Mar 16 2009 10:16am

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Dragon Reborn, Part 7

Hello, and welcome aboard the U.S.S. Longwinded! Also known in certain circles as the Wheel of Time Re-read Cruise. Today’s tour is cunningly named The Dragon Reborn, Part 7 – catchy, no? – and will take us past islands 40 through 46 in the Chapters archipelago.

Please refrain from flash photography, as it scares the fish; postcards depicting the entire voyage can be found in our gift shop. Those of you who’ve taken this trip before can help teach the clueless n00bs how to navigate the tsunami of verbiage that strikes regularly round these parts. Or laugh at them, whichever you prefer. We’re easy.

Now, to sea! Sleep soundly, young WOTians, for I have built you a good ship, strong and true; she has all the lifeboats you need.


Chapter 40: A Hero in the Night

What Happens
Mat watches as the Gray Gull pulls into the harbor at Aringill, and grins at his two purses, fatter than they had been before he boarded. His luck had not been quite the same as that first crazy night in Tar Valon, but it had been good enough that Mallia had given up trying to ingratiate himself with Mat through gambling. His grin fades as he thinks of Elayne’s letter, though; he had lifted the seal off with a hot blade, and had found nothing but bland news in it. Thom had had no better luck seeing a code or cipher in it, but Mat was sure that the letter must be the reason those men were after him. He thinks that he will deliver the letter if it kills him, but he will have things to say to those women. If he ever sees them again. Thom comes strutting up on deck, flourishing his cloak, and Mat tells him not to bother, no one is watching. Thom stares at the people crowding the docks and says he’d heard it was bad, but not like this; he adds that it might cost them one of Mat’s purses for a room tonight, more if Mat plans to keep eating the way he has been. Mat smiles at Thom, taunts Mallia, and leaves the ship. Thom follows, asking if it was really necessary to needle the man like that when Mat ate the stores Mallia thought would get him all the way to Tear. Mat replies that he hasn’t actually been eating it for two days, but throwing it over the side instead. Looking at the hungry people around him, he thinks that the joke doesn’t seem so funny anymore, but adds that Mallia deserved it, passing that fouled ship earlier and refusing to stop and help. Thom answers, as if you go out of your way to help people, and Mat says he’ll help anyone who can pay for it; only fools do something for nothing. He’s been watching one woman in particular with three children clinging to her and a hopeless look on her face; abruptly he digs a handful of coins out of his pocket and hands them to her, and tells her to get her kids something to eat before she can say anything, and hurries away.

He noticed Thom looking at him. “What are you gawking at? Coin comes easily as long as I can find somebody who likes to dice.” Thom nodded slowly, but Mat was not sure he had gotten his point across. Bloody children’s crying was getting on my nerves, that’s all. Fool gleeman will probably expect me to give gold away to every waif that comes along, now. Fool! For an uncomfortable moment, he was not certain whether the last had been meant for Thom or himself.

Mat finds a Guardsman and asks him about lodging and mounts, but the Guard tells him he’d be lucky to find a stable at any price, and horses are now going for food. Thom is appalled, and says isn’t the Queen sending food? The Guard answers that she was, but an order has come down that tomorrow they close the river crossing; no one else is to be allowed across. They head into Aringill, which is crowded to bursting with refugees, and Thom comments that the order the Guard told them about does not sound like Morgase; she has a quick temper, but a soft heart for the poor and hungry. Mat is more interested in finding themselves a room, but he tries four inns with no luck; finally at the fifth, he asks about the stable, but the innkeeper says his stable is for his horses, not people. Mat notices the man has a dice cup, and proposes a little wager.

When Mat walked into the stable, the first thing he did was check along the half-dozen stalls with horses in them for a pair of brown geldings. They were nondescript animals, but they were his.

Thom mutters about five sixes, and says Mat should watch himself; his luck isn’t always that good. Mat thinks he’s just as glad it isn’t, but that it was almost as if he’d known the dice were going to go his way this time. He and Thom go up in the loft to eat and rest, and a while later they are interrupted by a woman dragging a cart into the stable. Mat looks down to see she wears her hair in many small braids, and though her dress is torn and stained, it’s silk, and once very fine. She lights a lantern in some way Mat can’t see, and he can’t figure out how she did it so fast. Then the stable door opens again to admit four big men. One of them says to the woman she didn’t run far enough, calling her Aludra. Aludra spits back that it is not enough that the man, Tammuz, gets her thrown out of the Guild, he has to chase her as well. Tammuz laughs and asks if she really thought she would get away with selling the secrets that belong to the Guild alone, and takes out a knife. He says it will be a pleasure to cut her throat.

Mat was not even aware that he had stood up until one of the doubled ropes dangling from the ceiling was in his hands and he had launched himself out of the loft. Burn me for a bloody fool!

He plows into the men, scattering them, and tumbles to the floor, coins flying everywhere. He jumps up, and Thom tosses him his quarterstaff. Mat dispatches the men quickly, and glares at the woman, asking if she really had to pick this stable to get murdered in. She merely replies that she would have helped him, but she was worried he would mistake her for an attacker. He notes that she is pretty, if a little older, and laughs and says what’s done is done. Thom has climbed down from the loft by now, and she frowns at his cloak, saying this is like a story, to be rescued by a young hero and a gleeman. Mat asks what secrets Tammuz was referring to, and Thom answers for her: the secrets of making fireworks. Aludra is an Illuminator. Aludra replies that she was one, but that idiot Tammuz ruined a performance for the King of Cairhien, and as Mistress of the Chapterhouse, she was held responsible. She says she does not give away secrets, but she will not let herself starve when she can sell fireworks.

“Galldrian,” Thom said, sounding almost as wooden as she had. “Well, he is a dead king now, and he’ll see no more fireworks.”

Aludra says she must move on, but she should reward her rescuers. She pulls out a roll of oiled cloth and unrolls it to show many cylinders of waxed paper in pockets inside. Mat is fascinated, thinking that he’s only seen fireworks twice in his life; once when he was ten he’d tried to cut one open, and was strapped within an inch of his life, and no one except Rand and Perrin would talk to him for a month. Aludra slaps his hand away when he tries to touch one, and explains how to light them. She warns them to keep them away from fire, and above all never ever cut one open; the stuff inside sometimes ignites with air far more readily even than with fire, and you could lose a hand. Mat says dryly that he’s heard that somewhere. She says she will go to Lugard, and Mat remembers that she said she had no money until she finds a place where people can actually afford fireworks. He scoops up a handful of coins from the floor and offers them to her.

She paused with her cloak half around her shoulders, then smiled at Thom as she swept it the rest of the way on. “He is young yet, eh?”

“He is young,” Thom agreed. “And not half so hard as he would like to think himself. Sometimes he is not.”

Mat glowered at both of them and lowered his hand.

Thom asks Aludra how she lit the lantern so quickly earlier, and she smiles and says she has no intention of giving away everything; but one day, she says, sticks will make her fortune for her. She heads out into the rain, and Thom and Mat realize they have to leave too, before Tammuz and Co. come to. As they head into the rain, Mat scowls and tells Thom that if he ever looks like he’s acting the hero again, to kick him.

See? Big mushy pile of gallantry. Actually, that’s all this chapter is about – putting the lie to Mat’s big cynical front.

Well, that and arranging matters to get him fireworks, so he can learn to Blow Shit Up, and show off his idealistic heroism by introducing Randland to modern warfare... wait.

Also, this might be Jordan’s snarkiest chapter title yet. Possibly ever.

Chapter 41: A Hunter’s Oath

What Happens
Perrin watches as their ship pulls in to Illian, in an effort to ignore the sort-of staring contest Moiraine and Zarine are having behind him. Moiraine had been less than pleased to discover that not only did Zarine know she was Aes Sedai, but that she believed Perrin and the others would lead her to the Horn of Valere – and what’s more, that Perrin had known all this and hadn’t told Moiraine of it. Perrin thinks that he’s rather impressed that Zarine meets Moiraine’s stares eye to eye, even if she does swallow and wipe sweat after Moiraine looks away. Lan is obviously very amused by the whole thing; Perrin overheard Moiraine ask him tartly a few days ago if he found something to laugh at, and Lan replied that perhaps he is practicing for Myrelle, as he understands that she likes to tell her Warders jokes. The whole crew is on edge too, thanks to Zarine and Perrin getting into a shouting match on deck and one of them dropping the fact that Moiraine was Aes Sedai for everyone to hear. Perrin turns back to contemplating Illian, and hopes it is large enough to keep the wolves at bay. He had reached the wolf dream twice more, but been chased out of it by Hopper each time, telling him he is too new. As they dock, Zarine sneaks up on Perrin and brushes the back of his neck, making him jump a foot, which pleases her inordinately. Moiraine interrupts this to tell Zarine that this is where she and they part ways; Zarine replies that she thinks not. Moiraine asks if she is sure, softly, and Zarine swallows and says there’s nothing she or stone-face can, or rather will do that will stop her. Lan implies that she is wrong, and to his surprise Perrin finds that he is glaring at the Warder, and tells him to go easy. Moiraine smiles unpleasantly and tells Zarine that if she wishes to go with them, she may, but only under the terms Moiraine sets:

“You will swear by your Hunter’s oath to do as I say, to heed me, and not to leave us. Once you know more than you should of what we do, I will not allow you to fall into the wrong hands. Know that for truth, girl. You will swear to act as one of us, and do nothing that will endanger our purpose. You will ask no questions of where we go or why: you will be satisfied with what I choose to tell you. All of this you will swear, or you will remain here in Illian. And you will not leave this marsh until I return to release you, if it takes the rest of your life. That I swear.”

Zarine is uneasy, but then firms up and declares that she swears it by her Hunter’s oath. Moiraine nods, and tells Perrin that Zarine is now his responsibility. Both Perrin and Zarine yelp in protest, but Moiraine goes on serenely:

“It seems you have found Min’s falcon, ta’veren. I have tried to discourage her, but it appears she will perch on your shoulder whatever I do. The Pattern weaves a future for you, it seems. Yet remember this. If I must, I will snip your thread from the Pattern. And if the girl endangers what must be, you will share her fate.”

Perrin protests that he did not ask for this, but Moiraine ignores him. As they mount up, Zarine eyes Perrin and says he doesn’t look ta’veren to her, and if he tries to make her “his responsibility”, she will carve his ears. He growls, grabs her arm and hauls her up behind his saddle; she pretends not to be impressed by his strength. He tells her his name is Perrin, not “big man” or “blacksmith” or anything else.

“And mine is Faile, shaggy-hair.”

He snarls and boots his horse after the others; behind him, Zarine grabs his waist to keep from falling off, and he thinks that she is laughing.

Sigh. Neutral. I am being neutral!

Part of the problem is that I’ve never been a huge fan of the “Their Hate Is So TWUE WUV” romance plotline. This isn’t to say this phenomenon doesn’t exist in real life (it must, since things generally don’t become clichés unless there’s a reason for them to), but that doesn’t mean I’m obligated to not find it irritating and headdesk-y. Which means I’m in trouble with regard to romantic relationships in WOT.

Actually, the only fictional example of it I can think of offhand that didn’t irritate me is Pride and Prejudice, and I’m not even entirely positive that counts, since Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are only bitches to each other until all the misunderstandings are cleared up; after that they are positively sappy in wuv. Which, needless to say, is not the case with Perrin and Faile.

All that being said, I must reluctantly admit that the trope is a somewhat legitimate method of dealing with two very strong-willed characters, at least one of whom is coming to terms with the knowledge that they are being forced into, essentially, a prophetically arranged marriage.

Chapter 42: Easing the Badger

What Happens
Perrin hears a smithy as they head into Illian, and misses it. They ride though a square bounded by two palaces, almost identical in every way except one is slightly smaller, and Zarine tells him that the King told the Council of Nine that they could have any palace they wanted as long as it was not bigger than his, and they replicated his palace exactly, just making it two feet smaller in dimension. Loial is uneasy, and tells Perrin that Ogier from his stedding come to Illian often; Perrin tries to assure him Moiraine would not let them take Loial away, but wonders if he’s right. Loial nods, but says he does not like this place anyway. Perrin overhears Moiraine tell Lan that there is something wrong with the city, and notices that of the people he sees, maybe one in five wears expressions of anger or hatred, and don’t even seem to be aware of it. Lan leads them into what was ironically called the Perfumed Quarter, and goes to an inn called Easing the Badger. The common room is filled with workmen and sailors, listening to a girl with a very low-cut blouse sing a song that gets progressively more ribald. Zarine grins and tells Perrin she never knew a man his age who could still blush. The innkeeper, Nieda, gives a start of surprise when she sees Moiraine, and comes over, saying she never thought to see “Mistress Mari” here; haven’t her pigeons arrived safely? Moiraine tells her she is sure they did, and asks about anything unusual of late. Nieda says she supposes Lord Brend’s ascension to the Council of Nine qualifies; she had never heard of him before this winter, but he came to the city and was raised inside a week. He’s said to be a strong leader, but sometimes Nieda has strange dreams of him. Moiraine had been about to dismiss this news, but at this she hesitates, and asks what kind of dreams.

“Oh, foolishness, Mistress Mari. Just foolishness. You do truly wish to hear it? Dreams of Lord Brend in strange places, and walking bridges hanging in air. All fogged, these dreams do be, but near every night they do come. Did you ever hear of such? Foolishness, Fortune prick me! Yet, it do be odd. Bili does say he does dream the same dreams. I do think he does hear my dreams and copy them. Bili do be none too bright, sometimes, I do think.”

“You may do him an injustice,” Moiraine breathed.

Perrin realizes that Moiraine is frightened, and is thoroughly unnerved by this. Moiraine asks what ships sail for Tear tomorrow, and Nieda replies, none, by order of the Council; there is talk of war with Tear. Moiraine asks tightly for rooms and meals. As Perrin puts his things in his rooms, he reflects that seeing Moiraine frightened ought to have him terrified, but all he feels is excitement; he recognizes it as the way wolves feel when they are about to fight, and wishes that he felt afraid instead. The party reconvenes in the common room, where Perrin taunts Zarine about the fish, and Zarine tries to find out what Moiraine is so distracted about. Moiraine reminds Zarine that she swore to ask no questions, and they are silent for the rest of the meal. Afterwards, Perrin is listening to the girl singing another raunchy song when he smells something vile. He looks for the source, but sees nothing out of the ordinary. He looks at Moiraine and Lan, knowing they can sense Shadowspawn, but they are just sitting there.

He studied the room again. Bili against the wall, some men crossing the floor, the girl singing on the table, all the laughing men sitting around her. Men crossing the floor? He frowned at them. Six men with ordinary faces, walking toward where he was sitting. Very ordinary faces. He was just starting to reinspect the men listening to the girl when suddenly it came to him that the stink of wrongness was rolling from the six. Abruptly they had daggers in their hands, as if they had realized he had seen them.

“They have knives!” he roared, and threw the cheese platter at them.

The room erupts; Lan leaps up, Moiraine throws a ball of fire, and Perrin grabs a chair and rips off the back post, using the long piece of wood as a bludgeon. The men are all trying to reach Perrin, but between him and Lan, all six are down in moments. Moiraine and Zarine are both staring at Perrin. Moiraine says they were Gray Men, and after Perrin. Nieda scoffs at this, and Moiraine lets her believe they were merely Darkfriends; Nieda has Bili start dumping the corpses outside. The singer calls Moiraine “Aes Sedai” and nervously hopes she did not offend with her songs, and Perrin remembers that one ball of fire. Moiraine does not look pleased that everyone there knows what she is, and curtly tells the girl to sing whatever she likes before heading for the door. Lan intercepts her and they whisper together, but Perrin can hear every word. Lan reminds her that he pledged to protect her, and Moiraine says there are some things she must do alone. He starts to protest, and she cuts him off and tells him that should she die, he will know, and be compelled to return to the Tower, and he must take Perrin with him.

“It seems the Shadow has made his importance in the Pattern known to me, if not clear. I was a fool. Rand is so strongly ta’veren that I ignored what it must mean that he had two others close by him. With Perrin and Mat, the Amyrlin may still be able to affect the course of events. With Rand loose, she will have to. Tell her what has happened, my Gaidin.”

Lan says she talks as if she is already dead, and Moiraine answers that the Wheel weaves as it will, and leaves.

Easing the Badger: Nope, still too easy.

This whole thing with the Forsaken taking over cities and everyone dreaming about them as a result is a nice followup to an almost throwaway piece of knowledge Moiraine gave us back at the beginning of the book, when she told Perrin (in reference to Rand) that channelers can force their dreams upon others if they don’t take measures to prevent it. I suppose it’s meant to be an indication of the various Forsakens’ contempt for the people that they don't even bother to take such precautions.

There are times when my habit of speed-reading is a real disadvantage; the first time I read this I had to go back and reread twice before I got where the Gray Men had come from. My problem is I always pay more attention to dialogue than description. Hangover from Hollywood, possibly.

Perrin gets a little moment of badassery here, with the chair. That really is pretty impressive.

I’m bemused by Moiraine’s instructions to Lan to take Perrin back to the Tower to help Siuan affect the course of events, like her own personal ta’veren Pattern-altering battery. Does she really think that would work?

Chapter 43: Shadowbrothers

What Happens
The singer starts up again, but to Perrin’s disappointment her song is now completely innocuous. Lan comes over to Perrin and asks him how he knew the Gray Men were there; Perrin replies that he smelled them, trying to speak softly enough that Zarine won’t overhear. Lan tells him he’s going to look around outside, and asks Perrin and Loial to come with him; Perrin thinks it is an indication of how worried Lan is, that he actually asked for help. Zarine invites herself along as well, and Lan gives her a flat look but does not forbid it. Outside, he smells something that reminds him of fireworks.

