Mar 18 2009 1:31pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Dragon Reborn, Part 8

Haaaay, party people. It’s time for the Wheel of Time! Re-read, that is. Swimmin’ pools, movie stars. Or something.

Today we are all penultimate and stuff with The Dragon Reborn, Part 8, in which we cover Chapters 47-52. Whoo!

Previous entries can be found here. As is ever and always apparent, egregious acts of erudite appellation of ideas intermittently occur inside, and ergo our advice is adamant awareness and ergonomic alertness of our alleged inclinations in arena accordingly alluded at.

(Or, “watch for spoilers.” Alliteration art AWESOME. If a bit hard on grammaticalosity.)

Hokay. Weirdness: Achieved! Now, on with the show.

Chapter 47: To Race the Shadow

What Happens
Tallanvor guides Mat out to the gates of the Palace, and takes the opportunity to taunt the rat-faced officer there with Mat’s presence. Mat thanks him and sets off, and is surprised when Tallanvor accompanies him. Mat is trying to suppress his paranoia about this when Tallanvor asks him if he knows who Sheriam is, and whether talking to her in her study means anything. Mat truthfully answers he has no idea who Sheriam is, and asks why it should mean anything.

“I do not know,” Tallanvor said softly. “There is too much I do not know. Sometimes I think she is trying to say something... ”

Tallanvor asks sharply then if Mat is a loyal Andorman, and Mat again assures him he is, and asks in return whether Tallanvor serves Morgase and Gaebril loyally. Tallanvor snaps back that he serves Morgase and no other, and strides back to the Palace. Mat mutters to himself that he bets Gaebril says the same, and takes off running back to the inn. He bursts into the library, where Thom and Gill are still playing Stones, and announces that he is leaving, as soon as he eats. Thom asks what the hurry is, and Mat asks Gill to tell him about Gaebril. Gill answers that he came out of the west during the winter while Morgase was still in Tar Valon; the riots had started up again, and Gaebril made himself leader of the faction supporting Morgase, and had it all suppressed by the time Morgase returned. Gareth Bryne disliked his methods, but Morgase was so pleased that she named Gaebril her advisor in Elaida’s place. Mat comments that the man has to have a reason for what he does, and asks if he marries Morgase, will he be King of Andor if Morgase dies? Gill cracks up, and explains to Mat that Andor always has a queen; Gaebril could never be more than Prince Consort. Gill does not like the idea, though, for all that he’s supposed to be a fine man. Too much has changed since he came; Gill keeps having bad dreams. Gill asks why Mat wants to know.

“Because he wants to kill Elayne,” Mat said, “and Egwene and Nynaeve with her.” There was nothing useful in what Gill had told him that he could see. Burn me, I don’t have to know why he wants them dead. I just have to stop it.

Gill demands to know if he is coming down sick again, and Mat explains what he overheard. Gill asks if Mat told Morgase, and Mat replies sarcastically, of course he did, with Gaebril standing right there and her staring at him like a lovesick puppy; she’d have cut his head off. Thom agrees with this assessment. Gill declares he must do something, but can’t think of what; Thom suggests starting a whisper campaign, to hopefully get Morgase to question her assumptions about her new lover. Mat comments that Thom’s taking the news of Morgase’s involvement with another man very calmly, and Thom says he’s been realizing that after fifteen years, he’s still fond of Morgase, but the passion has long since faded. Then he asks if they can wait till tomorrow to leave for Tear; Mat is surprised that he is coming along, but Thom reminds him he cares for the girls too. He tells Mat a ship will be faster; Mat doesn’t care how they go as long as they get there fast. He tosses the purse Gaebril had given him to Gill, and asks him to hold it for him.

“What’s this, lad? Coin?”

“Stakes. Gaebril doesn’t know it, but he and I have a wager.” The cat jumped down as Mat picked up the wooden dice cup and spun the dice out on the table. Five sixes. “And I always win.”

Considering that “going to Sheriam’s study” means something considerably different than “having a quiet talk”, I think it’s pretty clear that Tallanvor is right in that it was a message. I don’t believe we’ve had Compulsion explained to us explicitly at this point, but it’s certainly a common enough magical Thingummy that the genre-savvy should have picked up that something similar is going on. But then again, maybe I’m fooling myself; some things are so obvious in retrospect that they are almost impossible to see around re: recalling first impressions.

[Thom:] “Any fool knows men and women think differently at times, but the biggest difference is this. Men forget, but never forgive; women forgive, but never forget.”

Mmm. In the interests of dodging the gender politics bullet for the nonce, here’s my purely aesthetic objection to this: Thom’s little catchphrase here is witty and symmetrical and flowy and all, and it certainly sounds good, and therefore I am instantly highly suspicious of it.

It’s just a little too much like what Oscar Wilde would have one of his more fatuous characters declaim over crumpets and ascribe to absolute wisdom, when actually it’s just cleverly phrased. All I’m saying is, you can believe it or not believe it according to your inclination and personal experience – I ain’t your mama – but just remember that you use a blatantly generalized blanket statement like that as a guide to predicting people’s behavior at your peril.

Chapter 48: Following the Craft

What Happens
Egwene slumps over the rail of the Darter as it docks at Tear, trying not to look at anything. She and Nynaeve had all been violently ill the entire trip, owing to the rolling corkscrew motion of the ship. The captain, Canin, comes up to her and tells “Mistress Joslyn” that they are docking, plainly eager to have her off his ship. She thinks briefly about what her dreams had lately shown her, and shakes herself and thanks Canin. She is thrilled when the three of them finally disembark, and observes how Tear is completely dominated by the vast bulk of the Stone, which looks to her more like a small mountain than a manmade structure. Elayne comments it was made with the Power, and couldn’t be done today; Nynaeve interjects that that is the sort of thing they should not be talking about out loud in Tear. Egwene grumpily admits to herself that Nynaeve is right, and they set off into the city. Nynaeve asks for suggestions on how they go about finding Liandrin and the others, and Elayne immediately suggests a thief-taker; she explains that they are similar to Hurin’s profession. Nynaeve rejects Egwene’s suggestion of an inn, and says she’ll know what she’s looking for when she finds it. They ride through the poorer section of the city for a while, until Nynaeve suddenly turns down an alley leading to a small house, dismounts, and knocks. She mentions the herbs in the window out front, and Egwene realizes this is a Wisdom’s residence, or Tear’s equivalent. A woman opens the door, and Nynaeve asks her for a remedy for nausea; the woman introduces herself as Mother Guenna and invites them in. Inside, Nynaeve quizzes her on what herbs she will use, and the two of them soon have a herb-knowledge contest going. Egwene becomes impatient and cuts in, reminding “Maryim” she is not a Wisdom anymore; Nynaeve snaps back, and Elayne blandly asks Mother Guenna what she does for two women who cannot stop arguing. She answers that she charges them an exorbitant price, and then sticks their heads in the rainwater barrel. Elayne bursts out laughing; Nynaeve and Egwene try to hide their chagrin. Mother Guenna gives them her real name, Ailhuin, and Nynaeve says that she would like to hire a room from her if she has one to spare. Ailhuin considers the anomalies they present, and tells Nynaeve to tell her why they are here, and if she likes it, she will give them rooms at no charge. Nynaeve answers that they are chasing som thieves who stole things from “her mother”, and did murder.

“Burn my soul,” the large woman said, “have you no menfolk? Men are not good for much beyond heavy hauling and getting in the way, most of the time—and kissing and such—but if there’s a battle to be fought or a thief to catch, I say let them do it. Andor is as civilized as Tear. You are not Aiel.”

“There was no one else but us,” Nynaeve said. “Those who might have come in our place were killed.”

Ailhuin makes the obvious misinterpretation, and sympathizes with them for their loss; Nynaeve flushes, and Egwene is disgusted. Nynaeve warns Ailhuin that the thieves are Darkfriends, and women, but as dangerous as any swordsman. Ailhuin tells them she will bring them the most dangerous man she knows, a thief-catcher named Juilin Sandar, and hurries out. Egwene comments that Maryim is learning how to be Aes Sedai; she manipulates people as well as Moiraine. Nynaeve goes white, and Elayne stalks across the room and slaps Egwene in the face.

“You go too far,” the golden-haired woman said sharply. “Too far. We must live together, or we will surely die together! Did you give Ailhuin your true name? Nynaeve told her what we could, that we seek Darkfriends, and that was risk enough, linking us with Darkfriends. She told her they were dangerous, murderers. Would you have had her say they are Black Ajah? In Tear? Would you risk everything on whether Ailhuin would keep that to herself?”

Egwene recovers from her shock and rubs her cheek, saying she does not have to like it. Elayne sighs and says she doesn’t either, but they have no choice in the matter. Egwene silently agrees.

Go, Elayne! That slap was well-deserved. I’m an Egwene fan later on, but damn is she binty in this stretch. Teenage rebellion sulks, do not want.

Of course, I was an angel princess at Egwene’s age; I never fought with my mother or sisters about anything. Nope. Nosiree. Nada. For true!

Oh, shut up.

What did it mean that Mat was dicing with the Dark One, and why did he keep shouting, “I am coming!” and why did she think in the dream that he was shouting at her?

Always one of my favorite Egwene Dreams. Though if Egwene’s Dreams are meant to be Lightside forewarnings, they really aren’t doing their job very well. Of course, if they’re only meant to make things Cool for the reader, well then bravo.

Chapter 49: A Storm in Tear

What Happens
The girls sit in silence afterwards; Egwene thinks that Elayne was right, but cannot bring herself to apologize. Ailhuin soon returns with Juilin Sandar, who carries a bamboo staff and a sword-breaker, and checks Nynaeve out with interest. Sandar tells them that he will help them if he can, but the High Lords may soon have other business for him; he has seen men on the rooftops in the past few nights, and no doubt soon they will start stealing. Ailhuin comments that Sandar would lie if he thought it might bring him a kiss, but otherwise he would not; Sandar ignores her. They discuss his methods and prices briefly, then Nynaeve lays out thirteen silver marks and tells him he has thirteen women to find, with as much again to come to him when he does so, but he is only to find them; they will deal with the thieves themselves. Sandar protests there’s no need to overpay him so, but Nynaeve overrides him, and describes each of the women, reiterating at the end that these women are extremely dangerous, and if they find out Sandar is looking for him, he will die.

“When I was young,” Sandar said, voice serious, “a cutpurse put her knife in my ribs because I thought a pretty young girl wouldn’t be as quick to stab as a man. I do not make that mistake anymore. I will behave as if these women are all Aes Sedai, and Black Ajah.”

Egwene chokes, and Sandar apologizes for scaring her; there are no Aes Sedai in Tear, of course. He assures them he will find these women, and takes his leave. Ailhuin in turn assures them that Sandar is the best thief-catcher in Tear; Nynaeve comments she feels a storm coming. Later, Egwene decides to try Tel’aran’rhiod again. She starts, as always, on the hill with flowers and butterflies, and using the way she had discovered to go where she wants, closes her eyes and visualizes the Heart of the Stone in every detail, until it seems real, and opens her eyes.

The columns were there, and Callandor. And around the sparkling sword, almost as dim and insubstantial as shadows, thirteen women sat cross-legged, staring at Callandor as it revolved. Honey-haired Liandrin turned her head, looking straight at Egwene with those big, dark eyes, and her rosebud mouth smiled.

Egwene bolts awake, gasping, and Elayne and Nynaeve tell her she had barely been asleep at all. She tells them that Liandrin and the others are waiting for them, and Egwene thinks they know the girls are in Tear. Outside, the storm breaks.

Mat and Thom are playing Stones on board the Swift, Mat too impatient to keep his mind on the game. He offers to dice with Thom instead, but Thom dryly says he’d prefer to win more than one in ten throws. The captain, Derne, enters and yells at Mat for making him go so fast, tells them they have arrived in Tear, and demands the rest of his gold. Mat tosses him a purse, mentally muttering about finding the one riverman who doesn’t dice, and packs up. Derne asks what the bloody hurry is about anyway, and Mat tells him, a wager. He and Thom head out into a torrential downpour, and Mat yells to Thom that they will start looking as soon as they find an inn. Thom protests, coughing, saying it will take weeks to search every inn in Tear as it is; surely they can wait one night. Lightning illuminates the house opposite, with what looks like herbs hanging in the window, and Mat tells Thom there’s no point in looking in the Maule; the girls would surely have chosen a much nicer area to stay. They find an inn in a nicer neighborhood, and Mat sets out again soon after, surprised that Thom comes with him. They start systematically checking inns, but find nothing; after two dozen or so, Mat is exhausted, and marches past three inns without noticing. Thom argues they should go back now.

Mat stared blearily up the street at a tall man in a cloak hurrying around a corner. Light, I am tired. Rand is five hundred leagues from here, playing at being the bloody Dragon.

Mat notices the inn in front of him, and decides to try just one more. They enter, and Mat spots Comar immediately, dicing. He laughs at his current opponent, and asks who’s next loudly. Mat goes over and asks the innkeeper about him, and the innkeeper says sourly that a rich merchant such as Comar must be should not be here winning away honest men’s coin. Mat says he wins, does he, and the innkeeper replies that he does anytime there’s more than a silver mark at stake; his luck is unbelievable. Thom coughs, and tells him it’s weighted dice. He has the innkeeper bring over two sets of dice and shows him the sleight of hand trick involved; Mat tells the innkeeper to have Comar arrested, and the innkeeper snorts and says he’d end up in chains if he did. Mat tells Thom he doesn’t mean Comar to have a chance at the girls, and heads over to Comar’s table, ignoring Thom’s protests. Comar eyes Mat and starts to tell him he doesn’t waste time with farmer’s coppers, but cuts himself off as Mat tosses a gold crown on the table and yawns at him. Comar says his manners could use improvement, but gold speaks for itself. He shakes and rolls the dice, and chuckles as it lands on three crowns and two roses. He reaches for the dice, but Mat scoops them up before he can touch them; Comar frowns, but lets it ride. Mat thinks to himself that if they both throw the same toss multiple times, surely the Defenders would have to believe there was something amiss.

He spilled the dice onto the tabletop. They bounced oddly. He felt something—shifting. It was as if his luck had gone wild. The room seemed to be writhing around him, tugging at the dice with threads. For some reason he wanted to look at the door, but he kept his eyes on the dice. They came to rest. Five crowns. Comar’s eyes looked ready to pop out of his head.

“You lose,” Mat said softly. If his luck was in to this extent, perhaps it was time to push it. A voice in the back of his head told him to think, but he was too tired to listen. “I think your luck is about used up, Comar. If you’ve harmed those girls, it’s all gone.”

Comar says abstractedly that he still hasn’t even found – then he cuts off and stares at Mat, asking how he knew his name. Mat tells him to go back to Caemlyn, and tell Gaebril he couldn’t find them, or anything he likes, because if Mat sees him in Tear again, he will kill him. Comar jumps to his feet, drawing his sword, and Mat shoves the table at him and grabs for his staff, but Comar is already on him and knocks him over backward. Mat grabs his wrist, stopping the downward blow Comar aims at him, and flips Comar over his head to crash into a table behind them. Mat scrambles up, but Comar does not move, and Mat realizes the man’s back is broken. He kneels next to Comar and tells him his luck is all used up.

“Fool,” the big man breathed. “Do you... think I... was the only... one hunting them? They won’t... live till... ” His eyes stared at Mat, and his mouth was open, but he said no more. Nor ever would again.

The innkeeper rushes up and begs Mat to leave, saying he will tell the Defenders that another man did it, someone the innkeeper dreamed of, a tall man with red hair and gray eyes, but he must leave now. Mat lets himself be pushed outside, and Thom grabs his arm and tows him down the street; Mat hardly notices. Thom asks what’s the matter with him.

