Wed
Feb 25 2009 1:50pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Great Hunt, Part 8

Jumping Jehoshaphat, it’s another Wheel of Time Re-read post! Who’da thunk it.

All righty, today’s post covers the second-to-last chunk of The Great Hunt, or Chapters 41-45, for those of you keeping score at home. Try not to cavort too hard.

Previous entries can be found at the usual spot. Also as usual, spoilers abound; I think you’ve got this down by now, but I am here to think of your well-being, so suck it up.

Or something. I’m kind of punchy at the moment. It’s possible that none of this will make sense at all. Whether this would result in improvement or not is an exercise I will gladly leave you to make out my earshot, THANKS.

Ahem. Onward!

Chapter 41: Disagreements

What Happens
Ingtar’s party trudges miserably through cold rain as Hurin searches for Fain’s trail. Rand asks Verin if she can’t do anything about the weather, and she replies she could, but that it would be like a beacon for any damane in the area. She looks angry at the mention of them, which they had learned about at the villages they’d passed through. Mat is skeptical about the villagers’ claims about monsters. They come to another village, partially razed and deserted, and set up for the night. Ingtar thinks they are wasting time, but Verin and Rand are both sure that Fain went to Falme. Ingtar continues to argue, repeating that he must have the Horn. Hurin again murmurs a protest, but Ingtar ignores him. Rand tells him and the others that he is riding on to Falme; if he doesn’t, Fain will do something to hurt Emond’s Field. The others are surprised, but quickly convince him going to Falme alone will do no good. Ingtar tells Hurin that he wants him to dress as a local and go out in sweeps with one or two of the others, to search for the trail. Rand says he feels something pulling him to Falme, and at Verin’s look says harshly it is only Fain, not... anything else. Rand grumpily goes upstairs and tries to sleep, and then Ba’alzamon is there, holding the Dragon banner in his hands. He calls Rand “Lews Therin”, and tells him the time draws near; will he kill everyone he loves again like before? Rand tells him he is not the Dragon, and Ba’alzamon laughs, saying he knows Rand down to his soul. He again offers the choice to die or serve. Rand realizes he is on his feet and holding saidin, and he hurls the Power at Ba’alzamon, who falls back a step but absorbs Rand’s attack. Rand tries harder, drawing more of the Power, and Ba’alzamon shouts at him that he will destroy himself; with a great effort, Rand lets saidin go and falls, shuddering uncontrollably. Ba’alzamon tosses the banner at him and says much good may it do him; he cannot escape, and Ba’alzamon is the only one who can teach him how to use the Power before it kills him. Rand denies that he is the Dragon again, and when he looks up, Ba’alzamon is gone and the banner back in the saddlebags, but there is still smoke rising from the chairback where Ba’alzamon rested his hands.

Commentary
So, am confused. Here is Mat, talking about damane:

“They can channel, and that makes them Aes Sedai.” He glanced at Rand and gave a ragged laugh. “That makes you Aes Sedai, the Light help us all.”

Masema came galloping from ahead, through the mud and the steady rain. “There is another village ahead, my Lord,” he said as he pulled in beside Ingtar. His eyes only swept past Rand, but they tightened, and he did not look at Rand again.

I’m confused, because it seems here that the party at large knows that Rand can channel, post-Portal Stone; Mat talks about it openly, and Masema avoids eye contact. Furthermore, this matches up with how Verin straight out told Rand earlier, seemingly in front of everyone, that Rand had to learn to control his Power surges. But later in Chapter 44, Ingtar snorts at the notion of running into men who can channel. So what gives?

I suppose Mat and Masema are just both separately being jerks, as is their wont re: Rand, but it really sent the wrong impression if so.

Also, I really don’t understand why Ishy doesn’t just kill Rand already. He’s had a million golden opportunities to do it, and he just won’t. Yeah, blah blah turn him to the Dark Side, whatever. Didn’t these guys ever read the Evil Overlord List?

I mean, I recognize it’s a legitimate problem, how to avoid killing your protagonist while still giving the Big Bad adequate screen time, but my eyes are starting to have serious roll issues, over here.

Chapter 42: Falme

What Happens
Nynaeve and Elayne hide in an alley as a damane and sul’dam pass by on the street, Nynaeve still sickened by the sight. She thinks she sees a familiar face in rich Seanchan robes on the street, but thinks she is imagining things; that couldn’t have been Padan Fain. Elayne suggests they move on before the vendor nearby notices she stole some apples. Nynaeve hisses at her that they are not so bad off yet as to stoop to stealing, and Elayne retorts that Nynaeve “not being hungry” at half their meals isn’t fooling her. Nynaeve concedes the point and takes an apple. Elayne looks with contempt on the people walking around, and says they should be fighting back. They have to stop and bow as a Seanchan patrol passes, and Elayne is noticeably slow about it. Nynaeve tells Elayne that if they are caught because of her she will beg them to let her beat on Elayne personally. Elayne protests that at least she didn’t channel with a damane in plain sight, and Nynaeve mutters that was just the one time; she had to know if there was some way to unfasten those collars. She thinks there might be, but she would have to try again to be sure. She and Elayne make their way to an alley where they can see the houses commandeered for the sul’dam and damane, and settle down to watch it for signs of Egwene or Min.

Egwene stands at the window of her cell-like room, keeping Renna in sight in the courtyard below while she channels carefully at her collar, trying to figure out how to open it. Channeling without permission is making her sick, but she perseveres. Min comes in to visit, dressed as a Seanchan serving girl. Egwene tells her that Renna gave her a test the day before and discovered she had an affinity for Earth, which is unusual in women, and got so excited she promised Egwene a pudding with her supper, to Egwene’s humiliation. Min tells her perhaps it doesn’t matter; she’s found a ship for them. Egwene tells her dispiritedly that Min should take the opportunity and go; since the Earth test, now she is more valuable than ever, and a ship is being sent back to Seanchan specifically to take her there, in a couple of days. Furious, Min says there must be a way out. Egwene doesn’t think so; she tells Min that two of the women captured here are Aes Sedai. Min is shocked, then suggests that maybe they could help.

“They can’t even help themselves, Min. I only talked to one—her name is Ryma; the sul’dam don’t call her that, but that’s her name; she wanted to make sure I knew it—and she told me there is another. She told me in between bouts of tears. She’s Aes Sedai, and she was crying, Min! She has a collar on her neck, they make her answer to Pura, and she can’t do anything more about it than I can. They captured her when Falme fell. She was crying because she’s beginning to stop fighting against it, because she cannot take being punished anymore. She was crying because she wants to take her own life, and she cannot even do that without permission. Light, I know how she feels!”

Min uneasily tells Egwene that she must not think of harming herself, and Egwene says dryly she wouldn’t even if she could, but she can’t anyway. She shows Min what happens if she tries to pick up anything she thinks of as a weapon (debilitating cramps), and adds that once she thought of trying to hit Renna with the washstand pitcher, and couldn’t pour water for three days. She asks Min to remember her when she is gone, and Min snaps back that she’s read Egwene and her destiny is here, linked to Rand and Perrin and Mat and even Galad, not across the ocean. Renna steps in on their argument, and Egwene and Min both jump up and bow. Renna puts on the bracelet, and immediately knows that Egwene was channeling without permission earlier. Angrily, Renna says that perhaps she’s been too lenient, letting Egwene keep her own name; she had a kitten named Tuli once, so Egwene’s name is now Tuli. She tells Min to leave, which Min does with an anguished look, and Renna tells Egwene that she will punish her until Egwene tells her that she loves being damane, and makes Renna believe it.

Commentary
I’ve always found the concept of Stockholm Syndrome to be horrifying, and it’s showing up here in more places than just Egwene’s... training. (retch) Nynaeve also observes it in the inhabitants of Falme, and Elayne is disgusted by it. Elayne’s being a bit of a self-righteous naïf here in doing so, as Nynaeve rightly notes, but like Nynaeve I still feel where she’s coming from.

Stockholm Syndrome is a survival mechanism, a method to cope with and adapt to an otherwise insupportable position, and I understand that. But the notion that a person can become willingly complicit in their own degradation, that survival can override principle, will, and basic human dignity, is one I find... awful.

Because you have to wonder: if it were me, if I were the one there in that situation (or any comparable one), would I be strong enough to fight, no matter what the cost? Even if the price be my own life? Or would raw survival prevail?

And of course there is the corollary dilemma: which choice is better? Is a fight to the death noble, or stupid? Should principle trump survival?

I don’t know. Fortunately for me, the question remains academic; I pray that it always be so.

Chapter 43: A Plan

What Happens
Min runs from the building, weeping, pursued by Egwene’s screams, and stumbles out into the street. She is startled to hear someone call her name, and looks over to see Nynaeve and Elayne there in farmers’ coats. Min grabs their arms and hustles them away from the building; don’t they know how dangerous it is for them there? Nynaeve asks how Egwene is, and Min hedges that she’s as well as can be expected, fearful that if she tells the truth Nynaeve would go storming back in there right this second. She tells them she’s found a ship that will take them out of Falme, but she has no idea how to get Egwene to it. Nynaeve thinks a ship is a good idea, but Min brings up the further complication that Egwene is being sent back to Seanchan in a couple of days, and explains about the iron ore. Elayne wishes Rand were there, and when the other two look at her, blushes and quickly explains that at least he has a sword. Nynaeve opines it’s brains they need, not “men thinking with the hair on their chests”, and tells Min to take her to this boat captain.

For an instant Min found herself reading the auras of the other two women. There was danger, but that was to be expected — and new things, too, among the images she had seen before; it was like that, sometimes. A man’s ring of heavy gold floated above Nynaeve’s head, and above Elayne’s, a red-hot iron and an axe. They meant trouble, she was sure, but it seemed distant, somewhere in the future.

Min takes them to an inn near the harbor and introduces them to Captain Domon. Nynaeve asks him if his ship can avoid the Seanchan, and Domon says yes, as long as a damane doesn’t rip it to splinters. Nynaeve tells him he will sail with something better than damane, and shows him her Aes Sedai ring, hidden on a cord around her neck along with Lan’s ring (which Min recognizes). Domon begs her to put it away, looking around nervously, and tells them to be careful. He tells them how he saw an Aes Sedai named Ryma surrounded and captured even with a Warder by her side. Nynaeve tells him they know the risks; is he in or out? Finally, Domon nods and says he will be ready. The girls leave, and Nynaeve sags in relief once out of sight. She tells Elayne and Min she has a plan.

Commentary
Why didn’t I like Nynaeve earlier than this? I tell you, if I were Elayne or Min I wouldn’t care how pissy the woman acted when she’s off the clock; when she’s on, girl gets shit done.

It helps that when she is pissy, she’s capable of blowing up half of Falme, of course. But even without that, you can’t tell me you wouldn’t be glad to have her around in a crisis. Well, you can, but I probably won’t believe you.

Chapter 44: Five Will Ride Forth

What Happens
Perrin, Mat and Hurin observe the people in the village they’re scouting. Perrin asks Hurin if he’s sure Fain passed through here, and Hurin confirms it, adding that he thinks Fain was alone. There is a commotion just beyond the hills east of the village, and Mat suggests that they make themselves scarce before whoever it is gets there. They run to where they had left their horses, and Perrin looks back just before he ducks out of sight to see the approaching horsemen are Whitecloaks. They mount and gallop off, but Perrin isn’t sure that they weren’t followed. Reluctantly, he searches out the local wolf pack and introduces himself, and asks them to check for him. The wolves are bored by two-legs who don’t talk to them, but take a look, and tell him the only two-legs they saw moving west are himself and his companions. Perrin tells Mat and Hurin the Whitecloaks aren’t following; Mat demands how he knows, and Perrin refuses to explain. They discuss what to do, and decide to circle the village and follow Fain’s trail to see where it goes before reporting back to Ingtar.

Bornhald sits his horse in the street, peering after the broad-shouldered man he’d seen running off as they entered the village, thinking the man reminded him of the lad who’d claimed to be a blacksmith; he can’t remember the boy’s name. Byar rides up and tells him the village is secured. Bornhald tells him to put the prisoners in the inn with food and water, and nail the doors and windows shut; he thinks that it will be a couple of days before any of the villagers work up the courage to break out, and by then the Whitecloaks will be long gone. As his orders are carried out, Bornhald thinks about the skirmish he’d had with the Seanchan, where one pair of witches had cost him fifty men from the thousand he’d snuck here in defiance of the Questioners’ edict. He calls Byar back over, and tells him that when they attack the enemy, Byar will not take part; he will watch from a distance, and carry word to Bornhald’s son of what happens, and then to the Lord Captain Commander. Byar strenuously protests, but Bornhald overrides him, and Byar gives in stiffly. Bornhald thinks to himself that he no longer expects to live to leave Toman Head, and adds to Byar to tell Niall of how they were used by the Questioners. Then he remembers the blacksmith’s name: Perrin. He asks Byar if there was a blacksmith among the villager prisoners, and Byar tells him that the village’s blacksmith supposedly left over a month ago. Bornhald discusses with Byar whether the man he saw could be Perrin, and Byar says that a Darkfriend would surely carry word of them to the Seanchan. Bornhald agrees, and tells Byar there will be no rest here; the legion is to move out immediately. Neither of them notice the winged shape wheeling overhead.

At the campsite, Rand practices sword forms while Verin scribbles in the dirt, muttering to herself. Watching Rand, Ingtar comments that he should not bother with Heron Wading in the Rushes, as it leaves you completely open; even if you get the other man, he will get you, too. Rand replies it’s only for balance. Uno shouts that someone is coming, and Hurin, Mat and Perrin soon appear. Hurin tells the others that he’s found Fain’s trail, and Mat adds that they found Whitecloaks as well. Ingtar dismisses Whitecloaks as irrelevant, and apologizes to Verin for doubting her about Falme. Verin replies placidly that being with ta’veren usually means that everything happens within a Pattern, so no matter. Ingtar says that according to the locals the Seanchan don’t care who goes in or out of Falme, and so proposes that he take Hurin and a few others into the town and search for the Horn. Verin draws two lines in the dirt, and says she assumes Mat will go as well, since he can sense the dagger. Mat agrees reluctantly, and Verin makes a third line. She looks at Rand, who says he will go; it’s why he’s here. At her look, he adds sharply, to help Mat and Ingtar, that’s all, but thinks to himself that he has to find Fain as well.

Verin scratched a fourth line, turning the bird track to a lopsided star. “And who else?” she said softly. She held the stick poised.

“Me,” Perrin said, a hair before Loial chimed in with, “I think I would like to go, too,” and Uno and the other Shienarans all began clamoring to join.

“Perrin spoke first,” Verin said, as if that settled it. She added a fifth line and drew a circle around all five. The hair on Rand’s neck stirred; it was the same wheel she had rubbed out in the first place. “Five ride forth,” she murmured.

The others protest the decision, but Verin is firm. Rand asks, what about her, and she replies she would only bring the damane down on them if she went. She adds, casually, that those in town might feel either a woman or a man channeling unless the amount was kept very small. Ingtar snorts at the notion of a man channeling, and begins making plans to set out. Rand peers at the drawing in the dirt, and sees that Verin has smudged out one of the spokes so the wheel appears to be broken. For some reason, he shivers.

Commentary
Sometimes, awesomely, the ta’veren thing is very subtle; the mere glimpse of Perrin is enough to induce Bornhald to change his plans, and significantly affects the outcome of events as a result. Very cool.

This is in contrast, of course, to Verin practically bulldozing the “five ride forth” prophecy into place. I imagine that she would say that that’s what the Pattern meant her to do; possibly that it is the only reason she’s there in the first place. There’s a whole dissertation in here about the nature of prophecy vs. foreknowledge of that prophecy vs. free will that anyone who’s spent any significant amount of time reading epic fantasy is well aware of; good thing, ’cause I don’t have time for dissertations just now.

