the stone, turned into stone themselves. Moiraine surmises that the male Aes Sedai who created the Ways built traps into them for Shadowspawn; she does not think those traps will spring for them. Nevertheless, as they continue on she checks each landing carefully before letting them go forward. After a while Rand realizes he hears wind in the distance. Puzzled, he asks Loial about it, and Loial pales and says it is Machin Shin. Moiraine orders everyone to run. They charge over the last two bridges and head for the Waygate as the wind gets louder and closer. They reach the gate, and Moiraine says that the key is gone. Everyone panics. Moiraine uses her staff to begin cutting a hole through the gate with Fire. The wind gets closer as she works, and Rand can hear voices in it. Moiraine finishes cutting, and Lan and his warhorse charge the gate, knocking down the cut portion. Moiraine yells for everyone to get out; they all pile through, and Moiraine comes out last, backwards, holding off the wind with the One Power.

The Waygate darkened. The hazy shimmer became murkier, sinking through gray to charcoal, then to black as deep as the heart of the Ways. As if from a great distance the wind howled at them, hidden voices filled with an unquenchable thirst for living things, filled with a hunger for pain, filled with frustration.

The voices seemed to whisper in Rand’s ears, right at the brink of understanding, and within it. Flesh so fine, so fine to tear, to gash the skin; skin to strip, to plait, so nice to plait the strips, so nice, so red the drops that fall; blood so red, so red, so sweet; sweet screams, pretty screams, singing screams, scream your song, sing your screams . . .

The whispers drifted, the blackness lessened, faded, and the Waygate was again a murky shimmer seen through an arch of carved stone.

After they recover, Egwene asks what the Black Wind is, and Moiraine says no one is sure. Something that got trapped in the Ways long ago, perhaps, or something born from them when they went foul. She says she will ask Lord Agelmar to seal up this gate once they get to Fal Dara.

Yeah. I think it’s the bit about stripping skin off and braiding it that makes the Black Wind so freakin’ scary. I mean, damn. All this scene needs is an evil clown and the terror would be complete. (Warning: do not click that link if you are scared of clowns.)

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I keep thinking about Stephen King here, either; the whole trip through the Ways is much more akin to a horror story than anything else. Actually, Jordan’s been getting a little more King-like for a while now; that whole die-die-DIE-DIE-DIE-DIE thing in Chapter 43 was very... onomatopoeical for Jordan, which is something I’m used to seeing with King (and his imitators), but not here.

Or maybe Lovecraft would be a better comparison. It’s kind of six of one, half a dozen of the other, really, since Lovecraft was one of King’s major influences, but invoking Lovecraft makes me sound more lit-crit scholarly, so we’ll go with that.

On a completely different note, re: Egwene and Rand’s exchange: is that the only time in the series he actually wins an argument with any of the Supergirls? I think it might be!

Also, I love that Moiraine says “wryly” that Min sees a lot. About Thom particularly, eh, Moir?

Chapter 46: Fal Dara

What Happens
The Borderlands are cold and bleak even in spring; Rand sees trees that look like they’ve been blasted apart, and Lan explains that sometimes it gets so cold in the winter that the sap in the trees freezes and explodes. They pass farms, but they are all deserted; Egwene comments that the inhabitants can’t have been gone long, because the curtains are too light for winter, and can’t have been up for more than a week or two at most. Perrin concurs, remarking that the scythe lying in the field over there has hardly any rust, and Rand wonders how he could see it so clearly. Rand tries again to convince Egwene and Nynaeve and Loial to stay behind at Fal Dara, but Loial just mentions ta’veren again, and Nynaeve tells him that she and Egwene will do their duty no less than the three of them. As they approach Fal Dara, Lan instructs everyone to throw back the hoods of their cloaks; no one may go among Borderland cities with their face hidden.

“Are they all that good-looking?” Mat laughed.

“A Halfman can’t hide with his face exposed,” the Warder said in a flat voice.

Rand’s grin slid off his face. Hastily Mat pushed back his hood.

They enter Fal Dara. The soldiers greet Lan with enthusiasm, calling out “Dai Shan!” and “The Golden Crane!” To Loial’s surprise, they greet the Ogier, too: “Glory to the Builders!” The city is filled to bursting with grim-faced farm refugees; inside the fortress at the center of town, everyone is very busy making weapons and armor. They are met by Ingtar, one of Agelmar’s armsmen. As Ingtar takes the party to Agelmar, he tells Lan that the raiding has been bad this year, and they are preparing to go meet the Trollocs in battle at Tarwin’s Gap. In his study, Agelmar greets Lan, Moiraine and Loial warmly. Moiraine tells Agelmar that they request a night’s rest before going on. Agelmar is taken aback; he had assumed Moiraine and Lan would be coming with the soldiers to Tarwin’s Gap, but Moiraine tells him they cannot. Lan asks what their chances are at the Gap; Agelmar replies that once the soldiers march north, the rest of the people will begin evacuating to the capital city. Hopefully it will hold. Passionately he again tries to persuade Lan to raise the banner of the Golden Crane; tormented, Lan again refuses. Agelmar finally gives in, but is puzzled at the Emond’s Fielders, and offers Moiraine a company of armsmen to take with them, but she refuses as well. Finally Agelmar dismisses the matter and orders food be brought.

They all eat and socialize, until Ingtar enters and tells Agelmar that a madman attempted to enter the city, first by the gates, and later was caught scaling the walls. They bring the filthy, rag-clad man in, and Mat, Rand and Perrin all immediately recognize Padan Fain. Fain acts generally schizophrenic, first groveling and whining about how “he” made Fain his hound and how he wants to be free, then the next moment haughtily promising Agelmar that he can help him rid Shienar of the Shadow. Moiraine says she must speak to Fain alone.

What must it be like to live in a place eternally under siege? To try to go from day to day, living life while knowing at any moment everything you hold dear might be destroyed? To have the promise of violence and mayhem constantly just over the horizon?

There are people in this world who know exactly what that is like. I must count myself very fortunate not to be among them.

Chapter 47: More Tales of the Wheel

What Happens
Rand, Mat and Perrin wait impatiently to find out what Fain tells Moiraine while Egwene and Nynaeve chat with Agelmar. Egwene asks Agelmar why everyone calls Lan “Dai Shan” and so forth.

[Agelmar] heaved a sigh, and shook his head. “He will not speak of it, yet the story is well known along the Border. He is a king, or should have been, al’Lan Mandragoran, Lord of the Seven Towers, Lord of the Lakes, crownless King of the Malkieri.”

Agelmar tells the story of the fall of Malkier and the betrayal of its last king, Lan’s father, by Breyan and Cowin Fairheart, and how when it was clear Malkier would be overrun by the Shadow’s forces, the king and queen consecrated the infant Lan as the next king and swore an oath on his behalf:

“To stand against the Shadow so long as iron is hard and stone abides. To defend the Malkieri while one drop of blood remains. To avenge what cannot be defended.
The oath sworn over his cradle is graven in his mind. There is nothing left to defend, but he can avenge. He denies his titles, yet in the Borderlands he is called the Uncrowned, and if ever he raised the Golden Crane of Malkier, an army would come to follow. But he will not lead men to their deaths. In the Blight he courts death as a suitor courts a maiden, but he will not lead others to it.”

