Feb 13 2009 11:31am

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Great Hunt, Part 3

Howdy, folks. Welcome back to your thrice-weekly dose of crack Wheel of Time Re-read. Today we continue with Part 3 of The Great Hunt, covering Chapters 11-17.

Previous entries, as you may have heard, can be found here. I love to see an Index get fatter.

The management would also like to remind you to refrain from reading spoilers, running with scissors, or totally giving yourself away at work by laughing out loud at your desk. We’re only concerned with your safety, people!

Everyone muffled, padded, and armed with caffeine? Ehhhxcellent. Let’s get to it.

Chapter 11: Glimmers of the Pattern


What Happens
As they make camp, Rand overhears Uno telling Ragan that he saw the same woman in white at the second village as he had at the first. Ingtar comes over to Rand and hands him a large bundle, telling him that Moiraine had instructed him to give it to Rand after they crossed the Erinin. Ingtar also says he was told to tell Rand that if anything happened to him, Ingtar, that Rand was to lead the lances. Rand gapes at him, appalled, and protests that Moiraine can’t tell him who his second is to be. Ingtar agrees, but tells him it was Agelmar, not Moiraine, who gave the order. Rand protests further, saying he’s not equipped to lead men, but Ingtar won’t hear it; it’s clear he thinks Rand is lying about being only a shepherd. He says he knows Rand will do his duty and find the Horn, and walks off.

Rand, with a terrible suspicion that he already knows what’s in the bundle, sneaks off into the trees to open it, and sure enough it’s the Dragon banner. Then Mat storms up, Perrin in tow, snarling about how first it’s fancy coats, and then banners. Then he sees what the banner is, and his jaw drops. Suddenly angry, Rand yells at him that Moiraine wants him to be a false Dragon on Aes Sedai puppet strings, and he won’t do it. Mat backs up, freaked out, but Perrin just studies him a moment, thinking, and then asks if Rand can channel. Rand hesitates and then admits, yes. Mat starts yammering that the Shienarans will kill all three of them, or Rand will go mad and do it for them. Perrin tells him to shut up, but Mat ignores him, asking Rand why they didn’t gentle him. Rand tells him the Amyrlin said he was the Dragon Reborn, but he thinks they are trying to use him. Mat thinks he should have run somewhere far away where no Aes Sedai can find him, and Perrin tells him to shut up again, but concedes that Mat has a point.

Rand shrugged. “I was going, but first the Amyrlin came, and then the Horn was stolen, and the dagger, and Moiraine said Mat was dying, and . . . Light, I thought I could stay with you until we found the dagger, at least; I thought I could help with that. Maybe I was wrong.”

“You came because of the dagger?” Mat said quietly. He rubbed his nose and grimaced. “I never thought of that. I never thought you wanted to . . . Aaaah! Are you feeling all right? I mean, you aren’t going mad already, are you?”

Rand dug a pebble out of the ground and threw it at him.

Mat appreciates the gesture, but says he’ll stay away from Rand from now on, sorry, and leaves. Rand asks Perrin what he’s going to do; Perrin says he doesn’t know, but that if he were Rand, he’d think seriously of running. But then again, he says, sometimes you can’t run. He leaves too. Rand considers burying the banner, but finally packs it back up and goes back to camp. He beds down next to Hurin and Loial; Loial is examining a stone next to their bedrolls with strange markings on it, but Rand isn’t much interested. He falls asleep with the void flickering uneasily around him.

Fain sits by his fire, playing with the ruby dagger and thinking about how he was made into the Dark One’s hound, and then what happened to him in Shadar Logoth. The Trollocs and few remaining Darkfriends squat nearby, watching his every move. He reminisces about how he and the Fade had fought for command before he was “whole”, and then the wonderful moment that he nailed it to the door in the village. Fain instructs the Trollocs to kill and eat the rest of the captive villagers, and leave the remains for their pursuers to find. He lays the dagger on top of the chest holding the Horn, which he has not figured out how to open yet, and thinks about how he can’t feel al’Thor at the moment; sometimes in the keep, he would periodically disappear from Fain’s sense of him, but he always came back. Fain isn’t worried.

“This time you come to me, Rand al’Thor. Before, I followed you like a dog driven on the trail, but now you follow me.” His laughter was a cackle that even he knew was mad, but he did not care. Madness was a part of him, too. “Come to me, al’Thor. The dance is not even begun yet. We’ll dance on Toman Head, and I’ll be free of you. I’ll see you dead at last.”

Ah, so that’s how Mat and Perrin found out. Damn, my memory sucks for this book.

So, okay. On the one hand, Mat’s reaction is completely understandable; and yet on the other, I can’t help thinking less of him for it. Especially when I compare it to Perrin’s and Egwene’s and even Nynaeve’s reaction to the same news, Mat just comes off really poorly here.

But then, perhaps it’s not a fair comparison, because despite the Shadar Logoth dagger business, Mat is still the token Normal here. He doesn’t yet have Perrin’s (and, to a less traumatic extent, Egwene and Nynaeve’s) understanding of what it’s like to know something strange and scary and potentially uncontrollable about yourself; a few times spouting the Old Tongue notwithstanding, the kind of self-realization all the others have already gone through doesn’t really happen for Mat until later. So perhaps I shouldn’t begrudge a (comparatively) ordinary guy having the reaction to this kind of news you would expect an ordinary guy to have.

As Atticus Finch said, you can’t understand a man until you walk around in his shoes for a while. Then you have understanding. And, probably, blisters.

On Ingtar’s conversation with Rand: I accept that Moiraine is deliberately manipulating people to see Rand as a leader, and that undoubtedly the ta’veren thing is helping that along, but you know, I do find it a teeny bit odd that Rand, Mat and Perrin tell practically everyone they meet in this series, at length, about how they’re not lords, no really, for true you guys, and NO ONE believes them.

No one. Not one person (at least no one who isn’t in a position to know they’re telling the truth anyway) is ever like, “Really? Well, okay then. No soup for you!”

It’s too bad, because I think if that had ever actually happened, it would have been really funny.

Fain: I really don’t know why I have such a problem with him, because as villains go, he’s really more than adequately badass and scary. I just... enh.

Chapter 12: Woven in the Pattern

What Happens
Egwene joins Nynaeve in the courtyard in the aftermath of Ingtar’s group’s departure. Siuan bulls through Agelmar’s repeated attempts to get her to delay their departure, and catches sight of them. She tells Moiraine that yes, they both have a fine spark in them, but it remains to be seen what will come of it. The party mounts up and heads out amid cheers and pageantry, and travels hard over the next few days. One night Lan comes to the tent Egwene and Nynaeve share and takes Nynaeve off to talk alone; Egwene can’t hear what is said, but Nynaeve soon comes storming back to the tent and hides her face; Egwene thinks she is crying. Lan does not return to their tent again.

Moiraine more or less ignores them both, but other sisters come to their tent every night, to give lessons in the One Power. Verin, the first of these, explains to Egwene that since she jumped right into trying to channel, she must now be taught immediately so she does not hurt herself; Nynaeve, as a wilder, has already established some rough control and so is unlikely to kill herself or burn herself out the way Egwene might. Nynaeve proposes that she leave while the lesson goes on, but Verin tells her that if she can learn a little of this too, she might be able to bypass being a novice altogether and become Accepted instead. She gives them a lesson in embracing saidar, and Nynaeve growls that this surrendering and becoming a flower business is ridiculous; she gets angrier as the lesson progresses, until a stack of blankets bursts into flame in the tent, scaring Nynaeve and Egwene half to death. Verin puts the fire out, and calmly remarks she wasn’t expecting that. She says she hopes this demonstrates to them the importance of control.

They are taught on other nights by other sisters; Alviarin is aloof but a good teacher, and Alanna mostly just gossips about men; Egwene thinks that she shows an undue amount of interest in Rand. Liandrin hardly teaches them anything, but grills them about Rand, Mat and Perrin until Nynaeve throws her out. Egwene thinks maybe it is this last episode that makes her start dreaming about Rand, but finally decides to talk to Moiraine about it. She finds Anaiya, and asks where Moiraine is; Anaiya tells her Moiraine is gone, and so are Verin and Liandrin, and the Amyrlin is in quite a snit about it. Egwene tells her that Rand is in trouble; Anaiya replies that young men his age usually are. Egwene tells her she had a dream, though not the details:

First there had been a man with a mask over his face, and fire in place of his eyes. Despite the mask, she had thought he was surprised to see her. [...] Rand sleeping on the ground, wrapped in a cloak. A woman had been standing over him, looking down. Her face was in shadow, but her eyes seemed to shine like the moon, and Egwene had known she was evil. Then there was a flash of light, and they were gone. Both of them. And behind it all, almost like another thing altogether, was the feel of danger, as if a trap was just beginning to snap shut on an unsuspecting lamb, a trap with many jaws.

Anaiya looks thoughtful, and says it is possible that Egwene is a Dreamer, though there hasn’t been one in the Tower for over four hundred years; if so, then she may have the Foretelling, too. Anaiya relishes how that would stick in the Reds’ craw, if so. She tells Egwene they will talk more on the boat to Tar Valon.

Whoa, Alviarin was there in Fal Dara? Holy crap. Maybe she was the one who let Fain out, then. I mean, assuming Jordan had already cast her at this point as the head of the Black Ajah, which I think is a fairly safe assumption, because he was really pretty consistent throughout about the Aes Sedai hierarchies/entanglements.

As a side note, this is a good indication, if we needed one, of how superior a brand of covert villain Alviarin is compared to Liandrin, who, my initial misconception notwithstanding, may as well be walking around with a giant neon sign saying “TEH EBIL”, the way she behaves.

Why does Jordan refuse to name the Yellow sister with the party? Do we ever find out who she is? Anyone? Rich? John Hamby? Bueller?

Egwene is another character, like Rand, that I have a bit of trouble getting a handle on as far as personality goes. Sure, both of them are stubborn, but saying that doesn’t really help at all in differentiating them from everyone else; seriously, is there in a character in WOT who isn’t stubborn, one way or another? Saying she’s brave, same problem.

I’m on the fence as to whether I mean this as a criticism or not, since it would be just as bad if every single character could be immediately slotted into a neatly labeled pigeonhole the moment you meet them. Also, there is the point that Egwene gets a lot more interesting once the whole Rebel Tower schism thing gets underway and she has to start seriously getting her politician on as the Amyrlin Seat.

That being said, I think it’s pretty telling that back in the day when I used to participate in the endless rounds of “list your favorite characters in WOT!” memes, neither Rand nor Egwene were very often at the tops of those lists. Certainly they aren’t in mine; I like them both, but I think I need something more to grab on to for a “favorite” label to apply.

Chapter 13: From Stone to Stone

What Happens
Rand wakes to find everyone except Hurin and Loial gone, and the landscape completely altered; everything is pale and motionless, and the trees look scorched. The half-buried stone they had gone to sleep next to was now “three spans high and a full pace thick”, covered with markings in a strange language. Rand wakes up Hurin and Loial, asking them if he’s dreaming. Loial gapes at the strange land, and Hurin freaks, begging “Lord Rand” to tell him what’s going on. Loial says he doesn’t think it’s a dream; he recognizes the stone now:

“There was a piece of an old book, just a few pages, but one of them had a drawing of this stone, this Stone”—there was a distinct difference in the way he said it that marked importance—"or one very like it. And underneath, it said, ‘From Stone to Stone run the lines of “if,” between the worlds that might be.’ ”

Rand has no idea what that means; Loial isn’t sure either, but says the most powerful Aes Sedai in the Age of Legends supposedly used these Stones to travel to these “if” worlds. He doesn’t understand how they could have, though, since you have to use the One Power. Rand remembers uneasily the void forming as he had fallen asleep, but rejects the notion. Hurin begs Rand to reassure him that they will get back; Rand starts to tell him again that he is no lord, but knowing deep down it is his fault Hurin is here, promises Hurin he will do his best. Hurin is immediately calm. Rand goes to the Stone and reluctantly tries to channel. He sees the light of saidin and tries to grasp it, but all he gets is the taint obscuring it. He keeps trying until the void shatters, which it had never done before, and Rand staggers back, feeling like he wants to vomit. He tells Loial and Hurin he will try again in a few minutes. Hurin suggests that perhaps they should find the Darkfriends and make them tell how to get back; he can still smell them. He says it’s a “pale” smell, like everything else here, but he can follow it. Rand is surprised at this, but likes the notion a lot better than trying to channel again, and agrees to Hurin’s idea. As they make ready to leave, Loial asks again why Rand thought he could use the Stone; thinking fast, Rand says if the Stones are older than the Age of Legends, maybe they didn’t have to use the Power to be operated. Loial is doubtful, but accepts this. They ride south, Hurin following the trail.

Portal Stones: another early-books-specific dealie. The general concept behind them is fairly straightforward (for slightly hilarious values of “straightforward”) and often used in sf, but I’ve always found their inclusion in WOT to be a trifle weird, since Jordan basically ignores most of the logical consequences of the concept, and mostly only uses them as a quick-travel substitute (and plot-complicator) until everyone learns Skimming and/or Traveling, after which point they are abandoned. Kind of a waste of good pseudoscience, if you ask me.

(“Straightforward.” Seriously, whoever edited that Wikipedia article needs to be beaten about the head and shoulders with a copy of Strunk’s The Elements of Style.)

That was some nice fast-talk on Rand’s part to Loial, though it does lead to another question: how does Rand know that Ages prior to the Age of Legends had no channeling? I mean, we know that, because we know Randland is a future/past Earth, but I’m curious as to how Rand knows. Maybe the stories about Lenn and Mosk and so on mention it?

Chapter 14: Wolfbrother

What Happens
Ingtar is in a taking, demanding to know how three men and horses just up and vanish without a trace. Mat suggests that they ran away; Ingtar demands to know why they would do such a thing, and Perrin thinks Mat is about to spill the beans, but Mat just mutters something and leaves it. Ingtar wants to know how he’s supposed to track the Darkfriends without his sniffer, and stomps off. Perrin fights with himself for a moment, then reluctantly seeks out the wolves with his mind. He finds a pack, and they react to the contact with surprise. They ask if he is Long Tooth, which Perrin recognizes is the wolves’ name for Elyas, and tells them no. He sends them an image of himself, and is surprised when the wolves recognize him immediately:

It was not the image he had made, a young man with heavy shoulders and shaggy, brown curls, a young man with an axe at his belt, who others thought moved and thought slowly. That man was there, somewhere in the mind picture that came from the wolves, but stronger by far was a massive, wild bull with curved horns of shining metal, running through the night with the speed and exuberance of youth, curly-haired coat gleaming in the moonlight, flinging himself in among Whitecloaks on their horses, with the air crisp and cold and dark, and blood so red on the horns, and . . .

