Mar 11 2009 10:29am

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Dragon Reborn, Part 5

*rap rap*
Settle down, class, settle down. Everyone sit. Yes, you too, Billy. No, the other way. Thank you.

All right, everyone, please take out your Wheel of Time Re-read textbooks and—you back there—YOU! Don’t think I don’t see that! Put it away. Yes, now. Thank you.

Now, please take out your textbooks—try not to throw your backs out, yes, I know it’s heavy—and turn to Part 5 of The Dragon Reborn. Today we’re covering Chapters 28-34, so—BILLY, THAT IS NOT A HAT, DON’T MAKE ME COME OVER THERE.

The remedial class is down the hall. If you haven’t taken the first level readthrough of this course, please be aware that you’ll be totally lost, and fail, and they’re all gonna laugh at you. As a side note, I will not be chaperoning the dance this weekend.

Before we get started, you should know I’ve just decided to switch our Friday schedule to Monday, which means that the test we take each Friday on what we learned during the week will now take place on Monday before we’ve learned it. But since today is Wednesday, it doesn’t matter in the slightest. Pencils ready!

Chapter 28: A Way Out

What Happens
Mat is eating in his room when Nynaeve, Elayne and Egwene come in without knocking; in retribution, Mat decides not to put on a shirt. They compliment him on how much better he looks, and Nynaeve puts a hand to his forehead. Mat flinches, and Nynaeve smiles tightly and asks if he’s tired of being cooped up yet.

“ ‘One pretty woman means fun at the dance. Two pretty women mean trouble in the house. Three pretty women mean run for the hills.’ ” He gave Nynaeve an even tighter smile than her own. “My da used to say that. You’re up to something, Nynaeve. You are all smiling like cats staring at a finch caught in a thornbush, and I think I am the finch.”

Egwene shakes her head and tells the others she knew they should have just asked him; he’s too tricksome and stubborn otherwise. Nynaeve tells him that just because they want him to do a favor doesn’t mean they don’t care about how he is. Mat says he’s fine, and wants to know what favor, suspiciously. Elayne smiles at him and says she wants him to carry a letter for her to Caemlyn, to her mother. Mat asks what’s in it for him, and Elayne draws herself up and asks if he is not a loyal subject of Andor; Mat snickers, and Egwene remarks that she told them that wouldn’t work either. Egwene asks Mat if he does anything without being coaxed or bullied, and he replies that he would dance with her or Elayne, but he won’t run errands. Nynaeve tells him he is even ruder than she remembers, and wants to know what’s the problem with getting to see a big city and helping someone at the same time? Mat eyes the letter she holds out, and decides to stop playing; regretfully, he tells her he can’t. Nynaeve is outraged and Egwene appalled, and Mat explains that it’s not his doing; the Amrylin has arranged it so he can’t get off the island, because of how long he was sick. Change that, and he will carry Elayne’s letter “in [his] teeth”. Nynaeve checks him with the One Power, freaking Mat out, and then she and Elayne and Egwene huddle to confer for a moment. Mat overhears something about only needing one if they stay together, and then they break and come back over to him. Egwene hands him one of their Amrylin letters, which Mat reads with amazement and demands to know how they got. Nynaeve tells him never mind how they got it, it will get him off the island. Will he take the letter? Mat says consider it done; Nynaeve seems uncertain.

“I’ll take it to her. I said I would, didn’t I? You would think I didn’t keep my promises.” The looks he got from Nynaeve and Egwene reminded him of a few he had not kept. “I will do it. Blood and—I will do it!”

He and Nynaeve and Egwene talk about home for a while, and Elayne tells him what to expect in Caemlyn, and when they prepare to leave, Mat awkwardly tells them that they have done him a favor, and though he knows they’re going to be Aes Sedai, if they ever need help, he will come. Then he asks if he said something funny; the girls just tell him to remember that if a woman needs a hero, she needs him today, not tomorrow. They laugh and leave, and Mat decides women are odd.

He danced a little caper in the middle of the flowered carpet. Caemlyn to see, and a queen to meet. Your own words will free me of you, Amyrlin. And get me away from Selene, too.

“You’ll never catch me,” he laughed, and meant it for both of them. “You’ll never catch Mat Cauthon.”

As an explanation of the “hero” line, I should point out that this is a reference to a remark Nynaeve made after Hurin makes his almost identical offer before leaving them in Tar Valon, which I left out of my recap of that chapter (“Men! They always say to send for them if you need them, but when you do need one, you need him right then.”).

I have something of an instinctive tendency to want to defend the Supergirls, mostly because they get ragged on to a degree disproportionate to their crimes (in my opinion), but inside joke or not, I gotta say I do not think laughing at a sincere offer of help is cool at all.

However, this is one of those things where I think Jordan was attempting to make a point about gender relations. Don’t see what I mean? Well. As an experiment, go back and reread the chapter—except this time, mentally swap everyone’s gender.

I would leave it at that, but I know from experience that this is not going to clarify it for everyone, so let me put it this way: I have personally experienced being laughed at for offering to help someone, in a situation that I know for a fact was because it was assumed that, as a female, I could not possibly have contributed anything worthwhile to the exercise—and I’m not talking about lifting heavy objects, either. My feelings about this assumption are left as an exercise for the reader, because I’m trying to keep this blog at least nominally PG-13.

Being assigned an arbitrarily negative value based solely on one’s gender is something women in the real world have to deal with constantly, in both a professional and social context, and to say it really sucks is probably the understatement of the last six or so millennia. One of the many on-going themes of WOT is the attempt to highlight this disparity by, er, reversing the polarities, to be unspeakably geeky about it. Putting the shoe on the other foot, in other words, so the opposite number may have a chance to note just how frickin’ uncomfortable a four-inch spike heel actually is, especially if you have no choice but to wear it.

That’s the intent, anyway, or so I perceive it to be. Whether Jordan succeeds in doing so effectively is more problematic, and a topic we will inevitably be revisiting, but I will say for now that I do at least appreciate the effort.

Chapter 29: A Trap to Spring

What Happens
Nynaeve, Elayne and Egwene work in the kitchens while Laras, the chief cook glowers at them. Nynaeve refuses to drop her eyes when Laras stares at her, thinking it’s bad enough that she has to curtsy and scurry for Aes Sedai, but to have to for this woman is almost unbearable. Siuan sweeps into the kitchen and stares everyone into a flurry of guilty activity, even Laras. Nynaeve tries to pretend that she is not as unnerved by Siuan’s stare as everyone else, with little success. Suddenly Siuan barks at Elayne that she will not tolerate foul language in a young woman’s mouth; Egwene starts to protest despite Nynaeve’s frantic headshakes, and Siuan perforce sends them both out with Laras to get their mouths scrubbed out. Siuan stands close by Nynaeve and remarks that she did not intend Egwene to get caught in that, but perhaps it will teach her to think before she speaks. Siuan tells Nynaeve there is news: Sheriam found another Gray Man, a woman, and what’s more she was laid out without a mark on her on Sheriam’s bed. Nynaeve replies that she makes no accusations, but Sheriam had the same chance Elaida did to see Verin’s Black Ajah notes; she also notes Alanna’s strange behavior. Siuan shrugs and says Alanna is Arafellin, who have odd notions about honor, but supposes she can keep an eye on her. Siuan asks if they have anything for her; Nynaeve replies that she doesn’t understand why Siuan used Else Grinwell to send them the message, but it was helpful. She explains what happened and the conclusions they’ve reached, but leaves out the part with the dream ring and Tel’aran’rhiod. Siuan is silent for a bit, then finally tells Nynaeve that she sent no message; the belongings of Liandrin’s thirteen were examined and then burned, and what’s more, Else Grinwell was put out of the Tower ten days ago. Siuan asks what they intend to do about this obvious trap, and Nynaeve repeats the reasoning she gave to Elayne and Egwene. Siuan is doubtful, but agrees that it might work, and says she will have gold put in their room for the journey. Then she asks if Elayne will be going with them. Nynaeve snarls that if she knew about Elayne, why the pretense? Siuan shoots back that this way she can have another hound on the hunt, and yet still say straight out to Morgase that it was none of her doing. Nynaeve asks her about Callandor, and Siuan whispers in shock that they cannot be allowed to have that.

“The Sword That Cannot Be Touched is a sa’angreal, girl. Only two more powerful were ever made, and thank the Light, neither of those was ever used. With Callandor in your hands, child, you could level a city at one blow. If you die keeping that out of the Black Ajah’s hands—you, and Egwene, and Elayne, all three—you’ll have done a service to the whole world, and cheap at the price.”

Nynaeve says she thought only the Dragon Reborn could touch Callandor, and Siuan concedes that possibly the Black Ajah is after the huge cache of ter’angreal stored in the Stone instead. She explains that the High Lords of Tear hate anything to do with the One Power, and yet collect all the items associated with it that they can, telling themselves that they are doing it to protect the world from the coming of the Dragon. How it must rankle them, Siuan says, that their fall is one of the signs of the Dragon’s return—and not even a major one. She shakes herself out of her reverie, and says she has to fix matters with Laras. Nynaeve mutters uncomplimentary things about the cook, and Siuan chuckles:

“You are a fine judge of character, child. You must have done well as the Wisdom of your village. It was Laras who went to Sheriam and demanded to know how long you three are to be kept to the dirtiest and hardest work, without a turn at lighter. She said she would not be a party to breaking any woman’s health or spirit, no matter what I said. A fine judge of character, child.”

Laras reenters, and Siuan smiles and tells her that everything looks well, and she has decided to make Mistress of the Kitchens a formal title. Laras is amazed and flattered. After Siuan leaves, Egwene and Elayne come back in. Elayne mutters that soap tastes horrid, and Egwene tells Nynaeve that if the Amyrlin didn’t give them permission to go to Tear, she just might run away for real. Nynaeve tells them they are leaving as soon as they are finished here, and to herself, hopes devoutly that they are not walking into a trap they can’t get out of.

So here’s a thing I just noticed, which maybe got brought to the forefront because I (re)read the Harry Potter books not long ago: so, technically novice and Accepted training is, like, school, right? Boarding school, even. And yet, we never once see any of the Girls, you know, in class.

The only people in the Tower we ever see them interact with, practically, are people like Laras and Galad and Gawyn, who are peripheral to the Tower as a learning organization, or full Aes Sedai, but never in a lessons context. What’s more, other than the extremely brief cameos of Faolain and Theodrin (and Else, when it was Else), we never see them hanging out with any other novices/Accepted, or doing any of the kind of community activities one would expect of a place like the Tower. In fact, I think the only time we ever even see the freakin’ cafeteria is in Crossroads of Twilight. It’s really kind of bizarre when you think about it.

I don’t really have a point here, but it struck me and I thought I’d mention it, especially since there’s really not much else of interest here that we didn’t already know.

Although I will note that Alanna being Arafellin is not nearly enough explanation to account for her generally bizarro behavior throughout the series, and yet it seems to be the only one we really get. Pfeh.

Chapter 30: The First Toss

What Happens
Mat prepares for his journey by stuffing himself and hoarding food, then packs up all his stuff and walks out openly, grinning guiltily at Anaiya, who just shakes her head at him. He thinks gleefully to himself that if you can’t hide what you’re doing, just make everyone think you’re a fool and do it right under their noses. Humming to himself, Mat makes his way down into the city, and to the dockside taverns of Southharbor. He only intends to gamble for an hour or so before finding an outbound ship, but he wins every toss.

He won again, and it was as if a fever gripped him. He won every throw. From tavern to inn to tavern he went, never staying long enough to anger anyone with the amount of his winnings. And he still won every toss. He exchanged silver for gold with a money changer. He played at crowns, and fives, and maiden’s ruin. He played games with five dice, and with four, and three, and even only two. He played games he did not know before he squatted in the circle, or took a place at the table. And he won.

Hours later, he finds himself in yet another tavern, throwing the king (five crowns) for the sixth time in a row. A big broken-nosed man mutters something about “the Dark One’s own luck”.

Mat was scarcely aware of moving before he had the bulky man by the collar, hauling him to his feet, slamming him back against the wall. “Don’t you say that!” he snarled. “Don’t you ever say that!” The man blinked down at him in astonishment; he was a full head taller than Mat.

“Just a saying,” somebody behind him was muttering. “Light, it’s just a saying.”

Mat released his grip on the scar-faced man’s coat and backed away. “I . . . I . . . I don’t like anybody saying things like that about me. I’m no Darkfriend!” Burn me, not the Dark One’s luck. Not that! Oh, Light, did that bloody dagger really do something to me?

Mat grabs his bags and leaves the inn. He leans against a wall and tries to reason it out. He remembers being lucky in Emond’s Field, but he also remembers plenty of times when he didn’t win, or got caught at pranks.

But it was not just since leaving the Two Rivers that he had become lucky. The luck had come once he took the dagger from Shadar Logoth.

He tries to convince himself it must have been something the Aes Sedai did to him instead, and not the dagger. He checks his pockets, and is astonished to see how much money he has. He decides it’s high time to be gone, and sets out. He soon realizes that someone is following him, and ducks into an alley. He sees more movement from the other end as well as behind him, and hides in an alcove. Trapped, he waits as the two men come from either side, and stop just before either can see him. They discuss where Mat might have gone, and decide to move on. Mat is relieved that his luck seems to work for more than just dice. He notices how flat the roofs are, and climbs up the wall and scrambles across the rooftops, gaining three or four stories, until he comes to a narrow bridge connecting one building to another. He jumps down to it, and suddenly realizes there is a man on the bridge with him. Mat grabs the man’s hand as it tries to plunge a dagger into Mat’s throat, and they struggle, Mat’s other hand trapped between them with the quarterstaff. His hand holding back the knife starts to slip.

“Time to toss the dice,” he said. He thought the other man looked confused for an instant, but an instant was all he had. With a heave of his legs, Mat flipped them both off into the empty air.

They both fall thirty feet to the cobblestones below. The impact dazes him, but Mat recovers to find that he landed on top of the assassin, whose body cushioned his fall. Then he sees that the dagger somehow ended up buried in the other man’s chest. He tells the dead man shakily that he had had bad luck, and then realizes he’s standing over a corpse with a dagger in its chest in the middle of Tar Valon. He should get on a ship immediately, but decides he just wants to sit and rest a moment, and heads for the nearest inn, called “The Woman of Tanchico”.

As cool as Mat’s luck-twisting thing is, I’ve never quite understood why exactly that should be the permanent effect carrying the dagger had on him. It just seems too... beneficial.

Yeah, Mat’s luck doesn’t always work in his favor, but come on, most of the time it totally does. But more importantly, there just doesn’t seem (to me) to be any logical connection between chance/fate/luck and, you know, screaming hatred and paranoia. The sort-of connection implied in the quote above (“The Dark One’s own luck”) makes even less sense, if it’s even meant to be a connection at all, which I kind of doubt, seeing as Shadar Logoth is The Other White Meat Evil.

I mean, not to look a gift horse of Awesomeness in the mouth here, but of all of Our Heroes’ methods of leveling up, badassery-wise, Mat’s is by far the most nonsensical. That said, it’s still my favorite level-up in the series (with the possible exception of Perrin’s Two Rivers adventures in TSR), proving once again that Cool trumps Logic every time. We’re such a fickle bunch, aren’t we?

Chapter 31: The Woman of Tanchico

What Happens
The common room is only about a quarter full, with a harper on a tabletop reciting “Mara and the Three Foolish Kings”. Mat recognizes Thom with shock. He sits down and orders two mugs of wine, knowing Thom has seen him. Thom finishes the story and gets down from the table, nearly falling off it, and stumbles over to Mat’s table. He stares at Mat, but all he says is something about Common mode being inferior to Plain or High Chant, and buries his face in the wine. Mat can’t remember ever seeing Thom drunk before, and notes that he looks sadder than Mat remembers. The two serving girls come over and remonstrate with Mat for encouraging Thom to drink; Mat protests he didn’t know Thom was drunk already. Thom tells the girls that he’s loved two pretty women in his life, and threw both chances away; Morgase had a temper, and ended up wanting to kill him, and he killed Dena, or as good as. Mat tells the girls he will take care of Thom, and asks them to bring him three or four of the chickens he smells roasting. They look startled when he then asks Thom if he wants anything, and leave with glares in Mat’s direction. Mat tells Thom that Rand and Moiraine both said he was alive, but he’d thought Thom was on his way to Tear. Thom makes a comment about Moiraine being a fine-looking woman, despite being Aes Sedai, and asks whether Rand is well. Mat asks cautiously why Rand wouldn’t be all right, and Thom gives an evasive non-answer. Mat abandons the topic as the chickens arrive, and as he eats, remarks that Tar Valon is about the last place he’d have expected to see Thom.

“Cairhien,” the old gleeman muttered, the sharpness fading from his eyes again. “Such trouble it causes killing a man, even when he deserves killing.” He made a flourish with one hand and was holding a knife. Thom always had knives secreted about him. Drunk he might have been, but he held the blade steady enough. “Kill a man who needs killing, and sometimes others pay for it. The question is, was it worth doing anyway? There’s always a balance, you know. Good and evil. Light and Shadow. We would not be human if there wasn’t a balance.”

Mat growls at him to put the knife away, and says he’ll leave if all Thom’s going to do is talk about killing people. Thom answers that he’s in Tar Valon because it’s the worst place for him to be besides Cairhien; if Elaida happened to see him, she would “peel [his] hide off in strips, and then she would stop being pleasant.” Disgusted, Mat says he’d never known Thom to be the self-pitying type, and Thom snarls back that he knows nothing. Thom wants to know why Mat is in Tar Valon, considering he about wet himself every time Aes Sedai were even mentioned, and Mat snaps back that what he’s doing here is leaving. Mat then tells him he’s going to Caemlyn; why doesn’t Thom come along, if he’s in a mood to get himself killed?

“Caemlyn. Yes. Caemlyn would fit my mood like a glove.” The gleeman glanced at the chicken platter and gave a start. “What did you do, boy? Stuff them up your sleeve?” There was nothing left of the three birds but bones and carcasses with only a few strips of flesh remaining.

“Sometimes I get hungry,” Mat muttered. It was an effort not to lick his fingers. “Are you coming with me, or not?”

“Oh, I will come, boy.” As Thom pushed himself to his feet, he did not seem as unsteady as he had been. “You wait here—and try not to eat the table—while I get my things and say some goodbyes.” He limped away, not staggering once.

Thom comes back with his bags, kisses the serving girls and goes outside; the girls come over and thank Mat profusely for whatever he did to make Thom perk up again. The younger of the two gives him a silver mark and tells him he has pretty eyes. Mat goes out, laughing to himself, but cuts off when he sees that the corpse from the bridge is gone, and no outcry raised. Thom asks what he’s looking at, and Mat mutters something about footpads. Thom tells him there are no footpads in Tar Valon; no one is stupid enough to try it in a city full of Aes Sedai. Mat turns and marches toward the docks, telling Thom they will book passage on the first ship that’s sailing, no matter what it is.

Aw, poor regicidal Thom. I seriously don’t understand how I missed the fact that Thom killed Galldrian before. Paying more attention to the fresh awesomeness of Mat, I suppose.

I like him and Mat together; even when Thom is in deeply alcoholic self-pity mode, the two of them riff off each other fairly hilariously.

Also, another example in this chapter of the icon qualifying as an instant spoiler for the events within it, if you’re paying attention.

Chapter 32: The First Ship

What Happens
Mat arrives at the docks and sees a ship preparing to cast off, and determines to be on it. Mat and Thom are met on the wharf by the dockmaster, who looks at Mat’s face and tells him not a chance; a sister showed him a drawing of Mat, and he’ll not be boarding any ship. Thom is confused, but Mat tells the dockmaster that that’s all changed, and shows him the Amyrlin’s letter, and tells him he must be on the ship about to set sail. The dockmaster is bewildered, but shouts to the Gray Gull to hold up; the ship’s captain, a tall Tairen, ignores him and pulls away from the dock, and Mat takes off running to catch it. He jumps aboard; cursing, Thom is right behind him. Outraged, the captain orders the two of them thrown over the side, but Mat tosses him a gold crown and waves the Amrylin’s letter in his face, babbling about being on a mission for the Tower. The captain frowns and says he docks too often in Tar Valon to risk angering the wrong people, and then grins and says they can sleep on deck for another gold crown each. Thom is outraged, but the captain tells them to take it or get off his ship. Mat asks how much for a cabin to themselves, and food from the captain’s stores; the captain starts laughing, and tells him he can have the captain’s own cabin and his meals, for five gold crowns each—Andoran weight. He starts wheezing with laughter at his own joke, but cuts off as Mat pulls out fourteen gold coins, and tells the captain that there’s no need for him to eat with his crew; he and Thom will be happy to share. Thom stares at him as much as everyone else; the captain asks hoarsely if Mat is a young lord in disguise. Mat laughs and says he is no lord. The captain, Mallia, shows them to the cabin himself, and eventually works out for himself more or less aloud that Mat is an Andoran lord, judging by his accent, traveling incognito on some kind of mission for Morgase. Mat and Thom exchange startled looks, and Mat tells Mallia that that is nonsense; Mallia nods and smiles, not believing a word of it, and rambles on in a thinly disguised attempt to pry. He talks about how every nation sucks compared to Tear, and how the High Lords were better than any king or queen, especially Lord Samon. Mallia eventually reveals that the thing he hates the most, even more than Illianers, is Aes Sedai, especially since he heard Lord Samon speak about them.