Nynaeve looks very pale, and Egwene comforts her silently. Moiraine reenters, and begins washing her hands vigorously. She says that Fain is far worse than a Darkfriend, and that she has never met anyone so corrupted in their soul. Three years ago, he was brought to Shayol Ghul, and made into the Dark One’s hound, to hunt for the three boys; Fain was the one who brought the Trollocs to Emond’s Field, once he became sure that the boys were the ones he sought. He has followed them all through their travels, even through the Ways, because he has no choice. Moiraine says there is much more to be learned from Fain, but they have no time for it now; they must get to the Blight. Agelmar once more pleads with her to take seasoned fighting men with her rather than farmboys, and Moiraine tells him that it is those farmboys who will fight at the Eye. Agelmar is shocked, then appalled. Surely, he says, they are not... Moiraine replies obliquely that they are ta’veren, and that may be enough to turn the tide at the Eye. She adds that the blood of Manetheren runs strongly in almost all of them, and Agelmar concedes that if any bloodline could strike a blow to the Dark One, it would be Manetheren. Rand doesn’t miss the “almost all of them” part. Moiraine says they must rest now, and start for the Blight at first light.

On the chapter title: heh. It’s as if even Jordan was like, yeah, this is yet another infodump. Deal.

While Lan’s story is of course very cool, I can’t help being a little like, well of course he’s an uncrowned king. They always are.

Actually now that I think about it, as (we presume, in Perrin’s case) things will turn out, of all the people in the room except possibly Moiraine, Lord Agelmar will have the lowest rank of any of them!

Even Loial, who is the son of the putative leader of the Ogier, and thus could be considered the nearest equivalent to a prince that the Ogier have. (Moiraine I’m less sure of, because even though I know she’s of royal blood, she’s only a cousin, and for all I know Agelmar is more directly related to King Easar than Moiraine is to Laman.)

But still. That’s really pretty funny. Yay upward mobility, right?

We also get (most of) Fain’s story here, and I’ve got to say I’ve always been pretty annoyed by him. Jordan said that Fain is the series’ wild card, but to me he’s always been the Aw Hell, Not You Again guy. He is random, I’ll give Jordan that, but that’s exactly what bugs me so much about him.

Right then! Bugger this for a game of soldiers, pish tosh, and Bob’s your uncle! Y’all come on back Friday for The Big Bang Ending of the first book, covering Chapters 48 through to the end of The Eye of the World. Brace yourselves, mind the gap, keep a stiff upper lip, and all that rot. Cheerio!

Phil Frederick
1. flosofl
Just a nit...

"They have treadmills in Randland?"

Treadmills/Treadwheels have been around a long, long time. As far back as the Greek and Roman cultures at least. They were used to turn grain mills and the like (hence the name). I think treadwheel was the more widespread, but a flattened belt turning a geared axle was probably not uncommon. Usually, they were powered by livestock or horses, but the occasional prisoner or slave did in pinch.

Just jumped out at me, sorry. I'm really enjoying these recaps. In fact you have inspired me to re-purchase the books to read again.
Jason Denzel
2. JasonDenzel
The info dumps never really bugged me in this novel as they sometimes do in other novels. So much cool stuff is hinted at in this early book that I always found it be exciting when Moiraine would start talking about histories and how the metaphysical stuff works.

Actually, that's one of the major functions that Moiraine has in the series: to be the Big Picture Gal. She's great at keeping Rand and the others (not to mention the reader) aware of the big plot arcs and why they're doing all this.

I miss that from her in later books after she ...uh... "dies". It will be interesting to see what her role will be in the final book in this sense.
m gardner
3. m gardner
Chpt 47 hints at what is my all time favorite scene thus far in the series, when the Golden Crane is finally raised and you see the men of the Borderlands riding out to join Lan as he is finally forced to accept his ultimate role in the story.
m gardner
4. GregLamont
Again Leigh, WOW! There wasn't as much commentary done today, but with all the info dumping, almost everything was layed out for us right in the text so there was no need.

I think it is great that we are introduced to the two creepiest places in Randland this early in the story: Shadar Logoth and the Ways. I find the ways creepier just based on the fact that there is something familiar about Shadar Logoth being just a run-down city which, to me, takes some of the fear away.

Keep up the good work... I know we all really appreciate the effort that you are putting into this :)
Peter Moore
5. NaClH2O
Chapter 42:
I'm not sure there is "Religion" in Randland, at least not in the standard organized RW sense of the word. However there is a really strong Belief System that permeates the whole series. For a very good and very thorough discussion of religious parallels and the eschatology of the WoT universe check out the Eschatology FAQ at Wotmania:

That one essay probably contains all the information on the subject you could ever want. One of the things that amazed me (and continues to amaze) is how RJ pulled concepts and principles from EVERYWHERE. We have norse myths, and greek myths and chinese myths and pieces from every religion known to man. And then some.

NaCl(check out the link above, really good stuff there)H2O
Joe Sherry
6. jsherry
Generally when RJ does an info dump he does it so well that I love reading the backstories. The histories are as interesting as the primary story.

Does Chapter 47 also have the bit about Jain Charin, already called "Farstrider"?
m gardner
7. Tony Zbaraschuk
Jordan can do creepy implications very well, and the Ways are one of his masterpieces. (And isn't their geometry just slightly Lovecraftian, after all?)
m gardner
8. markp
The end of chapter 42 is probably one of my least favourite sections of the book. Lets all got to the eye of the world just because.

+too many lord of the rings similarities (don’t need to do a reread of lotr I read it too many bloody times when I was a teenager)

"I’m 99% positive that the scene in the film version of Fellowship of the Ring, where they have to get across the gap in the stair in Moria, never happened in the novel, so, okay. But I’m just saying, that’s immediately what I thought of."

I don't think it was on the stairs but they have to jump a fissure, Sam wishes he brought a rope.
Kate Nepveu
9. katenepveu
I'm now torn whether Shadar Logoth or the Ways remind me more of Moria. Since the Ways have a Gollum-equivalent skulking through them, I'm leaning toward the Ways now . . .

(Which did work quite well for me, in a creepy kind of way.)

Now that we've hit Shienar, let's talk language.

1) Are those recognizable as any existing language to anyone? (Some bits look like Japanese to me, but others, very much not.)

2) The impression I get is that the "foreign" bits are ritual only, left over from another time, and that the people generally speak a fluent, unaccented "English" just as everyone else we've seen has. Is this plausible?
m gardner
10. Mike Jamieson
A huge heartfelt thanks to you Leigh for this re-read. It brings the story back to me like reading it for the first time years ago. I am sure this task is difficult at times, so just remember it means a lot to us and will not soon be forgotten.

m gardner
11. markp
Half the time Moraine seems to be really laid back about the pattern. "The pattern wills it" so that is how it will be. But the other Half the time is completely determined to get things done her way/defeat the Dark One etc
m gardner
12. just another commenter
"Jordan said that Fain is the series’ wild card, but to me he’s always been the Aw Hell, Not You Again guy."