“It’s the luck,” Mat mumbled. “I’ve figured it out. The dice. My luck works best when things are... random. Like dice. Not much good for cards. No good at stones. Too much pattern. It has to be random. Even finding Comar. I’d stopped visiting every inn. I walked into that one by chance. Thom, if I am going to find Egwene and the others in time, I have to look without any pattern.”

Thom doesn’t know what he’s talking about; if Comar is dead, the girls are safe, aren’t they? Mat tells him that Comar said there were others, and he has to find them. Thom nods, but says, not without sleep first. Mat agrees, and they return to their inn. The next morning, he and Thom search again, but this time Mat wanders at random, tossing coins to decide whether to go in to an inn or not. They do this for three days, and Thom’s cough grows steadily worse, but all they hear is rumors about war, and Sea Folk shutting off trade, and false Dragons. Mat begins to have bad dreams which he puts down to stress: a white-haired man in a puffy coat weaving a net, sometimes for Egwene and Elayne and Nynaeve, and sometimes for Moiraine; sometimes the man is holding a glowing sword, and sometimes it is Rand who’s holding it. Mat is sure it’s just because he’s not getting enough sleep, but he vows that this is one wager he’s going to win if it kills him.

It was right around this point that I realized how much I had gotten into the story, because I had run about four chapters ahead without stopping to take notes on the ones that came before. Which makes me a naughty recapper, but a good fan, I suppose. Seriously, though, I really had forgotten how gripping the last third of TDR is, even when you know what’s going to happen. The tension and bringing together of plot lines is just really well done.

Juilin! Hi!

It’s funny, because most of the time I don’t tend to form very specific mental images of characters in print, but Juilin is an exception; in my mind’s eye he looks exactly like a guy I used to do theater with back in New Orleans. Which is terribly helpful to YOU, innit.

The dice game with Comar and Mat figuring out how his luck works roxxors my soxxors.

Agh! I’m sorry! I couldn’t help that, I won’t do it again. I swear. Probably. Maybe. Crap. Sometimes I really hate the Internet for what it has done to my brain. Curse you, Intarwebs!

Chapter 50: The Hammer

What Happens
As Perrin and the others arrive in Tear, he finds that he is searching for wolves again, and stops himself, though he can’t help feeling rather alone when he can’t sense any. Zarine asks what Tear is likely to bring after what they found in Illian; Loial wishes she would not sound so enthusiastic, calling her “Faile”; Perrin wishes he would not call her that, and is at least glad he hasn’t run into the hawk yet, or a Tuatha’an with a sword. He tells Zarine that she will find out what they are doing here when Moiraine tells her; she counters that she doesn’t think he knows any more than she does. They ride into the city, Perrin mentally chafing at the heat, and Loial comments that the people here all look sad and defeated. Lan chooses an inn next to a smithy; the innkeeper sighs a great deal and shows them to their rooms. Moiraine seems very abstracted, murmuring about how the Pattern could be torn here; Perrin asks how they are to go about looking for Rand, and she tells them to stay close to the inn while she and Lan go look around.

“ ‘Stay close to the inn,’ ” Zarine mimicked as the Aes Sedai and the Warder disappeared down the stairs. But she said it quietly enough that they would not hear. “This Rand. He is the one you called the... ” If she looked like a falcon right then, it was a very uneasy falcon. “And we are in Tear, where the Heart of the Stone holds... And the Prophecies say... The Light burn me, ta’veren, is this a story I want to be in?”

“It is not a story, Zarine.” For a moment Perrin felt almost as hopeless as the innkeeper had sounded. “The Wheel weaves us into the Pattern. You chose to tangle your thread with ours; it’s too late to untangle it, now.”

“Light!” she growled. “Now you sound like her!”

He leaves her and Loial there and puts his stuff away, then heads back out and goes to the smithy next door. The blacksmith is working alone; without a word Perrin starts pumping the bellows for him. The smith gives him a sharp look, but says nothing, finishing the barrel scrape. When it is done, he gives Perrin a length of square stock and tells him to see what he can do with that. Perrin sets to work, and fashions a chamfer knife. When he’s done, the blacksmith, Ajala, asks if he’s looking for work, but Perrin says he does not know how long he will be in Tear; he can help Ajala for the day, though. They work on until the light fails, and Perrin looks up and realizes Zarine is sitting there watching him.

“So you really are a blacksmith, blacksmith,” she said.

Ajala agrees, complimenting his work as exemplary. Perrin goes to put on his shirt again and is conscious of Zarine watching him, and smiling. She asks if he came all this way to be a blacksmith, then.

Perrin picked up the heavy hammer he had used, a ten-pound head with a handle as long as his forearm. It felt good in his hands. It felt right. The smith had glanced at his eyes once and never even blinked; it was the work that was important, the skill with metal, not the color of a man’s eyes. “No,” he said sadly. “One day, I hope. But not yet.” He started to hang the hammer back on the wall.

“Take it.” Ajala cleared his throat. “I do not usually give away good hammers, but... The work you’ve done today is worth more than the price of that hammer by far, and maybe it will help you to that ‘one day.’ Man, if I have ever seen anyone made to hold a smith’s hammer, it is you. So take it. Keep it.”

Perrin thanks him. As they leave, Zarine looks up at him and asks if he has any idea how strange men are. He goes back up to his room, puts the hammer next to the axe, and stares at them both until Lan comes to fetch him. Annoyed, he follows Lan down to the dining room, where Moiraine tells them that one of the Forsaken is in Tear; the High Lord Samon is Be’lal. Loial and Zarine both react fearfully, and Perrin asks if he is after Rand. Moiraine doesn’t think so; she thinks he means to let Rand enter the Stone and take Callandor, and then take it from him, and they dare not run this time. Perrin asks what they can do against a Forsaken, and Moiraine replies that while she is weaker overall, she is more dangerous than she was when she came to Emond’s Field, and even a Forsaken cannot stand up to balefire. She asks Loial to tell her what the Ogier know of Be’lal; startled, Loial answers not very much. He was said to have forsaken the Light because he envied Lews Therin, and he envied Ishamael and Lanfear too; he supposedly once won a game of Stones against Lews Therin and constantly boasted about it. He, along with Sammael, was one of the leaders against the Dark One’s forces before he turned, and he is also called the Netweaver, though Loial does not know what that means. He apologizes for not being more help, but Moiraine says he told her more than she knew before, and she thanks him. Zarine suddenly speaks up and says she is afraid – only a fool wouldn’t be – but she swore to be one of them, and she is. Perrin thinks she is crazy, and that he wishes he were back home, himself, and then surmises aloud that if Be’lal is inside the Stone, they must get in there, but how? Lan tells him that only he and Moiraine will be going inside the Stone; Moiraine starts to protest, and he tells her he will not stand aside this time. After a moment she nods, and Lan goes on that he forgot to tell her earlier that there are Aiel in Tear; he saw them on the rooftops. Moiraine says it means nothing to her, but asks why Perrin is frowning; Perrin says he is thinking of the Aiel in Remen, who said there was a prophecy that when the Stone falls, the Aiel will leave the Three-fold Land. Moiraine replies that she has read every word of the Prophecies of the Dragon, and the Aiel were never mentioned; she does not know whether this development is of the Pattern, or wrought by Be’lal. She commands Lan to find a way into the Stone quickly. Lan leaves.

Zarine came over to look down at Perrin, her head tilted to one side. “And what are you going to do, blacksmith? It seems they mean us to wait and watch while they go adventuring. Not that I will complain.”

He doubted that last. “First,” he told her, “I am going to have something to eat. And then I am going to think about a hammer.” And try to puzzle out how I feel about you. Falcon.

This is random, but Perrin makes a comment here about how Moiraine and Lan don’t seem to feel the heat, while he himself has unbuttoned his coat, etc., which is obviously a reference to the later much-ballyhooed ability of channelers (and Warders) to ignore the weather. However, this contrasts with Perrin’s behavior in the Blight in TEOTW, where Rand notes that he doesn’t even seem to notice the heat.

Of course, I have noted myself that one’s reaction to the weather is at least 85% psychological, and you’d be amazed at how much physical discomfort a person can endure without noticing as long as their mind is sufficiently occupied; also, the “ignoring weather” trick itself is said to be not of the Power either, but a mental trick. All I'm saying is, a mental trick that makes you not sweat through your blouse in the summer is one I am dying to learn.

It’s interesting that Be’lal’s effect on Tear is different than Sammael’s on Illian: despair and hopelessness, rather than anger and hatred. For that matter, Rahvin’s effect on Caemlyn seemed to be mainly paranoia and mistrust. So many negative emotions, so little time, eh? Subtle, and nicely done; I don’t think I ever specifically noticed it before now.

Though I mostly elided it in the summary, the smithy scene is one of those “slice of life” interludes that are actually rather few and far between in WOT, probably because of the sheer volume of plot to get through, but are nice when they happen.

It’s also a very smooth segue into what will become Perrin’s central dilemma for the series: the axe vs. the hammer, or war/destruction/brutality versus peace/construction/beauty. I’ve never been sure, personally, whether the fact that the hammer is just as capable of being used as a weapon as the axe (and that Perrin does actually use it as such, more than once) undermines this dichotomy or not.

Faile status: non-annoying. Things are looking up! FOR NOW.

Moiraine: still badass, even when she’s not doing anything but talking about it. I can’t approve of her constant efforts to scare Perrin and keep him in the dark, but at least she backs up her high and mightyness with genuine kickassery. Although we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Chapter 51: Bait for the Net

What Happens
Nynaeve thinks she glimpses a tall man with reddish hair with a flute case on his back on the street, but the figure disappears, and she tells herself that just because she keeps dreaming about Rand doesn’t mean he would come here. She bargains disgustedly with the listless butcher for a bad cut of mutton, and starts back for Ailhuin’s house. She is trying to be charitable with the Tairens, but cannot help comparing their hopeless attitudes to the way Two Rivers people behave when things get bad. She is also trying to be patient with Egwene, who is annoying her no end, but thinks that at least she convinced Egwene not to try entering Tel’aran’rhiod again. She rounds a corner and almost plows into Juilin Sandar, who smiles at her nervously and says he has been looking for her; he’s found the women she seeks. Then he whispers frantically that they are in the Stone, and why did she not tell him they were guests of the High Lord Samon? Nynaeve tries to calm him, and promises to explain when they get back to Ailhuin’s. Sandar nods uneasily and accompanies her. They reach the house and go around the back. When Nynaeve enters, she sees Ailhuin sitting on a chair, wrapped and struggling in flows of Air. Enraged, Nynaeve goes to embrace saidar, but runs into something like a clear glass wall separating her from the Power. Liandrin and Rianna enter the room, and Liandrin starts to say something mocking, but Nynaeve punches her in the mouth, and backhands Rianna hard enough to knock her over, and sprints for the door. Before she can get there, though, the Black sisters pummel her with Air until she curls up in a ball, though she refuses to cry out.

Liandrin crouched beside her, arms around her knees, silk rustling against silk. She had wiped the blood away from her mouth. Her dark eyes were hard, and there was no amusement on her face now. “Perhaps you are too stupid to know when you are defeated, wilder. You fought almost as wildly as that other foolish girl, that Egwene. She almost went mad. You must all learn to submit. You will learn to submit.”

Rianna says they have no use for Ailhuin anymore, and will stop her heart, but Liandrin snaps that Rianna is too quick to kill, and only the Great Lord can make use of the dead. She smiles at Ailhuin and says she trusts that Ailhuin understands what awaits her if she does not hold her tongue. Ailhuin gives Nynaeve a shamed look and promises to keep silent; Nynaeve wearily says it is all right, Ailhuin would help if she could. Rianna laughs, and then she and Liandrin haul Nynaeve to the front room, where Elayne stands between Amico Nagoyin and Joiya Byir, with bruises and a black eye. She apologizes to Nynaeve thickly. Egwene lies on the floor, so covered with bruises Nynaeve hardly recognizes her. She starts cursing at the Black sisters until something invisible smacks her in the mouth, and Joiya tells her with a smile that she will not tolerate bad language. They are hustled into the street and before a shiny black coach with a sigil of a fist clutching lightning bolts on the door. Sandar is there, and drops to his knees in the mud; Nynaeve starts to curse him, too, until another blow stops her.

Liandrin laughed. Tangling a hand in Sandar’s black hair, she wrenched his head back. He stared up at her with the eyes of a faithful hound—or of a cur expecting a kick. “Do not be too hard on this man.” She even made “man” sound like “dog.” “He had to be... persuaded... to serve. But I am very good at persuading, no?” She laughed again.

Sandar turned a confused stare on Nynaeve. “I had to do it, Mistress Maryim. I... had to.” Liandrin twisted his hair, and his eyes went back to her, the anxious hound’s once more.

Light! Nynaeve thought. What did they do to him? What are they going to do to us?

They are loaded into the coach, with Egwene slumped between Nynaeve and Elayne. Nynaeve tells the Black sisters that if they have killed Egwene she will hunt them down, but Liandrin sniffs and says dead bait catches nothing. Nynaeve tries to make them believe that the three of them have backup, and Elayne tries to help with the deception, but Liandrin just smiles and says after they have finished being bait, they will tell her everything; they will want to.

“They say you will be very strong one day, but I will make sure you will always obey me, even before the Great Master Be’lal works his plans for you. He is sending for Myrddraal. Thirteen of them.” Those rosebud lips laughed the final words.

Nynaeve grasps what this means, and realizes both she and Elayne are screaming, while Liandrin and Rianna laugh.

Juilin’s (involuntary) betrayal is another thing I totally forgot about. Right, that’s why he ends up tagging along with the Supergirls. Just goes to show what excessive guilt can get you.

Egwene’s been annoying me the last few chapters, but I’ve got nothing but sympathy for her here. I would have freaked the hell out too, after an experience like Falme. Actually I would have freaked the hell out anyway, as did Nynaeve and Elayne.

Speaking of which, do we ever get an explanation of how being forcibly turned to the Shadow actually works? I mean, are we talking an Attitudinator personality flip-flop, or are you more like a mindless zombie, or is it one of those “trapped screaming behind your own eyes” deals?

Either way, for the record? DO NOT WANT.

(I’m not seriously suggesting the Attitudinator option, by the way. But that would be HILARIOUS. I’ve just spent the past five minutes giggling dementedly at the notion. Or I would have, if I giggled. Which I don't.)

Chapter 52: In Search of a Remedy

What Happens
In the gleeman’s room, Mat watches Thom cough and feels guilty that he had been too caught up in his search to notice how sick Thom was getting. He tells Thom to come on, there’s a Wise Woman nearby. Thom wheezes that he’s fine, he just needs some rest, and then doubles over in a fit of hacking coughs. Mat answers lightly, but thinks to himself that he doesn’t think Thom’s cough is going to go away by itself. Ignoring Thom’s protests, Mat hauls him to his feet and half-carries him to where the innkeeper had told him the Wise Woman, Mother Guenna, was. He almost turns back when he sees it is leading into the mud of the Maule, but then grimaces and plows on. He realizes when he reaches the house that it is the same one he noticed on their way in from the docks the first night; he also notices wheel tracks just outside, and thinks he’d never noticed carriages deigning to come down to the Maule before. He pounds on the door, and is about to give up when a gray haired woman opens the door a crack and asks tiredly what he wants. Mat grins at her and introduces himself, and says he heard she could do something for his friend. Mother Guenna looks at Thom, and says she supposes she can still do that, at least, and lets them in. Thom wheezes something about foul concoctions, and Mat tells him to shut up. As he sits in the kitchen, Mat notices through the window with puzzlement that three good horses are tied up out back; he’d thought only nobles and wealthy people rode in Tear. Then he dismisses the matter as Guenna pours a rank-smelling tea down Thom’s throat despite his struggles, and gives him further instruction on how and when to apply the salve she’s giving him. Mat thinks that the more she talks, the more she sounds like the Amyrlin, and comments that he knew a woman with the same accent as Guenna, and supposes that means she was Tairen.

