Fri
Feb 6 2009 3:44pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Eye of the World, Part 7

Hey, all! Welcome to Part 7 of the re-read of The Eye of the World, the last for this book, covering Chapters 48-53.

This is part of the on-going re-read of the entire Wheel of Time series; previous entries can be found here, in my shiny new index, yay! 

As always, ’ware spoilers for the series in the commentary below. This is a long ’un, so strap in and, um, grab a sandwich or something.

Chapter 48: The Blight

What Happens
Ingtar and a hundred lances escort the party to the Border. Ingtar is miffed that this task means he won’t make it to Tarwin’s Gap in time to kill some Trollocs, and takes curt leave of them. It begins to get warmer as they head north; Nynaeve frowns and comments that it feels wrong. Soon the air is miserably swampy and humid; Rand reaches out to touch a leafy branch, but stops when he sees that the leaves are mottled and diseased-looking. Lan reminds him not to touch anything, saying that the plants can maim or kill you, and that’s just in the fringe of the Blight. They ride on, and the land continues to get more disgusting:

Leaves covered the trees in ever greater profusion, but stained and spotted with yellow and black, with livid red streaks like blood poisoning. Every leaf and creeper seemed bloated, ready to burst at a touch. Flowers hung on trees and weeds in a parody of spring, sickly pale and pulpy, waxen things that appeared to be rotting while Rand watched. When he breathed through his nose, the sweet stench of decay, heavy and thick, sickened him; when he tried breathing through his mouth, he almost gagged. The air tasted like a mouthful of spoiled meat. The horses’ hooves made a soft squishing as rotten-ripe things broke open under them.

Mat throws up; Rand, Egwene and Nynaeve are not doing much better. Rand notices that Perrin seems almost unaffected, or at least not affected in the same way:

The big youth glared at the obscene forest through which they rode as he might have at an enemy, or the banner of an enemy. He caressed the axe at his belt as if unaware of what he was doing, and muttered to himself, half growling in a way that made the hair on Rand’s neck stir. Even in full sunlight his eyes glowed, golden and fierce.

They make camp near a system of lakes, overlooked by what Rand thinks are jagged hilltops, but then sees could be the ruined tops of towers, seven of them. Rand, Mat and Perrin are momentarily dumbfounded by the light-bending ward Moiraine makes around their campsite, and Egwene announces excitedly that Moiraine says she can almost handle enough of the One Power to do it herself. Moiraine cautions her, not without proper training, and Perrin snorts. Nynaeve says, with studied casualness, that maybe she will go with Egwene to Tar Valon, just for moral support, of course. Moiraine agrees that maybe that would be best. Egwene happily approves, and asks the boys whether they’ll be coming, too. They hem and haw, and Egwene asks Rand if he would like to be her Warder once she becomes Aes Sedai.

“I’d like being your Warder,” he said. She’s not for you, nor you for her. Why did Min have to tell me that?

Everyone goes to bed, but Rand can’t sleep, and overhears Nynaeve and Lan talking together. Nynaeve says she should have known Lan would turn out to be a king, and Lan disagrees that he is just a man, with nothing to his name. She replies that some women would be content with just the man; he counters that a man who would expect her to do so isn't worthy of her.

“A Wisdom seldom weds.” She paused to take a deep breath, as if steeling herself. “But if I go to Tar Valon, it may be that I will be something other than a Wisdom.”

“Aes Sedai marry as seldom as Wisdoms. Few men can live with so much power in a wife, dimming them by her radiance whether she wishes to or not.”

“Some men are strong enough. I know one such.” If there could have been any doubt, her look left none as to whom she meant.

“All I have is a sword, and a war I cannot win, but can never stop fighting.”

“I’ve told you I care nothing for that. Light, you’ve made me say more than is proper already. Will you shame me to the point of asking you?”

“I will never shame you.” The gentle tone, like a caress, sounded odd to Rand’s ears in the Warder’s voice, but it made Nynaeve’s eyes brighten. “I will hate the man you choose because he is not me, and love him if he makes you smile. No woman deserves the sure knowledge of widow’s black as her brideprice, you least of all.” He set the untouched cup on the ground and rose. “I must check the horses.”

Nynaeve remained there, kneeling, after he had gone.

Sleep or no, Rand closed his eyes. He did not think the Wisdom would like it if he watched her cry.

Commentary
The Blight = FREAKNASTY. Barf. Seriously, I don’t think you could come up with a much more nightmarish landscape, at least not in my opinion. It’s the part where anything you touch can kill you, poison you, or at least slime you that would make me completely lose my shit; it would be the most precipitately developed case of OCD in history.

Hah, I forgot that once upon a time Egwene asked Rand to be her Warder. Those crazy kids.

Also, wow: Mat momentarily gives up his title of Most In Need Of Smackings to Lan, of all characters.

I mean, sheesh, man. For someone as guarded as Nynaeve, do you know how much that had to have hurt? Yeah, yeah, Lan thought he was doing the right thing, noble alone blah blah angsty-angst, but really. From Nynaeve’s point of view, I guarantee you that was like she took her heart out and laid it in front of him, and Lan picked up a hammer and smashed it flat. Ow.

Oh, and I love the line about men not being able to deal with a wife more powerful than they are. My equality of the sexes is pastede on, yay!

(Okay, okay, I already know what you’re going to say, point taken, Nynaeve being more powerful than him was a blatantly transparent excuse on Lan’s part. Fine. Still.)

Even knowing they end up together does not lessen my indignance at this scene, for some reason. Come on, man: life is painful and short, and you know that better than most. Take your happiness where you can find it, dude.

Grumble. I sense I should move on.

Chapter 49: The Dark One Stirs

What Happens
The next morning Rand sees Egwene talk to Nynaeve and send a glare in Lan’s direction, which he ignores. He also seems to be avoiding looking at the seven towers which are now plainly visible. They pack up, and Moiraine takes down the ward; Egwene and Nynaeve both react to her doing so, and Egwene finally makes the connection. She seems more pleased about it than Nynaeve does.

Rand scrubbed his fingers through his hair, already more damp with sweat than with the water he had splashed in his face. He was sure there was something in the silent exchange that he should understand, but that feather-light brush across his mind vanished before he could grasp it.

They head out, Moiraine hoping to find the Eye as soon as possible. The Blight continues to get grosser, and Mat makes a nervous comment about how the trees look like they want to grab them. Then Rand sees a tree reach out and grab some little animal and kill it; now all the trees are trembling. Moiraine orders them to stay close to her. A huge thing covered in bristles and too many legs leaps at them, and Mat kills it with an arrow through the eye. Moiraine tells them to hurry, but it is too late: the Blight attacks. They fight the things coming at them, Mat screaming in the Old Tongue, until suddenly there is a piping flutelike cry, and the creatures all flee immediately and the trees go still. Lan says it is Worms, which even scare the denizens of the Blight, and they must try to make the mountain pass — because the Worms are scared of what’s in the passes. They run, but Lan soon announces they’re not going to make it. He tells them to go on without him, and Moiraine tells him even he cannot stop a Wormpack. Rand is close to total panic.

Seeking the flame and the void, he railed at himself. Fool! You frightened, cowardly fool! You can’t stay here, and you can’t go back. Are you going to leave Egwene to face it alone? The void eluded him, forming, then shivering into a thousand points of light, re-forming and shattering again, each point burning into his bones until he quivered with the pain and thought he must burst open. Light help me, I can’t go on. Light help me!

Suddenly the Blight disappears around them, and they are in a beautiful green meadow with flowers and butterflies everywhere. Moiraine says they have reached the Green Man’s place. Rand says he thought it would only be past the passes.

“This place,” said a deep voice from the trees, “is always where it is. All that changes is where those who need it are.”

A figure stepped out of the foliage, a man-shape as much bigger than Loial as the Ogier was bigger than Rand. A man-shape of woven vines and leaves, green and growing. His hair was grass, flowing to his shoulders; his eyes, huge hazelnuts; his fingernails, acorns. Green leaves made his tunic and trousers; seamless bark, his boots. Butterflies swirled around him, lighting on his fingers, his shoulders, his face. Only one thing spoiled the verdant perfection. A deep fissure ran up his cheek and temple across the top of his head, and in that the vines were brown and withered.

The Green Man greets Loial, calling him “little brother”. He sees Perrin and calls him Wolfbrother, and asks if the old times walk again. Rand stares at this, but then the Green Man addresses him:

“Strange clothes you wear, Child of the Dragon. Has the Wheel turned so far? Do the People of the Dragon return to the First Covenant? But you wear a sword. That is neither now nor then.”

Rand says he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and the Green Man admits he is often confused nowadays. He is surprised to see Moiraine there twice, and she replies that they are here to see the Eye of the World. The Green Man sighs, and says so the Dark One stirs again. He will take them to the Eye.

Commentary
I know, these recaps are getting quotier all the time. Sorry.

Between the wolf next to the Perrin figurine in the dream and what the Green Man says here, am I right in remembering that later on Rand still isn’t sure what Perrin’s deal is? ‘Cause if so, damn he’s slow.

Mordero daghain pas duente cuebiyar!: Aaron Bergman’s Compleat Old Tongue archive plus some creative license tells me the translation is, more or less, “Death holds no fear for my heart”, or perhaps “My heart fears no death”. As war cries go, it definitely doesn’t suck.

(Although, I thought the Old Tongue word for “death” is “moridin”?)

And yes, I’m that easy: Mat just got a little more awesome again. Him being a crack shot doesn’t hurt, of course. (He learned how at the 7-Eleven! ...Sorry.)

Still want to know what a Worm actually looks like. Maybe we’ll get to see one at the Last Battle.

On the two quotes about Rand above: Again, I’ve got to be impressed at how well Jordan camouflages what’s going on here. In retrospect, it’s obvious that the first quote is Rand sensing a woman’s channeling, and the second is Rand unconsciously trying and failing to seize saidin, but on first reading both passages are easily dismissed as metaphorical hoohah representing Rand’s confusion about women/panicked state. Nicely done.

Chapter 50: Meetings at the Eye

What Happens
Rand follows the Green Man with the others, uneasily wondering what he had meant by the “Child of the Dragon” business even while marveling at the beauty around him. The Green Man plucks flowers for the women to wear in their hair as he tends the land around him. He leads the party to an opening in the side of a hill, framed by stone with the ancient sign of the Aes Sedai etched into the keystone. The Green Man tells them how the Eye of the World was made, in the first days of the Breaking, a hundred Aes Sedai working together, both men and women, and they died in the making of it, and asked him to guard it until the time came.

“It was not what I was made for, but all was breaking apart, and they were alone, and I was all they had. It was not what I was made for, but I have kept the faith.” He looked down at Moiraine, nodding to himself. “I have kept faith, until it was needed. And now it ends.”

He says he hopes to find another place to make things grow afterward, but does not sound optimistic. He leaves, and Moiraine leads them into the hill. They walk down a wide corridor into a cavern lit by crystals embedded in the walls. At the center is a pool that looks perfectly clear, but Rand cannot see the bottom. Moiraine says it is the Eye of the World. Rand asks what it is.

“It might be called the essence of saidin.” The Aes Sedai’s words echoed round the dome. “The essence of the male half of the True Source, the pure essence of the Power wielded by men before the Time of Madness. The Power to mend the seal on the Dark One’s prison, or to break it open completely.”

Rand realizes he has backed up all the way to the wall of the cavern, as far from the pool as possible. Loial says he’s always wondered why it was made, and how. Moiraine says no one knows; it was made pure, cleansed of the Dark One’s taint, but no Aes Sedai can use it. Only a man could, but there have been no male Aes Sedai for three thousand years. Rand asks hoarsely why she’s brought them here, and she tells him because they are ta’veren, and because here is where the Dark One will strike, and someone must stop him. She then brings them back up to the surface.

“I have found you at last.”

Two men in cloaks and cowls walk out of the trees. Lan asks who they are; one of them points to Mat and says he led them there (“an old thing, an old friend, an old enemy”), but he is not the one they seek. They throw back their cowls; one is impossibly old and shriveled, and the other’s head is covered by a black leather mask worked with the face of a man laughing madly on it. The withered one names himself Aginor, and the other Balthamel. Mat begins to recite the catchphrase about the Forsaken being bound in Shayol Ghul, and Aginor corrects him:

“Were bound.” Aginor smiled; his yellowed teeth had the look of fangs. “Some of us are bound no longer. The seals weaken, Aes Sedai. Like Ishamael, we walk the world again, and soon the rest of us will come. I was too close to this world in my captivity, I and Balthamel, too close to the grinding of the Wheel, but soon the Great Lord of the Dark will be free, and give us new flesh, and the world will be ours once more. You will have no Lews Therin Kinslayer, this time. No Lord of the Morning to save you. We know the one we seek now, and there is no more need for the rest of you.”

Lan draws and moves to defend, but hesitates for a second, torn between Moiraine and Nynaeve. Aginor makes a gesture and flings the Warder away to slam into the archway leading to the Eye; Nynaeve screams and attacks the Forsaken with her belt knife. Balthamel grabs her by the throat and picks her up off the ground. Rand sees Egwene about to rush to Nynaeve’s defense and hurls himself at her, knocking them both to the ground. Meanwhile both Perrin and Mat have moved to rush the Forsaken, but are knocked down; Aginor advises them to get used to being down there, if they want to live. He’s more interested in the archway than the people in front of him. Suddenly the Green Man strides up, roaring defiance at the Forsaken; Balthamel tosses Nynaeve aside and Aginor sets the Green Man on fire, but the Green Man ignores that, grabbing Balthamel in a bearhug. Fungus and mushrooms and weeds and the like sprout out of Balthamel explosively, killing him, but the Green Man is dying too. He causes an acorn to grow into a full-grown ancient oak in moments, burying himself beneath it.

Even Aginor is momentarily stunned by this. Moiraine attacks him then, trying to consume Aginor in a chasm of fire. It does not seem to be working, and Moiraine commands the rest of them to run. Egwene tries to stay and help, but Rand grabs her and propels her away before finally running himself. Behind him, he hears Moiraine begin to scream.

Commentary
Damn, action scenes are hard to recap without just quoting the whole shebang.

So, okay. Not to be a Debbie Downer here or anything, but: despite all the general coolness going on here, I have the same problem with this scene that I do almost anytime you have this type of confrontation in sf – namely, mundanes versus magic wielders. Which is, unless the extenuating circumstances are pretty darn extenuating, I just never quite buy that everyone isn’t killed instantly, or at least seriously maimed.

Especially in cases like this, where I can mentally look ahead to the future story and see what goes on later; it’s hard to avoid noticing that once Our Heroes gain power themselves the fights suddenly get a lot more deadly.