The High Lord Samon said the Aes Sedai meant to rule the world. Samon said they meant to crush every nation, put their foot on every man’s throat. Samon said Tear could no longer hold the Power out of its own lands and believe that was enough. Samon said Tear had its rightful day of glory coming, but Tar Valon stood between Tear and glory.

“There’s no hope for it. Sooner or later they will have to be hunted down and killed, every last Aes Sedai. The High Lord Samon says the others might be saved—the young ones, the novices, the Accepted—if they’re brought to the Stone, but the rest must be eradicated. That’s what the High Lord Samon says. The White Tower must be destroyed.”

Then Mallia comes out of it and realizes what he just said, and hastily backpedals; to needle him, Mat makes a mocking comment about filling the Stone with Accepted and Aes Sedai, and Mallia frowns and stalks out. Thom comments that he’s never heard of any Lord Samon; Mat doesn’t think much of this, but Thom tells him he’d have heard if one of the old High Lords had died and been replaced, and he hasn’t. Thom asks him what the deal is with all the gold and the letter with the Tower’s seal on it; Mat tells him he’s carrying a letter to Morgase for Elayne, and he won the gold at dice. Thom replies that if Mat’s not going to tell him, he’ll just go to bed. Mat lies down too, but between his thoughts about footpads and Thom’s snoring, he can’t sleep. Then he hears stealthy bootsteps outside the cabin, and tries to wake Thom, but is unsuccessful. He gets up and grabs his staff, and waits just inside the door. Two men enter with knives, and gasp to see him awake.

Mat thrust with the quarterstaff, catching the first man hard right under where his ribs joined together. He heard his father’s voice as he struck. It’s a killing blow, Mat. Don’t ever use it unless it’s your life. But those knives made it for his life; there was no room in the cabin for swinging a staff.

He catches the second man in the throat, crushing his windpipe, and then stares at the two bodies, thinking that he’d never killed anyone in his life before, and tonight he’s killed three. He hears more boots overhead, rips the cloak off one of the dead men to disguise himself, and goes up on deck. He finds another cutthroat at the tiller, and crushes in his skull, but is almost gutted by a fourth man before Thom appears and kills him with a thrown knife. Thom and Mat step over to where a rope trails off the deck, and find a boat tied to it with two more men on it; one of them gasps “The Great Lord take me, it’s him!”, and Thom asks loudly if Mat wants to kill them too. Mat replies No softly, but the men didn’t hear him, and jump overboard to swim away; Thom doubts they’ll make it to shore. Mallia appears, roaring outrage, and then sees the two dead men on deck. Thom explains that he and Mat just saved him from river brigands, and Mat walks silently back to the hold. He hears Mallia mutter behind him that he’s a cold one, and he never heard that Andor employed assassins. Mat makes it back to the cabin before falling to his knees, shaking.

Rand plays softly on his flute, watching his campfire and wondering if there really were as many weddings in that one town as he thought there had been, or if he was going mad already. He thinks about what Moiraine had said about ta’veren, but shies away from that; it’s too close to thinking about being the Dragon Reborn. He had to let them proclaim him, but that doesn’t mean it’s true. He thinks about his dreams, and all the people he knew showing up and trying to kill him. For some reason, the fake Min that had tried to kill him hurt more than the others.

So many faces in his dreams. Selene had come, cool and mysterious and so lovely his mouth went dry just thinking of her, offering him glory as she had—so long ago, it seemed—but now it was the sword she said he had to take. And with the sword would come her. Callandor. That was always in his dreams. Always. And taunting faces. Hands, pushing Egwene, and Nynaeve, and Elayne into cages, snaring them in nets, hurting them. Why should he weep more for Elayne than for the other two?

He plays on, afraid to sleep, or dream.

Mat: Still badass.

I like that it’s made clear that he did actually have training in the quarterstaff from his father, who Mat noted earlier was the best in the Two Rivers at it. It’s nice that his skill isn’t all just out of Magical Left Field, unlike some sword-wielding farmboys I could mention.

That’s the other thing, too; it’s just far more believable in general that the boys would know how to use a bow or a quarterstaff, or even an axe to a certain extent, because those are what I think of as “utility” weapons (or “peasant’s weapons” if you’re being snotty). Which is to say, they have uses other than just people killin’. You can chop down a tree, or shoot yourself a snack, or set up a fake toll bridge with them; they are tools as well as weapons.

The reason the sword was considered the weapon of the noble class is not because it was so much awesomer at the people killin’ (in fact, it demonstrably isn’t; see Chapter 24), but because it was a status symbol and an indicator of wealth; only a rich noble could afford to waste money on an instrument that has no other use except as a weapon. Because that’s what rich people do best: waste things. (Oooooh….)

Chapter 33: Within the Weave

What Happens
Perrin frowns from his saddle at a stone on the road that has what looks like a dog’s pawprint in it. He catches a whiff of something sulphurous, too, but dismisses both things; dogs can’t make prints in stone. He catches up to Moiraine, Lan, and Loial, yawning. Loial says he doesn’t understand why Perrin can’t sleep; with the hard pace Moiraine is setting, Loial is out the moment he lays down each night. Perrin just shakes his head, and tries not to think about Hopper. They have found more evidence of Rand’s passage since leaving Jarra; they found his horse, looking as if it had been mauled to death by dogs, and then there were the villages. One town was burned to the ground, with everything that could possibly have gone wrong having happened, and another was celebrating because the once-dead spring was flowing again. In a third, all the wells had dried up with no explanation, and a fourth had had every single disagreement and feud bubble up at once, and it took three murders to snap everyone out of it. A fifth had been about to go hungry from failing crops until the Mayor found sacks of gold, minted in Manetheren, while digging a privy. Perrin asks Moiraine about it one night; he doesn’t understand why Rand would cause bad things as well as good.

“That town burning, and the wells failing, and... That is evil, Moiraine. I can’t believe Rand is evil. The Pattern may be shaping itself around him, but how can the Pattern be that evil? It makes no sense, and things have to make sense. If you make a tool with no sense to it, it’s wasted metal. The Pattern wouldn’t make waste.”
Moiraine was silent for a time, warming her hands. Finally she spoke while staring into the flames. “The Creator is good, Perrin. The Father of Lies is evil. The Pattern of Age, the Age Lace itself, is neither. The Pattern is what is. The Wheel of Time weaves all lives into the Pattern, all actions. A pattern that is all one color is no pattern. For the Pattern of an Age, good and ill are the warp and the woof.”

Perrin is deeply troubled by this, and remains so until they reach a town called Remen. Lan comes back from scouting it and tells Moiraine the town’s had an eventful couple of days. They ride in, Moiraine hiding her face in the cowl of her cloak, and Perrin smells a strange hair-raising scent for a moment, but then it is gone. A gibbet has been erected in the town square, and next to it a cage with a man dressed in gray and brown in it has been suspended off the ground from a tall post. Small boys are throwing stones at the man, and Loial angrily thinks they shouldn’t be doing that. Perrin agrees, wondering why the man seems familiar. They go to the inn, and enter to see everyone inside dressed as for a feastday. The innkeeper, Furlan, greets Lan as “Master Andra” and, seeing Moiraine’s fine clothes, greets her as a lady. Moiraine accepts this, keeping her features hidden, and asks about events in town. Furlan tells her they have Hunters of the Horn here, and they fought savage Aiel just a mile or so from the town. Perrin realizes that that’s what’s familiar about the caged man, and asks how he ended up there. Furlan hesitates to answer, taking Perrin for a servant, but Lan tells him flatly to answer, and Furlan points out Lord Orban, a young man in a red coat and swathed in bandages, and tells how Orban and Lord Gann faced twenty Aiel with only ten retainers, and killed all but one, losing only six of their own. Orban limps over and demands to know where the village wise woman is; Lan verifies Furlan’s numbers with Orban:

“Twelve of you fought twenty Aiel?” Lan asked in a flat voice.

Orban says yes proudly, and adds that the Whitecloaks are chasing the ones who escaped, but he doubts they’ll find more than their own shadows. Lan replies he supposes they won’t. Furlan takes them up to their rooms, everyone else staring at the Lady and the Ogier, but Perrin notices before they exit the common room that there had been one pair of eyes that had been watching him instead. He picks her out immediately, as she is the only woman in the room not wearing lace.

She was young—no older than he was, perhaps—and tall for a woman, with black hair to her shoulders. A nose that just missed being too large and too bold, a generous mouth, high cheekbones, and dark, slightly tilted eyes. He could not quite decide whether she was beautiful or not.

Enter - Faile. DUN!

Weird thing for me personally: I know, from my WOT glossary learnings, that “Faile” and “Aiel” are supposed to be pronounced almost identically, but while I’ve always automatically given “Faile” its proper two-syllable inflection, I have never been able to train my mental pronounciation of “Aiel” to do anything other than rhyme with “pail”. I have no idea why, any more than I know why I have no problem with the kid-tested, Jordan-approved pronounciation of “Nynaeve” (nigh-NEEVE), and yet cannot render “Egwene” as anything other than “Eh-GWEEN” (it’s supposed to be Eh-GWAIN).

Again, the ta’veren thing for Rand is just out of control in TDR. Maybe it stays at this level all the time and I’m just not remembering that, but I don’t think so. Contrariwise, Perrin’s ta’veren-ness in TDR seems to be unusually muted, except at certain specific points.

It is true that the ta’veren thing in general seems to work differently for each of the boys. Mat’s, for instance, is mostly geared toward things and events, while Perrin’s seems much more people-oriented (as we will see in TSR). Rand’s, of course, is all of the above times ten, so okay, but I reiterate that the plotty oscillations of its intensity remain a sticking point for me.

Chapter 34: A Different Dance

What Happens
Furlan babbles on as he shows the party to their rooms, and no one listens until he mentions something about “proclaiming the Dragon in Ghealdan”. Moiraine stops short and asks if another false Dragon has proclaimed himself in Ghealdan; Furlan says not exactly, just a man preaching his coming, claiming the Dragon is coming to save us, and the beasts fight for him, and so on.

Masema, Perrin thought wonderingly. It’s bloody Masema.

“You are right, innkeeper,” Lan said. “This fellow isn’t likely to trouble us here. I knew a fellow once who liked to make wild speeches. You remember him, Lady Alys, don’t you? Masema?”

Moiraine gave a start. “Masema. Yes. Of course. I had put him out of my mind.” Her voice firmed. “When next I see Masema, he will wish someone had peeled his hide to make boots.” She slammed the door behind her so hard that the crash echoed down the hallway.

Perrin goes to his own small room and sits down to think. Loial sticks his head in once to tell Perrin excitedly that his bed is made of sung wood, and to invite Perrin down for dinner, but Perrin tells him to go ahead. He tries to puzzle out a while longer about the girl staring at him, and why the caged Aiel should be important, and finally decides to go see Moiraine.

He strode toward the front of the inn, to Moiraine’s room, knocked once, and went in. And stopped, his face burning.

Moiraine pulled the pale blue robe that hung from her shoulders around herself. “You wish something?” she asked coolly. She had a silver-backed hairbrush in one hand, and her dark hair, spilling down her neck in dark waves, glistened as if she had been brushing it. Her room was far finer than his, with polished wooden paneling on the walls and silver-chased lamps and a warm fire on the wide brick hearth. The air smelled of rose-scented soap.

Perrin stammers that he thought Lan was here, and Moiraine asks him again what he wants. He asks if the Hunters and so forth are Rand’s doing; Moiraine doesn’t think so. She’s waiting for Lan to return in hopes that his scouting will help her make a choice: from here, Rand could have either crossed the river and continued to Tear on foot, or he could have taken ship and sailed there. Perrin doesn’t think they are going to catch up to Rand either way, who has managed to stay ahead of them even on foot. Moiraine agrees, remarking that she would almost suspect he’d figured out how to Travel, except that if he had he would have gone straight to Tear. Perrin then brings up the girl he noticed downstairs, and asks if she could be a Darkfriend, because she was staring at him.

The brush resumed motion, and a smile briefly touched Moiraine’s lips. “You sometimes forget, Perrin, that you are a good-looking young man. Some girls admire a pair of shoulders.” He grunted and shuffled his feet.

He leaves quickly, and tells himself he’s a fool to think of an Aes Sedai “like a village girl” just because he saw her “like that”. He heads downstairs, where Orban is retelling the story of his heroic exploits to the enthralled villagers, and leaves the inn, heading toward the town square. He goes to the cage, and quickly unwinds the rope holding it up and lowers it to the ground. He breaks the chain holding the cage shut and opens it, but the man inside doesn’t move immediately. The Aiel remarks that Perrin is strong—it took three men to hoist him up there—and asks why. Perrin replies that he doesn’t like seeing people in cages, and tells the man to get out of there already. The Aiel swings himself out of the cage. He glances at Perrin’s eyes, which Perrin knows are shining in the moonlight, but does not mention them.

“I am Gaul, of the Imran sept of the Shaarad Aiel, wetlander. I am Shae’en M’taal, a Stone Dog. My water is yours.”

Perrin introduces himself, and asks why Gaul calls him “wetlander”. Gaul gestures to the river, and says that he never knew there was so much water in the world as this land has. Perrin asks why he’s here, and Gaul replies that he searches for He Who Comes With the Dawn. Perrin tells him he’s looking in the wrong direction; the one he’s looking for is on his way to Tear.

“Tear?” The Aiel sounded surprised. “Why... ? But it must be. Prophecy says when the Stone of Tear falls, we will leave the Three-fold Land at last.” That was the Aiel name for the Waste. “It says we will be changed, and find again what was ours, and was lost.”

Perrin says that’s as may be, but Gaul should leave now. Gaul remarks calmly that it is too late to run, and the square fills with a dozen or so Whitecloaks charging them. Gaul veils himself and asks if Perrin likes to dance, and darts into the Whitecloaks. Four Whitecloaks go down immediately, and Perrin sees that Gaul’s fighting style is actually very like dancing. Then he has to defend himself, and with regret kills the Whitecloaks attacking him, hating the axe and the brutal carnage it leaves in its wake. When it is over, Gaul tells him he does not dance the spears badly, and Perrin replies he doesn’t see how twelve men fought twenty Aiel and won. Gaul laughs and replies that they were only two, and careless, but Sarien is dead and Gaul in a cage for two days, so their carelessness is paid for. He says he will remember Tear, and hopes Perrin will always find water and shade before he leaves. Perrin goes to leave, too, and sees a slim shape in divided riding skirts turn and disappear down a street. Then Lan appears, and demands to know if anyone can connect Perrin to the bodies in the square; Perrin tells him about the girl, and Lan tells him to rouse Loial and get him down to the stable. They must leave immediately.

Okay, that whole scene with Perrin walking in on Moiraine was just weird. I don’t want to go so far as “oogy”, but, um. I know that in terms of chronological age Moiraine isn’t actually all that much older than Perrin, or at least not nearly as much older as many Aes Sedai would be, but now I have Simon and Garfunkel stuck in my head, is all I’m saying.

The problem of prophecy again: would Perrin have given the Aiel inna cage as much attention as he did if Min hadn’t told him about it? Possibly, yes; there’s nothing saying he wouldn’t have come to the same decision with no prompting, just because it is the Right Thing To Do, but my point is we’ll never know.

It’s funny (though not really) how Perrin keeps managing to only kill Whitecloaks. It’s almost like that’s leading somewhere, isn’t it?

Time’s up! Pencils down, and pass your papers to the front. Friday—Billy, I swear to God—Friday we have Chapters 35-39, so you’d better—oh, there’s the bell, HANG ON, I’m not finished!—you’d better have the reading done before you come…

Ah, screw it. I’ve got vodka in here somewhere. Cheers!

1. Hammurabi
Keep up the good work, I am loving the re-read!
2. laframboise
Great - now I've got Simon and Garfunkel stuck in my head, along with a certainty that Moiraine favors black hosiery. I will never be able to read that passage without that imagery again.
3. BlacksmithButNotEmo
Wow, Leigh - nice chunk of chapters here. Fine job. Love the pacing at this point, before things start dragging again later.

I always thought that Mat's run of luck with the dice in Tar Valon was about "the Pattern providing what whas needed" (to quote Mo); the boy is taveren. Power-up indeed; from this point on, Mat is a force. Glad to see Thom get sucked into his wake and back into events. The interaction between the two is the high point of such male friendships in the rest of the series, I think; Julian is such a wet noodle that he and Thom just don't have the spark. Any other male friends that have that spark that I'm missing?

The bit in the village with Perrin rescuing Gaul has high awesomeness...with Aes Sedai nudity to give it that extra spice. "What's that you say, Mistress Damodred?"

Ah, Faile. How many seriously annoying women must have been in Mr. Jordan's formative years that he stuffed so many so effectively into this series? Faile and Elaida in the death cage match of annoyance...I think the Vegas odds are 6-5 on Elaida, but it's close...
4. Mari N
Leigh, I've been loving these recaps and reading along silently right up until the Mrs. Robinson bit, which I'm fairly sure will now be the first song that leaps into my head whenever I just look at any of the WOT books. Gee, thanks.

Also, good eye for pointing out the hamhanded gender reversal of the Supergirls rejecting Mat's offer. At the time I just assumed the scene was meant to show us that they were stupid and overconfident and a bit rude; it hadn't occurred to me to look for other things going on in that scene.
Blake Engholm
5. UncrownedKing
"Cool trumps Logic every time."

You dammmn rght it does! Love the "time to doss the dice" and kill you with athirty foot powerbomb off the roof that would make The Undertaker shiver (o yeah nothing like a little WWE in the morning). Don't know if the dagger to the chest was even neccessary, I would think the guy would be dead from the impact+Mat's body wieght.

"Thom makes a comment about Moiraine being a fine-looking woman" The beginning of the Thom loves Mo thoughts in my head way back when in my first read through.

Mats cabin battle and other battles: I've come to the conclusion that anything that has to do with a battle/skirmish/bar-brawl, RJ is the master. Every aspect of the battle he brings to life in a way that no other author I've read has done. Kudos Kudos and more Kudos RJ.

Love the guy whos makin stuff up about fighting 20 Aiel. Just makes me laugh knowing how bad ass the Aiel are. And I will go on record again, and I am sure I'll have people who agree with me here, I LIKE Faile here through TSR (even though I don't think we see her in TFoH). However, we have talked that topic to death. To Death!

Perrin is the bain of all Whitecloaks, and I enjoy all of the encounters. Feels like a from of "HA god you guys deserve everything Goldenyes is dishing out on you all and your lack of fighting skills"

The whole scene with Perrin and Mo seems like the first time you were at your buddies house in middle school or high school and realize, "Dude, Mike, your Mom is absolutley smoking hot. Any chance Mr. Smith is going outta town any time soon?" which then leads into a "you ass hole" comment, and the inevitable "your not going to be alone in the room with my mom, EVER" clause being implemented into the freindship agreement.

She was unbelievable though.
Dan Benjamin
6. bandenjamin
Great work!

RE: Also, another example in this chapter of the icon qualifying as an instant spoiler for the events within it, if you’re paying attention.

The one that got me the worst of them all was the dice in PoD; I thought fer sure we was gettin a new one of Mat!!! Stupid Icons!
Richard Fife
7. R.Fife
Moiraine, yes, but Moiraine's mom has got it going on. Suian?


To Mat's luck, I personally don't think it was the dagger, per se, that gave it to him, so much as the complications with removing it. Like whenever you get irradiated for one cancer and get a tumor. Only, this is a cool tumor. Like, it has a happy face and sings to you. Or something. My analogy went way off there...

Again, I am going to stick up for my gal Faile. Yeah she gets annoying from expecting Perrin to know how to treat a Saldean woman without telling him, but, well, she's Zarine, remember? There is something of that name in truth, and she is a pampered little princess at heart. Of course she would expect Perrin to just "know" how to treat the woman he loves. It's obvious, isn't it?

