Mar 23 2009 12:18pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Shadow Rising, Part 1

Hi, kids. Welcome back to the Wheel of Time Re-read. Today we start a new book, The Shadow Rising, in which we cover Chapters 1-2. Because that’s just how long those two chapters are.

Previous entries can be found here. Spoilers abound, so beware.

A short note: I am kind of half-dead with the flu right now, so I apologize if this entry is not the most awesomest; fortunately most of it was written before my sinuses decided to declare Total War. However, not being able to look at a computer screen (or anything else) for extended periods of time since hostilities got fully under way has thrown my schedule out of whack, so there is a possibility that Wednesday’s post may get pushed back. I’ll keep y’all posted.

Flu sucks, by the way. This observation is brought to you by Captain Obvious and the makers of Nyquil, the nighttime sniffling, sneezing, achy head, fever, how the hell did I wind up on my kitchen floor medicine.

Chapter 1: Seeds of Shadow

What Happens
Wheel, Time, Ages, Legend, Myth, Wind, Beginning, Tar Valon. Min approaches the Tower, hiding her face in the cowl of her cloak; she hopes that the cloak, along with the dress she’s wearing and her longer hair, will keep anyone from recognizing her until she can get to the Amrylin. Then hopefully she can leave immediately and be on her way. As she waits with the other petitioners, she tries not to think that if anyone knew what her purpose was here, she might not live to leave the Tower.

She told herself to stop thinking like that. I’ll make it in, and I’ll make it out. The Light burn Rand al’Thor for getting me into this!

Faolain approaches and asks Min how the Tower may help her; Min is relieved to see that the Accepted obviously does not recognize her. Min begins to tell her she has a question for the Amrylin Seat, but cuts off as three Aes Sedai look into the room. Min only knows one of them, Ananda of the Yellow Ajah, but she sees images around all three of them – a rotting aura, a skull, a curtain of blood – and knows that all three of them are going to die, and all on the same day. Faolain, of course unaware of this, tells Min that the Amyrlin Seat cannot just see everyone; Min collects herself and replies that she has the right to request to speak to the Amyrlin Seat herself. Faolain argues with her further, but finally agrees to take her request to the Keeper, and asks for Min’s name, which Min very reluctantly gives as “Elmindreda”. Faolain is amused, and leaves. As Min waits, she sees an Accepted with bars in front of her face, and then to her shock Sheriam, who Min’s viewing shows battered and bruised, and a Brown sister whose fading aura also means death. Finally a novice named Sahra comes to lead her to the Amyrlin’s study. On the way, Min sees more images: two Warders with bloody gaping wounds, servants also showing violence in the futures, an Aes Sedai with chains wrapping around her, and another with a silver collar on her neck. This last makes Min gasp. They reach the outer doors to the study, and run into Gawyn emerging from them, looking furious. He recognizes her immediately, and asks her where Egwene and Elayne have gone. Min forgets subterfuge and grabs his arm, saying worriedly they should have been back months ago, with Verin Sedai! Gawyn corrects her misinterpretation, telling her they did return then, though they refused to tell him where they had been, but now they had left again, and no one will tell him anything again. Supposedly they are on a farm somewhere, but Gawyn clearly doesn’t buy that.

Min flinched; for a moment, streaks of dried blood had made his face a grim mask. It was like a double hammer blow. Her friends were gone—it had eased her coming to the Tower, knowing they were here—and Gawyn was going to be wounded on the day the Aes Sedai died.

Suddenly she remembers Sahra, but the novice only seems interested in mooning over Gawyn. Min tells Gawyn she doesn’t know where the girls are, but she is sure that Gawyn will not help them by making the Amyrlin angry, and in any case Elayne would not thank him for meddling. Gawyn replies that that doesn’t matter; it is his sworn duty to protect his sister’s life before his own, and ensure that she survives to ascend the Lion Throne, and he can’t do that if he doesn’t know where she is. Min asks, and Egwene? Gawyn replies warily that he’s concerned about Egwene, of course – and Nynaeve – since whatever happens to them will happen to Elayne, seeing as the three of them are connected at the hip. Min replies that her mother told her to marry a poor liar, and he qualifies, except she thinks someone else has first claim. Gawyn merely replies that Galad has been heartsick since Egwene left, and Min resists the urge to shake him. She warns him again not to anger the Amyrlin, but Gawyn cannot promise that, especially if the girls are hurt. Min sees the bloody face vision on him again for a moment, along with an altered version of his own banner – the White Boar on a field of green instead of white – and a heronmark blade, though Min is not sure if it is his or threatening him. She begs him to be careful, and he tells her she should wear dresses more often, and leaves. Min makes herself stop smoothing her dress, and hustles Sahra to bring her into the Amyrlin’s study. Inside, they meet Leane, who dismisses Sahra and swiftly jerks off Min’s hood, recognizing her. Leane says dryly that at least Min looks a little more like an Elmindreda with the dress, and Min wishes her mother would not have named her after a woman who spends all her time in the stories about her lounging around and sighing over men. Leane goes on that she supposes the Amyrlin knows who she is, which is why she got in here so fast, and breaks off at the look on Min’s face, asking if she’s ill.

Min carefully blanked her face. “No. No, I am all right.” For a moment the Keeper had been looking through a transparent mask of her own face, a screaming mask. “May I go in now, Leane Sedai?”

Leane nods, and Min scampers inside. As the Amyrlin comes around the desk to her, Min starts an awkward curtsey, and freezes halfway as she sees a vision of the Amyrlin lying on the floor, naked. The Amyrlin notes her halt, and asks what she saw; Min tells her, but doesn’t know what it means. Siuan barks a laugh and says maybe it means she’ll take a lover, though she thinks this highly unlikely. Min then tells her of all the things she’s seen since arriving at the Tower, only leaving out most of what Gawyn had said in their conversation. When she finishes, Siuan only remarks that she should be able to persuade Gawyn to keep quiet, and the novice Sahra could use some time hoeing vegetables on a farm. Min doesn’t understand, and asks if Siuan heard what she just said, that there is going to be some kind of battle, and since servants are involved, it must happen in Tar Valon itself.

“Did you see that?” The Amyrlin demanded. “A battle? Do you know, with your... your talent, or are you guessing?”

“What else could it be? At least four Aes Sedai are as good as dead. Mother, I’ve only laid eyes on nine of you since coming back, and four are going to die! And the Warders... What else could it be?”

“More things than I like to think of,” Siuan said grimly. “When? How long before this... thing... occurs?”

Min isn’t sure, just that it will all happen on the same day. She asks if it could be the Whitecloaks, but Siuan rejects this idea. They argue about that for a moment, and Min finally says she hopes it’s the Whitecloaks, because otherwise it might be the Seanchan, but Siuan thinks that’s even less likely, considering how far they are from the sea. Siuan is sure that it must be the Black Ajah, and then changes the subject, asking for news of Rand al’Thor. Min replies that he ran from Moiraine toward Tear, and that’s the last she knows. Siuan growls that she wishes the fool boy never read a word of the Prophecies of the Dragon, which confuses Min, and Siuan explains:

“The Prophecies aren’t what makes him the Dragon Reborn; all that takes is for him to admit it, and he must have if he is going for Callandor. The Prophecies are meant to announce to the world who he is, to prepare him for what is coming, to prepare the world for it.”

She continues that Moiraine was supposed to guide him to the Prophecies they are sure he’s ready for. Min accuses that they do mean to control him, just as Rand said, and adds that she and Moiraine don’t seem to be doing a very good job so far.

Siuan’s tiredness seemed to slide from her shoulders. She straightened and stood looking down at Min. “You had best hope we can. Did you think we could just let him run about loose? Headstrong and stubborn, untrained, unprepared, maybe going mad already. Do you think we could trust to the Pattern, to his destiny, to keep him alive, like some story? This isn’t a story, he isn’t some invincible hero, and if his thread is snipped out of the Pattern, the Wheel of Time won’t notice his going, and the Creator will produce no miracles to save us: If Moiraine cannot reef his sails, he very well may get himself killed, and where are we then? Where is the world? The Dark One’s prison is failing. He will touch the world again; it is only a matter of time. If Rand al’Thor is not there to face him in the Last Battle, if the headstrong young fool gets himself killed first, the world is doomed. The War of the Power all over again, with no Lews Therin and his Hundred Companions. Then fire and shadow, forever.”

Siuan looks at Min, and suddenly realizes Min is in love with Rand. Min tries to deny it for a moment, then admits that the first thing she ever saw around Rand was three women’s faces, and one of them was hers; it’s the only time Min has ever had a vision about herself. She knows all three of the women are going to fall in love with Rand, but she doesn’t know who the other two are, or whether Rand will love any of them back. Siuan considers this, and Min regrets being so open with her, and says that she’s delivered Moiraine’s message and will just be on her way now. Siuan has other ideas, however, and quickly strongarms Min into becoming a replacement Black Ajah hunter for her by remaining in the Tower as Elmindreda; Leane will help her with the dresses and cosmetics end of it. Min is horrified, but can’t see any way out of it.

Elaida considers the woman she had just seen enter the Amyrlin’s study as she stalks through the Tower. Despite the disguise, she knows it was Min, who had spent so much time with Siuan before she left, and who was such good friends with Egwene, Nynaeve, and Elayne. Elaida is sure that the Amyrlin is hiding the three of them, and the story about them being on a farm is nonsense.

Apart from everything else, it infuriated her that she could not find Elayne. Elaida had the Foretelling sometimes, the ability to foresee future events. If it came seldom and faintly, that was still more than any Aes Sedai had had since Gitara Moroso, dead now twenty years. The very first thing Elaida had ever Foretold, while still an Accepted—and had known enough even then to keep to herself—was that the Royal line of Andor would be the key to defeating the Dark One in the Last Battle. She had attached herself to Morgase as soon as it was clear Morgase would succeed to the throne, had built her influence year by patient year. And now all her effort, all her sacrifice—she might have been Amyrlin herself had she not concentrated all her energies on Andor—might be for naught because Elayne had disappeared.

And then there was Rand al’Thor, and the two other young men from his village, Matrim Cauthon and Perrin Aybara, who were all three ta’veren, whom Siuan had managed to see in Fal Dara, and who were connected in some way to Moiraine. Elaida doesn’t think anyone besides herself remembers that Moiraine and Siuan were best friends as novices, for they have behaved almost like strangers ever since they were raised to the shawl right after the Aiel War. She can hardly believe that their schemes go back so far, but it all tied together, and Elaida is convinced whatever Siuan is doing will be the ruination of the Tower. Abruptly she is struck by the idea that perhaps al’Thor could channel; she thinks that surely even Siuan could not be so reckless, but then mutters aloud, who knows what that woman would do? She was not fit to be the Amyrlin Seat.