Suffice it to say that prophecy in WOT is very much results-oriented; if it happens the way it’s supposed to, nobody quibbles over how it got that way. Mostly. I’m not sure I care for the implication that, when it comes to prophecy at least, the ends really do justify the means, but then I am sure prophecy doesn’t give a rat’s ass what I think. It merely points out all the cool Wheel imagery and subtext and stuff, and suggests I shut up and enjoy.

Prophecy is kind of mean.

Also, Yet Another Verinism in this chapter, namely that she tells Rand that the damane in Falme would be able to sense him channeling, when of course we later find out that while men can sense women channeling, the reverse is not true. For a long time people thought this was proof that Verin could lie, and thus was Black Ajah, but even if you don’t buy my theory that Verin just de-Oathed herself for the lulz, we find out later that Verin is from Far Madding, which has a ter’angreal that does detect male channeling, so Verin knows it is possible. If the Seanchan can come up with collars that enslave female channelers, who knows what else they could have up there?


Chapter 45: Blademaster

What Happens
It’s dawn, and Nynaeve, Elayne and Min wait in front of a closed shop. A sul’dam and damane walk by, yawning, and the three girls get to their feet casually, and drift into position so that they bracket the Seanchan women. Nynaeve tries to be confident that what she’s going to try will work, and resolves that if it goes badly she will try to draw attention to herself and give Elayne and Min a chance to escape. She had made Min tell her what the sul’dam did to enforce their will, and the thought makes her furious enough to embrace saidar. The Seanchan both gasp, but before they can do anything Nynaeve channels one quick whipcrack, and the collar on the damane springs open and falls to the ground. After a second of shock the damane turns and punches the sul’dam in the face (“Good for you!” Elayne yells), and takes off down the street. Elayne calls after her to wait, but Nynaeve hisses at her to shut up as they pounce on the stunned sul’dam and stuff a rag in her mouth. Min throws a sack over the woman’s head, and they wrestle her into an alley while the few people on the street pretend not to notice. Nynaeve snaps at Elayne to pick up the collar, which she does gingerly. They hustle the struggling woman into an abandoned shed, and Nynaeve channels again, and the bracelet falls off the sul’dam’s wrist. They remove the woman’s dress and hogtie her, and Nynaeve puts on the lightning-embroidered dress and, reluctantly, the bracelet. Elayne starts to get undressed, too, saying she wished she knew what this was going to be like; Nynaeve says there’s one way to find out, and picks up the collar and snaps it on the sul’dam’s neck. Min starts to tell her that it doesn’t work that way, and the sul’dam sneers, but Nynaeve realizes she is aware of the woman, and can feel what she feels. She tries adding to that, and the sul’dam abruptly cries out and twists as though trying to escape something. Min is shocked; it’s not supposed to work for a woman who can’t channel. Nynaeve says she doesn’t care how it works as long as it does.

Nynaeve seized the silver metal leash right where it joined the collar, and pulled the woman up enough to look her in the eyes. Frightened eyes, she saw. “You listen to me, and listen well. I want answers, and if I don’t get them, I’ll make you think I have had the hide off you.” Stark terror rolled across the woman’s face, and Nynaeve’s stomach heaved as she suddenly realized the sul’dam had taken her literally. If she thinks I can, it’s because she knows. That is what these leashes are for. She took firm hold of herself to stop from clawing the bracelet off her wrist.

They find out the sul’dam’s name is Seta. Nynaeve realizes she cannot let Elayne wear the collar, and tells them to put the gray dress on Seta instead; she will be their Leashed One. Seta protests frantically, and Nynaeve tells her harshly that if she doesn’t want to be seen, she’d best do everything she can to make sure their plan succeeds. Terrified, Seta agrees.

Bayle Domon waits on his ship. His second protests staying, but Domon just tells him to make sure the men are ready to leave when he tells them and not a moment before; he means to wait for those women.

Rand, Mat, Perrin, Hurin and Ingtar stroll into Falme casually and separately, leading their horses. They meet up behind a stable and leave their horses; Hurin says Fain’s trail is clear as day. They wander for a while, following Hurin, until they come upon a large manor house surrounded by Seanchan soldiers. Rand and Hurin are both shocked to see they have grolm with them, but they pass by casually, and the Seanchan do not notice them. Hurin tells Ingtar that Fain has been here a lot, the last time as late as yesterday, and Mat suddenly gasps and says the dagger is in the manor house, he can feel it. Ingtar doesn’t care about the dagger, saying they must find Fain and the Horn, but Rand points out that he doesn’t think Fain would let the dagger or the Horn get very far from him. He suggests watching to see if Fain comes out, and then going back to Verin to plan what to do next, but Ingtar is having none of it; he will have the Horn today. Ingtar leads them around the back of the manor, where it is surrounded by a walled garden. They sneak in to the manor, Rand getting increasingly worried about Ingtar’s recklessness, and Mat leads them to a room on the second floor where the Horn and the dagger sit next to each other on a stand. Mat rushes over and grabs them both, exultant; Ingtar touches the inscription on the Horn, murmuring that he is saved. Hurin goes over to the window to check on the guards; Rand joins him, and sees across the way another garden filled with pairs of women linked by collars and bracelets, and recognizes one of them as Egwene right before she disappears back inside. He tells the others, but none of them see her now. Rand starts to say he has to get her out, but is interrupted by High Lord Turak and his guards. Turak is surprised; he thought it would be Fain who tried for the dagger and Horn. He orders his men to get the items back; one of the guards walks over and reaches for the Horn as if none of them were armed, to Rand’s amazement. Mat slashes the guard’s hand with the dagger.

With a curse, the soldier leaped back, looking surprised. And then he screamed. It chilled the room, held everyone where they stood in astonishment. The trembling hand he held up in front of his face was turning black, darkness creeping outwards from the bleeding gash that crossed his palm. He opened his mouth wide and howled, clawing at his arm, then his shoulder. Kicking, jerking, he toppled to the floor, thrashing on the silken carpet, shrieking as his face grew black and his dark eyes bulged like overripe plums, until a dark, swollen tongue gagged him. He twitched, choking raggedly, heels drumming, and did not move again. Every bit of his exposed flesh was black as putrid pitch and looked ready to burst at a touch.

Even Turak is stunned. Ingtar takes the opportunity and leaps into the midst of the soldiers, Hurin right behind him; Perrin and Mat go for the guards at the other end of the room, and Rand finds himself alone with Turak and his two servants, who take his robe and kneel. Turak comments Rand is young, and he wants to find out what it takes to earn the heron on this side of the ocean; with a sinking feeling, Rand sees that Turak’s sword is a heron-mark blade. As he prepares to fight, Rand desperately wants to seek the void, but doesn’t know if he can resist saidin if he does, and then, as he thinks, the damane across the way might notice. Turak attacks, and it is immediately obvious that he far outclasses Rand. Turak is disgusted, and goes to finish it; the void surrounds Rand, and he ignores saidin and meets Turak’s attack. They dance the forms, Rand matching Turak now, and abruptly switches from defense to attack. Two strokes later, Turak is dead. The two servants look at their dead master, then draw daggers and stab themselves in the hearts, falling dead. Rand gapes. The others come back, and Ingtar wants to go, now. Rand tells them to go ahead; he has to find Egwene.

“You fool!” Ingtar snapped. “We have what we came for. The Horn of Valere. The hope of salvation. What can one girl count, even if you love her, alongside the Horn, and what it stands for?”

“The Dark One can have the Horn for all I care! What does finding the Horn count if I abandon Egwene to this? If I did that, the Horn couldn’t save me. The Creator couldn’t save me. I would damn myself.”

Ingtar stared at him, his face unreadable. “You mean that exactly, don’t you?”

Hurin urgently notes that there is something happening in the courtyard below; Mat and Perrin run out, and Ingtar tells Rand he can’t save the girl if he gets killed here. Reluctantly Rand follows the others out of the house, swearing to himself that he will come back for Egwene somehow.

Commentary
Dude, the Seanchan are one fucked-up culture.

Also, isn’t Turak a Vulcan name? I’m just saying.

I wonder: if Mat had ever nicked himself with the dagger, would it have done the same to him as the Seanchan guy? Or would his link to it have protected him? It’s to become a moot point, but it’s interesting to think about.

So, do we think it’s awesome that Rand was able to defeat a real blademaster with like a couple months’ training because he is just that cool, or do we think it’s a lame plot-convenient instance of Implausible Fencing Powers? DISCUSS.


Aight, that’s all there is, there ain’t no more! Until Friday, of course, which will provide nummy Chapter-46-to-end-of-TGH-ness for your delectation. Booyah!

164 comments
The Hegemo
1. The Hegemo

Nynaeve awesome? No. Good in a crisis? Yes. I guess if any women in this series belonged on an a'dam, it's her. Otherwise she's just a waste of good braiding skills. Whatever that means.

The Hegemo
2. nuggette
hahaha got the first post
The Hegemo
2. Lord_Fenric
Well, unless someone else beats me to it, it looks like I got the first post. Huzzah!

I am loving these blogs, by the way. Very much like the literature discussions I had in school, only way better. As for Rand and his "implausible fencing powers", well, I'll let you guys decide that. I just enjoy reading the books...as I'm sure you all do...
The Hegemo
3. Hoo-Hah
Dern it all! I wanted the first post.

Anyway, thanks for all the work on the re-reads.

Got me hoooked!
The Hegemo
4. txdan
First Post!! Leigh thanks so much for doing this.
The Hegemo
6. JBWocky
prophecy vs. free will - I don't really see where the problem is, to be honest. It's like saying that if I say that my wife will ask for money for that new pair of shoes I get in the way of her free will. No, I don't, I just know that that's what she will do. It's the same for prophecies: the prophet knows for a fact that the people involved will act in a certain way. Even if you know that that's what the prophet says, you will still act the same way precisely because your free will/upbringing/psychology dictates your actions.
Anyway, I'm loving the recaps. I found out about WOT only last year and I can't imagine what it must have been for you guys to wait for months and months for the next book to come out.
Cheers!
The Hegemo
7. Jamie Bowden
In answer to your last question, even a beginner gets lucky sometimes, and while Rand may not yet be completely up to snuff, he's beyond novitiate status by Lan's comments in the beginning of the book at Fal Fara.
Arjan Brand
8. fikkie77
@ Jamie Bowden, #7:
I wonder if it's luck or that Lews Therin inside Rand took over. He does learn quick!
Kate Nepveu
9. katenepveu
Ch. 41: I really don’t understand why Ishy doesn’t just kill Rand already

Heh. Ishy, the Nazgul, where can a Dark Lord get some efficient henchpeople, already?

Ch. 43: I love competence, so I definitely appreciated Nynaeve in this chapter, you bet.

Ch. 44: I had missed the subtle ta'veren influence on Bornhald. That is cool.

Also, a general comment about the Seanchan:

People, slavery is WRONG.

That's all. There should be nothing further to say.
Todd Willis
10. tswillis
10th post whoo hooo....love the posts as usual
The Hegemo
11. Lsana
Seanchan are still nasty, but that's been discussed ad naseum already. Further evidence for those of us convinced that they are one of the worst things to ever happen to Randland.

I don't think the residents of Falme are suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. I think they are merely being rational and not attacking the people with the big guns pointed at them. If they were truly suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, they wouldn't have ignored Nynaeve's attack on the sul'dam. They don't want to rebel, but that is just because they don't want to be killed, not because they don't want the Seanchan gone.

Also, for those who believe that the Seanchan may be bastards but they are the best administrators, I might point out that things are pretty bad in Falme. Shortages, inflation, etc. Even if you disregard the whole killing and enslaving people thing, the average person has not seen life improve as a result of the new management.

Min's visions--what's the deal with the red-hot ax and Elayne? Also, what vision has Min had that ties Egwene to Galad? So far, he seems to have played about the same part in her destiny that Daniel Craig has played in mine.

Elayne steals. Displays exactly zero concern about the morality of her actions or what harm she might have done to the fruit seller.

Also, at the moment I'm forced to agree about Nynaeve. I'm not one of her fans (yes, the Golden Crane was awesome, but one awesome moment does not make up for 11 books worth of annoyance). However, she shines in these chapters. It becomes obvious that whatever the age difference actually is, she is a responsible woman among silly little girls. I wish we could have kept this Nynaeve.
The Hegemo
12. MoreBooksForMe
What does everyone think Min's vision of Elayne with the axe and iron mean? Do you think she will be put to the Question by the Whitecloaks and have to face a beheading by axe? Or something else. If it has happened yet I don't remember it.
The Hegemo
13. darxbane
Rand is not a talented swordsman when he fights Turak. However, Lews Therin WAS a master swordsman, and the void allows Lews Therin's memories (and eventually his soul) to surface. This is why I used to be confused when RJ made comments that Rand was not a blademaster even though he defeated one, which we find out in KoD that defeating a blademaster makes you one. The void allowed Rand to access LT's swordfighting abilities, which made him more than a match for Turak.

The Seanchan culture is a great example of what people will accept if you control information. It also shows their hippocrisy. One of the most absurd statements in the books was when Tuon defied her similarity with Aes Sedai when she discovered she could learn to channel. "I am nothing like them, Toy" was what she said, if I remember correctly. So, even though she completely controls the channeling of a Damane, because she doesn't actually channel herself, she is exempt from blame or guilt? That's awesome! By that logic I could shoot somebody and blame the gun.....Oh wait, we already do that in America, don't we?
The Hegemo
14. nuggette
p.s. I wonder how many times the phrase "Men thinking with the hair on their chest" pops up?
The Hegemo
15. PabloRC
They only way I can accept Rand doing things like defeating a blademaster is considering that he is using his memories from Lews Therin. Even if he goes insane later, he does remember things from that time and Mat has his memories too.

"Min throws a sack over the woman’s head, and they wrestle her into an alley while the few people on the street pretend not to notice."

LOL
The Hegemo
16. Eswana
First of all Leigh, these are so awesome. Thanks for everything!

Okay, thoughts:
Ch 41: I agree with you about Bad Guys Not Doing Much. We could just chalk it up to Ishamael being totally crazy, but it smells of Plot Device to me. Hmm. At this point, do we know that the Dark One has ordered everyone to keep Rand alive? I forget.

Ch 42: Stockholm Syndrome is indeed creep-tastic. Really. The Seanchan version is especially gross, since their form of tyranny included treating people like animals/slaves, and nobody can do a thing about it (except the Supergirls). Also, Min's viewings (and comments to Egwene about them) bring up an odd though: Min has seen that Egwene is going to be the Amyrlin and a lot of other Randland-related things. Obviously, Liandrin and Suroth were trying to bundle Egwene off to Seanchan re Ishamael's orders, but does Min's viewing mean that Destiny trumps even the cleverest of the Forsaken's plans? How far can we stretch this? Moiraine says at one point that "if your thread is snipped from the Pattern, the Wheel won't even notice, but keep on weaving." How right is she? If... if... if... Light, what a tangle!

Ch 43 I really really liked Doman in this book. What a loyal guy! I'm a bit weirded out by his relationship to Egenian in future books, but the times we've seen him thus far he's been awesome.

Ch 44 Good point about Verin! I've always thought that people trying to prove she's Black are just grasping at straws, and this is one such instance. A big weakness to the Oath Rod is that if you believe something is true you can say it, even if it's objectively false. Even without her Far Madding upbringing, if Verin believed women could sense male channeling, she's legit in saying it. Since there aren't too many male channelers around to test out her theory, for all she knows damane can detect it.

Ch 45 I don't know anything about fencing, so I don't know the realistic odds of Rand defeating Turak at this stage of his training. But, again, Rand does sort of have the Pattern on his side here; could it have been ta’veren that helped things come out so favorably?
Also, I agree with you - Seanchan culture is crazy messed up. Your boss dies, so you kill yourself? Really? Trying not to be judgemental about other cultures... but, yuck.

