Mon
Mar 9 2009 2:45pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Dragon Reborn, Part 4

Hello, girls and boys and neutrals, it’s your regularly scheduled Wheel of Time Re-read thingy!

Part 4 of The Dragon Reborn, to be exact, which covers Chapters 22-27. Orange you glad you got up and went to work today? No? Well. Can’t blame you, really.

Entries previously written are found right about heah. Spoilers, as ever and always, lurk just out of sight, waiting to reach up and snatch you, grue-like. BEWARE.

Yes. So. The post, I give you.

Chapter 22: The Price of the Ring

What Happens
Sheriam meets Egwene in the hall and tells her to come along, she’s holding everything up. Egwene asks what’s going on, and Sheriam replies it’s time for her Accepted test. Egwene is staggered, and protests that she’s not ready, but Sheriam says the hour waits on no woman, and the Amyrlin decided that there was no point in putting it off; Elayne has already been through the arches by now. Sheriam hustles her through the Tower to the room with the Accepted test ter’angreal, where Elaida is waiting with the chalices. She snaps that it took them long enough. Egwene sees that Alanna is one of the sisters manning the ter’angreal, but doesn’t know the other two. Sheriam gives Egwene the same speech she gave Nynaeve about her chances to refuse, but Elaida interrupts to opine that Egwene should not be given this chance, and should be put out of the Tower no matter what her potential. Sheriam shoots back that Elaida was not so adamant about Elayne, and she will do her job for Egwene or leave. Elaida sniffs, but backs down. Egwene says she will not refuse; Sheriam finishes her warning speech, and again Egwene accepts. Sheriam tells her to ready herself, and Egwene goes to remove her clothes, but hesitates, remembering the ring ter’angreal and the notes about the Black Ajah Verin gave her. Sheriam asks sharply if she is refusing now, knowing what it will mean, but Egwene says no, and hides the notes and ring under her dress, hoping that will do. Alanna suddenly speaks up, noting that there is a strange resonance, almost an echo, coming from somewhere. Sheriam asks if there is a problem, but Alanna says no, it’s gone now. They begin the ceremony.

“The first time,” Sheriam said, “is for what was. The way back will come but once. Be steadfast.”

Egwene took a deep breath and stepped forward, through the arch and into the glow. Light swallowed her whole.

Rand comes in to tell Egwene there is odd news from Baerlon. She looks up from their daughter’s cradle and is momentarily disoriented, but then wonders why she thought anything was odd about Rand being her husband, or that they have a daughter named Joiya. She asks what news, and Rand says it’s something about war with some people called Shawkin or Sanchan or something, but says it nothing they need to worry about. She notices him touching his head, and asks if the headaches are bothering him again; he nods, and Egwene worries about how they seem to be getting worse, and how strange things always seem to happen every time he has one, like lightning and wildfires. She says to let her try to help, but then sees a silver arch filled with light through the open door of the house and hears a voice say The way back will come but once. Be steadfast. She steps toward the arch, and hesitates, torn. Rand falls to his knees behind her, groaning in pain, and begs her to help him. She starts to cry, but keeps on to the arch. Rand screams in pain, and sobbing, Egwene steps through.

Elaida empties the first chalice over her, and Egwene sobs to Sheriam that her name was Joiya. She asks if it was real, and Sheriam replies that every woman who’s gone through the arches asks that, and she does not know. Sheriam says that some speculate that some who do not come back from the arches stay because they choose to remain in the lives they found there, and she hopes that if so, those lives are unhappy; she has no sympathy for those who run from their responsibilities.

“The second time is for what is. The way back will come but once. Be steadfast.”

Egwene trembled. Whatever happens, it cannot be worse than the last. It cannot be. She stepped into the glow.

Dressed in a dusty, torn silk dress, Egwene clambers silently through the rubble of what had been the Inner City of Caemlyn, hiding from the Darkfriends and Trollocs swarming through the streets. A Myrddraal strides past, shouting at the rest to “find him”. Egwene hurries on to the ruins of the Palace, barely noticing when she steps over the corpse of an Aes Sedai, and finds Rand in a half-collapsed room, pinned under a fallen beam.

“You came back.” He forced the words out in a hoarse rasp. “I was afraid—No matter. You have to help me.”

She tells him she could move the beam, but the whole room would collapse if she did; Rand laughs bitterly and replies he could move it himself, and keep the room from caving in while he was at it, but he would have to let himself go to do it, and he cannot. Egwene asks what he means, and he says he is holding the madness at bay, just barely, but if he channels he will lose it. She asks how she can help him, then, and he gestures to a dagger lying just out of his reach, and begs her to take it and kill him. Appalled, Egwene says how can he ask that of her.

“They can turn me, Egwene.” His breathing was so tortured, she wished she could weep. “If they take me—the Myrddraal—the Dreadlords—they can turn me to the Shadow. If madness has me, I cannot fight them. I won’t know what they are doing till it is too late. If there is even a spark of life left when they find me, they can still do it. Please, Egwene. For the love of the Light. Kill me.”

Tormented, Egwene cries that she cannot, and sees the silver arch behind her. She steps toward the light, and Rand begs her to help him. She whispers for him to forgive her, and as he screams, steps through.

Elaida pours the second chalice, and as Sheriam leads her to the final arch, Egwene mumbles that he said the Myrddraal and Dreadlords could force him to turn to the Shadow. Sheriam misses a step, and checks to see no one else heard. Egwene asks if they can do that, and Sheriam reluctantly confirms it, though few even in the Tower know. She says there is a weakness in being able to channel; an ordinary person cannot be forced to turn to the Shadow except through their own choices and actions, but a channeler can be coerced by a circle of thirteen Dreadlords weaving the flows through thirteen Myrddraal. Egwene observes faintly that thirteen is the number of Liandrin’s coterie, and Sheriam tells her sharply to forget about that, and to tell no one of what she has learned.

“The third time is for what will be. The way back will come but once. Be steadfast.”

Egwene stared at the glowing arch, stared at some far distance beyond it. Liandrin and twelve others. Thirteen Darkfriends who can channel. Light help us all. She stepped into the light. It filled her. It shone through her. It burned her to the bone, seared her to the soul. She flashed incandescent in the light. Light help me! There was nothing but the light. And the pain.

Egwene stares at her ageless face in the mirror, and the stole of the Amyrlin Seat around her neck. An Aes Sedai wearing the stole of the Keeper asks if Egwene is ill, calling her “Mother”, and Egwene remembers that her name is Beldeine, and notes that her stole indicates that Beldeine was raised from the Green Ajah, and therefore Egwene must have been Green as well. Then she wonders at having to reason that out, and thinks something is wrong. The voice saying The way back will come but once. Be steadfast trails off in mid-sentence. Beldeine says “they” will be growing impatient, and Egwene tells her to lead on, then. Egwene follows her through the Tower, trying to figure out why everything seems so strange, and why she’s halfway convinced she’s still a novice.

The way back will come but on—This time it ended abruptly.

Thirteen of the Black Ajah.

She stumbled at that. It was a frightening thought, but it chilled her to the marrow beyond fear. It felt—personal. She wanted to scream, to run and hide. She felt as if they were after her. Nonsense. The Black Ajah has been destroyed. That seemed an odd thought, too. Part of her remembered something called the Great Purge. Part of her was sure no such thing had happened.

Egwene notices that Beldeine is scared stiff, and then they arrive at the Hall of the Tower. Beldeine announces her ritually, and Egwene sits, and not knowing what else to do, says to begin. Elaida stands up, and Egwene remembers that she is the foremost of the Sitters for the Red, and her bitterest enemy in the Tower. Elaida says to bring him in, and a dozen Aes Sedai and two guards escort in Rand, dazed and stumbling along in chains. Elaida declaims that this man has declared himself the Dragon Reborn, and channeled the One Power, and there is only one possible penalty; she calls on the Amyrlin Seat to sentence him to be gentled. Egwene shakily says No, she cannot, and Elaida immediately shouts that she has condemned herself by her own words, take her! Beside her, Beldeine hits Egwene in the head, and Egwene is knocked out. She comes to in a storeroom, naked, and overhears a woman and a Fade outside discussing whether it will get her “for sport” after they are done with her. Then she sees a cluster of women on one side of the room, and knows there are thirteen of them; they are joined by men in black cloaks, and Egwene realizes they are Myrddraal, thirteen of them, too. She screams, and reaches for saidar; they try to restrain her, but she is too fast for them, and burns the Fades to ash. One Black Ajah is still on her feet, whom Egwene recognizes as Glydan, Elaida’s closest confidant, and Egwene punches her in the face, knocking her out. She leaves the storeroom and blocks the door with rubble, and runs to her study. She finds Beldeine there, crying, and Beldeine tells her she had no choice; three nights ago they had taken her and stilled her, and her only hope of getting the One Power back was to do what they said. Elaida had promised her that. Egwene replies grimly, so Elaida is Black Ajah, and dresses herself quickly. She demands of Beldeine where Rand is, and Beldeine tells her they have taken him to the Traitor’s Court to gentle him.

Shivers assaulted Egwene. Shivers of fear. Shivers of rage. Elaida had not waited, not even an hour. The Traitor’s Court was used for only three purposes: executions, the stilling of an Aes Sedai, or the gentling of a man who could channel. But all of the three took an order from the Amyrlin Seat. So who wears the stole out there? Elaida, she was sure. But how could she make them accept her so quickly, with me not tried, not sentenced? There cannot be another Amyrlin until I’ve been stripped of stole and staff. And they’ll not find that easy to do. Light! Rand! She started for the door.

Beldeine asks what she can hope to do, and Egwene replies, more than they think; she never held the Oath Rod. Beldeine gasps, and Egwene hurries out, thinking that she’s sure of that, though she can’t remember how she managed to achieve the shawl and the stole without swearing the Oaths. She runs to the Traitor’s Court, trying to think of how to rescue Rand without breaking the Tower in the process; she concludes it probably can’t be done without starting a war within the Tower, but determines to do it anyway. Suddenly she hears the disembodied voice again, and sees the arch behind her. Frantically she thinks she can still help Rand first, she just needs a few minutes.

Voices bored into her head, not the disembodied, unknowable voice that warned her to be steadfast, but women’s voices she almost believed she knew.

—can’t hold much longer. If she does not come out now—

Hold! Hold, burn you, or I’ll gut you all like sturgeons!

—going wild, Mother! We can’t—

The voices faded to a drone, the drone to silence, but the unknowable spoke again.

The way back will come but once. Be steadfast.

There is a price to be Aes Sedai.

The Black Ajah waits.

With a scream of rage, of loss, Egwene threw herself at the arch as it shimmered like a heat haze. She almost wished she would miss and plunge to her death.

Light plucked her apart fiber by fiber, sliced the fibers to hairs, split the hairs to wisps of nothing. All drifted apart on the light. Forever.

Commentary
If I had a genie and three wishes, I really seriously think that one of them might be for the ability to decide to read or see something for the first time again. Sure, you can remember how it felt the first time you read something wonderful, but reading it the second or third (or, uh, 10th or 15th) time is just never quite the same.

Certainly it’s impossible for me to read, say, this chapter now with the same uncritical excitement and fascination I did the initial time through. Now I keep analyzing it. Which, yeah, that’s kind of why I’m here, but while analysis has its own pleasures and frustrations, my point is, I am not the same person I was the first time I read WOT, and therefore neither is what I’m reading. And that’s a tiny bit sucky. Not a lot, but a little.

Anyway. All of the above notwithstanding, this is still one of the high points of the series in my opinion, and it raised the bar considerably on what my expectations were for the rest of the story. This was where Jordan really shone as a storyteller—clever, complex, and compelling foreshadowing and intimation of things to come, driven forward by genuinely exciting action. This is what we all signed up for.

As to the particulars of Egwene’s vision quests and where they are/are not accurate, all I ask if that you read this first, and then feel free to go to town in the comments.


Chapter 23: Sealed

What Happens
Egwene steps out of the arch, trembling with anger, and demands to know if that is all there is for her, to abandon and fail him time and time again? Then she realizes that there are far too many sisters in the room, and they are all staring at her anxiously. Sheriam quickly checks Egwene and announces in relieved tones that she is all right; the others relax a little, even Elaida, who goes to get the last chalice. Egwene asks what happened, but Sheriam says, later; they must finish the ceremony first. Egwene kneels, and Elaida pours the chalice of water over her, and Siuan says she is washed clean of Egwene al’Vere from Emond’s Field; she is Egwene al’Vere, Accepted of the White Tower. Siuan gives Egwene her ring and welcomes her, then tells Sheriam she means to know what went wrong here tonight before striding over to examine the ter’angreal. Sheriam helps Egwene dress, and Elaida comes over with her old dress, and the bundle with the ring ter’angreal and Verin’s notes. Egwene makes herself not snatch them, and thanks Elaida. Elaida answers coldly that she does not approve of Egwene’s raising to Accepted, because she considers her a wilder, in spirit if not technically so. She says she believes Egwene will never truly be part of the Tower, and should have gone back to her village. She stalks out, and Egwene thinks sourly to herself that even if Elaida isn’t Black Ajah, she’s the next thing to it, and asks Sheriam again what happened. Sheriam replies that she does not know, but thinks that Egwene very nearly died. Alanna joins them, and apologizes to Egwene; she should have stopped the ceremony when she first noticed the reverberation, but she didn’t, and it came back a thousand fold. She thought the ter’angreal was going to melt itself through the floor. She offers to join Egwene for her time in the kitchens, and her trip to Sheriam’s study too, as penance. Sheriam is scandalized; Egwene wonders suspiciously why Alanna is doing this, and tells her it was not her fault. Alanna remarks that the only time she’s seen anything like what happned is when there were two ter’angreal with similar functions in a room together; Egwene grips the dream ring ter’angreal tightly and reiterates that it was not Alanna’s fault. Sheriam wonders a little at Egwene’s vehemence, but agrees. Then Egwene asks Alanna what it means to be Green Ajah. Sheriam is amused, and Alanna grins and answers that first, one must love men; not merely like them as a Blue does, as long as they do not get in her way, and certainly not like a Red, who despises men as if all of them were responsible for the Breaking, not just those who could channel, and not a White, who has no room in her heart for passions at all. Egwene says that’s not what she meant; she wants to know what it means to be Green, and Alanna nods slowly.

“Browns seek knowledge, Blues meddle in causes, and Whites consider the questions of truth with implacable logic. We all do some of it all, of course. But to be a Green means to stand ready.” A note of pride entered Alanna’s voice. “In the Trolloc Wars, we were often called the Battle Ajah. All Aes Sedai helped where and when they could, but the Green Ajah alone was always with the armies, in almost every battle. We were the counter to the Dreadlords. The Battle Ajah. And now we stand ready, for the Trollocs to come south again, for Tarmon Gai’don, the Last Battle. We will be there. That is what it means to be a Green.”

Egwene thanks her, and the Amrylin joins them. To Egwene’s surprise, Alanna makes Siuan the same offer of sharing Egwene’s penance; Siuan snaps that she never heard of such a thing. She tells Alanna that she may visit Sheriam, but the kitchen thing is out of the question; she will not have whispers of the scullion Aes Sedai floating about. Alanna accepts this readily, and Egwene thinks that she didn’t want to be punished any more than any normal person would be; she just wanted an excuse to be close to Egwene. Sheriam sends Egwene to bed, and Egwene goes, wondering if there’s anyone she can trust; Siuan sent them after thirteen Black Ajah, yet neglected to mention that thirteen is just the number needed to turn a channeler to the Shadow. She reaches Nynaeve’s room, and finds Nynaeve with Elayne, who is sobbing into Nynaeve’s lap. Elayne looks up at Egwene, and cries that she could not be that awful, could she? Elayne’s words bring everything that happened during the test crashing back to Egwene, and she begins to sob as well. Nynaeve hugs them both close, and reassures them that one day “we will make them pay our price”.

Commentary
We never do find out what Elayne’s Accepted test involved, do we? I’ve always been kind of curious about that. It’s not keeping me up nights or anything, but it would be cool to know.

Alanna is destined to piss me off extremely later on, but she does get her moment of coolness here when she describes what the Green Ajah does. Her speech is one of the few times where I thought, “okay, that’s actually really cool” in reference to the Aes Sedai as an organization.

As individuals, Aes Sedai run the gamut between the extremes of “kicks all the ass regionally available” and “needs to be flung into the vortex where the socks and Bic pens go”, but the Aes Sedai as an institution has historically pretty much sucked across the board. One of the strange things about this suckiness is that I really can’t decide if Jordan meant for it to be that way, or if he really considered the gender politics ramifications of it if he did. I will be revisiting this topic later.

Coming back to the Ajah thing, I also have to say that I’ve always found the divvying up of purposes for the Ajahs to be a little weird and uneven—like, who would pick being a Gray, for instance?—but maybe that just reflects my own personal preferences. That being said, in my opinion it’s pretty clear that the Blue and Green Ajahs are by far Jordan’s favorites. Certainly they’re the only ones who collectively seem to be able to get shit done.


Chapter 24: Scouting and Discoveries

What Happens
Mat wakes up ravenous, but notes that he already looks less starved. He eats everything on the tray brought to him, gets dressed even though he knows the Aes Sedai expect him to stay in bed, and leaves to explore. He wanders around the Tower until he finds his way outside and locates some Guardsmen lounging about in a courtyard, and strikes up casual conversation, eventually working his way around to asking about conditions across the river. The guardsman he asks answers easily enough, but adds that he will not be going there; he is Matrim Cauthon, and the sisters have described him to every guard on gate duty, with strict orders he is not to be let off the island. Dismayed, Mat quickly makes excuses and leaves, berating himself for alerting the guards to his intentions. He wanders into a garden, and catches sight of Else Grinwell, whom he remembers vaguely from his and Rand’s trip to Caemlyn. He greets her with enthusiasm, but she stares at him coldly and asks what he’s doing up and about; Mat tries to reassure her that he’s Healed, but she only replies that she has work to do, and to let her by. She makes sure he is a good distance from her before she passes, and Mat reflects sourly that his luck is not in today, apparently. Then he hears a clatter from up ahead, and curiously moves to find its source. He comes to an open area with pairs of men practicing with wooden swords; watching their grace, Mat is sure that these must be Warders with their students. He sits down to watch them for a bit. He notes a group of Aes Sedai and Accepted watching one pair of fighters in particular, one of whom Mat thinks wryly to himself is almost as pretty as a girl, but also sees is extraordinarily skilled with a sword. The Warder instructor watching them orders the pair to take a break, and once they stop moving Mat realizes that the one with red-gold hair must be Elayne’s brother Gawyn, which makes the other Galad. Gawyn sees Mat, and heads over with Galad in tow to talk to him. Gawyn says he must be Mat Cauthon, and asks if he is better now; Mat says he’s fine. Galad asks if he came to the yard to learn the sword, and Mat replies he’d rather put his trust in a good bow, or a quarterstaff.

