Feb 18 2009 1:31pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Great Hunt, Part 5

It’s that time again, kids!

Greetings, salutations, and welcome to Part 5 of the re-read of The Great Hunt, part of the ongoing Wheel of Time Re-read on this here thingy. Today’s verbosity will be covering Chapters 24-30.

Previous entries, as per the usual, can be found here.

Also per the usual, here there be spoilers for anything and everything WOT-related, and probably for a few things that have nothing whatsoever to do with anything. You Have Been Warned. And Thinged.

Yup. And now, the post!

Chapter 24: New Friends and Old Enemies

What Happens
An Accepted named Pedra leads Egwene to her new room as a novice. She enters, and meets her roommate Elayne. They commiserate on how much chores suck, and Elayne explains to her how things are going to go as a novice. They compare what they can do so far with saidar, and both are delighted to see a nimbus of light around the other for the first time. Elayne knows Egwene is from the Two Rivers, and asks if she knows a boy named Rand al’Thor. Egwene is surprised, and then makes the connection and gasps; she’d thought Rand was making that up. She asks if Elayne is the Daughter-Heir of Andor, and Elayne confirms it. They talk some more about how hard the Tower drives the novices, despite how few of them there are, and Elayne tells Egwene about Sheriam’s theory that the Reds have been culling the ability to wield the One Power out of humankind by gentling men who can channel. Elayne brings the subject back to Rand, and mentions that Elaida thinks he is important in some way; she was in a fury when she lost him in Caemlyn. Egwene is wary at this, and Elayne tells her bluntly that she would not give Rand up to Elaida in any case. Then she tells Egwene there are two other girls who know Rand in the Tower: Else Grinwell, a feckless farmgirl who Elayne thinks will not last very long as a novice, and one other, who she proposes they go see. They head out, and run into a handsome, sad-eyed man in the hall, who is led away by an Accepted. Elayne says that was Logain, but that he is gentled now, and no danger to them. They go to a garden and meet Min; Egwene recognizes her from Baerlon, and says so. Min asks after Rand too, and Egwene replies rather tartly, asking why Min is here; Min looks at her with regret, and says that she is here because she was given no choice in the matter. Elayne explains Min’s ability to Egwene, and says Min saw the Rose Crown around her before she even knew who Elayne was; Egwene asks what Min sees around her, and Min answers a white flame, among other things.

They are interrupted by Gawyn and Galad, shirtless and sweaty from a sword lesson, and Egwene is struck rather speechless by Galad. Gawyn and Min grin at her discomfiture, but Elayne frowns. Galad asks if he can take Egwene for a walk sometime, and at her affirmative, takes his leave. Min murmurs that there’s one who will always do the right thing, no matter who it hurts; Elayne agrees, in harsher terms, and Gawyn comes to Galad’s defense. Elayne introduces him to Egwene, and mentions she is from the same village as Rand. Gawyn asks if Rand was really born in the Two Rivers; wondering what he knows, Egwene says of course he was.

“Of course,” Gawyn said slowly. “Such a strange fellow. A shepherd, he said, though he never looked or acted like any shepherd I ever saw. Strange. I have met all sorts of people, and they’ve met Rand al’Thor. Some do not even know his name, but the description could not be anyone else, and he’s shifted every one of their lives. There was an old farmer who came to Caemlyn just to see Logain, when Logain was brought through on his way here; yet the farmer stayed to stand for Mother when the riots started. Because of a young man off to see the world, who made him think there was more to life than his farm. Rand al’Thor. You could almost think he was ta’veren. Elaida is certainly interested in him. I wonder if meeting him will shift our lives in the Pattern?”

Egwene changes the subject by telling Elayne and Min that she likes them and wants to be their friend; all three hug impulsively, and giggle when Gawyn asks what’s going on. Then Gawyn sees Elaida approaching and hastily takes off. Elayne tries to introduce Egwene to Elaida, and gets sent to Sheriam’s study for speaking to an Aes Sedai without being spoken to first. Elayne is astounded, but takes the rebuke meekly; as she and Egwene run off to chores, she growls that she will be Aes Sedai, and Egwene agrees, and they grin at each other. Later, Min tries to cool down after the grilling she got from Elaida once the others left, and wonders how the woman knew that Moiraine had summoned her to the Tower, and whether she had successfully lied to Elaida about not knowing Rand.

What does she want with him? Light, what does Moiraine want with him? What is he? Light, I don’t want to fall in love with a man I’ve only met once, and a farmboy at that.

Min wishes Moiraine would come back and tell her why she’s here so she can leave already.

Like sands through the hourglass, these are the Wheels of our Times! Or maybe a better title would be Fast Times at Tar Valon High. Oh, the sweaty drama.

I was initially going to give Gawyn props for his lack of envy of Galad, but for some reason now it strikes me as unnatural; c’mon, he should be at least a little jealous of Mr. Perfection there, especially if we’re to believe that he falls head over heels for Egwene later on. Of course, Gawyn turns out to be a complete loonball once the Tower coup goes down, so maybe I shouldn’t expect normal reactions from him in any case.

Elayne: I have always liked her. I know a lot of people don’t, because they think she is snotty and vain. And the thing is, she is snotty and vain; she’s a freakin’ princess, what did you expect? What’s cool about her, in my opinion, is that she’s perfectly well aware of that part of her, and tries to work with it, instead of letting it become an excuse not to be all the good things she is as well. If you think of her beauty and upbringing as handicaps for her to overcome, rather than the other way around, she becomes a lot easier to sympathize with as a character.

Elaida: big giant bitca. Who’s shocked? C’mon, show of hands... yeah, that’s what I thought.

Poor Min. Don’t try to tell me knowing the future doesn’t suck. Sorry about all that free will you thought you had, girl!

Chapter 25: Cairhien

What Happens
Rand, Loial, and Hurin ride into Cairhien, escorted by Tavolin (Caldevwin’s second) and fifty Cairhienin soldiers. Rand likes the Foregate, the overflow town of ex-Aiel War refugees surrounding Cairhien, comparing its cheerful colorful rowdiness favorably against the stark, precise character of the city proper. He notes a parade of giant puppets, made to look like fanciful beasts and Trollocs; Hurin mutters whoever made the Trolloc puppet obviously never saw a real one. Rand asks if there’s a festival going on, and Loial says no more than always; Galldrian keeps the rabble quiet by basically having a 24/7 party in the Foregate. Loial thinks Galldrian is a disgrace. Hurin adds that the constant festivity has induced the Illuminators to build a chapter house here, the only one outside of Tanchico. They reach the gates to the city, and Tavolin announces “Lord Rand of House al’Thor, in Andor” loudly to the guardhouse officer. Rand asks if there’s an inn out there, nodding to the Foregate, and the officers react with shock; Hurin whispers frantically that it’s improper, and they will think Rand is up to something. Annoyed, Rand takes it back, and asks the officer if he knows a Lady Selene; the officer exchanges looks with Tavolin, and says he’ll make inquiries. Hurin leads them to an inn called the Defender of the Dragonwall. The innkeeper, Cuale, starts at the sight of Rand before covering it, and Rand thinks sourly to himself that the man thought he was Aiel. After they get rooms, Rand tells the others that this place bugs him, and he’s going back to the Foregate for a while. He asks if one of them wants to come; Loial demurs, seeming nervous about the possibility of meeting other Ogier, and Hurin says he’d rather not, as there are enough fights and killing in the Foregate that it kind of stinks to him. He asks permission to have a drink in the common room instead; Rand tells him he doesn’t need Rand’s permission to do anything, but Hurin ignores this. They go down together, and Cuale greets Rand with a tray containing three sealed parchments. Rand asks what they are, and Cuale replies that they are invitations from three noble Houses. He leaves, and Rand asks Hurin why nobles are sending him invites; Hurin tells him everyone in Cairhien knows an outland lord is here by now. Rand hurls the invitations into the fire and announces to the room at large that he is not playing Daes Dae’mar.

[Hurin:] “Light, but you mind me of the time Teva got so mad at a hornet buzzing round his ears, he kicked the nest. You’ve likely just convinced everyone in the room you are in some deep part of the Game. It must be deep, as they’ll see it, if you deny playing at all.”

Rand stalks out angrily, and wanders the Foregate for a while until he overhears a voice telling a story about Rogosh Eagle-Eye, and in disbelief goes inside and sees Thom there. Thom sees him and is similarly shocked, then nods to a side door. Thom joins Rand in a moment, limping, and Rand tells him how wonderful it is to see him alive, and that he should have gone back to help at Whitebridge. Thom tells him it was a good thing he didn’t; the Fade wasn’t interested in Thom and so only left him “a little present of a stiff leg”, but Rand would have been killed. Thom asks if Moiraine’s with Rand; at Rand’s headshake, he looks disappointed and mutters something about her being a fine woman, even if... Thom moves on and demands his harp and flute back; Rand promises to get them for him right away, and Thom says to meet him at the inn where Thom’s staying, The Bunch of Grapes.

Yay, Thom! I wish I could remember whether I was surprised when he reappeared, the first time.

Hurin: not good with peer pressure, evidently. Any minute now Winona Ryder’s going to ask him what his damage is.

In less obscure news, in general I congratulate Jordan on the complexity of his world-building, but even he has sometimes fallen prey to the tendency to make his cultures Planets of Hats, to some degree. I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve never come across a city where everyone agrees on a universal dress code; hell, even small towns usually have at least a token Goth or something.

Of course, it occurs to me that maybe I’m being too 21st century American in making this generalization; dress codes were a lot stricter back in the day, after all. This, however, does not address (hah) the fact that there are apparently no non-Foregater Cairhienin who like to party, at all. I’m just saying.

Chapter 26: Discord

What Happens
Rand runs back to his inn in high spirits; upstairs, he grabs Thom’s bundle and tells Hurin and Loial the good news, and urges Loial to come back with him to meet Thom. Loial again demurs, but Rand will brook no argument and hustles him out. They head to The Bunch of Grapes, and the innkeeper tells them they can wait for Thom in his room with Dena. They go up, and a woman juggling on the bed tells them to leave whatever it is and Thom will pay them later. Rand asks if she’s Dena, and says that the innkeeper said they could wait for Thom there. Dena allows it, somewhat ungraciously. Rand asks if she is Thom’s apprentice, and Loial comments he never heard of a woman gleeman; Dena replies she will be the first. Thom enters, and Dena runs to him, and they kiss long enough to make Rand very uncomfortable. Thom asks Dena to leave them for a while; after she goes, he fondly says he’ll make her a Court bard one day, and introduces himself to Loial. Rand gives him the bundle, and reassures him he never touched the harp, but that the flute earned him meals and beds. Then Rand tells Thom that they have the Horn of Valere, over Loial’s protests. Thom laughs, saying he’s sure they think they have it, but — Rand adds that Moiraine said it was the real thing, and Thom sobers fast. Rand tells him he has to get the Horn to Shienar, and could use Thom’s help getting it there; Thom asks why Shienar and not Illian, and Rand replies because he knows who to give it to in Shienar. Thom says he cannot help Rand. Rand asks Loial to leave them alone for a bit; Loial is surprised, but agrees, and leaves. Rand hesitates, and asks Thom about The Karaethon Cycle. Thom looks at him a moment, and recites a verse from it:

“Twice and twice shall he be marked,
twice to live, and twice to die.
Once the heron, to set his path.
Twice the heron, to name him true.
Once the Dragon, for remembrance lost.
Twice the Dragon, for the price he must pay.”

He reached out and touched the herons embroidered on Rand’s high collar.

Rand gapes a moment, then points out that the herons on his sword make five; he is careful to hide the heron branded on his palm. Thom talks a bit more about how little sense many of the passages from the Prophecies of the Dragon make, and reconfirms that Rand is not traveling with any Aes Sedai. Rand obliquely asks Thom the same question Moiraine did of Vandene, whether there is a connection between the Dragon and the Horn, but Thom is less certain in his answer. Rand says something about not letting himself be used as a false Dragon by the Tower, and Thom says he thought for a while that he was the one Moiraine wanted, and thought he knew why, too, but since Moiraine’s let Rand go, he supposes not. They discuss Owyn for a bit, and Rand again urges Thom to help him; Thom again refuses, saying he only helped the last time because there was an Aes Sedai mixed up in it. He gives the flute back to Rand and tells him to keep it, and that he and Thom won’t be talking again; best to make a clean break.

After Rand leaves, Thom ruminates over the story Rand told him, and calls himself an old fool. From the door, the innkeeper (Zera) agrees with him, letting an outland lord mix him up in the Game of Houses again. Startled, Thom thinks of what Rand was wearing and realizes he had looked like a lord, at that. He tells Zera Rand is just a shepherd, but Zera scornfully replies right, and she’s the Queen of Ghealdan. She says the Game has gotten dangerous these days; it will eat Thom’s young lord alive, and Thom would do well to stay out of it when it happens. Zera advises him to marry Dena instead, and Thom chases her out. He thinks to himself that Horn or no Horn, Rand is out of Aes Sedai hands, and that is all Thom need concern himself with.

“He is out of it,” he said aloud, “and so am I.”

Is it lame that I giggled at the harp icon being used for a chapter named “Discord”? And hah, my edition of TGH still has the error of Thom telling Rand that he should have kept the harp in tune.

No female gleemen? Not one? Feh. Well, at least they’re allowed to be Court bards, evidently.

Rand and Thom’s conversation kind of puzzles me, because it seems like Thom is being remarkably slow on the uptake here. He says he thought he knew why Moiraine was interested in Rand (obviously implying channeling), but now doesn’t think so anymore, and his rationalization is that Moiraine (or any Aes Sedai) would never have let a man who could channel go waltzing off into the blue yonder without gentling him first, and since Rand isn’t mopey and suicidal, that’s clearly not the case.

Which, okay, that makes sense as far as it goes, but this is immediately after Rand babbles about not wanting to be a false Dragon for the Tower. I know channeling is not necessarily a prerequisite for being a false Dragon, but shouldn’t that plus the amount of interest Rand shows in Thom’s nephew Owyn’s fate set off a least a couple of alarm bells?

Chapter 27: The Shadow in the Night

What Happens
Rand and Loial head back through the Foregate toward Cairhien; noise and merriment come from a ways off, but this part is deserted except for some men with a Trolloc puppet. The puppet reaches them and turns out to be a real Trolloc; it attacks, and Rand kills it with his sword, and the Darkfriends pretending to be the puppeteers turn and run. Rand starts to say they have to get back to Hurin, and is grabbed from behind by another Trolloc. Loial pries the Trolloc off Rand and wrestles with it, while Rand tries to find an opening with his sword without hurting Loial; in desperation he finally tries to seize saidin, but fails. Then Loial snaps the Trolloc’s neck and throws it aside; shaking, he says he never killed anything before. Rand reassures him he had no choice in the matter, and they see another “puppet” heading toward them. They run, trying to get back to where there are people, but every time they are blocked by Trollocs hunting them. They end up at the eastern edge of the Foregate, and Loial tells Rand they are up against the wall of the Illuminator chapterhouse. Rand suggests that maybe the Illuminators will let them in, but Loial says they guard their secrets jealously; he doesn’t think they would even let Galldrian in, much less them. Then Selene steps around the corner and asks what trouble has Rand gotten into now; Rand stares, appalled, and tells her she has to get out of here, there are Trollocs. Selene just wants to know how a man who possesses the Horn of Valere lets himself be herded this way; Rand snaps back that he doubts the Horn was meant just to save him from a bunch of Trollocs. He puts his cloak on Selene to camouflage her white dress, and tells Loial they will have to sneak into the chapterhouse. They debate trying to scale the wall for a moment, but Selene finds a door that is mysteriously open. Rand herds the other two inside.