Very well put :D :P
Brad Moore
13. servantcbm
Leigh, you've sucked me in.

I'm getting out my books and starting to try to catch up. I love this story and your commentary really brings out the best in it.

Thank you.
m gardner
14. Heather J.
Treadmill – isn’t that the same word used for when you took horses to the mill wheel and they walk round and round in circles to turn the wheel? But yeah, it IS funny anyway.

Machin Shin – I remember being completely creeped out by this part. The horrible voices, the fact that a *wind* can not only kill you but torture you for eternity … ~shudder~ Any time they are in the ways I sort of skim past any mention of Machin Shin. On this reread I’m doing the audio versions (usually before bed) and MAN, that is so much worse. I had to actually skip that part of the cd … (I know, I know, I'm a complete chicken - and I'm ok with that).
m gardner
15. metria31183
(Moiraine I’m less sure of, because even though I know she’s of royal blood, she’s only a cousin, and for all I know Agelmar is more directly related to King Easar than Moiraine is to Laman.)

Wasn't Moiraine Laman's neice? I know it was mentioned somewhere that she is Taringail's (sp?) half-sister and I think we find out in New Spring that her father was one of Laman's brothers.
m gardner
16. GregoryD
Great work!

This comment is for Friday's post. If Mat is so corrupt from the dagger that the others cannot get near him in the Inn, then wouldn't Rand be infected by now since he has been traveling with mat for some time, since he got the dagger?

just wondering
m gardner
17. Erdrick
In New Spring, wasn't Moiraine almost put on the throne in Cairhien after Laman died? That was a major motivation for her to flee from Tar Valon and go searching for the Dragon Reborn. She was right up there with the succession, and if the Tower had its way...
Tim Kington
18. TimKington

I agree - I always thought the Ways were more Moria-like than SL, especially because you have Fain sneaking around behind them.

Judging by how much RJ had planned in advance, I think it's unlikely that he hadn't figured out how TAR worked yet. In fact, this seems to hint that they were pulled into TAR:

Moiraine put her head into the room. "You are awake already. Good. Dress quickly and come down. We must be away before first light."

"Now?" Mat groaned. "We haven't had an hour's sleep yet."

"An hour?" she said. "You have had four. Now hurry, we do not have much time."

Rand shared a confused look with Mat. He could remember every second of the dream clearly. It had begun as soon as he closed his eyes, and lasted only minutes.

"The Avendesora leaf is not here!" she said. "The key is gone!"
Any ideas on what happened to the key?

"But one among us seeking glory, seeking to add his name to those four, and we may never find it though I take us straight to the spot I remember."
Why did Moiraine go to the Eye the first time?
m gardner
19. pld
Sorry this comment was not posted last week when you covered the relevant chapters...

Am I the only one who assumed Mordeth was scared away when he/it had Rand and Mat cornered because Mashadar was starting to come out? Mashadar is described as coming out of the ground.. The boys and Mordeth are deep under ground so Mashadar would come out there first. Mordeth flees and the buys go upstairs to the feeling of being watched and the sun setting... Mashadar coming out seems to closely linked to be coincidence! I don't buy the picking up the dagger theory. Did Jordan have anything to say about this?

(all this talk of Mashadar "comming out" is not meant to imply a sexual orientation of said silvery tendrils...

it's clearly bi. or maybe tri if you include beasts)

People seem to treat Mashadar and Mordeth as allies but I think Mordeth had the days in Shadar Logoth and disappeared at night when Mashadar took over. ie they didn't mix.

I love how convoluted the family tree is surrounding Cairhien/Andor and many of our protagonists.

I agree that Morgase probably met Tam in Tar Valon while she was a novice. I highly doubt Jordan will pair the two of them up though. Too much time invested in Tallanvor, and it would make Morgase too flighty (slutty?).

Thanks Leigh. Keep it up. I'm on tSR in my 3rd complete re-read. Kudos to those who posted they went all the way back to the beginning for every new book. You are the true Dedicated. I couldn't bring myself to go back more than 3 books before the later releases (that's where the story gets really complex NEwayz IMHO)
Josh Rice
20. Anomander

Clearly Moiraine went to the Eye the first time to convince the Green Man to fake his death, hide in Caemlyn until the opportune moment, when Bela would tell him it was time to kill Asmodean.

Sheesh, obvious! :)

I've never understood the need part of finding the Eye, wouldn't anyone about to be slaughtered in the Blight need somewhere safe?

Also, I think Agelmar mentions that maybe five Borderlanders have found the Eye... what were they doing there? Just wanted to risk their lives to chill with the Green Man for a bit?
m gardner
21. hummingbird
I can’t help being a little like, well of course he’s an uncrowned king. They always are.


Umm, yeah, seriously. *le sigh*
m gardner
22. Squocka

I like the Tam and Morgase theory to so just to add to the fire.

Tam joined with Perrin prior to Faile's rescue so he will surely meet his Lords rescued servent. If they really did meet i'm sure he would recognise her. (I always thought Berelain recognised her as well but kept quiet)
Richard Boye
23. sarcastro
yes, it's not Thom that is the father of Gawyn and Elayne, it's Tam, just to whole other squicky facet to Rand's concerns about potential incest.....

Soory I haven't been more of an active conversationalist, Leigh, but Day-um, this pace is brutal.

Keep it up! I am reading, if nothing else.
m gardner
24. Rebecca Starr
Ch. 42
I also agree that that the backstory supplied in these chapters is great and doesn't feel clunky to me at all! Okay, I'll admit that it is a total zigzag in the plot that all this time the plan has been Tar Valon Tar Valon Tar Valon, and suddenly, whoops! It's the Eye. But still, I guess I don't mind Moiraine's omniscient expository tone because she's Aes Sedai which is still cool and badass and all-knowing here... From my first read to my 10th, I still eat this stuff up.

Ch. 44
I think I mentioned this back when Rand had his Ba'alzamon dream in a "maze" that sounded a lot like the Ways, and I think I found confirmation:
"Something about all of it seemed almost familiar to Rand, but he knew it had to be his imagination groping for anyhting familiar where everything was strange."

Contrast the Ways description p. 670 with the dream maze description p. 348 and tell me if you agree.

Ch. 45
Okay so the Black Wind is *easily* the thing that creeps me out the most in the books. Heather@14 I don't blame you for not listening to the CD there, I can hardly read the paragraph. Maybe it's kinda like why Iago is supposed to be Shakespeare's creepiest villain... because he has no motive. The Black Wind is evil because it just... is

Ch. 46
Loial's musings make me wonder how common it is for Ogier to meet the Green Man. He makes it seem as if every Elder from his stedding has done so. And yet we know Ogier hardly ever travel Outside! Thoughts?

I also love that we get to see Lan's inner struggle here, torn between his duty to Moiraine and his oaths to Malkier. I just love the man: "He is the best of the Warders, and that means the best of the best." ooooh shivers

p. 700 I noticed an interesting moment in which Rand seems to have his first inkling that he can channel, with inner thoughts about "that sort of struggle" means the One Power. Interesting...

finally, Leigh, I have to disagree with your thoughts on Fain as Not You Again guy - funny though :) To me he's always clearly been Gollum
m gardner
25. FunBob
Yeah! The Green Man is coming!