“If you spend much time around Nynaeve,” Galad said, “you’ll need bow, quarterstaff, and sword to protect yourself. And I don’t know whether that would be enough.”

Gawyn looked at him wonderingly. “Galad, you just very nearly made a joke.”

Gawyn segues the conversation into asking about Rand, and Mat hurriedly deflects the subject back to weapons, saying he thinks he could do fairly well against either of them with a quarterstaff. Gawyn and Galad try not to be too obviously patronizing in their disbelief; fed up, Mat wagers them two to one odds that he can beat both of them at once. Gawyn and Galad both try to refuse, saying he’s sick and they will not take such advantage, but the Warder instructor, Hammar, overhears this and joins them, asking if Gawyn and Galad think they’re good enough to beat a boy with a stick. They tell him it would not be fair, and Hammar tells them to get over to the yard. They go, and Hammar looks more closely at Mat and asks if he’s sure he’s up to this; he looks sick. Mat laughs and says he needs the money, but then has to hide it when his knees almost buckle as he picks out a quarterstaff. He thinks to himself he’d better get this over with quickly.

I have to win. “Luck,” he muttered. “Time to toss the dice.”

Hammar gave him an odd look. “You speak the Old Tongue, lad?”

Mat stared back at him for a moment, not speaking. He felt cold to the bone. With an effort, he made his feet start out onto the practice yard.

He reminds Gawyn and Galad of the wager, and Hammar backs him up; finally the other two agree, and the bout is on.

The moment’s warning was all Mat needed. As Galad rushed at him, he slid his hands along the quarterstaff and pivoted. The end of the staff thudded into the tall man’s ribs, bringing a grunt and a stumble. Mat let the staff bounce off Galad and spun, carrying it on around just as Gawyn came within range. The staff dipped, darted under Gawyn’s practice sword, and clipped his ankle out from under him. As Gawyn fell, Mat completed the spin in time to catch Galad across his upraised wrist, sending his practice sword flying. As if his wrist did not pain him at all, Galad threw himself into a smooth, rolling dive and came up with his sword in both hands.

Ignoring him for the moment, Mat half turned, twisting his wrists to whip the length of the staff back beside him. Gawyn, just starting to rise, took the blow on the side of his head with a loud thump only partly softened by the padding of hair. He went down in a heap.

Galad is taking him seriously now, and Mat’s legs are threatening to give out on him, so he presses the attack, and Galad cannot do anything but defend.

The quarterstaff flickered past Galad’s sword and in quick succession struck knee, wrist, and ribs and finally thrust into Galad’s stomach like a spear. With a groan, Galad folded over, fighting not to fall. The staff quivered in Mat’s hands, on the point of a final crushing thrust to the throat. Galad sank to the ground.

Mat almost dropped the quarterstaff when he realized what he had been about to do. Win, not kill. Light, what was I thinking? Reflexively he grounded the butt of the staff, and as soon he did, he had to clutch at it to hold himself erect. Hunger hollowed him like a knife reaming marrow from a bone. Suddenly he realized that not only the Aes Sedai and Accepted were watching. All practice, all learning, had stopped. Warders and students alike stood watching him.

Hammar moved to stand beside Galad, still groaning on the ground and trying to push himself up. The Warder raised his voice to shout, “Who was the greatest blademaster of all time?”

From the throats of dozens of students came a massed bellow. “Jearom, Gaidin!”

“Yes!” Hammar shouted, turning to make sure all heard. “During his lifetime, Jearom fought over ten thousand times, in battle and single combat. He was defeated once. By a farmer with a quarterstaff! Remember that. Remember what you just saw.”

Hammar declares the match over, and the Aes Sedai and Accepted watching rush over to tend to Galad. Gawyn comes over, having already been Healed of the blow Mat gave him, and hands him two silver marks, remarking dryly that he will listen next time. Mat worries that he must have hurt Galad badly, watching the cluster of Aes Sedai around him, and Gawyn laughs and assures him that the worst Galad has to worry about is finding himself Warder to one of the Greens over there before his head clears. Mat thinks to himself that he’d never heard anything about the Aes Sedai-Warder bond like what Gawyn seems to be suggesting, and supposes aloud that it probably wouldn’t go over well if he asked Galad for his money right now. Hammar comes over and says, probably not, and hands Mat Galad’s forfeit, saying he’ll collect later; he and Mat agree that Galad isn’t that good-looking, and Gawyn grins at them both. Hammar asks where Mat is from.

“Manetheren.” Mat froze when he heard the name come out of his mouth. “I mean, I’m from the Two Rivers. I have heard too many old stories.” They just looked at him without saying anything.

Mat makes excuses and leaves hastily, thinking that he just keeps digging himself deeper, and that he had to find a way out of here somehow. But he can’t think of how.

Commentary
I heart this chapter.

You can always tell when I get excited about a scene, because I always quote way too much of it. But come ON, y’all. How can you not adore the precise moment when Mat finally switches over from whiny jerk to Purveyor of Awesome? Excuse me, can we review? Boy gets up from a sickbed (very nearly, a deathbed), and the first thing he does is trounce the shit out of the two best students in Warder School. Thank you, good night.

Of course, this also coincides with Mat starting to get seriously scared of himself, but that’s how it works, boyo. Welcome to the Self-Realization Club!

The first rule is, you do not talk about Self-Realization Club... oh, wait, you (and everyone else in this damn series) have already got that one down, don’t you? Never mind then.

In other news, this is just about the only chapter I can remember actually really liking Gawyn. Most of the time I can take him or leave him (except for the post-coup period where I want to smack him), but he comes off here as a very cool guy, gracious in defeat and with a good sense of humor. Too bad it doesn’t last.

Again, though, I think this is one of the reasons I enjoy reading about Mat so much from this point on: he is one of the few characters that Jordan seems to have felt comfortable with being funny about, and as a result it seems like other characters become more amusing just by being around him. WOT’s never been a laugh riot or anything, but it’s given me a fair share of chuckles, and I guarantee you the lion’s share of those chuckles are Mat-oriented.

Oh yeah, and Lanfear’s in this chapter. Yawn.


Chapter 25: Questions

What Happens
Egwene watches Nynaeve pace while Elayne studies the notes Verin gave them, and thinks about her dreams, wishing she knew if they meant anything or not: the Seanchan collaring Aes Sedai, Whitecloaks tying her father’s hands, Rand reaching for a crystal sword without noticing the net dropping on him, Rand in a dry dusty chamber where small versions of the creature on the Dragon banner settle into his skin, and Rand walking into a fiery hole in a mountain. She’d also dreamed of Perrin with a falcon and a hawk, with the hawk trying to leash him, and of Perrin leading a huge army of wolves. The dreams about Mat were even nastier: Mat placing his own eye on a balance scale, Mat hanging by his neck from a tree limb. The one about Mat and the Seanchan she dismisses as a nightmare. Nynaeve stops pacing and declares again that the notes are rubbish; the only question is, are they rubbish on purpose? Elayne disagrees; she points out that the thirteen women are too neatly spread across the Ajah and demographic spectrum. There are exactly two from each Ajah except the Red, no two from the same city, no two the same age, etc. Elayne concludes that they could not have arranged such a lack of pattern unless they had a larger number of women to choose from; ergo, there are still Black Ajah in the Tower. Nynaeve is impressed, but Egwene is uncertain about Elayne’s further suggestion that it means that there is a pattern to the Black Ajah as a whole. Elayne disgustedly agrees, asking what good it does them to know that Chesmal Emry is an extraordinarily talented Healer, or that Marillin Gemalphin is fond of cats? Nynaeve points out there is the other list, of the ter’angreal. Egwene thinks uneasily how most of them seem to have something to do with sleep, and were last studied by Corianin Nedeal, except for one, a fluted black rod that the list said produced balefire, and was extremely dangerous and almost impossible to control, according to Verin’s all-caps note in the margin, and another shaped like dice that suspended chance in some way. Nynaeve comments Mat would like that one. Egwene goes to retrieve the dream ring ter’angreal from where she’d hidden it in the chimney flue, and as they stare at it, they discuss Verin and Alanna’s suspicious behavior, and conclude that Verin had left out too much to be trusted. Nynaeve decides she is going to sleep with the dream ring tonight, but Egwene points out that she is the one who is supposed to be a Dreamer, and Nynaeve reluctantly agrees. Then they realize that Else Grinwell is standing in the doorway, and Egwene has a feeling she had been staring at the dream ring. Nynaeve asks if Else had never learned to knock, and Else replies calmly that she has a message from the Amyrlin: The belongings left behind by Liandrin and the others were put in the third storeroom on the right from the main stairs in the second basement under the library. She leaves, and Nynaeve snaps that the fool girl cannot be trusted. Egwene runs after her, and catches a glimpse of white vanishing down a ramp, and follows. At the foot of the ramp she finds a woman in silver and white silk who makes Egwene feel grubby and scrawny by comparison. The woman comments Egwene is bold to go running around alone where murders have been committed, and Egwene asks if she saw a novice go running by. The woman replies that the novice was running very fast, and she doubts Egwene will catch her. Egwene starts to ask another question, assuming she is Aes Sedai, and the woman’s face hardens, and she commands Egwene to leave her.

So strong was the command in her voice that Egwene turned and was three steps up the ramp before she realized what she was doing. Bristling, she spun back. Aes Sedai or no, I

The gallery was empty.

Egwene searches around, but finds no trace of the woman.

 

Commentary
A pretty fair argument can be made that Lanfear used Compulsion on Egwene here, not that it matters much, really, as if so it was only for an extreme short-term goal (making Egwene go away). For the long-term trap she’s obviously using the Girls to set up re: Rand and Tear, she’s sticking to plain old disguise and manipulation.

Although, I suppose it’s a bit disingenuous of me to say “plain old”, when I remember that this is really the first time we get an indication that the Forsaken can make themselves look like someone else entirely. This is all completely obvious in retrospect, but I’m pretty sure I was confused as hell the first time through.


Chapter 26: Behind a Lock

What Happens
Nynaeve and Elayne join Egwene, and she tells them about the woman, and that she lost Else. Nynaeve dismisses the woman as unimportant, and says they need to check that storeroom immediately. They head to the library storage area, and climb down the stairs; Egwene and Elayne create balls of light, and warn each other to be careful not to give in to how wonderful it feels too much. They walk on, and Egwene nervously thinks of how no one would ever hear them scream down here.

She felt a lightning bolt form, or the potential for one, and nearly stumbled. She had never before channeled two flows at once; it did not seem difficult at all.

They come to the correct door, and see it is chained and locked. Nynaeve tries to make herself angry so she can channel, and Egwene examines the lock, remembering her affinity for Earth, which includes metals; she probes at it with the Power, but then Nynaeve creates a prybar with Air and tells Egwene to move out of the way. Nynaeve heaves at the chain with the prybar, and the chain snaps like thread; Nynaeve stumbles halfway across the hall in surprise, and Egwene says she thinks she did something to the chain. Nynaeve mutters that she could have said something, and leads them into the storeroom. They examine the thirteen bags in the room, and amid the junk they find that every bag has something pointing them to Tear, including a sketch of a building with one room marked “Heart of the Stone”. They agree that it is all way too obvious, and wonder how Siuan could have missed it. Nynaeve further points out that this is very clearly bait:

Nynaeve nodded. “Bait. A trap. Or maybe a diversion. But trap or diversion, it’s so obvious no one could be taken in by it.”

“Unless they do not care whether whoever found this saw the trap or not.” Uncertainty tinged Elayne’s voice. “Or perhaps they meant it to be so obvious that whoever found it would dismiss Tear immediately.”

Egwene wished she could not believe that the Black Ajah could be as sure of themselves as that. She realized she was gripping her pouch in her fingers, running her thumb along the twisted curve of the stone ring inside. “Perhaps they meant to taunt whoever found it,” she said softly. “Perhaps they thought whoever found this would rush headlong after them, in anger and pride.” Did they know we would find it? Do they see us that way?

Elayne asks what do they do now; Egwene grips the dream ring and replies, maybe they will know after tonight.

Commentary
This chapter is just as much about the Girls learning about the One Power as it is about furthering the Black Ajah storyline, and I have to remind myself that while it seems boring and small potatoes now, on first reading the magic discovery bits were very cool.

Also, subtlety: Lanfear does not have it. Of course, she is under the impression that the Girls are idiots and need a big giant Clue-By-Four to figure out where she wants them to go, and, well, okay, there’s a little bit of evidence to back her up on that, but sheesh.


Chapter 27: Tel’aran’rhiod

What Happens
The girls worked the kitchens before coming back to Egwene’s room, but the Amyrlin never showed, although Verin, Alanna, Elaida, Sheriam, and Anaiya all found reasons to wander down to the kitchens while they were there. Egwene thinks about the possible ulterior motives any of them could have had, but also thinks that they could all have had legitimate reasons for being down there as well. She prepares for bed while Nynaeve tugs her braid and Elayne babbles nervously about maybe choosing Green and having three or four Warders and one of them could be the Prince Consort. Egwene knows who she is talking about, and feels a mix of jealousy and sympathy, for she does not believe anyone can marry the Dragon Reborn. Egwene tells them she is ready; they discuss briefly the possibility of more than one of them trying to use the ring at once, but Egwene says they don’t know if that would even work, and anyway she would feel better knowing both of them are there watching over her. They understand, and Egwene lies down with the ring on a cord around her neck, while Elayne and Nynaeve sit on either side of the bed. Egwene doesn’t think at first that she will be able to sleep, but Nynaeve begins humming a lullaby from her childhood, and she drifts off.

Egwene finds herself in a beautiful meadow, wearing a silk dress in her favorite color, though she changes the slashes to green instead of white, and notices that the ring on its cord, so heavy before, was now light as a feather. She experimentally tries to embrace saidar, and has no trouble with it, but lets it go quickly, worried that Shadowspawn or the Black Ajah might be able to track her by it. She thinks this Dreamworld doesn’t seem so bad thus far, and decides to take a look around. She takes a step, and finds herself inside a dank hallway of an inn. The door in front of her swings open, and she sees a large dog lying between the door and a large stone pillar in the middle of the room. Perrin lies against the pillar, pulling tight a heavy chain that binds him to the stone even in sleep. Egwene calls his name worriedly and steps inside; the dog gets up and faces her, and she realizes it is a wolf. It bares its fangs at her, and she steps back and embraces saidar, calling to Perrin to wake up and tell the wolf she is a friend.

Perrin’s head came up; his eyes opened drowsily. Two sets of yellow eyes regarded her. The wolf gathered himself. “Hopper,” Perrin shouted, “no! Egwene!”

The door swung shut before her face, and total darkness enveloped her.

She squints into the darkness, and realizes she is in the woods. She sees a campfire, and creeps through the trees to get closer. Rand is by the fire, alone, smoking a pipe, and she notices that the fire burns with no fuel, and doesn’t even seem to be touching the ground. Rand looks up and demands that whoever it out there show themselves; Egwene steps out and says it’s her, and not to be afraid, she is in his dream. Rand sneers and answers that he knows it’s a dream, but that doesn’t make it any less real.

He stared angrily out into the darkness as if looking for someone. “How long will you try?” he shouted at the night. “How many faces will you send? My mother, my father, now her! Pretty girls won’t tempt me with a kiss, not even one I know! I deny you, Father of Lies! I deny you!”

“Rand,” she said uncertainly. “It’s Egwene. I am Egwene.”

A sword of fire appears in his hands suddenly, and he tells her his mother offered him honeycake with poison in it, and his father had a knife, and “she” offered kisses, and more; what does Egwene bring him? She tells him she will make him listen to her if she has to sit on him again, and tries to wrap him in Air; he spins the sword through the air, and she staggers back, feeling her flows severed. He says he has learned some things, when it works, and then moves to attack her. Egwene flees; she doesn’t know how she does it, but somehow ends up back in the sunny meadow, where she berates herself for once again being unable to help him. She takes up the ring ter’angreal and tells it to take her where she needs to go, and tries channeling into it.

“Take me to where I can find an answer. I need to know what the Black Ajah wants. Take me to the answer.”

“Well, you’ve found your way at last, child. All sorts of answers here.”

Egwene opens her eyes and finds herself in a vast domed chamber filled with redstone columns, with a crystal sword hanging in midair in the center; she thinks it might be the same sword she saw Rand reaching for in her other dream. An incredibly ugly old woman steps out of the shadows; Egwene asks who she is, and she replies just old Silvie, Egwene’s old retainer. Egwene thinks the old woman must be confused, and pretends to know her. She reminds Silvie that she said something about answers, and Silvie says there are all kinds of answers here in the Heart of the Stone, and secrets too.

“What kind of secrets?”

But Silvie was hobbling toward the crystal sword. “Plots,” she said as if to herself. “All of them pretending to serve the Great Lord, and all the while plotting and planning to regain what they lost. Each one thinking he or she is the only one plotting. Ishamael is a fool!”