Zarine tapped the chair leg in his hands with her knife blade. “You really are strong, big man. You tore that chair apart as if it were made of twigs.”

Perrin realizes he’s standing up straighter, and deliberately slouches; Zarine laughs, and he calls himself a fool. Lan has stopped to look at the top of a stone mounting block, and Perrin joins him to see that there are two giant pawprints pressed into the stone; the sulphur smell is strongest here. “Darkhound”, Lan says, and Zarine gasps. Lan explains that Darkhounds leave no prints on dirt or mud, but on stone, and this is the first one he’s heard of south of the Mountains of Dhoom since the Trolloc Wars. This one was hunting something, and now that it’s found it, it’s gone to tell its master. Zarine mutters about Shadowspawn, and says Perrin had better lead her to the Horn; Lan tells her that she still knows little enough that she can go, if she swears not to follow, and he advises her to do so. Zarine answers that she will not be frightened away that easily. Perrin asks why neither Lan nor Moiraine sensed the Darkhound; Lan says the answer to that question might well kill them all. He tells the others to get what rest they can; he is going to find Moiraine and tell her about the Darkhound. Perrin goes up to his room, closing the door in Zarine’s face, and tells himself he has to find out. He strips down to his breeches and lies down and falls asleep.

Perrin dreams of a tall, slender man holding a glowing sword, with kings and queens groveling before him; these seem strange, as if they are not his dreams at all. Then he finds himself in the wolf dream, with his bow and quiver instead of the axe. He calls for Hopper, but instead sees strange visions in the sky; Mat dicing with a man with eyes of fire, who Perrin knows is Ba’alzamon, and Egwene, Nynaeve and Elayne stepping inside a cage and reaching up to spring the catch, while a woman in braids laughs at them, and a woman all in white laughs at her. Then Hopper shows up and again tells Perrin that he is too young to be here, and Perrin asks him if the things he sees here are real or not. Hopper’s answer is esoteric, and Perrin presses, asking about Ba’alzamon and Lanfear, who Hopper calls “Heartfang” and “Moonhunter”. He tells Hopper that Gray Men (“Notdead”) are after him, and so are Darkhounds.

Shadowbrothers! Hopper crouched, looking to either side as if he almost expected an attack. Long since we have seen the Shadowbrothers. You must go, Young Bull. Great danger! Flee the Shadowbrothers!

“Why are they after me, Hopper? You do know. I know you do!”

Flee, Young Bull. Hopper leaped, forepaws hitting Perrin’s chest, knocking him back, over the edge. Flee the Shadowbrothers.

He wakes from falling to find that Zarine is sitting in the room, watching him. She informs him that he talks and thrashes in his sleep.

“You are ta’veren,” she said as if ticking off a point. “Stone-face thinks those odd eyes of yours can see things his can’t. Gray Men want to kill you. You travel with an Aes Sedai, a Warder, and an Ogier. You free caged Aiel and kill Whitecloaks. Who are you, farmboy, the Dragon Reborn?” Her voice said that was the most ridiculous thing she could think of, but he still shifted uneasily. “Whoever you are, big man,” she added, “you could do with a little more hair on your chest.”

Perrin curses and pulls the blanket over himself, then remembers Min’s warning that he should run from a beautiful woman. He had thought she meant Lanfear, but she was only in his dream. He demands to know what Zarine is doing here and what she wants. Zarine laughs and says she is Faile, a Hunter; who did he think she was, the woman of his dreams? Then she wants to know why he jumped like that, but before he can say anything, the door crashes open and Moiraine is there.

“Your wolf dreams tell as truly as a Dreamer’s, Perrin. The Forsaken are loose, and one of them rules in Illian.”

Nice cliffhanger.

I wonder why Perrin’s prophetic wolf-dreams were abandoned so early on. As far as I know there are none after The Shadow Rising. I suppose it might have been because they are too close to Egwene’s shtick?

(Incidentally, Word’s spellchecker recognizes “shtick” as a real word, which is kind of hilarious.)

I like Faile in this chapter, solely because she brings the self-realization goodness on Perrin’s behalf, to a degree. I think my biggest problem with her is that too often she acts in a manner that I feel degrades Perrin, whether through ignorance or cultural nonsense or sheer bloody-mindedness, and so I automatically like her better when she’s realizing that no, he’s actually way cooler than you give him credit for. And also under a lot of pressure, leave the poor boy alone already!

Chapter 44: Hunted

What Happens
Perrin starts dressing, and asks if they’re leaving; Moiraine says dryly, unless he wants to get better acquainted with Sammael, yes. Zarine murmurs in shock, and Moiraine asks her if she still wishes to follow; Moiraine would not make her stay in Illian now, but will still accept her pledge to go another way than they. Zarine hesitates, and then refuses. She says she thinks that this story will be one for the ages, and she will be part of it. Perrin starts to argue with her, and Moiraine tells them to shut up and get ready to leave before Lord Brend finds out one of his Darkhounds is dead. They all pack up and come downstairs, to find Moiraine arguing with Nieda, who is resisting Moiraine’s attempt to convince her to leave Illian. Lan has a bay horse for Zarine to ride. Perrin doesn’t understand why Moiraine thinks Sammael doesn’t already know they’re here, because of the Gray Men; Moiraine replies that the Gray Men were not Sammael’s; he would not have sent both them and a Darkhound. She believes that the Darkhound followed her trail, but the Sammael likely does not know Perrin exists. Yet. Perrin still doesn’t get it, and is annoyed that he doesn’t.

“If he did not send the Gray Men, who did? If a Myrddraal, or another Forsaken...” He stopped to swallow. ANOTHER Forsaken! Light! “If somebody else sent them, why did they not tell him? They’re all Darkfriends, aren’t they? And why me, Moiraine? Why me? Rand is the bloody Dragon Reborn!”

Nieda and Zarine gasp, and Moiraine looks like she wants to skin him alive. She tells Zarine that she is sealed to them now, and may not ever turn back, and commands Nieda to flee Illian right this moment. Then she tells Perrin softly that there are many threads in the Pattern, and to take care one of them doesn’t strangle him.

Burn you, Moiraine, Perrin thought as he rode after them. Sometimes I do not know which side you are on.

They ride out into the rain, and are soon out of the city. Perrin is relieved at first when the rain begins to slacken, but Lan tells him that rain discourages Darkhounds; they will be in trouble once the weather clears. He is soon proved right when the rain stops, and they hear howls behind them. Perrin surprises himself by almost reaching out as if to wolves, but stops himself in time. Moiraine and Lan slow, and Perrin asks why; Lan replies that no one can outrun Darkhounds. They will have to find a place to stand and fight. Moiraine soon finds a treeless mound, and they scramble up it. Lan tells Zarine and Loial to hold the horses, and Perrin takes out his bow and strings it. Lan doubts it will do much good, but it is worth a try. Soon ten Darkhounds come galloping out of the trees; Perrin shoots three times, but only manages to bring down one. Then Moiraine says “now”, and balefires the Darkhounds. Perrin is staggered, and Zarine asks what that was.

“Something forbidden,” Moiraine said coolly. “Forbidden by vows almost as strong as the Three Oaths.” She took Aldieb’s reins from the girl, and patted the mare’s neck, calming her. “Something not used in nearly two thousand years. Something I might be stilled just for knowing.”

She hopes they were far enough that Sammael didn’t notice what she did, but doesn’t think he will try again; they were an annoyance to him, no more. She thinks he is after bigger game. Perrin asks, Rand?, and she nods, and says, or perhaps Mat, seeing as he blew the Horn of Valere. Zarine about falls off her horse, but Moiraine ignores her and says once again events outpace her. She looks at Perrin and says, and if they outpace me they might well trample you, and takes off for Tear.

Mat lounges by his and Thom’s campfire, gazing thoughtfully at the small wax-covered cylinder in his hand. He unsheathes his belt knife, and carefully slits open the tube. It is made of paper as he thought, but all that is inside is grayish black pebbles and dust. Thom sees what he is doing and yells is he trying to kill them both? Fireworks are next thing to Aes Sedai work. Mat mutters something about thinking the same thing about clocks, but that it isn’t so.

“You would be surprised, boy,” Thom said dryly. “Even a bad clock-maker is a fairly rich man, and they earn it. But a clock does not explode in your face!”

“Neither did this. Well, it is useless, now.” He tossed the handful of paper and little pebbles into the fire to a screech from Thom; the pebbles sparked and made tiny flashes, and there was a smell of acrid smoke.

“You are trying to kill us.” Thom’s voice was unsteady, and it rose in intensity and pitch as he spoke. “If I decide I want to die, I will go to the Royal Palace when we reach Caemlyn, and I’ll pinch Morgase!” His long mustaches flailed. “Do not do that again!”

“It did not explode,” Mat said, frowning at the fire. He fished into the oiled-cloth roll on the other side of the log and pulled out a firework of the next larger size. “I wonder why there was no bang.”

“I do not care why there was no bang! Do not do it again!”

Mat laughs and tells Thom not to worry, he knows what is inside them now and won’t be cutting any more open. Thom is in the middle of chewing Mat out anyway when they are interrupted by a party of four on horseback. One is a well-dressed woman, looking like a merchant with three guards. She dismounts and starts toward Mat, asking if he knows the way to an inn, and he grins and starts to rise when one of the men pulls out a crossbow. The woman shouts “Kill him, fool!”, and Mat throws the firework he’s holding into the fire and dives toward his staff. The firecracker goes off and a crossbow bolt lands right where Mat had been sitting, and then the crossbowman goes down with Thom’s knife in his chest. The other two go for Mat, but Thom gets one with another knife in the back, and Mat reaches his staff and takes out the third. Mat points at the woman, who is still walking toward him, and starts telling her off for being a thief when Thom throws a third knife and gets her in the throat. Mat springs to catch her as she falls, but knows it is already too late. Mat curses at Thom, saying they could have just turned her in, and there was no need to kill her. Thom shows him the dagger she had been holding, and asks if he should have waited till she planted it in Mat’s ribs. Mat covers her face with her cloak, and says quietly they had best be moving on; Thom has to prod him before he moves, though. Mat gets a closer look at one of the men, and tells Thom as they mount up that the crossbowman was a good swimmer; he made it ashore from the Erinin that night. He adds that he intends to have Elayne’s bloody letter out of his hands an hour after they reach Caemlyn; he can’t think of any other reason why these people would be after him so hard. Pretty girls always get him in trouble.

Heh, Faile learned more than she bargained for in this chapter. Too bad too sad, eh? Somebody already blew the Ho-orn, na na na na na naaa!

(Do Mat and Faile ever interact on-screen, so to speak? I know they must have at least met in passing in TSR, but I can’t recall what if anything they talked about together.)

Mat: playing with fire, ha. Thom is hilarious here.

Y’know, even though Mat and Rand have much the same hang-up about hurting women, Mat’s has never bothered me as much as Rand’s did. Perhaps because of the two of them, Rand’s hang-up is (a) the more vehement, and (b) the more likely to get him killed. Of course, this is because Rand is far more rigid in his notions of honor than Mat, who as I’ve said is secretly a smushy hero, but still retains a certain moral flexibility which as a person living in a gray world I am much more comfortable with.

Unswerving adherence to a code of honor is nice in theory, but it makes me very uneasy in practice; not least because absolutes of any stripe tend to blow up in your face sooner or later. As Rand will discover.

Chapter 45: Caemlyn

What Happens
Mat has some vague memories of Caemlyn, but seeing it now is like for the first time. He remembers thinking it was too noisy before, but now it sounds to him “like a heartbeat, pumping wealth.” As they enter the city, he tells Thom there is no point in waiting; he will go straight to the Palace. Thom yawns and tries to convince him to go to the Queen’s Blessing first for meals and sleep, but Mat says he will meet Thom there. Thom tells him to be careful, and splits off. Mat rides toward the Palace, noting that his memories were not vague so much as full of holes; he would distinctly remember one particular building, but nothing surrounding it, for instance. He arrives at the Palace and rides up to the main gate, which is guarded by a dozen men under the command of an older man who reminds Mat of a pudgy rat. The officer demands to know what Mat wants, and Mat pulls out Elayne’s letter. He says he has come from Tar Valon bearing a letter, but before he can say more the officer cuts him off, ranting at him that Caemlyn will take no letters from Tar Valon until the Daughter-Heir is returned, and he had best be off before he is beaten within an inch of his life. Mat tries to explain that the letter is from Elayne, but the officer gets madder and madder until he yells at the Guards to seize Mat for a Darkfriend. Mat cannot believe that anyone would take such an order seriously, but all the Guards charge him, and he is forced to take off, easily outdistancing them on his horse. He curses himself for not saying Elayne’s name up front, and wonders at the apparent change of heart toward the Tower among the Guard. He finds his way back to the Queen’s Blessing, and goes into the kitchen, where he remembers the cook, Coline. He announces to her that he’s back.

She peered at him a moment, then nodded. “I remember you.” He began to grin. “You were with that young prince, weren’t you?” she went on. “The one who looked so like Tigraine, the Light illumine her memory. You’re his serving man, aren’t you? Is he coming back, then, the young prince?”

“No,” he said curtly. A prince! Light! “I do not think he will be anytime soon, and I don’t think you would like it if he did.” She protested, saying what a fine, handsome young man the prince was—Burn me, it there a woman anywhere who doesn’t moon over Rand and make calf-eyes if you mention his bloody name? She’d bloody scream if she knew what he is doing now—but he refused to let her get it out.

He asks where Thom and Basel Gill are, and is directed to the library, along with instructions to tell Gill she said to clean the drains. He goes to the library, and finds Thom and Gill there, playing Stones. Gill comments Mat was pretty sickly the last time he was there; Mat replies he’s fine now, and asks if that’s all Gill remembers. Gill winces and says that all things considered, he probably shouldn’t remember more than that. Mat remarks that the Guard doesn’t seem to like the Tower anymore, and Gill says that Morgase is in quite the temper over whatever happened to Elayne; Lord Gaebril has kept her from sending anyone to the headsman, but Gill thinks that Gaebril has made her attitude toward the Tower worse than before. Thom puts in that Gaebril is Morgase’s new advisor, and has sent Gareth Bryne home to his estate. Gill says that if Mat mentioned the White Tower to the Guards he was lucky to escape unscathed; Gaebril has already replaced half of them with his own men. Some say he will marry Morgase, but Gill doesn’t like the notion. Mat says he will just have to avoid the Guards, then, and put the letter right into Morgase’s hands. Thom exclaims, he didn’t deliver it yet?, and Gill wants to know if it says Elayne and Gawyn are coming home. Mat lies that he doesn’t know what the letter says, but doubts Elayne is returning; he thinks she means to be Aes Sedai. He tells them about what happened at the Palace gates, and Gill advises him to wait until the guard changes, and try again, and knuckle his forehead a little.

“Burn me if I will. I pull wool and scratch gravel for nobody. Not to Morgase herself. This time, I’ll not go near the Guards at all.”

Gill realizes what he means to try, and tells him he’d need the Dark One’s own luck to escape alive.

“I am lucky, Master Gill,” Mat said. “You just have a good meal waiting when I come back.” As he stood, he picked up the dice cup and spun the dice out beside the stones board for luck. The calico cat leaped down, hissing at him with her back arched. The five spotted dice came to rest, each showing a single pip. The Dark One’s Eyes.

“That’s the best toss or the worst,” Gill said. “It depends on the game you are playing, doesn’t it.”

He advises Mat to go gamble or something, and let Gill get the letter to the Palace; Mat tells him Coline wants him to clean the drains, and tosses him a gold mark, saying to have a room ready for him when he returns. He heads out, and hears Gill saying to Thom that he always thought that boy was a rascal; where did he come by gold? Mat thinks to himself, he always wins, that’s how; he just needs to win once more.

I love how Mat is constantly evaluating the value of everything, and yet when it comes down to it does not actually care about keeping any wealth he gains. Of course, this is an attitude he can afford, since unlike most people he has the luxury of knowing he can sit down at any given game of chance and walk away richer than he sat down.

I still can’t get over how much fun it is to read about Mat, post-Healing. He’s like a breath of fresh snarky air, truly. But perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised, since Mat as a character is practically tailor-made to appeal; everyone loves an honorable scoundrel. Cf. Robin Hood (steals from the rich to give to the poor), Danny Ocean (who only lied about being a thief, and is himself a Robin Hood character), and Han Solo (arguably the most iconic loveable rogue in modern pop culture).

Chapter 46: A Message Out of the Shadow

What Happens
Mat returns to the Palace on foot, and looks for the wall Rand had talked about. He soon finds it, and scrambles up, thinking it was careless of them to make it so easy. He then almost falls off before recovering. He drops down into the garden inside, and sneaks around avoiding guard patrols, grinning and thinking this is easier than stealing applecakes at Sunday, and more fun; he sticks a flower behind his ear and finds his way to the Palace wall. He slides along between the wall and the trellises against it, searching for a way in, and freezes under a window when two more guards patrol past. He overhears two men in the room beyond the window. One, who calls the other “Great Master” in an obsequious voice, is saying something about someone being on their way to Tear. The other answers that it will serve “him” right if three untrained girls ruin his plans, and asks if there is any word of “the boy”. Obsequious answers no, but adds that one of the girls is Morgase’s “nit”. Mat almost turns at this, but catches himself before the guards see him. He’s lost a little of the conversation:

“—has been far too impatient since regaining his freedom,” the deep voice was saying. “He never realized the best plans take time to mature. He wants the world in a day, and Callandor besides. The Great Lord take him! He may seize the girl and try to make some use of her. And that might strain my own plans.”