“Perhaps.” The gray-haired woman suddenly sounded tired again, and she kept staring at the floor. “I knew some girls with the sound of your speech on their tongues, too. Two of them had it, anyway.” She sighed heavily.

Mat felt his scalp prickle. My luck can’t be this good. But he would not bet a copper on two other women with Two Rivers accents just happening to be in Tear. “Three girls? Young women? Named Egwene, and Nynaeve, and Elayne? That one has hair like the sun, and blue eyes.”

She frowns, and says slowly that those were not the names they used, but she had suspected they were using pseudonyms before. She describes them, and then tells Mat she is sorry. Mat doesn’t understand why she’s sorry.

Light, I walked right past this place the first night! Right past them! I wanted random. What could be more random than where a ship docks on a rainy night, and where you happen to look in a bloody lightning flash? Burn me! Burn me!

He demands to know where they are, and Guenna says something about High Lords. Thom and Mat frown at each other, and Mat offers to pay for the information; Guenna glares at him and says if she talks she could be tortured to death if the High Lords find out. Mat promises to never mention her to anyone, and she studies him for a while, and finally says that he is too late by nearly three hours; the girls were taken to the Stone on orders from the High Lord Samon. Guenna doesn’t understand why he sent women who could channel, though. Mat is relieved at first, thinking they are from the Tower, but Guenna tells him the girls fought like “lionfish in a net” against being taken. Mat mentally berates himself for not finding them earlier.

“If you break your hand,” Mother Guenna said, “I will splint and poultice it, but if you damage my wall, I will strip your hide like a redfish!”

He blinked, then looked at his fist, at scraped knuckles. He did not even remember punching the wall.

She examines his hand, and tells him she’s sorry. Mat tells her not to be; he knows where they are now, he just has to get them out. He gives her two Andoran gold crowns.

“For Thom’s medicines, and for letting me know about the girls.” On impulse, he gave her a quick kiss on the cheek and a grin. “And that’s for me.”

She is startled, then jabs him with a finger and tells him he reminds her of her husband; she glances at his boots and adds it took her six months to train her husband not to track mud in the house; whichever one of those girls he has his eye on will have a hard road training him. He grins and tells her only she could do that, and grins wider when she glares. He asks her if Thom can stay with her. Thom is outraged, and tries to protest, but is barely able to stand; Guenna pushes him back down and assures Mat that she will take care of him. Mat grins at Thom and says he’s enjoyed knowing him, and hurries out. He looks at the Stone, the impregnable fortress that he has to get inside, somehow, and laughs out loud; he thinks he can feel the dice tumbling in his head.

Even though you totally know Mat’s going to put it all together in this chapter, I remember practically dancing a jig with frustration the first time: figure it OUT already! Gah! Look, there are the damn horses! Brain! Use it!

Darn good buildup, in other words, which actually started a few chapters ago when Mat just misses rendezvousing with the Girls’ stranded ship near Jurene (which I forgot to mention at the time, but someone brought up in the comments, thank you).

Also, outrageous flattery for the win, Mat. Sheesh. Why on earth Mat participates in the Boys’ shared hallucination that the other two are better at talking to girls is a complete mystery to me. In the Shameless Flirting category, anyway, Mat has Perrin and Rand outdistanced by a mile.

And that is quite enough of that, thank you. Friday brings you (BUM bum BUM bum BUM!) MEGAMAID The Final Installment of Book 3, with Chapters 52 to the Endy End. DUN! Bang those timpani! Seacrest out!

1. Triggy
Excellent thread Leigh, I've been following this all the way so far and you're not the only one who keeps forgetting the odd thing but remembering others. I've recently reread the series up to Winter's Heart and will pick it back up once you get there too. It's great to have something to look forward to every Monday and Thursday.

Keep up the good work!

2. laframboise
That bit in Chapter 50, alluding to Moraine's increased dangerous-ness, would seem to support the idea that balefire was something she learned after Emond's Field. Seems either Vandene or Adeleas showed her, or it can be learned from a book.
3. MoreBooksForMe
Awsome recap,

This has always been my favorite part of the first couple of books. Every one is finally coming together in Tear. It is very well written, I especially like the small glimpses of Rand that the other characters get. The scene of Perrin in the blacksmith forge has stayed with me throughout the entire series. I know it is simple, but sometimes simple is powerful.

P.S. Love the spaceballs reference
4. R Burton
Strangely one of my favorite moments of this book is chapter 51 when Nynaeve puches Liandrin and bitch-slaps Rianna. I laugh out loud everytime I read it. You just know how smug Liandrin is thinking that they have Nynaeve shielded and what's she gonna do. Then Bam! Bitch goes down! I think this is when she started to become my favorite character.
5. hoping to be of the blood
I love Mat coming into his ta’vereness, running with the devil. I think this is the first time he hears the dice tumbling in his head, iirc.

Tallanvor agrees with all the commentators about Morgase speaking in code. Kudos to you all. He may not be the brightest bulb but he is an avid Morgase watcher, so he’s probably right.

I never paid much attention to Eg’s dreams on my first reads. I always felt pulled along by the events and figured I would find out later. I totally missed the six men and five women chasing Rand as a sign that all the live forsaken were loose. Fortunately for our boys and girls, they are working at cross purposes. Another dream Eg speaks of is-

Rand confronting her, and the women with her, and one of them was a Seanchan.

I don’t think we have seen this yet. With what we know now, this would seem to refer to the rebel (Eg’s) AS. I can’t imagine the confrontation would be much more than Eg sniffing at him. Who will be the Seanchan with Eg? Will Eg have subdued the Seanchan invading the tower by then? Maybe Mat and Tuon will have hooked up with her. Many interesting things to come in aMoL.

Ailhuin is comforting the girls about things not to be afraid of and mentions that the Dark One is locked up and there are no real fetches or fangfish. Just a question. Are fangfish to lionfish as shadowbrothers are to wolves? Maybe the Sea Folk would know. For the time being, don’t go swimming near Tear. :)

One of the creepier moments in WOT, for me, was when Liandrin turned her head and smiled at Eg. Gave me chills.
Richard Fife
6. R.Fife
Nynaeve's thoughts upon seeing Sander annoy me, but for the fact of how she and Elayne treat him in the next book. They know it wasn't his fault, but they still lay into as if he went straight to the BA and tattled on them. It is just as annoying for how they treat Mat at the end of this book.

While I have to admit the fixed-dice scene is cool, it somehow feels, iunno, anti-climactic to me. I can't remember how I reacted to it in the first read, but now, it seems like that for as much time as was put into the hunt, the actual confrontation was short. It almost feels like they should have thrown the dice one or two more times. Maybe it's just me.
7. SteelBlaidd
Mat is made of win in this part.

My dad was an amature blacksmithand I have a Brother who does it for a living so the Smithy interlude has always been a favorite of mine.

Love the education of the Supergirls in the whys of Aes Sedai lack of transparency.
8. David-2
Seems like the Supergirls have only two reactions to men:

1) Believe they are terribly annoying stumbling blocks put in their way to harass them without reason, and treat them accordingly, and

2) Fall madly and blindly in love with them on first sight or within the first week at latest, and immediately attempt to mold them into their desired image.

(Not mutually exclusive reactions either, e.g., Nynaeve & Lan.)

Well, as various commenters have said in past posts: They're young, yet. (As if that's an excuse.)
9. Tailspinner
Great post as usual.

Re: Egwene and Nyaneve, not to be twoo Fruedian, but Nyneve kind of took over as Egwene's mother, maybe she is getting all that teenage rage and frustration channelled at her because she is the on;y person Eg. feels safe lashing out on.

Matt is just awesome and gets more awesome, I knw he learned quarterstaff, but where did he learn hand to hand fighting?
10. kantoka
I love the recap! I am re-reading myself, and on tFoH right now, but I still really love the build up and story flow of the end of this book. I wish there was more of Nynaeve's bitch slapping BA around... it makes me laugh out loud too!
11. kantoka
However, can I just add that I absolutely do not like the cover art on this book? Well, maybe just Rand in this one. Barf. And Lord of Chaos... dear God, it's just not good. A bad romance novel cover, that's what it reminds me of!
12. zdrakec
Looking ahead to TSR, I'm noting, in the sections where Elayne is remembering
who Thom is, and questioning the morals of her mother, Thom pointing
out to her that queens get lonely and that he (Thom), Gareth Bryne,
and evidently "this Gaebril" saw a woman rather than a queen
(referring, of course, to their having been lovers of Morgase).
Well, Thom certainly knows via Mat in TDR that Gaebril was responsible
for sending an assassin after Elayne. Is it possible that no-one would
have told Elayne about this?
Is there a perfectly good explanation, or did our RJ simply commit an
oversight? Otherwise, why is Elayne not pissed?
13. Effervescent
Elayne hit Egwene! I had forgotten that, and now that I've read it again, everything is right with the world...hehe. I think this is one of the reasons I did like Elayne is the beginning, up until the fighting for the lion throne bologna.

And Nyn saw I remembered as soon as I re-read it, and I remembered what I was thinking...if only they had hooked up!! But I thnk this is the beginning of the pain for all of us, where the main characters bump, nudge or blow by each other, but do not connect.

Let the frustrations begin...
14. Litg
Excellent job as always! Regarding the issue of being forcibly turned to the Shadow, Jordan explained way back in one of his Q&A's that it involved the worst aspects of each individual being targeted and magnified until they utterly dominated the personality, and in effect, the individual would WANT to serve the Shadow of their own "free will." Always one of Jordan's creepier concepts if you ask me.
Brett Michie
15. bchurch
I wonder if the trick to opening the chest that held the Horn of Valere is as simple as the code to opening the air-gate of planet Druidia. "1. 2. 3. 4. 5." Like something an idiot would put on his luggage.

For the record, the smith scene is one of my favorites in the series. It brought Perrin's awesomeness up several notches for me--and per the wolves, he was already fairly awesome. Faile never bothered me too much . . dunno why, but Nyneave and Elayne definitely get on my nerves more despite their brief spouts of cool. Nyneave seems to have more of those than everybody's favorite daughter-heir.

I also love Mat's charming of older women. This scene with Mother Guenna and also the just-post-Rhuidean scene in tSR with the wise ones where Rand notices that as usual Mat seems to get on the good side of women. Much better than "the other two always know how to handle women" dead horse.

Cheers Leigh! Well done and fun to read as ever. Even with the St Patty's hangover.

Oh and Kantoka @ 11:
I agree. And what's up with the Draghkar in the sky? The battle at Dumai's Wells had no shadowspawn. Sheesh.
Eric Robinson
16. perrin77
Wow, great job on the recap Leigh. You pointed out two things I don't think I ever caught. One is the fact that Morgase is trying to get a message out while being compelled and the fact that Perrin feels the heat now, but didn't seem to bother him at the end of EotW. Great stuff.
17. Tony B.
Your comments about Thom's blanket statements about men and women made me laugh. If anyone is basing their opinions about men and women stereotypes from a fantasy novel they have a bigger problem than political correctness! :-)
Richard Fife
18. R.Fife

From how Elayne treats Mat after he and Julian save her, I could imagine him saying "Fine, see if I save you next time, feh!" I think there is also a pointed comment that he is avoiding everyone and just spending all his time wining and gambling with the lordlings.
19. Zeynep
I love the entire scene with Mother Guenna; Nynaeve _is_ learning to be Aes Sedai on the job there, and Egwene is really being miss prissy about it, and Elayne is spot on. That's maturity from two out of three, which isn't bad.

Ever since you pointed out the gender-reversal thing back at the scene with the Wondergirls and Mat at the Tower, my perception of many such bits has been very colored. (I'm also listening to The Path of Daggers audiobook right now, and it comes up there too.) Think about Mother Guenna's "What are men good for" remarks in that context, too---it's fun.

I loved the use of the rainstorm to synchronize the arrival of everyone in Tear in the reader's mind---the girls are having their first night in the city when the storm starts; Mat and Thom dock as it's pouring down and search under the downpour for a couple of days; Perrin the next morning comments how muggy it's left everything as his ship pulls into dock, and everyone catches glimpses of Rand scurrying around.

Why does Mat want to look at the door as he's dicing with Comar? Is Rand now passing in front of that inn that moment, I wonder?

Faile's choppy sum-up-the-story monologue is hilarious and awesome in the original sense of the word, especially with the "uneasy falcon" crack and her last sentence.

In Turkish folk mythology, there is a thread of blacksmithing being a somewhat holy, somewhat eerie craft---it is a kind of magic to watch men pull shapes from fire, make brittle iron pliable, dull iron sharp; although Jordan never emphasized it, I believe there is a bit of it in Perrin's character, and it is never as clear as in the sequence where he is making things and having a master craftsman praise his work. That bit warms the cockles of my engineer heart, too.

I always visualized the being-turned-to-the-Dark as the "trapped screaming behind your own eyes" option, and wholeheartedly join you with the DO NOT WANT.

And as neither Rand nor Perrin would know Shameless Flirting if it danced a tango with Semirhage in front of them, you are completely right re: Mat being the actual expert there. (In fact, later Rand handles an instance more-or-less gracefully, if with a tiny bit of panic, and starts winning Berelain's loyalty with that, but Perrin handles it in the worst way possible. ...but then, think about the Berelain-Perrin situation in gender-reversal mode---or not, not yet, because trust me, it's giving me the heebie-jeebies.)
Leigh Butler
20. leighdb
Litg @ 14:

You mean it IS an Attitudinator? Holy crap. I thought I was being funny, tossing that option in. That'll show me!
21. ZamIt
Yes, the pace is really picking up in the book. So many great parts. Mat and Comar. Mat and Mother Guenna. Nynaeve and Juilin. It is almost easy to forget Perrin, and his scene in the smithy is one of the best parts of the book.

Speaking of which, I read Brian Sanderson's review of TDR recently, and I'll post part of it here: "And, speaking of Perrin, my favorite moment in this book came when Perrin entered the blacksmith's shop near the end and worked the forges. Something about the beauty of the writing there, mixed with Perrin's inner turmoil of the surrounding chapters, worked for me. It was one of the most amazing moments in the series so far for me, and reminded me why I like Perrin as a character so much."

I do love the moments like this in the book when the craftsmen are working. That is part of the reason I like Modesitt's Recluse books.

And Mat versus Comar. Not quite up to the Mat versus Galad and Gawyn scene, but close. By this point, you know Mat is just a walking bad-ass and the poor sap won't know what hit him. And I love the way Mat flirts with the older women. Is this perhaps the first time in the series? He definitely sweet-talks the older ladies into loving the scroundrel. I kinda hope Mother Guenna shows up again. She probably deserved a big reward for her part in helping and then saving the girls, but maybe it was better for her safety that they left her alone after that.
Sacha G
22. Fortune_Prick_Me
Ludicrous speed ahead LB! You've gone plaid - there is a feeling of rush to the finish line in this book, with some interesting character development.

Elayne slapping Eggy - whoah! I had forgotten that and on my re-read, I went back and checked that it had actually happened.

I also love how all of the Emond's fielders see Rand in the street without making the connection. That, with Mat's seeing the local Wisdom immediately, but wandering around before going back there, really brought RJ's Westing Game-style hinting into play for me.

And oh, the smithy scene, yes. Faile is just about likeable, for a little while.
23. Litg
Leigh (@20)

Glad I could make your day a little more surreal.
24. elvy elvy
Thanks for all the recap work, it's marvellous.
Moiraine dangerousness: did she learn balefire(Vandene and Adeleas certainly do have the guts to dig for and find again scraps of forbidden knowledge, they might have passe it on to her)? or read about it?
The book is getting roller-coasterlike to the best part ever. A marvellous biuldup of tension and anticipation, even after so many re-reads!!!
25. crsandoval
Hello Leigh,
Great re-read i have been following along since TEOTW and will continue on to the end. I love all of the refrences you throw in, like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. "Two even i cant figure out TWO" Anyways the next book is where i can't stand Faile. The smithy is one of my Favoirte scenes in the whole book. Look forward to the next post.
26. cps2195
I remember in one of the later books (COT or KOD) Tuon mentioning the Seanchan prophecy about Perrin choosing a Hammer as one of the signs of the last battle. Don't remember the exact passage though.
Richard Fife
27. R.Fife
What worries me... why does Leigh know what an Attitudinator is too. I never took Kim Possible to be one of the retro geeks-love-it cartoons...