“Talking to yourself, Elaida? I know you Reds never have friends outside your own Ajah, but surely you have friends to talk to inside it.”

Elaida turns to see Alviarin standing there. Though the White and the Red have always stood in opposition to each other, she considers the Whites’ penchant for reliance on logic, and invites Alviarin to walk with her. Alviarin hesitates, then complies, and as Elaida explains her reasoning about Siuan, seems at first skeptical, then thoughtful. She says Elaida has no proof of anything improper, but Elaida replies, not yet.

Dain Bornhald stands hidden in a copse on the bank of the Taren, looking across the river to the town of Taren Ferry, where Jaret Byar and a company of Whitecloaks are meeting with a delegation of the townsfolk. Dain is sure only Byar knows why he had accepted this mission, and is fine with that, as Byar was faithful as a hound, and had transferred his loyalty from Dain’s father to Dain on Geofram’s death. Child Ivon comes to tell him that Ordeith had taken aside three of the Tinkers they had captured, and now the three are missing. Dain curses and heads back to the clearing where the rest of the Whitecloaks are gathered, watching over the Tinker caravan. Dain asks for a word with Ordeith, the bony little man who had immediately said that the Tinkers were useless and should be killed, and asks if Ordeith put his “suggestion” into practice despite Dain’s orders. Ordeith answers that he took a few of them off to “see what they knew”, and supposes they must have run off after that. Dain grinds his teeth; he had been ordered to meet this man here, but Pedron Niall’s orders had left much vague, including what exactly Ordeith’s rank was compared to Dain’s, but there was a strong suggestion that he was to heed Ordeith’s advice on this mission, which does not sit well with Dain at all. He doesn’t understand why Niall trusts the man, and thinks that the fifty Whitecloaks accompanying him were the sourest group of men he had ever come across; but he would do what he had to for now. Dain tries to imply to Ordeith that his actions could harm their mission, but Ordeith smoothly debunks his argument, saying no one would believe Tinkers anyway. Byar returns and informs Dain that Taren Ferry is secured; they claim they have no Darkfriends, but that the villages further in are the Darkfriend kind. Dain orders him to take three hundreds across the river, and take the Tinkers across as well.

“We will scour the Two Rivers,” Ordeith broke in. His narrow face was twisted; saliva bubbled at his lips. “We will flog them, and flay them, and sear their souls! I promised him! He’ll come to me, now! He will come!”

Dain thinks that Niall has tied him to a madman, but he would do whatever it took to find a path to Perrin Aybara, and revenge for his father’s death.

The High Lady Suroth stands on a terrace and looks across Cantorin Harbor, thinking about the dangers of her course of action.

There was a saying: “On the heights, the paths are paved with daggers.”

Her fingernails clicked on the stone balustrade. How thin was the razor’s edge she walked.

The ships of the Sea Folk in the harbor are all broken or disabled, but Suroth does not know how long she will be able to keep the rest of the Sea Folk or the mainland from knowing that what remains of the Hailene is hidden among the islands here. She had managed to salvage the operation from Turak’s disaster; hopefully she would do well enough to avoid having to go back to the Court of Nine Moons and apologize to the empress in person. To do well, she would have to deal with this man claiming to be the Dragon Reborn, and thinks to herself that if she does not, the Empress will be the least of her problems. She heads back into the chamber behind her, where three women wait, two kneeling and one prostrate on the floor. The kneeling women are sul’dam, and Suroth is annoyed to contemplate one, Alhuin, who has the left side of her head shaved; no sul’dam has ever been raised to the so’jhin, the hereditary upper servants of the Blood, but in Alhuin’s case Suroth had had no choice. Alhuin knew too much. She looks at the prostrate damane, Pura, who had once been a hated Aes Sedai, and asks again how the White Tower controls the Dragon Reborn. Pura insists that the Tower would not, that they would capture and gentle any man who could channel. Suroth repeats the question, but Pura does not change her answer, and Suroth signals Alhuin to have the damane taken from the room. Suroth contemplates how no one had been able to make Pura tell even a simple lie, but is still not sure that the woman’s word could be trusted. Suroth had sent a report to the Empress, but it had not contained the most disturbing news, and Alhuin knows it. Suroth thinks, to assure the Hailene’s success, she must capture this Dragon Reborn; but the question is, when she did, should she give him to the Empress, or not?

First of all, this is so totally a Prologue; I wonder why the decision to pretend that it isn’t one?

Min’s trip of nightmares through the Tower is still one of the more chilling passages in WOT, in my opinion. Ten times more so, of course, when you don’t know yet how it’s all going to come to pass. Never let it be said that Jordan didn’t know how to build up suspense. Imagine having to see all that, and knowing not only was there not a damn thing you could about it, but most people wouldn’t believe you even if you tried to tell them about it – not even those who should know better, as Siuan’s reaction proved. Min’s problems sometimes get downplayed in my mind, given the number of other characters whose angst is so much more front and center, but being the Cassandra figure really, really sucks in its own way.

Speaking of Doubting Siuan, her assertion that they can’t just let Rand run off and fulfill the Prophecies without guidance is understandable, but betrays a complete lack of comprehension of how prophecies actually work, if you ask me. You’d think after seeing her and Moiraine’s schemes wrecked time and time again re: Rand she’d have figured that out. But, like I said, understandable, when you consider how difficult it is in general for Type-A personalities like, well, practically every Aes Sedai, and certainly Siuan and Moiraine, to try to not remain in control of every last aspect of, um, everything. Sometimes doing nothing is the hardest thing for a person to do.

Speaking of Type-A personalities, you realize it is this (combined with an appalling inability to properly interpret her own Foretellings, of course) that is at the root of all Elaida’s problems, right? To be strong and take-charge is one thing, but combine that with an essential rigidity of worldview and a positive genius for picking the losing side, and the results are just freakin’ disastrous.

This last actually also applies to a degree to Siuan as well. Siuan is more flexible than Elaida, true, but her inability to adjust to the reality of dealing with ta’veren, plus her failure to truly believe in Min, is really what brings her down. The difference is, Siuan does eventually learn from her mistakes, whereas it ain’t looking so good for Elaida to do the same.

Whitecloaks and Fain: it’s like a duet sung in hell. You know, the kind where the violins in the background are actually nails dragged across chalkboard and every note is bent so that no one is in tune with any other. Actually, I think listening to that might be preferable. I really don’t like them, in case you haven’t noticed.

Suroth: Yeah, I got nothing, except to say I’m still boggling at how profoundly messed-up Seanchan culture is. Oh, and to wonder why the passage is so carefully oblique about Suroth’s Darkfriendness, when we found out for sure she was one back in TGH. Odd.

Chapter 2: Whirlpools in the Pattern

What Happens
The wind blows on to Tear, where the people look up at the Dragon banner atop the Stone and cannot decide whether to be hopeful or fearful. In a room inside the Stone, Perrin sits on the bed and watches Faile pace, scratching at the two-week growth of beard on his face, debating shaving. Faile notices, and says it suits him, and Perrin sighs, knowing he’s not going to shave it. He asks what’s troubling her, and she says he deserves a better room than this. Perrin thinks the room is too luxurious already, and besides knows that’s not really it; Faile finally says that the Lord Dragon seems to have lost interest in Perrin. Perrin says his name is Rand, and Faile replies that he is Perrin’s friend, not hers, and she’s thinking of leaving. Moiraine cannot be worried about secrecy now. Perrin agrees, and says Moiraine would probably give her money to be gone, actually. She glares, and asks if that’s all he has to say about it. He tells her that of course he wants her to stay, but it might be safer if she left. Faile kneels before him and says that she does not like wondering when the Lord Dragon is going to go mad and kill everyone around him, just like Lews Therin Kinslayer did. Perrin wants to tell her Rand would never do that, but isn’t sure himself. Faile tells him she has been talking to Bain and Chiad, and they say Moiraine sometimes asks where Perrin is, or Mat, which means she cannot watch Perrin with the Power; Perrin should come with her. He tells her he can’t, and she jumps up and angrily says he can break his ties with Moiraine if he really wanted to. He tries to explain, and she cuts him off again until he shouts at her to listen, at which she falls silent. He tells her that he thinks he and Mat are part of Rand’s destiny, as three ta’veren all together in the same place, something never heard of before, and he thinks that they pull on each other, or maybe Rand pulls on him and Mat. Mat keeps talking about leaving, but somehow he never does it. Why does Faile think Moiraine watches them in the first place?

She was silent for a moment, and when she spoke it was in sympathetic tones. “Poor Perrin. I left Saldaea to find adventure, and now that I’m in the heart of one, the greatest since the Breaking, all I want is to go somewhere else. You just want to be a blacksmith, and you’re going to end up in the stories whether you want it or not.”

Perrin thinks to himself that she doesn’t know everything about him, and looks over to where the hammer and the axe lean against the wall. He picks up the hammer, and tells Faile that Master Luhhan said that you cannot walk away from what must be done. She is silent, and he asks her whether she’s leaving. She replies she does not know, and this is a fine mess he’s gotten her into. He doesn’t understand what she means by that, but refuses to ask for an explanation. Outside, a cock crows, and Faile shivers and says her nurse used to say it meant a death was coming. Perrin shivers, too, and then whips his head around at a thumping noise. The axe has fallen over. He frowns, wondering what could have made it fall, and then it shifts again, and leaps straight for him.

He swung the hammer without thought. Metal ringing on metal drowned Faile’s scream; the axe flew across the room, bounced off the far wall, and darted back at him, blade first. He thought every hair on his body was trying to stand on end.

Faile grabs the haft as the axe flies by her, and it immediately turns on her; Perrin drops the hammer and grabs it too, keeping it from her face. They wrestle with the axe as it tries to reach first Faile, then Perrin, and Perrin realizes he has to get Faile out of the room. He tells her to get out, but she refuses; holding the axe with one hand, he wrestles her out of the room and slams the door, ignoring her pounding from the opposite side.

“Just you and me, now,” he snarled at the axe. “Blood and ashes, how I hate you!” Inside, a part of him came close to hysterical laughter. Rand is the one who’s supposed to go mad, and here I am, talking to an axe! Rand! Burn him!

He wrestles with the axe a moment more, then pulls it toward himself, and ducks out of the way at the last second so that the blade slams into the door, lodging fast. He feels the life go out of the thing, and cautiously lets go. Leaving the axe in the door, he opens it to find Faile frozen on the other side; the axe blade coming through the door had come within an inch of her face. She rains kisses on him, then starts checking him for injuries; he assures her that he’s fine, and she slaps him across the face. She yells that he could have been killed, and Perrin catches her wrist before she can slap him again. She tells him she could have helped him.