I suppose you could put this down to a case of hindsight being twenty-twenty, but I still don’t think that does the story any favors. Sure, you can rationalize it – Aginor and Balthamel’s intent was not to kill but enslave, they were playing with their food, they had just been released from the Bore and hadn’t had their coffee yet, whatever – but, yeah.

Of course, this is hardly a WOT-specific problem; it’s endemic to the genre. Basically you’ve got two choices: you can let it ruin the story for you, or you can apply The Rule of Cool and let it go. We (or I, anyway) shall be letting it go.

Chapter 51: Against the Shadow

What Happens
Rand runs, knowing that it would be him Aginor followed, and comes to a cliff. He turns, and finds Aginor approaching, looking less withered than before somehow. Aginor muses to himself that Ba’alzamon will give rich rewards to the one who brings Rand to him, but why should he, Aginor, share power? Rand desperately tries to think of a way to escape. Suddenly he sees or senses a glowing cord of light connecting Aginor to something, and it is from this that Aginor is gaining his strength.

The cord was all. It hummed. It sang. It called Rand’s soul. One bright finger-strand lifted away, drifted, touched him, and he gasped. Light filled him, and heat that should have burned yet only warmed as if it took the chill of the grave from his bones. The strand thickened. I have to get away!

Aginor screams no, that “it” is his, and he and Rand fight silently over the cord, Rand repeating away! over and over again, until flames burst from Aginor, and suddenly Rand is no longer on the hilltop, but in a mountain pass, in the middle of a battle between men and Shadowspawn. He is directly between the two forces as they fall back to regroup. Some of the men see him and point, as do the Fades and Trollocs, and six Draghkar wheel to swoop down on him, but lightning strikes and kills them. Rand falls to his knees, screaming that it has to end, and fire sweeps over the Trolloc host, followed by waves of earth as Rand pounds his fists on the ground, killing more than half of them.

The wind died. The screams died. The earth was still. Dust and smoke swirled back down the pass to surround him.

“The Light blind you, Ba’alzamon! This has to end!”

IT IS NOT HERE.

It was not Rand’s thought, making his skull vibrate.

I WILL TAKE NO PART. ONLY THE CHOSEN ONE CAN DO WHAT MUST BE DONE, IF HE WILL.

“Where?” He did not want to say it, but he could not stop himself. “Where?”

The haze surrounding him parted, leaving a dome of clear, clean air ten spans high, walled by billowing smoke and dust. Steps rose before him, each standing alone and unsupported, stretching up into the murk that obscured the sun.

NOT HERE.

The Borderlanders move to attack the decimated Trolloc army, and Rand sprints up the stairs, climbing until he comes to the door to Ba’alzamon’s dream chamber. Rand blasts it apart and enters.

“Yes,” Ba’alzamon said from in front of the fireplace, “I thought Aginor’s greed would overcome him. But it makes no difference in the end. A long search, but ended now. You are here, and I know you.”

Rand tells him he’s tired of running. He sees that Ba’alzamon has a cord, too, a black one that seems to pulse in counterpoint to his own. Ba’alzamon tells him it makes no difference how Rand feels; he has the same choices as before, kneel or die. Rand replies that Ba’alzamon does not weave the Pattern; angrily Ba’alzamon retorts that he’s been pulling the strings since the beginning, sending Jain Farstrider to the Ogier and Black Ajah to manipulate the Amyrlin Seat. He shows Rand illusions or visions of Nynaeve and Egwene, and then Kari al’Thor, screaming as she is tortured by Fades.

Rand’s scream echoed hers. The void boiled in his mind. His sword was in his hand. Not the heron-mark blade, but a blade of light, a blade of the Light. Even as he raised it, a fiery white bolt shot from the point, as if the blade itself had reached out. It touched the nearest Fade, and blinding candescence filled the chamber, shining through the Halfmen like a candle through paper, burning through them, blinding his eyes to the scene.

From the midst of the brilliance, he heard a whisper. “Thank you, my son. The Light. The blessed Light.”

Ba’alzamon tells him not to be a fool, he’ll kill himself: “Not until I teach you!” Rand replies “It is ended”, and severs Ba’alzamon’s cord with his sword. Ba’alzamon screams, and is flung into the fireplace from the recoil, and Rand blasts him with fire, feeling whatever is fueling his cord running out. Light fills the room, and Rand sees Ba’alzamon burning as he howls, and then something hits Rand and everything fades to black.

Commentary
Seriously, you guys, do yourselves a favor and go read the original text, because this whole sequence loses a hell of a lot in recap-translation.

And here we have the single most... well, I don’t really know what this chapter is compared to the entire rest of the series, but it is definitely something.

Awesome? Yes, of course, but also something else. Esoteric? Confusing? Idiosyncratic? Weird?

I dunno, but I think where this sequence’s standing-outness comes in is how Jordan treats the supernatural goings-on here, which is not like how it’s approached anywhere else.

Jordan’s approach to magic in WOT is really very mechanistic; channeling, for instance, is treated almost like a chemical equation: combine two parts Air to one part Fire, add two drops Spirit, shake well, et voilà. (Martini!) The Dreamworld as it is treated later in the series is much the same; funky shit goes on, but it all follows a systematic set of rules that do not (intentionally) change. There’s a reason so many engineers and physicists are WOT fans. Or So I Hear.

But here, well. Did Rand Travel to Tarwin’s Gap, or did he really just appear there? Did he actually talk to the Creator, or was that all metaphorical/psychological? Was the vision of his mother really Kari al’Thor, or not?

I dunno; this is what I meant earlier by thinking Jordan hadn’t quite made up his mind yet about the metaphysical to metaphorical ratio in WOT, because it really could go either way. And you know, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that kind of ambiguity; I’m just saying it stands out because that’s not the case consistently throughout the series. Cleansing the Taint in Winter’s Heart, just for example, was practically a laboratory experiment compared with this.

One last note before we move on: in ten plus years of WOT fandom, I have never once seen a satisfactory explanation of what exactly the possibly-Creator means by “IT IS NOT HERE.” What is not here? How does that sentence mean anything with regard to what came right before it? Why do theoretical-deity-types have to be so damn cryptic all the time? Sheesh.

It’s like the old joke: How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb?

Fish.

Gosh, thanks.

Chapter 52: Neither Beginning Nor End

What Happens
Rand regains consciousness, sort of, and sees that Aginor has been burned to a crisp. He throws up over the cliff, and tries to remember what just happened.

More memory crashed back into his head like a lead ball, and he groaned. “The Dark One,” he whispered to himself. “The Dark One is dead.” There was no more need for caution. “Shai’tan is dead.” The world seemed to lurch. He shook in silent mirth until tears poured from his eyes. “Shai’tan is dead!” He laughed at the sky.

He stumbles and lurches down the hill, back to the clearing where the Green Man died, and finds Egwene, Nynaeve and Moiraine there, Moiraine rather the worse for wear. He sits down next to them and asks if they’re all right. Moiraine says she’s surprised she held off Aginor as long as she did, and they should be thankful the seal on the Dark One’s prison only weakened enough to let just the two Forsaken out instead of all of them. Rand starts to say it doesn’t matter, because Shai’- Moiraine cuts him off, and suggests they stick with “Dark One”, just in case.

He shrugged. “As you wish. But he’s dead. The Dark One’s dead. I killed him. I burned him with . . . ” The rest of memory flooded back then, leaving his mouth hanging open. The One Power. I wielded the One Power. No man can . . . He licked lips that were suddenly dry. A gust of wind swirled fallen and falling leaves around them, but it was no colder than his heart.

He reaches out to Egwene and she flinches away at first, then throws her arms around him, asking him to forgive her. Moiraine demands he tell her everything, and he does so, adding that it was the Light that pulled him along, so maybe it doesn’t count? Moiraine explains how she’d had suspicions from the beginning, from Rand resisting the bond with the coin, to Bela not needing to be refreshed on the way to Taren Ferry:

“You needed something more than you had ever needed anything before in your life, and you reached out to the one thing that could give it to you. Saidin.”

Rand asks, what if he just doesn’t do it again; Moiraine replies maybe, but it would be easier if he had someone to teach him. Rand asks if Moiraine can teach him, and she says unfortunately not. Rand then asks where the others are, and Nynaeve tells him that they are in the cavern; the Eye is gone, but there is something at the bottom of the hollow where it used to be. Moiraine observes parenthetically that there are few even in the Age of Legends who could have channeled that much of the Power without being destroyed.

Rand asks if the others have to know, and Moiraine says Lan knows, but the others don’t need to know just yet. Rand doesn’t get why; isn’t Moiraine going to have him gentled? She replies that Rand is still ta’veren, and perhaps the Pattern is not done with him yet. Rand brings up Ba’alzamon’s accusations about the false Dragons being Tar Valon puppets, and declares he will not be used that way.

“A tool made for a purpose is not demeaned by being used for that purpose,” Moiraine’s voice was as harsh as his own, “but a man who believes the Father of Lies demeans himself. You say you will not be used, and then you let the Dark One set your path like a hound sent after a rabbit by his master.”

Lan, Mat, Perrin, and Loial come out of the cavern. Loial is carrying a huge chest, Perrin a bundle of cloth, and Mat some shards of what looks like pottery. They all greet Rand with relief, and Loial asks what happened to him. Rand lies that he ran and fell and hit his head on a rock. Moiraine takes the pottery shards from Mat, and fits the pieces together to form the Aes Sedai symbol. She hands her knife to Lan, and he strikes the pieces as hard as he can with it, causing the blade to snap. Moiraine says it is cuendillar, or heartstone, which nothing can break. Mat asks the obvious question, and she replies that this was one of the seals on the Dark One’s prison. She has Loial bring her the chest, and opens it to reveal the Horn of Valere.

Tia mi aven Moridin isainde vadin,” [Loial] whispered. “The grave is no bar to my call.”

“The Horn of Valere.” For once the Warder appeared truly shaken; there was a touch of awe in his voice.

At the same time Nynaeve said in a shaky voice, “To call the heroes of the Ages back from the dead to fight the Dark One.”

“Burn me!” Mat breathed.

Loial reverently laid the horn back in its golden nest.

“I begin to wonder,” Moiraine said. “The Eye of the World was made against the greatest need the world would ever face, but was it made for the use to which . . . we . . . put it, or to guard these things?”

She asks to see the last item; Lan and Loial open the bundle of cloth and spread it out between them to reveal it is a banner with a scarlet and gold serpentlike creature on it, only with legs and five-clawed feet and a golden mane. Moiraine tells them it is the banner of the Dragon, Lews Therin Telamon. She says they will take the banner, the horn and the seal with them when they leave. Rand asks her, is it finished? Moiraine replies, from here he may live his life as the Pattern weaves.

Commentary
Talky section to the max! And yet, still manages to be awesome, with the ultimate in self-realization moments among a story packed with them.

I’ve been trying to think of a real-world equivalent to finding out a man can channel in WOT, and the nearest I can come is imagining being told that your friend is radioactive, and just being around him might give you cancer. Which, yeah.

On Moiraine saying she’s not sure the Eye of the World was used for what it was meant to be used for: I’m... not sure how I feel about this.

Epic fantasy, like the mythological traditions it grew out of, relies on pattern recognition to give it significance. As human beings, we always instinctively seek the signal amid the noise, whether it’s there to be found or not. (This is really true of art in general, but it’s particularly a Thing in fantasy.) Which is part of why stories like this are so satisfying, or should be: unlike real life, there is one Chosen One (or a triumvirate of them; Three is also a pattern-significant number. Or Nine!), one Central Magical Thingamajig, one Final Battle, where it All Comes Together, etc. It all means something, maaaan.

Where I think some people had a problem with the whole Eye thing, therefore, is how it is set up in TEOTW to be that one Central Magical Thingamajig (I mean, come on: Eye of the World?), but as things turn out, not only is it totally not central to anything, its significance is never even really explained, and then it’s basically never mentioned again.

I guess whether this is a flaw or not depends on whether you choose to believe that this was a deliberate subversion of the One Central Magical Thingamajig trope, or if it... wasn’t.

Chapter 53: The Wheel Turns

What Happens
The next morning the Green Man’s place is already swiftly succumbing to the Blight. Upset, Loial says it is not right that Treebrother’s grave should fall to the Blight, and goes to the oak, and sings. When he finishes, the oak is healthy again, and Loial says this one spot will not become corrupt. The party heads back to Fal Dara, Moiraine riding in a litter slung between her horse and Lan’s. The Blight is completely quiet. Perrin asks why this is, and Moiraine replies that they struck a great blow to the Dark One. Mat demands to know what blow that was, exactly, and Moiraine avoids the question. When they emerge from the Blight, the land is in full spring bloom, with the Borderguards laughing and celebrating the great victory at Tarwin’s Gap; they reach Fal Dara to find it in equally wild celebration. Moiraine commands that she be brought to Agelmar immediately, even though she is still in a litter. Agelmar is not celebrating:

“A miracle,” Agelmar said, shaking his head, “but . . . Moiraine Sedai, men say many things about what happened in the Gap. That the Light took on flesh and fought for us. That the Creator walked in the Gap to strike at the Shadow. But I saw a man, Moiraine Sedai. I saw a man, and what he did, cannot be, must not be.”

He asks how their trip went, and Moiraine tells him the Green Man is dead and the Eye gone, but nevertheless they won. She does not think the last battle has been fought, though, and cautions Agelmar not to let down his guard. She shows him the Horn of Valere, and tells Agelmar that it must be taken to Illian. Agelmar protests, suggesting that they could use it here and now at the Border and defeat the Shadow once and for all, but Moiraine harshly rejects the idea.

A week goes by. Rand is on a balcony of the fortress, training with Lan. Lan praises his improvement, but cautions him not to push it; no one becomes a blademaster in a few weeks. Rand replies he doesn’t have a few weeks anyway, as he is leaving soon, alone. Lan accepts this and takes his leave, and Rand turns to find Egwene there. She asks him where he means to go, and Rand says he doesn’t know. Egwene doesn’t think Moiraine will like him leaving, and Rand replies that Moiraine doesn’t care what he does; she has ignored him since they returned from the Blight. Egwene tries to convince him that he will be okay if he just doesn’t try to channel again, but Rand thinks of how he never once tried to channel; it just happened. He cannot reassure her, and merely repeats that he has to go.

In Agelmar’s private garden, under a thick bower dotted with white blossoms, Moiraine shifted on her bedchair. The fragments of the seal lay on her lap, and the small gem she sometimes wore in her hair spun and glittered on its gold chain from the ends of her fingers. The faint blue glow faded from the stone, and a smile touched her lips. It had no power in itself, the stone, but the first use she had ever learned of the One Power, as a girl, in the Royal Palace in Cairhien, was using the stone to listen to people when they thought they were too far off to be overheard.