I have a feeling she giggles often, too.

I have questions to ask, but it is mainly for the next thread, so I will leave them there. In the future. Cause I'm cool.

Of a thought on these chapters, though, I agree that RJ did a good job of making Tear a series of near-misses.

Oh, and with Julian, I don't know why, but for some odd reason he seems to be bad-ass right now (one of the most dangerous people MotherG knows), but as the books progress, his bad-assness is, well, iunno, gimpified? He goes from a badasslongcoat to almost a bit of comical sidekickery. I blame it for being how the SGs are constantly looking down their nose at him, but, well, yeah, he is having his levels in badass eaten by sniffs and braidtugs. Anyone else with me on this, or have I been huffin' too much Pepsi Max?
28. Lannis
Hey all! Great recap, Leigh!

47: Thom's "passion" for Morgase has disappeared... ha! I remember reading Thom's comments and thoughts about Moiraine, but the first time around I don't think I actually caught on to their "relationship" (for lack of a better word) until she leaves him a letter with Rand in tFoH... I remember thinking, "Why the hell would she leave THOM a letter?" Call me clueless...

It's these tiny little hints that show us a picture of the scale that RJ's working with, and just gives me admiration for his talents... all the plots and subplots, peeks and hints, etc... the man must have had a stack of notes like you wouldn't believe to keep all this shit organized... and we're still handling a (relatively) small cast of characters in tDR--not like later!

48: Glad Elayne slapped Egwene--I would have!

49: The lightning flash that showed Mat the place where SG were staying: I liked that RJ *didn't* have him march in right away. Too contrived... he hasn't learned to trust his luck with anything but dice, yet, really...

51: Nynaeve punching Liandrin = badass

Liandrin: the description of her (pretty, rosebud mouth, multitudes of braids) was always kind of comical juxtaposition for me. Wasn't so much an emphasis on her inner evil so much as it was just, well, funny... cute little thing with a pout on her, but watch out! That cat bites!

zeynep @ 19: Mat looking at the door--instinctual seeking out of exit in case of trouble? Just a thought...
Blake Engholm
29. UncrownedKing
1st off, Ewg vs. Nyn, as I said before, is the most annoying thing in this book. This fued turns into a Elayne vs Nyn in the next couple books. (the only more annoying thing would have to be Aes Sedai in LoC - ARGH- or Whitecloaks)

Mat's Luck = Sweet

The smithy scene is always a scene that has stood out in my mind. I don't know why i like it, I just do. Also, I wish Perrin would just accept the fact he needs to be the wild crazy animalistic guy (AXE) and the calm cool headed ruler guy (HAMMER) and just go dual-wield instead of struggling over it all. If G. Cain can dual wield swords, Perrin should be able to handle his two weps.
30. Rikka
chpt 47
And Mat gets tied down in the whole 'save the supergirls' plot. Lame.

"Stakes. Gaebril doesn’t know it, but he and I have a wager. And I always win.”
is borderline badass/cheesy but I think the sincerity behind it makes it badass :P

chpt 48
I actually think Nynaeve is pretty clever here, compared to her relative planning skills seen elsewhere. Enter Juilin.

That slap was definitely wellplaced and coming from Elayne too... mwahaha. I sometimes get tired of that whole "I'll do it but I don't have to like it" whinging theme that many of the main characters (Rand, looking at you) go on.

chpt 49
Spot on, Sandar. Spot on. XD At least he's around for a while. Though I can't for the life of me actually remember what he does for them in Tear. Tanchico.. yes.

Also. Mat. Badassery. served hot. Eat up. ;) I remember being really worried about Thom here. Anytime anyone in stories starts coughing it's instantly TB in my head XD. Too many Edwardian romance novels I guess. :P

chpt 50
Is this a story I want to be in?

No idiot girl, no it's not. But it's much too late to decide that. -_-

Awww Perrin. This is ... a forlorn scene if such a thing can be. Perrin's stuck between that axe and that hammer and that girl and the future and it's not such a nice place to be. Pity he hasn't yet, and isn't looking to, gotten to go back to being a blacksmith. :/

No, the Aiel were never mentioned in the Karethon Cycle, but what about the People of the Dragon? Oh snap.

Also, way to go Lan for making her bring you 'long. You ain't a pointy toothed lapdog, that's for sure.

chpt 51
I did not see this coming. XD

chpt 52
Damnit, this was more ElaynexMat leading on. ARGH. They would make a pair... oh geeze.
Kyle Bass
31. SherlockTomes
Silly rabbit, alliteration is only with consonants. And tricks are for kids!
Brett Michie
32. bchurch
cps2195 @ 26

It's in KoD and it's Tylee talking to Perrin but she quotes:

"When the Wolf King carries the hammer, thus are the final days known. When the fox marries the raven, and the trumpets of battle are blown."

The changing of axe for hammer is also referenced by Verin in tSR when she askes him straight out when he's gonna give it up for the hammer. Also his own wolf-dreams in the next few books often allude to it as well when he is in the dream and finds the hammer at his belt instead of the axe and has a hard time changing it, the hammer resisting.
33. Kaylin
The description of Juilin as dangerous made me laugh! Somehow, I have never seen him this way. More of a geeky, scrawny, average, not-too-courageous guy.
I just want to know what the Black sisters did to him....It sounds too painful to be mere Compulsion.
34. Tel Janin
re: Chapter 50
Moiraine pulls another Forsaken's alter-ego out of nowhere. First Sammael, now Be'lal. How so?

Leigh, will you be recapping New Spring as well, or won't there be time before AMOL?
35. Cobblestones
A comment and a question:

1) Nice to see Faile put 2 and 2 together here:

“And we are in Tear, where the Heart of the Stone holds... And the Prophecies say... The Light burn me, ta’veren, is this a story I want to be in?”

2) This has been debated times and again. This sigil turns up once more, in Cairhien I think. Is it coincidence or is there significance to it?

They are hustled into the street and before a shiny black coach with a sigil of a fist clutching lightning bolts on the door.
Brett Michie
36. bchurch

Not sure about the coach in Cairhien, don't quite recall it, but I know Sammael sits in a chair in T'A'R in tFoH that has a gauntleted fist clutching lightning bolts carved above his head. Could be coincidence though.
lanyo lanyo
37. lanyo
When Liandrin turns to Eg, all I can see is exorcist head-turning. All the way around, possibly creaking, yikes!

And it's just too amazing, all the *heroes* racing almost, and they all think they see Rand, but then decide it's ridiculous. Why? Why would anything be ridiculous at this point? You're all doing "things from stories and legend", how is running into the most important dude on earth (in a place you kinda think he may be headed to) impossible?
Again, they clearly haven't been exposed to as much fantasy writing as we have ;)
Blake Engholm
38. UncrownedKing
In Mat's defense he had no clue what was going on. Coming from Tarvalon and all.
Luke M
39. lmelior
I'll second (or fifth or sixth, whatever it is now) the Perrin blacksmith scene. Forget just TDR, that might be my favorite scene in the entire series. I'm not reading along with you, but I have goosebumps just reading the commentary about it.

Absolutely fantastic.
40. Grinwell
R Burton@4
I agree that Elayne slapping Eggie and Nynaeve punching Black Ajah are some of the most satisfying and lol moments. Others who could use a good bitchslap:
1. Elayne
2. Nynaeve

You definitely have something with the 1,2,3,4,5. In TGH Ch34 When Fain hands Turak the chest with the dagger and Horn of Valere, Turak opens it in five seconds. Fain is all "Mother@%*#! I fingered that thing for weeks! How'd you...? Gahhhhhhhhh!"
41. Egglie
Writing as I go along and its taken me a long time so sorry if I duplicate anyones comments.

Firstly - still loving Mat in this storyline, obviously.

Hang on a minute - Thom got engaged to Dena but is only now realizing that his passion for Morgase had faded???? what a tart.

I am with you leigh, I like Egwene later but here she is a sulky cow. Not sure violence was the answer but it makes a change to see one of the women hitting another girl instead of a man.

The 13 BA sisters all being in TAR seems really sinister here, like its a big deal but it never really comes to anything. I guess the fact that two of them are captured in the big showdown stops them from being quite so powerful but we never really see the others making use of TAR much later.
Mat is awesome obviously (oh god, I am getting way too into this - I would never say awesome in real life).

I love this little blacksmithing interlude, it doesn't advance the plot but I always look forward to it. (looks like I am not alone from the other comments)I like seeing Faile show perrin some respect for his ability too.
Moiraine - supposedly realised the importance of the other ta'veren boys a few chapters ago but is not going to bother using the one she has access to. oh well, small steps.

Some authors would really dwell on the traumatic after-effects of Egwenes experience but, this being the wheel of time, she just gets on with things (in a very sensible two rivers way) and childishly sulks about silly things.

I love how there is an (almost) plausible reason for Mat and Thom coincidentally finding out where the girls are. Mother Guenna obviously wasn't that scared of the BA sisters, she doesn't hold for long on giving up the goods to Mat, I suppose he is ta'veren so we should probably forgive her.

Leigh, you excelled yourself with the commentary - I laughed lots.

I am with you on the cover art, its all lame but especially LoC (and annoyingly, is often not accurate to the text)

ooh, that is creepy, wish he had put that in the books somewhere. (not familiar with the attitudinator)

Mat flirts with the cook at the Queen's blessing too, he also seems to pull in every tavern he goes into in the next few books so yes he is definitely doing better than Rand or Perrin with the laydees.
42. Cobblestones

You're right, I looked it up on the Encyclopaedia.

'The sigil is seen again in TFoH,Ch34 on the back of Sammael's chair and in KoD,Prologue in Mazrim Taim's palace. It is not at all clear what that means.'

So, anyone would like to guess? How to connect the sigil on Be'lal's coach, Sammael's chair and Taim's palace?
43. David-2
re: sigil: Coat-of-arms, from the AOL, for the Magnificent League of the Chosen Aes Sedai?
44. Rebecca Starr
First off, this whole section (and up until the end) is just awesome.

Ch 48
I agree on the slap! One of Elayne's finest moments, and one of Egwene's lowest

Ch 49
Zeynep@19 I had the exact same question about Mat looking at the door! A sentence that has always nagged at me, because I know it's there for a reason and I couldn't figure out why. I love your idea that Rand is passing at this instant, which helps explain why the room "shifts" and the weighted die fall differently - not just one ta'veren, but two.

I think this was the first time around I noticed that Juilan is being a sleeze and trying to flirt with Nynaeve lol

and I love Rand's cameo in this chapter

Ch 50
agreed whole-heartedly with all those who love the blacksmith scene - between this and Nynaeve's chat about herbs in the previous chapter, there is a lot of nostalgia for old times and old trades here

and quick poll: haven't we *all* tried to stop ourselves from feeling the heat with RJ's trick?
Richard Fife
45. R.Fife
Juilin isn't a sleeze. He's an upstanding, classy guy who is complementing an attractive woman. But Nynaeve, she is a cold heartless monster who doesn't deserve even half the man that Juilin is!
--Editted to appease the scary lady---


I kinda always thought the looking at the door line is kinda like the opening to the movie Ronin, where DeNiro takes like 5 minutes of screen time to plant a gun and then unlock the back door of the bar before he identifies himself as one of the mercs, and when the gal asks him what he was doing, he says "I don't walk into a place I don't know how to walk out of." Also, RJ might have also been planning on putting more of a suspicious/paranoid tilt to Mat's character as a vestige of the dagger, but was being a hair more heavy handed to start than he wanted to be.

Oh, on the spaceballs... I'm actually watching that now. Well, not me, my 3 yr old son. He loves it, which makes me proud and worried at the same time. Heck, the first read he learned to read was Spaceballs....

And while i can't pull off the heat thing, I can manage to ignore the cold with it. Maybe he was onto something.
46. David-2
R.Fife@45: re Julian. Yes, he does appreciate examples of femininity, in his way. Doesn't he later get & keep as his woman the Panarche of Tarabon, who is in the top tier of physical beauty and (apparently) near the bottom in mental acuity?

Mat doesn't think much of that relationship, but overall, she is probably less stress for Julian than Tuon is for Matt: After all, when Julian goes to her for a kiss he knows she no longer has the power to order him beheaded!
47. Wetlander
Re: Juilin (NOT Julian!)

My last re-read got me thinking about something others have brought up today. First impression (per RJ's descriptions here) is that he's definitely a ladies' man, very intelligent, both dangerous and careful (presumably because he's intelligent) and very much ingrained with the heirarchy in Tear. Later books, the whole "ladies' man" thing kinda fades into obscurity (maybe too much time with Nynaeve's scowls, or by comparison with Mat!), and while he's always pretty good with his staff and intelligence-gathering, it too fades into an "above average" feel rather than "superior". I wonder if RJ decided that he had too many super-characters and scaled this one back or something.
48. The Dan
Grinwell @40 (and Bchurch @15, I suppose)
I actually liked it when Turak opened the case. He'd already been established as a Guy Who Likes Old Things and it was nice to see that it wasn't just Moiraine and Teh Amyrlin who could open it. Kinda makes you wonder if these cases were fairly common in the AoL and everyone then knew how to use them. Probably had commercials for them on the Tee'Vee every night at 3AM
"Do you want to protect your priceless antique? Do you need a case that will sheild something from a pool of pure Saidin, but not be difficult to open at all if you know the trick?
Case-On! Apply directly to the artifact!
Case-On! Apply directly to the artifact!
Case-On! Apply directly to the artifact!"
49. dubjazz
Blacksmithing was always considered one of the magical arts. The myth of 'drawing the sword from the stone' surely alludes to the transformation of iron ore into a weapon. Does this make King Arthur a blacksmith?
The Wikipedia says this about blacksmiths in myth:
Vulcan was the blacksmith of the gods in Greek and Roman mythology. A supremely skilled artisan whose forge was a volcano, he constructed most of the weapons of the gods, and was himself the god of fire and metalworking.

In Celtic mythology, the role of Smith is held by eponymous (their names do mean 'smith')characters : Goibhniu (Irish myths of the Tuatha Dé Danann cycle) or Gofannon (Welsh myths/ the Mabinogion )

The Anglo-Saxon Wayland Smith, known in Old Norse as Völundr, is a heroic blacksmith in Germanic mythology. The Poetic Edda states that he forged beautiful gold rings with wonderful gems. He was captured by king Níðuðr, who cruelly hamstringed him and imprisoned him on an island. Völundr eventually had his revenge by killing Níðuðr's sons and forging objects to the king from their skulls, teeth and eyes. He then seduced the king's daughter and escaped laughing on wings he himself had forged.

Seppo Ilmarinen, the Eternal Hammerer, blacksmith and inventor in the Kalevala, is an archetypal artificer from Finnish mythology.

Tubal Cain (not to be confused with Cain, brother of Abel) is mentioned in the book of Genesis of the Old Testament (the first book of the Torah) as the original smith.
Richard Fife
50. R.Fife
*cowers and edits in the face of the scary lady* I was jived on caffeine, my mind slipped... I Swear! Please, not the beaver and the taxi!!!! *cries*

Dan, thank you, you brought a bitter, dark chuckle from the hallows of my empty soul. You may live.


I believe that Turak even mentioned that he recognized the box as an AoL artifact. It's probably just a fancy rubik's cube.

