Mar 6 2009 6:53pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Dragon Reborn, Part 3

Hey, guys. Welcome back to the Wheel of Time Re-read! Today is Part 3 of The Dragon Reborn, covering Chapters 14-21.

Previous entries can be found here. As ever, spoilers abound for the entire series, so if you haven’t read, don’t read.

Before we get going, I just want to reiterate how cool it is that so many of you guys are following the blog and participating in the discussion; as always, I am really enjoying it even though I rarely have the time to play down there with you in the comments.

While we’re on the subject, though, I would like to ask y’all for a favor: I’d really love it if we could try to avoid some of the more common Netiquette Fails that sometimes invade comment sections. Most of you, of course, are doing just fine already, and are obviously old hands at this, but for those of you who may not be experienced blog-commenters, here’s a really quick list of dos and don’ts:

  1. Please do not post in all caps. It is headache-making and rude, and is the online equivalent of screaming in our collective ears. We can hear you just fine in lowercase, I totally swear.

  2. Please do try to use proper grammar and spelling, and avoid the use of excessive punctuation and so forth. Obviously there is leeway on this for those of you for whom English is not your first language, and the occasional goof is inevitable no matter what your native language, but at least a token attempt to make your comments as readable as possible is deeply appreciated.

  3. Please, please please please, as a personal favor to me, knock off the “First Post!” thing. I know it’s all in fun, but it’s not conducive to conversation (which is the whole point, right?), and frankly, it’s obnoxious. Let’s not be obnoxious, okay?


Thanks for indulging me on this, guys, I mean it. All right! Now, on to the fun stuff!

Chapter 14: The Bite of the Thorns


What Happens
Siuan muses for a bit, then finally tells Egwene and Nynaeve that she has managed to keep the worst of the news about Liandrin and the others (like the fact that they killed Aes Sedai, and were Aes Sedai themselves) from public knowledge, but Siuan doesn’t know how long she can keep it that way. She is determined to catch them. Nynaeve and Egwene exchange confused looks, and Nynaeve asks if they are to be punished more, or what. Siuan says, in a manner of speaking, yes. Egwene sees that Siuan looks uncertain, which scares her. Siuan says it’s a matter of who she can trust; Leane? Sheriam? Verin? Moiraine? She always thought she could trust Moiraine, but... She trails off, and Egwene wonders if she knows about Rand, and that Verin and Moiraine were helping him. Or something; she dreamed last night that Rand was running away from Moiraine. Nynaeve finally says she doesn’t know what this is about, but in her opinion Moiraine is not to be trusted. Siuan doesn’t think much of Nynaeve’s ability to judge that, but admits, who knows; the point is, the two of them are what she has to work with. She says that Liandrin tried her best to get rid of them, so she supposes that means they aren’t Black Ajah. Egwene gasps, and Nynaeve snaps how dare she even suggest such a thing; Siuan dares her to say more, and Nynaeve manages to swallow her anger and apologize.

With a compressed smile, the Amyrlin leaned back in her chair. “So you can keep your temper, when you want to. I had to know that.” Egwene wondered how much of it had been a test; there was a tightness around the Amyrlin’s eyes that suggested her patience might well be exhausted. “I wish I could have found a way to raise you to the shawl, Daughter. Verin says you are already as strong as any woman in the Tower.”

“The shawl!” Nynaeve gasped. “Aes Sedai? Me?”

Siuan says there is no point in belaboring it, as she knows Nynaeve cannot channel unless she’s in a fury, and the tests for Aes Sedai involve being able to stay calm and channel under extreme pressure, and she will not set that requirement aside. Nynaeve is still slack-jawed, and Egwene says she doesn’t understand. Siuan tells them that of all the women in the Tower, Egwene and Nynaeve are the only two she can be absolutely sure are not Black Ajah. Liandrin and her twelve went, but was that all of them, or are there more? Not to mention, Siuan has no intention of letting them get away with what they did; they will be found and stilled. Nynaeve still doesn’t see what this has to do with them.

“Just this, child. You two are to be my hounds, hunting the Black Ajah. No one will believe it of you, not a pair of half-trained Accepted I humiliated publicly.”

Nynaeve gasps that that’s crazy. They wouldn’t stand a chance against fully-trained Aes Sedai. Siuan agrees, but points out both of them are more than a match for any of the escapees in sheer power. Egwene doesn’t understand how she will even have the time to hunt for Black Ajah. Siuan says she must find the time; it will be a little easier once she is Accepted. Nynaeve asks why not include Elayne, and Siuan says she’s got enough problems with Morgase as it is. Nynaeve and Egwene discuss it between themselves, and agree that it would be better to be on the offensive than to be just sitting around waiting for something terrible to happen, and accept the task. Siuan smiles, and Egwene thinks of puppet strings. Siuan muses that she might as well trust Verin a little further, and says that Verin will give them bios on the defected sisters, as well as a list of the ter’angreal they stole. Nynaeve still doesn’t see how they’re going to be able to do anything effective when any Aes Sedai could send them to do their laundry at a moment’s notice. Siuan hesitates, then goes to her warded box and hands them each a slip of parchment:

What the bearer does is done at my order and by my authority. Obey, and keep silent, at my command.

Siuan Sanche
Watcher of the Seals
Flame of Tar Valon
The Amyrlin Seat

Nynaeve says in wonder that she could do literally almost anything with this document, and Siuan warns her she’d better not try, or she’ll wish Liandrin still had them. They put the papers away, and Nynaeve asks about Mat. Siuan says she will send word to them, and shoos them out.

New icon! Not one of my favorites, though—the women look like they’re wearing funky helmets and have fat cheeks. I don’t know, it’s weird.

This is probably a case of hindsight being twenty-twenty, but I can’t help thinking that Siuan should simply sever the Gordian knot here and do what the Black Ajah Hunters end up doing later in secret—simply make every Aes Sedai in the Tower retake the First Oath and then say “I am not a Darkfriend.” Easy-peasy!

Well, of course it wouldn’t be that easy, and I’m sure there are all kinds of in-story justifications for why that would be a politically impossible thing for Siuan to do. But thinking about it, surely it would be possible to raise the subject in a way that anyone protesting against it looks like they’re hiding something, right? What am I missing here?

I just hope that there is a credible political reason why Siuan can’t do it that way, because the only other alternative is to suppose that the notion of using the Oath Rod simply didn’t occur to her, and that’s... pretty lame, if so.

Chapter 15: The Gray Man

What Happens
Nynaeve and Egwene head back to their chambers. Egwene tells Nynaeve she hopes she didn’t mean it about adhering to the Three Oaths as if they’d already sworn them; they have precious few advantages as it is. Nynaeve muses that Liandrin would not have tried to get them out of the Tower unless she saw them as a threat; Nynaeve can’t imagine what that threat could be, but if there are any Black Ajah left in the Tower, they will surely regard them the same way. Egwene hadn’t thought of that, and swallows. Despite that, Nynaeve says she meant what she said; there are other ways to defend themselves. She will not risk being put out of the Tower. Egwene is wild with curiosity to know what Nynaeve wants to learn so badly, but does not ask. They reach the novices’ quarters, and Nynaeve checks Elayne’s room, but Elayne is not there; she heads to Egwene’s, saying she needs to talk to both of them. Egwene pulls her to a stop to ask why, and something stings her ear and clangs into the wall, and Nynaeve pushes her to the floor. Egwene stares at the crossbow bolt lying in front her, realizing if she hadn’t stopped, it would have gone right through her head. Nynaeve has embraced saidar, and a moment later gets to her feet, saying she used Air to snare the assassin. They run up to the next gallery, and find an average-looking man suspended in midrun, dressed in nondescript clothing, but he is already dead; a dagger sticks out of his chest. Egwene sees he has no crossbow, though, and she says there must be another, but before they can do anything, Sheriam appears and sees the man. She touches him, and hisses; she says the man is dead, and more than dead. Nynaeve asks what that means, and Sheriam says that the man is one of the Soulless, a Gray Man, a Darkfriend who has given up his soul to become an assassin for the Shadow. She adds that there hasn’t been a Gray Man in the Tower since the Trolloc Wars. She puts a shield of Air over the Gray Man to keep anyone from meddling with the corpse, and tells Egwene and Nynaeve to tell no one of this. They agree, but Nynaeve asks what Sheriam is doing there; Sheriam softly inquires if the Mistress of Novices needs an excuse for being in the novices’ quarters. Egwene hastily excuses herself to go get her cloak, intending to retrieve and hide the crossbow bolt before Sheriam sees it, but finds that it is already gone. She comes back and drags Nynaeve away, and asks if she’s crazy to question Sheriam like that, but Nynaeve retorts that they can hardly hunt for Black Ajah if they do not ask questions. She asks if Egwene noticed what Sheriam did not ask; she never wondered who stabbed the man.

When it comes to the Aes Sedai/Black Ajah thing, Jordan had a fondness for flinging red herrings around like it’s a food fight at the fish market, and wow there are a lot of words starting with “f” in this sentence.

Hm? Oh, anyway, I always tended to think this “suspicion” cast on Sheriam here was just a leeetle too obvious, even the first time I read it. However, I find myself at a real disadvantage here, as I cannot for the life of me remember what happens to Sheriam in Knife of Dreams, so I’m... just going to shut up about it, actually.

I’m supposing, though, that the Gray Man was sent by Mesaana, or perhaps Alviarin at Mesaana’s behest, whether Sheriam had anything to do with it or not. Which is pretty impressive planning on Jordan’s part when you consider Mesaana doesn’t show up for another three books.

Chapter 16: Hunters Three

What Happens
Nynaeve and Elayne enter Nynaeve’s room to find Elayne there with Gawyn and Galad. Galad takes Egwene’s hand and says that he worried about her, and is glad to see her safe; Egwene flushes and smooths her dress. Gawyn says the question is, where have they been, since Elayne won’t say. Elayne retorts that it is none of their business, and Gawyn replies that Elayne owes them after what they went through with Morgase. Galad adds that the Tower has become a dangerous place, and they are to return Elayne to Caemlyn as soon as it is safe. Elayne turns her back on him, and Nynaeve points out that Morgase’s orders hold no weight in Tar Valon, and she wants them to leave. Gawyn tries to guilt-trip Elayne into talking, but Nynaeve cuts him off and tells them that Elayne owes them nothing, and they will leave now, before she reports them for being in the Accepted’s quarters without permission. She gives them a count of three.

“Nynaeve, you wouldn’t—” Gawyn began worriedly, but Galad motioned him to silence and stepped closer to Nynaeve.

Her face kept its stern expression, but she unconsciously smoothed the front of her dress as he smiled down at her. Egwene was not surprised. She did not think she had met a woman outside the Red Ajah who would not be affected by Galad’s smile.

“I apologize, Nynaeve, for our forcing ourselves on you unwanted,” he said smoothly. “We will go, of course. But remember that we are here if you need us. And whatever caused you to run away, we can help with that, as well.”

Nynaeve returned his smile. “One,” she said.

Gawyn and Galad try to play it cool, but still manage to be out of the room before Nynaeve reaches “three”. Elayne is delighted, and twits Egwene for not saying a word while Galad was there. Elayne admits that Galad is good-looking, but maintains that he is horrid, and tells Egwene that if she wants to pay attention to someone, to try Gawyn; he’s besotted with Egwene. Egwene protests that Gawyn has never looked at her twice, and Elayne replies of course he hasn’t; he would never show interest in a woman Galad has shown a preference for first. Nynaeve acidly cuts in to say they have more important matters to discuss, and to Egwene’s surprise tells Elayne everything about the Black Ajah and the Gray Man. Nynaeve tells Egwene that she doesn’t know if they can trust the Amyrlin any further than anyone else, and it is to their advantage to have Elayne as their ace in the hole that no one knows about. Egwene agrees, but warns Elayne that it will be dangerous. Elayne reflects that the Queens of Andor are expected to be braver than anyone, and she can do no less if she is to be worthy of her throne. Nynaeve explains the Amrylin’s plan to Elayne, who is indignant at its shoddiness:

“Why, that’s like being told to go up in the hills and find lions, only you do not know whether there are any lions, but if there are, they may be hunting you, and they may be disguised as bushes. Oh, and if you find any lions, try not to let them eat you before you can tell where they are.”

Nynaeve tells her she can back out if she wants, and Elayne rejects this suggestion with disgust. Nynaeve then moves on to the subject of Mat, and says she thinks the Amyrlin may mean to let him die. They discuss whether between the three of them they know enough to Heal him without Aes Sedai help, but before they come to a conclusion, the door slams open and an Aes Sedai enters.

Lions and icons and, uh, lions, oh my! (Yeah, I... really didn’t think that one through.)

Elayne really likes to harp on that do-gooder trait of Galad’s, doesn’t she? Did she think we’d forgotten since the last sixteen times she’s mentioned it?

On Gawyn being “besotted” with Egwene... well, okay, but he sure hides it really well. I mean, fine, I’ll go with it, but some indication other than Elayne’s say-so would have been nice, is all.

And hah: Nynaeve:1, Galad: 0. Take that, pretty boy!

On the other hand, I don’t know how clever Nynaeve’s clever plan is here about bringing in Elayne. Anyone who isn’t stone blind would surely have noticed the three of them are thicker than thieves, even if Elayne hadn’t been with the other two on their Toman Head Escapade. However, I seem to recall that Siuan finds out about Elayne in about two seconds flat anyway, so this not-cleverness may have been deliberate on Jordan’s part.

Chapter 17: The Red Sister

What Happens
Elaida sweeps in, and says she is not surprised to see the three of them together. Nynaeve tries to excuse herself, but Elaida is having none of it. Elayne tries to speak, and Elaida tells her softly that she may have destroyed a three thousand-year-old alliance, and she will be silent. Elaida sits and asks them if they know that the Black Ajah is loose in the Tower; after a startled silence, Nynaeve confirms they were told so, yes. Elaida says that the three of them disappear, and in the interval, so do Liandrin and her cohorts, which makes them look very suspicious. Elaida will not have Elayne brought down, so it seems that in order to protect Elayne she must do so for all three of them, but in order to do that she must know why they left and what they have been doing. Egwene hesitantly tells her that their friend Mat got very sick, and they went to bring him to the Tower to be Healed, and Nynaeve interjects that the Amyrlin said their transgressions were to be forgotten now that they’ve been punished for them. Elaida replies that was an odd thing for the Amyrlin to say, considering she’s announced their punishment to the entire Tower. She continues that their friend Mat came from the same village as another boy, Rand al’Thor, did he not? Nynaeve replies evenly that she hopes Rand is well, but they have not seen him in a long time. Elaida orders them to tell her about him, but before anyone replies the door opens again to admit Sheriam; surprised, she says she had not expected to find Elaida there. Elaida says that everyone is curious about these girls and what they’ve been doing; Sheriam replies that she believes that once a wrongdoing is punished, the fault is erased and should be spoken of no further. She and Elaida have a stare-off for a moment, and Elaida says she will speak to the girls some other time, on different matters, of course. She leaves, and Nynaeve asks Sheriam what became of the Gray Man.

Sheriam’s mouth tightened. “You take one step forward, Nynaeve, and then a step back. Since from Elayne’s lack of surprise, you have obviously told her of it—after I told you not to speak of the matter!—then there are exactly seven people in the Tower who know a man was killed today in the novices’ quarters, and two of them are men who know no more than that. Except that they are to keep their mouths shut. If an order from the Mistress of Novices carries no weight with you—and if that is so, I will correct you—perhaps you will obey one from the Amyrlin Seat. You are to speak of this to no one except the Mother or me. The Amyrlin will not have more rumors piled on those we must already contend with. Do I make myself clear?”

They chorus agreement, and Sheriam tells them to come with her. Nynaeve asks where they are going, and Sheriam replies that in the Tower, Healing is always done in the presence of those who brought their sick. Egwene bursts out, so you are going to Heal him? Sheriam frowns and wonders that she doubted it; the Amyrlin Seat herself will be participating. She adds that their friend’s life drains away while they dawdle, so they’d best get moving.