“You could not have helped. If you had stayed, we’d both be dead. I couldn’t have fought—not the way I had to—and kept you safe, too.” She opened her mouth, but he raised his voice and went on. “I know you hate the word. I’ll try my best not to treat you like porcelain, but if you ask me to watch you die, I will tie you like a lamb for market and send you off to Mistress Luhhan. She won’t stand for any such nonsense.”

She laughs suddenly and says he would, too, wouldn’t he? Perrin is startled, and cannot figure out why that made her laugh, when before practically the same sentiment made her furious. Faile goes on that this must be the Lord Dragon’s doing; Perrin doesn’t think it was on purpose, but means to go tell Rand to stop it, and they head off, leaving the axe stuck in the door.

Smoking a pipe, Mat tries to ignore the sweltering heat and concentrate on his cards. He would have preferred dicing, but none of the Tairen lords at the table would ever consider playing such a peasant’s game. His luck was not as good with cards, but it did well enough, and he thinks that soon he will have enough to leave. The Tairens gossip about girls, until one of them, Estean, brings up Aiel Maidens, at which the other lords lose enthusiasm for the game. Mat gets dealt the Ruler of Cups, to add to the three other Rulers in his hand, and knows if he gets dealt the fifth ruler, no hand in chop could beat him. So to salvage the game, Mat tells the Tairens how he was tricked into asking the Maidens to play Maiden’s Kiss.

He should have suspected something from the wide smiles that had bloomed on their faces. Like cats who had been asked to dance by a mouse. “Before I knew what was happening, I had a fistful of spears around my neck like a collar. I could have shaved myself with one sneeze.”

The others around the table exploded in laughter, from Reimon’s wheezing to Estean’s wine-soaked bray.

Mat left them to it. He could almost feel the spearpoints again, pricking if he so much as twitched a finger. Bain, laughing all the while, had told him she had never heard of a man actually asking to play Maidens’ Kiss.

Mat continues that then each of the Maidens take a kiss; if they like it, they ease up on the spears, and if they don’t, they press a little harder. Mat adds that he didn’t get nicked any more than he does shaving. The story has relaxed the Tairens, and they continue the game. Estean drunkenly asks Mat to talk to the Lord Dragon about his intention to change the laws to allow a lord to be called up before a magistrate by a commoner, and then starts rambling about why fishermans’ daughters are no good because they smell like fish, and choosing a “nice plump farm girl” instead. Mat tries to remind himself that he is there to play cards, and not to beat up Estean. Edorion changes the subject hastily, to the rumor that the Lord Dragon intends to take them to war against Illian, a notion that pleases the Tairens no end. Mat says he doesn’t think Rand would do that, and Edorion casually mentions that while they of course are all loyal to the Lord Dragon, there are other Tairen lords outside the Stone that he hears are gathering an army to take back Tear. Mat catches the implication, and feels for a moment like he is abandoning Rand in a pit of vipers; then he reminds himself of what Rand is, and thinks it’s more like abandoning a weasel in a henyard. Carlomin asks if Mat is going to buy a fifth card, and Mat tosses in a coin to the pile.

As the silver crown bounced end over end, he suddenly felt luck grow from trickles to a flood. Every ping of silver against wooden tabletop rang clear in his head; he could have called face or sigil and known how the coin would land on any bounce. Just as he knew what his next card would be before Carlomin laid it in front of him.

Sliding his cards together on the table, he fanned them in one hand. The Ruler of Flames stared at him alongside the other four, the Amyrlin Seat balancing a flame on her palm, though she looked nothing like Siuan Sanche. However the Tairens felt about Aes Sedai, they acknowledged the power of Tar Valon, even if Flames was the lowest suit.

What were the odds of being dealt all five? His luck was best with random things, like dice, but perhaps a little more was beginning to rub off on cards. “The Light burn my bones to ash if it is not so,” he muttered. Or that was what he meant to say.

Estean shouts there, that was the Old Tongue, Mat can’t deny it this time. He and the others start arguing over what exactly it was Mat had just said, while Mat shivers and mentally curses Moiraine for leading him into this whole mess in the first place. He asks harshly if the others are going to play, or what. Outside, a cock crows. Mat looks down at his cards, and blinks as he sees that the flame in the painted Amyrlin’s hand has been replaced by a tiny knife; as he stares, she suddenly plunges the blade into his hand. Mat yells and hurls the cards away from him, his chair falling over backward and upending the table. Time seems slowed down.

The Ruler of Flames hung in the air, growing larger, staring at him with a cruel smile. Now close to life-size, she started to step out of the card; she was still a painted shape, with no depth, but she reached for him with her blade, red with his blood as if it had already been driven into his heart. Beside her the Ruler of Cups began to grow, the Tairen High Lord drawing his sword.

Mat flings two daggers at the figures, but they seem to float in jelly, even as he pulls two more knives and the Ruler of Rods starts to grow as well. He throws a third knife at the Queen of Andor, and suddenly everything snaps back into normal motion, and he sees the three cards, ordinary size again, pinned to the wall by his daggers. The Tairen lords and servants in the room are huddled in the wreckage, staring at him, but the Tairens soon try to pretend they saw nothing out of the ordinary. Mat walks over to the cards pinned to the wall. They are inert again, but Mat sees that the Amyrlin figure still has a knife in her hand instead of a flame. He jerks his knives out of the wall and tears the cards in half, then hunts through the debris until he finds the Rulers of Coins and Winds, and tears them up too. Mat sees that clearly there will be no more gambling tonight, and snarls that if Rand has to go mad, he could at least leave him out of it, and stalks out.

Asleep, Rand dreams that Moiraine is prodding him with a stick toward where the Amyrlin waits with a rope halter for him, while Darkfriends and Forsaken lurk in the shadows. He dodges the stick and flees, and Moiraine calls after him that it is too late for that. Then he is in the Waterwood, and Min and Elayne are there. They invite him to go swimming with them; Min kisses him, and then to his shock they both start disrobing. He spins around, mortified, and is face to face with Egwene, who looks at him sadly and then turns and disappears into the wood. He calls to her that he can explain, and starts to chase her, but hesitates as Min and Elayne, now in the water, call for him to join them, asking if he does not deserve what he wants for a change. Rand reaches up to wipe sweat from his face, and sees his hand is full of rotted holes showing bone. He wakes up with a jerk, and lies there berating himself for dreaming about Min and Elayne that way, when he can’t afford to be near anyone like that. Then he realizes he is not alone in the room, and seizes saidin as he rolls out of bed. A sword of fire appears in his hands, and at the same time he channels every candle and lamp in the room alight. He is amazed to see, instead of assassins, Berelain standing there, startled, wearing a thin silk robe. After a moment she collects herself and curtsies deeply, assuring Rand she is unarmed, and invites him to search her if he doubts. Even within the Void Rand has trouble suppressing his reaction to this. He lets the sword vanish but holds on to the Power, and thinks that he does not know much of the First of Mayene other than that she had not left when he took the Stone, which surely any sane person would have. He asks what she is doing there, and how she got past the Aiel on guard outside. She replies that they had let her through when she told them Rand had summoned her. Rand says he did no such thing; why would he summon her at this time of night? She laughs, and he blushes; she answers perhaps she wishes to talk, and lets her robe fall to reveal the even thinner nightgown beneath it. Rand can’t stop staring at her, but tells her that it would be better if they spoke tomorrow; Berelain asks if he has already absorbed stuffy Tairen ways, or is it his Two Rivers upbringing that makes him so formal? He sort-of lies that he is promised to Egwene al’Vere, and she doesn’t see why this should be an obstacle. He sighs, then, seeing this for what it is, a play for the Dragon Reborn, and tells her she should leave. She attempts to press the issue, trying to embrace him, and he channels without quite knowing what he was doing, pushing her back with a wall of Air until she is hemmed into a corner of the room. He ties off the flow, and then examines what he just did, thinking it seems useful. Wide-eyed, Berelain feels at her invisible prison, and Rand tells her they will not speak again except in public, and in fact it would be best if she returned to Mayene as soon as possible. Berelain changes tactics, and abandons seduction in favor of openness; she apologizes to him, and says the customs are different in Mayene, and after all she could not help but admire a man as handsome and strong as Rand. She asks that he please not send her away from him, and that she will beg if he wishes.

She knelt smoothly, like a dance. Her expression still said she was being open, confessing everything, but on the other hand, in kneeling she had managed to tug her already precarious gown down until it looked in real danger of falling off. “Please, Rand?”

Even sheltered in emptiness as he was, he gaped at her, and it had nothing to do with her beauty or her near undress. Well, only partly. If the Defenders of the Stone had been half as determined as this woman, half as steadfast in purpose, ten thousand Aiel could never have taken the Stone.

Rand tells her he is flattered, but he cannot give her what she deserves. Before she can answer, a cock crows, and she stares past him, eyes bulging with fear. He spins, sword flashing back into his hands.

Across the room, one of the stand-mirrors threw his reflection back at him, a tall young man with reddish hair and gray eyes, wearing only white linen smallclothes and holding a sword carved from fire. The reflection stepped out onto the carpet, raising its sword.

I have gone mad. Thought drifted on the borders of the Void. No! She saw it. It’s real!

He slashes through another freed reflection, but as soon as it is gone, his reflection appears again in the mirror, and starts to climb free. He stabs at the mirror, shattering it, and it seems to him that the image of him screamed before disappearing. He channels, and every mirror in the room explodes into shards, but not before three duplicates had gotten out, also holding Power-wrought swords. They stare at him with faces twisted in hatred and anger, but their eyes are empty. They charge him.

Had the three fought together, had they supported one another, he would have died in the first minute, but each fought him alone, as if the others did not exist. Even so, he could not stop their blades entirely; in minutes blood ran down the side of his face, his chest, his arms. The old wound tore open, adding its flow to stain his smallclothes with red. They had his skill as well as his face, and they were three to his one.

The duplicates are all bleeding too, but it does not seem to be slowing them the way it is him. He rolls across the bed, buying himself a moment as they come around it, and a tiny replica of himself, this time from the polished silver on the nightstand, stabs him in the hand. He grabs the tiny reflection, and feels his hand start to grow numb. He does something with saidin and heat rushes back:

Suddenly the small figure burst like a bubble, and he felt something flow into him—from the bursting—some little portion of his lost strength. He jerked as tiny jolts of vitality seemed to pelt him.

When he raised his head—wondering why he was not dead—the small reflections he had half-glimpsed were gone. The three larger stood wavering, as if his gain in strength had been their loss. Yet as he looked up, they steadied on their feet and came on, if more cautiously.

He backs away, thinking furiously, then takes a risk and lets his sword disappear. His gamble is proven right when the three duplicates’ swords vanish too, but then they immediately all jump him.