The story of Moiraine's first trip to the Eye would be an interesting read, if only to find out why she would jeopardize finding the Eye in the future to finding it when she did.

This was also the first mention of Jain Farstrider as a person entangled in the history of the Borderlands and the fall of Malkier, while the rest of the references to Jain Farstrider make him into a Marco Polo - like figure who has a timeless set of adventures.

The post is like a good pulled beer...long lasting and tasty! Cheers!
m gardner
26. RobMRobM
Jolly good job, as always, Leigh and commenters. A few thoughts in passing (as I keep imagining Michael Palin's voice saying "Look Mum, there's an Ogier on the telly...")

42. I thought the sudden redirection to the Blight was forced and clunky when I read it. Still do. However, it makes much more sense in retrospect when we know more about the nature of ta'veren. Moirane quickly understood that when an Ogier who knows the Ways shows up and three different people tell stories about the Eye of the World, you can't fight the pattern. On a separate point, is my memory correct that Jain Charen/Farstrider is the man who gave the message to the Ogier after being tricked by Ishy?

43. "...the Dark One may be at the brink of victory. There is enough power in the Eye of the World to undo his prison...." Really creepy, when you think about it. I didn't pick up on earlier reads. So what exactly were A and B supposed to do when they showed up at the Eye? Kill everyone, take the pure saidin and head to Shayol Ghul? Did A instead refuse to follow the plan and drink up all the saidin himself? To what purpose? Very thought provoking piece of text. Note, Tim, that Moiraine went to the Eye the first time as part of group of AS to determine what was there and see if they could make any use of the pure saidin there -- which they couldn't as discussed by M in upcoming chapters (altho Ano's alternative explanation is priceless - go Bela).

I also agree with commenters that the dream is TAR. Classic TAR - harm in the dream has impact on body in real world.

44. Nothing to say other than Master Gill continues to show he is pretty badass for an innkeeper.

45. You missed my favorite nugget - while the boys were ragging on Rand for having Min keep staring at him, Moiraine says something like - "You never told me about that." Moiraine grasped that Min didn't tell her everything of importance - and that Min had her own direct role to play in the pattern. Also, I agree with the Mines of Moria/Gollum flashback angle on this.

46. I was struggling with why Shienarians kept saluting Loial, given that Fal Dara lost its Ogier buildings centuries ago, but they give the formal AS introduction to Moraine and also give formal introductions to Lan. They just appear to be very formal people who pay very close attention to the old ways - as befits a people who have lived close to the Dark One for centuries and rely on the old traditions to survive. Note to Kate - most WOT obsessed folks have figured out that the various states of Randland roughly correspond to countries in our world (Carheim, France; Tear, Spain; Andor, England, etc.) Most see Sheinar as feudal Japan, I believe. The various countries be speaking a fluent but highly accented forms of the common tounge depending on their situs. Ano's last paragraph in his comment - your sarcastic sounding comment is exactly right. People from Ilian go hunting for the Horn to seek adventure; People from Borderlands go looking for the Green Man. Both have only slightly different chances of success.

47. Note that you didn't highlight the Isam/Slayer angle in the story of Malkier's fall. I don't recall at the moment how much is made of it in this chapter, but it's alluded to, isn't it? I didn't make that connection until reading website commentary after I finished the series. Re Anglemar, you're missing the point that he also is a battle lord, and probably a
Diademed on, just like you know who; just not a king. Pretty much akin to everyone else in the room: Future King of Illian, Future Queen of Malkier (once reestablished after AMOL), Putative Queen of Carhein (before she got out of Dodge - I mean, Tar Valon, in New Spring), Probable future King of Saldea and whatever else is considered the other half of the Broken Crown (I actually checked indexes looking for historic ties between Manatheren and Saldea's predecessor to see if they were united at one point, without luck), Prince of the Seanchan Ravens and the Amerylin Seat. Not a bad assemblage. Oh, and I'm with you 150% on Fain -- can't stand the character. And love the "surely they are not..." comment from Anglemar - yes, one of them is a male channeler despite Moirane's unsubtle efforts to cloud the issue; and don't call me Shirley.

m gardner
27. RobMRobM
By the way, glad to see increasing support for my Tam-Morgase shipper theory. It makes way too much dramatic sense not to happen. Going to be awesome when Tam finally flashes those blademaster skills "on camera" for once (if Valda's skills in KoD are what a blademaster can do -- forcing even Galad to risk death to defeat him -- Tam should be something special, even at his age) and finally decides to get himself another gorgeous redhead for a bride. Maybe Tam and Morgase can be Lord and Lady of the Two Rivers when Perrin and Faile head on up to Saldea to get the Broken Crown....) Rob
m gardner
28. Erdrick

Yes, Ishy sent Jain Farstrider and the Maidens with the messages pointing to the Eye. This is in chapter 51, which I guess we'll be discussing tomorrow:

"Other armies can be raised, fool. Armies you have not dreamed of will yet come. And you tracked me? You slug under a rock, track me? I began the setting of your path the day you were born, a path to lead you to your grave, or here. Aiel allowed to flee, and one to live, to speak the words that would echo down the years. Jain Farstrider, a hero," he twisted the word to a sneer, "whom I painted like a fool and sent to the Ogier thinking he was free of me. The Black Ajah, wriggling like worms on their bellies across the world to search you out. I pull the strings and the Amyrlin Seat dances and thinks she controls events."
--(TEotW, Ch51)

Oh, and whatever Ishy did is still messing with poor Mr. Charin's mind.

"Suddenly he realized he was touching his head again. He did not have a headache, but his head felt…peculiar…sometimes. Most often he thought of what he could not remember…once again he pulled his hand down from his head. Sooner or later, he would remember. He did not have much time left, but it was all he did have. He remembered that much."
--(CoT Ch17)
Joe Sherry
29. jsherry
Yeah, in retrospect (knowing what we do about old Mr. Charin), I feel really sad for Jain "Noal" Charin. He was this great hero of the Malkieri, a world traveler, famous writer, full of awesome, and by the end...a broken down old man who can't remember his past.

We seldom see what the Shadow can do to a man (or woman) up front because most everyone is good or already bad, but Farstrider is the wreckage that gets left behind. He's the lesson.
m gardner
30. tearl
(27)RobMRobM and other Tam-Morgase proposers

There's a timeline snag.

I can't find when Morgase was at the White Tower, but...

972 NE Queen Modrellen dies, Andoran war of succession starts

978 NE Aiel War comes to Tar Valon.

Unless you want to believe the war of succession lasts for 6 years and succeeds in placing Morgase on the throne without her present, I would assume Morgase is not at Tar Valon when Tam is.
m gardner
31. Emerkel
Tony Z (Post 7)

The only thing that RJ left out was that classic Lovecraftian adjective, "Non-euclidian".

I also am reminded of that thought with the two archways to the 'Fin's worlds.