It's also cute that Rand still thinks he loves Egwene at this point. I love what Birgitte says in the next chunk of chapters ("You always choose women that cause you trouble, Lews Therin.")

Keep it up!! This work is so, so, appreciated! :-)
The Hegemo
17. darxbane
the Galad/Egwene connection:
I could be wrong, but isn't Galad's first order as Lord Captain Commander to reach an agreement with Aes Sedai for Tarmon Gaidon? That could be interesting.
The Hegemo
18. AlleyGirl
Just wanted to add my thanks for this whole re-read thing. I plan to do my own re-read sometime this year before AMOL comes out, but since I completed probably my 20th one just a couple months ago its too soon to start now. Its awesome to see things from someone else's point of view for once though and find out a few connections I had missed in the past.

I also just want to say that I LOVE Nynaeve and always have from Book 1. She's just one big bundle of awesome!
The Hegemo
19. Rikka
chpt 41:
I don't remember this chapter at all... which is sad. But hey, I have library privileges back :D. I'm getting TDR and TSR on ILL and they will hopefully be here sometime next week. Victory!

chpt 42:
As repulsive as it is, having a main character be captured does remarkable things for plots. I love this whole arc with Egwene, as nauseous as it makes me feel when I stop and think. I certainly know that I'd prefer survival over principle. I have no doubts or misgivings over my values or lack thereof. Living would come first, I am but a simple creature.

chpt 43:
I get Lan's ring but what's the iron and axe for Elayne? It tickles, I feel as if I should know... Also, I think we need more Min pov's. She's my favorite supergirl.

chpt 44:
I always thought it too coincidental that Bornhald sees Perrin here. It just rubbed me wrong. I know that Bornhald and them were headed towards Falme where the WC were amassing forces but still.... That it's Bornhald that sees them? I dunno. Too ta'veren-y for me I guess. You can think it's cool, I'll just sit in my corner and :/

Also. Prophecy is an ass.

chpt 45:
Excitement! (my first thought on seeing chapter title)

Also, I thought it'd been said that Rand rocking the forms was a subconscious LTT influence. I'll buy that. Add in training a few hours a day with one of the best men to have ever held the right side of a sword and we've a baby blademaster on our hands. d'aaaw :D


also, the 1/I/l on the verification thing drives me nutsssss
The Hegemo
20. MoreBooksForMe
A small note on prophecy/free will in fantasy.

RJ does a decent job of making some of the prophicies in the WOT have vague or double meaning. This causes the characters to misinterpret the prophecy. (Best example is Moriane's decription of what Rand should do after he takes Tear, or any of Elida's "interpretaions" of her own) Rand fufills some prophecy not even realizing what he is doing. Completing a prophecy without knowing it makes it seem to me that they do have free will. Mabey not, The more I think about it the more questions that I can think of.
I did like how J.K. Rowling handled prophecy in the Harry Potters. There are many prophecies made but just because you hear it dosen't mean you have to fufill it. You can ignore it but situations and events put you in a position that you want to fufill it because to do otherwise would be inconceivable.

Just a thought.
The Hegemo
21. Lsana
Re: Rand/Lews Therin defeating Turak (and yes, that's definitely a vulcan name),

It could have been, but there is at least one argument against it: namely that Rand deliberately decides NOT to seek the void during this fight because he is afraid that if he does, he will channel and bring the damane's attention to him. So while I don't know that there is any rule that LTT can't take over when Rand isn't channeling, if he did here, it had nothing to do with the void.
Heather Johnson
22. HeatherJ
I remember the first time I read the section where Egwene explains the horrible truth of what being a damane means – it is just a horrible on subsequent rereads as it was that first time.

@6 JBWocky: months and months? More like years and years. Welcome to the world of WOT. :)

@11 Lsana & @12 MoreBooksFor Me: I was wondering about those visions as well. Hopefully we’ll get some answers in the final book (unless I’ve missed something in other of the other books?).
The Hegemo
23. Lara Beaton
41: I thought that Masema avoided looking at Rand because he hated Aiel, and Rand looked like an Aiel. Masema always showed antipathy to Rand, until he flipped a bit and went psychotically the other way. I dont' recall there being any evidence that any of the Shienarans knew that Rand could channel prior to Falme.

Also, didn't we have a huge debate over the Ishy question on rasfw-rj? Wasn't the prevailing theory that Ishy wasn't trying to kill Rand, he was trying to get sufficient saidin mojo working in places where the seals were, so that they would break? or did I just make all that up right now?
Arjan Brand
24. fikkie77
@Lara: never heard of that theory, but it sounds very plausible.
The Hegemo
25. DutchBoy
Yo guys and girls

Ah, so that's why you dislike the Seanchan so much; Americans were told again and again and again how bad slavery is, probably because of their national history. Well, if that is true, good for you!
But what about prisons? No country holds as many prisoners (relatively and in absolute nummers) as the US. Emprisonment restricts humans as well as slavery, although to a lesser degree. If I may defend the Seanchan a bit - they restrict people with the potential to do very bad things, to protect others. People are put in prison because they did bad things (and to protect others). You see, the Seanchan are not that bad...
Mmm, perhaps I fail again in defending the Seanchan? ;-)

Two other comments.

I really loved Chapter 45. When I first read it. Of course, it is not really convincing that Rand beat Turak, but it was soooooo cooooool when first reading it!

When reading, all characters are automatically and unconsciously replaced by people that I know. I guess we readers all experience this, right?

This series, however, gave me headaches. Soooo many people. When reading the series the second time I noted down all persons that I encountered in each book, together with page numbers, on pieces of paper. Ha ha, I really felt like a fool when I discovered that something like the WOT encyclopedia existed...

DutchBoy wishes you all a nice day!
Brett Michie
26. bchurch
Lsana @ 21

Rand doesn't seek the void at first during the duel, but after Turak's disgust that Rand isn't a real blademaster, the void envelopes Rand. Nothing there to say whether it was conscious or not, but it is at this point that the tide turns and Rand eventually wins. I'm not sold on LTT's memories--even blademaster muscle-memories--being the deciding factor. It could be that or just ta'veren luck. It seems that Turak is surprised at Rand's sudden increase in skill and that may have allowed Rand to trip him up and surprise him with "the river undercuts the bank."

I've always loved the names of the sword-forms.

and Nuggette @ 14

I wonder if those of us men with relatively little chest hair are less capable of deep thought in Nyneave's opinion.
The Hegemo
27. darxbane
Lsana @ 21:
He's afraid to use the void at first, but when he is getting owned by Turak he decides it's worth the risk and assumes it anyway. The battle changes very distinctly then. Now granted, Lan and Galad assume the Void when they fight as well (they each call it something different), so assuming the void itself may have been enough. It's Robert Jordan saying that Rand is still not a blademaster that makes me believe LTT is more than just a group of memories, he is a separate soul that is awakened and is slowly trying to take over. Min has a vision that hints at this, as well.
Arjan Brand
28. fikkie77
If not interested in men's chest hair, but in this case I do wonder how much Robert Jordan had. I would guess: none and this is just an act of envy.

I always think with my chest hair... that's why I don't think too much...
The Hegemo
29. DutchBoy
For the record:

Lsana @11 is right, the residents of Falme are NOT suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. People might end up suffering from this nasty syndrome after being kidnapped or after being dominated, in harsh and emotional conditions. Then you end up sympathizing or even loving your captor...

Leigh, if you ask me, better adapting to worse circumstances and recovering from this Syndrome after the worse circumstances are over, then fighting the bad situation and dying because of that.

DutchBoy
The Hegemo
30. LadyBelaine
Ah, so that's why you dislike the Seanchan so much; Americans were told again and again and again how bad slavery is, probably because of their national history. Well, if that is true, good for you!

This is an absurd statement. As if, I dunno, New Zealanders are totally fine with the institution of slavery.
The Hegemo
31. cps2195
looks like a few people beat me to commenting on Min's viewing. It seems to suggest questioning by the whitecloaks and maybe a rescue by Perrin. The problem with that is Galad being the new L.C.C. and Perrin ditching the axe (in fufillment of Seanchan prophecy.) Interesting nonetheless.


As for Masema. I think he learned Rand could was the DR in the portal stone worlds. Who knows exactly what he saw but this is the beginning of The Prophet. I don't think he has really thought through his experiences yet so he is unsure how to think about Rand.

The portal stone can be used to explain alot. Seeing as how Mat and Perrin are linked to Rand it's safe to assume they probably had some visions of Rand losing the last battle or turning to the darkside.
Arjan Brand
32. fikkie77
I think it is a factor: Americans detest slavery more because of their history. I (I'm Dutch) oppose slavery very strongly, but I took the slavery in WOT just like it is (in the first place: fiction). That it happened to Egwene was more of a shock. The leashing of Moggy made me cheer, so did breaking Galina.
The Hegemo
33. Lsana
@ 26 bchurch, @27 darxbane

My bad. I remembered him fight so hard to keep it away during the first part of the fight and I didn't recall it coming back.
The Hegemo
34. RedHanded
I was thinking that if the people of Falme see the Seanchan as bad/evil/pain in the asses (which they are), why not leave and go to some place where there are no Seanchan and at least some normalcy (if that can be said of anywhere in Randland). You swear the oaths and then you are free to go, alright well swear and then leave...right?

BUT

Then I got to thinking about the real world and people's complacency with their own governments. Our government (USA) is mismanaged and individual rights are violated all the time for the sake of some majority and yet we all live with it and suck it up. I suppose we also don't have anywhere else to go since other countries have far worse statist policies than this one. Still if your choice was rule under the Seanchan (basically a slave to not even your own societies custom/beliefs but to one from across an ocean) or go out and try to find a place based on principles of freedom, wouldn't you leave? Just saying!
The Hegemo
35. Randfan
I think Masema gives Rand the look because he recognizes Rand from the battle at Tarwin Gap. Remember, Masema becomes the prophet… Also, undertones of hatred for Aiel, like how the soldiers preemptively charged the Madiens in the stedding. Masema’s alternative lives must have involved Rand heavily, so he knows who he is already I think.

Everyone does not have to know Rand can channel yet, we can assume that some of these conversations are private or the implications are not caught. Remember that Ingtar is wrestling with the way his lives played out in the portal stones, so he could be ignorant or… he knows and snorts because he sees through verbal subterfuge about ‘running into a men who can channel’

Ishy not killing Rand is pretty standard as well. He wants to suborn him, and is under orders not to kill him. I think it is pretty clear that Shaitan is a being, the most powerful being on the planet, but still a physical entity, not like the Creator. In some age he was imprisoned, an act which devolved into legend and in legend involves the Creator. In the most recent escape, he was reimprisoned by a bunch of Aes Sedai. So, Ishy probably knows the truth about Shaitan and would like to move up to number 1 on the list. If he can suborn Rand, manipulate stuff so he kills Shaitan while leaving Ishy to inherit the power, voila! motive. Ishy ‘s best interests are served keeping Rand alive.

Shaitan probably knows this, and wants Rand alive so he can kill him at the right time, removing his only obstacle to world domination. Also, Rand can thin the ranks of his backstabbing minions. When you can’t directly touch the world, you have to use the tools at your disposal. So, Rand must live, because prophecy may be obscure, but if you go totally off the rails who knows what will happen! Schemers prefer partial knowledge of events they can manipulate to none at all.

Rand defeating a blademaster is well within the realm of possibility. Journeymen defeat masters all the time. Turak was testing him, being careful until he decided Rand was terrible and acquired the sword somehow. He moved to attack and was unable to mentally or physically shift gears when Rand goes Mushin and uses all his skills to win. That is why rule 1 is never underestimate your opponent. Rand had months of essentially one on one training and the knowledge that this skill would keep him alive, and he would need it! to motivate him to practice consistently. He also has years of Void/Mushin practice from Archery, which gives him a big leg up. Throw in ‘quick wrists’ – a little natural aptitude – and the fact he has been blooded in a few fights and you have a solid journeyman, a very dangerous man. Later, when he is tacking on 5 at once, then he is a blademaster.

Re Stockholm syndrome, who was it that said that the definition of a human being is an animal that can adapt to any circumstance? Thoreau?

Pretty good stuff, keep it up.
The Hegemo
36. alexg
I always assumed that Verin wasn't lying exactly, but was just honestly wrong. Also, I'd never thought about the Perrin sighting being a ta'veren thing. Neat.

Finally: Turok is a Dinosaur Hunter.
The Hegemo
37. Lsana
@34 RedHanded,

Many do leave. But the Seanchan have made no secret that there plan is to conquer the whole continent, and there are a lot of people who think that it's better to stay under the heal of a repressive government rather than go to the areas yet to be conquered and get caught up in the fighting and executions that occur there.
The Hegemo
38. Deaddard
Concerning the prophecy vs. free will vs. involvement issue.

It really depends on the prophecy. For instance, many parts of the Karaethon Cycle, Rand is all up in its face with knowledge about it, yet many parts of it are completely out of his hands.

The 5 ride forth prophecy falls under a different type though. I consider it a self-fulfilling prophecy. Mat marrying Tuon is even more evident of it.
Evan Langlinais
39. Skwid
Re: Turak being a Vulcan name, it does have the right sound, but Memory Alpha doesn't know of any characters with that name. You're probably thinking of either Surak or Tuvok.

Also, kill me. Kill me now.
The Hegemo
40. WSB
I believe Fain cut himself once with the Ruby dagger, with no unusual ill effects.
Ofer Nave
41. odigity
Prophecy, as it is usually used (a supernatural binding, predicting that which will come to pass regardless of attempts to intervene), is one big logical contradiction, but it also happens to be a cornerstone of the fantasy genre. I'm a logical guy, but I also enjoy fantasy, and there's only one way to resolve this situation. You leave your knowledge of the logical impossibility of prophecy at the door when you go in. It is quite simply an entrance requirement.

As the WoT series makes even more use of this device than usual (though it's execution in this is an order of magnitude better than any runners up), it is even more necessary to suspend critical analysis to avoid spoiling the fun. It's difficult, because I personally love to pick things apart and explore all the edges (making WoT like catnip for me).

RJ has very cleverly built a framework that lets him get away with this and much, much more in a far more suave way than anything else I've ever seen, by building around the concepts of the wheel, pattern, ta'veren, etc. What amuses me is that not only is WoT a great fantasy series, but it's also one giant metaphor on how to *write* a fantasy series. RJ is the "creator" (or author), Rand/Mat/Perrin are the "ta'veren" (or protagonists), and everything that happens is the "pattern/web/lace" (or plot outline).
The Hegemo
42. Katiya
I really found the Seanchan despicable, yes, but any question about their governmental administrative abilities is moot. They DO rock at bureaucracy, because their main real world counterparts, the Imperial Chinese, rocked at bureaucracy. It's pretty clear that later, we're supposed to accept the Seanchan, because RJ shows us some ones that aren't awful...and it's this initial impression of them that makes it so hard. But hey, if the Chinese could change, so can the Seanchan, right? Maybe?

And on a side note, sort of, I once had a professor of Mid-East cultures explain to me that Americans DO react very strongly to slavery because of the particularly brutal nature of it here in the US (ie, damane). But the hierarchical system of slavery in Seanchan culture is very reminiscent of slavery in the Ottoman empire and the cultures that led up to it, which, in some cases, gave a slave more power and dignity than an average citizen. I'm just saying that we should keep in mind that while slavery IS awful and absolutely a violation of human rights, there WERE types of slavery that did not necessarily mean whips and overseers. Not that that excuses it in any way, but you know.
Ofer Nave
43. odigity
Also, I love how RJ has the girls go through the effort of finding and negotiating with Domon, and then both sides end up having to stand each other up and come up with separate plan B's when the action starts. Most authors would not dedicate effort (and precious pages) to introducing elements and then take us in an expected direction that makes the previous effort unnecessary, but to me it adds a great deal of needed realism. And, of course, it's not really a complete loss (almost never is in WoT), as it starts paying off in book 4 (Tanchico).