They hide for a moment from a man and woman crossing the courtyard; the woman, Aludra, is checking with the man, Tammuz, that all is in readiness for something. They leave, and Rand sees that in the center of the courtyard are large wooden tubes with cords running from one end and behind a low wall on one side; he knows that the cords are where you put the fire to set off the fireworks, and thinks that he wants nothing to do with fireworks as big as these. They make their way across the courtyard quietly, until Loial accidentally knocks over a stand of smoldering punks; one lands on a fuse to one of the fireworks and ignites it. Rand shouts at the others to get behind the wall, and pushes Selene down and tries to protect her with his body; she punches him in the ribs. Nothing seems to happen for a moment, then a huge sparkling flower of light booms above them, and the chapterhouse erupts. Aludra comes out, screaming insults at Tammuz; finally everyone leaves, not noticing the three crouched behind the wall. Then Loial sees Trollocs in the alleyway leading to the door they had entered by, and Selene comments that they are trapped, and it will take a great man to get them out of it. Rand tells her she doesn’t have to sound so happy about it, and she retorts that if he will not take greatness when it is offered, maybe he doesn’t deserve it. Rand ignores her and tells Loial to take Selene into the alley, and let him worry about the Trollocs. Loial goes, and the Trollocs move to pursue; Rand grabs another tube and a punk, and lights the fuse right at the base of the tube. There is a burst of light and a deafening roar, and the recoil knocks him down; when Rand looks again, the Trollocs are gone, and there is a smoking hole in the building where they had been standing. Rand runs after Loial to the door as the courtyard fills with Illuminators again, and finds the Ogier there alone. Loial tells him that Selene went back before Loial could stop her; Rand turns to go after her, but Loial stops him, saying he will only be taken himself. Finally Rand agrees, and they head back to the inn, where Cuale meets them with a note he said was left by an old woman; it’s sealed with a crescent moon and stars. Rand opens it, and reads:

When I think I know what you are going to do, you do something else. You are a dangerous man. Perhaps it will not be long before we are together again. Think of the Horn. Think of the glory. And think of me, for you are always mine.

Rand wants to know if all women are crazy (Hurin shrugs), and wishes Ingtar would show up.

Action scenes, argh. Great to read,  not so great to summarize.

Ugh, Selene. GO AWAY. At least even Rand is starting to get annoyed with her at this point.

I suppose, based on this chapter, that technically you could say it was Rand who first used gunpowder as a weapon, not Mat. Of course, innovation doesn’t count if it’s not followed by application.

Speaking of which, I find I really want to call plot contrivance foul about having a substance around for so long with such obviously destructive capabilities and no one thinking to use it as a weapon until Our Heroes come along... except for the fact that this has semi-historical precedent.

I say semi-historical, because there seems to be some confusion/difference of opinion on whether gunpowder was immediately used in a military context after its invention in China or not. I distinctly remember learning in school that the Chinese had been using gunpowder in fireworks for decades, possibly centuries, before the invention of cannon/firearms, but what little poking around on the subject I’ve done since then (read: five minutes ago) seems to indicate that this notion is a misconception.

I feel certain someone with stronger history- and/or Google-fu than mine will be able to make answer to the historical reality of this in the comments, but in any case even if it’s a complete urban legend (so to speak), the fact that the idea exists and that many people believe it to be true means it’s perfectly fair game for Jordan to use in WOT, since Jordan not only doesn’t need legends to be true, it’s actually cooler when they kind of aren’t.

Chapter 28: A New Thread in the Pattern

What Happens
Ingtar’s group is traveling through Kinslayer’s Dagger. Perrin thinks of how the wolves told him that there were people in the passes, and wonders if they are Fain’s Darkfriends. Mat is looking paler, and Verin examines him often, but Perrin thinks she is more concerned with Rand; somehow, he thinks she knows the truth about Rand. Ingtar drops back to ride with Perrin, and asks him again what the wolves said. Perrin sighs, and repeats the story:

“Someone — or something — attacked the Darkfriends in the night and killed those Trollocs we found.“ [...] “The wolves call him — or it — Shadowkiller; I think it was a man, but they wouldn’t go close enough to see clearly. They are not afraid of this Shadowkiller; awe is more like it. They say the Trollocs now follow Shadowkiller. And they say Fain is with them” — even after so long the remembered smell of Fain, the feel of the man, made his mouth twist — ”so the rest of the Darkfriends must be, too.”

Ingtar wonders if this Shadowkiller could be a Fade, but Perrin tells him wolves will kill a Fade faster than they will a Trolloc; this was definitely not a Fade. Uno joins them, and quietly says there’s an Aielman in the rocks, and that he must have wanted Uno to see him, otherwise he never would have. Then his eye widens and he points ahead; the Aielman has stepped into the road ahead of them. Instantly, Masema and three others charge the man; Ingtar shouts at them to hold, and they stop reluctantly. Unruffled, the Aiel introduces himself as Urien, a Red Shield. Ingtar dismounts and moves forward to speak with him, and Perrin and Mat come along; Mat comments that Urien looks like Rand, and maybe Ingtar was right about Rand being an Aiel. Ingtar says they didn’t come to fight, and Urien looks rather disappointed; then he sees Verin and bows respectfully to her, calling her Wise One. Verin asks why he called her that, and he replies that she has “the look of those who have made the journey to Rhuidean and survived.” Verin looks excited, but Ingtar interrupts and asks if Urien’s seen any Trollocs or Darkfriends; Urien hasn’t, but seems thrilled at the notion of meeting some. He says it is one of the signs the prophecies speak of. Verin asks about Rhuidean, but Urien says he cannot speak of it; Verin steps right up to him and tells him she is Aes Sedai, and asks him again. Urien looks like he wants to run from her, and uneasily says Rhuidean is in the lands of the Jenn Aiel, and it is where women and men are chosen to be Wise Ones and Clan Chiefs, but that is all he knows. Then he asks if Verin means to kill him now; one of their prophecies says that if the Aiel fail the Aes Sedai again, they will slay them. Verin tells him she has no intention of hurting him, and asks why Urien is here, so far from the Waste. Urien says he searches for a man, He Who Comes With the Dawn. He says that the man will come from the west, but be of Aiel blood; he will go to Rhuidean, and lead the Aiel out of the Three-fold Land. He draws the ancient symbol of the Aes Sedai on the ground, and says that under this sign he will conquer. Ingtar doesn’t recognize the symbol, but Mat and Perrin  — and Verin — do. Verin smudges out the sign, and tells Urien she cannot tell him where the man is; Urien says simply that he will continue to search, and leaves. Ingtar makes ready to head out, muttering about time wasted, and Mat asks Perrin if he thinks Urien was talking about Rand; Perrin says he doesn’t know.

Softly, as to herself, Verin spoke, still staring at the ground. “It must be a part, and yet how? Does the Wheel of Time weave threads into the Pattern of which we know nothing? Or does the Dark One touch the Pattern again?”

Perrin felt a chill.

Verin looked up at the soldiers removing their armor. “Hurry!” she commanded with more snap than Ingtar and Uno combined. “We must hurry!”

The wolves having a name for Rand = Squee-worthy moment. If I squeed. Which I don’t. Shut up.

Our first on-screen Aiel, and I forgot it was Urien. Not that it matters, but for some reason I thought it would be Gaul, which in retrospect is kind of dumb of me. Never mind.

This chapter also provides evidence that this early on Jordan hadn’t quite worked out the whole Ageless look/Oath Rod connection yet. Although, Urien’s words are at least vague enough that you can rationalize them if you wish.

Speaking of which, I’m always slightly bemused by people who use mistakes like this to claim Jordan is a crap writer, or something similarly pejorative, as if one mistake, or even several of them, is enough to invalidate the many many more things he did right. I would say that being judged in the court of public opinion is definitely not all it’s cracked up to be, except as far as I know no one with half a brain has ever claimed the court of public opinion was all puppies farting rainbow sparkles and winning lotto tickets to begin with.

For what it’s worth, I’m just pointing these things out; I have my criticisms of Jordan, and some of those criticisms are major (as we’ll see), but I really don’t think flaws in a work, particularly piddly continuity errors like the Ageless thing, automatically render the work worthless unless the flaws significantly outweigh the virtues. And, obviously, I don’t believe that is the case with WOT at all, otherwise I wouldn’t be here.

Um. So that was... a tangent. Sort of. Moving on!

Chapter 29: Seanchan

What Happens
Geofram Bornhald rides into the burning village, and observes the gibbet on the green before the inn. He sees that some of the bodies hanging from it are children, and roars for Muadh, one of his soldiers. He asks Muadh if this was his doing, and Muadh obliquely tells him it was the Questioners’ doing, dressed as Taraboners. He tells Muadh to cut the bodies down. He thinks about what he knows of the Seanchan from the locals they had spoken to, that the invaders called themselves Hailene, the Forerunners of the Corenne, or the Return. He is interrupted by Child Jeral, a Questioner, who is dressed in civilian clothing, and tells him that Jaichim Carridin says that Bornhald is moving too close to Toman Head, and to take his troops and head back out to the central plain. After Jeral leaves, Bornhald tells Byar that he does not like what is going on; Questioners dressed as civilians, hanging children. He means to ignore Carridin’s orders and ride for Toman Head.

Off the coast of Toman Head, Bayle Domon watches the Seanchan ship that is chasing him, and thinks about what he had heard in the coastal villages about the invaders: that they fought with monsters and Aes Sedai, and once having subdued an area, made the locals swear bewildering oaths to “obey the Forerunners, await the Return, and serve Those Who Come Home”, after which the invaders left and usually never returned. Falme was the only town they held fast. Then the sea on either side of Domon’s ship fountains upward in geysers of water and flame, and Domon orders his crew to turn the ship into the wind and surrender before they are torn to splinters. The Seanchan ship comes alongside and sends a party over; Domon is bemused to see two women in the boat, and then more shocked to see the commanding officer is also a woman. She asks, in a strange slurring accent, if any women are aboard, and Domon answers in the negative, watching as the other two women come aboard, one connected to the other by a silver collar and leash around her neck. The officer introduces herself as Captain Egeanin, and observes that Domon admires her damane. Domon asks if she is Aes Sedai, and Egeanin casually backhands him and tells him not to speak that name again. Domon swallows his pride and answers meekly. Egeanin tells him he will be escorted to Falme and his ship will be examined, and afterwards if he swears the oaths he will be allowed to go his way.

Egeanin’s ship escorts Domon’s to Falme, where Domon is astounded by the sheer number of ships in the harbor. He asks his Seanchan guard about the cage with a man in it hanging from the towers of the Watchers Over the Waves, and the guard answers that is the first Watcher, paying the price for watching for the wrong thing. Once docked, Egeanin searches Domon’s ship, and comes out of his cabin carrying something small wrapped in silk. She brings Domon into town, as he goggles at the monstrous creatures the Seanchan are riding around, and takes him to a manor where he is forced to prostrate himself before the High Lord Turak. Egeanin presents him with the item she took from Domon’s ship, which turns out to be the cuendillar Aes Sedai symbol disk. Turak tells Egeanin that he will mention her name to the Empress as one worthy to be raised to the Blood, and dismisses her. Turak asks Domon if he knows what the disk is, and Domon lies that he doesn’t. Turak tells him it is cuendillar, and shows Domon his collection of heartstone, which Domon thinks would buy a kingdom. Turak places Domon’s disk next to another one just like it, and tells Domon he wants to hear about how a trader came in possession of it. Domon begins telling lies.

You know, that icon has never looked like an insect helmet to me. It looks more like the funky urn/planter thing you found half-buried in the mud in the back corner of your grandma’s garden. You know, or something.

And wow, baby-killing zealots AND imperialistic slavers, all in one chapter! Does the fun never end? No, no it does not. Gosh, it’s like someone is trying to raise my blood pressure.

The worst part is, none of this rings false from a believability perspective. Sometimes, people really, really suck.

Excuse me, I need to go find something chocolatey to eat now.

Chapter 30: Daes Dae’mar

What Happens
In their room at the inn, Rand argues futilely with Hurin about the increasing amount of bowing and formality the sniffer is showing toward him, and just as Rand is about to try shaking the man, they are interrupted by a knock. Cuale is there with two more parchments, looking wildly excited; Rand snatches them without looking at them and closes the door on Cuale’s protests. Hurin looks at the letters and chokes that they are from Lord Barthanes, High Seat of House Damodred, and the King himself. Rand is unimpressed, and says they go in the fire like all the others; he will not play their stupid Game of Houses. In distress, Hurin tells him that these are Barthanes’ and Galldrian’s personal seals, and if Rand burns them he will have made the most powerful enemies he could possibly make; what’s more, the only reason none of the other Houses have retaliated for his insult of burning their invitations is that they were all waiting to see what he would do, but if he burns these last two, they will act for sure. Refusing them both will bring the same result, and accepting them both will convince the Damodreds and the Riatins both that he is part of some plot of one against the other. Rand says he supposes accepting only one will convince the other that he is allied with that House. Hurin nods. Rand wants to know if he has any option that doesn’t end up bringing assassins down on him. Hurin shakes his head.

Rand held out his hand, and Hurin laid the two folded parchments in it. The one was sealed, not with the Tree and Crown of House Damodred, but with Barthanes’s Charging Boar. The other bore Galldrian’s Stag. Personal seals. Apparently he had managed to rouse interest in the highest quarters by doing nothing at all.

Rand opines that Cairhienin are crazy. Hurin agrees. Rand thinks about it, and decides to let the common room see him with the invitations, with the seals unbroken; if they are waiting to see which one he chooses, maybe that will buy enough time for Ingtar to get here. Hurin congratulates him on thinking like a Cairhienin; Rand gives him a sour look, and leaves with Loial.

In the common room, Rand does as he said he would, and the tension is thick enough to cut as everyone pretends not to watch him. He leaves the inn, and on the way to the guardhouse he and Loial discuss the bad situation they are in; the trick with the invitations can’t work longer than a couple of days, but Fain and his Trollocs are waiting for them if they try to leave the city by land, and Loial doesn’t think they would be able to book passage on a ship without the chest being inspected, and no one will believe they can’t open it. They reach the guardhouse and go to the officer there, and Rand asks if Lord Ingtar has come. The officer pretends not to know what he is talking about, even though Rand has asked him this same question every day for at least four days; the same with Rand’s inquiry about Selene. Tightly, Rand thanks him for his “help”, and says he will come back tomorrow. They leave, and Rand grouses about the Great Game, and wishes he’d never put on the red coat. He’d thought things would be simple again once he was away from Moiraine. Loial, of course, brings up ta’veren, and Rand doesn’t want to hear about that either. Then Loial says there’s a fire up ahead, and Rand is immediately sure it must be their inn. He and Loial sprint back to the inn, and find the second floor ablaze; they run inside and upstairs, keeping low to avoid the smoke, and find Hurin unconscious in their rooms; the chest is gone. Loial takes Hurin out, and Rand starts to follow, and remembers that the Dragon banner is still in the wardrobe. He is tempted to let it burn, but finally runs to the wardrobe and snatches it and Thom’s flute and sprints out just before the roof collapses on him. Out in the street, Rand is trying to find a Wisdom or the equivalent to see to Hurin when someone calls his name, and Rand turns to see Mat, Perrin and Ingtar coming up through the crowd. He tells them they’re too late, and sits down in the street and starts to laugh.

Ha, I love the whole Daes Dae’mar business in Cairhien. It’s so completely ridiculous that it’s awesome. Plus, I am a sucker for this type of Opposite Planet storyline, where everything the protagonist does to step back and away from the Crazy only digs him further in, and yet it all turns out to be to his benefit (more or less). I think I like it so much because it would so never work that way in real life.

You really have to sympathize with Rand here, though, because while reading about it is hilarious, actually being in the position of having the whole damn town up your butt trying to figure out oooh, what’s he gonna do NEXT?, well, that would be just about my least favorite thing ever.

Well. Except, possibly, going mad and rotting to death. That might suck more.

Wow, Rand really got the shit end of the stick, didn’t he?

