Mar 2 2009 5:27pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Dragon Reborn, Part 1

Greetings, people of Teh Intarwebs! I come before you to humbly offer this small token of my verbosity. I give you The Dragon Reborn, Part 1, part of the on-going Re-read of The Wheel of Time series, in which I cover the Prologue through Chapter 6.

BUT! Before I give it to you—hang on, Grabby, jeez—I have news. As some a y'all may have heard tell, JordanCon, the first convention devoted entirely to Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, is happening this coming April, and I am very pleased to tell you that I will be there.

I don't know exactly yet what I will be doing, other than hanging out and seeing all the other infinitely-cooler-than-me people who will be there, including Guest of Honor Harriet McDougal, editor and wife of the late Robert Jordan, and also some guy named Brandon who’s, like, writing a book or something, but I will keep you updated here. I hope to see as many of you guys as can make it there, I think it's going to be really fun. Details for time and place and alla that can be found at the above link. More As It Develops.


So, onward! Previous entries for the Re-read can be found here; spoilers for the entire series are Run Amok through all of them, so watch yourself. And now, the post!

Prologue: Fortress of the Light

What Happens
Pedron Niall sits in his audience chamber with Jaret Byar before him, looking at a chalk on parchment drawing of a young man with gray eyes and reddish hair.

“This . . . this boy has proclaimed himself the Dragon Reborn?” Niall muttered.

Byar answers that he has, and thousands have declared for him already; Tarabon and Arad Doman are embroiled in conflict. Niall asks again about Bornhald and his legion’s defeat, and Byar reconfirms that it must have been Aes Sedai fighting against them, there can be no other explanation. Niall doesn’t think much of Byar’s logical capabilities, but by the same token is sure that the man isn’t lying. He dismisses Byar to go to Dain and tell him of his father’s death; Byar repeats that they were betrayed by the Darkfriend Perrin, and Niall assures him that something will be done about him. Byar leaves, and Niall thinks about all the harbingers of disaster currently swirling around the world: three false Dragons at once, Aiel leaving the Waste, the Atha’an Miere ignoring trade, the Ogier calling meetings between steddings, and the Aes Sedai coming out into the open. It meant the Last Battle was coming, and that interfered with his plans for glory, but he was adaptable; perhaps this could be turned to his advantage.

Jaichim Carridin enters and kneels before Niall. Niall asks him about what happened in Falme, and Carridin replies that it was Darkfriends. Niall snorts and says Carridin was saying earlier that Bornhald was a Darkfriend; now he’s saying he was fighting against them? Carridin replies that since Bornhald is dead, they will never know whether he was one or not, but there is no doubt the invaders in Falme were Darkfriends. As proof, he observes that their story about coming across the Aryth Ocean was clearly a lie; no ships cross the Aryth and come back to tell about it. Secondly, they fought with monsters that surely had to be Shadowspawn. As for the false Dragon depicted in the drawing, who knows whether he can channel or not, but Carridin assures Niall that he can wipe the man and all his followers out by summer. Niall then quietly asks why, if Carridin’s forces are so effective, and the invaders so obviously Darkfriends, why he was not there on Toman Head? Why did he try to stop Bornhald, instead of supporting him? Carridin blinks, and replies that he didn’t know the truth of things until it was too late, and he could not abandon his task to chase rumors.

“Your task?” Niall said, his voice rising as he stood. Carridin topped him by a head, but the Inquisitor stepped back. “Your task? Your task was to seize Almoth Plain! An empty bucket that no one holds except by words and claims, and all you had to do was fill it. The nation of Almoth would have lived again, ruled by the Children of the Light, with no need to pay lip service to a fool of a king. Amadicia and Almoth, a vise gripping Tarabon. In five years we would have held sway there as much as here in Amadicia. And you made a dog’s dinner of it!”

Carridin protests, but Niall cuts him off, saying it would serve him right to be handed over to his own Questioners as a scapegoat for the mess on Almoth Plain. Carridin swallows, and observes that Niall seems to be implying there is an alternative to this course. Niall takes a breath, aware that what he is about to say would be considered treason, and tells Carridin that he will not hunt down this false Dragon; instead, Carridin will ensure that he continues to run loose, to panic the populace. Then when the time is right, the Children will move in and deal with him, and the gratitude of the people will smooth the way for them to remain in charge thereafter. After his initial shock, Carridin agrees rather too readily to this plan, and Niall tells him that if the false Dragon dies too soon, or Niall himself meets with an “accident”, Niall promises that Carridin will not survive either event by a month, and dismisses him. After Carridin leaves, Niall thinks how he will unite the nations under the Children of the Light, and legends will tell of how Pedron Niall fought Tarmon Gai’don and won.

“First,” he murmured, “loose a rabid lion in the streets.”

“A rabid lion?”

Niall spun on his heel as a bony little man with a huge beak of a nose slipped from behind one of the hanging banners.

Niall snaps at the man, Ordeith, for eavesdropping on him, which Ordeith smoothly denies. Niall thinks about how the man had showed up a month ago, half-dead, and somehow talked his way all the way to Niall himself. His name, which meant “Wormwood” in the Old Tongue, was clearly a lie, but he had helped Niall see the pattern of events. Ordeith sees the drawing on Niall’s desk and laughs shrilly; Niall asks if he knows the man, and Ordeith tells him the man’s name is Rand al’Thor, from the Two Rivers, and he is a vile Darkfriend. Niall muses that he’s heard of another Darkfriend coming from the Two Rivers, and Ordeith asks if the name was either Matrim Cauthon or Perrin Aybara; Niall confirms the latter, and asks how Ordeith knows three Darkfriends so well. Ordeith slips around the question, and reemphasizes the connection to the Two Rivers; Niall muses that perhaps he will have to make plans for the place once the snow clears, and Ordeith smiles.

Carridin hurries through the Fortress to his chambers. He enters and calls for his manservant, but turns instead to see a Myrddraal there. Terrified, he asks how it got there, and the Fade replies that wherever there is shadow, it may go; it likes to keep an eye on those who serve it. Carridin replies that he serves the Great Lord of the Dark, aware that if anyone in the Fortress heard him they would strike him dead on the spot. The Fade wants to know why Carridin is here instead of on Almoth Plain; Carridin explains that he was called back by Niall, and the Fade replies that the only orders that matter were the Great Lord’s, to find and kill this Rand al’Thor. Carridin says he doesn’t understand why suddenly he is to kill him; he thought the Great Lord wanted to use him. The Fade grabs Carridin and dangles him in midair, and tells him that if al’Thor is not dead in a month, the Fade will kill one of Carridin’s relatives, and so on, one of Carridin’s blood for every month al’Thor lives, until there are none left, and then the Fade will come for Carridin himself. The Fade throws him across the room, and disappears. Carridin gets up painfully as his servant appears, and sends him for paper and ink, trying to decide which orders to send.

Oh good, the Prologues are getting longer. I’m pretty sure by the time we get to Lord of Chaos or thereabouts, the Prologue alone will take up one whole blog post. FUN.

So yeah, I was really really wrong about not finding out who “Bors” was until A Crown of Swords, wasn’t I? Oops. I think it’s not so much that my memory for what happens in WOT sucks (though I sure ain’t getting into MENSA on the strength of my total recall, here), but more that I just don’t remember what order everything happens in. I’m not sure that’s any better, but at least it’s... um. Differently the same?

Anyway. I’m bemused that Whitecloaks and/or Darkfriends are the focus of two Prologues in a row. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it just reemphasizes the fact that except for TEOTW’s Prologue, none of the others have really been Prologues in anything but name. Well, possibly TGH’s was. But yeah.

Or maybe I’m just annoyed because my two least favorite things in WOT all appear here together. Fain and Whitecloaks — two vile tastes that taste vile together, blech.

Though I will say that “Jaichim Carridin” is, for some reason, one of my favorite WOT names. I don't know why, it's just so... roll-off-the-tongue-y. And also, even with Carridin being the most massive hypocrite in the universe, what with being a Whitecloak AND a Darkfriend, I can't help feeling a tiny bit sorry for him here. Talk about your proverbial rock and a hard place, eh?

Chapter 1: Waiting

What Happens
Wheels, Ages, wind, Mountains of Mist. Perrin sits on his horse Stepper in a thicket with five Shienarans, waiting. He reflects irritably that Moiraine has had them waiting in the mountains all winter, and he’s tired of it. Something tickles the back of his mind, but he ignores it resolutely, even when it becomes insistent. He is the first to spot the woman rider approaching, but before he can say anything Masema spots a raven. All go for their bows, but Perrin shoots first, and the bird falls dead. He asks if the bird has to report, or if the Dark One sees what it sees as it sees it; Ragan replies that it has to report, fortunately. Ragan and Masema argue over the pros and cons of Perrin’s longbow, but Uno shuts them up, and asks Perrin if he sees anything. He tells them about the woman, and looks again and realizes from her clothing that she’s one of the Traveling People. They ride to meet her, and Perrin thinks that she does not smell afraid of them. He tells himself to stop that, and tells the woman that they mean her no harm. She tells him she seeks a woman named Moiraine; her name is Leya. Perrin says they will take her to Moiraine, and asks how she found them. Leya replies she just knew, which is what all the women who come to talk to Moiraine say. Perrin and the Shienarans escort her to camp; on the way, Leya and Perrin have a brief conversation about violence, the same he’s had before with Raen. Leya says that Perrin is not happy with his weapons, and laments that one so young should be so sad. Perrin does not have a reply to this. Perrin leads them through a narrow pass into a hidden valley, with cook fires and rude huts all around, and the banner of the Dragon flying overhead. He welcomes Leya to the camp of the Dragon Reborn.

How do the women “just know” where to go? Is this like the coin thing? Which, I might add, was never very satisfactorily explained either.

And... yeah, that’s about it for this very short chapter. Onward!

Chapter 2: Saidin

What Happens
Leya ignores the Dragon banner, and merely asks where Moiraine is. Perrin points out Moiraine’s hut, and Leya heads toward it. He notices Min looking after the Tinker, and asks her what she sees. Min replies softly that the Tinker woman is going to die. Perrin wishes he hadn’t asked. He asks if she’s sure, and she replies that she saw Leya’s own face floating above her shoulder, covered in blood; it doesn’t get much clearer than that. Perrin and Min discuss how it doesn’t do any good to warn people of what she sees. Perrin wonders if it means the camp is going to be attacked, and asks Min when it’s going to happen. Min replies that she never knows when something is going to happen, only that it will. She says that most people don’t have any images around them, or only do periodically, except for Aes Sedai and Warders, who always have images around them. Some other people always do too, she adds, looking sideways at Perrin. Perrin tells her he doesn’t want to know what she sees around him; Min agrees that most people feel the same way. Perrin wishes there was something he could do about Leya.

“Strange,” she said softly, “how you seem to care so much about the Tuatha’an. They are utterly peaceful, and I always see violence around—”

He turned his head away, and she cut off abruptly.

Loial comes over, and Min complains to him about the upheaval her life’s been in since meeting Aes Sedai and these Two Rivers farmboys, and Loial talks about ta’veren. Min wishes they wouldn’t be so bloody ta’veren all the time, and Loial admits he’s thinking of writing a book about it. The Shienarans stir, getting to their feet, and Perrin sees that Rand is coming out of Moiraine’s hut. The Shienarans bow, and Uno calls out that they stand ready to serve the Lord Dragon, and the others echo him. Rand stares at them a moment, then turns and walks off into the trees. Min comments that Rand has been arguing with Moiraine all day; Perrin says he’d better go talk to him. He follows Rand through a pass that is barely more than a crack, into another hidden valley, and finds Rand staring at the herons branded on his palms. Suddenly Rand quotes the Prophecies that mention them:

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

With a shudder he tucked his hands under his arms. “But no Dragons, yet.” He chuckled roughly. “Not yet.”

Perrin waits, and eventually Rand asks if he thinks Mat is all right. Perrin says he should be, thinking that he and Egwene and Nynaeve should have reached Tar Valon by now. Perrin remarks that sometimes he wishes he was just a blacksmith again; does Rand wish he was still only a shepherd? Rand replies that the Shienarans say that death is lighter than a feather, duty heavier than a mountain; the Dark One is coming, and the world will fall into darkness forever, and then there’s him, Rand. He laughs bitterly. Perrin asks what he was arguing with Moiraine about, and Rand replies, the same thing as always — the Dragonsworn down there on Almoth Plain. Rand thinks he owes them something, but Moiraine is right: if he goes down to any one group of them, the Whitecloaks and Domani and Taraboners will be all over them. Perrin asks, if he thinks Moiraine is right, why does he argue with her?

“Moiraine says! Moiraine says!” Rand jerked erect, squeezing his head between his hands. “Moiraine has something to say about everything! Moiraine says I mustn’t go to the men who are dying in my name. Moiraine says I’ll know what to do next because the Pattern will force me to it. Moiraine says! But she never says how I’ll know. Oh, no! She doesn’t know that.”

Rand says he knows he has to face Ba’alzamon, and sometimes he wishes he could just do it right now and get it over with. He says something about how “it” pulls him, and suddenly the ground beneath them begins to heave. Perrin yells at Rand to stop, and abruptly it does. Rand tells him saidin is always there, pulling at him, and even with the taint on it sometimes he can’t resist it, and yet sometimes he reaches for it and gets nothing. Perrin says, well, you got something that time, and Rand looks surprised at the damage. He says he can’t control it, always. Perrin tells him to come back to camp for dinner, but Rand tells him to go on without him. As Perrin turns to leave, Rand asks him if he has dreams; Perrin replies warily that he doesn’t remember many of his dreams. Rand mutters that maybe dreams tell the truth, and falls silent; finally, Perrin leaves him alone.

Maybe it’s because we’re seeing him from an outside perspective, but Rand seems visibly nuttier here than he did at the end of TGH. I don’t remember a lot of the details of what happens in The Dragon Reborn (henceforth, “TDR”) re: Rand specifically (ironically, given the title of the book), but I do remember being—not irritated, exactly, more like perturbed—that he seems to be losing it so much more precipitously than before, especially when contrasting it to how much it got dialed back in later books.

However, I do have a notion of why Jordan did it that way, which I’ll get to at the proper time.

The other thing that this brings to the forefront is how I would keep wishing that people would stop walking on eggshells around Rand (and, to a lesser extent, Perrin and Mat) throughout the books, and then read scenes like this and think, well, yeah, but wouldn't you?

Chapter 3: News from the Plain

What Happens
Perrin hurries back to the camp, feeling the tickle again in his mind, now become an itch. He pushes it away roughly, and meets Moiraine back at the camp. He tells her Rand didn’t mean to do it, it was an accident. “An accident,” she repeats flatly, and goes back inside her hut. The rest of the company is repairing the damage from Rand’s earthquake; Perrin goes over to Min, who says she’ll thump Rand’s skull if he does that again. Perrin offers to get her enough silver to get her out of here and back to Baerlon; Min says that’s sweet of him, but no. Perrin says he thought she wanted to leave, and she replies that just because Fate has chosen something for you instead of you choosing it yourself, it doesn’t mean it has to be all bad. She asks if he wants to go home, and he replies, all the time, but he can’t yet. Moiraine comes over, and Min asks if Leya is all right; Moiraine replies that she split her scalp in the rumble, but Moiraine Healed her. Min is surprised and troubled by the notion that her visions might not always be right, but Moiraine points out Leya has a long way to go when she leaves. Perrin is disturbed at how uncaring she sounds. She tells them Leya’s news: a force of some five thousand Whitecloaks are on Almoth Plain, but strangely, they have made no move against the bands of Dragonsworn scattered about, always allowing them enough time to get away. Lan is sure this is a trick, and Uno agrees. Moiraine continues that Leya also said that someone is killing tall young men with light-colored eyes, each in situations where it is not possible an assassin could have approached unseen, and yet they did. Uno shivers and says he’s never heard of Soulless south of the Borderlands before. Moiraine shuts down that line of talk before Perrin can ask what Soulless are. She tells them all to be on the alert tonight; there is something in the air. Perrin agrees aloud before thinking, and she gives him a look and suggests they all go to bed. Perrin goes to his hut and strips down to ensure he is cold, so that he will not sleep deeply, and falls asleep.

Well, other than noting the introduction of a new Monster of the Week, Gray Men (though they’re not called that here), there’s really not a lot to say about this chapter, either.

Speaking solely in my capacity as recapper/commenter, I can’t decide if I enjoy the really short/boring chapters as a nice break, or if they just spoil me for when we get to the chapters where 600 things all happen at once, and my fingers are like to fall off. the next three chapters, for instance!

Chapter 4: Shadows Sleeping

What Happens
Perrin dreams he is in the common room of an inn, where the furnishings keep changing. A voice from the shadows says so he has decided to give it up, then, and invites him to sit and talk, and Perrin sees a well-dressed man who seems vaguely familiar sitting in a corner. The man sits stiffly with one hand pressed to his chest as if in pain. Perrin asks, give what up, and the man nods to the axe on his belt. Perrin replies he’s thought of it, but doesn’t think he can, yet. The man says Perrin is a blacksmith, and meant to hold a hammer, not an axe; he should go back to that before it’s too late. Perrin says that he is ta’veren, and the man says there are ways around that, and again invites him to sit. He pushes a cup filled with wine across the table to Perrin, and Perrin feels a murmur in the back of his head. He says No, to both the murmur and the wine offer, and the man shows a flash of anger. Perrin turns and starts for the door.

“You will not have many chances,” the man said behind him in a hard voice. “Three threads woven together share one another’s doom. When one is cut, all are. Fate can kill you, if it does not do worse.”

