Mar 20 2009 11:43am

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Dragon Reborn, Part 9

Hi, all! Welcome back to the Wheel of Time Re-read Extravaganza! Today we put a third triumphant notch on the bedpost as we finish off The Dragon Reborn with Chapters 53-56. Giggety?

Yeah, let’s pretend I didn’t say that.

Previous conquests I mean entries can be found here. God, you guys, get your minds out of the gutter, don’t you know there are spoiled things down there? So gross.

... And now I am in the interesting position of not having a response to what I myself just wrote, so I think we’re just going to dig around till find our purse and shoes, and slip out of the door vewy vewy qwietwy.

Chapter 53: A Flow of the Spirit

What Happens
Perrin heads back to the inn after more work at the forge. Zarine, walking with him, comments about Perrin refusing to work on something for a High Lord, and Perrin thinks that he cannot make up his mind about her; he feels awkward around girls when they smile at him, but Zarine doesn’t even have to smile, just look. He wonders again if she is the beautiful woman Min warned him about, and thinks he would rather she was the falcon. This thought surprises him so much he stumbles. Zarine asks if he’s ever thought of wearing a beard, and Perrin despairs of understanding her. They meet Moiraine and Lan at the door of the inn, and Moiraine tells them that Rand is in Tear. Lan tells Perrin about the strange occurrences that have been going on, including the First of Mayene announcing she will submit to the High Lords, after having previously declared she would see Mayene burn before letting Tear in. Moiraine asks if Perrin dreamed of Rand, and he admits that he did, and Zarine puts in that she also dreamed of a tall man with reddish hair and gray eyes in a place full of redstone columns. Moiraine says she has heard a hundred people tell of that dream today. She goes on to say that she will deal with Be’lal tonight; Lan cuts in to correct that they will be dealing with him, and Moiraine agrees. Perrin asks what they are supposed to do, and Moiraine tells him they are going to Tar Valon until this is over. Perrin, to his surprise, is bitter about running away, but Zarine puts forth that she has no shame in running from this fight; only men and fools fight when they should run, but she had no need to say it twice. She runs ahead to find Loial. Perrin follows, and hears a thump in their private dining room. He pushes the door open and sees her lying next to the table; he starts to dash in, but Moiraine commands him to halt. Agonized, Perrin finally obeys; he cannot tell from the door if Faile is breathing or not. He demands Moiraine do something, and she asks him to tell her what fell from her hand. He looks, and tells her it is a wooden carving of a hedgehog. Moiraine murmurs that she felt it trigger, but only Spirit; what uses only Spirit? She tells Perrin that this was a trap, one meant for Moiraine. Lan hauls the innkeeper up to them, and he tells them, shaking, that he let the two Ladies in, to leave a surprise for Moiraine. They showed it to him – a little hedgehog – and he thought nothing of it. Moiraine throws him out of the hall, and Moiraine speculates that Be’lal may be strong enough to have sensed the trap trigger, and Lan finishes that it means he will not expect them, and almost smiles. Perrin demands, what about Faile? Moiraine tells him she is alive, but she cannot go closer to ascertain more than that.

“She... sleeps, in a way. As a bear sleeps in the winter. Her heart beats so slowly you could count minutes between. Her breathing is the same. She sleeps.” Even from within that hood, he could feel her eyes on him. “I fear she is not there, Perrin. Not in her body any longer.”

Perrin asks what that means, and Moiraine is not sure, but has remembered that the hedgehog is a ter’angreal, last studied by Corianin Nedeal, the last Dreamer in the Tower, and thus Moiraine suspects Faile may be trapped in Tel’aran’rhiod, and if she does not return to her body soon, she will die. Perrin asks if this Tel’aran’rhiod is like the wolf dream, but Moiraine does not know. She says she must leave, but Perrin refuses to go. She takes a breath, and says he must do what he must; perhaps he will survive the night. She and Lan leave, and Loial comes up, asking what is going on. Perrin explains, and to his surprise Loial gets very angry, and growls that it is not right. Perrin tells Loial that he is going to try to help her, and asks if Loial will guard him.

Loial raised those huge hands that held books so carefully, and his thick fingers curled as if to crush stone. “None will pass me while I live, Perrin. Not Myrddraal or the Dark One himself.” He said it like a simple statement of fact.

Perrin nods, and leaps through the door, and is gone. He is in the wolf dream, wearing a blacksmith’s leather vest and the hammer on his belt. Hopper appears, and tells him he is a fool; evil things walk the dream, and Young Bull must go. Perrin refuses, saying he has to rescue Faile, and feels a shift; he looks down and sees he is now a wolf, even larger than Hopper. Shocked, Hopper tells him he is here too strongly, and will die. Perrin tells him that if he does not free the falcon, he doesn’t care.

Then we hunt, brother.

Noses to the wind, the two wolves ran across the plain, seeking the falcon.

I guess I just don’t get it. And you know, it’s not that I think Faile is such a horrible person that no one could love her. First of all, horrible people get other people to fall in love with them all the time, let’s just take that as wretchedly proven, but aside from that, I don’t actually think Faile is a horrible person. Just, occasionally, incredibly annoying. But then, she is also occasionally awesome – as we will see.

But that’s the thing, that “we will see” part. For my money, all the things that make Faile intermittently awesome happen later – specifically, in TSR. Up to this point, though, the plus side of her qualities have not been so readily apparent. She’s unsettled Perrin, certainly, and been mysterious and alluring to him, or so we are informed, but I just didn’t see anything she’s done thus far to inspire this much passion on Perrin’s part. Attraction, sure. This level of frenzy, no.

*shrug* Maybe it’s the damsel in distress thing. Or maybe I'm just looking at it too rationally. Or maybe it’s authorial fiat, and I should just let it not make sense, ‘cause it ain’t ever gonna.

Chapter 54: Into the Stone

What Happens
On the rooftops, Mat examines the perimeter of the Stone, which abuts the Erinin and meets the city wall on that side. It looks like the wall is Mat’s best bet to reach the fortress, but he’s not happy about it, as the top of the wall is only about a pace wide, and it is a ten-span drop to the street below if he falls. He picks up his staff and a small wire-handled tin box and moves closer to the wall, the roll of fireworks on his back. He contemplates his plan to climb the outside of the Stone to the battlements, more than a hundred paces straight up, and thinks to himself that even Rand would not try to climb that, but it was the only way in Mat had found. Suddenly he sees that there already is someone climbing the Stone, and already halfway up, and Mat worries that the fool will raise the alarm and ruin Mat’s chances.

He could not see the climber anymore. Who in the Light is he? What does it matter who he is? Burn me, but this is a bloody way to win a wager. I’m going to want a kiss from all of them, even Nynaeve!

Suddenly there is steel at his throat; Mat immediately knocks it aside and sweeps the man’s feet out from under him with his staff, but someone else knocks him down and he lands on top of the first attacker. He rolls and lays about himself with his staff, but freezes when two more blades appear against his neck. He looks up at the veiled faces of his assailants, assuming they are thieves, and grins, saying he’ll let them go about their business if they’ll let him go about his. Then he realizes they are Aiel, and says so. One of them, a man, agrees; a woman tells him he dances well for one caught by surprise. Mat starts to grin, then remembers that the Aiel mean something different by “dance”. They haul him to his feet, and the man asks him what he’s doing here, studying the Stone from every side, but before he can answer another voice says he could ask the same of the Aiel, and Juilin Sandar steps out and introduces himself. Mat wonders how many bloody people are on the roofs tonight anyway. The Aiel man asks Sandar why he follows them, as they have stolen nothing, and besides Sandar has been watching the Stone himself. Sandar is surprised, then hesitant.

“I... did a thing today that... troubles me.” He sounded almost as though he were talking to himself, trying to puzzle it out. “Part of me says it was right, what I did, that I must obey. Surely, it seemed right when I did it. But a small voice tells me I... betrayed something. I am certain this voice is wrong, and it is very small, but it will not stop.” He stopped then himself, shaking his head again.

The Aiel spokesman gives his name as Rhuarc, and tells Sandar that he means no harm to him or the people of his city, but Sandar will not be allowed to raise an alarm against them. Sandar asks, why are you here, then, and Rhuarc answers, “The Stone”. Sandar hesitates, and agrees to remain silent. Rhuarc turns back to Mat and repeats his question; Mat tries saying he was just out for a walk, and the woman puts her spear to his throat again, so he amends that to say some friends of his are prisoners in the Stone, and he means to bring them out. Rhuarc asks, Alone?, and Mat replies dryly that there doesn’t seem to be anyone else, unless the Aiel want to help him; they could do worse than to bet on his luck.

“We are not here for prisoners, gambler,” Rhuarc said.

One of the other Aiel (Gaul) tells Rhuarc it is time, and he warns Mat and Sandar again not to raise the alarm, and the Aiel leave. Mat tells Sandar he hopes Sandar doesn’t mean to try stopping him, either, and Sandar asks if these friends of his happen to be three women. Mat is suspicious, and Sandar tells him he knows they are inside, and that there is a gate which will let in a thief-catcher with a prisoner. Mat looks at the Stone again, and sees with surprise that over a hundred Aiel are now climbing up the Stone, and thinks maybe he can add to the confusion. He tells Sandar they will try his gate in a moment, as soon as Mat “stirs the anthill a bit”. He scrambles across the roofs to the top of the wall, then follows that to where it meets the Stone; as he had hoped, there is an arrowslit right there. He wedges the bundle of fireworks into the slit so that the fuses, which he had tied together and trimmed to the same short length; he reasons that this should make them all go off at once, and hopefully create enough noise to provide an extra distraction. He lights the fuses with a coal he’d brought in the tin box, and darts away back along the wall.

This is crazy, he thought as he ran. I don’t care how big a bang it makes. I could break my fool neck doing thi—!

The roar behind him was louder than anything he had ever heard in his life; a monstrous fist punched him in the back, knocking all the wind out of him even before he landed, sprawled on his belly on the wall top, barely holding on to his staff as it swung over the edge. For a moment he lay there, trying to make his lungs work again, trying not to think how he must have used up all his luck this time by not falling off the wall.

Mat gets up and examines the slit, and realizes to his surprise that it now bisects a hole in the wall, large enough for a man to get through. He doesn’t understand it, but quickly pushes himself through the opening anyway. Defenders burst into the room, and Mat fights them, outnumbered, cursing himself for a fool. Then suddenly Sandar is beside him, using his bamboo staff, and soon the Defenders are down. Sandar is appalled that he just fought Defenders, and then asks Mat what he did to the arrowslit. He asks, fearfully, if he has joined up with a man who can channel. Mat tells him brusquely that it was fireworks, and orders Sandar to show him the way to the cells.

Egwene wakes up in a cell, and begins to scream, but Nynaeve and Elayne quickly soothe her, and she feels better knowing she is not alone. They help her sit up; she asks if they are still shielded, then realizes it is a stupid question, since Nynaeve would have Healed their wounds by now otherwise. Nynaeve tells her “that milk-faced chit” Amico is outside the cell, holding the shield on them; otherwise no one has even come to look at them. Elayne reminds her that they are bait; Nynaeve asks for who, and Egwene tells her, Rand. She Dreamed of Rand and Callandor, and thinks he is coming here. She wonders, though, why she also dreamed of Mat, and a wolf that she somehow knew was also Perrin. She feels her pouch, and amazed, says that they did not take the ter’angreal ring. Nynaeve doesn’t see what good Tel’aran’rhiod does them now, but Egwene points out that she could channel in it; maybe being shielded here doesn’t mean she will be shielded there, too. Nynaeve asks what if Liandrin and the others are there again, like last time? Egwene answers grimly that she hopes they are, and lies down to sleep.

She is in the meadow again, unbruised, and embraces saidar with triumph before letting it go and forming the picture of the Heart of the Stone in her head. When she opens her eyes, Joiya Byir, looking strangely transparent, is in the chamber before Callandor, whose glow is pulsing now. Joiya is shocked, and asks how it is possible, Egwene is shielded! Egwene weaves Spirit as she remembers them doing before, and cuts Joiya off from the Source, and then binds her in Air. Joiya tries to be defiant, but Egwene informs her that what happens here is real, and visits some of the same punishment on Joiya as was on her at Ailhuin’s house, and then tells her she will only get to wake up once Egwene allows it, and not to forget it. She ties off the flows, but after a moment undoes the weave punishing Joiya. She tells the Black sister that she is not like her, and leaves her there to find the cells.

Young Bull and Hopper finish killing the two-legs who had attacked them. Young Bull knows this is the Stone, and thinks that the two-legs had looked confused about why they were here in the dream, but they had been set here to guard the locked door ahead. Perrin wipes his mouth, and realizes he is in a man’s form again, and the hammer is on his belt. Hopper urges him to hurry, and Perrin smashes the lock on the door with the hammer. He strides in and sees Faile wrapped in chains on a stone block. He goes to her and touches her face, and she opens her eyes and smiles and says she kept dreaming he would come. Before he can get her loose, though, she disappears. Perrin shouts a denial, and Hopper tells him that in the dream, the same hunt can have different endings.

He did not turn to look at Hopper. He knew his teeth were bared in a snarl. Again he raised the hammer, brought it down with all his strength against the chains that had held Faile. The stone block cracked in two under his blow; the Stone itself rang like a stuck bell.

“Then I will hunt again,” he growled.

Hammer in hand, Perrin strode out of the room with Hopper beside him. The Stone was a place of men. And men, he knew, were crueler hunters than ever wolves were.

Mat ignores alarm gongs and the sound of men fighting nearby, trying to keep the suberb swordsman he’s fighting from taking his head off. He wonders if the man is one of those High Lords; he’s dressed well enough for it. Mat yells to Sandar to ask if he can get by, and Sandar replies he cannot.

“Well, think of something, Tairen. This ragamuffin is grating my nerves.”

The man in the gold-striped coat sneered. “You will be honored to die on the blade of the High Lord Darlin, peasant, if I allow it so.” It was the first time he had deigned to speak. “Instead, I think I will have the pair of you hung by the heels, and watch while the skin is stripped from your bodies—”

“I do not think I’d like that,” Mat said.

Darlin is outraged at being interrupted, but Mat presses the attack, and changes in mid-pattern to take Darlin by surprise and knock him cold. Mat leans against the wall, panting, and thinks that no one tells you that being a hero is such hard work. He sees a man cross the corridor a ways down, and starts with surprise; he could have sworn that was Rand. Sandar comes up next to him, and Mat starts to say something, swinging his staff up onto his shoulder, and it smacks into the skull of another High Lord who had been sneaking up on them both. He dispatches the wounded man quickly, and mutters that you can’t beat luck; Sandar concurs, and heads off, saying he knows the way down to the cells is around here somewhere.

Multiple POVs, ho!

Ha, Mat trounced Darlin. Forgot about that. And he didn’t even let him monologue first!

Mat’s surprise that the fireworks blasted a hole in the wall is so funny to me; it’s like coming across someone who’s surprised that wheels are round, or ice is cold. But of course if you didn’t grow up knowing that gunpowder = Things Go Boom, you would have no reason to make the connection that something that produces heat, light, and noise might also produce a concussive force.

So, yeah. And now I’m having a really weird flashback to the Clan of the Cave Bear series.

I hope we all caught that Perrin was wiping blood away from his mouth, yes? Yes. Eesh.

Also, it occurs to me that there is an awful lot of wimmins needin’ rescuin’ in this chapter. I’m... just laying that out there.

Chapter 55: What is Written in Prophecy

What Happens
Rand enters the Heart of the Stone slowly, and sees Callandor there, calling to him.

If I am the Dragon Reborn. If I am not just some half-mad man cursed with the ability to channel, a puppet dancing for Moiraine and the White Tower.

“Take it, Lews Therin. Take it, Kinslayer.”

He spins to face a tall man with short white hair stepping out from the columns; he has seen the man in his dreams. Rand says that the man was putting Egwene and Nynaeve and Elayne in a cage, and hurting them. The man dismisses them, and says that Lews Therin was always a fool, following his heart before power, and now he has to do what he is not yet ready for, or die. Rand asks who he is, and the man laughs and says Rand really doesn’t remember him, does he? Perhaps Ishamael wasn’t lying after all. He says to call him Be’lal, and scowls when Rand doesn’t react to the name. He gestures to Callandor, and tells Rand to take it, and perhaps it will be enough to let Rand survive against him. Rand laughs and asks if Be’lal really thinks Rand would be frightened of him after he’s faced the Dark One himself; Be’lal says he really is a fool if he believes that. A sword made of black fire appears in his hands, and he demands again that Rand take Callandor, and defend himself. He charges Rand, but instead of going for Callandor Rand seizes saidin and creates a sword of red fire, and meets the Forsaken’s attack. He quickly realizes he is outclassed as a swordsman here, and Be’lal laughs and says he was better once, but now Be’lal will kill him, unless he takes Callandor. He advances slowly to give Rand time to rush for the sa’angreal, but Rand is still wracked with doubt; was he truly the Dragon Reborn? He meets Be’lal with the Power-created sword again instead, and is just barely holding his own as they dance the forms, being driven backward toward Callandor the whole time. Rand is vaguely aware that there are other men in the chamber, fighting, some in armor and others in veils with spears, and that his old wound is breaking open again. He stumbles on a corpse and falls, and Be’lal raises his sword, snarling at him to take Callandor or die.