All right, we’re done here. Come back Friday for Chapters 30-37, but until then, you durn kids get offa my lawn! Go on, scoot!

1. Mark-S
Got my Kaf, my Two Rivers Tabac and Part 5. Life is good.
Kyle Bass
2. SherlockTomes
Leigh, I'm with you on the insect's weird looking, and probably my least favorite chapter icon.

Also, I'm really looking forward to Fast Times at Tar Valon High to make it on TNT or USA...I missed it in theaters.
3. Shawn Humble
I love the verbosity, keep it coming.
4. Lsana
Many interesting things again:

Ch. 24: In my first read, Elayne was my favorite of the supergirls. I found Egwene a brat and Nynaeve a bossy would-be know-it-all. Elayne had a bit of both of those, but I was inclined to excuse it on the grounds that she was a princess and presumably inclined to getting her own way. I liked her all the way up until Lord of Chaos, when I could no longer excuse the way she treated Mat, much as I wanted to. When I re-read the series, however, Elayne made it onto my bad list right here and never got off. What caused it was her treatment of Galad. In 11 books, Galad has never done anything remotely as horrible as, for example, hating your orphaned half-brother so much that you deny any relationship with him and go around telling complete strangers how horrible he is. I can't find an excuse for that, not in anything that Galad has done, not in Elayne's upbringing. This cemented my impression of Elayne as a selfish b**** incapable of empathy, and nothing in any of the later books changes that opinion.

Also in this chapter: Sheriam's comments on how they are culling the ability to channel. I find what she says, that they are eliminating the men, less interesting than what she doesn't: other than Elayne's twins, I can't remember seeing an Aes Sedai with children. It seems that the women, even more than the men, are being put in a position where they won't pass on their ability to their offspring. Of course, if Sheriam were to acknowledge that, and she believed that a lack of Aes Sedai was a problem, then she might have to think about what her own duties should be...

Ch 26: It is odd that in this world, where if anything women are more inclined to be powerful then men, that there are no female gleemen. I think this may be another place where Jordan hadn't quite worked out the rules. Or it may just be part of the somewhat schizophrenic attitude Randland has toward women: they are much more powerful then men but they are to be sheltered and protected at every turn.

Ch 28: Not a comment on the chapter, but on Leigh's comment. From reading these, I get the feeling that you like WOT, but you're no unthinking fan. That's much the way I feel, and I enjoy reading a commentary from that perspective. Too many times, it seems that a WOT discussion turns into either "Bash Jordan" or "Jordan is God and must be right about everything. There are no mistakes." I don't think I've thanked you for giving a good balance.

Ch 29: I think the chapter heading looks like a bell. Yeah, if I squint, I can kind of see where the helmet is coming from, but it's one of the worst of the icons.

Ch 30: I find this whole "Game of Houses" the most irritating part of Jordan's work. Both here and when he tries it in Andor later. I love political dramas, but these just aren't done very well. You would think if Cairheinians really focused on the Game to the exclusion of everything else, that they would be good at it, but this is some of the most incompetent politics I've seen this side of a middle school election. A good schemer should be able to a) Hide his own moves, b) Recognize who the other players are, c) Figure out their motives, d) Be able to distinguish what's important from what's not. In Cairhein, so far, they are 0-for-4.

Also, do they know at this point that Moiraine is a member of House Damodred? I thought they did, that when Moiraine first introduced herself to them, before they knew she was Aes Sedai, that she introduced herself as Moiraine Damodred. I can't find the quote, however.
Blake Engholm
5. UncrownedKing
Aiel are so badass.

Granted they are almost copies of Fremen (A nice tribute to Frank Herbert is how I like to think of it) however, the whole race is what makes the next few books my favorites. Plus, they are totally badass killers who enjoy the thought of dieing in battle with spears bloody and bodies of their enemies lieing at their feet dead or dieing. (Manlyness in full swing now)

I am annoyed at how much I hate Elaida. I mean is she a bitch as soon as she wakes up in the morning? Or does it start when, at breakfast, she eats nails, strangles small animals and steals from the poor.

chp 25: Its hilarious how Rand is so against being a lord of anything then is forced to because of his parties actions and decisions.

Chp 26: I remember being completely blown away when Thom was back. Couldn't believe my eyes. But shouldn't he have put somehting together when Rand asks about the Karaethon Cycle then procedes to talk about Owyn??? Common Thom, you got nothing out of that?

Chp 27: Fight scenes = Awesome
Lanfear = Annoying jealous ex-girlfriend who won't move on (thats the vibe I get)

Chp 28: Again the entire Aiel race is sweet. It was also in this chapter I began to figure out what Ingtar really was. (I'm not gunna spoil it for any new readers)

Chp 29: I have a bad tendency of skipping any chapter that are centered around the Childeren of the Light. I just do not care. Is that wrong? Am I the only one who does this?

Also I like Domon a lot and am interested to see where he ends up.

Chp 30: Had to see the box getting stolen coming. Had to.

Love this stuff!! Keep it going. I am a little ahead of the group I probably should slow down.
6. Dalamon
"Of course, it occurs to me that maybe I’m being too 21st century American in making this generalization; dress codes were a lot stricter back in the day, after all. This, however, does not address (hah) the fact that there are apparently no non-Foregater Cairhienin who like to party, at all. I’m just saying."

It is true the city proper follows the dress code quite strictly but if you recall the city during the Festival of Lights; iirc, the whole city proper is worse than Foregate is during the rest of the year.

"Rand and Thom’s conversation kind of puzzles me, because it seems like Thom is being remarkably slow on the uptake here. He says he thought he knew why Moiraine was interested in Rand (obviously implying channeling), but now doesn’t think so anymore, and his rationalization is that Moiraine (or any Aes Sedai) would never have let a man who could channel go waltzing off into the blue yonder without gentling him first, and since Rand isn’t mopey and suicidal, that’s clearly not the case.

Which, okay, that makes sense as far as it goes, but this is immediately after Rand babbles about not wanting to be a false Dragon for the Tower. I know channeling is not necessarily a prerequisite for being a false Dragon, but shouldn’t that plus the amount of interest Rand shows in Thom’s nephew Owyn’s fate set off a least a couple of alarm bells?"

I always thought this conversation was more one-sideded. Mostly Thom trying to convince himself that Rand was NOT the one in trouble and that he did his duty to repay his debt to his nephew. I feel that is why he practically ignores all the signs that Rand really needs his help and knowledge.

Ch29's icon. In my opinion, it resembles the helmets a large number of feudal age Japanese shoguns used. The mask is more Spartanish, because it isn't a face like the Japanese did, but more of a guard for the cheeks. The horns are also odd in the fact they curve up then down then out. They must be attributed to some odd animal over in the Seanchan lands. That is my take on the icon.
Brad Moore
7. servantcbm
ch. 25
A small note, the flute Thom gives Rand is the plain replacement flute, not the gold chased flute Rand had been carrying for Thom.

I think our first sight of Gaul is when Perrin rescues him from the Hunters in TDR.
8. Nuggette
Thanks for the entertaining re-read Leigh.

@Lsana Galad starts a riot/battle with the Borderlanders over a boat for Nynaeve, costing lives when a lil talk would have found everyone wanted the same thing, or maybe I just can't stand lil goodie-goodies. But I agree with you about Elayne especially with Mat
9. Egglie
Leigh, I am totally with you that mistakes/continuity errors do not spoil the books - but its still fun to spot them!

Here is something I have wondered about, Min see a severed hand when she looks at Elayne. Is this a forshadowing of Rand loosing his hand? If so its a bit odd because it is not severed but burned off and Elayne had nothing to do with it, but maybe Jordan just hadn't worked out the details yet. or is there someone else in Randland who is about to be short of a few fingers?

I found the illuminators chapter house section irritating the first time around but I love how seemingly silly events in this part of the book have really far reaching consequences later in the story.
Brad Moore
10. servantcbm
The Seanchan helmet looks like an insect to me, which is why Randlandians describe them as insects. The faceguard resembles an insect's mandibles, and the 'horns' are feelers. If you ignore the flaring bell shape that would be obscured by the persons head, it's easier to see.
11. Bigmac
I'll admit that the first time around that insect helmet meant nada to me and then second time around it actually looked like something... I mean I had to stare at it like one of those optical illusions but then I finally saw... something that resembled whatever those creepy insect helmets were supposed to look like. Why insect-like helmets btw?

Agreed on chapters with whitecloaks. I inwardly groan every time we are hearing from their perspective. It just makes me feel dirty for being inside their freaky pseudo tv evangelist with a sword mind. Yuck.
John Cater
12. katre
The helmet? I always thought that was a boat, sailing across the water, with a giant squid/cthulhu rising to grab it and drown it.

Which is pretty cool, and what I wanted to happen to the Seanchan when I first read this.
Blake Engholm
13. UncrownedKing
"freaky pseudo tv evangelist with a sword"

hahahah Thank you,

I haven't laughed that hard in a while
14. Lsana

True, not one of Galad's finer moments. However, there is plenty of blame to go around in that situation, starting with Nynaeve, who never bothered to tell Galad that she had Masema out looking as well. Without that information, he had no reason to believe that Masema, who had been commandeering things things right and left, could possibly want the boat for Elayne and Nynaeve.

And honestly, even if the fighting at the docks had been entirely Galad's fault, I still don't think that justifies telling complete strangers that your brother is no more human than a Trolloc.
Richard Boye
15. sarcastro
I will expound later - (this section features two of my favorite cultures: Cairhien *and* Seanchan!) -

... but I always though the Seanchan icon looked rather like a cow skull in a bowl with octopus tentacles on top, like the unholy mixture of a Georgia O'Keefe painting and H.R. Lovecraft's Cthulhu (see?)

Nothing at all like an insect.

I tried to envision a Seanchan helmet like the icon, but also sorta like a stylized bug-head (with giant mandibles). Here's an example

-more later
16. Lsana
Oh, and one more point about Galad being a goody-two-shoes: of course he is. His parents are dead. He lives with a stepmother who is not only the queen, but has reasons to be less than fond of both his mother and his father. Some of his stepmother's advisers want him dead. Under those circumstances, do you really think he could afford to put a toe out of line? If Daddy was killed for being bad, then the only way to stay safe and alive is to be perfectly good.

I don't actually like Galad that much, but you've got to sympathize with his situation. The fact that Elayne doesn't is part of what convinces me that she's so nasty.
Tim Kington
17. TimKington

I think we're all a little too old to be spelling things out.

I disagree about the ageless look not being worked out. Urien says "The years do not touch the Wise Ones in the same way as other women, or as they touch men.", but this doesn't necessarily mean the ageless look. I think RJ is pretty subtle about this throughout the books, but there is a difference between the appearance of AS and other channelers like the Wise Ones and the Kin. I'll have to keep an eye out for this as we go on.
18. lindal
Uncrowned King @5 - I skip the Whitecloak POVs except for a few key chapters involving Morgase in FoH.
About the Seanchan. One thing that really bothered me about them was the way they changed from tyrannical spooky one-power wielding invaders in TGH to just another governmental option by KoD. So, we're supposed to hate these people and their evil empire just until their empress is a featured character? It just seems hokey.

This is such a blast Leigh; thanks so much!
19. Rikka
Chpt 24:
Reenter Elayne. Enter Logain. Give me a second for swooning. I love that man. Also, the return of Min, wow good chapter. Enter Galad and Gawyn, shirtless and sweaty, even better... Even Elaida can't spoil the :) of this chapter :P Also, Min + Rand = OTP of Randland, so even that painful foreshadowing is happymaking.

Chpt 25:
Oh dear. Daes dae'mar starts a-whirling all around. Poor Rand, s'all confusing til you learn how to work with it. Hurin starts getting annoying right about.... now. I do love some of the upcoming scenes though. Yay Thom's back! :D I was surprised he disappeared but only at time and place. I figured he'd come back eventually (stupid Paul in stupid Dune ruined main characters dying for me forever afters). As for Planets of Hats, clearly you've never been to my university. It terrifies me how 'normally' everyone dresses. I miss my goth/artist/scene friends for the diversity, if nothing else. When I dyed my hair teal I am about 80% sure I was the only person on a campus of 5000 with hair that could have only come from a bottle (lots of brunettes playing at being blondes and blondes pretending to be redheads but no hot pinks or greens or purples or redreds). More's the pity of course but tis as tis.

Chpt 26:
Teehee at Thom and Dena :D

Oh poor Rand and Thom :/ Poor Thom especially, and stupid Rand for not showing Thom his palm. I think that's a dumb move. If there's anyone I trust implicity, explicitly and otherwise, it's Thom. Women are probably not gleeman very often for safety reasons, at least that's a concern I'd have.

Chpt 27:
Puppet. Trolloc. Puppet. Trolloc. I've always felt this part was kind of... lame, though scary enough with its sense of impending 'there's going to get you'. Yay Illuminators! Enter Aludra! I've no clue about the gunpowder and Chinese and weaponization.

Chpt 28:
Shadowkiller. dunh duhn dadahhhhhhhh! *boomboom boomboom* >.> Enter Aiel. Yaaaay! :D Love the Aiel. It only gets better from here in this book. Sad that it takes almost 20+ chapts but still. This is one of those parts where I wish I could read it again without all the knowledge of what happens. Never again am I going to be sitting there going o_O Wise Ones? Rhuidean? Prophecies? Bwuh?

Also, Verin sooooo knows that Rand's that person. Can we get a quote on when she says she 'cannot' tell Urien where that man is? Why can't she, simply because she does not know exactly where Rand is atm? Urien! Ask better questions!

Chpt 29:
This whole piddle with the Children confused the hell out of me the first two or three times I read the series. I'm better now but I pretty much ignore this kind of stuff except to notice where they were and where they were headed. The Seanchan scare the shit out of me until we meet Tuon, which is perhaps strange. Domon and Egeanin meet. She slaps him. Hot. Tells you a bit about how that relationship's going to work out.

Chpt 30:
Poor Rand. You can't ignore petty squabbling if everyone else doesn't think it's petty. It must be driving him a bit mad. Nothing compared to later though. Rand and Co. together once again. huzzah.
Jon Severinsson
20. jonno
Chapter 24:
Yes, Elayne is a snob, but Galad is insufferable. Just look at how he fetched the guards in the garden scene in TEotW. That in itself isn't really so bad, but remember that he has been doing that, and similarly irritating stuff, to Elayne more or less daily for the last 16 years or so...

Chapter 25:
I was definitely surprised at Thom's reappearance the first time around. It had been very well foreshadowed, but on my first read I hadn't quite figured out how to distinguish Jordan's foreshadowing from his red herrings.

Chapter 27:
It's not that Thom doesn't see that Rand is in trouble, it's that Thom doesn't want to see that Rand is in trouble. That way he can stay with Deana with a good conscience...

And regarding the women being more powerful than men but still not allowed to be gleemen. Well, firstly, only women that can channel are more powerful than men, and they become Aes Sedai rather than gleemen. "Ordinary" women is protected by the men, just like they has been in most historical civilisations (and arguable still are), whether they want to be or not. It's in the human survival instinct to protect women, for god and bad. So while a female entertainer (playing music, singing or dancing) is fine (and we do see a few examples of them, not only court bards), but a female wandering entertainer is just out of the question.

Chapter 28:
I never thought Urien's comment of Verin looking like a wise one had to do with agelessness, not even the first time I read it. I always took it for having a "presence" so to speak, while still obviously not being a warrior.

Chapter 30:
Yea, Daes Dae’mar is a bit silly sometimes, but then most intrigues are, if you are looking at it from the outside. Also, the Andoran "Daes Dae’mar-light" is actually quite close to the aristocratic power struggle in medieval Europe, so it does have a base in reality...
Richard Fife
21. R.Fife
Biggest problem I have with the Seanchan helmet is that the mandible/cheekguards look like they want to stab the wearer in that soft spot just above the neck. You know, that little hallow spot.