It’s interesting reading this chapter from the perspective of knowing for sure that Elaida is not Black Ajah, when obviously at this point the reader is meant to suspect the opposite.

Although she ranks not far behind Fain and the Whitecloaks on my list of WOT Characters I’d Like To Give An Atomic Wedgie, you can see here that in her own bitca way she’s trying to do the right thing. Just, you know, in a way that’s going to ruin everything, but hey.

Chapter 18: Healing

What Happens
Sheriam leads them to a mostly-deserted area deep inside the Tower. Sheriam warns them to be silent and not to interfere, and brings them into a stone chamber, empty except for a stone table draped with a cloth. Mat lays on the table, barely breathing, with the Shadar Logoth dagger in a sheath on his belt. Siuan, Leane, Verin, Serafelle (the other Brown sister at Fal Dara), Alanna, Anaiya, and three other sisters Egwene does not know are positioned around the table, Siuan at Mat’s head. Sheriam joins them, bringing the total to ten sisters, and Siuan takes out a fluted foot-long white rod, which Egwene recognizes from her lessons as one of the few sa’angreal the Tower possesses, and the most powerful. She is appalled to realize that the Aes Sedai are not sure they can Heal Mat even with the sa’angreal, and is intensely grateful she and Nynaeve and Elayne never got a chance to try; they probably would have killed him. Siuan tells the sisters that she will meld the flows, and to be careful; the Power needed to break the bond with the dagger is very close to what could kill Mat. They begin, and Mat shakes his head, eyes still closed, and mutters something. Egwene fights to keep herself from embracing saidar and joining with the sisters, and sees that Elayne and Nynaeve are similarly tempted. Mat begins to thrash on the table, gripping the dagger, and slowly his back arches until only his heels and shoulders touch the table; he bares his teeth in a snarl, and his hand is forced away from the dagger. Egwene whispers that they are killing him, and Nynaeve whispers back that it would kill Mat to stop now, and anyway she doesn’t think she could handle more than half of the Power the Aes Sedai are using.

Suddenly Mat shouted, loud and strong. “Muad’drin tia dar allende caba’drin rhadiem!” Arched and struggling, eyes squeezed shut, he bellowed the words clearly. “Los Valdar Cuebiyari! Los! Carai an Caldazar! Al Caldazar!

Egwene frowned. She had learned enough to recognize the Old Tongue, if not to understand more than a few words. Carai an Caldazar! Al Caldazar! “For the honor of the Red Eagle! For the Red Eagle!” Ancient battle cries of Manetheren, a nation that had vanished during the Trolloc Wars. A nation that had stood where the Two Rivers was now. That much, she knew; but in some way it seemed for a moment that she should understand the rest, too, as if the meaning were just out of sight, and all she had to do was turn her head to know.

With a loud pop of tearing leather, the golden-sheathed dagger rose from Mat’s belt, hung a foot above his straining body. The ruby glittered, seemed to send off crimson sparks, as if it, too, fought the Healing.

Mat’s eyes opened, and he glared at the women standing around him. “Mia ayende, Aes Sedai! Caballein mirain ye! Inde muagdhe Aes Sedai misain ye! Mia ayende!” And he began to scream, a roar of rage that went on and on, till Egwene wondered that he had breath left in him.

Anaiya takes a metal box and tongs from under the table, and carefully grasps the dagger with the tongs. Mat’s screams grow frantic, and Anaiya thrusts the dagger into the box and slams the lid shut. Mat collapses and his screams cut off, and the glow of the Power around the Aes Sedai winks out. The sisters are visibly exhausted. Verin comments that it is fascinating that the Old Blood could flow so strongly in someone today, and she and Serafelle confer among themselves. Nynaeve asks if it worked, and Siuan tells one of the sisters (Brendas) to take Mat to his room. Brendas and several of the other sisters leave. Nynaeve again demands if Mat is all right, and Siuan answers coldly that Mat is as well as can be expected, but there’s no way to know what effect carrying the dagger for so long will have on him. He should live, though. Elayne asks what it was he was shouting. Siuan replies that he was ordering soldiers, in what sounded like a two thousand-year-old battle to her. Nynaeve says that she heard him say “Aes Sedai” too.

For a moment the Amyrlin seemed to consider, perhaps what to say, perhaps whether to say anything. “For a time,” she said finally, “I believe the past and the present were one. He was there, and he was here, and he knew who we were. He commanded us to release him.” She paused again. “ ‘I am a free man, Aes Sedai. I am no Aes Sedai meat.’ That is what he said.”

Leane sniffs, and some of the other sisters mutter angrily, and Egwene says he couldn’t have meant it that way; Manetheren and Tar Valon were allies. Siuan replies they were, yes, but who can know the heart of a man? Egwene asks if they can stay with Mat, and Siuan looks at her and says she has chores to do. Egwene knows she’s not talking about scrubbing pots, and she and Nynaeve and Elayne curtsy and follow Sheriam out.


I’m sorry, I will try to contain my squee, but seriously, you guys, I am so relieved to get to the part where I finally start liking Mat. There is a whole lot of awesome coming up re: him.

Plus, there really aren’t many passages in WOT that gave me chills (I’ve think we’ve had two so far), but this scene is definitely one of them. I know I said I don’t think WOT will work as a movie/series, but this is one of the parts that make me wish I was wrong, because I would kill to see this done (well) on film.

Also, a couple of other grace notes of awesome in this chapter, like Nynaeve realizing she’s strong enough to channel ten times as much as any one of the strongest Aes Sedai in the Tower. (I’m assuming the sisters in the room were picked for their strength, because otherwise it makes no sense that not one of them was Yellow Ajah.)

Chapter 19: Awakening

What Happens
Mat wakes up and stares at the richly decorated chamber, wondering where he is. His dreams and memories are all jumbled up and fragmented, and he is not sure which are which. He remembers Loial, Moiraine, a ship captain, a beautiful woman, and a well-dressed man giving him advice, but is pretty sure the Portal Stone and other things are dreams.

Muad’drin tia dar allende caba’drin rhadiem,” he murmured. The words were only sounds, yet they sparked—something.

He has a memory: he is on a hillside, watching spearmen below fight a massive army of Trollocs while the Heart Guard awaits his command. He is known as a gambler, and knows it is time to toss the dice. He orders the footmen to prepare to pass the cavalry forward; he orders the Heart Guard to charge, and is first into the fray. Mat mutters “Los Valdar Cuebiyari”, and is almost sure it means something like “Forward the Heart Guard”, but there is no way he could know that, surely. He examines his emaciated body, and remembers something about a ruby-hilted dagger and Shadar Logoth, and that Egwene and Nynaeve were taking him to the Tower to be Healed. Laboriously he sits up and pulls himself to his feet, and staggers over to the table, where he finds a large quantity of food and wine. He grabs some beef and hauls himself over to the window to find out where he is, but it is nighttime outside and he can’t see anything. He remembers Abell Cauthon’s lessons, that you can turn any situation to your advantage if you only examine it from every angle. He concludes he must be in Tar Valon, and though he is starving and weak, he must have been Healed. Which meant the One Power had been used on him, which makes him shiver, but he tells himself that it’s better than dying. He goes back to the table, and as he eats, muses about tricky Aes Sedai, and wonders whether Rand is mad yet. He remembers that Egwene and Nynaeve are training to be Aes Sedai, and Rand is following Moiraine around, and he has no idea what Perrin’s doing, just that he’s been acting crazy ever since his eyes turned funny. He thinks to himself that he is the last sane one left, and he could do nothing to help Rand or the others; he would have to look out for himself.

A rich city like Tar Valon should have some possibilities; he doesn’t think he would be able to get an Aes Sedai to gamble with him, but surely there are merchants and the like about to pad out his purse, and then maybe he would go see a bit of the world before he went home. Preferably the bits of it without any Aes Sedai. He should visit Egwene and Nynaeve first, though, and see if they’ve come to their senses about being Aes Sedai. He realizes at this point that he has eaten everything on the table, but barely even feels full. Then he remembers something else:

I blew the Horn of Valere. Softly he whistled a bit of tune, then cut it short when the words came to him:

I’m down at the bottom of the well.
It’s night, and the rain is coming down.
The sides are falling in,
and there’s no rope to climb.
I’m down at the bottom of the well.

“There had better be a bloody rope to climb,” he whispered.

He tries to remember if Verin knew that he’d blown it, but cannot. He is trying to convince himself it doesn’t matter when there is a knock, and then the door opens.

Dice! You know you’ve arrived in WOT when you get your own icon.

Well, Mat’s still definitely himself, no matter how much of his memory he’s lost. And even though he’s still something of an opportunistic jerk here, finally being in his head shows that it’s tempered by enough compassion for his friends that you can tell most of his talk is just that, talk. Apparently Mat is even good at bluffing himself.

This is one of the reasons I like him so much, though. In a lot of ways he and Nynaeve are very similar: they are basically insecure characters who put on big tough uncaring fronts to hide that uncertainty, even from themselves, but when it comes down to brass tacks they are both big gooey piles of heroic nobility—in the personality trait sense rather than the inherited aristocratic sense. I love that.

(This similarity is probably also at least a little bit of why Mat and Nynaeve get along like two cats in a sack. On fire.)

Re: the Manetheren memories: this is one place where Jordan did misspeak. He said at a signing that Mat’s war memories all came from the Foxes in Rhuidean, and not from past lives, but he’d obviously forgotten about all this business in TDR when he said that. I don’t mind, myself; no reason Mat can’t have gotten them from both sources, after all, and personally I regard the Foxes’ gift to be more a fulfillment of the archetype Mat represents more than anything else, so it works.

Chapter 20: Visitations

What Happens
The woman who enters is the most beautiful woman Mat has ever seen; he vaguely thinks he knows her, but rejects the notion. She tells him he might be passable once he fills out again, but for now maybe he wouldn’t mind putting on something. Mat realizes he is naked, and lurches to the bed and pulls the blanket around himself, stammering an apology. The woman says she would not have visited him this way, except she was in the Tower for another purpose and decided to see “all of you”. The way she says “the Tower” seems almost mocking. Mat asks if he knows her; she replies he may have seen her somewhere, and says to call her Selene. Mat asks if she is Aes Sedai, and she replies no; he asks if she’s a novice, noting her white dress, and she says hardly. She says she is someone whose interests coincide with his. She tells him that the Aes Sedai mean to use him, but she thinks that he will like it, mostly; surely there is no need to urge him on to glory. Mat asks what kind of glory, and she smiles and says she knew that would pull him; he is more important than these “so-called Aes Sedai” even know.

“You certainly sound as if you don’t trust them.” So-called? A thought came to him, but he could not manage to say it. “Are you a . . . ? Are you . . . ?” It was not the kind of thing you accused someone of.

“A Darkfriend?” Selene said mockingly. She sounded amused, not angered. She sounded contemptuous. “One of those pathetic followers of Ba’alzamon who think he will give them immortality and power? I follow no one. There is one man I could stand beside, but I do not follow.”

Selene tells him that he must trust her; she will use him, too, but at least she is being honest about that. She will not compel him; she has always believed that men perform better when not coerced. But she can give him what he desires. Mat replies she talks a lot, but how can he know he can trust her any more than the Aes Sedai? She says, by listening to what they do not tell him. Will they tell him, for instance, that his father came to Tar Valon, along with another named Tam al’Thor, looking for him? And that they sent them away without even telling them Mat was alive? Will they tell him that Rand al’Thor has run away, and that the Black Ajah infests their Tower? He should remember his choices. Mat replies glumly that he doesn’t seem to have many of those, but he supposes so.

Selene’s look sharpened. Friendliness sloughed off her voice like an old snakeskin. “Suppose? I did not come to you like this, talk in this way, for suppose, Matrim Cauthon.” She stretched out a slim hand.

Her hand was empty, and she stood halfway across the room, but he leaned back, away from her hand, as if she were right on top of him with a dagger. He did not know why, really, except that there was a threat in her eyes, and he was sure it was real. His skin began to tingle, and his headache returned.

Suddenly Selene whips her head around, and the tingle vanishes. She tells him she must go now, but to remember her words; they will speak again. She leaves, and Mat tries to make sense of what just happened. He concludes that telling the Aes Sedai about her would be a very bad idea, and decides he should probably leave. He lurches over to the wardrobe, and is examining his dice cups when Siuan and Leane enter.

Siuan observes dryly that he will hardly need those just yet, and he should get back in bed before he falls over. He hesitates, and then goes to lie back down. Siuan examines him and asks how he feels, and Mat tells her he’s fine, and will be on his way as soon as he sees Egwene and Nynaeve. Siuan and Leane ignore him and discuss his condition; Mat scowls and says he will go. Siuan tells him he was just Healed from something that killed an entire city, and he’s going nowhere until they are sure he is completely cured. She adds that she read him right from the start, and has taken precautions; he will not be allowed off the island until she is satisfied he is well. Mat remarks he has been gone from home for while, and his parents probably think he is dead. Siuan offers to send a letter to them for him. He waits, but she says nothing more, so he adds that he’s half-surprised his da didn’t come looking for him. Siuan then tells him that his father did come to Tar Valon, but they did not know where he was at the time. Mat thinks: she told him, but he’d had to ask. He says he was traveling with a friend, Rand al’Thor, and bets his father is worried too. Siuan sends Leane out of the room for more food for Mat, and as soon as she is gone snaps at him to watch what he says; some topics are dangerous. Mat protests that he knows nothing dangerous; he hardly remembers anything at all. She asks him if he remembers the Horn, and he asks what horn she is talking about. She jumps up and tells him that he’ll regret it if he tries playing games with her; Mat swallows and admits he remembers. She asks if he knows that he is linked to the Horn now; for him it will summon dead heroes, but as long as he lives it will not work for anyone else. Mat gapes, and then accuses that she means him to blow the Horn for them at the Last Battle. She asks if he would prefer the alternative.

He frowned, then remembered what the alternative was. If someone else had to sound the Horn . . . “You want me to blow the Horn? Then I’ll blow the Horn. I never said I would not, did I?”

The Amyrlin gave an exasperated sigh. “You remind me of my uncle Huan. No one could ever pin him down. He liked to gamble, too, and he’d much rather have fun than work. He died pulling children out of a burning house. He wouldn’t stop going back as long as there was one left inside. Are you like him, Mat? Will you be there when the flames are high?”

He could not meet her eyes. He studied his fingers as they plucked irritably at his blanket. “I’m no hero. I do what I have to do, but I am no hero.”

Siuan tells him most heroes only do what they have to, and warns him to tell no one about his link with the Horn. Mat says she doesn’t have to worry about that, and asks what, she doesn’t trust her Aes Sedai? She glares at him and says to have a care; if Darkfriends find out about him and the Horn they will be eager to kill him, or worse, take him. Then she tells him to get some rest, and leaves. Mat lies back and thinks about Siuan, and Selene, and the holes in both their stories, and tries to think of a way to avoid being caught between the two of them.

Ah, the Icon Heard Round The World, in The Shadow Rising. We’ll get back to that. Right now I’ll just groan about how it means we’ll be seeing a lot more of Lanfear.

Selene/Lanfear continues to irritate me, in case you didn’t notice, both as a character and a subplot. It’s just so convenient how she could Compel the snot out of Mat and Perrin, especially with no excuse about wanting them to Wuv her like with Rand, and yet the one time she finally lowers herself to start doing it she is interrupted Just In Time. Bah. (Although, I will kind of torpedo my own complaint by admitting that the scene with her earlier, with Perrin wearing the helmet in his dream, could be read as her attempting to Compel him and being thwarted by his Wolfbrotherliness. But still.)