As to the gender politics, I don't think they are reversed so much as leveled. We don't get "groups of men" talking all that often, but when we do, they typically speak just as snootily about women. TSR really hits this on the head when Abel Cauthon is giving Perrin advice on how to handle Faile, and it works.
8. CalebG
Just a couple quick things:

Re: Training in the tower: I think we never see the supergirls actually in class because, first, whenever they are in class, it's probably less exciting/important than whatever is going on elsewhere in the tower. There are constant allusions to how hard they're being worked (especially for those missing months when Rand and co. were in Portal Stone Land). Second, they really don't spend a lot of time experiencing "normal" Aes Sedai training; they're taught by Moiraine, then on the boat to TV, then we skip a couple months, then they're off to Toman Head. After they get back from that escapade, it's hardly a matter of weeks before they leave for Tear. And soon they won't even be in the main AS organization at all.

Re: Mat's Luck: I don't think it has a single thing to do with the dagger. I think it has everything to do with being Ta'veren. It seems that as the characters level up, the "weirdness magnet" factor dials up as well; Perrin gets the wolves, Rand goes mad/causes random stuff to happen, and Mat affects probability. The thing is that Mat's Ta'verenness started amping up about the same time as he was endaggered; Mat is mistaking coincidence for causality. As for his sensitivity about "The Dark One's Own Luck," since Shadar Logoth's evil was essentially the Whitecloak evil on a grander scale, the paranoia from the dagger probably had an aftereffect of making him super sensitive about the DO.

Not so quick, but those were what I got from these things.
9. hoping to be of the blood
Do we ever get an explanation of the grey man in Sheriam's bed? It looks like just more evidence of forsaken at cross purposes.
I think the man at the bridge with the dagger who tries to kill Mat is a grey man, as well. Mat mentions that he is ordinary looking and he probably would never have noticed him. If so, I wonder who sent him - Ishy or Be'lal.
10. Randalator
Mat's luck:

Mat notes at one point that he has always been unusually lucky. It's just that after the dagger episode his luck luck got twisted towards the completely improbable.

So maybe the dagger and consequent healing set him on his destined path (holes in memory -> Finn -> battle god) which in turn "activated" his ta'veren-ness to the full extent. That would explain both his luck and the timing.


I have the same problem with the pronunciation of Aiel. Fa-EEHL -> piece of cake, Ai-EEHL -> not so much. I always end up pronouncing it like "aisle".

Other than that I don't have any problems, obvious how-on-earth-are-you-sopposed-to-pronounce-that-cases like "Naean" aside...

The Graduate:

Anyone else who wanted to be in Perrin's shoes at that moment? *rrrrrrrrrrrrrrr*
11. laframboise
Given that Mat carried Evil next to his skin for many long months, I don't blame him for being a little touchy about even a casual reference to the source of his luck potentially being the DO.
12. Mark-S
RE: Dagger and Mat's Luck

If the pattern of the age is made off good and ill, perhaps when Mat was separated from the dagger the ills went along with it, leaving him with only the good. Even more on the loonier side. The evil residing in him from the dagger, nullified the general Dark One's evil that causes bad things to happen from his effect on the pattern. (just like cleansing the taint) When Mat was separated he was left with only holes in his life where the pattern tugging evil was and good pattern luck.
its only a loony theory
Eric Robinson
13. perrin77
Wow, the first 12 comments already summed up about everything I was going to say. Nice work Leigh and fellow WoT readers for succinctly summing up these chapters so effectively.

To reiterate a couple of points: I believe that Mat is looking for a reason for his luck that doesn't involve him being a freak of nature, ergo, it was the dagger, not my own innate Ta'veranness. Love the Mat & Thom combo for the next few chapters, they do seem to gel well.

Faile - I don't have a huge issue with Faile herself, but more with what she turns Perrin into, but I will have my say on that in future books.

Death to Whitecloaks. What a great way to cement a new friendship than by killing a few Whitecloaks. No wonder Gaul and Perrin seem to hit it off so well.
14. Sidetrack'd
With Callandor in your hands, child, you could level a city at one blow.

How is it that Siuan here, with all her Amyrlinness and secret records and all, doesn't mention/know that Callandor is a male sa'angreal? And yet later, Cadsuane drops that nugget? Where's her info coming from?

As cool as Mat’s luck-twisting thing is, I’ve never quite understood why exactly that should be the permanent effect carrying the dagger had on him.

I'm with Leigh on this one - there's no real evidence other than timing that the dagger had anything to do with this. The only thing that makes sense to me is that it is somehow tied to his healing from the dagger. What if the "mechanism" that weakens the barriers between current and past self (like Rand/LTT) isn't taint or direct channeling, but possibly just exposure to massive amounts of channeling or extreme healing - Rand's been through some heavy healing already (after Falme) and massive Power output (at the Eye), and Matt's healing involved the largest single use of Power we've seen so far, I think.

Lan tells him to rouse Loial and get him down to the stable. They must leave immediately.

I think it'd be hilarious to see an accounting of how may times in WoT someone pays for a room and doesn't get to spend the night in it. I think a fellow could live comfortably for a while on the coin wasted in this manner. ;-)

The problem of prophecy again: would Perrin have given the Aiel inna cage as much attention as he did if Min hadn’t told him about it?

I gotta think that Perrin's actions here were not affected by the forewarning. Min simply told him he'd see an Aiel in a cage at some point. There was no flavoring as to what, if anything, he should do about it. I think, as he states, he just doesn't like the idea of a person in a cage.

And I gotta give a nod to Gaul here, too. Perrin went to bat for him here, and from this point on, Gaul never ceases to go through hell helping Perrin out. If everyone had even one friend that loyal, our world would be a better place...

CalebG@8 - since Shadar Logoth's evil was essentially the Whitecloak evil on a grander scale

that's an interesting comparison there. never thought about it like that...

hoping@9 - I think the man at the bridge with the dagger who tries to kill Mat is a grey man, as well.

“Time to toss the dice,” he said. He thought the other man looked confused for an instant, but an instant was all he had.

The man he's wrestling with shows emotion - confusion - when Mat mutters coolest.slogan.ever. in the Old Tongue. Gray Men don't show emotion, so pretty sure this was just another redshirt darkfriend.
15. Sidetrack'd
Grey Men don't show emotion, right? I'm not just imagining their deadpan-ness, right?
16. Rikka
Oh dear *hides Playboy mag* Teach is angry.


chpt 28
Ahh, I'm so relieved that Matt is better now. I'm going to enjoy the rest of this book :D Also, as much as I hate Elayne, this MattxElayne stuff totally had me going for a while. :/ Oh well, silly girls. And Matt totally doesn't use his getoutoftroublefree pass to its best extent. As the Supergirls said "I could make a Warder dance!" Seriously. XD Anyway, Nynaeve shoots him down right quick, which is saddening, cause he meant it! :(

chpt 29
Nynaeve, you're an idiot... wow, as much as I like her, that feels good to say.

Well said Siuan, die protecting this sa'angreal and you'll have died well. It's a THING. How seemingly callous, and yet she's right.

We see Egwene in class when she gets captured, as well as a lot more interaction with other novices and accepteds etc.

chpt 30
Love Matt's luck rampage through Tar Valon. What a kid, though I thought this was due to taveranness and less the dagger. I just thought he was blaming it on the dagger because he didn't know what else to blame as picking up the dagger itself was not a lucky thing.

chpt 31
Oh Thom :/ Don't worry, you're going to marry your third pretty woman ;) Oh Thom and existential crises, how unpleasant, though he as good as admits the whole regicide in Cairhien there. I do love Thom and Matt, they fit each other well, like uncle and favorite nephew.

Also, I honestly never pay any attention to the chapter icons, ever. It surprises me how much people care about them XD

chpt 32
I love how everyone ends up tangled in stupid petty little webs of politiking and even Matt ends up a lord (and Prince of Ravens, but that's neither here nor there atm). This is also a huge *coughcoughnudgenudge* on a Lord of Tear being DF or worse (of course it's worse, it's WoT!).

Also, I found this Rand PoV entire unnecessary.

chpt 33
Enter... Gaul, right? yes. I think it's Gaul. Yay Aiel!

I agree, Aiel to me is pronounce ale or ail and I have problems with Nynaeve (nih-knave) and Egwene (egg-gwen). Faile I had no idea how to pronounce so the glossary was helpful, otherwise I would have callen her Fail. Also, Taim is Tah -eem? Screw that. Tame is soooo much better.

chpt 34
Haha, Perrin. Awkward moment much? Silly boy. I like how little thought goes into the actually freeing of Gaul.
17. Randalator

Aes Sedai have never been great with sharing information. So it's entirely possible that Cadsuane stumbled across a source saying Callandor was a male sa'angreal during her 200+ years as Aes Sedai and never caring to tell anyone about it.

Channeling vs. insanity:

If that were the case the people around Shadar Logoth would have to be batshit crazy after the cleansing of Saidin. That was enough Power output to melt anyones brain-barriers.

Anyway there aren't any warders channeling there former selves to my knowledge and they get quite a lot of healing done to them.

Grey Men:

At least I can't remember any instance where the do. Also the way Mat becomes aware of the attacker doesn't seem like other Grey Man encounters to me. In other cases there were always either mentions of them casually thrown in before they were recognized or they manifested as one body too many after a fight.
18. Sidetrack'd
Randalator@17 - I think we've been led to believe that not everyone is some Big Important Soul Reborn, right? So maybe this would only affect those special few? Or only Ta'varen? Or only Ta'varen with Big Important Souls? lol. I dunno - just a stray thought...

I agree that the lead-up to Mat's crash-pad attacker doesn't "feel" like a Grey man, and those precursors have already been established, so it should've clicked if that's how it was intended.
19. Randalator

Neither are all male channelers BISR-Ta'veren but they still have a disturbing tendency to have chit-chats with previous incarnations in their noggin..
Blake Engholm
20. UncrownedKing
Heres how its been for the 10+ years ive been going with this serious (and there is little chance Ima change :) )

Nynaeve = Nyneeve
Faile = Fail
Aiel = Ale
Taim = Tame
Siuan = Swan
Sammael = Sam-ale
Thom = Tom
Tuon = Twan (swan with a T XD)

Theres others Im sure but there is no way i will (or mentally can) change this for the world. Its been hard wired in. If there is ever a Movie/cartoon/film of any kind, I will be instantly ircked when the Nynaeve pops up or Aiel pops up
21. Still No Clever Name
As to the shifting and surging Taveren-ness, remember that the Pattern forces the boys where they're supposed to be. Everything else is just a side-effect. With Mat, it means the Pattern has to force him into wealth by some means, so gambling, and not getting killed, so battle luck. If it weren't the Pattern, he'd be a dead as he deserves to be, due to his plain bone-headedness. For Perrin, it helps him win people over despite his utter lack of leadership skills. For Rand, it totally #&*#s everything up as he passes through, as it keeps him firmly in the place he needs to be.

The whole Pattern/Taveren thing is a pretty slick plot device, all in all...
22. Lsana
Ch 28:

I had almost the exact opposite reaction from Leigh here. Ordinarily, I love to bash the supergirls, but this is one place where I thought the "battle of the sexes" worked. Both Mat and the girls are participating equally, Mat is having as much fun teasing them as they are him. Everything is good-natured. As for the "hero" comment, I thought that was less about the fact that Mat or Hurin would be useless if it came to that then about the fact that if the girls were ever in trouble, they wouldn't be able to find Mat or Hurin in time for them to help. The Verizon network won't follow you to Randland, and AT&T has 0 bars from Falme to Tar Valon to Tear. Even if the girls can get word to the would-be hero, the hero can't get to them; those planes with the talking wolves and grolm on their tails are all booked up.

Ch 29:

Just one thing about this scene: Suian would still be Amyrlin if she had said three words here: "Leave Elayne here." She saw Morgase's reaction when Elayne disappeared with Liandrin, and Suian didn't have anything to do with that disappearance. Is it possible that Suian believes that if Morgase learns that Elayne is out hunting the Black Ajah, she won't blame the White Tower in the slightest as long as Suian didn't personally ask Elayne to do it?

Ch 30:

It's already been said by several others, but I do think Mat's luck is the result of his ta'vereness rather than anything to do with the dagger. I seem to recall that RJ said that ta'veren are not born that way (because you don't want to deal with a ta'veren who's teething) but are "activated" at some point when they are needed. So Mat's luck started when his ta'verenness got turned on, which coincidentally was close to when he got the dagger. Mat's also an unreliable narrator on this point; given the number of holes in his memory, he can't possibly be able to remember the exact point where his luck started.

Ch 34:

I think Perrin would have still rescued Gaul even if Min had never mentioned the Aiel in the cage, though his thoughts would have gone differently. The entire party was disturbed by the rock-throwing, and Perrin was newly sensitive to the idea of men in cages...
23. Zeynep
Re: Moiraine's comment about Masema with hides and boots: Oh, I wish. I wish so much. Sigh.

Mat awesomeness is responsible for a great part of my love affair with this book, which I now want to reread.
Richard Fife
24. R.Fife
Sidetrack'd@15: Eh, they show about the same emotion as a dumb animal I think. If an animal's prey doesn't act as expected, it will show a bit of confusion as well. Also, down in Illian, the grey men show a modicum of anger, if I recall, when Perin sees them. And, while there are regular ol' assassins after Mat, I would not be surprised to see a grey man too, and yes, the "MO" of a grey man attack wasn't strictly followed, but Mat didn't instantly double take at him. He kinda looks at him, they have a dumb, "huh?" moment, and then grapple.

I love how "the soulless are rare" and then we have a few dozen thrown at us. Cute.

I say Nine-ev, Fay-ill, Eye-eel, Tame, Sue-an, I can't help but think Samual, and Ishmael, Tom, Two-on, and egg-when.
25. Sidetrack'd
Randalator@19 - The other male channelers do tend to talk to themselves (I do, too, for that matter ;), but we don't have any POVs showing that they're talking to past selves. (do we?) As far as we've been shown, they're just experiencing taint madness. Of course, as previously debated, all of the male channelers' issues could actually be past selves surfacing due to taint exposure, and we've just not been clue-by-foured (love that phrase) that that's the case with anyone other than Rand.

Rand is the only live example of someone actually learning from and communicating with a past self, and showcasing impressive new skills from this dialog. The only reason I'm considering this reasoning for Mat is because he's picking up a lot of Old Tongue and other bad-assedness from somewhere, and there's that one common thread that general consensus is that Mat's also a BISR. Otherwise, there's no obvious connection - Rand's got taint exposure, Mat's Dark cooties come from the Dagger, etc.

Yeah, I am grasping at straws a bit - but I've grown to expect obscure connections like this - so few things in WoT are truly random or throw-away info. Maybe something in AMoL will shed some Light (ha!) on the subject. ;-)
26. Sidetrack'd
Now, I'm wondering if there will be a point in AMoL where things go all Portal Stone/flicker, either on the pages or in our heads, where we rapidly see and connect all of these innoccuos(sp?) points from the other 11 books to tie together all of the pieces at/near the final showdown.

(Crap - "showdown" - now "Ultimate Showdown" and Chuck Norris are stuck in my head. *groan*)
27. Lsana
@23 Zeynep,

We have one more book, and Moiraine will be coming back. There is time yet.

@24 R.Fife,

My problem with the grey men is less how many of them that we see then the fact that they are so incompetent. I can't remember if they succeed in getting any minor characters, but with characters who are even remotely important, they have a serious case of stormtrooper disease. For "all-powerful assassins of the shadow" they are remarkably pathetic.
28. Randalator

I agree, Mat vs. the supergirls just seems like good-natured bickering to me in this case. And their reaction to his offer of help was just sparked by hearing the exact same thing from Hurin the day before and the absence of "cell ter'angreal" in Randland.


There is no conclusive evidence for any of our reasonings so yeah, you could be right.

Just a little point on the side: Mat displayed Old Tongue seepage before he entered Shadar Logoth and got the dagger, holes in his memory or any extensive Healing. So it could be just a Ta'veren effect.
29. Roxinos
Women have an arbitrarily negative value placed on them solely 'cause of their gender, eh, Leigh? Well, I wouldn't disagree about that, but I would disagree that *only* women get it. If you don't see my point, then why don't you watch *any commercial featuring a man*.

It's part of American culture (not sure how much it extends beyond America and into Western culture at large) that men are just stupid. As I previously mentioned, watch any commercial with a man in it. The man is either a stupid father, where the son/daughter has to go to the mother for help, or a stupid husband, where if he'd just listened to the wife in the first place he would've gotten through it.

It's taking that "men are too stubborn/prideful to ask for directions" idea to the extreme.

My point, put simply, is that *both* genders have a negative stereotype. Women are naggy and weak, men are stupid and stubborn.

And Jordan shows *both sides* of this equation. You see it in the way the women treat the men, and you see it in the way the men treat the women. Jordan takes the stereotypes in women and men and makes caricatures of them by having the gender relations practically unworkable.
30. Tonybere
Hi Leigh et al. Long time listener, first time caller. I have been trying to catch up with the re-read, but I just found out about it three days ago. I had to jump ahead before you got through my favourite books: TDR and TSR.
I got on board the series about the time this one came off the press and Mat and Perrin have been my favourites from this point on.
A few thoughts:

1. On the segregation of the Ajahs. I think these associations formed over time in the White Tower. Probably just by women with like interests and personalities gravitating toward one another. I mean it has been hundreds of years. No need to assume that the politics of the Tower have been unchanged since day one.

2. On Ta'veren twisting the pattern. As previously stated, it is a PATTERN. Totally random. Sometimes they affect it heavily, sometimes not so much. Rand obviously more so, but they address the balance of good and evil. I think this is much the same.

3. I agree with Calebg @ #8. We don't see the girls in Aes Sedai class because RJ had about 18,473 more important details to tend to. They do reference things that were learned or discussed in classes.

4. Thanks for the forum. I have read these books so many times that I am not even re-reading them with you. I just pick one up randomly and pick a chapter to start reading from every once in a while (I am currently re-reading Winter's Heart). It is neat to actually discuss them with other fanATICS for the first time. Man I am looking forward to AMOL and hope that Sanderson does it justice (not the sword)! I read the alomancer books and thought he got better as they went along. Anyway, great work! Talk soon.
31. Sidetrack'd
Lsana@27 - For "all-powerful assassins of the shadow" they are remarkably pathetic.

Bah - Grey Men aren't pathetic - our guys are just too awesome. ;-)

(there was mention, somewhere before now, of some minor/redshirt characters getting taken out by apparent soulless, based on the vague description. I think it was in the news the Tinker woman brought to Moiraine in the mountains, when Perrin asked about soulless and Mo blew him off.)
32. Emerkel

I didn't even continue on to read the post after reading the intro and the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory reference!

Poor Charlie Bucket... only opened one Wonka Bar...

I am still chuckling as I write this.

You have lifted my spirits during a particularly bad day at work. Of course now I will be racking my brain to think of the teachers name.

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!
33. Randalator

Exactely. Rand can channel them to charcoal and has shadowspawn detection courtesy to his warderbond post LoC, Perrin can smell them and Mat just lucks them into the ground.

And twice (Rand in Fal Dara, Egwene in the Tower) they missed shots due to unexpected circumstances.

So crappy shooters, deadly in close quarters for mere mortals but definitely not Ta'veren-, channeler-, luck- or wolf-proof...
34. Shumble
Chapter 30

I don't think Mat's luck is based solely on the dagger. He is obviously the reincarnation of one of the great men of Manetheren and that particular man was very lucky. Like Rand and Perrin, it doesn't seem like these reincarnations really start kicking in until they turn about 16 or so. So, even if he had never found the dagger and stayed in Two Rivers for the rest of his life, he probably still would have found himself extremely lucky. I think the dagger adds another element to his personality that his reincarnated self did not have which enhances some of his "awesomeness" characteristics that would have existed anyway. And once he goes and meets the Snakes and Foxes, he is then fully transformed in a way that probably wouldn't have happened without the combination of events that occurred.

I really don't have a problem with Rand becoming a master swordsman that quickly. Following the same reasoning as above, Rand is obviously the reincarnation of the Dragon and had sword fighting capability in a previous life. The training with Land just helps him get back in shape quicker than if he trained normally. It's like teaching something new to somebody with an inborn talent, they pick it up much faster than the average person. In this case, we would expect the Dragon to get very, very good even faster than a normal person. Rand is anything but normal.

Perrin as well would have developed his wolf brother skills in the Two Rivers. Probably Mat and Perrin were both affected by their friendship with Rand who is arguably the most t'avern person that the Pattern has every spun out in any of the ages. And as we saw earlier in the book, Perrin was able to get N'oald (name?) free from the cage and Noald was almost a lunatic. It makes sense that he would want to do the same for the Aiel.