As to Deas Daemar here, I think Jordan was wanting to show that the Cairheins had gotten so out of control that they were set up for disaster. They were so caught up on jockeying for power, etc, that even something stupid like an outland lord that wanted nothing to do with them would cause the city to slip over the edge. Yes, it was Rand and Thom that do it, but it could of has easily been two other Cairheins.

As to watching Fast Times at TVH, go get the European DVDs. Acceptatron scenes = score, but got cut for wimpy american tv. Ahem.

Although, I honestly found the relationship start for the supergirls painfully forced. In partic with Min, Elayne, and Egwene "Oh, I want to be your friends, heh!" Reminds me of that scene in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when Violet and Varuka look at eachother with complete hate then say "Let's be friends!" "Best Friends!" It also just feels hideously juxtopositioned in a world where no one trusts another to say the sun is up. I think, along with the bad development of emotions /for/ Rand are my biggest irks. Love the books, but having three girls fall in hopeless love with him within minutes of meeting him is kind of annoying. (OK, two, Aviendha can't feel love). I think Faile and Perrin was much more convincing, or even Tuon/Mat.

As to Gunpowder: 1) is it ever actually told to us how long the Illuminators have been around? 2) Yes, the chinese had "rockets" they used for warfare, but it took the arabs to make cannons and the europeans to make guns. Anyway, with all the "guild secrecy", perhaps it is the intent of the Guild Master to make sure gunpowder does not become a weapon. Maybe he's a hippy? Now he's going to be sitting outside of Royal Palace in Cairhien 24/7 with a sign that says "End Gunpowder War". Great.

Oh, speaking of crossing cultures and stuff, there is other gripe I thought up. Language. As in, why does everyone speak the same one? And why is it not even remotely close to the Old Tongue? Bear with me: The Old Tongue was the global language. Everyone spoke it, life was great. After the breaking up to the Trolloc Wars, at least, it was still all that was used (Mat's memories can tell us that, he is giving orders in the old tongue. Why give orders that dumb conscript troops won't understand?) So, how is it that the world speaks english now, and they all speak "the same" english. Yes Seanchan are slurry like a Southern Belle, but still. Language changes because of influence from other cultures. Without the influence, it barely changes, look at Iceland. Icelandic is still almost the same language as Old Norse from thousands of years ago. Just a bit of a bitch... don't mind me.

/Steals Leigh's chocolate for himself, needs to calm down.
Jon Severinsson
22. jonno
The language issue is acctually quite well thought out.
Firstly, there was a unified world lanugage in the Age of Legends (refered to as the Old Tongue). So while languages drifted over the following two thousand years following the breaking, there wasn't any outside influence to make the drift very large. Then Arthur Hawkwing united most of the world again, and formed a new unified world language (reffered to as the New Tongue, "translated" to English by Jordan). This unified language was then exported over the Sea to Senchan.

So there has only been one thousand years of language drift since the last "universal language", and there has been no "outside language", and still no outside influence (if you don't count the Sharan trade, but that is quite limited...)

Let's take a look at two real-world examples. First look at Frensh, Spanish and Italian. They have had 1500 years to drift from Latin, and has been influenced by different people (like Germans and Moors). While they are today distinctly different languages, they are still close enough that you'll understand most of it without an interpreter, and they have drifted way more than the New Tongues dialects would have a possibility to do.

Second example is American and Brittish. They have only have had 500 years to drift, but considering the lack of outside influences in Randland, but lots of them in real-world, I would still say they are closer to the Randland example. Yes there are differences, but they are still close enough to each other to be considered a single language by most. And there do be differences in the New Tongue too...
Blake Engholm
23. UncrownedKing
I think the chapter icon is pretty good.

Unless I am completely off base here, the Seanchan are, what we would consider here on OUR Earth, kinda asian looking correct?? Even though they are decendents of Arthur Hawkwing's army.

With this asian type of appearence, it makes sense that RJ would throw in a little ancient Japanese, samurai era, katana wielding, battle armour wearing awesomeness. I mean whats more intimidating then a Samurai?? (Not Tom Cruise samurai!!!! Don't go there I hate that story. I mean is there any historical evidence to support that movie)

It may not look exactly like an insect but ..... common
Blake Engholm
24. UncrownedKing
Speakin of Shar, any one think Shar will get in on the action in the final battle? Not to turn this into a huge theory post but since someone brought up Shar
Ofer Nave
25. odigity
Apparently, Hurin doesn't need Rand's permission to need Rand's permission.

lindal@18: The Seanchan are still tyrannical one-power wielding invaders in KoD. They've only lost the spooky, and that's because we've gotten to know and understand them to some degree. That doesn't change the fact that they're invaders (they are), or that they're tyrannical (no one has the right to own another human being, whatever lies your dad/priest/government told you).

I still hate them, and so do the main characters. But ordinary people for the most part simply accept the status quo. This has held true in nearly every country in history, including the U.S., regardless of the type of "government" the local propaganda claims they have. Most people just want safety and stability so they can go to work in peace, which is unfortunately very compatible with tyrannical government that also wants it's human livestock to go to work in peace.

As for Rand, he's not happy about it, but fate has left him two choices - temporary alliance with the Seanchan until after T'G, or war with the Seanchan before T'G. So he's going with the lessor of two evils. Unlike with voting, it's a valid decision in this context.
26. David Scotton
The Seanchan icon always looked like a weird ship to me... glad I'm not the only one (comment #12). Even after learning it was a helmet I've never been able to not see it as a ship, although I do see how it's supposed to be a helmet now.
Richard Boye
27. sarcastro

"Unless I am completely off base here, the Seanchan are, what we would consider here on OUR Earth, kinda asian looking correct?? Even though they are decendents of Arthur Hawkwing's army. "

Actually, no - the Seanchan run the ethnic gamut - some are 'nordic' looking-blondes, some are quasi-African looking (like Tuon) and everything in-between, including 'fantastical' ethnotypes - people with brown skin and bright blue eyes.

They seem somewhat Asian because of the armor and bits of their culture, but they also seem Egyptian and Byzantine as well.
Richard Fife
28. R.Fife
Jonno@22: Where is it documented that Hawkwing decided to make and enforce a new language? Also, why would the Aiel speak it? I just scoured over the World of the WOT and couldn't find anything in there about hawkwing making a new language.

Regardless of if he did, not really a historical precident for a conquering force to make a radically different language. Even Rome, with its attempts to enforce latin across its empire, did not do to well, which is why we have the bases of French, Protugese, Spanish, and Italian.

I agree that the isolation should have worked well to keep the world speaking the same tongue, as well as the lack of technical advancement, but the entire concept of the New Tongue seems a bit plot holey too me.

Sarcastro@27 Actually, there are people with brown skin and pale eyes, down in the Carribean, I believe, where there was a bit of gene-mixing.
Blake Engholm
29. UncrownedKing
Dear Sarcastro,

My mind is blown. I will never read the same
30. lindal
odigity@15 I don't quite understand why you would imply that my father or government told me that slavery was anything but morally reprehensible and wrong. I sincerely hope that MY post did not suggest that.
31. Tailspinner
OK, I love Daes Dae'mar. It is so unrealistic that it is awesome. In reality, it is another world than ours and so many other things wor differently. why not their political systems.

@R. Fife: I sometimes wonder if Rand is influenced by a real life person. If so, they would drive me nuts, I could not stand to be around a guy who leads 3 women on (or a woman who leads three men on). I am totally in the Matt/Tuon camp, way cooler and more likely.
32. Lsana
@20 jonno

It's not just channeling women who are more powerful then men. Channeling is probably what pushed Randland in that direction more than our world, but is not just them. Rand's village has the Women's Circle, with quite a bit of power. The Aiel have the Maidens of the Spear. Andor has queens and only queens and a policy that they will never accept a man on the throne. Even outside of Andor, there doesn't seem to be any problems with women rulers, and I think we see as many queens and ladies as we do kings and lords.

Given all that, it seems odd that there are no female gleemen. I might expect that the life of a wandering entertainer would be hard and more likely to appeal to a man than a woman. There would be more gleemen than gleewomen. But not to such an extent that a gleewoman would be unheard of.
JS Bangs
33. jaspax
jonno@22 and Fife@21: Both of you are arguing from a false premise. Languages do not change only in response to external influences, nor even primarily because of them. Languages change because every generation of speakers imperfectly learns the language of their parents, introducing subtle changes, to be further modified by their children in turn. The primary motivator of linguistic conservativism is not isolation, in fact, but size of community: small communities are more conservative and more homogenous, linguistically as well as in other ways. Icelandic is ancient not because it was isolated, but because it had a very small population. (Even so, the conservative nature of Icelandic is overstated by the written language. The spoken language of today would not actually be comprehensible to the Vikings of a millenium ago, despite the press.)

Having said that, Jordan's linguistic realism is terrible, but unfortunately about par for the course for most fantasy novels.

To begin with, in the 900-odd years from the Breaking to Hawkwing, we would expect the Old Tongue to have fragmented. The continent is not small enough or integrated enough to avoid it. His short-lived political unification would not have eliminated this situation: political unity does not automatically create linguistic unity, unless the non-official languages are deliberately suppressed. Furthermore, political unification would not have prevented further linguistic breakup, since traffic between distant parts of the empire would still not be common enough to prevent divergence.

So a realistic outcome for the time of this story would be for dozens of mutually incomprehensible languages to exist side by side, with the local language changing every hundred miles or so. There might be a common lingua franca (based on Hawkwing's official tongue), but it wouldn't be native to most people.

My credentials for saying this is my degree in Linguistics, with my specialization/obsession with historical linguistics.
34. Randalator
Great job as alway, Leigh.

I'm right there with you concerning Elayne. Always liked her. Still do.

All right she is a bit vain at times. But actually considering here upbringing she is decidedly un-vain (Yes, that's a word. Now.). And she has lots of positive aspects about her. She is compassionate to the point of being a legitimate human rights activist despite being on the not-at-all-shitty side of society. Also she's loyal, intelligent, brave, humble about her own achievements and actually capable of seeing and working on her own flaws and doing so of her own accord. She even apologized to Mat. Granted Aviendha pointed it out to her but none of the other supergirls wasted even the tiniest thought on that matter, even then.

These are rare treats in Randland population let alone nobility.

And she is hot. What? I'm male after all. Sue me.

About here attitude towards Galad: Try imagining living your entire life with someone who does the "right" thing everytime regardless of the consequences. That alone is pure distilled horror on a personal level. And think about what this really means for the character of Galad...he obeys the law. If he saw someone stealing bread for his starving children he would alert the guards even if it brought the thief to the gallows.

And although Nynaeve has to take a lot of blame he is the one responsible for the riot. He came up with the idea of finding a ship, on his own. Nynave only agreed that he should do so. He could have backed down when the Prophet's men took the ship. Instead he started a war because it seemed right to get his sister on the first ship to arrive in Samara. His sister needs to be on her way home and let a whole country burn for it. No reconsideration, no remorse.

I can really see why Elayne thinks he is no more human than a trolloc...
Ofer Nave
35. odigity
lindal@30: Way to personalize a generalization. I wasn't talking about *your* dad. I can't believe I have to explain that.
Michael Ikeda
36. mikeda

Actually, I think Elayne is basically right. The Galad of most of the series ISN'T much more human than a trolloc.

He's a natural fit for the Whitecloaks--a perfect little fanatical monster.

The question is whether he's a monster who will somehow manage to redeem himself.
37. pdl
@leigh - your most amusing post yet. Kudos. Carry on...


I think the point you were trying to make was that Urien's words only imply that Wise Ones and Aes Sedai both age differently than the general population (live a lot longer - whether bond by the oaths or not). It's true that "years do not touch" both of these groups the way they do other people.

The problem is that he looked at Verin and recognised her as a wetlander equivalent to a Wise One. To see an ageless Aes Sedai face and say "Wise One" is a mistake on Jordan's part.

It doesn't ruin the story for me any more than a typo every 1/2 million words does. To the critics.. who's perfect? Should we be all up in Harriet's business too? Maybe Loial made the mistake as he was writing the story LOTR style in the next age :>

"Biggest problem I have with the Seanchan helmet is that the mandible/cheekguards look like they want to stab the wearer in that soft spot just above the neck. You know, that little hallow spot."

Me "What is the Jugular Notch of the Manubrium?"
Alex Trebec "Correct"
Richard Fife
38. R.Fife
Jaspax@33: My point, in general basis, still stands. That there is a single homogenous language I forgive: its epic fantasy. I am almost just a little annoyed that the Old Tongue survived the breaking fine, went along hunky dory for 2000ish years (thinking on it, Mat's memories include fighting Hawkwing), and then up and vanished. Seems that he could have but just a hair more elaboration into it, especially since, while it isn't plot essential, its an element of the world he brings up repetatively.

Related note, I completely forgive his non-elaboration of the financial systems cause they are really an auxillary to even the description.

On the actually more topic-centered discussion of Galad:
I could see Elayne's hatred for him to be justified only on one condition: if she was constantly compared to him. "Oh, your brother does this, your brother does that, why don't you do that." My ex-wife is a twin, she grew up in the shadow of her twin (she was the unfavored twin.) Her mom constantly deried on her for why she wasn't like her sister cause her sister was perfect and she herself did not measure up. It is with understanding that she cannot even see a noble virtue in her twin.

As far as Gwain being a loving, fawning younger brother, I think this is explained a little later from Elayne to Egwene when she says that Galad saved Gwain's life once, so Gwain has some over-drivin' honor going that he won't do or say anything against galad (including makin' moves on Egwene while Galad is still being a failed Cyrano to her).

I bow to your superior anatomical knowledge. Growing up, they just taught me the parts I'd need to get by... boy have they.
39. idon'thaveaclevername
LOL@ the comments about the Seanchan helmet.

BTW - is that the same basic helmet design as the one soldiers wore in the AoL?
Ronald Hobbs
40. dustrider
Languages... lots to say and of course it's all rationalisation. You'll either end up on the side where universal language doesn't make sense, or one where it does.

Pointing out holes in your reasoning though. Armies and especially officers don't always use the common language when communicating and giving orders. Especially not if the troops you're commanding are not from the same region as you/each other. See gallic roman conscripts & irregulars (spoke french, ordered in latin), angolan guerilla fighters (speak protuguese orders in russia), etc.

Language divergence may be quick, may be slow, depends on the influences. look at middle english, sure it's understandable, but you lose a lot of the nuance if you don't know where to look. old english even more so. Language in brittain has probably undergone more change in the last 3000 years than most others, what with the saxons, norse and germans invading and imposing their own language. Sometimes languages just don't make sense, German's a good example, north & south german accents diverge so much in the rural areas that they have to switch to formal german or english to communicate.

Rationalising in the book:
all of the nations we meet are pretty close in terms of origin and pretty well connected in trade. if you take it from the point where everyone was together in the big global group hug... happilly (key difference, not roman conquerors that believed everyone outside of rome were second class citizens) and accepted that culture as their own the divergence from that would not be so drastic but would move in the same direction pretty much all over the place because of intermingling & trade, like old - middle - modern english.

None of the nations in WoT are isolated from each other, except the Seanchan (which were only seperated by 1000 years) and they do have markd differences in speech, and language (as per Tuon) The Aiel came from the tinkers who traveled everywhere and regularly receive peddlers, not to mention the caravans on the silk-road or whatever it was called.

The one nation we don't hear much from is the ones on the other end of the silk-road, from my recollections of the later books, that lot make the Seanchan seem mildly eccentric.

Sorry for the lengthy post
Agnes Kormendi
41. tapsi
Aiel are more copies of the Fianna than of Fremen, except for the arid waste... they even drink whiskey!

I can understand Elayne: imagine having an older brother, who, instead of covering for you, is bound to tell on you every time you as much as sneeze when you're not supposed to. And Elayne has always been lively and headstrong. It must have felt like having your own prison guard that everybody loves.