It’s really funny how my character likes and dislikes have been flipping around this time through; I thought Lanfear was Evil Fabulous on first reading, and now I just want her to go away. Mat’s character trajectory so far, thankfully, seems to be on track for me, so hopefully he will be the exception.

Speaking of which, Siuan’s comparison of Mat to her uncle Huan pretty much sums up why Mat is awesome in my opinion. Perhaps I’m letting the narrative lead me around by the nose here, and Siuan’s speech is a trifle didactic, but I really don’t care that much as long as I get my coolness. So There.

Chapter 21: A World of Dreams

What Happens
Tired and dirty from scrubbing pots, Egwene heads to Verin’s quarters in a dusty, little-used area of the Tower. She finds the door and enters to find a room cluttered with books and scrolls and papers, interspersed with strange contraptions and skulls and all manner of oddments. The owl she at first takes to be stuffed blinks at her, and she jumps. Verin is holding a paper that she absently tells Egwene she’s been studying for forty years, and still doesn’t understand. It’s a fragment of a book written just after the Breaking. Egwene asks what it says.

Verin blinked, very much as the owl had. “What does it say? It is a direct translation, mind, and reads almost like a bard reciting in High Chant. Listen. ‘Heart of the Dark. Ba’alzamon. Name hidden within name shrouded by name. Secret buried within secret cloaked by secret. Betrayer of Hope. Ishamael betrays all hope. Truth burns and sears. Hope fails before truth. A lie is our shield. Who can stand against the Heart of the Dark? Who can face the Betrayer of Hope? Soul of shadow, Soul of the Shadow, he is—’ ” She stopped with a sigh. “It ends there."

Verin says Egwene did not come for that, though, and rummages around till she finds the list of the women who left with Liandrin. She tells Egwene this is everything that is known about them from the records, as well as a list of the ter’angreal they stole. Egwene wonders whether Verin is being honest with her, but does not say so. Verin says she has something else for Egwene, too; she understands from Anaiya that Egwene may be a Dreamer; the last in the Tower before her was Corianin Nedeal, over four hundred years ago, and from what Verin can determine she barely deserved the name. She explains that the worlds reached by the Portal Stones lie parallel to each other, but that some believe there are others that cross all of them, like the warp and weft of the Pattern, and the Dark One is imprisoned in all of them; if he is freed in one world, he is freed in all, but as long as he is kept prisoner in one, he is imprisoned in all. Egwene protests that that doesn’t seem to make sense.

“Paradox, child. The Dark One is the embodiment of paradox and chaos, the destroyer of reason and logic, the breaker of balance, the unmaker of order.”

Troubled, Egwene asks what this has to do with being a Dreamer, and Verin replies that there is a third constant besides the Dark One and the Creator: a world that lies within all the others, or perhaps surrounds them. In the Age of Legends it was called Tel’aran’rhiod, the Unseen World, or perhaps the World of Dreams is a better translation. Even ordinary people can touch Tel’aran’rhiod by accident, but a Dreamer can enter it at will. Verin takes out a ring that looks like it was carved from blue and brown and red stone, and gives it to Egwene.

Egwene shifted the papers to take it, and her eyes widened in surprise. The ring certainly looked like stone, but it felt harder than steel and heavier than lead. And the circle of it was twisted. If she ran a finger along one edge, it would go around twice, inside as well as out; it only had one edge. She moved her finger along that edge twice, just to convince herself.

Verin tells her Corianin Nedeal had that ter’angreal for most of her life, and Egwene will keep it now. Egwene is shocked at this responsibility. Verin says Corianin claimed it eases the passage to Tel’aran’rhiod. She warns Egwene, though, that there are dangers in doing so; what happens in Tel’aran’rhiod is real. Verin shows her a scar that she earned there. Egwene thinks that she wants no dreams that leave scars, but then that she wants to learn, and tells Verin that she will be careful.

After Verin sends Egwene away, she looks at the pages and pages of notes Corianin Nedeal had also left behind, and once again debates burning them, as she had debated giving them to Egwene, but decides again to leave things as they are, and see what happens.

Sneaky Verin is still sneaky. And has an owl, hah. Of course she does.

I still don’t really understand the logic of the decision to give Egwene an extremely dangerous ter’angreal, and yet not give her as much info as possible to help her use it. It doesn’t seem that it can be construed in any other way but as a desire to see Egwene fail or even die, and that’s inconsistent with everything else Verin does with regard to the Emond’s Fielders. I guess you could suppose it’s on the principle that Egwene might discover more if she had no preconceived notions?

Re: the cosmology lesson: Everyone has a different picture of how the universe works; the fun of being a fantasy author is that you get to make some actual decisions about cosmic TRVTHS, at least as far as the world you’re building is concerned. And since as puny humans we do not have all-encompassing minds, there’s usually some kind of central analogy/metaphor/conceit to frame the nature of the author’s created universe in a way that makes sense. Jordan is far from the first to use weaving as a metaphorical stand-in for Life, the Universe, and Everything, but he used the conceit very well, and it fits nicely with his overall methodical, geometrical approach to his world-building.

Where he was really smart, though, was in recognizing that too much order and methodology doesn’t work, either; there has to be some give in your rules, some flexibility in your building materials, or else the whole thing is in danger of falling down, Jenga-like. As Jordan says himself (through Verin), chaos and disorder is the antithesis of the world, its downfall and its enemy, but the inclusion of Tel’aran’rhiod and its ambiguous position in his otherwise orderly crosshatching Pattern shows that he understood very well that a viable universe must have at least a little bit of chaos in order to cohere. It needs a little bit of nonsense for the sense to make sense, the way a few drops of black paint makes a gallon of white paint whiter. The universe as Möbius strip: elegant, orderly, with just a twist of illogic.

Welp, that’s all the navel-gazing we have time for tonight, kiddies. Join me next week for more TDR goodness, starting with Chapters 22-27. Off with you!

Richard Fife
1. R.Fife
I concur with you on Lanfear being less awesome after the first read. I think it is because, when we were first reading her, there was this sense of "OMG! AWESOMESAUCE BACKGROUND STUFF". Like, we know she is all shadowy and mysterious and has her own agenda. Now that we know that agenda though, and it really just boils down to her being sexually frustrated, well, not so awesomesauce.

I find your psychoanalsys of Mat intriguing. I mean, I always thought of him as a nice guy who doesn't want to admit he is nice, but I never thought of his wanton vices as a shield from it. I just thought of it as "yeah I have wanton vices, but there is only so far that even I will go" Han Solo style.

I have always just tuned out the idea of "why doesn't Suian reswear the Aes Sedai" because if I thought of it, it would make my head hurt. She is enough of a bully and politician to have pulled off a reswear of the first oath. Maybe the thought of darkfriend Aes Sedai just has her that off balance, iunno. Remember, in New Spring Moiraine finds a dark sister and seemed to never deign to even let Suian know.
Sacha G
2. Fortune_Prick_Me
@1 Well stated, I have the same reaction here on Lanfear. On the first read any Forsaken scenes felt like we were plunging deeper into the Randland mega-history; Lanfear felt even more creepy because so little was known about her except she was close to LTT. Now it's more - Huh, that's all you were up to?

LB: "Sneaky Verin is still sneaky. And has an owl, hah. Of course she does."

Truer words...

I completely agree with necessity of ambiguity in the cosmology. Remove the blurry, mystic fog and we get... midi-chlorians.
Rebecca Starr
3. Rebecca Starr
hi Leigh and everyone else! My thoughts of the day...

Ch 14
regarding Siuan and the Black Ajah re-swearing the first oath, I think the idea simply hasn't occurred to anyone yet - both about BA having un-taken the oaths, and about this way to catch them in it... talk about secrets, but the Aes Sedai haven't wanted to talk about the BA for 3,000 *years*, so it's not like it would go over well if Siuan announced a group re-oath taking party... plus, the plot would just be so much less cool if she didn't set the Supergirls as Hunters Three

Ch 15
okay, I have a lot of questions about this Gray Man bit and always have.
a) we know that Isam came in to kill the Gray Man after the fact, but who sent the GM to begin with and why?
b) who took the arrow from near Egwene's door? was that Isam/Luc too?
c)what other useful purpose does nynaeve see in the dome that Sheriam makes from Air? I feel like this tickles my memory, but can't recall...
d) and slightly less importantly, what is the Touch with a capital T that Sheriam uses? does that mean delving someone?

Ch 16
Nynaeve's count down=pure awesome

Ch 17
"Sheriam replies that she believes that once a wrongdoing is punished, the fault is erased and should be spoken of no further."

haha - sounds like she would make a good Aiel at ji'e'toh

Ch 18
I had forgotten that Egwene's "almost" understanding of the Old Tongue resurfaces here... since I had chalked it up to a plot in Book 1 that Jordan never came back to, now I am surprised to see I had forgotten it here in Book 3, and wonder what will come of it.

Leigh - genius! I never realized that about the lack of Yellow Ajah. And yes, Nynaeve and that much power=even more awesome

Ch 19
yay Mat!!! My favorite male character. and I was going to make a comment about how strange that fact is, given that my favorite female is Nynaeve, but Leigh I think you've summed it up perfectly.
Rebecca Starr
4. NanaD
Ah, finally I can relax and enjoy my week-end. It amazes me how many people love these books.

Great job Leigh. Until Monday, Goodnight
Rebecca Starr
5. kantoka
I couldn't agree with you more on Chapter 18. By far one of my favorites in the series, and gives me the chills. I tend to lean with you on the fear of seeing these books translated to screen, but it's Chapters like this that really make me squeel in my chair with anxiety about portraying this on screen. Same with the final scenes in TDR, in the Stone of Tear... now, who in Hollywood has even a smidge of capability to pull that off on film?? Really people?
Rebecca Starr
6. AdamFarva1

Great recap as always. I re-read the books over the course of 6 months this past fall/winter in anticipation of the release of the final book. It has been wonderful to have this re-cap to get someone else's thoughts on what was going on, and to see some things that i might have missed on my own read.

The thing that has always impressed me most about Jordan's writing has been his ability to make us care so deeply about so many characters. Even people like Mat and Nynaeve who at first rubbed me the wrong way, can be turned into some of your favorite charecters in the end. (I finally turned on Nyneave when she solved her block while drowning in ebou dar). The other thing that I think is so impressive about Jordan's work as a storyteller is that I will be truly sad when this saga ends. I have been as frustrated at times as others, waiting on a new book to release, but I always felt like this was a world which could continue forever. As the wheel turned we would continue to turn with it. I think I will truly miss even the anticipation of knowing that there is still more coming.

Side note: I have just begun to read Mistborn (Brandon Sanderson) and I can see why Harriett and Robert selected him. Although I am only 80 pages or so in to it, I think that Brandon does have some Jordan-esqueness to his style and I think that he will do the final volume proud.

Looking forward to Mondays post!

Rebecca Starr
7. KenB3
I think the Aes Sedai only believed the Oath Rod could be used for the specific purpose it had been used for in the last three millennia. The "supergirls" seem like they upset all kinds of traditions in the tower and do all kinds of new things, some of which do seem kinda obvious in retrospect.
Rebecca Starr
8. hoping to be of the blood
Thanks again, Leigh

I agree that the re-swearing of the oaths to ferret out the BA probably did not occur to Siuan since she was having so much difficulty getting her head around the idea of the BA existence.

During Lanfear's visit to Mat we see that she seems to recognize him, or his essence of past lives. She was tempting him with glory and he had a flicker of interest-

...What kind of glory?
I knew that would pull you. You, above all.

I didn't think the shadow's dossier on Mat was complete enough at this point for her to make that conclusion about him. Does that mean she knew him in a past life in the AoL? Did she exist in other ages and knew Mat then?
Is Mat a hero of the horn, or recurrent Ta'averen?

I didn't get the math when N stated, with wonder, that she couldn't channel half of the flow in the healing scene. That was ten of the strongest AS available, multiplied by their best Sa'angreal. I don't ever recall her being described as that powerful in later books
Rebecca Starr
9. dubjazz
When reading the WOT the sign of the dice at the chapter heading was always welcome as the sign of a good read to come. I think Matt and RJ probably had a lot in common.
Rebecca Starr
10. widowmaker
I too love Chapter 18, but one thing has always bothered me about the chapter icon. What in this chapter has to do with the heron marked blade. That is usually reserved for Rand or a blademaster.
Ethan Pope
11. Unforsaken
Ahhhhhh....... Finally......... Matt is healed! When I first read this book,(and the 2 previous) I was convinced that Matt would somehow become the cliched "close friend of the lead character that becomes an agent of the bad guy". I'm so glad that didn't happen, as Mat will soon become a force to be reckoned with. Strange thing though; I didn't like Mat until right when he meets Aludra. Ooooo, now that's a meeting with destiny.......
Rebecca Starr
12. alexonthemove
Chpt 14 - cool icon, I never noticed it being used for the White Tower before - maybe it means Sisters of the Dark/Sisters of the Light?
Rebecca Starr
13. Egglie
Leigh, great commentary again, I always look forward to your posts.

I too have always wondered about the lack of yellows here. I guess that although they are "healing" him it is not a physical complaint or a disease. The taint from shadar logoth is a little out of the area of expertise of the average yellow (but then how did the Amyrlin seat find the time to brush up on her taint fighting technique?).

Sneaky sneaky Verin, I have always wondered if Corianin Nedeal was Black Ajah and the reason that Verin doesn't give the notes to Egwene is that they would give it away (I don't think Verin is black but no Aes Sedai would want to let proof of the BAs existence get out and I am sure Verin would not regard Egwene as grown up enough to be given that kind of information). It would also explain how Liandrin and friends knew which ter'angreal to theive from the store rooms.

I love the next few chapters of Mat related fun. He has so many cool adventures without the heavy feeling of responsibility and doom that hang over the Rand/Perrin POVs
Rebecca Starr
14. Land Down Under
Hi all,

Has Selene/Lanfear given Mat his dice yet. And has anybody else connected these as one of the missing terangreal on the list the supergirls get.

Love the posts Leigh, keep up the great work
Rebecca Starr
15. Effervescent
This has to be the best and worst place in the series for me. The birth of my favorite character, Matrim-Primus, and the parting of simplicity (aka now we start with the multiple storylines from the seventh ring of Hell).

Matt was my least favorite character before the white tower separated him from the dagger, but after that happens, he becomes the person I identify with the most.

I guess I could deal with the super-girls a lot more if there wasn't such a soap-opera feel to their journeys; I've done perhaps seven read throughs, and I have to admit their storylines are the ones I skip the most. There is just too much of nothing going on, especially during the circus agony.

Thanks for the manners comments, Leigh. I commented on it earlier, but I didn't have the stomach to be a jerk. I really REALLY like the additional comments from others, and it felt like at times we all had to stop the conversation for interruptions from kids.

If you have kids, you know what I'm talking about; if you don't, that might sound harsh, but I am not trying to be mean. Some of the comments I've read here have been the best insight on WoT since I found WOTFAQ...
Rebecca Starr
16. Ariel S
I noticed too that no Yellow Ajah were used, but it doesn't relate to strength in the power: Elaida at least is way stronger than Verin, and yet she's not part of the circle. My guess is that these AS were chosen for their linking ability, and that no yellows were called because this was NOT a healing:
the operation dealt with breaking the link between Mat and the dagger, something closer with exorcism than medicine.

I can't agree with #3 that Siuan probably did not know about the Black Ajah breaking the oaths: I know this was written at a later day, but the prequel New Spring shows that Moiraine and Siuan figured that out long before Siuan was raised as Amyrlin. My guess is that there's no way for Siuan to actually force -publically, even- Aes Sedai to re-take an Oath, when they all deny the existence ob the Black Ajah. And she might know they've gotten rid of the oaths, but they don't know the oath rod allows that.

About Mat, I can't wait for the next part for the monumental @ss-kicking he handles in loads to Gawyn and Galad. Pure moment of awesome!
Rebecca Starr
17. katg
Sigh! I've been home sick all day and waiting for this! Go on, call me 'nerd'. Sticks and stones, and all that.