It is very interesting to me that influences from a few notable authors show up in some way in the storyline, but they do not take over the over-arching storyline or dictate the basis for the WOT world's reality or mechanisms.

Totally awesome!
Adam Miller
32. AdamM

Is it possible that the Companions had passed through Caemlyn, and that as a senior officer in the organization, Tam had met Morgase there?

Through conversation there, it was easily possible that she had recognized an accent as similar to Baerlon, but not quite the same and asked out the source, and therein found that it was the Two Rivers accent?
m gardner
34. Effervescent
The fact that a man of Andor is a military leader, and a swordmaster at that, in another nation's military would indeed make Morgase seek him out. Think of both her and Elayne's reactions of ANYTHING being "taken" from Andor. I think, even if Tallenvor is meant to win Morgase's heart, it is likely Tam will "out" her to Perrin. How can he of all people not know who she is?

As an aside, I can't wait for us to get to Morgase post-throne. She is an absolute idiot, and needs to be named accepted of the White Tower and former queen going to the WHITECLOAKS for help? HUH??

As far as the info-dumps, they have to be one of my favorite times of this book. This is Jordan "making things clear", and removing the posibility of alternate explainations. If you have read the dragonmount forums, or the background threads for WOTFAQ, when Jordan gets subtle, people get weird.
m gardner
36. Ben Pearson
Thanks Leigh for this AMAZING reread. I don't have a lot of time to read because of work and school, and because of this it took me 2 years to get through the series. That being said, I finished the latest book when it came out and haven't revisited the series since. I have forgotten a lot that has happened in the series. So, you can see how unbelievably valuable this reread is to me. You have done a great job summarizing the chapters and have provided insight into aspects I never thought about. Using your reread, I now feel confident I will be prepared for the last book when it comes out. Thank you so so so much. WoT is my favorite series and you are doing it wonderful justice. Keep up the fantastic work!!!
m gardner
37. tearl
RE: my previous post 30.

972 NE Queen Modrellen dies, Andoran war of succession starts

978 NE Aiel War comes to Tar Valon.

I'm late in The Dragon Reborn in my own re-read.

Ch.47, To Race the Shadow, Basel Gill is relating past and possible future successions:

"--not like the Succession, after Tigraine (sic Modrellen) died. It took two years before Morgase sat on the Lion Throne,..."

So we may add to the timeline (barring partial year irregularities)

976 NE Morgase crowned Queen of Andor
m gardner
38. tearl
DOH! That's

_974_ NE Morgase crowned Queen of Andor
m gardner
39. RobMRobM
Tearl - I was not the one who suggested Morgase met with Tam in Tar Valon; I agree that had various unlikely elements (not clear that Joint armies of the five leaders would get to go to Tar Valon in war time; no indication in New Spring that Morgase in tower; not clear that a novice would have an opportunity to interact with an officer, etc). Like Adam, I expect that given Tam's involvement in several wars in southern Randland, there would be some occasion for Illian military leaders to be in Camelyn where a young Morgase could have observed or talked to an Illian officer from the Two Rivers district in Andor. Not sure that Morgase needed to seek him out - just be in same room when someone else (Queen, Tigraine) had some sort of interaction with him. Contrary to Eff, I doubt she'd have known Tam as a blademaster - that would have been too memorable for her not to make the connection to the son of a Two Rivers blademaster in this book.

Thanks to all for their thoughts and comments, especially Erd for his Jain info. Much obliged.

m gardner
40. michaelt
I really wish my wife would start reading these books. It's so much fun talking WoT theory with others. On that note, here are my thoughts on some of them.

I think that Shadar Logoth is what corrupted the Ways. Moiraine tells us that there isn't even a pebble of the place that isn't contaminated, and the Waygate is much more than a pebble. Not only that, but the Ways are Grown (using the Talisman of Growing). Similar to a plant that has some of its roots placed in bad soil will sicken and possible die, the Ways, drawing "nourishment" through the Waygate in Shadar Logoth, are being poisoned and dying. Also, if Mashadar and Machin Shin are two faces of the same evil, this helps explain how Fain is able to control Machin Shin to guard the Waygates in TGH. Perhaps the Destruction of Shadar Logoth and the Waygate there as a result of cleansing Saidin will allow the Ways to become lighted and beautiful again.
@18 TimKingdom - What happened to the key?

I had assumed somebody had locked the Waygate, similar to what Perrin did to the Manetheren Waygate upon returning to the Two Rivers. If they had been completely removed, the Waygate would have died. Darkfriends or Shadowspawn could have done it anytime in the past hundreds of years.
On the theory of Tam and Morgase, I think an important thing to consider is Tam's wife, Kari. Who was she? Not many people have red hair who aren't Aiel. The most famous of those seem to be of the noble houses of Andor. My theory is that Kari is a sister or close relative to Morgase. She falls in love with a blademaster in the king of Illian's elite Companions. The family doesn't really approve, especially when she accompanies him home to his farm and sheep, and all communication stops between them. Morgase would have heard the Two Rivers accent from Tam as he is courting Kari (maybe she even attended the wedding?). This helps explain why is willing to override her two closest advisors, as Morgase knows/suspects that Rand is her nephew or other relative, and wants to help him, but doesn't want to have to deal with the political turmoil that could arise by recognizing him as part of the royal family. It would also be a masterful RJ event when Rand discovers that if he had been Tam and Kari's son, he really would have been Elayne's cousin, and not just because all nobles are related.
m gardner
41. David Scotton
Another good post. I don't have much to contribute, but I agree that Shadar Logoth and the Ways are each very Moria like in their own way, but tap into different aspects of that.
m gardner
42. IanGH
Didn't Elayne say at one point that she has estates near the Mountains of Mist? It's possible that Morgase has come across a Two-Riverling in an entirely mundane, ordinary way.

Not to throw cold water on the Tam-Morgase thing...

m gardner
43. Randalator

Fain didn't control Machin Shin or set him to guard the waygates. In TGH, Ch34 he warns Turak of Rand thinking he will be only 1 or 2 days behind.

What happened is that when Fain was caught by Machin Shin he involuntarliy left an imprint of his hatred for Rand on the Black Wind. He corrupted Machins Shins "personality" in a manner of speaking.
m gardner
44. birgit
A parallel I between Moria and the Ways that I just noticed on this reread is when Gandalf tries to open the Gates of Moria before they get caught by the Watcher in the Water and Moiraine tries to open the Waygate before they get caught by Machin Shin.

Shienar has many obivous Japanese elements: Lan's poem, the ?? wabi/sabi architecture, the formal language, public baths.
The syntax of some Old Tongue expressions also seems Japanese to me.
If the OT was the language of the Age of Legends, why doesn't Aginor speak it at the Eye? Certainly he had no time to learn a new language since his escape from the Bore. And where does the modern language come from? It must have been spoken by Hawkwing's time because the Seanchan also speak it, but it is strange that many cultural terms in several cultures (Aiel, Seanchan) are in the Old Tongue. If the OT was the language of the AOL and the Aiel lived separately from the rest of the world since the Breaking, shouldn't they still be speaking the OT?
m gardner
45. tearl
@39 RobMRobM

My postings 37/38 were more to emend the timeline than to further the Tam & Morgase theory one way or the other.