“The Prophecies will be fulfilled,” the Aes Sedai whispered. “The Dragon is Reborn.”

Commentary
Moiraine: BIG GIANT TEASE. Thanks, Mo.

So, an ending. Not the ending, for there are many endings in the Wheel of Time. And beginnings. And middles. And also, wind. Very windy in WOT.

What?

Anyway. It’s yet to be seen how the series will hold up as a whole, and there’s no denying the story suffers from some fairly significant flaws later on, but I still say that The Eye of the World stands as one of the best inaugural installments to a fantasy epic out there.

Certainly it’s one of the most effective; if you weren’t dying to run out and get the second book by the time you finished this one, then I respectfully suggest that perhaps speculative fiction is not the genre for you.


Aaaand this is our stop. We hope you have enjoyed your flight on WOT Airlines, and look forward to you joining us for the next leg, The Great Hunt. Your scheduled departure day for Prologue through Chapter 5 is Monday; hopefully your captain will have sobered up by then.

One down, ten to go!

119 comments
Brewtal Panda
1. Brewtal Panda
Woot first post.

Great stuff Leigh, can't wait 'til you get to LoC, best book ever.
Brewtal Panda
2. Jeff R23
My take on "IT IS NOT HERE" is that it's literal, and in reference to "The End", which is to say the last battle/ T'armon Gaidon. Which this battle is not for (at the very least) the reason that it is not happening at Shayol Ghul.
Kate Nepveu
3. katenepveu
Chapter 48: I'd forgotten until I got there that I actually liked the Lan/Nynaeve scene. Well, not most of it, but Lan's last speech; I thought it was sweet in that angsty kind of way that I ate up with a spoon back in the day. (And it still works for me. Probably the only romantic scene in the series that will.)

Also: Mountains of Dhoom? Really?

Chapter 50: does the pure saidin in the Eye count as foreshadowing for . . . whatever book it is where Rand and Nynaeve cleanse the taint?

Chapter 51: Fish, indeed. No, THE CAPSLOCK SPEAKER makes no sense to me either.

And do we buy Ba'alzy re: pulling Rand's strings? Does this make any sense, that he'd want him at the Eye? If he wanted to turn Rand, why not try somewhere safer?

(Glad to see it wasn't only me who wasn't sure about the vision being his mother. The "thank you" does cast doubt on it.)

Chapter 53: this ending has never made sense to me. What has Moiraine overheard that makes her say that? Nothing, as far as I can tell. The transition just doesn't work to get us to "The Dragon is Reborn."

Finally: how can Rand really think that he's killed the Dark One His Own Bad Self? I mean, seriously. Bound by the Creator, could only be re-sealed, not killed, in the Age of Legends . . . I don't think the Power Acqusition Fever is sufficient to explain that.
Tim Kington
4. TimKington
@katenepveu

I think Moiraine is sure he's the Dragon now because she has proof he can channel. She was pretty sure already, since she know Tam brought him back from the Aiel War.


The residues would have dissipated on their own in a day, but I will not take any risk I can avoid now. We are too close, and the Shadow is too strong here.
---
Does Moiraine know how to untie a weave?


I forget - do we know what happened to the Green Man's face?


I always liked this:

Why was Aginor so interested in the Eye of the World? He could channel clean Saidin anyway so it shouldn't have been an issue?

Jordan Answers:

He was able to channel clean saidin, true, but only through the "filter" which had been provided by the Dark One just a short time previously, which meant the Dark One would be aware of him channeling wherever he was. Remember, Aginor was the creator of the Trollocs; he is quite able to reason things out clearly, at least in a scientific sense.

Also, he wasn't certain whether or not the Dark One also would know what he was doing when he channeled, too. For someone as secretive, competitive, and generally untrustworthy as the one of the Forsaken, the Eye of the World amounted to a valuable asset if it could be secured.

To put it simply, Aginor saw a means of channeling without the Dark One looking over his shoulder, and maybe a way to increase his own power at the expense of those who didn't have that advantage. Balthamel might well have been for the long drop, administered by Aginor, if things hadn't worked out differently.


I always took IT IS NOT HERE to mean the place where Ishamael is hanging out. Right after that stairs appear to lead Rand to the fight.
Brewtal Panda
6. riT-k0MA
Perhaps Mordero = dying and Moridin = death?
Brewtal Panda
7. Dantes99
I have always been confused by people claiming the Creator speaks directly to Rand in that scene. It appears to me that Rand adresses Ba'alzamon:

“The Light blind you, Ba’alzamon! This has to end!”

And, for me at least, it follows logically that the answer is from the Dark One. Especially as, in The Lord Of Chaos prologue we get to see the DO speak for the first time. In capitals. The same as here.

The chosen one remark from the DO is alluding to the DO's chosen one Ishy as he can't participate because he is still bound.

Willing to be proven wrong on that point, but it is the way I have always read it.

p.s. Leigh, this readthrough is great, thanks very much for doing it :)
JS Bangs
8. jaspax
In your comments to ch. 52, you mentioned my biggest problem with this book as the series went on: the way the Macguffin of the first book is subsequently ignored. The Eye of the World really is set up as this awesome, world-shattering power, something that the Forsaken were gunning for, that would tip the balance in the battle against the Dark One. But it basically does nothing, means nothing, and has no significance once the battle is over. It could be a subversion... but it doesn't feel like one. It just feels like a loose end.

(Unless Jordan is going to pull of mother of all Chekov guns and have the Eye be somehow hugely significant in the final book.)

Also: there's this enormous pool of pure saidin... and Rand channels ALL OF IT in a few minutes?

Oh, plus the fact that by this time it's painfully obvious that Rand is the Dragon, but it will take him, what, three more books to finally buckle down and deal with that fact? My biggest frustration (and the reason that I ultimately stopped reading) is that it takes the freaking characters FOREVER to get their sh*t together, making the whole series have the feel of an Idiot Plot.

But like you said... the end of that first book was pretty awesome.
Josh Rice
9. Anomander
"And also, wind. Very windy in WOT." -- That cracked me up!

I think Rand was led to Ba'alzamon so that the nearby seal would break. Each time Rand "kills" Ba'alzamon it seems to break any seals that are nearby (one here, two in Falme, and I think one in Tear). Cutting Asmodean's black cord in Rhuidean seems to have only weakened nearby seals instead of breaking them. Anyone know if this is an actual WoT theory?

I can't see any other reason the Creator-voice would lead Rand to Ba'alzamon since Rand doesn't actually kill him using balefire.
Brewtal Panda
10. PieterT77
Great work Leigh! This is realy a great build up to the release of Memory of light.
Looking forward to the re-reads of the rest of the series.

I'm not fluent in the old tong, but on your comment:

Although, I thought the Old Tongue word for “death” is “moridin”?

“Tia mi aven Moridin isainde vadin,” whispered. “The grave is no bar to my call.”

My conclusion would be: Moridin = grave
Brewtal Panda
11. PabloRC
I always wondered how Rand Traveled to Tarwin's gap. It didn't "look" like a gateway. Maybe RJ had not considered gateways in the beggining. When Lews Therin Traveled in the prologue, there was no description of a gateway either, but he used the same term.

Leigh, can't wait until Monday!
Brewtal Panda
12. Zeynep
I didn't comment on Wednesday's installment (I know, bad me, bad me) but if I had, what I would have mainly blabbered on about would be how much the Black Wind scares me and how I still have to skip the bits where it's chanting.

Well, with the Blight, likewise. The first time I read "Worms are afraid of what is in the high passes" I just sort of folded in on myself.

Jumping subjects a lot, I always found it kind of cool, from a multidimensional physics kind of point of view, that some Forsaken were bound closer to the flow-of-time than others were.

You know, I have been in the fandom for ten years, I guess I am allowed my first crackpot theory:

So here is the thing about the entire Rand-teleport-decimate-army-talk-to-Creator confuzzling bit, from my point of view: For the duration of the first two books, i.e. until Rand accepted the title and raised the banner of The Dragon, the Creator was outright lying about not taking part.

Rand was channeling, having fumbled his way to it, but the whole proto-Traveling into the middle of the battle, then without knowing what he is doing pummeling half of the Trolloc army into dust... It was his power, but the choice of location was not of his doing, or Lews Therin's either even if Lews Therin was lurking back in there as early as that. But what really gets me is the battle-in-the-sky and visions elsewhere bit of The Great Hunt. Rand certainly was not taking the time for an Illusion, Ishamael wouldn't have created visions in the sky over Mazrim Taim's battle, so what gives? I think until Rand took on the mantle, the Creator did prod him on in the PR department, is all I'm saying.

(Also, I'm sure I'm late in this comment but I haven't read the earlier comments yet: I always read "IT IS NOT HERE" as "THE FINAL CONFRONTATION IS NOT HERE," because just before that Rand was screaming to have it end. Poor boy, if he only knew.)

Moiraine replies, from here he may live his life as the Pattern weaves.

Upon the more recent rereads, I laughed at that line so much. Aes Sedai to the bone indeed, when it comes to meaning-layering.

Loial's singing was a Crowning Moment of Awesome, if we're using TVTropes terminology.
Brewtal Panda
13. Ian Manc
With regards to finding out a man can channel, I would of thought the most obvious comparison would be someone coming out as gay (well, perhaps not in these more enlightened days but say in the 80's).
Brewtal Panda
14. alandp
AWESOME JOB LEIGH THANKS!
J Novak
15. Novak
Well, I'm not exactly "with" Lan on this one, but I don't think it was exactly easy for him, if we're supposed to believe that Lan is as attracted to her as she is to him. (Jordan does many things well; romance is not one of them. Most of the alleged romantic subplots in this series are incomprehensible to me, seemingly placed there by authorial fiat. The only one I really get is Min/Rand.)

From Lan's perspective, he's spent thirty odd years fighting a war of mostly revenge that he knows he can't win. He's also a Warder, incapable of actually disobeying his Aes Sedai when the chips are down. Marrying is necessarily going to change the first, and feel like a betrayal of everything he's lived for. But it's not going to change the second, and Lan knows that again, if the chips are down, and he's got a split loyalty between Nynaeve and Moiraine's mission, Nynaeve will *lose*. These are not the circumstances of a great and storied marriage.

Sometimes, love is pain, Buttercup. Rather than beating either of them up, I was just sad for both of them.

And then, there's the battle and the climax where, yeah, everything has to be taken with a huge grain of salt. Yeah, the dynamic duo are enfeebled from just getting out of prison, yeah, they have a Nym ally, and Moiraine is tough, and Rand's got the Eye, and it still leaves me with the impression that the Forsaken are idiots. I solve this in my own mind by imagining that Ishamael wanted them dead and sent them rushing in with false, or without, critical information. Still.

I am also really struck by the idea that many of Jordan's ideas were only half-formed here, as in other locations in the book. Either that, or he was forced to play things differently in order to make this self-contained and a possible single-volume work. Either way, the Eye is just as weird as anything else in this book, compared to the more mechanical feel of things in later volumes. And then the battle with Ishamael, the vision of Tarwin's Gap, THE APPEARANCE OF THE CAPITAL VOICE is an order of magnitude weirder.

In the rest of the books, the only thing approaching that level of weirdness are the strange happenings associated with the Dark One breaking free. Some of those are explicable, like ta'veren bubbles popping or One Power based weather manipulation. Others are not, and are more akin to Fain being able to do weird shit just because he's Fain-- the so-called True Power seems a lot more ritualistic, symbolic, fey, grave-ridden, all of that. I'm pretty sure that's intentional, but I don't think all the weirdness about the Eye is.
Brewtal Panda
16. Effervescent
I was surprised that this was not posted when I first checked, and then got reasonably excited that it probably meant more to read. I'm remembering now why I liked this series in the first place, and that old "don't think about it, and you won't obsess on the mysteries" isn't as pressing. All good!

One of my favorite of all time moments in all the books was when the blight monsters retreated from the fight between themselves and the fellowship. Loial's reaction to Lan's comments got me laughing outloud in tense excitement. Obviously, I don't have the book in front of me, so I can't quote.

Is it just me, or is Aginor and his future new body's personalities a bit different? Further, Bath here looks like a lunatic, where later he, in his new woman's body, is devious and very sane? Well, sane enough to talk, anyway, in a coherent manner.

My last comment for EotW is, boy! did Morraine not prepare Rand for anything coming in the near future. I think this whole "back off and make him come to me" attitude help fuel my dislike for her until FotH. I'd have to agree with Cadsuane in future books...boy, Morraine made a mess of things.
Brewtal Panda
17. Caine
First of all nice job with the review, I look forward to the Great Hunt.

Now a few points:

1) I think its pretty obvious what the Eye of the World was for, by storing those items in a pool of pure Saidin, it ensured that no Aes Sedai could claim them and use them for their own means ie: false Dragons. When it was formed back during the Breaking, the Aes Sedai knew that eventually all the male's would die due to the taint. Until of course the Dragon Reborn came along to claim it. Not a false Dragon, note that the Greenman refered to Rand as a Child of the Dragon ie: Dai Shan Aiel ie: Jendai Aiel ie: Aiel ie: in accordance with the prophecies etc.

2) As for what the Creator said, I feel that he meant that the Last Battle, despite what Rand thinks will not happen in Tarwins Gap or indeed that World. Ive been toying with the idea, that rather then being a huge epic battle like the LOTR's, the Last Battle will be fought in a different dimension (maybe at the fabled Wheel itself). This would certainly tie into the whole breaking of the Wheel thing they got going on.Plus how do we know that Rand will kill the Dark One, (also the prophecies say that Rand will bleed on Shayol Ghul not die like Rand thinks) maybe he will only re-seal it. We've heard rferences that this Age had happened already, who knows?

3) The Green Mans scar, dont know when that happens, but if you read the part of the Shadow Rising when Rand see's the Age of Legends you'll see that at the point of the Sealing of the Bore he doesnt have it and when the Dai Shan Aiel flee you see him in the Hall of Servants with the scar. I can only guess that it happens in between.

4) How did Moraine know that Rand was the Dragon Reborn? Read point one.
Ryan Thistlethwaite
18. shintemaster
Well done Leigh thanks. I think my favourite part of this whole process is that I'm actually reading along pretty much exactly as you're posting. It's wonderful to be able to discuss my favourite moments in one of my favourite series as they happen with like minded people.