“As you say, Great Master. Shall I order her brought out of Tear?”

“No. The fool would take it as a move against him, if he knew. And who can say what he chooses to watch aside from the sword? See that she dies quietly, Comar. Let her death attract no notice at all.” His laughter was a rich rumble. “Those ignorant slatterns in their Tower will have a difficult time producing her after this disappearance. This may all be just as well. Let it be done quickly. Quickly, before he has time to take her himself.”

Obsequious protests that the girls may be difficult to find; Great Master cuts him off and says that he, Comar, will bring him those girls’ heads, or pray for him to take Comar’s. Comar agrees hastily, and the guards finally pass, freeing Mat to pull himself up to look inside the room. He sees only one man, barrelchested and with a white streak in his beard, and realizes when the man mutters to himself that this was Comar and not his master. Mat decides the time for skulking is past, and wriggles out into the open. He walks in full view through the garden until he runs into a young officer. The officer starts to draw his blade, but Mat immediately announces he has a letter from Elayne, and shows the seal on it. The officer asks how he got in the Palace, and Mat tells him about the wall; the officer mutters “that bloody garden wall again”, and gives his name as Tallanvor. He tells Mat to give the letter to him, and Mat counters that he promised the Daughter-Heir to give it to no one but Morgase herself. Tallanvor whips his blade out and puts it to Mat’s neck, and promises he’ll kill him if he tries anything. Mat grins innocently and assures Tallanvor he is a loyal Andorman; Tallanvor stares at him a moment, then tells him to come along, and take that stupid flower out of his hair. Mat follows Tallanvor into the Palace, thinking that perhaps a man who revealed a plot against Elayne might get a fat purse out of it. They come to a courtyard where Morgase and various hangers-on are disporting themselves, including a handsome dark-haired man at her shoulder. Mat admires how beautiful she is as Tallanvor introduces them, and elects to bow instead of kneeling as Tallanvor did. Morgase asks, so he brings a letter from her “scapegrace child”; where is she, then? Mat replies Tar Valon; Morgase reads the letter, and tells the man next to her, Gaebril, that Elayne has been raised to the Accepted, wasn’t that wonderful, but then her foul mood comes back. Mat decides it’s now or never, and starts to tell her what he overheard, but Gaebril tells him to be silent, and plucks the letter out of Morgase’s hand. She glares at him, but he puts a hand on her shoulder, and her anger seems to evaporate. He comments that the Amrylin oversteps herself again.

Mat had no trouble holding his tongue. Luck. It was stuck to the roof of his mouth. Sometimes I don’t know if it’s good or bad. The dark man was the owner of the deep voice, the “Great Master” who wanted Elayne’s head. She called him Gaebril. Her advisor wants to murder Elayne? Light! And Morgase was staring up at him like an adoring dog with her master’s hand on her shoulder.

Gaebril asks Mat what he can tell them of this, and Mat spins a tale about being a farmboy, Thom Grinwell, from Comfrey near Baerlon, who went to visit his sister Else Grinwell, a novice in the Tower, and that Elayne heard he was going to Caemlyn and gave him a gold mark to deliver a letter for her. He knows nothing else. Gaebril studies him a moment, and Morgase suddenly speaks up, asking Gaebril not to put anyone else to the question. Gaebril acquiesces, and Morgase asks “Thom” if Elayne looked well when he saw her.

“Yes, my Queen. She smiled, and laughed, and showed a saucy tongue—I mean...”

Morgase laughed softly at the look on his face. “Do not be afraid, young man. Elayne does have a saucy tongue, far too often for her own good. I am happy she is well.” Those blue eyes studied him deeply. “A young man who has left his small village often finds it difficult to return to it. I think you will travel far before you see Comfrey again. Perhaps you will even return to Tar Valon. If you do, and if you see my daughter, tell her that what is said in anger is often repented. I will not remove her from the White Tower before time. Tell her that I often think of my own time there, and miss the quiet talks with Sheriam in her study. Tell her that I said that, Thom Grinwell.”

Uncomfortably, Mat says he doesn’t think he will likely return to Tar Valon; he’s needed back on the farm. Gaebril laughs and tosses him a purse, saying he should see the world before going home to his cows. Mat smiles weakly and thanks him, and as Tallanvor takes him out, hears Gaebril telling Morgase about how she has a claim to the Cairhienin throne through her marriage to Taringail Damodred, and it is time to take advantage of that; Mat notices that Morgase is frowning, but nodding as much as everyone else.

This is the second time that an interlude in the Caemlyn Palace marks a shift into high gear for the plot, though not quite as awesomely, in my opinion, as the one in TEOTW.

Good thing that Mat’s the one of Our Heroes who happens to be a competent liar, eh? I suppose that’s some kind of accomplishment, to be able to tell bald-faced lies to a Forsaken’s face and get away with it. Probably helps, of course, if the liar in question is not aware that it’s a Forsaken he’s lying to.

Speaking of which, I have no idea if I knew Gaebril was a Forsaken at this point, first time though. I mean, I must have, right? It’s completely obvious – now. Hmm. I am sure, though, that I didn’t connect him with either of the two guys Perrin sees arguing with Ishy in TAR waaay back at the beginning of the book. Oh, well.

All Ashore! But make sure you’re back on the ship in time for Wednesday’s Chapters 47-52, or the boat leaves without your tourist ass. Bon voy-ah-gee!

Elroy Skimms
1. elroyskimms

reflects that seeing Moiraine frightened ought to have him terrified, but all he feels is excitement; he recognizes it as the way wolves feel when they are about to fight...

Once again, awesome post. Thanks Leigh!
2. RobMRobM
Leigh - when the first post came out on the website, it said the post was from "nine years ago." LOL. Now fixed to 17 minutes ago. Rob
3. Miketa
I love it when Failine gets all flustered in ch44 not once but twice - once for learning that Rand is the Dragon Reborn and once for learning the horn has already been used. I just like to see her knocked down from her high horse every now and then. She really doesn't become neutral enough to withstand until Perrin becomes Lord of the bloody Two Rivers... and even then she can stretch the definition of "neutral".


And have Gray Men ever done anything right? Like ever? As anonymous henchmen bad guys go, they seem to be about as capable as a Trolloc in a tutu. For all the fuss that is made about them being nearly invisible, someone always seems to notice them at just the right moment.
John Cater
4. katre
One bit I liked that I didn't notice before was the exact wording "Gaebril" used to Mat. Sadly, my copy of the book is at home, but it went something like "Go see the world before it changes."

The first time I read I didn't get that, but now I realize that hey, the world might be a bit different once Rahvin takes over the entire world, for the Dark One's glory, of course.
Richard Fife
5. R.Fife
I really don't have much to comment on. Well done commentary, as usual, thank you for not putting us on the Minnow (or perhaps we are).

Obligiatory I like Faile comment.

Did anyone else think that there would be romance between Mat and Aludra first time through? I know she is markedly older than him, but that never really stopped Mat later (Tylin), and something of the comments made me wonder if there was going to be a... snerk... spark between them.
6. Randalator
Han Solo my delicious bum. Mat is like Mal Reynolds only with horses and quarterstaffs instead of spaceships and firearms.

Why you ask? Because Mat and Mal still shoot first.
7. janeB
Where is Part 6 of the re-read for TDR?
Leigh Butler
8. leighdb

Oops. That will be fixed. In the meantime, you can go directly to Part 6 via this link.
9. Lannis
Great reread, as always, Leigh! Glad we didn't sink, you know--seeing the Titanic reference...

Love Mat--you're right, it's a pleasure to read about him.

Re: Faile, Perrin, and their get-your-freakin-hormones-sorted-out relationship: I distinctly remember, on my first read, enjoying their back and forth jabs all through tDR, but tSR it got to be too much--the Ways trip ruined it for me... that said, I *do* enjoy Faile. But in that "annoying cousin that you're glad to see every once in a while, but glad they live 2 hours away" kind of way...
Leigh Butler
11. leighdb

What are you talking about? Solo shot first, and you can't tell me different.
Maggie M
12. Eswana
@Randalator 6:
YES!!!! love love love Mal, Captain Tightpants Extraordinaire.

I think tDR is one my favorite Moiraine-ish plotlines. My own re-read is currently in CoS, and I really miss Moiraine. Manipulative, secretive, and annoying as hell sometimes, yes... but also.... she's freaking awesome. Maybe it's just because I think of her as a "real" Aes Sedai; an AS as we first knew them, not an AS like the Supergirls will evolve into. Or, perhaps, because we don't get that many Moiraine POVs, so I don't really ever get sick of her.

This is (I think?) the first time we know for sure that Sammael is in Randland, and I think the discovery is excellently done. Like Perrin, knowing the Moiraine was scared here was a huge shock to me the first time I read this. It won't come to fruition for *four* more books! Yikes!

Also, note that several people in this book (eg, Morgase, Lini, and Faile, with Gill part of Perrin's rescue team) will one day be Shaido captives... which is when I will start getting pretty sick of them. But for now, they're sweet.

Enter Tallanvor! Yay! (did we meet him earlier, when Rand was in Camelyn? I forget). Even though I don't think he'll ultimately end up with Morgase, I still really like him- a truly ordinary guy who just does his darndest to do the right thing and protect people he cares about.

Maybe I really like tDR so much because it features Mat and Perrin so prominently, who otherwise just don't get enough love. The lack of Rand seemed weird at first, but really, I think of WoT as the story of people affected by Rand and people in Rand's life who act/react to him & his choices, but not so much about Rand himself.

Leigh, per usual, you rock. What a great way to start my Monday!
13. Randalator
Actually on my first couple of reads I hated Faile instantly. With a passion. I just couldn't stand her at all.

However that changed over time. Now she is quite an enjoyable character most of the time until we reach LoC. But then...I think I hate her even more now than I did then for the way she acts once they are in Cairhien.

She redeems herself a bit once she is kidnapped by the Shaido, but till then she gives me fits every time she appears. And I'm talking mad-murderous-incoherent-foam-at-the-mouth-raving-madness here...
14. janeB
Lady B @ 8 - thank you!
15. Rikka
I do love your introductions leigh...

chpt 40
Yes Matt, the letter. That's why. Awww. Matt, feeder of the hungry.

Enter Aludra! Wooh! The MattxAludra stuff also had me going for a while. They're fabulous together.

“He is young,” Thom agreed. “And not half so hard as he would like to think himself. Sometimes he is not.”

can we please get a big aww? just for my sake?

chpt 41
See, lookit, more of this nottellingpeopleimportantthings crap. WTH?! Honestly. How long have you guys been traveling together? Show some respect for eavh other's brains!

Also, sometimes it creeps me out that Moiraine knows Min's viewings about the boys. I can understand why Min told them to Moiraine but still, it seems a rather personal intrusion. Poor Perrin XD

chpt 42.
Love the inn name/ chapter title XD

Omg, with the boys and the blushing, most especially (almost exclusively!) Perrin! Farmboy, sweetheart, grow up!

Also. Throwing the cheese platter. Good call.

chpt 43
Hey Perrin, now would be a nice time to mention that you saw those prints before a few chapters ago, WOULDN'T IT? Yeah, I thought so too.

I love the wolf-dream. So cool.

Word also once suggested 'motherfucker' when I typed in botherful (sooo should be a word) so that shouldn't really mean much. Also, who types in Word anymore? :P

chpt 44
I hate this whole 'let's go adventuring because I'm going to be in a story!' thing. Really? I mean really? There's a screw or two loose in there Faile, or maybe more.

Also, note to Perrin: keep mouth shut around strangers. Always.

Haha, balefire not being used in the bast twothousand years and Rand and Nynaeve have been bandying it about like candy. nom.

Mat is bothered by killing women but doesn't let it stop him from moving on, which is important. Also, Rand has a freaking list that he beats himself bloody with. Mat just feels guilty.

chpt 45
I do just so love Mat. I'm going to bask in my love for him right now before it gets all tainted by having to look for the Supergirls. Also. Han Solo is my favorite. My roommate told me last night that she's never seen the original Star Wars trilogy and my first thought was "No Han Solo?! You poor girl!"

chpt 46
I love that he sticks a flower behind his ear. Mat, whatakid. Sly bastard. XD Also. Mat x Elayne! damnit! Think of what he could have done for/to her! honestly :(

Enter Tallanvor! (I can't be the only person who likes him, can I? >.>)

And in a few chapters we are told of not one, but two Forsaken ruling cities. Delish. I don't remember if I thought that Gaebril was a Forsaken but I did think he was a high up DF, iirc. Anyway. That was exciting. I love Mat-centric chapters :D
16. ZamIt
Good summary. The book is really getting going. I forgot how slowly things started, but when things pick up it really becomes one of the best books in the series.

Coline calling Rand the "young prince". Now I finally figured that out. When Moraine arrived to find Rand and Mat back in TEOTW, one of the serving girls mentioned their was a lady waiting in the kitchen for Rand, and Gill said something about their heads being cut off if he brought Elayne down from the palace. Rand's tie-in to Elayne made him the prince to the inn's staff. And looking like Tigraine? Even I figured that out the first time. Jordan beat that to death pretty hard so it wasn't a surprise to anyone. But hey, it makes us feel smart to figure things out, right?

Mat "playing with fire". I didn't think about it that way, but yeah. Thom's reaction really made the scene work.

And I loved Mat describing Elayne's "saucy tongue". That was funny. It also made his story (mostly lies) really work.

Tallanvor never really took off. He really started off as a decent character, but kind of fizzled out. Morgase I still have hope for. Yes, her story gets kind of dull, but I still like her and am looking forward to her resolution (and everyone's reaction to it) in AMOL.
17. kantoka
I don't care what anyone says... I AM ABSOLUTELY in love with Faile's character! From this book on, she is fantastic and her emotional roller coaster is so fun to read and watch play out. =)
18. Lsana
Ch. 40:

Yeah, Mat's a big softie. What proves that for me is less the fact that he saves Aludra (the fact that he didn't let her get murdered just means he's not a bastard) then the fact that he tries to give her money afterward. And like R.Fife, I did sense sparks between Mat and Aludra. If Mat had been allowed to marry for love, she'd have been a good choice.

The other thing I wanted to comment on here was Elayne's letter: the Amyrlin says that she can't tell Morgase where she's been, and now she's leaving again, on business for the Amyrlin, and the Amyrlin won't let her say what sort of business. Is this really supposed to help improve relations between Andor and the White Tower? It was better than disappearing without a word again, but I suspect only Rahvin's presence is keeping Morgase from storming off to the Tower again.

Ch. 41:

Moiraine is still irritating here. When she confronted Perrin about not telling her that Zarine was planning to follow him, he should have told her, "I didn't realize she was planning on following us indefinitely. After all, I'm just a stupid blacksmith who doesn't know what questions to ask and doesn't understand half the answers I get." But Perrin is too nice to say a thing like that.

Go, Lan! Push Moiraine back for all times that she's been needling you. She deserves it!

Ch. 42:

Does anyone else get irritated by all the "the tune was one he knew but the words were different" references that seem to happen every time they hear a song? I've found it affects me much the same way the "he wished one of the other two were here because they knew how to talk to girls" comments did. The first couple of times it was a kind of nifty window into how the world works. At this point, though, they have been away from home for more than a year and heard so many songs with familiar tunes but new words that it shouldn't even be worth commenting on anymore.

@3 Miketa,

As anonymous henchmen bad guys go, they seem to be about as capable as a Trolloc in a tutu.

I've had much the same thought, but I like your phrasing better. The Grey Men will have to kill someone with a name before I will consider them to be as much of a threat as, say, a tarantula.

Ch. 43:

I find Faile as irritating in this chapter as I do in any of them. I suspect that this is my 21st century sensibility talking, but going into someone else's bedroom without permission is something that's just Not Done. The fact that she came into his room, lit a candle and sat there staring at him is just creepy and not cool in the least.

Beyond that, I keep trying to figure out if this relationship works. It's hard, since I don't like Faile, but I'm trying to figure out if it would make sense for Perrin to like her. There's clearly a physical attraction, much more of an attraction then between Rand and either Min or Elayne. But beyond that? I just don't see it, at least not yet. Everything she does seems to irritate Perrin as much as it does me.

Ch. 46:

What is the deal with Morgase's whole, "I miss Sheriam's study" bit. I think it is a code of some sort, based on the fact that no one in the White Tower likes being sent to Sheriam's study, but I can't figure out what. I can think of only two possibilities:

1. Morgase is sending a veiled threat to Elayne. It's not appropriate to tell "Thom Grinwell" to threaten Elayne, but she's letting her know, "Whatever Sheriam did to you for running away, you'll wish for more of it before I'm through with you."

2. Morgase is sending for help, "Looking for a way out without even knowing that she's trapped," as Rahvin phrases it later. The message is, "I'm in so much trouble here, I would rather be in Sheriam's study if it means a chance to get away."

19. swmdilla
Lovin the re-read. What a great way to procrastinate on a monday morning...afternoon now. For me Matt is definately a favorite character here, but i have to admit, in the later books the supergirls have a more interesting plot line. Sorry.
John Cater
20. katre
@18: Someone else (maybe Tallanvor?) later comments that he thinks Morgase is trying to tell him something. I think that together with the comment about Sheriam means that, on some level, she realizes that bad shit is going on, and that she's not acting normal, but doesn't realize why.
21. Githraine
Ok, first, "absolutes of any stripe tend to blow up in your face sooner or later. As Rand will discover."
GREAT foreshadow there, worthy of RJ himself ;-)

And my big point, Moiraine refers to Balefire as “Something not used in nearly two thousand years."

So how did she learn it? How did she even know she could weave it if, by the Oath, IT HAD NOT BEEN USED to her knowledge, unqualified, in nearly 2000 years?