Oh, here's a question, for as crazy-freaky as the 13 BAs sitting in TAR looking at the sword, I have to wonder, why were they there? Just nothing better to do with their time? Maybe Be'lal said "Hey bitches, bake me a pie then stare at Callandor for a few hours!" I bet that boy loved his pie...
Brett Michie
51. bchurch
The Dan @ 48

Nice, I like your angle there. I wonder if products like that were marketed alongside stasis boxes and streith in the last few seconds of AoL Jeopardy.

As to the concentrating inward to ignore heat or cold trick, I've not been successful with that or the flame and the void, but not for lack of trying.


He liked his pie but he didn't like them looking at him while he ate.
52. Wetlander
Does anyone recall, just why WERE the 13 BA sitting in TAR staring at Callandor? Do we ever know for sure who sent them from the WT to Tear? I'm almost done with my umpteenth reread, and I can't remember learning that anywhere along the line. I couldn't find it in the WOTFAQ, either.
53. Valeiria
It seems like Moiraine knows a few "forbidden" weaves that not a lot of AS know. Except... she does say she could be stilled for knowing it. Why would she be stilled for knowing it for the AS don't know it?

Most likely, probably obviously, they've heard of it. They know about Traveling, though no one knows how to do that. You hear from I wanna say Moghedien's perspective that balefire almost destroyed the world until both sides just stopped using it. So, the AS have read/heard about balefire. They know the theory behind it. We know that Nynaeve, Egwene, and Elayne are rediscovering stuff all the time. Moiraine is supposed to be one of the strongest of the present AS, right? The SGs are way stronger, yeah, but she's still strong. What's to stop her from rediscovering balefire by herself? We know Nynaeve does it in the SG's mini-super-battle vs the baddies. Maybe Moiraine discovered it in the almost 20 years in between becoming AS and making it to EF. Those years are mostly unaccounted for.

Maybe I just like Moiraine, so I like to think she could do something cool like that. But it seems plausible. Doesn't Nicola discover something new too? I don't remember. I know she's got a bunch of the random abilities, like Foretelling and Seeing Ta'veren, and being annoying. Eh... but yeah, the SGs being the only ones rediscovering stuff seems illogical.
54. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
It was about time one of the Girls called down one of the others. Though I wouldn't really have seen the problem if RJ hadn't explicitly stated it. So what if they seem to be questioning each other's judgment? They do that all the time to men. And no, the Lightside forewarnings, as you put it, Leigh, don't seem to be working mostly because the Girls are so stuck up in their invincibility. They hadn't even considered the danger they were in. 3 of them, even if they were the strongest women in the Tower don't really have much hope against 13 who were waiting for them. But no, they never really realize that until they're caught and cornered. Oh and watch Nynaeve threaten somebody who has her bound and obviously has the upper hand. To make matters worse, 13 Black sisters, as it turns out, are the least of their problems in Tear. There's already one of the Forsaken in residence and 13 Myrddraal have been sent for. Watch as they get out again by sheer luck.

Now I'm done ranting about the Girls, hurray for Mat. He's finally come to terms with his ability and how to make full use of it. Too bad he doesn't accept what it's supposed to be for until much later. But for now, such a shameless flirt. He definitely has the upper hand over Perrin and Rand. But then again, the other two have girls fencing them in. Worth a good laugh though, whenever one of them points to the other two as being better with girls. It's a running gag that started way back in EOTW. And btw, now that I think of it, Mat may well have bankrolled Morgase etal's trip to Amadicia with that bag of gold he tossed to Basel Gill. Not that it's ever mentioned again that i can recall.

As for Perrin, he and co. are finally in Tear as well.
“ ‘Stay close to the inn,’ ” Zarine mimicked as the Aes Sedai and the Warder disappeared down the stairs. But she said it quietly enough that they would not hear. “This Rand. He is the one you called the... ” If she looked like a falcon right then, it was a very uneasy falcon. “And we are in Tear, where the Heart of the Stone holds... And the Prophecies say... The Light burn me, ta’veren, is this a story I want to be in?”

Possibly one of my alltime favorite parts. When Faile finally realizes how deeply in trouble she's in is. Always funny when that happens to someone.

laframboise @2
Yep, that seems the likely conclusion. Either Moiraine learned it from them, or was able to puzzle out the weave from their extensive library and experience.

zdrakec @12
Most likely more of our heroes being less than forthcoming with each other. After all women don't trust that men will wisely and men don't trust that women will act at all. They generally have divergent priorities.

bchurch @15
I always thought the lock on the chest of the Horn of Valere was something like a sliding puzzle. Oh and nice of you to mention it, but you gotta love Mat's batting average when it comes to charming older women. He even manages fairly when it comes to Wise Ones. And yeah, I was wondering about the draghkar on LoC's cover, too. I don't even think draghkar was mentioned more than once in the entire book.

perrin @77
No, Perrin wouldn't have felt the heat much in EotW because they were mostly up north then. By now they're at the south of the westlands. A real world comparison would be the temperature difference between NY and Florida at least.

R.Fife @27
Nope, you're not imagining it. After an impressive introduction from Mother Guenna, Juilin does sink in later chapters to just slightly badass sidekick. Methinks it is the unfortunate side-effect of having so many women around for so long, particularly the Girls. It happens to Rand to a degree as well.

David-2 @43
ROFLMAO. You forgot the High and Mighty at the start. And no.. i don't think Amathera was really at the bottom in terms of mental acuity. Like any other female in the book she's just antsy that she's lost control for a long time. And then there's the Seanchan preoccupation with breaking personalities.

bchurch @51
Modern people don't really use the flame and the void. But a much cliched analogue is standing under a waterfall and meditating. The way Jordan puts it seems to be a way of putting one's self in "the zone".

Wetlander @52
Nope that was never actually mentioned. But we can safely assume they were ordered by one or more of the Forsaken. Bel'al most likely, or Moridin since these were the ones on hand at Tear where they ended up. As for sitting in TAR maybe they were keeping an eye out for the Girls? How they would have known to wait I don't know, though.
Elroy Skimms
55. elroyskimms
Wetlander @ 52
R.Fife @ 50

Liandrin tells Eg that she is getting 13 Myrdraal, a not-so-thinly-veiled threat to force the Supergirls to the Dark Side of the Force Shadow. We also see the 13 BA around Callandor and we know Be'lal wants Rand to take the sword so he (Be'lal) can take it from Rand. I had always assumed that Be'lal meant to use the 13 BA and Myrdraal to turn Rand so that Be'lal could have Callandor. At this time, turning Rand still seems like the best laid plan of mice and Forsaken. I think Liandrin's threat to the Supergirls, although sincere, was probably 2nd on Be'lal's to-do list.


Edit: Assuming it was Lanfear in the WT that told the Supergirls to dig through the BA's belongings (which led them to Tear), then that means Lanfear is in on Be'lal's plot as well. The BA are in Tear and they were waiting for the Supergirls, so they must have known about the intricate trap laid out in the WT that brought them to Tear. I think it still fits with Be'lal wanting Callandor because only Rand can take it. So Be'lal turns Rand, gets Callandor, and Lanfear gets Sith Apprentice Rand for all eternity. Sounds like a win/win for the Forsaken.
John Massey
56. subwoofer
Hi Leigh... another fine bit of work on your part! Much love to the angel princess.
Zeynep@19 -brilliant, really. Can't see RJ saying "it was a dark and stormy night..." but it was and it did fit with all the arrivals. Matt flogging the Captain of Swift to get there.
I love the way RJ is building a sense of urgency. Time goes from weeks passing to hours flying by in chapters.
Lanyo@37- I had the same impression of head turning and pea soup spitting. Would not want to fall asleep again...ever.
Mat can do not wrong. All girls like a dirt bag. "You remind me of my husband... he was a headstrong fool who would sail into the teeth of a gale and laugh too." Sums it up for me.
Thom and Ailhuin were hilarious together. Skinny old gleeman vs. big old lady who takes no BS. Good times.
Not the biggest Nynaeve fan but her smacking the BA around was cool. If you go down, at least take a couple with you. Show's her character and how tough she is...has to be... she marries Lan and his broken crown ring thingy.
57. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
elryoskimms @55
Now that you mention Lanfear's involvement, maybe it was just some elaborate plot to rid herself of competition for Rand's affection?
58. Rebecca Starr
uh oh, RFife, I hope I'm not the 'scary lady'! I more was quoting Mother Guenna, talking about how Juilin's only fault is telling you he loves you when he really doesn't etc. etc., and he *does* walk in and moon over Nynaeve until the danger of the 13 women becomes apparent to him.

alreadymad@54 - the comparison between NY and Florida is not at all accurate - Leigh et al are referring to the trip to the Blight, which, although its in the North, is freakishly hot.
Ofer Nave
59. odigity
Tel Janin@34: Leigh, will you be recapping New Spring as well, or won't there be time before AMOL?

I just had to start at/bask in that sentence for a few minutes. Isn't it nice to be able to say that?

Was a time once where you would instead hear something like...
A: "It'll take years to finish building this here airport."
B: "Well, there'll be plenty of time to finish before AMoL."
60. SteelBlaidd
I wonder about this idea of Julian losing bad ass points. We've got the running around Tanchicho getting stuff figured out, Figs and Mice, doing a drunk act on a high wire, generaly keeping the suppergirls alive and hole and steeling a da'colve out from under Suroth. That's plenty enough badassedness I think.

The problem is he's hanging around with Mat and Thom most of the time. Anybody would suffer in comparison;)
jane reynolds
61. janie
elroyskimms@55 and alreadymad@57
Wasn't Lanfear sneaking around TAR and spying on Rahvin and Be'lal earlier in this book? Maybe she just sent the SGs to Tear in the hopes they would somehow thwart his plans. And a bit of added bonus if they ended up dead.

I have to agree with everyone who has voiced admiration for the scene with Perrin at the smithy. And while Faile is obviously annoying him, she's not annoying me, and that's the main thing.

Mat's luck = awesome. I love the way RJ talks about Mat being able to feel it happening.

Loving the reread, Leigh :)
62. Dr. Morganstien
@60 SteelBlaiddI wonder about this idea of Julian losing bad ass points. We've got the running around Tanchicho getting stuff figured out, Figs and Mice, doing a drunk act on a high wire, generaly keeping the suppergirls alive and hole and steeling a da'colve out from under Suroth. That's plenty enough badassedness I think.I think you got the right idea, but I'd flesh it out even further. Throughout the books, we've been hit with people who are increasingly good at the the things Juilin is best at. He comes in as a badass and master intelligence gatherer. This is also coming from the time when there was only one part of Randland we've ever been to, only two or three of the main cities have been traveled to, and there aren't channelers falling from the sky. Too many people are wicked (yea, I'm from Massachusetts) awesome and good at the same thing he is for him to be as great as he once was. Also, I think being removed from his standard mode of operation has messed with his usefulness slightly, he went from being the best in his city to one of the better in the world and he hasn't had the time or resources to really do his thing properly. If you add in hanging out with people who never give you the whole story and constantly make you run for your life to the other side of the continent, its gotta throw a dude off his A-game.

Perrin and the smithing scene: Its just great writing and a very poignant moment for anyone who has ever had friends/family/drama/life get all up in their business and really remind them of what they want to do with their own time while also stopping that very thing from happening.

I think the reason Perrin doesn't find Faile to be really creepy for showing up in all kinds of random situations is that he clearly has developed a thing for her and just needs to admit it to himself. There is a difference between strange woman who shows up in your room and magically finds you whenever you're not wearing clothes to stare at you quietly and hot intriguing woman who is always there when you're halfway undressed and flirts with you all the time, even if you don't realize it.

The supergirls have been earning and losing points a lot in this section. I can understand Egwene getting in Nynaeve's face about acting like an AS, considering Nyn's attitude throughout the previous two books. Although, Elayne was right to beyotch slap the hell out of Eg and bring her back to reality. I think Nynaeve clearly shows in the first few books that she is the older of the three by virtue of the fact that she is learning to use all the tools available to her to help herself/others in the best way she sees possible and shows some maturity by doing so.

@9 Tailspinner Re: Egwene and Nyaneve, not to be twoo Fruedian, but Nyneve kind of took over as Egwene's mother, maybe she is getting all that teenage rage and frustration channelled at her because she is the on;y person Eg. feels safe lashing out on.Very good insight.

@59 Odigity - good call, very good call
63. sps49
Maybe something in A&V's books tipped Moiraine about the balefire weave, but where did Nyneave learn it? It may be reasonable simple, if you have enough power.

Anything discovered can be rediscovered, and it doesn't HAVE to be one's Reborn memories.
64. jafco
Leigh: Great stuff. And thanks for not giggling!

@19. Zeynep "...Why does Mat want to look at the door as he's dicing with Comar? Is Rand now passing in front of that inn that moment, I wonder?..."

That seems to me to be a real possibility. Nevertheless, the three mightiest ta'veren of the current age (or ever?) are all in town. Mat's lucky he doesn't explode of it!

@44. Rebecca Starr "...I think this was the first time around I noticed that Juilan is being a sleeze and trying to flirt with Nynaeve lol..."

C'mon Becky, Juilin is a man's man, and Nyn is rather beautiful. Also, I'm surprised no one mentioned that he and Lan both noticed there were people on the roofs. Lan identified them as Aiel; Juilin thought they were some kind of thieves (and we know it is hard to see Aiel when they don't want to be seen). Apparently no one else in town had the acute awareness to see them. That puts Juilin in a special league. And lastly, I think he accompanies TSGs to Tanchico - and all the abuse that involves - because he felt he owed them a debt (disregarding the fact that he was compulsed or whatever the BAs did to him).

@49. dubjazz "...Blacksmithing was always considered one of the magical arts...."

I'm surprised you didn't name a certain blacksmith who carried a mighty hammer - Thor. This chapter reeks of Norse mythology now and to come: bearded Perrin gaining his Mjolnir. One wonders if he will die at Ragna...err, Tarmon Gai'don.

Phew! These have been some heady chapters. And you go, Elayne! Nice wallop!
65. ss49
Oh, and the 13 BA at Callandor in TAR,I think, isn't meant to be literal, just Egwene's Dreaming/ vision skills. It definitely is there to creep us out.

Maybe they are there at the Great Master's behest to guard against a TAR run at Callandor, but they should be divided into shifts for that.

And are the Forsaken referred to as Great Masters ever again?
66. rynners
Dr. Morganstien @ 62

I think this is a very well reasoned explanation of Juilin's declining kickassery in later books. Certainly, it's along the same lines as my reasoning. I'd just like to add a couple of other thoughts. Besides being removed from his usual milieu and suffering from not being quite such a big fish anymore, the supergirls don't often seem to set him tasks that best optimize his abilities, given their general opinion of the uselessness of men. So perhaps he can't work quite up to par while taking care of what he's been asked to do.

More significantly, I think that he's not only suffering from a great deal of guilt for betraying the girls, but quite likely suffered a pretty severe psychological blow during his encounter with Liandrin, et al. I suspect it was probably one of the worst days of his life when he met them. With that in mind, it's hard to work at peak levels when you're trying to rebuild your self-confidence and overall psyche. Plus, that work's going to go slowly when you're around people every day who no doubt remind you with their mere presence of your past failures and treat you pretty badly, to boot.

However, I think his springing the former Panarch from the Seanchan is a good indication that he's on the upswing, if nothing else, and it's not his fault that for a long time after that, we see him mostly on adventures in sitting. Just not a lot of demand for his best skills at that point, and besides, he's a little preoccupied with turning Amathera into more woman, less scared puppy.

In other news, this block of chapters may be my absolute favorite chunk of plot in the entire series, mostly for reasons already thoroughly covered. Also, for all the activity, it's one of the easiest to follow between POV jumps, since everyone's in roughly the same place at around the same time, for once. Not going to see that again for a loooong time (ever?).
67. birgit
Who will be the Seanchan with Eg?

Alivia or some other freed damane / reconditioned sul'dam.

Nynaeve _is_ learning to be Aes Sedai on the job there, and Egwene is really being miss prissy about it

Usually it is Eg who is copying the culture she is in, so it is funny that in the beginning it is Ny who is trying to behave like an AS while Eg doesn't want to follow the rules (probably because of her experience with the Seanchan).