As far as these scenes, I remember I had bought the first 3 books because they were all available (I think the Dragon Reborn had just been released) and I pretty much finished the first one at 4am and started reading The Great Hunt. I was THAT trapped by the end of the first book.
Brewtal Panda
19. Erdrick
Robin Hobb's trilogy of trilogies (starting with the Farseer Trilogy and ending with Fool's Fate) are perhaps my favorite books (with WoT coming in a close second), but it's the climactic scenes I feel Robert Jordan does better than any other author I've read. This first book's ending is a great example of this, but it's only the beginning. In fact, books 4 through 6 seem to have double climaxes, which I suspect spoiled many of us when we went back to the ordinary peaks of the later books. I can hardly wait for AMoL, where we will finally be able to read the ending RJ had in mind since well before the printing of the first book.

That being said, who wants to join in the battle at Tarmon Gaidon? I'm sure many of you already know about the opportunity Brandon Sanderson has offered us, but for those who don't, make sure you check it out:

http://www.brandonsanderson.com/blog/750/Do-You-Want-to-Appear-in-A-Memory-of-Light

You get to officially consider yourself part of a kickass group of (Aiel?) in the Last Battle, as well as support a noble charity combating world hunger and poverty. This fund raiser has already generated over $20,000 for the Heifer International. How cool is that?

Please check it out and join the fight!
Brewtal Panda
20. alias
There are a lot of incongruities at the end here, I think. Leigh, any idea on why Aginor grows younger? There is nothing that indicates that one can make oneself younger by channeling the One Power? Is it Illusion? And why does he combust, fire coming out of his eyes and mouth Ishamael-style?
Brewtal Panda
21. Egglie
Whenever I am reading this bit of the book I get so caught up in the story that I don't care that it makes no sense at all and is like a terrifying drunken nightmare.

When I try to think about it in the context of the whole story though I do find it a bit unsatisfying that it doesn't seem to fit in. The bit at the end of tGH always bothered me more though, for no good reason.

Thanks Leigh, really enjoying your read through.
Brewtal Panda
22. Will "scifantasy" Frank
Although, I thought the Old Tongue word for “death” is “moridin”?

I'm guessing it's a parts-of-speech issue. You know, "Death" as a standalone or subject versus "death" as an object? Or any of those other cases?

combine two parts Air to one part Fire, add two drops Spirit, shake well, et voilà. (Martini!)

Jordani, surely. A Martini would have two parts zombies, one part intrigue, two drops language, stir.

*smirk*
Brewtal Panda
23. Tony Zbaraschuk
There's a lot of Weird Funky Stuff going on in all of Rand's direct confrontations with Ishamael; consider the passage in The Dragon Reborn where Rand, wielding Callandor, feels like he's dancing reality back into existence.

I think this is deliberate on Jordan's part, because the fairly mechanistic view of wielding the One Power pops up pretty early, at least as early as the Amyrlin's lessons to Nynaeve in The Great Hunt -- is there anything like that in this book?

As far as trope-subverting, I think Jordan is doing that in a big way -- look at Moraine's staff, or her jewel. And one of the big themes of the series is the way that Myths Get Fuzzy over time; it would be perfectly in character for the Eye to be one of those things.
Brewtal Panda
24. CBeats
the blight was always a scary, mysterious place for me. think of the attacking trees and the giant squid in one of the Thousand Lakes! i have never heard of anything close to the concept of the blight anywhere else. i think it's a very good example of Jordan's imagination

yeah when i reread the Eye of the World a while ago, i couldn't believe what went on in chapter 51. i thought Kari was an apparition. did he travel? what's with the chords leading off to no where?
also, it seems as if cutting ishamael's mysterious black chord has absolutely no effect. ishamael is alive and crazy as ever in the next few books. he isn't crippled at all.

Also, i am ashamed to say that i didn't know Rand was the Dragon Reborn until Moiraine said it at the very end of the book. I remember i was halfway through the page then my eyes recognized "Dragon Reborn" at the end of the paragraph and I was like "what!?" but then it all made sense.
yeah...
Brewtal Panda
25. fuddy
i wonder whats in the mountain passes that scare the worms?
Brewtal Panda
26. PamK
Worms: I always figured they looked like the sandworms from Dune.

And boy, was Rand a total dork here or what? "Killed the Dark One"?? Hah.
Brewtal Panda
27. David Scotton
Zeynep - interesting theory. The two cases of sky-projection are some of the most inexplicable events in the series... a lot of the other things Rand does could be explained as subconsciously using memories from his previous incarnation as Lews Therin.
Brewtal Panda
28. hummingbird
Re chapter 51
Jordan’s approach to magic in WOT is really very mechanistic; channeling, for instance, is treated almost like a chemical equation: combine two parts Air to one part Fire, add two drops Spirit, shake well, et voilà. (Martini!) The Dreamworld as it is treated later in the series is much the same; funky shit goes on, but it all follows a systematic set of rules that do not (intentionally) change. There’s a reason so many engineers and physicists are WOT fans. Or So I Hear.

If you think about it. When working through the Aes Sedai POV.... channeling and whatnot WOULD be studies down into as scientific of an understanding as possible. These women have been trying to figure this whole thing out since the breaking.... waiting for the whole she-bang to cut loose. The Browns especially... but that knowledge would be trasmitted to all Aes Sedai.
Brewtal Panda
29. markp
They don't seem to have made much progress in the last 1000 years or so. Their knowledge probably even went backwards
Brewtal Panda
30. markp
Reading this again I think it is better that the ending is unclear (at leased it makes us think about it more:) and i didn't really notice the first time because everything was new.

Some of the weird bits can be explained by chapter being kind of from Rands perspective and he probably doesn't really know what is happening.
may be some of the travelling was to do with leaving the Green mans sanctuary which seems to be able to travel its self.

I was going to make the same point as Dantes99 about the voice. although the voice says wont rather than can't take part.

How long has The Green Man been guarding the eye of the world for? I thought it was 3000 years since the breaking but he says "I Have not rested under its ungentle branches in two thousand years". And what is ungentle about its branches?

thanks again leigh, its a very interesting commentary
Brewtal Panda
31. michaelt
I never really thought about how the Eye of the World isn't mentioned again. Here is my thoughts on that.

It is possible that the Eye is a giant Well, similar to Cadsuane's bird and Nynaeve's belt. A good use for it would be for Rand to fill it up again with the now clean Saidin, then use it when fighting the Dark One in the Last Battle. Here's how. Rand goes to Shayol Ghul to fight the Dark One. The Dark One does his trick of making the One Source disappear (he does this to Moghedien at one point as I recall). Rand suddenly can't channel and has extremely great need, pops into the Green Man's Place, taps into the Eye, and uses the power stored in it to reseal the Dark One. The Dark One will attempt the counter-stroke he did with Lews Therin in order to taint Saidin, but it will end up just tainting the Eye (which, by the way, could be interpretted as "blinding" the Eye of the World).

Any thoughts on that? Purely hypothetical, but it makes for a good story.
Brewtal Panda
32. shsuandyman
The line that has always stuck out in my head as a description of the Blight is that the air "tasted like spoiled meat." I think that simple sentance is a stroke of literary genius on Jordan's part, vivid enough to put the rest of the hard-to-imagine scenery into perspective as well as throwing in two senses (taste and smell) that are usually more difficult to describe (as we see later in Perrin's POVs - what exactly DOES spikey anger or "jittering madness" smell like?). If Jordan could describe everything else with such simple effectiveness then maybe I wouldn't want to puke every time I think about re-reading CoT.

Also, I'm with Egglie on the end of TGH being much more mind boggling than the end of TEOTW. I can pass off TEOTW with a grain of salt as Rand having even less idea what he's doing than Robert Jordan did when he wrote it. but IMO TGH takes things to a whole new level of crazy. In fact, the whole book drives me nuts; its always felt to me like it was written by someone else. I don't have a copy or I'd go into it but to me TEOW and TDR read like the same author but TGH always makes me think "who the hell wrote this?" And what really bugs me about BOTH of these endings is that even in their crazy weirdness, they should have a much greater significance on the rest of the story but are never mentioned again. Ok ok Falme gets referenced a bit but the Stone of Tear is by far the more important Dragony event than either of the preceeding events but was significantly less flashy.
Brewtal Panda
33. Walker_in_the_Light
Loved the Re-Reads! Seeing the book through your eyes, so to speak, was interesting and entertaining, especially in how a different take on the book brought out things I hadn't seen in my own readings.

Case in point: I'd forgotten the making of the Eye 'til now, but it's the first of the only 2 instances of 'purifying' Saidin, and it too involved linked men and women. One wonders what the M-F ratio of the hundred Aes Sedai who made it, how they 'distilled' it, and if the method was supposed to foreshadow the final cleasning in some way. It also gives you a whole new perspective on the power level of the Choedan Kal if 100 linked AoL-era channelers killed themselves producing a small pool...

I'm definitely looking forward to the next installment. Much thanks for the fix while awaiting AMoL!
Richard Boye
34. sarcastro
Worms: I always figured they looked like the sandworms from Dune.

no, the Worms are far, far grosser - like large, pus-filled, pulsing maggots with small tendrils up and down its length, like feeble useless appendages a la T-rex arms only centipede style, if that makes sense....and a huge, slobbery mouth, kinda like the Sarlacc pit. That, my friends, is a creature that would warrant the fear and terror of a larval jummara.

Eww. I disgust even myself.

I agree with Novak that Lan's blunt rejection of Nynaeve, although all dressed in poetic Emo melodrama, was actually a kindness to Nynaeve, as it seemed at the time. Nynaeve, being stubborn, headstrong, largely self-centered Nynaeve took it as an immensely hurtful rejection of herself. And I like Nynaeve.

Now, the part about the Eye is a huge McGuffin and I prefer not to dwell on it. A similarly played up McGUFFIN (and then even more played up McGuffin) is the damn Horn of Valere - oh, sure it is referenced and is even used once, but.... that's it? Puh-lease.

Additionally, with respect to the CAPSLOCK SPEAKER, my own personal take it has always been that is was the first time that LTT broke through Rand's psyche (and he had to shout) to tell him that that the Last Battle is NOT HERE!, STUPID.

I don't even know anymore if that jibes with the text though, I used to know, but not so much any more.

I love the subtle hints of the burgeoning powers of Nyn, Eg and Rand strewn all through this section.

I also think that for sheer, creepy maniacal menacing-ness (menace-ity?), Aginor and Balthamel put the best face forward of Evil for the Forsaken. The whole line about 'what the hell is the one in the mask hiding if the other one is so diseased and gross and leathery? Seriously, what could possibly be worse?' was really effective and creepy.

I also loved Moiraine's moment when she knows she has bitten off more than she can chew and she tells them to Run. Throughout this book, Moiraine was fairly high-handed, coolly reposed, effective and damned impressive. Her use of the OP was Kick-Ass. No other Aes Sedai was so versatile and effective (althoygh I still think that Alanna in tSR was pretty cool... more when we get to that book)

Consider: the wall of fire Moiraine summoned (with a bell chime) to block off a horde o'trollocs, the cloak of mist along the river ("not ten women in the Tower..."), the 'I AM HUGE AND SCARY' hologram she used in Baerlon ("Suck it, Whitecloaks!"), the simple and casual way she bonks open the padlock to the Ways in Caemlyn ("let's not damage the goodman's property, bumpkins"), the BALL LIGHTNING ZIPPING AFTER TROLLOCS in Emond's Field....etc... Gee Whiz.

Here, she just thinks she is overmatched and that, I think was supposed to let us know that we are in a whole new arena of OP usage and Moiraine, as awesome as we were led to believe, just doesn't rate (Although Be'lal and Lanfear might think differently....)

And her last, cryptic pronouncement has had me hooked for just-about-twenty years (1990, yo).
Richard Boye
35. sarcastro
Other random thoughts -

Yes, moridin means 'death' but that doesn't mean that the Old Tongue has to have just one word that translates as 'death' - in English we have several words that equate death (demise, repose, etc...) so, it would stand to reason that the OT has a similar depth of vocabulary, right? Right?

And yes, the Mountains if Dhoom.
Joe Sherry
36. jsherry
If CAPS really is the Creator, which is how I've always taken it, it's the one incontrovertible truth that there IS a Creator. Sure, there is an assumption of Creator-hood by the simple fact that there IS a Dark One and there HAS to be an opposite. But, all of that talk about the Creator not taking a hand...if he's willing to talk to Rand at that moment, he's willing to take a role. Somewhat.

Besides.

Bela is the Creator.


What I liked best about the introduction to the Blight was, I believe, Loial's faughs at the smell / taste.
Carolyn Goodwin
37. metacarolyn
Like a couple others, I always thought the CAPSLOCK SPEAKER was the Dark One, not the Creator. In part because he refers to the Chosen One, which I read as Forsaken. However, now that I know most people assumed the opposite I agree that could be true.

Now, regarding the last page, where Moiraine listens in on Egwene & Rand - Leigh, are we reading the same book? When Egwene says he could try not to channel, Rand does reassure her (if sarcastically) with this last line of foreshadowingness:

"Oh, I won't ever touch it again. Not if I have to cut my hand off, first."
Brewtal Panda
38. Tanis0
I'm new 'round here and not deep in the fandom, but here's my take on the Eye / MacGuffin thing.

1) The Eye is a pure pool of Saidin, created for two purposes: For the Dragon to use at some point in the future, and to make absolutely sure that no one else could possibly get to the artifacts inside (since the Forsaken were sealed and other Channelling men couldn't find the Eye or the Green Man since their need wasn't great enough.)

2) Ba'alzy (Ishmael) has been luring the Dragon to the Eye on purpose. Why? If he can't convince the Dragon to serve him, he intends to use the Eye (or have Aginor do it) to kill him. It seems he either doesn't want to suffer the DO's wrath for this, or possibly the DO could stop him. So, he has to get Rand to the Eye so that he has an alternate source of power outside the DO's purview. Additionally, he may think that Rand is not yet powerful enough to use the Eye against him.

3) Rand actually DOES use the Eye to kill Aginor (though he doesn't stay dead), seriously injure Ishmael and win the battle at the Gap. Could it just as easily have been a staff of power, a magical boomstick or whatever else? Sure, but the Eye makes sense concealing the artifacts and allows Jordan to show us and Rand what is possible for him with Saidin as it originally was, before the DO's taint. It also makes a contrast, though somewhat marred by his momentary amnesia, with the aftereffects of the tainted version.
Brewtal Panda
39. Ian Manc
Oh.
My comments are being removed.
Whats with that?
Brewtal Panda
40. birgit
“Strange clothes you wear, Child of the Dragon. Has the Wheel turned so far? Do the People of the Dragon return to the First Covenant? But you wear a sword. That is neither now nor then.”

If they had listened to the Green Man, they would not be surprised that the Aiel are the People of the Dragon.

And why does he combust, fire coming out of his eyes and mouth Ishamael-style?