We have no other refrence to being able to learn a weave from a book or the like, and what are the odds she would not have at least tried it to make sure she had it right? RJ slip on the Oath?
22. Randalator

I always took the Sheriam-reference as a "been there, done that" kind of thing that ties in with her "what is said in anger is often repented" line. It seems Morgase got herself in trouble with the Mistress of Novices a lot for speaking in anger but obviously won't let a simple farmboy know that. So she references the "quiet talks" with the MoN to reassure Elane that she won't remove her from the White Tower because she was angry when she threatened to do that and has since thought it over.
Richard Fife
23. R.Fife
Perhaps Morgase is actually somehow mentally punishing herself for being a rouged-up hussy. Or she has stockholm's for Sheriam. "She beat me so hard, I loved it!" Kinky... hope Tallanvor is in for that.

Perhaps it is because of my man-ness here, but I still don't think of Mat as "wuvvy dovy" underneath, nor did I ever think of Han Solo as such (she a thread or two ago when I mentioned it). They are just badasses that aren't complete bastards and know where the line is that even they won't cross. (hides his hairy chest and its powerful thinking powers of power).

I think my love of Faile is partly in that I don't really care for Perrin. He has his moments, but he is more emo than Richard Rahl half the time, and I think he needs someone like Faile that is willing to hit him with a stick when he deserves it. Heck, even when Faile is being a complete bitch, I was often more annoyed with Perrin over it, cause she is really just trying to goad him into being a man anyway. She likes it kinky... Morgase style! I am seeing a trend developing amongst Randland noblewomen....

Oh, and on the balefire not been used, then how did you learn it. As I said earlier (and yes I am an engineer to who asked), I think Balefire is a really simple weave, like a bolen knot. You can learn it without much trouble at all. Problem is, critical mass for ignition is fairly high, thus even if all Aes Sedai knew it, very few would have even been able to weave it (kind like gateways/skimming/travelling later).
mark Proctor
24. mark-p
From what Mat and Thom saw in the message, Elaine said virtually nothing so why did she think that it would stop her mother getting angry if she left again?

What is the deal with Morgase's whole, "I miss Sheriam's study" bit. I think it is a code of some sort, based on the fact that no one in the White Tower likes being sent to Sheriam's study, but I can't figure out what.

They didn't think she had much chance of becoming an Aes Sedai and was there because of her political connections. So maybe Morgase wasn't treated in the same way most novices were.
But now I have written that, I think she could have been trying to pass on some sort of message. I'll have to have another look at that passage.
25. sotgnomen
"Tell her that I often think of my own time there, and miss the quiet talks with Sheriam in her study. Tell her that I said that, Thom Grinwell."

I never noticed this in the book, but here it distinctly seems off.
Looks almost like Morgase has a moment of clarity here(triggered by the use of Thom's name, we can fantasize;P). First she suddenly speaks up, stopping Gaebril from putting mat to the question. Then she looks straight at Mat and says the above quote.
Quiet talks in Sheriams office? Really?

To pull anotherone from Firefly; "Talked about peaole we never met, conversations that never happened. It simply said "They're hurting us. Get me out""

Maybe Morgase too sensed that Mat's story didnt quite fit, and made sure he got out safely with a distress-call back to the tower...

Or maybe I'm overanalyzing:P
26. sotgnomen
right, this is what happens when you take too long posting here. someone beat me to it with the code-theory! Dagnabbit!
27. Githraine
R.Fife @ 23
Great theory, but still does not explain how Moiraine, BA, leave-as-little-to-chance-as-possible Moiraine would have this nifty new weave and NEVER tested it?
Just does not make sense!
Richard Fife
28. R.Fife
Mark-p: Morgase studied at the WT before she knew she was going to be queen, and actually left because of the Succession (and cause the Aes Sedai knew she was worthless). She was a regular ol' Novice that happened to be the head of house Trakand, so I'm sure Sheriam strapped her bottom as much as Elayne's.

If you had a nuke, and you could only test it by standing next to it, but the person who gave it to you said "don't worry, it won't hurt", would you? Or would you save the weapon as a last ditch "Dear god I hope this works" tactic?
29. RobMRobM
Wow, actually taking time to get in on fun during the day of Leigh's post - I'm impressed with myself!

40. Commentary is crisp and to the point. Only other point to make is Thom's realization that something is not quite right in Morgase-land and, thus, with Morgase herself. Subtly builds the point that becomes important later on that she is under compulsion and not in her right mind rather than just lovesick.

41. Of course Min told Moiraine about her visions of Perrin - Moraine's first move in Baerlon was to hunt down Min. And Leigh - "All that being said, I must reluctantly admit that the trope is a somewhat legitimate method of dealing with two very strong-willed characters, at least one of whom is coming to terms with the knowledge that they are being forced into, essentially, a prophetically arranged marriage" - is exactly correct and beautifully put. She may be tweaking him a bit but he is doing it back (by refusing to call her Faile, among other bits). I don't see this as "Hate is so Twue Love" but more as a form of gentle needling that serves as a form of flirting and later develops into a true romance.

42. No comment except that I love the bit in post-post commentary that the grey men/womena are the most incompetent assassins ever.

43. No comment - nice summary and points, Leigh.

44. Query whether the Mat scene is designed to give post-hoc justification for Rand's virtually identical visit from darkfriends a few chapters ago that triggered his preemptive attack on the woman leader. I think so.

I'm still trying to figure out where Moiraine learned the weave for balefire? From her visit with the two sisters in TGH?

45. Love the cook's comment re Tigrane - but I don't recall that comparison being made in EOTW at all. My re-read it up to TSR and I don't think it's textually clear yet that Rand's mom was Tigrane - that came in one of the later books, in the discussion with someone (Dyellin?) in Camelyn. Also - shout out for Basel Gill, one of the cooler minor characters in the series.

46. Good old Tallavor, showing the mixed side of his character (loyal to Morgase but bit of a jerk) that makes we wonder whether he deserves to ride off into the sunset with Morgase at end of AMOL. As I've noted to ad nauseum levels in EOTW posts, I don't think he's good enough for her, so I see him as buying a dirt patch in AMOL, leaving Morgase to find someone more worthy of her....

And re Gaebril, it is too early in the story to understand that the Foresaken are all free and the different ways they choose to establish themselves in Randland. Very interesting theme once it become apparent (three become rulers; Lanfear goes after Rand; Moggie starts trying to find stuff tht will prove useful to her down the line (starting in Tanchico); Grendeal sets up her harem in Arad Domani; Semirhage head's off to mess with the Seanchan; and Demandred -- what the heck is he doing? One of biggest mysteries of the entire series? (Don't know what Asmo is doing either before he heads over to Rhuidien in next book.)

mark Proctor
30. mark-p
sotgnomen , I like that idea and put it down to ta’verenyness as well

R.Fife thanks, I was starting to think the facts didn't quite fit what I wrote, but couldn't quite remember the timing.
31. Toryx
Faile irritated the bejesus out of me when I first read the book, lo so many years ago and it took me a while to balance my admiration for Perrin (always my favorite of the three men) and my hatred for her, and his inability to deal with her effectively.

As I recall, I laughed my ass off when Faile heard the comment about the Horn.

I do know that I realized Gaebril was a Forsaken from the start on my first reading. And though I had been enjoying Mat a lot since he'd been freed of the dagger, it was the chapter where he finally got in to see Morgase that really raised my admiration for him.

Much as I enjoy Gill here, he got on my nerves a lot when he later helps Morgase flee. Offered a choice between my least favorite characters, Morgase and Elayne would be a tough choice.
Richard Fife
32. R.Fife
Oh, here is a random thought I just had. How does Moiraine know it is Sammael in particular, and not just "a Forsaken/Dreadlord". They often times hammer home the point that aside from named and one or two vague sayings, people don't know crap about crap about the Forsaken (and still manage to make scary bedtime stories with them). So, I have to wonder what made Moiraine so certain that Illian was under Sammy. Especially since the knowledge of Sammy owning Illian plays major into Rand's plans and ideas through the next couple books, and I can't recall if Lanfear also confirmed it in TSR.
33. toryx
Re: the possibility of Morgase using "Code" in her message to Thom.

I like the general idea behind it, but I don't think so. People are forgetting, I think, that the Mistress of Novices doesn't just punish people in her office. She also welcomes new novices and probably acted as both a teacher and a counselor to the women training in the tower. I've always thought of her as the Dumbledore of the White Tower, albeit less wise and inclined to beat the hell out of people when they got in trouble.
34. Randalator

Sheriam was still a Novice when Morgase had already left the White Tower. She got raised to the Shawl about the same time as Moiraine and Siuan which was after the Aiel War and thus at least a year or two after Tigraine vanished.

So there are several possibilities:

1. Jordan messed up.
He messed up Alanna's age so why not Sheriam's too?

2. Morgase names Sheriam because Elayne knows her as MoN
Possible but shaky. It would have been more reasonable if she had just said "Mistress of Novices" instead of "Sheriam" if she had been worried Elayne might not catch her drift.

3. Morgase sends a hidden message
"I'm talking nonsense River-style so would you please use your brain and realize that something's wrong? Help me child! Also bring pizza!"
35. hummingbird
That is always how I took the code.

Only those who knew about visits to the study would recognize that it was a misplaced reference, and only those who knew it was a misplaced reference needed to know that help was needed post haste.

And not to be picky... but what is up with the blog listing not reflecting the newest posts? Thank the light someone had mentioned looking at the sidebar, else Id be two posts behind.
36. hummingbird
Umm never mind. Its there now.
37. hoping to be of the blood
I found it odd that Gaebril discusses the other forsaken and their plots with comar, a mere human underling. I guess he had to in order for Mat to overhear and get sparked to go to Tear.

Some of the forsaken seem to have a great effect on the cities they control, Sammael in Ilian, Be'lal in Tear, and, iirc, Rahvin in Caemlyn. They put out alot of evil ju-ju vibes either via dreams or some other method. Both Loial and Moraine sense it without dreams.

It must be intentional, rather than a side effect of their presence, and part of the way they consolidate control since we don't see asmo or semi have these effects with their charges.
lanyo lanyo
38. lanyo
ok. i must be some kind of idiot. what does easing the badger mean, and why does it always, ALWAYS make wot posters giggle????
i think faile is only mildly annoying. of course, she's the reason perrin gets super annoying by getting herself all kidnapped.
i also thought the forsaken let their dreams go unshielded to the masses because it helps inspire awe for them the quick way. they can't put out political ads on tv, they just let the common people dream big dreams of them
39. Lsana
One general point: Perrin/Faile is not a "prophetically arranged marriage." Not even close. Perrin knows that Min saw a falcon around him, so his meeting with Faile is somehow important. There are a lot of ways that meetings can be important (Mat's meeting Aludra was pretty important). Perrin is no more fated by prophesy to marry Faile than he is fated by prophesy to marry Berelaine or Gaul.

The only characters whose marriage is determined by prophesy are Mat and Tuon. And maybe Aviendha, though I don't think so.

@34 Randalator,

Didn't realize that Sheriam wasn't Aes Sedai when Morgase was there. Although that actually brings up another possibility: if Sheriam was raised at about the same time Morgase and Suian were, she would most likely have been Accepted at the time Morgase was there. And since the Accepted teach novice classes, it is possible that Sheriam did have some sort of "study" where she taught her classes, and Morgase liked to hang out there with her sometimes.

Alternatively, getting the Mistress of Novices wrong could be further evidence for that she's going for, "Asking about Fluffy, the dog you don't have? You know, the universal code for, 'I'm being held prisoner, send help!'"
40. Effervescent
In chapter 42, we found out why it is so hard for the ta'veren boys to talk to Moiraine; she sees them as tool for her own personal crusade. It isn't until her walk through the Tear doorway that she starts to realize they are tools, but not hers...they are the creator's sword, bow and hammer. But even then, we have to wait for her Aiel Acceptatron walk for her to treat them as humans, if not equal. Its funny, but that marks the time where I start to really like her character.

Chapter 45 is DEFINITELY where those of us who love Matrim are paid our due. I remember the first time I read this, where I was completely jealous of Mat's luck.

I have to ask, though, in regards to "Gaebril's" private conversation: why did he not ward it? We know from just about ever channeler that the weave is super easy, and unless you are a channeler yourself, you won't even know why you can't hear what's being said. I cannot imagine a scenerio where Gaebril would not care if someone overheard him plotting to kill the daughter-heir.
Scott Sherris
41. ssherris
What's so funny about shtick being a real word?
Richard Fife
42. R.Fife
I think it is the same reason offered above for why they don't ward their dreams. Plain ol' contempt and arrogance. He has gotten so in the habit already of looking down his nose on these pathetic 3rd agers that he doesn't think to. If anyone speaks out against him, he can just compell them to say "wait, no, I lied, haha!" and then have Morgase behead them.

As to the Forsaken turning cities they own into complete gloom-towns, in the WoWOT guide, it mentions the governing tactics of the forsaken as much as their warfare (if not moreso), and in general they want to turn places into soviet russia. With both their inciteful and hateful rhetoric to the masses (remember how much Lord Brend goes on about the evils of Aes Sedai) to their evil, twisted dreams filtering out the masses. All makes for oppressing their subjects with depression. Someone, put Prozac in the water!

Oh, and Easing the Badger kinda confuses me too. I get that it is supposed to be implied as a lewd comment (Like the nighttime ride or whatever that bar in Lugard was called), but Easing the Badger is actually just part of the sport of hearding badgers out of their dins and killing them. Perhaps since it is a silver shovel, you are easing a woman into liking you (jewels and baubles and trinkets), with intent of making her another notch on your belt? Iunno.
43. RebelLives
Another fun posting. I can't believe I actually caught up with the chapters and am now a little ahead.

I have actually always liked Faile. I think just because I believe if I met her I might be attracted to her. I surprised more people have not had at least one time in their lives that you ended up attracted to a person who completely annoyed you at first. Not to imply anything because I don't know, but maybe Jordan was writing from experience with this instance.

At this point I see Moiraine as someone who feels like they are losing control and for a Blue Ajah that is the scariest thing in the world. Blue Ajah = Type A personalities. Just a theory but maybe Moiraine learned while she was visiting the old Aes Sedai reading about prophecies.

I know that one my first read, I did not think of Gaebril as a Forsaken.
Heather Johnson
44. HeatherJ
On Mat in general, I remember reading this part for the very first time (this is one of the few parts that I remember from my first read) and thinking that Mat was totally and completely awesome. He’s sexy, confidant, dangerous, lucky, and he even has a soft spot that he pretends isn’t there … what’s not to like?!

@17 – thank you! I thought I was the only big Faile fan. She never really gets on my nerves (other than the Ways things, but everyone has their flaws …) and I think her relationship with Perrin is quite believable. I’ve said it before, but they remind me of my parents.

@38 - thanks for asking, 'cause I don't get it either - I always thought I was being particularly dense here ...
45. AlleyGirl
I remember realizing that Gaebril was a forsaken on first read, but had no idea which one. I still have trouble keeping them straight after 20+ re-reads, lol.
NO idea how Moiraine knew which one was in Illian though. Going to have to search and see if that has been discussed before somewhere.

@30 Lsana

LOL @ Fluffy/terminator reference

I agree that it was likely code, just no idea for what!
46. Zeynep
Commenting as I read.

Mat's self-denial about being a Good Guy ("Bloody children's crying was getting on my nerves, that's all.") will never stop being hilarious and touching at the same time, no matter how many times I read that section.

(Heh. I had never noticed how snarky that chapter title really was. But of course, you are right.)

One thing I remember very vividly about this entire book was how scared it made me of the Forsaken. Moiraine and company's reactions to Sammael in Illian and Be'lal in Tear got the message across so beautifully and strongly that, I am sorry to say, at least Sammael never lived up to his hype with me, as it were.

The description of Gray Men being slipped in here (and the way it will be slipped into the description of Rand's room at the beginning of The Shadow Rising) is pure artistry aimed at us speed-readers---I literally had to go back and reread the previous sentences in either case to "see" the Gray Man/Men, which is precisely how Jordan describes them to be perceptible, so in conclusion, awesome bits of mini-perception-manipulations.

About Moiraine thinking having ta'veren would help Siuan: Yes, I guess at this point she still thinks it might work. She's decided that Rand is too strongly ta'veren for that kind of planning to work with him, but the other two, she still thinks there is a chance. Way, way later, she is even vindicated a little bit when the Wondergirls finally wake up and
use Mat's ta'verenness in Ebou Dar.

The first time I read tDR "that bloody garden wall again" meant nothing to me. The next time, after I had read tEotW, that was a laugh-out-loud moment. "The quiet talks with Sheriam in her study" was another. Morgase can be sly, too.

There are a very few clues in Rahv^WGaebril's dialogue as to what he is---when talking to Comar he says something like "are everyone in this time incompetent idiots?" and later he says to Mat "see the world before it changes" (emphasis mine) when he pays Mat. But those are very faint; definitely next-time-read clues.
Blake Engholm
47. UncrownedKing
To elaborate on R.Fife's point:

Why don't we get a Mo POV on her "secret mission that even Lan can't follow her on" scene? Is it to emit a sense of suspense (makes sense because it does) or what? I also never understood how she arrived at the "Sammael is Lord So'n'So, ruler of the Illian realm".