Why does Mat want to look at the door as he's dicing with Comar? Is Rand now passing in front of that inn that moment, I wonder?

The luck is how ta'veren works for Mat, so there is no need for Rand. I think the urge to look away is because people trying to cheat want to distract the audience and Mat is nearly caught by the trickiness of his own ta'veren pull.

Liandrin: the description of her (pretty, rosebud mouth, multitudes of braids) was always kind of comical juxtaposition for me.

Like Umbridge in Harry Potter.

I just want to know what the Black sisters did to him....It sounds too painful to be mere Compulsion.

Liandrin probably treated him like Amalisa.

Maybe Moiraine discovered it in the almost 20 years in between becoming AS and making it to EF.

She says herself that she learned it recently, so it must have been during one of her absences (probably when she visited Adeleas and Vandene).

Liandrin tells Eg that she is getting 13 Myrdraal, a not-so-thinly-veiled threat to force the Supergirls to the Dark Side of the Force Shadow.

Sheriam said that few people know about this, but Liandrin seems to expect that the girls understand what she is talking about.

Assuming it was Lanfear in the WT that told the Supergirls to dig through the BA's belongings (which led them to Tear), then that means Lanfear is in on Be'lal's plot as well.

Lanfear spied on the other Forsaken and sent the girls to Tear to interfere with Be'lal's plans. In one of Eg's dreams Lanfear laughs at Liandrin who laughs at the girls walking into her trap.

Not the biggest Nynaeve fan but her smacking the BA around was cool.

People who are too used to magic always forget to be careful about non-magic attacks when dealing with other magic-users.
Elroy Skimms
68. elroyskimms

Oh, and the 13 BA at Callandor in TAR,I think, isn't meant to be literal, just Egwene's Dreaming/ vision skills. It definitely is there to creep us out.

Though I certainly agree with the creep us out factor, I think there is plenty of evidence that the 13 BA are literally in Tear. At that moment, they may not have been holding a séance around Callandor, but they are all in Tear. Liandrin already knows that 13 Myrdraal are enroute. And 13 Myrdraal together is only described in the series for one purpose and that is to force someone to the Shadow. We also know that Liandrin, Rianna, Amico, and Joiya are all in Tear. I think it is a safe assumption that the other 9 are there as well. Or else at least 8 as Be'lal could act as #13 in forcing Rand over.

Also, I doubt Liandrin is high enough in the pecking order to command 13 Myrdraal around, so that must have come from one of the Forsaken. Be'lal still looks like the likely culprit as he has to have some way of taking Callandor from Rand. And if the Dark One has not issued a kill-on-sight order for Rand, that means Be'lal can't just kill him for Callandor. Rand will have to give him Callandor. Be'lal could plan on using the Supergirls as bait for a trade... "give me Callandor and I will give you your girly friends with their heads still attached to their bodies." But with 13 Myrdraal incoming, I think the most obvious outcome is that Be'lal wants to turn Rand.

We still have to bring the "evidence" found in the WT into the scheme because that is how the girls get to Tear. My assumption is Lanfear in disguise as she would gain from Rand being turned. Callandor is useless to her, she just wants Rand. By teaming up with Be'lal (if only temporarily), her and Be'lal both come out winners.

69. Jconn
One question... How does Moiraine manage to identify Be'lal?

I can understand that she might correctly infer that a new powerful leader might be one of the forsaken, but how in the world would she know which one?
Blake Engholm
70. UncrownedKing
While we are waiting for tomorrows post,

Does Aes Sedai ignorance/arrogance piss anyone else off? I'm in LoC right now and the arrogance of the Salidar AS is absolutley dumb founding. I mean if two girls (Nyn and Elayne) that have seen the world, traveled with the DR, seen Aiel, fought the BA and Forsaken, and a multitude of other astounding feets say:
"hey, Rand is the DR we need to support him, Elaida is a terrible person don't go back to the tower, TAR is a dangerous place and you can and can't do certain things, and the BA is real and most likely among us right now"
Maybe some of the AS who never leave the tower and wouldn't know a Trolloc from Verin (lol) should shut up and realize how outta the loop they are.

It makes me cringe everytime I read LoC. Stupid AS.
71. NanaD
re: learning\rediscovering
All the ladies of the White Tower are told to be very careful of over-extending the use of the Power.

Moiraine left the tower after only six years training, so she pushed herself and asked questions others would never dare ask. She felt her life's mission was to find and help the Dragon Reborn any way necessary.

The Supergirls were in the Tower for only a short time and much of their knowledge came to them when needed, the balefire being a perfect example. Nynaeve didn't know what it was anymore than Rand did when he used it.

Rand says several times that he didn't know what he just did but can almost always repeat it.

Later some of the things were learned from the Forsaken they had teaching them, but still much just came to them by instinct.
72. Lsana
I'm late to the party this time, and most of what I would have said has been said already, so I'll just add a couple of points:

Like everyone else, I really like chapter 50. I don't think I would ever list it as one of my favorite scenes (it's nowhere close to the prologue of EOTW or Rhuidean), but it's good. There are several parts to it, and they all work.

The standard cliche about the "farmboy who is really the chosen one" is that he wants to go back to the farm and just be normal. I've never believed it for any character except Perrin, and the reason I believe it is because of this scene. I got to see how happy working in the forge makes Perrin and feel what it means to him, so later when he is whining about how he just wanted to be a blacksmith, I can sympathize.

The Perrin/Faile attraction is picking up some steam. He's obviously attracted to her, they manage to have kind of a moment in the smithy, so I guess I can buy the relationship. Still think they went too fast from "she's annoying" to "if I cannot free the falcon, I don't care if I die," but it's not totally unbelievable.

At Moiraine's little war council, she finally starts acting like I think she should. She's obviously in charge, but it seems to me that she's sharing the relevant information and not treating the other members of the party like kindergartners.

All in all, good times.

As others have said, the supergirls learn the reasons for Aes Sedai secrecy, but it seems to me that they also learn the price of that secrecy. Well, okay, they don't learn, but the lesson is spelled out there for them. Juilin says he will be as careful "as if they were all Black Ajah," but of course he isn't. Because he didn't know that they were BA, because he wasn't on the alert for magical as well as mundane traps, he got caught, he got compulsioned, and he led the BA straight to the girls.
73. RebelLives
I was just thinking of Moiraine and Aes Sedai in general. I believe because the Aes Sedai are treated different by the rest of the world, either highly respected or feared. This gives them reasons to huddle together, keep secrets and not trust those who are not Aes Sedai. Even though they pull strings behind the scenes, they never learn to lead anyone. This is Moiraine's problem. She has been so long on her own, she trusts no one, not even Siuan completely. If she would show more leadership and trust towards the Two River folks and their group she could have potentially built more trust and actually been able to control them more. Well except for the fact that they are ta'veren.

Of course that would have a different story and not as entertaining.
Richard Fife
74. R.Fife
I was thinking about Moiraine's Aes Sedai tell-no-one mystique, and I am suddenly finding it a bit mroe believable. She views herself as the big cheese, and everyone else is just her grunt soldier to be moved around. A general does not divulge all of his thoughts to his troops, and an exec does not divulge everything the workers. Moiraine sees a lot of information as irrevelant for her lesser's to know, or else on a need-to-know basis, and they don't need to know. Thus why in her "war council" was it is called, she is actually forthcoming about what's going on.

Oh, and Rebecca, I am actually cowering from wetlander. She scures me. A lot.
75. Miximixi
re: learning\rediscovering
My theory: “The interconnectedness of all things” (especially the True Source).

While the Forsaken (and their special skills), were locked away, the Randland and its channellers carried on with the basic stuff that the people knew who were left after the Breaking. (Eg. Healing with just Air, Water and Spirit)

Nothing new was discovered for many years… And then the Forsaken break free and suddenly their knowledge is part of the collective conciousness again, ready to be plucked out by the SuperGirls and Rand and even Moiraine who was one of the strongest living AS.

You have to have a certain level of power to do most of these weaves (with Moiraine juuuust making it ;-)).

So the moment the Forsaken started using the TS they left the ‘blueprints’ for all the weaves out there where it can be used by someone STRONG enough.
76. NanaD
Nothing new that we know about. Each Ajah has their own secrets as well as individual secrets. Independent thought is discouraged in the Tower. Only those outside of their influence(the Kin etc.) excel in different ways.
Brett Michie
77. bchurch
elroyskimms @ 68

I agree that the 13 BA sisters are there to turn Rand (and the SGs). The fades were most likely sent for by Be'lal and I think you're right about wanting to turn Rand to get Callandor.

Whether Lanfear sent the SGs to disrupt Be'lal or she's (pretending to be) in cahoots with him, I'm not sure. I could see her leading him on to turn Rand as she would gain from that, but I can't see her letting it turn out to be a win-win. I can't see her letting Be'lal have Callandor just to get Rand.
78. Dr. Morganstien
@77 bchurchWhether Lanfear sent the SGs to disrupt Be'lal or she's (pretending to be) in cahoots with him, I'm not sure. I could see her leading him on to turn Rand as she would gain from that, but I can't see her letting it turn out to be a win-win. I can't see her letting Be'lal have Callandor just to get Rand.I think hats pretty much correct. I assume that she would like Rand to be turned to the shadow, and then she thinks she can just say "Screw Be'lal. Here's your trophy sa'angreal and your trophy girlfriend, lets go do whatever the hell we want/each other"
79. bookworm
Sometimes, the simplest explanation is the best.

Regarding the box that holds the Horn of Valere, it was likely just a common case with discreet latches so as to not mar the artistry of the case itself.

Lanfear knew them well, Turak had a lot of experience with items from the Age of Legends. Easy for them. Poor Padan Fain/Ordeith was (were?) just too distracted to bother puzzling the latches out.
Elroy Skimms
80. elroyskimms
bchurch @ 77

...but I can't see letting it turn out to be a win-win. I can't see her letting Be'lal have Callandor just to get Rand.

Do I think that Lanfear would let Be'lal keep Callandor, no not really. The Forsaken only pretend to work together, when in reality, they each have the knife in hand ready to stab each other in the back as soon as they have outlived their usefulness.

Callandor only works for men. It is useless for her (Lanfear), but if she helps him (Be'lal) get Callandor, he will give her Rand. Be'lal went for Tear while the other Forsaken staked claims elsewhere. He wanted Callandor and needs Rand alive to get it for him. Lanfear wants Rand alive... for other reasons. It makes sense that they would work together, though we all know the alliance would end the moment Rand was turned and Callandor was free.

The only way that Callandor holds any value for Lanfear is to (a)Be kept out of the hands of the male Forsaken so none of them become too powerful (b)Be in the hands of her favorite farmboy (c)All of the above. She can have Sith Dread Lord Rand at her side and Callandor in his hands (before it was Light Saber'd off blown off). She would be named Nae'blis for bringing Rand into the fold which eliminates the other Forsaken from the power struggle. That's her plan.

Be'lals plan assumes that Lanfear is either so smitten for Rand that she wouldn't care if he got Callandor since she can't use it, or that once he has Callandor, he might convince Lanfear to choose him over LTT v2.0 Remember, Be'lal is known for his jealousy. He wants what LTT had. He wants Callandor, and I can imagine Be'lal thinks that with Callandor in his hands, Lanfear, always the power-crazed fembot, would ditch Rand because he is now weaker than Callandor-carrying-Be'lal. Be'lal would get the credit for turning Rand. Lanfear, in her lust for powerful men, would go all lovey-dovey on Be'lal who is now Nae'blis AND has Callandor. Rand, being weaker than Be'lal and his shiny sword (but still a a Dreadlord), would mean that the Shadow wins TG. Be'lal becomes the hero of the Forsaken, and he gets the girl too. That's his plan.

In order for Be'lal and Lanfear to work together, if ever so briefly, they each have to have something the other needs/wants. Lanfear can supply the bait, Be'lal can supply Lanfear's love toy. If their plan worked as expected, here is how the scene would have played out:

As Be'lal basks in the wonder that is the shiny sword that is not a sword, he gets balefire'd by Lanfear and she and Rand ride off into the sunset.

Epilogue: Nynaeve tugs her braid.

81. Lsana
@80 elroyskimms,

I actually think that Lanfear wouldn't have minded too much if Be'lal ended up with Callandor. If she balefires him, then she would be left with the choice of leaving Callandor behind (for one of the more powerful male Forsaken to pick up) or bringing it with her for Rand to use (making him far more powerful than her). Given those options, I think I would just let Be'lal, who seems to be the least of the Forsaken, hang on to it.

I agree she was planning to betray him, but later, once she and Rand had gotten control of the giant sa'angreals whose name I can't spell.
Richard Fife
82. R.Fife

In TFoH, Lanfear shows shock at seeing even one of the access keys for the Choden Kal, and she only sees the male one at that. Also, she might have just ended up destroying Callandor. It doesn't seem to be made of cuendillar, so balefire would probably do the trick.

Although, its a moot point, but I have to wonder. Could Callandor have been balefire'd before it was drawn (providing that it is destructable in the first place)? They say there is no defense against balefire, so apparently the OP cannot block it. Kind of surprising Be'lal, or any of the other forsaken, didn't have the bright idea "Mmm, I toast this thing, and we win, cause it f's up the prophecies"
83. Wetlander
Awwww *hands behind back, looking innocent, if possible*
Who me? I'm not scary...

Okay, I know. That combination of engineering and english lit was probably a bad idea, wasn't it? Got me a good job, though, so I'll just have to put up with the other side effects. And spelling has been a "thing" since I was about 9, so I don't expect there's much chance of breaking that habit. I'll try not to correct YOU any more though. *wink*

ss49 et al

I always assumed (well, from second re-read on) that the 13 BA really were in TAR because they are described as "almost as dim and insubstantial as shadows" which is pretty much the effect of the dream ter'angreal they took from the WT. I guess that doesn't really prove anything, and nothing ever comes of it anyway. In any case, total creep-out. *shudder* Come to think of it, they could be in the Stone in TAR without being anywhere near Tear, couldn't they? I wonder if the 13/13 thing works in TAR, or if you have to be in the waking world.


Iirc, the Forsaken are frequently called "Great Master" or "Great Mistress" when some poor slob Darkfriend has to meet them face to face. I especially remember it with Alviarin and Mesaana, for some reason.

No promises about beavers and taxis. Gotta keep you in line somehow.
Brett Michie
84. bchurch

Interesting thought. The only thing I can say (besides that it would have screwed up the whole series) is that even the Forsaken feared Balefire. Excepting maybe Rahvin in tFoH or Moridin in aCoS, but we all know he's a couple tacos short of a combination plate.


I like it, except that Rand and Lanfear must be riding Bela, who will betray them all in the end.
85. Wetlander
No promises about beavers and taxis. Gotta keep you in line somehow.

I can scowl, glare and sniff, but I no longer have a braid long enough to tug. So I'll keep the beaver on standby; it's gotta be almost as good...

Hey, do you suppose someone could sneak into the book and give Nynaeve a haircut?
Elroy Skimms
86. elroyskimms
Lsana @ 81

I actually think that Lanfear wouldn't have minded too much if Be'lal ended up with Callandor. If she balefires him, then she would be left with the choice of leaving Callandor behind (for one of the more powerful male Forsaken to pick up) or bringing it with her for Rand to use (making him far more powerful than her).

Anyone with Callandor would be far more powerful than her, on that I agree. But I think Dreadlord Rand has a better chance of not betraying her than any of the Forsaken. Rand would have been forced to turn, the others betrayed the Light voluntarily... or so at least we think... (begin rabbit trail... were any of the Forsaken FORCED to the Shadow or did they all switch on their own free will?) Anyway, short of destroying Callandor (if that can be done), Rand would be the best person to use it, as far as Lanfear is concerned. Better now so he can earn his Forsaken stripes at TG. The other Forsaken might be forced to keep their distance and fight amongst themselves instead of trying to topple Nae'blis and her Callandor-waving boyfriend.