Young Bull.

For a moment Perrin lost the contact in his shock. He had not dreamed they had given him a name.

Perrin gives the wolves the scent of Rand, Loial and Hurin, and asks if they know where the three are; the wolves reply that the last time they smelled them was last night when they were with the rest of the party. Perrin hesitates, and then sends them Fain’s and the Trollocs’ scent. The wolves howl aloud in fury and hatred, and tell Perrin they are heading south. They urge him to join with them to hunt and kill the Twisted Ones, and Perrin takes a step, lips peeled back in a snarl, about to join them before he comes back to himself, shaken. Perrin tells Ingtar that the Darkfriends have gone south. Ingtar asks how he knows, and Perrin takes a deep breath and says wolves told him. After a moment, Ingtar says he’s heard rumors of such things, and asks if Perrin knows a former Warder named Elyas. Perrin confirms that he does. Ingtar says he’ll do whatever he has to to get the Horn back, but thinks it would be better to tell the others that Perrin is a sniffer like Hurin, and Perrin agrees. The Shienarans accept this without much fuss, but Mat thinks Perrin is crazy. They ride south, Perrin having a running argument with the wolves about whether they can dash ahead and kill the Trollocs, and Perrin soon tells the party that there is something bad up ahead; the villagers were killed and eaten. Ingtar says there is someone following them, and a moment later Verin comes galloping up.

“Moiraine Sedai sent me, Lord Ingtar,” Verin announced with a satisfied smile. “She thought you might need me.”

She babbles about finding the nailed-up Myrddraal back there and how interesting it all is before cutting herself off and demanding to know where Rand is. Ingtar explains, and Verin shocks him by knowing what a sniffer is; Ingtar then adds that they’ve found a new sniffer and are going on. Verin gives Perrin a sharp look, then remarks that it is all very odd, and tells Ingtar she wants to know everything Rand said and did as they ride. Mat murmurs to Perrin that she doesn’t care about the Horn, only Rand, and Perrin agrees, thinking maybe Rand is better off not being here.

Perrin + wolves = Yay!

This is the second chapter named “Wolfbrother”, by the way, after the one in TEOTW. I didn’t think Jordan reused chapter titles, but evidently I was wrong. Oh, well.

I think it says something about the amount of secret-keeping in WOT that whenever a character actually does just come right out and tell somebody something major, like Perrin does here with Ingtar, it’s rather shocking. Of course, Ingtar is going to be toast by the end of the book, so maybe that’s why it didn’t matter. Oh, well.

Um. Why, exactly, does Ingtar know who Elyas is? Maybe I just missed something, but that seems like some serious six degrees of separation, there. Oh, well.

And hah, the beginning of the Great Verin Debate. People wrangled about the “Moiraine sent me”/ “I never sent Verin” discrepancy for years on the newsgroup. I really don’t remember a lot of what happens in Knife of Dreams, so maybe this has already been settled, but for what it’s worth, as of Crossroads of Twilight I had personally concluded that Verin was not Black Ajah, but had long ago untaken the First Oath on the Oath Rod so that she could lie with impunity to those who might be Black Ajah. In other words, she’s sneaky but not evil. Oh, w- hm? Oh, that’s incredibly annoying? Okay, I’ll stop saying that now.

Chapter 15: Kinslayer

What Happens
Rand, Loial and Hurin follow the trail the sniffer has found, crossing the faded and blackened land and trying to ignore the way distant objects seem to be distorted and warped. After a while, Loial abruptly stops and goes to a stand of trees, where he sings himself a stout quarterstaff. Rand says he thought Ogier didn’t carry weapons; Loial says they don’t usually, but... He adds, troubled, that this land was glad to see a weapon made. They ride on, and Hurin starts shaking his head and frowning. Rand asks him what the trouble is, and Hurin says the trail is strange; it’s like he’s remembering smelling it, rather than just smelling it. Rand tells him just to do his best, and they continue. They make camp at dark, and Rand takes the first watch.

After some hours, a fog springs up, and Ba’alzamon appears wearing a black silk mask and carrying a staff. He calls Rand “Lews Therin” and laughs that he always tries to deny it, but that Ba’alzamon can find him anywhere. Rand denies him and tries not to listen as Ba’alzamon taunts him; he tries to figure out if the figure is really there or not, but is not sure. Ba’alzamon talks again about the Black Ajah, and how they have fought over and over again, etc. He pulls off his mask and shows his face, horribly burned. He says he will heal, but what will happen to Rand? He offers to teach him, to protect him from the taint on saidin, to give him power and eternal life if only he will serve. Rand denies him again, and Ba’alzamon causes his sword (which Rand had drawn) to glow red-hot, burning Rand’s hands. He screams and drops the sword, and then the fog itself seems to catch fire and burn him everywhere, but then suddenly the fire is gone, as is Ba’alzamon, and the only damage left is on his right palm, where the heron on the hilt of his sword has been branded into his skin.


There was one sign of life; at least, Rand thought it must be so. Twice he saw a wispy streak crawling across the sky like a line drawn with cloud. The lines were too straight to be natural, it seemed, but he could not imagine what might make them. He did not mention the lines to the others.

Buh? What is this supposed to be? Did the Trollocs invent jets right before they killed each other off?

Jeez, but Ishy is a one-note Charlie. Get some new schtick already, man. Though I suppose it is to his benefit that he’s confusing Rand too much to allow him to make note of the fact that Ba’alzamon being all burned and stuff kind of makes a really strong argument for him not to be a semi-omnipotent semi-deity/demon/Satan stand-in/whatever. He’s just this guy, you know?

Chapter 16: In the Mirror of Darkness

What Happens
The next morning, Hurin reproaches Rand for not waking them to take turn at watch, and Loial asks what happened to his hand, which Rand has bandaged up; Rand says it’s fine, and that they need to get going. An hour later, they see a spire in the distance, and as they get closer, they see that there is a carving of a bird on the top. Rand surmises that it might be Hawkwing’s monument, the one Ingtar had told them was pulled down in their world; but maybe it is still here in this one. Rand proposes they go see it, and ignoring Loial’s attempt to tell him something, gallops down to it. As he gets closer, though, he sees that the bird on the top is not a hawk, but a raven, and the spire is covered with Trolloc script.

“But how?” Rand said. “Artur Hawkwing won a victory over the Trollocs here. Ingtar said so.”

“Not here,” Loial said slowly. “Obviously not here. ‘From Stone to Stone run the lines of if, between the worlds that might be.’ I’ve been thinking on it, and I believe I know what the ‘the worlds that might be’ are. Maybe I do. Worlds our world might have been if things had happened differently. Maybe that’s why it is all so . . . washed-out looking. Because it’s an ‘if,’ a ‘maybe.’ Just a shadow of the real world. In this world, I think, the Trollocs won. Maybe that’s why we have not seen any villages or people.”

If so, Rand asks, where are all the Trollocs? Loial theorizes that after all the people were gone, the Trollocs probably killed each other off. Then Hurin says he thought he saw something move, back the way they had come; he thinks it might have been a woman, but isn’t sure. Loial then brings up another worry: he’s pretty sure the mountains ahead of them are Kinslayer’s Dagger, a range which should be over a hundred leagues south of the Erinin, but it looks like they will reach the range by the end of the day, which is impossible.

Then they hear a scream from up ahead, and Rand charges off to find the source, ignoring Loial’s shout to be careful. He reaches a stream and sees a woman fending off a huge three-eyed frog-bear-looking thing with a branch. Rand jumps off his horse and shoots the thing with an arrow; it abandons the woman and charges him instead. The woman calls calmly that he must hit an eye to kill it; Rand reluctantly calls up the void, and kills it with one shot. The woman, who is dressed all in white and silver, rides over to him and congratulates him on his marksmanship with the grolm, as she calls it; Rand is awestruck by how beautiful she is. Hurin and Loial ride up, and Rand introduces them, and they are similarly smitten. The woman says her name is Selene, and for risking his life to save hers, “I am yours, Rand al’Thor”, and kneels in front of him, to Rand’s horror. He pulls her up, babbling something Shienaran about it being his honor, and asks her where she came from. Selene says she is from Cairhien, and was out riding and took a nap, and when she woke up she was in this place. She hopes “my Lord Rand” will save her again and help her get home. Rand can’t bring himself to tell her he’s not a lord, but instead promises to see her home — after they have found the men they are following. She asks who the men are, and Hurin bursts out with the entire story, including the Horn. Rand gives him the stinkeye, and asks Selene to say nothing about the Horn to anyone.

They ride out, and Rand and Selene talk. She tells him he will be a great man when he sounds the Horn, and Rand replies that he doesn’t want any of that. She then notes his bandaged hand and unwraps it, and pulls out some salve and treats the heron brand; Rand thinks that the salve works just as well as Nynaeve’s often did. Rand asks if she’s Aes Sedai; Selene speaks of them with scorn, and replies, no, never that. She drops back to talk with Loial; later Loial rejoins Rand and tells him that Selene says he was right about this world, and the reason it is so washed-out looking is because it is a reflection of a world that had very little chance of coming to pass. Selene rejoins them, and continues to ask probing questions of Rand. She tells him that the Portal Stone she woke up next to is to the east, and they should go there and use it to try and get back; Rand says he has to follow the Horn. They argue about this for a bit, but Rand will not be swayed.

“You always . . . ” Selene drew a deep breath as if to calm herself. “You always are so stubborn. Well, I can admire stubbornness in a man. There is little to a man who’s too easily biddable.”

Then they hear a coughing grunt from behind them, and see five shapes coming toward them. Selene says calmly it is a pack of grolm.

Damn, but some kinds of scenes just won’t compress. Less talk, WOT people!

Aw, Loial. Who’s my widdle Ogier scholar? Are you the most smartest character in the book except possibly Verin? Yes you are!

I’m fairly positive I didn’t immediately guess Selene was Lanfear when I first read this, but I sure as frickin’ hell knew she was all kinds of wrong straight off. I mean, come on — I could drive a grolm through the holes in that story. I guess we’re supposed to divine that she’s just so unbelievably beautiful that none of the three men can get blood back up to their brains long enough to notice this.

Plausible? Dunno, I’m not a guy. Heterosexual males in the audience? Little project for you. Picture the most absolutely gorgeous woman you can think of; I mean drop-dead killer looks here. Then imagine you totally just got to rescue her with your leet skillz, and she is completely up in your Kool-aid as a result. Then suppose she told you some ridiculous and patently untrue story.

Would you notice? Or perhaps more importantly, would you care?

Oh, and for this exercise you may also want to remember that in this scenario you are eighteen. And a virgin. Just FYI.

Chapter 17: Choices

What Happens
Selene says they must use the Stone; grolm never give up once they have the scent of prey. Rand sees a low hill, and gallops over to it, the others following. He dismounts and readies his bow, and using the void, kills all five grolm with one shot each. Awed, Hurin says he’s never seen shooting like that. Then they hear more grolm in the distance, and Selene wants to know if he can kill a hundred more of them. Reluctantly, Rand agrees they have to try the Stone. She leads them to it, and says Rand must use it; she points out a symbol on the Stone which she says represents the real world, and it might help if he visualizes that symbol when doing... whatever. Unwillingly, Rand assumes the void and reaches for saidin, and this time it works. He concentrates on the symbol, and the world flickers, over and over again, until suddenly it stops, and Selene is staring at him.

“Remarkable,” Selene said slowly. She glanced at Loial and Hurin. The Ogier looked stunned, his eyes as big as plates; the sniffer was squatting with one hand on the ground, as if unsure he could support himself else. “All of us here, and all of our horses. And you do not even know what you did. Remarkable.”

Rand shakily agrees about not having a clue what he did, and Selene replies that he will one day, and surely he is destined for great things. Rand thinks about kissing her, then hastily pulls back and asks her not to speak about what he did with the Stone to anyone. She looks annoyed for a second, and then curtsies and promises. Rand and Hurin discuss how best to pick up Fain’s trail, and Selene puts in that she read that in some of the Portal worlds, they reflect great events before they even occur. Hurin is incredulous about the notion of smelling where violence is going to be, as well as where it’s been, but Loial reminds them how they traveled much further than they would have in the real world. At Selene’s urging, Rand agrees that they should camp out a few days and see if either the Darkfriends or Ingtar’s group catches up to them.

I remember, the first time around, being practically frantic with worry that Rand was going to majorly screw things up by listening to Selene. Even now I’m frustrated and annoyed that he doesn’t see through her. Unreasonable of me? Yes, I think so, but jeez, couldn’t he at least be somewhat suspicious of her blatantly absurd backstory? No, he’s all “hur, you’re purty, duh.” *eye roll*

It is kind of fun, though, reading this with foreknowledge and watching Selene/Lanfear cherrypick Rand’s personality traits and retrofit them into her conception of Her Man. Rand’s not the only one being willfully blind here.

It’s interesting how, in these three chapters, Lanfear and Ishamael are kind of tag-teaming Rand — without knowing it, since I’m about 100% positive Lanfear’s doing whatever the hell she wants, and screw Ishy’s agenda. The irony, of course, is how similar their separate agendas actually are, in goal if not in motive. More on that later.


And I think we’re done here. Tune in next Monday for the exciting continuation of The Great Hunt, Chapters 18-23! Huzzah!

2. ubxs113
Yeah, Leigh, 18 year old virgins who got to rescue the most absolutely gorgeous woman you can think of with your leet skillz, and she is completely up in your Kool-aid as a result would totally act like that. No. Stretch. At. All.
3. michaelt
I don't think Alviarin let Fain out of his cell. When she catches him stealing the dagger from the White Tower I seems to me as if he didn't recognize her as Black Ajah right off, which would mean she hadn't let him out. She also seems surprised he was taking the dagger and warned him of the trouble it would cause. The whole scene struck me as a This-is-the-first-time-we've-acknowedged-the-other-as-bad scene. My memory could be imperfect though.
Angel Banchev
4. Tiranas
Again good job Leigh and do keep it up.Tor was awesome even before but now its a part of my daily routine.And dont worry about the size of the recaps,because as you have said before some chapters cant be recapped in a short again good job.Selene fealth not wrong but kinda strange first for me, but then when she started to exchange info on the Stones i knew she must be a Forsaken one although i wasnt sure it was Lanfi.And FYI the answer to your question in chap 16 is no.One would not care :P Later though when it was revealed it was Lanfi a lot of what she was saying to Rand made a lot more sense though.Plus i think that her urge to find the love of her life or at least a resemblance of it in this young straping lad is actually kinda sweet.Thats actually what i like about the Forsaken.Once they were humans even if Uber and had different drives like glory,music,love and even science.Jordan made them believable because of that.You know they wanna frakk up the world but they dont wanna do it just because the fun of it ( well maybe in some cases) but because something is driving them.That is awesomeness on part of RJ.Untill the next one Leigh...
Richard Fife
5. R.Fife
My thoughts on the dissonace of liking but hating Fain. He has a lot of build up of what a bad ass he is, but it is never resolved really. We don't see him nail a halfman to a door, or set up illusion snares. Mostly we see him try to be a scheming prick and get told to shut up.