Egwene asks sharply about that last, and Silvie smiles and says it’s just a thing poor folks say to make them feel good and safe. She invites Egwene to try it, and Egwene does so, and laughs, agreeing that it does make her feel better. She asks Silvie about the sword, and Silvie explains about Callandor and its significance, and shows how it is protected with an invisible barrier. Egwene tries probing at the barrier, and realizes that half of it is woven of saidar, but the other half, the part she can’t sense, must be woven with saidin. The sound of approaching bootsteps echo through the chamber, and Silvie mutters that “he” is coming to look at it again, and tells Egwene she must leave. Egwene tries to do so, telling the ring to take her back to the meadow, but nothing happens. Silvie observes flatly that she doesn’t know the way out, and then croons that it’s dangerous to come here if you don’t know how to leave, but not to worry, Silvie will put her safe in her bed. She tangles her fingers in the cord holding the dream ring, and Egwene tells her not to touch that, but then is enveloped in pain.

Egwene sits up with a shriek and checks herself frantically, but can find no injury to account for the pain. Nynaeve tells her they are there, and she throws her arms around Nynaeve as Elayne channels all the candles alight. She observes worriedly that Egwene never moved or mumbled, and they didn’t know whether to wake her. Egwene replies that next time, they will set a time limit and wake her no matter what. She tells them everything that happened, except for the part with Perrin, as she doesn’t feel that’s her secret to tell. Elayne says she cannot believe Rand would have hurt Egwene, and asks if he looked hurt; Nynaeve gives her a dry look and changes the subject to Callandor, and says well, now they know where the Black Ajah is. Elayne says this doesn’t make it any less a trap, and Nynaeve replies the best way to catch someone who lays a trap is to spring it and sees who comes. They will go to Tear. Elayne is adamant that she will come along, but thinks that this time she will write a letter to her mother first, so Morgase will not go completely ballistic when she hears Elayne is gone again. She is not certain how to make sure it gets to Caemlyn, though. Nynaeve says they will give the Amrylin one more chance to seek them out, and then leave for Tear by tomorrow evening. They agree that none of them wants to be alone tonight, and as they are bunking down in Egwene’s bed, Nynaeve suddenly laughs, and says she has just thought of the perfect person to carry Elayne’s letter to Caemlyn.

Commentary
Sigh. I can’t seem to make myself terribly interested in this storyline. Again, I think it’s a question of familiarity breeding boredom; I already know all this stuff about Tel’aran’rhiod (henceforth rendered “TAR”, because God I am sick of the apostrophe key), so however fascinating I found this all the first time, yeah, I’m just kind of over it, now.

Same with the Lanfear plot, as I’ve already said. In fact, I’m starting to get confused about why Lanfear’s even going to all this trouble re: getting the Supergirls to Tear, because isn’t Rand already headed that way? Why would she need the Girls to be bait, then? I guess there’s some other aspect to this convolutedness I’m just not remembering?

Eh, whatever. Ooh, look, more Mat chapters next!


But not till next time, Mwhahahaha! Come back Wednesday for more Mat yayness, and other stuff too, I suppose, in Chapters 28-34. Laters!

150 comments
Richard Fife
1. R.Fife
I have said my opinion of the Acceptatron already, but I will again: Uses TAR, some pattern reading, and some of your own brain to make believable scenes. What is the point if there isn't enough realism to each scene that it is a true heart-jerker to leave?

I agree with you on both the revelations of the magic system and Lanfears nefariousness. I think she is sending the girls to Tear, though, because she does not think Rand is going there yet. Rand goes because of dreams sent to him from Be'lal, IMO. ol Belly probably asked Lanfear for some bait "just in case."

Mat's awesomesauce is awesome. He is the only character in the series that, post coming into coolness, I have not gotten completely fed up with again. I came close in CoT/KoD when he was mucking around with Luca, but not quite.

Feel free to just review the Mat chapters. The rest isn't all that important anyway ;)

PS: my job rocks, gives me enough free time to lurk around Tor.com most of the day. So yeah, wasn't so annoyed about showing up today.
Eric Robinson
2. perrin77
One thing I was a little confused by was the Mistress of Novices in Chapter 22. Does she know about Rand, because Egwene clearly asked about Rand and being turned to the shadow and Sheriam says that is the weakness in being able to channel.

Anywho, best chapter (chapter 24). Love the fact that this is one of the first times Mat starts talking old tongue without realizing he is doing it, plus his answering Manetheren for where is he from gave me a chill. The nice part about his fighting is the fact it is all Mat and not old memories. It just makes Mat that much more Awesome.

As for the other chapters, I am with you on the idea that upon multiple re-reads, I get a bit tired of the Lanfear and TAR stories.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
3. HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
HA! FIRST POST! I AM TEH AWESOMEZORES AND

OK, just kidding. I knew this would be an awesome recap when there was a Zork reference in the introduction. And I'm hoping I didn't imagine the right heah as a Cartman reference. Leigh is herself MOA.

"There's never been a problem like this before, except when there was a ter'angreal in the room. So let's just ignore the small pile of foreign items in the room while the girl inside our ter'angreal is deep fried." Seriously?

I always wonder, with Mat being healed of his connection to the dagger, is he in some way still attuned to it? If the dagger were offered to him, would it have a draw on him? I see the final showdown for Fain as being with Mat, where the dagger insta-poison doesn't work on him.

And I'm sorry, Rand has learned to sever Saidar flows? Have there been Black Ajah out there gunning for him?

I didn't remember the obviousity of the Sheriam BA hints extending past the grey man incident. But "oh yeah, 13 dreadlords 13 fades. About 6 people know that. But SHHHHHHHH," smacks of it too. Has this ever been used on someone? How would it work? Would the person be not in control of their actions, but lamenting them, or is it a total brainwashing. I say Nynaeve finds a way to heal this when someone important falls victim.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
4. Lsana
Ch. 22:

Not too much to say about Egwene's accpeted test that hasn't already been said. Just observing that the girl is seriously Rand-obsessed. Nynaeve's tests were pretty varied, but all three of Egwene's centered on one guy whom she swears she's gotten over. Support for my private theory about how her crush on Galad is due to a family resemblence with Rand.

Ch. 23:

Are there any alternate theories out there on what happened with the ter'angreal? I know there is an "obvious" explanation given to us about why things went haywire, but there was an "obvious" explanation given to us about why Rhavin was able to zap Mat, and that explanation was wrong. What happened just doesn't seem to fit with the idea of the ring and the acceptatron resonating. In science, resonances start small and gradually build up to something powerful. They don't start small, become undetectable, then suddenly show up with incredible force. It also seems odd that Alanna was the only one to detect anything the first time it happened.

My thought is that either Alanna or Sheriam sabatoged the test, and the whole "two related ter'angreal" bit is just a red-herring.

On Leigh's comment about the Ajahs: they seem to make sense to me. The Grey Ajah, for example, seems to be for the kids who wanted to go to law school. I can't understand why someone would want to be Grey, but I can't understand why someone would want to become a lawyer either, and clearly there are far too many people who want to do that. So I believe in those who want to join the Grey Ajah, even if I don't understand them.

Ch. 24:

What's there to say? I suppose, given that I had a problem with Rand beating a blademaster, I should probably have a problem with this scene too. However, Mat's just too awesome. What seems unbelievable in a lesser mortal like Rand is just Mat demonstrating the awesomeness that comes with being Mat.

Ch. 25-27:

To be fair to Lanfear, the girls do need a clue-by-four to the head before they figure out that they are supposed to go to Tear. Egwene finds the map of Tear and dismisses it as rubbish without even looking to see if these are possessions of someone who had any previous connection to Tear. Same reaction when Elayne found the book. It wasn't until the third sack containing something about Tear that they started to pick up on the pattern. Even then, they aren't convinced until Egwene's dream. Anything less a neon sign advertising the "2,563rd annual Black Ajah Conference, held this year in the Stone of Tear" wasn't going to get them on the right path.

Although I think Lanfear may be being a bit too unsubtle. Why would someone going to Tear who had bothered to make a map leave it behind? If the Black Ajah was willing to steal ter'angreal, why not library books? It did just scream, "Trap!" Fortunately for her, the supergirls are dumb enough to fall into it anyway.

I'm glad Elayne recognizes that a letter to Morgase is a good idea, but it would have been an even better idea for her to forgo adventure and stay in the tower. But that would require the ultimate selfish b**** to forgo something she wants, which would never happen.

Also on the "Is Verin Black?" debate: Lanfear appears to be expecting Egwene here. While not conclusive, certainly support for Verin being Black.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
5. NanaD
Mat sees Else Grinwell outside and the Supergirls see her in their room. Doesn't Suian tell them later Else left the tower some time ago? What was Lanfear doing outside?

I agree Mat is awesome. Confused, but awesome.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
6. fuddy1
dumb question.. but who exactly is silvie?
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
7. HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
Silvie is Lanfear. There's a post about it in the WOTFAQ, but for me, the fact that she says Ishamael is a fool is evidence enough. It's ridiculously in character for Lanfear, plus we don't have any other Forsaken on screen yet than the two of them. So there you have it.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
8. Beren Al'Torin
Re: Matt Vs. The Two Best Warder Students.
I've always found this to be just another example of "Anything that the Two Rivers has will always beat anything similar found to have come from anywhere else in the world." (see also Bows, Tabac, Dragons Reborn) As such, I've always semi-casually wondered if Rand and Matt sparring would just go on forever until one of them fell down from running out of awesome.

Oh, and the acceptatron. Dear Acceptatron. Awesome level = 100, precision level = ?? At least we're possibly going to see how close it comes to the real future in the next book. I.e., if Egwene ends up being amyrlin after a great purge of Black Ajah . . . yeah, somewhat predictive at least for Dreamers. I don't see Nynaeve's dream of a pristine Malkier ever come true, though. Sorry, Leigh, I know you like her.

As always, great recap even of the chapters significantly lacking in cool (read: anything with Lanfear or Elaida.)

-Dan
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
9. Lsana
One more thing I forgot to mention in my earlier post: isn't it odd that the Black Ajah got all of the dream ter'angreal except for Egwene's ring? Yes, I know that in Verin's POV, she says that Corianin Nedeal hid the ring, but why would Corianin hide the ring and not the other ter'angreal? The only difference between the ring and the others that I can remember is that the others require channeling, and in a tower full of women who can channel, that would seem to be a distinction without a difference.

I can think of three possibilities:

1. Corianin did hide all of them, and Verin found all of them. Being Black Ajah herself, she gave them to the head of the Black Ajah who then gave them to Liandrin and co. She kept the ring and gave it to Egwene under orders from Lanfear.

2. Corianin did hide all of them, but being Black Ajah, she told the Black Ajah where to find them. They didn't get the ring, because Verin found that before the Black Ajah retrieved the rest, but they got the others. Note, though, that this doesn't really make sense if Verin isn't Black: if the others were hidden, how would Verin know they had been stolen?

3. There is another difference between the ring and the other ter'angreals, perhaps the nasty thing in Corianin's notes that Verin didn't want Egwene to see. For some reason, the ring is much worse than the others.

@2 perrin77,

Sheriam doesn't ask about the "him" in Egwene's test, but she also doesn't ask after the first one when Egwene comes out babbling about "Joiya." Pretty sure there is a prohibition about asking about the contents of anyone's Accepted test.

@3 HeWhoComesWithTheNoon,

My theory about how the 13 + 13 trick works is that the dreadlords force their victim to channel the True Power. That's why only channelers are vulnerable to the trick.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
10. David-2
On Mat's awesomeness: I would like to note for the record that this is the first time (I think) that we see Mat has a brain - and it happens just before he becomes awesome by thrashing G & G. In particular: He studies G & G fighting for a few moments and knows he's at their level, based on what he learned from his father. He wasn't just boasting when he challenged them, he believed with good reason he could take them.

Later we see he has excellent horse quality judgement, also learned from his father. So he didn't actually spend his entire childhood as a thoughtless fun-seeking troublemaking layabout, he actually learned useful important stuff from his elders.

Also: he really does have a brain. He figures out how to use the fireworks (almost via the scientific method, which is of course unknown in this Age), he figures out what Aludra wants the bellfounder for, and of course, he figures out how to effectively position himself to use his luck.

So, in summary: Go Mat!
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
11. AnneW
I don't think I've mentioned this yet, but I really REALLY agree with you on Lanfear. Everything Moiraine did before the Doorway Incident got rose-colored for me just because she took Lanfear's endless nonsense out of the story.
Eric Robinson
12. perrin77
@9 Lsana,
I re-read, and you are correct, she whispers his name when she first comes out, but I doubt Shermin heard her. But what concerns me is that she immediately assumes the "him" can channel so can be turned. I would expect her to say, no that is impossible unless . . . etc.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
13. Egglie
quick comment - isn't Gyldan the name Moghedien uses when she is pretending to be a servant to spy on Liandrin and friends in Tanchico?

more later probably.
Blake Engholm
14. UncrownedKing
Another great installment.

chp 23= Still can't stand Elaida due to her complete and total, borderline evil, arrogant ways. I mean maybe if you were not psycho, and jealous of Siuan people would keep you in the loop about the DR. When Alanna is talking about Greens needing to love men, in the AOL did Males of the Green Ajah have to love women? Was this even an issue? or did these stipulations only arrise after the breaking and the introduction of Warders. Were there warders in the AOL

Still feel cheated when I read this chapter that we don't see Elayne's POV on the Acceptatron.

Chp 24= so so cool.

"Dovie'andi se tovya sagain" Sahweet!
Also, is that a Fight Club reference I see there? lol Nice.

Chp 25= The fact that Egwene sees things that eventually become reality, doesn't this prove that she is a true Dreamer, not just someone who can walk in T'A'R?? I do not rememebr if this is ever discussed. If she is, can she control them?

I like the "a dice terangrael that controls fate/luck....Mat would like that" as we are about to see the awesome luck abilities of Senor Cauthon.

Note: In this chapter so begins the eternal struggle for superiorority between Nyn and Egwene. Let the Cold Wa.... I mean Glare War begin. Shoot ME!

Chp 26= Don't overly care for this one.

Chp 27= Who exactly is Silvie?? is she a DF?

Hopper = Cool
Richard Fife
15. R.Fife
Uncrowned: the Ajahs as we know them did not exist in the AoL. WoWOT book says that the Ajahs were "every changing, small alliances" in AoL, and only in this age have they become the 7 hard-fixed things. Which, honestly, bugs me, because of portal stones, which have the 7 bands of color around them in pristin condition. WTH would something not used since the breaking/AoL (male Aes Sedai used them to make ways) have the seven ajahs?

Silvie, as said above is most likely Lanfear with a clue-bar, hitting Egwene upside the head.

Lsana:
"2,563rd annual Black Ajah Conference, held this year in the Stone of Tear" That brought a tear to my eye. Thank you. Tell me, will there be a manager's reception, like at JordanCon?
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
16. hoping to be of the blood
lsana@4
Re lanfear expecting Egwene
I think lanfear saw the dream ring when she visited the girls and laid in wait for E in TAR. Lanfear then drew her to the stone. Other times when the girls used need to get somewhere, there always seemed to be several approximations before they actually got to where they needed to be. Just more Lanfear setting the table for her nefarious deeds
Blake Engholm
17. UncrownedKing
@ 9. Lsana

I like your theory number one, mostly because I still want Verin to be BA.

To further add to it. Is it possible that Verin knew of the destructive capabilities of two Terangrael in the same place, like Alanna did? That being said Verin could have known that Egwene was gettin raised, and a certain extremely beautiful Forsaken, who happens to be running around the tower, could have given the order to kill her and make it look like an accident??

Just throwin it out there.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
18. Lsana
@15 R.Fife,

I assume that BlackAjCon gives receipts. I mean, they have to give something to Alviarin so that she can reemburse them for their time and expenses. After all, the Black Ajah can lie, so one might claim that she'd gone to the Conference when really she was just goofing off on the beaches of Illian...

@16 hoping to be of the blood,

Oh, it's definitely not conclusive. Lanfear/Else was skulking about quite a bit, and she could have heard Egwene planning to use the ring. But it is suggestive.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
19. tearl
Two comments:

Lsana @4

Also on the "Is Verin Black?" debate: Lanfear appears to be expecting Egwene here. While not conclusive, certainly support for Verin being Black.

I'm assuming "here" is the Stone in TAR and the question is how Lanfear knew Eg had a TAR ring? Lanfear, as Else, saw the Girls with the "TAR training ring" (as L would recognize it) and we need not involve Verin at all.


Egglie @13

isn't Gyldan the name Moghedien uses when she is pretending to be a servant to spy on Liandrin and friends in Tanchico?

No, that's Gyldin, TSR ch.38, "Hidden Faces".
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
20. sps49
Mat's getting his awesome on, and this book rips along with spectacular RJ writing from here to the finish. Of course, this only makes the later stretchout books harder to endure (Zero Mat in ACoS? Really?).
But I'm loving the ride here!
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
21. srhall
Thank you for doing this. Reading these reminds me a bit of lurking in the newsgroup, as well as reminding me that there was a lot of good stuff in WoT. Not enough to want to re-read it myself, but maybe in the end I'll read the last two books.

I'm finding (and remembering) some of my favorite parts are the Not Real parts- the Portal Stone visions, the Accepted tests. I wish we got to see Elayne's Accepted test, but I guess we have to do without.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
22. Rikka
day two of my laziness continues. I have class in half an hour and no time for extensive write-ups! Still. I want my books back just for Mat and his awesome sauceness. I miss Mat. >.>
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
23. sps49
Um, I meant that The Path of Daggers is the Mat-free book.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
24. Lsana
@17 UncrownedKing,

I definitely don't want Verin to be Black, but it's hard to deny that much of what she does is suspicious, and the fact that she has that ring when all of the other dream ter'angreal were taken is not the least of it. Something is definitely up there.

I'm not sure I buy that she deliberately gave it to Egwene in order to get the Acceptatron to go wonky, however. Unless she was working with Sheriam, that seems unlikely to work. And, for reasons I mentioned earlier, I'm not convinced the ring actually caused the Acceptatron failure.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
25. Gentled Ben
Concerning choosing the Gray Ajah: To me, it seems to be the one Ajah that can further the goals of every other Ajah. Each Ajah believes that its philosophy is the most important one--the Reds believe that Gentling men is the primary way that women blessed with the gift of channeling can best serve humanity, the Yellows believe it is through Healing, etc. Perhaps the Grays believe that each and every Ajah is vitally important, and therefore, they choose the one Ajah that can mediate disputes between the others and keep the Tower whole. Yeah, I am well aware of the fact that none of the Ajahs do well at their stated purposes, and that the Tower itself is largely ineffective, yet their intentions are good, and that is what a woman choosing an Ajah is concerned with--intentions.