Ishy says that Aginor was too greedy, he drew too much Power like LTT in the prologue.

the giant squid in one of the Thousand Lakes

The monster in the lake is Nessie. Or the Watcher in the Water.
Torie Atkinson
41. Torie
@ 39 Ian Manc

I haven't removed any comments. Make sure that after you preview your comment you post it. Otherwise it gets lost as a preview.
Brewtal Panda
42. RobMRobM
Nice job again, Leigh. Can't wait for Rand and Friends Part Deux. Misc observations.

1. I don't buy the McGuffin angle. EOTW was a big deal - pool of pure saidin with special future affected prizes inside. It was created, with the assistance of foretelling (that's discussed later in the books), to help the new Dragon and, with the prizes, strengthen the forces of good for final battle. It then served its intended purpose and is now an empty cave with a big tree in front of it in the blight. No need to reference it again in later books. (I agree with those who have more problems with Falme - so do I).

2. I also don't buy those who thought that Ishy shouldn't have brought Rand to the EOTW. As noted in the Camelyn discussions before heading through the Ways, Moirane said there was enough power the Eye to melt the seals off of the Dark One's prison -- but, due to need protection, Ishy had no way to access the Eye. So, the concept was: get Rand to the Eye using the need factor, have the two physically free Foresaken control him, have them use the pool of saidin to blow all of the seals off, and then he could turn the Dragon to the dark side and topple the Creator. But... Balth gets unexpectedly beaten by the Green Man and, as Ishy says to Rand in the room, Aginor gets greedy and starts to use the pure saidin to strengthen himself, eventually taking too much and turning to toast. Only real flaw is that Ishy has too little regard for the Creator's ability to create a scenario (through AS foretelling and Dragon Rebirth) that would operate to advantage of Dragon rather than himself and DO.

3. I'm with Lan on the Lan/Nyneave scene. Given his warder bond, it is just like N is giving her heart to a married man who, while extremely tempted, is bound by honor to remain in his existing marriage. What else is he supposed to do - turn his back on his oath-bound work/life partner for the last 20 years? He gave the only possible honest answer -- "he would if he could but he can't so he won't" in the old playground parlance and heads off to tend the horses (and have his own private cry, no doubt).

4. I'm in the CREATOR camp.

5. Loved the comment about Loial's "Faugh." And the meat smell for the Blight. And Mat talking again in the Old Tongue -- making clear it was there before, and not just added in Finnland. (What the heck is Mat, by the way? How the heck can he have such an intimate tie to past lives and battles? Old blood only goes so far.... More grist for discussion re later books.)

6. Agree with those who think that RJ didn't have the rules for classic Age of Legends weaving at this point in story development. Rand's travelling isn't quite creating a gateway; the travelling by steps isn't skimming; and creating a sword of light ... that is a pretty good trick that doesn't show up later, does it?

7. And, finally, disagee with someone's comment that Moiraine's Dragon Reborn claim came out of left field. She suspected it once Nyneave told her that Rand was not born in Two Rivers (and she probably know he looked like an Aiel, to boot); and had it confirmed when Rand acted as he did at the Eye and elsewhere. All that is left is how to handle Rand in order to maximize his ability to develop into the DR. She figured "hard to get" was the way to get him to do what she wanted, keeping in mind she a master of Daes Daemar games playing and he has that Two Rivers stubborn streak that makes him hard to manage directly. (Parenthetically, she was playing Nyneave like a fiddle through the entire book to get her to stay with them and eventually get her to Tar Valon -- being oppositional and passive aggressive got Nyneave fired up enough to make her own choice to stay with them). But she knew who he was and has her own plans for helping him develop and lead the forces of good at TG -- and could rightfully and proudly exult in private.

Rob
Richard Boye
43. sarcastro
I agree also with Egglie and Shsaundyman about the end of tGH being equally, hell no, actually much more perplexing.

I also concur that as good as I found that book, it is really different in tone than large swaths of the series.

...and heh, jaspax for "mother of all Checkov guns."

Now I totally want to read a series where there are rival planets waging war and are building huge Death Star type weapons of mass destruction (the aforementioned Chekov Guns), each side racing to get theirs up and running first, bankrupting their civilizations to do so... only to get them built at the same time amid the ruins of their societies and they declare peace. That would be cool and ironic.

But I digress
Brewtal Panda
44. Ian Manc
Okay Torie, thanks for clearing that up.
Brad Moore
45. servantcbm
To RobMRobM@42

re: 6 - Rand uses a sword mead of Power several more times through the series. Generally when he doesn't have a physical sword handy.

re: 7 - Nyneave didn't tell Moiraine about Rand. I agree that M had enough knowledge to know and the comment isn't out of left field.

Great job, Leigh.
Brewtal Panda
46. Kremlok
Two words in regard to the reread sections for The Eye of the World:

What Happens: great

Commentary: bad
Brewtal Panda
47. Erdrick
@ Kremlok,

If you just want a what happens, go to one of the many chapter by chapter recaps out there (check out Dragonmount.com, wotmania.com, www.encyclopaedia-wot.org, etc). I personally enjoy the commentary and discussion. If you don't like it, don't read it. For me, the only wast of space commentary here is your post. And I guess this post as well. Sorry.

@ RobMRobM,

I'm really enjoying your posts...very insightful.

@ Leigh,

You're doing a great job...keep it up.
Brewtal Panda
48. CireNaes
I think it is more probable the the Voice was the DO. This is a Deistic world as far as the Creator is concerned. I was under the impression it was a strategic move on the DO's part to direct Rand's use of the Eye at a mere Trolloc army and a crazy servant that needs to be punished, rather than against Itself. I also thought that Rand distracted Aginor from using the Eye to strengthen himself and he flamed out. Great Commentary Leigh.
Rich Bennett
49. Neuralnet
This is fun reading your synopsis leighdb. my 2 cents...

One of the sad things about Robert Jordan passing is that there are so many little details we will probably never find out about. That CAPS LOCK voice always bugs me with every reread and we will probably never really know what it meant.

I come down in the camp that RJ didn't have it all worked out yet with this book and so Rand could simply be Traveling to Tarwin's gap.

Anyone know what the green man meant about the people of the dragon returning to the first covenant? I didn't remember that bit, I will have to look it up.

After this book I was hooked forever on the series. The magic sytem was just so cool , unique and interesting. Plus I love the sword forms Lan and Rand go through on that balcony, that definitely captured my imagination (and still does)
Joe Sherry
50. jsherry
Neuralnet @ 49 - regarding the people of the dragon returning to the first convenant:

I think this has everything to do with what Rand later learns at Rhuidian about the Aiel. The Aiel were once the servants of the Aes Sedai, dedicated to the peaceful Way of the Leaf, pledged to never harm another, never to pick up a sword.

I don't believe the First Covenant is ever directly explained, but the current version of the Aiel are the polar opposite of what the original Aiel were. The Tinkers are as close to true Aiel as anyone.

The Aiel, of course, are the people of the dragon.
Brewtal Panda
51. Erdrick
Yes, the First Covenant seems to be referring to the Way of the Leaf. He sees an Aiel not wearing cadin'sor and wonders if they have returned to their old ways following the Way of the Leaf. But when he notices Rand is wearing a sword he realizes that cannot be the case. In fact, regarding the sword, "that is neither now nor then."
Brewtal Panda
52. Erdrick
I have a question about naming the Dark One. If it really has such an evident negative effect, how is it that people even know the name? Perhaps it would be written down in some obscure book in a library in Cairhien or Tar Valon, but I cannot see farm folk in the boondocks where they still believe trollocs and myrddraal are imaginary creatures writing down a name to teach their children what not to say. Wouldn't it be better to not even pass down the name? I mean, what are the chances someone would randomly voice that particular combination of syllables? Teaching someone the name is only providing the means for them to say it.
Brewtal Panda
53. macpimp
one thing that really annoyed me about the first book was moiraine's staff. the incongruity of it doesn't become evident until later in the series.

no other one power wielder ever uses a prop like that, and indeed, we learn that such items are unnecessary and even discouraged.

after it is ruined, moiraine herself doesn't appear to miss it at all, and it obviously wasn't a ter'angreal or angreal.

more of rj's loose/unformed ideas at that stage?
Brewtal Panda
54. storchy
Excellent work guys. Is a pleasure to read someone elses take on what is my favourite series. Keep up the good work!
Brewtal Panda
55. seanie
Great stuff Leigh . I had already been rereading but I enjoy the insight and discussion ,even the goosiebumps and awesomenesses , LOL. It's funny remembering how many favorite moments I've had over the past 20 years of reading WoT . Hard (impossible ? ) to pick just 10 ....And how much irritation ( Nynaeve's WHINING , aaarrrgghh ) , Elaida's insufferability, etc but they were part of the story ...lol. It can't be constant awesomeness.....Keep it up ,looking forward to GH .
Feel free to comment at length , AMoL is far off...I'm barely holding the Longing at bay.....LOL
Brewtal Panda
56. Rebecca Starr
Ch 48
Somehow I guess I'm the only one who finds the scene between Lan and Nynaeve terribly romantic - I remember it took me completely by surprise the first time I read the books (I was 12, c'mon, I couldn't have picked up on their subtle courtship...) But man, to be called a lionness? as beautiful as sunrise and fierce as a warrior? wowza

It's also interesting how much more Jordan was playing with making Perrin wolflike here, intent on hunting in the Blight etc. If he had followed up on this transformation of Perrin from man into half-man/half-wolf, it might have been a lot more interesting for the next 8,000 pages than just Perrin whining about it

What Moiraine does to hide their campsite makes it seem she already knows the invisibility trick. I'm sure this is in the FAQ somewhere...

Ch 49
I agree - it sounds like Moiraine is unweaving - with significantly better results than Elayne!

"On the two quotes about Rand above: Again, I’ve got to be impressed at how well Jordan camouflages what’s going on here. In retrospect, it’s obvious that the first quote is Rand sensing a woman’s channeling, and the second is Rand unconsciously trying and failing to seize saidin..."

------------------------------------------
Did he try and fail? Or did he channel and that's why the Eye is on this side of the Mountains of Dhoom for the first time ever? Never thought about it that way before

Ch 50
mark@30, I want to know why the branches of Avendesora are ungentle too!

Ch 51
Ooooh I'll take a One Power martini, shaken not stirred, please.

Seriously Leigh, thanks for your thoughts about this chapter standing out... It has always bothered me no end that I couldn't make it "fit" neatly with the other scenes in the books, or rationalize it (my OCD tendencies coming to the surface...) - but you're right, when you just accept the magic-ness of it, it does work.

Ok, but I can't resist trying to make it fit a little. Rand refers to the chord coming from the Eye as being the "Light" itself - this is the only time we see this reference, which is very different from being connected to the One Power, Saidin, True Power etc... so my new thought is this: what if part of the Eye was that it would let the Creator attach a chord to his surrogate for this round of the eternal battle of Creator v. Dark One. Aginor obviously wouldn't have known this, but when Rand attached the chord - literally the Light - to himself, he named himself as the Creator's avatar in this Age, and thus confirmed himself as the Dragon Reborn.

Ch. 53
Anomander@9 I literally think I felt my brain expand reading your theory of a seal breaking every time a black chord gets cut from Ba'alzamon (and weakening in the case of Asmo).... methinks I like it.

And the last line of the book is still perfect to me.
Michael Ikeda
57. mikeda
Erdrick@52

For one thing, the tale is widespread enough that suppressing it would take a concerted cooperative effort by the various nations.

For another thing, even if there was such a concerted effort it probably wouldn't work. Among other reasons, the DO's forces WANT the tale to be widespread.
Brewtal Panda
58. RobMRobM
Erdrick - appreciate the shoutout (@47). I read the series for the first time this Fall and had the benefit of running through all 11 plus New Spring in a month, so it is fresh.

Servantcbm - I looked again re the sword of light and you're very much correct. Makes you wonder why Rand would use a conventional sword at all when he can cook up a saidin one at a moment's notice. (Probably same reason he told Taim to teach the Ashaman trainees how to use a conventional sword - keeps you more human and grounded to nonchannellers).

On the Nyneave point, I respectfully beg to differ but agree it is a matter of interpretation of text. Sequence N has her tete a tete with Moirane; Rand talks to her all upset about his father's fever speech at Winternight that he was found on a mountain; N says don't worry about it, just a fever dream, your parents loved you very much and your mother looked so happy bringing you home; Rand says well, actually, I was born outside the Two Rivers - did you tell that to Moiraine?; and N answers "of course not." I had the strong impression, based on the wording and situation, that N did tell Moiraine but didn't want to acknowledge it to Rand given how upset he was. Metatalk - "Of course not" in the context meant "yes but I don't want to admit that to you."

Rob
Brewtal Panda
59. trekkiechick
First off, thanks, Leigh, for all your work on this! I plan to start my own reread in a few months (so as not to forget too much before AMoL comes out)and this is a great appetizer for that.

To the many comments above about whether or not RJ knew exactly what he was doing with Traveling, channeling, TAR, etc, at this point: I always thought not. Considering how detailed and technical everything is later on, it feels kinda...unfinished...here. I mean, in the later books, even the non-channelers can see a gateway forming. And yet here, Lews Therin and Rand both "travel" without any sort of gateway being mentioned. So I always thought that RJ had not yet worked out all of the details of his magic yet.

Rebecca Starr@56: I totally agree with you about Lan and Nynaeve. I love their romance, and that whole scene in the Blight is great. The chapter in CoS where he saves her and she breaks her block...one of the best chapters ever!

Rand's last thought in this book always makes me sad, the part about not ever going home. And, for better or worse, that is a promise he has kept.

Keep it coming, Leigh!
Brewtal Panda
60. JoshBerkeley1
"I have a question about naming the Dark One. If it really has such an evident negative effect, how is it that people even know the name?"

A couple of thoughts.

First, during most of the the 3000 years the DO has been confined, his touch upon the world was weak. No Forsaken, hidden black-ajah etc. I think it is a possibility that naming the DO during this time did not result in Trollocs or other DF turning up on your door-step. So the injunction on his name was probably seen as a myth, or old-wives tale. Your not meant to do it, but people did not have mortal fear and it got said occasionally.

Second, kids and drunk people like to push boundaries. I can imagine every generation of kids at some point would pass on the name, showing off their bravery to younger kids. Or dunk people, who have had a few getting loose lips.

In a nutshell, the more forbidden something is, the more people want to know.
Rich Bennett
61. Neuralnet
yeah I always assumed the first covenant referred to the way of the leaf. but I guess this time when I saw the phrase in isolation like that, it made me kind of wonder why call it a covenant, it almost sounds like an agreement/bargain was made. Maybe the first covenant refers to the reason the Aiel served the Aes sedai... or some other reason why the age of legend aiel followed the way of the leaf.