Cold soaked into Rand. Numbness crept along his limbs, through his bones, until he barely felt the shards of mirror, the slivers of porcelain grinding into his flesh. Something close to panic flickered across the emptiness surrounding him. He might have made a fatal mistake. They were larger than the one he had absorbed, and they were drawing more heat from him. And not only heat. As he grew colder, the glassy gray eyes staring into his took on life. With chill certainty he knew that if he died, that would not end the struggle. The three would turn on one another until only one remained, and that one would have his life, his memories, would be him.

He tries desperately to remember what he did before with saidin, and strains to do it again. One of the three replicas vanishes and is reabsorbed, and then the other two as well. After a moment, he heaves himself to his feet and limps to where Callandor rests on a stand, and takes it up. Then he remembers Berelain, and turns to find her still kneeling, but she has pulled her robe back on, and her face is white as snow. Shaking, she asks which one he is, and Rand tells her gently he is the only one there is. Trying to joke with her, he adds, the one you were treating as your betrothed a moment ago, and she prostrates herself, apologizing profusely, and promises never to bother him again. He removes the wall of air blocking her in, and tells her there is nothing to forgive, and she is free to leave as she wishes. She heads for the door, but stops and asks if she should send the Aiel or the Aes Sedai to him. He thanks her, but says no. She curtsies and hurries out.

Limping to the foot of the bed, he lowered himself into the chest there and laid Callandor across his knees, bloody hands resting on the glowing blade. With that in his hands, even one of the Forsaken would fear him. In a moment he would send for Moiraine to Heal his wounds. In a moment he would speak to the Aiel outside, and become the Dragon Reborn again. But for now, he only wanted to sit, and remember a shepherd named Rand al’Thor.

Damn, this was a long chapter. But an excellent one; of all the action sequences in the series, in my opinion this one stands out head and shoulders as being one of the best written, most original and most thematically appropriate in the books.

It helps, of course, that Mat’s and Rand’s version of the bubble of evil plays with two of my favorite symbolically fraught concepts: mirrors and playing cards. I’ve always adored tarot/playing cards/poker/etc. as a symbolic motif (Last Call by Tim Powers comes strongly to mind), and mirrors are just freaky. Perrin’s adventure is more straightforward, but no less thematically apt for him particularly.

In all cases the boys are attacked by their own strengths, more or less; certainly this is true for Mat and Perrin. Rand’s episode was a little less straight across, and seemed to have been more about reflecting (hah) his uncertainties about who exactly he is. Unlike in the last book, however, this time it’s not so much an uncertainty about whether he’s the Dragon Reborn or not, but what being the Dragon Reborn actually means, and how he’s supposed to play the role. This is not a conflict that gets resolved for Rand anytime soon.

On other matters: the essential conflict for Faile and Perrin’s relationship gets set up here, which is that they are both operating from practically diametrically opposite cultural notions of how relationships actually work. It’s a dynamic that will range the full spectrum, from teeth-gnashingly infuriating to poignant and awesome, just in this one novel.

Berelain: like Rand, I am kind of appalled at her unabashed sex-for-power play, while at the same time am impressed at her sheer, well, ballsiness in doing so. Interesting that there really isn’t a feminine equivalent of that slang in English, because there totally should be. I don’t know that I should even be appalled, really; as Berelain herself observes (I think), she is an isolated ruler of a weak nation, and she’s using what weapons she’s got to secure it. And sex can definitely be a weapon – especially in WOT.

And that’ll do it for now. Come back on Wednesday (or whenever, I’ll let you know) for Chapters 3-8. Assuming I don’t drown in a lake of my own snot first, of course. And with that charming mental image, I’m off to bed. G’night!

1. fozzy
Hope you get to feeling better Leigh! TSR the only book so far without a Prologue, but the longest book of the series that is published.
2. Browncoat Jayson
I agree that Ch 1 should have just been titled Prologue. Ah, well.

The "bubbles of evil" in Ch 2 are one of my favorite themes as well. Perrin's fight with the axe is great, but I can't for the life of me think why he would ever use it again. Especially with a hammer that is just as effective in a battle. But that scene also gives the best insight into the Parrin/Faile relationship so far, confusing as it may be. I love their banter in this book.

Mat's was over far quicker than I expected, or remembered. For some reason I had a picture in my mind of him actually fighting the life-sized cards, not just throwing the daggers and everything reverting in an instant. Strange.

Great reviews, Leigh. Hope you feel better!
3. MoreBooksForMe
Get well soon Leigh!

I agree with you on the bubble of evil scenes being very well written and original. I thought the reactions to all the characters to their repective bubble is awsome. Perrin talking to the axe is especially chilling. And who can blame Rand for wanting a moment or two to be himself after the sh*t he just went thru.

Boo, Whitecloacks and Fain!
Abdel Masdoua
4. TheDarkOne
Finally in TSR, one of my favorites!

A few thoughts about those two chapters:

I remember that on my first read, that moment with Min's visions in the Tower was so chilling.
Even now with the knowledge of what's gonna happen, I still had goosebumps.
I blame it on RJ's skills with a pen that, preaching to the choir here, enabled him to write the most fantastic epic of all times.

Fain + Whitecloaks:
Not you guys, not again...
Well, can't be helped!

Bubble of Evil:
Downside of being taveren I guess.
But everytime you have one of those, you can be sure that you will get an awesome chapter.

"But for now, he only wanted to sit, and remember a shepherd named Rand al’Thor."
One of my favorite quote ; so few words for such a poignant feeling of sadness...

Can't wait to get to Rhuidean...

Leigh, I hope you get well soon!
5. Dr. Morganstien
Great job Leigh! I have a nasty bit of sickness myself right now, please take the time off if you need it.

I think you really nailed the Perrin and Faile problems right there.

Chapter two here is one of the coolest in WOT, Rand vs. multiple Rands is even cooler than Ash having the same problem, although his quips are better than Rand's.

I think Berelain is perfectly ok in going for this. Its not as if she doesn't want Rand and is doing it only for power. Plus, I believe she states later that she uses the possibility of sex as a weapon, more than actually slutting it up all the time.

This first time I read Min's Journey of Death I was really quite scared.

I really have to say right here that I can totally understand Elaida's line of thinking here. The flaw is that she never considers Rand being the DR even though at this point she should be trying to see the why in Siuan and Moiraine's motives here before doing anything...rash. Its still funny to me that she never considered Tigraine in her Fortelling.
Richard Fife
6. R.Fife
Is the Q talking to you, Leigh? It talks to me.

While I don't overly agree with the full up hatred of whitecloaks/fain, I do agree that this particular sequence annoys me. Whitecloaks have too many prologue/epilogue-type things going on. I guess the fact that whitecloaks in general are flat characters doesn't help. Fain I like just because he is so neurotic, even if he is a hair flat.

I also agree that I enjoy the bubble of evil scenes, although I like Mat's in exclusion of the others. Perrin's, while poignent in foreshadowing, is fairly, well, plain. Rand's is, as you pointed out, a little more vague. I also like it being an Aes Sedai that is attacking Mat, really plays into his anti-Aes Sedai stance.

Oh, and on Min's vision, it wasn't that powerful to me, but my friend who had got me into the books had already spilled the beans to me that a huge fight split the white tower, so yeah. Guess it is kind of that matters*antimatters that is a few blogs down.

Anyway, get better Leigh!
7. Randalator
Get well soon, Leigh.

Ballsiness: Interesting thought. Promptly made the word boobsieness spring into my mind which is a) disturbingly fitting concerning Berelain, b) still so wrong in so many ways and c) means that yeah I'm a dirty, dirty man. I am ashamed. And sorry. And ashamed. Did I mention sorry? I did? Boobs...I mean good.
8. Nuggette
Get well soon Leigh.

I thought Min's visons in the first chapter were super creepy, followed by the boys extra spooky encounters. I really enjoyed these chapters the first time through, and every other time I re-read them.

p.s. And we get Min's full name. Hahahaha
Abdel Masdoua
9. TheDarkOne


You really cracked me up 'cause I was also trying to figure something out!
Joe Sherry
10. jsherry
Re: Suian / Moiraine and control - Besides the whole Type A personality thing, I think part of this is their fear that the Prophecy doesn't have to come true. The real fear that Rand could get himself killed and not make it to the Last Battle.

And then they all die and the world is lost.

Now, whether they are right and that prophecy is only a guide or they are wrong and Rand's HAS to be at the Last Battle no matter what they do - that's another question.

But - there is an example in The Fires of Heaven where Suian tells Gareth Byrne about a border lord she thought could unite Murandy - and that the border lord was killed by a stray arrow during some raid (cattle?). Knowing that, from Suian's perspective - she's right to fear for Rand.
11. MoreBooksForMe

Love the Army of Darkness reference.
Ash, aka Bruce Campbell, is the King of cheezy one-liners. Followed closely by Zap Brannigan of Futurama fame.
Richard Fife
12. R.Fife
I recall Moiraine at one point saying that Prophecy is just a "perhaps this could happen". It's a users guide for being the Dragon Reborn, but just cause you give a person a guide doesn't meant they won't break the stereo. Heck, look at the end of TFoH, when Rahvin kills Mat and Aviendha. Do you really think the pattern /wanted/ Rand to use balefire that could erase a half-hour+ of time?

Also, if whosisface is right about RJ saying it, Perrin wasn't supposed to go that Apeshit over Faile's capture, at least as far as the pattern was concerned, and it will cost Rand and the Light some. I think the only "prophecies" that /have/ to come true are Min's, all the others are just "likely" or conditional.

--caveat: yes I recall even Min has one vision that is an either/or.
13. Lsana
Get well soon, Leigh!

Unlike most others, I think I like that this book starts with Chapter 1. I agree it is the same as the prologues in the other books, but I would solve the problem the other way. Eye of the World has a prologue. The Great Hunt has a prologue. Every other book has an extended first chapter, and it should be called that.

@10 jsherry,

I'm not certain that the pattern will protect Rand. I think Suian and Moiraine may be right that he needs help, just not the "help" that they are providing. Think how close he comes to failing to learn to channel. And Min's visions about him needing Perrin to be close. I think that just left to his own devices, the Dark might manage to get him.
Joe Sherry
14. jsherry
@13 / @ 12: I agree, by the way. I think Rand / Mat / whomever could die at anytime or that something could fail and change the outcome (macro or micro level change).

I just think Moiraine is doing the best she can and it isn't good enough. Mostly.
Chris Maurer
15. grayfox
I'm finally caught up on the re-read...I've slowed my own re-read down a bit the last week or so to go in parallel (I'm at about Ch. 18 into this book), so I apologize for bringing back something from a previous book.