By choosing Gray, she chooses to help keep the entire institution functioning. Remember that when it was formed, the Ajahs got along no better than they do in KoD--the Grays must have been busy in the early days of the Tower. Now, as then, there will be disputes, and now, as then, the rest of the world is on the brink of disaster. Grays help (yeah, I know, they aren't very successful) mediate disputes between nations as well as Ajahs, and thereby, help keep the world from plunging into anarchy, an environment in which it would be difficult, if not impossible, for the other Ajahs to pursue their worthwhile goals.

While those who are attracted to order and law will be drawn to the Gray, so might those who wish to see justice served, those who wish to make peace between rivals, those who wish to gain power and influence by counseling thrones (the Guide tells us that many advisors come from the Gray), and those who believe that the goals of any two or more Ajahs are vitally important, as by choosing the Gray, they can potentially further the ends of every Ajah.
Rich Bennett
26. Neuralnet
I had forgotten about Lanfear masquerading as Silvie and Else. still not sure why Silvie was there in TAR though. I suspect she is really there waiting for Rand (or someone else) to show up but who knows.

Thanks God Mat is now promoted to wicked cool. he is defintely one thing about this series that makes you want to come back for more.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
27. PieterT
I find it fascinating that Mat unconsciously speaker in the old toung, but consciously has the old battle skills with the quarterstaff. Place you bets now!

I agree the blue and green ajah get things done, but I feel there is too less white ajah in WOT to bring some dr. Spock logic to the tale. "The good of the many outweighs the good of the few, or the one." when Moiraine takes out Lanfear would be a good moment.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
28. Smatt
Sorry, first ever comment but just had a thought could Corianin have been slightly better at Dreaming than we all think? Maybe she dreamed all the BA forsaken wannabes and put the ring where only Verin could find it. Don't think verin is BA just very, very tricksy.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
29. Rebecca Starr
Ch 22
I think you mean to say, "Alanna is one of the sisters womaning" the ter'angreal - sorry, that's always been one of my pet peeves!

On a more serious note, I agree with the generally accepted theory that the TAR ring made the arches a little bit more prophetic than usual, but not 100% so, and some of it (i.e. Egwene's ageless face) come from her own preconceptions or fears. 'nuff said about that

Ch 23
I disagree with you on the Ajahs, Leigh! Gray as mediators (aka lawyers), I see a definite purpose for. Blues doing justice/causes (think today's non-profit UN-y type people), Browns as scholars/historians, Yellow as Healers (aka doctors) and Whites as philosophers. Quite frankly the only two I don't understand are the Red and the Green... I mean, the Battle Ajah? When there hasn't been a battle since the Trolloc Wars 2,000 years ago?? no wonder they spend too much time thinking about men ::sniffs:

Ch 24
I heart Mat. I would probably, in fact, marry Mat if he were real

Ch 25
I like all the false trails that Jordan set for us, in retrospect here. Elaida being "Black" in Egwene's arch and otherwise seeming so Black-ish. And note that the first one Egwene sees after Lanfear disappears is Faolain, which made me so suspicious of her! But we know how that turns out...

Ch 26
yet more confirmation for my belief that Egwene is someone (Eldrene?) reborn, since the way she suddenly "knows" weaves is reminiscent to me of how Rand gets his knowledge from LTT

Ch 27
phew and finally, yes, I was *terrified* the first time I read this chapter about TAR. Like, huddled in bed scared. And now it's so old-hat. but it's still WoT and I still faithfully read
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
30. Rebecca Starr
Nana@5 - you're correct; the real Else Grinwell was sent home. This is 'Lanfear' using illusion to make herself look like Else. that's why she doesn't want Mat to touch her, and skirts so wide around him on the pathway outside.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
31. darxbane
These re-reads are fun! One comment for Leigh to consider: You have trouble understanding some of the behaviours of the characters in these books, but I think you are 1)benefitting from hindsight (which you admit), but I also think you are giving people too much credit. Just look at some of the responses you have received. People want to believe they are right no matter what evidence is put to them. We are arrogant that way, and RJ does a fantastic job of conveying these human weaknesses, especially pride and hubris. I still like the Lanfear sections, especially when you see the price she pays for her foolishness. A poster above asked what the difference between the Ring and the other Dream T's was: The Ring puts you more completely in TAR, and anyone can use it. The other requires you to channel spirit, and your power over TAR is much reduced. This made me wonder something new though; Is the ability to access TAR like the ability to channel, where some have the spark (Egwene, Lanfear, etc), but others can learn to do it with enough practice? That would be cool.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
32. Tony Zbaraschuk
Reading again for the first time... yeah, that would be cool. I can still remember how exciting it felt to figure stuff like this out, and the sense of mystery and wonder unfolding beneath me... but you can't recapture the first taste again. Pity.

But reading it the second time through, knowing that Lanfear was disguising herself as Else and Silvie... yeah, that was cool too. (After time five, it got a bit boring... did none of the Forsaken have big reasons for switching to the Dark Side? Was it all petty personal frustration or what?)

The Grey Ajah are diplomats as well as lawyers, and I suspect it might be a fairly popular Ajah. (Elayne really should have been Gray Ajah, not Green, but I suppose she let the desire for multiple Warders distract her...)

Interesting note on some of the deep foreshadowing Jordan is laying in places here: healing stilling, Egwene as Amyrlin (though that's been foreshadowed in other places too) -- it seems to me that there's a difference between in-book foreshadowing, where we find out pretty clearly pretty soon what's going on (e.g., Egwene and some of Perrin's stuff here) and foreshadowing of stuff that isn't yet to come for a long time... and sometimes never does.)
Michael Ikeda
33. mikeda
Rebecca Starr@29

The Red Ajah would have been very important during the Time of Madness. And afterwards, there would still be the occasional False Dragon.

The Green Ajah's main purpose won't be needed as often. But the Blight is out there, the Dark One is out there, the AS know that there's eventually going to be a Last Battle. And every once in a while someone actually sends an army in the direction of Tar Valon.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
34. Maes
Hello sorry about the last one

-I used to want to be AesSedai but after reading all the books and rereading some of the chapters like this i decided aes sedai aren't that cool after all. all they want to do is control everything. Moraine is the only aes sedai ive ever really liked. I sure don't like Alanna.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
35. Tamcat
I don't think Verin is BA, at least I hope not. I think she is a brown to the core and will do what she has to to get the knowledge she wants. The prophesies are coming true and she's right there in the middle of it.

And yeah, I never did like the Lanfear storyline the first time and was really glad when Moiraine tackled her.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
36. Egglie
@9 Lasna, let me suggest some other alternatives -

1. Corianin was not black, she studied the ter'angreal but decided she liked the ring best so left the rest in the store room and just put use not known in her records to prevent anyone from suspecting that she was using the ring and was not a natural dreamer.

2. Corianin was black and did as above but told the black Ajah all about the dream ter'angreal. They know about the ring but can't find it because Verin has filched it from the library.

3. Verin is black and deliberately gave Egwene the ring hoping that she would make herself vulnerable in TAR.

4. Verin is not black but does not want to admit that she knows the function of the ter'angreal that the black Ajah took as then someone might figure out she has Corianin's notes so she doesn't tell Egwene straight out but gives her a set of notes which make it pretty damn obvious.

(no prizes for guessing which ones I favor:-) no real evidence either way so its all about how you feel it fits with your perception of the story)

Also, the white tower has store rooms full of Ter'angreal which they don't know the use of. Liandrin and her BA cohorts took 10? of the dream ter'angreal plus the balefire rod and dice. We do not know that they took all the dream ter'angreal except the ring, just that they took some dream-related ter'angreal.

@19 tearl - thanks, similar but not the same. It was nagging at me and I couldn't check.

C22 Does anyone actually think that any of the AS read Egwenes notes? I think its just another red herring, Egwene focuses so hard on the possibility but nothing ever comes of it.

C23 What is Alanna up to? I still can't figure out why she wants to spend time with Egwene. Are she and Verin working together? or is it just a co-incidence when they turn up together later?

C24 Poor Gawyn, he is rubbish in this fight - doesn't even get one hit in just gets knocked down twice in quick succession. Still, Go Mat! Yay.

C25 Its quite amusing that some of the very things that the girls dismiss here as useless information are the things that help Juilin Sandar to locate the BA sisters later (the cats, the white streak in Riannas hair).

C26 not much to say about this one. Its mostly settign the scene for TAR and is therefore a bit boring on the multiple re-read.
Richard Fife
37. R.Fife
Tamcat:
"And yeah, I never did like the Lanfear storyline the first time and was really glad when Moiraine tackled her."

honestly, the more and more I sit and ponder over my first reactions, I don't think I ever super cared for Lanfear either, at least when she was being overt with Rand. I kept hoping, like in these scenes, that maybe, just maybe, she did have some darker, more sinister motive, but well, I can hope Santa Clause will give me some Uraniam-238 for x-mas, but that ain't happening either.

Lsana:
they took 13 dream terangreal, enough that they can all get in, plus the Hedgehog, the dice, the balefire rod, and numerous other unspecified articles that Mohgedian steals from them later.

now pardon me, I must go back to dedicating a part of my life to Santa's downfall, inbetween making a Perpetual Energy Generator and SuperToast. (bonus points for whoever gets the reference.)
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
38. cowboyfunk
I dont know if this was already covered, but I found it odd Rand/Perrin was in TAR. Well Perrin makes sense because he can enter the wolf dream, but how was Rand there? (He seemed to be aware of everything, not just dreaming himself in for a moment...and even commented he had been approached like that before). Or was this Egwene dipping into their dreams...been a while since I read TDR so it may have been more clear in the text.

I think its a given the TAR ring was the cause of the issue especially since Elayne didnt seem to have any issues in her testing right before and it seems likely if it was BA interference they would be messing with her as well. Speculation is the whole fun in WoT plots.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
39. Aaron Nowack
Has anything ever come of the whole 13 Dreadlords + 13 Fades thing? It's such a specific detail, and such a major potential threat that it seems weird that it wouldn't be used somewhere in the story, but I can't remember it ever happening, even in the background of a minor character or some such...
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
40. cowboyfunk
I dont think anything came of the 13/13 aspect. For whaetever reason they move on to the male a'dam as the game plan to control Rand based on the Supergirl adventures after TDR.

Maybe scheduling issues...its probably hard to get 13 Black sisters and 13 Fades to accept the Evite invitation at the same time.
Richard Fife
41. R.Fife
I am of the opinion that 13/13 happened off screen to Taim, but that is just me.
Robert Garza
42. FunBob
Into the fray! Lanfear told Matt that she was checking on those who interested her when he asked who she was. This obviously included the Power Puff Girls....Lanfear was walking into the Tower as Else when Matt ran into (not quite literally, as Lanfear avoided him like the plague). She continued into the Tower, and saw the PPGs with the AoL TAR training ring, and told them about the "evidence" left by the BA. When Egwene tried to follow her, she "glided ahead of her" so that Egwene couldn't catch her, and dropped the illusion once around a corner. Lanfear (as Selene) compulsed Egwene to leave, and then "disappeared" using illusion. Once Egwene was in TAR, she used NEED to find the Heart of Stone, where Lanfear as Silvie was waiting to put the final touches on her trap to bring the girls to the Stone. I always saw Lanfear's grand plan to use the girls as bait, because Lew Therin couldn't resist saving a women. Lanfear wanted Rand to get to the Heart of Stone and kill Ishamael. With Ishy out of the way, Lanfear could continue her plan to teach Rand to almost be her equal (using Asmodean as his teacher) and rule the world. Once she saw the Choedan Kal, she upped the ante to killing the Dark One and Creator and supplanting them both.

Whew! That is a LOT of evil plotting to review.... hope that helps anyone who feels lost. LOVE this book.....

As always, thanks to Leigh for another great job in her post.
John Cater
43. katre
Re-reading this, I suddenly realized: Mat couldn't possibly have lost his big fight with G&G. Why? Because he made a wager with them. And we all know he never loses a big wager.
Crystal McMillan
44. CDragon27
another great recap. I have to say I think the Accepted test was easily one of my favorite parts of this book.
I am strongly of the Verin is Not Black Ajah group. She didn't give a warning or explination? that is just Aes Sedai business as usual. She is actually one of my favorite AS.
Alanna was almost cool, but later in the series turns into a emotional wreck who lashes out and "rapes" Rand, so I find it hard to like her in the reread. (foreknowledge is not always a good thing)
I was so thrilled by the coolness of Mat speaking the Old Tongue. Since he is my least favorite Two Rivers native, it was nice to find something cool about him. When he beat Gawyn and Galad I cheered a bit, but then all the kids in that family need a good head knocking.
last thing I think the ring interacted with the Acceptotron because of a similiarity between the test and TAR. so it was on a similiar frequency so to speak.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
45. seanie
R. Fife: I think Taim is one of the Forsaken .
Every time Taim appears LTT goes nuts in Rands head .
Usually muttering about the Forsaken .
Richard Fife
46. R.Fife
Seanie: it is possible, but Taim was terrorizing the world as a false dragon before the forsaken were loose, and Bashere has confirmed he is the same man as was causing the ruckus up in Saldea. If I recall, LTT goes crazy around all male channelers, saying they all have to die. As for why he might go crazier around Taim, perhaps LTT knows how to recognize someone forced to the shadow. So, that crackbrained idea is why I think Taim was 13^2'd.
Jon Severinsson
47. jonno
First, regarding the TAR rings: Some of the 13 rings stolen by the BA are "training" rings that only takes you partially to TAR (so that hurt in TAR doesn't stick). Egwenes ring, however, is not. It will take you fully into TAR, leaving you open for hurt or even death. That is probably why Corianin considered it more dangerous and hid it.

Secondly, I'm wondering who the "she" who offered kisses and more to Rand was. From the text it obviously wasn't Egwene (that would have been "you" rather than "she"), and this is long before Rand falls in love with his three "wives". I think the only ones he has had any such thoughts about at this point is Egwene and Selene. So, do anyone else think the it was Lanfear who offered those kisses?

And one sentence in Ch 27 bothered me to no end: "Black Ajah or not, Egwene did not see how any Aes Sedai could tell a lie right out".
I know the Wonder Girls aren't the smartest bunch, but not figuring out that BA must be able to lie to have concealed their existence for two thousand years is really stupid. Especially considering the importance of this fact in the future BA hunt in the tower.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
48. danielCronin
Hey guys. I know that BA means something bad.. but I can't rememver what it specifically stands for. Could some one clear that up for me. Happy times. x
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
49. danielCronin
And just spotted, you guys are now in EDT instead of EST. Being that I am from Europe, will I have to be waiting an extra hour every day or am I gonna be making time up? Cheers
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
50. Tamcat
R.Fife. I think seanie might be right about Taim being one of the forsaken. It's been a long time since I've read the books, but I thought we find out in one of the later books that Taim is one of the forsaken and uses his position at the black tower to try to have some control over Rand. I thought he influences the males at the black tower to be not so nice. Like I said it's been a long time and I could be totally wrong. I guess we'll find out soon enough.
Richard Fife
51. R.Fife
Daniel: well, we're an hour closer to you now, so I guess you made up time. Your post was at 9:00pm EDT. Also, BA = Black Ajah. Cheers.

And Tam: Dashiva is forsaken and is doing that (and pretending to be mad while he is at it), but Taim is just batshit crazy, what with all his "bashing in people's heads cause they speak out of line" stuff. As of yet, I think it is just speculation as to why Taim is obviously evil.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
52. danielCronin
BA - Black Ajah!....Doh!
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
53. Tamcat
R.Fife. Oh you're right. I told you it's been a long time.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
54. Toss the dice
Only my first re-read, so getting a lot of these theories for the first time. Love the post great job Leigh
Andrew Green
55. aegreen
Gentle Ben @ 25

Interesting point about the Gray Ajah. They may be the only ajah that truly puts the Tower before themselves. If I remember correctly, Grays are also the most democratic of the ajahs and elect Sitters by secret ballot.

Probably the only time the Tower itself is united is when the Amrilyn is given war power. Otherwise, "ajahs" and "cooperation" in the same sentence seems to be an oxymoron to me. The instances that RJ gives us in the books of the ajahs interacting with eachother always seem to consist of factions and discord.

Also, Chapter 24 is pure awesomeness.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
56. Valeiria
I always liked the way the ajahs were divvied.
Blue for causes, so people who are drawn to being noble, etc. will go there.
Greens are gonna be the ones who are brave and want to be directly in the line of fire.
Yellows for healing.... that would be the one I would think the highest on the unbalanced scale, because you can heal with healing weaves just as easily as you can kill with healing weaves. Talk about a super scary power to have.
Grays are mediators so that will be for people who like balance.
Whites are logical, so that'll draw the logical people, of course. They're the only ones I don't really know what their purpose in the "real world" is. Maybe they help Grays out?
Reds hunt men who can channel. You think that after the whole "saidin being cleansed" and "last battle over and won" the Reds will start hunting Darkfriends? You know there will be tons left who need to be put away. Maybe they'll be a huge part of the Great Purge that we heard about in Egwene's test. It just seems like they should put their hunting skills to some good use.

Random side-train of thought: The Gray and White ajahs were the only ones I ever thought the colors made sense for(other then Black, of course, but let's not state the obvious too much). Other ajahs... well, why even sort them by colors? Weird. Anyways...
White = pure and the Whites are all about pure logic. (Even though I fantasize about how I would be Green, I'd probably be White.)
Gray is made from a mix of black and white. The Grays are mediators. It's kind of their job to take to opposing viewpoints and mix them together, forming an agreement.

If any of this sounds completely delirious, in my defense I'm sick. :-) But I love this re-read. I just finished with book 8 in my re-read today. I'm getting to the books that I don't remember as well, but I'm so excited for book 9!
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
57. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
Ch22
Yes Elayne is that awful. Best she accept that and work on it while there's time. But of course, she doesn't. How else would Mat come to know Mistress Snoot. Just felt good to get that out of the way.