I still have a hard time not picturing the jolly green giant when I think of the green man.
Brewtal Panda
62. Tanman
Perhaps, the Eye of the World wasn't meant in and of itself to "tip the tides" of war. I believe the pool of Saidin was left to shape the vessel of the Dragon Reborn. The greatest need of the world would be served by training/shaping the Dragon Reborn to defeat the Dark One. (ie: defining Rand's stregth/knowledge/instinct as demonstrated in later novels before chaining Asmodean.)
Brewtal Panda
63. FunBob
Great finish Leigh...Loved the commentary...

Rebecca Star - Love the Lan/Nynaeve story....I've always been a Nynaeve supporter....

I also vote CREATOR - and that IT was Ba'alzamon's Lair, which Rand was shown the door to....And we thought the Creator never took a hand....

I also think Kari al Thor was actually there, given by the Dark One to Ishy to tempt Rand to abandon the light...Rand freed them with his purifying Light....Can't help but think the light shooting out of the end of the sword was the foreshadowing of balefire, if not meant to be an early form of it...this really resembles the first time we see Rand using balefire in TDR...

The First Covenant would have been the dedication of the Aiel to the Way of the Leaf, which they entered into with Lews Therin Telamon, which is why they are the People of the Dragon...

Leave it to Moiraine to know how make a great exit...Indeed, the Dragon IS reborn...

On to the Hunt!
Brad Moore
64. servantcbm
RobMRobM -

I think there's a passage where Rand wonders the same thing about the sword, but by the time he instructs Taim to teach the forms, he's been shielded at least twice, and realizes the importance of mundane weapons. I don't recall at the moment if he's run across Nyneave since her encounter with Moghedian in Tanchico or not, but if he had knowledge of that it would reinforce that idea. The Forsaken have kind of arrogant assumption that they'll always have access to Power and don't think in terms of mundane combat as a rule. (There are probably exceptions I don't recall at the moment.)


I guess I can see that, but it doesn't seem to fit with N's antagonistic relationship with M. When she meets M she is immediately angered by being called a child, so it's a little hard to see N confiding anything to her, even aside of her protectiveness toward the Two Rivers residents. I could be wrong. It wouldn't be the first time! :)
Brewtal Panda
65. michaelt
I don't think N told M about where Rand was born, but there were plenty of other people in Emond's Field who would have known and would have told Moiraine, i.e., anyone older than Nynaeve.
Iain Scott
66. iopgod
I also read "Of course not" as "Of course not. (I didnt tell her directly, but when M asked, I probaly didnt dismiss the idea convincingly enough)"
Thomas Garst
67. Garstzilla
Just my thought but I never took that to be from the creator but the one sided converstation from the old King Authur Hawkwing whats his name who leads the host that the Horn of Valere controls. Here is a huge battle between light and dark and of course there is the dragon reborn in the middle of it so the Authur of the host is checking to see if the horn is present to tip off the last battle/ T'armon Gaidon. Its not so he does not lead the horn's host in and leaves the present battle to Rand/Dragon reborn.

"One last note before we move on: in ten plus years of WOT fandom, I have never once seen a satisfactory explanation of what exactly the possibly-Creator means by “IT IS NOT HERE.” What is not here? How does that sentence mean anything with regard to what came right before it? Why do theoretical-deity-types have to be so damn cryptic all the time? Sheesh."

Any way thats who I always thought it meant after I had read the other books.

I have enjoyed this reread a lot and can't wait for the rest.
Helen Cousins
68. naath.sedai
“The Light blind you, Ba’alzamon! This has to end!”

IT IS NOT HERE.


When I read that the first thing that I thought that the IT might refer to is "The Light" (which Rand wishes would blind Ba'alzaman); although I can see that it might be the ending that Rand is after, or the location of Ba'alzamon as other people have suggested.

(Great reread; convinced me to read along...)
Brewtal Panda
69. dan cronin
Awesomeness. TEOTW (the fictional source of power, not the book as a whole) was a little swept to the wayside in the larger scheme of things. But you could argue its purpose was to give the dragon his banner, and to give the Light the horn of valere. Two elements which have certainly not been swept to the wayside for the remainder og the book. It is a argumentative stretch, yes, but still for any WOT fan it should be enough not to derail any suspended belief required to enjoy such a story
Brewtal Panda
70. Rikka
The implications of the 'People of the Dragon' returning to their 'First Covenant' makes me wonder if this refers to an agreement with LTT as opposed to Aes Sedai et al. Though when it was first brought up I immediately thought of the Aiel agreement to serve the Aes Sedai, which I thought they broke horribly somehow (something that has to do with Rhuidean and ter'angreal? It's been a while since I read the books...) Which makes me swing back to that idea.

Hrm.
Brad Moore
71. servantcbm
RobMRobM -

Ch. 47 p.604 Has this paragraph as well.

Rand glanced sideways at the Aes Sedai. Almost all. He risked a look at Nynaeve; she had turned back to watch as well as listen, though she still avoided looking at Lan. He caught the Wisdom's eye. She shook her head; she had not told the Aes Sedai that he was not Two Rivers born. What does Moiraine know?
Brewtal Panda
72. Garstzilla
Ok I reread the posts and then reread my comment and feel that I did a horrible job explaining myself. Going to give it one more try: I dont believe it is the Creator or the Dark one that talks to Rand in Tarwin’s Gap. I believe it is the leader of the Heroes called by the horn of Valere.

To preface I think the only way that the Green Mans home can move around like it does and responds to need is because it is really in the Tel'aran'rhiod and that is why only need will get you there.

Here why I think that Artur is who Rand is talking to in the Gap.
One: If the Eye had the strength to release the DO then it follows that there was enough power there to do the opposite if necessary. The problem is that Rand comes to it not fully trained in his powers but just at the beginning; he has the potential but nothing else. He has in one place the Power and the Horn and the Banner to start and finish the last battle, T'armon Gaidon. He gets there with out knowing how to use any of it.

Two: Who is supposed to be in on the last battle? The Heroes of the Horn and who is their leader Artur Hawkwing. So I would think that he would be paying attention to someone messing with the Eye and the hidden horn.

Three: When Rand steals control of the Eye and is filled with all that power from the eye that he wants to get away but why the Gap he could have easily shown up anywhere. He wants to end the fight so Tel'aran'rhiod takes him where he could potentially start the last battle ( if he was trained and had picked up the horn and banner). He is already in Tel'aran'rhiod being in the Green mans home he can just step out into the Gap. Where he is seen by other men so he has to have exited the Dream World.

Here is where it all fits in MHO.

“The Light blind you, Ba’alzamon! This has to end!”

Artur Hawkwing is aware of / listening to see if he is going to be called to start the last battle when he hears this he looks to see if Rand has the Horn to call the heroes to fight.

"IT IS NOT HERE."

Artur says to Rand cause he is not prepared to start the final battle.

"It was not Rand’s thought, making his skull vibrate.

I WILL TAKE NO PART. ONLY THE CHOSEN ONE CAN DO WHAT MUST BE DONE, IF HE WILL."

Here Artur is telling the heroes and Rand that he will not lead in this battle cause Rand does not appropriately have the horn with him. He does say that Rand has the power to finish the fight with out them.

"“Where?” He did not want to say it, but he could not stop himself. “Where?”"

Here is where now Rands instinctive use of the power now shows him how to renter the Tel'aran'rhiod again and the clue is the steps that are present with out support.

"The haze surrounding him parted, leaving a dome of clear, clean air ten spans high, walled by billowing smoke and dust. Steps rose before him, each standing alone and unsupported, stretching up into the murk that obscured the sun.

NOT HERE."

Here Artur is telling him that he will not find the end where he is but must take the steps to find what he wants to end.

Rand's Need guides him to Bal' but because he has used up so much power rearranging the Gap and reentering and finding Bal' that he does not have enough left to finish him completly.

I think Jordan knew exactly where he wanted this to go but also knew that these things were not going to be explained till later in the books so could not go out of line of the characters knowledge at this point. But the Tel'aran'rhiod and the heroes of the horn are consitent with all that happened to Rand and Artur makes for a formidible voice questioning Rands authority to end it all.

Anyway I hope I stated myself a lot clearer this time. Let me know if you think this all a bunch of crazy talk or if you think I make any sense at all.
Brewtal Panda
73. jafco
I'm late as usual, but kudos, Leigh. Great stuff.

Lots of great ideas and comments above.

Once again I see another sort "physical" foreshadowing in these passages. Rand, brand new inductee of the "look I can Channel" crew, gets to the Eye and is forced to ingest, like 1000 cases of vintage Grand Cru Romanée-Conti "pure" saidin while crisping baddies left and right, including sautéing a couple battleships (err, Forsaken) and hearing weird ALLCAPS voices in his head.

Some books later he's brewing GCR-C in the midst of a slam-bang battle. How indeed? He remembers what he tasted here, he knows the slop he's had to to deal for years, he's thought about it, and somehow? he figures out how to PURIFY Saidin. This book has to be where he got the taste, the concept, the driving urge. Or, whatever.
Brewtal Panda
74. Andrew W^2
I've been thinking about the mysterious Traveling thing. There's a pattern that I don't think has been brought up yet:

1) Rand is pwning face in Tarwin's gap at the end of TEOTW, and then suddenly there's a lot of fog and he's somewhere else, face to face with Ba'alzamon.

2) Rand is chilling in the weird reflection world with Loial and Hurin in the first half of TGH, and then suddenly there's a lot of fog and he's somewhere else, face to face with Ba'alzamon.

3) Rand is face to face with the Heroes of the Horn outside of Falme at the end of TGH, and then suddenly there's a lot of fog and he's face to face with Ba'alzamon.

Also, after each one of these confrontations is over, he ends up back where he started.

Falme is definitely the oddest of the 3, given the whole vision in the sky thing, but they are all odd... and strikingly similar. To me, the common thread is Ishy/Ba'alzy. He's got some weird powers, this we know. The whole fiery orifice thing, for one. But also the stuff with the shadows clinging to him and whatnot...? In his pre-Moridin form, he's kind of a special case. Maybe chalk it up to all of those years being half-bound and way too buddy-buddy with the Dark One. And who knows what kinds of weird True Power tricks he's got. It doesn't seem unreasonable to me that one of his special powers could be a kind of summoning trick. Like he can somehow pull Rand into that weird foggy otherwordly place. If you look at it that way, it explains:

1) How Rand got to Ba'alzy's room at the end of TEOTW. And possibly, the voice in Rand's head. I could definitely see Ba'alzy saying "IT IS NOT HERE" as part of the summoning trick. And we know he can do the trick of CAPS-TALKING into peoples heads (he does it at the Darkfriend tea party at the beginning of TGH)... that might explain it.

2) That whole foggy confrontation in the mirror-world where Rand gets his first Heron.

3) How he ends up fighting Ba'alzy at the end of TGH. It doesn't explain how the whole scene ends up in the sky, but maybe that's a product of the summoning trick, or maybe even something Ishy did on purpose to freak people out, since he's always so sure he's going to win.

Food for thought.
Brewtal Panda
75. Kenneth G. Cavness
What a joy to be able to participate in this re-read with you, Leigh. Thank you so much for doing this! I thoroughly enjoyed both the "what happens" and the "commentary" sections, and Kremlok can go defenestrate himself.
John Massey
76. subwoofer
Hi Leigh. For Ch 48... all I have to say is Purel anyone? I can picture my mom or those crazy ladies from "How Clean is Your House?" taking hedge trimmers and Swiffers and all sorts of products and turning the Blight around. The bit at the end with Lan and Nynaeve I could of done without. "Hairy chested drivel". Reminds me of the grinding seasons of Smalleville with Clarke and Lana staring pathetically at each other. Come on Clarke.... find Lois. Nynaeve, stop being an anchor, let Lan whoop some a**. I am surprised that no parallels were drawn between the Green man and Tom Bombawhatsit from LOTR. Was sooooooo cool in chapter 53 when Loil says enough is enough and Sings the acorn of the Green Man so it lasts forever in the Blight. Almost like RJ has an eco movement in the book and the Blight is us vs the environment... and the environment is not winning. Very enjoyable going over this with someone else. It is a huge undertaking and I do appreciate the effort/passion you must have to bring this to us.
Brewtal Panda
77. markerikson
I'm only just catching up on reading all this old reread stuff, so my comments are likely just disappearing into the void of the old internet. But reading about WOT has brought out my old need to comment on everything.

Anyway - I have a feeling that a lot of what happens here is Travelling - it's just occurring before RJ had ironed out exactly what Travelling looked like and how it worked.

I don't have my book handy, but the description of the party suddenly appearing at the Eye sounds very much like Rand did manage to gasp saidin, and he then teleported the lot of them to where they needed to go. Same goes for how he got to Tarwin's Gap. Either that, or some totally weird s**t was going on.

I do hope the Eye gets explained at some future point. The was something kinda like an explanation when Rand is doing his genetic memory thing in tSR, when we see the AoL Aes Sedai with the Horn and seal and banner. It still isn't clear what they intend, though, other than preserving that stuff for the future.

Although, and I might be pulling this out of my arse, wasn't the Aes Sedai in charge of that project one with the Foretelling talent? In fact, I even have the vaguest of vague memories suggesting that she might have been responsible for the Karaethon Cycle? I don't know.
Brewtal Panda
78. toddywatts
I thought the fissure in the Green Man's head was reflective of the blight.

Really enjoying the re-read. Thanks!
Brewtal Panda
79. alaric
Just finished my TEotW reread and I came up with a new EotW Theory -- at least, I don't recall discussing this before, and I didn't see any similar comments by the Old School, so given how much of TEotW foreshadowing is valid at least through TSR, so here's my $0.02:

The Green Man's "realm" is a Vacuole where only Saidar can be channeled, and The Eye itself is Well of Saidin.

o The "realm" isn't anywhere in particular, it appears (people can enter) when their need is enough. Personally, I think The Green Man cheats and lets people in the Blight in (not likely any Dark Friends, and face it, Somhestra would have a personal interest in those fighting the Blight). Thus, by Randtime, The Eye is believed to be in the Blight, but this could be just a case of "knowing something making it true" like is talked about wrt T'A'R.

o Alternately, it can only be entered by those "in need", who we only know specifically to have been Moraine and Rand, both channelers who could have unconsciously entered T'A'R / The Vacuole). In amy case, it's pretty obvious that *Rand* channels to bring it to the Fellowship.

o Immediately upon entering, the "channelling" feeling leaves Randin much the same way as entering a Stedding is described. Thus, The Green Man's Realm might actually be a Saiden-free zone (shades of Far Madding).

o This is a plausible explanation of why A&B don't obliterate Rand & Co immediately. First, they can only get to the Eye by following Matt, and then they can't channel immediately so they have to "feel" for the Eye.

o By the time Rand focuses and sees the White Cord to Aginor, Bethamel is already toast. Note the only other place(s) Rand sees cords are in Ishy's Place (likely T'A' or a Vacuole), in T'A'R, and in Skimming Space, making it likely that the Eye isn't in The Real World.

o As Moiraine noted, very few people ever had the strength to channel the whole contents of the well. It took what, 50 AoL Aes Sedai men and women to fill it. My read on Aginor v. Rand is that Aginor burnt himself out (literally) trying to outdraw LTT reborn.

o Moiraine speculates that maybe they didn't use the Eye as it was intended, and I tend to agree. While there are several possible uses the AoL Aes sedai anticipated, I suspect it was something along the lines of: After the Breaking subsided and the six other Seals broke, LTT reborn would summon the Eye, clear the final Seal, blow the Horn and summon LTT back from the dead. LTT would then pick up his standard, and use the Choeden Kal with the Amyrlin and execute the original Plan B. Yes, I *know* there's a flaw with that plan, but aren't all good prophecies supposed to be paradoxical?