Nynaeve: I always feel that this book is a turning point for her character, and not in a good way. Through no fault of her own, RJ just really dropped the ball on this heroine.
She is/would be a great character and a super example of a powerful woman with some real character flaws (and some learning to do, about herself and the world) and some serious potential for badassery, however she only gets to shine on small occasion because instead, Jordan somehow decided to flatten her character out into exaggerated caricatures of her flaws... pride, self-doubt, and anger. Damn braid-pulling.

Anyway, I always thought the Nynaeve vs the Brothers Andor was a hilarious moment showing her to good advantage. It's a shame that scenes like these became her WHOLE character rather than a funny, cantankerous moment for her.

And yeah, Mat began to really redeem himself here, thank goodness!

Whatever happened to Verin's owl? I always picture it as Archimedes from The Sword in the Stone... can't you just see the musical Disney version of Verin hopping around "like a brown sparrow" and singing about the pattern? Fascinating!
Rebecca Starr
18. Heather P.
About Mat and his memories...

I had been arguing with my computer screen in previous comments because everyone had said Mat didn't get his battle memories until the Aelfinn. I thought I remembered that after he was Healed he had some battle memories, but there were still holes. The Aelfinn just filled all the holes with battle memories.

I'm glad we finally got to this part, because I was too lazy to dig out my copy of TDR to verify that I remembered correctly. It doesn't happen often, so I'm really fighting the urge to go Nelson Muntz on all y'all.

And please nobody take that the wrong way. I thoroughly enjoy all the postings here, it really gives me so much more to think about as I re-read the books (I'm at Winter's Heart now). You all see SO much more than I do, it's wonderful!

Keep up the great work, Leigh!
Rebecca Starr
19. Rebecca Starr
alex@12 - yup, you got it exactly; this icon pops up whenever we have Black Ajah involved
Rebecca Starr
20. katg
@13 Egglie-
Ooooooh, nice thought about Corianin! I'm on my fourth read-through and that thought never occurred to me, but it would make loads of sense.
Interesting, verrryyyy interesting (stroking imaginary beard).
Richard Fife
21. R.Fife
Hrmm... I had never pondered that perhaps it was Corianin that was BA. indeed interesting thought. Perhaps, then, the things in Corianin's notes also include some pretty vicious things, like how to enter TAR physically, or how to pull off dream assassinations, and considering Verin already thinks Egwene is a hair on the blood thirsty side, why she decided it is better to send her off into a dangerous place without any foreknowledge than to give her more weapons.

As to the owl, while I love the image, two things kinda irk me on the owl. One: for all the owls would save in killing vermin, it would ruin with owl pellets and droppings. Two: Aes Sedai can easily ward entire buildings away from vermin (Moiraine, tEofW, did it for the Master Gill). So, why would Verin need an owl?

Editted In Crazy Theory:
Corinian entered TAR physically, met with the DO's favorite fancy pants (Ishy), displeased him, was turned into an ever-living owl. Verin found the documents, entered TAR, rescued the Corinian-Owl, and now keeps her as a pet.

Do I really believe it? Nah, but it's funny to think of.
Rebecca Starr
22. alexonthemove
Matt is the one I'm always cheering for exactly the description Siuan used to compare him to her uncle. But I always wondered if the heroic/gambling personality traits were his, or if they came from the past life memories:
Chp 19: He has a memory: he is on a hillside, watching spearmen below fight a massive army of Trollocs while the Heart Guard awaits his command. He is known as a gambler, and knows it is time to toss the dice.

I totally think his trickster personality is his own, based on all the TR boyhood exploits, but I wonder about these two others. No matter where they come from, they complete his awesomeness perfectly!

Adam@6 - completely agree about feeling torn about the completion of the series; as much as I am dying to know how everything wraps up and ends, I really feel sad at the same time. RJ's storyweaving sucked me in from the first read and hasn't let me go yet :P
Rebecca Starr
23. gagecreedlives
Rebecca Starr @3

Ive wondered about the gray man bit as well. I assume slayer took the arrow but I am very much aware of what happens when you assume. Also if the shadow truly wanted them dead why not just send slayer to do the job. Is this like when Rand gets saved by trollocs in the stone? Does anyone remember if there is an answer to this?

Elaida is a bitch. Always has been and always will be but she does seem to show a fair bit of competence here. Siun is trying to keep Liandrin = black quiet but she has figured it out.

And Mat asking Lanfear if she is a novice. Classic!!!

Another little Verinism she comments that healing didn’t work as it should in the dream world and that’s why she has a scar. But we see later healing seems to work fine. Im thinking of the great trolloc cook off nightmare in the tower later on in the series.

Land Down Under@14

RJ has said Mats luck is not due to the stolen dice terangreal. They alter chance similar to the way Mat does but aren’t responsible for it.

Also this is my first time blog commentating so if I am committing any netiquette fails please let me now.
Rebecca Starr
24. sps49
Nyneave seems overpowered, here (half as powerful as a circle with a sa'angreal?), especially when later there are Kin and damane with the same level. I felt that "power inflation" was taking place in later books.
lanyo lanyo
25. lanyo
I love love love you Leigh for all this and even more for asking the non-contributing posts to end.

I always wondered about the no-yellow-healing, I thought maybe the sisters were chosen for reasons to do with evil, maybe they all had studied/worked against super-evil before?? but I like the idea they were good linkers
I adore daggerless Mat. He's what I wish I could be. You know, if I was a boy. In a fantasy world. I know he's trying to stay as far out of "trouble" as possible, but he's still always going to help if you need him. Even if helping will get him beat up. Or hung, whatever.
"for all the owls would save in killing vermin, it would ruin with owl pellets and droppings."
I definitely thought of that first, how gross? much worse than mice..
And, along with the last re-cap. Who in their right mind keeps letting "supergirls" off on their own. They clearly can't think ahead even 3 minutes, why o why would you let them know secret/dangerous things AND let them do their own thing?!?!?!?!
I hate the supergirls. Individually they're tolerable to kinda cool. As a girl gang, they should be shot.
Also, Galad is so far from being the super-suck, every time he shows up I hate Elayne more.
I wrote more than I expected!
Thanks again Leigh, you rock!!!!!
Rebecca Starr
26. Don_in_Cda
One thought on why a re-swearing wouldn't have been done, though, there could've been a number of reasons, pragmatic as well as political. It's often implied that there are more sisters out of the Tower than on its grounds at any time, sisters who couldn't be 'tested'. Them aside, there's no way of knowing how many of the sisters in the Tower can use the Power lethally and destructively at will, without provocation or justification, and no certainty what they'd do if backed into a corner. Best case result, driving the Black sisters in the resident population out, but still not knowing who outside the Tower to trust. Worst case, death, destruction and a shattered Tower.

Just my 2 cents. Love the columns, outstanding work!
craig miller
27. craigpmiller
Ahh ... the new posting ... Thanks Leigh.

Once again as fab as fab.

Keep 'em coming.

Catch ya next week.
Rebecca Starr
28. Lannis
Hi all! And hi Leigh! This is my first post--I stumbled upon the reread last week, and it's taken me this long to catch up!

I want to thank you, Leigh, though I know you've heard the same plenty of times--but it's true! You deserve it! You've gotten me off the hook here... I've been following the series since my uncle handed it to me back in 1993 (I was 12 and he caught me with a Danielle Steele--man, would my life have turned out differently!). Anyhow, I've reread the series in prep for the latest publication every time (7? 8 rereads?), and I'm at a point in my life where, well, my life interferes with such things... I'm a stay-at-home mom of 2, and I babysit 3 more toddlers... so to say it's hectic is a massive understatement. Thankfully, you've come to my rescue with this lovely reread, great synopses, and thought-provoking commentary--the pop culture references, French practice, and humour are a great bonus!

'Nuf about me and my need to show gratitude... Onward!

My question here (because, like you, Leigh, my brain is fuzzy on the ol' Sheriam 'is she, is she not BA?'), is that if Sheriam says there are currently 7 people in the Tower who are aware of the Grey Man (or just a man being killed--the info we're told the two labourers are told), who are they? Our count is basically: 1) Sheriam, 2) Nynaeve, 3) Egwene, 4) Elayne, 5) & 6) are disposal dudes... and 7) Amyrlin? Do we ever hear whether this gets back to Suian? Or if Sheriam is BA, is she aware of the person who knifed the GM and took the arrow from the wall?

And of course, I share the sentiments on Mat--well, and Lanfear's too, apparently... he's better once he fills out a bit. The finger lickin' chicken makes me smile every time!

And oh, GAWD, Elaida has made me want to puke ever since my first read... she grates my nerves and has a stellar set of blinders on, especially for someone (we see here) trying to Find Out Information! Somebody warn me before she starts talking about rearranging TV's skyline later on... Hmm... world's in jeopardy, let's build us a palace! Bleh!
Rebecca Starr
29. danielCronin
Erm. 'Next Week' gives you a lot of time to work with and gives me a lot of time to keep refreshing the site. Any more particular please? I mean The week technically starts on Sunday. Oh and great work. Mat's POV from this section onwards become my notably favourite parts of the entire story. Joysome.
Rebecca Starr
30. sps49
Oh, and- Mat was definitely Healed. That's why he's hungry, the latter day healing and it's non-use of Fire (which Lanfear indirectly pokes at).
Rebecca Starr
31. Sharonr
I was thinking about Verin and about some of the other theories I have read.

I dont think she is BA but I do like the theory that she is not completely/at all bound by the oath rod. I am not sure if we ever find out exactly how old an AS lived during the AOL, but I do think we will find out Verin is a LOT older than anyone will have imagined - is it possbile she was around before they started swearing the 3 oaths? And by leaving the tower for long periods of time (even changing her name) she has disguised this? I cant remember if Cadsuane (the other really old AS?) ever mentions her as a novice/accepted? Would explain a lot of the sneakiness, obscure and amout knowledge she has.

Also, Corianin being BA is a great theory and would make sense that Verin wonders whether she should burn her notes ( I didnt think browns would ever burn study notes :-)
Richard Fife
32. R.Fife
The posts are M-W-F American style (and roughly at that). Leigh has already before said she has no control over the posts, and our cylon overlord only laughs (seriously, he posted and said he likes to see us squirm). Best bet, long as you don't mind being late to the discussion, would be to read them Tu-Th-Sa, just saying.

Yes, Sheriam does tell the Amyrlin. In the kitchens, Suian mentions it. So, either Sheriam thinks whoever killed the gray man has already left the tower, or she really is just a complete idiot, or she is BA. I have always had the feeling that she is not BA (although, like many, my KoD memories are faded right now, and I'm only halfway through TFoH in my own re-read.)

As to no yellows healing, hmmm, second time Mat has been yellow-less when getting healed. I think the Aes Sedai that were chosen was for the purpose of secrecy ability above all else, women Suian felt decently comfortable knowing that this boy was healed, similiar to in Fal Dara.

As far as skills in anything, I don't think so. Linking is a kinda do or don't think, and I considering that even novices can learn it (Salidar Forsaken Emergency Plan), I am sure any full sister can.

As to skills otherwise, I am pretty sure only the link-leader has any control over what is or isn't done, so Suian was the one actually healing, and the others were just Saidar-Battaries. I think the scene where the Windfinders and Aes Sedai and Kin all link and use the Bowl really hammers this home. So, since Suian wanted to be the actual doer, she could have had Egwene and Elyane in the circle for all it mattered to her, so long as they have the juice.

Sharonr: For Verin to have the tight, ageless face, she needs to have at least one oath on her, in my understanding. Also, from what I gather of Moghedian's internal monologues and the World of WOT book, AoL Aes Sedai could live to 700ish. Oaths have at least been around since the Trolloc Wars, 2000 years ago.
Rebecca Starr
33. Rebecca Starr
hmm, well now that I think of it, there could have been Yellows - Jordan names 7 Aes Sedai, but leaves 3 unnamed and without mention of Ajah - so lets suppose those 3 were Yellow at least. The rest are there, IMHO, for 2 reasons:
1) because they are strong in the Power
2) because Jordan has already introduced them to us, and is not yet overwhelming us with hundreds of AS names.

Plus, one doesn't have to be Yellow to be strong in Healing. Moiraine is listed as "particularly gifted" in that area, and Siuan most certainly is too, since she's leading the flows - she just liked meddling, er... I mean causes... more than Healing so chose Blue
Rebecca Starr
34. jafco
Squee!?? The Mat fun times begin. 'Bout time. Several points:

"...This is one of the reasons I like him so much, though. In a lot of ways he and Nynaeve are very similar...(This similarity is probably also at least a little bit of why Mat and Nynaeve get along like two cats in a sack. On fire.)..."

Leigh, that's simply great!

Verin's description of the world: parallel and maybe transverse (i.e. probable worlds in four dimensions (x,y,z and time) is what she infers). Here I think it's very clear that the Portal Stone (tGH) episode was not one in which all those involved were recycling through the past of their world. Instead, they trouped through all the worlds that Stone was linked to, saw what was happening there and understood somehow the entirety of how it came to be. (All Rand's thoughts from that episode seem to make him about the same age, give or take, as he actually is. Usually he died or went mad not long before or after he started to channel).

@8. hoping to be of the blood

"...I don't ever recall her (Nyn) being described as that powerful in later books..."

Actually until Alivia? comes along, there seems no one - including Forsaken - as strong as she (I'm not clear whether Al? is strong as or stronger).

Finally, someone said he really started liking Mat from the Aludra episode. Just yesterday I was looking at a star map, et

Eta Canis Majoris (? CMa / ? Canis Majoris) is a star in the constellation Canis Major. It also has the traditional name Aludra. (Wikipedia).

I wonder?
Rebecca Starr
35. RNash
Awesome stuff Leigh, as always.

About the Old Tongue: I am a bit of a linguaphile, and Latin is one of my favorites. The Old Tongue is constructed similarly and usually pronounced similarly as well, which is total awesome sauce for me.

@6: Mistborn is good, but I think Elantris is what really turned me on to Brandon Sanderson. In one book he manages to demonstrate a talent similar in magnitude to Jordan's for useful foreshadowing, weird plot stuff becoming relevant, and it all making sense in the end.
Rebecca Starr
36. Wetlander
hoping to be of the blood @8 & jafco @34

jafco, you're right in that Alivia is the first to come along as strong as Nynaeve, and iirc she's significantly stronger. Somewhere in WH or so, a grandmotherly woman named Sharina joins the rebel AS as a novice, and she's also way stronger than Nynaeve. No comment available on relative strength between Alivia and Sharina - I don't think anyone knows both of them yet to compare. Maybe in KoD?

I keep wondering why RJ went through most of the series with the supergirls being "the most powerful in hundreds of years" and then all of a sudden in the last few books he starts bringing in others of similar or greater strength. Did he just decide it was too improbable that there wouldn't be anyone stronger? Or is there a narrative necessity coming in AMOL?
Rebecca Starr
37. Renegade 248
Leigh, great stuff as usual.

About the Corianin deal with Verin keeping the notes instead of Handing them off to Egwene. I believe Corianin was a dreamwalker, and discovered some dangerous stuff about T'AR. I believe Verin is trying to protect Egwene from getting into danger in T'AR by giving her something that she surely knows Egwene will do, danger or not. I believe Verin was witholding the notes as a mother would withold the stuff that she did as a teenager, not to tell her the danger, knowing that the girl will do it if you tell her not to. :) Just my thought.

Also, YAY, Mat is coming into his own here. First POV from Mat in the series so far, and it just gets better from here.

And regarding Suian not telling Elayne about this, I believe it is stated later in this book that she didnt tell her, knowing that Nyn or Egwene would because she didn't want to be held to the oath that she knew where Elayne was, in case Morgase asked.