As to the yellow Aes Sedai, Can't Name everyone, and he already has plans on reusing so many of the Aes Sedai constantly, he probably wanted to have a few "spear holder" Aes Sedai at Fal Dara, just to be, you know, spear holders.

As to Egwene's personality, she might be akin to rand for self-personification. Kinda a blank slate to make you self-identifity.

Elyas was a warder, warders fight in the blight (at least according to stories), thus Ingtar might know of him. Also, a story about a Warder who talks to wolves and left his Aes Sedai would be "teh gossips fo' sho" amongst fighting men who knew warders.

I could see Verin having forsworn some oaths. Also, I think Cadsuane, for all her vehemence that the Oaths make Aes Sedai, is also only partially oathed

As to Lanfear's bad story, I think she is using mild compulsion, especially with how Rand is constantly distracted by the smell/sight of her.
6. Sotgnomen
First time I read that, I also thought it was a bit stupid how obvously evil selene is, but thinking about it, it seems obvoius that she is using compulsion to make them more biddable. For instance, why would Loial be flabbergasted by a beautiful woman?
This way, we see right through her, while it makes sense for rand to be as stupid as the plot needs him to be, allthough after a while(in cairhien i mean) it will get to be incredibly annoying.

And btw, no I don't see even my teenage, virgin self being that much of an idiot, thank you very much;)
7. VarnerV
As far as Rand having very little personality, I kind of think that is due to the level of "ta'veren-ness" that he is. How can he have a personality when he is such an important part of the pattern? It almost seems to me that he is more a stone on a stones board being moved about most of the time without a conscious agreement to it.

I also think he denies himself a personality. As the series progresses, he focuses on the need to be hard and to use who he needs to so he can survive. The thing I love about his character in this series is how he is the one who fought what he is the least, and embraced it relatively quickly, considering what it means to him and everyone he loves. We only see glimpses of the real person when he thinks about Mat and Perrin, and in his love for the three girls. I also think the only time we see his true self is in his feelings for those girls.

I agree about Egwene and I am not sure that her being the eventual rebel Amyrlin Seat is enough excuse for the lack of a strong personality.

By the way - this re-read is awesome, Leigh. I love seeing all the comments and reading what everyone thinks of these books. I just read them all for the first time about a year and a half ago. I started my own re-read a while back and I am on Winter's Heart right now (my favorite in the series), but I check in here every day to see what everyone is saying.
8. Rikka
Oy vey. I got badnewsbears vibes off of Selene from the moment she showed up, though I didn't know she was Lanfear until much later. I didn't like her or the boys fawning over her very much either. You'd think Loial and Hurin would be a little better equipped to handle her and talk some sense into swatty little never-been-kissed DragonReborn boy over there but NOOOO. (I'm not reading the book, just the reread, but is Loial all up on Selene too? I thought he liked girls with bigger ears and thicker eyebrows?)

The only time I like the Portal Stones is when they use them to get to Toman Head and everyone lives all those if-lives... Otherwise I could do without them entirely.

Can't wait for the girls to get to the tower. I hate the if-world wandering. It's so tedious.
9. michaelt
I'll throw my two cents in on the Verin debate. I don't think she is Black Ajah, or even that she removed the first Oath, although BRAVO to her if she figured it out and did it (I've never been a fan of the Oaths, myself). With a little Aes Sedai sneakiness and cunning, Verin could very easily interpreted an innocent comment by Moiraine (i.e., "Please leave, Verin. I would like to sleep.") as a request to go to Rand. Yes, it does bend the Oath to the point of breaking, but its well within Verin's level of sneakiness.
Dan Benjamin
10. bandenjamin
As a former 18 year old male I can tell you that if she was really that hot, then we may know, but we don't care :-)
J Novak
11. Novak
Oh, and for this exercise you may also want to remember that in this scenario you are eighteen. And a virgin. Just FYI.

Yes, that's the key.

In all honesty, I think you'll get two different answers from young heterosexual males:

Those under the age of 25, say, will indicate, hell no, they're smarter than that. Those over the age of 25 will admit that, you know, at that age they might or might not have noticed, might or might not have cared, but probably would been taken in somehow, but not so much now in the fullness of maturity.

Half of that latter group will be wrong.

And since I think the annoying preview comment feature WHICH LOOKS VERY MUCH LIKE A SUCCESSFUL POST THANK YOU VERY MUCH ate my comment to your previous post, I will add that I think Lanfear's game here was to force Rand to channel as much as possible-- to get him past Power Acquisition Syndrome, to get him limbered up and used to it, to get him addicted to it, to sort of indirectly train him. It's no accident that this is going on while Nynaeve and Egwene are getting schooled, too.
12. Jamie Bowden

Lanfear pretty much just impresses Loial with all kinds of knowledge and scholarly knowing that if he wasn't the Ogier equivalent of an 18 year old himself would have been a huge clue that hey, maybe this chick is more than she seems.

Hurin is already close to breaking with that whole waking up in an alternate world thing, and is pretty focused on the trail and mission.
Leigh Butler
13. leighdb

I don't think Lanfear is using Compulsion. Not that she couldn't be, but my read on her as a character is that she would regard Compelling Rand to be beneath her.

He's her Twue Wuv, after all, or so she has convinced herself, and plus, she's frickin' Lanfear, the most gorgeous/powerful/awesome person in the history of forever, she'll have you know. She don't need no stinkin' Compulsion.
14. laframboise
I'm with the compulsion theory - think how easily 'Gaebril' mushified Morgase later on.

The Chapter Heading Graphics are a nice touch.

I recollect in one of the more recent books - don't have it right here, but Egwene had realized that the channeling ladies of The Circle lived longer because they were unoathed, and she resolved that when she was in charge Aes Sedai retirement would include unOathing. If Verin and Cadsuane are really, really old, then that would make one suspect they are , indeed, unOathed.
15. cps2195
I don't know how neither Rand, Loial or Hurin smelled (sorry for the pun) something wrong with Selene. Under normal circumsatnces an 18 yr. old would be flustered around someone so stunning. Hell even at 30 I would be tongue tied if the most beautifull woman in the world was fawning over me. But you have to put it into context. Rand is a man who can channel who believes he is a pawn in some WT game. He knows darkfriends and the Forsaken are trying to kill him. My hackles would be up when dealing with anyone let alone some strange women alone in a lifeless parallel world.
Scott Sherris
16. ssherris
Chapter 11: you touched on this in the recap, but didn't mention it in your commentary - Fain "lost" Rand at times in the keep? Is this a preview of Rand entering tel'aran'rhiod?
17. GregoryD
As for the Lanfear slash virgin debate. Yeah, a country boy could be that twitterpated, especially with a awesome out of this Two Rivers world babe staring him in the face. Remember, she isn't really trying to get Rand to do anything wrong, so his morality radar sense is not going to kick in.

I once knew this girl in high school who turned out to be homecoming queen, 1st runner up Miss California, etc. Just talking to her left me speechless, much less if she had said she had a thing for me. I would have probably walked into a building or something. Rand is eighteen going on fourteen and Selene is twenty-five going on three thousand. She could definitely wrap him around her little finger, or anything else, for that matter.

As for Verin, Moiraine said not to fully trust her. That goes a long way. Haven't fully made up my mind about her. She is either BA or she has her own agenda and is answering to some unknown faction that RJ never fully disclosed. I really do not think her motives are entirely good. About her being Mesaana. I think it could be possible. With traveling, Verin could be back in the White Tower in a wink of an eye. Not being in the White Tower all the time could help to keep Mesaana hidden. And Verin sneeks off a lot. Or could she be a Alaida plant? I'm having trouble remembering what she thinks of the Red Amyrlin. Help.
18. Johan G
"It’s interesting how, in these three chapters, Lanfear and Ishamael are kind of tag-teaming Rand -- without knowing it, since I’m about 100% positive Lanfear’s doing whatever the hell she wants, and screw Ishy’s agenda. The irony, of course, is how similar their separate agendas actually are, in goal if not in motive. More on that later."

This is also where I started to really fall for the books. Perhaps I'm odd, but figuring out the various who-did-what, who's-allied-with-whom plot points of the books were always my favorite, and once the Shadowside got more than one agenda my interest level went up.

"I guess we’re supposed to divine that she’s just so unbelievably beautiful that none of the three men can get blood back up to their brains long enough to notice this."

Well, that and her story wasn't significally weirder than theirs. Sure, she's a bit too educated and composed for a noblewoman, but it's not completely out there. Basically, I think they were to busy trying to keep up their own illusions to try to push past hers.
19. Oreos
First of Leigh, awesome re-read! I haven't touched this series for 5 years (started reading it 12 years ago), and it's so much fun going through it again.

I think the part with Selene is understandable considering how when you're in a scary nightmare-world, you too would be really grateful to find another live person, especially one that seems to know the way back home.
And yes, it helps being beautiful of course.

By the way, what's the deal with GORLM? and how does Lanfear know about them? I think they're beasts the seanchan have.
20. anthonyaziz
I've been meaning to comment since the first post - I love these things! It's like reading the books all over again.

I really don't mind the length or depth at which you go into these things - The more there is, there better for me! I'm not reading it to get through it, so lengthening it isn't an issue, and I don't think many would argue with that.

I've got lots of opinions about all the debates going around, but no time to voice them all.

But I will discuss Verin. I think she's good, and not just "good faction", but morally good and wanting to help, etc. I've read the series twice - and while she annoys a bit and has plots in plots and is super sneaky - I like her.

I think she's the type of person who's going to do whatever to do what she thinks is right, and I believe she thinks helping Rand is right. I just got a very good feeling from her, and usually those going-to-be evil characters give off some kind of iffy smell, or you don't expect it one bit.

That's my opinion, anyways...
21. bgdaves
Ok, I noticed something and thinking about it do not know if this has come up before or not. Anyway, the part of Egwene's dream
"Rand sleeping on the ground, wrapped in a cloak. A woman had been standing over him, looking down. Her face was in shadow, but her eyes seemed to shine like the moon, and Egwene had known she was evil."

I always wondered how Rand used the portal and how Lanfear found out which world they went to and went there also. My question/observation is did Lanfear just walk up to a sleeping Rand and use the portal to teleport all of them to this other world? Or do we know if after using a portal that there is some residue or something she could use to follow them to the exact world they went to.

Also, love the recap Leigh.

22. Zeynep
The general concept behind them is fairly straightforward (for slightly hilarious values of “straightforward”)

*follows link* *sporfle* Got me there, Leigh, and my little teacup too.

Verin shocks him by knowing what a sniffer is;

That's almost a template sentence. "Verin shocks by knowing ."

I always believed Verin was not black because of the Prologue of Path of Daggers: You get a Verin PoV section, and as far as I recall whenever we get a Black PoV it becomes crystal-clear-no-doubts-about-it that they are Darkfriends. They mentally refer to the Chosen or to the Great Lord, if nothing else. It's the same reason I believe Elaida is not black, as much as I hate her otherwise. But I wouldn't put it past Verin to have untaken the Oaths.
23. Nuggette
Thanks for doin this Leigh it's been something I look forward to.
I know I didn't catch the Selene/Lanfear connection my first time through either. And as a former 18yr old male, her story wouldn't matter as long as she was fawning on me.
24. laframboise
I still think Lanfear is doing something 'extra'. If not Compulsion, then some channeling equivalent of a Classic Trek Venus Drug. She was pretty scientific before she went to the Dark Side, wasn't she? Bet she can manage pheromones.
25. Kiley Sedai
Personally, I don't think Lanfear would use Compulsion on Rand. She actually loves Lews Therin and she wants that love to be returned FOR REAL, she doesn't want to make him love her. Otherwise, it's not real, true love.

That Lanfear. She's just a romantic at heart.

I think she'd want to use her feminine wiles on the poor country boy, which she tries a million times up to the point she takes a nose drive into the ter'angreal doorframe.
26. Lsana
I've never been quite sure if Rand sent them to the portal stone world or if it was Lanfear. After thinking about it for a while, though, I think I come down on the side of Rand. As I recall, when Rand went to sleep, he was wanting to run away, to be some place without people who mistrusted him or wanted to use him. And low and behold, when he wakes up the next morning, he is in exactly such a world. His only companions are Hurin and Loial, who don't know his secret and still like him. That seems very much like the sort of thing that "accidental" saidin-channeling does.

About the "line of clouds in the sky"--I missed that on all of my rereads, but now that you mention it, it is very weird. The only thing I can imagine is that it is a tip of the hat to Stephen King and the Langoliers. But it's a pretty backwards tribute, and it's not like WOT is full of those the way that Song of Ice and Fire is.

About Egwene and her lack of personality--I've come to the conclusion that this may be deliberate. Egwene doesn't have much of a personality of her own, and sort of adopts the personality of whomever she is with. At the beginning, she is a mini-Nynaeve. She discards that personality for being Moiraine, then for being an Aiel Wise One, then for being Suian Sanche the Second. I've known people like this in real life. On the one hand, they are extraordinarily flexible in all circumstances and can learn quickly, much like Egwene. On the other hand, they are incredibly annoying at times, again much like Egwene.
27. YoSoyElJosh
Regarding Verin's lie, the best explanation I've come up with, and only recently, is that she might've Compulsed Moiraine into sending her to go to Rand, and also that she'd not allow Moiraine to remember making the command.

If I recall, Verin studied the girls who learned Compulsion on their own before they came to the White Tower. I imagine she's figured quite a few tricks regarding it, and at least one of the Forsaken mentions to herself how she could give someone a command, and they'd completely forget that they were given one.

This, at least, makes the most sense to me. It's also possible she's not completely bound to the Oath Rod, and can lie, as it's been implied Verin is MUCH older than anyone suspects.
Brett Michie
28. bchurch
I find it entirely plausible that Rand reacted to Selene/Lanfear as he did. Remember that he is still fairly naive about the world and people's motivations. The only darkfriends that he knows he's met have been bumbling or trying to kill/capture/turn him outright. And the only Forsaken he knows he's met were ancient-looking. When Lanfear reveals herself in tSR and asks if he'd like to see her true form, he's aghast remembering how crusty Aginor and Balthamel were.