Another example that comes to mind is during the planning to escape Ebou Dar, Julin spends a week trying to snatch three sul'dam dresses, and just as he succeeds, they change plans, making the dresses unnecessary. He gets annoyed and tosses them in a corner.
The Hegemo
44. Aneid
@ 35. Randfan

The Creator created the Wheel of Time and the Great Pattern and the Dark One and imprisoned him (it) at the dawn of time. If what I read from you is correct, you believe the Dark One can be destroyed and ala Highlander and Ishy becomes the new Dark One. I do not think that is correct, the Dark One fulfills a basic requirement in the Wheel of Time universe and that is to bring balance to the Wheel. RJ’s overall theme seems to be balance and the effects when things get out of balance, I mean look at the ancient symbol for the Aes Sedai. The Wheel is set to auto-correct, Ishy has been hard at work for 3000 years to keep the wheel out of balance and tilted to the dark. Ishy is a true believer in the Dark One, I just do not think there is any way for a human being, no matter how powerful, can become a being like the Dark One which sits outside the pattern.
The Hegemo
45. RedHanded
@Lsana

Right I knew a lot of people left Falme, and I understand just about every nation is at war or upheaval of some kind in Randland. Since there is not really anywhere for people to go, just like in the real world I added the "BUT" part of my comment. I still think that if war was on my doorstep and a new oppresive government came in and said hey just swear fealty and you can leave, I probably would and then get the hell out of there. Better to take my chances out there than stick around until I become a slave.

@WSB You are correct. I believe he even licked his wound. That just made me think, I wonder what would happen if Fain spit on or bit someone since he seems to be made of similar stuff as the evil in Shadar Logoth. I wonder if it'd be like a bite from a Darkhound.
The Hegemo
46. PieterT
Still loving your work Leigh!

About Min's vision on Elayne: Could RJ have been thinking to put Elayne together with Perrin?
Red hot iron (Blacksmith) and axe, sounds like a good description of Perrin to me.

About Rand and Turak: Rand figures that he doesn't stand a chance against Turak. That's why he embraces saidin. I guess this enhances his senses and therefore he gets into this slow motion mode (Neo in the Matrix). That way it seems pretty cool to me how he can slay Turak with 2 months of practice.
The Hegemo
47. MatthewH
On Rand's swordsmanship: I really liked this sequence, mainly because it has a very high coolness score. I blame Lews Therin for most of the ability Rand shows in this area. (Rand's efforts to learn the Aiel way of fighting with empty hands, on the other hand, are all his own and equally if not more impressive). It should also be noted that, even if Rand's victory seems quick, Turak was likely feeling quite overconfident given Rand's obvious lack of skills.
The Hegemo
48. RedHanded
@44 Aneid

I agree that a mortal could not become the Dark One because:
1) I'm not really sure if the Dark One is some much an entity as a force of nature (the exact opposite of the Creator). Speaking of, if Lanfear was able to drill a hole in the prison of the Dark One, is there a way to drill into whereever the Creator is closest to the world? Or is there no Creator really, just the Wheel spinning what it needs to remain intact?
2) I also think that because of the balance that needs to be maintained that the Dark One can never be destroyed or it would also break the Wheel. I think the most that Rand is going to be able to accomplish is sealing the Bore back completely (no seals required/restart to maybe another AoL before the DO's prison was opened?)
3)If the Dark One were to be completely destroyed somehow, the balance would be thrown off I think to such an extent that like the excessive use of balefire the pattern could become unraveled.

In all of this I don't see an opportunity for Ishy or anyone to supplant the "Great Lord" as doing so would, I believe, destroy existence.
But the Wheel weaves as the wheel will....
Blake Engholm
49. UncrownedKing
@6 JBWocky

MONTHS?? Ive been waiting since 1996. hahahaha, but welcome, addicting stuff isn't it?

On Rand killing a Blademaster then becoming one, Doesn't that have a Highlander feel to it??? I only bring it up because Highlander is uber-sweet and the comment reminded me of it.
The Hegemo
50. Blade Master
I think that to have Rand be able to do that with the sword for only a couple of months its so freaking awesome. It adds a certain feeling to the book and general epic fantasy, when you have a main character that can do something cool. And lets not forget that Rand was seen with that sword in the first book and they said that the sword belongs with Rand. Plus, its just major coolness to be so young and carrying a blademasters sword.
The Hegemo
51. PieterT
@25
Americans were told again and again and again how bad slavery is, probably because of their national history. Well, if that is true, good for you!

I guess my fellow Dutch man (boy) doesn't know the history of Holland too well. He should not forget that together with England we practically invited slavery.
Eventually we learned from our mistakes in Holland and we became a multi cultural society. So I guess there is also hope for the Seanchan. Perhaps Tuon will be able to change a thing or two in AMOL.
The Hegemo
52. AnneW
I guess I assumed that for the first couple of books Ishy is still mostly trapped in the Bore and not able to be out there enough to actually kill Rand. Or possibly following orders to convert him.
Blake Engholm
53. UncrownedKing
Question to all:

Which character do you connect with/ or compare yourselves to the most?

I think I enjoy Mat the most but compare/ connect with Perrin, well not so emo as Perrin, but that is niether here nor there.

Just curious.
Rich Bennett
54. Neuralnet
The sword form descriptions are one of my favorite parts of this series. Rand defeating turak definitely set up Rand as a major bad ass with a blade. There have been lots of guesses over the years as to how Rand was able to beat Turak. I have always leaned toward the explanation that once Rand held the void his relfexes and focus (thinking/confidence) improved dramatically. This change of gears probably just caught Torak off guard. I dont buy that Rand would subconsciously be in tune to his inner Lews Therin yet. Since Lews Therin doesnt make any sort of appearence until later in the series and it would just be too convenient that the first thing Rand learns from LTT is to be a blademaster. Also Rand didnt actually embrace saidin it was just there waiting to be embraced so it isnt as if saidin is slowing the world down for him.

I dont care what Robert Jordan may or may not have said, from here on out I always considered Rand a blademaster.

This reread makes me miss the pace and action of the first couple of WoT books.

Last thing, I agree completely with the complaint regarding the forsaken (or the various baddies in Randland) and their inability to just go ahead and kill Rand/Mat/Perrin already. It is very frustrating. Robert Jordan spends so much tme developing the heroes of the books and then the bad guys seem so one dimensional and cartooonish. In the later books the villians get better but by that time our hereos are already too powerful to just kill.
The Hegemo
55. Lsana
@53 UncrownedKing,

Mat is my favorite character too, though I don't identify with him particularly.

Honestly I don't identify with all that many of the WoT characters. Probably the closest thing to a character I would call "like me" is Seaine, the White sitter Elaida asks to investigate in ACOS. Primarily because I think I would end up choosing white if I were an Aes Sedai, and Seaine is about the only non-BA white sister we meet, but I also admire her dedication to the White Tower as opposed to whomever might be Amyrlin at a given moment. I also have some sympathy with her dilemma with her "lost friend" in the Red Ajah.

A pretty minor character, I know, but while I like the guys, I don't identify with them or with any of the more important women.
The Hegemo
56. Johan G
Well, even Ishy had his limits. He's aiming for Rand's life throughout the next book, using Gray Men, Carridin and finally facing Rand himself. That's the third strategy Moridin thinks about in book whatever, which always ended in all-out warfare. Removing the Fisher from the board. It failed, and when he came back as Moridin, he didn't try it again.

At least, that's what I remember.
The Hegemo
58. RedHanded
@53

I'd probably have to say I compare w/ Herid Fel since he is always reading and into philosophy.

Mat is definitely bad ass. I seriously can't wait (even though I have to!) for all the Mat POV's in the next book when he goes to the Tower of Ghenji.
The Hegemo
59. Dokipen
A few things I've noticed on this re-read.

First, I am LOVING Nynaeve despite hating her previously. I suppose I'm reading her dialogue as being spoken softer and more taking the piss than being the uber-bitch I read her as previously. I'm not assuming she's snapping every time she speaks any more.

I can't believe I've never picked up on the character that gets shot in the back in CoT running away being this Renna - never sank in before. Same as Adeleas and Vandene being the sisters in this book. Guess that's what happens when you read eleven books back-to-back on about three hours sleep a night. Bloody kids.

Also, I can't believe I never picked up on Egwene being strong in Earth as the reason she's so shit-hot at cuendillar. Great stuff.
The Hegemo
60. dquix
Ishy has been around outside the bore for a long time. Remember when Rand et al encounter the first two forsaken, they are badly scarred from being too close to the surface. Ishy is also badly scarred. So he must have been outside for quite a while.

The exact nature of the DO's attitude toward Rand is confusing in the first 3 books because we don't really encounter the DO, but only Ishy masquerading as the DO. I was totally thrown off by this, thinking that the entity we saw in the prologue to tGH was the DO, but it was really Ishy.

The DO wants Rand kept alive to turn him. Killing him doesn't end the cycle, but turning him will. The DO wants to make his/her dominance permanent and do away with this cyclical stuff once and for all. That's why the orders are not to kill Rand. That doesn't mean that some of the Forsaken won't try to do away with him to avoid his being placed above them, but only if they can do it without being caught, or better still, fixing the blame on another of the Forsaken.
The Hegemo
61. sps49
Sixty-first! Ha!

The void always improved Tam's archery w/o any Lews Therin presence; it should apply to Rand's swordsmanship as well.

@25- buh? Innocent people enslaved because of their potential to act badly can be conflated with imprisoning people who do act badly?

Re: Americans' perspective on slavery- The portrayed loss of freedom may affect a USA citizen because of the high value placed on the perception of freedom, especially compared with other locations in today's world.
The Hegemo
62. garstzilla
"red hot axe" sounds like an execution to me, maybe foreshodowing something in AMOL or just how Elayne is in danger all the time for the rest of the series.
Rand's fight: Unpredictability will screw with any expert or master. Rand does all his training in the void, starting off his fight with Turak not being in the void really throws him off of his best. Put those two together and Turak letting himself (arrogance)think Rand was easy meat puts him right where Rands sudden use of Void and a charge will get him the most. Taveren, (flicker) if Rand had started out in the void and Turak had seen from the first what Rand was capable of he would have been more cautious and probably been prepared for Rand's sudden change of tactics.
The Hegemo
63. RNash
I've been reading these posts since they started Leigh, and I have really enjoyed them. There are two reasons that I am choosing now to post:

Firstly, the scene where Rand and Hurin see the grolm and have a "dude, really?" moment is one of my favorites in the entire series. It's a very relatable moment for anyone who has had a similar reaction to something they never expected to see again, especially if that something is rather horrifying.

Secondly, Rand defeating Turak isn't all that inconceivable. First off, he has been Warder trained and deemed passable, which means he can probably defeat any non-blademaster (which is shown to be true) and would have a decent shot at beating a real blademaster if Rand was lucky. We know that he is "lucky", being a reality-warping ta'veren. Also, the void played a large role in allowing Rand to go on the offensive and win. Bullet time is deep magic, and not to be taken lightly.

@54: Agreed, completely.
Kyle Bass
64. SherlockTomes
Regarding Rand vs. Turak

I don't think it's absurd for Rand to win in this situation for a couple reasons, in the context of WoT.

One major factor is, as has been pointed out, The Void. Again, we've seen with Tam and Rand that The Void (or Oneness) is a powerful tool, making Tam the best archer in a place full of great bowmen, as well as a blademaster himself. We have no indication or reason to believe that Turak (or any Seanchan) have knowledge of this.

The more important factor, in my eyes, is Rand's Ta'veren-ness and the Pattern. Rand is very, very Ta'veren, conceivably the most Ta'vereny that one can be. The Pattern isn't done with Rand at this point, not even close. So, if there is even a remote chance that Rand besting Turak is possible, which it certainly is, the Pattern makes it happen, because it needs him. Perhaps Rand beating Turak was a 1:1,000,000,000 chance, but being Ta'veren can, and did, make this instance be that one.
Ronald Hobbs
65. dustrider
I'm surprised that the Verin Black-Ajah theorists haven't mentioned the broken wheel after she scuffs out the border, which is the DO's ultimate aim.

Not that I hold Verin to be BA, just interesting that such a blatant tell isn't being seized on.

The fencing bit, I agree with some of the later posts, initial inexperience followed by a modicum of skill and recklessness can sometimes give you the upper hand. I had an instructor as a kid that used to say fencing is 90% in the mind. Overconfidence can dull you just as fear can sharpen you, and a sudden rush surprise you.

One last comment on the inability of villains to kill the Last Great Hope. I reckon that if Rand dies before the appointed time, TG doesn't happen, and they have to wait till the wheel spits LTT out again. Part of my thinking is the broken seals that turn up after every "successful" step Rand takes along the prophecy. So whether he ends up bending to the dark or not, he still has to perform certain steps to break open the bore. and if Ishy pushes it too hard, kills him or otherwise screws it up he's got another couple of thousand years to wait before he can have another shot.

The waiting will drive you nuts. Oh.
The Hegemo
66. SAMADAI
I wondered about Verin's -isms for several books but then remembered what Suian said about why they were letting Rand go free. She said we are letting you go free do do what you have to do so you can win the Last Battle. I think Verin is the first Aes Sedai to realize how true this is and her thought is that any help she can give him will help him.

If knowledge is truly the scope of the Brown Ajah then she surely realizes that the only hope for him winning is for his taverenism to have control over everything he affects.
Brett Michie
67. bchurch
dquix @ 60

I agree somewhat that Ishy has been outside the bore for a long time. What I mean by that is that he was never fully sealed. We can gather from what we learn from him in tEotW and also from Rand's Aiel history vision in tSR that he was only partially sealed if sealed at all and has been manipulating events for the last 3000 years or so in the DO's name. Hence the whole Ba'alzamon/Ishamael name wrapped in a name thing we get in tDR from Verin and Egwene. As to his scarring, that is resultant from his battle with Rand at the end of tEotW.

My thoughts on why the bad guys didn't kill the ta'veren trio from the get-go are that only a few at the top knew who they were. I believe it isn't until the prologue of KoD that Moridin finally reveals to the rest of the forsaken what Mat and Perrin look like. And I agree that the DO doesn't want Rand dead, he wants him turned as that's the only means to break the wheel.

Thanks to all of you posting here, especially thanks to Leigh. I'm really enjoying getting my WoT freak on. I'm such a nerd.
Brett Michie
68. bchurch
dustrider @ 65

I always took Verin's scuffing of the wheel to mean her knowledge that one of the "five who ride forth" will not be coming back as she leaves it with only four spokes. I bet she knew all along about Ingtar's darkfriendliness and would wager further she knew he wouldn't be coming back.
The Hegemo
69. Rebecca Starr
have to catch up! You all post fast

Ch 41
I agree that Masema knows about Rand channeling here because it would have factored heavily into the alternate lives he saw during the Portal Stone voyage. For Ingtar, not so much... he probably got to see himself being tortured by the Forsaken over and over, hence his ignorant comment later on about men channeling...

remember, Verin made it look like *she* was the one using the PS (put her hands on the stone), and said she had called Rand over because he had 'been transported by one' more recently than she. She's still keeping his OPness secret

Ch 43
oh Nynaeve, how you rock my world

also, I like the similarity here between Domon and Shaharazade from 1,000 one nights! Keep telling a man stories every night so that he doesn't kill you in the morning... we've seen that before

Ch 44
I disagree with any Verin lying theories here... I think she simply has no idea what damane are and are not capable of. For all she knows, some of the damane are leashed men who can channel...

this scene reminds me why I have a soft spot for Bornhold... okay, he might be an icky Whitecloak, but he's willing to die to face the even ickier Seanchan

"Five will ride forth..." Oh the goosebumps

dustrider@65, Verin is not wiping out the border. she's wiping out one spoke, because 5 ride forth, but 4 return. I think she's wondering here which one of them is about to die

Ch 45
Leigh how did you possibly stop a post in the middle of the climax????
The Hegemo
70. gagecreedlives
Ishy doesn’t kill Rand solely because he has been told not to.And I always thought that Ishy was driving Rand to use the one power more and more so he would start having the taint affect him. Maybe scare Rand into coming to the darkside for taint protection.