As for Egwene, it is interesting to note that her Accepted testing is also prophetic. But everybody already knows it's the ring interacting with the ter'angreal. Good thing neither one was damaged.

Ch23
Woah! Way to go Mat! I totally agree with you, Leigh. I've said it before and I'll say it again, this is where he begins to shine. And you even missed the part where this is most probably the first time he coins what would become the motto of the Band of the Red Hand. "It's time to toss the dice," in the Old Tongue.

Ch24
It would be just like one of the Supergirls to be totally oblivious and miss out on not only one but an entire series of lessons in humility. Come on, do we really believe that Hopper would attack Egwene? He's met her before and she was there when he died. Besides he didn't really sink his fangs into her. He just closed the door in her face. Literally. He probably just didn't want her around for whatever he had to teach Perrin. Then there was Rand. Please, she already knows he's the Dragon Reborn, and she tries to force him with the One Power? She's already beginning to manifest one of the uglier habits of the Aes Sedai. And doesn't she even become suspicious of an old woman who apparently knows more about TAR than any Aes Sedai living? Lanfear's right in considering the girls idiots. They are. Notice the arrogance in thinking the trap was for them. Notice the utter obliviousness in thinking they could handle whoever laid the trap. Could they handle 13 fully trained Black sisters? Did they even realize it might be one of the Forsaken that they already know are loose?

Lsana @4
"2,563rd annual Black Ajah Conference, held this year in the Stone of Tear". LOL

Beren Al'Torin @8
LOl. "Anything that the Two Rivers has will beat anything similar found to have come from anywhere else in the world." I've noticed it too. Two Rivers products generally tend to shine when they get out. And it's not just the channelers. Tam Al'Thor was one too, and way ahead of everybody else.

UncrownedKing @14
Warders did not exist in the AoL. Semirhage thought so when she tortured Cabriana Mecandes later in the series.

Gentled Ben @25
No, the Red Ajah's primary purpose isn't gentling male channelers. It's shoving Aes Sedai dominance down everybody's throats. Gentling males is just a means to that end. They figure they must need the good PR. They squander it everywhere else. But yes, similar to modern day students selecting a major in college, Aes Sedai inevitably choose a path and the path they choose is best embodied by the Ajah they join.

cowboyfunk @40
Nope. Nothing came out of the 13/13 because they lost two in Tear. Probably wasn't even their fault. They probably received conflicting instructions from separate Forsaken.

R.Fife @41
I happen to agree. When is the critical question though. Was it before he showed up in LoC? Or was it after he showed up but before Dumai's Wells? He was definitely pursuing his own agenda by then.
LT Tortora
58. Lucubratrix
Re: choosing Gray--the Grays aren't the law school kids; they're the international relations majors, the ones who want to join the foreign service and be diplomats (way cooler than law school, btw).

I guess I'm one of the few people who liked Mat from the beginning--I always kind of had the impression that there was more to him than just being a prankster. Also, of course, it's sometimes easy to forget that most of these characters are quite young, and prone to the same sorts of idiot mistakes that most young people are prone to, except that the immaturity of most of us don't affect the fate of the world.

Still very much enjoying the recaps--I wish I had access to the books....
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
59. Effervescent
Before my question gets buried to the point where no one will read it (and thus, I couldn't read all the responses up to this oint, si if it has been discussed, my apologies)...doesn't the situation Egwene find herself in before she is to be still sound EXACTLY like the situation Siuane was in after she WAS stilled?
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
60. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
Valeiria @56
I don't know, I wouldn't have figured out the Gray until you pointed it out. Green would have to be the most obvious, IMHO. Most militaries use one form of green or another. Red would have to be the color of royalty and I suppose that's what the Red wants to be when they grow up. It's either that or being always angry at one faction or another.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
61. ZamIt
I've been following these reviews for a while now without posting. Thanks Leigh for the reviews and comments. I doubt if I'll get through a full reread of all the books before AMOL, so these are very helpful! I read and reread these first books so many times. I still remember the first time I read TDR that I was disappointed that there was very little with Rand, but even then as I still recognized that building up more characters would be good for the long term series. In the first few POV with Mat, I just kind of went "well okay, Jordan is going to stop making him the jerk". The fight with Gawyn and Galhad really was the first sign of awesomeness. That has got to be one of my favorite scenes in the whole series, easily top 10 and maybe close to the top. (Mat in TFOH running away, becoming a general, and killing Couladin is probably my favorite.) Now in going through all the books, TDR has many of the best highlights with Mat and Perrin. The girls, not so much, but they still had some cool moments as well, like when they met the Aiel.

Maybe it's because I like the scene so much, but I do buy Mat beating two swordsmen with a quarterstaff. Even Hammar knew that swordsmen shouldn't underestimate a man with a stick :) The Two Rivers farmers apparently are the heron-marked equivalent in the quarterstaff rankings!

I miss Hammar. His part was short, but his death may have made as big of an impact on me as any.
craig miller
62. craigpmiller
Thanks again Leigh.

I know a lot's been said about Ny's braid pulling, so forgive me if I'm about to say something obvious but it just occurred to me that it's her way of keeping herself angry so she can embrace the source.

Cheers
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
63. sps49
@43:
I haven't seen that observation before, even with it foreshadowing the wager Mat will make in Caemlyn. I like it!

I don't get the Lanfear disses. I like her (as a character), her possessiveness and jealousy is eerily similar to an ex of mine.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
64. jafco
@4. Lsana

"...But that would require the ultimate selfish b**** to forgo something she wants, which would never happen...."

You do go on! ;) I think I've liked Elayne from the git-go, and in this book and later, she's the one who keeps Eg and Nyn from getting down, clawing out each other's eyes.

There are many scenes in prior books, here and beyond where she shows sides that I admire - strength in adversity, just-minded, and yet a little inclined to be bawdy or common, if only to scratch an itch. Upcoming scenes with Thom and with Thom and Juilin regarding Birgitte are wonderful.

Egwene is the bitch - a manipulator, liar and ladder-climber without peer; I can't stand her until Mat finally honors her before the great trek to Ebou Dar. That seemed to have tempered her somehow. I later start to like her.

Nynaeve of course is also a bitch - but she's interested in human beings, not power like dear Eg. And she - unlike the men she so disdains on occasion - she's there when you need her, with a nuclear ball bat in hand, ready to rumble.

I LOVE this stuff! No harm intended to you in the above, of course. :))
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
65. jafco
@42. FunBob

"...Whew! That is a LOT of evil plotting to review...."...

I think you nailed Lanfear's program exactly. Plus, there is "something about Rand" that reminds her of her dear departed one true and abiding love (other than self), namely LTT - helped on because maybe a whole chunk of LTT's existence got spun into Rand's weave of the web.

She's gaming with the Devil. I'll give her some credit for spunk. Not to mention she's a Bad Ass (caps intended) and majorly endowed with a little thing called beauty. (That may be in the eye of the beholder, but if you don't get it, she'll shove it through your eye). Sort of Bondian.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
66. Effervescent
Since my last post was worded so horribly, and further now that I know for sure no one has brought it up....

During Egwene's test, when she awakes naked after the whole "Rand needs to be stilled or else" show-down, isn't it remarkably similar to what happens with Siuan later in the books? Almost to a T, except with the obvious (it happened to the sitting Seat, not Egwene, and Siuan did take the oaths). Egwene has never seen or heard HOW they still bad-girl AS, so the authenticity of the scene is another one of those "Hmmm..." moments.

The reason I bring this up is, a lot of what Egwene sees in her test "kinda" comes true, though it's all a little twisted, or a shade "off". Kinda like TAR in comparison to the real world...

Also, I too believe its the ring that sets off the unusual vibrations, since I believe that the Acceptatron is based on the alternate worlds, and the dreaming talent seems to have roots in the same "field" of study, as is TAR. If there were AS scientists, I think all three areas would be studied by the same AS professor.

Thus, with the added ring that attached TAR to the Acceptatron, coupled with a real "dreamer" channeler in the event, you get semi-real dream prophecies.

Just a spin on the readings brought out by happy boredom...
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
67. SteelBlaidd
Lots of thoughts today taking the Chapters in Order.

22:
I always thought it very telling that the Rand she envisioned was one with the strength of character to hold madness at bay so he could kill himself rather than be turned to the dark side. It's also telling that at this point she doesn't have the strength to kill him. As a side note Rand thanking Egwene for killing him is one of the fliker visions in TGH:Ch37 "what might be", so the Acceptatron may work by accessing Mirror worlds.

23:
As individuals, Aes Sedai run the gamut between the extremes of “kicks all the ass regionally available” and “needs to be flung into the vortex where the socks and Bic pens go”, but the Aes Sedai as an institution has historically pretty much sucked across the board. One of the strange things about this suckiness is that I really can’t decide if Jordan meant for it to be that way, or if he really considered the gender politics ramifications of it if he did.


I don't know about the gender politics but I'm pretty sure that the WT suckiness is deliberate.

First lets review his Biography
He served two tours in Vietnam (from 1968 to 1970) with the United States Army as a helicopter gunner. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with bronze oak leaf cluster, the Bronze Star with "V" and bronze oak leaf cluster, and two Vietnamese Gallantry Crosses with palm. After returning from Vietnam he attended The Citadel where he received an undergraduate degree in physics. After graduating he was employed by the United States Navy as a nuclear engineer.


In short he was both a Soldier and an Engineer I doub't he had a very good opinion of "Ivory Tower Intellectuals"

From the 19th century it has been, originally ironically, used to designate a world or atmosphere where intellectuals engage in pursuits that are disconnected from the practical concerns of everyday life. As such, it usually has a pejorative connotation, denoting a willful disconnect from the everyday world; esoteric, over-specialized, or even useless research; and academic elitism, if not outright condescension by those inhabiting the ivory tower.


This also explains why the Blues and Greens are the more effective Ajah. They're the ones that actually get out in the world and do stuff. All the other chaneller groups (Kin, Wise Ones, Windfinders, Sul'dam) are actively engaged with their surrounding cultures on a day to day basis.
A good example of the difference is seen in the two haves of the devided WT.

The SAS have grown in both skill and numbers and what ever differences they have, Their Amyrlin has got things in-hand. The TAS on the other hand are looking for an excuse to fall apart.

On an individual basis; I would bet that badassedness is directly proportional to with-it-ness.

AS to why they didn't check Egwene's stuff for Ter'angreal, that's easy, you don't check for the impossible. She didn't bring any to the tower and she wasn't issued one from the tower storeroom, where "all" of the 'greal are kept. It's impossible for a Novice to have one, so they didn't look.

Ch 24:
First encounter with Elsefear.

On the believability of Mat thrashing the wonder twins. His dad trades the annual Staff Champion spot with Tam the resident Blademaster. Abell has to have practiced with somebody, and Mat is the logical punching bag :P

Ch 25:
We always get L described as the mot beautiful woman. I wonder if she uses a 'glamor' i.e. a subtle compulsion that makes observers (like Rand and Loial:D) think she is beautiful and fascinating.

Ch 26:
I really don't get why every one thinks the girls are being dense here. They are not trained in forensics and I doubt they've ever watched CSI, so Elayne makes the reasonable assumption that the torn piece of map is trash just like the other stuff in the first bag. Even so Nynaeve is suspicious as soon as second item pointing to tear shows up. That is not being hit by a cluebat.

Ch 27:
Love the Perrin imagery here.

RE Rand: "Just because your paranoid dosen't mean they're not out to get you. :D:D:D"

As to Lanfear sending the super girls to Tear. Obviously shes trying to screw with Ba'lal. After all he might succeed in geting her "boyfriend" killed.

@ Ben # 25: like your theory of Grey purpose. Their peace negotiations are probably no less successful then the U.N.'s :P

@darxbane #31:
Here here on RJ and human failing.

Re: learning to access TAR. I think Moggy refers to the not quite there appearance as being how some one using a "training" Ter'angreal looks, so I would bet anyone can get to TAR with the proper instruction.

Re: Forsaken Motivation
Of course the are all petty. Only people who do evil thinking they are doing good have interesting motivations. Selfish cat is selfish.

Re: Black Verin
From the Wotmania FAQ
Verin- She’s a very dark Brown, but as far as we can tell, not actually Black…

"I was just deciding what." A shield, she decided. A captive Forsaken might prove very useful."

-Winter’s Heart, With The Choedan Kal

Of course, Darkfriends have called Forsaken Forsaken instead of Chosen before. But Verin does not think "ooh, maybe the Dark One will be angry" or "then I can get higher up in the hierachy." No, it’s "shall I kill her, or capture her? Capture. That might be interesting."
The Black Ajah member in the chapter, Elza Penfell, is busy worrying if the Dark One will forgive her for fighting the Chosen. Verin is wondering whether she should kill or capture one. Not a Darkfriend.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
68. gagecreedlives
The strange resonance Alanna feels coincides with Egwene hiding the ring. I imagine she touches the ring whilst hiding it. When the acceptatron goes crazy I wonder if somebody has been going through Egwenes stuff and was maybe playing with the ring. Interesting to note it was Elaida who gave her back her stuff afterwards.

Im flip flopping between whether Sheriam is black or not. And this one of the key scenes that make me confused. Egwenes comment can be dismissed as traumatic ramblings and Sheriam explained it for her so she wouldn’t make a scene in front of Elaida but I thought the fact that Liandrin and the rest were black was being kept secret. Why is Sheriam not surprised/angry at Egwenes statement?
Im half convinced Sheriam had the 13+13 trick done to her.

And for Elaynes little test well maybe she just had somebody tell her no 3 times.

Gawyn looked at him wonderingly. “Galad, you just very nearly made a joke.” Must be a ta’avern effect.

“Gawyn laughs and assures him that the worst Galad has to worry about is finding himself Warder to one of the Greens over there before his head clears”
Nope only Galads half brother has to worry about opportunistic greens.

“Perhaps they thought whoever found this would rush headlong after them, in anger and pride.” Did they know we would find it? Do they see us that way?” Yes they do and if you girls where just a little smarter this could have been one of those self realisation scenes that Leigh loves so much.

I think Lanfear must of manipulated TAR somehow to get Egwene into the stone. I dont think she was just lurking around waiting for her to show up.

UncrownedKing@14

There were no warders in AOL. The forsaken are confused by the warder bond and so is LTT. Only Moridin thinks about how he has known about the warder bond for a long time.

Also would the 13+13 trick work in TAR? Providing of course fades can get into the world of dreams.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
69. gagecreedlives
Effervescent@66 It is similar and I will also add that in the upcoming chapters Egwene awakens to find some fades waiting for her and the 2 other super girls in a neighbouring room.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
70. Randalator
Lsana@4


To be fair to Lanfear, the girls do need a clue-by-four to the head before they figure out that they are supposed to go to Tear. Egwene finds the map of Tear and dismisses it as rubbish without even looking to see if these are possessions of someone who had any previous connection to Tear. Same reaction when Elayne found the book. It wasn't until the third sack containing something about Tear that they started to pick up on the pattern. Even then, they aren't convinced until Egwene's dream.


To be fair to the girls, they weren't convinced until Egwene's dream because they immediately picked up the planted-ness of the evidence and therefor thought that Tear might be a mislead. They needed the confirmation from TAR. Additionally they noticed that the BA members were too evenly spread over the Ajahs and that there must be BA left in the Tower.

So not all dumb on the girlish front...
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
71. Randalator
Oh yeah, I forgot: Go Mat!
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
72. Dr. Morganstien
Leigh:
Thanks again, these summaries/commentaries are glorious. I think Brown Ajah is high up on RJ's favorite Ajah list. They seem to be doing a fairly decent job given the vast task ahead of them, and they do a very decent job when not in their element (i.e. dealing in world politics).

@15, 37, 41 R. Fife
First, all I can think of is Powdered Toast man.
Second, I also agree with the Mazrim Taim 13 squared theory.
Third, I think the portal stones obviously pre-date the Ajahs, I have two ideas. The steps were made by the early AS of this age to mark them, or...The early AS of this age picked the 7 Ajah colors based on the stones for some reason. Worlds of "if" and several different world views maybe?

@57 alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
Good point on Egwene developing the wrong way, especially not questioning the old woman.

Lastly: I think the reason the 13 BA left the ring behind, is that so no other darkfriends can use it against them. Everyone in the White Tower can use any of the dream ter'angreal, but out in the world its a different story.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
73. Gerik
So i have a real general Questions has anyone taken the time to compose a list of all the angreal ter'angreal and the sa'angreal that are mentioned in the book and if so where could i find it it sounds like good reading or amusing reading at least
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
74. birgit
Egwene only mentions a "he" when she asks about turning someone and Sheriam says it can only be done to channelers to reassure her. Since she doesn't know what "he" Eg ist talking about, she thinks it is not possible to turn "him" because it is unlikely that Eg is speaking about a channeler.

Taim might be a new Forsaken chosen by the DO to replace one of the balefired old ones.
jane reynolds
75. janie
gerik@73
They have indeed. This, among with many other fascinating and informative things can be found at the wonderful encyclopaedia-wot.

Once again Leigh, thanks so much for this. I have been vastly enjoying your often hilarious commentary as well as the comments. And also the fact that by the time I read the posts there are already 50+ comments. Go the time difference :)

I'm loving the various Verin/Corianin black/not black theories - she's the character who has consistently intrigued me by being so darn impossible to pin down as either one!

Lanfear = Else = Sylvie = Go away!

Mat is AWESOMENESS!
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
76. laframboise
You know, the more I think about it the more I think R.Fife has the right of the Mazrim Taim situation. Given his behavior in later books it became pretty clear he was a louse of some degree, but it didn't make sense that if he was one of the Forsaken he would've fallen senseless, and been made captive, when Rand grasped Callandor and proclaimed himself DR, and apparently using him in some way or another was at least postulated to, or in front of the 13 BA who went to Tear. Interesting.... It would indeed be nifty if Nynaeve could heal him later - I like that thought. Man, it's loose ends like this have AMoL waxing so large!
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
77. tearl
Valeiria @56, re the Ajah colors and purposes:

Whites are logical, so that'll draw the logical people, of course. They're the only ones I don't really know what their purpose in the "real world" is.