Also this is the second time where Mo goes off and does her own thing and we have literally know clue what shes doing. (first time being after the library in TGH)

Alex Wahlgren
48. Black-Veiled_Alex
God dammit I spend all day thinking of things I could say to make me look smart and I come home to find them all taken! Bastards!
I feel lonely knowing no one has posted a comment for over an hour =(
So since everything worthwhile has been taken, heres something pointless of no consequence that I wondered about today. K so if you balefire a wall or something, only the part you touched with the balefire goes away, not the whole wall. This makes since. You balefire a person and they go away which I'm also willing to go with. But what about there clothes? Shouldn't there clothes be there with holes in them, and all there jewelery clang to the ground?
49. Mark-S
RE: Morgase's message

When the girls got back from Falme, They were all punished to work in the kitchens, however right after dispensing this punishment Suian commissions the Black Ajah hunt, but not before sending Elayne to Sheriam's study. Did Suian accomplish two things with this dismissal: #1 Getting Egg, & Ninny alone and #2 getting Elayne to Sheriam without raising any eyebrows?
Maggie M
50. Eswana
@ Randalator 34
My money's on Theory #2. Maybe just because I don't like knowing that RJ can mess up.

As for Theory #3:
Also, I can kill you with my brain.

@ Black-Veiled_Alex
It's worth wondering about, I'd say. Your theory about walls certainly holds true when Rand goes nuts with balefire vs. Rahvin in tFoH (eg, chunks of the Royal Palace walls/columns go missing, not the whole wall or column). So... I'm not sure about clothes/etc. Maybe they're in such close proximity to the balefire that they get fried in the backwash? Eh?
Alex Wahlgren
51. Black-Veiled_Alex
well wait.... I forgot that was in TAR... Is there an example in the real world?
52. Randalator
Hm, I think this thread got officially hijacked by Browncoats. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee...!

Uh, mine is an evil wheeeeeeeeeeeeee...just so we're clear.
54. PieterT

Was there not a little trick to balefire that it erased stuff, like it never existed at all. It would be a bit strange for half a palace wall never to have existed, would it not? You would expect someone to think 'Am I missing something here'
Alex Wahlgren
55. Black-Veiled_Alex
My point was just that there clothes shoulda stayed.
56. PieterT
My theory, since the person who got the clothes is completely removed from the pattern, the event when he bought the clothes also is erased. So the clothes are gone with him.
Alex Wahlgren
57. Black-Veiled_Alex
hey good point.
Be pretty confusing for someone who's hairdresser just got balefired.
58. michaelt
Here are my thoughts on a few of the topcis being discussed.

1) Morgase's memory starts getting destroyed by being Compulsed for so long/so often (Hmm, is this how the Dagger made Mat lose his memories? Was it Compulsing him? Probably not, but interesting...). When she talks to Lini before escaping she thought she had been visiting her all the time. I think her statement about Sheriam was the product of losing her memory. A clue to those in the know, but not intentional.

2) I recall that there were stories about Sammael having a scar he got from LTT (but that I could have gotten that from other Forsaken, and not a "known" reference). If so, once she figured that there was a Forsaken who was ruling as Lord Brend, anything as simple as seeing a painting of him could have told her which one.

3) When Sorilea and Cadsuane team up, Sorilea shows her the weave used to Travel. She doesn't actually use the weave (she doesn't have the strength), but she does show her how to do it. Moiraine could have learned balefire the same way. Someone (Adeleas or Vandene?) could have shown her the weave, without actually using it, thus avoiding an Oath violation.

And, because I haven't said this yet, Thanks for doing this Leigh. It is tremendous fun (although my wife wishes you would stop so she can have her husband back).
59. Randalator

That's not how balefire works. It erases existence and actions of the balefired backwards in time from the moment of balefiring. How far back in time depends on the strength of the weave. The farthest we've seen on screen (Rahvin) was maybe about half an hour and that was done by one of the strongest if not THE strongest channeler putting in all his angreal-amplified strength. So there has to be another reason for vanishing clothes...

Personally I think that balefire has to do with threads in the pattern. The threads are made of people and their actions and decisions. So when balefire hits a human being it burns a thread of the Pattern. And part of that thread is the decision what to wear or not to wear on that day. So it not only burns the person but also the clothes etc. he or she was wearing because it's all an aspect of that one thread.

Inanimate objects are not threads in the pattern so they just cease to exist wherever they are hit because there are no tie-ins so to speak.
Maggie M
60. Eswana
@ Black Veiled Alex 53
Browncoat: n. 1. A dedicated fan of the masterful Joss Whedon series Firefly, which was canceled by Fox after only one season (a crime against good television). 2. A nickname for the Independent Faction, those who fought against the Alliance in the Unification War 3. Awesome people who wear coats that are brown or were on sale, such as Captain Malcolm Reynolds of Firefly class ship Serenity.

Okay, sorry. I'm laying all my geek cards out on the table...
Brad Moore
62. servantcbm
re: Perrin's Falcon

I don't recall exactly where it is, but Perrin told Moiraine himself about Min's viewings after one of his wolfdreams.
Brad Moore
63. servantcbm
michaelt @58;

3) Sorilea was taught by Egwene how to Travel, we don't find that out until Winter's Heart, but it's mentioned there that Eg was meeting and teaching the Wise Ones to repay them for their teaching and some kind of 'toh.
Robert Garza
64. FunBob
Yeah, Leigh!

@ most, Morgase mentioning quiet talks with Sheriam as a clue that something was wrong. This was Morgase trying to escape because she inherently knew she was being compulsed. I think it was Rahvin with the compulsed Aes Sedai who told Comar that there were people who were so strong in themselves that they constantly sought a way out of being compulsed, because they knew their actions weren't right. Morgase was giving Thom Grinwell, aka Matt, a clue that all was not right at the Palace. Rahvin often complained that he had to use A LOT of compulsion to keep Morgase under his thumb - this is why.

Later alls...
65. Randalator
re: Moiraine and balefire

Balefire is not one of the lost Talents. On the list of stolen objects Egwene gets from Verin there is a note saying that the black fluted rod produces balefire and is impossible to control.

So the weave is known but not usually taught and a sufficient amount of digging will eventually lead you to Balefire 101.

Also Moiraine saying that it hadn't been used in almost two thousand years could just mean that it hadn't been used for its intended purpose i.e. zapping crap from existence. If she meant "use" in the sense of using balefire as means to an end then firing holes in the air for training purposes wouldn't fall under that and her statement would still be technically true.

It's all about internal reasoning with the oaths.
James Hogan
66. Sonofthunder
It took me long enough, but I've finally signed up here, after following your reread from midway through TGH. Just wanted to thank you so much, Leigh, for your great work on these!!! I read WoT for the first time this past year and will be doing my own reread eventually...but in the meantime, these make me very happy!!

And about this section of chapters...Mat's always been one of my favorite characters and these chapters show why! He's not perfect, but he's sure a heck of a lot more tolerable than most of the other characters...*coughFailecoughcough*

Oh and a random note...when I first started reading TDR, I figured it'd be all about Rand, seeing the cover and the title. I was proved QUITE wrong. Actually, I don't really care for Rand at all post's sort of sad actually.
67. Rebecca Starr
Not much to add since you all are on top of it, but a few notes o' my own

Ch 40
I love the nod here to both ships that the Supergirls are on - Mat having passed the first one still tied up on a mudflat, and seeing a "bluff-bowed ship with square sails, still wallowing along well to the north" which is surely their second boat, on its way to Tear.

Ch 41
no I don't like her, but I do always chuckle at Faile's use of "shaggy-hair" here

Ch 42
I agree with you Leigh, and zeynep@46 - RJ is particularly genius at writing about Gray Men, making it almost as impossible for us readers to see sentences about them as it is for people in the books to visually see them. I always have to go back and read the sentence over, too.

also yes, the Forsaken here=Scary. On my first read, I really thought Moiraine might have been heading off to her death.

one point that doesn't ring any bells in my memory: Neida rambles on about how the people who bring supplies to Illian's soldiers say they are looking north to Murandy, not to Tear, as one would expect. What was Sammael's plan with that? Does it ever come to fruition?

Ch 43
anyone else ever feel great sadness at the wolf name for Darkhounds - Shadowbrothers? It makes it so poignant that they still see them as kin, only horribly and irrevocably lost and twisted.

the last paragraph of this chapter is one of RJ's finest chapter endings of the whole lot. chills

Ch 44
I agree; it is infinitely satisfying when Faile learns the Horn has been found and sounded

Ch 45
um, Met awesome. nothin' more

Ch 46
Sheriam... hmmm... I seem to recall learning that this was a typo in 2 senses. A) because Morgase didn't go to the Tower as the Daughter-Heir, because, well, she wasn't, but that fact seems to be mangled in this memory. and B) Sheriam wasn't yet the MoNster. So I've always chalked this sentence up to a typo, but the *meaning* of it seems clear: Morgase is remembering Aes Sedai, and the power of Tar Valon, and the comfort of that, which signals that what's left of her true brain is struggling against Rahvin's compulsion and sending a cry for help to Mat.
68. Egglie
I never spotted that Morgase's comment was off, which I should have done because I have read new Spring so I know that Sheriam was not AS yet when morgase was in the tower.

I would like to point out however that when this book was published New Spring had not even been written - do we actually know at this point how old Sheriam is? I don't think we do. so if it is a code its a bit rubbish. (well, it still works for the characters in the story but the reader wouldn't know so why bother?)

Or is there some other mention of Sheriams age that I have forgotten? Do we know she was accepted with Moiraine and Siuan? I really can't remember it being mentioned, just that moraine is friends with her and tells someone (the inn keeper in Baerlon?) to contact her for help at some point.

I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong here :-)
69. Randalator
Rebecca Starr@67

What's that with the daughter-heir mistake? The whole chapter doesn't once mention Morgase ever being daughter-heir.
Maggie M
70. Eswana
@ Randalator 69

I *think* (just guessing) that this "mistake" refers to a few non-aligning bits of info.
1) Daughter-Heirs always study at the White Tower
2) Morgase studied at the WT
3) But Morgase wasn't Daughter-Heir when she was at the WT; she was just in line to be High Seat of House Trakand. We know this because at some point she says or thinks that she was quickly recalled from her studies in the Tower when her mother died so she (Morgase) could continue the fight for the throne during the war of succession (b/c of Tigraine's disappearance)
4) So do High Seats of House Trakand have a tradition of studying at the Tower too? Or did Morgase just go because she wanted to be Aes Sedai?
5) or is this an actual mistake? (ie RJ hadn't yet written Morgase's backstory at this point? etc)

(also, slightly unrelated- did Tigraine ever go to the Tower? She was Daughter-Heir, after all...)
Agnes Kormendi
71. tapsi
"Tell her that I often think of my own time there, and miss the quiet talks with Sheriam in her study. Tell her that I said that, Thom Grinwell."

I always took that as a rather severe threat of punishment... the kind of thing I would expect my mother to say if I managed to make her angry by repeatedly putting myself in danger.

It doesn't really matter that Sheriam wasn't Mistress of Novices when Morgase was in Tar Valon, because she is now, and an old MoN's name wouldn't mean anything to Elayne. Also, it is possible that Morgase doesn't want to say "MoN" and shame her daughter by publicly stating she should be punished, so she hides the threat by using Sheriam's name instead of her title.
72. Randalator

I just looked it up: In TFoH, ch. 19 Morgase remembers her time in the Tower.

By tradition, the Daughter-Heir of Andor always trained in the Tower, and in recognition of Andor's long support of the Tower was given the ring whether or not she could channel. She had only been the heir to House Trakand in the Tower, but they gave it to her anyway once the Rose Crown was on her head.

So that was not a mistake. For some reason or another Morgase went to the White Tower to be trained by Aes Sedai.

There was however a mistake in ACoS, ch. 22 where Elayne thinks that the only reason her mother wasn't sent away almost immediately was the fact that Morgase was Daughter-Heir. This has been corrected in later editions to Morgase being the heir to a strong house.
Richard Fife
73. R.Fife
Rebecca Starr@67:
At the time, Tear was under forsaken control. And while there is no prohibition on forsaken trying to take eachother out, I think the DO would somewhat frown on them waging war on eachother when there are still unconquered kingdoms nearby.

Yes, Tigraine was at the white tower, and meet a certain AS with foretelling that sent her haring off into the Waste.
74. michaelt
Wasn't Gitara Sedai the advisor to Tigraine's mother when Tigraine ran off?
Richard Fife
75. R.Fife
Actually, upon looking, I stand corrected. Gitara did not become Keeper until a year after Tigraine disappeared. Although, if Tigraine was old enough to marry and bear a child, she would probably have been old enough to have already gone to the tower for her couple of months, been told to bugger off, and given a ring.
John Massey
76. subwoofer
Hi Leigh! Good times again!
Liking the start of Tallanvor's touchy feely towards his queen.
The Perrin-Faile thing has its moments, but personally if I wake up and there is a girl in the room watching me sleep- there would at LEAST be a long talk about personal space and boundaries and maybe a 200 yard restraining order- maybe its just me.
“He blew it? Someone has found it already?” ha! Sucka!
Hopper- WOOF! -The Last Hunt comes. Hopper is a great character that offers Perrin as much guidance as Elyas Machera about becoming a wolf brother and about navigating the wolf dream.
Best bit in all of this was Thom foaming at the mouth when Mat ( Mal is cool but c’mon, Han Solo is the original- he set the bar) starts buggering around with fireworks....
“I am not afraid, you mud-footed swineherd,” Thom said with elaborate dignity. “I am shaking with rage because I’m travelling with a goat-brained lout who might kill the pair of us because he cannot think past his own—“
Ah, memories..........
John Massey
77. subwoofer
Okay, Okay! It depends on the girl to.....Megan Fox oki doki... Meg Griffin... not so much.
78. Effervescent
72. Randalator
Nice footwork there. I will say that Morgase would have been a great sul'dam, since she CAN channel, though only a spark at a time. Channeling a spark, though, IS still channeling.

When I look back on these books (Thanks again, Leigh), I distinctly remember liking Elayne more than I do now. The last 2 books of pouting, tantrums, and stupid decisions (mixed with brilliant ones, I'll give her that much) had made me forget Elayne was a cool character.

RJ seemed to have had two minds for Elayne... one was a aristocrat with a heart of gold, a genuine do-gooder who acted "below her station" because it was the right thing to do. The other was the same ol' high end, elitist bitch of a princess. The first...say 6 books...she is the former. But when she got back home, we see a different side of her, and acts the latter most of the time.

There is an old saying (paraphrasing) if you really want to know who a person is, see what (s)he is like at home. This has left me wondering which Elayne RJ like (and decided on) more. I'm hoping that if it is the elitist princess, we see less and less of her...
79. danielleaiel
I detest Faile. I did during my initial reading of WOT and more so now. She is a pyscho! Between her abrasive comments, constant verbal abuse and selfishness what does Perrin see in Her?? I really wish he had thrown her off the boat that first night. Also, what's the deal with hitting him all the time? If anything he was always on his way to becoming a battered husband. This was always an unlikable relationship for me. Can I really be the only one who has rooted for Berelain over the years?
John Massey
80. subwoofer
@79, nope you are not the only one rooting for Berelain... love is blind, and deaf and dumb in this for the assault and battery, back in the day when kids were kids, if you wanted to show someone you care, you smack them one. The more you like them, the more you abuse them... okay, its only a theory and kids will be kids... but seeing the way that Faile's parents slap each other around, I'd say it was learned behavior and it seems to be cultural too.
81. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
I'm puzzled about the Forsaken not shielding their dreams. If it was a simple matter to shield them, why don't they? They're basically broadcasting the fact that they've taken control of a particular city if Moiraine's explanation is any indication. Besides, if they're asleep, and dreaming, wouldn't they be vulnerable to other Forsaken? I suppose your explanation, Leigh of their arrogance in thinking they're safe is correct. Asmodean didn't seem to affect others when Rand etal met him later on in the Waste. And the forsaken who do this are all more powerful than Asmodean, so maybe Asmodean simply didn't want to advertise the way others did.

Btw, I'm not so sure that Perrin's wolfdreams were abandoned afterwards. I thought he was using them to access the wolfnet in TLoC. And there was that near brush with hypothermia when Faile was captured and he woke up in Berelain's tent.

Now Faile's beginning to see a glimpse of exactly how deep the trouble she's entangled herself in is. The names of both the Dragon Reborn and the sounder of the Horn of Valere dropped in a single exchange. One of the Forsaken sending darkhounds. Not to mention the resident Aes Sedai using something forbidden and not used in two thousand years. Her reaction to the Horn being found and blown is hilarious. She doesn't become truly annoying until Tear and the Two Rivers campaign.

And finally, Mat meets and gambles against one of the Forsaken, as prophesied. Oh and Tallanvor, Morgase, Lamgwin and Basel all reappear. For good.

Rikka @15
Don't worry about the 'let's go adventuring because I'm going to be in a story!' thing. Faile gets over it in Tear. Downside is she starts concentrating on sinking her claws into Perrin. Yes the Tower has banned balefire. Apparently Rand and Nynaeve weren't included in the distribution list when the ban was sent out. And Han Solo in his tight, tight, Corellian bloodstriped pants. Everybody's favorite royalty-marrying scoundrel. Yes, he's in it for the money. And I also like Tallanvor. LOL about that bloody garden wall again. Nothing like a good old fashioned soldier with a thing for his only slightly older queen. Mush Mush.

ZamIt @16
Errr... I didn't really realize everybody thought Rand looked like Tigraine. At least not until Elayne mentioned it. And the Andor lords started looking odd at him. Nobody really mentioned it in Rand's first trip through Caemlyn.

Lsana @18
Good read on Morgase's thoughts. I never really connected it like that since her cognitive powers had obviously been squashed by Compulsion. OH and I do associate with the changing lyrics thing. Believable if you ask me.

Githraine @21
Good question. How DID Moiraine come to know how to weave balefire?