When Suian nonchalantly mentions that she she has a talent for seeing ta'veren it always bugged me. Its been pretty clear that ta'veren are extremely rare and none as strong as the 3 boys since Hawkwing. So I will grant that there were probably a handful tugging at the pattern during Suian's 20 years as AS, but how many? 4-5? I can see her coming into contact with maybe 1 or 2 max, but is that enough to recognize it as a "Talent"? I could buy her saying that he blazed like the sun (or whatever the quote was) and maybe she has the talent to see ta'veren...but she says it like its something she sees all the time. Furthermore, wouldn't Mo know she has this talent?

As to this book...bubbles of evil - creepy.
I really enjoy all the stuff that happens in Tear, from the end of the last book the whole until everyone leaves. Good stuff.

Feel better Leigh!! And since this is my first post on this thing, just wanted to say that you are a rockstar (but hopefully without the drug addiction!)
16. Aaron Bergman
Ever since they started putting that phenylephrine crap in the combo medicines, they're completely useless. Pseudoephedrine is the good stuff. Accept no substitutes.

I've got mixed feelings about hitting TSR in the reread. It's the best book in the series and has many of my favorite moments in it, but it's all downhill from here, and that hill can get kinda steep, especially after LOC.
Chris Maurer
17. grayfox
Another thing from tGH/tDR that I never got. How does Ishy survive the sword in the heart at Falme? Is that ever explained?
Richard Fife
18. R.Fife
grayfox: it is mentioned a few times that the other forsaken think Ishy is less than half-human anymore. Also, if the wound happened in a TAR-like setting (like the other two), well, that could be why. Kinda like how Luc/Isam didn't die from Perrin's arrow to the heart.
19. Lannis

Berelain: I've never liked what she's up to, with Rand, or Perrin... at least Rhuarc puts her in her place. Ahem, wearing a silk robe and Rand can "search her?" Tart!

Rand... what always got me was the fact that he's *so* worried about going mad (can you blame him?) but it seems like when he finally stops worrying about it, that's when the crazy really starts to leak out... and it makes a mess all over the place!

Re: Bubbles of Evil... on my first read, when Moiraine explains the concept, I thought "cop out!" What a nice little "I can throw any kind of chaos into the mix without any motivator to back it up" plot device. A way to throw in (great!) action scenes without worry of fitting it into the backstory and quickly tangling plot threads. I get it, I really do (Dark One = Chaos, blah blah, meow), but a little part of me still feels that way... like it's for tension, nothing else... but in a good way! It works for me! And on subsequent reads it doesn't feel as clumsy--perhaps because we see some random activity again later, or perhaps because I'm just expecting and accepting it... thoughts?

Randalator @ 7... had the same thought: boobsieness (or boobieness?)... so it's not just a man thing... and yeah, really doesn't carry the same bravado, or... well, positive connotation...
20. birgit
Oh, and to wonder why the passage is so carefully oblique about Suroth’s Darkfriendness, when we found out for sure she was one back in TGH. Odd.

The scene shows how much Suroth is thinking in terms of her culture and is not just any darkfriend from Randland. It is not about her activities as a darkfriend but about her new status in Seanchan society.

Estean shouts there, that was the Old Tongue, Mat can’t deny it this time. He and the others start arguing over what exactly it was Mat had just said

Why don't they just ask him what he said?

I think Fain didn't kill the Tinkers, he set them loose to make sure Rand heard about the invasion of the 2R because Dain tried to make sure no word leaked out.

Siuan doesn't have much contact with Rand, so unlike Moiraine she doesn't realize how difficult it is to make stubborn 2R people do what you want.
Richard Fife
21. R.Fife
Honestly, I would have searched her. But that's just me. I've been the door-guard at medieval parties, and I loved getting to pat down the gals taht came, and they seemed to enjoy it too....


Yeah, I have always said that if you can ask "am I crazy" then you aren't.

Am I the only one that thought of ovarisiness instead of boobsieness?

Oh, and the nobles are trying to prove that they know some of the old tongue, that is why they didn't ask him straight up.
22. Federico Natali
Hi Leigh,

I've been following your WoT re-read from the beginning but this is my first post.

I disagree with you about Siuan reaction to Min's viewing: it's true that Siuan doesn't pay too much heed to Min's warning, but would it have been different if she did?

I don't think so.

As Min says numerous time during WoT: "When she knows the meaning of a viewing, then it always happens" This has been proven right with the death of Leya at the beginning of TDR and will be happen again in the following of this book with the viewing of a novice that's going to run off with a guard.

In the end I think that Min's viewing are quite ovverated and of little use because you can know what will happen but you won't be able to change it.

I hope I've managed to avoid big mistakes in the post since I'm writing from Italy and english is not my native language.
23. David-2
A question that has vexed me for some time: The Suroth scene in Chap 1 - that's where she's in a Sea Folk harbor that the Seanchan have taken over, if I recall, right? Well, how come that little detail has never been mentioned by any of the Atha'an Miere in subsequent books, not even the POV scenes of various supreme Sea Folk people? I know Suroth says she's trying to keep it secret from the Atha'an Miere, but it's still secret from them in KoD in the big meeting with the Mistress of Ships? Or did the Sea Folk take it back - and neither they or the Seanchan ever mention it?
24. Kadere
Rand can side step prophecy as proven in TGH when they use the Portal Stones and show all the worlds where he DIDN'T do what he was supposed to. Also when Mat goes to the Finns and they tell him that if he doesn't go to Rhudeian then he will have side-stepped prophecy and destroyed the Pattern.

What Siuan and Moiraine attempt to do with Rand in guiding him, helps him fight them and do what the prophecy intends him to do. But that doesn't mean he must do the prophecy, he could not, and the world would fail. Prophecy is only a guideline, not an absolute.
25. darxbane
This really does sum up the Faile/Perrin relationship, although it is frustrating at times, I think their storyline hits closer to home than any other, in that we are reminded how difficult it is to adapt. The one thing I never understood was where Mat, Perrin and Rand got their attitudes toward women. It seems the women of the Two River's are just as strong willed as Faile (enter Nynaeve).
Kyle Bass
26. SherlockTomes
Mat's bubble scene has always been my favorite as well, and one that I love to visualize. If there's ever a movie, I hope it pans out like I always picture it, with Mat slowly falling backward amid some crazy Matrix bullet-time effects happening all around.
27. danielleaiel
@25 darxbane

RJ has portrayed Two Rivers women as very strongwilled, but with a softer touch (Marin El'Vere) even if some of them were stern (Mistress Luthan). Granted Nyneave is a frustrated bully at times, but she hasn't displayed symtoms of an abusive spouse the way Faile has. Yes, I know it's supposed to be cultural but she is constantly out of control. I.E., in the last chapter after the axe bubble, she kisses him than slaps him. She's a head case. (This after she refuses to let go of the axe and leave the room, forcing Perrin to wrestle! with her as he tries not to let the axe bury itself in his head.)
28. GregoryD
Leigh, hope you get well soon.

I had the cold from hell for a couple of months. I live in Connecticut. I went to Florida last week and it cleared up in one day. the vitamin D is awesome there. So you may try Florida for the sun.

As far as the prophesies not doing the people any good since it happens anyway.

Speaking only about the Bible, I can say that prophesy is not intended to tell you the future so you can change it or prepare for it. It is given to show the reader that everything is going to turn out as planned. So when you see things fulfilled you can know that someone is still in charge. Good will win out. Nothing gets past the Almighty.

Min's viewings do help people sometimes, but the overriding theme is that things are going according to plan. So chill.
29. HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
I hope you feel better, Leigh, and take heart! For the Fain/Whitecloaks combo just means that you can kill two birds with one stone when it comes to POV's you hate.

I really hope the generally accepted idea that Berelain will hook up with Galad is wrong. Though I like the idea of her getting a taste of her own hotness-as-weapon, I think he's a douche and she's one of my favorite minor characters. But I guess it's the WOT equivalent of Brangelina. Hotness with like hotness. Berelad?


I think it's Ovariness, BTW.
30. Orideth
To comment on Berelain, she's always been one of my favorite "non-main" characters. As stated, she's the First of a small city-state that has just barely kept itself out of Tear's control for centuries, solely through the guile and manipulation of its leader. She has to be willing to use anything she has at her disposal. Since she's pretty much the most incredibly hot woman in the series next to Lanfear the way everyone goes on about her, you'd better believe she's going to use it.

It's always really bothered me the way practically all the other female characters in the series brush Berelain off as a brainless tart at best, a shameless slut at worst. Even though I sort of understand why they do it, it still seems pretty unfair. The Wise Ones are pretty much the only ones who don't, though I think Faile does comment at one point that if not for their conflict over Perrin, she thinks she and Berelain may have been good friends. As a final point of defense, she herself has pretty well clarified that it's all a smokescreen; she tells Perrin in WH that he would be only the second man to ever share her bed.
31. hoping to be of the blood
Feel better
Instead of balliness how about amygdalaness. It fits both men and women. Berelain has both amygdalaness and brains, a hot combo.
32. Randalator

I don't know about you but for me at least boobs have a very positive connotation *hums softly and fingers his earlobe*. Boob(s)ieness still sounds like a recipe for getting slapped silly by about every woman within earshot, though.

But at least it doesn't make me think of PMS like "ovariness"...


Which heterosexual uncommited male with fully developed visual and tactile senses wouldn't have searched Berelain?

Federico Natali@22

Min's viewings aren't that overrated. They are not exactely helpful for the directly concerned when they're in the X-will-happen-department because, well, X will happen. But they will still allow them and others to make preparations for the aftermath. Like you never will be able to stop a hurricane but having a warning what's about to come is still highly apreciated so you can nail the shutters closed, fetch Grandma and leave the general area. And she also has viewings like "You will die unless you stay close to Lord Gareth bloody Bryne" or "If Perrin isn't around when it counts, horribleness will ensue".

Also it might save you two or three months salary for an engagement ring if you know that the lady of your choice will marry someone else and stay married for the rest of her life...


Yep, Mat's bubble of evil screams for bullet-time...
33. Lannis
I concur... Ovariness has more of a (ahem) gutsy sound to it than the boobishness of boobsieness... hehehe...

Um, back to the serious conversation... prophecy... I think it's one of those things that just is... 98% prophecy, 2% your effort... If it's ordained, it'll happen, and your own actions (for or against) will only result in its occurrence. Hence, Min's distress over knowing. The Cassandra figure, indeed.