I also studied linguistics and am of the opinion that the state of languages in Randland is not realistic at all; but then neither is the prominence of Westron in Middle Earth and Tolkien was a linguist himself. Just imagine all the complications, were there different languages in Rabdland; it'd take at least 3 more books to untangle them. It would probably look better if the common language was used more like Latin that allowed educated people to communicate, and its continuous presence could have been facilitated by the Aes Sedai, just as Latin was supported by the church... but whatever. This is a matter where I'm more than willing to suspend my beliefs.
42. Tony Zbaraschuk
Min's visions are a bit interesting, yes. But I think she's seeing two separate things: a bloody hand when she looks at Elayne or Mat, and a severed hand when she looks at Rand. And these aren't the same (a very subtle piece of misdirection that took me several books to figure out); Mat's Band of the Red Hand _looks_ like a bloody hand.
Richard Boye
43. sarcastro

I forget - isn't the underlying reference of the Band something to do with Aemon's severed hand? (which I think is a reference to the Red Hand of Ulster and the Red Hand of O'Niall).
Richard Fife
44. R.Fife
Clevername@39 Now that you mention it, yeah I think the Seanchan helmet was the grunt helmet from The War of the Powers as seen from Rand's Kwizatch Hadarach... er... Ancestral Memory scene.

To the Fremen comment, I agree. Sparse water trains them into super-warriors for the god-prophet's personal army. "And he shall know their ways as though born into them." Hmm, tempted to go watch the bad 70s movie now. Mmm freaky adult talking 3 yr old.

I don't recall having met anyone from Shara cept for Grendal's slaves that have goop-for-brains cause of over-compulsion. Grendal explains some of their culture though, as does the World of WOT, and yes, they are even worse than the Seanchan.

As a concession over my hijacking of discussion over linguistics *Gives Leigh chocolate back*. And also, I do at least credit Jordan for doing a decent job with giving several cultures stead accents, ie Illians's "Fortune Prick Me, there do be no accent here", to the Tarabon style of talking that I can't recall right now.

Oh, also, was thinking: Elaida reminds me of a Lifetime Movie Villian. Not really a bitch, just a bitch by circumstance. After all, her first ever foretelling was that Royal Line of Caemlyn would be absolutely critical to Tarmon Gai'don, this being when Tigraine was on the throne... boy did she get that one wrong.
45. Randalator
Randland-speech vs. Old Tongue

I think one major problem here is that most seem to think that the Old Tongue developed into english. And they're right having problems with that.

Old English despite being 1000 years old (in its mostly standardized form) still bears a slight resemblance to both modern day english and german. It is possible to recognize certain words (like Fæder - Father/Vater for example) and structures. By far not enough to understand it but especially when comparing it to a translation there is a real sense of "Oh yeah, I see the connection". And there have been a lot of influences from different languages since (e.g. Norse and French).

But the Old Tongue bears absolutely no resemblance whatsoever to Randland-English. I don't think it is possible for a language without any influence from other languages to change *that* radically even over the course of 3000 years. Without the influence of other languages there should be at least some kind of resemblance between the Old Tongue and Randland-speech even after 3000 years. Especially since Randland-speech is not too different from Seanchan-speech although the two were seperated for roughly 1300 years. It's more like Texas vs. London, difficult to understand sometimes but still essentially the same language.

That and the fact that we find several characters commenting on "almost understanding" random Old-Tongue sayings leads me to the following conclusion: English is not the actual language Rand et al speak. Robert Jordan just had the courtesy to translate. Randland-speech actually resembles the Old Tongue to about the same degree as Modern English does to Old English. And when someone feels like he should understand Old Tongue its not a case of "old blood flowing strong" but a basic recognition of structures and words.
46. Dokipen
Just look...

It's a rowing boat being attacked by a giant sea-beastie on top of a sea-shell where two unfeasibly-long-trunked elephants square up to each other. Helmet my arse.
47. Dokipen
R.Fife @ 44

After all, her first ever foretelling was that Royal Line of Caemlyn would be absolutely critical to Tarmon Gai'don, this being when Tigraine was on the throne... boy did she get that one wrong.

Well, considering who Tigraine's baby boy is and that his children will likely succeed to the Andorian throne, she was damn well spot on. Perfect case of the baddie being the baddie due to the twisted logic of their own beliefs.

None of which detracts from Elaida being a grade-a dick.
Richard Fife
48. R.Fife
that was what I was getting at, actually ;) She is convinced that it means Morgase/Elayne. On the other hand, Elayne is pretty important too, all Min black void/fireflies style.

But, to play devil's advocate, I don't think Suian/Moiraine would really act different if the roles were reversed. Yes, Elaida works within a thin slice of the law, but she does operate within the law, and "that horrid Sanche woman" was more or less blatantly and criminally acting against the Tower.

And here is a place I have to laugh: even the reds agree Rand should not be severed, which, from early conversations between Suian and Moiraine, the fear of the Tower reacting "wrong" to him is what primaritly motivates them to act alone. They went vigilante without even attempting to use the rules. They went vigilante when honestly, they were in a good position to have turned the current of the Tower to their plan legitly. For all that Aes Sedai invented The Great Game, why didn't Suian spent her 10 years as supreme-chief bitch to ally the tower to her cause? Seems... fishy??? hmmm... silverpike...

I was going to put a small disseration on language here, but I think that horse is dead.

To the helmet, I had to squint, but I do see the elephants. Oh, I was also thinking, that helmet oddly reminds me of the hemlet Lando was wearing when he infiltrated Jabba the Hut's base in Return of the Jedi. Something about the face guard.
JS Bangs
49. jaspax
Randalator@45: yeah, that's basically the same as what I think, and that's what Tolkien explicitly said about the languages of Middle Earth. He even went so far as to specify that Merry, Pippin, etc. were not actually called that in their own languages, but were called something else that approximated the sound-sense of their English names.

But I'm still perplexed by this evidently widespread idea that languages change only under outside influence. Languages, even by themselves, are unstable and constantly mutate from one form to another. And if that time depth is right (3000 years), then the difference between Randland and Old Tongue wouldn't be like the difference between Modern English and Old English: it'd be the difference between Modern English and Proto-Indo-European.

Anyway, I forgive Jordan this stuff because it's fantasy, and I've barely ever read a fantasy novel that treats its linguistic situation realistically. But you're not going to convince me that it's actually realistic.
JS Bangs
50. jaspax
The horse isn't dead! No! I refuse to let it die! :P
51. gagecreedlives
"You could almost think he was ta’veren. Elaida is certainly interested in him. I wonder if meeting him will shift our lives in the Pattern?”

Just maybe a slight shift there Gawyn. Just a teeny one.

“and wonders how the woman knew that Moiraine had summoned her to the Tower”

Later on I believe we find out Moraine has been sending regular letters to Siun but Siun complains about only receiving one. Is Elaida intercepting them?

Thom very lucky just to escape with a stiff leg.

“This, however, does not address (hah) the fact that there are apparently no non-Foregater Cairhienin who like to party, at all. I’m just saying.”

Im pretty sure moraine describes her fellow countryman as very reserved but when that reserves breaks surprising things can happen. So they don’t party often but when they do, they damn well do it right.
Dalamon@6 Thanks that was the festival I was thinking of.

And Dena you bitch how dare you cheat Loial at dice. Tsk tsk

And how awesome is Loial not only a humble, scholar but a breaker of trollocs necks. Seriously hardcore. Would of loved to have had the bit later on when Loial defends a room full of children against the trollocs on screen.

“for you are always mine.” When somebody says that to you Rand its time to get the hell out of Dodge.

Jonno@20 “Chapter 24:
Yes, Elayne is a snob, but Galad is insufferable. Just look at how he fetched the guards in the garden scene in TEotW. That in itself isn't really so bad, but remember that he has been doing that, and similarly irritating stuff, to Elayne more or less daily for the last 16 years or so...”

What getting the guards when there is an armed, strange man who looks like an aiel in the garden, with a heron marked blade, in a city that’s tense and divided about Morgase and a false dragon is in the city. I think that was probably very wise of Galad. And if thats an example of Elaynes behaviour for the last 16 years no wonder he is such a goody goody. Somebody needs to be.

Mikeda@36 I think Galad finds a bit of redemption during the prologue of KoD
52. markerikson
This is the beginning of one of my favourite parts of the overall WOT plot, although its been going on less obviously pretty much from the moment Ran leaves the Two Rivers.

That is, that up until Rand truly becomes famous as the Dragon Reborn (which, I'd say isn't until the takes Callandor in Tear), everything he does serves to prepare the world for the Dragon Reborn. It's most obvious, here in Cairhien, where simply riding into town wearing a fancy coat causes a chain of events that culminate in a complete power vacuum in Cairhien until he returns with his army of Aiel.
Ofer Nave
53. odigity
markerikson@52: Interesting theory. Can you elaborate?
54. Lynnia
All I see when I look at the Seanchan chapter icon is a dragon head from a Chinese New Year parade ....
craig miller
55. craigpmiller
"This, however, does not address (hah) the fact that there are apparently no non-Foregater Cairhienin who like to party, at all. I’m just saying."

Don't they have one huge orgy of a party? Some wearing masks and not much else? I forget which book that was in...

craig miller
56. craigpmiller
"Dalamon@6 Thanks that was the festival I was thinking of"

Me too. :-)
57. Hugin
OK, loving the re-read so far (this is my 3rd read). I started a bit late but am sprinting to catch up -- almost there. Anyway, here are a few of my random thoughts on things relevant now.

Elayne/Galad: I agree that Elayne is not the most admirable character, first because of how she treats others (especially Mat) and second because she seems ultimately more concerned with her petty politics (must keep Andor whole, can't be seen to be given the throne by Rand) than winning Tarmon Gaidon. (Incidentally, this is why I ultimately become a big Nynaeve fan -- she's not like this and that's why Rand can trust her to help cleanse the Source). But Galad is really awful. If telling on Elayne at every turn isn't enough he ends up joining the Whitecloaks. Knowing what he does (or should) know about them, there really isn't anything admirable about that.

Rand in Cairhien: this bugs me more now than on previous reads. Why does nobody ever recognize Rand's name? He spends all this time interacting with the political and military leaders of Cairhien, Tear, Andor, etc. (not to mention the Aes Sedai), and only two people (whoever gave the info to Moiraine and an Illianer soldier in a much later book) ever connect him with the former 2nd-in-command of the Illianer Companions? It's not as if he's one of 10,000 Rand al'Jones out there. His last name seems pretty unique, at least outside the 2 Rivers. And Illian fought with and/or against all of these countries while Tam was there, in the Whitecloak War, the Aiel War and various skirmishes between Illian and Tear, Altara, Murandy, et. al. You get the impression that if his last name were Byrne, everyone would be asking him, "any relation to Gareth?" And Faile admits to using an alias because everyone would connect her with her dad.

Language: I'm generally willing to dispel disbelief for the sake of fantasy, but it did always bug me that the Aiel, who weren't reunited under Hawkwing, also speak the same language as the rest of Randland.

Daes Dae'mar: More amused by Cairhien than anything. But it is regrettable that Cairhien and the White Tower so ingrained this in Moiraine that she never even considered, you know, actually talking to Rand about things like a grown-up. She and Siuan definitely dropped the ball on this, and I definitely think less of both of them on this re-read for that.
58. ProGalt
Why are so many people annoyed (to put it lightly) with a person who always does the right thing? I like people who can do what's right and follow the rules.

Someone quite a few posts back brought up the idea that Galad is so evil he would probably have a starving man arrested for trying to steal food to feed his family. I have numerous responses to this.

Firstly, I highly doubt he would respond that way. He would do the apparently sickening thing of stopping the man, finding out what the problem is, and then helping him to figure out a way to honestly feed himself and his family. I liked the part in one of the later books when Galad stands up for himself saying that he is not a monster for doing what is right and that he would never be cruel or murderous to follow rules. I can't remember exactly where that was...sorry.

Secondly, even if he did bust the thief, I'm sure the owner of the food would be thankful. After all, he would be helping to preserve someone else's livlihood.

Thirdly, what's so much better about this guy who is stealing to feed his starving family? Since when is failing to provide for your family and then attempting to deprive someone else of their goods something to protect? Why should that man be defended? He should have ensured he could provide for his family and been forward thinking enough to plan for catastrophes. Barring that, he should have figured out a way to get food that doesn't involve harming soup kitchens, handouts, etc. If he didn't want to take handouts or for some strange reason couldn't get them, then he should have gone out of the city and hunted and gathered food. It's not that hard to get food without having to steal.

Go Galad!
Ryan Thistlethwaite
59. shintemaster
@ ProGalt

Why? I assume it's because he's a dogmatic moralistic husk of a human being. He doesn't always do what's right - despite what Jordan says. He just always does what he believes is the right thing. It's not always the same thing.
60. gagecreedlives

"He just always does what he believes is the right thing. It's not always the same thing."

That doesnt exactly make him unique in this series though. Im looking at you Elaida, Siuan, Pedron Niall, Ingtar, Moraine and all the Sul'Dam.
Tim Kington
61. TimKington

"The problem is that he looked at Verin and recognised her as a wetlander equivalent to a Wise One. To see an ageless Aes Sedai face and say "Wise One" is a mistake on Jordan's part."

I'm not buying it. Urien can tell Verin is older than she looks at first glance, and she's also clearly in a position of authority, so he thinks she's a Wise One. How is this a mistake?
Richard Fife
62. R.Fife
On Urien: yes, remember, Verin has gray hair, yet she has a "young" face. Probably what he was really getting at. After all Alys has white hair, but still looks fairly young in the face.

On Galad: His problem, that I really think Elayne and RJ are getting at is that he does not see shades of gray. All actions are white or black to him. He would not even see the moral delimma in stopping the father with hungry children.

I think at one point, Elayne comments that he isn't even being vindictive or snotty about his black/white worldview. Whenever you commit wrong, he only feels pity that you strayed from the good and he feels he is helping you by turning you in.

In short (what a lie), Galad is RJ's comment on what results in trusting "society's" laws and government blindly. Quite a tongue in cheek view of Sir Galahad the Pure, the finder of the Holy Grail.
Sam Kelly
63. Eithin
I always figured the Seanchan were RJ's take on Faust's Empire civilization.

UncrownedKing at 5: horses for courses, I suppose! That's the exact reason the Aiel bore me. Well, that and the tedious refusal to see the validity of others' cultural practices. But then nearly everyone in Randland seems to revel in feeling smugly superior to Lesser Nations or Lesser Sexes. I'd really like to think that this is an artifact of the tainted saidin feeding back to everyone, but it's probably just a culturally reinforced thing and will still be causing stupid pointless patronizing misunderstandings for centuries after Tarmon Gai'don.
64. tearl
Eithin @63

But then nearly everyone in Randland seems to revel in feeling smugly superior to Lesser Nations or Lesser Sexes.

So did most people and nations in our world until the latter 20th century. Even now one can look around the world, and within the US, and find smug attitudes regarding SUPERIOR: technology - religions - medicine - cultural mores - political system - etc. Heck, even a certain smug satisfaction at being so tolerant and inclusive qualifies.
65. markerikson

Well, as Leigh quoted, Gawyn practically spells it out - wherever Rand goes, he causes things to happen.

The example of Cairhien hasn't been fully covered by Leigh's reread, but it goes something like this: Rand rides into town and everyone mistakes him for a Lord. He quickly comes to the attention of the most powerful people in the city, who also pay attention to who he's hanging out with - namely Thom. I can't remember exactly the final details, but I think that by accepting Barthanes' invite, he incurs the King's wrath. The King's wrath winds up killing Thom's girlfriend. Thom is angry, and so he goes and kills the King. Power vacuum.

Rand is also what made Elaida abandon Morgase and go to the Tower.

His antics in the Illuminator's warehouse are also the beginnings of the end for the Illuminator's Guild.