Even Be’lal gave a start at the command in that woman’s voice. The Forsaken stepped back out of the arc of Rand’s sword and turned his head to frown at Moiraine as she came striding through the battle, her eyes fixed on him, ignoring the screaming deaths around her. “I thought you were neatly out of the way, woman. No matter. You are only an annoyance. A stinging fly. A biteme. I will cage you with the others, and teach you to serve the Shadow with your puny powers,” he finished with a contemptuous laugh, and raised his free hand.

Moiraine had not stopped or slowed while he spoke. She was no more than thirty paces from him when he moved his hand, and she raised both of hers as well.

There was an instant of surprise on the Forsaken’s face, and he had time to scream “No!” Then a bar of white fire hotter than the sun shot from the Aes Sedai’s hands, a glaring rod that banished all shadows. Before it, Be’lal became a shape of shimmering motes, specks dancing in the light for less than a heartbeat, flecks consumed before his cry faded.

There is silence a moment, and then Moiraine coolly informs Rand that Be’lal was right about one thing; Rand must take Callandor. He is not ready, but it is his birthright, and it must be done now. Then black lightning comes out of nowhere and hurls Moiraine across the chamber into one of the columns, and Ba’alzamon descends to the floor, wrapped in darkness. He glares at Rand, and says that he has offered him the chance to serve twice, and twice Rand has refused, and wounded him; now he will serve the Lord of the Grave in death. He raises his hand, and Rand flings himself at Callandor. Ba’alzamon’s channeling strikes as he leaps and Rand screams, feeling as if he was being torn apart, and then his hand closes on Callandor’s hilt.

The One Power surged through him, a torrent greater than he could believe, from saidin into the sword. The crystal blade shone brighter than even Moiraine’s fire had. It was impossible to look at, impossible any longer to see that it was a sword, only that light blazed in his fist. He fought the flow, wrestled with the implacable tide that threatened to carry him, all that was really him, into the sword with it. For a heartbeat that took centuries he hung, wavering, balanced on the brink of being scoured away like sand before a flash flood. With infinite slowness the balance firmed. It was still as though he stood barefoot on a razor’s edge above a bottomless drop, yet something told him this was the best that could be expected. To channel this much of the Power, he must dance on that sharpness as he had danced the forms of the sword.

He turns to face Ba’alzamon, and tells him this time he means to finish it. Ba’alzamon disappears, and Rand frowns at the strange sense of folding he had felt when Ba’alzamon left. Using Callandor, he opens a door to... somewhere, and follows.

The Stone shakes as Egwene hurries into the dungeon area, shuddering at the torture implements in the outer chamber, and begins searching the cells. She sees a image flickering ahead, of a woman, on the verge of asleep, and Egwene realizes it is Amico, drifting off while toying with one of the dream ter’angreal. She embraces saidar, waits until Amico’s figure appears again, and strikes, cutting the woman off. Amico screams faintly, seeming barely there, but the bonds hold. Egwene channels Earth to destroy the lock on the cell door, and steps out of Tel’aran’rhiod, only to wake up and find that nothing has changed. Amico is shielded, but Elayne tells her she still can’t embrace saidar, and of course what Egwene had done to the lock in the dream had no effect in the real world. Egwene says she will have to try again, and lays back down.

Mat enters the cell area, and hisses at Sandar to hurry up. He goes further in, and soon comes to a woman sitting strangely stiffly on a bench, seeming half asleep. Mat is about to try to help her when Sandar comes up and shouts that she is Aes Sedai, and one of the one who took Mat’s friends. Mat doesn’t get what’s going on, but sees a key on her belt, and cautiously takes it and opens the cell door. He sees the three girls inside and is appalled at their bruises; Nynaeve and Elayne gape at him.

“Matrim Cauthon,” Nynaeve said, sounding shocked, “what under the Light are you doing here?”

“I came to bloody rescue you,” he said. “Burn me if I expected to be greeted as if I had come to steal a pie. You can tell me why you look as if you’d been fighting bears later, if you want. If Egwene cannot walk, I’ll carry her on my back.”

He adds that there are Aiel fighting Defenders everywhere, and they should get out right away. Nynaeve tells him to mind his language, and Elayne gives him a disapproving stare, but then they both ignore him and concentrate on waking Egwene. She comes to groggily, asking why they woke her, and sees Mat, and asks him the exact same question Nynaeve did. Mat says “you tell her” to Nynaeve, but they are all suddenly glaring beyond him, and Mat turns to see Sandar there. Sandar tells Mat they have cause; he betrayed them. But, he tells the girls, the honey-haired one spoke to him, and he had to. Nynaeve finally says that perhaps he was not to blame, and they can apportion guilt later. They all follow Mat into the hall, where Nynaeve goes up to the woman on the bench and slugs her, knocking her out. Elayne excitedly says “it” is gone, and Nynaeve takes Egwene’s head in her hands and Heals her, then does the same for Elayne. Mat demands to know what they are thinking, hitting a woman who obviously couldn’t defend herself, and suddenly finds himself wrapped in something invisible and lifted into the air. Egwene says tightly that he doesn’t understand anything, and Nynaeve adds that until he does he’d best keep his opinions to himself.

For some reason he found himself giving them the grin that had so often sent his mother after that switch. Burn me, if they can do this, I don’t see how anybody ever locked them in that cell in the first place! “What I understand is that I got you out of something you couldn’t get yourselves out of, and you all have as much gratitude as a bloody Taren Ferry man with a toothache!”

Nynaeve says he is right, much as it pains her to say so, and the invisible bonds disappear. Mat considers more sarcasm, but settles for asking if they can go now; the girls tell him they are not leaving yet, and march off. He yells after them that he is not walking into the middle of a bloody battle, then snarls and hurries after them, Sandar close behind.

Perrin strides through the Stone, Hopper at his side, looking for Faile. He has rescued her twice more, but each time she faded away. He glimpses a man running as if chasing someone, and thinks that it couldn’t have been Rand. Hopper sprints ahead to a pair of bronze doors; Perrin moves to follow, and weakness floods him. He falls to his knees, and Hopper tells him he is here too strongly, and soon his flesh will die. Perrin just tells him to find Faile, and Hopper tells him she is beyond the doors. Perrin notes the doors are etched with thousands of tiny falcons, and slams his hammer into them three times; they shatter like glass, and Perrin steps in to see a falcon chained to a perch in a circle of light. He heads toward her, and is attacked by falcons swooping on him again and again. He plows forward anyway, bleeding all over, and reaches the perch to see that the lock on the chain holding the falcon on the perch is in the shape of a tiny hedgehog. Just before his strength gives out, Perrin snaps it, and loses consciousness. He wakes up back at the inn, with Faile wiping his face with a bloody cloth.

“My poor Perrin,” she said softly. “My poor blacksmith. You are hurt so badly.”

He sees the hedgehog carving broken in half, and calls her his falcon.

Rand notes that this is still the Stone, but different; he is alone here. Then a shaft of light like the one Moiraine had used on Be’lal shoots toward him, and Rand instinctively does something with Callandor that makes the sword split the blast in two, flowing around him to strike the columns behind him; where the light strikes, the columns cease to exist, and the Stone rumbles. He hears a snarl of rage, and sends the same back toward it, slicing through more columns, but Ba’alzamon flees again, and Rand follows. Ba’alzamon tosses traps behind him as he runs – Trollocs and Myrddraal, fire, collapsing rock – but Rand does something he doesn’t quite understand each time, and makes them disappear.

He could not even begin to imagine what it was that he did. The One Power raged inside him till he barely knew himself, till he barely was himself, till what was himself almost did not exist. His precarious stability teetered. To either side lay the endless fall, obliteration by the Power that coursed through him into the sword. Only in the dance along the razor’s sharp edge was there even an uncertain safety. Callandor shone in his fist until it seemed he carried the sun. Dimly within him, fluttering like a candle flame in a storm, was the surety that holding Callandor, he could do anything. Anything.

He continues to chase Ba’alzamon, springing each trap as it’s laid, until they end up back in the Heart of the Stone. Ba’alzamon backs away from him, and shouts that he will not be undone; he calls for aid, and some of the darkness around him forms into a ball in his hands, and he looks triumphant.

“You are destroyed!” Rand shouted. Callandor spun in his hands. Its light roiled the darkness, severed the steel-black lines around Ba’alzamon, and Ba’alzamon convulsed. As if there were two of him he seemed to dwindle and grow larger at the same time. “You are undone!” Rand plunged the shining blade into Ba’alzamon’s chest.

Ba’alzamon screamed, and the fires of his face flared wildly. “Fool!” he howled. “The Great Lord of the Dark can never be defeated!”

Rand pulled Callandor’s blade free as Ba’alzamon’s body sagged and began to fall, the shadow around him vanishing.

Suddenly Rand is back in the real Stone, with men fighting and dying all around him, and Moiraine still crumpled at the base of one of the columns. At his feet is the body of a middle-aged man who would have been good-looking except that his eyes and mouth were blackened, smoking pits.

I have done it, he thought. I have killed Ba’alzamon, killed Shai’tan! I have won the Last Battle! Light, I AM the Dragon Reborn! The breaker of nations, the Breaker of the World. No! I will END the breaking, end the killing! I will MAKE it end!

He raises Callandor and sends lightning crackling all over the dome, and yells “Stop!” The fighting men all stop and look at him, and he shouts that his name is Rand al’Thor, and he is the Dragon Reborn. The men kneel to him, shouting that the Dragon is Reborn.

Enter Dragon icon. Nice.

Third time’s the charm, eh? For killing Ishamael, anyway. You’d think Rand would have learned not to jump to conclusions about him being the Dark One this time, but hey, heat of the moment, Callandor-induced delusions of grandeur, I get it.

Speaking of which, you know, I originally thought that Cadsuane’s revelation about Callandor’s flaw in – what, Path of Daggers? – was some serious ret-conning, but reading this, I’m actually not so sure. Or even if it is ret-conning, it’s at least a very canny incorporation of Rand’s I’m The King Of The Wooorld! moment here to fit in later. Along with, I’m suddenly remembering, what happens in the beginning of TSR, as well. Huh.

Oh, and not to be a buzzkill or anything, but the Aiel in the Stone knelt to him, too? Really? I thought that wasn’t their thing, kneeling.

Moiraine: *thunderous applause* Another scene I would kill to see on film. A truly worthy Crowning Moment of Awesome. Bye, Be’lal! Thanks for being one of the few characters to actually stay dead, we appreciate it!

And thus Moiraine enters WOT history as being, to date, the only character other than Rand and the Green Man to have killed a Forsaken on-screen. (Unless you count Mashadar as a character, which I don’t.)

So, the scene where Mat rescues the Supergirls. All righty, here we go.

Once upon a time, boys and girls, I was the news editor for a local network affiliate, which means I was responsible for taking the raw video footage from the camera crews, and cutting together the best bits to play under the anchor’s voiceover. Usually this was not complicated or stressful, but on occasion it could get insane. Like, for instance, when your news crew’s van breaks down, and they don’t get you the footage for the lead story for the 5 o’clock broadcast until, say, 4:55 PM. Which means you have less than five minutes to load the footage, cut it together, dump it back on tape, and get it down to the playout guy before the anchors intro the story.

Let me just assure you that if you are in that situation, you are Stressed. Not, perhaps, as much as you might be if you were, say, wounded and being held hostage, but you’re pretty darn freaked, right? Right.

So say you are in that situation, and right as you yank the tape out of the deck and turn to haul ass down to the playout room, your friend is standing there with a big goofy grin on his face, and he yells “Surprise! Movie tickets!”

Now, your friend is just trying to do something nice for you, and obviously had no way of knowing what was going on, right? Right. So when you jump a mile, snap “What the hell are you doing here? Move!” and shove past him to get the tape down to the playout room, this is obviously not cool of you at all.

Or rather, it was not cool of me at all, but that is exactly what happened, and even all these years later I’m still kind of ashamed about it. However, I do think it was understandable. Not cool, but understandable. Stressful situations, I have found, do not noticeably contribute toward proportionate responses to unexpected stimuli. In other words, when the going gets rough, people get rude. It’s a feature, not a bug, unfortunately.

So based on my own personal experiences, I’m willing to give the Girls at least somewhat of a pass on how they behaved during the actual rescue. However, the difference between me and the Supergirls, and where I do totally find fault with them, is that I apologized to my friend almost immediately, as soon as the crisis was resolved and I’d had a chance to calm down, rather than waiting *mumble* months, and then only doing it under duress. That is the totally uncool part; the way they behaved after it was all over.

Chapter 56: People of the Dragon

What Happens
When the people of Tear wake up the next morning, talking about the dreams they’d had about the Dragon battling Ba’alzamon, they see that the banner atop the highest point of the Stone is different; now it is a serpentlike creature of scarlet and gold on a field of white. They fill the streets, chanting “The Dragon! Al’Thor!”

Up above, Mat watches the chanting crowd and shakes his head. He had only seen Rand once since the battle, striding down a hall with Callandor in his hand and surrounded by Aiel and Defenders and High Lords. There were nearly two hundred Aiel in the Stone. Mat notes Rhuarc in the room, reading, and thinks about his less than successful efforts to chat up Aviendha, Bain, or Chiad. He decides that Aiel women are even odder than most. Moiraine, Egwene, Nynaeve and Elayne are in the room as well, sitting at the table. Nynaeve is saying she can’t believe Perrin is in Tear, and asks if he is all right; Moiraine replies he was the last she saw him, though his companion was in danger, so he might not still be so. Nynaeve demands to know what danger, and Egwene demands to know what companion, but Moiraine only replies she is going to them in a moment, but delayed to show them something. She pulls out a half-white, half-black disc and lays it on the table. Elayne identifies it as one of the seals on the Dark One’s prison, and Egwene notes that it only makes sense that it is here; twice before Rand faced Ba’alzamon, and both times a seal was present. Nynaeve adds, but this one is unbroken, not that it matters. Moiraine asks softly if she’s sure of that, and Mat decides it is time to interrupt. They all give him cold stares, and Mat thinks about how they never even thanked him for rescuing him, and plows on, saying no one will explain anything to him. Moiraine asks what he wants to know.

“I want to know how all of this can be.” He meant to keep his tone soft, but despite himself he picked up intensity as he went along. “The Stone of Tear has fallen! The Prophecies said that would never happen till the People of the Dragon came. Does that mean we are the bloody People of the Dragon? You, me, Lan, and a few hundred bloody Aiel?” He had seen the Warder during the night; there had not seemed to be much edge between Lan and the Aiel as to who was the more deadly. As Rhuarc straightened to stare at him, he hastily added, “Uh, sorry, Rhuarc. Slip of the tongue.”

Moiraine replies slowly that perhaps they are; she came to stop Be’lal from killing Rand, but she did not expect to see the Stone fall. But prophecies are fulfilled the way they are supposed to be, not as people think they should be. Mat shivers at the Forsaken’s name, and thinks that he wouldn’t have come to the rescue if he’d known about that – or at least he would have been a lot less ostentatious about it. Rhuarc speaks up, and tells them that when a man wishes to become a clan chief, he has to go to Rhuidean, and if he survives it, he returns marked. He rolls up his left sleeve to show the same creature as on the Dragon banner wrapped twice around his forearm, etched into the skin. Moiraine says quietly that the Aiel are the People of the Dragon, and that was something she did not know. Mat says then it’s all done, and they can go home, right? Egwene says of course it is not done; the Forsaken are still loose, and Nynaeve adds that the Black Ajah are still out there as well. Mat says of course, but he meant that the hardest part is done; Shai’tan is dead.

Moiraine’s stare was so hard that he thought the Stone shook for a moment.

“Be quiet, you fool!” the Aes Sedai said in a voice like a knife. “Do you want to call his attention to you, naming the Dark One?”

“But he’s dead!” Mat protested. “Rand killed him. I saw the body!” And a fine stink that was, too. I never thought anything could rot that fast.