I agree she was planning to betray him, but later, once she and Rand had gotten control of the giant sa'angreals whose name I can't spell.

If you can spell sa'angreal, you are way ahead of me.

Brett Michie
87. bchurch
I'm pretty sure that all of the Forsaken turned of their own free will. Otherwise, they wouldn't be so, you know, Forsaken. Their names were given them by those they betrayed and later embraced as symbols of pride in their evilness.

Oh, and Choedan Kal. 99% sure that's correct without looking it up. I know, I'm a geek, just always thought is was an awesome name.
Elroy Skimms
88. elroyskimms
bchurch @ 84

I like it, except that Rand and Lanfear must be riding Bela, who will betray them all in the end.

Yes, Bela will betray them. And then will run off with Narg, who we all know is responsible for Asmodean's death. Asmodean was surpsied to see Narg, because he too thought Narg was dead. Seems like Narg is quite the accomplished thespian. No plays possom like Narg.

"Narg be Nae'blis. Narg like shiny sword."

89. Hugin
The whole second half of this book is really RJ at his best, and my favorite part of the entire series. The pacing is great, the Forsaken in charge of three countries creepiness is great, and I love how he has all the plot lines come together for the finale. I really missed that in the later books -- none ever had as satisfying of an ending. Just his best writing of the series, IMHO.

Mat: What makes me like him so much is that all of his scenes are great. The fight with Gawyn and Galad is still my favorite, but he's only slightly less awesome when rescuing Aludra or here, with Colmar.

Perrin: The smithy scene is also one of the most memorable for me, and I agree that it makes Perrin's "I didn't ask to be a hero" feelings all the more poignant.

Supergirls: I'm as big an Elayne hater as anyone, but I do feel for her here and like her response. Eg does really need a beat-down. And for all her bristling and braid-tugging, Ny is the one who comes up with the sensible plan most of the time. Well, other than the sense of the whole overarching chase-the-BA-to-Tear plan.

Forsaken: Super creepy how the cities they control get the bad dreams and bad emotions running rampant. After Illian and Tear, I definitely made the connection back to Gaebril being a Forsaken. I just didn't know which one -- nor did I ever figure out how Moiraine knew the identities of the other two.

Speaking of Moiraine: I think it's OK that we don't know how she learned balefire or the identities of Sammy and Bel'al. I know that those of us who (over)analyze these books really want to know how everything works. But Mo still has some of the aura of mysterious powerful wizard here, and I think that's OK for the reader.

Rand: I also love the glimpses of him here. I think RJ pulled off the shift in POV away from Rand brilliantly throughout the book, and these hints at his presence are great stuff.

'Til tomorrow.
Richard Fife
90. R.Fife
Mmm, Sniffing, Glaring, and Scowling... or the Beaver and Taxi. That's close. I shall strive to double check my spelling prior to posting, although more than likely I will forget. Or maybe I'm a castoridaephile.. the world may never know.

Oh, I recall someone asking if Mat ever tried to say "Hey, Elayne, your mom's new boytoy is trying to kill you." Answer from his mouth, at least, is yes, but she either didn't listen to him period or did not believe him. It is in Chapter 51 of TFoH.

Durn Narg, getting to be Nae'blis. My money was on Aldieb. She's supposedly hanging out in the Cairhien stables all this time, but I know better. I know her, that one.

Bchurch: Don't forget Moggy used it too, after she had been put through a ringer in SG. Although, as far as OP weapons go, I never understood why long, horizontal razors of air aren't used more. you know, maybe ten foot long, about waist high, and speedin' along. I'd think that would take less power and be more effective than lightning or fireballs.
Brett Michie
91. bchurch

Right, forgot about that one. Thought there was something like that with another Forsaken. And I agree on the razors of air being very effective. And maybe a weave that would broadcast reruns of American Idol or nonstop Celine Dion on speakers of air. *shivers*
Brad Moore
92. servantcbm
90 & 91;

That's essentially what Asmo did in Rhuidian trying to kill Rand when he was chasing him through the fog.
Doug Eggers
93. blight
Since someone else brought it up, I was never fully convinced Lanfear actually betrayed anyone, I always thought she was turned to the shadow when she opened the bore due to all the dark ones evil energy spilling forth. I'm pretty sure she's the only Forsaken who chose their new name, and it would kinda explain all the lust (obsession) with LTT. Meaning as someone said earlier RJ said being forcibly turned to the shadow involves all your worst parts being magnified to take over your normal senses. So I think having been scorned by LTT which most likely irked her enough to resent Ilyena, even if she didn't let it show before she got turned since she was so occupied trying to access a power greater than The One Source to the benefit of Randland. I think her resentment and hatred for Ilyena and her jealousy of LTT was magnified and she flipped sides that way.

However I'm not as savvy as the rest of you at figuring things out so I may be wrong.
Richard Fife
94. R.Fife
Bchurch, you opened this can of worms. Let it be on your head.

(To the tune of My Heart Will Go On)

Every night in my dreams
I see it, I feel it,
Be'lal put it there to taunt me

Down on the Sea of Storms
in the Heart of the Stone
Supergirls are live bait for me

Nae'Blis, whatever it is
The Sword and the Stone wait for me
It's nice when Mat rolls the dice
Still wonderin' where is Fain
And Moiraine wants to strangle me

Lanfear wants a new pet
And Mat made a new bet
That dumb girl won't leave Perrin be

Egwene thinks she is made
Nynaeave's holding her braid
Elayne, a snobby brat is she

Juilin, in a viper's den
Black Ajah and Forsaken want me
Darkhounds are out of the pounds
Illian is not well
Sammael must be the king bee

Moiraine, she balefired that pain
I just hope that she doesn't fry me
Flame face, he's been put in place
I killed him, I am done
The Dragon Reborn must be me!
Brett Michie
95. bchurch

The Light burn my bones to ash, what have I done? Ilyena, forgive me!

Inspired and well done. My apologies to everyone.
96. RobMRobM
Rfife @ 94. I'm speechless from both a combination of awe and terror. Rob
97. Wetlander
Rfife @ 94. I'm speechless from both a combination of awe and terror. Rob

Me too! Must curb scowling/glaring/sniffing urges and show respect to the resident poet.
98. laframboise
'King Bee' is either a very fortunate typo or an extremely clever play on words.

And that is the head-stuck tune for this segment.
99. Wetlander
Okay, I have to admit two things. One, I'd never heard the song so Two, I actually went and found a youtube of it. I am SO OC sometimes... Well done, indeed.

*makes deep curtsey, backs away in awe from the master bard who has graced us with his art*
100. michaelt
The Shadow's plot within a plot within a plot that comes to head in Tear is one of the most confusing parts in the whole series. Here a few items to consider.

1) Be'lal's plan was to take Callandor from Rand after he breaks the shield around it.

2) Lanfear and, most likely, Mesaana are both operating in the Tower prior to the SG leaving for Tear.

3) In later books, Mesaana is the one who generally gives orders to the BA (to Alviarin at least).

4) According to various prophetic dreams, while Liandrin is trapping the SG, Lanfear is trapping Liandrin.

My thought is that Mesaana sent Liandrin and Co. to Tear, perhaps at the request of Be'lal to turn Rand or some other plot, or simply to get them out of the Tower, since Liandrin's cover had been blown. Lanfear learned about their plot and wanted to throw a monkey wrench in it, and lays down some obvious clues for the SG to find. Possibly because she doesn't want anyone messing with her "twue wuv", and she wants him to choose her of his own free will. When the BA arrives in Tear, Be'lal commandeers them and incorporates them into his net for Rand. When Mesaana discovers the SG have left the Tower, she alerts the BA that they are on the way.

Granted there is a lot of conjecture in the theory, but it checks all the boxes that I know about. If anyone has something to add, please do. We probably won't know for sure until the whole series gets rewritten from the Forsaken's point of view.
101. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
Rebecca Starr @58
True the Blight is freakishly hot. Everywhere else in the Borderlands, however, Shienar in particular, is cold. Often described with matching phenomena that only happen in the dry kind of cold. Therefore we can safely assume that the Blight is simply an unnatural exception brought on by proximity to Shayol Ghul and everywhere else in the Westlands follows the norm, i.e. getting colder as you head farther north.
102. michaelt
Re: the BA gathered around Callandor.

Be'lal probably doesn't want to bring them to the Heart in the real world, as that would take quite a bit of Compulsing to keep quite. Remember, there are only certain times with High Lords enter the Heart. He probably wanted them to take a look at the Saidar portion of the shield to see if there was any weakness there. Since the dream ter'angreal that the BA have prevent them from channeling very much, they may have been linking to get more oomph behind their channeling.

Here's a question though. Why don't the Myrddraal show up almost immediately? If some random darkfriend in Cairhien can get three to show up in a few hours, why can't a Forsaken and 13 BA get 13 to show up in the same amount of time? Is this another case of not allowing the bad guys to take out important good guys for the sake of the story?
103. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
good question. Why couldn't Myrddraal come right away? After all, don't they have the ability to travel thru shadows? One would think there would be enough shadows in an old fortress. Perhaps Liandrin and co. were simply threatening the Girls for a reaction. If it had been me the reaction would've been worth it. The Girls howling for all they were worth. Serves them right.
104. Randalator

We don't really know much about the whole thing other than the 13+13. Maybe the Myrddraal get destroyed during the procedure. Or they might need to "recharge" between two turnings lest they "break" during the second. Either way Be'lal probably wouldn't want to waste 13 Myrddraal on a couple of sidekicks or have to wait with Rand captured until they were ready for round two.
105. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
Randalator @104
They could just summon more. They do have the numerical advantage, as I recall. And these aren't run of the mill channelers. The Dragon Reborn + the 3 most powerful channelers in the Tower, 1 of them at par with the Forsaken themselves. Even if 52 Myrddraal end up destroyed, I'd think the trade worth it.
Boy have I gotten lost! I put this on the wrong post.
So I am repeating it here, just because I would like to find the donater or giver or 'here take these and keep them' person that was giving away Firefly stuff; like the videos?(from the last post)

"Thanks to whomever: I have discovered 'Firefly'.
I would think that in all these years since it's inception, I would have at least heard of it. But I is a newbie to it. Love it!

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!(MMMUUUAAAHHHHAAAHHHAAAA!)small font=did that sound evil enough?"

Sorry for the insertion of things not having to do with TWOT, but darn.
107. Randalator

Myrddraal are not that easy to summon. They can step into a shadow and reappear in another shadow a considerable distance from the first but they can't step into a shadow at Shayol Ghul and step out again in Tear.

During the Trolloc siege in the Two Rivers there were an estimated fifty present. And it took weeks if not months to bring them and the Trollocs through the ways. So there are neither number nor means to just summon 52 of them to Tear on short notice. Even thirteen is an unusually high number.
108. rynners
Randalator @ 107

I was under the impression that the reason the gathering of Shadowspawn for the Two Rivers assault took so long was due largely to the fact that they were using the Ways, rather than shadows. Meaning, my reading of it was that the Myrddraal were traveling with the trollocs in order to keep them motivated and on task, rather than materializing on their own.

My point is, we do know that trollocs aren't the brightest or most fearless in some respects, so they needed fearsome leaders to keep them in line. But, I don't recall any part of the text that clearly indicated the limits of Myrddraal shadow-travel when they're unencumbered by herding lesser Shadowspawn. Did I miss something, or was this something that RJ explained somewhere outside the actual books?

If not, your explanation is still relatively sound and would certainly clear up the question of why the Eyeless don't just pop up in every dark corner. Just curious to know if this is the official line of reasoning or your own logic at work.
109. Randalator

It's my own reasoning, not something RJ said (at least to my knowledge). The best proof I have for the Myrddraal's limitations is that otherwise the Borderlands would have long since been overrun.

We know that in Fal Dara the streets are lit to make it impossible for a Myrddraal to hide in a shadow if he made it into the city. But you can't rid yourself completely of shadows...storerooms (TGH, ch.2), closets, bedrooms at night. Halfmen would be all over the place if they could appear in every shadow the wanted.

So there has to be some limitation to their shadow travelling ability. If it's distance or line of sight is open to debate it could be either or even a combination of the two.
110. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
Randalator @107
No limitation was ever implied for the range at which the Myrddraal can use their ability. The reason it took so long to gather Trollocs for the Two Rivers is because Myrddraal had to shepherd the Trollocs through the Ways a few at a time. If it had just been Myrddraal, they could have made better time. As it is, I'd still trade 52 Myrddraal for 4 top tier channelers.
111. Browncoat Jayson

Just because the BA *said* they were summoning fades, that doesnt actually mean they *did*. They arn't held by the oaths anymore, and lots of stuff they did is just to scare the Supergirls and keep them in line... Well, actually, just piss them off and want revenge.

Not that turning someone to the Dark is well known, or anything, so maybe that isn't a great threat.
112. Lsana
109 Randalator,

I agree that there has to be something preventing the Fades from overrunning the borderlands, but even if they are restricted by line-of-sight, that could let them travel a long way very quickly. Picture the scene in LoTR where they are lighting the beacons--no beacon is out of line-of-sight of the other, but we get from Gondor to Rohan pretty fast. I think even with a line-of-sight restriction, a Fade should be able to make it from Shayol Ghul to Tear in only a few hours.
Richard Fife
113. R.Fife
Thought: perhaps traveling through shadows is tiring? Like, yes they can do it, but it is like running the distance five times over that they traveled?
114. Randalator

That's why I think that they are also restricted to a rather short distance, like about 100 feet or so.
115. Miximixi
So if the Fades can travel between any shadow and any shadow, how do the MESSENGER FIND the Fades to give them the message that they must go to Tear? I think that is what took so long...The messenger could not find one Fade, never mind 13!!
116. Erdrick
Re: post 5's question about who the Seanchan woman is with Egwene. From Egwene's dream in CoT, chapter 20:
Suddenly a woman appeared, clambering down the sheer side of the cliff out of the clouds, making her way as deftly as if she were walking down stairs. There was a sword strapped to her back. Her face wavered, never settling clearly, but the sword seemed as solid as the stone. The woman reached Egwene's level and held out one hand. "We can reach the top together," she said in a familiar drawling accent.
Sounds like Egeanin to me.

Also, anybody else give a sigh of relief when Mat tossed the Rahvin coins to Master Gill. I suspect they were tracer coins like the ones Moiraine gave the boys back in TEotW.

I agree that the woman is probably Egeanin but what makes you suspect that the coins had a tracer on it? Why would he bother for a farmboy
118. Erdrick
@ 117,
Well, we know Rahvin is actively plotting Elayne's demise, and suddenly someone shows up delivering a letter from her. Rahvin asks what Mat can tell him of the letter, and Mat makes up the back story Leigh recounted. Then Rahvin asks: "Do you know where Elayne was going, boy? Or on what business? Speak the truth, and you have nothing to fear. Lie, and you will be put to the question." Morgase comes to his rescue saying: "Too many have been put to the question. I can see the need as you have shown it to me, but not for this. Not a boy who only brought a letter whose contents he does not know." Only after all that does Rahvin laugh and toss Mat the coins for his trouble. Very suspicious...I don't think Rahvin was completely fooled by Mat's story. I think he wove a Finder on the coins, and Mat tossing the coins to Gill may well have saved his life.
119. wsean
Just commenting to add to the blacksmith scene love. One of my favorite scenes in the early books. Always looked forward to it on rereads.
Nick Solick
120. Kaelif
A few months late, but I figure I'll throw a couple of pennies in on the twisted Forsaken plotline. From what I can tell/remember, the prevailing theory is as follows:

Months before the book starts Be'lal asks Mesaana for some Black Ajah, so he can start one of his plots. She sends Liandrin and Co., with their toys.