R.Fife @ 21: Like when riding public transit, if you can't spot the crazy person, chances are, it's you... XD
34. Lannis
K... overruled... I change my mind... Randalator @ 31 played the PMS card... please disregard... no ovariness!
35. JeffR23
I'm in the camp that finds Faile annoying, but Berelain orders of magnitude worse. And, continuing on our Berelain matchmaking project, my own guess was for the longest time that it would be Rhuarc she ends up with. Still could be, although there's not that much time left for him to get taken gai'shan first, which would seem to be required.
36. Sidetrack'd
Which comedian was it with the routine about Nyquil - "instant coma" and "12 hours later I woke up on the kitchen floor wondering what hit me"? Always loved that routine...

Nyquil and vitamin C are my staples when flu comes a knockin'. Hope you get better quick, cause flu verily does suck.

Aaron@16 - I'm with ya, there. I went through I think two rounds of crud feeling way more miserable than usual, before I realized that they'd pulled the pseudoeph out of Nyquil. Now I have to get the card-you-at-the-counter Tylenol Sinus variety with the good stuff. Thank your nearest meth addict for the inconvenience (preferably with a baseball bat).

On Rand+prophecy - in the Portal Stone visions, we see a slough of 'what-ifs' in which Rand didn't do what was necessary to fulfill any prophecy. This makes me think that there's no guarantee that he will be forced onto the path to Tarmon Gaidon.

Actually, IIRC, most of those what-ifs centered on Rand not leaving the Two Rivers, or not leaving when he did, and they all seemed to imply that TG was on its way, and there was no Dragon at hand. So, I have to give Moiraine credit for this: she may be bungling things with Rand left, right, and sideways, but she brought him out of the Two Rivers at the right time, and set him on the path to having a chance at fulfilling the prophecy.

Orideth@30 - definitely not defending it, but I can see why all of the female characters label Berelain as a slut - I think that's some sort of genetic programming. Think about early high school - the girls who "teased" boys the most were always labeled sluts by the girls who were jealous but afraid to do it themselves, and by the boys who either hoped it was true or tried their luck and found out it wasn't - Berelain certainly flaunts herself in a manner that would invoke this reaction. Also - the girls who flirted the most were sooner or later assumed to have followed through with their taunts, whether they admitted to anything or not, and just like the first girl in the grade to admit doing "things" with a boy, they are immediately labeled a slut by all of the other girls.

JeffR@35 - doesn't Rhuarc already have two wives? Amys and ... the one who is a roofmistress? No, wait, he has one now, and sometime in the next book or two he gets the second one. Is he gonna contest Rand for the title of champeeeeen husband?
37. NanaD

I hope you feel better soon.

I think the word you are looking for is chutzpah:
nearly arrogant courage, utter audacity, effrontery or impudence, supreme self-confidence.

Seems to fit Berelain.
38. Lsana
@36. Sidetrack'd,

Rhuarc already has two wives: Amys and Lian (I think her name is).
39. Federico Natali

Yes I agree with you regarding the "uncertain" viewings (i.e. If Perrin won't be near when needed it will be bad) but as far as I remember that kind of viewings are quite rare. Most often Min sees auras and images that she is not able to understand or are very definite (i.e. someone will die).

Anyway the viewing regarding Elaida's golpe are quite definite and I don't think we can put the blame on Siuan for not listening to Min. I think the rebellion, the deaths and Siaun and Leane stilling were unavoidable.
40. PieterT
Get well soon Leigh! Still loving your re-reads!

It surprised me while reading about the bubble of evil, that I could remember Perrins struggle with the axe like I read it yesterday. However Mat's and Rand's part somehow slipped my memory. I am guessing the reason is that the whole 'Perrin hates his axe' comes back into the storyline every now and then. The events of Rand and Mat in the bubble are certainly just as interesting, if not more so.

Trying to get the mental image of a lake out of my head now, it sticks ;-)
Elroy Skimms
41. elroyskimms
Of Whitecloaks and Padan Fain:
I actually really like this combination here. First, it is not ALL Whitecloaks that are teamed up with Fain. A man named Bor's sends out a Perrin hater and the worst bunch of slackers ever to wear the Sunburst. Someone (possibly Leigh) had mentioned in a much earlier post that RJ must have hated fundamentalists based on his writings of Whitecloaks. But I think combining the loser Whitecloaks with Fain paints a more accurate picture. It's not anti-Fundamentalist, it's anti-hypocritical-son-of-a-motherless-goat-bigots. I think RJ sets up the "redemption" of the Whitecloaks as a group here. He really drives the point home when Galad becomes LCC (and I LOVED the disemboweling of the man he thought killed his mother. Never cheered so louldy (in my head) for Galad until that moment).

Anyway, RJ begins to separate the bigots and hypocrits from the rest of the Whitecloaks here. Later, as we approach TG with Galad in control of some more respectable Whitecloaks (though not all of them), we see that it is POSSIBLE for Whitecloaks to stick to their purpose of defeating the Shadow (and not hunting everyone who can channel). I think Galad's Whitecloaks can still play a key role in TG. Though Galad's aura from Min makes me think of, "Sheathing the sword" so they may not be his Whitecloaks by the end of the battle.

So, I see Fain as a winnowing fork for the Whitecloaks. It's not that Funamentalists are all bad, it just when you have a complete psycho in charge of the Fundamentalists that it becomes a problem. Your first read of this section might drive the point home that Whitecloaks are evil and RJ hates fundamentalists... but for those of us who know what happens to Eamon Valda's innards, I think even the Whitecloaks themselves may have a chance to be redeemed and return to the Light.

Of Bubbles, evil, and the Cheshire Cat:
The bubbles of evil scene really is my least favorite of the entire series. I've read a few comments about people think it was original, but I've seen it done before, several times. It was cute when Alice went through the looking glass and the playing cards attacked her. It was even cute when Mickey Mouse went through the mirror and fought playing cards. All I saw when reading this chapter was Mickey Mouse sword fighting the King after getting his groove on with Berelain the Queen (

I agree with Lannis @ 19. I see RJ's point behind chaos and the Dark One. But all of the "Bubbles" that have come up throughout the series seemed pointless. Unless they play some HUGE role in TG that could not be written any other way, I really think the entire Bubble of Evil concept doesn't fit. The Wheel of Time and the Pattern use weaving metaphors and RJ does a fantastic job in that. I'd have to look it up in "Weaving for Dummies", but I don't think Bubbles are part of a loom or the weaving process at all. I just don't see how it fits together.


(Edited to add reference to Lannis @ 19 who was a much faster typer than I)
42. Lsana
@39 Federico Natali,

I'd make one slight modification to what you said. At the time Min has her viewing, there is no way to avert the coup. Elaida has already decided to do it, she has enough evidence to convince a bare majority of the tower to go along with her, and Suian has burned enough bridges that she no longer has enough people who will fight to defend her. However, I don't think the coup was a necessary part of the pattern. I think there were plenty of earlier points where a different path could have been chosen, and things would have worked out better for our heroes.

Incidentally, I don't think Suian fails to listen to Min. She listens to all of Min's viewings and tries to act on them. The only thing she doesn't get is that what Min sees cannot be changed.
43. Randalator

Rhuarc + Berelain never appeared on my matchmaking-radar. To me they always had this father-and-favourite-daughter-relationship going on...
Richard Boye
44. sarcastro

My favorite WOT book!!

I had forgotten how long these initial chapters are; I agree that Min's visions of death/dismemberment among the Tower personnel are very chilling.

However, I am always on the fence whether all that carnage was wrought by Elaida's coup de tour, or the impending Seanchan attack.

Some of her visions, such as Edesina and her collar(a'dam), do not pertain to the coup, and it also seemed to me that Min saw a lot more dead sisters than appear to have been killed by Elaida and Danelle and her 'masons.' If nothing else, if the rebel usurpers cut such a huge lethal swath through the sisterhood, 1) I'd think the opposition to her rule would be larger, 2) the Salidar rebels would be citing that to the high heavens in their grievances against her and 3) Cadsuane and her Cadsworn sisters would also have remarked on it some point.

The whole bubbles of evil conceit always seemed really weird to me, in all their unusual mainfestations - cards, flying axes, mirror-images, lethal bedsheets and crockery...

feel better, Leigh.
45. Wetlander
For the record, (unless you insist on forcing a gender-specific connotation) the appropriate term would be "brazenness".
46. Wetlander
Or chutzpah. Good call, NanaD
Robert Garza
47. FunBob
Get better, Leigh! The sinus whammy really sucks....

Min, as Elmindreda, first uses her real name to get into the Tower and all she has to show for it is a walk through a House of Horrors. She barely gets to the second floor (where the Amyrlin's study is before Elaida takes over) and she sees 4 dead Aes Sedai and an injured Gawain. A lesser women would have abandoned the Tower at the first dead Aes Sedai and would have run to Rand, but she takes her duty to see Siuan first seriously. Which sets her up to help Siuan and Leane escape.

Talk about character reuse - Laras. The Mistress of the Kitchens that defended Nynaeve, Egwene, and Elayne to the Amyrlin (Siuan) now takes the side of Elmindreda in setting Siuan and Leane free from the new Amyrlin (Elaida). RJ loves to use bit characters to advance the plot without affecting the remaining main characters. Its the Laras-es and the Noam-s that keeps the story moving at the smallest level.

and... I vote for chutzpah, although "boobies" are always good! XD
48. NanaD
chutzpah vs. boobies
Be that as it may, but chutzpah won't get you smacked.
Sacha G
49. Fortune_Prick_Me
Hey Leigh,

You may wish to try a weak tea of worrynot root, feverbane and willowbark, Nynaeve swears by it. Get better soon!

Ah Berelain, that brazen hussy! She does have her moments in Cairhien, though.

As for the bubbles of evil, they do seem to fit the concept of holes in the pattern or a tearing of the weave. A rip in the cloth of the Lace of Ages, as it were, so the pure Chaos lying below can come through. The execution of this concept here does seem sort of cartoonish, like with the playing cards. I think the weakening of the fabric of reality hits harder with manifestations like the visions of the walking dead, crops failing or being infested by weevils, and the breakdown of the seasons.
Ofer Nave
50. odigity
"I don't know about you but for me at least boobs have a very positive connotation *hums softly and fingers his earlobe*."

LTT *thumbs* his ear, he doesn't finger it. That would be Loial, and I imagine he would only do that in private.
51. dumbass
I would like to file a formal protest against these blog postings. They are too long. Their length should be at a max 1/3 of their current lenght. I have osteoarthritis in all my major extemities joints, and after scroll-wheeling through these posts, my right thumb hurts. Please, stop the pain, what is the point of these things???
Elroy Skimms
52. elroyskimms
Fortune_Prick_Me @ 49

As for the bubbles of evil, they do seem to fit the concept of holes in the pattern or a tearing of the weave. A rip in the cloth of the Lace of Ages, as it were, so the pure Chaos lying below can come through.