Perrin feels heat from behind him as if from a furnace, and turns to see the man is gone. He thinks that this is just a dream, and then everything changes. He stares at himself in a mirror and sees he is wearing a gilded helmet and armor, and a woman’s voice remarks he is a man destined for glory. He turns to see a beautiful black-haired woman in silver and white smiling at him, and he is startled to hear himself agreeing with her. He hears the murmur again, and abruptly takes off the helmet, saying he does not think this is meant for him; he is a blacksmith. The woman says he must not listen to those who would turn him from his destiny, but reach for glory, and also offers him a cup of wine. He stares at it, wondering why this seems so familiar, and the murmur becomes a growling, louder and louder, until Perrin shouts No, that he is a man, and everything disappears except the woman’s voice, which tells him she will always be in his dreams. Perrin finds himself standing in a network of stone spires, bridges and ramps, filled with the sound of splashing water. He catches a glimpse of a woman in white hurrying off somewhere. Then nearby a man appears, tall and distinguished-looking with silver in his black hair, richly dressed in green and gold. He is joined by a shorter white-haired man dressed in a puffy-sleeved coat, and the two men begin to talk warily; the ambient water noise makes it impossible for Perrin to hear what they are saying, but it looks like they are arguing. The two men are joined by a third, who looks familiar to Perrin, something about an inn that he can’t quite remember. The third man shouts at both of the other two, and at first the other two are silent, but then they begin to argue back, then with each other again, until the third man flings his hands up and a ball of fire envelops them all. Perrin drops to the floor as the fire washes over him, but a moment later it is gone and he is unburned. He gets up and sees the men are gone, and a wolf stands nearby, watching him. Perrin shouts that this is a dream and he wants to wake up, and runs. Everything blurs again, and he finds himself in a vast chamber filled with columns of polished redstone; in the center a crystalline sword hangs in midair, revolving slowly. Perrin walks to the sword, somehow knowing he has done this four times before, and puts out his hand to take it, but something invisible stops him.

Callandor. He was not certain whether the whisper came inside his head or out; it seemed to echo ’round the columns, as soft as the wind, everywhere at once, insistent. Callandor. Who wields me wields destiny. Take me, and begin the final journey.

He took a step back, suddenly frightened. That whisper had never come before. Four times before he had had this dream—he could remember that even now; four nights, one after the other—and this was the first time anything had changed in it.

He hears a different whisper, warning him that the Twisted Ones come, and sees the wolf again. Perrin shouts that he will not let them in, and pulls himself out of the dream, but hears it again once awake: The Twisted Ones come, brother.

Oh, yeah, Lanfear bugs the crap out of all three of the boys, not just Rand, doesn’t she? Well, thank God, really. Interesting, though, that she and Ishamael are each pushing Perrin to do the exact opposite of what the other wants. I’m not sure what Lanfear’s trying to accomplish here, exactly, but hey, the woman’s got a theme and she is sticking to it, by gum. One song, Glory...

Ishy, on the other hand, is apparently at least initially trying a softball approach to knocking out one of the legs of the “tripod” (just go be a blacksmith, no worries!), which is surprisingly laidback of him. Of course, Ishy seems a lot more subdued here than he was previously in general; as someone once said, a sucking chest wound is nature’s way of telling you to slow down. Heh.

Distingushed Tall Guy is Rahvin, and White Haired Dude is Bel’al, and they were arguing about… something. Phear my deductive skillz, yo!

Also here is our intro to the Sword That Ain’t, Callandor. TDR, by the way, is where we start to seriously get our Arthuriana on, in case that wasn’t screamingly obvious.

Chapter 5: Nightmares Walking

What Happens
Perrin leaps up, grabbing his axe, and runs out into the camp to see Trollocs all around, sneaking up to the campsite. Lan bursts out of his and Moiraine’s hut, shouting to rouse the others, and the Trollocs attack. Lan engages, and Perrin sees Moiraine fighting too, throwing fireballs with one hand and slicing open Trollocs with a switch in the other. A tree bursts into flame nearby, and then more, lighting up the camp, and Perrin sees Leya emerge from Moiraine’s hut. He screams at her to get back inside and hide; a Trolloc attacks him, and Perrin cuts it down, and another, trying to get to Leya. Just as he reaches her, a Myrddraal leaps down from the roof of the hut, and Perrin freezes in terror.

The Halfman started toward him, slowly, confident that fear held him in a snare. It moved like a snake, unlimbering a sword so black only the burning trees made it visible. “Cut one leg of the tripod,” it said softly, “and all fall down.” Its voice sounded like dry-rotted leather crumbling.

Suddenly Leya throws herself at the Fade, attempting to trip it, and the Myrddraal kills her without even looking around. Then Perrin hears the wolves, telling him they come, and a moment later scores of huge mountain wolves come flooding into the camp, attacking the Trollocs.

Wolves filled him till he could barely remember being a man. His eyes gathered the light, shining golden yellow. And the Halfman stopped its advance as if suddenly uncertain.

“Fade,” Perrin said roughly, but then a different name came to him, from the wolves. Trollocs, the Twisted Ones, made during the War of the Shadow from melding men and animals, were bad enough, but the Myrddraal— "Neverborn!” Young Bull spat. Lip curling back in a snarl, he threw himself at the Myrddraal.

Young Bull fights the Fade, and abruptly hamstrings it with his axe, and then beheads it. He sees some of the Trollocs go down thrashing as the Fade dies, but bends over Leya’s corpse, and tells her he tried to save her. The wolves call him, and he runs down to join the fight, feeling the urge to throw the axe away and use his teeth. The fighting in the camp is soon over, but Young Bull feels a pack in the woods chasing down another Neverborn. Most of the pack dies bringing it down, but they kill it; the leader howls her mourning for the dead, and Young Bull howls along with her. When he looks down again, Min and everyone else in the camp is staring at him. Min asks if he feels all right, and Perrin frantically cuts himself off from the wolves. He tells her he is all right, and Lan tells him he fought well.

The Warder raised his still-bloody sword above his head. “Tai’shar Manetheren! Tai’shar Andor!” True Blood of Manetheren. True Blood of Andor.

The Shienarans still standing—so few—lifted their blades and joined him. “Tai’shar Manetheren! Tai’shar Andor!”

Loial nodded. “Ta’veren,” he added.

Perrin is grateful for the out Lan gave him, but tells Min that he couldn’t save Leya. She reassures him there was nothing he could have done. Perrin thinks that he almost lost himself that time, and could not let it happen again. Masema suddenly speaks up, saying that even the wolves come to fight for the Dragon Reborn, and it is a sign that they should go forth; only Darkfriends would fail to join them. Uno tells him to shut up, and they’ll go forth when the Lord Dragon tells them to and not before then. He comments that at least they’ll have wolf pelts to keep them warm, and Perrin snarls that they will honor the dead wolves as they would their own dead. Uno starts to protest, but Perrin stares him down, and he nods. Perrin goes to find Rand, and finds him sitting with his hand pressed to his side. Rand rants at him that he was useless during the fight; he tried to use the Power, and all he could do was set some trees on fire, and then almost pulled the mountain down on top of them all. Perrin tries to reassure him that they handled it without him, and Rand further berates himself because he felt them coming, and didn’t recognize what he was feeling in time to warn anyone. Perrin thinks guiltily to himself that he could have given warning too if he had just listened to the wolves instead of shutting them out, but if he hadn’t, would he have lost himself that much sooner? Moiraine approaches them, staggering with weariness, and Heals Perrin, and tells him most of the wounded wolves went into the forest, but she Healed the ones she could. Then she asks Rand if he’s hurt, and he says the wound from Falme has broken open again.

“ ‘The blood of the Dragon Reborn on the rocks of Shayol Ghul will free mankind from the Shadow.’ Isn’t that what the Prophecies of the Dragon say?”

“Who told you that?” Moiraine said sharply.

“If you could get me to Shayol Ghul now,” Rand said drowsily, “by Waygate or Portal Stone, there could be an end to it. No more dying. No more dreams. No more.”

Moiraine tells him the Prophecies rarely mean what they seem to mean, and Heals him as best she can before passing out. Lan scoops her up, and says she takes away others’ fatigue, but cannot do it for herself. Min tentatively suggests Rand, but Lan says he does not know enough about what he’s doing to risk it, and Rand bitterly agrees, saying Lews Therin Kinslayer killed everyone close to him, and maybe he’ll do the same before he’s done. Lan tells him sharply to pull himself together, and Rand replies that he will do the best he can, but he does not have to like what he’s become. Lan tells them all to get some rest.

Good fight scene. I never fail to love it when the wolves kick ass.

I’m not sure if this is the only time Perrin thinks of himself as Young Bull, but it was a great way of showing how close he came to losing himself here. This is one of those narrative tricks that, I think, can only be effectively pulled off in written form; there are many much more obvious reasons that I think making WOT into a movie/TV series is extremely problematic, but showing the internal mental state of a character without resorting to cheesy expositional dialogue and/or cheesy expositional voiceovers is an issue across the board for book-to-film adaptations, and one that in my experience is rarely addressed well.

I don’t think I noticed before how strongly the link between Perrin and the Tinkers was emphasized early on. I mean, I knew it was there, but I forgot how much of a point was made of it. A lot of people have theorized that Perrin will be the one who finds the Song; even though Rand will be the one who (probably) actually hears it at Rhuidean, I think that symbolically Perrin is the only character for whom it would be appropriate.

Rand: still sucks to be him. Poor guy.

Chapter 6: The Hunt Begins

What Happens
Perrin sleeps dreamlessly, and is woken by Lan, who tells him Rand is gone. Perrin dresses quickly and emerges to find the camp awash in activity. Masema stops him and asks what sin they committed for the Lord Dragon to abandon them; Perrin says it was nothing to do with them, but Masema does not accept this. Carefully, Perrin says that he’s sure whatever the Lord Dragon did, it was surely according to his plan, and Masema nods thoughtfully, saying that the Lord Dragon must have gone to spread the word, and they must do the same. Perrin escapes Masema and goes to Moiraine’s hut, where he demands to know if this is Moiraine’s doing; did she prod Rand into running? Loial is appalled, muttering that one should never anger an Aes Sedai, but Moiraine merely replies that she did nothing, and Rand left in the night. Min hands Perrin a note Rand left behind:

What I do, I do because there is no other way. He is hunting me again, and this time one of us has to die, I think. There is no need for those around me to die, also. Too many have died for me already. I do not want to die either, and will not, if I can manage it. There are lies in dreams, and death, but dreams hold truth, too.

Perrin knows “he” means “Ba’alzamon”. Min says no one saw Rand leave, and Moiraine comments they wouldn’t have stopped their Lord Dragon even if they had. Perrin asks her what else did she expect, and Rand would never have named himself Dragon if not for her; does she really think Rand is the Dragon, or is he just someone Moiraine can use until saidin drives him mad? Loial begs Perrin to go easy, and Moiraine answers that Rand is what he is. Perrin continues to demand answers, and Moiraine says that she never meant for him to go off alone and defenseless like this. Perrin snorts and says that if Rand really is the Dragon, did it ever occur to Moiraine that he might know what he has to do better than Moiraine does? Moiraine answers that Rand will fulfill no Prophecies dead, and even if he doesn’t kill himself with the Power, there are a thousand dangers out there looking for him, not least of which are the Forsaken. Who knows how many of them are loose by now? Perrin examines Rand’s note again, and mutters about dreams; Moiraine asks him sharply if he’s had any dreams lately. Hesitantly he tells them about the dream with the crystal sword, and Lan names it Callandor, looking stunned. Moiraine sends Lan to check and see if any of the others dreamed about the same thing, and tells Perrin the hall he dreamed of was the Heart of the Stone in Tear, and the sword was “Callandor, the Sword That Is Not a Sword, the Sword That Cannot Be Touched.” Loial brings up the prophecy that Callandor and the fall of the Stone will be one of the greatest signs that the Dragon is Reborn. Perrin thought it was the last one, but Moiraine says too many of the Prophecies are obscure and confusing to be sure. She goes on that Rand is not ready for this, and Min wants to know why they aren’t going after him. Moiraine says she must be sure, and explains that those who can channel the One Power can force their dreams upon others unless they learn to shield them, which Rand obviously has not. Lan returns and tells them that half of the men in the camp remember dreaming about a sword the last four nights, and Masema says he saw Rand holding it. Now Moiraine is sure, and says they must follow Rand immediately, except for the Shienarans, who will wait for them in Jehannah, and except for Min, who must go to Tar Valon, to report to the Amyrlin. Min strenuously protests, but Moiraine overrides her protests inexorably. Then she asks Loial and Perrin if they will come with her to find Rand, and when they agree, shoos them all out. Min too-sweetly asks Lan if he wants her to carry a message to Nynaeve, and Lan is annoyed, and answers no. Min pulls Perrin aside, and tells him she sees new things around him now that he’s agreed to go find Rand: an Aielman in a cage, a Tuatha’an with a sword, a falcon and a hawk, perching on his shoulders. And, she adds, if he sees the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen, run. Perrin temporarily misunderstands, and tries to tell her that he thinks of her as a sister. Min tells him he’s an idiot, and Perrin finally gets it and says it’s Rand, isn’t it. She admits it, but doesn’t know if he will love her back. Perrin asks if Egwene knows, and Min says yes; he asks if Rand knows, and Min says, of course not. Perrin promises her he will do whatever he can to keep Rand safe.

Exeunt Rand. See you sporadically later!

This is the chapter where the plot for the entire novel is set; Magic Thingamajig identified, quest established, complications in position, gentlemen, please start your engines. Which is probably why it took so freakin’ long to recap.

It’s awfully refreshing to see Perrin standing up to Moiraine and asking her the questions I would totally be asking if I were there. Too bad it doesn’t last.

Masema: I do not profess to truly understand the mindset that leads to zealotry. However, despite neither being a psychiatrist nor playing one on TV, like most people I have a theory anyway, and now you get to hear it! Aren’t you lucky?

See, here’s the thing, and I know this is going to sound weird, but in my brain I equate this level of Uber-zealousness with something like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or severe depression, except inside out. By which I mean, they all are, it seems to me, debilitating and destructive methods of coping with something that the person’s brain has decided is not copable-with; the difference is the latter two create self-destructive behavior, while the former creates destruction for everyone else.

Now mind, I am not talking about the religious mindset generally here; most religiously inclined people are absurdly normal, non-destructive folk. I’m talking specifically about the kind of galloping fanaticism that leads people to do absolutely insane things, like bombing medical clinics or flying planes into buildings or attempting to wipe out entire populations of People Who Are Different. I’m talking about people who are so incapable of dealing with things that contradict or threaten their worldview that their only response to those things is to attempt to obliterate them.

It is truly the case for the zealot, as Masema says to Perrin in Chapter 5, that the world is binary: you are with the zealot, or you are against him. You are Dragonsworn, or you are a Darkfriend; no middle state is possible. And if you be against him, you are to be eliminated. I must confess I don’t remember what becomes of Masema in Knife of Dreams, so I don’t know whether Masema will get to travel all the way down this road to its logical conclusion (for very psychotic values of “logical”, but you know what I mean), but that is certainly where the character has been heading for all this time, and we see the start of it here.

And this is our stopping point. Join me Wednesday for Part 2, in which we will cover Chapters 7-13 of The Dragon Reborn. All the cool people will be there, you know!

1. ToasterJ
I'm merely posting to keep someone from uttering the hateful words. edit to come.
2. Caine09
Yay second post!!!
Richard Fife
4. R.Fife
On Masema: I agree. His entire world was turned on its head, so his poor muscle-headed brain has two options. Be a grown up and accept shit happens, or go off the deepend. The meaning left his life, so he had to give it new meaning. This is very similar to what happens to Aram later, and probably why the two get along so well.

I'll be honest, while I really do enjoy this book, for some odd, twisted reason, I am not too much a fan of the begining. It has a very lethargic opening. Whitecloaks, as I think we have all agreed, are just aggrevating to read, even if there is action, and the whole "bring the girl, see the camp, yay we are dragonsworn! woo, and Rand is being emo" is well, slow. As far as I am concerned, the story doesn't even start until Rand leaves, and that's how many pages into the book?

As to Rand's craziness, sorry if I'm jumping the gun here, but I think that is normal human response than saidin crazy. Even for having all of last book to kinda cope with it, he still had a realistic doubt. Not so much anymore. I'd be sitting alone on a rock laughing my ass in a creepy kefka-like cackle too. It's the only "sane" response.
5. Patton89
If you want a good look into the mind of a fanatic, try "The True Believer" by Eric Hoffer. Excellent book...
6. RNash
Great recapping, as usual.
Prologue: I thought the same thing about not finding out who Bors was until later, more specifically during the whole Tanchico mess.

Chapter 1: Not a whole lot to say that hasn't been said. Moving on.

Chapter 2: From my recent re-read of TDR I remember Rand being rather nutty from the outside, but our few scenes from his POV show that he is still holding on. I think it was just hard for him to stay sane on the inside and the outside. Seriously, how do you think you would deal with that much pressure?
The "walking on eggshells" bothered me too, but more with Mat and Perrin than Rand. Perfectly understandable with this object of legend, ridiculously powerful male channeler, etc. But with his farmboy buddies? Not so much.

Chapter 3: Yay for additions to the bestiary!

Chapter 4: The RENT reference is nice there. Lanfear is rather bittersweet and evocative, but reminds me of Musetta's Waltz. ;]
Anyway. I absolutely adore Perrin's T'A'R sequences when he indirectly interacts with the wolves, e.g. "the Twisted Ones come".

Chapter 5: Perrin is such a different flavor of totally awesome than Rand or Mat, it is rather refreshing. Calm, methodical, but he'll rip your throat out if need be. Lots of similarities to Lan, once we see more of his inner character.
The ability to stare Uno down is also rather cool. Yay for Perrin!