Loving the re-read and looking forward to the rest of it.
Rebecca Starr
38. Griffin Verdell
Am I the only one who thinks Corianan burned herself out messin' about with all them there ter'angreals, and then went to Ebou Dar, changed her name and got married, so as to ward of the Stilled & Burned Out Blues? Changed her name to Setalle Anan(sp?), for example?
Rebecca Starr
39. katg
nope, sorry. Setalle Anan is Martine Somebody, a different burned out AS. Corianin is long dead.
Good thought, though!
Michael C
40. MrStitches
These are great so far, I can't wait for the next one. And thanks a lot for making me want to read the series again! Like I don't have enough other books to read. . .
Rebecca Starr
41. locosweetie
In KoD Sheriam is visited and punished by a Myrdraal. I would say this makes her BA.
I have heard a theory that the Mistress of Novices is almost always a darkfriend. It is a good place to put a recruiter.
I always thought it was obvious who sent the Grey Man, but now that I see so many wonder about it, perhaps I am wrong.
Lanfear says to Mat that she had other business in the Tower, I assumed she was talking about offing the girls. Though, if she were really the one behind it, I doubt she would leave the job unfinished.
I also assumed it was Lanfear who was responsible for the strange Trolloc behavior at the Stone. It makes sense for her to bring her own and tell them to fight anyone who is killing those who she wants alive, namely Rand.
I don't know, assuming is very dangerous in Wot, and I have definatly been wrong before. Am I totally out there?
Rebecca Starr
42. jafco
@38. Griffin Verdell

"Corianan...Changed her name to Setalle Anan(sp?), for example?..."

Now that - that is interesting. I don't recall anyone having a good idea about who Setalle is, or her prominence in later books. As per Verin's info dump (per Leigh: "...the last in the Tower before her was Corianin Nedeal, over four hundred years ago, and from what Verin can determine she barely deserved the name...."

So we get two possible pieces of info here: 400+ years, we now know, isn't out of the question for some ex-AS (depends on how they got exed, I suppose; and noting that dreamwalkers, at least Aiel, are remarkably young-looking for their ages); and also Verin either isn't nearly that old - or hasn't been in the Tower that long - as she deals with Corianin as ancient history.

But also, if Cor=Set, then she's either run through one hell of a lot of husbands, or else only recently overcame her maidenly reticence and tied the knot!

Rebecca Starr
43. jafco
@39 Katg

Oops. Didn't see your pov before running off at the fingers. Have you a citation for the Martine person? Thanks.
Rebecca Starr
44. QuantumEve
@36 - I've always been a bit disappointed that RJ did bring in more characters that were as strong or stronger than Nynaeve, but my theory is that there will need to be new Dreadlords in TG and since the Supergirls are so powerful, there wouldn't be much of a battle if there weren't any other channelers as strong as they are. So obviously I'm assuming that some of these new characters will be DFs.

Great recap, Leigh!
Rebecca Starr
45. Effervescent
I don't remember being told that Sheriam's torturer was a Fade...was I that oblivious? And if it was a Fade, how is it that it could use the one power?

I do not think Verin is a BA, and haven't from the beginning...mainly since it was too obvious to peg her as one early in the story. Too obvious=red herring for me.

Corianin has always been a mystery to me, and more and more I think it will never be solved. How did she burn out? Was she someone important behind the scenes, or just a convienent name to throw away? Was the notes she made important, or just a blue print to do stupid experiments (and thus, something Egwene should not see?)?

So many questions, and I'm starting to be really concerned that we will never get the answers since they might have never been written down before RJ passed.
Rebecca Starr
46. Toss the dice
Gagecreedlives @ 23
I was under the impression the the trollocks helping in the stone was due to Lanfear. Also I thought that the cook pot scene was a bubble of evil they got caught in so that may have changed the "rules" for healing.
alex on the move @ 22 I've always felt in regards to this battle scene it was just a matter of the 'old blood' but it does fit a little to tightly to what we come to expect from Matt.
Great re-read I have just finished my own about 2 weeks ago and am going to jump in and start reading along. As I've stated before at this point I'm addicted and just can't stop waiting for the posts and reading all of the comments.
Rebecca Starr
47. Jambo
The cook pot scene wasn't a bubble of evil, it was a dream errrr well probably more of a nightmare lol, but anyway the whole idea with that scene was that since all the Aes Sedai insisted on fighting what they saw they made it real. It was a very good scene IMO. stupid, over confident Aes Sedai... lol
Rebecca Starr
48. gagecreedlives
Toss the Dice@46 and locosweetie@41

It was Semirhage that sent the trollocs and fades to save Rands backside and that was at the dark ones orders. Sammael thinks it was Lanfear though. What I was trying to ask did somebody send slayer to kill the gray man to stop him killing the girls or was he there to observe and do some clean up?

And Im 90% sure that the trolloc cook off was a nightmare that came to life because of a stray thought by one of the aes sedai and they have to stop believing its real before it will stop.
Rebecca Starr
49. katg

Setalle Anan admits to having been Aes Sedai in Knife of Dreams, "A Short Path".

We also learn that Martine Janata was Brown ajah, studied ter'angreals, and was burned out in the process in 975NE, which makes her between 90 and 100 "now", however based on when she was burned out, she would have the same physique as someone 45-50 "now".
Martine was burned out approximately 25-28 years before the current events and left the Tower as soon as she was physically able; this makes her time line extremely consistent with Setalle Anan's (children in young twenties, etc).

Corianin studied dream ter'angreal over 400 years ago, whereas the Martine timeline is a reasonable match for Setalle's, and I believe Martine is the generally accepted identity.

I hope this helps!
(Can you tell I'm home sick? It's Friday night and I'm obsessively reading/checking the boards! Have a great weekend!!!)
Rebecca Starr
50. gagecreedlives
D'oh. Jambo beat me to my explanation. And did a better job. Well done.

And just to add a further point to Katg@49 comments. When Setalle's husband finds her in Ebou Dar she is near starvation and wandering aimlessly. Certainly sounds like a woman who has been stilled and has given up.
Rebecca Starr
51. rudi91
@41 Lanfear did not send the grey man. She tells Rand in the shadow rising that she makes no use of the soul less.
Rebecca Starr
52. alaric
"Corianin Nedeal, over four hundred years ago, and from what Verin can determine she barely deserved the name."

Coupled with comments about belief being able to "lock in" the nature of T'A'R, I think maybe Verin didn't give Eg the notes because, coming from a weak dreamer, they might have been wrong, and as such, hindered Eg.

Of course, that leaves Eg having to figure everything else out on her own.
Rebecca Starr
53. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
Mia ayende, Aes Sedai
Aes Sedai never liked having the truth of their domineering ways thrown in their faces. And Mat does not disappoint. And Siuan was only partially truthful in saying that Aes Sedai and ancient Manetheren were allies. As I recall, it was Aes Sedai betrayal that lead to Manetheren's downfall. Though it would have been consigned to the secret archives by modern times, the Amyrlin at the time was a Red who in her jealousy of the Manetheren queen's power dissuaded their supposed allies from coming to their aid. What else could you expect of Red uber-bitches?
She was stilled for it, of course, but that's hardly sufficient penance for the loss of so many lives, an entire nation's worth, fighting for the light. Not to mention shattering the sword that could not be broken. So yeah, the ancient lord in Mat's Old Blood memories was perfectly right in refusing Aes Sedai control. And yes, watch out for Mat. This is where he begins to shine.
As for the supergirls, I'm not really a fan of their adventures. Most of it is them getting in over their heads because of their arrogance, thinking they're better than men, and then lucking out somehow. Through a combination of sheer channeling strength or unexpected aid from some strange plot element. I don't really think men are better, of course, but at least men don't disparage women when they're about to fumble.
Rebecca Starr
54. disgruntled no more
I just went to the 'spreadsheet' on the Ajahs!
How can anyone keep track of all this?

Here's a thought;
How about a sheet of the Aiel?
Just the Shaido should keep someone very busy for along time.
We don't need to keep track of the white cloaks.
Of course that leaves the Windfinders (can't remember their name) and the Seanchan.
Maybe the wolves, too? That one would be interesting.
I'm sure there are a few more gatherings that I can't remember at this time, but these should keep you busy for awhile?

The story changes all the characters from time to time making them more lifelike. Not just keeping them in a 'box' of the same responses, etc. They can grow and evolve.

I love reading all the rereadings, and the comments. Funny though, I don't usually try to get everything thought out like you people.
I just plod along and go with the flow.

Keep up the food for thought!
Ethan Pope
55. Unforsaken
Jafco @ 34 Are you trying to insinuate that our fiery fireworks queen (and eventual mother of the most destructive, non-OP based weapon ever) is a "big dog"?
Rebecca Starr
56. Plastic Gorilla
The healing thing with T'A'R has always got em as well... Now with the ring channeling is impossible... so who healed her... how long did she wait. Lots of questions for Verin... But hey she makes me laugh, She reminds me of a Grandmother that gives you castor oil when you are faking sick. Sure you might puke but at least you are now honest.

31. Sharonr - I cant remember if Cadsuane (the other really old AS?) ever mentions her as a novice/accepted?

I think she may have during a discussion... I could absolutely be wrong there though.

BTW this is my first comment in the threads and I wanted to thank you for the 2 Hitch Hikers references now. But hey I am just this guy, you know?

Looking forward to the next post. May start to read along.
Rebecca Starr
57. birgit
In the rooftop chase, the Gray Man kills himself with a dagger when he falls before Mat can finish him off. Maybe Sheriam knows about that Gray Man habit and that is why she doesn't search for another killer.

Siuan wanted them to bring El into it. She just wanted to be able to tell Morgase that it wasn't her doing (I think she says something like that when she talks to them in the kitchen).

I don't think Corianin was a Dreamer or Dreamwalker. She just studies a lot of dream ter'angreal (are some of the stolen ones described in more detail in the papers?).

I don't think Verin is black but no Aes Sedai would want to let proof of the BAs existence get out and I am sure Verin would not regard Egwene as grown up enough to be given that kind of information

That doesn't make sense. She knows that Siuan set them to hunt the BA, so of course they know that it exists.

The powerful channelers appear when more non-AS channelers are introduced. The AS more or less get only those girls who come to the Tower themselves, while other groups get all available channelers, so of course the probability that they get strong ones is higher than for the AS who get only a small sample of potential channelers.
Rebecca Starr
58. Einat
First time I post here, so here it goes:

After reading the discussion, I had two thoughts:

Discovering characters stronger then the Super Girls is very logical to the books line of thought which is, as I see it, that Aes Sedai are so conservative and traditional, that for hundreds of years they have lived in a bobble, slowly eliminating the ability to channel by gentling and by not actively recruiting / not recruiting women they believe are to old.
notice that all the significant stronger characters are never Aes Sedei (example: Alivia, Sharina Avyenda, a young wind finder which I don't remember her name )
even Egwene, and Nynave would have never become Aes Sedai if not discovered accidently by Morine.
this is an emphsis to the fact that the tower and what it represent has no futere - the power lays some where else.

Second thought I had, which is probably very crazy is:
maybe Verin is Corianin ?
Corianin faked her death and burnout, and now living udder a false new name?
Verin mentioned Corianin had the dream terangril all her life,then how it endde up with Verin ?
Also, Verin have a scar from Tel' how did she get it?

That's all,
I wanted to thank you Leigh you are the best! thank's for this wonderful project
like many others here you flamed an old addiction of mine.
and one last thing - sorry for spelling and grammar, as you can guess English isn't my native language.
John Massey
59. subwoofer
Finally! Caught up with the whole thing. Now maybe my comments will be current and relevant. Leigh- you must be working like a champion to keep up this pace. Chapters are whipping by at mach 5. Black Ajah- S&M starting here. Elaida needs beats!
‘I am a free man, Aes Sedai. I am no Aes Sedai meat.’ That is what he said.” Woo Hoo! I have been waiting so long for someone to finally say that out loud. It tires me when Aes Sedai think they are all that and a bag of chips and it is okay to manipulate people. Time to take some ownership for your actions!
Mat Rocks!
Rebecca Starr
60. The Visitor
Ardently following your recap Leigh, though regrettably not understanding every hint or every american verbalism posted; I am a citizen of Austria and after having read your info on Jordancom, my son an myself have spontaneously decided to visit Atlanta next month. Cant wait to get to know you there personally. Please continue your exellent work, I must confess, that due to my limited knowledge of your language, reading a volume of RJ consumes about a month time!!
cu soon and greetings from old Europe, George and Robert
Rebecca Starr
61. michaelt
Phase 1 of Operation Make Mat Awesome has been completed. Yeessss!!!!!

The fact that Mat is commanding troops in the Old Tongue before the 'finn folk has always made me think that he is a hero reborn. I used to think he was King Aemon reborn since Mat's first spouting of the Old Tongue in tEotW was Aemon's battle cry. Also, he remembers commanding the Heart Guard after being Healed, which is something Aemon would have done. Recently I've had the though that it could have been Prince Caar (sp?) who was sent to request Aridhol's aid, was thrown in their dungeon, lost his hand and escaped (ooh, Tolkien-sense is tinging uncontrollably). Didn't Min see a severed hand around Mat at one point? It also makes it more understandable why Mat creates the Band of the Red Hand.
After writing that out, Caar would have known the battle cry, and he could have commanded the Heart Guard also. Of the two, Caar sounds the more heroic (Gleemen tell stories about him at least), so my vote goes to Mat being Caar reborn. Feel free to disagree, though.
Rebecca Starr
62. markp
My theory was that, Corianin was not actually a dreamer just let everyone think she was, because she secretly had the ter’angreal (or even lying which would make her BA) but there is no evidence for it.
Verin must have has a good reason to consider burning the notes. Browns are not really noted for destroying knowledge (unless Verin is an exception). I can only think they were useless or contained dangerous information (either dangerous in general or to Egwene).
Richard Boye
63. sarcastro

“Paradox, child. The Dark One is the embodiment of paradox and chaos, the destroyer of reason and logic, the breaker of balance, the unmaker of order.”

See! This is totally meant to be said by Louise Fletcher in her haughty, slightly creepy and somewhat dangerous manner.

Wow, that's an amazingly substanceless comment for such momentous chapters.

Anyway, I also thought Lanfear was the most awesome of the Forsaken for a while - she has her own agenda, she chose her own name, she fucks with all of our six protagonists in her own way, and she didn't try to make herself Queen of Cairhien or anything. Not her style. She just wears white, pretends to be a Lunar Goddess and pops in and out of everywhere and oozes elegance, sensuality and EEEEEEEEEEEEEVIL.

But in retrospect, her Evil Machinations are really rather lame. I know think that Moghedien was better - creeping along, Compulsing (sic) the hell out of people here and there, and she actually did something really wicked (Birgitte).

As to the whole Grey Man thing, yeah, that was probably the only time they tried anything against our heroes, right? (I forget, when Rand beheads an entire merchant's train, has that already happened?)

Additionally, I have something of a perverse sympathy for the Red Ajah, and Elaida in particular. So here she is, Siuan's opposite number - very strong in the OP, she has a respect gathering Talent (Foretelling), and she has essentially been fired from her prestigious job due to what she perceives as Siuan's ineptitude.

So, she decides to take the Seat herself. How is she supposed to know that she enlisted the Black Ajah? After all, Siuan and Moiraine had been sitting on that secret for two decades, and the Black Ajah hadn't quite exerted itself. Face it people, Elaida was an admirable antagonist until such time she takes on Grima Wormtongue, I mean Ordeith and the Evil Dagger of Evil, as an advisor - later when he stabs that poor Accepted (Verine), he concedes that he touched Elaida with his Evil Dagger of Evil, and screwed with her faculties, and now she probably wouldn't trust her own mother any more (correction: he mentions this in LoC, Chapter 28). Up until that time, Elaida was really on her game.