"Perrin frowns from his saddle at a stone on the road that has what looks like a dog’s pawprint in it. He catches a whiff of something sulphurous, too, but dismisses both things; dogs can’t make prints in stone"

This is the one thing that I hate about most books, but I know that they need to do it to develop the plot. How come these people never share anything? Perrin just keeps this information to himself instead of sharing it with Lan or Moraine? Doesn't make sense to me. How many problems could have been solved in this series if the heroes just talked sensibly to each other.
35. darxbane
Actually, you are using a little hindsight here. We have only actually seen one known Gray man, and he was already dead, so there was no warning about him ahead of time. I think the whole emotion thing is confusing Gray men with Myrrdraahl. There is nothing that says a Gray Man can't be startled by something as insane as someone using you as a cushion.

I feel like the gender politics in this book are great. I have always believed that the psychological differences between men and women are mostly taught behaviors. The balance must be maintained. Women in total power would be no better than men. Saidar and Saidin.
Evan Langlinais
36. Skwid
I think it's pretty obvious that Jordan was ahead of his time on the whole MILF phenomenon. Even given that normal OP slowing would mean Moiraine's body should be just as smokin' hot as when she was raised to the shawl, and you've got to think the skin-tightening effect of the Oaths would have salutary benefits beyond just ageless faces...I'm thinking Perrin just got himself a very pleasant eye-full indeed. And this is just the first time such tension is introduced, Morgase/Tallanvor and (ugh) Tylin/Mat being the other obvious examples, and not counting the absurdity of Lanfear/Rand...'cause aside from the whole imprisoned for millenia thing, you know she's got to be a couple-hundred years old in real-time.

And again, it's obvious inversion of "standard" gender stereotypes, particularly for the fantasy genre. Which, yes, may be oogy-inducing to modern sensibilities, but are common nonetheless.
37. Belement
@ 32 Emerkel - The teachers name is Mr. Turkentine.. go go gadget IMDB

And Charlie opened 2 bars in total.. and that was before the one with the golden ticket.. lol..

oh.. and just to address something I didn't get the chance to reply to in Part 4 of the re-read.. I think the colours on the portal stone steps being the same as the Ajah colours is possibly just coincidence.. (or where the Ajahs got the colours they use).. I think the colours are there to make the stone work as it's intended to.. just like the Dream Ring that Elayne tries to make copies of.. if the colours aren't correct.. they don't work the same way.. just my thought.
38. Sidetrack'd
darxbane@35 - Sorry, but I just can not reconcile the concept of "no soul" but still able to show emotion. The soulless are just automatons - mindless drones sent out with specific instructions. What is there to experience/display emotion? A soulless wouldn't be confused by Mat spouting Old Tongue - all a soulless would be doing is trying to stick the knife in him.
Heather Johnson
39. HeatherJ
(it is just me, or do there seem to be fewer active commenters today than usual?)

My random comments ...

My pronunciations matched the list @20 on all my read-throughs. However, my last “reread” was actually a “listen-for-the-fist-time” and the audio books pronounce things correctly, for the most part. It took about 2 books or more for me to get used to the “right” pronunciations but I think I’m well adjusted now.

On the Taim/Tame thing, I read somewhere that RJ clarified this by saying something like “It is pronounced Ty-eem, because that man is definitely NOT tame.” I always found that amusing.

And on Matt’s luck – I think the comment @10 makes the most sense of any so far.

I'm greatly enjoying all this – thanks Leigh! Still trying desperately to figure out a way to go to JordanCon – keep your fingers crossed for me. :)
40. Lsana
@31 Sidetrack'd, @33 Randalator,

Okay, so the Grey men trade their souls in exchange for the ability to become the perfect assassins.

On one hand there are rumors that they had taken out a bunch of random farmers. We can't really call these guys characters, because we never seen them or heard their names, nor have we ever met anyone who has seen them or heard their names. But that's some serious "slaughter NPCs" power they have going on.

On the other hand, they are apparently useless against Aes Sedai, Warders, Wolfbrothers, Asha'man, Aiel, Windfinders, lucky people, trained fighters, people who hang out in crowded rooms, or anyone close to any of the above.

Sounds like a fabulous deal! Where do I sign up...

On the other hand, maybe I'll stick with my original assessment.
41. Jamie Bowden
Sidetrack'd @ 14:

With Callandor in your hands, child, you could level a city at one blow.

How is it that Siuan here, with all her Amyrlinness and secret records and all, doesn't mention/know that Callandor is a male sa'angreal? And yet later, Cadsuane drops that nugget? Where's her info coming from?

I suspect that's merely to make them aware of the potential of Callandor. I have zero doubt Siuan knows that it's a male sa'angreal.
42. Gentled Ben
There is mention of Elayne teaching a novice class while they are in Salidar, and we see quite a bit of Egwene's studies in KoD. Like me, she seems to get sent to the principal's office regularly. :D
43. Rebecca Starr
Everyone posts so fast I am adding some thoughts in a hurry!

Ch 28
Leigh, I really appreciate your words here. I was reading over some old Jordan interviews the other day, how he imagined a world where the genders were equal, and he was then shocked to see people thought he had written a matriarchy! You got it exactly right: we are so accustomed to a patriarchy, that when things are even, well, it comes out looking shocking. If you really want to play the gender-flipping game, read a book called 'Egalia's Daughters'; it's a world where women are completely in charge (and thus are the standard, i.e. called Woms) Men, therefore, are the derivative - Manwoms. it is *not* presented as an ideal - there is in fact a horrific rape scene - but rather, just goes to show exactly how off kilter our own current society is.

but, this chapter is a joy to read, through Mat's POV!

Ch 29
White Tower as school... classes are often mentioned, Jordan just spares us the boring details and presents us with scenes after the fact, for the most part. We do see Elayne teaching a novice class later, in Salidar, and a few others here and there... but we all already complain about the big chunks of exposition in WoT as it is - can you imagine how much exposition would be in a novice class on, say, angreal? or the feel of the flows?

Ch 30
I actually don't think Mat's luck comes from the dagger - that's his thought, but that doesn't make him right. I think the luck is his way of exhibiting being ta'veren. he got it right around when Rand got saidin and Perrin got the wolves. Mat gets the dice and the luck. If it *does* come from Shadar Logoth and I'm wrong, I can sort of see how that makes sense too. Luck is often a double-edged sword (see how many people get angry at Mat for his luck)... and indeed, seems like the kind of thing that would brew the suspicion and hatred Shadar Logoth is famous for

Ch 31
I love the jolt of Mat being ta'veren here, walking into the inn with Thom. Best line by far: "Sometimes I get hungry."
Richard Fife
44. R.Fife
Small sidenotes: Aes Sedai and Warders cannot detect graymen. They are too close to a darkfriend, not close enough to shadowspawn. Also, Rand can detect shadowspawn pre warder-bonding, same way as Aes Sedai.

Oddly enough, I have to wonder about how many people know what callandor really is. I would swear there are references also of "we can't let /any/ forsaken steal it and use it." and a few other references of women being able to use it, usually from Aes Sedai mouths. On the same hand, it is supposedly a big secret that its a sa'angreal anyway. Doesn't Siuan say something along the lines that few women in the tower even know that much?
45. NanaD
@29 It is not only commercials but almost all sitcoms today. Males are almost always portrayed as slow-witted,stubborn, or outright stupid.

I found it funny when Lan, Mat and Hurin said to send for them if they needed help. Unless some one had a super-sonic pigeon handy you could be dead before help arrived. They didn't know about dream-walking then. The men were serious and had the best of intentions. I guess the Super-girls found this funny too.
46. Randalator

Actually, you are using a little hindsight here. We have only actually seen one known Gray man, and he was already dead, so there was no warning about him ahead of time.

Nope, we have seen a lot more Gray Men. There are no less than six of them attacking Perrin in TDR, ch. 42. And there's one trying to kill Rand in the Stone of Tear (TSR, ch.9) and one in Caemlyn (LoC, ch. 28). None of them show any emotion at all at being discovered despite that being a very rare thing given their nature...


You're right about Aes Sedai/Warders not being able to sense Gray Men. I remembered that incorrectly earlier but noticed it too when I just looked up the different GM attacks.
47. Sidetrack'd
HeatherJ@39 - maybe some of the regulars have been busy today and haven't gotten here yet? and Randalator and I have been going back and forth with multiple posts? (it's been a slow work day, so I've been able to read and comment before ~80 other posts appeared, for a change)

Lsana@40 - lol. All I can remember of background on soulless was that they gave their soul to the shadow. I don't remember that they were doing so specifically to become assassins (although, that is the only use we've seen for them). Yeah, doesn't make piles of sense - but, we are talking about Darkfriends here... ;-)
48. Effervescent
I still remember my first read through during the Matt scenes, and my full expectations of him turning back into the ass he was in the first two books. It was only on the second read that I could fully enjoy the Matt parts.

And good ol' Thom, re-entering the fray!! It always surprised me that people didn't think he killed the King in Cairhien, but since then, I have realized that some people see clearly on one set of topics, while others are blind but have a good take on others.

I can take credit for seeing Thom's involvement with the murder of the king on the first read through, but I was blind to other "obvious" clues. Such is life in the exciting world of junior league soccer...

The one thing that surprised and irritated me during this part of the book was Siuane's willingness to send 3 accepted that are already in trouble for "running away" on an important mission like this. Why on earth would she not send full AS? I understand the fear of Black AS, but this is the one area where I felt the story-line was very manufactured.

Agnes Kormendi
49. tapsi
I have to say in the defense of Siuan and Elayne that after the trip to Falme it was very likely that Elayne became a target for the Black Ajah. Siuan was protecting her by letting her go.

It was obvious that there should be Black sisters beyond those 13 who ran away, and especially following the attack(s) by the Grey Men, it was clear that the Tower was probably the most dangerous place the Supergirls could be.

Based on what the girls and Siuan knew, the situation looked like this: the Tower contained an unknown number of uncovered Black sisters. Any or all of the sisters could be out to kill them. On the was to Tear, they may or may not encounter other Black sisters, but it's unlikely that they meet a cluster of them or that those Black sisters know they should be looking out for the Supergirls. In Tear, they have the advantage that they know a lot about the 13 sisters (including that they're Black) while optimally, the BA doesn't know who they are or that they're there, and they're far less accessible than in Tar Valon (where Accepted have to obey Aes Sedai all the time).

So I'd say sending away all 3 of them was the best thing Siuan could have done (even if it was one of those decisions that cost her her title) and Elayne had to join the Two Rivers girls to avoid being captured / tortured / murdered by the BA.
Chad Orzel
50. orzelc
Mat awkwardly tells them that they have done him a favor, and though he knows they’re going to be Aes Sedai, if they ever need help, he will come. Then he asks if he said something funny; the girls just tell him to remember that if a woman needs a hero, she needs him today, not tomorrow. They laugh and leave, and Mat decides women are odd.

One thing you neglected to mention about this is that it works nicely as ironic foreshadowing. They laugh at the thought that Mat would turn up in time to save them, but that's exactly what he does at the end of the book.

I agree that the banter between Mat and the Supergirls here is probably about as good as it gets for inter-gender relations in the books. It's relatively light-hearted and good-spirited, and nobody is gratuitously nasty. Sadly, it's all down hill from here.
51. David-2
Speaking about the business about sending for help from men far away ...

It irks me that Rand doesn't ask Asmo and the Supergirls don't ask Moggie: Aren't there any ways to communicate over long distances, using the Power?

Long-distance communication between the principals in this saga would have made a lot of things a lot easier, and a lot of dangerous situations much less dangerous, or avoidable, and a lot of misunderstandings much more easily resolved.

(So ... maybe that's why RJ had them fail to ask ... the story would have been a lot shorter and a lot less interesting ...)

(I know much later we see "callboxes", which are presumably terangeral, but I'm sure they had, in the AOL, communication methods which didn't need terangeral at all. I mean, besides cell phones.)
Blake Engholm
52. UncrownedKing
On the "send for me if you ever need anything"

Isn't it the thought that counts? Common, I mean if theres ever anything serious, Mat will come running. If your ever in a bad spot and you send for him he'll come running. Even if he's late, he'll run his horse to death trying to get there. I feel like the women in the blog here take this the wrong way. I think its the beginning of Mat's chivalrousness towards the suyper girls (it also comes out later on in the series, when he's doing the right and neccessary things instead of saving his own hide). This is where he starts down the path towards leadership and responsibility

Just comin to Mat's comment's rescue
53. ubxs113
Re: Mat's Luck

Just a thing that has always stuck in my craw but what about the weird Ter'Angreal that's shaped like a dice that somehow affects chance? Is Mat's surge in luck and it's "theft" by the 13 black ajah around the same time related?

And have you noticed that our three Ta'veren all exhibit psychological symptoms related to their being Ta'veren? Rand hears LT, Perrin hears wolves, and Mat hears dice. Coincidence?
54. Lsana
@52 UncrownedKing,

There's no question that Mat's offer was sincere (he proves it later in the book), and it speaks well of him that he made it. However, I also can't blame the girls for laughing, not because they doubt his sincerity, but because they doubt the ability to get a message to him and for him to get there in time. I think it's Nynaeve, who says, "When a woman needs a hero, she needs him right then." All in all, I think it's a nice moment on both sides.

Of course, the way the supergirls act when they do need him and he is there at the exact right time does not speak well of them, but we'll get to that...

@53 ubxs113,

I don't think Mat's luck could be caused by that ter'angreal (it requires channeling to work), but I think they may have stolen it to use as a weapon against him. At a critical moment, they may be able to use the dice ter'angreal to eliminate the effect of his luck.
55. PaedragGaidin
Heya, thanks for this awesome reread commentary! I was a dedicated reader of the WOTFAQ for years. :)

I think Mat's "leveling up" does make some sort of sense, it's the mixing of old powers and memories. He already had some sort of connection to the old blood of Manetheren (e.g. the shouted battle cries in TEoTW). I would argue that the dagger didn't change him and make him lucky, as much as by weakening his present-life mind and allowing the old blood (memories of past lives?) to get stronger. Although later on the 'Finns filled all of the holes in his memory, some of them were obviously being filled in by something else beforehand.

As for the luck...he becomes such a butt-kicking general later on precisely because of the 'Finn-imposed millenia-spanning encyclopedia of battles. What if the luck, beginning in TDR, has something to do with the old blood beginning to fill up his memories? I mean, his prowess as a commander comes from memories dating back to the Trolloc Wars; what if his luck comes from the Old Blood of Manetheren? I see it as analogous to biomagnification of mercury in fish.

Just a thought. :)
56. GregLamontva
For a great (and rather in-depth) discussion on Mat's luck check this out:

There are some other great things discussed there as well.
57. Randalator

The 13 BA left Tar Valon months before Mat even arrived there. There is no way that the dice-ter'angreal could be related to Mat's luck...
58. ChrisY
Matt's Luck;

It's been pointed out previously to me (through the 4th Age Podcast) that Matt may have started getting lucky thanks to blowing the Horn.

I know Matt acquired the dagger in the first book, and up until TDR, have we really seen a part where Matt's consistantly lucky? Granted most of the time he seems to be in a coma, but why does his luck not 'turn on' until after he blows the Horn of Valere? Could it be a side affect of blowing the horn and not dagger taintness?

Just adding a third option to the others already mentioned.
Richard Fife
59. R.Fife
Hrm, good point ChrisY. Perhaps its a built in defense mechanism for the horn. Perhaps whoever made the horn realized that the hornsounder would be gunned for like a de-masked superhero, so might have put in a luck component to it.

Thinking about it, the Occom's Razor solution is that it just is Ta'veran-ness. RJ said that how Ta'veran you are and whether or not you are Ta'veran has nothing to do with your soul, but the needs of the pattern, and that it comes and goes through your life (teething baby ta'veran quote). So, since Ta'veran already is the bending of chance, it only makes sense that Mat's manifestation is luck, and the pattern didn't need him to be manifested Ta'veran until after he got free of the dagger.

*shakes fist at Ta'veran* Get off my pattern, you lousy kids!
60. cps2195
the name thing gets me. I think I read somewhere that RJ would correct people when they mispronounced a name. That would have totally thrown off any question I might have had. It's not like RJ used alot of names that just rolled off the tongue.

to me Nynaeve is Nin-nave-ah
Ishmael= Ish-male

I'm sure we cold find dozens (hundreds?) of names that we all pronounce differently from each other and different from what RJ intended. After 17 years I'm not about to change.

I guess you can't teach an old WOT fan new pronounciation.
61. Rebecca Starr
Ch 32
Anyone else notice Thom's wry little joke here, "Next you could try telling the Lord Captain Commander of the Whitecloaks he should marry the Amyrlin Seat." Well now! That's Galad and Egwene

Rand here makes me want to cry :(

Ch 33
Leigh! You used dramatic chipmunk! My favorite YouTube video with the possible exception of this:

Also, our first glimpse of Faile... I admit that I am of the I-don't-like-Faile-one-whit camp. And it has nothing to do with her being a bossy woman, and everything to do with the fact that she treats sweet, loving, honest Perrin like crap! But this chapter gave me something else to think on, since I am extremely vulnerable to first impressions... at first glance, we're set up to really suspect her - as a Darkfriend, as an evil Hunter for the Horn, as something that makes Perrin real nervous. And I wonder if somehow its this first impression I've never been able to shake off.

Alsox2, it bugs me that the timing of this chapter is wrong, because RJ is normally so on top of that kind of thing. First the sun is "an hour above the treetops." When Lan rides back a few minutes later its "late-afternoon sunshine."

Ch 34
ha, well as a teenage girl reading this scene for the first time, I found the encounter kind of... sexy. In a way I think it humanizes Moiraine.

someone had raised the point earlier of how an inn's 300 year old Ogier bed would be rotting and falling apart, but that matter is cleared up here when we learn it is made of sungwood.

UncrownedKing@20 - would that be Sam-Adam's-Ale? Mmmm, now I'm thirsty

anyone have any idea what the end of this sentence should be, after Perrin frees Gaul and Lan says: "I saw a girl running, but I thought... No matter."

Okay, so what *did* Lan think? just a little somethin' that's always bugged me
Brad Moore
62. servantcbm
Mat's Luck;

I don't think Mat's luck has anything to do with the dagger, it's just part of who he is. The thoughts he has about it here are his attempts to reason out the source of his luck and he obviously doesn't want that to be associated with the Dark One.


I don't mind Faile per se, but am constantly irritated by her expectance of Perrin to understand her intricate relational maze without any explanation whatsoever. She seems reasonable intelligent, she has seen the culture he grew up in, how is he supposed to know how to respond correctly to the nearly incomprehensible expectations she has without a little guidance?
63. Renegade 248
Great recap of these chapters Leigh.

We actually get two people entering here, within the space of two chapters. First of course is Faile, and in the next chapter we get Gaul. Gaul will play an integral part in the battle of the two rivers, and even though he is a minor character, he plays an integral part in future events.

As for Faile, I kind of agree I don't hate her, but I hate what she does to Perrin. After going to the Two Rivers with him and seeing how he viewed the world and woman, she should of realized he had no clue how to act around her. One thing I did not like about Faile as a person was when she tricked Loial into going with them in the ways to the Two Rivers. I thought that was pretty sneaky, and not right. But of course without her tricking him, there would be no Faile coming to the rescue of the Two Rivers at the end of TSR. I just didn't like her tricking of Loial. That is her low point for me, and after that, she never really got much higher in my feelings of her, altough she does gain some respect later when she is with the aiel, but not much.

Mat is so cool in these chapters. I do also think the Mat/Thom relationship works here, as he is like the uncle to Mat or something. Some of the funniest lines in the series comes from these two when they are together. I love the "sometimes I get hungy", and also what Thom says as he leaves the table, "try not to eat the table". Later when they are alone and Mat is trying to figure out how fireworks explode, one of the funniest chapters ever, but we will get to that in time.

Keep it up Leigh.
64. Dr_Hue
Gotta agree with you servantcbm@62

Faile I never hated like others I had read, but why she immediately expects Perrin to understand everything about her culture had me confused; so do a lot of the women in my life as well. Thus we have another example of the interplay between the sexes.

Mat's luck is totally due to being tavern and his fighting skills he learned off his father. Just made of awesomeness. By far my favorite character.

As to pronunciation, I think this type of thing happens with a lot of genres, most often with sci-fi/fantasy.

Leigh - fantastic job, I am so really thrilled is doing re-reads. I also started the Tolkein reread. Reading reader's comments about the series, it adds to the whole experience.
65. Randalator
@63 Renegade 248

"Try not to eat the table" is one of my all time favourite WoT lines, too.
66. alexonthemove
Leigh, I'm right there with you on Faile/Aiel! The only names I get right are Rand, Matt, and Perrin :)

On Callandor - I seem to remember someone later saying something like "even if the BA's can't use it, they can give it to a male forsaken" so I don't think Suian doesn't (hate double negative, but what can you do?) know it's a male Sa'angrel, I just think she's neglects mentioning that detail as an oversight.
67. JeffR23
orzele@50: I thought that the first rule of fight forum...was that we do not talk about Ironic Foreshadowing.