Chapter 6: I always feel a little bad for Perrin whenever he tries to stand up to the womenfolk, because he just about never gets what he wants. I do find it interesting that he gets more out of Moiraine whenever talking to her than he does out of Faile ever. But that's getting ahead a bit, hm?

Masema is . . . interesting. Have to feel a little bad for his fellow soldiers who didn't know what else to do but follow him.

Thanks Leigh, you rock!
7. nuggette
Hurray bad-ass Perrin, I'll enjoy it while I can.

As for Rand's crazziness I think RJ still thought this would be a much shorter series. He backs off later or else by KoD he would be crazier than a sh*t house rat.

Thanks again leigh
8. eonofbluedark
Hey all! This is my first post but I've been keeping up with these religiously.

Just one comment:
I think that, besides the wolves, Perrin's dream in Ch.4 is actually Rand's dream that all people share near a strong channeler/taveren unless he or the people around him are shielded against it. So actually, Ishy and Lanfear are still bugging Rand, not Perrin there.

Keep up the great work, Leigh!
9. Johan G
So, what do Rahvin and Be'lal (and Ishy) argue about? I get Be'lal and Ishy. Be'lal's plan is to send the dreams using his Mesaana-supplied BA goons and lure Rand to Callandor. Ishy on the other hand wants Rand nowhere near Tear to the extent that he's actively trying to kill Rand now. He's behind Carridin's orders, and presumably the gray men. So there's a thing there. But Rahvin? They're not arguing about the Wondergirls, who were Lanfear's monkeywrench into the Be'lal-Mesaana-plan (much too early for that) which she finds out about here (I can't believe I missed that bit before). I'd say it's simply that Rahvin's no more fond of the idea with Rand holding Callandor than Ishamael is...
10. tailspinner
Great summary, this book feel like you are taking a nice stroll when you suddenly fall off a cliff.

I have heard rumours of a movie, and I am iinterested in how they would do the wolf brother thing. I really think any WOT movie would have to be animated to communicate ome of these things.

In fact I think it would be better as a miniseries, but I think that is a different topic.

Great job madam commentator!
11. Caine09
First things first, I REALLY WANA GO TO JORDANCON!!!! But unfortunatly me being in Ireland and it being in Georgia presents a problem....

I haven't read this book in ages, I know that because my copy is in remarkabley good condition compared to the rest of them. But Im reading it in time with you so Yay!!

Im talling you Whitecloaks are so good they are Evil. Such hypocrites, there isnt one honest Whitecloak till Galad joins.

No, Perrin does refer to himself as Young Bull again and takes its form, but only in the Wolf Dream specifically when he is hunting Slayer and the Shaido.

Measma is like Bin Laden on a pilgimage, he is so damn fanatical about Rand. Im still waiting for Rand to walk up to him and beat the head off him, but all he says is 'I have no time to deal with him'. Please Rand im begging you....

Well thats me done til wednesday. Im looking forward to the next few chapters!!!
12. lindal
Re-reading the prologue and first few chapters really seemed like a "yeah-buttal".

E.G., All these dead heroes came and fought on your side, you saved your girlfriend and her friends and you totally kicked ass except for being horribly wounded.
Yeah, but you're going nuts, have no control over your own actions, have any number of people trying to use you for their own advantage who may or may not be working together, have driven other people crazy and your girlfriend left you to go party with her other friends.
It's a great plot device, it's just really hard for me to read.

Also, is this scene with Jaichim Carridin the first time we see Shadar Haran (SP?)
13. Lsana
Yeah, Dragon Reborn! Either this or Shadow Rising is my favorite WOT book, for different reasons. Shadow Rising has more moments of awesome, but this one is better written start to end. This was one of the only books in the series where I never thought, "How many more chapters until this stupid storyline comes to an end so we can get back to the cool ones?" I even liked reading about the supergirls in this one.

As to the women who keep coming, my theory is that they are part of one of the Aes Sedai spy networks, either the Blue Ajah's or the Amyrlin's personal network. Under that theory, they "just knew" where to find Moiraine because the other members of the network told them where to go and who to talk to if they knew anything relevant to the Dragon Reborn. They wouldn't talk about that, obviously, in front of people who weren't part of the network. However, that doesn't explain how Moiraine knew they were coming (as far as I can remember, the Aes Sedai have no long-distance communication except for TAR, which she doesn't use), so maybe I'm totally off on this.

Speaking of Moiraine, I think this is where she's starting to realize exactly what she's gotten into and how far over her head she is. The whole, "the pattern will force your next move," sounds like Aes Sedai for "I have no freaking clue what we are supposed to do now or where we go from here, so I'm praying for divine inspiration." Perrin's accusations in Chapter 6, I think, make her seriously think about the possibilities that she is hurting Rand rather than helping him. But the real problem is that Rand can't control his channeling.

I'm pretty sure that in the first two books, Moiraine was quite convinced that Rand was going to figure out how to control saidin, because well, he's the Dragon and he has to. Here, though, I think that for the first time, she starts seriously considering the possibility that Rand is part of the 3/4 of Wilders who don't figure it out and die in the attempt. How much would it suck to be her at this point? She's dedicated her whole life to finding and helping the Dragon Reborn, she's found him, he desperately needs help, and not only can she not help him, she doesn't even know of anyone who can.

I find it interesting that Perrin doesn't recognize Ishmael in his dreams. Of course, Ishy is acting more sane than he has at any point after the prologue where we saw him as Elan Morin. I wonder if the whole, "I'm the Dark One" act was just that, an act designed to keep up the faith of the Darkfriends and sentient Shadowspawn.

One more thing I have to mention: chapter 5 is a key example of why Jordan can't write romance. But it's not a romance, you say? Exactly. Chapter 5 is the third and final time that we see Rand and Min together before she professes her undying love for him and he starts wondering if she would accept an Aiel marriage. And it's so memorable that I forgot it existed until last night. In a story, I could potentially accept the idea of "love at first sight," but if that's going to happen, when these two characters are on screen together, sparks need to fly. The only sparks in this scene are in the campfire.

Grrr. The only reason that Rand/Min is not the worst relationship in this story is that Rand/Elayne is even worse (I think they only get one scene together before professing undying love). At least we don't see any more of Rand's love life for the rest of the book.

Oh, and Min's whining is also getting on my nerves. But we don't see her for the rest of the book either.
14. almuric
A comment and a question.

First, the comment: The thing I find the most infuriating is the closed-mouthedness of the characters. Nobody tells anyone anything. The part where Moiraine stops them talking about the 'Soulless'? That's just stupid. Why not fill everyone in? Give everyone as much information as possible so they can act intelligently instead of just reacting. I guess Jordan didn't want to write any more exposition than he had to, but as a way to fight against the bad guys - yes, let's make sure everyone has as little information as possible.

Question: How did Perrin get good at fighting? I know Mat gets memories from the dagger (and the Aelfinn later) and Rand gets training from Lan and has the void, but what makes Perrin so bad-ass with an axe? I wouldn't have a problem with him being a real good unarmed fighter, perhaps somehow adapting the wolf style to human style, but what in his history makes him really good at fighting with an axe?

Oh, and I'm not sure if I've said this before, but thanks, Leigh, for doing this. It's been 15 years since I read these books and I'm enjoying them as much as the first time. And I'm with you, I don't remember hardly anything. I thought the third book started with Mat fighting Gawyn and Galad. I completely forgot about the first 17 chapters, or so. I'm now a book ahead, so I can slow down a little, I guess.
Jennifer Liang
15. JenniferL
Looking forward to seeing you in April, Leigh. I'll email you soon with your schedule.
16. Caine09
Back again :):)

Ya Rand in this book seems a hell of a lot crazier then in later books, he actually starts getting saner not crazier. I wonder if this is an error on RJ's part. He might have been unsure off how long it would take for Rand to cleanse Saidin and therefore remove the chance of going mad. Ah I forgive him haha.

Also I think its Perrin who says that he is able to ward his dreams. I wonder how? And if he is how come he was sucked into Rand's? Ya I know Saidin and Ta'veran but is there another reason?

Ya I agree with you on the movie thing. Personallly i feel it shouldn't be, its way too complexe and long to be attempted

Your doing a great job, enjoy JordanCon!!
17. NanaD
Here we have this young man who never had a thought for the future beyoud raising sheep and growing tabac. Suddenly out of nowhere he is given the task of saving the whole world. That alone is enough to freak a boy out. Sure he was full of self doubt. Who wouldn't be. In the beginning he tried to deny his destiny or duty, but as he said, he didn't have to like what he was to become.

Perrin is still trying to deny who or what he is to become, but still kicks serious butt!

Another great job Leigh.
18. hoping to be of the blood
re 12
I think I remember that RJ said, somewhere, the myrdraal was the DO's first attempt at creating a super myrdraal, but was not Shaidar Haran.
19. Rebecca Starr
Leigh - great news on JordanCan - I'll look forward to having a face to put to the hand behind this great blog.

for some reason the name Jaicham Carridin has always reminded me of Joaquin Phoenix... um, not sure why except because of the J's, but funny now to think of with the recent bizarre Letterman appearance... and yes I too feel almost sorry for him here. He's a real scum bag, but it would suck to know its death one way and death another.

as to Niall... this may be blasphemy but I always had a soft spot for him. Perhaps precisely because he's so... human in his aspirations. Believing the Dark One is truly sealed away and that humans need a leader for when they face trollocs. He's still a nutty fanatic, but I actually like this plot thread because its another of those "shades of gray" Jordan writes so well.

I also like the Myrddraal's snide suggestion there are other Darkfriends among the Whitecloaks.

Ch 1
I also have never found a satisfactory explanation for how these women find Moiraine, and what they are doing looking for her in the first place! Are they Blue Ajah eyes + ears? Someone please give me your theories.

Ch 2
as to Rand's development through TDR... yes the early madness does suddenly seem much worse, but I think most of that is his stark terror at having *accepted* what he is for the first time. last book, he was a man who can channel. This book, he's the bloody Dragon Reborn! I think his journey through this book is to accept that fact and come to grips with it... what's interesting is that most of it happens off screen. For a Title Character, Rand gets very little POV time in this book (almost none at all, in fact) and we see most of it through Perrin/Mat/Egwene/Nynaeve/Elayne. Which, actually, I really appreciate.

more later!
20. Aeonsim
With regards to the women finding Moiraine I've always assumed Moiraine was using some limited derivative of the warder bond, on her spys/agents. Which she keeps shutdown until she needs them.
21. Jambo
Regarding Perrin's bad-assery:

I don't think he's neccessarily randomly become super ax fighter dude. I think the reason he's so effective with it, especially in this scene, is he goes completely nuts, at least in part due to the influence of the wolves. He's on an all out offensive, not really caring about his own health.

On long, monotonous prologues:

GAAAAAH how I hate thee!.....hem, I feel better now having gotten that off my chest. But really what is the deal with the long ass prologues? It's all I can do in the later books to not just skip them.

On Wako Rand:

I think like as someone already said, he's not actually insane at the moment, rather he's just "slightly" hysterical over the circumstances he finds himself in.

On the Magnificient Disappearing Houdi... I mean Rand

In the first two books Rand was essentially THE main character. All of sudden in this book we don't get any of his POVs (for most of it at least...). When I first read this book I was disappointed by that, but then Perrin becomes Awsomo, and that makes it almost all better :-)

On other randoms:

Oh Moiraine why do you have to be so secretive and cold? Don't you think it would be good to try and comfort and support Rand?! DAR! Maybe then he would have trusted you later and you wouldn't have gone swan diving into a weird maybe dead, but probably not dead, unless Mat Fs up state. I dunno just a thought.

Measma is scary lol. I at this part of the book would like to go and kick him square in the nuts.

Fain, Fain go away, come again another day....

Whitecloak POV's can go away as well pleez n' thanx

King Arthur references = sweet :-)
pretty obvious when I look at it now, but when I first read these books when I was 9 I completely missed it lol.

Thanks for the re-read BTW
22. puffpio
to me Jaichin Carridin reminded me of David Carridine
23. Zeynep
And here we are at my favourite---at least partially because it was the first WoT book I read.

Finding things out that way was very interesting---figuring out Perrin's wolfbrotherhood and how he feels about it from the opening Perrin PoV chapters, meeting Mat just where he starts to turn into a likeable character, gathering part of the scope of the land by the cross-continent travel of two groups converging at Tear in the end. Of course, when I finally went back and read the first two, a lot of the things I had not grokked became clear---oh, the entire basis of the Heroic Conflict and the entire concept of channeling, for two examples---but still, I am glad I came in this way.

Another point is that---imagine that Prologue being the first thing you read. I was convinced, for a few pages, that we were supposed to sympathize with the Whitecloaks, and can you imagine how troubling that was?

OK, now off to read the rest of the recap.

Oh, this was where Loial's book-writing started. Yay!

I’m not sure what Lanfear’s trying to accomplish here, exactly, but hey, the woman’s got a theme and she is sticking to it, by gum. One song, Glory...

*snicker* I think---but this is borderline crackpot theory, since I do not remember a shred of evidence from Lanfear's interaction with Ishamael if she ever did---that Our Lady of the Psycho Stalkers is pushing Perrin and Mat towards glory because she has the same tripod idea as Ishamael has, and believes that if one rises, all three perforce will somewhat, and the point of the entire exercise, of course, is to push Lews Th^W^W Rand to rise.
24. Randalator
Rand's madness:

There's several things at work here, I guess. He was running around in a constant state of denial for an entire book. "I won't be used as another false Dragon!" (Oh, you so will not, Randy-boy!). So the end of TGH understandably pushed him over the proverbial edge. And he more or less keeps that level of (in)sanity till LTT calls shotgun in Rands skull...

Also the few other times we see him in TDR he's not only struggling with his destiny but also alone, hunted by Darkfriends and Darkhounds, and has the Forsaken trying to kill him in his dreams. Which makes for a madness inducing cocktail that hits as hard as a Pangalactic Gargleblaster.

And there's the thing of POVs. Rand seems considerably crazier if we see him through other people's eyes while he is seemingly sane whenever we get one of his POVs. Even to the point where we think he is still sane even when he clearly is not.

On a side note: I remember thinking during ACOS "Why doesn't he just tell Min and the others that LTT is in his head. Then they would understand his behaviour and no longer worry about him"........."Wait! WHAT?". Even now, several re-reads later, I always catch myself still considering him sane. But having a voice in your head is no sign of sanity, even if the voice is real. He is battling the Dragon for control over his body and even loses once in KOD! He has serious trust issues, insane (literally) mood swings and a pathological feeling of guilt concerning the death of women.

I consider it one of RJ's greatest accomplishments that he delivers us a protagonist who is at least partially insane and still manages to make us think of him a sane.

Ch. 6:

That should be "Exit Rand". Exeunt is third pers. pl. (exire -> exeo, exis, exit, eximus, exitis, exeunt) and indicates several performers leaving the stage whereas exit is third per. sg. and thus refers to a single person.

Sorry, had to learn that once and hated it every step of the way, but sometimes it just pops out and makes me look like an asshole.

A couple of more books and Exeunt Rand will be hilariously correct, though... *grin*
Robert Garza
25. FunBob
Leigh - Great post, as usual! :)

Rahvin having a discussion with Bel'al and Ishy interrupting and flaming them both is the first sign that we have that the Forsaken are ALL not working together.

In TEOTW, Aginor and Ba'althamel are working together to fight Rand et al, and in TGH, Lanfear is in love with Rand so you don't know if she is the only solo player. The fact that Rahvin and Bel'al are looking to be negotiating a deal gives us the major clue that the Forsaken are not a single group dedicated to the Dark One above all, but rather how they ALL can use the Dark One to further their own agendas.

Agree that Moiraine is pretty clueless as to what to do next....The story shows us how much Moiraine is really hiding behind her cool facade....She is Aes Sedai to the Bone, and can't let anyone know that she is guessing just as much as everyone else.

Later all.
26. Rikka
I have no interest in Whitecloak scheming and as such, I ignore most of these types of chapters anymore. :/ More's the pity that Fain shows up, Niall was actually a pretty smart guy, for a WC. WC + Fain = the most annoying force to have ever existed in the history of fantasy. I assume Fain's going after the Two Rivers to antagonize Rand. I remember being not at all surprised that there were DFs in the WCs.

chpt 1:
I remember looking back on this chapter and thinking to myself, "What a strange place to start...". I've never quite understood it but it does well for setting and such.

chpt 2:
Oh Perrin :/ So conflicted over that damn axe. This is the part where everybody wonders how mad Rand is getting how fast. I personally don't think he's crazy here, simply under ridiculous amounts of duress caused by the fact that he's finally accepting that he's the freakin' Dragon Reborn (and all that entails... like the Shienarans wanting to serve him, etc.). It's got to change the way he sees himself, his place in the world and his power. Add in the haunting temptation of saidin. He might be a bit crazy but it keeps him from going insane.

chpt 3:
Stupid Perrin ignoring the stupid tickle. It's sad/annoying that he forces himself to accept his abilities the hard way (aka after people die). Rawr. Gray men! Why would Moiraine want to keep knowledge of that from the boys? It seems to me that knowledge is a weapon and she'd want their arsenals fully equipped when it comes to assassin's you can't remember seeing.

chpt 4:
Wait, Lanfear in Perrin's dream? o_O This is a T'AR dream right, with all the Forsaken? Otherwise Perrin wouldn't know how they looked... no? Stupid Perrin, have to wait til you're asleep to listen to the wolves. What good are you? srsly.

chpt 5:
Hawt fightingasawolf here. Anyone else reminded of Fitz from Farseer Trilogies or is that just me?

Masema needs to shut up, really, why couldn't Uno just off him in his sleep for us. It would spare us a whole helluva lot of annoyance further down the line.