RobMRobM @29
Umm... Actually I happen to think it's Morgase who doesn't deserve Tallanvor. After all, Tallanvor literally moved heaven and earth for her. From getting her out of the palace and Gaebril's clutches to finding Perrin the Seanchan support to free her from the Shaido. What did she ever do as thanks? Treat him like dirt. A lot of times. Phaw! He should buy a dirt patch and find a girl more deserving of HIM.

R. Fife @32
Good question. How does Moiraine pinpoint Sammael? It's one of those few things that RJ just consigned to some hand-waving. It couldn't have been by description. We know how unreliable descriptions are. Even considering the extremely remote possibility that some description survived in some archive somewhere. Besides the smartest and most experienced Aes Sedai don't even recognize Semirhage when they meet her in KoD. Somewhere off-scene, apparently, Moiraine got a levelup that allows her to do these things in Illian.

lanyo @38
I'm not so sure either. But best I can figure is you ease it in, then out. I can't really get any more specific. (giggle)

Lsana @39
Good point. I hadn't really taken note of Morgase's dialogue here. I always figured them for the ramblings of the lobotomized.

Effervescent @40
Yep. Moiraine tries to use them until Rand finally gives her no choice but to swear to him. Then she gets better. As for Gaebril's private conversation, who would have heard? Other darkfriends? By this time, Gaebril had consolidated his power base among the palace staff and soldiers. Most of the palace armsmen by now were his own privately recruited White Lion darkfriends. Everybody else was either under compulsion or so cowed they might as well be.

Black-Veiled_Alex @48
Balefire also has effects on inanimate objects, although not quite as dramatic as that on living flesh. It actually acts like a high-intensity blowtorch. Leaves a smooth, glassy finish where it passed through. That's for larger objects like walls and pillars. More power will burn through the part it touches. With smooth glassy finish at the edges. Smaller items like jars simply disappear. Examples are in the Caemlyn palace where Rand chased Gaebril before the latter took the battle into TAR, and the Panarch's palace in Tanchico where the Black Ajah used a balefire ter-angreal. I suppose it's enough to vaporize smaller items like clothing or jewelry. Or, as Eswana @50 says, maybe fry them in the backwash.
82. sinfulcashew
“They have knives!” he roared, and threw the cheese platter at them.

For some obscure reason this is my fav. quote so far.
Life in a nutshell.
83. sinfulcashew
I keep forgetting to post the real pronunciation
of trollocs = trawl-ox.(my spelling)
No trolls here!
I 'happened' to see it in the glossary.
I used to read it just to find out how to say -read- the different names, etc.
Still get some wrong though.
84. Rebecca Starr
Eswana@70, yes you summed up my thinking on the Daughter-Heir issue exactly!
85. jafco
Leigh - great stuff again, plus the last set.

I'm on and off on Faile - here she's cool. Definitely brash (hey a little princess who runs away from home, travels 2000 miles, joins the Hunt for the Horn, travels more, maybe fights Aiel, recognizes what she sees, etc.) for sure. She overdoes some stuff later on, but there is always her recognition that Perrin can wreak some really interesting stuff if and when she can get his butt into gear (he's the lug nut in their marital exercise more often than not). She really rises to exert command over two erstwhile queens later when captured by the Shaido.

Mat never ceases to please. Lots of endearing character-building in these chapters. I thought it genius that he used the name "Thom" when addressing Morgase - that clearly got through to her. She was roused enough to instruct him to take a message to Elayne (although it's unclear whether the message was in fact accurate - she never had a MoN-novice meeting with Sheriam. Is this an uncorrected error?).

Aludra is a sweetie. She shows up again and again - the Mother of Matches and of Modern Warfare - with her and Mat playing kissy-face down in Ebou Dar (where, as we know, everything goes). He/she could have done worse.
LT Tortora
86. Lucubratrix
...Nope, still don't like Faile. I remember the first time I read TDR, hoping against hope that she would go away. I mean, yes, she's young and immature, and clearly likes likes Perrin from the beginning, but personally I'd be creeped out if anyone started following me like that, puppy love or not. She's certainly memorable, though.

I don't think Morgase was trying to send a coded distress call via Mat. I'm more inclined to believe that there was a little bit of an in-joke going on there--"quiet talks in the study" with the Mistress of Novices? The queen is hardly going to tell the young farmboy that she used to get switched....

Also, I've always liked Tallanvor.

And Easing the Badger... heh. Whatever it's meant to mean, it just sounds like something from that euphemism generator website. Sort of like Juilin's interrogation technique later on, where the questioner makes no threats, but simply asks for various odd and innocuous items, and the guilty party imagines all the creative ways those items might be used for some sort of horrible torture. We're not told Easing the Badger is a euphemism for anything, but it seems like it should be, and we come up with all sorts of smutty interpretations.
87. rynners
Rebecca Starr @67

I've always loved the wolf names for just about everything. Since their naming scheme is essentially to call something by a series of descriptors and associative terms, I find that they're not only poetic but can give the reader a sort of additional insight into the nature of different characters and types of Shadowspawn.

subwoofer @76

"This isn't fear. This is anger."
"Well, hard to tell, face like yours."
"I imagine if it were fear my eyes would be wider."

And, while I'm already showing the brownness of my coat, I'd like to point out that I always sort of likened the Faile/Perrin interaction as a more fleshed out version of the (unseen) Zoe/Wash backstory. Somehow, they manage to get from "He bothers me." all the way to "We'll be in our bunk." over the time they're together on the ship. Perhaps it's just easier to deal with since we don't have to see it unfold ourselves, with all the getting-to-know-you-ness and clashes and needling that undoubtably went on.

Per the later posts re: people rooting for Berelain, I really can't say I'd like that any better myself. She has her own stalkerish and manipulative way about her. Sometimes she hardly treats Perrin like a person at all, just someone to serve her own ends/needs/etc. At other (mostly later) times she seems to have his best interest in mind to some degree, but her methods aren't always so hot. Who knows, perhaps she sees some benefit to turning a large portion of Perrin's followers against him for thinking he's an adulterous, callous lout, or perhaps she's just having her fun. Hard to say. In any event, I always read the Perrin v hawk and falcon subplot as an interesting exercise in male/female dynamics. It's also a way to play two conscious manipulators against each other as they try to steer the same person to their own goals, and can lead to intrigue when sometimes those goals are the same, and at other times, they're not.

On the Morgase code/not code point, I think it's a case where the source material can be read in any number of ways. Because later Morgase-centric plotlines never revisit this statement, or even seem to indicate that she's actively seeking WT intervention, Elayne's help, etc, it's open to interpretation. It's an interesting point of debate, and certainly cool to hear everyone's take on it, but ultimately, I think it's equally plausible that she's asking for help or just showing signs of mental collapse from being over-Compulsed.

I admit it's possible that we'll see her reunited with Elayne in AMoL and get some reference to whether she received a coded message, but I suspect that's unlikely. A) At that point, so much will have changed that it's probably largely irrelevant. B) A lot of time will have passed, both in-book and in real life, and it would be a fairly obscure thing to mention after all that. C) Morgase suffered a lot of mental deterioration while under Rahvin's thrall, so she may not even recall making the statement. D) If she does recall, she may, quite naturally, assume that "Thom" was truthful and unlikely to return to the WT.

Anyhoo, that's all I've got to say for the time being. Thanks again to Leigh for some great recapping, and also thanks to all the commenters, who almost never fail to illuminate new points for me. Great job, all!
88. birgit
Unswerving adherence to a code of honor is nice in theory, but it makes me very uneasy in practice; not least because absolutes of any stripe tend to blow up in your face sooner or later.

Galad is always doing the right thing, and that is why everybody hates him.

Enter Tallanvor! Yay! (did we meet him earlier, when Rand was in Camelyn? I forget).

Yes, Tallanvor was the leader of the soldiers Galad called when Rand fell into the garden.

I think Morgase's comment about Sheriam is a coded threat that Elayne should behave or she will be punished. Sheriam wasn't Mistress of Novices when Morgase was at the Tower, but she probably knows that she is now. She just doesn't want to say plainly what she means in front of a farmboy (and Gaebril?). Elayne says that she is forbidden to even mention that she is a princess, so the AS won't treat Morgase special who is just a noble at the time. Morgase went to the Tower because the wanted to learn to channel, not to be educated as a princess. She was never daughter-heir and only gained her throne in the Succession war.

My theory, since the person who got the clothes is completely removed from the pattern, the event when he bought the clothes also is erased. So the clothes are gone with him.

The thread is only erased back a certain time depending on the strength of the balefire, so it would have to be strong balefire and recently bought clothes.
89. RobMRobM
Alreadymad@81. Heckuva post, and we think alike on several of the points you've made (e.g., that Tigraine connection wasn't mentioned in EOTW). Re Tallanvor, simple fact is that he doesn't measure up to Morgase's former flames. Despite some good attributes, especially loyalty, he is not written by RJ in the cool/heroic/larger than life manner of someone like Thom or Gareth Byrne. Moreover, Tallanvor clearly isn't on Morgase's level as built up by RJ - heroic queen from the EOTW throne scene; described by Thom as the best "stones" player he's played with, which (we're told) correllates strongly with generalship; described by several as being perhaps even more beautiful than Elayne. My gut is that having them end up together at the end won't feel like a happy ending, and I tend to go with my gut. Note that I agree strongly with your point that Tallanvor may well do better with someone else but he won't do that and that's going to enhance the tragedy in AMOL. Rob
90. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
RobMRobM @89
Tallanvor may not have much in terms of PR or background. But he's come through for Morgase where it counts. A little gratitude would be fine. But no, for most of the rest of the series Morgase actually looks down her nose at him. Like the queen she no longer was.
Ofer Nave
91. odigity
So, after the WoT re-read, we're doing a Firefly re-watch... right, Leigh?
Richard Fife
92. R.Fife
*looks at Odigity and others... sneaks off to Hulu to do a Firefly.. um... watch* Lemme alone! I keep meaning to watch it, but, well... yeah. I saw Serenity, does that count?

Anywho, just a thought. Morgase is always described (as usual in RJ's world) as being really pretty. (If their not pretty, they are typically Laras). So, I have to wonder, did her minimal ability with Saidar and the fact that she still does occasionally attempt to embrace it Slow her? I believe it has been shown that if strength does affect how long you live, it isn't by much. Several of the kin are super old and not all that strong, right?
Blake Engholm
93. UncrownedKing
Ok, so I am going to be way off topic and jump ahead three books but if someone could answer this for me or point me in the right direction:

I am reading LoC and just came to the chapter where Mat meets/saves Oliver. I don't remember the importance of Oliver, is it ever revieled? Is he important at all? Am I making stuff up?? Its been a long long time since I read LoC.

Can't wait for the next post tomorrow Leigh.
Ofer Nave
94. odigity
As of the latest book (KoD), there is still no evidence of Olver's importance - beyond being simply a cool little kid. No, he is not Gaidal Cain. No, Birgitte is not going to get all pedobear with him. And based on the math in Moiraine's letter, he won't be part of the rescue. So, all clues point to him simply being a color character, as opposed to a plot character.
95. Lsana
@32 R.Fife,

I have an idea on how Moiraine realized it was Sammael in particular: we know from the interactions with Moggy and Liandrin that the Forsaken will use their "Forsaken names" in order to terrify Darkfriends into doing what they want. If Sammael is plotting something here (and he seems to be), he could very easily have needed to reveal himself to someone, and Moiraine, skilled eavesdropper that she is, could have overheard.

@70 Eswana,

At some point, Elayne mentions that a lot of the Andoran noble houses send their daughters to be trained in the Tower. She says that other nations do too, but they don't advertise it to the same extent. I get the impression that most of the tower novices are there for the education, not because they have the potential to be Aes Sedai.

@78 Effervescent,

Actually, Morgase would have been a damane, not a sul'dam. She has the spark, even if only slightly, so she'd have been collared in the initial hunt.

@87 rynners,

Whether there was supposed to be a message or not in the whole "Sheriam's study" business is something that we'll never know. Morgase's brain is so fried that I doubt she would remember sending it, and Mat was so distracted by other things (like hearing a plot to kill the supergirls) that he forgot about the message and never delivered it. So it will forever remain speculation fodder.
96. blight
I always thought that Olver was there to keep Mats'/Thoms'/Noal's mind on the snakes and foxes since almost everytime he's in a scene it mentions them playing it and since imo the game is based on the old interactions with the snakes and foxes it makes sense that the rules of the game will be important to them when the got to rescue Mo
lanyo lanyo
97. lanyo
thanks 86. Lucubratrix, i kinda wondered if it was an "i'm gonna laugh and pretend i get it, since everyone else gets it" and really, EVERYONE is pretending, and no one knows for sure, it's just our dirty minds dwelling in the gutters so long

also,92. R.Fife: the firefly series is *always* going on sale. plus, if you're ever in san diego, i know a guy who buys them up when they are on sale, so he can give them to the uninitiated. really, it's that fun.
Blake Engholm
98. UncrownedKing
Congrats on winning the caption contest R.Fife!

loved the caption.
99. David-2
Since someone mentioned Olver: Now there's a character that's even more annoying than Faile.

blight@96 - you're probably right - he's there to give up the vital clues about the snakes&foxes game and the Tower of Genji. Now that he's done that in KoD can we please not see him again in AMoL?

I guess a secondary reason for him to be there is so that all women can twit Mat about his "mistreatment" of Olver - which is especially irritating as so far as I can tell Olver is having the time of his life in a great childhood, and is certainly better off for Mat having adopted him.

And if there is anything in the books more repetitive than Nynaeve's braid-pulling it has to be Olver's ugliness.

All in all, one of the most annoying minor characters of the series.
Richard Fife
100. R.Fife
Honestly, Olver doesn't bother me that much. Perhaps he isn't "plot critical", but I love his usage for humanizing Mat, or as Leigh might put it, making him all "gushy lovable and cuddly, like teddy bear."

And thank you Uncrowned, it really made up for the rejection letter I got from an agent today seeing that I won. There were lots of good entries, and I was sweating bullets, so to speak, for a while there.
Richard Fife
102. R.Fife
we crossed the streams, odigity, sorry. It was the post-apocolpyic caption contest. It's on the main page. *slinks back into the shadows*
103. David-2
R.Fife - my congratulations too - very inspired entry!
Blake Engholm
104. UncrownedKing
also, on the subject of LoC, did the prologue havve to be 72 pages?? (thats in my recently purchased paperback version) Good God Almighty.
Blake Engholm
105. UncrownedKing
also, on the subject of LoC, did the prologue havve to be 72 pages?? (thats in my recently purchased paperback version) Good God Almighty.
107. Randalator

Is it mentioned in the books that Morgase is a Sparker?

I can't remember if there is or not but I remember Morgase saying she couldn't even find the True Source most times much less touch it. I think when you're destined to touch the True Source whether you want it or not it is somewhat anticlimactic to discover that "bad luck, you can't".

So I was always under the impression that being a Sparker came with a certain minimum of strength and Morgase was just the weakest possible Learner.
108. Lsana
@107 Randalator,

In TSR, Elayne mentions that she couldn't sense the spark in Eaganin (sp?), and she would have been able to, "Even if it were as weak as it was in her own mother." I'm pretty sure that's what led me to believe that Morgase was a sparker, though a weak one. Of course, it's possible that A) I misinterpretted the passage and Elayne didn't mean to say Morgase had the spark, or B) Elayne is wrong.

And yeah, it would pretty much suck to be a sparker without much strength.
109. Tonybere
Hi Leigh, good job again.

I am dumbfounded that I didn't pick up on the oddity of Morgase's possibly coded message to "Thom Grinwell." I would say you are on to something there. Good work, Scoobies!

Has anyone noticed that from here to Tear Mat keeps mentioning his "wager" with Comar, but here at the start of the plotline there is no mention of it? I don't have my book with me, but I have checked on this before and could find no reference of it.

I know I am getting ahead here, but as soon as Aludra was mentioned I started wondering again what the answer to the bellfounder riddle is. Anyone?

Also, Morgase is one of the most disappointing characters to me. She is supposed to be one of Andor's greatest queens, but she does precious little once she is "on screen."
110. blight
@109 she needs a bellfounder to make a larger lofting tube aka cannon
111. Lsana
@109 Tonybere,

It's in the next chapter where Mat decides to think of his race to rescue the girls as a bet. Mat asks Master Gill to hold the purse Gaebril gave him on the grounds that they are "stakes" in the wager.
Richard Fife
112. R.Fife

Mat doesn't make the wager official until he is back at The Queen's Blessing. He has Master Gill hold the money, iirc, and says its a wager with Gaebril.
DURN YOU LSANA! *shakes fist old man style*
113. Randalator

TSR, ch. 46
"You seem very interested in Aes Sedai," Elayne said. "I cannot sense the ability in you, but perhaps you can learn to channel."

Egeanin almost dropped her porcelain cup. "It . . . can be learned? I did not . . . No. No, I do not want to . . . to learn."

That was the only passage I could find on the quick. No sparkage here. Could this be a corrected mistake or are there other passages that I haven't found yet?
114. Lsana
@113 Randalator,

That does look like the passage that I'm remembering. Only I remember another sentence in there about Morgase. I'll look it up in my copy once I get home and see if I totally made it up. Just out of curiousity, is your copy an older one or a newer one?

@112 R.Fife,

You watch your language with me, or I'll sniff at you and tug my braid. I may even glare.
Richard Fife
115. R.Fife
Agh, a man can't even make a flaming response to some sheep-gutted blood and bloody ashes post, and he gets his flaming ear torn off and...

ah, bags and double bags (ack, crossing the streams again).
Brett Michie
116. bchurch

Is "ack" a subtle Bill the Cat reference?