(Or has it not really started to show up yet? I thought it was a feature of books 3-7 or so...)
68. alexonthemove
Rebecca Starr@61 re Lan: maybe he thought he recognized her? After all, she is a Borderland noblewoman.

Also, how come only the men are ta'avern? Why not the supergirls? Could explain why they were sent to hunt the BA, although highly unqualified to do so, as discussed earlier; and somehow always end up where they need to be to get things done (although not always in the most sensible manner, hmm?).
mark Proctor
69. mark-p
I'm sure Mat's luck is just a taveren thing, the pattern using his personality to effect things. There is a possibility his dice roll would have won any way but while he is taveren chance goes his way. So events which need to happen will be more certain.
I can see him in a few years once he is no longer Taveren becoming a gambling addict, losing his money but always expecting the next roll to win. May be not he seems to learn quickly.

Mat came up against an in joke he wasn't included in when he offered to help them if they send for him.
Although when he actually did what Egwene said and help them with out waiting to being asked at the end of the book they weren't too happy either.

I don't bother with pronouncing the word correctly, it interrupts my flow too much and it dosn't matter if Egwene is pronounced Egg When? or Faile as Fail if I am just reading in my head. But it did take me about 2 books before I noticed Dark friend wasn't actually Dark fiend.
70. cabaldevin
Re: Novice, Accepted, and classes

I always thought of the Aes Sedai as more Jedi-like in nature -- once you get to Accepted, you begin to gravitate towards certain instructors/Ajahs and start having more personal on-the-job training instead of organized classroom instruction.

Re: Rand's flaky level of ta'veren-ness

It's been a long time since I've read the books, but it seems like I remember thinking that Rand, Perrin, and Mat all exhibit a level of unintended consequences on their surroundings inversely proportional to their acceptance of who and what they are. Perrin and Mat both have a lot less "unlearning" to do -- they are both born and raised in the Two Rivers, their parents are actually theirs by blood, and their "abilities" are somewhat forecast by their pre-EotW nature. As a result, they have an easier time accepting the *core* of being ta'veren, even if they fight with the implications from time to time. They don't have to go through the shock of completely tossing out everything they thought they knew about themselves.

Rand, on the other hand -- even though he's on his way to Tear, he's *still* not fully accepted who and what he really is. He's running away from his fate as much as running towards it, so the whirl of consequences around him is intensified as a result of his internal conflict. Once he really at his core accepts who he is, it dies down.
mark Proctor
71. mark-p
68. alexonthemove
Also, how come only the men are ta'avern? Why not the supergirls?
They should be, but has any of the ta'avern sensing people looked at them and said anything?
70. cabaldevin
yes I agree, he still causes unlikely events but they aren't quite as pronounced when he isn't fighting things so much.
72. Randalator

how come only the men are ta'avern?

That's because only men (especially Mat) hang around in ta'averns, dicing and drinking ale. Women stay at home, talk about men thinking with the hair on their chest and generally sniff a lot.

73. Sidetrack'd
alexonthemove@68 - It's mentioned in Fal Dara that Siuan has the talent of seeing ta'veren - and her describing Rand as "glowing like the sun" or something like that. Logain also does this, too - we find out later that he saw Rand on the hill as he was carried through Caemlyn, and really unnerved everyone when he started laughing about it. Both Logain later, and Siuan now/prior have plenty of contact with the girls. Out of those two, it would've been mentioned if one of them were ta'veren.

Now as to why there are no female ta'veren, that's beyond me...

Randalator@72 - ROFL
74. jafco
Cool chapters - Mat (one T) starting on an exponential increase in awesomeness. The SuperGirls getting the OK to head for the bright lights. Siuan more or less signing her resignation letter. Thom regained and on the road to a tryst with Moi. Perrin makes an inseparable friend of an Aiel and finds a wife. Rand getting hard as stone. Lots of threads of the Weave waving in the wind.

As far as male-female relations, the interaction between Mat and SG is as good as it gets: the offer is delivered from the heart, but the pragmatic female laughs, knowing that it won't matter a damn. Trouble happens now.

As to other aspects of M-F relations, I'm about to break out my iViolin nano and play a short tune! ;)

Mat's luck is a function of ta'veren (the Pattern). However for several more books he resists admitting he is one of those who significantly shape it - definitely earning "mule-headed" or whatever epithet Nyn bestows on him. He's stubborn or self-deluding to a fault in this matter. (Perrin is just about as blockheaded. I mean, when you're a DUDE, just enjoy it! ;))

The Knife may have had some effect on him - Mat's the most sardonic (and that isn't quite the word I want, but cynical isn't right, either) of the Big Three by far. I think he leaned that way before Shadar Logoth, but since his curing it's really pronounced. Rand doesn't trust anyone (except Nynaeve and maybe Lan) with good reason, and Perrin just wants to be out of it. Mat has a view of the world that is really different, and from my perspective, funny and refreshing.
John Massey
75. subwoofer
Leigh- I love the Enter Faile- dun bit- perfect.
As far as Mat having a horse shoe shoved up his ass- I am going with CalebG@8. The whole pattern and T'averen thingy makes sense. 3 of these guys coming out of a village have a way of bending the Pattern. Don't forget that Rand is doing all sorts of wonky things with his luck- marriages, babies bouncing etc. There is also the Battle Luck he inherits from the great Captains stuck in his head.
I love the way that he has fun with the Supergirls calling them on their bulls#@$. Good times. What really flips me off is all the dangling threats left out there that are not followed up- RJ has a whole lot of people saying- "the next time I see so and so they are going to regret it". And then NOTHING happens. It could of been great fun!
The whole "dark one's own luck"bit might just be an WoT way of saying "snake eyes" and nothing more than that. I don't worry so much about pronunciation, I butcher the language regardless so I just figure, go with it, if someone has a stick up their a$$ about the way I say something, it is their own problem. Cheers 'til next time!
Robert Garza
76. FunBob
Leigh - Great job as always. These transitions chapters are always quick re-reads with little to really talk about. Good job on spicing things up with Mrs. Robinson... LOL.

Yeah Matt!

Faile sucks! While it sounds like everyone wanted to pronoune this "fail", I always thought "file", as in "how annoying can this chick be?"
John Massey
77. subwoofer
Oh......and HOORAY for Boobies! To borrow a line. I think you have been snowing over the whole naked chick thing in your recaps. Being naked or topless etc. in the baths, becoming accepted.... running about the Aiel waste. RJ's got it figured out with the nudity clause. If you got it, flaunt it! all I got to say is weeeeee!
78. Wetlander
Pretty please? I'm just SURE Moiraine will need new boots in AMOL...

Still wish she'd peeled Masema's hide here. That's one part of the plot I could so cheerfully have done without!

Randalator@46 I think darxbane @35 was trying to point out that as of chapter 34 in TDR, we've only seen one or two fer-sher Gray Men, though a lot of them crop up later. I've never been sure whether RJ just didn't have the whole thing fully defined yet, if this one was supposed to be ambiguous, or if it really wasn't a GM at all. Whatever he was, he's dead now.

Cracking up on the pronunciation thread. Of course, I'm sufficiently OC that I really HAVE to pronounce things right. Even I can't believe the mental effort I've gone through to get those names to pronounce themselves properly in my head! *sigh* Some of 'em really aren't what you'd call intuitive, are they? And even after 10 (or so) re-reads, I still have to remind myself that the emphasis is on the first syllable of Ajah... Oy.
Robert Garza
79. FunBob
Moiraine is just the beginning...the nudity thing starts getting way out of control when Rand et al are in the Waste. You'd think a sunburn on some private parts would deter a little bit of the nekkidness, but maybe its all like Dr Manhattan in the Watchmen - feel separated from the rest of humanity just a little, and you just start flaunting your junk all over the place....
80. SteelBlaidd
Really wonderful to watch mat finish taking his first level in Badass

Also nice to see that more people are recognizing Jordan's reversal and leveling of the gender prejudice dynamic.

Another real good series that explores that imbalance is Anne Bishop's Realms of the Blood

@62 servantcbm
I don't mind Faile per se, but am constantly irritated by her expectation of Perrin to understand her intricate relational maze without any explanation whatsoever. She seems reasonable intelligent, she has seen the culture he grew up in, how is he supposed to know how to respond correctly to the nearly incomprehensible expectations she has without a little guidance?

My wife remarks that all the women expect the men to read their minds. My favorite example comes in TSR, with the two letters from Elayne :D

Remember, also that there is no Oprah in Randland. These characters have not ever watched "Mr. and Mrs. Smith", nor have the read any of the Mars/Venus books.

As a a long time deciple of Miss Manners this reader is painfully aware that unless you know better, many expectations of proper marital behavior are not communicated to ones spouse because to do so would imply that your chosen partner has not been properly brought up.

My impression from Faile's POVs is that she is completely unaware that he is unaware of what she has been raised to expect is proper behavior for married people. My wife and I just got to seven this week and we are still uncovering new assumptiones.They've only been working on this for a year after all, and she has enough trouble teaching him how to be a lord.

There is a wonderful examination of Rands personality integration here that examines several instances of Rands Ta'verenness changing with his self acceptance.

@JAfco the word your looking for is Deadpan Snarker
81. Rebecca Starr
Sidetrack'd@73 - RJ discusses female ta'veren in an interview (or it may have been in response to a blog post question?). I distinctly recall that he said of course women can be ta'veren, it just so happens that none of the major female characters in the books in this Age are... and that he threw in the word "major" to give us all something to speculate wildly about... Discuss!
82. jafco
@31. Sidetrack'd

Rand frying Bad Guys, Perrin smelling Gray Guys, Nyn reversing the halter on Forsaken Babes, AND

Mat, giving the gholam (who, as I remember, gave Sammael and maybe Aginor the creeps) a real case of the old introspection (Hey! In case you haven't been keeping up with current events, we just got our asses kicked! (Pvt. Hudson, in "Aliens"))

70. cabaldevin I think you're right. When Rand is REALLY upset, things happen all over (and currently he's in a stew over what he thought he was and what he's learning he really is and has to do). Perrin only has that effect when he absolutely has to make something work (he learns, actually, to make it work for him, as vis-a-vis the Queen of Ghealdan ?name). Mat too takes some walks "just to toss the dice" as in Ebou Dar looking for the SuperGirls. They all realize they have it, but not to the extent (Rand) or with any real acceptance that they are what they are (Perrin and Mat).
83. Wetlander
So I've gotta ask. Why is it only the female rituals that are conducted in the nude? (Granted the Sheinaren baths and the Aiel sweat tents, which are just cultural quirks, really.) Ooops. Now that I think about it, RJ doesn't really write many male rituals, does he? They just sorta go stumbling around doing whatever it looks like needs to be done, and when they get a chance to just hang, they all get their pipes and relax. It's all the women who go in for rituals every time they can find an excuse.

But check out Rhuidean. The women have to run a mile or so in the buff (OUCH on the sunburned buns, et al!), but the men stroll down wearing whatever they please. I ask you!

Thoughts? Not that it's a huge issue or anything, I'm just curious if anyone else has mused on these things.
84. jafco
@ 80. SteelBlaidd

Now that - Deadpan Snarker - doesn't show up in my dictionaries! But it's a definition in the direction of my thought. Hilarious.

@83. Wetlander

"...RJ doesn't really write many male rituals...and when they get a chance to just hang, they all get their pipes and relax...." And that isn't a ritual? But no matter, the instant they do, what happens? A woman comes along and upbraids them severely, and so they go off, thinking with the hairs on their chests. Women's work, you know, is never done. (Now turn that coin over, and see what you get. Yeah, I thought so).
85. Wetlander
@84. jafco

"And that isn't a ritual?"

You're right, it is. And I have to say, the men show a lot more sense AND taste in their choice of rituals than the women do.
Richard Fife
87. R.Fife
Wetlander: I am sure any WoT woman would say it is because WoT woman are tougher than those pansy WoT men. And the WoT men would say the woman are just batshit crazy.

Also: aside from the creepy old guys at my gym, men just aren't that into stripping down in front of eachother.
88. Wetlander
"Also: aside from the creepy old guys at my gym, men just aren't that into stripping down in front of each other."

In my personal experience, neither are women. But then I've observed that in general, men enjoy women stripping down (singly or en masse) much more than either gender enjoy men doing so, especially en masse. So maybe as an author, the naked-women rituals are fun for half your readers, anyway, whereas naked-men rituals wouldn't do much for any significant proportion thereof. :-)
89. mike3248750345870
Sorry if this has already been mentioned(too lazy/not enough hours in a day to read all the posts)and sorry if nobody gets to read this on account of all the posts above but

Concerning Mat's luck:

Does nobody remember the Horn of Valere?
He was the one that blew it and now he is attached to it
The Horn also explains his past life memories before the Finns

my mental pronunciations:

Faile : fail
Egwene : egg-when-E
Aiel : AY-eel
Suian : sue-E-on
Thom : thom(like thumb except with -om not -um)
Naean : nay-E-on
90. brian holihan
overall pretty good recapping, but sometimes the slip ups are a little annoying. matt's luck is likely from being Tav., not from the dagger.

previously you mentioned Bayle Domon not showing up again, but he plays a decent role in the later books as egeanin's (spelling?) partner/property.


i guess nothing is perfect.
91. jafco
@90 Brian:

did you have a hard day?

Condolences. How long have you held out for perfection? There's a great saying: "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." This is GOOD.
craig miller
92. craigpmiller
Thanks again Leigh.

I've done my homework.

Ready for your next lesson.

93. down under
@90 Brian

wow its hard to believe that some people may have different opinions than you. its a little annoying when people always think that what believe must be correct

thats just my opinion
94. ZamIt
I do wonder about Mat's "I don't think I ever hurt another human being before, and now I've killed three men in one night". In The Great Hunt, Mat killed at least one Seanchan with his dagger, and may have killed others off-page while Rand was having his heron-blade match. I guess this is either a Jordan goof or perhaps it is explained by the holes in Mat's memory.

I will say that despite how much Faile and Perin sucked the life out of many of the later books, in this book Faile remains an interesting character to me. This is one of the romantic pairings that actually built up and made some kind of sense.
Jeremy Guebert
95. jeremyguebert
Excellent work, Leigh, as per usual. I've been following the posts from the beginning, but since my books were at home and I was at university, I couldn't start reading along until Feb. 16th. Finally got caught up today. Hooray for me!

Something that's been bugging me about recent events is Perrin's complete lack of comment about the stone pawprints/weird smell combo going on. I mean, it's clear to me, from the perspective of having already read the books, that there are Darkhounds about. Given that Perrin has never heard of Darkhounds, I'm not surprised that he doesn't start screaming "omzg, Darkhounds, guys!" but you'd think he'd mention something. I mean, seriously, I know I'd be a bit freaked out if I saw a pawprint in a stone block. You'd think that would be something he'd want to ask the resident Expert on Everything (Mo) about... oh,well. Keep up the good work, Leigh!
Ofer Nave
96. odigity
If I saw paw prints in stone, I would assume it was fossilized (if I knew some science) or a carving. Of course, I don't live in a fantasy world, so it's hard for me to say whether or not it's realistic that Perrin doesn't think to mention it.
97. Effervescent
@94. ZamIt
When Matt awakens after the knife is taken from him in AS city, he thinks to himself how little he actually remembers of the last few months. In fact, without looking it up, I believe what happened in Falme isn't even touched upon when he is reviewing his own memories.

If he DID reflect on killing that (those) person (people), it would be more of a goof in my opinion, after we've been told he remembers so little.

As far as the pawprints, I completely agree. It seems to me that his not commenting on something so particularly unusual (not the smells, since that is due to his wolf powers and he knows it) is out of character. We know he is starting to not trust Morraine, but we are only getting glimpses of what is to come as far as their mind wars...I think Perrin of that exact moment WOULD have at least mentioned them to Lan, if not Moraine.
98. John Mission
I heart the reread!
99. Hugin
re Mat: I've been reflecting on him a bit, and one of the reasons I think he's so likeable is that his character "flaws" are not very extreme. Yeah, he hangs out in taverns but we almost never see him actually drunk. He gambles, but it is really gambling in his case where he's pretty much guaranteed to win whenever he needs it?

re Faile: I also don't really hate her -- she's strong and independent, if a bit foolish at times (but she's young) and unrealistic in her expectations of her partner (like every other character). I do hate how RJ makes the Perrin plotline drag on for far too many pages, but that's separate from Faile as a character.

I do love these early Aiel scenes. I think RJ does a great job of showing the characters reactions when they come face to face with a completely alien culture. And the Aiel are just too cool.

I find Siuan's comment about Callandor and the fall of the Stone of Tear being a sign proclaiming the Dragon being reborn but not a particularly important one a bit odd. I think someone else makes a similar comment either in this book or the previous one (maybe Moiraine?). This always seemed to me to be the biggest to date (other than his birth I guess, but that's way offscreen) and one of the couple of biggest overall, especially since it is significant for both the Randlanders and the Aiel. Rhuidean is probably a bigger deal for the Aiel, but Siuan wouldn't even be thinking about that because she doesn't know their prophecies.
100. Faldor
You are very frustrating people, given the jet lag (is it the right word ?) between US and Europe I never have time to comment before everything has been thoroughly discussed !

Right now I'm 60 comments late, and at work, so I will just say what I want and that's all !

Lsana@27 - For "all-powerful assassins of the shadow" they are remarkably pathetic.

I don't remember in wich book it is, the next one I think, but I remember Rand being attacked by souless in Tear, in his own room. When he checks outside he finds out that all his Aiel guards are dead. I don't remember the numbers of souless vs Aiel guards but it was something like 3 or 4 to 1.

So yay, I say Grey men are badass, our 3 heroes are just BIG badass + tavaren + DR/Wolfbrother/Lucky luck ;)

Cool trumps logic every time

Soooo true ! :D
101. gagecreedlives
“However, this is one of those things where I think Jordan was attempting to make a point about gender relations. Don’t see what I mean? Well. As an experiment, go back and reread the chapter—except this time, mentally swap everyone’s gender.”

Well if a woman wants to show her anger at me for entering her room without knocking by remaining shirtless then so be it. I shall try and not take to much offence.

As others have noted I don’t think Mats luck is down to the dagger. I think its his ta’averness kicking into overdrive.He’s been kicking around as a ta’avern for 2 whole books but its not until now that he needs to be lucky. I also wonder if Mats sensitivity to the DO is a holdover from what he saw in the portal stones incident.

How many times do we see our 3 heroes say nothing but the truth but everyone either doesn’t believe them or thinks that they are being clever and/or secretive.

Could the fake Min be the mysterious 'she' that offered Rand kisses in the earlier chapters?

“When next I see Masema, he will wish someone had peeled his hide to make boots.” I really hope this is foreshadowing. And a rare display of emotion by Moraine.

servantcbm @62 “She seems reasonable intelligent, she has seen the culture he grew up in, how is he supposed to know how to respond correctly to the nearly incomprehensible expectations she has without a little guidance?”
Well one of the Basheres did warn him when he met his inlaws. He just thought the whole family was crazy. Sorry cant give an exact quote at the moment though.

Maybe the reason the fall of the Stone of Tear and the Rand taking Callandor arent perceived as being that important in the prophecy is that because they are the only prophecies that people seem to understand and a result havent been studied as much.
John Massey
102. subwoofer
Okay for all intents and purposes here are MY mental pronunciations of the following words:
Aiel= Beer
Suian= Bossy the cow
Egwene= Cloe
Nynaeve= cranky midget with long hair
Faile= Lois Lane
Thom= moustache man
Wetlander= FOB
Rhuidean= Vegas
103. lokiian
I don't so much agree on Jordan doing so much of a role reversal of the sexes here as much as a frank realization of history. History books and teachers have always cast women in a submissive light throughout history, but I'm pretty sure that is more in line with not knowing any better. There have always been strong women throughout history the only problem is, you tend to see them through their husbands great deeds. An example would be Abigail Adams, wife of one of the U.S. founding fathers. A concept like a women's circle, like in Eomends Field (maybe misspelling), probably has a very real application. We often deem that women were weak in history because they couldn't vote, but that doesn't mean they didn't tell their husbands how to vote or deliver pressure in their own way, i.e. look at the serious connotations in Lysistrata. Tar Valon is necessary for Jordan to build a world where there was balance and men dropped out and then there was no balance. I think Jordan's attempt is more to display both side for what they are and show the lack of communications between the sexes and the large thought that we think that we know what the other side is thinking, but really we have no clue. Of course this is how I have always read WoT and it's just my opinion.
104. birgit
That’s what the High Lord Samon says. The White Tower must be destroyed.

Ceterum censeo Tar Valon esse delendam.