The one thing he does suspect her of is being AS, as they are the closest thing in his relatively little wider-than-the-two-rivers-world experience that he can relate her to.

That and being the 18yo virgin he is would make him highly susceptible to her wiles. Add on top of that trying to play the leader for Hurin and Loial, I think he might easily be taken in by her story as he's trying to keep a false front himself.

Hurin is understandable as well. RJ gives us plenty of text about him trusting Lords and Ladies in his description of the Rand/Hurin relation, so it's not hard to see him being smitten by Selene also.

Loial is well-read, but nearly as naive as Rand in his own right--especially about humans. One question I have though is whether compulsion would work as well on Ogier as it would on humans. I can't recall anything about the OP being used on Ogier anywhere in the books, but I'm sure it must be there. Help?
Tim Kington
29. TimKington

Fain loses Rand when he's in the void.

What's up with the void shattering, and slicing up Rand's brain?
30. Kaelin
What is with Fain losing Rand's trail?

The grolm must have been carried to Seanchan by Hawkwing's descendants, right? So, if Hawkwing was defeated by the Trollocs, there would have been no descendants to carry them away, and they would have been left hanging about the continent. Can't see how ALL of them could have been taken on ships, but it's the only explanation I can think of.

I have images of Trollocs piloting passenger planes now, complete with old-fashioned goggles. Too weird.
31. Dragon Unborn
I've just about finished my reread of TGH and is anyone else tired of Rand denying he is the Dragon Reborn?

The whole Creator thing in TEOTW and Ba'alzamon always calling him Lews Therin and yet all he says is that he will not be a Tar Valon Puppet? annoying me to no end!!!

Love these recaps though Leigh, will continue to read them every time, thanks
32. smonkey
I raise a challenge for all and sundry.

Write a summary of the entire WOT series in under a page. So basically a paragraph per book.

(I never finished the series, have been greatly amused by skimming these posts, but haven't the time to read 'em all, thus...a challenge!)
Richard Fife
33. R.Fife
ssherris@16: I think it is when he enters the void that Fain cannot sense him.

Oreos@19: I think the Seanchan used the first damane to go to those other worlds of IF and extract the Gorlm, etc, for their armies.

bgdaves@21: I agree, I think Lanfear actually teleported them to that particular world herself. It was just meant to be misleading, I think, that Rand assumed the void as he went to sleep.

To comment again on the whole Lanfear/Compulsion debate: I don't think she is using outright compulsion on him, just a flavor of it, akin to Verin or Laindrin. Because, yes she loves Lews Therin, but she also knows that the "straw-haired hussy" stole him from her. She is scorned, and is probably willing to justify some "mild" compulsion because, hey, its not like she's fully compelling him, he can still say no. Also, the way even Loial is awe-struck by her, and the constant emphasis of her smell and presence being over-powering, well, yeah.

Oh, and bchuch@28, the Ogier, just like anything else save heartstone, can be affected by the one power. If a horse can be affected, I'm sure an ogier can (long as they aren't in the stedding, of course, and even then....)

And Tim@29, I think that is just him grasping for saidin, failing, and getting a backlash from it.
34. Clearlyhere
Egwene is the Chameleon.

She is endlessly curious and submerges herself in whatever culture she is learning about. I actually love Egwene*. Evidence, running off with Aes Sedai, integrating into Tinkers, then Aes Sedai, then Wise Ones/Aiel. She becomes part of their societies. That is her defining feature. Understanding everyone's point of view, which ultimately makes her a good manipulator.

*Nynaeve is still my favorite
Kyle Bass
35. SherlockTomes
As a minor aside regarding chapter titles, I think RJ stated that Harriet actually titled most/all of the chapters, which I find interesting. While there are at least those two "Wolfbrother" chapters (I think there might even be another one, maybe), at least half of the books feature a "Leavetakings" chapter, methinks.
Brett Michie
36. bchurch

Good point about the OP and Ogier. Thanks and I agree . . was just a bit curious if they had differing reactions to the OP being used on them, or if it would require a different weave. Probably not though, if washing fatigue from horses is much akin to doing the same for humans. Oh, and heartstone can be affected by the OP, but it just makes it stronger. Minor point, I know.

I believe the grolm are currently native to the continent of Seanchan like raken, torm, and lopar. Whether or not they are indigenous there, I'm not sure, but it might be.
craig miller
37. craigpmiller
Leigh - Damn fine work my dear. Keep it up.

I can understand Rand being smitten with Selene. He's on the run, unbalanced by what's happening inside himself and there's a good chance Lews Therin is resonating even if Rand can't hear his voice yet. Selene's not obviously evil, a damsel in distress, even if she is too knowledgeable for her own good.

And thanks to everyone for contributing. You all make such good points that by the time I get the chance to post a comment, you've guys have already added more ideas than I might have come up with.

Wunderbar ! !
38. michaelt
I think it was Lanfear who used the portal stone to whisk Rand away for a couple of reasons. 1) Egwene's dream shows her standing over them before they vanish. 2) Moiraine states that it is impossible to channel anything but Spirit while sleeping, so even if he got ahold of saidin before sleeping, he would have only been able to channel Spirit. Granted, that may be all it takes operate Portal Stones, but probably not. She brought Hurin and Loial along because they were sleeping so close to the Stone she couldn't bring Rand and not them. She also seems a little surprised he was able to get all of them back (I believe she was hoping he wouldn't manage to bring back Hurin and Loial so she could get him by himself).

As to why the void shattered, my best guess is that Lanfear didn't want him to go home right away, so she did something to dissuade him from trying again right away.
39. Cosmix
The only thing that would keep me safe from the most drop dead gorgeous woman on 2 legs is the fact that I'm married. If I were single, it wouldn't matter if I was a virgin or not, if I were 18, 28 (as I am) or 58. If she was all up in the kool-aid all I'd be thinking about is getting all up in her kool-aid.
40. zdrakec
Ben Kingsley = Padan Fain.
Agnes Kormendi
41. tapsi
I think Egwene does have a personality. She is an innkeeper's eldest daughter so she had to learn to please, but also to be firm with lots of different people. We know that she's very dedicated to the causes she chooses and that she's very disciplined, and that leaves little room for quirks and an "interesting" personality. I've always seen her as the dutiful eldest sister. And since I have a dutiful elder sister myself, her characterization was OK with me.
42. Cosmix
tapsi: I'm almost positive that Egwene is the youngest of 5 daughters. I'm whipping out EotW to check though!
43. datamuse
I seem to recall spotting Lanfear right off; her pseudonym is a dead giveaway if, like me, you are obsessed with Greek mythology. Selene is the goddess of the moon, with much stronger lunar associations than Artemis (whose lunar connection comes relatively late). As soon as she appeared I connected her physical description and Moiraine's reference to her as "Daughter of the Night" and figured that was who she had to be, especially given RJ's tendency to use other mythical names (the Andoran royals, for example, not to mention the city of Illian). Egwene's dream of the woman whose "eyes shine like the moon" is another clue.

On the other hand, I still have no idea about Verin and I kind of stopped caring after awhile.
44. Dalamon
Datamuse @ 43

I have to agree with you, I love a large number of mythologies and her name as well as Egwene's dream helped give it away. Also, Egwene's dream shows, or alludes to, that Lanfear was the one who used the Portal Stone.

'Rand sleeping on the ground, wrapped in a cloak. A woman had been standing over him, looking down. Her face was in shadow, but her eyes seemed to shine like the moon, and Egwene had known she was evil. Then there was a flash of light, and they were gone. Both of them.'

The flash of light being the portal getting activated and taking Rand, "Selene", Hurin, and Loial into the Worlds of IF.

I also feel the straight clouds that Rand spies in the new world could possibly be Selene or Ishi flying like they had a tendency to do in AoL
45. tonya104
I'm gonna back the "mild" compulsion theory here: it gets to the heart of lanfear's vanity/human flaw, that she needs lews therin/randdawg to love her (hence the compulsion) but also needs it to be "for her" (hence the mild). leave him enough free will for the possibility that he could pull free, but not enough that he'd be likely to. sort of an elijah wood in eternal sunshine thing.

also to give rand SOME credit...he's done okay as a green farmboy with a number of beautiful/powerful women: the supergirls (including the elayne scene), morgase, siuan, the assassin in the barn, alanna,etc. and he proves himself later as a guy capable (and, increasingly, resentful) of beautiful women trying to manipulate him. in other words attaboy, sheepherder
46. WSB
Great re-reads! Keep up the good work, Leigh. It gets me through the work day :)

Personally, TGH was one of my favorites, behind TDR and LOC. Rand isn't too powerful yet, some interesting plot lines with important secondary characters are introduced, Thom returns, and the title of the book actually relates to the plot (with a double meaning as well).

Just a thought about Ingtar knowing of Elyas, he may have heard about him through Lan, since Lan seems to have met Ingtar before, and Elyas was mentioned as someone who trained Lan, so they have known each other for a long time.
Frank Conicella
47. Frank.Conicella
Look...if I am an 18 year old virgin, and Selene is all up on my stink...she could have told me I was a Grolm, and I would have been like "I know right!"

Yay Portal Stones!! I hated them when I was first reading through the series becuase it gets incredibly repetitive, but now, knowing that they become completely obsolete...I get all sentimental and miss them like Skidz and Bo Jackson Nike's.

Can't wait till Monday, Leigh!! Drop it like its hot!!
48. DQuix
Has anyone come up with an explanation for Fain's taking the Horn to Toman Head? And once he's there, he turns it over to the Seanchen. I can understand his not wanting to let the dark side have it, since he is as much a foe of the Dark One as he is of Rand, et al, but I don't recall any justification for his going to the Seanchen.

Thanks for the reread. I'm trying to parallel your effort, but it's hard to hold myself to 5 chapters every other day, so I'm getting a little ahead of you. I started reading WOT with first publication of tEoTW and was really frustrated when the publication schedule stretched out. I think this is my sixth or seventh reread. I was seriously afraid I'd die before Jordan finished (I'm 72). However, now I think I'll make it.

Does anyone have an idea of how Rand will wind up juggling 3 wives? That's got to be the major feat of MoL.
Ofer Nave
49. odigity
I specifically remember Lan talking to Perrin about his eyes, asking if he had a guide, and Perrin telling him about Elyas, and Lan indicating he knows him, and explains that "he taught me much about this (touching his sword) and the blight".

This would have been either in TEOTW after rescuing Perrin from whitecloaks, or perhaps during the long Rand-chase in TDR.

So, clearly Elyas was for some time a mentor to Lan up in the blight. We also see Elyas practicing as a young warder in the White Tower in NS.

Personally, I find Elyas's timeline a bit confusing and over-reaching. I like the guy, but I can't quite fit in everything that he was supposed to have done or been around for. The biggest conflict is in the later books, when he teaches Perrin about Berelain's personality and history. Elyas has been wild for 15 years - how does he know anything about a ruler of Mayene (micro-nation in the corner) who is only in her early 20s? Either Berelain has been ruling since she was a toddler, or Elyas continued to learn obscure political details long after he went wild and started shunning people.
Agnes Kormendi
50. tapsi

It's entirely possible that she was the youngest and I just somehow memorised her as the eldest because she was so much like my older sister. But even so, most inherently disciplined people appear low-key and even boring in my experience, which they're not, they're just too focused on playing their roles right.

Concerning Elyas, I can't recall where he's from, so for all I know, he could be Ingtar's cousin, even... Ah, my memory. I have holes in it large enough to put Mat to shame (except I don't speak any cool dead languages or know how to win a battle).
51. WSB
Based on some statements he has said, Elyas may be from Saldaea, but it is never explicitly stated. As for him knowing about Berelain, she may be a ruler of a minor state, but she also claims to be a descendent of Hawkwing, which is notable in and of itself.
52. Heather J.
Man, it has taken me ALL DAY to get over here and read this! I hate being so late to the game …
“Not one person (at least no one who isn’t in a position to know they’re telling the truth anyway) is ever like, ‘Really? Well, okay then. No soup for you!’ It’s too bad, because I think if that had ever actually happened, it would have been really funny.”
True, true. But seriously, who would REALLY believe that? I mean, people go around pretending to BE lords, not pretending NOT to be lords. Unless they are lords who are trying out the “one of the people” thing, but whatever. Back to the point – if Aes Sedai and other important and knowledgeable people hint that these boys are lords – or at least don’t say they are not - who is seriously going to believe they aren’t?
I always loved the first time we hear the wolves definition of Young Bull. Of course, I like wolves in general, but regardless, I love the imagery there. It gets me every time.
I can’t stand “Selene” - not the first time, not on my rereads, and not now. Can I just smack her please?
ssherris@16 – I always thought it was Rand being in the void, but that could be just me. Aah, TimKington@29 and R.Fife@33 agree.
As for the grolm, the podcast at just did an episode on the exotic Seanchan animals – it answers some of the questions people are asking in the comments.
That's all for now - until Monday! YEAH!
53. Erdrick

Re: where grolm are from, this is from the Guide:

"These strange new creatures were not Shadowspawn at all, but the descendants of beasts brought back from parallel worlds, via Portal Stones, during the first thousand years after the Breaking, probably in an attempt to find aid against the real Shadowspawn. While the creatures’ effectiveness was not recorded, it was during this same period that all remaining Shadowspawn on the continent were eradicated. The creatures remained, their care and training surviving through all the political upheavals until Luthair’s arrival. The knowledge that allowed their procurement by way of the Portal Stones, however, was lost."
54. Erdrick
Take a look at these two passages, the first being Ishy addressing Lews Theron in the prologue of TEoTW, and the second being Ishy addressing Rand in chapter 15 of TGH:

“Ten years! You pitiful fool! This war has not lasted ten years, but since the beginning of time. You and I have fought a thousand battles with the turning of the Wheel, a thousand times a thousand, and we will fight until time dies and the Shadow is triumphant!”

“I have a thousand strings tied to you, Kinslayer, each one finer than silk and stronger than steel. Time has tied a thousand cords between us. The battle we two have fought—do you remember any part of that? Do you have any glimmering that we have fought before, battles without number back to the beginning of Time? I know much that you do not! That battle will soon end. The Last Battle is coming. The last, Lews Therin. Do you really think you can avoid it? You poor, shivering worm. You will serve me or die! And this time the cycle will not begin anew with your death. The grave belongs to the Great Lord of the Dark. This time if you die, you will be destroyed utterly. This time the Wheel will be broken whatever you do, and the world remade to a new mold. Serve me! Serve Shai’tan, or be destroyed forever!”