Imagine if Rand knew how to Travel by now. Badnewsbears for all those prophecies, no? But he doesn't so that's a useless line of thought :P Also, this whole thing with the unhealed wound gets tiresome eventually.

Poor Rand :/

chpt 6:
Masema. Put a sock in it, now.

I've always had this whole big problem with prophecy and people deciding that they know best how to lead the 'person of prophecy' (also in TG's SoT series as well. Ann, lookin at you here.). Really, honestly, you'd think people would learn. Still, I like the badassery of everyone sharing Rand's dream of Callandor (yes, this is badass) as well as Lan being all @_@.

Also, Perrin's a pretty quick kid, considering he's a Wonderboy. Poor Min.

Can't wait for the Aiel to come.... :D
27. David Scotton
Great post as usual. But since I've seen it twice now, I have to point out that exeunt is plural, the singular is exit. =/
Ofer Nave
28. odigity
Re Rand: The first two books were very much told from Rand's perspective. This book is very much told from an outside perspective watching Rand. Starting in book 4, it stabilizes, with us back in Rand's head for the most part, but with Rand... different than when we left him at the end of book 2. He no longer ever fully discloses himself to the reader.

I think this is on purpose. I remember being completely in suspense as to what the hell he was planning and how he was coming up with his plans throughout most of books 4 and 5, and off and on since then, even when we were reading his POV. I think RJ pulled back from him in book 3 to give him the opportunity to develop depth and complexity that could drive the story later - allowing us to return to the protagonist in book 4 and onward without losing the suspense and also allowing the shrouding the main character with a sense of destiny and awe in us despite our inside access.

This also has the side effect. This is the first book where Rand accepts and consciously begins dealing with his destiny, which also means stepping out from under anyone's wing in order to find his own way (a necessity in the long run). He's faced with the pressures of his identity and purpose, and as part of his step toward independence, he's forcing himself to a level of confidence that is part desperation and part faking-it-till-you-make-it. This, coupled with the POV-withdrawal discussed in the previous paragraph, all blends nicely to make it seem that surely he's going mad. Surely this is the book that starts the descent into taint-driven insanity. That's the book 3 misdirect, in my opinion.

I don't think any of his book 3 behavior is outside what is to be expected when you take in the full context. In retrospect, I see no hard evidence of classical taint-craziness. RJ sure plays up that angle, though - I'm thinking of the flute-playing/lining-up-the-corpses scene coming up soon.

BTW-Leya totally delivers on RJ's "tinkers: the brave folk mistakenly considered cowards" theme. She tackled a fade? Non-violently!?
29. h20
I think Mat will be the one to bring the song to the Tinkers, though maybe in an indirect way. He's the one who's always singing songs he's never heard in this life, and he's taught a lot of them to his army.
Ofer Nave
30. odigity
A few more points because I can't help myself:

1) I'm concerned for Leigh's helath when we get to the 100+ page prologues in the later books.

2) I realize this is uncommon, but Moiraine's my favorite character. (and I'm a guy) Did anyone notice that she healed those wolves, thought of it herself and everything, and no one said peep about it? Do you realize she does stuff like that all the time? It's amazing how even through her royal Cairhienian upbringing, even through experiencing the becoming-an-Aes-Sedai soul grinder, she still comes off better than any other Aes Sedai in 11 books - in fact, better than most of the people, period. When it comes to taste in partners, Thom is easily the wisest man in the series.

3) Since I already discussed Rand's sanity, let's take a moment to chat about everyone's favorite punching back, Ishamael. I keep hearing those "he's half crazy", and "he thought he was the dark one!" cracks. You're all just like the Forsaken and historians. If you notice, Ishamael is called half-crazy throughout the series, but it's always being said by one of the other Forsaken or some historian. Shame on you for propagating such gossip.

Like with Rand in book 3, I have never seen any real evidence of Ishamael being mad. It seems to me that he's a friggin genius, he's pretty much the only dude in the AOL that figured out the game, and he's still on top after 4k+ years partying hard with the truth (if not morality) on his side. He's practically been running the world the whole time.

As for his ba'alzamon schtick in books 1-3, look close. He never believes himself to be the dark one, or even presents himself as the dark one. It's Aes Sedai word-dancing, plus a deliberate refraining from correcting any of several historical misunderstangins/mistranslations modern folk have. Sure he's not always emotionally stable, but he's always lucid, and deceptively precise at times. And it's responsible for the largest literary misdirect ever - for the first three thousand pages (longer than most series), we mistakenly think we've been experiencing the dark one. Not!

Every time one of the Forsaken cracks one about Ishy's sanity, I take it not as information, but as blindness. It's so amusing. I really hope we finally get to dig deep into Ishy in AMoL. He's been the most intriguing background character the entire time, and he's shadow has fallen on nearly every aspect of the story (pun intended).
31. Rebecca Starr
Ch 3
Well, Zeynep@23 you've partially answered my comment about this chapter, which is... I think the reason we all are a little bored by the opening and by all the exposition is that Jordan writes these paragraphs with tons of backstory in case you haven't read the first 2 books. So then my question was, did anyone come to the series that way? Does anyone really pick up in the middle? It seems the answer is yes, and my comment to anyone who did this, then, is "I'm impressed!" I'd be really curious to hear what the experience was like to jump in in the middle, and have to figure out everything that had happened.

my question for this chapter is this: how and when did Moiraine have time to assign Tinkers to watch for news on Toman Head. I know, I know, she was MIA for most of TGH, but c'mon, how can she have access to Tinker bands? seems a bit of a stretch

Ch 4
aaarrrggh Now I can't not read Selene as part of that Mesaana theory on slowly becoming a convert...

Ch 5
no comment, except I had forgotten how awesome this fighting scene was.

Ch 6
again no comment I guess, except that on this re-read I'm realizing with a sad shake of my head that Loial is a bit of a chain-smoker.

almuric@14 - I think we can chalk up Perrin's fighting skill to the wolf instinct in him coming out. I watch my baby kittens at 3 months old, who already know how to *hunt*, and they are indoor kitties who've never seen a real mouse. So if you're part-animal, I guess it's innate.

regarding the exeunt clarification @24 and 27 - lol. I can just see it now.... exeunt Rands... bye bye Rand! bye bye Moridin! bye bye LTT!
32. Matthew Maslanka
Avid reader, first time poster :)

(obligatory thank you! to Leigh and to all the commenters. I've been really enjoying this.)

I, like Zynep up in #23, also started with TDR. I remember being awfully confused for awhile, but rolling with it because the story sucked me in so forcefully.

The thing which stuck with me the most was my reaction when I read the first two books and was awestruck by the sheer intricacy of the foreshadowing that RJ does. There is virtually nothing that happens in these books without being part of some kind of arc. He takes all of the mummery that his characters spout about the Pattern and the wheel weaving as it will (say that five times fast!) and makes it a reality. The series is a beautifully and deftly woven whole. It's a tour-de-force of plotting, of arcs perfectly timed to pay off with deep resonance and satisfaction.

We keep reading these books, slogging through the long bits for which we don't much care because they pay off so powerfully and in such a carefully measured fashion. He doesn't slam us with Pure Awesome for the entire book. It's a long, slow burn.

RJ reminds me a lot of Richard Wagner, the late-Romantic German opera composer. His whole premise was gradually-increasing overlapping waves of sound, meticulously developing short musical motives to culminate in astonishing climaxes that feel *inevitable*.

This sense of inevitability pervades great art and the Wheel of Time has it in spades.

Keep it up, Leigh, I'm very grateful for your efforts!
LT Tortora
33. Lucubratrix
Hello; long time listener, first time caller.

I'm really enjoying these recaps. I first started reading WoT back in 1993/94-ish, and was enthralled right up through TFoH, at which point I thought the series began to spiral a little out of control, with a lot of words where not much really happened (as others have pointed out). (I did think the most recent book tightened things up again, though.) I've continued reading the series out of a sense of obligation, but now I'm reminded why I got hooked in the first place. As more than a few people have mentioned in the comments, the foreshadowing in the early books is outstanding.

I'll echo others in saying that I particularly enjoy the Perrin-as-Wolfbrother scenes. It's a little frustrating that he won't just embrace it--I mean, he can TALK to WOLVES, which is COOL--but at the same time, if I started suddenly being able to talk to some sort of cool animal, I would probably be afraid I was going insane.

Speaking of insanity, I'm willing to suspend disbelief on the way Rand seems to be really crazy early on, then a bit more sane. I tend to suspect that the actual reason was that the series was originally intended to be shorter, so Rand had to go mad faster, but I'm cool with the longer timeline. I mean, after all, it's madness. It doesn't really follow a linear, logical course.
I don’t think Rand is actually crazy from saidin in this book. He is just freaking out. He is finally coming to terms with the fact that he is the saviour of the world but has no idea on how to do that or how to control his powers. He’s gone from a humble sheep herder to having battle hardened shienarans thinking of him as the light made flesh. Could be a little unnerving

Completely kick ass scene with Perrin here. I love how he turns the table on the fade once the wolves come. But it does make you understand why Perrin is reluctant about his new powers. He came awfully close here to losing himself. And wolves must be the nicest creatures in history for all the help they bring Perrin while having their packs decimated and getting ignored unless he needs something.

Only way this fight scene could have been better if we saw Loial in action.

Odigity beat me to it but good on you Leya for showing while tinkers aren’t fighters they still have plenty of courage. Goes to show what stereotypes are worth.

“Masema stops him and asks what sin they committed for the Lord Dragon to abandon them”

Probably the last time we Masema uncertain about anything.


I don’t think Ishy would refer to Rand as a blacksmith. I think Lanfear and Ishy are both trying to tempt the boys away from their destiny. They are just using different carrots. But the rest of the dream involving callandor was probably Rands.
craig miller
35. craigpmiller
Leigh - book 3 and goin' stong! big green enviness at your JordonConability. DownUnder's a long way away. Fill us in on the juicy bits when you get back eh?

Masema - A few Roos loose in the top paddock. But look at who he attracts. Quarterize that mob and you've solved half of mankind's problems.

Perrin's dream in Ch.4 is actually Rand's dream...

Oh, very clever. Well spotted! :-)

gagecreedlives@34 good point but dreams are full of symbols and how you interpret them. rand would interpret "your weapon" as one thing and Perrin as another.

Love the rich mixture of dreams and the "real world" in WOT.
36. alexonthemovetx
Interesting theories on Ishy...
The books started with a confrontation between LTT and Ishy (Elan Morin) - wouldn't it be something if that's how it ends?
37. Tony Zbaraschuk
Perrin has had nothing to do for the last six months but argue with Rand, argue with Moiraine, maybe go hunting, and (most of the time) learn how to fight from Lan and the Shienarans. Of course he's going to be better at hunting and stalking than he was in the previous books, though I agree that going wolf-berserk is useful.

One reason for the paucity of Rand-POV in this book is that Jordan has to develop the other two ta'veren to the point of understanding them. We get considerable Perrin-viewpoint in this book, and our first significant Matt-viewpoint, as well as more of the Tower girls.

Structurally, the first three books all follow much the same pattern: a brief period of calm, lots of stress, the unravelling of the threads as characters go in all directions, and a slow resolution as the threads draw back together so everyone is in the same place at the end of the book, when Victory Happens. TDR is the last book with this pattern: The Shadow Rising flings the Pattern wide and ends in a triple triumph (Elayne/Nynaeve in Taraborn, Perrin in the Two Rivers, Rand/Matt/Egwene in the Aiel Waste). After that Jordan loses control of the plot and it fragments in all directions, but the first four books are very well-done structurally.

I've generally thought that Perrin's dreams at this point are mostly spillover from Rand; Lanfear has no reason at all to be interested in Perrin at this point, and "glory" was always her temptation for Rand, never for Perrin. She does pay a visit to Mat later but I think at this point she's all focused on Rand. And I think all the Forsaken are being very cautious at this point (which explains their use of dreams and so forth rather than Lanfear just striding into camp and killing everyone with the Power, which she very well could.) They know Rand has killed two of them and almost killed a third, and none of them wants to be the fourth...

Some of Moiraine's spies are probably part of the Blue Ajah network, and some of them are probably her own acquisitions -- she and Lan must have crossed and re-crossed the continent searching for all those names in her little black book, and she probably took the opportunity to develop some connections. Since most of the ones coming to her are locals from Tarabon and Almoth Plain, my guess is that she picked up a number of them during the march from Falme, but some of them may be older contacts. Hard to say more, and I suspect more Aes Sedai mystification is at work here.
38. gagecreedlives

It could be a case of interpretation but later on in the book Lanfear visits Mat while he is in the white tower and tries to tempt him with glory as well. And if memory serves me correctly she gets a little cranky with him.
So I think she might be doing the rounds to all the boys trying to tempt them with glory. Rand/Perrin get it in their dreams while Mat is fortunate enough to get a personal visit.
39. JimmyMac80
The "coin thing" is explained in KoD, The New Follower, "The weave she(Elayne) laid on Hark's belt buckle, his boots, his coat and breeches, was somewhat akin to the Warder bond, though much less complex. It would fade from the clothing and boots in a few weeks, or months at best, but metal would hold a Finder forever." Moiraine states, at the end of tEotW, that Rand and the others should fall in with whatever she says, which would imply that the Finder weave also carries the Compulsion component of the Warder's bond, which may allow her to summon the women who come to her.

As for Perrin giving into the wolf side in some visual format, it'd be relatively easy. He would just need a good growling sound to start and then start moving closer to the ground. There are times in later books where he is still in human form but thinks of running on all fours. He just needs to keep his movement closer to the ground and the movements have to have an obvious animal quality to them.

The is no Song. We see the Tinkers split from the Aiel in tSR, they remember that they used to sing and want to do so again. Over the course of 3,000 years they forget that they were ever Dashain Aiel and think that there must be some ultimate Song that started their wandering. There isn't, the song that Rand witnesses isn't that special, just something to help plants grow and requires Nyms, which makes it useless in the Third Age, or Fourth, since that may come before the end of the books.

As for Masema, I think his devotion may also be in part that he hated Rand, therefore feels that he has to make up for his former feelings. As of the last Perrin scene in KoD Masema is still alive, though given that Perrin knows Masema convinced Aram to try and kill Perrin, Masema's days may be limited.
40. Greg Steele
Hi All,

Thanks Leigh for a great effort on all these recaps.

As to Rand and his sanity or lack there of. I think
at this point it's more stress & sleep deprivation than taint corruption. OK so he's realised destined to bring the end of the world and he's the walking truth of his childhood bad guys, Almost the equivalent of realising you're the real big bad wolf & the incarnation of every evil Disney character ever. He also hasn't slept well for at least 4 days and he's got no control over the power. Egwene still has not got full control at this point and she's been trained by AS & the Seanchan.

Later when's he's less worried about control he's perfectly sane as long as you consider his dreams to be true dreams, which they appear to be, in TAR.

OK now that we're seeing more of the Forsaken in TAR & Rand is clearly vulnerable to being pulled into or accidentally entering TAR. One thing that has bugged me for while is, now that Ishy/Ba'alz is intent on killing Rand why not do it in TAR, as is clearly possible in TAR from the Wiseones teaching in later books & our current knowledge even from TEotW. This was even supposed to be a common tactic of the shadow in the AoL.

In the first 2 books Ba'alz is trying to turn Rand to the shadow in his dreams but now he just tries poisoning and deception with people Rand knows to kill him. Why not just kill him in TAR using the power or any of the tricks Moggie & Lanfear use? He's been playing in TAR for 3500 years given his age in the AoL so he's probably more adept even than Lanfear & Moggie. He can certainly construct his own little realm, with the skull fireplace etc. He's also adept at bringing all the rats in Bearelon into TAR and killing them. OK so this is query is made purely from a light dark struggle PoV; without considering the obvious rapid demise of the series if this happened.

However, my point is the other Forsaken have plans for Rand that mean they wouldn't just kill him. These include getting Rand to retrieve Excalibur/Calandor and the general if Ishy & the other boys are busy then the Female forsaken can play in the tower etc for their own power plays. Also it take time to find someones dreams. Ishy/Ba'alzamon just want revenge for Falme. Yeah Rand does a bit of fire etc but his control of the power here is nothing compared to the dramatic power battle scenes at the end of TDR. Going on memory here but the Be'lal & Ishy fights the Stone are pretty spectacular. Maybe Ishy is nursing his wounds but he missed a chance.

I suppose once bitten twice shy but he's testing Rand enough in TAR to know his weakness.

Thanks for all your great efforts Leigh. This is a great idea.
41. jafco
@24. Randalator

"...Which makes for a madness inducing cocktail that hits as hard as a Pangalactic Gargleblaster.

And there's the thing of POVs. Rand seems considerably crazier if we see him through other people's eyes while he is seemingly sane whenever we get one of his POVs. Even to the point where we think he is still sane even when he clearly is not...."

WOOT! Now to me the question is: is Rand going the route of many, succumbing to the Taint, just going mad as predicted?

OR ELSE is Rand really Rand? That is, is he just this placeholder until - somehow - LTT can get his mojo woikin'? Or is he REALLY Rand, the next Dragon spun out by the Wheel, which simultaneously suffered a terrible feedback loop and pasted the old Dragon, LTT, all over his thread?

One may think of RandUniverse in multiple dimensions -past, present (which entails infinite, parallel probabilistic worlds in which something is different from the world we are observing from) and future (t'a'r is a 4th dimension, surrounding each world). In this thought experiment the Wheel of Time is rolling forward in time, and while each revolution brings back various themes (like a sine wave), each re-spun theme features new players.

Or else one may accept the preceding, except that the axle on which the Wheel spins is fixed and doesn't move forward with the "arrow of Time". Thus Lews Therin has been recirculated time and time and time, etc. again.