They're the philosophers. Pondering questions about the Pattern and the WOT, etc. If Henrid Fel were an AS, I believe he would be white. If the Forsaken had Ajahs, I believe Ishy would be white.
Richard Fife
78. R.Fife
Just a thought on the 13^2. Is there a way to go backwards? Like 13 regular Aes Sedai channeling through kittens?

As to Taim, I think he went 13^2 when he was "freed" by the black ajah. I definately think that it is a double-red herring in TSR when "Oh, they are either in Tanchio or they are trying to free Taim". What if both the captured sisters were telling the truth, eh? They capture Taim, already near the borderlands so not hard to get Myrdies, and turn him evil. Then perhaps even one of the forsaken (Ishy or Demandred) train him up a little more, make him a bad ass, and send him off to Rand.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
79. NanaD
If Lanfear could pose as Else couldn't any of the other Forsaken pose as Taim?
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
80. Randalator
NanaD@79

If Lanfear could pose as Else couldn't any of the other Forsaken pose as Taim?

Could but doesn't. Female Forsaken are out of the question for obvious reasons, Rahvin, Be'lal and Asmodean got balefired, Ishamael/Moridin was out of the loop when Taim appeared in Caemlyn (and besides as Moridin he enforces the "Don't kill Rand"-order that Taim breaks in ACoS), Aginor and Balthamel are the 'Gars and Sammael is Lord Brend.

The only Forsaken unaccounted for is Demandred. But there are clues in the books (double orders for Asha'man; doesn't recognize Damer Flinn) and a clear statement from Robert Jordan that Demandred is not Taim.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
81. Aneid
Frankly I do not care what Elayne’s walk through the ter’angreal was. I rather like my own vision. Something Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka.

“But mother, I want an Oompa Loompa, I want an Oompa Loompa now.” In that oh so endearing whiny / commanding voice.

I guess by the third walk through she wanted a gold egg laying goose, and instead was dropped down bad egg shoot, with Gawyn jumping right after her.

That would make her feel terrible and want to sob to Nyn.

Scratch that, it would have been great to read Jordan’s take on my vision.

I have wanted to respond the last couple of recaps but by the time I formed a coherent thought (what can I say, it takes me a while) someone else had already beat me to it, and better than I could have written it.

Great job everyone! I love the conversation. I should not have suggested the invite to JordanCon Leigh … but since that worked I should go to my boss and suggest a raise, time to roll the dice.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
82. Randalator
Correction of post 80: Taim breaks the order in TPoD not ACoS.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
83. tearl
Randalator @80

The only Forsaken unaccounted for is Demandred. But there are clues in the books (double orders for Asha'man; doesn't recognize Damer Flinn) and a clear statement from Robert Jordan that Demandred is not Taim.

A general comment to the group:

The Taim is Demandred theory was MUCH discussed in rasfwr-j. It was probably the second top topic after "Who shot Asmo?" It was given the name Taimandred. The situation is summarized in the FAQ. If you're interested in the preceding discussions, you might be able to find a pre-COT FAQ.

Personally, I strongly believed in the theory. I still say it is nearly impossible to read LOC with the Taimandred thought in mind and not come away convinced.

I'm led to one of two conclusions: 1) RJ started with a Taimandred plot, but changed it when the rasfwr-j'ites solved it too quickly; or 2) he set it up as a HUGE red herring. Either way, I not particularly happy as to what is says about his respect for his readership.
Sacha G
84. Fortune_Prick_Me
NanaD@79 Check out the section on Taim here : http://wotmania.com/faqtopic.asp?ID=178

it's pretty comprehensive on possible motivations that spell out why he is not an existing Forsaken. I happen to agree with the "turning" of the False Dragon theory when he was freed by the BA, though it doesn't totally account for Bashere's not really recognizing him when they meet up.

Leigh: Continuing thanks for this! It is the closest thing to my first discovery of the books and then branching out and finding a community of fans... with all of the theories out there... well, misery (of hearing RAFO) loves company.

Egwenes's Acceptatron test parts 2&3 was amazing, especially for the (extremely murky) foreshadowing. Scenes like this one, the Portal Stone worlds of IF (the cake is a LIE), Rand's timewalk in Ruihdean (sp) and various dreams in TAR. RJ really shines when he shows that nothing can really be taken at face value, prophecy is only realized after the fact - no matter how you try to tweak it - and everyone is at the mercy of the Pattern; but he still leaves room for free will. OK, ok, I'm practically going White Ajah here. :) Call me Herid Fel Reborn.
Sacha G
85. Fortune_Prick_Me
Wow this thread is active - @83 Tearl & @80 Randalator, sorry hadn't seen your posts on Taim.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
86. Lsana
@29 Rebecca Starr,

I've always thought that the Green and Red Ajahs should have been merged. The Greens, supposedly the "battle ajah," haven't fought a battle in two millenia, and the Reds only have 1 man every couple of years or so to deal with. Neither one has enough to do, and both of them are supposed to be focused on active fighting against the dark one. It seems to me that one ajah could handle both of these purposes just fine.

@31 darxbane,

The fact that you have to channel to use the other dream ter'angreal would matter in an arbitrary population, but not in the White Tower. Every woman likely to come across these ter'angreal would be able to use them. So if mere use is the issue, it doesn't make sense to hide the ring but keep the others where any channeler can find them.

@64 jafco,

I'll admit that I do go on about Elayne. The first time I read the series, I liked her best of the supergirls until the incident with Mat in LoC. On a second read, however, I've found that that incident was part of a pattern of behavior. She's rude and nasty to anyone not in her inner circle. She's got a sense of entitlement greater than any other character. She always puts what she wants (going adventuring in this case) over her duty (staying where she is and not causing any further trouble between Andor and the White Tower). Basically, she claims all the privileges of being a princess without taking any of the responsibilities, and that makes her a very unattractive character in my mind. However, I do try to only go after her when she deserves it, as she does here: given what happened last time she left, she should not be leaving the tower.

You're not wrong about Egwene and Nynaeve being pretty nasty too, but both of them are better by book 11. Elayne is not. She shows a distinct inability or unwillingness to learn from her mistakes, such as leaving the tower.

@70 Randalator,

I will give Elayne some credit for using noticing the lack of pattern (see, I can be fair to Elayne), but their search of the BA possessions was dumb. Egwene finds a bunch of cloths and a map of Tear. She immediately dismisses it as rubbish, without bothering to look at whose stuff she's handling and whether this sister has any previous connection to Tear or not. Elayne does the same thing with the book on Tairin customs. It's not until Nynaeve finds a third thing related to Tear that they start noticing a pattern, but are still half inclined to dismiss it as coincidence. I'm not sure anything less than what Lanfear left--a Tairen connection in every single bag--would have clued them in.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
87. Fozzy
I do not know if this was covered above in the 82 responses... to many to read while at work, but I think Lanfear is guiding the "Supergirls" because she feels that they are a threat to her and her cause. The "Supergirls" are supposedly have the strongest ability possibly in the whole tower. Lanfear wants Rand all to herself. I believe that she knows about the Black Ajah's trap for the girls and she is just placing the bait. Siuan told Nynaeve that they searched all the AS belongings that left with Liandrin and there was nothing there. This tells me that Lanfear placed the bait somehow in the sealed belongings.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
88. dolphin0102
Just a mathematical point. It's 13+13 or 13X2... 13 squared is 13X13. As is 13 to the second power or 13^2. Can you imagine trying to fit 169 power-wielding DF's in a room to turn someone to the DO? So much for secrecy. Heh, for that matter, can you imagine 169 power-wielding and power hungry DF's cooperating?
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
89. Herr_Flick
One short comment from a martial arts geek:

After Mat's fight, Hammar reminds the students of Jearom, the greatest blademaster of all time, who only lost once, to a farmer with a staff.

I'm fairly certain Jordan based this on Miyamoto Musashi, considered one of the greatest samurai ever:

He lost once (or got a draw, stories vary), to a staff wielder.

/Geeking over
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
90. Johan G
67. "As to Lanfear sending the super girls to Tear. Obviously shes trying to screw with Ba'lal. After all he might succeed in geting her "boyfriend" killed."

Yes! I'm glad someone else agrees with me here. There seems to be a lot of comments assuming Lanfear worked with Be'lal.

Be'lal and Mesaana's plan is (as these things go) straightforward. They make Alviarin give them thirteen BA with dream ter'angreal to project dreams to lure Rand to Tear. They started this a long time before the wondergirls were even close to Tar Valon, so they obviously weren't part of the plan to begin with. Indeed, since Rand's on his way long before the girls are, there's not even a need for them. Why would Be'lal want them in Tear? Would he even know they existed?

We know Lanfear spies on Be'lal. She sneaks around him in Tel'aran'rhiod, and never talks directly to any other Forsaken except Ishamael. We know she planted the Obvious Clues Are Obvious and pointed Egwene to them. We know she baited Egwene in Tel'aran'rhiod. Lanfear's the only Forsaken except Ishamael who shows an interest in the people around Rand. Also, there's the dream (Perrin or Egwene? I forget) of Liandrin capturing the wondergirls, laughs at them while another woman laughs at Liandrin.

It seems obvious to me that the wondergirls were Lanfear's monkeywrench thrown into Be'lal's plan. Be'lal thought he could use them, but Lanfear got the last laugh.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
91. tearl
Gerik @73

So i have a real general Questions has anyone taken the time to compose a list of all the angreal ter'angreal and the sa'angreal that are mentioned in the book...

You mean something like this?
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
92. katg
@79 R.Fife
I don't think both Amico and Joiya could have been telling the truth, at least not as they knew it. Amico could have because she was stilled and we know that stilling breaks the effects of the oath rod. Joiya was still bound by the BA oaths, and I think general consensus is that one of their oaths is to not betray the BA...
Just a thought.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
93. David-2
The problem I have with the Taim = Forsaken theory is that it would put two of them in very close proximity for quite awhile - none of the Forsaken would have arranged that or risked it.

He's a DF for sure - and I think he's getting orders from a Forsaken other than Osan'gar/Dashiva; he probably doesn't/didn't know that Dashiva was a Forsaken.

Changing the subject, I think we're getting to a consensus here: Elayne is a headstrong selfish foolish girl with absolutely no problem with low self-esteem. I can't wait to read the comments when we get to the chapter where she tries to unravel her gateway.
Richard Fife
94. R.Fife
dolphin0102@88: I just started using 13^2 to be cute and save a hair bit of typing. I was not trying for mathematical clarity. Sorry.

Katg@92: The best place to hide is in plain sight. She could still be telling the truth and not betray the BA if it was on orders. And the BA might have said "go ahead and send them hairing off to Saldea. Then we will have Taim AND them."

On Elayne, I'm currently in TFoH on my reread, and she does show some growth after Birgette is ripped from TAR. Actually tells the men what is going on, etc.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
95. Randalator
Lsana@86

That's why I said "not all dumb" instead of "not at all dumb". ;)

They dismissed the first clues toward Tear too easily, true. But keep in mind that El/Eg are 16 years old and most likely never watched any CSI episodes.

The same goes for your criticism that Elayne takes no responsibility when she left the White Tower. 16 years old, golden cage...most teenagers rebel under these circumstances. Why not "Mistress Snoot"? Even Mr. Awesome himself took a stroll in Shadar Logoth looking for adventure.

The second time she leaves the Tower its for two reasons mainly: Helping her friends and to get away from black sisters and Gray Men (which we already know from Liandrin is a more than valid worry). She only jokingly adds that she doesn't want to scrub pots while Egwene and Nynaeve are gone.

"I will not let you two go alone. And I won't stay here wondering if the sister teaching me is a Darkfriend, or if the next Gray Man will come after me." She gave a small laugh. "I will not work in the kitchens while you two are off adventuring, either. (TDR, ch. 27)

In this case she just puts the duty towards her friends and the Tower higher than that to Andor. Which is something the Tower strongly encourages by the way. And I do believe that she was still high on the BA's people-who-need-some-serious-assassinating-list by then. Getting herself assassinated wouldn't have helped Tower-Andor-relations one bit.

And in LoC she certainly doesn't run off to Rand when the Aes Sedai don't make her part of the delegation or things generally don't go the way she wants. Quite unlike what Nynaeve intends to do several times until Elayne holds her back.

And while I agree with you that her behaviour towards Mat in LoC absolutely sucks, at least she rectifies it with a sincere apology in ACoS, ch. 38. Never to mention that Mat had his own fair share of rude, arrogant and obnoxious behaviour when he arrived in Salidar.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
96. sps49
tearl @83:

Agree completely with your 1), and the reader respect bit.

Sure, I have conflicted relationship here. I love the first books, but starting with tPoD I felt more and more that RJ had entered Tom Clancy/ Rowling territory- enough power to prevent publisher editing coupled with an apparent belief that they are paid per word. I hate feeling that I am being strung along with the later books.

Oddly, I am hopeful that AMoL will be long- there are a lot of threads that deserve better than the too-rushed Semirhage conclusion. If she is truly concluded, of course!
Blake Engholm
97. UncrownedKing
@ 37 R.Fife

Was that a Invader Zim reference?? Wow, wow is the only thought that could come to my mind.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
98. Lsana
@95 Randalator,

The supergirls haven't watched any CSI, true, but they were down there "looking for clues." I'm not sure what they were expecting to find that would be more useful than a map of a strange city (unless perhaps it was the aforementioned flier for BlackAjahCon).

As for Elayne...I'm not saying that it is necessarily unrealistic that she grabs onto her privilege and tries to ignore her responsibilities, I'm saying that it's unattractive. And yes, she's sixteen, but sixteen in Randland is not the same as sixteen in ours. At sixteen, Egwene was considered old enough to marry. Elayne is considered old enough to rule in her own right without any mention of a regent. If she's ever going to be old enough to accept her responsibilities, she's old enough now.

She left the tower once, and it brought Andor and Tar Valon as close to war as they can get without actually shooting each other. But rather than learning, "Wow, I guess I matter more than I thought. I shouldn't do that again," she proceeds to, well, do it again. She may be trying to put her loyalty to Tar Valon above her loyalty to Andor (on a side note, I wonder how Andor feels about that quality in their queen), but her disappearance harms both. And she's putting herself in danger: there may be BA still in the tower, but for certain there are BA where she's going.

She has her moments: a few in TDR, more in TSR and FoH, some in CoS, but always they are followed up by something bad. She apologizes to Mat and sounds sincere (I assume you are reffering to her second apology, because the first one was blatantly insincere), but that doesn't stop her from manipulating him in the next chapter nor from abandoning him to the Seanchan. And yeah, I know that as a channeler she really needs to get away from the Seanchan, but it's not like she ever tries to send someone back to Ebou Dar to find him or discover if he's okay. And then she turns into the pregnant monster...
Richard Fife
99. R.Fife
UncrownedKing wins the bonus points! Adventures in Science with Professor Membrain!!!!!
Blake Engholm
100. UncrownedKing
lol I read the quote and heard it in that guys voice but it took me almost an hour to piece it all together. My favorite was the hover helmet lol. Good Show but completely off topic now
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
101. Sidetrack'd
HeWho@3 - But "oh yeah, 13 dreadlords 13 fades... Has this ever been used on someone? and Aaron Nowack@39

Hmmm. I wonder if this might be what happened with Taim, after he was caught by Aes Sedai? He seemed to have his own agenda as a Dragon wanna-be, then he got way too creepy not to be evil (spouting "Let the Lord of Chaos rule" *shiver*), and yet I don't think he's a Forsaken in disguise, since they have all been accounted for since he came into the story (and because he was apparently working closely with Dashiva/Osan'gar - something the Forsaken do not excel at.) Just a thought...

And almost 40 comments/half a day of working/reading later, I find someone else thinks this, too. R.Fife@41, I'm right there with you. Makes me wonder if this has happened to some other players, too...?

Lsana@4 - But "oh yeah, 13 dreadlords 13 fades. About 6 people know that. But SHHHHHHHH," smacks of it too. Has this ever been used on someone?

I can see the Greys as the ones who were always thrown into "peacemaker" roles between siblings, friends, parents, etc ("peace between rivals" as Gentled Ben@25 says). The instinct to maintain balance is pretty strong in some folks (been there, done that), and ironing out issues can be very satisfying for them. Fixing things between whole nations seems like it would be an ultimate application for that instinct.

...the girls do need a clue-by-four to the head before they figure out that they are supposed to go to Tear.

Why the Black Ajah wants them in Tear seems like a big mystery. My gut says that the bad guys know that Eg/Nyn are friends of Rand, and therefore they might be useful leverage at some point. Or, possibly, be even handier if they were turned by the 13 Club and were sent to "work" on Rand, either by getting close enough to do damage, or just screwing with his noodle to get him to switch sides...

Also on the "Is Verin Black?" debate: Lanfear appears to be expecting Egwene here. While not conclusive, certainly support for Verin being Black.

We're pretty sure that the message about the Clue-By-Four/goodies was delivered by Lanfear disguised as Else, right? She saw and took especial note of the T'A'R ring (as if she were surprised/concerned/something to see it. If she figured out what it was (I'm sure she could've, from knowledge/memory or probing it with an inverted flow, etc), then it makes a decent connection for her to be waiting for Eg in Tear.

HeWho@7 - Silvie is Lanfear.

I've always thought this, too, but today, for some reason, I started wondering if Silvie could be Mesaana? We find out later that she's in the Tower, but we have no clues as to how long she's been there. Depending on her placement and her snooping abilities, she could easily have been aware of Verin and the T'A'R ring, and Lanfear's seeding of Tear clues. Almost all of the Forsaken have less-than-chummy feelings toward Ishy, so that's not a lock. It makes more sense that it's Lanfear, since she's the one we know about at this point, but now I can't shake the wondering...

sps49@23 - Um, I meant that The Path of Daggers is the Mat-free book.

We've already read all about Mat's Path (With) Daggers in the first three books. ;-)

Gentled Ben@25 - Seems like your name is familiar.. Game of Stones, by any chance? Any other folks around who played GoS?