I also wanted to point out the TDR error, although one could say it's Gill's error and not RJ's. But Gill is so steeped in Andoran Royalty history that he's unlikely to make such and error.

Regarding the T&M theory, noting that Caemlyn is on the way from Illian to Tar Valon and other facts makes me change my thoughts from it being a lloooooooonnnnnnnggg stretch, to merely a loooonng one.

Depending on where and how intense to battle was, I would normally expect merely a parade review of the army on its way through Caemlyn. However, it's possible that an overnight was convenient and a celebration for the officers was held. It's also possible that a multi-day layover occurred to allow the consolidation of units from other parts of Randland.

Also from The Guide, p121,(I call it The Guide even though "guide" doesn't appear in its title):
...swept through Cairhien,...spread down through Tear, back up the River Erinin to Andor, and finally, three years after the Aiel had crossed the Dragonwall, to Tar Valon itself.

Two points to note, first the war passed through Andor and close to Caemlyn so events didn't necessarily have to happen "on the way to TV", and second the war stayed around TV for roughly a year so there's more flexibility in timing.

That all said, I don't believe it's gonna happen.

@40 michaelt

Re T&M variant Kari (Tam's wife) is a close relative of Morgase.

If that were the case, I would have expected a reaction from Morgase on hearing "Al'Thor from the Two Rivers," as Rand used his real name.
Todd Willis
46. tswillis
Leigh...Thank you so much for these are doing an absolute awesome job and I love your style, keep up the great work...I have been reading these since the announcement and now look forward to them weekly (BI)!!! I will try and add some of my own comments in the future...:-)
Ismael Ruiz
47. byd_racer
Re T&M variant Kari (Tam's wife) is a close relative of Morgase.

If that were the case, I would have expected a reaction from Morgase on hearing "Al'Thor from the Two Rivers," as Rand used his real name.

Maybe she did recognize the name and that was the reason she decided to let him go even though Elaida basically said he was going to raise all hell.

Remember, Morgase is a skilled politician and adept at controlling her facial expressions. She could have known all along and never mentioned it.
m gardner
48. Shard
I don't mind Jordan's "infodumps" as much as others apparently do. Rather I never thought of them as such I mean we do need explanations of a lot of aspects of the story that require more then one sentence. Maybe It's Jordan's love of describing things in great detail, High Chant I think he called it.

At the very least I have never been bored with these infodumps, not like say at the end of the second Matrix movie. I remember wanting to shoot myself so I didn't have to sit through any more of it. The infodumps are digestible I think because Jordan adds enough flavor for us to process the information without us feeling like were reading a textbook.
m gardner
49. pld

I stand corrected. Thanks for the timeline of Morgase's rise to the throne. She would not likely have been in Tar Valon at the end of the Aiel War since she was already the queen.

I still believe Tam and Morgase met at some point, however, Tam and Morgase ending up together is about as likely as finding out Bela killed Asmodean.
Tim Kington
50. TimKington

I believe RJ said in one of the posts here at that the Forsaken who were close to the surface of the seal could see the world and watch what was going on while they were trapped, so they had plenty of time to keep up with the changing language.
J Novak
51. Novak
I can see why you thought of some of Chapter 42 as being clunky and talking-heady, but I didn't really think of it as fourth-wall breaking. It's a perfectly rational thing to ask in her position-- are we being led by our adversary, or are we doing the right thing?

The dream in chapter 43, by the way, is probably my favorite one from the whole book, and pushing it for the whole series. It was both creepy and did impart some important information: That Ishamael has limits, is not all-seeing and all-knowing, just (at this point) effectively all-powerful. And I suspect that while Jordan hadn't nailed down the exact details, yet, he intended the dreams to be taking place in tal'aran'rhiod even if the mechanics of the place changed later.

There's not really a lot to say about this whole stretch, though, was there? I mean, I liked it, I wasn't bored by it, and the exposi-dumps were necessary and interesting to me, but it's all very much about getting from the point of a major revelation to the point where the revelation told you to be.
J Novak
52. Novak

To me, the Ways were always the more Moria-like of the two episodes, but there's similarities for both.

The Ways are similar to the Mines of Moria in their details: The Ways are a means to get from point A to point B across an otherwise physically insurmountable obstacle (in one case, a stormy mountain range, in the other, sheer physical distance.) They're also a way to avoid or evade a watching, interfering adversary (Saruman or Ishamael.) They both have a watching follower (Gollum and Fain.) They are both a series of short, direct trips that you can't deviate from (the mining tunnels or the bridge-spans.) They both contain, effectively, a violent demon (the Balrog, or Machine Shin. Mordeth isn't quite the same.) There are probably other similarities.

But Aridhol serves a purpose more similar to Moria, story-wise. The Mines of Moria happen before everyone splits apart, as does Aridhol, whereas the Ways happen after everyone gets back together and is finally going to the same place again.
m gardner
53. Tony Zbaraschuk
>Morgase is an idiot

At the point where she runs to the Whitecloaks for help, maybe, but by that time she's not the Queen we saw here, she's the wreck of one after Rahvin ran a Roto-Rooter through her brain. More wreckage in the Shadow's path (though the absolute coolest of those is when Sammael pretty much destroys the Shaido as a coherent force, in about two chapters of intrigue).

Machin Shin as rooted in Aridhol: I like that idea a lot. It makes sense, and explains why Fain could apparently set the Wind to guard the Waygate he went through.

And Fain may be Gollum, but he's Gollum with the tongue of Saruman. High Lord Turak, Pedron Niell, and Elaida all fall victim to his tongue over the course of the series. Rand is outgrowing his threat (or the Pattern is repairing the damage Fain causes, or something), but he's had a HUGE influence on the course of events. (Including tying into Jordan's theme about how the good guys have trouble cooperating...)
m gardner
54. Scoobin-N-Groovin
The Ways... okay they are Moria-like but for me they are more abut the male Aes Sedai and what's been lost. The Ways are scary now, but the story of their creation is so poignant - these men knew they would die horrifically, but to honor the Ogier, for their help, they created this amazing other world that was beautiful and incredibly useful to the Ogier. It was an awesome accomplishment under the most awful of circumstances. They must have had a great degree of cooperation between themselves - something the current Aes Sedai can't/won't manage. Their condition now is very sad. I hoping the cleansing of the male half and/or the Tinker's song will make them clean again.
m gardner
55. RobMRobM
Re the Kari as Morgase's cousin theories - I'm pretty sure that Kari was identified in either a book (Great Hunt?) or an index as the daughter of a merchant from Carhein. Of course, this in and of itself is funny. Elaida in the castle scene mentions that Two Rivers folk rarely have Rand's coloring and his height and Rand answers that his mother was an outlander - which is fine for his coloring (his mother was a redhead) but not for his height (Carheinians are the shortest people in Randland). Rob
m gardner
56. RobMRobM
Camelyn, not Carhein, but still a merchant's daughter. TGH, Chapter 8. So...nevermind on the Carhein height jokes. Rob

P.s. As I think of it, this is proof that Tam spent time in Camelyn, increasing chances he is the one from whom Morgase heard Two Rivers speech.

p.p.s. Loved the comment (don't recall who) who noted the irony of the Elayne should marry a Two Rivers man speech by Gawyn when not only does Elayne later do (not technically married, of course) but Gawyn himself later does the same with Egwene. Why not have Morgase do the same in AMOL ...triple foreshadowing at the same time.
m gardner
57. MattTwoTone
re the Morgase/Two Rivers accent:

Are we all forgetting that Two Rivers tabac is considered widely throughout Randland to be the best? They buy it as far north as Saldaea, and even the Ogiers prefer it. I don't think that a region with such a widely demanded export would stay completely below its queen's notice; she would be bound to notice at least something (like what a western-Andorian accent sounded like?) when Rand was plopped down unceremoniously in front of her.