My thought is that it's the first case. John Wayne ;) was the first Dragon, succeeded by whomever ad nauseum, and lastly represented by LTT (and so all heroes and baddies understand the cyclicity, and recognize and identify with the Dragon's last name). Rand is now the spun-out possible hero, but somehow the pattern of LTT got imprinted on him, and it's trying to realize itself - at Rand's expense.

If it's the other case, then this Rand we love is just a borg, and RJ deceived us. We never should have loved Rand, and should have cheered LTT's appearance.

I vote for Rand.

Just my two cents.
42. IanGH
I never thought about it that much before but you're right. It is way cool that Moiraine healed the wolves she found. Since you pointed this out, my opinion of her ratcheted up two more clicks. Despite her aloof manner and her frustrating knack for withholding important information, it is apparent that Moiraine cares a lot more about the world around her than her sisters.

I think it is also true, as others have said, that she has lost all control of events. But then she never really had control of events since they all left Shienar.

I find the lack of Rand POVs in this book refreshing. Finally we get to see more through Perrin's and Mat's eyes. Perrin's fighting with the wolves is awesome, and a little scary.

There is an interesting parallel between Rand and Perrin in their reluctance to accept their superpowers. They both have "duty is heavier than a mountain" moments in their own ways and each are wishing they could do without. Both of them are changed by their new powers and try to fight the change. It is striking that Perrin is always considered a quiet, thoughtful guy and his power turns him into a berzerker. Rand starts off as a sweet, innocent character and turns into a stone cold hardass. The only one who doesn't really change is Mat. Or does he actually become serious and responsible in the end? Discuss...
43. sps49
Leigh, you are doing a great job. Humorous recaps and entertaining quick analysis reminiscent of the FAQ (I came too late to the Usenet group).
44. Hugin
My few random comments:

Carridin: I'm also not generally a fan of the WC chapters, but I like this one. My question here is, what exactly is the upside to being a darkfriend? I understand why Ingtar went over to the shadow, but everyone else is presumably doing it for power, right? But other than the occasional Shiane who gets to boss around Aes Sedai, there appears to be a whole lot more groveling, getting relatives killed by Fades and being herded around by Fain for Trolloc snacks than power and glory for most DFs. They know they'll never run the show, because the top of the hierarchy is Nae'blis, then the rest of the Chosen/Forsaken, then the new dreadlord channelers. And that's a lot of s**t flowing downhill to the rest of the bunch, even if they get some kind of command.

Perrin: I really like him at this point in the series. The struggle with the wolfbrother thing is understandable and he's not overly whiny about it. In fact, he's thoughtful, nice to Min, a good friend to Rand, showing some spine around Moiraine, and a badass with the axe. Dispatching a Fade in solo combat is not something that any but the very best can even think about, and he takes his out more quickly than Lan does. He's pretty much awesome from here through the defense of the Two Rivers. The less said after that, the better.

Masema: He's creepy and annoying, but very well written. He was a bit of a nutter even before, and had a weird Aiel-fetish hate for Rand. But then he went on the Portal Stone trip (and presumably saw some wacky stuff) and saw Rand proclaimed as the Dragon Reborn when he fought Ishy in the sky. Not hard to imagine that pushing him over the edge.

Moiraine: I have some sympathy for her, because she clearly is realizing that things have gotten way away from her. But it just bugs me that her default mode is so Cairhien nobility/Aes Sedai aloof/meddling/manipulative. And this starts right after the fight at the Eye of the World -- at the beginning of the last book Rand mentions that she hadn't spoken five words to him in months after they left the Eye. I can't help wishing she would at least once have tried having an honest conversation with Rand because I really do like her for her other characteristics, but she just can't stop herself with the daes dae'mar.
45. Randalator

Semirhage: "Graendal could explain it better than I. Madness was her specialty. I will try, however. You know of people who hear voices in their heads? Sometimes, very rarely, the voices they hear are the voices of past lives. Lanfear claimed he knew things from our own Age, things only Lews Therin Telamon could know. Clearly, he is hearing Lews Therin's voice. It makes no difference that his voice is real, however. In fact, that makes his situation worse. Even Graendal usually failed to achieve reintegration with someone who heard a real voice. I understand the descent into terminal madness can be… abrupt." (KOD, ch. 27)

This seems to prove the theory that the taint somehow weakens the border between the present incarnation and earlier incarnations. Or at least accelerates it. Instead of fully integrating into Rands body LTT's soul became seperated from him over time which will lead to full madness over the long course. So we might be heading towards a "LTT takes over Rand during the Last Battle"-scenario. Unless someone (Nynaeve? Moiraine?) succeeds at reintegrating LTT (and the third man; probably LTT's previous incarnation) into Rand.

Of course everything from the Forsaken has to be taken with a grain of salt. But personally I don't think Semirhage lies here. It just fits to well with some of the more prominent theories (concerning the taint, madness and LTT in Rand's head) flying around prior to KOD.
46. HeWhoComesWithTheBreakfast
finally, my favorite book! Great work with the recap LB, I love how you summarize the battle scenes.

As an ex-militiary man, am I the only one who likes the Whitecloak chapters? I can't say I agree with a militiary-religious faction that answers to no-one, but these guys are the closest thing to people from our world. Basically they're a huge band of bandits with a set uniform, but that's what you get after a general manages a koup.
And as sad as it may be, although huge organizations seem to have a "code" or "way" to the small person, when you get to the top, it's usually people doing anything they can for their own good and honor - in militiary as in real life.

Besides that, as I remember, in a few chapters ahead Rand beheads a woman and a few guys that are trying to kill him (DF's disguised as merchants) without stopping to think for a second, yet for the next books he always has a huge dillema hurting women. what gives?
Iain Scott
47. iopgod
One though on the Rand-going-mad note is the timeline. The first two books cover an entire year: from the begining of Spring at the beginging of Eye to the begining of Spring again here. Admittadly Rand only has about 9 months of subjective time, due to Portal Stone Weirdness, but still a fair amount of time to go slightly mad. (Especially with all of winter spent sitting around in a camp with Moraine "Im not going to tell you anything" Sedai and "All hail the Lord Dragon" Massena et al. as your only company!)
The next *nine* books only cover another year (untill early-mid spring at the end of KOD). And in that year, Rand gains control over his chanelling, cleanses the taint, and gains at least 2 people talking in his head. Which dosent seem to me to be staying *sane*.
48. birgit
The women probably know where to find Moiraine because she left an address with the eyes and ears network, but it makes no sense that Moiraine knows when they come. There is no mention that she has pigeons in the mountain camp, and that's how the AS and eyes and ears usually communicate.

Is it really a Gray Man who is killing the Rand lookalikes? I thought that Carridin tries to follow his conflicting orders by leaving the Dragonsworn alone but using his "knives in the dark" against people who might be Rand. The Myrddraal is just an ordinary Myddraal.

Verin said in the last book that Moiraine never tells people anything they don't have to know. Probably a habit she got playing Daes Dae'mar all her live.

I also think that Rand is not really going mad from the taint yet. He just found out that he has to save the world but has no idea how and can't control his channeling.

Also I think its Perrin who says that he is able to ward his dreams. I wonder how?

He cannot really ward his dreams like a channeler. He is trying not to sleep too deeply to keep the wolves out of his dreams and the wolves partly protect him from Ishy's intrusions, but both are not completely working.

Only way this fight scene could have been better if we saw Loial in action.

He is mentioned fighting.

Instead of fully integrating into Rands body LTT's soul became seperated from him over time which will lead to full madness over the long course. So we might be heading towards a "LTT takes over Rand during the Last Battle"-scenario.

Maybe LTT takes over in the Last Battle and gets killed (he wants to die in TG anyway), but Alivia revives Rand without LTT.
49. Randalator
Greg Steel@40

" that Ishy/Ba'alz is intent on killing Rand why not do it in TAR, as is clearly possible in TAR...

They do try to kill him in T'A'R. See TDR, ch. 27 and 32 where several loved ones try to kill him in his dreams and he in turn almost kills Egwene who stumbles upon him in T'A'R.

Even if we don't get to see them, there might have been other attempts on his life in T'A'R until he finally learns from Asmodean how to ward his dreams.


Rand has not yet developed his killing-complex towards women. The nameles Darkfriend woman in TDR he kills because she came to kill him. But this one kill is what sets him on his path.

In TSR, ch. 9 he is one step further thinking that he might (only might) be able to make himself kill Lanfear if she attacked him. In TFOH, ch. 4 he's finally in full me-no-kill-woman-even-if-woman-bad-mode. ("Once he had killed a woman; a woman who meant to kill him, but the memory still burned. He did not think he would ever be able to do it again, even with his life in the balance.").

From there on out it's a sightseeing tour down insanity lane...
Richard Fife
50. R.Fife
Lsana@13: At least Elyane, in TSR, has 3-4 days of expositioned "dallying" with Rand, finding little corners good for kissing, chit-chatting, etc. I've said it before, though, and I'll say it again, I think Faile/Perrin was/is the best romance thread.

Almuric@14: Ever actually use an axe in combat? It's pretty simple. Up down, up down. Perhaps a reason ancient vikings really liked em. Lan trained Perrin /some/ in tEotW, and I think that is about all he needed. Otherwise, what carries him through killing the Fade and other things is the way most veteran soldiers get good: survive and learn from mistakes.

Randalater@24 and David@27: and Rand isn't a plural entity? *winkwink*

Rebecca@31: While the constant summarizing throughout the books (especially later on) gets on my nerves, one of my best friends and a hard core fan actually did read TDR first by accident. So yeah, people do come in that way, if rarely, so I just skim past them as fast as I can (even though I can't even skip a word when I read for my OCD) and forgive literary neccessity. Oh, also, they aren't as annoying when it has been months/years since you read the last book.

Lucu@33: Good point on madness. Most cases of dementia/insanity are not steady downward spirals, but crazy rollercoaster rides. Also, remember, at the start of next book, his temper is already crazy-short and he is taken to random fits of inane laughing.

Still debating going to JordanCon myself. GA isn't too far from NC, after all. Maybe I'll see people there (or not-people, which would be freaky).
51. Randalator

and Rand isn't a plural entity? *winkwink*

As I already pointed out: Not yet. *nudgenudge*
52. Kenneth G. Cavness
@Leigh! Yay, Book 3. One of my favorites, actually, because the trick of hiding Rand's POV from us keeps us wondering just what the hell is going on for most of the book.

Which brings me to a peeve:
You seem so ready to ascribe every action of Rand to immediate taint. Why? Logain seems about as sane as they come, and other Asha'man seem to not be showing any signs of the madness at all. We're told time and again that nobody knows when the madness begins, and what we've seen so far can as easily be ascribed to far less odious things than madness.

Regarding Chapter 3: Rand is not crazy here, or rather, is not subject to Taint madness. Or at least, the book's way out on it, because I can think of very human, non-magic reasons why he's acting like this. The first one is straight-up PTSD. He has just experienced two battles now, travelled around the world, and experienced several lifetimes where no matter what he does, everyone dies. He has no escape from the one path he's on, and he's bucking that, because who wants to be told that their path is static? How would you react if you had Free Will ripped from you?

He has the weight of the world on this shoulders. Is it any surprise that he is thrown by this?

"Rand says he knows he has to face Ba’alzamon, and sometimes he wishes he could just do it right now and get it over with. He says something about how “it” pulls him, and suddenly the ground beneath them begins to heave. Perrin yells at Rand to stop, and abruptly it does. Rand tells him saidin is always there, pulling at him, and even with the taint on it sometimes he can’t resist it, and yet sometimes he reaches for it and gets nothing." -- We're told several times in Books one and two that if you are not trained in the Power, you will continue to try and fail, or the Power will come to you all at once and you won't be able to control it, until you burn yourself out or, if you are unbelievably lucky, develop a "block" that allows you to channel without knowing you're channelling. This isn't craziness, this is an ability to control a wild force much greater than Rand is.

"As Perrin turns to leave, Rand asks him if he has dreams; Perrin replies warily that he doesn’t remember many of his dreams. Rand mutters that maybe dreams tell the truth, and falls silent; finally, Perrin leaves him alone." -- Ba'alzamon is in his dreams. We don't know that Selene/Lanfear isn't as well. Both use Tel'aran'rhiod, and both want Rand for themselves. Both are trying to guide him to something, and both are probably "whispering in his ear", as it were. That's not the crazy, that's Rand reacting to manipulation.
Eric Robinson
53. perrin77
This is one of my favorite books. Reason being - Please watch for spoilers in the rest of this post.
1. Perrin gets to be awesome and doesn't quite go off the deep end with his "falcon"
2. Mat's luck really kicks into high and he starts to become something more (we get glimmers before, but in this book it really starts to shine)
3. Very little of Rand (while the books are based on him he has never been one of my favorites)
4. We get to see that farm boys do get some weapons training (quarter staff fight with Mat)
5. Aiel get a better intro (when superchicks get taken by darkfriends). (Were we introduced to Rand's 3rd lady here? Can't recall)

I am in the process of my own reread trying to catch up to the Tor reread. Had to finish the books by Brandon Sanderson so I know what his writing style is like (really enjoyed his Hero of Ages books). I am on chapter 27 of TGH now, so I hope to catch up before you finish this book then I can read it a bit slower, but this is my 4th or 5th reread (started when book 7 was release and reread it each time for the release of the new book).

Leigh you are doing a great job, keep up the great work. Love your commentary and the ability to summarize a chapter so succinctly.
54. Shawn Allbee
Slow beginning to the book, but really starts to pick up nicely after Rand departs.

Perrin has always been one of my favorite characters because though he is Ta'veren, he seems to be almost a normal person, with no special ability to make him physically superior, i.e. not trained by warders or a channeler or absurdly lucky.

Good job with the recaps Leigh, I totally enjoy reading them.
Blake Engholm
55. UncrownedKing
If it were not for the Battle for the Two Rivers in TSR, I would say that this book is my favorite. Whether its do to the Perrin finding his way along being the only Ta'varen around, Mat's awesome POV's, or the girls POV (hate to say it but at this point in the series I like the girls POV and read them with out skipping anything. Now when Tanchico rolls around..........grrrr).

With all these factors plus the INCREDIBLE, I mean complete and total awesomeness that is the end of this book, this book should be considered one of the best, if not the best, in the series.
56. Lsana
@40 Greg Steele,

Is Rand really all the way in TAR here, or is he just brushing against it? The way that the Aiel dreamwalkers describe it, it sounds like you actually have to be a dreamer (or have one of the ter'angreal) in order to be all the way in TAR. If Rand is just brushing against it, it could be that he can see and be seen by those there, but any attempt to kill him would result in him just getting some nasty cuts.

@50 R.Fife,

Yeah, Elayne gets to cuddle in corners with Rand, but that is (a) after she has declared her undying love for him a few chapters earlier, and (b) off-screen. We just have to take their word for it that they are passionately in love, because every time we see them together, they act more or less indifferent to each other. I personally think that's even worse than Rand wanting to marry Min after having spoken to her casually on three occasions, but I could see how tastes might vary.

I personally would go for Mat/Tuon as the most well-developed relationship. I don't believe that they are in love, but neither do they. It's a political arrangement that they have decided that they don't find too odious, and they acknowledge the possibility that they might fall in love in the future. I believe that.

I can't really speak to Perrin/Faile. Faile annoys me so much that I try to avoid re-reading any chapters she's in, so I'm not in a position to judge how well Jordan wrote that relationship. I'll try to pay more attention this re-read.

@54 Shawn Allbee,

Being able to talk to wolves and enter TAR makes you a normal person? Neither one of those counts as a "special ability"?

Oh, and Perrin was also trained by Lan. Back in the first book, Lan teaches Perrin the basics of using the axe at the same time he starts to teach Rand the sword.
Eric Robinson
57. perrin77
If you can't tell from my username I have always been a fan of Perrin's character, at least up until he left Two Rivers the second time and becomes overly Faile obsessed. But I am off the topic I wanted to discuss.

Moiraine and her network of eyes and ears - how did they find her. My guess, when she left the 2 Aes Sedia in the cabin she asked them to send off some pigeons (check TGH, it happened). She knew where she was headed and I have to assume they are in the forest/mountains near that location. My additional assumption is that she has informed some of the near-by eye and ears of her locations and had that eye and ear put out their special signal (ala book 5 I believe) to give the others the message.

Perrin and wolves - While I have had issue with Perrin's reluctance to embrace the coolness that is wolf-brotherhood I can somewhat understand it (in a purely theoretical context unfortunately). He was raised in a village of farmers taught to dislike wolves, he is then thrown into a situation where all the stories he has ever heard start appearing to be true and the big baddie is after one or all of them. He then discovers he can talk to wolves after losing his friends (fearing them dead) and traipsing through the forest. He is fearful of being the outcast because it seems to mean he is who the big baddie is after. Then the one time he lets go in TEOTW he fears losing himself. Now TGH he seems a bit more at peace with using the wolves as needed, but I have to wonder if in his alternate lives he didn't see himself losing the battle of control and going the way of the wolf full bore (see future chapters in TDR for description)
58. Erenas
Liking the recaps would love to discuss the books with anyone/you further. Don't know if that would be possible but would be fun.
Richard Fife
59. R.Fife
Granted, but Rand does first hear LTT's voice at the begining of TSR (at least in my opinion, when he is making the super ball of shadowspawn killing lightning).

But, for Rand's "Instinctive" channeling, I half want to say that is the begining of LTT. I know that Nynaeve using Balefire later in the book kinda throws a kink in that, but honestly, I have always disliked how fresh newbies figure out dangerous and complex skills by "guessing right."