So, I sorta pity her.
Robert Garza
64. FunBob
If I remember my KoD's correctly, Sheriam is being beaten by Halima aka Ar'angar aka Ba'althamel and has been since around book 7 or 8. She is the source of Halima's information on what is going on in the Little Tower, because Delana is not part of Egwene's inner circle of Aes Sedai. I believe Sheriam's POV shows her NOT to be BA, but like Leigh my memories of that book are not as sharp as the oft read early books....

He He He....Sneaky Verin....Just like Jordan to throw a mythological reference to give us Verin's purpose in the story (Athena, Greek Goddess of Wisdom, whos totem animal is the owl).

As always, thanks Leigh! Can't wait for Monday's post, as we get Egwene's Accepted test....Another candidate for a lost story is what happened in Elayne's Accepted test? We are never told other than it was horrible enough to make her sob for hours in Nynaeve's embrace....

Rebecca Starr
65. Tel Janin
As far as the Gray Man goes, IIRC in the brief POV we get from Slayer in Winter's Heart, he mentions killing one of the Soulless in the White Tower itself. I'm not sure if it was that particular Gray Man or just a coincidence.
Rebecca Starr
66. Egglie
I am so glad that people thought my Corianin is black theory was not stupid! I have been lurking on dragonmount for years but have never been brave enough to post.

@57 Birgit
Ok - so I forgot when I was writing the post that Verin already knows that Egwene knows about the BA. I still think that the general AS fear of even thinking about the BA would make her cautious of giving the notes out if that was what they contained. Egwene is still a novice here (just) - a veritable child to an old hand like Verin - and one who has recently demonstrated her lack of judgement. Just because she knows that the BA exists does not mean that she is ready to read the Evil doers guide to Dreaming.

However, its only a theory and I know that I don't WANT Verin to be black so I do tend to read her sympathetically. We will probably never find out about Corianin anyway. I hope to god we find out conclusively about Verin before the end though!

I agree that the reason that verin thinks Corianin barely deserved to be called a dreamer is because she was in possesion of the cheating ring ter'angreal.

@58 Einat
Sorry but I think Verin = Corianin is a no go. "Only a chance habit of rummaging through old papers in the library had led Verin to them (corianin's notes)". Pretty weird thing to think to yourself if you are looking at your own notes.

I love reading everyone's theories no matter how crazy, thanks for being so nice about mine :-)
Rebecca Starr
67. Effervescent
@63 Wow... I have never made the connection between Ordeith and Elaida's going off the deep end. Your connecting the dots here = A+!!

I now can't wait for us to get to that point in this new read through.
Rebecca Starr
68. Lsana
I've enjoyed reading everyone else's theories about the notes. Mine is that there is something in the notes about TAR that is so terrifying that Verin thought that if Egwene read them, she wouldn't use dare use the ter'angreal, and Verin thought it important that Egwene do so. Whatever it is, though, I hope that that we find out in Memory of Light. I don't need to know who killed Asmodean, I can live without knowing any more about Kari al'Thor, I just want to know what's in those notes!

On the Black Ajah hunt chapters:

We've got critical logic failures going on here, so many that I'm scarcely sure where to begin. First, we have Suian trusting the supergirls just because they say they were kidnapped. She has no proof of that, and no proof of whether or not they were turned to the dark by the 13 Black Ajah + 13 Fades trick. Even if they walk in the light, they are of dubious use as hunters given that she's already expressed doubt about their judgment. I could easily come up with a better plan, and I have a hard time respecting Suian knowing that she couldn't.

Next, we have Nynaeve recruiting Elayne on the grounds that "no one will suspect she's working with us." Others have already explained why that's so dumb.

Finally there's the problem that neither Nynaeve nor Elayne worries what Morgase will think. In TGH, Nynaeve pointed out that the Daughter-Heir couldn't disappear without consequences, and Elayne pooh-poohs that because she wanted an adventure. The consequences of Elayne's disappearance were as disastrous as anyone could have predicted. Now, Nynaeve entirely forgets about her earlier concerns, and Elayne proves that she has learned nothing from the fact that she put the White Tower and Andor as close to war as they are likely to get. Both need to be slapped upside the head.

Oh, and while I'm on the subject of Elayne, she's an unforgivable bitch to her brothers here. She does owe them something. If not an explanation, then at least a few kind words and a thank you. Instead, they face off against Morgase for her, and she says, "Go away, you're bothering me."

On Mat:

I too am glad that his past-self told off the Aes Sedai.

I think that his "memory" when he awakes from the healing is, if not proof that he is someone reborn, it's as close as we're likely to get. It doesn't come from the Finns, obviously, and it seems too "Mat-like" to be from a genetic memory. When Rand lives as his past selves, Jeordam, Lewin, Adan, etc. are all their own characters. None seems like Rand in funny clothing. But this passage does feel like Mat: his way of observing, the idea of him as a gambler with battle as the ultimate gamble, the phrase "time to toss the dice." I don't think this was just one of Mat's ancestors; I'm pretty sure it was Mat's soul in a different body.

@61 michaelt,
It seems Mat probably someone royal (I'm pretty sure that a random general would not refer to "his bannerman"), but I don't remember Prince Caar. Do you have a reference for when he appeared?

Regardless, I think I'm more inclined to pump for Aemon. Aemon seems like he should have been one of the heroes of the horn, but no one mentions seeing him at Falme. Logically, that ought to be because he's already out, and I think he's probably Mat.
Rebecca Starr
69. SteelBlaidd
Hoping @8
I didn't get the math when N stated, with wonder, that she couldn't channel half of the flow in the healing scene. That was ten of the strongest AS available, multiplied by their best Sa'angreal. I don't ever recall her being described as that powerful in later books

The multiplier only applies to the channeler using the angreal, in this case Suian, not the full circle.

And they don't need a full dossier on Mat's soul to know he's a shallow teenager :P

@ Effervescent 15: I love the soapishness myself. For comparison the longest soap-opera in world literature is the Bahagvad Gita so they have an ancient and honorable tradition.

I hope we get some reveal on whats in Corinian's paperes. I wonder if there is some for telling that Verin is using to guide her actions.

For those who were wondering about all the Forsaken being dream walkers, one of them comments latter about seeing someone in TAR looking misty like they are using a training ter'angreal. I suspect its a learn able skill, Dreamers Walkers just do it naturally. Equivalent to the Sparker/Learner split in chanallers.

@ Alex 22
But I always wondered if the heroic/gambling personality traits were his, or if they came from the past life memories:
RJ said in an interview that Mat and Brigitte are the best examples of his concept of reborn souls, the more your spun out the more your base personality gets refined and caries over to a new life. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the Finn memories he gets are from his own past incarnations.

@ Don_in_Cda 26:
Seconding your analysis of the political and tactical difficulties of attempting to root out the black Ajah. Remember that it required not only the oath rod but 4 sitters and liberal application of the chair of remorse for the BA hunters to get their first break. What would have happened to an incredibly young Amyerlin if she'd started a purge with no crisis to keep averyone distracted.

I suspect Suain counted on Egwene and Nyn spilling the beans to Ely but needed plausible denyability.

@ Wetlander #36

See this section of the Wotmania Faq for a run down of power levels. The supergirls are only the most powerfull that the TOWER knows about. If even one girl in 10 that can learn or is sparky ever makes it to V for training I'll be very surprised. All the other cultures running around pick up everyone and Even then an Alvia only shows up once in 400 years. Nyneave is only as strong as Moggy who is noticeably weaker than Lanfear.

Re Sheriam's beating: We never see whose doing it and she never says.
Rebecca Starr
70. Caseyft
I love these discussions because they remind me that there are still people out there who love this series as much as I do. What's left of rasfwrj is mostly bashing the later books (not that there aren't valid reasons for this but still ...)

Re: The stronger and stronger female channelers:
For a while I thought that the sole reason to indroduce Alivia was for the moment when we finally learn for certain that Cyndane is Lanfear at the end of WH. But I think that Elint is correct: it is meant to show the limits of the Tower's reach. I'd put forward a theory that in the 4th Age the Kin becomes the new dominant power governing channeling - a more egalitarian system than the top-down AS organization. Egwene's actions as Amyrlin would certainly seem to be moving things in that direction.

Re: Verin and Corianin's notes
IMHO, this is not suspicious behavior at all. All Eg's teachers are well aware of how head-strong she is, how she pushes her channeling ability to a dnagerous point. The same turns out to be true of dreamwalking when the Wise Ones instruct her. The notes could have contained things like how to find other dreamwalkers (we know this can be done), how to use need, how to enter other peoples dreams, that might have tempted Eg to take on the Forsaken or do other crazy s!@#.

Re: cosmology
I still think we are going to learn more about WoT cosmology ... we've never learned what Fel's note meant, and it seems to be key to TG somehow. I also think Mat's showdown with the 'Finn will be tied to TG somehow, too. But ya, too much structure often becomes a problem. I'm reading The Malazan Book of the Fallen right now and I think Eriksson makes the mistake of having the rules too rigid - though we learn them very slowly.
Richard Fife
71. R.Fife
bannerman was actually just a rank. I don't think Mat was royalty, just teh Manetherin equiv of Gareth Bryne. All of the "great captains" are not kings or rulers, but isntead minor nobles or lords. Davram Bashere is probably the highest ranking outside of their generalship. Although, I do agree with the "Mat's soul is being reused," or at least a part of.

Also agree with the "Elayne is a bitch" sentiment. Of the supergirls, I like her the least (which perhaps extends into not liking at all). I honestly don't think she has yet to "grow up". She is still reckless and living in the shadow of the "warrior queens" of Andor, and, what I think is the worst, is that she never gets really beaten down for her flaw. Egwene is beaten senseless by Aiel, and Nynaeve almost drowns, but Elayne, nope, nothing. So vexing.
Richard Boye
72. sarcastro

Elayne ultimately gets abducted by the Black Ajah (again!) before she is crowned, but that's like the fifteenth time that has happened.

She has matured, I think, but she is still amazingly reckless and has the bad habit of getting others killed for it.
Richard Fife
73. R.Fife
Sarcastro: I was even thinking of that. I don't think she really matured even after that abduction. Remember, the entire time she is going on about how she is invincible cause Min saw that her babies will be born healthy. I might not be remembering key passages to the opposite, but I have the impression in my wrinkled gray matter that Queen Elayne isn't much less crazy than novice Elayne, and I am sure it came from somewhere.

Funny how all of us can't seem to remember crap from KoD, never mind that it should be the freshest in our minds (at least, since it was the most recently published).
Richard Boye
74. sarcastro
I have only fleeting recollections of KoD because I haven't ever re-read that one, whereas I must have re-read the early volumes several times over.

The only part of KoD that I recall well is Egwene's sterling campaign of leadership through adversity. That was awesome.

Semirhage's capture, Rand's handectomy, Faile's rescue, and Mat and Tuon's "courtship" are events that I recall happening, but that's all. I know that Elayne managed to scramble atop the Lion Throne and that she get several Aes Sedai killed, also, but it's all really hazy how that happened

(I chose to ignore and will hopefully forget Perrin willfully selling hundreds of sentient beings into servitude as animals)

p.s. El'Nynaeve rallying the Borderlands to the Golden Crane was the awesome also, but rather brief.
John Massey
75. subwoofer
Sarcasto- vaguely remember KoD but from what I do recall- Elayne, Aviendah(can't remember the spelling) and Bridget(who is captain of the guard) are busy trying to get a majority of the houses on her side. She had rival houses warring outside the gates leaving the city under siege and was using some mercs to bolster her number. And she was also preggers from Randy and his many wife escapades. I can't remember if this was the bit where Rand walks around in the dreams or not but I do remember Awesome Mat and Tuon. Those were good times. Mat wanting to slap around Tuon's Shadow, who he thought was her maid and wanted to dandle on his knee. Would of been funny if she really whopped his butt. Okay- maybe my memory is coming back.
Yeah- and Egwene was having many headaches and her and Gwayne were playing patty cake.
And Galad became first something or other of the Children of Light.
.....and Nynaeve joined the red dot brigade.
John Massey
76. subwoofer
...........and Egwene laid siege to Tar Valon.
Ofer Nave
77. odigity
1) Would it make sense to say that I don't like Elayne, but I respect her?

2) Don't talk about KoD! It makes *me* want to talk about KoD, and I'm trying real hard not to do that until we get there, or the conversation will become total chaos, with legendary rants and epic ravings not attached to their relavant posts, trollocs and grolm living together, anarchy! :)
Rebecca Starr
78. CaptainBooshi
“Paradox, child. The Dark One is the embodiment of paradox and chaos, the destroyer of reason and logic, the breaker of balance, the unmaker of order.”

Gah! It annoys me every time I think of this. This is not a paradox. The clear solution to this is that there is only one world that matters, the one that we're following. If he escapes in this world, he escapes from them all, and if he stays imprisoned in this one, he stays imprisoned in them all.

Jordan implies this is the only true world in his discussion about portal stones, although I don't think he ever states it directly, but when there is a clear explanation for something, it is not a paradox.
Rebecca Starr
79. Dr. Morganstien
@78 CaptainBooshi
This is not a paradox. The clear solution to this is that there is only one world that matters, the one that we're following. If he escapes in this world, he escapes from them all, and if he stays imprisoned in this one, he stays imprisoned in them all.DAH! You just beat me to it. It never occured to me that this was a paradox until Verin said it was. You seem perfectly correct to me Captain.
Rebecca Starr
80. Rebecca Starr
A quick correction @68 Lsana - Rand isn't living his past selves, but rather his ancestors through his paternal line. Mat's memories, I agree, are more likely his own soul reincarnated, if not all, then at least some of them.

And yes, I agree with those whose memories of KoD are spotty, even tho we read it most recently! I know books 1-7 like the back of my hand and have read each 6 to 8 times. Books 8-11... more like 3 times through, if that, and in the case of KoD, just the once.
Rebecca Starr
81. Bill (JNatael)
Hello All!

Stepping out of the Lurkness, maybe even with something interesting to contribute.. ~grin~

I'm reading along, but not quite caught up with Leigh the fabster. It has been a real treat to read these posts and then -afterwards- read the same chapters with commentary and all fresh in-mind. Wowzers!

In this, the freshest of chapters, 21, Egwene is on her way to visit Verin when she sees a flash of white in the all but abandonded corridor ahead. It's quickly dismissed as probably a novice on an errand, but Wait A Minute. I'm convinced the flash of white was Lanfear. We just saw her visiting with Mat, and the description is super-similar to her hiding games in tGH. What gives? Was she also visiting Verin? Was she spying on Egwene (jealously or no)?

I didn't see this here on the blog, and I don't recall seeing it back in the discussion board days. Why? Surely lack of evidence along with Sneaky Verin being the focus of the chapter. Did anyone else notice? Am I chasing Jak-o-the-Shadows?
Richard Fife
82. R.Fife
Verin lives in the library, and Lanfear planted all the Tear stuff in the Library too. Good chance she was just getting all that setup.

Or maybe it is a red herring, and it really was just a novice.
Rebecca Starr
83. michaelt
Lsana @68-
Caar's story is told by Moiraine in tEotW, Ch 19. Although after re-reading it, Caar wasn't present when the Trollocs attacked Manetheren. My vote is now going back to Mat as Aemon reborn.
Rebecca Starr
84. LynnOH
Leigh you little ta'verenen you! Influencing Austrian's to come and spend stimulus bucks in Atlanta. Wish I could be there...

Elayne still had not birthed those wee DR's by the end of KOD had she? Maybe that'll get her to finally grow up.

Gotta believe RJ is really enjoying this extension of his writing legacy. Lets keep him chuckling above!
Rebecca Starr
85. Lsana
One thing I'm surprised no one has mentioned yet: these chapters are a virtual orgy of braid-tugging. Seems like pretty much every time we see Nynaeve, she has her braid in her hand. I didn't do a count, but I think it's pretty impressive.