I know, from my WOT glossary learnings, that “Faile” and “Aiel” are supposed to be pronounced almost identically, but while I’ve always automatically given “Faile” its proper two-syllable inflection, I have never been able to train my mental pronounciation of “Aiel” to do anything other than rhyme with “pail”.

I always pronounced it the other way around: Fail and Ai-el.

When Matt awakens after the knife is taken from him in AS city, he thinks to himself how little he actually remembers of the last few months. In fact, without looking it up, I believe what happened in Falme isn't even touched upon when he is reviewing his own memories.

If he DID reflect on killing that (those) person (people), it would be more of a goof in my opinion, after we've been told he remembers so little.

His memories are especially foggy about anything to do with the Dagger, and he killed at least the one Seanchan with the Dagger (and any others too, or what else would he use when he has the Dagger in one hand and the Horn in the other?).
Blake Engholm
105. UncrownedKing
Wetlander @83, Jafco @84, and R.Fife @87;

I think that we can all agree that the women of WOT (and arguably our world as well :D ) are completely bat-shit crazy and out to destroy what ever male rituals we have. I'm under the impression that they enjoy doing it, and only allow a ritual to occur when it suits them and gives them "girl time" as well. (this could turn into a heated argument, if I just insulted the women in the room)

Subwoofer @102: o man ROFLMAO, thats what I needed at 8:50 in the morning!

Lokiian @103:
Lets look at the relationship b/w men and women in WOT vs. Our world. Its the SAME THING. As far as I can see, or have ever seen, men would like to say they wear the pants. However, in todays world, the wives pretty much control a large portion of the relationship. I mean when the wife says im tired, the next thing the husband notices is him drivin away from the party. I do not believe that RJ is showing any shocking new way to look at relationships. He's just showing relationships in Randland as a complete mirror image of our worlds' relationships.

Is it Friday yet?
106. Eswana
As always, thanks so much for these Professor Leigh! It's probably a little sad how much I look forward to them...

@ Jamie Bowden 41 (and others)
Re: does Siuan know Callendor is a male sa'angreal?

The problem with Siuan's statement is that she, like other non-Black Aes Sedai, is bound by the First Oath. Of course, she can speak a lie if she believes it to be true, but she can't tell an outright fib. When she says to Nynaeve, "With that in your hands you could level a city in one blow," she can't know that Callendor is a male sa'angreal, because obviously Nynaeve (the person to whom she was speaking) couldn't use a male sa'angreal to level a city. So Siuan must think that Callendor is either a female sa'angreal or a sa'angreal for both men and women.

As to how Cadsuane knows the truth.... well, she's Cadsuane, after all. She's been around the block more than a few times. Cadsuane is about seven to eight times older than Siuan (Siuan = 42, Cadsuane ~300ish)
107. hummingbird
re: chapter 30

It is alot like boarding school. Only your parents cannot buy your way in, you MUST be deemed worthy. Despite having only 40 in the Tower, the AS feel the need to "weed out" those who are not strong enough instead of cultivating anyone with even the slightest talent. This weeding out takes the place of slave labor and menial tasks meant to demean and degrade the worker.

SO.... seeing as once raised to Accepted, (the point in time that we might actually see some learning/teaching) the supergirls are out in the real world doing all of their supergirl goffs.... we never really got to see inside tower life at a point in time that the girls might be actually taught something outside of their personal lessons with sisters.

The teaching/learning classroom would have made a good novella, perhaps. Then again it might just be full of arms crossed beneath breasts, braid pulling and "bloody hell _________".
108. Urealda
@106 Eswana
Re: Siuan and Callandor

Isn't there a statement in the later books made by Cadsuane that Callandor is only save to use in a circle with a man and two women in which a woman has control over the flows of the one power. So perhaps Siuan knows this already, that way she wouldn't be telling a flat-out lie. It's just a bit doubtfull whether the woman holds Callandor or not.
Just a thought...
109. Dokipen
Regarding the pronunciation of names, I've never had a problem with the Eye-eel or Egg-wain. Maybe it's being English? I don't know. I never had a problem with Mazrim Taim (Ta-eem) either. That's probably because there's a footballer (soccer player) over here named Tal Ben-Haim which is pronounced the same way?


I've come up with a new crackpot theory from these few chapters, specifically from Thom in Chapter 32:

Mat frowned at the closed door. "I think I shouldn't have said that."

"I don't know why you might think that," Thom said dryly. "Next you could try telling the Lord Captain Commander of the Whitecloaks he should marry the Amyrlin Seat."

There's a bit of shadowing a short while later when someone remarks about the Queen of Manatheran being Aes Sedai and her King always being her Warder (Perrin's thoughts?).

Basically, with Galad galloping off to ally his Whitecloaks to the serpent in order to fight the raven, I think Egwene (Amyrlin of a re-united WT) will bond him as Warder to seal the deal - as it were. The whole Gawain thing could just be misdirection again.

Anyone seen my dried frog pills?
Blake Engholm
110. UncrownedKing

You forgot the sniffing, O the crazy-loud-anger wrought sniffing that could melt the bodies of weaker beings. Plus, glaring!! cant forget glaring.
111. loraleeb

I agree. I think that "if you ever need me..." is more of a way of expressing loyality and affinity than it is "hey, Ill be several hundred leagues away and it will take me three weeks by horseback to return, but Ill come help you" sort of thing.

At least, that is how Ive always read it.

"I esteem you" but courtesy will not allow me to say "hey you are cool" because of the man/woman thing.
112. hummingbird

OH HOW could I forget the sniffing.

Yes, much sniffing and glaring also.
113. Sidetrack'd
Urealda@108, etc -

It's stated directly, later, that Callandor is a male sa'angreal, and the fact that Rand uses it means it is definitely male-only. To clarify Urealda's reference - Cadsuane, in her eventual infodump about Callandor, says that it was not complete. It lacked the buffers that most angreal and sa'angreal have in place to protect the channeler from over-drawing through them. This lack of buffers was the reason behind Cadsuance's explanation that Callandor was only safe in a mixed circle, with a female controlling the flows - this arrangement somehow avoids the need for those buffers. There still has to be a male drawing saidin through Callandor, though.

as backup for this, from wotmania FAQ:
Angreal and sa’angreal are attuned to either saidin or saidar and thus useless to those who channel the opposite half of the Source. It is possible that there are angreal usable by both men and women but none have been confirmed (A Crown of Swords Glossary)
114. Sidetrack'd
So, all that to say - I still believe Siuan doesn't know Callandor is male-only. ;-)

As much as the bit from Eswana@106 supports this, I do concede that, in the true fickle nature of the English language, "you" in that context doesn't 100% mean the person being spoken to - there's some backdoor for it to be used in some vague, non-specific third-person manner (read "one" instead of "you" in the statement) that means this might not be a lock. But, that's grasping at a very thin straw fro the sake of fairness. I still stick with thinking that Siuan just doesn't know. ;)
115. Is it Friday Yet?
My 2 cents here. Great job on the reread, life is to busy for me to keep up with your pace so I really like the time you have taken to do this.

I have always enjoyed Perrin's character the most, because generally he fills the people around him in on what is going on... Ok not so much in the first book.

But here he is talking with Gaul and has not only figured out that Rand is "He who comes with the dawn" BUT TELLS GAUL WHERE HE IS. Oh thank goodness! It seems that any other character wouldn't have a clue or would have sent Gaul to Altera (sp?) or somewhere "to protect Rand" since having Aiel looking for you must be bad or some such.

As far as the Callandor statements, I always read that to say, IF you you had that in your hands you could level a city.

Seems to me that saying "wth that in your hands" is a turn of speach or a phrase, she may know that Nye never could wield it but the implication is there.

Seems a similar saying is "if in hade a nuke I could blow up a city" this assumes I could ever get my hands on a nuke and I had the right access to break into the security functions built in to access the detonator. Never going to happen but if you didn't know what a nuke was you would get an idea of the power level.

Remembering that the AS are ALWAYS quoted as always telling the truth but that it is not the truth you hear. I assume that AS can use metaphores and phrase supositions.

Ok maybe that was more then 2 cents, more like a plug nickle.
116. Egglie
Ha ha, Leigh I have the exact pronunciation issues as you (with the addition that, being british, I can not possibly pronounce trollock as TRAH-lohk, even in my own head, without feeling like a complete idiot)

I love the Mat and Thom chapters - I am looking forward to their rescue mission in aMoL so much.

I do think it is a gray man attacking Mat, mostly because Egwene has a dream about Gray men coming after Mat in an up-coming chapter (I think there is another one later too) the description of him looking so ordinary that Mat would not have noticed him is too close for co-incidence IMHO.

I like Faile. I don't like how long the kidnapping story is but that is for later. I like that she is not good all the time, some times she is selfish, sometimes she is manipulative but thats what makes her interesting.
117. Miximixi
“Caemlyn. Yes. Caemlyn would fit my mood like a glove.” The gleeman glanced at the chicken platter and gave a start. “What did you do, boy? Stuff them up your sleeve?” There was nothing left of the three birds but bones and carcasses with only a few strips of flesh remaining.

“Sometimes I get hungry,” Mat muttered. It was an effort not to lick his fingers. “Are you coming with me, or not?”

“Oh, I will come, boy.” As Thom pushed himself to his feet, he did not seem as unsteady as he had been. “You wait here—and try not to eat the table—while I get my things and say some goodbyes.” He limped away, not staggering once.

My favourite three paragraphs in the whole book!! I always smile when thinking about them.

The whole Siuan sending the Supergirls to Tear thing:
I always thought that being part of Rand's "strings" that they needed to be there to help him win. (Aviendha standing in for Min even though Rand has not met her yet...) Does this make sense?
Dale Norman
118. dokipen
Randalator @ 10.
Much jealousy on my part.

Mark-S @ 12.
I like that theory mate - I like it a lot.

David-2 @ 51.
It always irked me that no-one asked about communication-over-distance. Then again, when the Forsaken communicate on-screen it's always face-to-face. Although it does seem like the Ta'veren Three are going to be able to communicate ad-hoc in AMOL.

ubxs113 @ 53.
The stolen dice Ter'Angreal are described as being joined together on the list the SG's have - it can't be Mat's dice (if that's where you're going with that). Good point on the Hearing Of Things too.

Rebecca Starr @ 61.
Seems we noticed the same thing. Maybe I should read through all the posts before throwing my hat into the ring from now on.

servantcbm @ 62.
Spon on re: Faile mate. Absolutely spot on.

gagecreedlives @ 101.
Could the fake Min be the mysterious 'she' that offered Rand kisses in the earlier chapters?
I thought this at first but I think later Rand mentions Selene beilg all slutty (again) and whatnot.

I also wonder if Mats sensitivity to the DO is a holdover from what he saw in the portal stones incident.
That's a wonderful observation. Well thought out. Especially considering how Mat babbles after the PS incident about how he'd never betray Rand.

Egglie @ 116.
Ha ha. Yeah, cantt get that USA twang on Trollock. It's definitely Troll-ock. Rhymes with Bollock =D

Regarding Siuan (Schwahn) and callandor - I'm prettu sure that when an Aes Sedai is raised to the Amyrln Seat, they're given the Big Folder Of Stuff You Should Know Just Enough About To Sound Cool And Mysterious But Won't Have Time To Research Further Because Of The Politics And All The Time Needed To Practice Having A Good Glare. Too much info. Cadsuane (best. Aes Sedai. Ever) as mentioned, has had a few years to do some reading for extra credit.
Blake Engholm
119. UncrownedKing
1) dokipen @ 118

"the BFoSYSKJEAtSCaMbWHTtRFBotPaATTNtPHAGG" I have a copy if you want me to PDF it to you. Its an incredible read. Eye opening really. ROFL

2) Heres a question that I don't believe has ever been openly answered, to my knowledge. Is Birgitte Ta'veren?

I would assume she is, I feel like all the "Horned" Heroes are Ta'varen. It might be a requirement. But I don't know if its ever spoken of.

Insight into this subject would be most appreciated.
120. mainphramephreak
I have to say that your opening and closing segments are great. That is half the reason I keep coming back. Love the Wayside reference, too. The re-read is also wonderful. It is really cool to see the books from someone else's perspecive.

Being the 120th person to comment, and not having read the 119 previous posts, I have this to say: I always thought that Mat's luck was tied to him being ta'veren and not to the dagger. Maybe I am wrong, but that's what I always percieved.

Keep up the great work.
Thomas Bounds
121. Boundzy
re: Mat's Luck
I've always linked it with his ta'verenness. Maybe his luck was SuperSized by the HoV, in that the horn wants the blower to survive? You know, kinda like, you've blown me so I think we should be a couple and I'll try to keep you alive so we can hook up again. Hmmm, maybe I'll ask my wife to "Call the Heros" tonight! ;)

I make an attempt to follow the WOT-Certified Guidelines for Pronunciation. Unlike you, Leigh, I have an easier time with Aiel than I do with Faile (Fail).

Ch. #29:
I'm always struck by the length of the "whispered conversation" with SS in the kitchen. At some point SS tells them to "be quick" but then SS goes on a 5-page soliloquy. Maybe I exaggerate a bit, but it seemed an odd time and place for an infodump.

As always, thanks for your time and effort on this project, Leigh!
Richard Fife
122. R.Fife

I don't think Brigitte is Ta'veran, at least not right now. A soul is not Ta'veran, nor is a person their entire life. It just comes, like the flu, but can leave, unlike herpes.
123. Randalator

The way RJ described it ta'veren are the Wheel's self-correction mechanism. Ta'veren-ness is not something you are born with but an attribute you get when the Pattern needs it and lose again when the need is fulfiiled. So the heroes can be ta'veren when they are spun out as Hawkwing was but are not ta'veren by default. They probably are more likely to be than your average Joe, though.

Still they don't have to be ta'veren and can still be all heroical. Just like the supergirls, Moiraine and lots of others who kick some serious ass without the Pattern realigning itself around them.

Birgitte right now is most likely not ta'veren or Siuan would have noticed it.
Blake Engholm
124. UncrownedKing
hmm insightful indeed thank you.

Herpes comment R.fife--> could be too much lol
Blake Engholm
125. UncrownedKing
hmm insightful indeed thank you.

Herpes comment R.fife--> could be too much lol
127. Browncoat Jayson
@27 Lsana

I don't think Grey Men are "all-powerful assassins of the shadow"; they don't gain any skill by the Dark One, just are make very difficult to notice. And really, would a learned, competent assassin give away his soul to the DO? I think not...

The super-assassins arnt seen until the Gholam...

@29 Roxinos

You hit the nail on the head regarding the gender battles in WoT. Jordan shows that all women think men are arrogant and stubborn, and all men think women are weak and stubborn.

@Supergirls in Class

Because class in boring; I don't want to go to mine, so why would I want to read about the novices going to theirs?

@35 darxbane

The Myrrdraal are the ones without emotions, you are correct. However, it is amusing to me that the only one we ever see individually is "not your typical Fade." The one we see at Whitebridge in TEotW is all smiles...

I really hope for another Shaidar Haran POV in AMoL.
Blake Engholm
128. UncrownedKing
Browncoat Jason @127

We see the Myrrdraal show plenty of emotion. In battle they hiss, grunt, gasp, yell, snarl, I even remember being described as one looking worried. That to me says "emotion". I think rage, anger, haste, fury, and desperation are all forms of emoition.
129. NanaD
Maybe Mat's luck didn't kick into high gear before
he was healed because the taint of the dagger suppressed it.
130. BlacksmithButNotEmo
Boundzy@121: Completely agree about the length of chat between Siuan (SEE-wan) and Nynaeve (NY-nah-eev) in the kitchen. Lots of stuff said, and with Laras pretty much hovering over them the whole time.

Something I thought about during the reread: nothing more gets made out of an obvious imposter pointing the SG at the planted BA evidence, beyond Siuan's "brief silence". Maybe it's just that there's so much going on in the Tower (BA imposters using Illusion and having awareness of who has been set to hunt them, Gray Men getting killed and dumped in Sheriam's bed) that it's best to get the SG out.
131. Lsana
@127 Browncoat Jayson,

Oh, I quite agree with you. Gholam are scary. Grey Men are useless. Which begs the question as to why Ishmael didn't send a gholam after Rand, Mat, and Perrin rather than the Grey Men. A gholam would kick all their butts, and we're pretty sure that the Shadow is already using gholam, based on the attack on Barathenes Damodred. I guess Ishy hasn't read the Evil Overlord List:

"Rule 80: If my weakest troops fail to eliminate a hero, I will send out my best troops instead of wasting time with progressively stronger ones."

@129 NanaD,

Mat's luck existed before he was healed. It was nothing like that night in Tar Valon (and I don't think it ever will be again), but he won enough that Hurin was no longer willing to gamble with him, even at microstakes.
132. Plastic Gorilla
I may have missed this. But where will New Spring be placed in this order. It is really a prequel about Moriane and Lan and the birth of DB. I am re-reading it again - it gives some interesting Verin Insights.
Eric Robinson
133. perrin77
@131 Lsana,
I believe only a small number of gholams were created and I am not sure if any of the Forsaken have found any of them yet. But I do love that Evil Overlord list.
134. Lsana
@133 perrin77,

I thought fan-consensus was that Barathanes Damodred was killed in TGH by a gholam at Ishmael's orders. In which case, Ishy should be able to throw that at Rand.
Richard Fife
135. R.Fife
Lsana, perhaps Ishy never got the chance. Yes he is out to kill Rand in this book, but, as far as I know, there is only one Gholam around this age, found in a stasis box. The entire world is a big place for one little gholam to search. Might as well have darkfriends and graymen doing the searching too. Not like they can make the gholam Travel, it would probably die trying to pass through a gateway as much as any other shadowspawn. When at last Ishy knew fo-sho where Rand was, it was easier to go deal with him personally. After that, well, Gholam was probably just twiddling his thumbs until Moridin shows up, and by then, its all "Wait, no, don't kill him again."
136. Kaylin
It always seemed to me that Mat wasn't just a hero reborn, he was the Hornblower reborn. Birgitte kept calling him Hornblower at Ebou Dar, and she seemed to recognise him in that role only.
137. Sidetrack'd
Uncrowned@128 - Definitely with you on that - Myrrdraal definitely show emotions, especially rage, in battle and other points.

Blacksmith@130 - good point about the fake Else - that should've been a Big Red Flag for Siuan and the girls. I almost said that at this point, no one knows it except the Forsaken, but there's the incident with Moiraine - the whole stepping-over-Baerlon thing, but from that point on, we don't hear about Illusion again until Rand learns it from Asmo and the girls, ummm - from Moggy? So, it's not a super-common skill, at any rate. Back to lack-of-communication amongst our heroes, there's another really hand tidbit that Mo coulda shared that would've saved the girls heaps o' trouble... Oh well...

Lsana@134 - Well later in the story, we see very similar, gory results from two different ways of being taken out by the Bad Guys - the gholam, who I think ?Sammy found in a stasis box, and when someone is torn apart using the Power, as demonstrated by that Shaido b*tch, ummmmm, gah! Can't remember her name, but she had Wise Ones who could actually channel dismember one of their own as a prop for her scheme. Sevanna? Yeah, that one!

So, might not be a lock on Barthanes meeting the gholam, and I think if Ishy had a gholam out there, we'd see more of him/them along and along before the one in Ebou Dar...

138. Randalator

Exactely. The Gholam killed Barthanes and around the same time Rand literally vanished from the face of the earth. And several months later he reappeared at Falme. So even if Ishamael would have wanted to kill Rand then, circumstances had made it impossible.

After Falme Rand successfully vanished again (although not quite so literally) hiding in the Mountains of Mist. And reappearing he set off for Tear. There was just no time to get the Gholam in place to kill Rand assuming that it wasn't near him by chance and that it can't pass a waygate anymore than other Shadowspawn.

After the fall of the Stone Ishy was busy being dead and by the time he took his new body for a testdrive the DO had issued a "Don't kill the Dragon Reborn"-order.


There was no need for big red flags. By that time Siuan and the supergirls had already decided that Tear was a trap.

"Else Grinwell was put on a trading vessel and sent back to her mother ten days ago."

Nynaeve tried to swallow the lump that had formed in her throat. Light, if Else was sent away . . . Light, anybody I talk to could be Liandrin, or any of the others. Light!

"And what do you mean to do about this . . . so-obvious trap?" the Amyrlin said softly, still staring over the kitchen, away from Nynaeve. "Do you mean to fall into this one, too?"

Nynaeve's face reddened. "I know this trap for a trap. Mother. And the best way to catch whoever set a trap is to spring it and wait for him — or her — to come."