First time I read the book, honestly Faile annoyed the snot outta me. Oddly, this time through, she has not been nearly as vexing. I think it is more because I understand where she is coming from with the whole "Saldean wives march to war with their husbands" and her kinda gungho attitude, and the way she is acting towards Perrin, while juvenile in places, at least seems to make progressive sense in regards to her feelings towards Perrin and his towards hers.

To Elyane, true, she did love him at first sight, but I'll take off-screen lovey-doveying to poorly executed onscreen.

On Mat/Tuon: I agree that the interaction is written out fairly well when you look at it that way. Yeah, they don't love eachother, and no one ever said they would. Just that they would get married.

Also on Mat, I love how from this book forward he goes from being an awkward 20 yr old virgin to being a complete "playa" and how there is actually seemingly no incongruence (nothing akin to Rand's internal "Light I'm a lecher!" dialogues.) Good times.
60. Kiley Sedai
@Randalator: Yeah, I too would think "Why doesn't he just tell Min and the others that LTT is in his head. Then they would understand his behaviour and no longer worry about him"

But yeah...hearing voices isn't a good sign, as Hermione Granger says to Harry Potter. And since everyone is predisposed to think he is going to go mad, they'll just think the poor guy has lost it. And who's to say he doesn't later on. I'm on ACoS now (rereading for JordanCon) and I always feel like Rand is just a misunderstood, way overwhelmed, over-pressured guy with a madman talking to him in his head.

@Randalator: "He has serious trust issues, insane (literally) mood swings and a pathological feeling of guilt concerning the death of women. I consider it one of RJ's greatest accomplishments that he delivers us a protagonist who is at least partially insane and still manages to make us think of him a sane." - Heck yes! This is so TRUE!
Blake Engholm
61. UncrownedKing
Since we are on the topic of realtionships in WOT I thought I'd throw my $0.02 in there.

Ran/Min/Elayne/Aviendha - NICE!!

Lan and Nyn - The most shakespearian love we have been shown. I want to be with you but I cant because I will only end up dieing in the end and I won't make you a widow, kinda thing. They've also had the most romantic line so far in my re-read. "I will hate the man you choose because it is not me. But I will love him because he makes you smile." (Let all the women's hearts melt)

Perrin and Faile - I'm going to say it.......I do not hate Faile. I know i know throw your rocks, rotten vegetables, and tomatoes. I do not care. Shes a firey spirit which is completely opposite Perrin's intorverted, doesn't want to step on anyone's toes personality. That what makes the relationship work. SO THERE.

Mat and Tuon - Do not remember too much about them, or a lot of the books (hence the re-read). But I just started TFoH, who remembers Mat hookin up with the Maiden of the Spear?? Talk about living dangerously. He puts Bond to shame. Ha

Moraine and Thom - I veiw them as the middle aged people who had kids but got divorced after the kids moved out, then found their true loves. None of that actually happened with these two (supposedly) but thats how I see them.

ummmmm drawin a blank on any others ......

did I mention Rand's little "love square" ???

Eric Robinson
62. perrin77
Rand and the women - He ends up with a princess, a wise one, and a woman who can see the pattern. I guess he doesn't mind powerful women and more power to him for it. Reminds me of that show on HBO, Big Love.
Rich Bennett
63. Neuralnet
Woohoo the third book recap. I had forgotten how crazy on edge Rand had seemed and how Perrin had almost lost it. I remember being completely annoyed at the time that this book had so little Rand in it (since I hadn't figured out yet there RJ was really serious about having more than one main character)

The funniest thing about this book for me is that in 1991 or 92 I bought all three of the WoT books and just figured the story would end by the third book (assuming that like almost every other prior series it was a trilogy). then when I found out it wasn't the last book a few of my friends saying "oh yea, robert jordan said it will be a 5 or 6 book series in some interview" I think 5 or 6 years later the same friend said that he "heard" it was going to be a nine book series. I dont know whether to laugh or cry. I bet at Jordancon they will anounce AMOL will be two books.
Blake Engholm
64. UncrownedKing
Ill be ok if its two books. If and only if they are released at the same time, or within a months time of each other.

Something like that would be absolutley fine. Don't pull a R.R. Martin and tell us they'll both come out with in a certain time frame then have us waitin for years.
Richard Fife
65. R.Fife
Yeah, I think Sanderson is predicting the AMoL Rough Draft to be 700k words. That translates to somewhere around 2500 pages.

Didn't Jordan say in an interview it would end on book 12 "If they had to invent a new way to bind books". Well, we shall see....
Blake Engholm
66. UncrownedKing
I know that I would pay (mostly b/c of my addiction) the price for two hard bound copies.

It could only make everyone involved with the book more $$
67. Don, Iowa
@R Fife (#4) "I'd be sitting alone on a rock laughing my ass in a creepy kefka-like cackle too."

very good call here, it actually gave me a good yet creepy visual
Heather Johnson
68. HeatherJ
@61 Uncrowned King – I have to agree with basically everything you said.

Rand/the girls = I know lots of the fangirls get mad about the whole “love square” thing but I actually like it. (Not sure what that says about me …)

Lan/Nyn = completely romantic

Perrin/Faile = on my first read, they were my favorite couple – they remind me very much of my parents (not sure what that says about my parents …)

Matt/Tuon = he’s living dangerously for sure! I love the scene where he’s hooking up with the maiden (Melindra, right?). I totally did not get the Matt/Tuon thing until my most recent reread, but now I’m on board with them too. I love that she can put him in his place from time to time. They will be very interesting to follow in the final book.

So, um, yeah, pretty much what you said.
69. Egglie
prologue; I actually like the random prologues. I like the way they give you a sense of the wider world of WoT since most of the books are told from the very limited view points of our favorite characters. (but then I actually quite like Faile and Egwene too so clearly I am weird)

C1; I find this chapter, on the other hand, really dull and would skip it if that didn't make me feel bad.

C2; Rands "madness" has already been discussed and explained better than I could - basically its his party and he can cry if he wants to. You would act a little crazy too if all that shit happen to you. Also, whoever it was who mentioned the timeline - good point.

C3; I don't have a lot to say about this chapter either although I do think its a set up of several future storylines and its done well.

C4; I think this is totally the best of the dream scenes and I love it. The bit where the tables and chairs keep changing never fails to freak me out. I kept waiting for this one through the whole of tEotW and was surprised that it appeared so late in the series. I think Lanfear is trying her luck with all the boys because well, why not? its worth a try. I also think that when she can't get perrin or mat to take the bait she gets bored. We know that perrin can go to TAR because of the wolves so I think that only the end in the heart of the stone is Rands dream.

C5; Here is some of the pay off for chapter 3 with Leya getting killed so we have questioned Mins visions and found that they are accurate plus we get some building of perrins relationship with the tinkers to tuck away for later. I like the explanation here of why perrin is so freaked out by the wolves in his head, nearly loosing yourself would be pretty scary - although he does seem to have been scared of this right from the start which is a bit odd.

C6; And here is where it gets interesting, we are no longer following one guy on his journey of personal discovery, he has buggered off all on his own without us. The books are suddenly about a whole load of different people with different motivations and experiences which is what I love most about WOT.
70. Rebecca Starr
Uncrownedking, you got it exactly: "They've also had the most romantic line so far in my re-read. "I will hate the man you choose because it is not me. But I will love him because he makes you smile." (Let all the women's hearts melt)"

Yes it *is* the most romantic line in the book, plus they get the most romantic chapter, IMHO, with Mashiara in ACoS. speaking of relationships developing, I also think Lan/Nyn has the coolest backstory - their love was born of a true, deep admiration for the other person/other person's skills and strength. to me, that's romantic.

but then, I'm biased and I braid my hair every night
Richard Fife
71. R.Fife
I'll call off my dogs on Lan/Nyn. I typically find the "development" of their romance, well, lacking, even if the post tEotW is well done, but I can admire the "hat's off" to Autherian Romance (where I believe the unsatisfied love of knight and lady originated). Faile is still my prefered lady, though. I just like the spitfires, and Aviendha honestly scares me, so all I'm left with is Faile. Eh bien.
Michael Ikeda
72. mikeda
R. Fife@65, Uncrowned King@66

2500 pages sounds like at least three books.

In fact, it could possibly be stretched to EIGHT, if they really wanted to...
73. nuggette
@ Rebecca How many times do you tug it though?
74. Randalator
@ A Memory of Light

Sanderson said in his blog today that AMoL is heading towards a hefty 750k + X at the moment. That would be about twice the size of LoC (~390k) which as paperback was about as far as you could go readability-wise, in my opinion.

So with the current estimate we're looking at two books right now. Especially since Sanderson said that there was a climax halfway through he could end the first book with so as not to leave the plot hanging in mid-air.

If he gets well past the 800k mark, however, things might get difficult, because TOR might have to split it in three which will create all sorts of trouble with the structure.
Richard Fife
75. R.Fife
It can be like that April Fools day news post about GRRM that he concluded the series in an 87 page novella Mini Climax around 790 words, then sometime in the indefinate future, the last two chapters are released. Ah, the sweet agony.
Robert Garza
76. FunBob
@57 Perrin77:

I agree. Moiraine had plenty of offstage time in TGH to go to Tar Valon, send out pigeons to all her eyes and ears, have a cup of tea, and make it to Falme while Rand and Co. were still living through their alternate lives. Disappearing for 4 months gives someone a little time to get some things done, especially someone as driven as Moiraine....
Richard Boye
77. sarcastro
I have to tell you, that EARLY Faile makes a great impression - she's smart, she's adventurous, she's not vain or frivolous (she dresses in plain, smartly tailored dresses, thankuoverymuch).

She is drawn to Perrin, and although she attaches herself to him in an obnoxious way, they, as UCK said, her "I am pushy and smart-ass-y and demand what I think I am due" attitude actually meshes well with Perrin's "Leave me alone, I am simple blackmith" ethos.

Faile is awesomely magnificent in the 2R, next book. She has flashes of greatness everywhere. What consistent amuses me is that people never really grasp the fact that she is as much a princess as Elayne ever is.

People resent her for her behavior over Berelain's persistent efforts to steal her man, but she eventually re-acquires her innate leadership abilities while being held captive by the Aiel.

I still think that Faile is one of the more admirable female characters in WOT - she can't channel, but still can slay a trolloc with a well thrown dagger (she aims for the eye!)
Richard Fife
78. R.Fife
Wait, what? I agree with Sarcasto on something? Abort abort!

Oh, and to add something new (Light forbid), I don't think there is anything special or fantastical about Mo's visitors. Yeah, eyes and ears, and each one leaves with a message to send to the next one with the date said gal is supposed to show up. Good ol' Mo, though, trying to hold onto her Aes Sedai mystique (as in above poster's translation of "The wheel will force you to the right path"). If I were her, I'd let everyone think it was something spooky too.

Although, there is something that kinda surprises me with Mo. Yes, I know she took in Daes Dae'mar with her mother's milk, and I know she is Aes Sedai, but does she ever strike anyone else as being even more super cool covert than other Aes Sedai? What surprises me about this is how she has spent nearly her entire full-sister life outside of the Tower and away from rulers, people of power, other Aes Sedai and amongst books, random villages, etc, looking for that stupid brat who was born on that mole-hill.

She sheds alot of mystique in TFoH when Rand forces her to obey, but it just feels like sometimes, she is a little too perfect.... iunno, I'm tired and hungry and have no real clue where I'm going with this. I read over what I just said and don't agree with half of it anymore. Oh well, posting anyway to stir up discussion.
Ofer Nave
79. odigity
"I read over what I just said and don't agree with half of it anymore. Oh well, posting anyway to stir up discussion."

And I will spoil your little scheme by not replying to your post.


80. Greg Steele
R.Fife @78 Moiraine is the initial source of what becomes a central theme. She seems to manage to teach all of the Two Rivers folk Daes Dae'maer simply by with holding vital info in TEotW. Withheld info drives the forces of the light to do some crazy things, like fighting each other for political not theological reasons.

If they'd just talk to each other rather than hiding stuff everyone (aka all the good guys) would be on the same page. Really the Forsaken seem to talk more and know each others plots and secrets better than the heroes. The amount of things we know but the key players don't know about each other is huge.

I find myself thinking in later books that the whole broken tower, etc would be fixed if they just talked. But then politics is a game of of popularism and not who's right & wrong. You never concede "OK they have a good point, I agree whole heartedly but I still want to be in charge".

Can't wait for the next blog post Leigh. Keep up the great work.
81. RobMRobM
Hi Leigh and guys - nice to be back after vacation and life business.

Pro - s^cks to be Carridin; and Leigh, you made me laugh with the "two vile tastes" line - as you may recall, I'm with you 150% on that.

1. I made a comment in EOTW about how fact that Perrin --the blacksmith-- was good at bow/arrow demonstates the ridiculously high quality of archery in the TR region. Then I saw Perrin's comment that he was considered second best of the younger generation behind Rand. Guess that one weakened my point a little bit...

2. S^ucks to be Rand.... Also, the "death lighter than a feather" bit is pretty darned reminiscent of Ingtar's decision in TGH.

3. Query why souless have never been south of borderlands before. Given all of the darkfriends in Tar Valon, I would have been expected to see them there before.

4. I get what Lanfear is up to. If she corrupts any one of the three, it will be earlier to corrupt Rand. Ishy makes same point. Makes sense to me.

5. Cool to be Lan. Love the Tai'shar stuff.

6. I love Moraine but she's hoist on her own petard here. She refuses to give Rand advice on theory that pattern will dictate his actions and then is dumbfounded when he actually does what he believes he has to do. Priceless.

Until next time. Rob
82. Toss the dice
Okay its time for me to confess I'm 100% addicted to this reread and comments to the disgust of my family (hogging the computer) not to mention time spent.

Just can't stop...
Ofer Nave
83. odigity
Get some coffee. The next hit is due in 9-17 hours.
84. garstzilla
Perrin77 Hey that makes a lot of sense cause that answers my question of how a bunch of trollocks and halfmen find this small group of people camping on the side of a mountain. Cause we know that one of the sisters that Mo visisited is on the Dark side. If Mo sent out a lot messages to her network while she was visiting them the people she sent to could be tagged or watched afterwords to track back to Mo later.

Rand is not touched yet but is suffering a lot of guilt and anxiety about the people dying in the lands below. I think he is starting a little to let the situation put him on the edge. But I subscribe to the old saying that if you are worried about going nuts your not cause if you were you wouldn't worry about it.

Perrin has and always will be cool I know the later stories get long but I blame that on the continual broadening of character depth and POV that just overflow Perrin's and Faile's story as everybody seems to end up in the middle of their strife as they try to get back together.

When this started I decided to start my reread and so was a book behind now I am two books ahead but still at the rate this reread is going your going to be done in a couple of months and what are we going to do for the rest of the time till AMOL comes out? Not that I would have you slow down but do you know something that we don't about when the book is going to be available. Tell me its going to be earlier then thought.
85. Sidetrack'd
Rand's instability - I agree with the concept that Rand's just "freaking out". What's the normal progression after traumatic experiences? There's denial, rage, bargaining, all that crap, and acceptance comes later. Right now, he's bouncing around through the whole emotional gamut, appearing fubar to everyone else - but, like was pointed out, in his POVs he's still processing fairly well. After his solo trip cross-continent ("finding himself"), he hits the acceptance stage and settles down.

Moiraine skipping over the soulless - I'd say, at this point, that she's really concerned about scaring everyone so much that they scatter and she totally loses control of the situation. It's pretty clear that everyone's on edge (or over it) at this point, and she doesn't think that bringing up assassins that you can't really see will do anyone's nerves any good at all.

almuric@14 - How did Perrin get good at fighting? I know Mat gets memories from the dagger (and the Aelfinn later) and Rand gets training from Lan and has the void, but what makes Perrin so bad-ass with an axe?

We were told that he'd been practicing with the axe for a long while in the Two Rivers, and that Master Luhahn gave him the axe after seeing him with it. Luhahn not taking the axe away and spanking Perrin shows that he must've been passable at using it. Others have also pointed out that Lan spent time training all three boys on the way out of the Two Rivers. Beyond that, I'd have to say that it's just wolf-y instinct taking over. The hunter mojo is largely in-born in predatory animals, and wolves are reputed among the more cunning at it...

Caine09@16 - Also I think its Perrin who says that he is able to ward his dreams. I wonder how?

Later on, Perrin acquires help from the wolves, who "stand guard" over his dreams. I can't remember if this was specifically Hopper, or if there were others at some point, but there are very specific passages talking about a wolf being with/near him in several dreams later in the story.

Rebecca Star@19 - I also have never found a satisfactory explanation for how these women find Moiraine, and what they are doing looking for her in the first place!

We've seen that Moiraine has contacts very nearly everywhere we have seen her travel in the story so far. I would have to agree that she prearranged for these women to bring her news, either before she joined the gang at Falme, or on their journey to the Mountains of Mist. Perrin and the Shienarans would have had to have missed her dealings setting this up to still be curious/confused about it, but we already know that Moiraine can be sneaky. Would've been pretty easy - tell the contacts to gather all the gossip they can, and come to such-and-such mountain or valley on such-and-such day and someone will find you and bring you to me. I'd have to stick with these women being Moiraine's personal contacts or some offshoot thereof (friends of friends of friends of...), rather than Blue Ajah's or Amyrlin's networks, because every example of those we've seen were all keyed to sending info to Tar Valon, never sharing it amongst themselves, and she's obviously not dealing through someone in TV - because that would be Siuan, who we find out later has NFC where Mo is...

Randalator@24 - "I won't be used as another false Dragon!"