Anyway, I agree with others that think TEotW saw a Jordan still uncertain about all of the mechanics, but the above theory does pertty much fit with what we learn later.
Richard Fife
80. R.Fife
Just putting this here. Ignore the man behind the curtain. Sung to the Backstreet Boys - Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely.
--editted to actually be, you know, right--

Show me the meaning to be ta'veran

There's three young boys from The Two Rivers
A wind's blowing, it's a beginning
Moiraine arrives
Trollocs raid, there's a fade
Tam is hurt, the boys must run
Egwene and Thom will come just for fun
Nynaeve tracks them to Berelon
Enter Min...

Show me the meaning to be ta'veran
Pattern is bending, and rats are dying
Moiraine's real tall and walking over gates
Shadar Logath is now our fate

Mat will explore these ruins left
Right to treasure with Mordeth
That evil blade, Mat's life remade paranoid
Fain leads in fades, we must run
It's Mashadar
Egwene nearly drowns
Rand, Thom and Mat see the Spray
Here's Domon

Show me the meaning to be ta'veran
Gold eyes for Perrin, Thom fights a halfman
Wolfboy kills some whitecloaks and Hopper dies!
Lan gives Nynaeve some butterflies

They meet in Caemlyn
To the Eye they must go
Loial and the Ways, Fain will follow!
In Shienar now great need is how
to get to the greenman's great grove!

Forsaken have to show up
Rand uses saidin and beats Ba'alzamon up

Show me the meaning to be ta'veran
The Seals are breaking, the Horn is in hand
Dragon Banner, Aes Sedai sits forlorn
She says, "The Dragon is Reborn"
Adam Parsons
81. Belement
Wow R.Fife.. great job on the lyrics.. just listened to the videoclip on youtube while singing along with your lyrics.. other than a couple of spots where I couldn't figure out the right timing, it fit in amazingly well.
Richard Fife
82. R.Fife
Yeah, I went off published lyrics for my syllables, but I don't think they necc. sang to them. Also, a few places, because of how they sang it, the fact that I did not use their exact word length in addition to syllables, well, it makes you stretch words out crazy or rush through them a bit. It was pretty late when I made this, and I was not overly worries over the second stanza's awkwardness :)

--edit
I actually went back and redid it some, flows alot better now. Some of the phrasing is tricky to Kareoke, but it is right, just needs the holds mid-word instead of end.
Brett Michie
83. bchurch
Awesome R.Fife!

Though I can't bring myself to listen to the backstreet boys, I can appreciate your lyricism. Would be fun if they offered Karaoke of these songs at Jordancon--not that I can go:(--would be cool to see on youtube or somesuch. Keep up the good work.
Brewtal Panda
85. Bonzo4288
Just a couple of thoughts.

Loial: He sings to preserve the Green Man, a part that I thought was just AWESOME!! Then he says that this part of the Blight will not be run over. To me that means the Eye of the World is in that part. Personally, I think that Loial needed to be there and following ta'veren brought him to "preserve" the eye.

Now this part, I'm trying to remember and if I get it wrong please correct me.

When the Forsaken/Chosen go to Shayoul Gouhl and then walk down the caveren to talk to the Dark One, it says that there is no entrance but the bore is the thinnesst. So that makes me wonder if there is no "entrance" than technically Lews Therin didn't go to the place where the Forsaken now go.

With Rand and Co. finding the Banner of the Dragon, Horn of Valere, a seal to the Dark One's prison, protected by a pool of Saidin, could this be the place where Lews Therin sealed the Bore originally? And just maybe Rand will return to this same place to fight the Dark One and finish him forever?

What do you think?
Brewtal Panda
86. justmike
Better late than never even if no one ever sees this but feel free to comment about my theory.

The cords that were seen on Aginor and Rand was the saidin from the eye. Aginor was sent to try to stop Rand from using it and due to his greed tried to use it himself resulting in burning himself out. After that it became no problem for Rand to begin channeling the power in the eye since no one else around could. He wanted to end all the chaos and somehow travelled to tarwin's gap where he tried to kill all the trollocs, fades, and dragkhar. All this time, he's draining the eye on something other than what it NEEDS to be used for. The Creator tells him he needs to be somewhere else. The steps he takes could easily be the tunnel thingy while skimming (I think discussed in tSR not sure though). Let's be honest it wouldn't be the first time Rand did something without knowing how. Rand is now at a place where using saidin from the eye will be "useful." Ishy's cord on him is his link to the Dark One's version of the OP. When Rand severs the black cord he basically gentled Ishy. The Dark One's OP is not so easily beaten so it isn't permanent and by TGH, Ishy is back to full strength. I don't really know why Rand could see it, or why he doesn't die for good until TDR, but that's how I always imagined it was going down.
Brewtal Panda
87. Bobothebarbarian
"So, an ending. Not the ending, for there are many endings in the Wheel of Time. And beginnings. And middles. And also, wind. Very windy in WOT."
I have to say that made me and my son fall over laughing :-D ok on to what i was thinking about "the not hear" first of all if it was the creator then the rest of the books don't mean anything so it wasn't him. but doesn't anyone else think it is a very lucid dragon basically talking to himself like he always does its how the whole scene happened just like when he takes control at the farm house in the last book hes yelling at rand "i need my hands" what i personally think the not hear refers to if we can say Jordan had that kind of foresight is to cleansing the sadin cause LTT had to be thinking of how it could be done and of how it was obviously it was basically purified through sadar the taint absorbed by the chaneler probably. That is why they all died. i think it is kind of the main way how rand ends up doing cleaning sadin but instead of absorbing the taint he makes a pool of it that is then attacked by shadar logath till both kill each other and there where a few other things i wanted to comment on but as i was thinking of how to explain what i meant about that i forgot all about what it was :D
I just wanted to add i have been reading Wot since i bought my first copy of EOTW at a grocery store new release section I was about 14 i think so when my oldest son turned 12 and i told him he should read my books as they where referred 2 then(UNFORTUNATELY i gave him my same copy from the grocery store) because he couldn't meet his AR goals cause he didn't like to read. That was the summer before he went in to sixth grade by the end of that year he had broke the schools all time AR score and his name will be up in the school library forever but the time we have had since talking about it!! is what i am really thankful for what i am trying to say here is A BIG THANK YOU to Mr.James Oliver Rigney and Harriet and now Mr.Sanderson for spending your time away from family to help bring mine closer together
Brewtal Panda
88. Dutch Fan
I realize I'm a bit late but still I'd like to share a thought. (If someone's still reading...)
*sees tumbleweed tumbling down the street*

What I never understood (apart from the Rand appearing in the Gap, but that has been discussed above) was why Perrin didn't react to Loial's song with which he saved a piece of beautiful nature from the Blight. At least I don't recall him reacting to it...

Just a couple of days ago he was with the Tinkers hearing about some special song they were looking for and seems to be very (VERY!!!) important to them. In Caemlyn he meets an Ogier, a kind of supernatural being spawned from legends and stories.

And now this Ogier sings a song which seems to have a lot of power in fighting effects of the shadow. Apparently, a very special song indeed.

*Ding Dong* Paying attention here Perrin?

Maybe it's not THE song (if there is one), but still Perrin could've asked some questions, maybe set up a meeting in the future... Loial was with him in Emond's Field when the remaining Tinkers showed up there.

Any thoughts on this?
eric s
89. silverprl1
I believe the battles "in the sky" are rand bridging the gap between the real world and TAR, where one looses a piece of himself when there in the flesh. Lews Therrin gains ground in his mind each time he enters TAR in the flesh, and this battle is the first, the entry point for LT. LT, like Birgitta, is dragged from his place in TAR, but in pieces, one "in the flesh" moment at a time.

I also think that a lot of the writings are un-evolved in these early books. RJ seems to attempt to correct this, almost as a self realization that the story is longer than a trilogy, when Rand is hiding with the crew and realizing his place prior to going to Tier. (Which I also found unbearably slow and painful to get through) And then of course when he learns the history of the Aeil. THese are the literary equivalent of adding a narrator because the story is lost without telling the back-story, which did not exist prior to it becoming necessary. I guess, as the series becomes more complex, the writer grows, and the realization that a major set of history needs to be created in order for things to make any sense.

I do however accept the possibility that many of these things are just what I call "Bad sci-fi." A point when the author breaks all of the rules of physics, as they have created them, to generate a huge moment. In these cases, they are not foreshadowing, they are not letting the genie out of the bottle, they are just moments where you need to suspend disbelief (that based on the rules of the world you are reading in) and just suck it up as ok. It bothers me a lot more later on in the series when these things happen than it did in the first book.

As to a crazy theory: I think Moraine might be a fake black sister, possibly supported by her disappearance before Fain breaks free. And by fake black sister, I think she may have joined the black to know it from the inside and possibly try to work from there on out. Where else might she have learned of Bail FIre "in the past year," as she later says before killing the dark hounds? That first meeting with the Dark One, we meet Boors, and about the same time hear a Foresaken asked if they would use Bail Fire... The big three: Cad, Ver, and Moir... at least one is Black, maybe all, and maybe none. But, they are all dead-set on getting the Dragon to the Last Battle, which is lock-step in line with the wishes of the Shadow... Oh yeah, but also the Light.

I would also like to agree with a comment above: NONE of the love-stories make any sense, nor have any reason to be. All are totally ridiculous moments of love at first sight, as no character has any time to relate and fall in love excepting Min and Rand. I also have gone from thinking that RJ was great to have strong female characters to feeling that he only has one female character he writes, and Rand is basically the same as they. Never cooperating, constantly blundering into the same mistakes, so weak that they will not take any advice, and always right even when they are wrong and making mistake X for the 20th time hoping for a different outcome. By the end of 11, Mat is the only character to have ever learned from his mistakes, changed at all, or developed into a character rather than a charicature of a stereotype. (I'm listening to Mistborn as I write, and KNOW that BS has a way better chance of fixing these things, but unfortunately so little time)
Brewtal Panda
90. pdlandis
Great synopsis of The Eye of the World! I enjoyed reading it, and have lots of things to say and want to discuss it and all that, but considering that you wrote this a while ago, discussion probably won't happen till I catch up.

About Jordan's "metaphysical to metaphorical ratio:" I'm not sure that I agree with the opinion that he hadn't had it all figured out by now. The chapter including the above-described awesomeness is Rand's first experience with wielding the Power on a large scale. Not only that, but it also might be his largest Power-wielding experience as of now (now being the eleventh book) in the series. Couple that with my conclusion that Ba'alzamon's Secret Lair was close to Shayol Ghul (if not in proximity, at least in spirit), and the confusion works with the way Jordan's magic works. Once Rand knows what he's doing and how the Power is wielded, he has much more coherent thoughts about it, instead of the crazy mixed-up randomness we see here (since much of our knowledge of events is tainted by a character's POV). In short, Rand's playing a game he's never played before, and it becomes more clear to him (and therefore to the reader) later on when he knows how it's played; furthermore, he's playing that game in a place where he doesn't play it again with someone who might be more powerful than anyone he encounters later on (at least not yet and thus far in the series).
Brewtal Panda
91. submandave
Heh, heh, heh. You said "clensing the Dark One's taint." Heh, heh, heh. Don't you need a Wet Nap or washcloth for that? Heh, heh, heh.
Brewtal Panda
92. gleeman
I dont think it was the Creator who talked (shouted) at Rand in the Epic battle scene. I think it was Ishmael/Ba'alzamon.

The Creator created the world, started the wheel spinning, imprisoned the dark one, and then sat back and became a non-participating observer. Watching his science/sociology experiment to see if the dark one could/would ever win. The Creator's will is implemented via the mechanisms of the wheel; ta’veren and such. The Creator *never* takes an active hand in the happenings of randland. Why would he for just this instance and no others? In that case, why not just seal up the bore and be done with it.

I think it was Ba'alzamon enticing Rand to come to him in Tel'aran'rhoid in the flesh. All of Rand's encounters with Ishmael (pre-Moridin) seem to predominately take placed in Tel'aran'rhoid. I think Ishmael had spent so much time there in the flesh that he had lost the ability (or perhaps desire) to be in the real world. He definitely would be more powerful in Tel'aran'rhoid due to his knowledge of its workings which is probably why he always got Rand to follow him into it to fight.
Brewtal Panda
93. gleeman
I've always wondered just what exactly the Horn of Valere is? Is it a ter'angreal that was made in the Age of Legends or does it pre-date the AoL? And if the latter, where was it in AoL when even the word for war had been forgotten?

The Horn is one thing that has never been really explained very well. It has retained a very mysterious, ethereal aspect; almost truly magical in a nonOP sense.

I would be curious to know if anybody has any theories regarding this. (Though I'm so far behind in this re-read I wonder how many people will even read this post )
Brewtal Panda
94. gleeman
One more post.

I found it strange that Lord Agelmar, who is smart enough to realize that he did not see the Creator at Tarwin's Gap but rather a man channeling, is not astute enough to realize that the man he saw was Rand.

I realize that Rand and him were separated by several hundred yards, but he should have at least been able to see a general outline. And I dont believe that Rand is traveling with any changes of clothing. Agelmar knew that they fought some great battle at the Eye, knew that it involved the OP, and had already wondered in Rand/Mat/Perrin could channel. I cant see how such an astute person would not make the connection.

I think it was just more convenient for RJ to make Agelmar miss the connection. But it isnt very realistic/believable to me.
Art Chacon
95. Xenonraven
"IT'S NOT HERE"

It's not the creator it's the dark one speaking. The dark one is referencing the final battle. He is saying that is not here. At least that's my interpretation.
Birgit
96. birgit
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When Rand severs the black cord he basically gentled Ishy.