Mins viewing of Galad linked to Egwene is interesting. Maybe the whitecloaks under Galad will have a part to play when the seanchan attack the white tower. Whitecloak law does say it is ok to ally with the serpent to fight the raven. Which works for both the seanchan and the dark one.

And white hot poker and the axe. Well doesn’t Elayne have a Taraboner torture specialist lurking nearby now. And just because Elaynes babies will be born healthy doesn’t mean Elayne will stay whole. Just a random thought but could she end up giving birh at Shayol Ghul. Could be intrepation of his blood on the rocks prophecy.

“Bornhald tells him to put the prisoners in the inn with food and water, and nail the doors and windows shut; he thinks that it will be a couple of days before any of the villagers work up the courage to break out”

That’s almost noble coming from a whitecloak.

Not only did Bornhold glimpse of Perrin change what happens in this book but it sets up Dain Bornhold's hatred of Perrin and helps convince Pedron Niall to send men to the Two Rivers. Thus helping Perrin become lord golden eyes. And Dain becomes an alcoholic.

Rand vs Turak. I think its all Rands ability. I swear at the start of this book that Lan says Rand is almost a blademaster and Lan being very sparse with praise makes Rand think that he might have reached that level already.

Plus MadlyHatter@64 is right. There is no way the pattern is going to let Rand die just yet.I think for the time being Rand and to a lesser extent Mat and Perrin have no free will what so ever. Price you pay for being so strongly ta'avern.

odigity@43 Yeah that was funny, poor Julin. Throw in the fact he keeps being punished for trying to visit his girlfriend and he really didn’t have the best of times did he.

Uncrownedking@53 Id have to say any man that does a lot thinking with the hair on his chest or possibly Rand because of all the voices in my head.
Richard Fife
71. R.Fife
Only thing I have to comment on is the fencing juju:

I have studied several forms of bladed combat in my life, and I have noticed that, each time, after I got past being a complete crappy novice, I could get the lucky "kills" against the "masters". And, in all my training, massive tactic's switches and throwing the enemy off guard always helped in getting a win I should not have under "normal" circumstances. So yeah, Turok being a dork and "testing" Rand instead of just killing him contributed.

Also, something else no one has brought up... what if this is a bit of a double tongue-in-cheek. What if not only is Turok "contemptous" of what he expects blademasters to be like over here, what if Seanchan blademasters just suck and aren't really worthy of the name like Randland Blademasters?
The Hegemo
72. Wetlander
@71
I sure would love to find out that "Seanchan blademasters just suck and aren't really worthy of the name like Randland Blademasters" but it's pretty clear that Rand at least thinks Turak is really, really good. Mostly, I'd just love to have something the Seanchan think they're good at and see them fall flat on their collective faces...
The Hegemo
73. toddywatts
Funny, when I looked earlier Nuggette had the first post.

The thing about prophecy is that it's going to happen anyway, so why shouldn't Verin take the credit for it?

Are there any stories where prophecy treats people nice? That still doesn't excuse it hurting your feelings, Leigh.
Cassie Ammerman
74. leanoir
A thought about Mat's dagger:

Yes, Fain does cut himself with it at one point, and licks the drop of blood. I don't think the dagger would hurt Mat either, if he cut himself, and not because of any connection to the shadow. I think the dagger (and by the dagger I mean the spirit, whatever, of Shadar Logoth) bonded with both Mat and Fain. If it harms either one of them, it would harm the opportunity it has to spread its evil influence.

Of course, once it bonds with Fain both he and the dagger become something else, so maybe I'm wrong and it could kill Mat after all. But I don't think it would have initially.
The Hegemo
75. Valeiria
I always thought that it was not only badass, but made sense that Rand could beat Turak after finally embracing the void, and not because of LTT's memories. The way I've always seen the void is that it is like separating a part of yourself so that you can look at the situation objectively. It's like taking a step back and breathing deeply. You're so calm that your mind will work better, and all the skills you were taught (and Rand did have an AMAZING x 10 teacher) can come out more smoothly.

As for Seanchan sympathizers... I guess I can see where you're coming from, but it's wrong. They're not solving any problems by mind-raping women who can channel. It'd be like saying that everyone under a certain IQ had to go to jail because they'd be more likely to murder someone/screw up the world. Which is also completely false. There have been murderers... and complete idiots... with crazy high IQs.

Also, it could be Perrin that Min's viewing over Elayne is about. It could have something to do with that fact that he becomes the Lord of the Two Rivers. Maybe that will greatly contribute to something about Elayne's reign in the last book. /shrug. Who knows? Her viewings don't really tend to make sense until we read about them happening to whoever.

And the last thing I will touch upon in this ridiculously long comment is Nynaeve. Overall, I do like her. And it is because she really ups the game when she's at the top of hers. Even when she's annoying, I can still empathize with her. Sure, she can be annoying, but she sure can kick ass.
J Novak
76. Novak
Ah, dammit, once again Tor's site makes a preview post look almost exactly like a real post, and eats my content. Would it be so hard to put a big visual cue into the system, like a different colored background for the preview pages?

Anyway, Lara, #23, you remember correctly.

I used to make that argument a lot, that through the first three books, Ishamael was playing some sort of complicated game, getting Rand to unwittingly break the seals. The rather tenuous thread of logic was:

A) It makes Ishamael look less like a complete chump (as opposed to Aginor and Balthamel, say) and

B) As far as I recall, once Ishamael was gone for good, the seals stopped breaking at discovery.

I don't recall ever seeing anything one way or another that really clinched this, though.
jane reynolds
77. janie
re dustrider@65, bchurch@68, rebecca starr@69 and Verin removing one spoke of the wheel:
When Moiraine is visiting Adeleas and Vandene, she asks Vandene if anything links the Dragon with Toman Head, and Vandene replies:
Five ride forth, and four return. Above the watchers shall he proclaim himself, bannered cross the sky in fire …
Moiraine was asking about Toman Head because of the dark prophecy at Fal Dara, and Verin saw it too, and being a Brown, it's likely she knows this section of the prophecies.
Whether or not she has worked out which of the five will not return is another matter.
The Hegemo
78. rudra
well nynaeve is nowhere near as irritating as egwene gets in the later books excepting KoD
The Hegemo
79. sinfulcashew
As I understand prophecy, (?), it is a probable version of the future.
Not necessarily the real future.
Some prophecy is fulfilled by chance: realizing AFTERwards that it was fulfilled.
Other prophecies are overrode by some of the things not happening as stated to shape the event.
It is just the closest "possibility" of the future.
Little happenings can change it.
Perhaps like the butterfly flapping its wings here and a hurricane blowing over there.?
Oh well, also perhaps I am a butterfly just flapping my jaws.
The Hegemo
80. Hugin
Great work as usual, Leigh. I've finally caught up completely after starting this re-read about 3/4 of a book behind. Actually, I couldn't stop halfway through the ending chapters and powered right through to the very end.

Biggest observation here is how I also miss the pacing of these early books. Egwene's whole capture/ordeal/rescue is handled in a few of chapters vs. Faile's taking multiple books (and feeling much longer than that). At 75 pages left in this book I think about how much has happened and how much more needs to happen to get to some sort of interim conclusion. At 75 pages left in some later books I wonder whether the plot has been advanced at all yet and whether it ever will be.

Rand/Turak: I've always been solidly in the Rand + void + ta'veren + surprise defeat overconfident Turak camp.

Elayne: I didn't really take too much notice of her stealing and attitude when I previously read this, but now that I know her character better, I find her despicable here.

Nynaeve: I can forgive her temper/bitchiness because she's such a take-charge type and gets frustrated when other people waffle around or when she loses control of events. Her whole braid-tugging and sniffing at men thing gets me more annoyed at Jordan's extreme and over-simplified portrayal of gender relations in general than at her in particular. And, yeah, she's awesome here.

Verin: I never thought she was Black Ajah, just occasionally mistaken. Pretty much every word out of Sheriam in the entire series proves that Aes Sedai don't know nearly as much as they or other think they do. And the rubbing out part of the wheel was her wondering which of the five who ride forth won't return (and showing that she's also read that same text).
The Hegemo
81. hari coplin
On Ishy not killing Rand already, the complaint would make sense if Ishamael truly were Ba'alzamon, or if Ba'alzamon truly were the Dark One. Well, one does not know what the Dark One would have happen to Rand, though I suppose Rand being a Darkfriend come Tarmon Gai'don would be an good thing for him.

However, Ishamael is one of the Forsaken, and has his own interests to consider. One must remember that, while anything at all he says may be a lie, Ishamael actually believes his drivel about him and Lews Therin being destined to oppose each other forever, his philosophy was why he turned to the Shadow in the first place. Were the Light's champion to die before the Last Battle, what need would there be for him anymore, him whose destiny is tied to opposing Rand? Sure he would be an asset for the Dark, but there would be nothing to distinguish him from the rest of the Forsaken. And sure, killing Rand might be a good thing, but old merits tend to be forgotten, and there has never been a lack of competition among the Shadow. I think it makes sense for Ishamael to hesitate killing Rand. Some of the other Forsaken would not hesitate, of course, those who would bother to seek him out instead of building their own power.
The Hegemo
82. Randfan
@ 44. Aneid


“The Creator created the Wheel of Time and the Great Pattern and the Dark One and imprisoned him (it) at the dawn of time.”

Yeah, that is what we are told, because that is what the people of the age believe, but it is not necessarily exactly how the world works. The creator would not make an imperfect prison, ergo the prison was made by man. Remember that Fel intimates that the holes in the prison existed when Lanfear et.al. were examining it, indicating that either they were part of its construction, or holes had been bored before.

“I just do not think there is any way for a human being, no matter how powerful, can become a being like the Dark One which sits outside the pattern.” Who says Shaitan is human, he is super human at the very least. He doesn’t sit outside the pattern, he is firmly enmeshed in it, that is his problem. He is trying to break the cycle of captivity and destroy the pattern.

We only know how the characters interpret their reality, not how it actually functions. If the creator had an evil twin, his place would not be constrained in a prison on a planet, that scale is just way too small for a being like that.

“The Wheel is set to auto-correct” That is a big assumption - the wheel turns, that is pretty much all Jordan says about it.

@48 redhanded

“I also think that because of the balance that needs to be maintained that the Dark One can never be destroyed or it would also break the Wheel” It’s a wheel, not a set of scales. Who says there has to be balance? Shaitans existence taints the world (the blight), so his destruction should return it to normalcy, not destroy it.

“In all of this I don't see an opportunity for Ishy or anyone to supplant the "Great Lord" as doing so would, I believe, destroy existence.” Ishy knows a lot more about this than we do, I think his actions make clear that there is some serious scheming for advantage going on. Also, Lanfear on multiple occasions refers to how she and Rand could rule with the big terangreals, defeat Shaitan and RIVAL the creator. So, defeating Shaitan does not destroy existence, and is a goal for Lanfear, and I think Ishy as well.
The Hegemo
83. Katiya
Re Fain and the dagger: I always thought that Fain licking his wound and being protected came from the fact that he was Mordeth. I believe that Mat might still be harmed by the dagger, but there's always been a strong implication that the extent that he's tied to it, the final damage to his soul, is uncertain. He probably retains a connection to the dagger, and is likely still partially damaged with mistrust/paranoia, but I don't think that that's enough to prevent him from dying if he were to come in direct contact with anything from SL again.

And funny story. When everyone was going all crazy about the Joker in The Dark Knight, I wasn't impressed, because honestly? That's Ishy! Ishy really does want total chaos and destruction, he wants the world and everyone in it to go to a fiery death so that the DO can break free and make CHANGE. It's the cyclical nature of the world that Ishy hates, and he is so dangerous because he's a true believer. Which also makes him crazy.
The Hegemo
84. DutchBoy
I love to read all your post - exciting thoughts you all have!

What I like about Nynaeve is her consistency as a character and her feelings of responsibility. Yeah, she really makes things happening! Of course RJ had to restrict her powers (being able to channel only in certain circumstances) otherwise Nynaeve would be The SuperWoman among SuperGirls.

After a while I disliked Egwene more and more, and my image of her slowely changed into an egg.


Reaction to fellow DutchMan @51 PieterT

I am sure Americans devote more attention to slavery (and how bad it is) in their education than in many other nations, including The Netherlands. This definitely is part of the explanation why many American readers react so strongly to the Seanchan.
You are right, however, that the Dutch had a very sinister role in the slavery story. I believe no nation other than the Dutch captured so many Africans, transported them and sold them to the Americas... :-(
And the Dutch treated the Africans so bad that many of them died while being transported across the Atlantic :-(
The Hegemo
85. craigpmiller
4 1st posts! HA! I have that problem too. By the time I post something there are already two more to read. Nothin' like bein' popular!

JBWocky@6 "I can't imagine what it must have been for you guys to wait for months and months for the next book to come out." HA! Months and months? Try years and years!

HeatherJ@22 & UncrownedKing@49 SNAP! :-D

LadyBelaine@30 "As if, I dunno, New Zealanders are totally fine with the institution of slavery." Huh? As a downunderite I take objection to that. :-)

I've never minded Nynaeve's braid tugging. Pure comic relief. Go Supergirls, you good things! :-)

Cheers
The Hegemo
86. birgit
I also thought it was strange that Mat openly talked about Rand's channeling in front of Verin (and probably Ingtar; I don't think Masema heard, he is troubled by seeing himself as the Prophet in the Portal Stone visions). Rand knows that Verin knows about his channeling, but Mat doesn't, and I don't think Ingtar knows about it. Verin probably doesn't know that women can't feel men's channeling (although the Reds at least should have noticed that some time during all their dealings with male channelers).

I also thought it strange that in the first 3 books Rand and Ishy chat all the time in dreams but only fight at the end of the books. Ishy might be trying to turn Rand instead of killing him, but why doesn't Rand just attack him when he shows up again in the dreams?

He tells them how he saw an Aes Sedai named Ryma surrounded and captured even with a Warder by her side.

Isn't Ryma one of the damane who capture the other Aes Sedai?

Is it realistic that Turak's nails don't interfere with using the sword?
Agnes Kormendi
87. tapsi
RedHanded@34

Leaving your homeland can be difficult, after all, it's your homeland, you have emotional ties, cultural ties, financial ties. Apart from the sentimental component (which can be awfully strong), consider this: so you're free to go. But can you take your house with you? Your business partners and clients? Freedom and a morally acceptable government is very important, but risking starvation (which, as we see in the books, is a very real threat) is a different thing, especially if you have a family.