A fine stew - big plate of denial (Me? Save the world? Ummm. No.) spiced with some Ishy-isms (naming false Dragons), and we get to experience a couple books' worth of indigestion over it. Even though Moiraine pointed out the stupidity of trusting something the "Dark One" told him, Rand still feels that he's being played. I have to chalk that little 'false Dragon' seed of Ishy's up as a fairly big, early SCORE! for the Dark team.

Tony Zbaraschuk@37 - And I think all the Forsaken are being very cautious at this point (which explains their use of dreams and so forth rather than Lanfear just striding into camp and killing everyone with the Power, which she very well could.) They know Rand has killed two of them and almost killed a third, and none of them wants to be the fourth...

Cautious, yes. Lanfear wants Rand to wuv her, and killing all his pals might dampen the chances of that a bit. And - do the remaining Forsaken know that the other two were taken out at this point? Could they? No one was hanging around watching at the Eye. Either some Shienar or Tower DFs could've listened at keyholes and passed word along, or (bigger stretch) the DO, who would know, could've clued them in. I know there's a point later in the books where the Forsaken acknowledge that Rand & Co have been thinning their ranks, but I thought that was only after Showdown at the Stone Corral...

gagecreedlives@38 - that's what I was thinking, too.

JimmyMac8o@39 - As of the last Perrin scene in KoD Masema is still alive, though given that Perrin knows Masema convinced Aram to try and kill Perrin, Masema's days may be limited.

We can surely hope... I think I'll cheer just as much for this as when they finally killed that rat Gaeta on BG a couple weeks back.

Greg Steele@40 - Good question about why Ishy doesn't jump Rand in T'A'R... We know the Forsaken have some level of fear/reverence for LTT, and I don't think they've figured out at this point that Rand doesn't know everything that LTT used to - yet, anyway. I think Lanfear is the only one who's interacted with Rand enough to know he doesn't remember, and she doesn't seem to share intel very often. So, I'd guess just caution holds them back, at least until the later chapters Randalator mentions @ 49.

Hugin@44 - My question here is, what exactly is the upside to being a darkfriend?

Most of the darkfriend POVs throughout the story make mention of being promised immortality, and then power occasionally is mentioned. They're all after the chance to live forever to feed whatever their lesser vices are. Mostly boils down to selfishness, manifested in a variety of ways...

Randalator@45 - This seems to prove the theory that the taint somehow weakens the border between the present incarnation and earlier incarnations.

Semi's talk of Graendal working with past-life-voice sufferers shows that the problem existed in the AoL. Saidin wasn't tainted until the final stroke of the War of Power, at which point Graendal et al were sealed away. If this condition occurred often enough for Graendal to have had enough case studies to suport the quoted statements, I think there's a very good chance that LTT's voice and taint-madness could be two completely separate problems that both worsen gradually over time. Or not - just a stray thought here.

HeWhoComesWithTheBreakfast@46 - in a few chapters ahead Rand beheads a woman and a few guys that are trying to kill him (DF's disguised as merchants) without stopping to think for a second, yet for the next books he always has a huge dillema hurting women. what gives?

Seems like there are mentions after that scene of seeing the beheaded woman DF in his dreams, and this is the origin of his serious no-killing-women fixation...

Anyone else think the no-kill-women thing, which gets notably worse as the story goes on, goes beyond backwoods Two Rivers chivalry and could be tied to LTT seepage? LTT killed his precious Illyena, and spectacularly fried himself and made a huge mountain over it...

iopgod@47 - excellent point on the scale of the timeline.

RobMRobM@81 - Also, the "death lighter than a feather" bit is pretty darned reminiscent of Ingtar's decision in TGH.

Isn't the "duty" thing a Shienaran saying that Rand picked up in Fal Dara? So, makes sense that it would be in line with Ingtar's thoughts/actions.

Query why souless have never been south of borderlands before. Given all of the darkfriends in Tar Valon, I would have been expected to see them there before.

I think it's mentioned that soulless are a fairly rare commodity. More than likely, they are an asset available exclusively to the Forsaken, and not to run-of-the-mill darkfriends. Since the Forsaken are just now getting out of the seal and coming into play, we're just now starting to see their tools showing up. And, most of the Forsaken tend to operate on the sly, and while soulless are very hard to notice, their work as assassins does leave evidence that, sooner or later, someone would put together.

gartszilla@84 - I thought it was pretty heavily implied that Rand's earth-shaking episode with saidin was what drew the attention of the bad guys. It's mentioned many places that ?Myrrdraal can sense usage of the Power and are drawn to it. Rand rattling the mountains would be enough to get their attention, as Moiraine exposited on the way to the Eye that even more-complicated wardings would act as a beacon for Myrrdraal.
86. SteelBlaidd
One of the strengths of Jordon's writing is that he has constructed a fully realized world that we love to spend time in and that is independent of the characters inhabiting it.

My wife only read through TSR but was one of the prime administrators and DMs on the WoT based Neverwinter Nights Persistent world "The True Source", for over two years, and four distinct characters.

When I first stared read I could only find 1 and 5 at the library and despite the vast book time discrepancy between the two I could see continuity in the characters and the world.

Regarding the couples of the series. I am a romance junkie and most parings I've run across seem just as unmotivated.

I'll have to think more in depth on how they work and comment.

Oh and of course Moranie doesn't tell the boys anything. They're emotional males and cant be expected to understand such complicated subjects. ;)

Rebecca I still want to read your thesis on gender in WoT please send to my login name at
87. gagecreedlives
iopgod@47 “Rand gains control over his chanelling, cleanses the taint, and gains at least 2 people talking in his head. Which dosent seem to me to be staying *sane*.”

I know LTT but who is the second person doing the talking? At the end KoD he has visions of Moridin, Mat, Perrin and is bonded to Alanna, Min, Elayne and Aviendha but I cant remember anyone else talking in his head. But its still awfully crowded in there isn’t it.


And I agree with you that Rands earthquake brought the fades and trollocs to the camp.

“Anyone else think the no-kill-women thing, which gets notably worse as the story goes on, goes beyond backwoods Two Rivers chivalry and could be tied to LTT seepage? LTT killed his precious Illyena, and spectacularly fried himself and made a huge mountain over it...”

Ive never thought of that possibility. I always just assumed it was the Two Rivers chivalry being reinforced after spending so much time with the borderlanders. But you may very well be onto something.

Or could it possibly be him trying to hold onto one part of his humanity while he is busy hardening himself to what he thinks the dragon reborn should be.
88. mhistbuff
Rand and insanity: I never really think of Rand as being insane until he starts obsessively listing the names of women who have died for him. I do think he may have something akin to a psychotic break in this book, but he mostly reigns everything in by the end of the book. The real issue is that Rand appears out of control - and he is. He literally cannot control his channeling, and that throws him off balance entirely. I think that at this point people are mostly weary of him because they assume his wild channeling is the product of insanity, rather than not knowing how to control it. It is in interesting mirror to later in the series when he knows how to control it, but cannot, either because of the flaw in Callandor or Lews Therin vying for control.

Moiraine: She is definitely one of my favorite characters, along with Mat and Elayne. And yet, every time I start to reread the books, I wonder why this is the case with all three of them. This book is where I really start to develop sympathy for Moiraine, mostly because of the compassion she shows later with the caged wolfbrother. I think my preference for her is really sealed by her interaction with Thom at the beginning of the next book. Somehow this overcomes my sheer annoyance with her secrecy and blindness to Rand's prophesy-driven need for independence. Frankly, Cadsuane has a better approach to Rand-management, but I'll never forgive her for taking Moiraine's place in the story.
89. RobMRobM
Sidetracked 85. Very nice post. Two follow up points.

Re my post - the "feather" quote is expressly referenced as a Shienarian saying and, yes, my point is that Ingtar came back to his heritage in Falme, as reinforced by this quote.

Re Perrin's fighting prowess - in addition to Perrin's relatively limited axe training with Lan and Perrin's channelling of his inner wolf, one of the underlying themes of the enire series is that the Two Rivers folk are the warrior descendants of the warrior Manetheran people. They never really knew it but, in Moraine's words, the old blood sings. As I noted in an earlier post a few weeks ago, even the Aiel make references to things like "We've seen how you Two Rivers men fight." It also manifests in the Trolloc invasion in the next book - they all fight bravely and well. Perrin is all that, with his blacksmith strength and inner wolf to draw on, which makes him even more fearsome.

90. Randalator

Semi's talk of Graendal working with past-life-voice sufferers shows that the problem existed in the AoL. Saidin wasn't tainted until the final stroke of the War of Power, at which point Graendal et al were sealed away. If this condition occurred often enough for Graendal to have had enough case studies to suport the quoted statements, I think there's a very good chance that LTT's voice and taint-madness could be two completely separate problems that both worsen gradually over time. Or not - just a stray thought here.

I know that they had the problem pre-taint too. That doesn't necessarily mean that the taint doesn't play a vital role here. It just means that this condition can also have natural causes and is not taint-exclusive.

Cadsuane said in ACoS ch. 18: "Have you begun to hear voices, yet? Some men who can channel begin to hear voices." She spoke almost absently, frowning at the flattened sphere of silver and gold. "It is a part of the madness. Voices conversing with them, telling them what to do."

As we see hearing voices is more prevalent among male channelers than it should be statistically. My guess would be that the taint does two things:

1. It poisons the mind and causes an individual to go mad. But this is described as a more general sort of madness. Mood swings, halluncinations (see the descriptions of Rands alternate lives in TGH, ch. 37 or Torval reporting of a Black Tower recruit who thought he had spiders crawling under his skin on his second day in TPoD, ch. 14) and the sort. Like a drug induced psychosis.

2. It has a second, more long-term effect of weakening or corroding away the barriers between the current incarnation and previous incarnations of the soul. This only manifests itself with strong and regular channelers. In an unconscious channeler the corroding effect would not be strong enough to cause hearing any voices during his lifetime unless maybe the barrier had already been very weak in the first place.


I think iopgod refers to the third man. But he does no talking as of yet. Not to Rand at least but quite possibly to LTT.

Also I think that Rands killing-women-complex is just his guilt for causing so much death and destruction latching on to the pre-existing chivalry. As far as mad reasoning goes: The more deaths he causes the more important saving women becomes. Kinda like his own unconscious try at salvation.

@ Perrin's fighting skills

Concerning technical skill I always think of Perrin as an average or slightly above average fighter in the early books and as a good or experienced but not outstanding fighter in the later books. What makes him so dangerous are his superior physique and his mindset in battle. When he goes into berserk- or wolf-mode during a fight he becomes a sheer force of nature.

In a practice duel he would stand no chance against Rand or Mat even if they didn't rely on the void/luck. But in a fight to death he would be entirely capable of defeating either one as often as being defeated himself.

Also having Manetheren-blood helps...
Blake Engholm
91. UncrownedKing
@ 68 Heather

I also compare them to my parents, subconsciously. They fight and bicker over small unimportant things but eventually see through all the smoke and mirrors. Funny thing is, my father actually is an avid WOT maniac and a reader of this re-read. haha That will be an interesting conversation later.

@74 Randalator

You just have to be a "Debby Downer" dont you?? Like I said I will read the multiple books. I will love every bit of it (Minus the Whitecloaks, unless the whole lot of them gets killed by Aiel/Trolloc/Myrddral/ravens/wolves/SG collapsing on top of them!/ogier/Tinkers!!! for all their fanatical transgressions and bullying people for lack of a better word).

As long as its done right. That is the main thing and that is what I believe Sanderson is trying to do and we should all thank and give him a good ole' pat on da back for the job he's doing.

Plus you know everyone here and every WOTmaniac across the globe will buy all the books neccessary to complete the WOT. Whether its 2,3,or 5 more books. It would be sweet if they all came out at the same time. This would be the optimal situation. But ive already talked about this.

NEW POST TODAY!!! Who's pumped?
Ofer Nave
92. odigity

Perrin's fighting: Agreed re wolf instincts. If you notice, he kills the Fade by a) hamstringing it and b) beheading it. Hamstring and neck, as drilled into me by a horrible 40pg 7th grade paper on Jack London, is the way of the wolf.

"Moiraine skipping over the soulless - I'd say, at this point, that she's really concerned about scaring everyone so much that they scatter and she totally loses control of the situation."

I think this is her big mistake here - deciding that her need to control the situation is more important than maintaining honesty and communication with her partners in the war. Of course, there are literally hundreds of examples in the series of this, of people who think they have the right and duty to control everything because they know better rather than respecting individual sovereignty. If she taken the other route of treating them as equals, perhaps she would have developed stronger, trusting relationships that would have had better outcomes. I sympathize with the control urge, but it's a weakness, and she fails to overcome it here. Not that any other Aes Sedai would have done better. They probably would have messed things up worse.

"Rand still feels that he's being played"

Well, it's not like Ishy was just straight-up fibbing. There was more than a grain of truth in it, given the Red/Black's secret history of creating/propping/manipulating false dragons, and even when they're trying to be good, Aes Sedai being good is almost indistinguishable from Aes Sedai being evil and manipulating. All of this has since been reconfirmed by Rand in person in almost all of his actual dealings with Aes Sedai. They *are* all to trying to play him, even if they're trying to play him for good (Mo/Suane). I'm also grateful Ishy ran his psy-ops on Rand in book 1. It would have sucked to spend even more books with him being controlled, manipulated, and bullied because it takes him longer to figure out "hey, wait a minute - you guys suck! leave me alone".

BTW-RJ knows his history. The Aes Sedai/false dragon scandals are almost the rule rather than the exception in real human history. The U.S. has purposely created or supported almost all of it's supposed enemies for over a century, and faked nearly every major attack that led us to "war". The whole M.O. is succinctly captured here:

Quick off-topic response to your Gaeta/BSG reference: Gaeta was actually one of my favorite characters until the Baltar trial scene at the end of season 3. And though in that scene I lost my respect for Gaeta, it was also one of the best scenes in the show, when Gaeta lies in court, and Baltar turns to him shaking his head and says "Oh, Felix... oh, Felix, what are you doing..."
93. Randalator

What exactly was so downing to you? All I stated was the newest facts concerning the estimated length, earlier thoughts of Sanderson concerning a possible split and my view on what could be put into a single paperback without hampering readability. No judgement here.

Personally I prefer a two volume release instead of a by-all-means-necessary-screw-redability-one-volume-approach. As long as the wait between the books isn't too long...
Blake Engholm
94. UncrownedKing
Just a joke Randalator. And i agree with the multiple volumes
95. Rebecca Starr
nugette@73 - only on rare special occasions ;)
Thomas Garst
96. Garstzilla
Sidetrack'd Yeah but tey are pretty remote why would a party be close enough to feel Rand shaking the ground a little in the mountain range he was in. So I still think they were put on the trail by that black ajah sister who was helping Mo study history. I mean Mo was almost taken by the Drakur (vampire thug) when there was no reason for one to be around.
Ofer Nave
97. odigity
Rand talks in KoD about how Ishamael and Lanfear knew the trick of how to study the pattern in order to locate a strong ta'veren as an explanation for the 100k trolloc attack on the manor house hang-out in Tear. Perhaps that is the explanation.
98. Rikka
R. Fife, where in NC? I need a ride to JordanCon :P
99. Wetlander
Garstzilla, I think it's been pretty well proven that neither Adeleas nor Vandene were Black, if that's what you're thinking of. At least, they both get killed by the Black and no one ever accuses them of being Black themselves.
100. katg
I totally agree about Moiraine. I think she gets a lot of flack for the whole manipulation thing and the way she handles the boys, etc, but think... she left her native home at 16 and ever since has been trained in the tower with women who don't have many dealings with men and then out searching for the DR with her warder as the best example of "men-folk" and while Lan is a badass (mmm, I'm in luuurv), he is bound to obey her- not a normal relationship.
She's a good person with some pretty pressing motivations, and like everyone else, makes some human errors...
Also, yeah LOVED the wolf attack, and Moiraine's healing them, and Perrin's insisting that the dead wolves be treated like the dead soldiers...

ps. Leigh, thanks SO MUCH for this! I'm on my 4th read (well, ok, I'm more scanning on this go round, but whatever) and this is an awesome idea!
101. garstzilla
Hmm Ill get there eventuallly on my reread but I thought Vandene killed her sister in a later book and had everyone beleveing she was after the ones responsible. That was after they (the super girls) recovered the bowl of winds and had the A'M Windfinders off the ships traveling back to Camelyn, but maybe I am remembering wrong Wetlander we will see.
102. gagecreedlives

Yeah I thought that might of been the case but my memory is certainly far from perfect so I thought I would ask anyway.
John Massey
103. subwoofer
Jordancon?! Curse you all! Will be in Jamaica on honeymoon....perhaps it could be rescheduled?
John Massey
104. subwoofer
Prologue- Fain honks me off!
Ch 1- Masema on verge of becoming hooked on crack- zealot- whatever- fool on verge of honking me off
Ch2- Time to up Rand's dosage.
Ch3- Perrin needs to bite somebody.
Ch4- What?
Ch 5- Lan Whops ass...Rand goes loopy....fat lot of good having Aes Sedai about does.
Joanna Schmidt
105. Joanna
I know I'm coming late to this conversation (again) but I want to add something to "Rand's gone bat-sh!t loco" argument: Everytime I read this book what gets me is that Rand is being tugged from two directions, one being both Mo and the Forsaken trying to force him to their version of things and he not wanting to believe he's the Dragon at all, and the other being the Pattern itself.

Mo's said many times that the ta'veren shift the pattern around them, but the pattern holds them to a tighter course. No one ever says what happens when a ta'veren fights the pattern to the extent Rand is at this point, and I think that's the source of his madness here.

I don't think it's some psychosis, which seems to be the consensus, but rather that the thread that is his soul is being pulled in one direction by the Pattern and his body stayed where it was. That's enough to make anyone go a little mad, right?
106. Erdrick
Randalator @ 90,

Your "third man" link to the WoT FAQ is citing a dated source. They haven't updated to KoD, where it becomes clear the third man is Moridin.