I'm also fairly certain he leaves a trail of destruction behind him in tDR, which Perrin and Moirain etc keep running into. However, it's been a long time since I last reread tDR.

The only place he doesn't seem to cause trouble while he's still a shepherd with a sword is the Borderlands - possibly because they've been training for Tarmon Gaidon for thousands of years, and don't really need the Dragon Reborn to bring them to heel anyway.
66. Mark-S
@58. ProGalt

I think because Galad lacks compassion
67. tearl
markerikson @65

To add to the Cairhien power vacuum, for some reason Barthanes is torn to bits by a Gholam.
68. Alfvaen
First of all, I'm loving these summaries so far. I did my own summaries for myself years ago, then lost most of it in a disk crash when I got up to FoH. I restarted it, but more desultorily, and never got that far. (I was also doing character indexes and such, too, because I had trouble keeping track of many of them.)

Anyway, I wanted to mention that I found Sheriam's theory about channeling being bred out of the genome mildly plausible...until more and more and more channelers kept turning up. The Sea Folk have loads of them, they just don't send that many to the White Tower. The Aiel have them. The Knitting Circle hid a bunch of them that didn't hold up to the Aes Sedai's (over-?)exacting standards. The Seanchan have them, of course, and even if the damane may not get to breed (or do they?), the sul'dam are respected members of society. And when Egwene opens up the novice book, she gets a metric buttload of novices that would have been arbitrarily disallowed under the old system.

So it looks like Sheriam was working with faulty data. The other cultures still didn't allow male channelers any more than the Randlanders, but none of them were complaining of shortages. The ability to channel, assuming it's genetic at all, is probably some complicated combination of genes that can arise from people who can't channel at all. Or, of course, maybe it's Just Magic. Maybe little saidon particles randomly impact people's brains, and if you collect enough, you get a free "Advance To Tar Valon" card. Who knows? Maybe back in the Age of Legends they were studying it.
69. AyRon
R Fife@48:

"even the reds agree Rand should not be severed, which, from early conversations between Suian and Moiraine, the fear of the Tower reacting "wrong" to him is what primaritly motivates them to act alone."

Yes, but don't forget by the time the reds accept that Rand shouldn't be severed, he has fulfilled some pretty hefty prophecies. Moiraine and Siuan's concern was that he would be gentled before he could fulfill any prophecies (or worse...they were well aware of the black ajah's existence).

btw, I enjoyed the detailed linguistics analysis. Only on a blog like this could you say something like that and not have someone yell "shut up nerd!". Nerds of the world, unite!
70. FullNelson
IMHO Galad is kind of a private joke on RJ's part - "here's that Perfect Man whose absence you've been griping about, no refunds! Bwahahaha!"

Most humans like to call themselves Good People, but very few humans really care that much about actually doing their best to do What's Right. I find this character very believable; and I also find it very believable that he is so often misunderstood and disliked. The best argument I can make for the nobility of Galad is at his POV much later in the series (not to spoil too too much)...

"Most likely they would be pulled down and thrown in chains if not beaten to death But he had to go. It was the right thing to do."

IMHO, Elayne hates him because A)He snitched on her every time she broke any rule, which was probably every chance she got, and B)He absolutely obeys all rules while she is a princess and resents it when the rules apply to her, and C)He is such a better person than she is. Elayne says he is inhuman; I say a lie may fool someone else but it shows you the truth...

And in the garden scene in TEOTW, Rand was illegally trespassing, remember? An impartial observer would have concluded that, yes, there is an armed dirty peasant in the royal garden with the heir to the throne. Rand was damn lucky (ie:taveren) to get out of there without being prosecuted/incarcerated/executed. Galad believed that he was protecting Elayne from her own impetuousness - and frankly, if someone was there to do that 24/7, she wouldn't get so damn many people killed! In fact, I would go so far as to say she loses more followers per capita than any other main character (except perhaps Rand and he has the entire world gunning for him). Then when her headstrong, impetuous recklessness gets someone whose safety she was responsible for killed, she sheds a few obligatory tears and DOES IT AGAIN! AGGGHHH!

Galad joined the Whitecloaks because of how the Aes Sedai used his sister and the woman he thinks he loves, and frankly, his decision makes a lot more sense to me than Gawyn's does. Remember Egwene ruminating about how the evil is not in doing "what you must", but in refusal to answer for the consequences? Aes Sedai (as an organization) have a great deal to answer for (ie several thousand years of heartless Machiavellian scheming) but they have never actually answered for ANY of it nor are they held to account for their actions, as individuals OR as a single political entity. How many good people do you think were destroyed; used up, as it were, by some Aes Sedai scheming? It is very believable to me that they have managed to piss off so many people so much that they created the Whitecloaks.

Yes, I'll say that again - the Whitecloaks would not have come into existence but for the failures and willfull failings of Aes Sedai. Not that I'm endorsing the Whitecloaks, mind you, I just can't help but notice that there is a certain cause>effect relationship here...

Finally, as far as Galad doing what HE THINKS is right instead of what's right - that's all any human can do and it's a lot more than most of them even try to do... why would you critisize someone for not being omniscient?

I agree that Elayne is pretty good... as princesses go. Ugh. Princesses. Pah. Chivalry's for chumps...
72. happirick
Women Gleemen - it's not men who enforce rules for women - it's other women! In other words, there are no women gleemen because OTHER women would disapprove - not fit for a woman. So the fact that women have power does not make this a discrepancy.
73. tearl
Alfvaen @68

I found Sheriam's theory about channeling being bred out of the genome mildly plausible...until more and more and more channelers kept turning up....The other cultures still didn't allow male channelers any more than the Randlanders, but none of them were complaining of shortages.

The difference is that the other cultures don't keep the FEMALE channelers out of action. Aes Sedai rarely marry or get pregnant (to the extent the two are independent.)
74. tearl
Re myself @73

The difference is that the other cultures don't keep the FEMALE channelers out of action.

Actually, the Aiel and Sea Folk don't so keep. The Seanchen in fact DO. But maybe there's a similar diminution of Seanchen channelers and nobody's commented on it. Damane aren't the favorite topic of discussion.
75. happirick
Seanchen society has much to hate. But one think I found myself thinking about, during this book I believe, was how at least they're much better administrators than any of the other lords and ladies in Randland. They maintain order with little crime. If you're an average person, you might be better off living under them than any of the other rulers.
76. Lsana

Do we know for certain that the Seanchan don't breed Damane? I'm not sure exactly how they would go about it, given the general view of damane as animals, but without a quote to the contrary, I wouldn't necessarily discount the idea that they had some method of doing so.

But regardless of whether or not they breed damane, I suspect that sul'dam do marry and have children, and they are able to pass on their channeling ability. In Randland, they as well as the damane would be pulled into the White Tower and put in a position where they would be unlikely to have kids.

Other than that point, though, I think you're exactly right. The places where we are finding all these channelers are places where women who channel have not all be dragged off to be Aes Sedai. Meaning if Sheriam is really worried about this, she should lie back and think of the White Tower.
Brett Michie
77. bchurch
Tearl @64

"So did most people and nations in our world until the latter 20th century. Even now one can look around the world, and within the US, and find smug attitudes regarding SUPERIOR: technology - religions - medicine - cultural mores - political system - etc. Heck, even a certain smug satisfaction at being so tolerant and inclusive qualifies."

Hear, hear!! I agree wholeheartedly. It's hard not to be smug when thinking of your own life-views, even if you believe you're tolerant and inclusive. It's natural to think yourself better for it than others. One of the many failings of humankind, but it probably serves a purpose. Hard it is to find empathy enough to realize that other peoples values and beliefs are as important to them as ours are to us. I speak of this with firsthand experience having grown up in a very religious culture (mormon) that believes that they have the only true path to ultimate salvation. I'm not trying to bash them or anyone, but it's a hard thing to accept that other people believe they're right just as much as you do and they have a basic human right to that belief. Ehh, I'll stop on that subject now before I get all worked up.

And a response to the Sheriam theory concerning the culling of the channeling ability . . . I agree with what has been said already. One thought though is the Sharans. Their culture forces channelers to live apart and keep the males alive as ignorant breeding stock until they reach an age when they'll be dangerous. I wonder at the numbers of the Ayyad (sp?) in Shara and if this might be something towards the question others have posited here regarding that culture's presence in aMoL.

Also, my take on Elayne is that she is my least favorite of Rand's loves. I understand her motivations and whatnot, but she still comes off as a snotty, arrogant bitch most of the time to me. One thought she has in a later book about women reaching reason and maturity 10 years before men and everyone knowing it really gets under my skin. Grrrr!

Thanks to everyone for all the commentary, I love it.

And thanks especially to Leigh for doing all this work, laying the foundations and paving the way for us WoT nerds to release our pent up passions.
Leigh, you are supreme hotness!!!
78. Githraine
Ok, I k now the horse is dead, but no-one has mentioned several important points:
1. The Forsaken mention a 'vulgar' dialect being extant in the AOL. So the split was already there.
(think of the difference in the English spoken by the Queen, and in Eastside....)
2. the Press. The Printing press has had more effect on slowing language change then any other in History. We have had it for what? 500 years? Randland never lost it after the AOL.
3. Aiel. Glass Columns. Nuff Said.
Brett Michie
79. bchurch
Completely off the current topic(s). Just wondering how many others here ever find themselves cursing in Randlandese? Even in your heads.

"Stab my eyes!"
"Burn my soul!"
"Fortune prick me!"
"Blood and ashes!"
"Burn me!"
There's more, I'm sure . .

I can't begin to tell you how many strange looks I've received from people for this. Well, I think that's the reason they look at me funny. Hmmm . . .
81. Rikka
I'm a huge fan of "blood and ashes" and 'mother's milk in a cup' always makes me laugh. Mat had a great effect on my language, post CoT. Then again, I make it a habit to pick up curses from books and such. It makes me giggle. I ganked 'seraph stones' and 'glory and infamy' from Faith Hunter (I wish I had more opportunity to say that 'that sucked gabriel's scabby toes') and quite a few from Kushiel's Legacy trilogies ('Namaah's tit' anyone?).
82. Mark-S
re: Sheriam theory

I believe its hereditary, however the big reason for the disparity between numbers is not the culling of the males but the lack of seeking for those with the spark by the White Tower. All of the societies deal with the male channellers in one way or another, but only the White Tower doesn't (or didn't) actively seek females with the ability.
Brett Michie
83. bchurch
@ Rikka

"Mother's milk in a cup!" Hehe! I agree.

That is one of Elayne's redeeming virtues . . her penchant for learning curses. Kinda taboo for her station.
84. blight
lol mothers milk in a cup
85. Egglie
why doesn't Elayne get on with Galad? because he is her brother! sometimes siblings just rub you up the wrong way.

I have no problem with Galad until he joins the whitecloaks but I am sure he would be annoying to live with. Incidentally I am sure RJ said something along the lines of that with the white cloaks he was interested in exploring the concept of a military society which is not answerable to anyone but its self. He has made it clear how badly that could go wrong. I have a theory that Galad will end up swearing fealty on behalf of the whitecloaks to someone (probably Rand, possibly Egwene/white tower).

I don't have a problem with Elayne yet either but she will soon be totally unreasonable and demand to have an adventure along with the other girls thereby causing all kinds of trouble for Andor. I quite like Elaynes storylines though, up until she starts trying to win the succession and becomes incredibly dull.

p.s. its definitely a severed hand (I checked) but no one else seems to be interested so I will let it go . . .
86. scarlett
So don't get me wrong. Love the WoT. Love this re-read, love reading through the comments on the end. But sometimes, like with linguistics and historical accuracy issues, its best to just sit back and say "hey, this is a fantasy series." Fantasy being, not reality. If Jordan divided all of his separate cultures by language barriers it would make for one giant confusing read filled with a lot of needing translaters and people going "buh?" all the time. Galad is a goodie-too-shoes. This irritates people because he seems flawless, and is therefore held higher than the lowly non-flawless (read normal) people in the world. But in the end. Galad, doesn't actually exist. Cause he's a character. In a book. An awesome book. That I totally love to read over and over again.
Brett Michie
87. bchurch
@ scarlett

kudos and well-said

Couldn't agree more.
Brian Kaul
88. bkaul
Ch 27: I wonder if Aludra got the idea of making gunpowder weapons from Rand blowing away the Trollocs here.
89. msampson
One thing about Verin and Wise Ones is that not all Wise Ones are channelers. So they don't all have the ageless look or live an extra long time. It's probably more to do with a female in an authority position.
90. MoreBooksForMe
I'm not sure if these curses are exactly right. (I don't have the books in front of me, but i'll try)

Flamming son of a goat!


Muscle brained/Wool headed!
91. boquaz
I'm not sure Galad is supposed to be a "bad guy". I see him as a kind of tragic figure, a guy who really is trying to do good, works very hard, but screws up very often.

Do you think he doesn't notice the dead people left in his wake? Even his family hates him.

The thing that convinced me of this is that later he doesn't go turning in Elayne and Nynaeve (the strictly legal thing to do), instead he secures their escapes. Lan is a calculating, unfeeling killing machine who finds a way out, why can't Galad? He's well set up for it.

I also hate the Seanchan logo. I always pictured it more like a fancy greek helmet with horizontal mandibles. @sarcastro 27, totally agree, very Byzantine.

Also, yay Logain.
92. Rebecca Starr
What a discussion! I"m sorry to jump in late, but I'd like to add a few things

Ch 25
I was *totally* surprised, and delighted by the reappearance of Thom here. In the following chapter, jonna@20 you said it perfectly - it's not that Thom can't see the connections Rand is making; it's that he's trying to convince himself and doesn't want to see that Rand is in trouble.

Ch 26
a note on gender occupations - there's actually a whole section about jobs in my WoT gender thesis, and the idea seems generally to be this: just because you haven't seen a woman do a traditionally male job before (or vice versa) doesn't mean she can't. Think, later on, of Elayne's all-female bodyguard. I love a section later on where members of the Kin are noted as bankers, goldsmiths, merchants, etc. etc. etc. and it's so normal no one even comments on it beyond simply stating fact. So just because a woman hasn't held a particular job in the past, there are no proscriptions that say she cannot in the future. One of the things I love Jordan for.

I also love this scene for the Shakespearean era feel to it - I wonder if Thom's disgust at the new "players" is how traditional bards felt when Shakespeare and his ilk began playing at the Rose.

Also, I've always had the sneaky suspicion that Thom knows Hurin here: "Hurin...? No don't tell me how."

If he had said, don't tell me who, that's one thing. But he says how. and I don't think it's a typo

Ch 27
Leigh, I think Jordan gets around the fact that no one has thought of gunpowder as a weapon yet simply because the Illuminators are so tight-lipped. I mean, killing trespassers?? No one has had a chance to see the technology! And the Guild themselves are probably so proud of their fireworks, they simply don't think a step further til Aludra.

Ch 28
I agree with those who don't think the reference to Verin/Wise Ones here is a mistake - Wise Ones will still slow, simply by virtue of the fact that they can channel. It's not the ageless look, but it does make a difference. Urien also could simply mean the great wisdom and depth of knowledge written all over their faces.

also, Aiel. Yay! Probably because the map ends at the Spine of the World, I thought that we'd never really get to meet any Aiel when I first read the books (doh! Dummy). So when we meet Urien I was like, wow, he's even more badass than I imagined.

Ch 29
damane. ::shiver:: humans on a leash disgusted me the first time through, disgust me still.

Ch 30
any thoughts as to who the Shienaran is that Rand sees duck back into the crowd near the gatehouse?

rd: the Seanchan helmet as a ship being swallowed up by a giant squid thingy - oh my god I am LMAO

tapsi@41 - not whiskey! I've always thought of oosqui more like the Greek ouzo. anyone else?

my two cents on Galad: I never had a problem with him. Lacks compassion? No, hardly that, I should think, given the way he avenges Morgase. To be frank, I find Galad quite noble. But then, I'm someone who tries, as often as possible, to do "right".

bchurch@79 - I do I do!! Blood and bloody ashes. All the flaming time.
93. pdl
Some people skip the whitecloak chapters...
I skip the linguistic CHAPTERS!