As for the people of Toman Head not revolting against the Seanchan, how could they? They'd be up against a well trained army with channelers.
Richard Fife
88. R.Fife
Birgit@86:
There are schools of sword where you don't have to clinch the hilt in your fists, but instead actually have your hand semi-open and use the pressure of palm to keep a hold. In particular I can think of french fencing. Turak, though is using a scimitar-ish blade, so, honestly, Iunno. For the edge-on-edge kind of combat I'd execpt the Jordanian Forms imply (and the type of swords they use), a definate maybe. Turak's grip would definately be a hair on the weaker side, but on the other hand, he could be using the "flimsyness" of his grip in his blade movements. So, I think there is a realistic chance that Turak would be alright, especially since he has probably been training with his sword with long nails for a long time.
The Hegemo
89. Aneid
82. Randfan

This is from Robert Jordan's Blog

YET ANOTHER, IT SEEMS
Wednesday, October 5th, 2005

For kcf, again, we have never met anyone who has the Talent of emulating the effects of a ta’veren over a small area. I give my input on the design of the chapter icons whenever a new one seems needed, but Harriet actually decides where to place them, and I am happy to leave the job to her. Yes, Ingtar was seen at the Darkfriend Social. The Wheel creates ta’veren at need, making someone who is already alive one. You aren’t born ta’veren. Can you imagine being around a ta’veren who is teething? It would be possible for a Darkfriend or Forsaken to be made ta’veren, but it seems unlikely. Ta’veren are part of the Wheel’s self-correcting mechanism. When the Pattern seems to be drifting too quickly, and especially if it is in the wrong direction, one or more ta’veren are created. I can’t really see how making a Darkfriend or Forsaken ta’veren would help with correcting the drift of the Pattern. Ta’veren can oppose one another, when their conflict is what the Wheel “sees” as the necessary corrective. And, no, ta’veren is not Old Tongue for Deus ex machina. It came out of musings on luck, charismatic leaders, and the theory of the indispensable man.


There is a lot more to this than I posted. I did not find the blog post where RJ discussed balance and how it plays a pivotal role in the Wheel of Time however I am positive I read from his blog an answer to a question about the nature of the Wheel. This post defiantly states that the Wheel does have a self correcting mechanism.

A little more on balance, men sealed the Dark One, without women and they paid the price. Would the outcome have been different if women had been part of the sealing, probably, perhaps both sides of the One Power would have been tainted, perhaps both halves together would have repelled the DO’s counterstroke. More if’s in that paragraph than I care to write …

As for the keystone cop baddies RJ discussed that in his blog also. Go take a look in the 2005 set of blogs. My own opinion is that Ishy thought he had it in the bag … he had worked for 3000 years to tilt everything in his favor so why not take time to try to persuade the good guys to your side, in his ‘twisted’ thinking he was a slam dunk to kill the Dragon Reborn whenever, but that was not the victory he was after. As many people have pointed out, the battle is won by the dark if Rand is killed … but the war is over if Rand turns.

The character I identify with the most … hmmm, Uno. No eye patch but the old soldier in me cracks up when he gets to giving orders.
The Hegemo
90. TimJim
So, in reference to why the bad guys don't just up and kill the good guys... I think that if the dark one is immortal, and doesn't really care if he is free in this age or another (as he says in LoC), then I imagine that each time he tries to get free is about like playing a crappy RPG that lasts a couple of hours and the opponents guys always seem to get one-hit crit kills even when it doesn't make sense. I'm sure he has tried in the past every variation of wiping out the Dragon. He must have decided that the only possible way to win and be free is to get the dragon to join him. Every other alternative has a foregone conclusion. He'll try to win, but only about as hard as you try to shoot that last space invader before it gets to the bottom of the screen.
The Hegemo
91. RedHanded
@82 Randfan

Yes Lanfear tries to tempt Rand by saying they can use the CHoedan Kal to challenge even the Creator/supplant the DO or some such. BUT there is no evidence that she actually knows that the DO could be destroyed or what the consequences of that action would be. Her motivation besides power is mostly to be with Rand/LTT and I think that her talking about them taking over is her trying to tempt Rand with power so she can be closer to him. As far as I can tell she has no idea if what she says is even possible. Also not sure about Ishy, I think he was just crazy and actually might have thought he was the DO.

@87 tapsi

No you couldn't take your home with you, but what is that saying..home is where the heart is right? You could take your business partners/family/friends/pets with you when you left. I understand the sentimental side of things here, but I have heard that reality doesn't care about your emotions. When Perrin goes back to the Two Rivers and there are Whitecloaks and Trollocs, he finds out people are staying in their isolated farmhouses because they are sentimental and don't want to leave their homes. He is PISSED, right? So he convinces/ta'veren's them into seeing that the rational thing to do is move on, they can rebuild a house, they can't replace people. Know what I'm saying?
The Hegemo
92. Aneid
91. RedHanded – I agree totally.

@ 82. Randfan

I also found this quote from the Wheel of Time Guide. This is in author narrative not as a character point of view.

The only known forces outside the Wheel and the Pattern are the Creator, who shaped the Wheel, the One Power that drives it - as well as the plan for the Great Pattern - and the Dark One, who was imprisoned outside the pattern by the Creator at the moment of creation.


Also, from the epilogue of the Lord of Chaos we get from the Dark One’s that he cannot step out of time, to retrieve Rahvin’s soul after Rand used balefire on him. So the Dark One is outside the pattern but still restricted by time.

I will look up balance and how it plays a pivotal role in the Wheel of Time if you want me too.
The Hegemo
93. RedHanded
@ 87
Also about Falme.
There was no Ta'veren there to shake things up (unless you count Rand, but he didn't really talk to people about leaving/joining him)

People might have starved when they left Falme BUT I doubt there was abundant food in Falme since some thousand plus Seanchan showed up and need to eat off of a limited food supply, which I'm sure is coming from the people of Falme. I'm thinking the Blood and higher ups of Seanchan not to mention the soldiers are getting theirs first. People of Falme probably not well-fed.
The Hegemo
94. Randalator
Novak@76

B) As far as I recall, once Ishamael was gone for good, the seals stopped breaking at discovery.

That is not exactely right. The seals broke after confrontations between the forces of Light (Rand) and Shadow (Ishy). One at the Eye of the World, two at Falme. After Ishy was killed in the Stone of Tear Moiraine found an intact Seal in the Great Holding. And after Rand's and Asmo's battle at Rhuidean she found another one that was extremely weakened.

So far your theory holds. But the Seal that Nynaeve and Elayne found in Tanchico broke accidentally on their way to Salidar. And neither Ishy nor Moridin was involved or even around at that time.

It's still possible that Ishy confronted Rand to make him inadvertently break the first seals. And that the weakening of the others was a direct (and probably intended) result of this. But it seems like quite a stretch to me. Events in the book make it seem like neither side knew where the Seals were and most just happened to pop up wherever something big happened. If Ishy had known where to find the Seals he could have broken them himself. At least the one in Falme and in Tear. All those battles with Rand seem an awful lot of trouble for something he could have done himself for the most part. At least as long as breaking a Seal doesn't require a certain cuendillar-breaking-Talent that only Rand has.

I think its more likely that his plan was simply to corner an innocent and uneducated shepherd and put so much pressure on him until he folds and comes to the Shadow.
Agnes Kormendi
95. tapsi
RedHanded,

I wasn't talking about taking your favourite piece of family heirloom, but most of your possessions and the network of people that support you. You can't take your business partners unless they want to come, and there's a fair chance they don't. Not unless it's a general exodus. Toman Head is a pre-industrialised community and most people live off the land or live in close dependence with farmers. Since there's no way you can pack up a good portion of fertile land and the Seanchan aren't exactly keen on letting people walk off with as many oxen or horses as they have, those farmers who leave have to leave everything they and their ancestors worked for. As for craftsman, they lose all reputation (and some equipment) and have to start from zero in a new place. That's a lot to give up.

The situation is not like that of the outlying farms in the Two Rivers; there it's a choice of life and death. In Toman Head, it's more a choice of a future of oppression and one of uncertainty. Also in the Two Rivers we're talking about a few farms that need to be sacrificed, not villages or towns.. There's no talk about giving up Emond's Field that I remember.

Re: starvation, the Seanchan are good at organising things, so even if rations are smaller, I doubt there would be starvation in Falme. Also, I didn't mean starving through one winter but condemning your family to a lifetime of poverty and possible starvation, which is a possibility. When you leave your homeland, you don't have anything, and you face nationalistic/racist abuse. The Two River folks are lovely for treating refugees the way they do, but in more crowded areas they would never find such welcome.

As far as I'm aware, mass exodus mostly took place in history when there was a long standing crisis that continuously threatened the lives of any who stayed. This is not true in an occupied country, where you actually have a good chance of staying alive as long as you obey the new masters. There are people who emigrate from oppressed countries, for political or ideological reasons, but they usually don't make up a sizable portion of the population.
The Hegemo
96. RedHanded
@95 tapsi

I wasn't talking about family heirlooms either. I was talking about loading up your cart or what have you and moving on. Life of slavery where any of your possesions and definitely some/alot of your food is being can be taken at any time to serve the Seanchan (as you said, oxen, horses, any woman they find can channel and what's to stop them from taking anything else?) vs a chance of finding a better place (example, the Two Rivers where they are taking in refugees later in the series who seem to be doing pretty well with the skills they bring to that part of the world). It is a personal choice for everyone, and I guess my point is that I would want to leave asap.

I don't think starvation is guaranteed if you leave your home country/town, a chance yes, but I'm still thinking there is a chance under the Seanchan. You can portion all you want but if there isn't enough food to go around, people of Falme are not getting it. Do you really think the Seanchan are portioning their own food?

In a society where there are no individual rights there is nothing to stop the Seanchan from taking what they want, except that they want to use the people as slaves in their own way anyway (someone's got to farm and provide their captors with other things) Living life at the point of a gun/spear/grolm mauling is no way to live life.

Also isn't it a life and death matter? what happens if you live in Falme and make eye contact with one of the Blood or refuse to take the oaths? What happens if it is your sister or mother who is leashed? What happens if they decide they want your horses or oxen and you have no way to plow your fields or support your family?

Yes it is a risk to go out and try to find a place where you can make a better life than under the thumb of an oppressive government, but life never gives you any guarantees no matter who you are or where you are at. You know what you are getting with the Seanchan, you don't know what the possibilities could be in another place.


Anyway a little off base and I don't think there is enough evidence so this is mostly speculation.
I do agree with you that most people would stay because of the reasons you gave, I just don't agree with those reasons.
J Novak
97. Novak
Randaltor, #94,

I'm going to call that good enough for me. I was pretty sure that the one in Rhuidean was intact, and the one that Nynaeve found was intact when she found it. The one in Tear, I had forgotten, but it supports the notion that, having gotten his ass actually killed, Ishamael failed to do whatever he was doing to break the seals during the battles.

The more detailed, speculative reasoning is that each time one breaks, the rest weaken because they're all part of the same structure, and that Ishamael did lots of damage to the whole thing in the process of breaking the first batch. And they were already clearly weakening because Aginor and Balthamel were loose before the first one broke.

That's according to the theory. It's also plausible that since they were weakening on their own, they all broke on their own. But it's not as satisfying to me. It makes the initial Rand/Ishamael battles ferociously stupid on Ishamael's part. It gives an explanation for why Be'lal (or Ishamael) didn't just take the seal in Tear and break it over his knee. It explains why the Nae'Blis Reborn isn't goading Rand into battles any more.

As they say, this could be totally nonsense, but it's satisfying to me, and were I writing the end to the books, that's how it would be. And Ishamael would win in the end. And goddammit, we'd know who killed Asmodean.
The Hegemo
98. MatCauthon
Why does Leigh seem to think that Perrin caused Bornhald to change his mind about what he was doing on Toman Head?

I just went back and re-read that chapter, and it seems that Bornhald was pretty sure he was going to go into Falme the whole time. I didn't see any major changes in line of thinking.
Blake Engholm
99. UncrownedKing
@ 98

I did the same thing, with similar results. I never saw anything that showed differently.
The Hegemo
100. Lsana
I think that seeing Perrin didn't change Bornhald's actions, but it may have changed his timing. He initially assumed that he could take pretty much as long as he wanted to get to Falme, because by the time that the townspeople left the inn, they would already have enough of a lead. But when he saw Perrin there, and realized Perrin was ahead of him, he thought Perrin would report on the presence of the Whitecloaks, so he had to press on faster than he wanted to.
The Hegemo
101. MatCauthon
Hurin,

Does anyone else think that Hurin could have a big role at the last battle? Rand already has a huge bounty of gold crowns on Fain's head. Hurin is one of the few people that could actually find Fain. Anyone else think that he might return for the Last Battle?

Also, I just re-read the last couple chapters of TGH. I really think TGH is my favorite book in WOT, despite what everyone says. There is a great sense of adventure, character-development (primarily with Rand), and action. Plus, Verin is badass. I have begun to think that when the horn blowing was reason why Ishmael and Rand squared off in the sky. Recall that Hawkwing couldn't fight until the dragon banner was produced.

Therefore, I think that the battle the heroes fight is a microcosm of the battle the Dragon will fight with the DO (or possibly Moridin). We may see a similar scene where Rand fights in the sky.
Blake Engholm
102. UncrownedKing
@101

Was it that Hawkwing couldn't fight, or that he simply asked? It seemed like that Hawkwing asked in order to see how close the Last Battle was. Because Rand had it, Hawkwing knows that the Last Battle is coming.

I like your Hurin theory. But I can't decide whether I like TDR or TSR better. Both are unbelievable and the end of The Dragon Reborn is stupendous (sp?).

I also like your DO/ Moridin idea.
The Hegemo
103. Teddroe
I've been following the whole re-read, but this is the first time I've commented (love it and the comments, by the way. It's great to hear the opinions of people other than me and the two or three friends I have who read WoT).

I'm sure I'm missing something, but how are Nynaeve and Elayne able to walk around Falme without being noticed? I'm pretty sure they don't learn how to conceal their ability to channel until later...am I wrong? Woulden't the sul'dam/damane get suspicious of two plain-clothed young women who could channel wandering around?

Thanks
The Hegemo
104. Aneid
@ 103. Teddroe


The Seanchan have their feast day turn girls into slaves or sul’dam parties once a year, I would hazard to say because of that tradition they do not have the knowledge that women channelers can sense the ability in other women channelers. They would not need to collar a girl to know if she had the spark they would just use their damne as blood hounds.

I wonder how lone it would take for the damne to turn on the sul’dam if they were told to find channelers.

Sul’dam: “Little Lumburg, go search out other channelers in this village so they can be collared.”

Damne: “ummm yeah, I'm going to have to go ahead and ask you to collar yourself, thanks”
The Hegemo
105. Caine09
Hmmm Mat says that Rand is an Aes Sedai, but not many people know that male channelers were also known as Aes Sedai, im guessin its just another mysterious Mat thing.

Nyneave is still annoying, I dont care if she sometimes manages to do some good, she is just an ignorant uber-feminist if you ask me.

Ah the Seanchan you just love to hate them, the whole my master died i must die crap, its really messsed up.

Ya how did they manage to get away with it in Falme, Nyneave and Elyane are too inexperienced to have learned how to mask the source. Ah il put it down to an error on RJ's part.

Until next time, can't wait!
Richard Fife
106. R.Fife
I still hold that they don't actually collar girls to find out, but instead of the Damane say "that woman can channel" at the feastdays. All that conditioning/stockholm syndrome would have the damane happy to do it. I have seen no evidence that the a'dam would not work on a woman who can be taught just because she hasn't started channeling. If it can work on a "sul'dam" at the bracelet side when she is a little girl, why would it not also work on the collar side?

But, Nynaeve and Elanye are not freely walking around Falme. The first time they are seen in the town, they are cowering away from a damane/sul'dam pair that are walking around. You have to be fairly close to feel the spark in them, after all.
The Hegemo
107. Randalator
@102

"I have fought by your side times beyond number, Lews Therin, and faced you as many more. The Wheel spins us out for its purposes, not ours, to serve the Pattern. I know you, if you do not know yourself. We will drive these invaders out for you." His warhorse pranced, and he looked around, frowning. "Something is wrong here. Something holds me." Suddenly he turned his sharp-eyed gaze on Rand. "You are here. Have you the banner?"



"You are here. The banner is here. The weave of this moment is set. We have come to the Horn, but we must follow the banner. And the Dragon."
(TGH, ch. 47)

Hawkwing tried to fight but couldn't without the banner.