I hope this is not just a crazy Ishy-rant, and that it is actually forshadowing the conclusion of AMoL. This Wheel of Time idea is great and all, but I actually want the Wheel to be broken. I want this to be the story of the true Last Battle. "This time the Wheel will be broken whatever you do, and the world remade to a new mold." But if it does turn out to be just a tale of another turning of the Wheel, I guess I won't mind too much. It was a great ride after all.

...Below are a couple more TGH quotes supporting this theme.

In the prologue (Ishy addressing the darkfriend social):
"Soon the Wheel of Time will be broken. Soon the Great Serpent will die, and with the power of that death, the death of Time itself, your Master will remake the world in his own image for this Age and for all Ages to come..."

In chapter 41 (Ishy addressing Rand again):
"You will die, worm! How many times have you died across the span of the Ages, fool, and how much has death availed you? The grave is cold and lonely, save for the worms. The grave is mine. This time there will be no rebirth for you. This time the Wheel of Time will be broken and the world remade in the image of the Shadow. This time your death will be forever! Which will you choose? Death everlasting? Or life eternal – and power!"
Richard Fife
55. R.Fife
I am kind of hoping for a true Tarmon Gai'don myself, but all of the "4th Age" quotes RJ opens the book with kind of imply otherwise.

A random thought about the wheel, though: RJ never said there was a Tarmon Gai'don at the end of every age. After all, it is pretty explicitly said that the Dark One, who had been known of in many past ages, was completely forgotten in the AoL, and if he was in a "perfect" prison in AoL, it implies that his prison was indeed man-made, since he has nearly broken out of it several times before. I have always found that kind of funny, tbh. The Aes Sedai, among others, always lament about how "men cannot make whole what it took the Creator to make" when it seems fairly inutitive to the very concept of the Wheel that all of this has happened before. Just my thought.
Agnes Kormendi
56. tapsi
Re Elyas and Berelain

Elyas spent years training to be a Warder in the Tower and then as a Warder. Likely, he met more scheming women than we've come across on all the pages of all the books so far, and he seems intelligent enough to have learned a lot about them. He also has the instincts of a wolf. So I'd say he should be able to size up a woman like Berelain in a few minutes. And as for her background... well, Berelain is only the ruler of a small country, but she's still one of the handful of rulers and a descendant of the great Hawkwing, as WSB said. The two combined could give him insights that Perrin, inexperienced and stubbornly naive, cannot possible have.

(I thought Elyas was Saldaean because he's always counselling Perrin on his Saldaean wife, but for that it's enough if his Aes Sedai or a lover was Saldaean. He could still be Ingtar's twin brother for all I know.)
57. Erdrick
R.Fife @55,

Yea, I don't think it likely either. But I still have hope.

bchurch @36,

About your statement "heartstone can be affected by the OP, but it just makes it stronger," what does that mean? I'm not criticizing you, I know this comes directly from the books; I'm just asking what does it mean to make an "unbreakable" thing stronger? Anybody?
58. wapaul
“Moiraine Sedai sent me, Lord Ingtar,” Verin announced with a satisfied smile. “She thought you might need me.”

I am in favor of the Verin didn't lie, but used Aes Sedai logic to justify that statement. The "satisfied smile" is Verin being proud of whatever circuitous logic she came up with to truthfully claim Moraine sent her. Just my two cents.
Michael Ikeda
59. mikeda

I have a slightly different take on the statement. I think Verin genuinely interpreted something Moiraine said as meaning Moiraine wanted Verin to go find Rand's group.

Verin IS an Aes Sedai, after all. Looking for hidden meanings in everything another Aes Sedai says is practically an automatic reaction for her.

(Now Verin could have misinterpreted whatever Moiraine said. Miscommunication IS a recurring theme of the WOT series.)
60. MoreBooksForMe
To answer the 18yr old virgin question. If some crazy hot girl even looked at me when i was a hormone filled teen, i would be complete putty. In this instance if i were Rand, Selene could have told me she had just been dropped off by Elvis, and i would have belived her. Guys do and say some very stupid things when attractive girls are present.
61. Lynnia

I've always thought the "wheel will be broken" talk is Shadow propaganda -- Ishy wins if he can get Rand to give up, so he wants to make the future look as bleak as possible and Rand's chances as small as possible.

And perhaps if the Shadow wins time will stop -- but it seems like the good guys' reward for winning is to get to do it all again, over and over.
62. locosweetie
I love these recaps and comments, this is the wot discussion I have been craving!

I don't think Verin is BA, for reasons others have already mentioned. Speaking of Black Ajah. Aes Sedai seem to get mad when someone mentions the BA because it basically screams 'you're a darkfriend' in thier faces. In that situation, I would be more upset with the thinking they condone such behavior. Though it does go along with the Aes Sedai general attitude of 'ignore it and it will go away'. In my experience, that only works with bees.

In one of the chapters here, Rand gets the begining mark. 'Once the heron to set his path', is this the last time Ishy comes to him in his dreams with the 'join me' speil? What else happened in this conversation to set his path?
In KoD, Rand's hand gets burned off and he is no longer twice and twice marked. Is this significant to anything?
Richard Fife
63. R.Fife

I have been wondering about the missing hand in KoD too, seeing as it also destroyed part of one of his dragons. I also remember that at one point later in TGH, Min does a reading on Elayne and sees a severed hand floating around her head, and says it could be someone elses. I have to wonder what exactly that will mean when she finds out her hubby has become all the more the one-handed god Tyr.

As to what sets his path, the mark itself could. It is the start of him actually thinking, even a little bit, that he could be the Dragon.

Boy I have nothing better to do than talk WoT...
64. ezaine
This was not my theory, that Selene is not Lanfear
The first time I read TGH hunt, I thought she was Lanfear, but I read TGH the second time after reading the following theory posts:

Re-reading TGH hunt with this theory in mind, it made a lot of sense that Selene is not Lanfear. Even without reading all that theory, Selene just tries to manipulate Rand, and chapter 48 (first claiming) makes more sense if Lanfear is meeting Rand for the 1st time. Besides I enjoyed re-reading the book with this insight. (which is a problem with the series, you call learn more by rereading it over and over, if only more time. They could probably create a master's degree in "Wheel of time and plot theories")
65. jafco
Kudos, Leigh. Your reading, commentary, and the others' comments are too much.

I think the men here answered the "18-year-old virgin, etc." question accurately. Amazing the power women have, isn't it? I especially liked:

28. bchurch: All "...That and being the 18yo virgin he is would make him highly susceptible to her wiles. Add on top of that trying to play the leader for Hurin and Loial, I think he might easily be taken in by her story as he's trying to keep a false front himself...."

Plus, you may have noticed, Rand (and most other males in this story) are - ya ready for this? - CHIVALROUS. It shows up time and again (mostly to the detriment of the men, I must say). In today's world Rand would have laughed while the grolm chomped Lanfear, causing her to blast it and, probably, Rand, ending an otherwise great series rather early. ;)
@34. Clearlyhere

"...Egwene is the Chameleon.

She is endlessly curious and submerges herself in whatever culture she is learning about. I actually love Egwene*. Evidence, running off with Aes Sedai, integrating into Tinkers, then Aes Sedai, then Wise Ones/Aiel. She becomes part of their societies. That is her defining feature. Understanding everyone's point of view, which ultimately makes her a good manipulator...."

I have the same feeling. I have a daughter who had (?) that Talent. I don't like Egwene however until much later in the books - i.e. post-Aiel. To me, she comes across as a willfull manipulator, until she finally has to assume great responsibility. Then she's still manipulative, but there is some grace in her actions.
67. macpimp
just thought i'd chime in on verin here.

we get a few of her POV's in the later books, and she's definitely not black ajah.

any doubt should be removed by knife of dreams, wherein her letter to rand, she reminds him that oaths of fealty mean nothing to a black sister, and *twice* reminds him to listen to cadsuane's advice. as duplicitous as she can be, no darkfriend would approve of that. unless cadusane is black too, and we KNOW she isn't.

also, she is still bound by at least one oath, else she wouldn't have the ageless aes sedai face. i think she is still bound by all three oaths though. even when seeing her POV's, she never outright lies.

on a tangent, maybe the more oaths a channeler is bound to, the shorter their lifespan?
68. Dr. Morganstien
Erdrick @57

I know this comes directly from the books; I'm just asking what does it mean to make an "unbreakable" thing stronger? Anybody?

This EXACT question has been in my head since I first read EOTW.

About the lines in the clouds, I always assumed this was raken or to'raken. We (the reader) don't actually know about them, but as soon as they pop up, either in this book or later, it just hit me thats what it was...and yes, Trollocs flying airplanes made me laugh too.
69. RobMRobM
Hi all - late to the party on this one, so I'll be quick as I can (which ain't that quick, sorry).

11. Yes, Mat is still aggravating at this point. The scene where he takes out Galad and Gawyn via quarterstaff when he begins to turn awesome can't come soon enough. Also, can someone remind me how Fain knows that Toman Head is the right spot for his encounter with Rand. Did he get that from the Shadar Haran Jr. Fade and/or its dark prophecy? (Also always, agree with you on Fain but instead of "ehn" I'd prefer "meh."

12. Love Verin - cool as always. Not Black Ajah but what is exactly is her agenda - perhaps my favorite mystery in the entire book. It's also time to begin thinking about Alanna (Verin Jr., as I think of her), who is one of my favorite smaller mysteries in the entire series over whether she is BA and/or what is her precise agenda beyond being boy crazy. Believe I am correct that in a future book Verin expressly warns at least Perrin not to trust Alanna but I'm unsure whether that was just to avoid her efforts to add warders to her belt or what? Also, isn't this chapter the start of Nyneave's block - that she can channel only when angry - that takes 3/4 quarters of series to solve? Finally, I agree with Delamon's brilliant observation that, based on Egwene's dream and the "flash of light" reference, that Selene/Lanfear triggered the Portal Stone rather than Rand doing so inadvertently. She wants him alone and vulnerable to start her "training" of Rand.

By the way, Egwene's defining trait is an obsession to excel at everything she does, which can make her aggravating at times. Worth reading the Ravens prologue in the kids version of the first half of EOTW, which makes this clear. And, yes, she is the youngest of many daughters and, yes, she grew up with an intense desire to kick her sisters' lazy butts at anything that required skill and perserverence.

13. No comments.

14. Love the scene where Perrin gets his Delta Tau Chi pledge name from the wolves. He is pretty high on coolness scale throughout this book and into the next two until he starts fighting with Faile and Berelain and drops sharply almost to Padan Fain level for me. Also, re your question, I believe I read somehere that Elyas is from one of the Borderlands; and these Blight expert guys all seem to know each other.

15. No comment other than the the line of smoke - that is one awesome subtle throwaway bit by RJ.

16. The archery show is a nice time to recall Rand's discussion in EOTW that he thought he was good enough to "place" in the archery competition at Bel Tine - which, given the incredibly high standards there - is pretty frickin awesome, as this performance suggests. (The same, of course, holds true in the quarterstaff competition after Mat cleans clock with Galad and Gawyn in the next book and notes to the head warder that his father and Tam are both better.)

By the way, given the nice "You always..." bit that "Selene" has to catch herself on, pretty clear this is Lanfear with her Lews Therin jones fully in play. I caught this immediately once I saw her on my first read - Daughter of the Night from the prophecy and "Selene" was too obvious for me to miss.

p.s. Leigh - nice of you to confirm on the record you are a girl; I was pretty sure you were one, but I have met guys with that name and I was wondering whether my initial sense of you as a girl would be horribly shattered at some point in this re-read, LOL.

17. "And you didn't even know what you did" (making implicitly clear that she did know). Rand is being dense here, and agree it is a combinatin of her beauty, sense of chivalry, confusion at his new powers and being tapped as the one to lead this group out of trouble. I'll forgive him for not running away immediately. And, re the commenters, I don't buy that she was using any compulsion whatsoever during this period - she wants him as a voluntary, willing, wuving partner with whom to rule the world - and she's just the girl to get him to do it.

Random other thoughts:
- as to RJ not naming the yellow, what is more interesting to me on re-read is that given yellow's typical excellence in healing why she was not involved in healing Mat? Bizarre. Could it be that RJ had not figured out the purpose of that Ajah at this early point in the story?
- Erdrick 54. Yes, I'm hoping that this TG is for all of the marbles, and wheel will break so Rand winning will get rid of Dark One (or at least Ishy).

70. birgit
The Oath against killing was the first one, but when were the others added? Maybe Verin and Cadsuane are old enough that they haven't taken the lying Oath.

Doesn't Lanfear say somewhere that she is contemptous of other Forsaken who always use Compulsion? She might be changing her looks a bit to be more interesting to Rand (first she looks Nynaeve's age, then about Rand's age), but she has no need of Compulsion to impress Rand.

I also wondered how Lanfear (and Ishy) knew in which world to look for Rand. Maybe Lanfear was standing near Rand like in Egwene's dream when he accidentally channeled in his sleep and brought them all there?

I don't think Lanfear had anything to do with the shattering void. Rand is simply trying to channel but fails.

Fain gives the Horn to Turak because Mordeth wants to influence an important man. Maybe he went to Toman Head because that was part of Ishy's plans rubbing off on Fain (but why does Ishy want Rand there?).

Siuan doesn't involve the yellows in the Healing because she doesn't want other people to know about Mat.
C Zirbes
71. Caillean
Hi to you all, first of all: thanks for your wonderfull re-read experience. I love the chapter commentaries (and especially the fun links...) and the overall discussion. And leigdb: you can't be to long.

My last re-read was 2006 and was done pretty fast. So I can't remember any details :-(. But isn't there a scene playing in the AoL mentioning travel by a sort of airplane for the non-Channelers? Couldn't the streaks on the sky be connected to them? But the time difference between the AOL and now was probably to long. (and my memory is definitely very vague on this one...)

My first theory while reading the series over ten years ago was inspired by Loial's qoute about the "if's". Maybe the existence of airplanes is just possible in yet another parallel world (like our world for example) and Rand sees residues of it, just like Hurin is able to smell trails from another world.

Bye bye untill next week, and greetings from Germany. :-)
Richard Fife
72. R.Fife
The Oaths were made mandatory after the Trolloc Wars, in which the Aes Sedai were seen to be far to "untrustworthy" since the White Tower supposedly betrayed Manetheran (along with Avinhol (sp)). So, roughly 2000 years ago were when all three were added.