@80 REbecca Star,

That was my point actually, but I may have stated it badly. If the memory was Mat's "old blood," ie some kind of ancestral memory, then it would have been more like Rand's experience in Rhuidean. It wasn't much like Rand's experience, therefore I think it was probably something else, most likely a past life.


No contradiction between respecting someone but not liking them, though I will admit that how you can respect Elayne is beyond me.
Rebecca Starr
86. alaric
@64 -- Eleyan's Test

Based off of the others, I'd go with:

Past -- She does something silly as Daughter-Heir, and Gawn and Gallad come to he rescue. They will die defending her unless she straightens things out, but The Way Will Come Only Once...

Present -- Morgase has died, she needs to go to Caemlyn immediately to forestall another Succession, except The Way Will Come Only Once...

Future -- As Queen, she sees the Seanchan attacking Caemlyn, her forces are in tatters, but she knows she could rally them as did the Queens of Old, except The Way Will Come Only Once...

That would pretty much be Teh Suck for her...
Rebecca Starr
87. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed

Caar is part of the royal line and Aemon's direct ancestor if not his father. After all, Aemon's full name was Aemon al'Caar(son of Caar) al'Thorin(son of Thorin).
He is not mentioned in Moiraine's tale of the fall of Manetheren, though if he was still alive, he would have been part of the reserves who joined up with Aemon when he made his last stand at Aemon's Field.
Sara H
88. LadyBelaine

I have somewhere in the recesses of my hard drive some lame fan-fic regarding what Elayne's Accepted Testing must have been; I have been obsessed with it for years.
Rebecca Starr
89. Effervescent
You know, I can't remember "disliking" the soap opera stuff from the supergirls the first read through. But on subsequent re-reads, it became intolerable. So, in a way, I wasn't totally truthful when I said I could not stand the supergirls plot lines; but only for the first read through.

The more I read these replies, the more I realize I am really looking forward to reading responses to what is upcoming. The supergirls first connection to the Aiel, Matt's luck, and even Rand's killing of an anonymous female that still haunts him; it's getting good!

And of course, the "end" of the farmboy beginnings. I always said that the first 3 books were the "individual" aspects of the group, where what they did didn't shake the world, so to speak. After Rand gets to Tear, everything he does affects whole populations of people (though you could argue that even in the first three books, thats the case, but it is hidden from the reader for the most part).
Brad Moore
90. servantcbm
re: Mat's Memories

I don't believe that they are all his previous incarnations. For one thing the timing doesn't work. He mentions fighting several times against and alongside Hawkwing.

Additionally, Birgitte tells him in CoS that he slips from a Eharion High Prince to a First Lord of Manatheren, implying others as well.

My personal theory is that he was probably a First Lord of Manatheren in one of his lives, and the other memories are from contemporaries of that period of time.
John Massey
91. subwoofer
Effervescent- I agree with what you are saying about the supergirls. Like you, when I was re-reading the books I would skip over their chapters like religion. Suffering through them once was enough. Especially all that BS about who was in charge Tar Valon vs. Egwene's authority. Drove me nuts- somebody needed to grow a set...
I did like everyone following in the wake of Rand. Doing his POV thing in the early stages reminds me of a kid going through puberty. Really embarrassing to deal with and the sooner it was over the better to move on with life. Following Rand you can see how he is changing the pattern and influencing people and you can get a glimmer of how much power he has and how he can unite the world against the Shadow.... or something like that. I still love Mat for his unabashed dirt baggery. Very refreshing.
Rebecca Starr
92. gagecreedlives
Did Lanfear send slayer to kill the gray man, thwart whoevers plan it was to have them killed and make sure they get to Tear?

birgit@57 “In the rooftop chase, the Gray Man kills himself with a dagger when he falls before Mat can finish him off. Maybe Sheriam knows about that Gray Man habit and that is why she doesn't search for another killer.”

Are you talking about the upcoming scene where Mat and the gray man fall of the bridge? I thought it was because of Mats luck that he escaped unharmed and the gray man ended up dead. Not that the gray man killed himself.

Search or not she does find another gray man in her bed. Somebody on the dark side has a wicked sense of humour.

Sarcastro@63 comments about Elaida being touched with the Evil dagger of Evil jogged something lose in my memory. When we have a Pedron Niall PoV and a Elaida PoV after Fain has been and gone don’t they both think of defeating the shadow and all the glory that will come with it. I don’t have the books handy but I do believe that both PoV’s are almost word for word the same.

FunBob@64 I don’t think we have found out yet who is beating Sheriam. The only hint we get is that Sheriam regrets talking to a sitter. But Halima is a leading contender. I think the old Ba'althamel would enjoy stripping a woman of power and giving her a smack on the bum. I have my own thoughts on this but will try to wait until it is relevant.

I wonder if we will ever see the 13 black ajah + 13 fades trick. It stops being mentioned in later books and looks like RJ may have given up on it as a plot device.

Bill@81 I don’t think your chasing shadows. Jak or otherwise. I think it was Lanfear spying on Egwene and later uses the knowledge that she learnt to show her callandor in the dream world. And futher convince them to go to Tear.

LadyBelaine@88 If you feel like finding it I would be interested in reading it.
Rebecca Starr
93. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
Given that Mat for now only remembers leading men rather than being a common soldier. My theory tends toward being an officer of some sort. Or the First Lord of Manetheren. Which might or might not be the same as being king.

It is interesting to note though that his predilection for the Old Tongue and Old Blood memories got worse after being freed of the dagger. Prior to this all he said were battle cries. He didn't actually start speaking in whole sentences until being freed of the dagger. This continues on to Tear where he probably had even less trouble than Moiraine with the language of the Finns. And on to the Waste where he attracts Asmodean's attention by simply muttering to himself in the Old Tongue.

My theory is that being connected to a Relic of the Trolloc Wars(the dagger) for so long has jarred these memories loose. Alternatively the gaps in his memory are allowing Old Blood memories to seep through. Or both.
Rebecca Starr
95. Hugin
Been gone all weekend, so I'm late to this party, but here are my two coppers, FWIW.

Love these chapters. I'd forgotten about Mat yelling at the Aes Sedai in the Old Tongue while being Healed, but it is indeed made of awesome. And I have been waiting for Mat to become the Mat I actually like.

I also always liked the scene in Chapter 14 where Siuan gives Ny and Eg the note of unlimited power -- really makes it hit home how serious things are and how desparate Siuan is. Where the wonder girls go from there has issues, but I love this scene.

Speaking of Siuan, I actually always liked her fishing metaphors. It reminds me of when I was doing business in Canada and got to hear people use hockey metaphors instead of our US football and baseball ones: hockey references are just cooler as are Tairen fishing references.

I like the Corianin Nedeal as Black Ajah theory. Don't suppose we'll ever know for sure, but it does make sense. And I've never really thought Verin was Black Ajah.

Hadn't thought about whether Mat was a past hero reborn or just had some strong old blood mojo going on, but the Aemon or other Manetheren prince reborn theory seems pretty good to me. These last two points are what I'm really enjoying about this re-read: lots of points I hadn't ever bothered to consider are coming out.

I can hardly wait for the next chapters -- one of my absolute favorite moments of the entire series coming up.
Rebecca Starr
96. Rikka
Sadly I just got back from a frisbee tournament and am quite pooped and so I am sad that I don't feel up to my typical reply, especially on such an awesome part. Matt from here on out becomes my favorite character of the series. Also all the TA'R stuff coming up is a lot of good fun, leading to the Aiel and whatnot.

I'm tired. Does it show?

Great post Leigh :)
craig miller
97. craigpmiller
Oh Leigh,
I withstood the urge to read ahead for only two and a bit books ... oh ... how weak I am.

Thanks for plugging me back into this series.

Mat is WAY awesome, especially now, when he is discovering just how lucky he is.

Cheers all. Thanx for all your insights.
Blake Engholm
98. UncrownedKing
@1 R.Fife

Han solo=Mat Love it. Hell'uva comparison. Hates doing the right thing would rather just go about is own way but Lukes tavareness pulls him by the coat tails around. Does what needs to be done but claims its only because it was in his best interests. Can't believe I never made the connection.

Can't wait for the "Extreme Luck" discovery and the Mat vs Galad and Gawyn so awesome.
Rebecca Starr
99. Lsana
@90 servantcbm,

I agree that the memories Mat gets from the Finns are not his own past lives. Only his memories of Manatheren seem to be.

But I don't remember any of his Finn memories where he fights with Hawkwing--all of the ones I can remember were ones where he fought against. I could easily have forgotten one though. Do you have a citation for a memory where he was fighting with Hawkwing (other than the end of TGH, of course)?
Rebecca Starr
100. David-2
"I am no Aes Sedai meat".

I've always thought the Amrylin was ... selectively quoting ... what Mat said here. I think if Elayne had really been paying attention she would have been able to indulge her third favorite hobby: learning new swear words, in the Old Tongue this time! (Her second favorite hobby is making terangeral and her most favorite hobby is looking down her nose.)

Also, Verin didn't pass on the notes and was seriously considering burning them because the damn owl had messed them up. She's lost of lot of valuable source documents that way over the years.
Blake Engholm
101. UncrownedKing
@ 100
You forgot how much Elayne lifts her chin in a dignified way and sniffs at people. Has anyone theorized why the super girls have these OCD-like compulsions? (Eg with her fists on hips, Nyn and her braid, and Elayne with her chinlifting/looking down her nose) And does anyone hope that Nyn one day pulls that braid right out of her skull?
Rebecca Starr
102. MaureenS
great job Leigh!

I have a question not necessarily about this bit but in a bunch of action leading up to here.
Money - how they get it. In TEoTW a big deal is made of Rand and Matt walking to Caemlyn and being flat broke. Everything is so expensive and they either sleep in a haystack or sing for their supper.
But then in TGH when Rand, Loial and Hurin are in Carhien waiting for the others they are staying at an inn. Did Moiraine give Rand money along with his fancy clothes?
Loial has been running around outside for 5 years. Does he have chests of gold to pay for all his inns and food?
Rebecca Starr
103. NanaD
Good morning. Waiting for the post. Just a few thoughts:

Ch 15 Gray Man
Could he have been sent to kill Elayne or someone else and mis-shot his cross-bow when he was stabbed? Dosen't Sheriam find a dead Gray man in her bed?

re: rebirth
If the Heroes wait in Tel'aran'rhiod for rebirth where is everyone else waiting? Is every soul reborn or only a chosen few?

Maybe Mat is a Hero and remembers past battles because he is ta'veren and that is what is needed to win the Last Battle.
Rebecca Starr
104. katg
@99 Lsana
As for Hawkwing memories, Mat does think to himself that he remembers fighting with Hawkwing and against him, once when Hawkwing is a young man and once when he's much older (don't remember which one is which).
I think this part is when Tuon asks him if he remembers Hawkwing's face.
Sorry, I'm at work and don't have the books here, but I hope that clears it up for you!
Rebecca Starr
105. cps2195
If Corianin was a real dreamer wouldn't it be safe to assume shew might have had one or more "true" dreams? Maybe she never realized they were prophetic because they wouldn't make sense for oh say about 400 years. I think that some of the notes in the journal have influenced or are influencing Verin's actions and decisions. We all know that AS like their secrets.
Rebecca Starr
106. Hugin
@102 re: money

I don't think that money was all that well thought out all the time. Aes Sedai get a stipend from the White Tower on a monthly basis I think, so they always have something on them and can draw on letters of credit that the WT has with various bankers around Randland. Other characters seem to have it or not according to the needs of the storyline. But you can probably make sense of most parts. In TGH in Cairhien, Rand probably had some along, and to the extent he was short, the innkeeper in Cairhien probably wouldn't dare ask for cash in advance from so important of a Lord and Rand figured he'd settle up when Ingtar arrived with the cash he (presumably) was carrying for the expedition. Not so sure about Loial -- he must either have quite a stash on him, or occasionally sing some wood for cash but I don't think either is mentioned. Even more of a mystery (and I know that this is skipping ahead but it is Monday already) is in the next section of TDR when the supergirls are plotting to go to Tear and Elayne claims to have no money on her. Huh? The Daughter-Heir without more than a few coppers to her name?
Rebecca Starr
107. seanie
@102 Maureen : Moiraine pays .

@105 cps2195 I was wondering myself --Verin says she "barely qualifies " as a dreamer. I was wondering if she meant that she didn't have prophesizing dreams too often or she could only enter T'AR with the T'er etc. As discussed earlier , someone (I forget who , sorry-- who!)
had the interesting notion that she might be Black Ajah (Corianin (?sp? ) and maybe that was partly why she didn't pass the notes on to Eggie. I always wondered about Verin.....
Rebecca Starr
108. Lsana
@104 katg,

The whole "do you remember Hawkwing's face" bit happened in COT, didn't it? That would explain why I don't remember it (I've read COT once and will never read it again). I seem to recall that in all Mat's Hawkwing-related memories that we see, he's fighting on the other side.

Thank you much for the info!
Rebecca Starr
109. swmdilla
I'm really enjoying these blogs!

@21 R. Fife,
I also like the image of Verin with an owl. It fits. But im not sure about every Ajah having the ability to ward against vermin. Is'nt that a secret only known by the Blue (the reason Moraine was able to do it in TEotW)? I feel like we are told that in Sali Dar in one of the later books. Or is that just against bugs?
Richard Fife
110. R.Fife
I admit yes, the the image fits amazingly. As leigh said "And has an owl, hah. Of course she does." As far as Aes Sedai tricks and a vermin ward being guarded, well, i would not put it past them, but I would have throught that all those Blue Amyrlins over the past 1000 years might have had the idea to share it to keep the tower vermin free. Not having mice eating your books and weevels in your grain is nice, even in the cleanest city in the world (at least, pre-überbitch).

Uncrowned, says something for my flyspeck memory that I had to go reread my own comment to remember that I had indeed compared Mat to Han Solo. I still stand by it. Verin can be Yoda.
Rebecca Starr
111. Egglie

It has always been part of my Corianin is black theory that those notes are chock full of "dark prophesey" and are a major source of Verins info.

I didn't go into this before because I have completely made it up and have not a shred of evidence to support it if someone challenges me to justify myself.

I think that Verin is not black but has a very different idea of how to help the light win the last battle to Moiraine and Suian. She pops up in some odd places and seems to have some odd priorities.

I don't buy for a minute that Verin will turn up in the two rivers with Alana just to look for girls who can channel or that she made the effort to learn compulsion lite(TM) just for fun.

I think she has access to different prophesies to those which are widely known. Corianin's notes could be where she found them (even if she wasn't black but I think she was). I think it could also be that Verin's 70 year project started because she found the notes.

Interestingly the actual comment Verin makes about Corianin is "from what I can make of the records, she barely deserved the name" This could mean that she has figured out that Corianin was cheating by reading her notes or Verin could be referring to the official "records" and not the notes in a twisty AS way of implying a lie if the notes contain evidence that Corianin was a true dreamer and had dreams which are important now.

I have thought about this very small scene far too much! Verin is one of my favorite mysteries.
Rebecca Starr
112. Sidetrack'd
The wards against rodents and such are used within the Tower - there is discussion in one of the later books, when saidar is on the blink, about having rats in the Tower and having to reset the wards. So, pretty sure those types of wards are not a Blue secret...

Maybe Verin just likes having a pet. Or maybe, like Big Bad can use ravens and rats, maybe Verin keeps the owl around for a lookout? ;-)
Rebecca Starr
113. David-2
The owl isn't there for vermin. Actually, Verin can't stand the dirty bird. The problem is that hundreds of years ago, when she was still an Accepted, someone (Corianin herself?) had a Foretelling that Verin had to keep an uncaged owl in her study at all times or else ...!