Smatt@28 - could Corianin have been slightly better at Dreaming than we all think? Maybe she dreamed all the BA forsaken wannabes and put the ring where only Verin could find it.

That's a good thought... Not sure what evidence to support it might be around, but an interesting thought.

Rebecca Star@29 - Gray as mediators (aka lawyers)

I really can't see lawyers in this. Grays seek to strike the balance, which often includes righting the wronged. But, honestly, aren't lawyers today more focused on proving their client is the "wronged" party, more so than finding any sort of balance between the parties? Maybe Grays are more like judges than lawyers? My head hurts now - fantasy is way easier to dissect than reality. (And sorry if there are any lawyers reading this - nothing personal :).

Egglie@36 - Liandrin and her BA cohorts took 10? of the dream ter'angreal plus the balefire rod and dice.

As far as the Black Ajah grabbing those specific ter'angreal, Verin's potential involvement, etc - I keep coming back to the fact that we already know Lanfear has been creeping around the Tower for a while, and later we learn that Mesaana is planted there, too - so either of them could've recon'd the storeroom and told the BAs which items to take...

And I'm really irked by all these comments about the dice ter'angreal. I can't seem to remember even noticing their existence before this re-read. How'd I miss them? *wipes egg from face* Maybe I'm catching the swiss-cheese-brain thing like Mat? Grrr...

cowboyfunk@40 - For whaetever reason they move on to the male a'dam as the game plan to control Rand based...

Maybe they moved on to other plans after Rand & company takes out another pair of Forsaken at the end of this book? "OK, he fights back - we don't wanna play with him."
Although, (see first section of this post) I still think the 13 Club might've been used on some characters and we just haven't been clue-by-foured with it yet...

CDragon27@44 - I think the Accepted test was easily one of my favorite parts

The contrast between Eg and Nyn's tests are interesting, but I gotta slip quietly from the herd on one point - I'm kind of glad we didn't get Elayne's test, too. Going through the same (plot) device three times could be some overkill, plus we get plenty of bits of Elayne's future through Min's viewings (babies, etc) later on... Just my 2¢...

jonno@47 - Secondly, I'm wondering who the "she" who offered kisses and more to Rand was.

Always thought he was talking about Selene/Lanfear, myself.

Valeria@56 - you can heal with healing weaves just as easily as you can kill with healing weaves. Talk about a super scary power to have.

Same goes for doctors in the real world - they do amazing things, but they also bury their mistakes...

alreadymad@57 - Come on, do we really believe that Hopper would attack Egwene? He's met her before and she was there when he died.

Another gut-reaction here, but maybe Perrin's been getting visits from "familiar faces" just like Rand has? Otherwise, yes, that totally doesn't make sense.

Notice the arrogance in thinking the trap was for them.

Well, it was directly to them that the bait was given, so it really was for them, although - we know that, but they're not supposed to... :-/

SteelBalidd@67 - We always get L described as the mot beautiful woman. I wonder if she uses a 'glamor'...

It's written somewhere (don't think we're there yet) that she uses minor illusion to make herself appear a little younger, more in line with the heroes' ages. Something to the effect of showing her true appearance to Rand and it being "still her, just as beautiful, but more ripened/matured" or some such...

sps49@96 - enough power to prevent publisher editing

Ummm, with RJ's wife being his primary editor, I'd have to guess that he didn't fight edits too hard... ;-)
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
102. Sidetrack'd
Crap - second piece of my post above, should intro with:

Lsana@4 - I can't understand why someone would want to be Grey...

instead of the 13-Club quote

Sorry!
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
103. Randalator
@95 Lsana

Yep there are BA where she's headed. But at least she knows those. Personally I prefer a danger I know over one I don't know anytime.

As for the running away and putting the Tower over Andor and so forth. Moiraine's first action after attaining the shawl was to run away both from her duties toward the Tower AND her country. And throughout all the books she remains the master manipulator yet I don't see her drawing nearly as much heat as Elayne.

And in TDR Rand for example did a good deal of running from duty too. It ended up being the right thingto do but so did Elayne's choices. Also he didn't give Mat an Aiel escort to protect him when he planned to sneak away from the battle in Cairhien. Nor did he do anything to save Morgase from Rahvin. He manipulates and uses anyone around him as he sees need. And he has mood swings that make Elayne's seem insignificant. Granted he's going slightly mad (dee-dop, doo-dop) but Elayne being pregnant has a get-out-of-jail-free-card. Hormones are as much a bitch as taint-induced madness...only less permanent...

So it seems to me that she is hated for things that are only considered occasionally annoying in other characters....
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
104. Lsana
@103 Randalator,

Moiraine was not heir to the Sun Throne. She was one person who could be considered a candidate for the throne, but she didn't believe that she was a good choice for it. She believed that Aes Sedai attempts to put her on the throne would result in disaster.

Rand is not running from duty in this book. He's not doing what Moiraine wants of him, but that's hardly the same thing. He has decided that he has to know for certain if he is the Dragon, so he's heading to Tear to test the prophesy.

I'll have more to say when we get there, but Sareitha and Vandene might disagree with you about Elayne's hormones not doing any permanent damage.

I'll admit that I'm biased against Elayne, but not irrationally so. I've given my reasons; you agree with them or you don't. Others do do the same things, but only Elayne seems to do them on regular basis without learning from past mistakes.
Richard Fife
105. R.Fife
I think another reason that Elyane's faults irk us in her but not others is because for the others, they aren't defining characteristics. Rand manipulates like mad, but he is regretful of it. Moiraine manipulates like mad, and actually, we do give her flak, but not as much because she is kinda good at it, and typically does not make really dumb mistakes. Elayne, well, she is snooty and young, which makes her a brat, and her manipulation is usually for wrong-headed reasons and to ill-effect.

On her running off to Tear, though, I have to kind of forgive her. Suian wanted her to go, and when the AmySeat says frog, you jump until she says stop. At least this time there was the misdirection of them all going to a farm for pennance. So, while her run off to Falme was ill-thought out, I can't really hold her to fault as much for Tear, etc, as it was AmySeat's orders and her disappearance was hidden from Andor for the political side of things.

Also, Grays are perhaps better described as barristers. At least as I understand the English barrister, they are not quiet as blood sucking as our lawyers, and more interested in knowing the truth of the situation and seeing a fair outcome to the trial.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
106. SteelBlaidd
@103 Randalator:

Well said.

Jordan lampshades Elaynes tendency to expect the world to conform to her wishes way back when Rand first drops in on her.

Rand:"Dose she always expect people to do what she tells them."
Gawyne:"Useualy she does, and useualy they do."

For 16 years the world has bent to her will. I think she is learns pretty quickly, and that her character development is wonderfully portraed.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
107. Randalator
Actually I find Nynaeve's constant self-deception a lot more annoying than anything Elayne ever does. Always thinking of herself as an even-tempered, polite and rational woman while at the same time acting like a sulky child (as Nana) or getting into cat-fights with all sorts of women (Latelle at the menagerie, Siuan in Salidar). And she is almost ten years older than Elayne or Egwene.

All in all she is a close second to Faile (LoC and ACoS) in my book of really annoying WoT-women and far ahead of Egwene and Elayne. Still I don't hate any of them. At least not as a general rule although I hate Faile quite a lot during LoC and ACoS...

Anyway I hate every major character at one point or another so maybe that's why there's not enough left for me to constantly hate Elayne. Who knows...? *g*
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
108. Gentled Ben
Sidetracked @ 101
Yes, that's me! The game has been revised and revived, and it seems to be on the right track: http://gos.talij.com/index2.php
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
109. Cobblestones
I've been lurking here since the start, but this is my first comment. Reading through all the comments I noticed what has not been mentioned here is that Egwene, for the first time, uses Need to find something in TAR.

Leigh even quoted the passage:

“Take me to where I can find an answer. I need to know what the Black Ajah wants. Take me to the answer.”

Since we later learn that Need is the key to TAR, Eg stumbles across this discovery quite accidentally (or maybe that's part of her talent as a dreamer that she figures it out intuitively).

This, of course, probably means that Lanfear did not 'pull' her into the Heart of the Stone.
Richard Fife
110. R.Fife
Randalator: Don't forget Nynaeve's belief that she's a good cook. Her inability to admit fault with herself at all is fairly annoying. But, let us step back from ranty fans and say, wow, RJ actually wrote characters we can like but at the same time hate. I mean, can of us think that he meant for us to like Nynaeve when she is being all self-righteous or Elayne when she is being Mistress Snoot? That we can actually have visceral, foaming at the mouth rage over the characters (Leigh vis a vis the Supergirls), well, yeah.

And while I do agree with your comment of hate everyone at one point or another, I still have to say all my hatred for Mat is from the first two books and is completely forgiven in these chapters here.

Cobble: Welcome to the mad house, glad you could come. I am split over whether Lanfear pulled Egwene to the stone or she truely used Need. After all, as was mentioned earlier (I guess in earlier thread?), all the other instances of Need-based finding requires several steps before the final zeroing-in. Perhaps it is partly both, Lanfear helped her some and she was pointed in the right direction. Kinda like sailing downstream with the wind at your back.
Elizabeth Coleman
111. elizabethcoleman
My only contribution to this conversation is that I always imagined the Green Ajah to be filled with Nanny Ogg clones.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
112. Dokipen
Chapter 25: A pretty fair argument can be made that Lanfear used Compulsion on Egwene here, not that it matters much, really, as if so it was only for an extreme short-term goal (making Egwene go away).

I always believed that was why Verin never gave Egwene the notes on the dream ring, because Lanfear had just paid her a visit.

Chapter 21:
Verin had her quarters above the library, in corridors used only by a few other Brown sisters. There was a dusty air to the halls there, as if the women who lived among them were too busy with other things to bother having the servents clean very often, and the passages took odd turns and twists, sometimes dipping or rising unexpectedly. The tapestries were few, their colorful weavings dulled, apparently cleaned as seldom as everything else here. Many of the lamps were unlit, plunging much of the hall into gloom. Egwene thought she had it to herself, except for a flash of white ahead, perhaps a novice or a servant scurrying about some task.

Just a thought - I always believed it was Lanfear as I felt it either wouldn't have been mentioned or would have been stated as being a novice, rather than suspected. Also, I can't figure out why else she wouldn't give the notes to Eg.

Add that to...
Egwene hid the stone ring inside her fist. She had the strangest feeling that Else had been staring at it
...in this chapter and I have no problem convincing myself each time. At least I've not come across another theory that maks me dismiss this one.

Wow. Apologies for length.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
113. Dokipen
Chapter 27: Ha! I didn't realise before but Lanfear/Silvie tells us who Ba'alzamon is in this chapter...

"...Ishamael is a fool!"

"What?" Egwene said sharply. "What did you say about Ishamael?"

The old woman turned to present a crooked, ingratiating smile. "Just a thing poor folks say, my Lady. It turns the Forsaken's power, calling them fools. Makes you feel good, and safe. Even the Shadow can't take being called a fool. Try it, my Lady. Say, Ba'alzamon is a fool!"
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
114. gagecreedlives
Lsana@86 yep the green and red ajahs don’t seem to have much to do. But good luck with getting those two to merge. And if the green ajah is truly the battle ajah why the hell aren’t there more of ‘em at the blight practising their shadowspawn smashing abilities.

I think Lanfear must have had something to do with Egwene getting to the stone. Otherwise what was she doing? Just hanging out in a Silvie costume hoping that Egwene would figure out how to work the ring. That doesn’t really seem to suit her style.

And Ishy is a fool is he Lanfear. Well I dont see him stuck in a mindtrap doing your bidding. He who laughs last eh Lanfear.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
115. jafco
Fun stuff, guys. I get a bang out of your commentary.

@95. Randalator Bravo!. But remember I saw her first, so you can't have her!

@110. R.Fife "... RJ actually wrote characters we can like but at the same time hate..." Except for Mat in much of the first two books, the others sort of come to me in a sinusoidal pattern. This book, Nyn is awesome. Next one...bleh. And so on for all the major (and some minor) characters.

Ultimately, I love them all - and I'm not really sure I want to see this thing end, at least in one book (although I cannot see how that can happen).

Except Mat. From this point on, a book without Mat is a major downer. RJ really seems to have connected with him someway. Except for when he's fighting for his life, Mat almost non-stop evokes anything from chuckles to side-splitting laughter just because of how he sees things and how others deal with him. He IS the comic relief in the books from here on out. I can't think of one time Egwene ever made me laugh, or Rand, or Perrin (well once each for the latter two). Nyn and El can be funny on occasion. But Mat! What a hoot I get from him.

And still, given all that, he's brave beyond belief, true to his word, and a master tactician to boot (Rand is blessed with him and Bashere; Rand though is a master strategist, I deem).

Anyway, great work by both Leigh and you all, those who care about these books and characters.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
116. Wetlander
JMO: The BA13 didn't take the ring ter'angreal because they didn't know about it. The remaining dream ter'angreal were in the storerooms, but the ring was Corianin's special favorite and she always kept it hidden in a little box with her notes. She managed to erase its existence from the records, whether because she didn't want to have to account for it to anyone, or because she thought it was too dangerous for anyone less trained than herself, or because it would give away the fact that she wasn't truly a dreamer and could only enter TAR using it. Of course, Verin's POV tells us that Corianin knew a lot more than the records show, and it's only "according to the records" that she "barely deserved the name." Lots of shifty footwork; personally, I think RJ was giving himself some room to go a couple of different directions with this downstream.

Dokipen @112 - clarify for me. Are you thinking that Verin didn't give Egwene the notes because Lanfear told her not to? Or that she realized Lanfear was interested and thought it would be too dangerous for Eg to have them? Or... what?

Randalator - Thanks for sticking up for the girls. I have to admit I'm more than a little bored with the thread of "who's the worst of the women and here's why you all ought to agree with me." They are written as young girls (okay, E&E are, anyway - according to WOTFAQ they are 17 at this point) who have really been pretty sheltered up until the last year or so. I personally find them more or less believable characters, which means that like most people I know, there are times I think they need a slap upside the head. In general, though, RJ wrote them as reasonable products of their upbringing. Even Nynaeve, who is about 26, makes a lot of sense when you consider her life: orphaned as a young teen and apprenticed to the Wisdom (since she really could "listen to the wind"); made Wisdom herself at an age where most considered her too young but also the most qualified for the job; spent her time as Wisdom working HARD to make sure she had the authority that went with the responsibility; etc. (Personal note: as a young woman engineer in the late 80's, I could SO relate to her dealings with the Village Council... DON'T pat me on the head and give me some typing to do!!!) So she's this odd mixture of supreme confidence and underlying uncertainty that has her do some really stupid things and some really awesome things.

Oops. I wasn't going to jump into the battle... but there it is in case anyone cares.
Ofer Nave
117. odigity
Randalator@103: Excellent point about the parallels between Moiraine and Elayne. There certainly are more than a few similarities.

I think the key difference that separates them is that there was a seed of humility planted in Moiraine early on as a result of her recognizing that her house (Damodred) being such a hive of scum and villainy. Someone else mentions that Moiraine is so opposed to ascending the Sun Throne that she runs away. (This seed seems to also be present in Caraline Damodred, Moiraine's cousin, who is one of the few sane and empathatic nobles we meet in the whole series.)

Elayne, on the other hand, has the relatively positive example of her mother as a model, and therefore feels unrestrained pride at her position as daughter-heir, and is quite eager to ascend the Lion Throne.

The past set their paths, and therefore it is no contest - Moiraine is easier to like.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
118. Hugin
Woo-hoo. TDR is probably my favorite book of the series, and these chapters are among the best. A real pleasure to re-read them. Especially Mat becoming the awesomest awesome to ever awesome. And speaking in the old tongue. But I'd expect Gawyn to at least make a comment on an Andorman claiming to be from Manetheren.

I find it interesting upon reflecting on all the love/hate dished out to the various characters how my reaction is different on this re-read. My first time through, I waxed and waned in my like of most of the characters (other than Mat being all good from this point on). Now my knowledge of later events really affects how I view characters now. We have really nothing to go on for Alanna other than Eg saying she likes her and a pretty cool speech about the Battle Ajah, but I loathe her for what she does to Rand later. On the flip side I find myself forgiving Nynaeve's transgressions because I know that, when push comes to shove, she does the right thing when needed. The best example is that she will put politics aside and team with Rand later. Eg and El probably aren't strong enough to help him cleanse saidin, but I couldn't see them doing it in any event -- Eg too tied up in Tower politics and El in the Andoran succession and wouldn't want to drop that to, I don't know, help save the world or something.

Oh, and one final thought. Alanna's speech aside, I have to say "Battle Ajah my butt." Does the annual spring borderlanders vs. trollocs get-together ("Fight in the Blight?" "Slap at the Gap?) not count as a battle? Agelmar is begging Moiraine to come along to Fight in the Blight CMLXXXIX in the first book, but I don't see any Greens up there fighting to hold back the shadowspawn hordes. They are clearly too busy drooling over the warders-in-training and just generally meddling in stuff while telling themeselves it's all in the name of preparing for Tarmon Gaidon. So I think they've lost their effectiveness just as much as any other Ajah has.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
119. Wetlander
Hey, folks, as we eagerly await tomorrow's post, I'd like to point out something I just discovered last week (although some of you obviously figured it out well before I did...). The new post shows up in the "Latest Posts" list (sometimes LONG!) before it shows up in the index. Just so you know...
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
120. Shumble
#1 "Feel free to just review the Mat chapters. The rest isn't all that important anyway ;)"

I know you said this tongue and cheek, and Mat is awesome, but Rand is not too far behind and is still my favorite character in the book.

And I still like Perrin as well.

I'm not particularly fond of the "supergirls". I didn't like them the first reading, the second reading, the third reading, etc.