Also, we are obsessing on the streak in the sky, yet we miss a more obvious "huh?". What are the burn streaks?
73. AnnOnimous
Re: the burn streaks

Since I learned about balefire, that's kindof what I always thought them to be in my rereads... can't be sure though, cuz really I don't remember any mentions of scorching after balefire...

someone correct me?
Tim Kington
74. TimKington
@R. Fife

I always assumed the streak in the sky is whatever causes the burned streaks. Occam says then we only have one mystery to solve :)


In The Great Hunt, who wrote the Dark Prophecy on the dungeon wall in Fal Dara? And why, after Ingtar released Padan Fain from the dungeon, did Fain decide to go to Toman Head? We know he was rebelling against Ishamael's orders (he was supposed to follow the Myrddraal to Shayol Ghul) but why did Fain go to Cairhien and then to Toman Head?

Robert Jordan Answers:

A Myrddraal wrote the Dark Prophecy on orders, as a threat. I might want to use some of the reasons, so the rest on that is RAFO.

Fain (now amalgamated with Mordeth) was seeking his own power base, something he would try again with Pedron Niall and Toram Riatin. He wanted enough power to be able to kill Rand, Mat and Perrin, though most especially Rand, and to protect himself against agents of the Shadow. Because of Darkfriend reports, the Myrddraal who wrote the prophecy already knew who the strangers on Toman Head were, or claimed to be: Artur Hawkwing's armies returned to reclaim the lands stolen from Hawkwing's heirs. He knew that they collared women who could channel, which appealed to Fain/Mordeth, since one disliked Aes Sedai at best and the other purely hated them. The Myrddraal didn't simply give this up to Fain, you understand. Fain is one of the few people who could successfully torture information out of one of the Eyeless.
As for why he went to Cairhien first, he knew the location of the Waygate there (along with several others and how to read the guidings in the Ways, this last from Mordeth) and preferred to use the Ways rather than make the longer cross-country journey from Fal Dara to Toman Head.

So that's the deal, I guess. There seems to be a mistake here - Fain wrote that he was going to Toman Head in the dungeon, before he could have had time to torture the Myrddraal.
Jay Mo
75. FanoLan
Just found the WOT re-read index and am stoked. Have lost track of my number re-reads on specific books - when I first started the series, LoC had just been published. I have just completed a re-read on the series (4th?).

My current sig. other just finished tGH - the first time for her - and she is all over the Selene connection to Lanfear - which I thought reading the first time also. Seems likely Selene arranged for the trip to if-world and included Loial/Hurin so Rand wouldn't just freak out. Also to start him on the path to dragonhood and being worthy of standing at her side. I agree with very limited use of Compulsion on Rand, just a bit here and there. Just adding on here, but even being pretty far from 18, even further from virgin-hood and also happily involved, I would be hard-pressed to maintain my best composure in the face of the incarnation of perfect human beauty.

Re Egwene - she is one of my favorites and has been from the start. Seems like a lot of people unfairly criticize her. She was what, 16 or so when leaving the 2Rs, had thought she would apprentice to Ninny and has since grown to a strong, capable, intelligent young woman who not only confronts the tasks in front of her without shirking but also maintains great loyalty to her friends from home despite what many people in Randland would consider unforgivable behavior - wolfeyes, channeler, old tongue spouter. Maybe it's the puppy/first-love thing with Rand, but I have a definite soft spot for Egwene.

Re Verin - great character and awesome development by RJ. The one thing that sticks in my mind on the question of her true Ajah is at the cleansing scene at Shadar Logoth and her internal dialogue reference to "Forsaken." I had not made up my mind until then, but that convinced me she is not black. Way more than the scene with Caddy, because, as we've seen, the BA could also see the point in having Rand reach T.G.

Re Fain - at this point in the books, I think he is still somewhat under the DO's influence and thus the trek to Tom Head. All part of the plan to get Rand to acknowledge he is LtT reborn and then bend knee to the DO. Had the prophecies to fulfill and the Heroes to encounter to push Rand along the path. As Fain pulls further from DOs control, he plans for himself more and more.

So where is that Masters course in WOT theories/history being offered?
76. peterbb
Leigh, you're doing a fantastic job at this! Bounds of enjoyment! Thank you thank you!

Re: RJ's pattern of repeating chapter titles. You mentioned his use of "Wolfbrother" was repeated from TEOTW, and that was one of the rare occurences. He also repeated "Glimmers of the Pattern," using it as the title of the prologue in CoT. I seem to recall one or two others, but that one stuck out to me. Mainly because it's a bit more of a complex name than merely "Wolfbrother." Was there a reason for the repeat of "Glimmers?" Dunno. That's for others to debate (or not, as it's kind of an obscure point that really doesn't matter too much.) ;)
77. Emerkel
Going back to a prior conversation about Two Rivers not having an Andoran presence, ie no taxes levied:

I am currently reading TFOH, and in Chapter 19: Memories, Morgase is informed that there is rebellion in the Two Rivers. She ruminates that she and three queens before her have not been able to hold on to all areas of the kingdom, and that a choice was made to hold on to the miners in the Mountains of Mist rather than the farmers in the Two Rivers because it was more adventagous. She goes on to say that despite that being the case rebellion in any part of the kingdom, however remote cannot be tolerated.

It seems that RJ either looked that far ahead into the story to connect the plot, or inserted it to answer questions that may have arisen in the interem. In any case, the Master took care of it!
78. pdl
Ingtar's knowlwedge of Elyas

The discovery of his ability to speak with wolves caused numerous Aes Sedai to take an interest in him. Some Sisters of the Red Ajah actually wanted to gentle him, though of course that would have done nothing. Speaking with the wolves is an old thing, having nothing to do with the One Power; men communicating with wolves was old before men ever touched the Power.

But Elyas did not like the idea of the Red Ajah even attempting to gentle him, so he escaped from the White Tower and Tar Valon. In the attempt he was forced to kill several other Warders, something he greatly regrets.

News like killing warders and talking to wolves and having yellow eyes.. that news is bound to spread. Ingtar may or may not have met Elyas. I don't know. I think many people, especially borderlanders would know Elyas's story.

Elyas was bonded to Rina Hafden, a green sister. Her other warder was Waylin. (NS, The Itch)


Streaks in the sky and on the ground in the worlds of "if"

Not Balefire - the scorch marks in the ground can't be balefire because the things balefire touches CEASE TO EXIST. Balefire would make trenches not scorch marks.

Not raken/to'raken - these live creatures used by the Seanchan would not leave cloud trails behind them in the sky unless they ate too many beans.

Sho Wings (jets) were mentioned as AoL flying machines for non-chanellers. Jets leave straight cloud trails in the sky and jet fighters with afterburners would leave scortch marks in the ground. Don't know who would be flying (trollocs w/ aviator goggles is funny) or how AoL flying machines would be in this "if" world. Despite these unknowns this is by far the most likely explanation for both phenomenon.


I was 18 reading this book the 1st time in '94... I knew Selene was evil but I still wished she would throw herself at me. 18yo virgin boys aren't so concerned with the moral fiber of their mates, they just want a taste of the sweet nectar. After that, if she's annoying or happens to have commited untold atrocities, oh well... she served her purpose. Now at 32, I'd get an eyeful but keep her at the end of a very long pole.
79. Egglie
I have done way too many re-reads of these books! It is very hard to separate what I know now from what I thought the first time I read them. My memory is that OF COURSE I knew Selene was Lanfear but I am starting to wonder how much we know about her at this point in the series? have we been told already that she was LTs lover and still loves him? (I am a bit behind in the re-read because I was trying to resist the temptation so it could be covered in a conversation somewhere that I have forgotten)

There has been much discussion about when you know Rand is channeling in tEoTW but you can't possibly figure it out until Mo starts explaining it to Nyn in C21 because up until then you have no idea how the magic in WOT works. (I think its pretty hard to spot even after that until he starts acting silly on the boat) It is not even referred to as channeling in tEoTW I don't think. But its so obvious when you re-read that I forget that I didn't know first time round.

I think Verin is one of the most interesting people in the books. I don't think she is black just "independently minded" and privy to extra information, probably from Coriannin's notes and possibly from being around for so long. In her POV she ties her thoughts in knots to avoid lying even in her own head, that would be pretty odd if she had been free of the oath for any length of time.

Alanna - I hope she does turn out to have a better reason for bonding Rand than just being a bit mental after loosing her warder. I would love her to have a sneaky agenda.

I am not sure who use the porthole stone, how about this for an idea; Lanfear tries to transport just Rand but he instinctively brings along Loial and Hurin? (not actually convinced about that myself but they both seem to have a hand in it) just a thought.

There is no better use of time than debating random WOT theories!
80. Rebecca Starr
Ch. 12-13
I think Egwene's dream makes it clear Lanfear is the one who channeled that night at the Portal Stone, bringing herself, Rand and the others to the alternate world... and yes, that her whole aim seems to be to get Rand to channel as much as possible, and force him into using the Power.

I also think that when Rand initially tries to use the Stone to go back, she severs him from the source, hence all the "knife cuts" he feels.

I wondered, too, how Ingtar knew of Elyas, but you're right - he (E) may be from the Borderlands,and certainly as a Warder would have had reason to be up fighting in the Blight.

how would Verin have caught up to the party so quickly, though? And how did she find them? I wonder if RJ pulled out that old trick here of feeling an affinity for someone that one has Healed (in Verin's case Mat), which Nynaeve used back in EotW, and then which seems to be forgotten

as to Verin, I definitely think she has her own agenda, but I definitely think she is NOT Black

Ch 15
Leigh, my first thought here was jet planes too! Or rocket launches. But Dalamon@44, I love your idea that this is Lanfear and Ishy flying.

Interesting that Loial's song is "familiar" to Rand - bet this is his Aiel ancestry singing (pun intended) in his veins

Ch 16
nice move making moire grolm appear right when you want to have your way, Lanfear... geez

Ch 17
someone raised the question of why Hurin wouldn't smell Lanfear/Selene's evil with all the killing she's probably done. But I think maybe he does, and doesn't realize it. He explains how the alternate world they were in stank so bad it even included all of them. And once back in the real world, "I can't get it out of my nostrils yet, all the way." I bet here he's smelling Lanfear, only confusing it with the place they have just been. How convenient.
81. David-2
Many thanks for this very fun re-read.

Here's a topic that I haven't seen discussed here yet: With all the creative names that RJ gave his female characters, why did Egwene get stuck with an ugly one?

James Bond in the 2006 Casino Royale, on learning his girl sidekick's name: "Vesper? I do hope you gave your parents hell for that."

P.S. Is anyone else having trouble with the damn Captcha on this forum? The characters are so distorted they are impossible to read.
82. gagecreedlives
The banter between our heroes while they are still village boys is one of the main reasons I love the earlier books. Im not quite sure but is the last book when all the boys are still together?

“Come to me, al’Thor. The dance is not even begun yet. We’ll dance on Toman Head, and I’ll be free of you. I’ll see you dead at last.”
Notice Fain using dance as a euphuism for fighting. Does he already know what nobody else seriously suspects yet.

As far as I am aware no aes sedai has ever skipped the novice stage. But not only does Nynaeve do it, its Verin that suggest its possible. Interesting

Alviarin was in Fal Dara and so was Liandrin. Bors observes 2 aes sedai and a Shienaran at the dark friend social. Coincedence?

Also doesnt Ingtar say it was logical to become a dark friend. Could he be Alviarins pet convert?

"He sees the light of saidin and tries to grasp it, but all he gets is the taint obscuring it. He keeps trying until the void shatters, which it had never done before, and Rand staggers back, feeling like he wants to vomit "
Could this be foreshadowing for Rands channelling problems?

"That was some nice fast-talk on Rand’s part to Loial, though it does lead to another question: how does Rand know that Ages prior to the Age of Legends had no channeling? I mean, we know that, because we know Randland is a future/past Earth, but I’m curious as to how Rand knows. Maybe the stories about Lenn and Mosk and so on mention it?"
Rand probably doesnt have a clue what was in the other ages. Just talking shit out of panic and luckily it works

I am assuming that Ishy knows the Karaethon cycle. Is he trying to make sure the prophecies are fulfilled but done his way. Thus Fain going to Toman Head and Ishy giving Rand his first heron mark.

"Aw, Loial. Who’s my widdle Ogier scholar? Are you the most smartest character in the book except possibly Verin? Yes you are!"
Lol Leigh im sure Loials ears are twitching like nothing else after that

And Leigh if Brad Pitt came up to you and wanted to get all up into your Kool-aid how much questioning would you do?

"It’s interesting how, in these three chapters, Lanfear and Ishamael are kind of tag-teaming Rand -- without knowing it, since I’m about 100% positive Lanfear’s doing whatever the hell she wants, and screw Ishy’s agenda. The irony, of course, is how similar their separate agendas actually are, in goal if not in motive. More on that later."
I personally think Ishy knows exactly what Lanfear is up to but as long as it brings Rand to the shadow its all good

Datamuse@43 ive just learnt my one new thing for the day. Thank you

Im sorry for such a long post but this series brings out the blabber mouth in me. I did try to edit it down the best that I could.
Michael Ikeda
83. mikeda

As others have pointed out, Egwene's full name is Egwene-al'Vere.

Which sounds a lot like Guenevere--the name of Artur's Queen in the Arthurian legends.
84. meiyas
This is a comment from the end of the first book, but it is something that came to my mind with all this discussion of whether Lanfear is using compulsion.
When Rand returns from using the eye of the world and talks to Moraine, she says she suspected he could channel because when he accepted the coins (at the beginning of the book) he should have done everything she said, but he had been always asking questions. Does that means she used some sort of compulsion on the boys from the beginning?
85. Egglie
I just got to the chapter with Verin and the dark prophesy and all the Lanfear background is there, so ignore me.

Also noticed though, that in Chapter 8 when Verin, Moiranie and Siuan are discussing Rand after he leaves Verin wonders if they will have to gentle him but says no they can't because of the Prophecies. Moiraine then says "The Propehcies" (nodding) "Afterwards, we will do as we must. As we do now"

I Verin believes that she must follow the boys then Moiraine has just told her to do it.

If she has read a prophesy implying that they will need the help an AS then she doesn't even have to do much twisting of the words.

The oddest thing about Verin following the boys is her not taking her warder - why not?
86. FullNelson
RE:the plausability of a sufficiently beautiful woman turning off a man's brain... how to put this delicately... I am capable of complex thought OR arousal, not both. I have no trouble watching these hapless schmucks see what they want to see because that's what humans do, and it is accentuated in this case by a male weakness, and while men can construct defenses against this trait it requires time and practice Rand has never had and, apparently, Hurin hasn't had either.

'Charming' (as a verb) refers to casting a spell on someone and is reserved for fiction, yet anyone can be 'charming' (as an adj). I have more trouble accepting Loial being similarly enchanted because he is a different species and I doubt even the most beautiful of human females has very cute ears or sexy, dangling eyebrows...