They take the dream ter'angreal so he can instruct them how to mess with peoples' dreams, Rand's in particular. They spend at least part of every night sending him dreams of Callandor (hence why Egwene stumbles across all of them sitting around it) in order to lure Rand to Tear.

They are thirteen in number because the Shadow (except Ishamael) is still with the 'convert him' idea, rather than the 'kill him' one.

When Lanfear finds reason to visit the White Tower, she discovers that the Super Girls are hunting Liandrin (quite easily, since they talk about it all the time, though the Verin-is-Black crowd point out she could have spilled the beans, as well). From her spying on Be'lal (and Rahvin, Ishamael, and probably everybody except Moghedion) in Tel'Aran'Rhiod, she knows what he's planning on. So, Lanfear plants the too-obvious clues and sends them south in order to throw a wrench in Be'lal's designs. After all, she doesn't really want him to succeed, does she? She's trying to maintain some secrecy of her motives, so a third party mix-up is ideal, even if the girls never ended up doing anything.
121. nike shupp
Kaylin @33. Hmmm. I've a much differenyt impression of Julian Sandar, closer to Mother Guenna's -- he's a dangerous, capable man. Given his employment, in fact, I tend to see him as the Randland equivalent of Sherlock Holmes. (Not a copy of SH,, of course, but equivalent in skill and character.) Granted he doesn't show to advantage in TDR, but he's being stacked up against Aielmen and two completing bunches of Aes Sedai and three ta'veren.... even I might look a bit ... bedraggled ... in such a comparison.

My two copper pennies.
122. mike ahupp
Blight @ 93. We all want to save Lanfear, don't we? Or at least to find excuses for her. She's beautiful -- genuinely beautiful rather than magicked up to be attractive. And sexy (and apparently open to Open Relationships). And she's not a murderous maniac. And she says flattering things about us, or at least about people we identify with.

That said, she IS one of the Forsaken. And I don't see her happily settling for the position of Wife #4 in Rand's little harem. So maybe, despite our better natures and gonads, we ought to reserve judgement until the end of the series....

Tuppence more, of course.
joel perry
123. finndo
Ok, so just to say it would have made a worse story it Matrim had walked into the herb shop when he got off the boat. 1st we would have never gotten juilin sandar, possibly not found out the BA were there, there would have been no big fight in the stone, as Bel’al would not have called in the Myrdraal and trollocks, Matrim would not have made his fireworks bomb, Comar would still be alive… a lot of things would have been changed…

4. R Burton
Strangely one of my favorite moments of this book is chapter 51 when Nynaeve puches Liandrin and bitch-slaps Rianna. I laugh out loud everytime I read it. You just know how smug Liandrin is thinking that they have Nynaeve shielded and what's she gonna do. Then Bam! Bitch goes down! I think this is when she started to become my favorite character.

I second that

As for RJ’s notes on the series I would hope they were computerized somehow. Personally I would use Microsoft’s One Note as an excellent organizational tool; however I do not know how to “relate” or “cross-reference” two items together, so the relationships between people and places and objects might not work out real well, but for categorizing everything it would work awesome.

44. Rebecca Starr
Ch 49
Zeynep@19 I had the exact same question about Mat looking at the door! A sentence that has always nagged at me, because I know it's there for a reason and I couldn't figure out why. I love your idea that Rand is passing at this instant, which helps explain why the room "shifts" and the weighted die fall differently - not just one ta'veren, but two.

Very cool, I think this is a good and reasonable explanation.

I stopped reading the comments at 70, got tired of it I guess, or maybe I just want to get on to the end of the book re-read?
124. gleeman
I always thought they were tracer coins as well.
125. Mighty Chin
"What did it mean that Mat was dicing with the Dark One, and why did he keep shouting, “I am coming!” and why did she think in the dream that he was shouting at her?"

Mat is coming for The Horn of Valere
126. VandalThor
-i couldn't read any comments cuz the first one i started reading instantly started spoiling one of the new 2 books.
-k i ventured forth somewhat. Jconn @ 69 moraine has mad eyes and ears for that kinda stuff
-no one will read or comment on this for a long time but does anyone else think its a little wierd that perrin is wearing a blue headband on the cover. I know its just the artists rendition but we hear all the time about mats black hat and rands red hair why not alittle about perrins head band keepin the blacksmith sweat out of his eyes.
-also i like how they whine so much about the mud but i don't think its in this book. Mat doesn't like it here the girls don't like it later on i think.
127. VandalThor
-also on the fade discussion starting @ 103 be'lal just got out and has focused alot of his energy on gaining his position in tear. Having fades at your beck and call time work. You gotta find em, prove to em how evil you are, they can't be busy working for someone else. He's prob got to call in a few favors. Plus aren't they supposed to be bait or something. Belal and lanfear must be buds
128. macster
While we will always want to see how awesome and mysterious Moiraine is, I think there is a fairly simple explanation for how she identified Sammael and Be'lal: she used her blue headstone to eavesdrop on Brend and Samon. Presumably they said something which identified them as Forsaken, perhaps she overheard them talking to Darkfriends. Perhaps Ishamael showed up to talk to one of them and called them by name. It is also possible drawings of them, or physical information about them (such as Sammael's distinctive scar or Be'lal's hair) was mentioned in books that Vandene and Adeleas had. If this theory is correct, it doesn't lessen Moiraine's badassery one bit, since she still took the chance of a) sneaking into the Council of the Nine's palace/the Stone of Tear and b) using her eavesdropping trick which the Forsaken could easily have picked up on. (And the fact Be'lal knew Moiraine was around and set the BA to leave the hedgehog for her, as well as Sammael sending the Darkhounds, suggests they did in fact sense her.) So...daring to do such a thing still shows testicular fortitude.

Sheriam: considering no one else knew of the 13 x 13 trick except Liandrin and Co., that really should have made it plain to everyone Sheriam was Black. (Of course the question always was, was it willingly or not?) In any event, this explains why Liandrin thought the girls would know of the trick: Sheriam told someone (Alviarin? Mesaana? Verin?) that she had passed word of the trick to Egwene who would surely tell the others. Then Mesaana uses TAR to tell Be'lal (or the BA directly), so that Liandrin can use it to frighten the girls when she meets them.

Rahvin's money: if it did indeed have a Finder on it, one wonders if this could allow the Dark One's luck to influence its owner, thus explaining all the crap Morgase and her group went through. Clearly if there was one, Rahvin never bothered following up on where it went, perhaps because it didn't go south to Tear to suggest Mat was interfering with Comar, and did in fact go west, which fit Mat's story of coming from a village near Baerlon. (And going to Amadicia was Mat 'seeing the world'?) In any event, if that money is what financed Morgase's trip, that would actually be a rather cool turn of events, even with all the awful stuff she went through--it would mean that indirectly Mat enabled Morgase to be there to help Perrin with the Whitecloaks, as well as smooth things over between him and Elayne. Oh, and help with Faile's rescue.
129. Divil The Bother
Picking up the pace now - about to head into book 4 on my reread...

One thing I always thought was a bit lame was everyone's instantaneous reaction to the prophecy about the Stone not falling until the Dragon held Callandor - it's earlier in the book(s) but I can't be bothered to look it up. Most of the characters assume it's an impossibility because how could the dragon get to the sword unless the stone fell.

In reality it's easy to come up with multiple scenarios as to how it could happen so the attempt to make the prophecy more mysterious turns out feeling manufactured and unrealistic.

I have to say that although I would criticise the later books for serious amounts of mission drift, Jordan really improves as a writer and jettisons a lot of the clunky and unrealistic plot devices in evidence in the early books.
130. sadface
RE: Perrin feeling the heat - in tEotW he is seriously wrapped up in his own head, thinking about his wolves, and therefor is distracted enough not to notice the heat. He is not immune to heat, just pre-occupied.

RE: Moiraine and baelfire - again, we lost her for a sizable chunk of time between tEotW and tGH and then again during tGH. It is a mistake to believe the only placed she went was to visit Vandene and her sister's library. She picked up baelfire during one of those two time periods, but I don't believe it was from the sisters. I think a trip to see the Finn's was more likely.
131. sadface
Sorry, this merits a post of its own.

You have to be incredibly dense to believe the plan was to 13+13 Rand.

1) If that were the plan, the 13 fades would be there already. A plan so elaborate would not hinge on waiting for 13 fades to arrive, once they were summoned, once the incredibly powerful and volitile victim was finally in place.

2) The idea that you would summon fades and then have to wait for them is also ridiculous. They travel instantly from shadow to shadow, so if they were actually sent for, they would actually be there already. The arguement that it took so long for the fades to get to tTR is bogus; in that case the Trollocs were the limiting factor - they have to walk (I am assuming that there are no units of mounted Trollocs.) Fades don't launch en masse and attack from the shadows inside of cities because it wouldn't work. Ishy would have long ago run out of fades before conquering the land and then be left with an army of leaderless Trollocs - useless! Line of sight limitation seems ridiculous because we are talking about shadows and darkness - the more darkness, the shorter the line of sight, the more limited the travel of the fades would be, which is just silly. Distance limitations are equally as silly, just on principle. Regardless, even if you accept one of those limits, the speed of travel would still be hugely fast. Fast enough that you wouldn't really have to wait.

3) I doubt a turned Rand could be forced to give up the sword. If he was turned and serving the DO, wouldn't he act just as selfishly as the Forsaken - working against them for his own gain? Besides, by turning Rand, the DO wins and Rand essentially becomes Nae'blis. With the sword he is far and away the most powerful person serving the DO, and we have already been told he would be the DOs favorite.

4) Even if you assume a turned Rand could be forced to give up the sword, then he could also be forced to pull it, so why would Be'lal wait for him to get the massive level-up by taking control of the #3 in the world S'A before turning him?

5) Ishy wants Rand dead. If Be'lal's plan was anything other then killing Rand, Ishy would not be allowing it to progress. Ishy is in Tear to make sure Rand dies. Sure, he may be waiting to kill Be'lal and double take the sword, but his main objective is to kill Rand.

So who sent who to Tear?
1) Mesaana sent the 13 BA to assist Be'lal.

2) Be'lal is luring Rand with dreams of the sword, probably delivered via the BA, to kill him and take the sword.

3) Ishy is hunting Rand and trying to kill him with various darkfriends and dream creations.

4) Lanfear sent the SG to foil both Be'lal's and Ishy's plans, under the guise of providing bait (not needed, Rand is going to Tear regardless) for Rand - she is the only one who wants Rand alive at this point.

5)Rahvin sent Comar et al to kill the SG so they can't use Elayne against his personal plans.
William McDaniel
132. willmcd
So late no one will ever read this, blah blah, etc.

Agree with what so many have said: love the ending of this book, the way that the heroes have been split into 4 separate groups that all converge on Tear; it's like a big Randland Seinfeld episode! Love Elayne slapping Egwene. Love Mat flirting with Mother Guenna and the two of them conspiring to keep Thom in a sickbed.

The forge scene had a great impact on me as well. I read it sitting on the sofa in my parents' living room over Christmas break after my first quarter of college. I really related to Perrin, as I myself was returning home to the familiar after four months of "adventure", being away from home for the first time in my life. And like him, I knew it was but a moment's repose before I set off again.

And now one previously-unmentioned point, prompted by Nynaeve and Mother Guenna's Wisdom/Wise Woman pissing contest: the general state of herbal lore in Randland is incredibly advanced, and seems to almost be the equal of modern pharmaceuticals (I seem to recall that in the later books, in a discussion about Elayne's pregnancy, that there's even a tea that is an effective contraceptive!). One has to wonder if there are "herb reps" that bring lunch around to the Wise Women once a week. Since medicine is apparently exclusively the domain of women, all of these "herb reps" would be strapping young men, who would also periodically take them all on expensive cruises to the Sea Folk islands.

I hope Rand gets around to instituting al'ThorCare and puts a stop to all that corruption in AMoL.
William Carter
133. wcarter

We're watching, we are always watching.... ::Insert maniacal laughter and lightning effects here::

Something that is often overlooked in history is that the Roman empire apparently discovered a plant (which they farmed) that was a very impressive contraceptive. So impressive in fact that records say they over harvested it and drove it to extinction.
Terry McNamee
134. macster
@130 sadface: I think you're probably right that Moiraine learned of balefire from somewhere other than Vandene and Adeleas--they didn't know it, obviously, and it'd be odd for them to have information about it in their library when it was forbidden--but it couldn't have been the Finn she learned it from. Because you can only go through each doorway once, and Moiraine goes through the one in Tear in the next book, TSR.

And @131: You make good points, but I'd just like to mention a few things. One, if indeed as you yourself say time doesn't factor into summoning Fades because they could get there instantly through shadow travel, then Be'lal wouldn't have had to wait for them to arrive after catching Rand. Liandrin telling the girls Be'lal was sending for Fades doesn't mean much, since she could have been lying just to frighten them, but if she was telling the truth then that means someone was going to be turned. It might have been the girls though, or Moiraine, since Be'lal implies to Rand that he would turn the girls and to Moiraine that he would turn her ("teach you to serve the Shadow with your puny powers"). And since you make a good point that a) a turned Rand would be hard to get Callandor away from and b) a turned Rand would be allowed by the Dark One to keep it since he would then be Nae'blis, you've kind of undermined your own point.

All the Forsaken wanted to be Nae'blis. So why would Be'lal want Rand to be allowed to keep Callandor once he was turned, or be turned at all? The latter was what the Dark One wanted (and may be the only way for him to win Tarmon Gai'don) so that would explain why Be'lal would do it. But if he waited to turn him until after he got Callandor out, then it all fits together--he believed he was strong enough to take it away from the untrained Rand, and needed him to draw it; once he had the sword, if the Dark One still wanted/needed Rand turned, then it could be done, because Be'lal could easily argue for a higher position based on having turned Rand and having Callandor. Not to mention we don't know for sure that a turned Rand would be made Nae'blis; that was what Ishamael (and Lanfear) offered him, but that may have just been an incentive to get him to turn, with serving the Shadow being the only thing the Dragon had to do to guarantee a Shadow victory. Be'lal might have thought that succeeding in turning him, plus having Callandor, would make him Nae'blis instead. Even if Rand was, having Callandor would count for something and he would surely plot to get rid of Rand--it's what all the Forsaken did and the Dark One rewards ambition.

All of this could only happen if he got hold of Callandor, and turning Rand could still happen afterward--even immediately afterward since as you point out the summoned Fades would arrive instantly. As for Ishamael, it's true he wanted to kill Rand (because of his previous defeats and because it seemed clear he wasn't going to join the Shadow). But that doesn't mean the Dark One didn't still want him turned. And recall the argument between Ishamael and Be'lal that Perrin witnessed in TAR. If Ishy wanted him dead but Be'lal didn't (because he needed him to get Callandor and wanted to present a turned Rand to the Dark One afterward) that would explain the argument. Note that Ishy only showed up to fight Rand after Moiraine killed Be'lal--as if he wanted him to get killed, because he was going against Ishy's own plans? The reason he didn't kill Be'lal earlier would be either because there was still a chance Rand could be turned, which the Dark One wanted, or because Ishy wanted Callandor too. It's also possible that Rand couldn't draw the sword unless he was not of the Shadow--if the weaves holding it could be attuned to his thread (or however the whole "only the Dragon can draw it" situation was set up) they could also be attuned to him being of the Light. There's a lot we don't know, really.

Be'lal was the Netweaver; I'm sure he had a lot of schemes in mind, both actual ones and backup ones in case things went wrong or he had a chance to pursue side interests to increase his power. So even if turning Rand wasn't on the original agenda, it may have been at some point.

Also, just for completion's sake, it should be noted that according to the prologue of ACOS, Be'lal met with Alviarin. If Mesaana was the one who sent the 13 BA, I'm not sure why Be'lal would need to meet with Alviarin, unless it was to have the BA sent to free Mazrim Taim, per Liandrin's plan.

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