And maybe Tam wasn't the only one who left the Two Rivers during the Aiel War...maybe he was the only one who came back. It's also completely possible (although not very probable) someone from the Two Rivers served in Caemlyn during the Succession, and met a young Morgase then.
m gardner
58. AnnOnimous
Got in a little late here but not too much... my brother just told me about the re-read the other day, and I finished book two on my own re-read a few weeks ago, but this is so much easier! *smirk*

It's great, I'm loving it, and I remember discussing the Maze Dreams and the Ways with my brother quite a while back... I'll be trying to get into the comments a bit more as this goes along. Great job, thanks for doing this!
m gardner
59. adaptr
Loial explains that the Wheel turns faster in the Ways.

No it doesn't - it turns slower.

If the Wheel turns faster, time goes by faster, right ?
If it turned faster for somebody inside the Ways, i.e. ten minutes (on the outside) going by as if they were just seconds (inside), the outside world would seem to be racing past at breakneck speed.

Just an ObNitpick, but still.
m gardner
60. Erdrick
adaptr @59,

The Wheel moving faster means it travels farther (timewise). Using your few seconds to ten minutes wording, the slower wheel moves only a few seconds while the faster wheel moves ten minutes. So the few seconds is the (slower moving) outer world and the ten minutes is in the Ways.
m gardner
61. markp
I am curious about what happens to you as you step through the gate, since you would be partially in the fast moving time stream and partially in the slow.
Say you had left reel of string in the world and unreeled it as you walked at a constant speed into the Ways holding the end.
What would happen? I suppose the string could stretch or it would unroll much faster (but appear to stay at a constant speed if you looked back while stepping though unlike everything else).
Both would take a lot more energy but they didn't notice any resistance as they walked through (although Rand felt cold)
None of the characters or their horses stretched (obviously) and the horses being pulled through didn't suddenly accelerate either.
I guess it must have been magic.(unless someone has a better explanation:)
m gardner
62. TheFullNelson
Lovin the re-read, very well done, comments are great, mine follow:

All of the Ba'alzamon dreams ARE in Tel’aran’rhiod though the proofs don't come out until Egwene is learning to dreamwalk. The dreams can only be happening in a)Rand's head, b)Ba'alzamon's head, or c)Tel'aran'rhoid.

A)The Aiel dreamwalkers teach Egwene that you can enter someone else's dream but there are many limitations and risks. They mention if "strong emotion is involved" it can be impossible to control yourself in their dream or escape said dream. They specifically use love and hate as the "strong emotion" but fear is an older and stronger emotion than love or hate (reptilian brain vs mamillian brain). Why would Ba'alzamon take this risk? Rand knows he is dreaming many times but is still unable to control the dreams at all. Any lucid dreamer will tell you this cannot happen; it is an impossibility. There is also no direct evidence to support the dreams being in Rand's head.

B)The idea that a dreamwalker could pull someone else into their own dream is never raised throughout the entire series, this is probably either impossible or untried and given the strict internal logic that RJ insists upon I would consider this explanation, if true, very sloppy indeed and not at all up to his usual standards. There is no direct evidence to support this possibility either, but the Aiel teach that you can "pull someone into a dream of your own making" and this refers to...

C)Creating a dream in Tel'aran'rhoid and then pulling your victim into that dream. The Aiel dreamwalkers specifically state that the shadow used to bring people into TR and that it was "an evil thing that was used for evil purposes," so we know evil people can and have done this. Finally, harm in your own dreams is gone when you wake up but harm taken in TR is still there. If the dream were in Rand's or BA's head there would have been no "blood from the prick of a thorn." QED.

Also, there was a remark about chapter 45 being the only time Rand wins an argument with any of the Supergirls. At the risk of appearing mysoganistic, I think that is one of many comments on gender politics by RJ as NONE of the male characters win arguments with ANY of the female (closest exception is Lan with Nynaeve and he still ends up doing what she wants). I can tell you, I have won one or two arguments with women - and wished wholeheartedly I hadn't. As some zenmaster whose name I can't recall once said, "...women are always more right than men." On the whole, I like that half his characters are women and I find his comments on gender politics to be generally fascinating and always at least partially true. Women forgive but never forget, men forget but never forgive - priceless.

Finally, pld asked again about why Mordeth suddenly shrank and fled in Shadar Logoth - to vastly oversimplify, the knife is part of his spiritual essence (for lack of a better term, keep in mind Mordeth is clearly not human or at least not a normal human) just as my leg is part of my body. If I lose a leg I can't sprint; if he loses his knife he can't work many of his "tricks". When I lose my leg shock unmans me, when he loses his knife shock unmans him. After Mordeth kinda possesses Fain he is obsessed with the dagger and mentions how it is part of him and how it makes him whole. In TGH when Rand touches the knife he stirs in his sleep, when Rand steals it he awakens shouting "it's gooooooooone!" and considering he just gives the Horn to Turak and cares nothing for wealth he must have meant the knife. The obsession to find the dagger even overrides his obsession to kill Rand (!) allowing him to ignore Rand to go to Tar Valon and of all the treasures in the tower, the first and only one he steals is the dagger. Only problem is why, if the knife is part of him, did Mordeth set the knife down, ever, even to bathe (cause I sure wouldn't)? Ta'veren is Old Toungese for "Deus Ex Machina". 'Nuff said.

And Mordeth and Mashadar are NOT allies - Mordeth did indirectly create Mashadar but Mordeth was trapped in Shadar Logoth by Mashadar for a good, LONG time, and was none too pleased about it either.

Finally, Morgase as an idiot - nah. Compulsion does wierd things to people. Nynaeve at least had her Compulsion clearly broken, and she still flipped out and attacked one of the forsaken (!) as a result. Morgase never even knew she was Compelled and until she does she can't get her head back on straight because she can't understand why she fell from grace. And Tam's a widower. Oh, please, just once, can we have just one character in a story who doesn't need a %#^&@#$ obligatory love interest? Yes, I know people dig the whole boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back, but people dig variety, too.
m gardner
63. Kenneth G. Cavness
Ch43: Hmm. I'm actually somewhat shocked that you're still not sure whether Ishmael was yanking Rand into Tel'aran'rhiod to play with him. I figured it was quite clear; the other Forsaken grouse that he thought it was HIS domain, and that he would routinely do so, and there are several points at which it is made clear by the Wise Ones that this is a very evil thing. I've never thought otherwise.