Urien says:
you have "the look of those who have made the journey to Rhuidian and survived" to Verin

Correct me if I'm wrong, but people who have survived either the 1st and/or 2nd trip to Rhuidian to become a Wise One do not take on any special appearance right away. All other semantics and speculation aside this quote seems to be a mistake on RJ's part. I do buy the gray hair and young face w/ position of authority bit = Wise one. Swayed on that count. I just forgot to finish my arguement with this second part because I keep getting pulled away while I type these.

I'm not being swayed base by any of the evidence but I do love the debate!
94. pdl
Wow, maybe I should use the previews to proof read my comments. Sorry about the spelling/grammar boys and girls. I swear English IS my 1st language. *shakes his head while looking at the ground, disappointed in his performance*
Richard Fife
95. R.Fife
pdl, you wound me. I hope you enjoy the salt of my tears.

Anyway, as far as skipping whitecloak chapters, I can't even manage to skip a para of description, I'm such an anal reader. I'll admit the whitecloak PoV chapters are stumbling blocks for me, but I don't think, per se, that it is just because they are whitecloak chapters. Honestly, everytime he swaps to a diff place in the world, it kinda takes me a chapter to get back immersed in what is going on, and since WC chaps are usually just that, a single chap, I get double-stumbled. That is my main reason for disliking them. On the rare instance of WCs getting back to back chapters, I actually kind of find them interesting.

If there was a story line that annoys me to the point of almost wanting to skip it, though, it is Perrin. The boy can't seem to stop being an Emo. I don't even think its the action so much as that Perrin chapters seem to be more heavily loaded with internal monologue/moping. I know Rand, Mat, and the Supergirls all can be great head-thinkers and mopers, but Perrin seems to be overbearing. I wonder if it was some small failing of vanity on RJ's part with Perrin. I recall reading an interview with him once where he admitted that Perrin was the character he empathized the most with.

*not proofread as a sign of solidarity with pdl
96. gagecreedlives
I personally dont think the ability to channel is being culled out of Randland at all. The Aes Sedai rarely go out and seek channelling women. Generally to become a novice at the white tower you have to go to the white tower yourself and need to be under a certain age.
All the other cultures that have such a large channelling base actively go through their society searching for women that can channel.
Look how many women they find once Egwene opens up the novice book to anybody. And the black tower is almost equal numbers with the white tower my doing active recruiting.
Just on a side note I must say the sea folk women who have to become aes sedai have done a very good job of keeping their secret. You would of thought at least one aes sedai would of asked them straight out how many channellers do they think their culture has.
97. gagecreedlives
Oh and Ive always liked "daughter of the sands" as my favourite WoT curse/insult. Dunno why maybe it was the reaction Mat got it after he said it.
Agnes Kormendi
98. tapsi
Rebecca Starr@92: ouzo... that drink must have been designed by Aginor in his prime :) I still go with Aiel "whiskey" because that's more or less what you get when you pronounce the word. Of course it can't be the same drink, at least I doubt the Aiels would waste as much water as the distillation of proper Irish whiskey needs :) but the phonetic resemblance is there. And since the Aiels have other Irish features, too, it even makes sense.

When Tuon catches Mat in the damane kennel in Ebou Dar, she's very disgusted and thinks he's one of those despicable perverts who abuses helpless women (damane can't defend themselves) and/or would touch a woman who can channel. So I'd say the Seanchan don't breed damane, if that's the general view on having sex with them.

R.Fife@95: thank you, now I have a mental image of Perrin with his hair dyed black and artfully arranged to half-cover his golden eyes... not to mention the kohl and the black lipstick. Eww.
Richard Fife
99. R.Fife

scaring mental images are just one of the many services we provide.
100. Hugin
tapsi@98 and Rebecca Starr@92:
Because the crops cultivated by the Aiel (and not known to Wetlanders) are native to the Americas in the real world (tomatoes, corn) I always thought of their drink as tequila or mezcal. They don't appear to cultivate grains, so I don't think they'd make whiskey, but it could be good old corn squeezins.
101. Renegad248
Loving the re-read and all the comments. :)

Regarding the Galad/Elayne relationship:

I do sympathize with Elaine sometimes, growing up always under Galad's 'always doing the right thing', no matter what approach, but I do like Galad too. He is a great character creation by Jordan and in the later books, seems to be turning into the right leader for the Whitecloaks when the world needs it most. Maybe Rand dropping into the garden as it were changed all three of their lives, Elayne, Gawyn and Galad.

The one who turned out to be the worst in my opinion is Gawyn. I just do not like him too much as we get further into the books. I really don't know why though.

I do like Elayne. I know a lot of others don't like her, but she just sort of grows on me for some reason. Maybe im just being a guy and like beautiful women, I don't know. :) I know that sometimes she can be snotty, and flaky too, but I still like her.

As for reading the whitecloak chapters, yeah, its kind of hard sometimes and I sort of skim over them, but I do end up reading some.
craig miller
102. craigpmiller
TimKington "The problem is that he looked at Verin and recognised her as a wetlander equivalent to a Wise One. To see an ageless Aes Sedai face and say "Wise One" is a mistake on Jordan's part."

I'm not buying it. Urien can tell Verin is older than she looks at first glance, and she's also clearly in a position of authority, so he thinks she's a Wise One. How is this a mistake? "

I agree. The Aiel had no contact with Aes Sedai during the Aiel War? The Aiel's use of the common tongue in Randland is noticeably different. To an outsider (men) there is little difference between a Wise One and Aes Sedai (societies of powerful women). It is only when we are in Egwene's POV that we become aware of the truth.
Urien is just using the term he grew up with.


Galad's a few sandwiches short of a picnic! He clings to one rigid ethic. IMHO, some injustice/corruption affected Galad's early years. He is broken, like many of RJ's characters, we just don't know why.
103. Dr. Morganstien
If there's one reason to like Galad, its because he actually finds proof of who screwed his mother over, and since Pedron Niall is dead anyway, he goes after the next person down the line. This is contrary to, say for example, Gawyn, who makes an assumption based on hearsay, which a Prince should be smart enough to know better. Plus, it really bothered me how forced the Gawyn/Egwene thing was. But I will wait until the proper time to expound upon.

Also, "chivalry is for chumps" is probably my favorite comment from the comments so far, especially when said about Elayne who doesn't really deserve any of it. I like Elayne, but chivalry, c'mon she so far has done the single sluttiest thing in the series so far.
104. gagecreedlives

"IMHO, some injustice/corruption affected Galad's early years. He is broken, like many of RJ's characters, we just don't know why."

Could have something to do with mummy running away, daddy remarrying and then plotting to kill step mum. Daddy dies due to a certain court bard and now he is stuck in a family where the only person that seems to like him is his step brother.
J Novak
105. Novak
You know, I had forgotten just how far back it was the Aludra and the gunpowder thing was foreshadowed, but there it is right in the second book, with fireworks even being mentioned in the first book. That's the Jordan I loved.

The one I didn't was the one who waffled a little bit on the whole Oath Rod thing and then insisted he didn't. It's not the minor wibble in the TEN THOUSAND PAGE EPIC that got up my nose but the insistence that it didn't happen and it was all according to the plan. Anyway.

I'm also surprised by how unenthusiastic I would be about reading the Rand plot thread in this book from about the time he pops back out of the Worlds of If and back into the real world. The Cairhien Game seems a little bit sitcom like, and the adventures with fireworks and trollocs seem... contrived, in my memory. The trollocs started their great deflationary arc about here, too, because even with Lan training, I never quite bought that Rand would be taking out multiples of them. Maybe he was channeling and didn't know it.

Everything else was good, though, and I think it would still strike me as good on yet another reread. Egwene, Elayne and Nynaeve in the Tower fascinated me, Gawyn and Galad weren't insufferable, Mat was pretty much redeemed from his constant idiocy in the first book, etc. For the record, I get why Elayne hates Galad-- he probably stopped her from doing ten thousand cool and fatal things when they were younger. And it would be easy to write him as an insufferable Elaida-esque monster, but unless my memories are way off, he's not. He wrestles with difficult decisions the same way the rest of us do, it's just that the smaller decisions are more clear cut to him. It's Gawyn who goes nuts later in the books, not Galad.

(And for what it's worth, I always figured that the Worlds of If were connected to the Accepted ter'angreal, too, mostly for reason of Conservation of Plot Elements-- similar functions must be related.)

I loved to hate the Seanchan, though. They're so... cartoony and over the top. Because, yes, real people clearly expect to sail away over the horizon, have *no contact with their homeland for a thousand years at all* and still expect said homeland to be awaiting their return with bated breath, and fly into psycho-murder rage when the people to whom you return go all David Spade. ("And you are...?") That? That is cultural insanity of the absolute highest order.

And I'm not even going to touch the language controversy. Blood and bloody buttered onions, people...!
106. SteelBlaidd
Re: The Great Galad Debate

I notice that everyone seams to think that Elayne's issue with the resident kight in shining armor is all about him. The great tragedy is that except for one small detail she would probably just be affectionately exasperated with him and have a wonderful time yanking the chain attached to the stick up his butt.

The detail is named Taringil Damodred.

“I cannot really remember my father; I was only a baby when he died. Gawyn says he spent all of his time with Galad. Lini tried to make the best of it, but I know he never came to see Gawyn or me in the nursery. He would have, I know, once we were old enough to teach things, like Galad. But he died.”

-The Fires Of Heaven, An Unexpected Offer

While Gawain was instructed in strategy, tactics, and swordwork Elayne learned politics. And while Gwain has an understandable case of hero worship for his cool big brother all she can see is that he should resent the little brother who replaced him as First Prince and can't believe that he doesn't. She can't understand his apparent lack of ambition, especially as she is probably aware that her father was scheming to assert his claim to the Sun Throne. Given her habits of getting in to places she's been forbidden and eavesdropping, I would not be at all surprised if she has heard very unflattering things about Taringil. Including rumors that he wanted the Lion Throne for himself (hence her rather strong reaction to the idea of Rand claiming it as a 'trophy.'

On Daes Dae'mar:
Everyone in Cairhien plays that dosen't mean they play well. Also the rules are different when everyone plays.

I've always thought this was an important part of Rand's education. First, he learns Suin's law of unintended consequences with a vengeance. Second, he learns that there is no way to not affect anything.

All the sections with Seline help drive home just how different his motivations are from the forsaken. He wants no glory, and if I understand Jordoins theory of reincarnation right than this is a constant aspect of his character every time he is spun out. In fact I would say that this characteristic is what defines all the Heroes of the Horn, they do what needs to be done.
Rand really has only three motivations for everything he does. Duty, a conviction that if he's the one holding the bag for saving the world then he's the one who calls the shots, and a fierce longing for home.

He has no desire to burnish his legacy. He knows he can't control whether the world will curse him or praise him after he's gone. As long as there's a world he will be content.

The Forsaken don't care about the word as long as they are on top of the heap. In a way Ingtar falls for the same reason.

(aside Mormon doctrine explicitly states that we don't have an exclusive lock on truth)
Tim Kington
107. TimKington
@Rebecca Starr:

I think the Shienaran ducking back into the gatehouse is one of Fain's DFs.


Rand is at least a little concerned about his legacy - that's why he sets up research universities later on.
Blake Engholm
108. UncrownedKing

My money is on the new post coming around 1130
Blake Engholm
109. UncrownedKing
Agnes Kormendi
110. tapsi
@104.gagecreedlives: Morgase loves Galad as much as her own children, and that's why the whitecloacks (both Niall and Valda) can blackmail her with him.

I quite like Galad (and Gawyn, too), but I can see why Elayne wouldn't like him.

Back to the whiskey :) what I wanted to say was that it's certainly not the same drink, but it's the same name... when I first came across it, I thought it was like tequila, too.
111. Sidetrack'd
Hugin@100, et al...

the Aiel drink - I've always considered it to be moonshine - good ol' corn liquor. There are several references to the Aiel's cultivation of "zemai", mentioned as a yellow something..something (there were more details that made it obviously corn, but I can't recall them verbatim at the moment). A little play on letters gives us "maiZE", an old term for corn, and since there are no mentions of other grain crops, corn liquor made the most sense to me.

(Again, I'm sure this has probably been covered in the FAQS somewhere, but I thought I'd throw it out just in case...)
112. Aneid
Channeling and Genetics:

I like the theory of channeling and genetics in the books. I feel RJ took a very scientific look at culling the channeling ability out of the human race (Considering he has a science background not too difficult to believe).

The problem I face is the recycled Forsaken. If it is genetic then how does the DO transplant a soul into a body and that body can now channel the One Power side that the soul originated … ala Asan’gar, (smokin hot) woman body channeling saidin.

I am of the opinion that there are genetics but the Hero’s and Villain’s of the Wheel supersede genetics. I just can’t seem to wrap my mind around the fact that RJ did not see that he was leading the readers in different directions when it come to channeling ability. One hand genetics … other hand ability tied to the soul.
113. Lsana
@ 110 tapsi,

We know that Morgase loves Galad as much as her own children, but Galad hasn't gotten to read any chapters from Morgase's perspective. He probably can't be sure. Morgase doesn't seem the demonstrative type. He obviously loves her, and I think he senses she has some affection for him, but does he know how deep it is and how likely it would be to withstand a test? There have been several people over the course of the series Morgase has professed to love deeply, then exiled-on-pain-of-death in a moment of temper.

Given the circumstances of his childhood, I really don't think he can be blamed for sticking to a rigid code of always obeying the rules. A lot of us have done things where we say, "Oh, man, my mother's going to kill me." Would we dare to do that if she just might?
Blake Engholm
114. UncrownedKing
Not a bad point. I still hate reading the chapters he's in. I just can't force myself to be interested. I'd rather read the Tanchico episode over and over ( I hate that section of the series too )
115. seanie
i always thought of it as tequila,too
yay friday next installment
Abdel Masdoua
116. TheDarkOne

I like that: "saidon particles".

Let's build ourselves a saidon particle accelerator!

And Rebecca Starr, I'd really enjoy a peek at your WOT gender thesis!

Seems very interesting...
Arjan Brand
117. fikkie77

Nice to know that the red Ajah never found a way to trace saidon particles in male channelers...
Brett Michie
118. bchurch
"When he accepted, they made him go through that ritual of "Remember honor" again, this time with some drink called oosquai, made from zemai,"

"The stuff looked like faintly brown-tinged water, tasted almost like it--and was stronger than double-distilled brandy."

-The Shadow Rising, A Breaking in the Three-fold Land.
119. Sidetrack'd
"looks like brown-tinged water" : I've heard tell that 'shine can get that from using oak/wood barrels in the still.

"tasted almost like it" : don't know about that - I can't say that there's much taste beyond the burn. ;-)

"stronger than double-distilled brandy" : CHECK! ;D
120. Mark-S
@108. UncrownedKing

That's 1130 PST I'm guessing
Blake Engholm
121. UncrownedKing
hahaha well I live in Ohio, but to make myself feel better we'll say, yes 1130 PST.

Smart asses, gotta love em
122. pdl
"pdl, you wound me. I hope you enjoy the salt of my tears."
*chuckles* Salty tears. I'm sure your ready to sheath the sword. *chuckles*

A language in fantasy debate is just not my cup of tea. I prefer a black masala chai..

Thanks for the solidarity. You could have made one or two typos to make me feel more coordinated.. But alas, it's just not the case when I sit at a keyboard.
craig miller
123. craigpmiller
gagecreedlives@104 - Thanks. I knew I'd read something about Galad's childhood somewhere but could not get my grey cells firing in the correct order.


My money is on the new post coming around 1130

Hey, I have to wait until Saturday, down here in the Sth Pacific.