And congrats on winning the challenge.
117. Wetlander
Re: Olver, I've always assumed that RJ wrote him in as a handy way to bring in things that wouldn't fit well coming from the other characters. Snakes & Foxes is a children's game that you can't win if you play by the rules, and most people stop playing it once they figure that out. However, the game somehow reflects a lot of the truth about the 'Finn and provides clues they will need in AMOL to rescue Moiraine (as noted above). So... we get all the clues through Olver's favorite game. He's also handy to tie in the racing thing, give connections to lots of different women, and (as also noted above) throw yet another light on Mat's character.

Speaking of Mat and browncoats, I keep seeing him as this funny mix of Mal, Wash and Jayne. "Reluctant Hero" "Deadpan Snarker" and "Well of course I'm going to bring my best weapon. I'm not stupid!"

Let's hear it for the browncoats.
118. Randalator

It's a newer edition (Orbit paperback, 2007).
119. LetsRollTheDice
I'm highly dissapointed you hadn't got a reference to St. Patricks Day in your intro...for God's've had French, English and even Old English stuck into your intro's, and on the eve of Paddy's day you don't even make an attempt.
I ain't impressed.
I suppose I should point out that I'm writing this post at 9.30pm Irish time on the 17th March, after about 10 pints of...Guinness..what else..that's how addicated to this blog I am!
Hope the spelling and grammer isn't too dodgy.


PS Who believes in Leprauchauns? Ah be gaaaraaluuhe
120. RobMRobM
Lsana @95 and others. One of the things I like about RJ is every once in a while he has a character do something and not give any explanation how it's done, leaving it a mystery w beaucoup room for speculation. The Moiraine hunt for Sammael's name is one of them. (Asmo death is of course another.) Given the level of danger she is voicing, my strong guess is that her plan is to get physically in or very close to where "Lord Brend" lives. Whether she then tries to use her blue stone to overhear him or one of his close minions; or whether she has some other trick up her sleeve (illegal compulsion on one of his minions?) is left to the imagination. I like it.

Re all the Morgase haters out there - the criticism is understandable but overstated. RJ dealt her a bad hand - compelled by a Foresaken, then stuck in the hands of the whitecloaks, then in hiding with Perrin. She did have the wisdom/courage to renounce her throne and avoid binding her country and Elayne to a bad deal and then to escape. I believe it is likely she'll have opportunities to redeem herself in AMOL (and if she doesn't we'll just blame it on that Brandon guy who didn't read RJ's notes closely enough LOL).

By the way, I'm from the camp that the Morgase message to "Thom" was not a particularly hidden one other than that it is a mild joke referencing that youngish people in the Tower tended to have to spend some quality time with the Mistress of Novices. People should also remember that Elaida spent most of her time in Camelyn until less than a year before the present day, so Morgase would be well aware that one of her old fellow students was the WT disciplinarian. Not a sign of mental collape or a code for a help, but a cute little joke to her AS in training daughter. But I can understand the interest of the alternative

Finally, re Berelain, I liked her as a character but not her psycho chasing after Perrin even after he was married to Faile. I do believe that her efforts stemmed from the TSR scene where she swore an "Ogier's oath" to Faile that she would chase after him. I guess she kept it, but pretty extreme effort for married guy who didn't show her any interest and in the middle of plans for Tarmon Gaidon.

Alex Wahlgren
121. Black-Veiled_Alex
On Berelain, I don't think she'd take Perrin even if he came to his senses and dumped Faile. Maybe if Faile dies or something (crosses fingers) but she'd never 'steal' him from her. It's just a game, a way to have some fun. Maybe not at first, when she was just acting a noble who expects to get what she wants, but now she's just having some fun.
On a side note I just read the end of Dragon Reborn
and she comes out a lot more noblish- nobley- nobel-.... bratty then she does in the rest of the series
Brad Moore
122. servantcbm
Concerning Olver

I'd not caught it before this re-read, but I believe that Olver may be Gaidal Cain. He certainly fits the description, and Birgitte's description of the time distortion between TAR and the real world allow for it to be true.

I could be wrong, but we'll see, maybe.

Re: Morgase;

I like Morgase, bad hand dealt and all, my personal hope is that she will be installed as Regent of Andor while Elayne is off with Rand and Co. at TG.
Ofer Nave
123. odigity
He's not Gaidal Cain. Gaidal Cain is currently an infant. He'll have plenty of fun in the decades/centuries of chaos *after* T'G. Till then, he needs to be fed every two hours.
124. renegade 248
@122 servantcbm: I believe RJ has said in a book signing or on his blog that Olver is NOT Gaidal Cain.

Love the chapter with Mat and the fireworks. That is one of the funniest chapters in the whole series I believe, and it is Thom that makes it funny really, with his lines. I believe the audible version of this chapter is great, and I love it when Thom says "I do not care why there was no bang, do not do that again". Pretty funny scene.

Great re-cap as always Leigh, and can't wait for tomorrows re-read.
125. Randalator
Just for the record: I need a Berelain of my own.

I mean, a hot sex-crazed, powerful and intelligent babe hunting you...what's not to like?
Ofer Nave
126. odigity
Randalator@125: Can she hammer a six inch spike through a cuendillar board with the one power? A guy's gotta have his standards.
127. Odigity@126
I don't care because I'll be the only one doing the hammering (yes I went there, sue me)...
128. Randalator
Crap, now I'm not even capable of putting my name in the right box. Stupid hot chicks who make men think with the hair on their chest. I need to talk to Rand/Mat/Perrin...they know how to handle this stuff.
129. rynners
Randalator @ 128

They always were so much better at talking to girls than the rest of us. They make it look so effortless. Why doesn't it come easily to me like it does to them, I ask you. In fact, I'll ask you again, and again, and several more times just to reinforce the point. Did I mention those guys are smooth? They are. Way smoother than I could ever hope to be in three lifetimes.
130. Rikka
you know the WoTers are getting bored when this crap starts up. It's like chanting "feed me" only slightly more subtle.


looking forward to tomorrow's post :D
131. Aiel1219
oooo.... I'm sooo late.... damn my practical exams.... NEhoe...
Since I think anything I wud've commented on is already commented to death I'll just say a big AAAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW for Rikka...
and gr8 job as usual Leigh.
(Am sure almost no one will read this since it's so close to wednesday for u guys.... actually wednesday for me...)
132. shintemaster
I'm pretty sure Olver is not Gaidal Cain... but we're going back a while to when I actually read the Olver parts - I'm at Lord of Chaos so I'll let you know soon :). One point though, I don't think age has anything to do with. I remember multiple references to time running differently in TAR. One day in the real world can seem like 7 days in TAR, one 'hour' in TAR can be 10 months in the real world. Pretty sure Birgitte states this at least once and possibly others. To me the fact that Gaidal Cain dissappeared only relatively recently in TAR doesn't preclude him being a suitable age in the real world.
Richard Fife
133. R.Fife
I had misread a comment and commented all stupid like...

I wish Moiraine was here, she could always make a vague, snide comment better than me. She's so smooth.

Now, to not be subtle... Feed me, seymore, feed me all night long!
Blake Engholm
134. UncrownedKing
Just a thought:

Everyone is convinced Oliver isn't Cain, because RJ said it a few times. Is he incapable of lieing?
I would lie through my teeth to send my readers off the wrong path and then shock them out of their shoes when the book came out. Plus I think it would be completely and totally hilarious for the writer.
135. AlleyGirl
@134 UncrownedKing

I think the things he said straight out are generally true. One of the main reasons I agree is that Olver is too old to be G.C. He would be still only a baby or toddler.
136. AlleyGirl
As for the TAR time distortion issue, our experience with that up through KOD shows it to be only a matter of days or weeks difference but not enough difference to go from an infant to an 8 yr old (or however old Olver is supposed to be). I just don't buy it.
137. SteelBlaidd
Late, late, late. (sigh)

Only thing I have to add is that I figured out why Faile has such a hard time figuring out that Perin doesn't know how to play Saldian Rules Wedded Bliss.

It's because up until they actually get married he seems to be keeping up his end(23 to 17 and pulling away). The best example is their fight after the Bubble of Evil(tm) in tSR.

Regarding is attraction for her I get the feeling that Perrin was the guy that all the girls in Two Rivers thought of as a "good friend." Having a girl interested in HIM is a new thing. Additionally he is hyper aware of needing to "not squish the puny humans" because he's the biggest and the strongest (he can't help it he doesn't even exercise). Faile lets him get out of that head space and unload in a safe manner. Some thing that he needs as he is more passionate and violent as a side effect of being a Wolfbrother.

After all it takes real big brass ones to go around telling off Aes Sedai, and kicking Whitecloak/Grayman ass better than a warder. ;)

Re Morgase/Tallanvor part of her treatment of him is the result of having compleatly failed at her last FOUR relationships.
Count them
Damodred: Planed to assassinate her & take over the kingdom.
Thom: Threatened him with the headsman after a big fight.
Gareth Bryne: Threw him over for-
Lord Gabrel: Who she thinks she let lead her around by the nose and take over her kingdom (She doesn't know he was Forsaken and used compulsion on her).

Even She thinks Tallenvor is to good for her.
138. Randalator

Q: Is Olver Gaidal Cain?
RJ: No. I didn't really think that this would last as long as it has. The timing is wrong. He has another reason for being there besides being a red herring, though.

Q: He's too old.
RJ: Yes. Time in T'A'R and the real world run at different rates, but it never runs backwards. You may spend an hour in T'A'R, and a day has passed when you get back, or you may spend a day, and an hour has passed when you get back, but you'll never go in on Tuesday and come back on Monday.

Wheel of Time FAQ


He could have been lying but a) that's a great way to seriously piss off a loyal fanbase, b) he has never been caught lying to fans, instead giving RAFO when he wanted to keep us guessing wildly and c) it would be screwing with the rules he set for his world.

If it were possible to enter TAR and come out before you even entered "it could create a time paradox, the results of which could cause a chain reaction that would unravel the very fabric of the space-time continuum and destroy the entire universe." (in the words of the brilliant Doc Brown). And I don't see Moghediens A, B and C running around in Randland which should be the case if TAR screwed with time that way...

Interesting side note: If it did what would happen to someone who dreamed himself into TAR when it was in reverse gear. The mind would be transported back in time but the body would stay where it is which can't be good for your health.

I think the Wise Ones would have mentioned that little something to Egwene...
139. Lsana
@113 Randalator,

I checked my book, and the passage there is the same as in yours. So either I completely made up the bit about Elayne saying she would have been able to sense the spark even if it were as weak as Morgase's (and though I have done that at times, I really don't think I did it in this case), or I'm confusing it with some other time Elayne tries to sense the spark in someone and fails. Either way, I withdraw the assertion about Morgase having the spark until I find my evidence.

Case dismissed without prejudice. I may refile charges at a later date.
Elroy Skimms
140. elroyskimms
SteelBlaidd @ 137

because 's the biggest and the strongest (he can't help it he doesn't even exercise).

Took me a minute to figure out why I read that comment in the voice of Andre the Giant... well played.

Sleep well, and dream of large women.

141. Cobblestones
Two comments:

1) Morgase does not seem to recognize Mat's Two River accent, or does she? Maybe Mat has lost his accent together with his memories? Maybe Morgase does recognize it, but she doesn't tell?

2) If Elayne and Morgase ever meet in MoL, what would they say:

Morgase: Did this Thom fellow ever send you my regards?
Elayne: Mom, you're creepy.
Blake Engholm
142. UncrownedKing

HAHA That's what it was!! Great movie.

Inigo: Fezzik, are there rocks ahead?
Fezzik: If there are, we all be dead.
Vizzini: No more rhyming now, I mean it.
Fezzik: Anybody want a peanut?
143. Tonybere
Any idea what time the new blog is going up? There is precious little chance of me getting any work done - Damn St. Patrick's Day, my head is killing me!
Richard Fife
144. R.Fife
Miracle Max: Go away or I'm calling the brute squad
Fezzik: I'm on the brute squad
Miracle Max: You are the brute squad!


I... really don't have anything to add.
145. rynners
I've created this miracle pill that will keep us all on point with WoT comments, even as time passes and we become impatient for the next post. The chocolate coating makes it go down easier.... Will it work? It would take a miracle.
146. Sidetrack'd
Somewhat like tapsi@71 says, I always had a much more benign take on Morgase's Sheriam reference. Morgase and Mat were just discussing Elayne's "saucy tongue", something sure to land a Novice a trip to Sheriam's study. I think Morgase was simply sending Elayne the message, covertly, that she should behave or she's gonna get beat. Kind of the "wait until we got home" parental vibe, ya know? Could be the coded cry-for-help, though. Dunno...

Randalator@52 - You can't take the sky from me...

PieterT@54 - Balefire specifically burns "threads" (read "human lives") out of the Pattern. The way the world in WoT has been explained to us, palace walls/etc can't be 'burned out' in the same manner since they're not really "threads" in the Pattern like people. Inanimate stuff just gets obliterated/erased/nuked from that moment on, I guess.

Alex@55 - Maybe the clothes go too because they are 'attached' to the person as they are moving through the Pattern? :-/

alreadymad@81 - Asmodean didn't seem to affect others when Rand et al met him later on in the Waste.
We learned at some point that Asmo was the bard/artist type, whose whole goal in joining the shadow was immortality and eternity to create music (music, right?). So, he's not so stark-raving-power-hungry that he dreams obsessively about this or that to give him more mojo than the other Forsaken.

birgit@88 - Unswerving adherence...Galad is always doing the right thing, and that is why everybody hates him.

Thanks! (I knew someone would say this before I got through the comments.) And ditto, with the thoughts on Morgase's Sheriam reference...

odigity@91 - LOL

R.Fife@92 - buy Firefly on your way home. call in sick for tomorrow. do not sleep until you've watched it all the way through. then watch Serenity again. consider lack of sleep your punishment for watching Serenity first. Serenity^? when you know the whole story beforehand...

lanyo@97 - i know a guy who buys them up when they are on sale, so he can give them to the uninitiated. really, it's that fun.

Been there, done that - like to share Firefly as much as I like to share WoT. I've given at least three Firefly sets as gifts, and I'm working on a paperback set of WoT books to set up a third vict... friend. ;-)

odigity@123 & AlleyGirl@135 - I still think the wheel can spin out its heroes as something other than infants. Olver is a prime candidate for this scenario - a random orphan with no confirmed past who just lands in the right place at the right time. In spite of RJ's statement to the contrary, there are still some serious parallels between the two chars that are hard to get past. Can't help but wonder why he did that, then...

And, yeah, there's a time-flow difference between T'A'R and reality, but we've never been given any indication that T'A'R's timeflow isn't still linear - don't know the exact order offhand, but if Olver showed up before Gaidal dropped out of T'A'R, then there's no way...
d'oh, thank you for citing, Randalator@138...

odigity@126 - ROFL @ "Real Genius" reference - that movie never comes up 'round here (real-world).

Randalator@128 - I need to talk to Rand/Mat/Perrin...they know how to handle this stuff.

again, more ROFL

new post up, but dropping this in anyway - had to "say" it to get through catching up from ~two posts behind.
147. Egglie
No one will read this probably but whilst we are on the subject of sheriam and how long she has been MoN . . .

Does anyone else out there think its odd how many of the major AS positions of authority are taken up by one particular generation of sisters and they are all too young. The Amyrlin, the keeper, the MoN and the emissary to the queen of andor were all in training together (although Elida is a little ahead but not much) They have barely been AS for 20yrs. Were there no other, more experienced sisters available for these jobs? Clearly we know that there were so why were they not appointed? So much is made of Siuan being too young but no one ever mentions the others. Is it normal for an amyrlin to appoint her mates to be keeper and MoN? You would think someone else in TarValon would have some ambition.
148. thxdsai
@147 Egglie

Is it normal for an amyrlin to appoint her mates to be keeper and MoN? You would think someone else in TarValon would have some ambition.

I feel that the problem is not that anyone lacks ambition, but has more to do with the lack of actual Aes Sedai in the white tower. The class that you're speaking about where considered amoung the strongest in generations with the One Power (saidar).

Even counting accepted and novices, the books lead me to believe that there may only be a very small handful of (maybe 50 in all) women who can channel at all. Most of them are barely able to embrace the true source, nevermind channeling a ball of light.

Since Aes Sadai submitt themselves to those stronger in the One Power then themselves, it leads me to conclude that it was only natural for them step into the posistions they did.

It also may bear mentioning that alot of political manuevering could have been done done while they were all accepted. Heck it seems likely to me that certain Aes Sedai from the prevous generations may have had influence in events as well. Aes Sedai are said to have invented the game of houses.
Richard Fife
149. R.Fife
I think it is more politics, but also, I know the Keeper is selected by the newly raised Amy, and the MoN might be as well. Would make sense. The pres selects the VP (granted prior to election...) and the Secretary of Education.

Also, I think the number of Full Aes Sedai is put somewhere around 1000 in later books. I recall that there being 500 Asha'man put the black tower at half the white tower strength.
150. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
Randalator @125
You and me both. Heck, I'll learn how to do ornamental ironwork.

SteelBlaidd @137
YEP. Tallanvor is definitely too good for Morgase.
151. CraigVal

You skipped over the scene where after checking into "Easing of the Badger" Perrin checks out the local blacksmith shop with Faile shadowing behind to see what he was up to. To me thia was an important and memorable scene (and it would seem only to me as no one else has callled you on it--maybe because I'm an engineer)

First it establishes that Perrin is an accomplished blacksmith at the Master Blacksmith level. And second it impresses Faile that this is no yahoo hick but he is really a very, very good blacksmith
152. birgit
Morgase does not seem to recognize Mat's Two River accent, or does she? Maybe Mat has lost his accent together with his memories? Maybe Morgase does recognize it, but she doesn't tell?