I have to say, I will be awfully upset if Verin proves to be Black (though I think her POV with Cadsuane much later shows she isn't). I think she's the coolest of the AS. On the other hand, I think Cadsuane is highly overrated, and have the hope that somehow sometime Mat takes her down a peg. (Do they ever meet? I can't remember.)
Rebecca Starr
114. Wetlander
Lsana, FWIW, I was totally disgusted with CoT the first time through. All that waiting and wading and for what??? The second time through I guess I knew what to expect, so I got a lot more out of the hints and tidbits and "setup" stuff he did there. So... not quite as annoying on the roundabout. If it helps any.
Brian Kaul
115. bkaul
I've always subscribed to the BA Corianin theory myself. Just that she removed all records of those 13 t'a, which then ended up in the hands of the BA, who knew exactly what they were and how to use them, is suspicious enough. My take on Verin (not BA, IMO) being hesitant to give the notes to Egwene was more along the lines of them being dangerous, either from the perspective of possibly corrupting/influencing Eg, or from the perspective of being dangerously untrustworthy. Remember, Verin, who had studied them extensively, says that she learned her lesson on the dangers of TAR the hard way and has scars to prove it.
Rebecca Starr
116. cps2195
if Corianin was black I'd be really stupid for her to provide evidence of this in her journal. Remeber how protective Alviarin is of her code books? It would make sense that Corianin would have warded her journal if she were black.
Rebecca Starr
117. Lsana
@115 bkaul,

Corianin couldn't have "removed all records of those 13 t'a" unless Verin is also BA, because Verin knew that they had been stolen. You can't have it both ways: either Corianin left those dream ter'angreal in the store room where they were available to everyone or she hid them from everyone but the Blacks, meaning that for Verin to know that Liandrin had taken them, Verin would also have to be black.
Rebecca Starr
118. jafco
@55. Unforsaken

Jafco @ 34 "...Are you trying to insinuate that our fiery fireworks queen (and eventual mother of the most destructive, non-OP based weapon ever) is a "big dog"?..."

Not that. The description (again per wiki): "A blue supergiant, Aludra has only been around a fraction of the time our Sun has, yet is already in the last stages of its life. It is still expanding and may be becoming a red supergiant, or perhaps has already passed that phase, but in either case it will become a supernova within the next few million years."

i.e. a bigga badda BOOM! Seems to fit!
Rebecca Starr
119. jafco
@49. katg

"...I hope this helps!
(Can you tell I'm home sick? It's Friday night and I'm obsessively reading/checking the boards! Have a great weekend!!!)..."

I hope you're fully recovered now! I was driving a big part of the weekend so couldn't respond earlier. Good detective work, but I think it circumstantial. Martine could be Setalle (seems much more likely than the circumstantial case set out to make her Corianin). I guess we're in RAFO stage here!
Rebecca Starr
120. birgit
Aes Sedai get a stipend from the White Tower on a monthly basis I think

In New Spring, the Blue Ajah head tells Moiraine and Siuan that they will get their money every year on the day they were raised.
Rebecca Starr
121. Miximixi
@115 bkaul, @117 Lsana

Verin only said to Egwene that the specific dream ter'angreal that Corianin used herself was removed from all official records. The rest must still have been in the official records and thus easily found by the BA.
Rebecca Starr
122. Erdrick
Well said, CaptainBooshi @ 78. If your interpretation of something is paradoxical, doesn't that mean you have the wrong interpretation? Reminds me of the Trinity...

Wetlander @ 114,

I had a similar experience with all the post LoC books. Books 4-6 got me used to enormous, multi-climactic books. The others were much shorter, with longer waits in between, and actually left me a little disappointed. Recently, however, I did a complete read-through (from NS through KoD), and the second time around was a completely different experience. Reading them back to back without the long waits inbetween, I found that I thoroughly enjoyed every book.

I just realized something...I remember not liking books 2 and 3 as much on my first read-through because I was only focused on Rand (the "main character"). Rereads after I became more interested in the other characters made me appreciate those books so much more. Similarly, I must have been focused on the primary characters the first time reading books 7-11, so all the other plot lines seemed to be dragging the story out. Now that I am more world-focused, I find the entire series fascinating. I just needed to expand my view.
Rebecca Starr
123. Erdrick
About Verins Owl, why does it need a utilitarian purpose? This discussion reminds me of Dwight Schrute's commentary on cats: "Cats do not provide milk nor wool or meat." Maybe she just likes owls.
Rebecca Starr
124. mrstolz
As always, a great job Leigh!

...guess I'm in for a silver penny...

With both Lanfear and Messana wandering the White Tower at will, seems to me that neither Vern or Corianna need to be flagged as BA. The Forsaken (later) are constantly harping about not being able to lay their hands on x'angreal - who better to pick out some useful ones (including a bunch listed as use, unknown) and get them out of the WT. Later, Moggy spends a lot of time hanging with/bossing the BA thieves - she certainly knew who they were and where to find them after they bailed from the WT.

I always equate the early Elayne and Egwene 'girls' with the Jewish Princesses I grew up with - bright, likable, sometimes helpful, but NOT very good (in fact incredibly bad) at reasoning out the consequences of their decisions. At 17, my own daughter had a real hard time thinking any farther ahead than last Thursday.

As soon as I realized that Corianin had a dream ter'angreal, I decided she was probably never a dreamer at all, and didn't need to be.

And like almost everyone, I sure hope Verin turns out to be NOT BA. Does anyone have any idea what she might have done/found out 70 years ago that started he on her current Follow the Dragon path?
Rebecca Starr
125. Miketa
Quick comment regarding the lack of a Yellow Aes Sedai in the room when Mat was healed... I think it makes perfect sense from Siuan's perspective. She just figured out the BA is a real threat and furthermore the BA revealed itself for the first time in thousands of years. If a yellow of any skill was in the room, it is likely she would have been the one melding the group's flow instead of Siuan. As we know from later books, the woman in charge of the flows basically has complete control and the rest of the circle can't do much about anything.

Who from the yellow should Siuan trust not to be BA and not to mess up Mat? Siuan didn't want questions asked in the first place, so by not including a Yellow in the circle she becomes the obvious person to lead the circle and avoids the obvious question of why the Yellow in the room didn't lead.
Rebecca Starr
126. AshS
"Selene’s look sharpened..(text removed)..Her hand was empty, and she stood halfway across the room, but he leaned back, away from her hand, as if she were right on top of him with a dagger. He did not know why, really, except that there was a threat in her eyes, and he was sure it was real. His skin began to tingle, and his headache returned."

Has anyone ever thought that Mat's skin tingling means he can learn to channel? I've been rereading the books and can't help but think that RJ has created a huge irony in Mat's character that will be revealed in the last book - he can become what he fears most.

Rebecca Starr
127. JamesEdJones
Can't agree with you more about the awesomeness of the healing scene done in a movie.

On the other hand, I will disagree about the Amyrlin's selection of Aes Sedai for the Healing. I do not believe she chose the most powerful Aes Sedai. Mat's a major character, and the Amyrlin knows he's Taveren. Wouldn't it make sense for her to select Aes Sedai based on character and trust? Case in point: Verin is present but Elaida is not.
Anthony Williams
128. Galagros
I still don’t really understand the logic of the decision to give Egwene an extremely dangerous ter’angreal, and yet not give her as much info as possible to help her use it. It doesn’t seem that it can be construed in any other way but as a desire to see Egwene fail or even die, and that’s inconsistent with everything else Verin does with regard to the Emond’s Fielders. I guess you could suppose it’s on the principle that Egwene might discover more if she had no preconceived notions?

I am wondering if her indecisiveness stems from the whole other-lives-portal-stone incident. Perhaps she saw that giving Egwene access to so much knowledge would ruin things later such as her need to go to the Wise Ones, so she doesn't give her to info even though she thinks it more logical to. ...Just a thought. Now, her thinking about burning the notes makes a little less sense. Sure, the portal stone idea -could- also work here, but seems less likely.
Rebecca Starr
129. Wolfmage
I don't think insecurity is the right word to describe Mat at all, and only Nynaeve up to a degree.

Mat can be impulsive and feckless at times, but his internal nature is not one of self doubt, but rather one of bluff selfishness. The contrast is not between his insecurity and his brave actions, but between his overt prudence, symbolised by his mantra that he is "no bloody hero" as against his the inner nobility which is revealed in the way he acts on deep moral imperatives which remain hidden beneath.

Nothing Mat does or thinks betrays he lacks faith in himself. Instead, he shows us continually through the series that he has a express concern with self-preservation and prudence which he uses to conceal the imperatives he operates under.
Rebecca Starr
130. Annika
Lack of Yellows; Maybe RJ hadn't completely decided what each colour does yet? anyway, here is my theory on why the different Ajahs chose their colours:

Red: Most men die soon after being gentled, making Reds a form of executioners. Red has often been used as a colour for executioners, being the colour of blood.

Green: Military green, need I say more?

Grey: Grey being one of the most neutral colours possible, it's a good colour for mediators, judges etc.

Brown: Libraries are often brown, and brown is a colour often associated with spinister teachers.

Yellow: Plague doctors in the middle ages used yellow as their colour. Yellow has also been used as quarantine colour.

Blue: Blue stockinged woman used to mean intellectual, emancipated, or highly studied woman.

White: The colour of many cloistered nuns, especially of the more mystic sort.
Rebecca Starr
131. gwencrist
Once again, breaking my rule on not commenting when I'm so far behind, but I just needed to say something @ 126. Wow, that is completely insane and yet it makes sense. What a possibility! I can imagine it happening. If it does everything would change. The implications are making my brain melt. What would Tuon do?

Also, while I'm here I might as well say my other revelation. I realized what that snippet about Ba'alzamon's names meant. It's about his origins and why he turned to the shadow. Cause he was a philosopher right? So that whole thing about how truth burns and sears and destroys hope hints that he turned to the shadow after discovering the truth of something that destroyed his hope. And also about his name, Betrayer of Hope? It's saying that he got that name by betraying hope through the use of truth. Truth is his weapon.
It could also be a reference to the Prologue of tEotW where he literally burned and seared LTT's hope that his wife was still alive and revealed the truth to him.
There's so many more implications! I wanna talk some more But I will stop here. Yeah because some of those implications have recruitment to the dark side potential... like the one that truth is inherently evil
Rebecca Starr
132. Telcontar
gwencrist@131 - I always thought the snippet simply referred to Ba'alzamon = Ishy, something our protagonists do not (yet) know at this point (name hidden in name, secret hidden within secret etc).
Rebecca Starr
133. GreenishYellow Ajah
If anyone is still reading...

re: Caar, Caar was indeed Aemon's father, but when he was Prince Caar, he had gone to Aridhol to ask for help against the Trollocs. While he was there, he was betrayed and his hand was cut off before he was rescued. So as someone said before, if Mat was Caar it would explain the Band of the Red Hand name (as opposed to calling themselves something else famout like the Companions or something).

re: Elayne and money before heading to Tear, she and Nyn spent everything they had in Falme, and Mommy's certainly not going to leave her more while demanding that the Tower send her home!
Rebecca Starr
134. papertiger
You're letting the Supergirls get away with way too much, Leigh. Harping on Perrin and Rand for their protracted angst is fine, but seriously, these girls are nearly the hardest part of the story to get through (Perrin and Faile obviously take the cake). Shove your gender bias to the side: these girls suck!
Rebecca Starr
135. Felix Velarius Bos
Chapter 15: I had actually thought RJ was being too obvious there, too, or maybe it was there to show how the girls are suddenly suspicious of everything now with all the Black Ajah stuff. 'Course, this was BEFORE I read the 12th, book, but....

Chapter 15: Yeah, I too loved Nynaeve for doing that count down thing RIGHT in Galad's face while he was trying to trick her up. Score!
And Elayne's analogy for looking for the Black Ajah cracks me up every time. It's just so...I don't even have a word for it. xD

Chapter 19: I practically died of the awesomeness that exudes from this chapter. =)

And on the note you've made about Nynaeve and Mat, I agree with you in that their similar, but not quite the same way. They're both two extremes, almost. And also both have very little trust or understanding (or respect, for that matter) for the other gender. I mean, Nynaeve is always going on about how stupid and stubborn men are, and Mat is always going on about how...strange and manipulative women are. They're also similar in the way you mentioned, but the gender thing is something I found blaring to me.
Rebecca Starr
136. TKovacs
I know I'm resurrecting a mostly dead thread, but one thing I noticed, reading the Healing scene and just having finished The Great Hunt earlier.

Where did the sheath for the Shadar Logoth dagger come from?

Mat had it originally, but Fain stole the dagger and the sheath in Fal Dara.

Rand stole the bare-bladed dagger in Kinslayer's Dagger outside of Cairhien. Fain still had the sheath, presumably.

Fain steals the chest that has the Horn of Valere with the bare-bladed dagger inside. He gives the chest to Turak, who opens it, and puts the Horn and bare-bladed dagger on display. Fain still has the sheath, presumably.

Rand and Co. take the Horn and bare-bladed dagger, kill Turak, and escape Falme. Fain still has the sheath, presumably.

Mat is Healed of his link to the dagger, which is suddenly back in its sheath. Is this a mistake, or did I miss something?
Rebecca Starr
137. Louis Theodore Telman
Strangely, the most memorable or standout moment for me in the chapter that is Mat's first POV is the description of the beef, rolled around cheese and dipped in mustard. I must have been starving the first time I read it so I responded very viscerally to it. I now eat that combination as a snack sometimes- a little roast beast, some muenster or provolone and spicy dijon... nummy!!!
Rebecca Starr
138. VandalThor
-I don't have to contribute as much as everyone else because I am very late to the conversation and also trying to elicit new comments as opposed to rehashing only subject matter.
-that being said I sometimes eat ham and cheese and yellow mustard rolled up with no bread.
-The dagger sheath comes back into play in the eighth book I believe.
-Lanfear is ok in my book screw Galad walkin around like hes cock of the walk in the big tar valon hen house. Put your shirt on seriously.
-captcha this! captcha....thats what it wants me to type seriously. mastering Captcha's is how skynet becomes fully automated. Believe it.
Rebecca Starr
139. sadface
about the dreamer notes - eggy figured out how to enter in the flesh, and this led her to traveling. i wonder if part or all of that is in the notes. maybe verin used the notes, found out how to travel, and is trying to keep it her own little secret.
Rebecca Starr
140. jbo
I enjoy these summaries and commentary, but it would be nice if they were done after all the books came out. We now know Verin was indeed black ajah but only became black ajah to study them and killed herself in the end to reveal the 70 years of information she accumulated. It gives a whole new perspective to Verin's character as I re-read the books.
William McDaniel
141. willmcd
In chapter 15, as Eg & Nyn are talking about being stilled and kicked out of the Tower, Nynaeve says "I must learn if I'm to---" and cuts herself off. What was she thinking here? Going back to TEotW, is she still thinking that she's going to learn to Channel to "use the Power against Moiraine"? You have to wonder exactly how she means to use it; compulsion? balefire? As has been discussed, Nynaeve is kind of a crabby, confrontational person, but at heart she's far from a killer. What exactly does she want to do to Moiraine?

AshS @ 126, I had the same thought. Doubtful Mat is a saidin sparker, but he might be a learner. I think there was something about this in the WoT FAQ years ago, and maybe RJ had even refuted it in an interview. But if so, why, in our first Mat POV, does he make a point of having Mat feel goosebumps when a woman channels? Mat turning out to be a learner in the last book would be a good twist, I think.
William McDaniel
142. willmcd
Ah, forgot one thing. It seems that there are an awful lot of "courts" in the White Tower. The novices' quarters (along with several other references) are all located around a central "court", the Amyrlin's study looks out over a private garden, etc.

This is a little inconsistent with the notion of a "Tower", which is generally thought of as a tall, solid structure. If the novices have a court with an open sky, are they located in a separate building on the tower grounds? You would think the Amyrlin's study would be located higher up in the Tower, not close to the ground where a garden would be. How tall is this Tower, anyway?

Maybe this will be clarified later, but it doesn't quite make sense to me now.

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