@103

Elayne and Nynaeve stay hidden in a rented room for most of the time. And whenever they went outside they made sure they never came close enough to any Suldam/Damane to be identified as channelers (TGH, ch. 42).

Also in Tear Egwene experienced a sort of kinship with Aviendha which later turned out to be her sensing the ability to channel in Avi. So the whole thing is not a conscious act but an involuntary sensation that comes after having worked with the power for a while. Damane will certainly be able to feel other channelers and I think it's safe to say that they know it for what it is since in Seanchan they woul only feel it in other Damane.

But they would have to be within a couple of feet and Nynaeve and Elayne always stayed well clear of them. There was just one instance where Nynaeve channeled at an A'dam and they had to stay hidden for days while the Seanchan combed the whole city for a marath'damane.


@105

There are several instances in tEotW where Aes Sedai get blamed for the Breaking (Thom: "I will tell of the Time of Madness, when Aes Sedai shattered the world...")

Thom at least should know who caused the breaking and who gets mad when channeling: male Aes Sedai. So it basically seems to be common knowledge that there were male Aes Sedai once. And it seems that to Randlanders "channeler" equals "Aes Sedai". Mat's remark is completely in line with that.
The Hegemo
108. Kenneth G Cavness
OH MY GOD I FINALLY CAUGHT UP.
The Hegemo
109. garstzilla
Hey Randalator hit me with a slap shot. Rereading your post made this little lightbulb glow. Hawkwing says that even if the horn gets blown they will only follow the banner and the dragon. So that makes it even more important for Ishy to turn Rand cause even if some Dark friend lays hands on the horn and does in Mat so he can blow it the companions aren'g going to fight unless they are being led by Rand and the banner. That the companions are going to fight at the last battle is given but only for Rand and the side he chooses makes turning him the uber way to make sure the DO comes out on top.
The Hegemo
110. Randalator
Yep. I just had the same D'oh-I-can't-believe-I-missed-that-in-eight-re-reads-so-far-moment when I quoted that passage.
Abdel Masdoua
111. TheDarkOne
@TimJim 90:

"He'll try to win, but only about as hard as you try to shoot that last space invader before it gets to the bottom of the screen."

I agree! And you really cracked me up here!
So true, and it brings us back yeaaaaars ago!
*Assumes an Old Man's Voice* Aaaah Space Invaders!

@107 Randalator & @109 garstzilla:

Yeah, you kind of gave me the same 'of course that's anvilicious!' for a moment!

But if you remember correctly, Hawkwing clearly states:
"I have fought by your side times beyond number, Lews Therin, and faced you as many more."

Which means that it's not really necessary for the Shadow to turn Rand in order to use the Horn...

That's how I read it anyway?

Thoughts, anyone?
Ofer Nave
112. odigity
Agreed, Novak. If I could ask Brandon Sanderson one question, it would be "is Asmodeon's killer going to be revealed in AMoL, and if not, will you tell us after the book's done".
The Hegemo
113. Lsana
I've had similar thoughts about the dragon banner. If the heroes have to follow it, it would seem that the idea that "It doesn't matter which side blows the horn, the heroes will fight for either one," is just so much Darkfriend propaganda. On the other hand, how do we reconcile that with Hawkwing's statement that he has fought both with the Dragon and against him?
The Hegemo
114. Wetlander
@109 and 110

Me too... never even thought of it before. Now I wonder: does anyone in Randland (prior to these five, anyway) know that the banner is required as well as the horn? I don't remember ANY clue to indicate that, except (looking back with this in mind) when Ingtar gives Rand the bundled-up banner on Moiraine's instructions back in Ch. 11. "...she said you would need it. She said to tell you to take care of it; your life may depend on it." Never thought about it before, but did Moiraine know it was required for Hawkwing to fight? Does anyone else? Big question - do the DO & Forsaken know about this? It would make sense in light of the above comments. And I don't remember anything in the following books about it EVER. (I'm just starting CoT in my pre-AMOL reread; I seem to do it for every book. How OC is that?)
The Hegemo
115. Renogade 248
@ 112:

I believe Brandon Sanderson has said in his blog that we will know who Killed Asmo in AMOL. He has found a way to put in in the novel without messing up things. My guess is Grendael(sp) did it. We will wait and see and I am sure this will come up again when we get to it in this re-read.

I love how Nyneave takes control here and really shows us how badass she is. I said this before, but she is one of my favorite characters in this series. I also like how in the next few chapters she calms Egwene down from slapping Reena around by saying "we do not have to be as bad as them Egwene" or some such. Sorry at work here and do not have the books in front of me. One of my 'aww' moments.
The Hegemo
116. Randalator
Lsana@113

It could just mean that there have been other battles where the rules for following the Dragon/the banner don't apply.

There should be lots of Good-vs.-Evil-type conflicts going on between one Last Battle and the next one (wow, that sounds really stupid what with being "last" and all) a couple of Ages in the future. And while the Horn MUST be found before the Last Battle there is nothing that indicates that it can't be found at other times as well.

So Lews Therin's soul could be around at other times being a champion for Light OR Shadow. But NOT being the Dragon-archetype which is tied to the type of battles that are centered on the Dark One breaking free. And in those battles the Heroes could fight against him.

That set of rules would look something like this:

Rule 1: You don't talk about the Horn of...sorry...Anything Last-Battle-related is on a strict "for Dragon and banner"-policy.
Rule 2: Minor conflicts with both LTT and Horn involved OR LTT not involved at all are dealt with on a "first blow, first serve"-basis.

That would fit both the fact that the Heroes have to follow the Dragon and the claims that they also fought against Lews Therin countless times.


Wetlander@114

No, Moiraine didn't know. She asked Vandene if there was any connection between the Dragon and the Horn and got told that apart from the fact that the Horn had to be found prior to the Last Battle there was no known link betwen the two...
Richard Fife
117. R.Fife
Lsana @ 113:
Perhaps Hawkwing has fought against Lews Therin when he was actually spun out by the wheel, as opposed to being summoned by the horn. RJ has been quoted has saying it is possible for ta'veran to be spun out to fight eachother, so long as the pattern believes that the conflict is what is neccessary.

Also, I recall seeing somewhere that RJ had agreed to reveal Asmo's killer in AMoL, and had finally revealed it to Harriett as well, so hopefully it will be in there. On the same token, RJ also said someone correctly guessed and provided the logical proof to Asmo's killer, thus he would really have not had to. A little googlin' will find the theory I agree with (which I will not expound here, spoiler warnings aside).
The Hegemo
118. pdl
Killing yourself when your superior dies...

I believe this was known as Sepuku (sp?) in feudal Japan. It was the honorable thing to do. If you had brought dishonor to your superior you could request to kill yourself to regain your honor and his. Being denied this honor would be a great shame to you and your family.

Also enemy generals would either be killed without honor or be granted the right to commit sepuku and retain their honor (die well).

The act was performed kneeling, plunging a dagger in the stomach which you pulled up to your ribs. If you had a "second" (another person to help you with the cerimony) they would then behead you (make it quick) since you had already done the deed of inflicting the mortal wound.

Voila HONOR SAVED!

he's not making it up... it's kinda FUBAR that people actually did this.

Word Verification: need to fix the 1/I/l thing. I 100% agree
Richard Fife
119. R.Fife
For those that hate the CAPTCHA: make an account? Then you only have to fight the CAPTCHA that first time when you sign up, then never again!

As to Sepuku, I am not 100% sure and am too lazy to go wiki it, but I think it was only for the Samurai class, but yeah, it was to rid yourself of dishonor. Even the Japanese weren't so whacked as to make servants kill themselves when their lord died. That honor goes to the ancient egyptians, who mummified servants to go with Pharaoh into the afterlife.
Robert Garza
120. FunBob
Props to Nynaeve, who has always been one of my favorite characters. This is just the first time she took charge and did what she had to do. We'll see it in the future - Nyn vs the Fades in TDR(the first use of balefire by any of the ladies), Nyn vs Moggy in TSR and TFOH (especially how she makes Moggy drink the forkroot to make her sleep and lose her control of saidar), Nyn vs Ispan et al in Ebou Dar, Nyn healing Logain and helping Rand cleanse the taint on Saidin,....etc. She is the series quintessential female channeler and is more like her supposed enemy Moiraine than she thinks.
Thomas Garst
121. Garstzilla
Yeah I got that the fights that Hawkwing was talking about were the times they were spun out to do their time in the real world and the companions that show up for the horn can't be ones that are actally living at the time. Picture a roll call to Vahalla that asks for the top one hundred but only those presently in the afterlife can respond. Of course then theres Bridgett who got thrown out into real life who is going to really mess up the top one hundred list.
Hmm now I am trying to remember did I actually read that there were only a hundred who respond to the horn being blown or is that from the 100 companions who sealed the DO up. Too much rereading and too many blogs I am starting to mix up what I have read in the books and what I have read in this great recap. Somebody help me out here.
The Hegemo
122. lanyo
"After a while I disliked Egwene more and more, and my image of her slowely changed into an egg."

ugh. me too! i think the next book she gets way lame, and i can only think egg when her name shows up.


i love min. she's the (semi) normal, running around with the superheroes. and keeping up for the main part! how very.
The Hegemo
123. Rikka
@ R.Fife

psh! I've no interest in having an account on this site. This is the first thing I've been interested in since it came into being.
The Hegemo
124. IanGH
I haven't had a chance to read everyone's posts yet so I apologize if I'm repeating someone else's comments.

About the Stockholm Syndrome, I remember reading a history book about life in the middle east around the time of Christ. The constant march of empires and kindgoms across the region in the centuries before the Romans took over basically had no lasting affect on the regular Joe's living on the land or in the cities. Sure, some rulers were better than others but what did it matter? It's not like anyone was asking them their opinions.

Thinking about it, the concepts of nationalism and nationality never really materialize until the 18th and 19th century, not until countries became more industrialized and people more educated. So with that in mind, it doesn't strike me as odd that the Falmen acquiesce to their new rulers so easily. And if the damane and grolm don't keep them in line, surely those buggy-looking potted-plant-like helmets the Seanchan soldiers wear ought to do it.

About Rand's defeating Turak, it was pretty remarkable. I took it for what it appears, that Rand is now a badass swordsman. He's been practicing his forms and remember how he cut up at least a half dozen trollocs in Kinslayer's Dagger. If he can hit the middle eye of five leaping grolm with five shots of his bow and arrow, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt with the sword.

By the way, Nynaeve is awesome in these chapters and in the next ones. I don't believe I'll have many opportunities to repeat that line in the books to come.

About Verin's apparent lie about women being able to feel men channelling, I chalked that up to Jordan not having sorted all that out, yet. It's too flimsy a thing to use as evidence of Black Ajah.

By the way, thanks, Leigh, for the reread and great comments. I wish I could keep up with my own reread...
Arjan Brand
125. fikkie77
@R.Fife @117,

Brandon Sanderson has assured in his blog that he knows who killed Asmodean and that it will be in AmoL.
The Hegemo
126. jafco
"Just let go, Luke, and feel the force" said Obi Wan. Whereupon he began to be ... awesome.

Don't know about LTT appearing here yet, but Rand got lots of training from Lan, perhaps the greatest blade master of the age. And Lan gave him a passing grade - even I think, a compliment. Seems too that Rand practices his stuff daily (when he's not in a four-month feedback loop touring worlds that progress parallel to but somehow differently from his (our) own.)

So, buh-bye Turak, you forced him to assume the Void, where he really can do his stuff!
The Hegemo
127. jafco
Chapter 45: Blademaster

I was reading Leigh's review of this while listening to music. Up comes: "The Ride Of The Valkyries 6:22 Schlosser/Linholm/Fassbaender/Watts/Dernesch/Little/Tyler/Hellmann My Favorite Moments - Pavarotti's Opera Made Easy Wagner - Die Walkure". Now that's an AWESOME combination.

Nynaeve has been great for a while here. She may be a pissant for stretches of time, but when GREAT things are to be done, she's there. I love her. She's not a PC pushover; she makes one (like Mat) stand and defend.

Stockholm Syndrome is the wrong term for situations discussed here. Quisling Syndrome or Dutch Syndrome might be better terms for the behavior of people in Seanchan-conquered lands.
The Hegemo
128. birgit
Therefore, I think that the battle the heroes fight is a microcosm of the battle the Dragon will fight with the DO (or possibly Moridin).

It's more likely that he will fight Shaidar Haran, who is something like an avatar of the Dark One.

Moiraine said that the Heros will fight for whoever blows the Horn, not just for the Dragon. Maybe she is wrong, but I think in this case it is the ta'veren pull that demands the presence of the flag. Hawkwing probably fought LTT in other incarnations. Since he is not incarnated at the moment, he remembers many past lives.

Seppuku ?? was only for the bushi (samurai) class, who were the only ones allowed to wear swords. When a retainer commits seppuku to follow his lord into death that is called junshi ??.
The Hegemo
129. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
Ch 42
Stockholm Syndrome isn't so much about surviving as involuntarily forming an emotional bond with your captor. So I don't really accept it as the case here. And what in the next several books shows any relation between Galad's destiny and Egwene's? Is this a plot thread that RJ abandoned in favor of an Egwene and Gawyn pairing?

Ch 43
Blah blah more of Nynaeve putting male decision making ability down. As if she was if any better at staying out of trouble. One would think she was the ta'veren here, based on the number of times she gets herself into and out of trouble on sheer luck, or channeling ability. Also, I don't see how an axe or or red hot iron could be associated with Elayne. Could it be the amount of trouble she gets herself into? She's risked a lot at times. That might explain the axe, but what about the iron? Or is it more related to Morgase?

Ch 44
I don't really buy into this 5 ride forth "prophecy". Surely an extra sword or two would have helped? Was it so Ingtar's darkfriendliness could be hidden? Was it so somebody could die a hero? Maybe bringing more swords would have caught the Seanchan's notice? How was Verin to know this was the exact moment prophesied?

Ch 45
Yes Turak does sound like a Vulcan name. And it's funny how one of the High Blood has gotten so accustomed to being obeyed. Mat totally ignoring his order was a total surprise. I always thought Rand beating him was one of the first instances of Lews Therin's skill surfacing to help Rand out.

@darxbane 17
I don't think Galad specifically names Aes Sedai. I think he just throws it out as a potential ally.
@UncrownedKing 49
HEH. There can be only one. Only one true Dragon Reborn, that is. Nyuk nyuk.
@R.Fife 71
I've also thought it might be the comparative lack of skill among Seanchan blademasters who also happened to be "of the High Blood". Everybody bowing and scraping might make for much less realistic practice overall. It's not from any lack of training though, if the description of Turak's physique is any sign.
@Novak 76
sigh.....
@DutchBoy 84
And wasn't it also primarily dutch-descended Afrikaners who set up apartheid in S. Africa? It's abolished now, but lingering after-effects are still felt.
@birgit 86
Yeah that too. Maybe Turak's nails got in the way.
@UncrownedKing 102 and Randalator 107
Blowing the horn isn't actually enough no matter what Aes Sedai, gleemen and historians think. You must also prove your bonafides by producing the banner.
@garstzilla 109
Right on.
@Garstzilla 121
Yep. They might simply have been spun out onto opposite sides of a conflict before. I don't think it was exactly 100, just close to it. And Lews Therin's One Hundred Companions was misnamed anyway. I remember reading there were actually 116 or so.

and yeah.. the verification thingy is teh suxxorz.
Dan Sparks
130. RedHanded
@129

RE: CH. 43

Not sure about the red hot poker thing and axe for sure but my thoughts are that it might be Perrin bringing the Two Rivers under the Queen of Andor? He's a Blacksmith and also carries a big bad axe. Either that or maybe she gets questioned by a Questioner. I believe they use red hot poker thingys.
Blake Engholm
131. UncrownedKing
129. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
"Blowing the horn isn't actually enough no matter what Aes Sedai, gleemen and historians think. You must also prove your bonafides by producing the banner. "


Did you make this up? did you get it from the BBoBA? Or did I miss something in the readings? I don't think this is true.
The Hegemo
132. Miximixi
Randalator@116
'So Lews Therin's soul could be around at other
times being a champion for Light OR Shadow.'