Now is that fair?

Hangin' out.

Blake Engholm
124. UncrownedKing
Well at least you are warm my friend Its snowing here, or about to. I am sick of the cold.
125. OldMan44
Here it is Friday 2:08 EST and no Leigh post!

Where is Part 5???
126. OldMan44
errrrr Part 6 Duh
127. seanie
jonesin here ,leigh
cold and windy here in pa
no 'lightning in a clear sky',tho
Tim Kington
128. TimKington

IIRC, Jordan once said channeling requires the ability in the soul and in the body. I think that was one of the reasons it took a while to reincarnate the Forsaken - the DO doesn't have lots of strong channeler bodies lying around.
129. Alrin Kharr
Maybe a person's strength in the power if they are able to channel is determined purely by their soul, and the ability to touch the source in the first place is what's genetically determined. It seems like all the reincarnated Forsaken except Lanfear/Cyndane are the same strength as they were before. Or at least, none of them comment on their strength being any different, and they all think it's weird that Cyndane is weaker than Lanfear.
Tim Kington
130. TimKington
For Papazen, while I have spoken of souls being born with the ability to channel in response to questions, I think of it as being genetic also. In the Age of Legends, between 2 and 3% of people had some ability, following a bell curve distribution in strength. For over 3000 years, though, Aes Sedai have been removing men who actually learned to channel from the gene pool. They have been very efficient at this. As a result, the “present day” sees about 1% of the population who can learn to channel, with a much, much smaller percentage of that being born with the spark.
131. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
i also happen to like Elayne at first. until she got more screen time that is, when Mistress Snoot started manifesting with a vengeance.
i also liked Selene. i actually thought that if Rand had played his cards right he could still have won Lanfear over to his side. maybe the side of the light would have been stretching it too much. but at least it would have been his side over the dark one. it was generally his having the women latch onto him that drove Lanfear bonkers(You let another woman touch you. AGAIN!)
and Rand as Shadowkiller. hell yeah! of all his names this one's my personal favorite. it's not just having the wolves have a name for him and be in awe of him. although the idea of wolves whispering among themselves in awe also owns on several levels of cool. it's the name itself. Shadowkiller. beautiful in its simplicity.
132. Rebecca Starr
DarkOne@116 - thank you! I'm not very tech savvy, but if I can find someway to attach a file or get it onto a website, I'll send you all the link
133. SteelBlaidd

Rand is at least a little concerned about his legacy - that's why he sets up research universities later on.

The goal is to preserve the knowledge through what he expects to be another breaking. If hes remembered well for it that's a bonus

@ Rebecca Starr

I want to read your thesis two

Steelblaidd at Gmail
134. gagecreedlives
craigpmiller@123 No worries maaaaate.

I wonder if Thom and Galad will ever to get to share a scene together. Could be interesting depending on what Galad remembers about his fathers death.
135. birgit
The ability to channel, assuming it's genetic at all, is probably some complicated combination of genes that can arise from people who can't channel at all.

The World of WoT says that is is a recessive gene.

Just on a side note I must say the sea folk women who have to become aes sedai have done a very good job of keeping their secret. You would of thought at least one aes sedai would of asked them straight out how many channellers do they think their culture has.

They occasionally send a weak channeler to the White Tower, so the AS think that is all there are and don't ask questions.

Or at least, none of them comment on their strength being any different, and they all think it's weird that Cyndane is weaker than Lanfear.

Maybe Lanfear was stilled in Finnland and Healed by a female.
136. michaelt
birgit @135 - My guess is that Moiraine and Lanfear switched channeling abilities, and Moiraine is going to come back Uber powerful.
137. Dorianin
Excellent work so far....I tried to read all the comments, but im getting to these re-reads a week late, if anyone's raised points which contradict my admitedly minor entry, well, I reject your reality and substitute my own. L. Sprague de Camp indicated in 'The Ancient Engineers' that the chinese did indeed use gunpowder for ceremonial and entertainment for a goodly while before anyone thought to point it at something. Apparently they used it to propel arrows first, then realized the bow was unnecessary. As far as the Ageless look goes, I understood it was from the slowing that occured a few decades after beginning to channel. The Oath Rod reduced their life expectancy by about half, but i dont recall it affecting the slowing....
138. elteescat
Dorianin: Indeed, the oath rod causes the ageless look. Channelling slows the aging process (just look at how old the Kin turned out to be), but that "ageless look" is indeed caused by the oath rod. People who haven't held the oath rod, such as the Kin and the Aiel Wise Ones don't have it.
As far as using gun powder is concerned, the Illuminators were too busy guarding the secret so they could make the maximum amount of money on fireworks to ever allow an army to get ahold of the knowlege!! That's their Colonel's Secret Original Recipe and an army can't be trusted to protect the patent!!!
139. gagecreedlives
“Just on a side note I must say the sea folk women who have to become aes sedai have done a very good job of keeping their secret. You would of thought at least one aes sedai would of asked them straight out how many channellers do they think their culture has.

They occasionally send a weak channeler to the White Tower, so the AS think that is all there are and don't ask questions”

I understand the subterfuge but you would think 3000 yrs after the breaking of the world and the founding of the white tower at the very least the browns would take an interest in this culture.

Or have they?! There are currently 3 sea folk aes sedai (Aiden, Nyein, Zemaille), and all work in the library and all 3 are members of the brown. Has the brown ajah made a deal with the sea folk? Thoughts anyone?
Richard Fife
140. R.Fife
Lanfear/Cyndane has a mental bitch to herself about the Finnish having "a price" she had to pay before she could leave. They took some of her power as the price for whatever 3 things she asked (not to mention her life).

That'd be cool... well not for Thom, who already is in love with an Aes Sedai, but still.

I think the Supergirls "realize" the oathrod gives the "ageless smooth" after meeting the Knitting Circle. None of the überold women there have the ageless look (in fact you could guess an age to them, and be hideously wrong, but that is what their bodies look like). And even the old old non-aes sedai channelers have wrinkles (a few wise ones, some of the knitting circle), where Cadsuane, Vandene, Adeleas, and Verin are all as smooth-faced as a 20-something.

In TSR, Moiraine suspects about the seafolk, and she is blue, so we can assume the browns might as well know which windfinders can and cannot channel. I think the Aiel Wise Ones are the only org of channelers in this continent that the Aes Sedai don't know about. As I recall, they "knew about" the knitting circle/kin too, but chose to ignore it as it made finding runaways easy.
141. hummingbird
Agelessness in Chapter 28.

OK so later one we get commentary about the agelessness being connected to the Oath Rods.... which are connected to the One Power.

Who is to say that the Wise Ones could not have some agelessness connected with their use of the One Power.... it is not necessarily an error, is it?

It would be MORE clear if Mother whatshername, and all of the other "healers" who apparently safely use small amounts of OP (wilders) all had some small bit of agelessness... or perhaps the agelessness only comes with repeated use of large amounts of OP.

I dont know that I have it all worked out, but I also dont see it as a glaring error by the author. All of the ageless have a connection to the OP - and all use ter'angrel (or is it other 'angrels) which would be consistent.
jane reynolds
142. janie
i know, i know, i'm a week late, but i'm trying desperately to catch up and i just couldn't help commenting on this one. if you guys didn't write so many damn good comments, it wouldn't be taking me so long ...
IMHO one of the best lines of the series is in ch29:
"Domon took a deep breath and set about trying to lie his way out of Falme."
makes me laugh so hard every time i get to there. not entirely sure why ...
143. toddywatts
All you Galad-lovers are just setting yourselves up for a fall. He's obviously the good guy who bites it in the last battle and doesn't get to come back and nobody is supposed to care very much because he's so unlovable.

I don't think the Egwene/Gawyn relationship is forced at all. Egwene saw the writing on the wall as soon as she met Elayne. Egwene figured if she was going to be a part of Rand's life she'd have to latch on to his future brother-in-law and better to go after the one that knows how to take orders from a woman than the one who insists on thinking for himself.

I don't think what Elayne does is so bad either. Haven't you ever warned someone that so-and-so is bad news?
144. AlfredTungstan
I found the linguistic discussion fascinating and have thought about it on more than one occassion. In the end though, without a Babel Fish or a TARDIS psycic connection, it is just easier to have everyone speak the same basic language with an "older" language used amoung the nobles and intelligencia, much like Latin in our own time.

Eliada allows reminds me a bit of Kassandra from the Illiad. She was the prophetess who was cursed to see the future but have no one believe her. In Eliada's case, she is cursed to see the future, but to always misinterpret it in some key way.

Just some thoughts.
145. gagecreedlives
Your probably right about the Galad lovers setting themselves up but I think the same thing about all the Tam lovers (myself included). I dont think theres going to be a happy ending for him. He actually might be the key to teaching Rand laughter and tears again. Well the tears part anyway
146. Erdrick
I remember how exciting it was to have Gawyn and Elayne show up again (Galad I didn't really know back then). I really liked the Gawyn/Rand friendship that first appeared in TEoTW. Unfortunately what happened to Gawyn's character was the polar opposite of what happened with Matt's. I do hope something the old Gawyn emerges again when he finds out his mother is alive.

Galad on the other hand I actually like a lot, especially after the KoD prologue. On Galad becoming a whitecloak though, I don't like that one bit. However, it was after Valda gave him The Way of the Light, by Lothair Mantelar (the founder of the Children of the Light) that he converted, and the original philosophy does seem to fit him. I do look forward to seeing him turn that gang of militant fanatics into something useful.

Oh, and all that psychoanalysis about Galad being a goody-goody because of the circumstances of his upbringing--in order to save his own neck--does not match with his character and actions at all. And to those upset about the war over the ship, that was with the prophet's murderous rabble. I'm glad the whitecloaks (another group composed largely of murderous zealots) and the dragonsworn are killing each other off. Perhaps this is foreshadowing how Galad will put the whitecloaks to good use.

Lastly, I respect Galad in a detached way. If he doesn't survive TG, that won't bother me one bit. It's a good way to go (in a fantasy novel, that is).
John Massey
147. subwoofer
Back again- sorry- am planning a wedding- funny how life sucks away all your spare time. the more I get into this the more I realize how many threads the final book is going to have to wrap up. RJ was going in many different directions. Now I am thinking- What is the deal with Galad and the whole white cloak angle and how does that end happy?
Richard Fife
148. R.Fife
whoever said there has to be a happy ending?
Marc Gioglio
149. u_turnagain
Would not the severed hand of Elayne indicate her to be the one to create a "severed hand" ter'angreal for Rand? She's probably just not the one to attach it.

As far as Galad is concerned...
I used to try to always do what was right. I did not care what others thought of my actions. My actions were my own, and I was never forced to say things like "why did I do that stupid thing?". I think he is the same way. I don't think Galad acts out of fear or for glory or recognition. I think he acts for a couple of reasons I didn't though. Namely, his responsibility to prove he is not above the law to his fellow citizens.

I found keeping this behaviour up was more trouble than it was worth, and thankfully have found a happy medium allowing some shades of grey. Galad has demonstrated this while getting his sister a ship. He is a perfect fit for post-TG Whitecloak leader. If he gets it in TG, then there can be no Whitecloaks. If there are no Whitecloaks, there can be no Aes Sedai. If there are no Aes Sedai, then everyone gets stilled, the power gets used up or the world becomes VERY BROKEN after. I don't think any of these would be a bad place to go and would be happy to read about any of them.
150. chaospanicdisorder
i have always thought of the aiel liquor as kind of like the japanese saki and if you look at the spelling they are relatively similar. Galad is the way he is because he has seen in some sort of off hand way that not doing what is "right" never leads to anything good; this was the initial childhood thing that turned him into what he is now, i don't think it had anything to do with some deep rooted fear of morgase, then again what do i know. i don't think its exactly going to be one of the explained characteristics though so all we have is speculation. elayne needs to stop throwing fits about absolutely everything, everyone angers her no one does anything right, her problems are worse than everyone else's; she's just a bit of a selfish brat. she would be a much more likable character if she would just grow up at least a little bit... as for gawyn rand is somewhat showing proof that he killed morgase by taking over andor and raising his banners shortly after she was "killed" and there was a battle involving the one power at the palace, so really gawyn is just piecing together rumor and fact and coming up with the wrong solution. oh and blood and bloody ashes and flaming are some of my most used WoT curses :)
Maiane Bakroeva
151. Isilel
I always thought that Galad is trying very hard not to be like his parents. After all, Tigraine running off caused a War in succession in Andor and Taringail's scheming led to cutting of the Tree and the Aiel War. Additionally, Galad may know something about Taringail's intentions re: Morgase, as they spent so much time together. He must have terrible abandonment issues, too.

So, Galad is honest where they weren't (from his POV), dutiful were they weren't, etc. and very attached to Morgase who took him in and was a good parent to him when his own birth parents let him down so much.

None of which explains eventually joining WCs to my satisfaction, though.
152. Cicero
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Jake Bobo
153. Jake O Shadows
Um white cloaks, seanchan, great game = boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
Can I get more Thom and Mat to get past the bad stuff please.
Also (I have no idea if any one else commented on this cuz I skip down the comments as I'm a year behind here) the thought that the early missteps in plot and world making makes RJ a bad writer is crazy. As of TGH, RJ was writing book two of a trilogy, not book two of the most epic fantasy series um ever. Things shake out a lil different if your setting up things to end in the next 1500 pages instead of the next 15 years.
William McDaniel
154. willmcd
If anyone is listening, long time reader, first time poster here. I found this re-read back in 2009 when I was doing my pre-TGS re-read, and got caught up just about the time the project took a 3-month break during LoC and ACoS, and then I got ahead of it. Now I've started my pre-AMoL re-read, and am again hopelessly out-of-sync with the discussion.

But let me just say, I've really enjoyed this and appreciate leighdb and everyone else's comments. So I figured maybe I'll post a few comments on 3-year old threads.

A good tidbit from chapter 28 that nobody mentioned: Close to the beginning, when Ingtar falls back to ride beside Perrin, "sometimes, to Perrin's eyes, the crescent crest on the Shienaran's helmet looked like a Trolloc's horns". A fine, subtle hint at Ingtar's darkfriendship, I thought.

I'm sure a lot of people will think it was worth it to come back to this thread to read this observation (gag).
William McDaniel
155. willmcd
Hey, posting that comment was so much fun that I'm going to post another one.

Here's a question: How did Rand, Loial and Hurin pay for their rooms at the Defender of the Dragonwall? The lack of financial resources was enough of a problem to be a major plot point back during Rand and Mat's Bogus Journey (whoever made that name up is awesome) from Whitebridge to Caemlyn in TEotW, but now Rand waltzes into the inn and takes not one but two rooms.

Did somebody hand him a sack of coins before he left Shienar? Is Loial bankrolling this whole thing? Or does the inkeeper assume that because he's got a nice coat on, his credit must be good?

Of course, the inn ultimately burns down before Rand ever has to settle his bill, so I guess we'll never find out.
156. Freelancer

When Rand and Mat were travelling as vagabonds toward Caemlyn, there had been no backing available financially. Moiraine and Lan certainly had resources aplenty, but when everyone was separated at Shadar Logoth, it meant they were separated from their funding of the trip as well.

No so when the contingent under Ingtar was sent forth from Shienar to chase the Horn. First off, the group of folks who had gone off to fight evil at the Eye of the World was feted and handsomely gifted by the Shienarans. We saw that Egwene and Nynaeve were given clothing and other fancies by the women, no reason to think the men didn't receive some gifts as well, which might easily have included a bit of coin. Next, it's impossible to imagine that they would expect to live entirely off of the land, so Lord Agelmar would have provided resources other than food for their journey. Ingtar was the commander of the contingent, but once named as his second, it seems reasonable that Rand would have been given a division of the available resources. They hadn't had need to spend any coin prior to reaching Cairhien, so any they had would have still been available at that point.

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