No, he destroys the DO's protection from the taint.

Where else might she have learned of Bail FIre "in the past year," as she later says before killing the dark hounds?

In Adeleas and Vandene's house.
Brewtal Panda
97. Jonasc
I know I'm late here, but one thing that struck me here, and at the end of TDR, and to a certain extent TGH is that there may have been some uncertainty about if RJ could get the whole thing published as he envisioned it. Hence, he wrote endings that could have worked as THE end if the series didn't do well. I remember weiss/hickman saying they had to do something of the sort with the first dragonlance book, and part of the clunkyness regarding the eye, the horn, and the fights with Ish would make sense in that respect, especially with an editor/publisher applying some pressure too. Of course by book four it really felt like RJ had been given full carte blanche, and the lore backfill starts In ernest there, I feel.
Brewtal Panda
98. BenM
The whole thing with the Green Man and his little sanctuary reminds me a lot of the guardian of Andelain in the Covenant Chronicles. (Not that there's anything wrong with that. Just sayin', ya know?)
Brewtal Panda
99. Stopvent
Why does Rand want the other's to learn the sword forms... so they can use the flame and void that Tam taught him to use with the bow... Lots of lines about how Rand transfers the flame and void from the the bow to the sword forms and finally to helping him control the OP.....
Brewtal Panda
100. papertiger
As far as the metaphysics are concerned, it's a strange thing having Rand Travel then Skim(?) to Ishamael's vacuole. Then Kari and the Voice and the cords...I just don't think Jordan had the balance fully developed yet. You see the same thing happen at the end of The Great Hunt, where we go from systematic magic system (Portal Stones, different dimensions), to a bunch of Heroes popping up out of nowhere, to a digitally-projected fight in the sky between Rand and Ishy. Compare that to the rest of the books and the only thing that even comes close is Rand's/Egwene's/Nynaeve's trips through ter'angreal, which again are easily explained through "unknown Age of Legends" technology. This was the only part that got me on re-reads. I didn't find it believable, which is ridiculous.
Brewtal Panda
101. serenia
Re: Eye
Furthermore, let's not forget that RJ stated the Shadow was winning/is going to win if things continue as they are. Therefore I'm pretty certain that the DO, in a way, succeeded here: in blinding the Eye. Bal' very skillfully led the Lightside to believe the Eye was in danger of being blinded by the DO, rushed (Rand) there, which in turn resulted in the use of the Eye. And definitely not for the intended purpose. In fact, it _was_ blinded - by Rand! - and can no longer serve its original purpose (cf Garstzilla @77 and others). Score Team Shadow, I guess.
At some point Rand realizes that he'll need purified saidin, which he now has to "manufacture" himself. Luckily, history has given him the means to do so (which the AoLers didn't have and couldn't have foreseen).. Sounds pretty well thought out, I feel.
Brewtal Panda
102. Vaquera
I can't express how much I appreciate you taking the time to do this whole Wheel of Time Recap for us. Thanks!
Brandon D
103. Ishmayl
Obviously a bit late to the party here, but just wanted to put in my few cents.

I've always taken the whole purpose of the Eye of the World (the thing, not the book), was essentially be a tool for Rand to acknowledge and discover his ability to channel. In my thoughts, it's basically as though the entirety of Randland, its shape, all the peoples' lives who were dedicated to creating the Eye, all the ta'avern-iness that happened in the book, was basically just there to set the stage for the single biggest "Moment of Self Realization" in the entire series.

Basically, the last three thousand years of history of the Eye has been for naught but to give Rand a stage in which he performs his first act. So yeah, it is pretty important, even if it's not as obvious as it should be.

As for the CREATOR-SPEAK, I hope this is answered someday. I would like to think that Light's Champion (Rand) would get some sort of thanks once all is said and done, but RJ seems to have been leading us down a road of thankless salvation for many years now, and most likely, people will scream with joy at Rand's death. Sadness :(

Also, does anyone think that the "piping" of the Worms is very reminiscent of the sounds the Smoke Monster from Lost makes?
Brewtal Panda
105. GLENCANNON
I always thought the fact that this chapter is treated a bit differently by Jordan has to do with the fact that Rand is not actually channelling the one power.

He's channeling the "essence" of the male half. I think the whole Eye of the World was set up by the Age of Legends folks as his introduction to channeling. It sort of walks him through the process, thus avoiding the taint and making sure he doesn't burn himself out.

He doesn't see weaves or understand the mixes of spirit, water, fire, etc. yet. So no, he doesn't make himself a gateway, the Eye makes one for him. And no, he doesn't call lightning and deathquakes, the Eye does it for him. This is essentially a safe way for him to put his toe in the water and learn to control the power.

For someone who's read the books a few times, you sure seem to be missing a lot, Leigh.


And the ALL CAPS voice. I think that's the Dark One's earthly form, i.e. Ishamael, responding directly to Rand's comments. Not the Creator.
Brewtal Panda
106. beefmonger
Way behind on the reread, but wanted to comment on this issue:

“as things turn out, not only is it totally not central to anything, its significance is never even really explained, and then it’s basically never mentioned again.”
--the commentary

“The Eye of the World really is set up as this awesome, world-shattering power, something that the Forsaken were gunning for, that would tip the balance in the battle against the Dark One. But it basically does nothing, means nothing, and has no significance once the battle is over. “
--Jaspax

The whole thing about the Eye being important was a deliberate ploy of Ishmael to set up a scenario that would lure the Dragon into the open. And it served that purpose. Now the Dark One knows exactly who the Dragon is in that Age. This saves the Eye from being a MacGuffin, making it instead something that enables us to see the planning and scheming of the Dark One (even imprisoned), which reveals just how much confusion and dis-information the Dark One can utilize to turn events toward the Dark One's own purposes, and gives us reason to think that even though things seem pretty well at the end, that we really are far from the end of it.

“I've always taken the whole purpose of the Eye of the World (the thing, not the book), was essentially be a tool for Rand to acknowledge and discover his ability to channel...all the ta'avern-iness that happened in the book, was basically just there to set the stage for the single biggest "Moment of Self Realization" in the entire series...for naught but to give Rand a stage in which he performs his first act.”
--Ishmayl

But it is not the Eye that makes Rand and the party seek it out--it is the scheme by Ishmael to leave certain people in places where they can spread the message and to spread the message directly within the dreams of the three. What you're saying is like saying the point of someone's invention is to help us do something really important, but then not telling anyone just exactly what their invention is supposed to do. Somehow people are just supposed to figure out what that great invention was made for. And then the very person that finds out what it's supposed to do is the enemy of that product, but directs people to it anyway. Add to this the fact that what Rand does when he gets there (no thanks to the Eye) is NOT his first act with Saidin anyway.
Brewtal Panda
107. Cliffy
Dantes99, I'm not sure if anyone else responded to you on your post from long ago, but Ishamael was never bound with the Forsaken and the Dark One. And the funny part is, Jordan reveals this fact to us in the first three pages of the series.

Timeline:
(1) Lews Therin and 100 companions seal the DO and Forsaken.
(2) Dark One's counterstroke taints Saidin causing the good guys to go insane and begin the breaking.
(3) Ishamael (clearly not imprisoned) visits an already insane Lews Therin.

There are many other bits of dialogue that will lead us to this conclusion but there it is, as big as day.
Brewtal Panda
108. Firesoul
ON the caps-lock voice I figured it meant that what Rand had to do wasn't in Tarwins Gap. What he had to do was fight the Forsaken and kill him in the Eye. Just saying.

Over-all great recap. I had forgotten about Rand and Egwenes Warder scene.
Brewtal Panda
109. Flamehair Fantasy
I don't know if anyone has said this, but I think the scene with the creator can be taken very literally. Rand says "Light, this had to end" or something very similar. He is asking the Light for the ending. The Creator, ie. the light, says he will not take part. Also, the it is not here part can be the bore on the Dark One's Prison. It can not end because Rand is not at the Bore.
Brewtal Panda
110. Optymystyc1
I am very late to the reread. But I've read the whole thing a good half dozen times already - 21 years in.

About the love stories being clunky I agree. Except of course Min and Rand. I have wondered if this is because some part of their relationship mirrors R's and Harriet's. I unfortunately never met RJ but I did meet Harriet( she's absolutely awesome by the way) . Tell me, does anyone know if she ever called RJ a "woolheaded looby "? Lol. Sorry, I do think it's possible.

Leigh, you are awesome. Going through this it's clear to me I need another reread to pick all the "little" things I've forgot.

I love Lan n Nynaeve, Mat rocks, Perrin learns way to damn slow for someone whose supposed to do all he does but once he gets there "WHOAH!" Sheens may have turned out to be my 2dhouse favorite behind Rand. Looking forward to Moraines help in AMOL. I'll stop now.

I'm enjoying everyones theory swapping here please keep it all up. Thanks
Leslie Harper
111. Elvenbanegirl
"A figure stepped out of the foliage, a man-shape as much bigger than Loial as the Ogier was bigger than Rand. A man-shape of woven vines and leaves, green and growing. His hair was grass ... Only one thing spoiled the verdant perfection. A deep fissure ran up his cheek and temple across the top of his head, and in that the vines were brown and withered...."

“It was not what I was made for, but all was breaking apart, and they were alone, and I was all they had. It was not what I was made for, but I have kept the faith.”

It completely didn't click when I read the description of Someshta in SR, that he was the Green Man. It clicked as soon as I read it here.
Brewtal Panda
112. rob christianson
One last note before we move on: in ten plus years of WOT fandom, I have never once seen a satisfactory explanation of what exactly the possibly-Creator means by “IT IS NOT HERE.” What is not here? How does that sentence mean anything with regard to what came right before it?
I think the "IT IS NOT HERE" is referring to Tarmon Gaidon. Rand says "It has to end", as in, the conflict with the Dark One. But this isn't the end. Only the end of book 1 out of 14! Then the exchange makes sense... the Creator saying "I WILL TAKE NO PART" because in reference to an earlier comment by Moiraine that she knows the Creator cannot directly intervene, this reinforces that the God of the WOT is a distant hands-off God (like Islam) that takes no active role in his creation. Speaking from a personally churched background, this is 'free will' without the 'sovereignty of God' view, at least in my opinion. (I just finished re-reading tEotW yesterday, for the third time)
Paul Smith
113. PaulSmith998
Chapter 50 - My question here is why did Moiraine attack Aginor in such a crappy way? He's the foresaken and she knows what balefire is .... was she that sure that only one of the superboys should deal with things here??
Brewtal Panda
114. ChelseaFan
Not sure if this was already anwered or not but why does Perrin not sweat in the blight but later in the series he is affected by weather all the time?
Brewtal Panda
115. Aparna
@113. PaulSmith998.
Moiraine didn't know how to wave balefire then. She learnt it afterwards and she mentions this in Dragon Reborn.

Regards,
Aparna
Brewtal Panda
116. Gordo
It's true that RJ had already laid out the groundwork for much of the series from the start, but is it so outlandish to assume that the Eye's function was created mainly in the context of the first book?

Maybe this wasn't the case for the masses, but I recall feeling all jittery and on edge when reading about how Rand obtains this great power, and with it destroys entire armies and deals a great blow to the "Dark One" which we now know as Ishmael.

Trolloc armies, other creatures of the dark, and Ishmael were major antagonists in the first book that our characters fear and flee from, but Rand is suddenly endowed with the strength to obliterate them with ease!

Of course Rand's feats for the day aren't so amazing once we learn what he's truly capable of, but in the context of the first book, it was pretty epic!

thoughts?
Brewtal Panda
117. Yosarian
A number of times in the series we see the black cables of evil power flowing from the Dark One to the Forsaken. But this was the only time we saw a light cable of, I guess, good power, and Rand was able to take control of it.

We don't see "good power" again until the most recent book, when Light Rand suddenly can destroy whole armies on his own, and just seeing him using the "good power" is enough to drive darkfriends to suicide. I can't help but think that this taste of "pure" power he got form the Eye of the World is somehow linked to his final transformation into Light Rand.

I don't know if that "Good Power" actually comes from the Creator or not, although it would make sense, seeing as how the bad guys can channel evil power from the Dark One, and considering how in book 13 Rand is suddenly more powerful on his own then we've ever seen him be before; he must have some new source of power. I'm guessing that that never would have happened without the events at the Eye of the World, and that's why it was so important, even though we didn't understand it at the time.
Brewtal Panda
118. Alsadius
In the context of later books, I think the significance of the Eye has gotten a lot more clear - winter was lingering too long, and as soon as the Eye was used, spring came. It basically acted like the Bowl of the Winds, clearing away the Dark One's messing with the seasons. Also, you know, Horn of Valere.

Also, re "NOT HERE", my first thought is that it's a reference to Tarmon Gai'don - the battle could have gone further, but this was not the time, so it got put on hold. It's not a very good theory, admittedly, but it seems less absurd than most.
Howard Covey
120. Howdy
Very late to the party I know - and haven't even read MoL yet - but wanted to get some of my thoughts out there while I'm re-reading up to it... lol

I have thought - from about the third time I read this one - that the Eye of the World -as many previous posters - was left specifically for the Dragon Reborn. Not rehashing all the other well put posts - but 1) yes they knew he'd be pretty much alone 2) that he'd need some kind of kick in the shorts to make himself believe and start really moving toward Tarmon Gai'don 3) that he'd need a huge "jump" to tap his own power in an age where that power was not just suppressed - but all but wiped out and 4) that he would absolutely need those items left gaurded by the Green Man and that pool that only he or one of the Foresaken could move.

But the biggest thing that I think happened at the Eye of the World - was that those ancient Aes Sedai put enough of the "essence" of Lews Therin - into that pool - to allow The New Dragon access to the knowledge and skills that the Old Dragon possessed! Whether by somehow adding his actual essence - or just their knowledge of him - they "hoped!" that it would be enough the give the new Dragon access to tap into his "past self" - and I think that every time LTT shows up in Rand's head or he suddenly has knowledge he wouldn't have - it's The Eye of the World!

I also think that they believed - and rightfully so - that pulling that much pure Saidin into himself would hold back the madness of the taint - long enough. So I kind of have a hard time with - "what was the purpose of the Eye of the World"? Cause to my mind it was to herald and arm - the Dragon Reborn!

As to the CAPSLOCK speaker - again - some AoL spell placed in the Eye to let the New Dragon know that - yes - this was not Tarmon Gaidon. Always thought it referred to the "bore" too - but essentially the same thing. Maybe not the Creator - but what those ancients might have believed he'd say to his new champion.

As I have not read MoL yet - don't know if any of this gets cleared up or not.... but just my 2 cents!

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