But if the weave of the pattern is made up of individual threads (lives), a tear in the fabric usually refers to people dying (Balefire). So, I still don't think we have a good explanation for the Bubbles. Worse, I don't think they have much use in the series other than to show that the Dark One's reach is extending. I have to believe that are better ways to demonstrate this.

I think the weakening of the fabric of reality hits harder with manifestations like the visions of the walking dead, crops failing or being infested by weevils, and the breakdown of the seasons.

Yes! I think these are all excellent ways to show the extended reach of the Dark One. We don't need the Cheshire Cat or Tulgey Wood to see that times are changing and that life as we know it is reaching a tipping point. I really think RJ would have been better served pursuing these other things which mesh much better with the rest of the story.

This scene really didn't sit right with me (too many cartoon references), but that is rare. At the moment, I can't think of any other scenes from the series that I really hated like this one. So, apart from cartoon sword fights and "Eat Me" magic mushrooms, TSR shapes up to be a really good book. Rhuidean, here we come!!!

53. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
Leigh's right about Siuan's scheme to control Rand. Not just lack of comprehension of how prophecies work, but also of what ta'veren are supposed to be. The pattern spins these out and weaves other threads around them. Meaning, with ta'veren, it's the Pattern that's in control, random as it may seem sometimes. Not some two bit Aes Sedai. Fool Aes Sedai and their foolish schemes for power and control. We also learn why Elaida has tied herself to Morgase. Funny how she thought Morgase's line was the significant one. It is, of course, much as I hate to admit it, but for totally different reasons. She never thought that the House of Mantear had yet to be replaced and was still technically the ruling house even though it had just lost its heir. Oh well, Elaida has never been given much credit for being open minded.

Next we shift to Tear where we see Faile weave her first threads around Perrin. Yep. She's seen how big this story is and decides it's too big for her. So bye now, she'll just collect her spoils, one strapping young blacksmith, to be precise, and bail. Only Perrin has enough sense to know he can't just yet. And shout at her, accidentally for now. Then twilight zone occurs. The axe attacks Perrin and Faile, and as soon as it's under control we see more chaotic behavior from Faile. I'm beginning to think Saldaean wives are into S&M. Mat being attacked by cards is somewhere between hilarious and downright strange.

And where is Rand in all this? Entertaining a guest. Ironically, Berelain might well have been after only a one night stand (or series of one night stands) until Rand mentions betrothal. Well, she wouldn't mind being betrothed to a tall, blond, blue-eyed, handsome, well-built, up-and-coming world leader and man of destiny. Any sane girl would feel the same, and Berelain definitely has all her marbles, despite what Rand first thought. One would think Berelain's clothes were already low cut. Here we find she can actually pull them down lower. And Rand can't help but admire... her determination. But first, there's the One Power to deal with. Nothing intimidates more than tainted Saidin.

You're absolutely right, Leigh, it's their strengths attacking them. In Perrin's case, the axe. For Mat, it was gambling. And Rand. His strength is supposed to be his ability to channel. One granted by being the Dragon Reborn. But instead we see him with ... an identity crisis. What else could fighting one's reflection signify? Rand wants to step up to the challenge. It's duty for him. But on some deep level, he's afraid that at the end it will no longer be him but someone else. I think that's why he fights Lews Therin all the time.

Randalator @7
Boobsieness. It does have a certain ring to it. And it's certainly appropriate for Berelain. And yes, having said that I feel dirty as well. But it's a boobs word... err good word.

Lsana @13
You're right about Siuan and Moiraine being right that Rand needs help but totally wrong in how they go about it.

Lannis @19
Nope. Rand may say he's accepted that he might go mad. But he's still touchy about it and therefore is still in denial. And boobieness makes Berelain sound like an airheaded bimbo. Boobsieness is more assertive. More in the manner of having the assets and using them.

R.Fife @21
Yep.. a few pats wouldn't hurt.

David-2 @23
The place is Cantorin and it is mentioned by the Sea Folk. They don't go near the place. And in KoD when the Amayar wanted to go there, the Sea Folk let their messengers off with a boat some distance from the shore.

Randalator @43
I think Berelain tried ... enticing... Rhuarc at one time. He gave her the slipper so since then they've settled into this father and daughter relationship. Favorite daughter, since Rhuarc seems to think of all girls within that age range as daughters.

sarcastro @44
Elaida's coup did trigger a bloodbath within the Tower halls. Aes Sedai who supported Siuan and their Warders did not go quietly. And a lot died trying to free Siuan.

Wetlander @45
brazenness and chutzpah sound good. Just not enough sexual connotation. And therefore a bit inappropriate for Berelain. It's a key character trait for her after all.
54. ZamIt
But on to the important question: How exactly do you play Maiden's Kiss?
John Massey
55. subwoofer
Hi Leigh........get better soon. Best bet is to skip the Nyquil and go for the real deal....Brandy- medics used it in WWI and WWII. Gotta be something there. I had the mother of all sinus infections and I used a product called Hydrasense to clear my sinuses. Feels....interesting.
BTW- Dennis Leary had a whole thing going on Nyquil. Hooked on it for two years, never had a cold though... good stuff.
Siuan moos alot in the first chapter. If she was actually paying attention she may of not been stilled.
What's the deal with everyone bagging on Berelain? As I recall, Julia Roberts did much worse in Pretty Woman- and everyone loved that movie and she was totally tramped out. Dr. Morganstien@5 had it pretty much on the money.
Still don't get the whole Perrin and Faile thing. I must of missed a whole book because he goes from being constantly annoyed at her to not shaving etc. because she says so?! Reminds me of a line in "10 Things I Hate About You"- "what? Does she have beer flavored nipples?" (Tying in nicely with Randalator@7) That's pretty much what it would take for me to put up with such a bipolar person.... .
John Massey
56. subwoofer
Or try Burbon.....may not cure the flu but you will feel better.....
John Massey
57. subwoofer
Ofer Nave
58. odigity
Sidetrack'd@36: Now I have to get the card-you-at-the-counter Tylenol Sinus variety with the good stuff. Thank your nearest meth addict for the inconvenience (preferably with a baseball bat).

I shouldn't go on a politics tangent, but this really bugged me. Meth addicts did not cause you to need to jump through hoops for medicine. Your government did that. Blaming government violence against you on meth addicts is liking hitting your spouse when you get angry at them, and then telling them that they made you do it, and it's for their own good. And on top of that, you ask people to inflict violence on meth addicts with baseball bats when they, as far as I know, never actually did anything to you personally. As far as I'm concerned, your beliefs are a bigger danger to civilization than meth or meth addicts.

elroyskimms@41: But all of the "Bubbles" that have come up throughout the series seemed pointless. Unless they play some HUGE role in TG that could not be written any other way, I really think the entire Bubble of Evil concept doesn't fit.

Two key points in defense of miasmas:

1. They're cool and make sense, which is normally sufficient grounds to include something, since not everything has to be main-plot-critical. Like describing the geometry of necklines.

2. However, from an author's perspective, they might seem very necessary indeed. One problem with writing a 12k+ page epic battle against an abstract villain called "the dark one" is maintaining tension and suspension of disbelief when your antagonist has no manifestation and no direct effect on the world till maybe the end. Imagine if we never even saw Vader or the Emperor until the last five minutes. The whole story would seem like a formal exercise, a mere training simulation, since the enemy is... absent. Henchman only suffice for so long without the big chief appearing, unless you're writing The Usual Suspects. Bubbles of evil, plus the long winter, the long summer, the dead rising, the weevils and rotting food, and ripples all allow the antagonist to have stage time and lend credibility to his role. It's like fighting a stunt double vs fighting air in front of a green screen (you listening, Lucas?).
59. Rebecca Starr
Hi Leigh! I add my well wishes to get better soon - where's a Wisdom when you really need one?

Ch 1
Yes, it is weird that this isn't billed a prologue. However, I agree with Lsana that what *really* makes sense is for other 'prologues' to be Chapter Ones... I'd go so far as to say EotW is the only true prologue among 'em...

As to Siuan's understanding of prophecy... it seems that all Dragon prophecies come from human sources, and yes are thus "guidelines" more than "musts" - it's not like in Eddings where some madman babbles off and next thing you know you have a codified, um Codex.

Now that I think about Min's viewing here though, I'm not convinced all these deaths had to do with the Tower coup... it seems like far too many dead (I don't seem to recall quite so many AS dying that day). Rather, given the Seanchan collar she sees, and putting that together with Egwene's dream (in TDR) which hints at Seanchan battling the White Tower, I think a lot of this carnage is yet to come.

I laugh when I think of Alviarin getting her message from one of the Forsaken and obeying orders here. "You want me to listen to *Elaida*???"

anyone know what's so wrong with wormwood? I looked it up on Wikipedia, and it's just a plant, and has uses both therapeutic and yummy (absinthe). So why would this be a good name for Ordeith/Fain?

Ch 2
I think Rand's bubble of evil is more symbolic than you think, Leigh... it seems to me - especially the images absorbing into his body - that it represents his later struggle for his body, first with LTT, then with Moridin

as to Berelain, the term I keep trying to make popular is, "That takes ovaries!"

DarkOne@4 - the quote about Rand remembering himself as a shepherd is one of my all time faves too - and one of the saddest :(

grayfox@15 - well, if you count Nyquil, looks like she may soon have an addiction after all!

Federico@22 - I agree with you that Min's viewings are overrated insofar as their usefulness for characters in the books. I think what they're really there for is so us readers can have so much fun quibbling over how they might come true!

daniel@27 rd: Faile as head case - you're right on. Her slap here is abominable behavior.

elroy@44 - I agree that the Bubbles of Evil seem contrived (especially the one later in Salidar, egads). *This* one, however, I always liked. Perhaps because it's the first, perhaps because the image of Rand's tiny-sized self stabbing him with a tiny sword on the hand is just priceless.

finally, ZamIt@54 - I agree with you. Based on Mat's description, there's no reason Maiden's Kiss should have kept him up til dawn. Something else is going on in the game that he's not tellin' us.
60. SteelBlaidd
I always loved the last sentence of chapter 2.

It's the first place that we begin to see the real air of fatalism that so pervades his character later.

Recently I herd a former Marine Lt talk about how the only way he was able to do his job as a platoon leader was to consider himself already dead. Otherwise he would've been so focused on his own survival he wouldn't have been able to take care of his men.

This mind set is actually pretty common among the "warrior" characters Gawyn articulates it pretty well to Min, and its pretty clear she doesn't understand. Elida doesn't get it, neither does Suin, yet. Egwine as the Novice Amerlyn in book 11 does a version of it and of course we see it in Perrin although he keeps it hidden.