Moiraine tells him he saw a man’s body, not the Dark One. Mat sees that everyone else looks as confused as he does, and protests that his memory is messed up, but he remembers that man from his dreams. Nynaeve adds that Rand seems certain he killed Ba’alzamon – the Dark One – as well; if that man isn’t the Dark One, who is he? Moiraine isn’t sure, but she says it makes no sense that the Dark One would leave behind a human corpse if destroyed. Egwene says she might know, remembering the passage Verin quoted her which mentioned Ba’alzamon and Ishamael together. Moiraine says perhaps it was Ishamael, but the important thing is, three of the seals are now broken, and only four remain; whatever battle they won here, it was far from the last. Mat notices the girls’ faces become resolved, and thinks they needn’t think he’ll come rescue them again. The door opens, and a young woman wearing a coronet showing a golden hawk in flight enters; Mat is appreciative of her rather low-cut dress. She tells the women around the table that she is not used to being a messenger; Moiraine asks who she is, and the woman answers “Berelain, First of Mayene”. She tosses a parchment on the table and turns to the door, but Moiraine halts her and asks why she brought it, then. Puzzled, Berelain says she does not know; the woman who gave it to her was... impressive. She shakes herself, and turns to Rhuarc and tells him his Aiel fighting disturbed her sleep, and perhaps she will have him to dine with her soon; then she turns to Moiraine and says she is told the Dragon Reborn has taken the Stone, and to inform him that the First of Mayene will dine with him tonight. She leaves, and Elayne and Egwene almost simultaneously wish they could stick her in the Tower as a novice.

“Listen to this,” Moiraine said. “ ‘Lews Therin was mine, he is mine, and he will be mine, forever. I give him into your charge, to keep for me until I come.’ It is signed ‘Lanfear.’ ” The Aes Sedai turned that cool gaze on Mat. “And you thought it was done? You are ta’veren, Mat, a thread more crucial to the Pattern than most, and the sounder of the Horn of Valere. Nothing is done for you, yet.”

Mat notices the others are all looking at him, and tells Moiraine of course, he understands, and she can count on him. He wonders how long Thom will take to recuperate, and whether Perrin will come with them when they make a run for it. Outside, the people’s chanting continues.

Interesting that Mat’s is the last POV of the book, and that we don’t see Rand again. It fits, though, with Rand’s “man behind the curtain” role in this novel. I once had to write an paper where we were asked to choose a character from a novel who was largely or entirely not present for the actual narrative, but nevertheless had a pivotal effect on the story’s outcome. Rand in TDR doesn’t quite qualify, because he did appear a number of times, but he comes very close.

(If you’re curious, the character I chose for the paper was Caddy, from The Sound and the Fury. Think about it.)

It’s a challenging thing, to write a story that revolves around a protagonist who isn’t actually in the story, mostly. It’s pulled off well here; certainly much more so than Crossroads of Twilight, from which Rand is even more absent. Though in fairness (or something), I’m not sure the comparison is apt, since by COT Jordan had long since abandoned trying to tie the wilderness of plot strings he had going back into one central storyline, so Rand in COT is not so much “the man behind the curtain” as he is kind of temporarily shelved while other characters’ plotlines get advanced.

In fact, I’m pretty sure TDR is the last novel in the series where all the central characters end up back in one location by the end of the book, on the same plot train, so to speak. The Two Rivers storyline in TSR is awesome, but it also marks the end of the symmetrical pattern established in the first three novels of all the bifurcating plots reuniting by the end of the installment; from this point on, they are just... bifurcated.

Couldn’t be helped, I suppose. But it does mean the novels from here on out lost something, at least in an artsy-fartsy thematic Big Picture closure sort of way. TEOTW, TGH and TDR could conceivably stand on their own as complete, mostly self-contained stories, but from TSR onward, no way.

I don’t have a conclusion or even a criticism to draw from this observation, really, though I know many others do. It is what it is. I like episodic television as much as I like a movie trilogy; it’s a little weird to switch from the latter to the former midstream, but as long as the story’s good I’m still along for the ride. I still want to know how it all turns out.

And this is the end. This is the end, my friend. The End of the Innocence, or at least of the third novel. So, go, go on. We’ll always have Paris! *sob*

Oh, and come back next week for the start of A Whole New World Book, The Shadow Rising, which I am shocked – shocked! – to realize does not have a Prologue. The horrah. However, the fact that Monday’s installment is only covering Chapters 1-2 should tell you how much stock to put in that Prologuelessness. It’s a trap! Bye-ee!

Blake Engholm
1. UncrownedKing
So is it just me, or is this all striked through? lol Good stuff Quagm.... I mean Leigh. Can't wait for TSR
2. ubxs113
Please fix the HTML coding!
Luke M
3. lmelior
Why do the Forsaken (Be'lal, in this case) want Callandor, but completely ignore the male Choedan Kal near Cairhien? Rand managed to stumble upon it (perhaps due to ta'averenness?), but surely the Forsaken can find it, too. Or is it that they're afraid of it?
4. zdrakec
Ch 53, re Faile not having yet done or shown anything "awesome" that Perrin should get passionate: can't agree with that. He's a young man with a very pretty girl clearly attracted to him, who is intelligent and who didn't take Moiraine up on the offer to get out of Dodge when faced with Forsaken et. al. in order to stay close to Perrin. That's had an impact on him!
Leigh Butler
5. leighdb
Agh! Sorry about the strikethrough madness. Should be fixed now.
Richard Fife
6. R.Fife
Choedan Kal are unsafe (read, they will kill you faster than a broken microwave) without the access ter'angreal, which are currently lost and thought completely destroyed.

My question: we know how Mat got into the Stone, and I can accept that Moiraine/Lan got in during the confusion of the Aiel, but how did Rand get in? Was he the first guy Mat saw climbing? Using his über garden-wall climbing skills on the stone now?

I also liked how this book had all the plotlines (which were much more disperate) remerge, but I also like how RJ decided that Three was enough. I think it would have started feeling a little overdone in TSR-on.

Oh, and to those who liked my little song last thread, I am surprised. I honestly expected to be ignored or heckled. I also have one written for TEotW to Backstreet Boys - Show Me The Meaning of Being Lonely. If no one complains, perhaps I'll see about making a parody for each book (to be posted in the last thread of each book as we reach them).
7. Sidetrack'd
Strikethrough fixed just as I finish reading the whole thing with it... have headache now. ouch.

Anyway... This climax - too much awesome for words...
Kind of warm-fuzzy-sad that the main chars are all together here, but doesn't happen ever.again. And Moiraine actually shares some info - the seals - here, too. I'm getting all sniffly... ;)

Something that's not mentioned in the recap - isn't there reference in real-world Tear to the Stone "ringing" a couple times like a struck gong? Was that something that Rand was doing, or did that coincide with Perrin's smashing of things in wolf-dream/TAR? If, how?

Imelior - We know that Lanfear knows about the male Choedan Kal, but all of the other Forsaken have been doing their own things and not really in that area - it was somewhere near the corner of No and Where well outside Cairhien. Could be that they're not aware it's being dug up. But, there's a good chance that the Forsaken are skittish of the 'Kal, though. Although, I can't help but think that Ishmael would've gone for it, regardless, the nutjob that he is...

Who/when do we hear about the 'Kal on Tremalking from? Isn't it referenced by some Aes Sedai later on? That being semi-common knowledge would make me think that, since none of the female Forsaken went for it, that they're all gunshy...

Oh, hey, R.Fife - thanks - forgot about the access keys being the buffers - that's likely the root of the situation right there.
Richard Fife
8. R.Fife
Bayle Doman mentions the 'Kal on Tremalking in book 1 when he is listing the odd things of the world he has seen.
9. ubxs113
Thanks Leigh, as always your post are super sweet!
10. Randalator
Great job as always, Leigh.

Did anyone notice that Rand splits a beam of balefire in his fight with Ishy? He splits freakin' balefire.

Holy shit! No, let me rephrase that: Holy jumpin' mother of god in a sidecar with chocolate jimmmies and a lobster bib!

Also: Yay, Mat! Love him blowing up stuff.
11. laframboise
No objections indeed on the parody concept! Put together a band and produce a CD when the series is done - plenty of material to work with...
John Cater
12. katre
I still haven't figured out the answer to one question: why were the Aiel invading the Stone?

Yes, they'd been told that Rand was He Who Comes With The Dawn, and they were looking for him, but did they really follow him into the Stone? Or did they figure "Eh, he wants Callandor, we'll just take over this big-ass fortress and wait for him"?

Is this ever explained anywhere?
13. Douglasm

As I recall, the Choedan Kal cannot be safely used without the access ter'angreal. The pair Rand finds in Rhuidean are not just convenience items, they are actually strictly necessary to use the Choedan Kal at all, and they are rather harder to find than the giant statues of the sa'angreals themselves.
14. MoreBooksForMe
Take away the fact that Perrin and Faile had only minimal flirting time toghether, and I think the whole Perrin wolf dream rescue was very well written and draws upon the readers emotions deeply. It would have made a lot more sense if Perrin and Faile had done more than argue and be awkward around each other.

Mat is as usuall awsome in this section and he never gets the respect he should from the SuperGirls even after the apologies.

By the way whats up with Ishy's body decomposing so fast? Just a thought.

Onward to The Shadow Rising, also a personal favorite.(The Finn and Rhudian flashbacks)
Blake Engholm
15. UncrownedKing
chp 53: Love Loail being a badass here. Also, I believe that Perrin suffers from (all of the big 3 do) the Knight in Shining Armor Complex (KSAC). Its fairly serious and forces the afflicted to becoming completely focused on a few things; mainly, women and doing the honorable/right thing. Add the fact that Perrin also suffers from the Love@First sight bug, and you have your raging courage and devosion to the Falcon.

Chp 54: I really think this chapter, and the end of the whole book for that matter, is written really really well. The multiple views all coinciding with one another, but for the large part not really interacting.

Fireworks + Arrow slit + Mat's an evil genius = Our Handy Dandy Side Door

SG captured.....yawn

Young bull + Hopper = Badass

Chp 55: Why do all Forsaken monologue? I mean, really Bel'al? You just couldn't hold your breath for 15 seconds then kill him!?? dumb but love it all. Like how Rand doesn't immediately go for Call

And I don't feel like talking about anything else lol

People of the Dragon!!
16. Lsana
Ch 53:

So just how did Moiraine know about the hedgehog? I can just barely accept that her superspying skills were cool enough that, combined with the fact that she's been searching for the Dragon her whole life, she was able to identify the specific Forsaken who took over in Tear and Illian. But am I supposed to buy that she knows every obscure ter'angreal in the Tower and who was the last to study them?

Speaking of the hedgehog, seems we were somewhat misled about what it did. I recall from Egwene's list that the hedgehog caused a peaceful, dreamless sleep. Someone lied about that, whether it was Verin or Coreanin.

As to Perrin/Faile, I agree with Leigh that it went too fast from "you're attractive but annoying" to "there is no point in living without you." I don't buy that they are at this stage yet. But on the other hand, the "attractive but annoying" bit is at least done well.

Ch 54:

I too was wondering who the other man climbing the stone was. My guess would have been Lan, with Moiraine on his back (Lan is plenty badass enough to make it up), but Rand is probably a better guess. If Lan had been carrying Moiraine, Mat would probably have noticed that.

Ch 55:

Supergirl behavior is distinctly not cool here. I can forgive Nynaeve's and Egwene's initial shock at seeing Mat and not really knowing what to say, but the whole tying him up with air when he objects to them pummling Amico is a little more premeditated. And Nynaeve's comment goes well beyond stressful-situation-she-doesn't-know-what-she's-saying excusability.

One thing I do wonder here is why Mat decides to let Egwene off the hook here. She's just as bad as the other two. But in ACOS, Birgitte remarks that whatever Mat's problem with El and Ny is, it doesn't seem to extend to Eg.

Ch 56:

Can't think of anything to say about this one, other than it was a great ending. I love Dragon Reborn, and I should stop criticizing and just remember that.
17. Lsana
@3 lmelior,

In addition to the fact that he doesn't have the access keys to the Choedan Kal, there's another reason that Be'lal wants Callandor: his primary motive is jealousy of Lews Therin. It isn't enough for him to simply kill Rand, he has to have the symbol that was supposed to announce the Dragon's rebirth. That would mean that Be'lal really was the Dragon's superior. The Choedan Kal might be more powerful, but going after that wouldn't be nearly the "Ha! I've won!" that getting Callandor would.

@15 UncrownedKing,

I think the above is also why Be'lal won't stop monologueing. Yeah, he could kill Rand, but that's not what he wants. He wants to provoke Rand into drawing Callandor.
18. Calebg
I think Perrin's freakout when Faile went down was a sudden moment of realization type thing. Basically, he didn't realize how fond of her he had grown until she seemed in very real and immediate deathly peril.

A question of my own: what happens to Mat's "side door?" I'm about halfway through TSR, and it hasn't been addressed. If the Stone was built with the power, would a simple patch job be enough, or do they now have a constant guard posted at Mat's door?
Luke M
19. lmelior
Ah, yes, there I go opening my mouth again before I bothered googling it. I guess I was thinking of the time Rand almost used it without the mini Choedan Kal.

Leigh, I took it to mean that the Defenders were the ones to kneel, though I freely admit I'm probably remembering incorrectly.

I believe this is the beginning of the fall for me. TSR is pretty good, but it just falls off after that. The entire Bowl of the Winds nonsense is just filler material and agony to get through. That's the low point for me. I actually stopped (stopped!) my second reading of the series a few chapters into LoC when Elayne and Nynaeve leave to find it because I despise it so much. So I'm very grateful for the re-read Leigh, this will save me from experiencing such agony again.

@10, I know! I remember wondering how he split balefire before, since I'm pretty sure I remember later on somebody says that it's impossible to stop other than with cuendillar. Speaking of which, is Elayne going to make some cuendillar armor in AMoL?
20. Tony Zbaraschuk
I'm still trying to figure out what the Aiel thought they were doing -- take the Stone with only two hundred of them? Or just raid it for something? Or maybe do something the Wise Ones told them to do?
Elroy Skimms
21. elroyskimms

Loial raised those huge hands that held books so carefully, and his thick fingers curled as if to crush stone. “None will pass me while I live, Perrin. Not Myrddraal or the Dark One himself.” He said it like a simple statement of fact.

Even in the re-read, still gives me goosebumps. Loial is one of those characters that I wish had more screentime. But yet if I really consider that option, I think it would take away from his badassness. He's the guy who is there when it hits the fan. He's along for the ride to write a book. Give him too much screentime and I think he loses a bit of that mystique. Brings to mind the reporter soldier in Saving Private Ryan who has a panic attack while his squadmate is getting knifed upstairs. Of everything cowardly and worthless that he was made of, Loial embodies the opposite. Loial is not meant to be a hero, but that won't stop him from kicking ass and taking names.

On a side note, I really think RJ's military experience and personal character shows up in a number of scenes, most revolving around Perrin. I'm not talking about strategy and training at the Citadel, but those moments where you have to choose between two terrible choices. Perrin planning on killing Eg if the Ravens get her. Loial guarding Perrin. Perrin chasing after Faile, who as discussed, hasn't earned his life-risking rescue. He's just that kind of guy.

Of all of those scenes, none compare to the last stand in the Two Rivers. The women and children surrounded by the men. IIRC, the women pass around knives amongst themselves, preparing to do what has to be done when the men fall. There are no good alternatives to handing your children over to Trolloc cookpots. But there are better alternatives.

I can only imagine the choices that RJ had to make out in the jungle. When a grenade lands in your foxhole, you don't have time to decide how to act. If you hadn't made up your mind what you would do in that situation before it happened, you and your squadmates are dead. RJ's writing makes me think he's the guy who had already decided that when it hit the fan, he'd be in front doing what needs to be done. He's Loial. He's the kind of guy I would want guarding me when it all falls apart.

Yeah, the world needs more guys like RJ.

22. hoping to be of the blood
I always assumed the Aiel were sent to the wetlands because the Wise One's saw something in their trips to Rhuidean and harried Rhuarc and the others till they left. Similar to when they knew Rand would likely be at the portal stone in the waste. I don't think we are ever told the reason.
Heather Johnson
23. HeatherJ
“Loial raised those huge hands that held books so carefully, and his thick fingers curled as if to crush stone.” I always get chills at this point – Loial is starting to show how incredibly dangerous he is, and I LOVE it. Irrc, it was pretty unexpected on my first read-through. (And elroyskimms@21, I agree completely.)

“For my money, all the things that make Faile intermittently awesome happen later” –I didn’t realize until now that the hedgehog scene happens so early; you’re right, Faile doesn’t get really interesting until later. I kept thinking this scene was after they had already fallen in love.

I forgot about Mat fighting Darlin – have they seen each other since then? Would they recognize each other? I doubt it, but it would be fun to see. “And he didn’t even let him monologue first!” Hah!

“Thanks for being one of the few characters to actually stay dead, we appreciate it!” Ok, that totally reminds me of the show LOST, ‘cause, you know, nobody really stay dead on there either.

I thought the fact that Mat sounded the Horn was supposed to be a secret but now Mo is announcing it to the group as well. Are the rest of the people in the room hearing this?

Randalator@10 – YEAH! Woah, I didn’t even think about it until you point it out. Very, very cool.
Richard Fife
24. R.Fife
Tony et al: Part of Aiel prophecy is the fall of the stone and drawing of the sword is part of what heralds HWCwtD. They knew of Rand going to the stone, so they said "why not". As to taking the stone with 200, they were doing a pretty durn good job of it, so I'd say they weren't being crazy. Only reason there were Defenders left is because Rand stopped the fighting.