The soul that once was LTT is the ultimate warrior for the LIGHT and in the fight Rand says to Ishy that in 'a thousand lifetimes' this soul has never gone to the dark side. This 'serving the dark in previous lives' is one of the biggest lies that Ishy uses to try and convert Rand.

I think that the dark side must have their own banner or something that the heroes will follow when they are called by the Dark. They MUST have the Dragon banner when called by the Light.
The Hegemo
133. hoping to be of the blood
131
When Artur Hawking appears with the heroes, he feels unable to do anything. He says that the dragon is there but they also need the banner. Both are necessary. They will respond to any hornsounder, it seems. Chap 47 (We're a little ahead of L)
The Hegemo
134. pdl
@birgit et al
Thanks for all those who clarified my seppuku memories from a few James Clavell novels I read in the early 90s with some actual knowledge of the issue.

I try to put myself into their heads at the time they have to justify this action and just can't do it.
Blake Engholm
135. UncrownedKing
133

Ill have to check that out. Thats probably one of my favorite chapters in the whole series (besides the "Kneel or you will be Knelt" chapter way later on, AWESOME). I must get so excited reading it i glance over that
Dan Sparks
136. RedHanded
Couldn't the Shadow just make a banner that had the Dragon on it? I mean it never says that there is something special (like made with the One Power, or is some sort of ter'angreal) about the banner. If the banner was needed, i'm pretty sure it'd be fairly easy to make a copy. Just saying.
Richard Fife
137. R.Fife
Eh, the banner is special, since the dragon on it is part of the cloth, not woven in, or painted. Perhaps it is a Ter'angreal (or maybe something even older, as old as the horn?) Coincidence that it was found at the same time as the horn?
Blake Engholm
138. UncrownedKing
I dont think Trollocs are very good with needle and thread
Dan Sparks
139. RedHanded
@137
Yeah I doubt it was coincidence. So there was a broken seal, the banner and the Horn in the Eye. All were things that are necessary for the Dragon to become/proclaim himself the Dragon. (I think the seal is meant to let the characters know that TG is coming because they see the seals are breaking/weaking, I don't believe they know this before this point really)
I wonder if the banner is as old as the horn also, not to mention, did Aes Sedai create the horn, and in what age? It never really says anything about the banner being special besides the dragon being a part of the cloth, maybe we'll find out for sure in aMoL. I'm guessing we'll get a lot of loose ends tied up then (hopefully!)
Dan Sparks
140. RedHanded
@138

I'm sure Trollocs would have no idea what to do with needle and thread, but a Fade on the other hand....
a banner created on the slopes of Shayhol Ghul...
The Hegemo
141. Randalator
Miximixi@132

If LTT's soul is hardwired for the Light that would make the Shadow's attempts to turn him downright moronic.

I agree insofar as he is the Light's champion in vital (read: Last) Battles. But I do believe that he can be spun out by the Wheel on other occasions where he is free to choose sides.

To me it's far more plausible that Ishy knows about times when LTT fought for the dark and just hasn't realized that there is no choice in Last-Battle-matters. If he knew LTT has never been turned even once since the beginning of time, why even bother?
The Hegemo
142. tearl
I love this discussion forum. But sometimes some people insist on interpreting character statements in the narrow sense and see a conflict, when if you read the statement in a broader sense no conflict arises. The are two cases that occur here: Verin's Oath breaking and Hawkwing's need for the Banner.

Plain and simply, there is no Oath breaking by Verin. She says, ch.44, "Five Will Ride Forth"

"You forget the damane."..."Even if they were not close enough to see, one MIGHT (emphasis mine) well feel a woman -- or a man, for that matter -- channeling,..."

Her use of the word "might", broadly interpreted, gives the wiggle room under the Oaths. Case closed.

If you insist on a narrow interpretation of this word, there are still several outs under the Oaths. Only one needs to be correct. 1) She could truly believe that the talent (of detecting male channeling) is possible. 2) She could be aware of ter'angreal that allow such detecting (as Cadsuane has) and allows for their possession by sul'dam/damane. Etc.

Regarding Hawkwing and the Banner, I won't be as strident, :) merely offer an alternative explanation. I believe the "need" for the banner is not keyed to the Horn, but required by the Pattern this place, this time, and Hawkwing senses it.

We know ta'veren can sense the needs of the Pattern, Mat when he wants to run away between Rhuidean and Cairhien, and Perrin at the beginning of LOC. We also have an example from Rand in this section, ch.41, "Disagreements", Rand tells Verin

"I feel...something...pulling me to Falme, and there isn't much time."

At the critical scene in TGH, ch.47, "The Grave Is No Bar to My Call", Hawkwing tells Rand,

"Something is wrong here. Something holds me."..."Have you the banner?" "Yes." "....The weave of this moment is set."

This place, this time, they follow the Banner and the Dragon.
The Hegemo
143. Randalator
tearl@142

Great thought, tearl, I think you nailed it with the "this time, this place".


On the Verin-matter: Not only COULD she know of channeling-detectors, she definitely HAS to know...she's from Far Madding after all. There is now way she doesn't know about the guardian-ter'angreal.
The Hegemo
144. Kaelin
@51

Mentioning England, as a Scot I feel obliged to say that it was Britain, which is a UNION and not JUST England.

Sorry, but those generalisations really annoy the hell out of me.

....taking credit for slavery.....hmmm?

Other than that, I'm just loving the re-read.
The Hegemo
145. birgit
How was Verin to know this was the exact moment prophesied?

Five ride forth, and four return. Above the watchers shall he proclaim himself, bannered cross the sky in fire

She also interpreted the watchers as the Do'Miere Avron and they are now on Toman Head, so this prophecy fits the place where they are.
The Hegemo
146. gagecreedlives
RedHanded@140
"I'm sure Trollocs would have no idea what to do with needle and thread, but a Fade on the other hand....
a banner created on the slopes of Shayhol Ghul..."

Not sure if its the fades but somebody in Shayhol Ghul is certainly handy with a needle and thread. Somebody is making those nifty black cloaks that dont move in the breeze

And can anyone seriously think of a time when the pattern would let a dark friend blow the horn of valere?
The Hegemo
147. Randalator
gagecreedlives@146

The Wheel isn't a force of good or evil. It just IS and seeks balance. Like with the whole Ta'veren-chance-twisting-thing where for every child that gets hit between the eyes by a 2-ton-meteor and lives someone else turns over in his sleep and breaks his neck with his pillow.

So there might be situations where the forces of good are so highly favored by the odds that it might be even necessary to have the bad guys blow the Horn. Although that is probably more likely to happen in one of the portal-stone-worlds. The one right next to the infamous "world without shrimp"...
Richard Fife
148. R.Fife
world without shrimp is my personal hell... I'd want the dark one to win just to end it all.
The Hegemo
149. gagecreedlives
Randalator@147

I understand your point but the dark one is seeking to destroy that balance completely. The pattern is fine with the dark one getting all touchy feely with the world for a couple of ages but I dont think it would let such a powerful tool be used by the shadow. Just my thoughts and hey I have been wrong plenty of times before.

And not even the great lord of the dark is evil enough to remove shrimp.
The Hegemo
150. Miximixi
Randalator@143

To me it's far more plausible that Ishy knows about times when LTT fought for the dark and just hasn't realized that there is no choice in Last-Battle-matters. If he knew LTT has never been turned even once since the beginning of time, why even bother?


I think the turning of the Light’s champion is the golden key to unlocking the DO's prison...

Ishy and the DO have tried a thousand different ways to accomplish this (Think 'Groundhog day' that has to be perfect before he can move on). Now they have orchestrated a NEW set of events and even went so far as to taint Saidin to try and tilt the scales in their favour. Ishy has to keep on trying. Think of it as that 1 in a million chance that make people gamble or buy Lottery tickets every week. Rand's biggest fight is NOT againt the DO but against the darkness in himself...
The Hegemo
151. Erdrick
gagecreedlives @ 146 said: "Not sure if its the fades but somebody in Shayhol Ghul is certainly handy with a needle and thread. Somebody is making those nifty black cloaks that dont move in the breeze."

They already do have at least one banner that seems somewhat significant. Remember Moiraine's story about Manetheren? She mentions Ba'alzamon's "light-destroying" banner carried by the Trolloc hordes. My guess, though, is that none of this comes up again anyway.

And about Rand beating Turak, I think it's just that ta'veren one in a million dumb luck thing. At the same time, Rand's not the only one whose fighting ability improves at an implausible rate. Heck, that's why it's fantasy; it's playing on almost every nerds dream to become uber cool by acquire sick skills with minimal time and effort.
John Massey
152. subwoofer
Okay....I like it when Nynaeve cracks open a barrel of whop ass! Maybe she's not soo bad....her and Mat going back and forth in later books is great fun. Prophecy smophecy! RJ is writing shit out so all it is is foreshadowing.
The Hegemo
153. 6god
"I wonder: if Mat had ever nicked himself with the dagger, would it have done the same to him as the Seanchan guy? Or would his link to it have protected him? It’s to become a moot point, but it’s interesting to think about."

Well, does a poisonous snake die when it accidentally bites itself? Mat is kind of part of the dagger, right?
Marc Gioglio
154. u_turnagain
Eventually I'll catch up, I swear!!

Just two things for now:

1.
"We have come to the Horn, but we must follow the banner. And the Dragon."
I took follow to mean come after, not fight for as is commonly used here. Are there any passages to justify the 'fight for' definition?

2.
If I were put to the question regarding red-hot iron and axe for Elayne, I would guess it had to deal with the throne and Elaida being the RED hot iron, while Rahvin (I think) would be the axe. These two instruments are responsible for her mother leaving the throne...Elaida responsible for the belief that it is the white tower who pulls Morgase's strings, Rahvin actually pulling her strings. This leads to Elayne's trouble securing the throne sometime in the future.
The Hegemo
155. JamesEdJones
Let's not forget the silent townsfolk when Seta is captured. Not exactly a full case of Stockholm if you ask me. Also, Rand did not defeat Turak in two strokes. The form he used is not one move, but a series of moves, striking mainly from above. This gives leverage and, when striking someone of approximately equal strength, will force them to retreat.
The Hegemo
156. Galagros
I got tired of reading all of the comments, so if any of these things have been addressed already ... oh well.

In Ch. 41 the party do not all know about Rand's channeling. I believe that Mat is likely muttering to himself instead of speaking up for everyone to hear about the Aes Sedai comment. Masema is looking strangely at Rand because he likely saw from freaky things about the Dragon in his many futures during the portal-stone indecent. In regards to Ishamael not killing Rand when he has had the chance, I don't think has ever intended to really kill Rand throughout the series. The other Forsaken all have their own agendas and want to kill him because they have no intention of ever possibly serving below Lews Therin, but remember that Ishamael believes in his destiny and the whole Light vs Dark battle since the beginning of Creation that is going on. I believe he thinks that Rand must live until Tarmon Gai'don.

In regards to Rand's quickly advancing swordsmanship in Ch. 45, I think the Pattern is forcing him to become what he needs to be for the Last Battle. Just as his ability with saidin advances in leaps in bounds shortly and he fulfills prophecies ... he doesn't always have a choice in the matter.
The Hegemo
157. JamesEdJones
Great Point, Galagros! Let us never forget the ultimate Jordan plot device. The Wheel Weaves as the Wheel Wills. And the Wheel wills Rand to kick butt with the blade. Plus the level of expertise of Rand's teacher is just a bit more than anyone else on the planet. We should probably give Lan all the credit for Rand knowing one end from the other.
The Hegemo
158. cornichon
Still way behind. Will catch up eventually, but I'm probably going to keep posting this until I catch up/get a good answer. It honestly really bugs me that everyone keeps calling Rand by the name LTT. It makes no sense. If all these figures have fought with/against the Dragon 1000x, they would be no more locked into the last name they knew him as over any other name. "What name do you go by now? Rand al'Thor? Nice to meet you again." Bam, done, end of scene.

Also, if Jordan himself said that Rand was not a blademaster after defeating Turak (and we know that beating a blademaster normally gives one the right to that title), I'm not sure what everyone's arguing about still. It must be LTT muscle memory.
The Hegemo
159. egsrocks
I think they're calling him LTT as an insult to taunt him and throw him off balance, "Hey you know that guy who went insane and killed his whole family and broke the world? You're really him and we're gonna remind you about it for the rest of your life. MUUAHHHAHHHAAAHHAHAAA."
The Hegemo
160. papertiger
I always thought that Rand had been able to defeat Turak because he could summon the Void, which apparently is a hard trick for non-channelers. Also, Tam is a blademaster, as is Lan, and Janduin was a top Aiel Chief, so we've got nature and nurture. Combine that with a little ta'veren luck and BOOM! Dead bad guy.
The Hegemo
161. SonofThomandMoirane
Regarding Hawking, the Horn and the Banner, let me try to pitch in...
Most of the time, Hawking et. al. responds to the Horn and follows whomever blows it. But this time, Hawking felt the presence of something stronger than their binding to the Horn pulling at then, which was their binding to the Dragon AND his banner. The presence of the Dragon AND his banned just confirmed to themselves that this time is different.

Now, had Rand lost the banner, Hawking would follow the horn and whomever blows it. It might actually have happened in previous turnings of the wheel that the horn blower was againt the Dragon, as Hawking mentioned that they sometimes fought against each other.

So what was the significance of the Banner? By having the dragon banner with him, Rand declares that he acklowledges his destiny.
The Hegemo
162. JustWondering
Fun fact; "Tuli" means literally fire in Finnish which oddly fits to Egwene's character in the series.
I've allways wondered if that is just a co-incidence from Jordans part or just a "lucky hit" with random letters.
I'm a bit of a late reader of these recaps but these are a really good memory refreshers after like what 15-20 years since the series started ?
The Hegemo
163. Divil The Bother
Am I the only one that laughed out loud at the ridiculousness of the scene with Verin shoehorning the lads into the prophecy? And all this blatant murmuring to herself (which Moiraine was prone to in these earlier books too) just seems ludicrously unrealistic.
Thankfully Jordan abandoned these clunky devices in the later books and left it to the readers to figure it out.
The Hegemo
164. sadface
I know I am years late, I don't care.
1) the biggest part of why the girls can get away with being channelers in Falme is that there are plenty of other channelers around...the Seanchan expect to feel channelers...and they are so self confident that theydon't expect them to be unleashed. all the girls have to do is not be directly seen channeling.
2) i imagine that there is something about prophecy such that when you have heard it (as ambiguous as it is) you are always looking for ways to fufil it. that is to say, if you know how the future will unfold you are waiting and watching for it to happen as opposed to trying to steer your destiny.
3) the idea of the banner as ter'angreal is interesting. i had never thought of it before, but I have wondered long and hard why, seemingly out of nowhere, rand and ishy fight in the sky in books one and two. these two battles to occur when the banner is found and when it is unfurled. i don't recall, but at rand and ishy's next confrontation, whee is the banner, and where do they fight? T'A'R?
4) something else in these comments tickeled my mind, it touches lots of subjects and I am trying to make it coalesce to a solid thought...is the dragon always the champion of the light? when did LTT become the dragon? it seams that things in the AOL were pretty okay, why did the wheel spin out a Dragon before the DO was freed? Was the AOL too good, did the wheel spin him out to balance the pattern by freeing the DO? If so, then it is easy to imagine the dragon fighting with ishy, or the heros of the horn fighting against him at other times. i always assumed the wheel wanted the good guys to win...i guess i ignored the idea that the wheel just wants balance...maybe sometimes the good guys have to lose.

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