I say just review the Mat and Rand chapters, and Perrin chapters up until Faile and 'the Hawk (I forgot her name)' start fighting over him and then we can stop him. :)
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
121. Bill (JNatael)
dolphin0102@88 and R.Fife@94: In my humble opinion, there is room here for clarity -and- accuracy. The exponent in 13^2 is just so damnably exciting, it's a shame not to use it. Thirteen DL -each- channelling through -each- of thirteen myrdies makes for 13^2 flows. See? ~goofy grin~ Okay okay, those loser BA wimps might not actually be able to divide their flows 13 ways, but I stand by my rationalization.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
122. Digital_Eon
To those claiming that Taim can't be a Forsaken because two Forsaken would never work so closely together: Haven't we already seen that happen, actually? I'm re-reading TSR, and weren't Asmodean and Lanfear inhabiting the same general area (if not the same wagon)? Granted, Asmodean is Asmodean, but Osan'gar's not much more strong-willed. I wouldn't say it's a good argument, given the fact that we know Forsaken do, in fact, work in the same region and with each other when necessary.
Ofer Nave
123. odigity
Taim is not Demandred. He's just really evil.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
124. Dokipen
Wetlander @ 116 - Yeah, I think it's because Lanfear told/Compelled her not to.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
125. mcentee2
@101 Sidetracked (and loads of others)

"HeWho@7 - Silvie is Lanfear.

I've always thought this, too, but today, for some reason, I started wondering if Silvie could be Mesaana"



I cannot beleive that after so many posts nobody has pointed out "The longest Theory", parts 1 to 5, over on wotmania!!!!!

There seems to be lots of headscratching here about Lanfear's motives, and modus operandii in getting the ubergirls to Tear, using compulsion, illusion etc etc etc

I won't spoil it for you all - but go onover to wotmania read the theory then see if it fits all that goes on in Lanfear's appearences right through from TGH to the Red Door..you may be surprised!!

oh, and thaks Leigh - marvellous job. kudos.
Michael Ikeda
126. mikeda
elisabethcoleman@111

Nanny Ogg clones

That solves the problem of the Dark One. Just get a batch of Greebo clones and send them against the DO at the Last Battle. They'll make short work of him.

Of course, then you have the problem of an army of Greebo's...
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
127. Randalator
The irony with Alanna mind-raping Rand is that this act has probably saved his life a bunch of times.

She's the one who leads the rescuers to Dumai's Wells although you could argue that Rand's life wasn't in imminent danger then. But I don't think that Rand could have possibly survived a cut from the Shadar Logoth dagger if not for his Warder strength...
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
128. Dokipen
Randalator @ 127.
I agree that the horrible way in which Alanna bonded Rand turned out to be his salvation at Dumai Wells and I strongly believe it'll have a part to play in AMOL.

I always thought that Rand's Tav'erenocity gripped her good up at Fal Dara. Hence her questions about him afterwards and her bonding of him.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
129. Kenneth G. Cavness
As individuals, Aes Sedai run the gamut between the extremes of “kicks all the ass regionally available” and “needs to be flung into the vortex where the socks and Bic pens go”, but the Aes Sedai as an institution has historically pretty much sucked across the board."
Hah!

As to "who would want to be Gray"? What's your problem with high level diplomacy? You shape the world as a Gray; you get to tell kings and queens what to do; you set nations' borders. It's like being a Secretary of State, only all the Grays are. I'd love to be a Gray.

You can only really think Grays suck if you think that diplomacy has no place in the world.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
130. alaric
@ Chapter 23
"A note of pride entered Alanna’s voice. “In the Trolloc Wars, we were often called the Battle Ajah. All Aes Sedai helped where and when they could, but the Green Ajah alone was always with the armies, in almost every battle."

By "almost", I guess she means "not at Manetheren", seeing how the Red Amyrlin was Stilled for letting it fall for jealousy...

All in all, not a good recruitment effort given Egwene's home town.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
131. birgit
Secondly, I'm wondering who the "she" who offered kisses and more to Rand was.

Probably Min from Rand's POV of that scene.

I think Lanfear must have had something to do with Egwene getting to the stone. Otherwise what was she doing? Just hanging out in a Silvie costume hoping that Egwene would figure out how to work the ring. That doesn’t really seem to suit her style.

Maybe she was spying on Be'lal. If he saw her, she could pretend to be some servant who accidentally entered TAR.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
132. Erdrick
R.Fife @ 41, that's a very interesting theory about Taim being turned evil. It's totally plausible, though I still think he took the slippery slope of jealousy and turned to the DO the old fashioned way. However, I do believe his growing Black Tower faction is due (at least in part) to that 13-turning trick.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
133. Daily horoscope
The Dragon Reborn shows a different part than other episodes. So i need to see it again and again. I impressed with these comments.
Anthony Williams
134. Galagros
Ch.22
--I must say that Egwene should really keep her mouth shut more often. She basically tells Sheriam that Rand can channel the second time she comes out. I never noticed in earlier reads how Sheriam doesn't even react to it, like she already knows somehow....

Ch.27
--I can't remember exactly what happens later in Tear in perfect detail, but it seems to me as though Lanfear is trying to send the girls there to -help- Rand, not bait him (or at least to go there and distract the 13 Black Ajah sisters while Rand does his Sword That Is Not a Sword bit).
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
135. DannySaiz
The Ninja Matt chapter is one of my favorites in the series. Not just because he kicks some wannabe warder butt. I like how Jordan gives a little extra feel of a backwards farmboy through Matt's dialog. They way Matt is talking, he'd fit right in with the Duke boys. That makes the scene much better; a backwards farmboy whoopin' up on some royal butt.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
136. Promotional Products
Seems there are two camps readers of the Wheel of Time series; those that think this is the greatest fantasy epic ever written and those that think the series is pure garbage (even though they still read 4-5 of the books). I seem to be one of the rare individuals who like the books yet still see the flaws in them
Brian Slover
137. Xiiv
I just started re-reading this 2 days ago and already here on the third book. You're doing a great job and I love the commentary and your humor. As well as the theories and revelations that come with it. I'm sometimes smart, but not smart enough to figure out the answers to all in these books.

Anywho,

Chapter 24 in TDR is my favorite chapter in the first Three books. I can only think of two chapters that I like as much or more:

Dumai Wells

And the chapter in KoD at the end where Tuon says the thrice marriage deal to Mat.

Mat is the coolest of the cool as we can all agree on and wish there was more Mat (even if meandering) and less Black Ajah Hounddogs.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
138. Jenny Creed
Mat is awesome? I always thought the story got boring the moment he won that two on one. Of course I've read enough superhero comics to get bored with them, and this is very much the same thing. I mean, we have two strapping lads with combat training on one side and a falling-down hungry farmboy who as far as we know have barely touched a weapon before on the other; he shouldn't win without being superhumanly strong and fast and a gifted fighter, and there's no good reason for him to be that other than the story demands him to be badass because he's a protagonist. And then he goes on to become increasingly ridiculous with his unrelenting luck. I wonder, when you can throw yourself off a tall building and implicitly trust your luck to save you, can that even be called luck?

Out of the Emond Fielders so far we have one Badass Dashing Rogue, one Badass Blacksmith/Axemaster/Wolfbrother, one The Most Powerful Channeler Of The Age and one freaking Dragon who also happens to be a Badass Swordsman/Archer/Aielman-most-likely-to-be-the-greatest-warrior-of-the-age-with-four-or-five-wives. Er, and Egwene.

Maybe it'll turn out to be perfectly reasonable, but that unlikely high concentration of badass turned me off reading much further.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
139. mike shupp
Jenny @ 138: I understand your point about the unusual prevalence of badassery in the Two Rivers, and this kind of thing often bugs me elsewhere, but for WoT I'll accept it. I think the relevent point is that TTR is small and isolated, and ALL these folks have been well acquainted with Rand al'Thor, the greatest ta'veren of the age (or Age) for virtually all their lives. Perhaps ta'veren was a common thread that brought them together, or perhaps something in Rand engendered ta'vereness in the others?

Lsana @ 86 "the Reds only have 1 man every couple of years or so to deal with."

Not so by my calculations. Tentatively, let's assume each major nation in Rand's world contains a million people (about the density of population in Europe when Rome was getting founded in 753 BC). This is conservative, but it gives ten million people (not counting the Seanchean). Conservatively, to stay at that population level you need about 200,000 births per year, with half of those births being males.

And somewhere along the line, RJ remarked that those with an affinity for the One Power made up 1-3% of the population (the implication was 3% during the AoL period, falling to 1% about the time of our story). So we've a 100,000 male babies being born each year, and a thousand or more of those kids will be potential channelers. Granted, likely not strong enough to become Dragons, False or otherwise, but with sufficient power to be dangerous, and to require Gentling.

And how many AS are in the Red Ajah? A few hundred as I read things -- not thousands. Odds are, they've got their hands full dealing with male channelers who just pop up; I suspect they miss a lot.

It should be clear the same odds apply to women. There should be about a thousand girl babies born each year who develop as natural channelers (a la Elayne and Egwene and Nynaeve). And how many are in E&E's novice group? 40. The Aes Sedai somehow overlooked 960 channelers of the right age, with the right abilities.

I think this knocks out the theory that the AS are removing the ability to channel from the general population by selectively removing those genes. (Actually, to be honest, such selection WOULD reduce the percentage of potential channelers given enough time, but humans have long lives; it's not clear 3000 years of culling at this level would show much effect.)
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
140. Felix Velarius Bos
In Chapter 24, where Galad kinda makes his joke, it's very reminicient of Harry Potter and Percy and George (or maybe Fred?), where Percy makes a joke and George/Fred says pretty much the same thing Gawyn did. Thought I'd point that out. xD

Also, if it wasn't for Mat, this series would be one of the most depressing stories in the world. He, Nynaeve, and the Maidens are pretty much the source of 95% of the laughs in this series.

On the subject of the White Tower being ineffective...I don't think that's quite true. I've always kinda thought of the White Tower as a REALLY big, intense club, in that most are more interested in their own internal affairs, the biggest exception being the Blue. However they are not ineffective in at least one regard: the Brown are VERY good at what they do. =3
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
141. JimF
Umm, well, now about the Ajahs.

I know: years late - just like a man.

I think Jordan is recycling the US Army in his breakout of the Ajahs. The US Army is - to you who never served - the Army. Every soldier is, first and foremost, Infantry (i.e. ready to fight as required). And so, seemingly, are all Aes Sedai.

But inside, it consists of men (and some women) who are specialized in a variety of fields (or, branches): Corps of Engineers (Yah! Combat!), Armor, Infantry, Artillery, Quartermaster, Signal, and several others. All officers go through a basic training held in their corps' headquarter base (CE at Fort Belvoir; Armor at Ft. Knox; Artillery at Ft. Sill; Infantry at Ft. Riley, etc.). They learn about being officers, about military tactics, and about how to do the specialized things that their branch of the service requires.

The Ajahs merely reflect that, but in a somewhat coarser division than Jordan's real-world model.

My guess is that something like the Ajahs existed - loosely - back in "the good old days before the Breaking": there is a long-lived tendency for those who, say, study birds, to gather together to discuss -- birds. Then the "good old days" became a world war. As a result, these aforementioned natural associations - and the skills associated with them - would have drawn them closer together (and undoubtedly caused the military leadership of the day to see those skills and put them to productive use). So perhaps the Ajahs - and their signifying colors - grew out of The War of the Breaking, and so would show up on artifacts that survive that war - and continue in the White Tower. Just sayin'.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
142. VandalThor
-I bet in one of elayne's accepted test dreams she gave in to her repressed fantasies about Galad. (step-bro not gross)
-also the harry potter comparison in 140 and the army comparison in 141 make me feel alot better about writing whatever the heck I want. THANKS. lol accidental caps lock i swear i dont even caps the first letter of the pronoun/sentence.
-also in reference to comment number 3. Rand severs all ties...that includes saidar flows
-does anybody else notice often that when you say myrddraal with a southern drawl it sounds like "my drawl"
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
143. lonemonkey
so I don't know if anyone has put some thought to this... the ta'veren theme runs thick and is almost always mentioned when something weird/extraordinary happens concerning the Rand, Mat, or Perrin. how come that isn't mentioned concerning the supergirls? in falme all the girls were drawn to rand when he needed them after being injured in the fight. in the later books that pull is only felt by Mat and Perrin and it seems that they can feel it cause they also are ta'veren, so wouldn't it hold that Egwene, Nynaeve, Elayne, & Min are ta'veren to some extent? That would also go hand in hand with Egwene just 'knowing' weaves.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
144. MegaZeroX
I don't know about green and blue being the most usefull ajah. In normal times, the red (as much as we all hate to admit it) and grey are the most important ajah. The grey actually negotiate treaties and keep nations at peace, which is really important! The red obviously are needed to keep the breaking 2.0 from happening. The green ajah is typically pretty useless. Aes Sedai typically don't battle, and with the three oaths it is pretty pointless. The greens really seem to be the sex warder bonding ajah.
The blue ajah has no real defined goal, just the miscelanious ajah. The white ajah is to reason out subtlies, the brown furthers the collective knowledge of the white tower, and the yellow ajah really has no use other than healing reds capturing men.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
145. StuartM
OK so now I am re-reading and know about Matt's luck, it seems a bit odd that one of the items which went missing are the dice which seem to suspend chance. And in previous chapters Matt checks his clothing to find his dice cup and there but unless I'm forgetting things, I don't remember much mention of these before?

Has Lanfear or one of the black sisters slipped these into his coat? And if so, to what end? Having said that, Lanfear was banging on about trying to get all three boys to push for glory in the hope it will have an effect on Rand as they are all linked.

Does his luck ever get explained in later books? Its been a while since I read them.

Stu
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
146. Darkfriend
Re: Effervescent. There is a difinitive link between Dreamers and the Gift of Fortelling.
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
147. Divil The Bother
Well late I know but doing a reread for the next (final final??) book.

Just 3 points.

1. Like a couple of other posters I'd have to agree that given that the green ajah never bother their a**e heading up to Tarwins Gap to help out they are pretty much a waste of space.
2.Why do the supergirls think they'll find something to help them re the black ajah on their first ever entry into TAR?
3.TAR and using Need to find what you want? How clunky is that? Surely that's an unacceptable get out of jail free card for the author!

Anyway - onwards with the reread....
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
148. ElusiveBookWorm
Reread this after the shoutout in TOM! This is around the time when Mat began to establish himself as my fav character in this series. Wonder who it is that Jaerom lost to!
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
149. sadface
RE: Accepatron and Resonance - we get a hint that the dream ring T'A may have caused the resonance, because they have similar functions. Egwene herself, as a dreamer, also has a similar function. Is it possible that the resonance actually came from her innate ability? That also may explain why the resonance came back stronger - Egwene began using her abilities. For this to be true, the ring would have to be explained away, but I truthfully shouldn't the ring be inactive unless it is touching a sleeping person? Otherwise the ring would have to be actively "working" all the time, in which case you would expect the unpredicatability of the resonance. - I just read comment 68, that is also a very interesting point.

RE: Eggy first visit to TAR - I think Lanfear was there the whole time, most of it at least, dragging Eggy around. In particular just before she jumps into the Stone she seems like she is being forced to stay in the pretty butterfly filled meadow, which she describes as being "to much of her making." To me that implies she notices something a bit off about it. I wonder if Eggy's natural talent was strong enough that Lanfear couldn't hold her there, and her performance as Silvie in the Stone was a bit of adlib. Regardless, the using need trick did not work here the same wayit does later...the honing in on the goal is replaced with a jump straight to Callendor. Per Moggy, Lanfear claims TAR as her own, but was really not that skilled with it.

RE: portal stones and color steps - time is a wheel, and we have few clues as to when then portal stones were made. it is possible that they were made so far in the past that they will be made not far in the future - before the total collapse of the ajah's and the loss of the OP. or, maybe those colors are so important that some meaning of them carries over for several ages. we also have indications that the shapes and colors of A, SA, and TAR are vitally important to their ability to function, so maybe the stones have to have those colors. perhaps studying the stones is what leads to rediscovering OP and so channelers have a predisposition to ascribe meaning to those colors. main point, this doesn't bother me in the slightest.
William McDaniel
150. willmcd
Lots of people have already commented about the Green Ajah's lack of presence in the Borderlands (specifically at Tarwin's Gap in the annual spring throw-down, though they really ought to have one or two sisters stationed at every major city permanently).

What about the Yellow Ajah? We're told that people are sometimes "brought to Tar Valon for healing", yet shouldn't the Yellow Ajah have hospitals set up in every major population center? They could do an incredible amount of good, and do much to soften the public's dislike of Aes Sedai.

Indeed, they are "so-called" Aes Sedai ("Servants of All" in the Old Tongue) as the Forsaken claim. Instead they are scheming in their White (Ivory) Tower, holding themselves above the rest of humanity.

Ch 24
Like everyone else, I considered Mat beating G&G to be one of the high points of the series. But when Hammar tells the story about Jearom having lost only once, to a farmer with a quarterstaff, what is he saying? Are we to carry away that farmers with quarterstaves are the Jimi Hendrixes of individual combat, and that all swordsmen better look out? If so, why aren't warders carrying quarterstaves?

Ch 25
As Egwene follows Else/Lanfear, she sees a "flash of white". The recycling of this phrase from Ch21 tells me that that we can pretty certain that was Lanfear too.

I agree with jafco @64 that Egwene comes across the most poorly of the Supergirls. Elayne is a little snooty and reckless, but a lot of kids are guilty of that, and I've always liked her for some reason. Nynaeve is a stubborn and cantankerous person, but deep down inside she really does care about people.

Egwene, on the other hand, seems to want knowledge (and ultimately, power and influence) for its own sake, and has a relentless desire to learn more and more regardless of wiser heads admonishing her to slow down. In Tad Williams's brilliant "Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn" series, this trait is characteristic of the priest Pryrates, one of the central villains of the series. Egwene doesn't have the same "I don't care who I have to kill to get it" attitude that Pryrates does, but neither does she seem particularly altruistic. She's out for #1, and that's it.

I never really liked the way her relationship with Rand was portrayed earlier, either. Sure, when they were in a crisis, their "true caring" would show through, but most of the time they just needled and irritated each other. Yes, they're teenagers, but my wife and I were the same ages when we met (19 and 17) and we would talk to each other for 3 or 4 hours just enjoying each other's company, without being exasparated with each other. Guess all relationships are different, but it seems like the friendly way bodes better in the long run.

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