Oh, the giant Gong stuff is in TAR from Rand's POV. That is Perrin somewhere else in the stone going Wolfshit(tm) on the giant door.

Also, putting tEotW parody over in last thread of that recap, as to not clutter this disc.
25. BigMo
Very nice summary, Leigh.

A few articles back I saw you reference the Dream Egwene had about Perrin:

Perrin stepping willingly over the edge of a towering cliff while saying, "It must be done. I must learn to fly before I reach the bottom."

You mentioned that it hadn't been fulfilled (at least not explicitly). I've always read that prophecy as having to do with Perrin jumping headfirst into the wolf dreams in this book in order to save Faile. It's in the same book (which admittedly doesn't mean much) and the symbolism seems to fit. In the dream Perrin is stepping off a cliff and falling to his death unless he learns to fly and in the story Perrin has willingly followed Faile into certain death unless he figures out how the wolf dreams work and can free her. Maybe it's a stretch, but it's always made sense to me.
Kate Nepveu
26. katenepveu
Leigh: Re: Faile: I just didn’t see anything she’s done thus far to inspire this much passion on Perrin’s part

Yes, absolutely. And that was trying to give her the benefit of the doubt for being stuck in Jordan's extremely not-to-my-taste view of gender relationships.

And I love your analogy about the Supergirl rescue scene.

I'd forgotten how much fun the end of this book is. Thanks for the re-read that reminded me.
JS Bangs
27. jaspax
Woah. I also had to write a paper (more exactly, an AP English essay) about a novel in which an absent character is pivotal, and I also chose to write about Caddy from The Sound and the Fury. Coincidence? Or ta'veren?
28. Smatt
Great post as always Leigh.

Good point. Isn't Balefire fire supposed to be kick ass? Is Callandor made out of special see through heart stone, could it just have so much power flowing through it that it just shrugs it off, or could Rand have made another weaving discovery that no-one has ever used before that can block/split Balefire?

The fast decomp could be due to his mad and extended use of TP.

Looking forward to the next song instalment. Possible movie soundtrack methinks.
29. datamuse
RJ's writing makes me think he's the guy who had already decided that when it hit the fan, he'd be in front doing what needs to be done. He's Loial.

I've often thought that when a writer or storyteller character shows up in a story, that character is usually meant to be a stand-in for the story's author. It's a bit like the device referenced in katenepveu's Lord of the Rings re-read, where the book is posited as a history of actual events.
Blake Engholm
30. UncrownedKing
There's no way Rand was NOT going to take Callandor. He had walked (somehow out pacing horses and boats) from the hills of god knows where in SW Randland to Tear. Been chased by darkhounds and Darkfriends, and all because he had it in his head that he needed to claim Callandor.

That said, if im Bel or Ish, wait for Rand to grab it then assassinate Rand. Why Bel doesn't though most likely has to do with the Taverness IMO.
Richard Fife
31. R.Fife
I always thought of the fast decomp as being an affect of having been alive and kicking for 3k+ years. Perhaps the immortality of the Dark One is not all it's cracked up to be, eh? Go crazy, have maddening flame-face, and your body is basically a rotting corpse that is still moving (Aginor and Balthamel anyone?)

As to splitting Balefire, it isn't like he stopped it, just redirected it, which doesn't seem beyond the realm of possibility. Dudly Dooright didn't stop the train, just switched which tracks it was heading to. What aided Rand was that he was in the same zone RJ was in when he shot down that RPG, and in the same fortunate circumstances.
32. Randalator

re: Morgase Sparker vs. Learner

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

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

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

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

So Morgase could still be either, Sparker or Learner. I prefer to think she's a learner, though, because being such a crappy Sparker really takes the beauty out of the concept...
33. birgit
Oh, and not to be a buzzkill or anything, but the Aiel in the Stone knelt to him, too? Really? I thought that wasn’t their thing, kneeling.

And they called him Dragon, not He Who Comes With The Dawn or Car'a'carn.

Something that's not mentioned in the recap - isn't there reference in real-world Tear to the Stone "ringing" a couple times like a struck gong? Was that something that Rand was doing, or did that coincide with Perrin's smashing of things in wolf-dream/TAR? If, how?

In the real world, the alarm bells are ringing, in TAR Rand hears Perrin's hammer.

So just how did Moiraine know about the hedgehog?

The novices have to learn a list of all the *'angreal. At Mat's Healing in the Tower, the girls recognize the sa'angreal from that lesson.

Speaking of the hedgehog, seems we were somewhat misled about what it did. I recall from Egwene's list that the hedgehog caused a peaceful, dreamless sleep.

The hedgehog takes the user to TAR. In this case, Be'lal prepared some traps there (like the guards who didn't really know why they were there).

There were 300 Aiel, 200 survived the invasion.
34. ZamIt
Enter Berelain. Anyone else hope something tragic happens to Faile and she ends up with Perrin? But I think she's fated to end up with Galad, so probably not.

Belal's plan seems to leave a lot to be desired. His plan seems to be to make Rand take the sword, and then take it from him. Give the Dragon Reborn the second biggest power weapon in the world and then take it from him? When Ishy saw Rand with the sword, he took off running.
Elroy Skimms
35. elroyskimms
ZamIt @ 34

Enter Berelain. Anyone else hope something tragic happens to Faile and she ends up with Perrin?

I think a lot of people here just want something tragic to happen to Faile. Berelain ending up with Perrin is just icing on the Faile-is-irritating-and-must-die cake.

36. Cobblestones
I thought Callandor was warded with plenty of traps etc. such that only the Dragon can take it. So, if Be'lal wants the sword, he HAS to let Rand take it first, and then take it away.

I assume Be'lal, from his fighting with Rand, is convinced that Rand isn't much of a threat with or without Callandor. Ishy, however, has a couple of first-hand experiences of fighting with Rand, so he's soiling his pants once he sees Rand with Callandor.
37. laframboise
I don't think Rand is technically 'He Who Comes With The Dawn' until the Rhuidean thing, next book.
39. Browncoat Jayson
One of the things that I think are overlooked is that Faile was not just "hanging around and being irritating". She was with Perrin for a few days while he worked in with the blacksmith. Not even doing much, but just being there. Even in his PoV, we know that everytime he became aware of her, he became flustered.

Just think about it. Could you hang out for someone for DAYS, who you found attractive, who just by looking at you could distract you, and not start to feel something? Come on. Then, she goes and gets herself in trouble, and you know that ONLY you can save her. Are you going to walk away? Yeah, right.

I totally got their relationship in this book, and in tSR. I didn't get annoyed with Faile until she got kidnapped, and Perrin went all single-minded on us. Perrin was my favorite character until then.
40. Lsana
@32 Randalator,

That's the one! I actually found it last night, then meant to post something this morning, but I forgot.

And I agree that it doesn't imply Morgase is a sparker, since Elayne not only eliminates the possibility that Anan is a sparker, but that she's a learner. I had mentally conflated it with the earlier scene with Egeanin, which is why I thought it said Morgase was a sparker. But unless other evidence arises which says Morgase is a sparker, I withdraw my claim.

Though I like the idea of a sparker who will touch the true source, but not enough to be able to do anything with it. You've been given a gift, but not enough of one to do anything with it. Don't you have any talents that are like that?
41. Zeynep
No, I hadn't noticed Perrin was wiping blood. I'll just go to my corner and shudder a little now.

Kneeling isn't the Aiel thing to do, no, but if the Dragon ever gets a serious ta'veren moment, that was it, and I would not be surprised to read that even Moiraine knelt at that instant.

MoreBooksForMe @14, re: Ishy's body decomposing too fast: He was the first to be released from the "time doesn't pass here" prison, as I recall correctly, and for nearly three thousand years he had been holding some sort of a corporeal body together with spit and duct-tape the True Power, probably. As soon as he was killed, it all caught up.
42. effervescent
I remember the party where I first met my wife. The night before, I had received a number from a woman who was "all that", if you know what I mean, and she certainly had "it", whatever "it" was to a 21 year old man, than my future wife had. But in the end, there was something about the woman I married that kept me from calling that number, and we have been together for 17 years now...I guess what I am saying is, I understand the whole Perrin/Faile thing.

There was an instant of surprise on the Forsaken’s face, and he had time to scream “No!”

You know, this reminds me of another Forsaken's death, though the "who" of that particular murder is still a hot topic. Must...resist...Grae.... NOOOO!! I will not talk of it any longer!!
43. Don, Iowa
above someone mentioned a song, and one that always stuck in my head in LoC trapped in the box right before he breaks free was Disturbed - Down with the Sickness.

yes this is a derail, but wanted to put it out there as I think it fits perfectly (up until the rant at the end of the song which doesn't fit).

*Back on Track* the arrow-slit where Mat put the fireworks, was this part of "The Stone" or just a simple barrier around the aes sedai created stone? Only asking because of two things. #1 if this was created by Aes Sedai and thought to be indestructable, how does gunpowder trump the power? and #2 wouldn't the sides of this wall be un-scaleable? Why would there be a need to notches in the face of the wall if it was created with the power?
Brett Michie
44. bchurch
Don, Iowa--

I concur on 'the sickness' . . that or--this is so bad-- "Man in the Box" by Alice In Chains.

Sorry, I'll shut up now and go wrap myself in my grunge afghan.
46. Don, Iowa
@44 LOL, nice addition there.

@19 about possible cuendillar armor for the final battle... I don't recall cuendillar being balefire-proof, but that is very interesting to bring up. The idea that this armor would be extremely heavy would mean this armor would have to be extremely thin... BUT it would be possible considering Eq's huge ability to make cuendillar almost instantaneously (at least for the main chars) *Picture Lan in full Cuendillar armor = badass*

@25 spot on with the dream of Perrin & the cliff
craig miller
47. craigpmiller
Thanks again Leigh

Love that fresh-making feeling your re-read has given these books.

48. Don, Iowa
lol 44, i can't believe i'm going there either... but what about the dark one's theme song also by Alice in Chains..... "Down in a Hole"
Brett Michie
49. bchurch

yeah--awesome. Can't help it . . already written new lyrics for the 'box' but I'll not post them here so as not to detract further from the commentary, which is superb as always.

Tai'shar WoT-ians!
Blake Engholm
50. UncrownedKing
Im loving all of this. I am laughing at work at people are looking at me weird.
Richard Fife
51. R.Fife
FYI, I actually went back and cleaned up the Lyrics in tEotW, since I made it late at night and my syllables were off (doesn't help I wasn't using accurate lyrics to count off of). I have some ideas for different songs for other books. Sometime next week (or this weekend if I really don't feel like doing any /useful/ writing) I'll do tGH and put it up in that one's last thread. All future songs will wait until true last thread for the parodies.

Now, as to heartstone armor: Moggy says it is balefire proof, and it is proven when half of the panarch's palace is balefired. But, chainmail would be useless, all full of air and stuff. The armor would be fine but the liquid fire would get right through. Need full plate, and it can be as thin as seafolk porcelin, it's unbreakable period.

Oh, also, while yes The Stone is Aes Sedai made, it is more of "massive, of-one-piece" construction than perfectly smooth and nifty, I think, and even the swords are not truely unbreakable, just super hard to break because of molecular alignment, etc. Any window, no matter the construction, is a weakspot for an expanding blast, and stone, no matter what kind, does not hold a "lattice matrix" near as well (or even perhaps at all) as pure metal.

Also, remember that Ogier stonemasons do occasionally and work on the stone, meaning that it is susceptable to wear and tear, and 3k years is alot of wear, especially for as much as it rains and winds there on the "Sea of Storms"
52. BigMo
@43 - I think the implication was that The Stone was created with the help of the power and it was used to fuse stones together and then create something that would not have been structurally possible without that additional reinforcement. If that's the case, I can easily see the sides of the wall as rough enough to scale and the explosives as enough to enlarge an existing hole.
53. Naraoia
"... and I would not be surprised to read that even Moiraine knelt at that instant."

Wasn't she still knocked out at that instant? ^_^
Richard Fife
54. R.Fife
She is on the floor, close enough to kneeling for Rock and Roll. Least he didn't channel all the bodies to kneel this time too.
Abdel Masdoua
55. TheDarkOne
About Callandor and the whole splitting balefire in two streams incident, are we meant to assume that Callandor is made of cuendillar?

I know that may seem like a stupid thing to say but in my head I always assumed it was so, however I can't recall if it's mentioned explicitly.
Perhaps in one of Cadsuane's infodumps?

56. Rebecca Starr
Ch 53
Regarding Perrin diving in to save Faile, I have to say I actually do buy it, even though I don't much like Ms. Falcon... I think it's one of those cases where you don't realize how much you care for someone until you're about to lose them... and then the passion just erupts.

Loial, you're the best

Hopper, "Then we hunt." Goosebumps

Ch 54
Perrin and blood, um, eeew. Thanks for that, Leigh.

Somehow it had slipped my mind how under the High Lords' thumb Tairens were living, until this re-read. I like the moments of consciousness-raising among Mother Guenna, Juilin, esp. here when Juilin notes how Darlin doesn't look so high and mighty once felled with a quarterstaff.

Ch 55
so many of these epic endings seem to take place in TAR! (okay, I guess I'm primarily thinking of here and the end of FoH, but still).

I echo those who say this is poor behavior on the part of the Supergirls, but I get so much satisfaction out of Mat making them apologize 4 books from now, that it's almost worth the wait.

has any WoT fan with artistic talent ever drawn a Tairen maze? I'd love to see what the pattern looks like

lots to say, moving along...
I love Rand's humility here, his doubt that even after all this (and thinking he has fought the DO twice!) he still doesn't quite believe he is the DR and can touch callandor. aw, Rand.

Mat! such bravery! taking the keys from the Black Ajah not understanding that she can't move, and knowing she's terrified of what's behind the cell door, but opening it anyway.

quick question: how is the hedgehog broken when Faile and Perrin wake? I thought it was always laid down that you can effect *people* in TAR, but not objects, i.e. iron, stone etc. (like the lock Egwene tries to break on their cell door). Or are ter'angreal exempt from this? I'm kinda thinking this must be the case, because we see the same thing later with Mogy in the a'dam, right?

I totally just realized what Ishy's twisting of reality in TAR reminds me of here. anyone else remember the end of Disney's Sleeping Beauty? and Maleficent (who by the way, is soooo cool) sends arrows, and the fairies turn them into flowers. then she sends burning pitch, and the fairies turn it into water or something. childhood memories. good times.

I think there might be foreshadowing for the Last Battle here, too... noting how Rand uses callandor to bring things "back into natural balance." i think this ties into the wounds in his body/on the land, all of it, and can't wait to see Narishma using callandor in the LB.

Ch 56
I think Rand would qualify for that paper, Leigh, if the rules were "largely not present." John Galt comes to mind, in Atlas Shrugged, too.

Lsana@16 - it's definitely Rand climbing the wall. He even thinks it in the next chapter, "The old wound burned, strained almost to tearing by the climb up the side of the fortress."

what is it with Rand and climbing walls? geez
Brett Michie
57. bchurch
@55 et al

According to the glossaries (the last book to mention Callandor in the glossary is LoC) and the encyclopedia, Callandor is made of crystal. I don't recall anything ever being said about it being cuendillar. I'm pretty sure Cadsuane's tidbit is concerning it's flaw--requiring a one man/two woman link with a woman melding the weaves.

But we do know that angreal, ter'angreal, and sa'angreal have special, peculiar properties imbued in them from their creation (eg. redstone doorframes resisting tipping). Perhaps one of Callandor's properties is a hardness like unto cuendillar. The encyclopedia does state that it was the only sa'angreal ever made into a weapon and, perhapsing further, it can be considered the uber-power-wrought blade alongside it being the second-most powerful sa'angreal ever created.
Brett Michie
58. bchurch
Rebecca Star @ 56

"Ch 55
so many of these epic endings seem to take place in TAR! (okay, I guess I'm primarily thinking of here and the end of FoH, but still)."

Yes, I agree and have also had a theory brewing concerning the end of tGH. What if the Horn of Valere is a ter'angreal that creates a special kinship between the "real" world and T'A'R? Something similar to, but a little different from the saidar version of traveling, where you create a sameness between two points until it opens a gateway. This would be on a much larger scale and would involve the blending of two worlds, or planes. It would allow for the heroes to come forth and interact with the living in this world, and could also account for Rand's/Ishy's dance in the sky.

Just an idle thought and I'm not sure if this idea, or something similar, was broached at tGH's last post as I was without the intarwebs at the time.
59. Lsana
@33 birgit,

The Novices have to memorize all of the *angreal and who last studied them? I know that Egwene recognizes the wand used at Mat's healing, but the wand is special, kind of like the female Callandor. There's a big difference between recognizing the wand and recognizing a random ter'angreal that hasn't been studied or used in 4 centuries.