They naturally assumed that it had been the Black Ajah instead of a Forsaken but their conclusion in general was correct.
139. Wetlander
I think RJ may be on to something that our culture has lost in the last few centuries. Just because men and women are created differently doesn't imply that one is superior and the other inferior - either direction. "Not-same" doesn't mean "better" or "worse"... just... "not-same". Of course, the not-so-mature main protagonists don't quite get it (especially the girls) but iirc, the tendency of the more mature folks is to chuckle over the differences without making it a superiority issue. What's funny is that when it comes to cultural idiom, they really do fall for the "not-same means you're inferior" thing (especially with the Aiel - both ways), but that's a little easier for us to twig. The gender thing is our own cultural blind spot. IMHO.
Dale Norman
140. dokipen
UncrownedKing @ 119
lol Thanks but have you got it in .lrf or .epub? The old .pdf's don't come across so well on my Reader. =D
141. zyx
I'm kinda pressed for time, so forgive me if I state something that someone has already said.
I generally don't worry about the pronunciations. Simply because they are made up and don't follow most of our language rules. Which you know, is all right, and pretty cool. I found a podcast interview at dragonmount (be forewarned. It is about 1 ½ hrs long, but really interesting) where Brandon Sanderson mentions how he originally pronounced names and places. It also says that people who have heard RJ say (ie: Nyneave) argue that he said Nin-a-vay or Nie-neeve. (by the by, I say the second one, but on my first reading I said Nyeve like ‘naïve’ lol!). It is even mentioned that the audio book people say a few things two different ways. I have concluded that there is no correct way to say it, just your way. And if a few people happen to agree with you, great.

(loving the Willie Wonka reference!)
142. Dr Hoo
I pronounce names exactly like Rikka@16 :)
Ale, Fail, Tame, Nigh-Knave, Egg-wean.
And don't try to tell me different!
143. Liesel
Faile (Fail) has always been one of my favorite characters - I identified alot with her when I first read the books as a 12 year old. Teenage girls are not that good a dealing with men, although they think they are experts :) She really comes into her own during her captivity with the Shaido - sees that she has been immature and becomes a leader in a real sense, not in a "villagers overwhelmed by a Lady" sense as in TSR.

Have to say, however, that I have not been able to land a big, handsome blacksmith-type thus far...maybe I need a bigger nose?
144. Dr Hoo
Two more quick comments as I catch up...

I spent a lot of this book and of TSR during my re-read wondering why exactly RJ didn't "designate" the Supergirls as ta'veren, since they obviously are important in the storyline and profoundly influence events around them...I haven't seen a real good reason why all 6 shouldn't have been regarded this way all along; would it really have changed anything had Rj done it that way?

Also, the women always having to be nude thing always seemed out of place considering the lack of sex and sexual themes in the WoT. Reminds me of Jack Chalker - pretty much anytime he could write women being naked (without actual sexual connotations) he did it. Must be a generational thing.
145. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
I happen to love this part too. Watch Mat put the Supergirls in their place. Seriously, the girls have been learning how to treat men and others without the Power from their Aes Sedai elders. And it mostly involves looking down their noses and assuming an air of superiority. Mat shows them exactly how far they will go if they use that on him. In all fairness to Egwene, she dos note that they should have told him straight out what they wanted. And did you take note of the expressions when he said he couldn't? As if the mere thought of a man refusing their wishes was inconceivable. I agree their disparaging of his offer to help is in bad taste. It's the intention that counts after all.

The next thing that happens is Thom's reappearance and some hint about being connected to the civil war in Cairhien. But then again, all the three ta'veren had been in Cairhien just before it all went to hell, so I don't think it really was just Thom's fault. Are these random footpads chasing Mat around or darkfriends? Oh, and insert snapshot of Rand here. On edge but still holding on.

Funny how a chapter starts with something Lan missed but Perrin found. Maybe Lan found it but he and Moiraine decided not to tell the other two. In any case we have our first whiff of darkhounds. It's also the first we hear of Masema going off the deep end to be the Prophet. Not to mention the appearance of Faile. And Gaul. I happen to think Perrin would still have paid attention to him. Prior to this his last experience with a man in a cage was his fellow wolfbrother gone wild. So yeah... I think he has a soft spot for people who have unjustly been caged. And one other thing, what so hot about Moiraine in sleeping gear? She must have worn a shift underneath the robe, and those would still cover enough of her to be decent. She's also old enough to be his mother, despite the slowing. This is where we learn they still can't catch up to Rand even though he's already ditched the horse. Which makes me wonder again, was it Moiraine or the pattern that drove Rand to bolt?

ubxs113 @53
You are right they do hear effects. Though I wouldn't exactly call them psychological. Internal maybe.

Lsana @54
No, the Supergirls in their treatment of Mat go downhill from here, and they should consider themselves lucky Mat doesn't call in all their debts to him.

PaedragGaidin @55
Yep. I have a similar theory on how Mat's Old Blood funk got worse after the dagger was removed. Note also that he remembers being a battle leader known for being a gambler even before the Finns. And that he had no trouble understanding the language of the Finns. What the Finns did was mostly just flesh out Mat's battle knowledge it seems.

Rebecca Starr @61
Lan thought,"Dang. It's either silence her or run. And since she isn't on hand to put away, we're stuck with running."

Renegade @63
I beg to differ. Faile did NOT need to be there at the end of TSR for the Two Rivers to be saved. The other villages were already mobilizing and she just met them on the road. She just stuck along for the ride. The advantage she brings to Perrin is more along the lines of political connections. And her expectations of Perrin are too unrealistic. Good thing Elyas straightened him out.

alexonthemove @68
Good point. Maybe Lan recognized her. After all, Moiraine and Elayne do indicate in later books that they had recognized the name.

cabaldevin @70
Nice insight on Aes Sedai education.

gagecreedlives @101
The mysterious "she" might be Min now that I think of it. I always thought it was Lanfear. Though of course, Lanfear would not have stopped at kisses.
146. Sidetrack'd
Randalator@138 - The Big Red Flag I was referring to here (not very clearly, I suppose) was the use of Illusion, and why no one put two and two together and said, "Hey - how'd he/she/it do that? Wait, Moiraine did something similar back in Baerlon. OK, Siuan, 'fess up! That'd be a hella handy trick to have since we're planning on walking into a big trap down the river."
147. David Scotton
I'm with you on EgwEEn, I think that's the only one I still mentally mispronounce because the official pronunciation just seems so wrong. Over the years I've corrected my mental pronunciation on Aiel and Faile, despite how incredibly appropriate the name "Fail" is for the character.
148. Rebecca Starr
alreadymad - they are definitely Darkfriends; Thom makes it clear there are no footpads in Tar Valon.

Thanks for your completion of Lan's thought! Sounds like it could make sense to me....

I am of the opinion that the 'she' in Rand's dreams was Selene... Min is bold, but she's not so bold as to offer more than kisses, at this point
149. RobMRobM
Hi all - a few belated comments.

28. I'm actually liking the Supergirls on this re-read more than I did on the initial read - of course, maybe I'm like Mat and just being perversely contrary to the views expressed by the vast majority of posters here....

29. They are squeezing in lessons while not working kitchen. Of course, that means they have to work extra-hard to keep up. In thinking about the relative lack of time the girls are actually spending in the tower relative to the usual course, I'm reminded of Ender's Game, which I also recently re-read. In that case, they changed all of the usual rules of the Battle School in order to get Ender ready for the ultimate challenge against the buggers, even if it destroyed the institution. Something similar is happening here. Siuan needs the three super-powered young'uns to fight the forces of Dark and is blowing up the usual training path in order to do it, damn the cost. If they don't learn the weave to keep bugs way, so be it.

30. I'm strongly of the campt that Mat's luck comes from his ta'veren status rather than the SL knife. Manifested when he needed it, just as with Perrin's wolfiness. Recall the Darkfriend social in TGH 1 - Bors called him the Trickster even then, even though he wasn't all that lucky w knife in hand.

31. Very cool chapter on a bunch of levels - foreshadowing of the SG's adventures in the next book in the name of the Inn; the buried hints about the assination in Carhein (I didn't get it either, Leigh); early hints about Thom - Moraine future relationship; great back and forth byplay between Thom and Mat; great parallelism between Thom and Mat (both like girls, both like Inns, both act sardonic but actually have hearts of gold and lots of honor). Serious fun. ("Don't eat the table" is priceless.)

32. Mat is badass and, of course, we're back to the Two Rivers as the warrior descendants of a warrior people theme. Not messing around at those reindeer games at Bel Tine, when a blademaster still can't win the quarterstaff title most years - and you look back with renewed respect about Rand's comment in EOTW chapter 1 that he believed he could place in the archery competition. Really enjoy the Abell Cauthon/Tam dynamic in TSR to come next book - they say almost nothing but they reek of pure competence.

33. I really liked the mysterious way they introduced the Faile-ster (rhymes with pail-ster in my head; and high comedy with Lan and the Hunters.

34. Big "Graduate" deja vu when M states “You sometimes forget, Perrin, that you are a good-looking young man. Some girls admire a pair of shoulders.” Mrs Robinson, you are trying to seduce me....LOL. Also funny only a couple chapters after Thom's reference to M as a "fine looking woman" riff.

Again, loved the mysterious Faile intro. Really well done. And liked the way that RJ gives giving us more about the Aiel bit by bit, building the drama. (Of course, also had my Monty Python flashback at the French castle - "We are searching for the Holy Grail"; "We've already got one and it's on the way to Tear." Also funny ironic that the whitecloaks hate Perrin and they don't even know he killed four or five of them in this one incident because there were no survivors to tell. Good chapter and, indeed, excellent set of chapters.


p.s. Subwoofer's post at 102 is the current leader for the best post of the entire re-read. I am not worthy
150. gagecreedlives
Rebecca Starr@148 "Min is bold, but she's not so bold as to offer more than kisses, at this point."

But a fake Min might. Espescially if Lanfear is sending the illusions that Rand is seeing. I imagine she would be curious to see how much Rand cares for the woman that she caught in bed with him.
151. sinfulcashew
Loving 'subwoofers' names!
I used to go through each books translations at the end of them, just trying to get the names right.
I find that Fayeel and Ayeel work for me.
Swan and Nine-eve also.
I did not like (read hated) reading the books without having some idea of how to pronounce the names, etc. I would stumble over those parts. Really dumb.
(Sheesh, when I write that out it sounds like I have 'ish-shoes'?)
But I finally settled on the above ones. For some reason I love the Siuan pronounciation. One of the books did use 'Swan' as an example.
Oh well, I think I will go wash my hands again and rearrange the cupboards.
Only a few hours til the next reading!
152. birgit
Completely agree about the length of chat between Siuan (SEE-wan) and Nynaeve (NY-nah-eev) in the kitchen. Lots of stuff said, and with Laras pretty much hovering over them the whole time.

Laras is off with Eg and El to wash their mouths with soap. When they return Siuan leaves.

they are definitely Darkfriends; Thom makes it clear there are no footpads in Tar Valon.

And when Perrin and Hopper spy on Ishy in TAR he punishes a darkfriend from Tar Valon for letting Mat escape.
153. Randalator

Okay that's a different kind of red flag. Hm. *thinks*

We haven't seen so much Illusion by Aes Sedai in the books but every time we did it was exactely one thing: Growing taller.

I think it would be significantly easier to just weave a magnified version of yourself compared to altering your features. An altered appearance "fits closer" and can be disturbed by motion (see Mesaana and Alviarin) while the Aes Sedai are just hidden inside their giant selves.

Moiraine is a small exception as she creates a more complex Illusion stepping over the walls in Baerlon. But she could still have been hidden by her "giant" while she slipped through the gate or otherwise still knows how to make herself invisible. And on top it's nighttime and frightened twonsfolk tend to notice the giant and not a small disturbence at the giants hem anyway.

I guess that Aes Sedai simply don't know how to make such an intricate weave. They can pull of giant-ifying because they are hidden inside the weave and can't disturb it. But they don't have the slightest clue how to make a "second skin" work. So Siuan must assume that if the supergirls are right about Else and didn't just fall for a look-alike someone developed a new trick that she didn't share. Like so many other Aes Sedai who have their own secret tricks.

That means the only thing Siuan could have told the girls is how to make themselves seem taller which isn't exactely helpful...
154. Sidetrack'd
They can pull of giant-ifying because they are hidden inside the weave and can't disturb it. But they don't have the slightest clue how to make a "second skin" work.

That's kinda where I was headed - why don't they twig on to this, ask about the giantifying, and try to work back from there to something that changes appearance and sticks close to the skin? Too young, too early, too distracted? They all, especially Eg, show great deductive/intuitive abilities with the Power later (Eg's figuring out Traveling, etc) - so why not here? Are they still just brain-blown from too-much-too-fast, or what?

nits. Nits. NITS. EVERYWHERE! NITS!!! ;-)

c'mon new post!
155. Lsana
If you want a nit, here's one that has been bugging me:

Mat's an expert with a quarterstaff. His da has apparently been teaching him the quarterstaff since he was a kid. He believed correctly that he could beat two quality swordsmen at once using one. So why did it take him 2.5 books before he picked one up? Why didn't he have a quaterstaff in hand from the moment that he left the Two Rivers?

Just a question to keep everyone entertained until the next post comes...
Blake Engholm
156. UncrownedKing
Probably didn't really have a grasp of the danger he was in when he was herded out of EF and the TR. In Baerlon he should have picked one up. After that though, the dagger comes into play. Mat doesn't think about anything but that dagger.

Good question. Heres one

Why do we never here about Perrin's parents or family really, until we learn that they are dead in TSR. I mean does Perrin have to live with Luhaan all the time? (I think that was the blacksmiths name) Seems odd to me that every char from EF was still living under their parents house holds and was in their care except Perrin. He was under another house and had, what seemed like, another mother and father in mr. and mrs. Luhaan
Richard Fife
157. R.Fife
Uncrowned, in TSR, Perrin does mention that since his family lives out of town, yes, he barely sees them cept on feastdays, and he has been apprenticed for some time, so of course all his recent thoughts/stories would be from the forge.
Pilar Lyons
158. pilarlyons
Woot! I'm so excited that I finally caught up with the re-read! I just this moment finished reading everyone's comments. I've been ahead in the actual books (mid-way through TSR, and holding myself back), but it takes me ages to read through everyone's comments.

Leigh - Love your recaps! They're brilliant. Funny and great for inspiring the discussions that follow. Thank you times a million!

Everyone else - Thank you, thank you, thank you! Reading your theories and nit-picky details totally absolves me of needing to nerd out over this re-read (ie I can reserve my love of spread-sheeting for organizing my shoes, since someone already made one for the AS and others).

Of course, now Leigh will post a new recap, and I'll be behind again, but that only dims the glory of this moment for me a little. (I feel I can be a little ridiculous since no one in their right mind should be reading a comment this far down anyway.)

Anywho, I might actually contribute, but don't get too excited. I recall a discussion on an earlier recap post (no idea which - I have no mind for detail) that had to do with Perrin having a family and then no longer having a family or vice-versa. A slight slip-up on RJ's part that was corrected in later editions of the books. But yeah - either way you would think that he would think about them. Either "If my family hadn't been *whatevered* and I hadn't gone to live in town, I couldn't have gotten mixed up in this," or some other silly thought. Or, "I miss my family and my blacksmith surrogate family." But, he did have other things on his mind, I suppose.

Plus my totally unimportant opinion on a character - I usually hate Faile but in tDR she's just fine. However, being that I'm already at the point in tSR where she tricks Loial and is calling Perrin her puppy, I find her infuriating once more. And unlike the super girls, Mat, and others, RJ doesn't give me much of a reason to both love AND hate her, just the latter. However, I'm trying to be open. Change is good, right?

Thanks again, everyone else!
159. Randalator

Egwene mentions how careful you have to be channeling close to yourself because you cannot see the flows clearly (LoC, ch. 32). So maybe the level of intricacy needed for this is to high to be done on the fly. Also at that point they are still making discoveries like tying of a weave which means they are still learning to walk and nowhere near building a Large Hadron Collider.

By the time they are advanced enough to make big discoveries they are about to learn Illusion from Moghedien anyway or occupied otherwise (TAR). Both big rediscoveries (Elaynes ter'angreal and Egwene's Travelling) were results of month-long brooding, testing, trying and failing, by the way. Even if they had thought of it, they wouldn't have had the time to re-invent Illusion too, me thinks.


When he left the Two Rivers he had no clue what a swordsman could or could not do. All he knew about swords was what he had heard of fabled swordsmen in the stories. So being Mat he probably wasn't too eager taking a mêlée weapon and relied on a good Two Rivers longbow that keeps his opponent at a distance.

By TDR he has seen a bit of the world, knows what a swordsman is capable of and how his own fighting skills with a quarterstaff compare with it.
Blake Engholm
160. UncrownedKing

Yeah thats what I assumed I guess. Wonder why RJ wrote the family out like that. Is it because he wanted to eventually kill off the family, but at the same time doesn't enjoy killing off characters? I wonder
161. Traix
WooHoo! I finally caught up to the reread. I hope to post something more meaningful on the next one.
162. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
UncrownedKing @156
Not really that odd. Most of the other boys showed an interest in succeeding their fathers with whatever family business they had. Rand didn't have much of a choice. And Mat had only sisters. Perrin, however, is also mentioned as having come from a large family so he must have had more options on what career to take on. He decided to be blacksmith. So he apprenticed himself. His family lived out of town so rather than commuting everyday, the Luhaans put him up.
Sara H
163. LadyBelaine

- Perrin's family lived in the boondocks of Emond's Field, in a huge family run farm that may or may not have run by his father - it could have been one of the father's older siblings and *their* family (would Perrin have grown into the head of that family/household? I would doubt it. since he was allowed to make another career choice) in the Luhann household. Tat seems fairly straightforward.

In earliest paintings, he tells Min that he is like a sister to him and the he has no sisters, but later in tSR we learn that he did have two sisters, who were killed, so his conversation with Min has been modified.
164. Shadow_Jak
Really enjoying this Re-Read Leigh. Keep up the great work!

Sadly, I must give up on trying to catch up ... and keep up to your pace. I'll just continue my own re-read, about number 20 or so, at my own plodding pace. But I can simply no longer resist the urge to add my own comments!


Chapter 31. "The Woman of Tanchico":
I love the names of the inns!

“Cairhien,” the old gleeman muttered, the sharpness fading from his eyes again. “Such trouble it causes killing a man, even when he deserves killing.” He made a flourish with one hand and was holding a knife..."

That's enough to convince me that Thom did the deed personally, not by proxy. BTW, it was obvious to me on my first read, that Thom killed the King. (I missed lots of other things that now seem obvious, but that one I caught)

Perrin's rescue of the Aielman has always been a favorite.

61. Rebecca Starr:
anyone have any idea what the end of this sentence should be, after Perrin frees Gaul and Lan says: "I saw a girl running, but I thought... No matter."

He's thinking...
"but I thought that you two were out here um, getting to know each other ..."

Gotta love Mat!
“You’ll never catch me,” he laughed, and meant it for both of them. “You’ll never catch Mat Cauthon.”

Why does everyone hate Faile? I love her!

101. gagecreedlives:
How many times do we see our 3 heroes say nothing but the truth but everyone either doesn’t believe them or thinks that they are being clever and/or secretive.

Great example, from Leigh's summary:
"Thom asks him what the deal is with all the gold and the letter with the Tower’s seal on it; Mat tells him he’s carrying a letter to Morgase for Elayne, and he won the gold at dice. Thom replies that if Mat’s not going to tell him, he’ll just go tgo bed."
Always breaks me up!

155. Lsana
Mat's an expert with a quarterstaff. His da has apparently been teaching him the quarterstaff since he was a kid. He believed correctly that he could beat two quality swordsmen at once using one...

This whole bit has always bugged me. Why was he so convinced that could beat two swordsmen? Seems unlikely that his quarterstaff training would include tactics against multiple swordsmen. Of course, he was really fighting two men with sticks, not swords, makes it a little more believable.

Please note, I can believe that he beat them, with his old blood memories and his "quick wrists", not to mention his luck. Just seems unlikely that he would be so confident as to bet on it.

165. nuggette
@ shadow Jak
fail is hated for her takin out sa super cool main char.
and at his bad ass-ness with goldy-boys? He can take 2 guys for there wager. He did nit win unscathed
166. RebelLives
I'm excited because I finally caught up with the re-read and can now comment once in a while.

I think the lack of classroom was a decision Jordan made. In Harry Potter it was an important part of the story, which is why the movies bother me a little because they removed most all of the classroom scenes. In WOT it is a minor thing and he may have been trying to point out how much more the girls are learning on their own than in the White Tower. Is the fact that they are learning by watching others weave something they learned on their own or something all Aes Sedai do? I don't recall it being mentioned by older Aes Sedai.

I have the opposite problem pronouncing Faile and Aiel. I tend pronounce Faile as Fail. I had actually forgotten that she came in to the story so early.