Ch47: It could definitely be argued that Moiraine, due to the prestige and high regard (or notoreity and deep-seated fear and hatred) felt for Aes Sedai, she has higher standing than Agelmar, heritage aside.
John Massey
64. subwoofer
Slowly but surely I am catching up with the series. I re-read the books every nine months... How long it takes me to forget and to start/finish longer as the series got longer but now..... for Ch 47, it figures that Lan is hot stuff... last uncrowned king of whosoever and whatnot... like we all didn't see that coming. About some of your previous comments in regards to Nynaeve- I agree, she really is full of herself and like all Supergirls- read- every female I know...has the towering ability to be right all the time or at the very least have FEELINGS that cannot be invalidated. It does come full circle when she marries Lan and then I guess they have fun in bed and stuff... After that she is almost descent to read about. Love Loil, a very real- reluctant hero... he and Perrin are well suited. Both want to be average Joes but rise to the occasion as events demand. Loil is well named and has many character traits that give insight into all relationships across different races and backgrounds. When you talk about being under seige all the time and the weight that must place on a person, I can't help but think of Israel. Good or bad, that must be what it is like for them and many of the other countries in the Middle East. But enough about the real world....on with RJ!
m gardner
65. markerikson
Did we come up with a firm theory on just how the Ways became polluted?

The characters all seem to assume that it was because of the Taint on the saidin with which the Ways were made that caused it to eventually become corrupted.

However, it seems more likely that the corruption within the Ways actually came from Shadar Logoth.

Also, I've never thought this before, but how exactly did a bunch of male Aes Sedai create the Ways? From all we know about how saidin works, creating something as large and complicated as the Ways seems like it would be impossible for a bunch of guys who couldn't link.

I still think my loony theory - that the evil of Aridhol was either a weapon to be used against the Shadow, or an attempt to cure the Taint that went horribly wrong - holds some water.
m gardner
66. Herr_Flick
Just a short comment on the chapter titles:
I read on Brandon Sandersons blog that its actually Harriet that has done most of the chapter naming.

Oh, and great work, just started rereading them myself.
I got mistyeyed when Hopper died as well. And I don't even like Disney.
m gardner
67. JLee
The sound pulled on him like a whirlpool, drawing him in, ripping the void in his mind to shreds.

This caught me this time around, specifically the use of the word 'void' here. Did Rand grasp The Power out of instinct? Did he lose it due to the pressure of the situation?
m gardner
68. Silmarien
What really creeps me out in WOT is that there are so many sources of evil. Machin shin or shadar logoth are creepy in their own ways and they are not even related to the Dark One. To think that mortals capabe of creating as much evil as the " dark one" is creepy I think. I mean come on even when Rand will w?n his figt with him machin shin or shadar logoth still will be there.

Ah by the way there about moiraine, She is the nephew of Laman, in the New Hope the tower wants to put her in the Sun Throne, altough they are not really successful so it may not count :)

and again god that wind is creepy.
m gardner
69. jaidee
For why the Creator can't have a hand in it, read "the incarnation of immortality". There are rules, it is important that humans come to goodness by themselves, not by force. The creator wont force you and cant assist directly because that would be cheating but as for the Dark One , he is evil so he cheats and meddles.
m gardner
70. mike shupp
jaidee @ 69. Interesting point, and likely one RJ intended, but I'm not sure it fits the "orthodox" view in Randland that good and bad deeds both fit the Pattern of the Age.

Does make me mumble a bit however. I'm noticing for the first time that for all the blather about the Creator and the Dark One, Randland is stunningly free of organized religion. I find that quite surprising. (So, come to think of it, is The Lord of the Rings, and that's also surprising in retrospect.)
m gardner
71. BenM
Re splinter in Rand's hand: Does that remind anyone else of the snowball managing to escape the holodeck in ST:TNG? I can understand the injury being real if it was TAR, but how could the splinter itself come out?
m gardner
72. papertiger
I don't even know what episode that snowball thing was from, but it's almost as good as Troi ordering a sundae and the replicator refusing to create it since it's not a healthy, nutritious meal. Oh, Star Trek!

Anyway, the splinter thing isn't supposed to happen, which is why I think Leigh's right in assuming Jordan didn't have everything figured out yet. The damage to his hand should stay, but there's no way he gets that splinter unless he's there in the flesh, maybe.

When Moggy ripped Birgitte out, she left a silver arrow. That's the only other thing I can remember physically coming out of Tel'aran'rhiod.
m gardner
73. emceeclung
the layout of the ways always makes me think of m.c. escher.
Leslie Harper
74. Elvenbanegirl
I laugh at the ones in "09 who said they were joining in late. Lol Anywayz, great stuff leigh. I am loving the series so far. I am not done yet, but I also do not have a lot of time to read between work, family, and going back to school. This is a great way of catching some of the things that I missed and also to keep from going crazy waiting for the library to get me my next book in. My husband really needs to get me a Kindle for Christmas, but that won't happen, as he thinks I read too much anyways, lol.
Couple of quick things though:
The time difference in the ways: Doesn't M warn them not to go through too fast? Evidence is when Ewgen goes in really fast in TGH on the way to F?
If the dreams with B are in Tel' : Like (62. TheFullNelson) I think that some are as per the blood form the thorn, the tender face after the fire, and the splinter. But that some are not, as per not of the boys actually woke up without an eye after ravens.
Now, back to trying to catch up.
m gardner
75. TheBeerPatriot
When I first read EOTW, I felt the reader was being set up for a showdown with Elaida either in Caemlyn or in Tar Valon. But then again, I initially did not pay incredible heed to the Tinkers' message to Perrin about the Eye, or with Rand's dream sequences with Ba'alzamon concerning the Eye. I love how RJ used the 3rd instance of the Eye being threatened (through Loial's tale) that pivoted the forward action from Tar Valon to the Eye. For this alone, I feel that Loial is ta'veren as well. I remember the feeling of reading a good fantasy book to a an epic fantasy tale.

I've always liked WOT scenes set in the Ways, and the reader's introduction to them sets a chilling tone and creates tremendous tension with the lack of light and the threat of Machin Shin hovering over the entire party. The escape from the Ways was pretty dramatic...the Black Wind literally nipping at their heels. And of course, the LOTR parallels are unmistakable here, with Fain/Gollum following the party in the Ways/Moria. I was just waiting for the Balrog to pop out of nowhere too ;)

I also made another LOTR parallel in this book between Lan and Aragorn, where Lan was the king in exile. I eventually dropped this comparison, but it resonated for me with the Borderlands scenes.

When Moiraine makes the connection between Fain and Mordeth, it likewise sets Fain apart a bit more from the Gollum-like similarities. It is amazing to think that the Shadow did not get their hands on any of the ta'veren before Lan and Moiraine got to them. If it were possible, it would be a nice story to have as a prequel.

Personally, I never have a problem with the infodump sections. I love back stories as it adds more depth to the main storyline.

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