Some have suggested Lanfear used Compulsion - this would be a fairly large and needless risk given that she knows Rand can channel and thus has defenses against a woman channeling. Granted, she could have inverted the web, but she has many opportunities to *force* Rand to do what she wants yet never does because she wants him to "love" her (which would be something akin to, yet worse than, having Poison Ivy obsessed with you). We still have no clue how/if Compulsion affects Ogier - the OP in general is based enough on physics that I think the mechanics of Compulsion involve monkeying with the brain, and humans and Ogier will have slightly different brains. Finally, strong-willed characters can and do break Compulsions, and I doubt anyone is more strongly-willed than Rand. When Rand finally burns her letters there is none of the lingering mental trauma we see in characters who break Compulsion - he's just sad cause he wanted a piece of that 10+, mmm mmm MMMM!

However, there is no need for women to ask men if this is believable because the same thing happens later with genders reversed - so, ladies, is it believable for Galad (who can't use the Power at all) to be so ridiculously good-looking that even women who dislike him (like Nynaeve) are still unable to think clearly in his presence?

@14 laframboise

Yes, 'Gaebril' had no troubles with Morgase - but we get bits of internal dialogue from Morgase throughout the process. Remember the internal confusion Morgase went through before, during and after she broke the Compulsion? Doesn't sound much like anything Rand has experienced.

Also, taking the Oaths gives one the Ageless appearance and breaking the Oaths removes the Agelessness - eventually.

@15 cps2195

Hurin DID smell evil on Lanfear - he just convinced himself it was 'leftover' evil from that other plane of existence (this happens right after Rand brings them back via Portal Stone).

@48 DQuix

I think that, as of the time Fain was broken out of prison, the DO did not know that he was Mordeth, thus did not know Fain could disobey the DO. So the DO tells him "goto TH" and Fain thinks "mya, I'm gonna steal this plan and make it my own, see?" and the DO's all like, "MAHONEY!"

Rand will juggle 3 wives the same way any good man would - he'll change his name, shave his head, and join a monastic order somewhere very far away ;)

@57 Erdrick

OP used on heartstone makes it "unbreakabler".
87. GregoryD
81 @ DAVID 2

The reason Egwene al'Vere gets stuck with the goofy name is because it is Gwenevere. Tar Valon is Avalon
and Tarmon Gai'don is Armageddon. You just have to take out a few letters here and there.
Richard Fife
88. R.Fife
Another though on Fain knowing to put the message to Rand with Toman Head in it. He knows the Dark Prophecy that is scrawled on the wall. They said it was either a Halfman or an educated Darkfriend that wrote it (it was in a better hand.) So, Fain/Mordeth saw the prophecy, and thought "Hawkwings armies, ch-ching". Thus his message, and no time-paradox of him having to torture the information out of a halfman. He probably still did torture the details out, but yeah...
Richard Boye
89. sarcastro
re: Lanfear using Compulsion on Rand

I am pretty sure that she was leading him about with wafting tendrils of Compulsion, since the trick of a male channeler to resist Compulsion only works if they are holding Saidin (right? I think I used to know this...). When Alanna tries to control Rand in Caemlyn, he was wavering and acting all woozy, but then he grabbed Saidin and blunted her efforts.

Here, Rand's ability to channel is so sketchy and iffy that I don't think he'd be able to seize Saidin and hold Lanfear off, particularly if she was taking utmost care to do so subtly and delicately so he didn't recognize an attempt to steer him.

The use of Compulsion comes in many degrees - it can be used like a sledge hammer when Moghedien puts the whammy on that Ebou Dari innkeeper, making her slower of wits and wacky afterwards, it can be done with extreme skill like when Moghedien entices Elayne and Nynaeve into welcoming her as a friend and spilling their guts, or when Myrelle uses very carefully controlled impulses to bring Lan to her when they finally come together. We also have Liandrin's pin-prick - it opens the person up to suggestions, but needs the distraction of physical pain.

Verin mentions that there are many students who come to the Tower with a rude ability that is basically just an unnatural way of inducing people do what you want.

Lanfear was probably just using very slight suggestion-Compulsion on Rand, which was probably enough to work, as he was already off kilter due to her ethereal supernatural beauty (and he's a rube bumpkin virgin) and the whole alien world thing.

Rahvin, a reputed maestro of Compulsion, slammed Morgase into doing things she would never do - dress like a slut in Court, banish her companion-lover Captain of the Guards, have her dearest friend and staunchest ally flogged, etc...

That would seem to require a good degree more potency than Lanfear cooing and coaxing Rand into doing things that she wants, but which are not things that he would be dead set against.

re: Egwene's name

I always liked Egwene's name, actually. It reminds me of Igraine, which I think is pretty (I know Tigraine=Iraine and Egwene al'Vere = Guenivere in this settting).
90. FunBob
Leigh, Congrats on another great post....
a few notes:
I believe that Selene was using a mild compulsion not to make anyone love her or fawn after her (although they all do that!) but to make them more open to her suggestions. It is what Liandrin tries to do, with limited success, and Verin accomplishes with her pseudo-compulsion.
@11 discussed Rand and the girls touching the source as much as possible to get them hooked on it. There is a discussion later in the books about the girls being "forced" by Siuan to get them to increase their powers faster and impact the scene more. It makes sense that Lanfear would do the same to Rand, as "each touch of the channeller to the source makes it easier" and she would want him to get his full powers quickly to fall in with her schemes to supplant both the Dark One and the Creator
Either scenario (Rand takes the boys to if-world or Lanfear takes them) are valid possibilities because (1) Lanfear could take them all easily, or (2) Lanfear could read the residues of Rand's channeling to follow them. There have been numerous discussions of the residue of the travelling weave to follow another, and I believe in one of the Forsaken prologues, Graendal opened a portal to her palace in Arad Domon (as seen through it), and then closed it and created a new one to followed Sammael after he created a portal to Illian.
It would definitely be possible that the fourth age could be without the Wheel of Time or the Great Serpent. Ragnarok in Norse mythology led to the death of most of the Gods and most of the worlds, including Thor killing the World Serpent, and two humans hiding in Yygdrasil, the World Tree, live to repopulate a new Earth. Rand al Thor killing the Great Serpent; Avendesora, the Tree of Life, being alive in Rhuidien; and the human race surviving the fall of the Gods could be Jordan's ultimate goal...
Good discussions all the way around....C U all next week!
91. stoutdog101
Great discussion, as always!

1) Lanfear or Rand using Portal Stone? I think it has to be Lanfear, simply because of the dream that Egwene had. What else would be the purpose of that dream other than to show that Lanfear took Rand into the "if" world? Besides, and maybe this is just me projecting future events onto the situation, but Rand seems to have a knack for remembering weaves... even if this particular weave was performed while he was asleep, he learns most of his weaves early on by just doing them. It's all in his subconscious. So why would he have so much trouble using the portal stone again?

2) Lanfear/Selene. Someone commented that Selene was *not* Lanfear... I think that is reading way too much into RJ's writing at this point. The story is still developing here, and his deceptive skills aren't nearly as fine tuned as they will be when we get to book 5 and Asmo.

3) Did Lanfear use compulsion on Rand? I don't think so. First off, if she is the most beautiful woman in the world, it is easily understandable that Rand would go gaga over her. Another thought though, and maybe I'm wrong on this one, it's been a while, but wouldn't Rand feel a tingle if she was channeling?

4) Will TG be the FINAL battle? I hope so, but I have a sneaking suspicion that this will just be another turn of the Wheel. I might throw AMOL across the room if that's the case though....

5) Egwene... I've always liked her. She's my favorite female character, while Perrin is my favorite male character. I see a lot of myself in both of them (weird mix, I know). Maybe I'm pronouncing it wrong, but it doesn't sound all that bad either.
92. OldMan44
TOR - Thanks so much for hosting this thread.

Leigh - Thank You for writing it and your commentary can be as Loooong as it takes, as I love reading it. Also, thanks for dispelling the notion that you could be anything but female.

All those that have posted – Thank You for comments/ideas/theories/etc, so far. Y’all are the folks that make these threads so interesting to read!

Have finally managed to catch up in my rereading of the series and look forward to all of your comments on tomorrow’s thread. This third read of the books has broadened my view of the WoT books considerably and I have all of you folks to Thank for it.
93. Renegade248
Great job on the re-read Leigh and great discussion.

First time poster here, but I just have to comment.

Regarding whether or not Lanfear was using compulsion, I do not think so. I just think Rand was taken in by her beauty and kind of went gaga over her, as most men will do with beautiful women, especially if your an 18 year old virgin. I believe she was trying to get him to use the one power to escape the 'if' world to see if he could manage it and actually channel. I also believe she was the one to bring them to the if world in the first place. On my first read through, I didn't not pick up that Selene was indeed Lanfear, but it comes clearer by the end of the book when she is with Min and tells her to look after him for her. On subsequent re-reads, it is kind of obvious who she is with subtle hints, but the first read through it is kind of hard to pick up.

One of my favorite scenes is coming up soon, when Siuan tries to teach Nyneave how to overcome her block and channel, and Nyneave uses the power to throw Siuan against the wall. Pretty funny scene. I will say more when we get to it.

Can't wait for Monday. :)
Leigh Butler
94. leighdb

And Leigh if Brad Pitt came up to you and wanted to get all up into your Kool-aid how much questioning would you do?

Hey, just because I rewound That Scene in Thelma and Louise fifteen times doesn't mean a thing! I could have stopped at any time!
95. gagecreedlives
"Hey, just because I rewound That Scene in Thelma and Louise fifteen times doesn't mean a thing! I could have stopped at any time"

I believe you Leigh, thousands wouldnt but I do.

Keep up the good work
96. tearl
gagecreedlives @82

Alviarin was in Fal Dara and so was Liandrin. Bors observes 2 aes sedai and a Shienaran at the dark friend social. Coincedence?

I don't recall the DFS attendence list being hashed out in Part 1. This is a good excuse to do it here. In addition to Bors, the attendees include:

a Illianer noblewoman, a Domani noblewoman with House insignia on a bracelet, a Shienaran soldier, a male Tinker, a High Lord of Tear, an Andoran Queen’s Guard Officer, a Sea Folk man, and two Black Ajah Aes Sedai

My take on these is

Illianer noblewoman = one of the noblewomen Rand keeps
```close throughout POD (??%); however, I don't
```recall any being Illianer, just Tairean or
Domani noblewoman = ??
Shienaran soldier = Ingtar (95%)
High Lord of Tear = Weiramon (80%)
Tinker = ??
Andoran Queen’s Guard = Daved Hanlon, was he in Andor
```at the time? (35%); or Comar, was he a Queen's
```Guard? (25%)
Sea Folk man = ??
Black Ajah 1 = Liandrin (100%, yes confirmed)
Black Ajah 2 = Alviarin (90%)

97. birgit
But the time difference between the AOL and now was probably to long. (and my memory is definitely very vague on this one...)

The AOL ended 3000 years ago.

have we been told already that she was LTs lover and still loves him?

Yes, when Verin interprets the Dark Prophecy Moiraine thinks that LTT was Lanfear's lover.

someone raised the question of why Hurin wouldn't smell Lanfear/Selene's evil with all the killing she's probably done. But I think maybe he does, and doesn't realize it. He explains how the alternate world they were in stank so bad it even included all of them. And once back in the real world, "I can't get it out of my nostrils yet, all the way." I bet here he's smelling Lanfear, only confusing it with the place they have just been. How convenient.

He does mention that he smells violence on all of them "even Selene".

Andoran Queen’s Guard = Daved Hanlon, was he in Andor

He wasn't in the Queen's Guard yet. He only gets in when he stages "rescuing" Elayne from an assassination attempt by fellow darkfriends. Why does an all female guard that is really led by Birgitte anyway need a male commander?
Richard Fife
98. R.Fife
Two last things before new thread gets posted:

One, I had brain lightenings about the scorches/clouds. Stretch Marks! If that world is compressed massively smaller than the real world, it could be like the horrible stretch marks on my ex's stomach after she had our kids. Air compressing would make clouds, and I guess ground compressing would cause heat that could spark fires that would leave the scorches. Maybe I'm reading into it too much *shrug*

On Lanfear/compulsion: First off, think for a moment, is there truely a "perfect female form?" After all, what passed for a drop dead beautiful woman 3000 years ago is far different than today, and different by culture.

Also, Lanfear's "love morals" are already called into question by the very existence of Selene's form. That isn't what she really looks like. If she was trying to win back LTT by sheer "feminine wiles," why does she have to cast an illusion about herself? If she is willing to do that, good chance she is willing to use a very very mild amount of compulsion. And to the Ogier's are diff comment, there is a good chance Lanfear would know how to tweak the weave to make it work on Loial.

Also, on the list of other mild compulsions, let us not forget the true first time it appeared in the book: the silver marks Moiraine gave the boys in T2Rs. She said they were supposed to make the boys more bidable to her suggestions in addition to acting as homing beacons.
Richard Boye
99. sarcastro

I presume you don't mean the scene where he steals all their money, forcing them into a downward spiral of flight and ultimately suicide.


The treacherous noblewomen that Rand keeps with him are High Lady Anaiyella (Tairen) and Lady Ailil, (Cairhienin). I don't we've ever even met an Illianer noblewoman. I don't that all of the attendees of the Darkfriend Social have been revealed, nor do I think they need to be.

To get back to an earlier point, I am bemused as to why dear RJ, who never met a conclave, council, embassage or other clique who didn't like, and never was shy about giving us names, ethnicities, distingusing personality of physical features, or sartorial habits of each and every member was so coy about enumerating the original Amyrlin's Entourage:

My gut is that the party was heavily leavened with Alviarin's Black Ajah, particularly since the whole Formal Visit was almost stymied by a proposition from the Greens that she not go at all. We now know that one of the Green Sitters was a Black Ajah.
100. Orideth
Just to throw in my 2 cents on the "True Last Battle" debate, I sincerely hope that the books don't end that way. It would fly in the face of everything we've been told about the basic nature of the Wheel, the Pattern, and everything else in the world of Randland. Either the Dark One wins and unmakes the Wheel forever, or the cycle continues into infinity.

In the words of Jolee Bindo, "Don't go thinking this war is special just because you're in it." Just because this is the particular turning of the Wheel that we, as the readers, were given to observe doesn't make it exceptional. It is what it is; a fantastic story, but only one out of many. At least, that's how I look at it, and somehow I think that's how RJ would have seen it too.
Richard Boye
101. sarcastro

that is a good point about the idea of what a most beautiful woman would look like shifts over time (after all, it seems Helen of Troy had a monobrow).

BUT - bear in mind that Lanfear has had the run of T'A'R for a little while, and she could dip and dribble into Rand's dreams and has an idea of what he would want and expect, as well as whatever statistical date she gleaned from everyone's dreams, I guess.