And the hedgehog was definitely not described as something for entering TAR. There was a hedgehog on Egwene's list whose purpose was listed as "channeling into it produced half a day of peaceful, dreamless sleep." That doesn't sound like what happened to Faile. I guess there could be two hedgehogs, but frankly, that would be kind of dumb.

@56 Rebecca Starr,

Thanks. Rand is apparently quite the climber. Looks like he would have tumbled into the palace gardens even if they had built the wall twice as high.
Sean Jones
60. PersonOfTheDragons
Hello, this will be my first comment here, although I've been following from the start. (Read as: I finally figured out a name I thought clever enough)

I know you hear this a lot, but thanks for doing this Leigh. So far this year has been all about waiting as far as WoT is concerned. I find out about a movie (good or bad, I'll at least give it a shot) and several planned games (ditto), but have to wait for them. The end is in sight with AMoL, but I have to wait for that too. Boy I hate waiting. Anyways this little bit of WoT joy I get three times a week helps the wait, thanks a lot!

As far as the story goes, I love the ending here. I was always a huge fan of Arthurian legends as a kid, and here we get our very own sword drawn from the stone to announce the new king to the world. Awesome.
Brett Michie
61. bchurch
regarding my post @58

My apologies to Alfred Tungstan, who said something very much like my theory here in the commentary of the last tGH post. Guess I shoulda read all that before I put me foot in me mouth.
62. Cobblestones
About cuendillar armor:

Remember that when you want to transform two pieces of iron which touch, they will fuse together (shown in CoT in the cuendillar-manufactory tent, and when they transform the harbor chain). So, chainmail or anything with moving parts would be useless to make into cuendillar. Maybe a thin sheet of cuendillar which could be glued onto a shield would work?
63. Perrin5454
@21 Elroy

This is completely off topic from the book, but I had to comment on this specific post.

I couldn't agree with you more Elroy. RJ was an American Badass in every sense of the word. Look at the man's accomplishments. He was extremely gifted from an early age, learning to read at a young age and tackling Jules Verne at an age when most kids are still watching sesame street. He played football and other sports in high school. Served in the armed forces of the United States in a time of war. And the man wasn't a cook or a mechanic, he was a door gunner in a helicopter unit whose main job was to fly around and draw anti-aircraft fire, so that other aircraft could then destroy those guns. To top that off, he returns a decorated hero, goes to a well-respected school, and becomes a freaking nuclear engineer. Then decides he really wants to write for a living, and cranks out several novels, and in my personal opinion the best fantasy series of all time (despite some of the struggles of the later books). Oh and did I mention that he becomes a New York Times Best-selling author.

So let me summarize, RJ the man was an intellectual, an athlete, a warrior, an engineer, a poet and a world-renowned author. Beyond all that, he was by all accounts an awesome human being. I had the oppurtunity to meet RJ once. I went to college with RJ's nephew/godson, Wilson's boy. published an itenerary of the tour which showed that RJ would be stopping at West Point for personal reasons. I sent the site manager for Dragonmount a PM saying that I could not make it to RJ's signing in nearby New York City because of school, and could I please have Mr. Jordan sign one of my books while he was at school. Jason from Dragonmount sent my request along, and RJ not only agreed but coordinated through his nephew to set up the meeting. In person RJ was awesome. He was kind and considerate about me basically bugging him on a scheduled day off. He graciously signed my copy of Knife of Dreams and Lord of Chaos and even invited me to have dinner with him, Harriet and Wilson and family that day. I thanked him, but declined out of respect for his privacy. Bottom line, he did not have to grant that request, but he took the time on a day off to meet with a huge fan who he didn't even know. From everything I have read, and from my one brief meeting with him, that was just the kind of person that he was.

Back to the books (kind of), RJ (and all men like him who are basasses, American or not) lived by a simple code. Know what is right and do it. RJ himself said it many times in interviews that the world is not as gray as the media would have us believe; there are wrongs so obvious that they cannot be rationalized away. Badasses like RJ realize that the rights are worth fighting for, that the wrongs require standing up to and they take action on them. I think you are absolutely right about the books in this respect, and it shines through in almost all the major Light Side characters, not just Perrin. It's there in Rand and Mat and Moiraine. You can see it in the Shienarians and all the borderlanders. Lan has this attribute in spades. Even Ingtar realized in the final minutes of his life that it is still better to die fighting for what is right and honorable than to live under a system that is evil and corrupt. RJ's own beliefs shine in this respect throughout the books.
64. GregoryD
Hi, All.

Great commentary. This re-read is keeping me on track and all your comments give many different thoughts to things.

Speaking of answers, a while back someone posted about how Padan Fain had touched Eliada and that is why she has turned into Cruella De Ville. Can that poster re-post where that info is located, i.e. what book, chapter. Thanks!

Can't wait for TSR. By far the best book. So many cool things happen and the history of the Aiel and their whole culture is awesome. Jordan at his best.
65. michaelt
It is mentioned several times in the books that the way AS use ter'angreal may not be the way they were intended when built. I think the hedgehog falls in that category. Used one way it does one thing, used another way, it does something else. If you channel into it, it can put you to sleep. If someone else sets just the right flow around/in it, the first person touch it gets everything but their body sent to TAR.

As far as why the climatic battles happen in TAR, I think it is damage control. These fight scenes would have reduced most of the Stone and the palace in Caemlyn (is there a name for it like the Sun Palace in Cairhien?) if fought in the real world. By doing it in TAR, Rand (or the Forsaken, since they seem to be the ones initiating the move to TAR) have a place to rule from when the smoke clears. Besides, I don't think Elayne ever would have forgiven Rand if he leveled her home before "giving" her the throne. Besides damage control, the Forsaken could be hoping to use the rules of the place to their advantage, i.e., they can do things similar to channeling without Rand sensing the flows.
66. Hugin
Love the end of this book. Especially like Moiraine frying Bel'al.

And I agree with others that the SGs being shocked and saying something inappropriate right when Mat walked in is one thing but there's no excuse for then tying him up with Air and still berating him in the next chapter. Even Moiraine seems to be starting to change her attitute toward Mat by then.

@59 Lsana re: Hedgehog. Just because Corianin at some point discovered that channeling into the hedgehog could produce a half day of dreamless sleep doesn't mean that this was the only, or even the intended use. It's easy to imagine a Forsaken knowing an alternate use of it (or maybe even its original use) as a trap. Can't quite figure out why Mo would know about the hedgehog though. While memorizing a long list of ter'angreal sounds just like the kind of mostly pointless exercise to which Aes Sedai would subject novices, the text doesn't really support them actually doing this.
67. Rebecca Starr
Perrin@63, really, truly, beautifully written. You're meeting with RJ must have been extraordinary!

To add on, it is not just that RJ himself was such an amazing person living by the "simple code" of which you speak, but that he inspired others (myself included) to live up to those standards. I penned a tribute to him just after his passing, and an excerpt is below:

"But it is for the larger impact that Robert Jordan has had on me that I sit down to pen this tribute today. Because beyond the simple fact that he has written – undoubtedly – the greatest saga of all time, with the most exquisite talent for language I have ever encountered – his books and characters have shaped the person that I have become. It is no exaggeration to say that I would not be the woman I am today if I did not have the Wheel of Time women as my role models, as opposed to those that could be found in real life. To be a woman in Jordan’s world was to have no concept of “cannot”, of glass ceilings, of pettiness, of superficiality.

Through them, I have learned and aspire to this: To be as brave as Nynaeve, as proud as Elayne, as smart as Egwene. To be as determined as Moiraine, as relentless as Cadsuane, as take-no-nonsense as Sorilea. To have the heart and the courage of these women. Over the years, Jordan’s women were my heroes and my role models. To emulate all those named and a hundred more, each stronger than the one previous, was to learn how to live this life fearlessly, proudly, bravely, independently. I have never seen a character from Jordan stop at “impossible” because for them, impossible didn’t exist."...
Ofer Nave
68. odigity
R.Fife@6: I love parodies (Weird Al is the master), but could you set them to good songs instead?
69. macpimp
i've always wondered how:

amico was able to maintain a shield on nynaeve, elayne and egwene at the same time.

i know that the girls hadn't yet reached their full potential, but we know that egwene and elayne had most certainly nynaeve could already channel more of the power than moiraine at that point (see in TSR in the stone of tear, egwene and elayne try to teach rand to channel, and egwene says something along the lines of, 'moiraine would be weeping on the floor if she was holding as much of the power as i am now')

we know that the strongest of the 13 black sisters is liandrin, and she's not really more than in the middle in terms of strength. there's no wayyyyy amico could shield all three supergirls unless she had an angreal or something >_>

also, rand splitting a balefire stream..howwww
70. Wetlander
@69. macpimp

Holding a shield doesn't take nearly as much strength as shielding someone in the first place. I'm pretty sure that once the Liandrin, Rianna, Amico and Joiya had the SGs shielded, the shield may have been passed around but was never ever let go.
71. macpimp
@70. wetlander

i understand that.

what i'm alluding to is, how one average sister can hold a shield on all three supergirls at once.

note that not long after the girls leave tear, amys tries to keep egwene shielded, and gives up because she can't hold it. and amys is about as strong as moiraine, ie, much much stronger than amico.

i know i'm quibbling, but every time i re-read this part of the series, this amico shielding the supergirls irks me :)
72. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
Ah yes..Mat goes from strength to strength. While the Girls progressively sink lower. And like good wannabe Aes Sedai they sweep it under the rug and pretend it never happened. Of course Mat never forgets, so when he finally opens up to Birgitte later on (and Aviendha by extension), the girls are forced to apologize, thereby losing even more coolness points. Seriously, you'd think decent folk would know to apologize without being prompted, like immediately after realizing that they wronged Mat would have been a good time. But who ever said Aes Sedai education focused on instilling decency? No, they put more emphasis in acting superior and sweeping their failings under the rug.

Now that I'm done praising Mat and bashing the Girls and the Aes Sedai, on to miscellaneous stuff. We see Darlin's first appearance. Strange, from the description of his encounter with Mat you'd think he was a blademaster. Yet he is never depicted afterwards wearing the heron, nor even describing himself as one. One of a rare breed of High Lord with some modicum of actual decency, his return is much awaited. There's also the first appearance of Berelain(YUM), first mentioned as having surrendered to the High Lords. Strange one might think, until we realize that Rand was already in town at the time and her acquiescence would ensure that the High Lords were.... distracted. Ta'veren twisting at its finest on top of everything else. Also for one who practically stays off-screen most of the book, Rand did manage some cool feats of his own. There's single-handedly penetrating the Stone for instance. Whether or not he knew the Aiel would come is irrelevant. He went on his own for the most part. And then there's following Ba'alzamon into TAR. He was almost certainly reading the residues and copying the weave without realizing what he was doing. Talents galore. I'm surprised no one has ever connected him to the Aiel to the People of the Dragon until this. Didn't the Green Man call him Child of the Dragon? One of the People of the Dragon? To one of the AoL he would be called such. In "modern terms" people just say he looks like an Aielman.

Sidetrack'd @7
I think the Stone "ringing" a couple of times came afterward. When he planted the Sword back into the Stone just before leaving Tear for the Aiel Waste. Perrin was on his way out of the Stone at the time.

Randalater @10
Yep. Nobody mentions it afterward, but I noticed it too. Strange that the sword protected him when everything we learned afterward says only Cuendillar is safe from balefire. It might be some other high-energy weave just similar in appearance, but its effects at hitting the pillars behind Rand leave no doubt. Another freak event to note down?

katre @12
At one time I thought Rand had made some agreement with them. I've since discarded the theory. Maybe more of the ta'veren effect? Who knows?

Lsana @16
Probably didn't lie about the hedgehog. Most likely badly misinformed. I always thought Rand used some sort of side/back service entrance into the Stone. I didn't really accept very quickly that he climbed ahead of the Aiel.

hoping to be of the blood @22
Why the Aiel were in the Wetlands has always been clearly explained as following prophecy that He Who Comes With The Dawn would be found there. It's raiding the Stone where the Aiel don't have a clear motive.

UncrownedKing @30
SW Randland is Tarabon, Altara and Amadicia. Rand started walking further up north. By my less than reliable reckoning of Randland geography he may well have skirted the Mountains of Mist on foot. Funny how close to home he must have come now that I think about it.

birgit @33
Aiel never call Rand the Dragon. They don't care about the Dragon. The Dragon is a wetlander prophecy and is therefore meaningless to them.

ZamIt @34
He was counting on Rand not being able to channel reliably. A gamble, yes, but all in all sound reasoning.

laframboise @37
True. But being He Who Comes With The Dawn, like being the Dragon Reborn, relies on a series of signs manifesting. So yeah, he doesn't actually earn the title until Rhuidean, but manifesting the first sign puts him in a shortlist with no other names on it.

Don, Iowa @43
The Stone was created with the Power and was built to be extremely defensible. Not indestructible, however. When it comes down to it, The Stone was still built of stone and stone will eventually break with the application of adequate amounts of explosive. Strengthening with the Power can only do so much. Even Power-wrought metal swords have their limits. And the Stone was not meant to rely only on the Power to protect it. Descriptions of The Stone's internal design points out that this was still meant to be defended by conventional arms. Gunpowder simply wasn't something the Stone's planners foresaw.

TheDarkOne @ 55
No mention of how it was made or what it's made of. Par for the course for sa'angreal, ter'angreal and angreal. We are only told that it looks like crystal.

bchurch @58
Good theory. Except the Horn of Valere predates the AoL and may well predate the use of the Power.

Lsana @59 and birgit @33
Accepted have more leeway in choosing their studies. So Moiraine in her fascination with objects that focus/use the Power may well have taken an elective course in ter'angreal.

Cobblestones @62
Just make a breastplate of it. With leather or metal straps.

michaelt @65
True, the Forsaken are more familiar with TAR's "customizable" environment than Rand. Rahvin, in fact, depended on this very aspect of TAR for his trap. They essentially go for the homecourt advantage.

odigity @68
You got a problem with the songs Weird Al parodied? I thought they were good. Or rather, they were good by the time Weird Al was done with them :P

macpimp @71
Maybe by this point the Girls haven't progressed enough to know how to break out of a shield. Also, they were beaten physically and emotionally. So this also reduces the amount of Saidar they can channel reliably.
Ofer Nave
73. odigity
Apparently my statement came out ambiguous. I'm fine with Weird Al. I was complaining about R.Fife's choices of Backstreet Boys and Celine Dione. I love parodies, but I'd prefer they be set to good songs. ;P
74. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
odigity @73
True, Backstreet Boys and Celine Dion wouldn't find it easy to get on my list of favorites. We must trust R.Fife. I'm sure the songs will be better once R.Fife's done with them. :P
Ofer Nave
75. odigity
Oh no, R.Fife's changes are great. But they still have to be sung to the tune/beat of the original. Why combine fun with suffering?
76. sps49

I always figured Tairen Maze was aka Wall of Ilium. Sort of like the wall forming "L"s that are bilaterally & reversed in symmetry.
77. Valeiria
I always just assumed that Rand was the first guy Mat sees climbing up the stone and Lan/Moiraine stealthed their way in through a door or something. I can't remember what it was Mat thought in that section, but whatever it was cemented the first climber as Rand for me.

Reading Berelain makes me want to eat glass. She always rubs me the wrong way when interacting with Rand (for a few chapters) and then Perrin. I think the real nail in her coffin for me was after Faile got kidnapped (which is when Perrin and Faile really started to annoy the crap out of me, btw) and she lies/whatever to everyone in the camp so they think Perrin is cheating on Faile with her. It pisses me the hell off, because the only way he would end up with her is if something did happen to Faile. If he didn't get himself killed avenging her death. But aside from that rant, I do think she's gonna end of with Galad. Although... there was Min's viewing of him wrapping himself in his own burial shroud, wasn't there?

Ugh... anyways, thinking about Berelain's attitude to the whole approaching a relationship thing annoys me. I hope Galad doesn't die, because I think he kinda needs a chick like her. And she needs a guy like him. Hell, he's definitely hot enough to hold her attention.

And finally...
@69. macpimp
In LOC, at the end, when Rand's shield is being held and LTT is talking to him, LTT says that getting out of a shield is almost impossible when the "knots" are soft, i.e. someone is actively holding the shield, but when the "knots" are hard it means that they've tied off their weave and you can un-knot it. That's most likely why Amico and all the other BA were able to hold all 3 shields at once.
78. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
Valeiria @77
Min's viewing didn't have Galad wrapping himself in his burial shroud. Just in white. It was Min who added the bit about it looking like a burial shroud. And yeah.. it does look like he might end up with Berelain. I can already imagine it. Watch Ms. Superflirt try to charm Mr. Too-Good-For-His-Own-Good. Yep. Getting Galad to relax and go with the flow might well be the biggest challenge of Berelain's flirting career.

And it's true. Even the Aes Sedai don't really understand the significance of their traditions regarding shielding men. Always use your full strength and never knot the shield. The reason of course, is because they don't know you can break out of a knotted shield. They also don't want to believe that a single man is stronger in the Power and will almost always overwhelm a single woman shielding him.