I'm not sure about Mat's luck. I tend to lean towards Ta'veren than anything else.
Craig Valentine
167. CraigVal
This is late enough I doubt few will read it.

I always thought that when Lan glancingly saw Faile he said, "hey that kind of looks like a Saldean royale--nah couldn't be."

I agree Faile can be a royal pain but look what she has to put up with. Perrin obviously never back briefs her on anything and she has to get all of the necessary intelligence the hard way. All she knows is that Perrin is good enough soldier that he is going to make Mummy and Daddy very happy if only she can slap all that nekulturney out of his head. He never tells her, "hey kid I'm really part of DR's high command but I'm lying doggo. Or, don't sweat it kid we've got the horn of Valare and it's stashed someplace safe." It always springs on her like a boobytrap.
168. Matjess
I wanted to say more, but everyone covered it for me; besides, coming in at #168 probably means no-one will read this. So I will just say this: right from the get-go I always referred to the glossary for correct pronunciations, and stuck to them in my mind religiously. It was important to me to live the characters as closely to RJ's vision as I could. It annoys the hell out of me, when having discussions about the story, that some of my friends NEVER bothered to consult the glossary, and have come up with ridiculous ways of saying some of the names. I just hope that when the movie or series comes out that the dialogue coach sticks to RJ's pronunciations too.
169. Erdrick
@168: There's still a couple of us lurking back here. I have a post-it with all the current post numbers, so I can occasionally check if anyone added to one of these old discussions. I'm sure a few others do this too (R.Fife?). I read them, but rarely post in back topics. Unfortunately, I fell behind when I went on vacation, and I'm still trying to catch up with the current discussion.

As to name pronunciations, I normally agree with mark-p @69. As long as it stays in your head, what does it matter? Things change, however, when you start having actual conversations with other WoT readers. By the way, I read Leighdb as "ladybug" and Lsana as "lasagna."

About Gaul, he pays Perrin back a thousand-fold. People debate Faile's role in the battle of the TR, but no one questions the essential role Gaul (and Loial) played in saving the TR by locking the Manetheren Waygate.
Richard Fife
170. R.Fife
Erdrick caught me! Actually, one of the advantages of having a logon is that your user-console tracks all the threads you have posted in, so you can see how long ago the last post was. I'm green, savin' da post-its.
Erdrick Farseer
171. Erdrick
R.Fife @ 170,

You convinced me to set up an account here. Unfortunately, my account doesn't absorb all my previous posts under this name. Do you know how I can track these previous threads like you do without re-posting in each one? I'm trying to get rid of my post-it dependence. Thanks.

PS: How's the Firefly coming? Good stuff, eh?
172. Louis R. Rodriguez
Mat's luck doesn't come from the dagger, but does come because of the dagger.

That dagger ate his brain pretty badly, leaving much of Mat's life just gone. Unlike Rand and Perrin, he's got so much less "him" getting in the way of his Pattern-granted badassery.
173. JamesEdJones
Love the re-read, Leigh. Your commentary about the 'lack of class' in RJ's books made me laugh out loud. Can you imagine how much longer this series would have been if we had to read RJ's take on novice lessons in their entirety???!!! I mean, it's not like we don't get the low-down on embroidery, decorations, weather, architecture, and general environment. Now you want us to sit through school in these books? That's at least a few more volumes added to the total. :)
174. Michael McCinci
About training in the tower in class. I don't think we see a classroom scene until KoD when Egwene is being held prisoner and being forced to go to classes. Also we see the cafeteria in detail as the novices and accepted honor her.
Jim Crumley
175. crumley
First, I am way behind in this re-read, but thanks for doing this.

Second, though I didn't read all of the comments above, I just would like to add a slightly different perspective on the Supergirls handling of Mat. I Don't really see it as gender reversal per se. In our society I have no doubt that women are on the receiving end of such behavior then men, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen to men. it is really a question of perspective and power dynamics.

I am sure that most boys are at sometime in junior high or high school victims of cliquish behavior by groups of girls. Much of that fades in college and after, but it doesn't disappear. Try being a man at a PTA meeting or as a nurse in a hospital sometime to see how societal expectation switch things around.

Of course this isn't just a gender issue. race, ethnicity, country of origin can all play in similar scenarios.

So getting back to the case at hand. I don't know if this case Jordan really was trying to reverse gender roles. The Supergirls have the power in this case, and I think that was a realistic way to play the situation. Especially, with the whole dynamic of Ny having previously had power over mat as Wisdom, and still seeing him as a boy. Plus Eg having experience with him as a boy as well, and not seeing how he has matured.
176. Any Mouse
As to Rand's supposed magic fencing skills, remember that Lews Therin was a blade master. In fact it is to be believed that Lews Therin helped to create modern (or ancient really) swordsmanship. According to one of the Forsaken any way. I think it is the one posing as Lord Sunamon in Tear who mentions this fact. Back in the Age of Legends it was just a cool new sport to pass the time. It wasn't until the War of Power that the wood swords were replaced with metal ones and the techniques honed to a more deadly skill.

My point is that Rand's seemingly magical natural ability with the sword is just the first of many of Lews Therins abilities that Rand is 'blessed' with. He eventually remembers details of each of the Forsaken with out ever meeting them, details of the Age of Legends, and also the ability to draw portraits of rouge Asha'man.
177. cornichon
Still way behind. I feel like I have to comment on the "reversal of gender roles" thing. With all due respect, this is ridiculous. I'm sorry to anyone who has suffered shame solely based on the enactment of a cruel gender stereotype, but your unique experience is not pervasive in the western, industrialized world. As others have said, look at popular culture set in the present to see nothing but foolish men and wise women. Fine, I realize that we have reached a point in our era of political correctness where it is p.r. suicide to be seen as making fun of any "minority" - racial or gender ("minority" because women aren't), but that doesn't change the fact that TV and movies today are created with both audiences in mind.

In WoT, women win every argument and, apart from Rand, Mat, and Perrin, hold every position of real authority. The Seanchan and Seafolk are ruled by women. Women's Circles or the like seem to actually run the small villages. Obviously, the Aes Sedai have a grip on most countries in Randland whether outsiders know it or not (secret advisors, at least). Obviously, Rand, Mat, and Perrin are big exceptions here, but Rand is the only one of those with real, "international" power. As Amyrlin and Queen of Andor, Egwene and Elayne may not offset that, but their power is nothing to scoff at.

And, as for winning every argument in brow-beating fashion, how is that a reversal of contemporary society? Sure, there are men who browbeat women (and vice versa), but it's not like we live in a society where the vast majority of women are constantly derided as fools, even when we know them to be, on the whole, intelligent and contemplative (as Rand, Mat, and Perrin constantly are). Nynaeve and Moiraine especially, practically every Aes Sedai, Elayne and Egwene to an extent, practically every Wise One, etc. treat men likes lumps of crap, suitable only for standing around or protecting them with swords when that becomes necessary. I realize that Jordan's goal must have been to create his own LotR where women have a real role to play - and that's a great goal - but to say that he has leveled the playing field or reversed true roles is, dare I pun, fantasy.
178. BennyC
Hey Leigh... loving the posts!

Just a thought on your comments re the general wackiness of Rand's ta'averenness so early in the books...

My thoughts are that because The Dragon has only just emerged, The Pattern is going a little haywire in order to accommodate him. Thus all the crazy antics around Rand as he passes through the villages.

As the Pattern gets used to him the affect of his being ta'averen subsides a little...

Thoughts people? =)
179. headlesssamurai
Re: Matt's luck

Too many comments for me to read them all, so if someone else said this already, apologies all around. I think Matt's luck is just another random thing having to do with all the strange stuff going on.
Perrin's wolfbrother thing, Egwene's Dreaming, Hurin's sniffing, etc. It seems like most of the important characters (at least for as long as they are on stage and BEING important) have some special ability. Luck is just Matt's.
At least, that's how I always saw it. I never thought it had anything to do with the dagger, or Healing it, or any of that. It was just his ability manifesting itself then, rather than some other time.

Okay, continuing...
180. Louis Theodore Tellman
"Mistress Damodred," Perrin warbled in limp surprise. "Are you trying to seduce me?" Tee hee hee... anyone see Dustin Hoffman playing the role of Perrin?

So I realize that I'm way late to the conversation, but I'll just imagine that you all are sneaking back to these pages just to read my posts.

Anyway, on pronunciations (just 'cos I love to see how everyone interprets things), I am pretty sure that some of these are off based on RJ's glossary entries, but as with a lot of you's guys, just like the googly face that I made all the time as a kid, these kinda just stuck:

(note: ALL caps, primary emphasis. apostrophe, secondary emphasis. "*" = that upside-down "e" thingy)

Aes Sedai: AH-ESS s*-DIE
Aiel: Aye-ELLE
Damodred: DAH-moh-'dread
Egwene: EGG-ween
Faile: FILE (but with a soft, soft L- kind of like the French in Paris pronounce -aille)
Ishamael: ISH-*-my-'elle
Loial: lwah-YAL
Moiraine: mwa-RAIN
Noam: NO-w*m
Padan Fain: PAY-d*n FANE
Paet: PAYt
Rahvin: RAH-v*n
Raolin: RAY-oh-lin ("Hey, call me Ray!")
Sammael: SAM-eye-elle
Siuan: syu-WAN
Two Moons: TWOO mo-WONS... ok, not really...

Also, a side note: anyone notice that there are really a very few people with the same first name in this series?? You'd think maybe just once, someone would say something like, "Oh, no! Someone call Mat!"

"You mean *LORD* Mat!"

"No, dummy. Not Lord Mat! Mat al'Caar, the cobbler. There's a hole in my shoe... Geez, silly, why would I ask Lord Mat to fix my shoes??!"

Why can't there be, like, a "Rand Smith" or something...

Another side note on RJ's use of other cultures as influences on his details: Shai'tan is the Arabic word for Satan. "al'" is the Arabic word for "the," as in al Hambra in Spain (meaning "the Red Rock," or more literally, "the Red") which was named by the Moors back when they had their empire and took up residence there.

There are others, but I can't think of them right now...

Anyway, these may be coincidental, but I just like to think that RJ was an equal opportunity kind of guy who welcomed and included all cultures in the mix knowing that everyone has something good to offer. :)
Jonathan Levy
181. JonathanLevy
Hi Louis Theodore Tellman !

Yes, you're a couple of years late, but new comments show up on the front page of Tor, so sometimes people react. You're welcome to join the rest of the re-read - we're up at CoT.

And just to be evil - go to and search for "OneSteveLimit"
182. audiogasmic
I feel you on pronunciation, but the only one we're the same on is "Aiel". I pronounce "faile" as "fail" (haha, irony, because SHES MADE OF IT), nyneave as "nin-ah-vay" and "egwene" as "edge-win", but the d is silent. make sense? prolly not. great job as always!
183. beefmonger
Perrin walking in on Moiraine - speaking as a male, once you see certain parts of a woman, you never think of her the same way again. Those parts aren't necessarily the same for all guys, but all guys have some part that changes their perception of a woman. And it doesn't matter what age you or they are. It's simply the way of nature. And it doesn't have to be sexual at all. When I was in third grade, I saw one of the girls in my classroom playing with her shirt...and ended up seeing more of her than one usually did. It changed how I viewed her. It made me go to her, say hi, and ask her to play in the playground with me. We became good childhood friends. None of that would have happened had I not seen what I did in class that one day. It wasn't a sexual thing, it simply was: once I saw that part of her, she was different to me. I am curious to see if RJ has Perrin thinking of Moiraine differently in some way after that experience. Again, it doesn't have to be sexual at all. But there should be a subtle change in the way he relates to her.
184. MyopicMuppet
But more importantly, there just doesn’t seem (to me) to be any logical connection between chance/fate/luck and, you know, screaming hatred and paranoia. The sort-of connection implied in the quote above (“The Dark One’s own luck”) makes even less sense, if it’s even meant to be a connection at all, which I kind of doubt, seeing as Shadar Logoth is The Other

In terms Shadar Logoth and the shadow they are two (for want of a better word) "evils" in the sense that their sole purpose of existence is non existence aka a logical fallacy on account of it being a circular argument. That the evil of Shadar Logoth seeks to destroy the shadow doesn't change that it is inherently of the same "substance" as the shadow. The best way to destroy something is to introduce chaos to destabalise it first

Paranoia is a negative association of what are in essense random external events ie creating a false order out of random events around you, or in other words introverted self destruction.

My theory is that Mat's mind being tainted by the dagger broke some metaphysical/psychological barrrier that made Mat a focal point of chaos which his Ta'veren nature then is able to shape into the most beneficial way for the pattern.

(once cured) Mat generally doesn't put too much effort in working out what is going on around him instead setting up situations where he has the oppertunity to "throw the dice".
185. VandalThor
-moiraine knows shes losing Lan to nynaeve so shes test driving the new model where nice pairs of shoulders come standard. Did i read that right does he get the full frontal. maybe not.
-fail,egg-whin,nigh-na-heave h silent.
-I love faile i would marry her big nose and all. bossy is sexy, perrin just growls when he really wants her to shut it. shes got the urge, natural botanical, shes got the urge for herbal. get it. well i thought it was funny.
-thats funny tellman@181- I don't like to have more than one person per name in my life and when I do one of them gets down graded sorta. I wonder in RJ was that way too. Were so much alike. I think im gonna start writing.
-i like how mat was like oh no i never killed nobody...but he did with the shadar logo dagger in tgh.
-beefmonger- you can have the either have the name beef monger or talk about memories related to third grade girl shirt movement. not both...but i get what ur sayin and it was moving bro.
-mat's luck is his tavern super power duh. perrin has wolfinstein and , mat has luck it started earlier we just couldn't see it because it was canceling out the dagger which should have killed him if not for some lucky close calls. rand get the one power and the power of polygamy or the power of the p-unit.
186. Arila

It's been a long time since I've read the books, but it seems like I remember thinking that Rand, Perrin, and Mat all exhibit a level of unintended consequences on their surroundings inversely proportional to their acceptance of who and what they are. Rand, on the other hand -- even though he's on his way to Tear, he's *still* not fully accepted who and what he really is. He's running away from his fate as much as running towards it, so the whirl of consequences around him is intensified as a result of his internal conflict. Once he really at his core accepts who he is, it dies down.

This is actually exactly what I thought as well. When I read about the weddings in the first village, I thought of it as sort of the pattern rewarding him for FINALLY getting on with things and doing like he's supposed to. This is further supported in Towers of Midnight. When Rand decides to really fully accept his fate etc. at the top of Dragonmount, when he comes down, everything starts going right. Or, if you think about it in the pattern/weaving imagery, when a thread goes where it's not supposed to (or fights it), you get tangles and knots in the fabric. When a thread goes where planned, everything gets smoothed out.

Having read the remainder of the comments, I guess our theory isn't really so unique after all. This re-read is the first time I've looked at what other fans have had to theorize and postulate. I'm holding off on my own final re-read for when the final volume of the final book comes out, because although I enjoy the series, there is already waaaay too many things out there to be read and enjoyed to re-read a series so often (although I have already read it 2x at least since I discovered it in middle/early high school around 1998.

My pronunciations are:
Fail-ee or Fall-ee sometimes.
Aisle (as someone else too)
Egg-weenie (no one else seems to have this problem)
Ny-nay-eve (eve as in adam and eve, but similar to you Ny-knave s out there)

I didn't know there WAS a glossary to read at the end of the book (first fictional series I read which had one), so a lot of these pronunciations just got sorry to the purists who feel annoyed by this. I don't think I said any character names when I went to a signing for CoT, but since we were allowed to bring other books to be signed, I had one of my only other hard copies, Winter's Heart which had become split down the spine. RJ commented on the state of the book, and I think I managed to mention that it had been well read/loved/enjoyed rather than sitting on a shelf somewhere (or maybe I blamed my little sister, as it was hers...). Looking back now, I am not sure if he was annoyed by my failing to care for his book like it was a priceless treasure or amused/happy that it was actually in use. He signed it anyway, so!

Leigh, loving this! I know you're still going along. Soon enough I'll be current.
187. MegaZeroX
I took Mat's luck as just his tav'erenness just activating. You may argue that it should have activated earlier, but then again, none of the boys' activitated until they at least left Evan's Field.
188. macster
I know this is very old, and unlikely to be noticed, but another thought on Mat and his luck:

While I agree it most likely was just him being ta'veren, either him getting good luck as the Pattern needed him to survive, or because it fit his personality; that the Horn could also have been part of it; and that the holes the dagger gave him could also be part of it (I especially like the theory that the dagger tore away the Dark One's evil influence on the Pattern, leaving only the good Pattern occurrences), there is one way the dagger could be tied to his luck, which MyopicMuppet touched on.

Yes, Aridhol and the Dark One were opposed, so it doesn't seem to make sense the dagger would give him the Dark One's luck. And yes, luck doesn't seem to have any connection to paranoia/hatred on the surface. But even beyond the notion that introducing chaos (Mat's luck) would be a great way to bring down the Shadow, there's the simple fact that Aridhol's raison d'etre was bringing down the Shadow by any means possible, including its own methods. Ergo, it wouldn't surprise me if the people of Aridhol and/or Mordeth (RJ and Sanderson did say that he searched for all kinds of ways to combat the Shadow, and found things he shouldn't have) found a way to use the Dark One's own luck against him. But even setting that aside as "just a saying", Aridhol and Mordeth wanted to defeat the Shadow. So I could see the dagger gifting Mat with phenomenal luck so as to counteract the Dark One's influence on the Pattern--i.e., turning Mat into a weapon against the Shadow.

What is fun, of course, is that this doesn't preclude Mat from still naturally having that ability due to being a ta'veren or the Horn or the Healing by the Aes Sedai. Just that any or all of those things may have interacted to make it happen--the Pattern made sure he'd blow the Horn to get its luck; the evil of Aridhol made Mat a weapon by bringing out his inner ta'veren-ness; the Healing brought it out either as a balance to the dagger's evil-magnet or as one last gasp of the Mashadar-taint as it was leached out... In the end, the fact that Mat is ta'veren means any and everything which happened to Mat likely had an influence on how he became the amazing Badass he did, so that it makes sense everything he came in contact with, including the dagger, was something the Pattern incorporated to induce this effect.
189. Divil The Bother
Another late post as I wind my way through my reread. Two things of note in these chapters I think

All the fuss about whether Siuan did or didn't know Callandor was a male sa'angreal seems a bit silly to me. When you read it the context is clearly a general "you" and not specific to Nynaeve.

Siuan appears to see nothing really wrong with sending 3 semitrained accepted into what she and they know is a trap involving 13 Black Aes Sedai. While you expect this level of idiocy from the supergirls surely Siuan should be counselling extreme caution. Her response? "I'll put some gold in your room". She's basically sending 3 girls to their deaths more than likely. For that alone she deserved stilling and more. (Must remember.... it's just a story....)
Kartik Nagar
190. BloodRaven
The sudden transformation of Mat from a naughty, full-of-pranks kid to a killing machine is quite unnerving, and certainly unexpected.In just one night, he has already killed four times, I wonder what the total body count will be for him by the end of the series.
191. Lord Nazh
Just in case you ever read this Leigh :)

Weird thing for me personally: I know, from my WOT glossary learnings, that “Faile” and “Aiel” are supposed to be pronounced almost identically, but while I’ve always automatically given “Faile” its proper two-syllable inflection, I have never been able to train my mental pronounciation of “Aiel” to do anything other than rhyme with “pail”."

Funny, I've always (and I've read each book upwards of 20x except for the last 2 and them 5 each heh) gotten Aiel as 2 syllables and Faile as 'pail' ... weird natch
192. Yosarian
All the T'avan people (Rand, Perrin, Mat) have shown that they can warp luck. Matt just takes the most advantage of this, and has the most control over it (at least until the last book, when I think Rand gains contorl of his T'av'anness). Also, based on what other people have said, I think Matt has always been "the gambler" in all of his previous lives as well; I think the luck thing is something inheret to him, not related to the dagger.
William McDaniel
193. willmcd
Like so many others, I noticed Siuan implying that Nynaeve could have used Callandor; is it possible that RJ hadn't worked out the idea that *angreal are gender-specific at this point? It seems to be the only way that makes sense, but I can't recall any earlier references to it. The way she refers to the Choedan Kal ("only two ever made were stronger") makes it seem like she's got them all in one big hierarchy at this point.

Louis Theodore Tellman @180, it's interesting that you should bring up characters not having the same first names, when in fact we've seen in these chapters the series's (I think) first violation of the One Steve Limit: Huan Mallia, captain of the ship Mat and Thom jump onto, has the same first name as Siuan's dear old ne'er-do-well Uncle Huan, who died saving children from a burning building. And they're both Tairens, which lends credibility to the idea that this was a deliberate move on RJ's part.

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