Mat says he is from a village near Baerlon. The accent there probably resembles that of the Two Rivers enough that it seems plausible to Morgase.
Richard Fife
153. R.Fife
CraigVal@151: I am sure you have realized since, but just to say, the blacksmith scene is in Tear, not Illian.
154. Lsana
@147 Egglie,

Out of story, I put it down to "Prequel Syndrome," the desire to cram as many characters from the main story into a prequel as possible whether or not it really makes any sense for them to be there (see C3PO/Phantom Menace and Chewbacca/Revenge of the Sith). Hence, just about all the important Aes Sedai were Accepted with Moiraine and Suian.

In story, though, I'm not sure it's that hard to justify. We have Suian's story. Morgase picked Elaida, after Elaida essentially picked herself by staying glued to Morgase's side. Mistress of Novices is probably not all that prestigious a position--more like being a high school principle than anything else--so it doesn't seem unreasonable that a young Sheriam got stuck with...I mean was given the honor of being able to shape those young minds. The only one that seems a little odd to me is Leane, and if the Keeper is usually selected by the Amyrlin (@149 R.Fife: do you have a citation for that?), then she fits as well.
Richard Fife
155. R.Fife
Hrm... actually no. I could have sworn it was there, mentioned in either Elaida's thoughts (in reference to Alvarin and how Elaida needed Alv as Keeper cause Alv was so closely tied to Elaida's success), or during the selection of Sheriam as Egwene's Keeper, yet encyclopaedia-wot says the HofT selects the Keeper for life, usually from the same Ajah as the Amy. Doesn't quite mesh that it's a for life positon though, since it is basically the Amy's personal secretary.
156. Randalator

During my own re-read I think that I stumbled over the passage you referred to concerning sensing another woman's strength. It's in ACoS, ch. 22 Small Sacrifices

Maybe Setalle Anan had gone to the Tower as a girl, though she would not have remained long, since she clearly could not channel. Elayne would have known even if her ability had been as small as her own mother's, and Morgase Trakand had had an ability so small she would have been sent away in a matter of weeks probably, had she not been heir to a strong House.

Though this doesn't solve the initial problem. It doesn't say that Morgase is a Sparker but it's not sufficient proof that she isn't either.

It seems that a woman can sense the Spark in another woman but not the ability to learn (TSR, ch. 46). When a woman has already started to channel (thus "activated" her initial potential) another female channeler will always be able to tell her current strength (obvious strength hiding tricks aside).

So Morgase could still be either, Sparker or Learner. I prefer to think she's a learner, though, because being such a crappy Sparker really takes the beauty out of the concept...
Thanks to whomever: I have discovered 'Firefly'.
I will now withdraw my law of no role casting!

Mal Reynolds=Mallan Mandreynoldorian=(can you see where I am going with this?)

Now I will withdraw back into my cave of darkness and no cableness to continue viewing the shows on Hulu.
But, I may return at a later date!(MMMHHHHAAAHHHAAAA!)
small font=did that sound evil enough?
158. birgit
The only one that seems a little odd to me is Leane, and if the Keeper is usually selected by the Amyrlin (@149 R.Fife: do you have a citation for that?), then she fits as well.

New Spring, Chapter 14: Changes, p. 197:
"A new Amyrlin chose her own Keeper, of course, and could choose a new Mistress of Novices if she wished. Sierin had done both. Oddly, Amira, the stocky woman whose long beaded braids flailed as she worked the birch with a will, was a Red, and so was the Keeper, Duhara. Neither law nor custom demanded that either Keeper or Mistress of Novices be of the Amyrlin's former Ajah, but it was expected. But then, whispers told of considerable surprise when Sierin had chosen the Grey over the Red."

Is Sierin Black? Maybe the BA told her to choose Grey instead of Red because they had a shortage of BA in the Grey Ajah.
159. Erdrick
Several things came to mind while trudging through the comments. rynners @87 reminded me of Berelain's wicked games, and I see her and Galad as a total mismatch. This is assuming Galad is the "man in white" that Min sees in Berelain's aura.

Next, all this talk about Gaidal Cain makes me wonder about Birgitte and their age difference. We know the warder bond gives warders many health benefits, but does it also make them live longer? I mean, do they age slower (like Aes Sedai, though perhaps to a lesser degree)? Just wondering.

The last thing I want to add is my support to Sidetrack'd's recommendation that R.Fife track down the Firefly series then re-watch Serenity. It will be a totally different experience, and totally worth it.
160. AnnOnimous
Well, maybe someone will read this and comment... I had to find my book and catch up and now I've gotta find the NEXT one and catch up again, thanks a lot anyway, I DO have a point here...

That purse that Mat gets from Gaebril and gives to Basel to hold on to because he has a bet... Did "Gaebril" 'mark' those coins like Moraine did those coins she gave the boys at the very very beginning? Maybe to see if he really did go back to his little flyspeck village? Doesn't Master Gill run into hard times before they all go off on their adventure?

I can't say how many times I've re-read these books, and this JUST hit me on this re-read... GAAAAAHHHH
Richard Fife
161. R.Fife
I'm about halfway through watching Firefly on hulu, and my coworker has the DVDs that include the 2 unaired eps (so he says), so I will be fully indoctrinated soon.
162. gagecreedlives
Just wanted to add I love how Mat describes Elayne has having a saucy tongue but when they start hanging out together in the later books, Elayne really starts paying attention to what Mat says so she can learn new naughty words. Even if she doesnt understand them.
Kram Dratta
163. KramDratta
Chapter 45

"...As he stood, he picked up the dice cup and spun the dice out beside the stones board for luck. The calico cat leaped down, hissing at him with her back arched. The five spotted dice came to rest, each showing a single pip..."

This question has been bugging me no end. Dogs sense Aes Sedai (something to do with saidar) and cats have something similar to Asha'man (as explained later on by someone in the Black Tower)

Is the above quote a red herring or am I missing something?
Richard Fife
164. R.Fife
I think the cat was just angry that he spun the dice nearby. My cats freak when I toss something within 10 feet of where they're sleeping.

But yeah, cat's hate male channelers, and dogs hate female channelers. Even more reason for dogs to be the man's pet, etc.
165. Rtodd
RE comments @38, @42, et al:

"ok. i must be some kind of idiot. what does easing the badger mean, and why does it always, ALWAYS make wot posters giggle????"

I ran a Google and most of the hits related to the inn.

One included the quote from TGH when Domon goes there, and the text says that no one, even the owner knew what the name meant, just that "there had always been an inn of the name in Illian."

A possible intended reference might be to "the old badger game" where a married man is set up to be caught in a compromising position with a woman, for the purpose of blackmail. In that context, "easing the badger" could imply that the inn has prostitutes and that it might be easy to arrange to catch someone "in the act" for blackmail.

I did find the following in a thread on politics: (specifically on Obama, but I don't want to go there. Off topic here and I didn't really check the context of the overall thread.)

"The people and their governors/rulers over time become accustomed to easing the rules and eventually that works up to easing the badger (cheating without ever really saying so and degrading the whole social structure)."

Obviously the actual source of the given definition is unknown to me.

However, with that in mind, a reference to the Badger Game led to the Wikipedia article on Badger Baiting, wherein dogs were sent into artificial badger holes (located in taverns!!!) to fight badgers. Apparently the idea was to pull the dog out of the hole after it grabbed the badger with its teeth (then the bettors could watch the fight) . From the article I infer that "easing the badger" out of his hole (using the shovel???) may have been a bending of the rules to put less emphasis on the dog's ability to get to the badger in the hole, and more on the actual fight once it was in view.
166. cornichon
Super late. Hope someone will see this. Do we ever find out who sent the Gray Men after Perrin in Illian? Are we supposed to assume it was Rahvin since he's the next Forsaken we meet? I just looked back at his conversation with his underling, and they only really talk about Elayne and the rest of the SuperGirls. Thanks.
167. ansuz76
@ 52
Yay for Browncoats! The hero of Cairen, the man they called Mat!
168. Mattthebrad
Does anyone know how Moiraine keeps identifying the Forsaken as heads of cities?
joel perry
169. finndo
18. Lsana
Ch. 46:

What is the deal with Morgase's whole, "I miss Sheriam's study" bit. I think it is a code of some sort, based on the fact that no one in the White Tower likes being sent to Sheriam's study, but I can't figure out what. I can think of only two possibilities:

1. Morgase is sending a veiled threat to Elayne. It's not appropriate to tell "Thom Grinwell" to threaten Elayne, but she's letting her know, "Whatever Sheriam did to you for running away, you'll wish for more of it before I'm through with you."

2. Morgase is sending for help, "Looking for a way out without even knowing that she's trapped," as Rahvin phrases it later. The message is, "I'm in so much trouble here, I would rather be in Sheriam's study if it means a chance to get away."

I’m thinking a cry for help, since it occurs shortly after Morgase claims to be willing to forget the earlier transgressions of Elayne, so it is not suggestive of her wishing punishment on her daughter. FYI, I do not believe this message was ever delivered, nor mentioned again…

21. Githraine
And my big point, Moiraine refers to Balefire as “Something not used in nearly two thousand years."

So how did she learn it? How did she even know she could weave it if, by the Oath, IT HAD NOT BEEN USED to her knowledge, unqualified, in nearly 2000 years?

We have no other reference to being able to learn a weave from a book or the like, and what are the odds she would not have at least tried it to make sure she had it right? RJ slip on the Oath?

I’m thinking it was just an “oopsie” that never got caught.

40. Effervescent
In regards to “Gaebril's” private conversation, I think a bit of a superiority complex pretty much covers your answer. You have to realize the forsaken have come from the AoL to this time, where almost no one can channel. It is almost as if the Dark One has already won to them. The only things (in their minds) they have to worry about are a couple of “children” running around playing at being “Aes Sedai” and LTT too. So what does he have to fear? If someone over hears him, he has them tortured to see what they know, then kills them and the one who tortured them. They really are able to rule over certain parts of the world, by just walking right in the front door.

Ok, as for the Matrim and Perrin being Ta’veren and Aes Sedai using them, if they are “captured” and held, say in the White tower, and their “Ta’veren-ness” is not enough to get them out, would not the Wheel remove their “Ta’veren-ness” and make someone else a Ta’veren? I mean it has been said many times, the pattern does what it has to in order to maintain balance.

Balefire time… ooohhh I love balefire… ok, in Tanchico I do believe the BA used the balefire rod and if I remember correctly, punched holes in the walls where Nynaeve was hiding, and #54 that was pretty funny “It would be a bit strange for half a palace wall never to have existed, would it not? You would expect someone to think 'Am I missing something here'”

56. PieterT
I concur that the clothes would not have been there if the person ceased to exist, but since most balefire’ings in the series are only enough to do a few seconds worth of nuking, should you not find their clothes about 50’ behind them? (i.e. where they were 3 or 4 seconds ago…) And I laughed pretty good about the hairdresser comment too… #57 Black-Veiled_Alex

59. Randalator
Good call on the balefire explanation. 2 things thoug, if the clothes are affected like inanimate objects, they should still be somewhere close by with holes in them, along with any jewelry. And unless someone was balefired while dressing, there is no way that the part of their thread where they decided what to wear would have been completely knocked out of existence.

96. blight
I always thought that Olver was there to keep Mats'/Thoms'/Noal's mind on the snakes and foxes since almost everytime he's in a scene it mentions them playing it and since imo the game is based on the old interactions with the snakes and foxes it makes sense that the rules of the game will be important to them when they go to rescue Mo.
1 word about that… perfect.

125 – 129 ….. too funny, almost got me busted at work…

159. Erdrick
As far as warders slowing like their AS, I believe the answer is know, there are a couple of references in the series about AS picking new warders over time, and some disappearing (blamed on their grief) after their warders passed, not sure where, but pretty certain that it was mentioned they died not of injury. Also, the slowing comes from channeling, the ageless look comes from the oath rod. It would be nice if “other” benefits came through the bond though.
170. Louis Theodore Tellman
@151- Actually, that part you're describing happens when they get to Tear. They didn't spend enough time in Illian for Perrin to go out and find work at the local smithy.

Incidentally, I don't know why, but this is my favorite non-action, non-plot driving scene in the series. It just makes me happy to read.
171. audiogasmic
OMGZ I totally forgot Gaebril reared his ugly face this early on! I remember reading this now, though; he totally gave me the skeeves and I figured he was a Darkfriend at worst, and I think by the time I got to the OMGZGAEBRILRAHVIN part I had forgotten this indicent.
172. VandalThor
-bale fire burns the threads of the clothing out of existence but not out of the wheel for the wheel is woven of a flame retardant polymer blend made up of only people's souls and events they pecipitate.
-daniel@79 berelain is an evil manipulator trying to twist perrin to her will. Faile is an emotional expressive young woman trying to get perrin to see his own potential and believe in himself cuz she loves him. Perrin is so ripped she could try n beat the crap out of him all day and it wouldn't harldy hurt him. he might feel it but it wouldn't hurt him.
-also let us remember the great majority of bale fire only burns folks out of the pattern a few seconds to a minute.
-craigval@151...nobody really called you on it aside from lettting you know that you were wrong but Leigh is infallible, sent down to carry the word of the WOT reread here on earth. Like the pope. or john lennon. Perrin is a heck of a black smith though so i get your concern.
173. Arila
@67,69, 70...etc.
Morgase went to the White Tower because it's sort of a pre-requisite for Andoran Queens to have been trained at the White Tower. I wouldn't be surprised if we were to find out that many of the most powerful Andoran houses try to send their eldest daughters to the White know, just in case. I'd bet there was some royal family turmoil leading up to Tigraine's disappearance, so all of the powerful houses were gearing up, Trakand included. Likewise, the White Tower is always happy to tie strings to people with influence.

@71: I agree with you, I always read it as "You'll think that Sheriam's treatment was a quiet discussion when I get my hands on you, missy!!!!!!!!!" (!!!!!!!!!) Or, if we think that she's in an "All is forgiven" mood, then this could be read as sympathetic, the quiet discussions being a euphamism because of the public nature of the conversation. it IS a message to Elayne, but some sort of code/distress call seems to me to be the least-likely.

Regarding the forsaken not warding their dreams - I got to thinking that actually letting their dreams bleed out into the population was sort of like a wide-spread mind-control. Notice the descriptions of how the people in Illian are acting in the waking world - all angry and hostile? And the Tairens - even "plain Joe" river captains are spreading Be'lal's message. The dreams probably softened them up too.

@ 146 I agree. I was wondering what if being an old-soul reborn is sort of like being Ta'veren? You could go for a long part of your life just the average joe, and it's not until you get to a certain "useful" age - say around the same age our characters become Ta'veren/start channeling that the horn-hero soul is spun out into your body. I mean, when the Forsaken are "reborn" they don't have to come up from infants, maybe the DO is manipulating this same mechanic. So, if Olver isn't GC, then maybe someone, an adult, is...? Plus, I think that would be hugely inconvenient of the wheel to have one of the horn-heros stuck as an infant during the biggest battle evar.
174. Darkfriend
RE: Greymen. If they can get past a Warder, they are bad to the Bone. Their problem is they keep running into Ta;Veerin. Rand,Mat and Perrin. Just sayin Anybody else is toast
175. Divil The Bother
At this stage I'm assuming another reread will start and you'll all catch me up!

Not much to say on these other than I find it a bit tiresome when posters get hung up on the precise wording an Aes Sedai uses and then try and infer that they've broken the first oath. I think it's reasonable to assume that as long as there's no intention to deceive it can be said. Ref Moiraine and Balefire not being used - she obviously meant not used to intentionally obliterate anything.

Balefire and the person's clothes?? Jeeez - get a grip lads. (I know - coming from someone 3 years behind it's a bit rich - but when you presume comments will never be read you can get a bit reckless!)
176. sadface
@21 she had to learn baelfire during tGH while she was away from Rand et al, most likely afterher visit with the twins where she almost got draghkared. Another odd piece of knowledge that she seems to have garnered, possibly at the same time, is that she will marry Thom - and he will save her from the Finns. My theory is that this knowledge came from a red door trip to see the Finns - I can't recall the chronology exactly, but her info on her relationship with Thom may have come from her trip to Rhuiden.

RE: Olver : Gadial Cain - This topic has been covered pretty well, so I deleted my comments, but I have wondered though, what happens when the wheel comes back around to the point where a hero is originally tied to the horn? Is someone born again who is not yet tied to the wheel, but will be a great hero and get tied in their lifetime? Bridgette is the case that brings me to this line of thinking...does she have to be unattached from the horn so that she can be reattached without the horn accumulating an infinite number of Bridgettes? Is Bridgette capable of being so great that she gets re-tied to the horn in this lifetime? This explains her comments about how some of her memories have GC older then her, and other have her older then him.

Berelain's man in white...a Gaishain? I never thought it would be a Whitecloack.
177. DougL
I forgot that Mat mentioned Else Grinwell. She does get killed later when a Black Ajah visits her farm right? I am guessing that happened because of this meeting. Mat should just make shit up.
178. DougL
Oops, I kept reading and realized it was a novice that got killed by the Black Ajah, not Else.
William McDaniel
179. willmcd
It's a real definitive "enigmatic mentor" kind of moment when Obi-Wan goes to shut off the tractor beam Moiraine goes to find out who's behind the trouble in Ilian and refuses to let anyone come with her in Ch42. If only she hadn't been acting like such a punk at Perrin prior to it, she might have been able to close out with "The Wolves will be with you, always".

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