Good thing Rand had Lews Therin to tell him these things. The Girls of course, aren't so lucky.
79. RobMRobM
Late to the party but better that than miss it entirely.

53. I'm mystified that Leigh and others don't buy Perrin falling for Faile at this point. Remember, he's from the freaking Two Rivers - they get engaged after a girl puts flowers in his hair and embroiders him a special shirt, but before they start smooching. On top of that, he thinks she's gorgeous - recall that in this chapter he's worried she might be the most beautiful woman ever that he was warned about rather than just his falcon, and he actually hopes she is the falcon, suprising himself sufficiently that he trips. On top of that, she's intelligent, clever, brave, self-sufficient, and obviously fascinated by him. And he's been told she's a woman of destiny for him, which in and of itself is a point of attraction. Makes perfect sense to me, in addition to the damsel in distress situation. And as I've noted throughout this re-read (my first), contrary to the haters Faile comes off really well in this book - I think everyone is tainted by her mistreatment of Perrin in later books during the falcon-hawk battles.

Also, I'll take credit for the first in this re-read to make the point that hedgehog scene fulfilled the Perrin jumping off the cliff vision - I made that point earlier in the re-read in response to Leigh's comment that several visions had not taken place as of KoD.

54. Mat calling referring to Darlin as "this ragamuffin" - high comedy. Re Rand as a climber - I think it was mentioned in earlier books that all of the boys did serious climbing on cliffs in the Mountains of Mist during their wild and crazy teen days. Perrin with blood in his mouth - WAY too much info, Leigh. And I've always wondered when Egwene was going back into TAR are tying Amico off and realizing it wasn't suffient to break the shield when she was going to have to go back to TAR and kill her - which would, I suppose, kill her (she won't wake up) and end the shield. Thanks to Mat we'll never know.

55. Yet another situation, like at the Eye, where the bad guys just throw a hero around (Moiraine) without killing her. Why wouldn't Ishy set the black lightning on kill rather than on stun? Also, Bel'al's cunning plan ain't all that cunning, as it assumes that he can take Callendor away from Rand once he has his hot little hands on it -- not a good assumption, as Ishy found it a minute or two later. Should have had more firepower than a black power sword ready so he'd have a better chance once Rand grabbed Callendor.

56. I still don't understand why the seals on the prison keep showing up everytime Ishy and Rand fight, as Egwene points out. Can someone help on that? And I remember reading this chapter and being very happy that someone finally explained that Ba'alzamon was not in fact Shai... I mean the Dark One, and that it was only a Foresaken. Enter Berelain...Dun Dun Dun. I had no expectation with this intro that she'd be the longtime, key player in the series she turned out to be. And Leigh, really good insight about having Mat as the final POV rather than Rand was a nice rhetorical touch that was fully consistent with Rand being the distant presence thoughout the book.


P.s. Onward to TSR but, I must say Leigh, I was feeling a touch giggety myself reading your prologue - are you sure you are not a Domani or a shea dancer? LOL.
John Massey
80. subwoofer
Leigh- good recap- finally sobered up enough to read and write.... um.... your take on the Mat vs. Supergirls dealeo on 55 was a bit off.... instead of offering random movie tickets- think more like the guy had a better spliced version for the 5pm lead, you take it, use it, and tell him to piss off. Pretty much what the Supergirls did to Mat. Scmucks.
Alreadymad@72 sums it up.
Elroyskimms@21 I agree, yay for Loial and it may of taken away from him to write about him more, but it coulda been good.
Zamit@34- exactly-Enter Berelain- If she does end up with Galad, she's going to totally monkey with his wheel house and turn his world upside-down.
Perrin and Faile- Meh- I got nothing. Perhaps a fishing rod and reel would of been easier than tryng to bugger around in dreams.
Hopper- woof!
81. RobMRobM
Alreadycleanses@78. Agree that Berelain and Galad are fated (based on Min's vision) and looking forward to the scene where they hook up (and not just because it will end the Berelain-Faile feuding that I hate so much). Recall that at the end of KoD Perrin's gang and Galad's gang are not far apart, so we'll have that meet up early in AMOL. Given that it is Perrin and there will be several hundred apparent Whitecloaks, it will be tense until someone figures out that these are only Un-Whitecloaks. Note also that Galad will see and "out" his mother as being the former queen, which will be another interesting scene. Rob
82. RiverDragon
Long time listener, first time caller....a lot of the gaps I have noticed in the series are really coming together with the insight of the comments (and of course Ms. Butler...thank you!). I am at CoT right now (3rd re-read) and the foresight/editing of RJ's team starts to shine with you guys' banter.....

I digress...I really am curious as to why there are so many posts leading to the foregone conclusion that Berelain and Galadedrid will get I missing something? I always assumed Galad would either die as a Whitecloak (during or before TG) or end up another Lord Captain Commander assasinated leading up to TG. As he has assumed Valda's role as LCC, the former is clearly amiss...but if he dies as LCC I believe it would actually cement Elayne's role as Uniter-Queen b/c she would see the damage wrought to one of her family through her own selfishness. This would be as a bucket of cold-water to her, making her see the necessity of a unified Andor, and she would necessarily apply all the skills she gained in the Succession that has so recently ended to the unification of the Westlands, making her on par with Ishara. Cycles, people. During many of (if not all) Elayne's POVs she always compares herself to the Queens before, and if a personal tragedy makes her see beyond her own nose, then the Turning is complete.
83. RobMRobM
River@82 - Reference is to Min's only viewing re Berelain: "Just a man in white who will make her fall head over heels." Who better to fit that role?

84. Stone Dog
Calebg @18 Agree completely. Perrin only realises what he feels about Faile when he thinks he has lost her.

The Supergirls reaction to Mat's rescue is totally infuriating. Throughout the series they continually dismiss Mat as a fool, when in fact he is probably the smartest one from Emond's field. He doesn't have any superpowers and has to survive on his quick wits.

Not sure if RJ intended to make the SGs such unlikable characters. I can't wait for their reaction when Mat turns up as the Seanchan Prince of the Ravens.
85. rynners
Stone Dog @ 84

I do get what you're saying about Mat, there's no question that he is a stellar character on a number of levels. However, I'd dispute your claim that he lacks "superpowers". I think one of the great things that sets the major Randland men apart as individuals is that they all have some power that comes from within as well as without, but the nature of it varies.

Certainly, Mat's abilities at this stage are largely conferred by his natural gifts, but in that, you have to account for being ta'veren, which is remarkable at worst. Also, we get the distinct impression that many of his instincts stem from or are backed up by his unusually strong ties to the old blood. Again, he was born to it, but it's not exactly typical.

Of course, later, he gains added insight and gifts from the 'Finns, which puts him in a slightly more magical category than where he is now. However, I would hardly say that he lacks superpowers, when compared to your run of the mill resident of Randland, even one from the Two Rivers.

Side note: Per my point in the first paragraph, it suddenly strikes me that the gents get far more distinguishing features, conferring specific, useful advantages, than the major womenfolk. To wit: Dragon Reborn v Wolfbrother v 'Finn-Gifted Battle Leader, with each marked by a strikingly different personality, leading them to differently approach the world and their struggles.

By contrast, the ladies, at day's end, really all have the same magical nature. They're only diverse in their particular Talents, so we're mostly left with their personalities and Elayne's different lineage to set them apart. Plus, for much of the series, they stick together due to their shared goals, so they don't even have the advantage of vastly separate quests to distinguish them. Sure, in later books, with Eg as Amyrlin and Elayne fighting for the throne, they do set themselves further apart, but it takes far longer and the essential differences are still much less pronounced.

Don't mistake me, I'm not by any means trying to imply that RJ was sexist or made all female characters into essentially the same person. Certainly, the women get much more screen time than those in other some other (mostly older) authors' books. And they are shown to be serious players worthy of attention, even when being rather less than grown up regarding interpersonal matters. This was just a contrast that struck me, and I wondered if anyone else had thoughts on the matter.
Richard Fife
86. R.Fife
Odigity et al:
First, jokingly, of course I'm going to use "bad" songs. It's like Saidin. Rapture beyond life, filth beyond death. hurhur

Honestly, though, Celine was because of bchurch, but BSB's was my own decision because of its ballad-like structure. Alas, most good songs are not all that forgiving to tell a story, and thus I end up using soft-rock. I promise to avoid the boy-bands from here on, though, and I'll cast around in my mind for something more. When the books and plots start getting really twisted and crazy, I know I will probably end up using some Meatloaf.
87. DutchBoy
Leigh has difficulties understanding why Perrin goes after the Falcon to save her.

It makes perfectly sense to me - not at all meaning that Perrin's behavior is rational.

Since he did not send her away before, he feels responsible for her well-being and will never forgive himself if something happened to her.

And, obviously, he is attracted to her, but the first reason alone as discussed above is reason enough, if you ask me.

Anyway, Leigh, thanks again for letting me relive TDR as well - I honour you, and I owe you ;-)
John Massey
88. subwoofer
Perrin and Faile- still...meh

What's the deal with Be'lal wanting Rand to take Callandor? That's like saying "I have a knife- grab that uzi and come at me..." I know that there are wards cast on the sword if the wrong person draws it but really...
and Mat...."Burn me, if I have to fight one or two more like this, I'll bloody well fall over from exhaustion! The stories do not tell you being a hero is such hard work! Nynaeve always did find a way to make me work."- gotta love it.
um.... has anyone been keeping track of the seals? I can't remember what happens to this one,- think it gets brittle or something. Does this mean in the final book(s) there will be an actual battle with the big guy? In the Blight? For real?
89. Slurpy
. . . but I just didn’t see anything she’s done thus far to inspire this much passion on Perrin’s part. Attraction, sure. This level of frenzy, no.

Leigh, you've obviously never been a 19-year-old boy in love :)


TSR: "Not with that, certainly," she added, grimacing at Callandor. "There are only two more powerful that a man can use. One at least, I know, still exists. No, Lews Therin. I will not trust you yet with that."

Callandor is the third most powerful male sa'angreal ever made. And I've got five bucks that says Demandred finds the second most powerful one before he faces Rand (I think Moridin is too crazy at this point to want to use it).
Ofer Nave
90. odigity
Meatloaf rocks my socks. Fairly ambitious, though.
91. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
subwoofer @88
It stays intact.This, along with the one in Rhuidean and the one Mazrim Taim will eventually surrender to him are the ones that haven't broken yet.

odigity @90
OH yeah! Meatloaf rocks. Although they are already great to begin with. Can't imagine how R.Fife can make them better. Like you said, ambitious.
92. Wetlander
Thank you, RobM, for your perspective on Perrin, Faile and Berelain. I was beginning to feel outnumbered and intimidated. Yeah, Faile is young, and acts it. Yeah, her use of Loial and treatment of Perrin in the Ways trip (TSR) made me want to slap her. But she is dedicated to Perrin and loves him more than her own life. (Not more than her own pride, sometimes, but she's... young.)

Berelain, on the other hand, makes me want to vomit all over her low-cut silk dress. She's manipulative, selfish, scheming, selfish, arrogant, selfish, thoughtless, did I say selfish?... She plays with people's lives for entertainment, with no concern for the effect on them or those they care about. Her only real passions in life are her own entertainment and the security of her country, and it's a toss-up which comes first sometimes. I'll grant that she's a political wizard, and occasionally has some sense of responsibility "when it counts" - but only when it counts according to her definitions.

Don't like her. Can you tell? I was excited to find the consensus that she and Galad will end up together. Total opposites in almost every way, except that they are both impossibly gorgeous, and I can't stand either of them. What a match-up. Can't wait until they ride off into the... uh... sunrise?... to Mayene and leave everyone else alone. What a relief to be rid of them both. Wish it had happened right about here!

(@34. ZamIt
Enter Berelain. Anyone else hope something tragic happens to Faile and she ends up with Perrin?

NOPE. By my lights, Masema or the Shaido could kidnap her and we could never see her again and I'd be smiling.)
93. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
So what if Berelain is manipulative, selfish, scheming, selfish, arrogant, selfish, thoughtless, etc? You just described a vast majority of the women in the series. Including the highly over-rated SuperGirls who certainly tried their hardest to learn these qualities from the White Tower. At least Berelain doesn't periodically lash out with the Power at those she owes her life to.
94. hoping to be of the blood
An alternative view on Berelain, if you will, my favorite female character in the series. I see her as someone who knows what she wants and goes out and gets it. If she were a man, you would call her dynamic. And, as you say, she is honorable when it counts the most.Most of our characters are flawed in some way (Rhuarc excepted) - it makes them more interesting.
95. IanGH
Finally caught up my own reading!

Cool ending... again. Every time I read any of the first four books, I remember why that one was my favorite. Still, I have to give the nod to book one.

About the splitting of balefire, this happened in Tel'aran'rhiod so maybe that had something to do with it. Or perhaps RJ hadn't completely worked out the rules for it when he wrote this book. I'm also curious how Moiraine learned it.

About Faile/Perrin, I am in the "Faile is annoying" camp but with respect to Perrin's feelings about her, remember that they had a lot of time together off-screen in the voyage down-river to Illian and the trek across to Tear. Plenty of time to learn about each other and let the action heat up.

Some time ago in another post someone once said how RJ really didn't do romance scenes very well. Well, here is a romance scene that was completely missing. Perhaps it was edited out? Or RJ didn't think it needed to be developed? Just imagine how much longer these books could have been...

Ugh. The supergirls. Of course it does help that Elayne gets called out on it eventually. But that still doesn't keep me from cringing here. I can buy the adrenaline rush, surprise, bad attitude in this chapter. But the horrible behaviour in the x books that follow... Ugh.

I actually like Berelain but for me, the whole Berelain/Faile Hawk/Falcon menage was one plot thread too many. I have yet to see how it adds anything to the bottom line and seems to take up precious pages. Much better to have dedicated that space to developing the true romances in the series. (Oops, as a guy, maybe I'm not supposed to say that. Much better to include a couple more kick-ass fight scenes.)

The gong ringing (Perrin breaking the door) in the Stone is only in Tel'aran'rhiod and both Rand and Egwene hear it, I believe. (Although I think Egwene hearing it is written before Perrin hits the door, in the book. It's confusing.)

Three cheers to the reread. I noticed that book four (hard-cover) has no prologue but it looks like the page margins are smaller and line spacing smaller than book three. Does anybody know, is it the longest book word-count-wise?

Ofer Nave
96. odigity
Yes, TSR (next book) is the king by word-count:
97. Wetlander
94. hoping to be of the blood
If she were a man, you would call her dynamic.

Nope. If she were a man I'd still call her/him manipulative, selfish, scheming, arrogant, and thoughtless. Granted that all of us are basically selfish and we ALL act according to our own priorities, I don't like her priorities. Can't stand people who go around tweaking noses all the time just for the fun of it. It's okay sometimes, but she does it out of habit, and her tweaking is sometimes very painful to the tweak-ee. And she doesn't care.

For the record, I almost started to like her during that stretch when Rand put Rhuarc & Berelain in joint command in Cairhien. After Rhuarc spanked her for being childish, she straightened up (at least around him) and started to show some good qualities. But that was all while Perrin was off saving the Two Rivers. Once he came back on the scene in Cairhien, she went totally annoying again and I've disliked her ever since. Like IanGH @95, ...the whole Berelain/Faile Hawk/Falcon menage was one plot thread too many. I have yet to see how it adds anything to the bottom line and seems to take up precious pages... I'd settle for leaving it out and making the books a little shorter!

Yes, I'll concede that most of the women come off with the above list of characteristics periodically, and some more than others. However, most of them show a few more redeeming characteristics at other times, imho. Have you ever known someone like Berelain (leaving out the ruler of Mayene part)? It might affect your perspective.
Richard Fife
98. R.Fife
*points at Wetlander* What she said. I have made no secret of my Faile-love, and I still proudly proclaim it. Berelain is a cold-hearted chit, at least around men she wants to be notches on her bed post, and I fully support Faile wanting to tear her hair out. I love the little fight-scene between them in tSR, even if Faile comes out on bottom.

And as to Faile being all bitchy around Perrin in later books, think of this. Your sig-other is being hit on mercilessly by a complete bitch/sleeze, and your spouse continue to try and be all nice and cordial and good-mannered. Perrin should have done to Berelain exactly what Rhuarc did, and maybe added in some Rand spaz-tasticness to it. I am sure he could have arranged one of his Asha'man to provide. Scare the damn chit off, and don't give a flying flip about Berelain isntead of only /encouraging/ her. I'd be pissed at my sig-other too.
Jon Severinsson
99. jonno
@92: Can't agree more!

@93: Well, yes, Berelain isn't the only one with that set of character flaws, but she has them to a degree not found in most other, and she lacks any redeeming qualities to make up for it...
100. GregoryD
Concerning the Perrin and Berelain thing.

I must confess I am one of the ones who was hoping that they got together. Actually wondering if maybe Faile meets an untimely end and Perrin ends up with the Hawk.