AND - I totally forgot about Moiraine's tokens of "Bidability." Yes, let's add that to the list of milder forms of Compulsion.
102. Lsana
I read the theory about Selene not being Lanfear, and I think I'm convinced that the "Selene" we met in TDR was not Lanfear, but Mesaana. I'm less convinced about the Selene in this book, however. She acts pretty consistently with the way we would expect Lanfear to act and the way that she does act when we meet her later. Although it is...odd, to say the least, that when she suggests Rand use the giant sa'angreal, she doesn't mention the fact that he's already used it to a certain extent.

I'm also not convinced that Alviarin was the second Black Ajah at the Dark Friend Social. There are a lot of Black Ajah, and it could have been any of them. My guess is that Alviarin was there, but was smart enough not to wear her ring.
103. Sidetrack'd
On Lanfear's appearance - at some point, there is mention of her showing her true appearance to Rand, and IIRC, it basically said that it was still her, just 'ripened to maturity' or something like that. I think Lanfear is only using Illusion to make herself appear a little younger, so as to make Rand et al more comfortable around her, closer to their age, so that they'd be more likely to trust her, feel sympathy for her, etc - rather than seeing her as the creepy older lady, cougar, or whatever...
John Massey
104. subwoofer
Hi Leigh- you are still doing wonderful work! Making headway but do not have time to read the comments others' are leaving.
Chapter 11- "She could be a hundred leagues off and she still reaches out and tugs the leash." Huge chapter as far as the whole relationship dynamic goes with the 3. Yup Mat still needs beats... I mean he has a certain knee jerk reaction that many would have, he is a dirt bag after all but still when a guy in deep shit steps up for you.... be nice.
Lots of prancing and sleeping and dirt etc...
Chapter 16- is it me or do men's IQ drop 50 points when a hot chick enters the room. I mean come on.... this is like the episode when Charlie Harper hooks up with that satan worshiping girl and she wants to spawn baby giglameshes with him. Best part of the whole thing was Loial AGAIN!...
"I have never thought of it before," Loial said abruptly, sounding as if he were talking to himself, "but if there is a such a thing (I know her name in real life) as perfect human beauty, in face and form, then you--"
Cool Beans!
105. NanaD
@41 & 42
I think Egwene is the oldest daughter also. She has just reached marriagable age, and no mention is made of having older married sisters. Also later when Nynaeve is tested for Accepted she has a vision of Marin al'Vere and she says she still has four daughters at home.
106. hummingbird
@ Gregory D ..... twitterpated.... HA! well done.

I dont know if I ever got that Selene was Lanfear, I remember thinking on my first read.... well F! Which Forsaken is loose now.... And Im not sure when I finally figured it out, to tell the truth.

And FWIW.... Perrin's naming, or at least his realization that the wolves gave him a name is one of my all time favorite scenes in the entire rand-darn series.
107. markerikson
Okay, so, when I was twenty, a pretty girl convinced me to gamble a third of my money.

She wasn't trying to make me do this, she didn't spend any amount of time trying to convince me, she just made the offhand suggestion that I should get in on the casino action, because it could be fun.

At the time, I only had $60 to my name, but I still blew $20.

Granted, this wasn't a girl I'd just met, such as Rand and Selene, I'd had a crush on this girl for a couple of months. However, I still would like to go back in time and slap the shit of myself on that night. And so I absolutely believe that men will do utterly stupid things at the urging of a pretty girl.
108. birgit
I think Egwene is the oldest daughter also. She has just reached marriagable age, and no mention is made of having older married sisters. Also later when Nynaeve is tested for Accepted she has a vision of Marin al'Vere and she says she still has four daughters at home.

Egwene's older sisters appear in the Ravens prologue of tEotW. One of them has lost a baby to an illness and treats Egwene like a baby. Another sister isn't allowed to braid her hair yet although she is older than many girls who may braid their hair.
109. birgit
Ages of the al'Vere sisters in the Ravens prologue:

Egwene: age 9

Berowyn: age ?, eldest sister, lost husband and baby to breakbone fever last fall and moved back home this spring, braided hair at 16

Loise: age 15, youngest (not counting Egwene)

Alene: age ?, braided hair at 16

Elisa: age 18, hair not yet braided
110. mmgilmer
About the lines in the sky . . . After reading book 2 for the third time, I have a guess. The other worlds available through the portal stones are worlds that could have been. I think the world that Rand, Hurin, and Loial traveled to was the world in which everybody was destroyed by balefire. The long straight, burnt marks on the ground, lines in the sky, nothing living being there (except for the grolm, but I think that was a Lanfear setup anyway), it seems likes the aftermath of massive balefire to me.
111. toddywatts
I think the whole Rand/Dark One is dead and Lanfear/not a bad person both come down to the same thing: willful self-deception.

Haven't you ever found yourself shouting something to make it true? Is that any more rational than naming the Dark One multiple times even after feeling the world shift and getting dizzy each time? Well, maybe.

Country bumpkin Rand doesn't think there's anything worse out there in the world than someone who can hunt and hurt you in your dreams. It's kinda cute when you think about it.

I don't think Lanfear as Selene had to use compulsion. She's weaving an illusion to make herself irresistable. Who could resist?

Also, how many times do we really question if people are what they seem to be? "He seemed like such a nice young man, I couldn't believe it." Of course, then there are other people that I wish were mass murderers and would go to jail and I would never have to see them again.

Here's a moment of self-realization for you: I had no idea how selfish that last thought was until I saw it in print. I hope that their "victims" are all just in my imagination!
112. Katiya
Yup, Ingtar let Fain out...Jordan again. Also, it's been speculated that Rand really ISN'T that taken with her, and that she was using a mild form of Compulsion on know, just to check him out, just in case he wasn't really LTT. By the time we get to DR, I firmly believe that Lanfear was too infatuated to think of Compulsion, because she wanted to believe that he really loved her; and wonder of wonders, Rand isn't such a goosegog around her.

The thing about knowing things about other Ages...could be the first signs of LTT bleeding through?

Oh, and Alviarin WAS at the DF social...something in a later book confirms it, though I can't remember just what right now.
113. sps49
DarkFriend Social- Ingtar and others are confirmed as having been there, but is it likely that only one Shienaran is there? or just 2 Aes Sedai? Others may have thought to wear a disguise.
114. Machin Shin
I have loved Lanfear from the first time I read the series. I would turn to the dark side for her! She has a "True Love" and will do anything within her power for him..... what's not to love?
Michelle Patelle
115. michellepatelle
walking around with a giant neon sign saying “TEH EBIL”

116. vanessa6
i am going to spoiler here...

i think that Egwene is honest - that is, she is *not happy* with being part of AS machinations at the outset, having to have "her tasks" have to be carried out with deception, and with any of the political maneuverings... but she begins to see the BIG PICTURE eventually, traveling with Rand and Mor
that being said, once she found herself on the role of a leader whose task it was to lead , she gained in her role, and the shoes she found out that she was to wear actualy fit her natural path...
i say this, as i have found myself over the past decade or more being like EG in my professional life, and going from "why would you be so manipulaitve" to thinking "i have to achieve the greater goal, and so who plays on Team Vanessa" being good at what you do, or being talented, which EG certainly is, then thinking "how can i make things go the best way that they should... "
it's a hard enough thing to play in "office politics" - how much harder would it to be to play it in an environment where even Cairheinen admit "Aes Sedai invented the Games of Houses"?
So EG has adapted to her situarion, and found that the manuveering is actually challegning... i think she hasfound her natural place, and she seems to be rather bright, and creative, and so her story line follows naturaly
117. Freelancer
I was peeking back through older posts looking for a comment that struck something with me. Haven't found it yet, but I just realized that Leigh's post included, in her description of Ishamael, a Zaphod Beeblebrox reference, and no comments about it.
118. Rueben31
Ok, I'm coming in late to this and didn't read all the posts so pardon me if someone mentioned...on the straight lines in the sky in faded land..jet trails = 'contrails', Rand and the group are following a trail of some evil people, Cons are evil, any link? Bad Pun? I don't know, but it was pretty weird. By the way, love these re-reads. I'm definetly hooked. I've read and re-read the series six times and I'm still learning new tid bits. Way to go Leigh!
119. egsrocks
My theory is the trails in the sky and the scortch marks on the ground are related to one another and are caused by something as yet unseen. NOT Balefire..... doesn't compute.
120. BenM
re Verin: "In other words, she’s sneaky but not evil."

DING DING DING! We have a winner.
121. Anon2
>Oh, and for this exercise you may also want to remember that in this scenario you are eighteen. And a virgin. Just FYI.

Oh... You're good.
Jake Bobo
122. Jake O Shadows
ahhhh verin.... hindsight is awesome isn't it. I was SURE she was SUPER SUPER SUPER E.V.I.L. and that she was going to bite every one in the ass by aMOL. Whoops, guess I suck.
I also heard some speculation that Verin is workin for or with Lanfear at this point, which is why V shows up the very morning Rand hops realities.
Does our TGS revelation on V destroy this theory or could it still hold water?
I also admit that had I been in poor Rand's boots dealing with Seleane I would have been just as suckered just as fast. Sometimes it sucks to be male.
123. Delafina
Re: Rand acting stupid around Lanfear...

I work in a very male-dominated environment (software). I've had long email conversations with testers, then told them to come up to my office to finish the conversation and witnessed them literally gaping and unable to complete a sentence when they first saw me in person.

I am moderately attractive, but I'm no Lanfear.

So yes, based on that, guys babbling strange things in college when I started talking to them, one guy actually tripping over his own feet whenever I called his name, and so on, I'd say poor unsophisticated teenage virgin Rand, when confronted with one of the most beautiful women in the world, would plausibly act just as dumb as he does.

I've had a lot of young guys act even more stupidly around me, and I'm far, *far* below Lanfear on the beauty scale.
124. Thom N
I would like to add my two cents in about Verin... hehe. She's Black yo. But in the coolest way possible. The ultimate undercover, subverting the Lord of Lies. Awesome.
125. nineballer
i like how 3 out of the 4 teachers in chpt12 are now confirmed darkfriends,could alanna be one also?
126. Jeribai
I've read all the way from the start of book one up to this part so far, and I must say I'm loving it Leigh.

For chapter 11: I really think Fain is probably the creepiest, most sinister villain I've seen or heard of. Especially later on when he kills people because they're his friends, and that's what you do with friends, and the boy with his mother ... definite creeps.

Ch. 12: I think he fails to mention who the yellow is because I think there's some kind of quota he can't go over per chapter of characters ... although the number must be in the double digits :-P

Ch. 13: I think Rand considers the AoL to be something beyond the one power ... like the Horn ... you don't have to have the ability to chanel to use it ... because they basically are Ter'angreal after all.

Ch. 14: RJ actually reuses a lot of titles for chapters ... Leavetakings I'm pretty sure is in at least 3 different books. As for Elyas and Ingtar, I always figured Elyas was originally from the borderlands before he became a warder ... I mostly say this because of how quickly he saw flaws in Perrin and Egwene's story when they said they were from up north without the wolves telling him so. As for Verin, I too thought she must not be black because otherwise her help in defending Emond's Field later on wouldn't make any sense ... and then the twist came about that explained Verin finally.

Ch. 15: I always figured they were jets as well from his description ... although it's clearly not the trollocs that would've invented them. I think that "if" world is pretty clear (if you've read the Aviendha chapters in the most recent book). The trollocs won, but Hawkwing's decendants still went over to Seanchan, did their thing, came back, wiped out the trollocs, and in all their ways of doing things bigger and better, developed jets to travel from Seanchan to Shara, which they likely had colonized at that point too. Why the grolm were unattended, or why they hadn't pulled down the monument yet, I've got no idea.
128. TheSonOfThomAndMoraine
To comment on theories that so and so must have used compulsion... Compulsion theory is kinda like a universal cop-out. We should expect less of our noble heroes that they could easily screw up by themselves without the help of the truly evil... Assume the other way around - no compulsion was done unless confirmed. :)
129. Eliane
Novak@11 has nailed it:
"... Lanfear's game here was to force Rand to channel as much as possible -- to get him past Power Acquisition Syndrome, to get him limbered up and used to it, to get him addicted to it, to sort of indirectly train him."

The grolm were Lanfear's way of trying to force Rand to channel -- and to do what she wanted him to do. I think that she manifested/ materialized/ transported the grolm to their alternate world; the first one, to try to get him to channel when he rescued her. He did, using the void to get his shot to go straight in the grolm's eye.

Then she tries to persuade him to channel with the Portal Stone to take her back now. He refuses, by saying that he will do so AFTER they have found the men they are following. Lo and behold, 5 more grolm appear. He channels to direct his arrows in killing them all. She then goads him further, asking him if he can kill a hundred more of them (as she manifests a large pack of them which are heard in the distance).

At which point he finally gives in and gives her what she wants, agreeing to channel with the Portal Stone to take them back to their world.
130. sadface
Theoretically, in the worlds-of-if any world you can imagine can exist. Maybe we aren't jumping to the right conclusions about what happened in this world. The presence of jet planes (sho-wings?) may imply that this is a world where the technology from the AoL wasn't lost; did LTT seal the bore here, is the source tainted here (is that why Lanfear chose this world-she wants him to channel, but may wish to protect him from the taint), is this what happens if LTT lost his war? Also, this world is pale, unlikely to exist. This gives us a bit of guage as to precariously the world is is not unlikely that the Trollocs raized all of the Westlands, it unlikely that the Trollocs raized the Westlands AND there are jets.

Also, don't confuse the parallel worlds with the worlds-of-if. They both exist and are different.
131. JimF
Leigh you sneaky thing: "...Ba’alzamon being all burned and stuff kind of makes a really strong argument for him not to be a semi-omnipotent semi-deity/demon/Satan stand-in/whatever. He’s just this guy, you know?..." I cannot believe that no one caught this reference to Zaphod Beeblebrox; this comment was always used by Zaphod's analyst whenever he described one of ZB's actions, tics, whatever (in the audio tape version).
132. Wedge
Here's my take on the linear clouds in the sky. The world that they end up in through the portal stone is a reflection, but it's not just a reflection of their world, it's a reflection of many worlds. It's partially a reflection of worlds where the trollocs won, for example, which explains the monument and so forth.

Additionally, not all worlds are at the same stage as every other world. They are at different positions of the "wheel", so to speak. One world may be in the age of legends, one in the 3rd age, and one in the first age. So the contrails in the mirror world could be reflections from a world that is currently in the technological age or the age of legends, where aircraft or "sho-wings" (depending on the age) fly around.
133. MOrgan Leah
Selene would own me.

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