Abruptly another image was floating his head, a man's face, and his breath caught. For the first time, it came without any dizziness. For the first time, he could see it clearly in the moments before it vanished. A blue-eyed man with a square chin, perhaps a few years older than himself. Or rather, he saw it clearly for the first time in a long while. It was the face of the stranger who had saved his life in Shadar Logoth when he fought Sammael. Worse…

He was aware of me, Lews Therin said. He sounded sane for a change. Sometimes he did, but the madness always returned eventually. How can a face appearing in my mind be aware of me?

If you don't know, how do yon expect me to? Rand thought. But I was aware of him, as well. It had been a strange sensation, as if he were… touching… the other man somehow. Only not physically. A residue hung on. It seemed he only had to move a hair's breadth, in any direction. to touch him again. I think he saw my face, too.

Talking to a voice in his head no longer seemed peculiar. In truth, it had not for quite a long time. And now… ? Now, he could see Mat and Perrin by thinking of them or hearing their names, and he had this other face coming to him unbidden. More than a face, apparently. What was holding conversations inside his own skull alongside that? But the man had been aware, and Rand of him.

When our streams of balefire touched in Shadar Logoth, it must have created some sort of link between us. I can't think of any other explanation. That was the only time we ever met. He was using their so-called True Power. It had to be that. I felt nothing, saw nothing except his stream of balefire. Having bits of knowledge seem his when he knew they came from Lews Therin no longer seemed odd, either. He could remember the Ansaline Gardens, destroyed in the War of the Shadow, as well as he did his father's farm. Knowledge drifted the other way, too. Lews Therin sometimes spoke of Emond's Field as if he had grown up there. Does that make any sense to you?

(KoD ch18)

Yet with saidin came the inevitable violent nausea, the almost overwhelming desire to double over and empty himself of every meal he had ever eaten. His knees trembled with it. He fought that as hard as he fought the Power, and saidin had to be fought ever and always. A man forced saidin to his will, or it destroyed him. The face of the man from Shadar Logoth floated in his head for a moment. He looked furious. And near to sicking up. Without any doubt he was aware of Rand in that moment, and Rand of him. Move a hair in any direction, and they would touch. No more than a hair.

(KoD ch21)
Richard Fife
107. R.Fife
Hrm, reading those passages again (oh dear lord we are starting the KoD rants already), it makes me think the continuing sickness Rand feels from touching Saidin is not the residue of the taint in him or shadar logath, but something to do with Moridin. Perhaps there is something about Moridin that does not allow him to touch Saidin (used the True Source too long?) and now whenever Rand tries to use it, Moridin sicks up, and then Rand gets it too. *shrug*
108. Erdrick
About Perrin's fighting ability, RobM @ 89 made what I find to be the most convincing argument. This is fantasy, and genetics has some added features in RJ's world. IMO, using "real world" arguments to explain Perrin's (and Rand's and Mat's) acquisition of master level combat skills in under a year just doesn't work.

Rikka @ 26, yea Fitz!

Also, the extreme difference made between killing a man and killing a woman is a major handicap of our male TR heroes. Chivalry is one thing, but this is just plain ridiculous.
109. Erdrick
R.Fife @ 107,

Yes, I doubt the sicking up has anything to do with the taint. Especially since it started right after the balefire incident, continues to happen after the taint is cleansed, and involves seeing Moridin. I'm guessing that Moridin embracing Saidin would do the same thing to both of them. Fortunately he uses the True Power almost exclusively.

I know we're getting ahead of ourselves. We can always continue this discussion when we get there in the reread. Interesting theory, though, about the sickness being from Moridin. As if he is somehow limited in his ability to use the One Power due to his role as Nae'blis and use of the True Power.
110. wsean
Anyone else see Ordeith "Wormwood" as a Grima Wormtongue reference? He definitely has a similar role for good chunks of the story.
111. MarcusCRB
I don't think he's neccessarily randomly become super ax fighter dude. I think the reason he's so effective with it, especially in this scene, is he goes completely nuts, at least in part due to the influence of the wolves. He's on an all out offensive, not really caring about his own health.

Have to agree with Jambo - as we know from Druss the Legend, the way to fight with an Axe is all out offensive!

Love this scene, one of my favourite openings because we normally have to wait a while, often until Jordan's final 100 page crescendo to get an awesome action scene.

I was really hoping to see a 'Perrin - Made of Awesome' in the commentary here Leigh ;)

Perrin's dream in Ch.4 is actually Rand's dream that all people share near a strong channeler/taveren unless he or the people around him are shielded against it. So actually, Ishy and Lanfear are still bugging Rand, not Perrin there.

Moiraine confirms this later in Chapter 6 - it is interesting that we get Rand's dream from a different PoV, but Perrin's dream makes so much more sense when you realise it should be happening to Rand.

As a nit-pick, it should be exit Rand. exeunt is the third person plural of the latin verb to leave and so is only used when 2 or more people leave the stage!

Fantastic job Leigh - I have re-read the entire series in the run up to books 9 onwards being published - think I will stick with your re-read this time round.

Firstly, because its made of awesome!!! Secondly because my copies of the series (both Hardback and paperback are in storage because I am living abroad)
Nick Solick
112. Kaelif
I know I'm months behind everyone else, but on the offhand chance that anyone else is as behind as me, I'll throw in some comments.

First off: the instant-awesome fighting abilities displayed by the three farmboys.

Rand, though he appears to have gained his sword-skills overnight, is actally not that far off track. While even Lan says it will take years for him to become a blademaster, he's already good enough to hold his own, for a little while. Add that to his years of training in the void, which you have to assume not everyone knows about (since Lan is the only non-channeler who ever mentions it), and you can find his skill believable. Also, later on in the story he starts getting memories from Lews Therin. Who just so happened to be a blademaster. Convenient? Yes. But not unrealistic, for fantasy.

Perrin is the easily the most believable of the three. While the axe is by no means an easy weapon to pick up, and is fairly complex in it's use, the main thing against it is how unwieldy it is. Too tip-heavy, usually with only one lethal edge, it is more designed for pummeling through armour and shields than finesse. Perrin's strength overcomes most of that drawback. As for his Fade-killing prowess, two things. First, when you are fighting against someone you have never seen before, you don't know what they are going to do. You have to base it off previous knowledge of their weapon style, stance, place in life, what have you. Perrin looks like a blacksmith, in small-town clothes (I wonder whatever happened to the new clothes Moiraine had made for him and Mat?) and uses a blunt, graceless weapon. Then he goes all animalistic on you, fighting like a bull but using a wolf's tactics. No one would expect that, nor could they react to it in time to take advantage of it, because of point two: aggression. He who controls the fight wins the fight, and the easiest way to control the fight is aggression. Keep them on the defensive and eventually they will slip up. You only have to hit once, they have to block everything. The downside to this is that you wear out easily, but that's less on an issue than being dead.

Mat is the only unbelievable one of the lot. Later on, he can get his coolness from his past memories (That's certainly where he gets his knowledge of other things, after all). But when he first wakes up in this book, he takes down two half-trained swordsmen in seconds. Granted, that can be explained by luck, aggression, and over-confidance on the royal's part, but later on he downs a half-dozen assassins in narrow corridors, takes out a roomful of knife-wielding Illuminators, then fights his way through the Stone of Tear, downing guards and nobles alike, without getting a scratch. That's stretching things a little bit. After all, despite some limited exposition to the contrary later on, a boy with a stick is a boy with a stick. There's a reason that there is only one person in the whole series who doesn't use something metalic and sharp as his weapon.

Second (and probably last, considering how long the last comment ended up being) Moiraine's messengers.

I really don't see why people are confused by this. She spent months on Almoth Plains and in the surrounding areas. She could easily have tagged some old contacts and made new ones. On their way off the Plain, she could have found one, said, "here, find these people and give them these instructions," which could have been detailed enough to include the day they were to report, if need be. Then when those messengers left, they had notes to give to others, if they could find them, on their way back. Not so hard to imagine, though to read it like this does dampen some of her mystique.
113. aiellenon
really long post here (have a lot to say, first time posting to this blog, HA! I don’t even post to my own blog…), and probably will continue to be so, forever more... Before I get in on this book, I want to know just how old/what some of you people do that you can start the series in Oct and read all the books by the 26th? I mean seriously, it takes me about 16-18 months to get all of these at this point, I only have 2-4 hours per day available to do everything I need to outside of living and working, I remember there was 1 book I read ( I think it was during my 4th or 5th re-read that I finished in 3 days (had Monday off work for a holiday and I only slept 6 or 7 hours from Friday till Tuesday, reading the whole time… most of these posts take me 2-3 days to get through… Ok, one more thing, then I’ll get on with it. Some of the abbreviations people use are downright annoying, someone needs to post a link to a page that tells people what all the abbrevs. In this blog mean. first off, I just want to say that there is no 18-20 year old I know that if they found out they could channel, or talk to wolves, that would not play with it a bit, and see what they could do.
I mean seriously, I'd be practicing moving rocks around, lighting the camp fire every night, hunting from the camp (without leaving it) then bringing the kill back, skinning it, gutting it, and cooking it with the power... create water from air when thirsty, make money from the ore in the mountains to provide for my followers, seriously the possibilities are endless... not to mention make a new unbelievably powerful sword. I’d be pulling jokes to (would remind him of good times with Matt back in the day…) collapsing peoples tents, or trying to learn how to heal on small animals. I’d try to see how small an amount I could use at one time to do anything (trying to avoid the taint and all), ooohhh good example, from the Dresdon Files (If you don’t know it and you are here, then you better go find out) the oracle, who creates hundred of tiny weaves of air and moves them about like a blender to protect herself from gun fire, could have multiple uses in randland (trollocs mostly). There are just so many different things I would want to see if I could do, I don’t understand why rand is specifically avoiding using the power so much, when he has “given in” I mean mister “I will do what I have to, but I won’t like it” how can he do anything when he refuses to use his power?
Then you have Perrin, I’d be chatting with the wolves all the time, it would be nice to know what’s going on everywhere in the world. Seriously, “I hope Matt’s alright” WELL!!! Freakin’ ask the wolves to keep an eye on him!! It’s not that hard. I understood the reluctance at first, but seriously we are in the 3rd book of what was supposed to originally only last 5 or 6 books…
13. Lsana
The women who kept coming to Moiraine I assumed worked like the coins, she gave them something to find her with… later on in the books when the networks are described they talk about signs (like the specific herb hanging outside the Yellow’s shops… I do not think that Moiraine was able to leave trail signs (or even Lan, as he might have figured out what signs she uses) the whole way up the mountain… also TAR was not accessible to the white tower at this point. One last point on this… The AS often state that their networks have extremely limited knowledge of other parts of the network, so I seriously doubt Mo gave anyone a “list” of her contacts and asked them to go find them. (anyone else wonder if there is anyone left in randland that is not part of the eyes-and-ears network of someone?)

16. Caine09
Perrin doesn’t learn to shield his dreams until later when he starts talking to hopper in them.

As for Rand being sane/acting insane… they say that only when someone refuses to admit that they are/could be insane can you rationally decided that they truly are insane, at this point Rand is still adamant that he is not insane, hence the Rand POV shows him calm-ish and collected, while everyone else sees the seriously insane stuff he is doing.

37. Tony Zbaraschuk
As far as Jordan losing control of the plot, I think book 4 is where he realized that the series was going to go way past a quintet in quantity, so he allowed for the characters to stay removed from each other, as having 10 books where all the characters go their own way, then huddle up and regroup for some battle all in the same place would become extremely hokey.

39. JimmyMac80
Good call on the “Finder Weave” that pretty much does it there, as long as her contacts don’t lose whatever she enchanted… And I think there is definitely “A Song” but the series may end without it, or it will be used during the final battle, or just after it anyways… which makes me think of earlier comments, not related to your post, about rand dying and then being called back by The Horn.

48. birgit
Maybe LTT takes over in the Last Battle and gets killed (he wants to die in TG anyway), but Alivia revives Rand without LTT.

Nice idea there, I like it…

49. Randalator - and - 46. HeWhoComesWithTheBreakfast
Rand has not yet developed his killing-complex towards women. The nameles Darkfriend woman in TDR he kills because she came to kill him. But this one kill is what sets him on his path.

I do believe you are both wrong…
Rand was born anti-hurting women, just like nearly every other non-immortal male in the series. First known example was in the barn when the DF tries to kill him and Matt after Matt goes coo-coo for cocoa-puffs. Psycho-Matt goes to kill her, but Rand stops him because she is a woman, long before LTT ever shows up.

For what it’s worth at this point, I have always felt that I associate with Matt the best, I think we have a lot in common personality wise, but I can’t remember this morning, let alone 100-1000 years ago, and my luck is so bad I consider it to be negative.
114. Dragon.Jade

Just a little comment in case you still keep some kind of watch over this blog:

Exeunt is Latin for they go out, the correct word you should have used in that case was exit which is the Latin for he/she goes out (which explains a lot of things about the origins of the english verb to exit). So:

Rand exits the story for now.
Exit Rand!
Exeunt his hopes of being a mere shepherd.

Apart from that, I like your recap and hope you will add to them for "The Gathering Storm" ^_^

Dragon.Jade :-)
115. yenhe
Had to comment, great posts as always.

A. Reverse PTSD - Interesting would explain much about this world, actually.

B. On zealotry - Spot on again. If only the zealots could see this about themselves, but perhaps the reverse PTSD keeps them from it.

C. On Film - I agree that putting this series to film would present awesome challenges in order to do it right. How would you depict the void, or channeling, or the subtle character influences Rand and the other ta'veren experience from supernatural forces (like Lews Therin, Young Bull, ancient generals, etc...)

Most difficult would be how to handle the introspective nature of much of the text of these books, as you mention. You are correct in that cheesy exposition and cheesy voiceovers would not do the medium justice, but you do seem to suggest that similar 'problems' in translating intrspective text to screen has been accomplished better elsewhere...would you be willing to give an example?

I feel that if Jordan's series were faithfully transferred to screen in a "Battlestar Gallactica" kind of series that it could satisfy the existing fanbase and also broaden the appeal of these books to people who do not normally seek good fiction in the speculative genres. I had a conversation recently with someone like this, who had the mindset of a "dreamer" (i.e. someone who would appreciate the genre) but lacked to exposure to scifi/fantasy. After a long description she asked if this were ever going to be made into a movie....

Despite its awesomeness, Jordan's series presents a daunting reading task to casual book consumers. It requires a commitment, something many people who would like the series are unable to do. Making a film version, especially on the heels of LOTR's success, would expose these types of folk to the quality of this fiction.

So, how do you do it?

Enough said
Thanks again for the great work
116. VandalThor
-I would make it into a mini series like the more recent one done of Dune. You get like 6 hrs per book and what you lose in internal dialouge and such you gain back in action packed gore etc. I would make the void just like fade to fuzzy darkness with a single flame (lighter on high where the little butane balls on fire come out a little bit) then snap back to painful clarity bright.
-I feel like if I had a dream with ambient water noise it would end badly.
-So did rand just accept the fact that balzamon isn't the dark one. I think every time he thinks he kills him and then realizes nope he's still haunting your dreams just makes him that much more irritated/madness.
-reread rocks! don't care if Im way late
117. randlandian
On page 65 of TDR Perrin states to Min that IF he had a sister he would feel the same sisterly affection for Min, nothing more. Clearly stating that Perrin has no sisters. In the very next book, Shadow Rising, it's all about Perrin's whole family being murdered by Fain's Whitecloaks, INCLUDING his TWO sisters, as the lure to get the "boys" back to save E's Field. Has no one noticed this huge gaffe?
William McDaniel
118. willmcd
randlandian@117, the "Perrin's sisters" mistake was noted early on, and was listed in the rasfwr-j FAQ when I first read it back in 1994. In later printings of TDR, Perrin's remark to Min is "you remind me of my sisters..."
William McDaniel
119. willmcd
Great point by Leigh in that the central magical thingamajig/MacGuffin is identified early on in this book. The first three books all follow this pattern (Eye-Horn-Callandor) where the objective is set, and then obtained by the end of the text (Though it might be argued that while Rand is after Callandor, for the Moiraine/Perrin group, the MacGuffin is Rand himself). This was a significant difference in the "bogged-down" middle books of the series (5-10) where objectives were unclear, and particularly uninteresting objectives (see Winds, Bowl of the) were pursued for 3 books and resolved unevenly.

Good insight by Lsana @ 12 on the romance development; it does happen entirely off-camera, which I'd never noticed. Also a good point by R. Fife @ 59, in that perhaps RJ realized this wasn't his strength and decided to leave it behind the scenes. The last thing any WoT fan would have wanted was Randland's answer to Anakin and Padme hanging out in front of the fireplace.

The exception among Rand's loves would be Aviendha, with whom he shares plenty of screen time. But, at the risk of making one too many Star Wars references in a single post, there's an awful lot of Han-and-Leia there, as they drive each other crazy for chapter after chapter before the passion finally explodes. The difference being that the Rand/Avi relationship experiences none of the softening that characterized their long ago and far away counterparts thereafter.
120. STARKman
I know this post is wicked old, but I'm just reading it now so there.

I wanted to comment on the "mind of a zealot" idea that Leigh brought up. There's an old saying that goes "no one is as zealous as a convert" implying that generally newcomers to an ism (religious, philosophical or otherwise) generally feel a deep need to prove that they have just as much right to be there as anyone else. Thus, Masema, who spent a good portion of his time hating Rand before he knew he was the Dragon, now suddenly feels the need to show all others that he is the only one who truly will do anything for the Dragon.

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