I have always liked her character. She is at least up front with her feeling and intentions. All the other girls, except Min, are snotty and manipulative.

I have never cared for Perrin much. He was always the least favorite of the characters in my eyes.

It was made much worse when he sold his soul to the Dark One to get Faile back and disobeyed Rand and chose Faile over doing his duty with Masema. Robert Jordan commented on this in an article that I have not been able to find again. He basically said the results of Perrin's obsession have yet to be played out in what it will cost Rand. He said there were several examples in today's news that gave him the ammo for writing Perrin's fatal flaw.

Perrin is so one sided. I really think he would side with the DO if it would get him his precious Faile. Oh, he already did that! Duh!

Are any of the heroes going to bite the dust in the end? If any one does, I hope it is Faile or Perrin. But that would be much too simple. It will probably be a more well liked character.

Just my opinion. Sorry.
101. Lannis
GregoryD @ 100: Though we've heard some theories of a Tam/Morgase romantic hook up after TG, I think that if anyone will be missing from the "happy ending" it'll be Tam... everyone else seems to be on a path for a romantic Happily Ever After, but Tam seems to be alone. That said, I know he's more of a tertiary character, and not one of the main Heroes... sorry... don't think Faile or Perrin will be missing the big Last Hurrah Celebration Scene, and if so, it'll probably be because they're hiding back in the Two Rivers...
102. Rebecca Starr
I just have to share, because you all will appreciate this more than my real world friends... I'm drinking apple brandy, and the first thing I think is, "That is soooo Two Rivers"

More on topic, I agree that I would rather see Berelain with Perrin than with Faile. It's been too long since I read CoT, but what is the name of the Aiel that takes a fancy to Faile as gai'shan? I'm sort of hoping she cheats on Perrin with him, Perrin finds out, and then winds up in Berelain's bed after all this time.

103. WiseOne
Ewww I hate Berelain. But the gai'shan is killed by Perrin in KoD so Faile couldn't cheat on Perrin... although she might have been thinking about it.
104. GregoryD
Regarding @102

The guy's name was Rolan.

To clarify. I don't want to see any of the heroes die. It's just that I like some characters more than others. Mat, Rand, and Min. They top my list of down to earth people. And if Berelain were not around, what would they do with all her skimpyzzzz dresses?
105. ZamIt
Lannis@101 Tam has been a minor character in this series, but he was going to be the subject of one of the 3 outrigger novels that were to be prequels to WOT. I think it's fair to say Jordan had a lot of notes and ideas about Tam. I don't think we'll be left hanging at the end of AMOL regarding his future. And I am still very interested in Morgase's future. I hadn't considered her and Tam as a possibility until I read someone's theory a few months ago. I think it is unlikely, but not impossible. Morgase wouldn't make much of a farmwife though. Tam's fate/future is really up in the air as far as I can tell.

RobM@81 - I didn't think about Galad outing Morgase. I always imagined Rand doing that, but Galad makes a lot of sense.

Really, the reaction of all the characters to finding out Morgase is alive (and that Rand didn't kill her) will be fascinating. Wow, Galad is in for some big discoveries in AMOL.
106. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
ZamIt @105
Galad might take Morgase's reappearance better than everybody else. With the possible exception of Elayne of course. Unlike others, he doesn't blame Rand for Morgase's death. He might be surprised to see Morgase as some Lady's handmaid. But he's also pragmatic underneath that goody two shoes image.
107. Randalator

Faile isn't mad at Perrin for his behaviour towards Berelain. At least not in the way you think. She is mostly mad at his non-behaviour towards her.

Perrin takes Berelains advances seriously which, even though he is rejecting her, hurts Faile. Scaring Berelain off won't help this because this still means taking her seriously. Look at the end of LoC where Berelain brings Rand's belongings as proof that he was kidnapped. Perrin thinks she came once again to seduce him, yells at her and threatens to throw her out so far that she will "bounce twice". Which only prompts Faile to smell even more hurt than usual.

Basically he treats Berelain as Faile wants to be treated or in other words he treats Berelain as Faile wants her not to be treated. As an equal.

I think Faile even voices in one of her later POVs that she hates Perrin treating Berelain as an adult instead of the way an adult would treat a silly child. The fact that he even shows Berelain his "wild side" (as mentioned above) that he should be showing her by saldean custom is even more of an insult to her.

She wants Perrin to act around Berelain as a superior and give her (Faile) the attention that he gives Berelain however good and right his intentions.

108. danielCronin
Hey Leigh, good work, but I really have to disagree with your defence of the Supergirls immediate reaction to Mat's rescue. Your point supports the notion of stress induced behaviour oddities but you support that with someone offering you who does not in anyway solve the immediate concern which is causing the stress: i.e. the free tickets do not solve your cutting issues.
However! Matt is there for one reason and one reason only. To save the Supergirls. And therefore he is there to snuff out that which is causing them this stress and fear. He is here to help them escape from the baddies. With this in mind I still think it is way lame for the women to react in such a way as they did. Even to see a friendly face in such an environment should have induced elation. Nevermind the fact that he helps them escape.

109. Lsana
@82 RiverDragon,

I think it highly unlikely Galad's death would have much impact on Elayne. If all the death she's already caused hasn't done it, I don't see the death of someone she can't stand turning her around.

Of course, while she might not care about Galad, there are people around her who would care: Gawyn, Morgase, Rand. So maybe upsetting them would make her realize that she's not the center of the universe. But I wouldn't count on it.

@85 rynners,

I agree that Mat has superpowers, but his are a little different than everyone else's. Rand and the Supergirls have a very obvious power, and whenever they run into a problem, they apply the One Power, repeat until problem solved. Perrin's abilities are a little more varied, but especially in the later books, he has the strategy of throw wolves at the problem. If that doesn't work, throw more wolves. Mat, on the other hand, has luck and battle memories and needs to turn those into solutions for a wide variety of problems. That requires a little more smarts: figuring out how his luck works, figuring out which of his memories can be useful in the current situation and how, and executing his plan once he has one.

Obviously this is a generalization (using the One Power is not completely an exercise for dummies, Perrin's wolf dreams requires some creativity), but to my mind, Mat has more need to be smart with his powers than any of the others.

@107 Randalator,

Yes! Exactly what I wanted to say! I don't have a problem with Faile being mad that someone else is hitting on her man. If someone else were hitting on my fiance, I would be pretty mad too. I have a problem with her, "I know that Perrin loves me and only me, that he doesn't love Berelain, and that he gets annoyed every time she comes near him. However, I'm going to act all hurt and jealous anyway and not tell him why."
Richard Fife
110. R.Fife
Hrm, shows how hazy my memory of later books is. I do remember disliking Faile's actions, but her as a person doesn't overly annoy me (as much as, oh say, Elayne). I'm about to start LoC in my reread, perhaps my Faile LOVE will drop down some.

Oh, on an aside, I am finally watching Firefly (yay Hulu), and DAMN YOU ALL! My productivity has dropped to zilch, and I'm only 5 eps in.
Ofer Nave
111. odigity
Ha ha! Firefly will ruin TV for you. Everything else is a pale shadow.
112. bloodybutteredonions
I find Mat's rescue of the girls extremely funny. It turns the whole fantasy "boy saves girl, girl falls into boys arms" tradition on its head. Here he is expecting to be thanked and gushed over and they walk out on him leaving him to follow! Priceless!!
113. BookFairy
First of all let me say how cool it is to be doing the re-read with so many people who have been reading the WOT as long as I have.

Ch. 53: "Then we hunt, brother." (gooose bumps!)
I can so see Perrin saving Faile here. After all he has a tendancing to save people who are trapped
(i.e. Gaul or the guy who thinks he is a wolf)etc.
So even if threre wasnt the hole attrection thing he would still be naturly inclined to save her.

Ch.54: He's tall, he's dangerous, he's my personal vote for hottest Aile, he's Rhuarc!(girly sighing!)
Cant you just picture the look on Mats face when he makes the stone go BOOM. Blowing thing up is cool even when its on accident. As for the girl i can understand suprise but they could have excepted Mats help with a little more grace. I mean after he promised to be ther if they need him and they lafted at him. Then he showed up WHEN they needed him. I mean come on.
I love that we can always count on Naynaeve to hit who needs hiting. Yah! So cool.

Ch.55:I love to see Moiraine kicking Forsaken ass and taking names. Awesome. Finally Loial, there are hints all along that Ogier can be formidable
but I love when we find out that during the fight for the Stone Our Ogier is being a Hero. Defending all the chilldren and there Mothers against Trollics and a Fade. So Sweet.

Great post as always.
lanyo lanyo
114. lanyo
I always thought Berelain's "man in white" was a gaishain. Because what could be more surprising then a servant (even if only temporary) making her lose her stuck-uppityness.
115. ammbd
"Though I like the idea of a sparker who will touch the true source, but not enough to be able to do anything with it. You've been given a gift, but not enough of one to do anything with it. Don't you have any talents that are like that?"

a few. damned annoying when not outright painful.
116. Lannis
ZamIt @ 105: I got the impression that Tam's story would be a prequel novel, not an outrigger, and therefore be set in the days of the Aiel war, the times leading up to and including when he ran into infant Rand on the slopes of Dragonmount... this would leave him open to, um, nothing, at the end of AMoL, if need be. Though I could be wrong, have been before. :)
Elroy Skimms
117. elroyskimms
lanyo @ 114

I always thought Berelain's "man in white" was a gaishain.

I always had the same thought. I never even considered Galad or a whitecloak for this. Perhaps I'm a little crazy, but at least I have someone else to be crazy with me! We'll find out in a few months if we are right.

We should start a pool with all of these prophecies that we are trying to predict. Make a little money on who Olver is, or Berelain's love toy, or whether or not Narg killed Asmodean. Anyone out there with "booky" on their resume that wants to get this started?

118. ZamIt
Lannis, I think Tam's story would have been a prequel as well (maybe I used the term outrigger incorrectly? I thought outrigger novels were just all the novels outside the main WOT sequence). That would leave his story "open" in the WOT books. I just figured if Jordan figured out this whole backstory for Tam that there would be at least some notes for Tam's post-story.
119. danielleaiel
I still wish Perrin had thrown Faile off the boat that first night. I still maintain that Faile has mental problems. It only gets worse in later books. I always found it astounding that Perrin would be so desperate to rescue pain in ass Faile, who from my POV wouldn't even give him any peace when he was blacksmithing. She taunts, stalks, ridicule him unceasingingly. His rescue made no sense first read and less sense during this reread. Yes Loial is a stand up guy, but why does he like Faile? Never could figure it out. He supposedly likes and need peace and harmony. Faile not only crashed their party but is obnoxious to Moraine, Lan and Perrin. Oh, and by the way later on when Faile is a prisoner she owes her life time and again to Rolan who seemed pretty hot to me (and to her) and she does nothing to stop Perrin from killing him in KOD. She is truly a piece of shit.

Supergirls-- Unexcusable reaction to Mat's rescue which they never recover from. It's a little more understandable from Nyneave and Egwene, they grew up with him and have a longterm relationship with him. But Elayne? Stick up her ass Elayne? Just because she hangs out with Nyn and Eg shouldn't give her the familiarity/sibling disdain the other girls have. As for the later apology, Elayne doesn't do it because she is sorry, she does it for selfish reasons-- she needs Avienda if she is to finally corral Rand. Another thing I don't understand. Imaagine how simple life would be for women if we could just decide we were in love with a man, manipulate for some stolen moments over a period of only 4 days, then tell anyone who'll listen that he's yours and you love him. Then set a guard on him (Avienda). I for one am truly hoping Elayne dies in childbirth in AMoL. She says she loves Rand but she has never done a thing to help him. She never shares info with him, her allegience is to the rebel tower. She rails about him giving her the throne, yet refuses to come home in timely fashion creating more work/stress for him while never even acknowleding the fact that he had to kill one of the Forsaken to save Andor. Rand would be so much better off with Min who's awesome and Avienda who rocks!

I also thought that Berelain's man in white would be gaishain-- but I really like the idea of Galad. I also can't wait until he finds out Rand is brother. Kudos to whoever realized that Galad would out Morgase finally. I can't wait until "Lady Faile" realizes shes in deep shit with Queen of Andor. She may not be so happy as a blacksmiths wife. ha ha.

Also, would love to read that article in which RJ states Perrins demented behaviour to rescue Faile injures Rand. Makes sense. Whole time he colluded with the Seanchan made me very uneasy.

Has anyone give Logain any thought? I have come to really like him as a hero. I think he may make the big save at TG.

If main characters are going to die in AMoL, let them be Faile, Elayne, CAdsuane (harpy of the first rank) and if one the boys has to go let it be perrin, he deserves it for selfishness and stupidity with Faile.
Ofer Nave
120. odigity
I'm not a fan of Faile, but to be fair, Rolan's death was not her fault. It was not really anyone's fault, but rather an extremely unfortunate confluence. In fact, I would rate it the most tragically written scene in the series so far. And unless RJ is a fool or Brandon overlooks that part of the notes, I'm fairly certain we're not quite done dealing with the aftermath of that event. Though I'll save my detailed comments for when we get there.

(Really, I'm dying to get to KoD - though I don't want to rush or skip the rest. Can we do KoD now, and then come back and continue at TSR?)

BTW-You build a devastating case against Elayne, and I'm not sure you're wrong.
Sacha G
121. Fortune_Prick_Me
"Imagine how simple life would be for women if we could just decide we were in love with a man, manipulate for some stolen moments over a period of only 4 days, then tell anyone who'll listen that he's yours and you love him. Then set a guard on him."

Awesomesauce! Most of the Trakands deserve being hit with a clue-bat in terms of how they make their decisions. Elayne for what you said, Morgase for her horrible treatment of Tallanvor and Co. and also for thinking that seeking refuge in Whitecloak country was smart, Gawyn because he seems more insane than Rand. I mean, he believed the 1st rumour he heard about his mom and sis-from a Peddler (Was that Demandred in disguise?)-without actually checking more trustworthy sources?

I can picture Gawyn frothing at the mouth... I'll give Galad a pass, his motivations are clear, yet conflicted. His anguish in helping El And Nyn get to Salidar is touching.
122. Randalator

Elayne's first apology is insincere true. But she apologizes to Mat a second time a couple of chapters later and is completely sincere there.

"I am sorry I laughed at you." She cleared her throat, looking away. "Sometimes I forget my duty to my subjects. You are a worthy subject, Matrim Cauthon. I will see that Nynaeve understands the right of . . . of you and Tylin. Perhaps we can help."
"No," he spluttered. "I mean, yes. I mean . . . That is . . . Oh, kiss a flaming goat if I know what I mean. I almost wish you didn't know the truth."

Her lips moved silently, and for an instant he had the strange impression that she was repeating what he had just said. Of course not. He was seeing things; that was all. Aloud, she said, "I understand." Sounding just as if she did. (ACoS, ch. 38

And again in ch. 39

"I am very sorry to have used you," Elayne said before he could get a word out. Her smile flashed that dimple at him. "We did have reasons, Mat; you must believe that."

By that time she has done a full 180 on her views of Mat and apologizes whenever he deserves an apology. That's a lot more than Nynaeve or Egwene have ever done.
Abdel Masdoua
123. TheDarkOne

I think you totally nailed it about Faile/Perrin/Berelain here.


Yep, all of the Trakands pretty much suck at one time or another.
However I think we should cut them some slack ( and that goes for the other crazy behaviour of our Heroes as well).
What I mean is, they are right in the middle or a freakin Apocalypse!

Slurpy @89
What's the deal with that other kick-ass male sa'angreal?
Is it ever mentioned again besides Lanfear's comment in TSR?

BTW, TSR is one of my favorite book of the series.
So Much Happens In It!
Can't Wait for today's post!
124. Randalator
And yet another apology by Elayne from ACoS, ch. 38:

"Thank you, Mat. I apologize for everything I ever did or thought." She sounded as though she really meant it. "I keep building up toh toward you," she smiled ruefully, "but I am not going to let you beat me. You are going to have to let me save you at least once to balance matters."

That is why I don't hate her as a general rule. Because she is able to learn, change and make amends.
125. GregoryD
One final thought about the anal personalities in this series. We know that RJ used various characters from history and mythology to create the revolving characters in the Wheel of Time.

Could he have used their know or perceived personalities as well. Maybe Elayne acts the way she does because that is the way Elizabeth the first acted, etc. Maybe they are just acting true to form with their preborn selves?
126. danielleaiel
@120 Odigy

I agree tosome extent about Rolan, I was a little harsh - but Faile bounces back to her usual self within seconds. It was tragic but I'll lay odds that when she's safely back at her camp she immediately starts to torture Perrin over the misconception that he slept with Berelain. I mean why believe your husband, right? Especially when he's practically committed treason by letting Masema loose and colluded with the Seanchan just to get your skinny ass back. Obviously this is all conjecture on my part, I hope I'm wrong.

Fortune Prick Me

Thanks! I needed to get that out. And I agree with you about Morgase - her treatment of Tallanvor & Co. is reprehensible. Going to the Whitecloaks was pure stupidity, going to the Tower would have made more sense, it's not like they wanted to kill her.
Thank you, Thank you for reminding me of Gawyn! You are so on the mark - why would he believe a strange, frightened peddler? And later on when he tells Egwene that he hates Rand for killing his mother, why does Egwene hedge with the truth? Why should it be a secret from Gawyn that Rahvin was Gaebril and Rand saved Andor? (I've been reading ahead, I apologize).


Yes Elayne does apologize to him later and several times after, but she continues to treat him like a pain in the ass dolt in front of everyone else. Oh and yes, very magnaminous of her to refuse his terangreal when offered. I don't know, maybe I would like her better if she did let him beat her.
127. birgit
The gong ringing (Perrin breaking the door) in the Stone is only in Tel'aran'rhiod and both Rand and Egwene hear it, I believe. (Although I think Egwene hearing it is written before Perrin hits the door, in the book. It's confusing.)

The first ringing (what Eg probably hears) is when Perrin smashes the chains that held Faile when he found her for the first time. Rand hears the second ringing when he smashes the door.

Rolan was Meradin, not gaishain.

Has anyone give Logain any thought? I have come to really like him as a hero. I think he may make the big save at TG.

Logain leads the good Ashaman against Taim's darkfriend Ashaman.
128. Lsana
@117 elroyskimms,

Not a bookie, but I'll offer some preliminary odds:

Berelaine's lover:
Galad 1:3
Gai'shan 2:1
Someone else 17:1

Who killed Asmodean:
Graendel 1:1
Lanfear 4:1
Narg 10:1
Bela 10:1

Is Olyver Gaidal Cain:
Yes 1500:1

@119 danielleaiel,

I don't think Elayne's going to die. Presumably she was one of the three women seen mourning for Rand, so she'll make it at least that far. She could kill herself immediately afterwords, but she needs to survive TG.

I'm also somewhat surprised at the assertion that Perrin's rescue of Faile will have negative consequences. It seems to me that the consequences are more likely to be positive from Rand's POV. He's trying to get an alliance with the Seanchan. Perrin has formed a temporary alliance with them and gotten his allies thinking of the Seanchan as people rather than monsters. That can only result in good things from the perspective of an alliance.
129. Wetlander
Not that anyone is reading this anymore with the new post out, but I gotta say it:

Oh, and by the way later on when Faile is a prisoner she owes her life time and again to Rolan who seemed pretty hot to me (and to her) and she does nothing to stop Perrin from killing him in KOD.

Yeah, right. So you're out for a ride with some folks who are your responsibility, and suddenly you get whacked upside the head. You wake up to find some huge guy cutting all your clothes off IN THE SNOW, thank you very much. He proceeds to use one of your stockings to tie your hands behind your back and the other to make a leash (!!!) for you. You look around to see his companions doing the same thing to your companions. He then makes you run barefoot and naked through the snow, until you completely pass out, then throws you over his shoulder and bounces you along for more hours.

Somehow, the fact that he later keeps you from being raped by another guy and keeps you company and moderately warm during a Sevanna punishment night is will then make you fall in love with him? What planet are you from?
131. Belmont
In Chapter 55 when Moiraine is "gotten out of the way" by Be'lal I wondered what happened to Lan during that time period. I assumed he must have
been disabled/been unconcious as well - otherwise we would have seen him try to come to her aid.
132. danielleaiel
@130 R.Fife

Close -- Norway!

@129 wetlander

I shouldn't be jumping ahead to later plots, I'm sorry for that. But - Rolan shouldn't have taken Faile gaishain, that's a given. That night he did save her life by wrapping her in his cloak "bringing shame to her". Yes he did keep her warm during her punishment and massage her muscles and help her breathe, and I guess he could have let that guy rape her and then caught up with her the next day - but he didn't. He then kept a watch on her and got his "Brotherless" friends to watch out for Morgase, Alliendre, Arrella and the other girl to protect them from all the drunken Aiel rapists that lived in Sevanna's camp. Oh yeah, and then he rescued them all from Galina's cave-in murder plot and told Faile he would take her out the camp and leave her in the first wetlander town they came to. So in closing, I'm from planet earth.
By the way, Faile wasn't in love with him, but she liked and depended on him.
Richard Fife
133. R.Fife
danielle, um, I am pretty sure Stockholm is in Sweden (just looked up the wiki on the syndrome).

And the more or less lack of reaction to Rolan's death is, well, kinda vexing, but I'll get into that more when we get there.
134. danielleaiel
@133 R. Fife

I'm sorry, I thought you were replying to wetlanders question to me (What planet are you from?) because of her description of the snow and cold. I do know Stockholm is in Sweden and that it is a syndrome. I really feel like a dope now.

I promise not to jump ahead anymore, I know it jumbles conversations.
135. Erdrick
I'm so close to catching up!! Unfortunately I have a busy week ahead, so I don't know if I will before next week. Anyway, here's my contribution to the discussion..

About the Choedan Kal; (from my previous post on part 4 of TGH), according to The Strikeat Shayol Ghul: "without the ter’angreal it was certain that even the strongest Aes Sedai would be burned out instantly by the huge flow of the One Power." So, there you have it; the access keys are essential.

GregoryD @ 64, it's from LoC chapter 28: "Fain’s lips peeled back in a sneer. Unlikely Niall would have ever supported al’Thor any more than Elaida would have, but it was best not to take too much for granted with Rand bloody al’Thor. Well, he had brushed them both with what he carried from Aridhol; they might possibly trust their own mothers, but never al’Thor now."

alreadymad @ 72, you dismiss bchurch's theory (@ 58) by stating that the Horn of Valere predates the AoL. Where are you getting your information? This idea was discussed in an earlier posts, and here are the problems that came up. Why is the inscription in the Old Tongue? If you are familiar with the rapidity of language evolution, you will see the problem here. When do you suppose the Horn was made, and by what means could it be constructed (other than using the OP)?

hoping @ 94, are you kidding me!? Say you have a woman who is very sincere and faithful to her husband. Then another man, after shamelessly pursuing her even after she makes it very clear she is not interested, starts to sully her reputation by deliberately leading other people to believe she slept with him. Berelain being a woman is the only reason she gets away with it without more readers being absolutely appalled by her character. Hey, you're the one who suggested considering the role reversal. I agree with those who suggested the plot line of the hawk should have been cut. If only her character just disappeared back to Mayene when Rand scared her off.

Lsana @ 128, the dead Rand scene doesn't necessarily have to be post TG. I think it will happen before TG, and that his death (or rather bodyswap) is the key to winning.

Elroy, Perrin5454, Rebecca Starr, and the rest who mentioned RJ's heroism and inspiration, did you follow RJ's blog pre- and post- being diagnosed with amyloidosis? Yes, his books are inspiring, but it was the man himself who inspired me the most. Following his blog while he battled the disease was more inspiring than any fantasy novel I've read. Brings to mind what Lan said at the end of NS: "He was better. But he thought I was finished, with only one arm. He never understood. You surrender after you’re dead." The last embrace of the mother welcome you home.
136. Slurpy
TheDarkOne @123

As far as I recall, the other male sa'angreal is not mentioned in any other part of the series. I started rereading when Leigh was about halfway through TGH, looking specifically for that and clues about Demandred, and I'm about halfway through LoC now, and I haven't seen anything else about the sa'angreal.

But here's the thing about writing (and film-directing, and video-game production):

You don't mention something if it's not going to play a part.

Erdrick @135
It is not going to be a body swap. Rand is actually going to die, Alivia is going to help him do so (somehow), and after three days, Nynaeve is going to Heal death, completing the Christ-story. Rand will live with his harem in obscurity, while Logain takes the credit.
137. Erdrick
Another sa'angreal more powerful than Callandor...this is my guess:
Ring of Tamyrlin (TAHM-ehr-lin): a legendary ring, believed mythical by most people, worn by the leader of the Aes Sedai during the Age of Legends. Stories about the Ring of Tamyrlin include that it was an angreal or sa'angreal or ter'angreal of immense power. It supposedly was named after the first person to learn how to tap into the Source and channel the One Power, and in some tales, was actually made by that man or woman. Despite what many Aes Sedai say, no one knows whether it was a man or a woman who first learned to channel. Some believe that the present title of Amyrlin is a corruption of Tamyrlin.
(From the expanded glossary of To the Blight)
138. Slurpy
Wow. That's a good idea. Maybe it's in Seandar?
139. somewheresouth
@leighdb I think you left your earrings behind on that intro. Also: thanks for the posts, and I will be impressed if you can sum up the books where nothing happens in more than a paragraph.
140. JamesEdJones
Once again, great re-read, Leigh. Let's stir the anthill a little bit...

On screen killin's of Forsaken: Green Man kills Balthamael. Rand kills Aginor, Ishamael, and Rahvin. Moiraine kills Belal and Lanfear. Elza kills Osangar. Aaaaaaand Slayer kills Asmodean.

Discuss. lol
141. spacechampion
Hello, enjoying reading the series on my own, then checking out Leigh commentary here...

One thing I wanted to bring up is in Rand's fight with Ishy includes a moment with Ishy tries to rip Rand's soul from his body, essentially. Something about sending him to an alternate dimension where nothing exists. I was wondering if anyone else thinks that might be the moment where Rand and Lew Therin Telamon becomes separate souls, or otherwise had some lasting effect?
142. JiveTurkey

I have to comment on you're defense of the 'Supergirls' actions on being rescued. Even though this is a few months late, far down the Comments list, and probably won't be read by you I can't help it. Are you f'in kidding me?

I'm going to make your analogy accurate. You're in the editing room and you make your edit, but you can't find a blank tape to record it to. You're friend shows up just in time, not offering something useless like movie tickets but the very blank tape that you need. So not only was he a godsend, showing up just in time to SAVE YOUR ASS, but he had to go through HELL in doing it.

How would you react? You'd say "Thank god! Thank you so much! Your the best!

There is no excuse for the way they acted. They were just embarrassed because they were on such a high-and-mighty "I am woman, hear me roar. I don't need help from any man!" trip when that's exactly what they needed. And they couldn't summon the common decency to just say 'Thank you' because their PRIDE wouldn't allow it.

I never forgave these characters for this. Min's the only cool female character in these books. All the others range from tolerable to annoying to reprehensible.
143. ansuz
SG reaction to Mat makes me pissed as hell. It's not even the analogy above. It's - you are captured by Nazis and put into Gestapo headquaters. Your future is to be tortured to death, or tortured to insanity then be sent to concentration camp to be starved/beaten to death/become a human lab mouse. Then your friend comes to your rescue, knowing that when captured he would share your fate. He frees you. You walk away without any word and when he complains about some of your actions you tackle him on the ground with your best judo move (you happen to be judo black belt and he is just an average guy with no martial arts knowledge) and after all this ends you never ever give him any credit for what he'd done, treating him like a fool and prankster instead.
As for Faile/Perrin/Ber triangle - I feel sorry for the guy. He is caught between jealous and overpossesive wife and selfish bitch who ruins other people's lives for fun (making people believe he slept with her IN SUCH A MOMENT OF HIS LIFE is cruel and evil beyond recognition). That he becomes so obsessed with Faile doesn't help him too. The scene when Loial tries to show him the reality and his blatant "Faile is perfect" creeps me more than any given Forsaken. "No hope for the guy" - thought when I first time read this.
144. Vespera
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145. arekay
One thing thats always bothered me, At the end of the book, Moiraine announces to everyone that Mat's the sounder of the Horn of Valere, yet in none of the following books do any of the SG's seem to know this fact.
146. Serilda
Hello. We all have strength enough to endure the misfortunes of others.
I am from Algeria and too bad know English, give true I wrote the following sentence: "This kit is rounded out with a small pair of tweezers, a firm angled brush and a blending brush."

Best regards 8-), Serilda.
147. Ilya Surdin
I know I'm a little late, but it just struck me that this Ishamael screaming for help before something black materializes and all of that probably means beginning of him using the True Power. And he is seen abusing it a lot in the later book, while before we didn't see anything out of the ordinary of that proportion in him..
Birgit F
148. birgit
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joel perry
149. finndo
again, giving up around comment 83... but must say
Berelain+man in white = gai'shain and is Berelain not really close to a huge camp of Aiel?
150. Louis Theodore Tellman
@23... actually, didn't they all stay dead on Lost?? ;)

****SPOILER for TofM**** (well, duh... I know, but better safe)
@149 Berelain+man in white = Child of the Light (I shan't say more in case someone's waiting to read book 13)
152. VandalThor
-I totally get the perrin rescuing/being in love with faile thing at this point. I think maybe what they have had together has been hints for him that shes the "one" and he knows he has strong feelings for her but he keeps saying he doesn't know what he thinks of her because shes so different than the girls from emonds feild or who he pictured himself ending up with. Opposites attract.
-thanks leigh i remember u saying action scenes were tough but you nailed it. Loved the comment about mat and the firework damage confusion.
juanita heath
153. nanajade
I just finished the Dragon Reborn on my current re-read. Mat wonders why Perrin was not in the Stone but we know he was via T'AR The fact that Rand, Perrin and Egwene were all in The Dream World during the battle (which we see mostly from Mat's POV) makes me think that the Last Battle could be very similar in nature. Esp in light of the ToM scene between the upgraded Perrin and Egwene at the White Tower....:)
154. Divil the Bother
Looks like I might actually be synchronised (a bit) with somebody's reread. Cheers Nanajade - only 2 months behind you.

I had two points on these chapters - one was the flaw in Leigh's analogy for the supergirl's reaction to their rescue but others have addressed this more elequently than I could.

My other point is on Loial. He swore that nothing would pass him while Perrin was rescuing Faile in the dream but when the job was done and Perrin returned to his body there was no mention of Loial being there. Did he just get bored when no myrrdral showed up and skive off for a cuppa?
155. sadface
I didn't see much on this thread about how much tWT sucks, but I am kinda tired of that talk. It is pretty amazing, given that Ishy has been free since LTTs death, that he launched an all out attack Trolloc attack on the continent, and that he has agents in literally ever circle of power and influence (including tWT), that tWT has still managed to keep him from taking over the world. In fact, things have only just now gotten far enough out of balance that the Wheel has spun out the Dragon again.

@147- I wondered why there were no comments on that. I believe that something big goes on at that moment - Ishy's reaction is what caught my attention. I wonder if he is just being allowed to use the TP for the first time in a while, and if that maybe means that the DO is more free then he had been, or possibly that the DO is giving permission to kill Rand.

@153 - I have been tossing this theory around too. I am convinced that the Bore is in TAR. It fits with the description of the Bore in relation to SG (not closer, but feels closer due to a "thinnes in the pattern") and also fits with Verrin's rules as given back when she gave Eggy the ring - when the DO breaks free in anyone one world, he is free in all of them and TAR is connected to all the worlds, reflecting all of them. It would also explain why Lanfear feels TAR is her realm, since she released the DO there. Plus, it makes an intuitive sense - the kind you just feel in your gut - that creating the Bore could only be done in a place with the strange rules of TAR. Hmm, I wonder too if these first four book have major showdowns occuring in TAR because it is closer to the Bore - Ishy takesthe action there to increase his power and chance of winning.
William McDaniel
156. willmcd
I agree with what others have said about the SG's reactions to Mat; lack of gratitude when someone provides exactly the thing you need most is inexcusable. But what really upset me the most was the fact that they used the Power to physically restrain him. Flaunting your übermensch-ness on your friends is not cool under any circumstances, to say nothing of doing it when they've just gotten you out of situation you couldn't have escaped on your own.
157. Cannoli
For what it's worth, I had to write that same paper too. I wanted to use Moby Dick but didn't for reasons I don't remember, and some of my classmates used Don Quixote's girlfriend. I ended up using Antigone's brother.

As far as that I goes, I like your "man behind the curtain" interpretation of Rand's role. My view is the point of telling the story like this was to both show the effect he is having on others, and show just how important he is. If Rand had decided to take the night off and maybe hit the beach for a few days, Bel'al would have had Moiraine & the girls for lunch, Perrin would have likely died freeing Faile, or freed her and been hunted down later, being all alone with just an inconspicuous companion and no resources, and Mat & Juilin would have been swarmed under by soldiers eventually. The Aiel might have lost their attack, too, even if you don't throw Bel'al into the equation.

For all that Moiraine was the one to kill Bel'al, she only did so because he was concentrating on Rand. Had she come with Rand, Bel'al would have made sure to eliminate her to leave Rand helpless & desperate so he would be forced to draw Callandor. Because Rand went alone, and thus made her merely a potential ally, Bel'al was satisfied with his little booby-trap to keep her away from him. Faile's obstreperous behavior meant she took that bullet, but that was probably ta'veren working to keep Rand's protector in the game (not to mention, bring her to him at the exact right moment).

Even if he's hardly in the book, he still makes everything happen.

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