We also get a real good example here of one the the big problems Suian has with dealing with Rand because we see it with how she deals with Gawyn and Galad. I call it the "Man-Mushroom" theory of Management.

It shows up in again with Gareth "bloody" Bryne and the incident of the Murandy Border Lord. It's pretty standard for Aes Sedai generally that they treat men, in many ways, as horses who can talk but are otherwise incapable of making rational choices for the benefit of the world. Elida has it particularly bad.

Now in Suian's case some of it is the need to keep things real close because she dosen't know who to trust and telling the Wonder Twins(Galad and Gawyn) what her sister was really doing would have probably been as big a disaster as not telling them but none of the female characters are ever really good at considering just explaining their position and coming to a decision jointly with the guys, even when they are aware that Rand can see through their manipulation with out half trying (R and E meeting the Tower Embassy in Cairhein). And putting Mat and "Competent" or "Reliable" in the same sentence is completely beyond them *grin*
61. Randalator
Rebecca Starr@59

Fain/Ordeith/Wormwood: Maybe Jordan meant it more literally as in "worm-eaten wood" (which by the way is how it was translated in the german books). Fain's victims look the same as before but are hollowed out till there is nothing left but evil, hatred and mistrust. Just as if their soul were rotting away like worm-infested wood. Outwardly they are the same but inside they are just pure vileness, crawling with mataphorical maggots and the like. Fain is definitely corrupting whoever he attaches himself to just like a piece of worm-eaten wood will spread the infestation to non-infested wood.

There is this whole theme of decay, disease, infestation and general ickyness involved.

On a side note: Wormwood is also the name of the third star falling to the earth in the Book of Revelation 8:10, 11.

"And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter."

Altough the name here refers to the actual wormwood plant that somewhat ties in with the interpretation above. The making bitter/spoiling qualities of the plant mirror Fain's effect on other human beings.
Elroy Skimms
62. elroyskimms
subwoofer @ 57

LMAO. I had forgotten about the NyQuil sketch from "No Cure For Cancer." NSFW - But hillarious!!!

63. jafco
As always, Leigh, nice job and drink lots of water, get plenty of rest, and presto, in a while you'll feel better! ;(

Meanwhile to the story. "Ballsiness" specifically refers to men's production of testosterone, and how that can cause certain behaviors. Women don't ordinarily out-testo men, yet they can be forward, resolute, fierce, dedicated, hard-nosed, bold, brave, testy, tough-minded, etc. (sort of like Nynaeve, on one of her calmer days). "Ballsy" is an inapt or perhaps, clumsy, choice of words.

@14. jsherry "...@13 / @ 12: I agree, by the way. I think Rand / Mat / whomever could die at anytime or that something could fail and change the outcome (macro or micro level change).

I just think Moiraine is doing the best she can and it isn't good enough. Mostly...."

"Mostly, they come out at night. Mostly." Rebecca 'Newt' Jorden in "Aliens".

I agree and disagree. Moiraine yanked Rand et al. out of TTR, saved their bacon, and set them on the path they need to tread. Since then, she's trying to herd and control them, and Rand simply isn't buying it. He knows (maybe doesn't accept, but knows) what he is, and since the Portal Stones, knows what slackness brings. He is working hard to understand prophecy, his powers, and do it different from all those other pathetic failures he has witnessed.

The truth is, Moiraine succeeded far better than she hoped; her fault is that she cannot accept that Rand - independently - is doing what is needed (I think he understands "needed" far better than she does). And of course, he never tells her other than by his actions what he's doing. This makes a 50,000 word series stretch out to 100,000 words!

41. elroyskimms "...It's not anti-Fundamentalist, it's anti-hypocritical-son-of-a-motherless-goat-bigots. I think RJ sets up the "redemption" of the Whitecloaks as a group here. He really drives the point home when Galad becomes LCC..."

I think you have the gist of it, but overlook something in this on-going storyline. Pity the poor bastaads that got assigned to Ordeith's platoon. That's a one-way trip to hell (Private Hudson, "Aliens"). ;) I mean, after a while, they amuse themselves - by torturing a Fade. They make him into about a Eighthman, if you get my drift. These dudes' souls probably hang out on one of the lower levels of Dante's Inferno. Ordeith is just that evil.

Your further say: "...we see that it is POSSIBLE for Whitecloaks to stick to their purpose of defeating the Shadow (and not hunting everyone who can channel)...." Well, last I checked, the Red Ajah is dead-set on hunting down every last MALE who can channel, ripping out his guts (in a manner of speaking) when they find him.

Actually, the Reds are never portrayed as making the capture of channelers and ripping their figurative guts out into a "religious" commitment. We do however see serried ranks of Whitecloaks kneeling on a Sunburst, and so forth (along with more ominous Inquisitional figures in the "Questioners"). They are portrayed as ever so close-minded, blah, blah.

RJ never shows us the bare-breasted, water-soaked ceremonies the Reds use to induct their new acolytes into the Sisterhood. :() And "closed-mindedness" has a one-word definition: Elaida.

So, tell me, what on earth is different between the WC and the Red? The former are more comprehensive in their hatred of channelers, true. But given the behavior of Elaida, Bonwhin and so on, are they conceptually any different, other than one being all men and the other being all women? The second fundamental difference of course, is that one group can channel (visions of Godhood?) and the other cannot, making them call on God (the Creator) for help.

Anyway, tired of seeing the pot get away with calling the pan - dirty.
64. Wetlander
55. subwoofer
As I recall, Julia Roberts did much worse in Pretty Woman- and everyone loved that movie and she was totally tramped out.

nyeh. NOT everyone loved that movie, speaking for myself. And I still wish Berelain would go back to Mayene and leave us alone.

Regarding prophecy... I have to wonder what RJ actually thought about it. As GregoryD pointed out, in the Biblical sense if it is a true prophecy it WILL happen. (Not always as the people concerned expect, but always as God intended it.) So I wonder if RJ had a different perspective, or if he just created some characters who don't see it that way. The few characters who try to explain how the Creator is involved seem very deistic in their understanding, but I'm not entirely sure if RJ means us to take their understanding as truth or not. Is everything really driven by the unbiased Pattern and Wheel, or does the Creator take more hand in it than they realize? Just curious...
65. LynnOH
I saw a bumper sticker today I thought odd until I read of "boobieness" the woman who owns this car must have in spades!

I (heart symbol) My TaTas!

Now I wonder if there is a ballsy male out there with a corresponding sticker on his bumper.
66. Planeswalker
I seem to find some sort of pattern here:

Lady commentators tend to hate assertive lady characters, like Faile or Berelain. I don't get it with women, do you guys hate them (other girls) just because they did what they want (teasing/wooing men)? Like you guys are jealous or something? I mean, bravo to Faile / Berelain. One for slapping the guy for not letting her help him save his life, coz if something did happen to Perrin and she was not there to help. How do you think she could forgive herself for that? On the other, bravo to the lady who uses everything she has to protect Mayene. I mean, just the way the Tairen lords speak about it, they're already ready to occupy their land. If it wasn't for the First Lady and her 'bitchiness as ladies would call it', then I'd say Mayene slaves would be famous for trading.

I'm just saying, pay more respect to these characters. Both of them are more respectable than Egwene 'typical Aes Sedai' Al'vere. And oh, like Mat, I hate Aes 'meddling' Sedais. :):):)
Richard Boye
67. sarcastro

re: Elaida's coup - how many Aes Sedai died?

I know, but honestly, aside from the reasons I cited, don't you think it odd that we NEVER have a single reference to an Aes Sedai -by- -name- who was killed in the coup? Anaiya or Sheriam muttering, "They killed Sereise! Elaida a'Roihan has much to answer for!" That kind of thing?

There are inferences that many Aes Sedai went awol in the aftermath, but lots of *those* ended up in Cadsuane's third party.

(I mean the Aes Sedai are certainly much more vocal about the thirteen Aes Sedai who died at Dumai's Wells)

I just don't see such carnage among the sisterhood being taken so relatively lightly by both sides, particularly since one of the most detailed visions (Edesina) doesn't have anything to do with the coup.
68. Stone Dog
I think the Suroth scene adds to the ominous atmosphere of the first chapter, reminding us that the Seanchan are still out there (I like the way they are kept as a sinister threat in the background while the action is elsewhere) and telling us that there are factions scheming against each other within the Seanchan. (In this repect they are no different from other nations or organisations within WotWorld)

This is my favourite book in the series and the best individual volume of any fantasy saga I have read. The Aiel are vividly brought to life to the point where they almost step out of the pages.

Looking forward to reading what you make of the rest of it, Leigh. Get well soon.
Richard Boye
69. sarcastro
Also, re: Wormwood

Wormwood is also the name of a demon in C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters, a weird epistolary novel written in the voice of a demon (Screwtape) who is a senior functionary bureaucrat in one of the circles of hell, advising his nephew demon (Wormwood) whose job it is to tempt people away from virtuousness and into sin as to best secure damnation for Wormwood's subject, the "Patient."
70. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
True. RJ seems to have missed that somehow. We know several Warders died at least because Gawyn and the Tower Guards said so. But we also never see Aes Sedai grieving over their dead Warders in Salidar where you'd think they'd go to ground, which leads me to believe they died not long after their Warders. Several references were also made to Aes Sedai fighting each other right in the Tower Halls. I think it was mentioned at one point that the Blues had suffered a lot of casualties and that a good number were still missing.

AARRGGGHHH! This verification thingy is driving me nuts.
Ofer Nave
71. odigity
alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed@70: AARRGGGHHH! This verification thingy is driving me nuts.

Does it have a Class N license?
72. antman
I just had to buy a new shadow rising because my other two were so badly beat up.

Why did Mat have to lie to the Tairen lords? They asked him if the day he played maidens kiss was 2 nights ago and he replied he was playing stones with Thom that night "he was glad he could lie with a straight face". Anyone pick up on where he might have been?
73. CJB
For a feminine alternative to "ballsiness", I'm quite partial to "ovarian fortitude."
74. Randalator

He quite obviously DID play Maiden's Kiss that night. And it seems to involve more than a couple of spears and kisses. A lot more given that it took all night, and not all too pleasant from the way he thinks about it.

So he doesn't want the Tairens to know too much and lies about it: "You know...spears, kiss-kiss, cool, bye, see you around. Nothing that would keep you up all night and make you sweat just thinking about it. Oh no, Sir. Not at all.".
Josh Young
75. drummingdm
Not to sound overly crude with my first actual post on the re-read, but re: the-great-female-brashness-term debate, I propose the following:

When something is flat-out awesome, it's sometimes said to be "the balls." To quote Anchorman, "In other words, Ron Burgundy was the balls."

I've heard "tits" used in a similar manner As in, "This cake is totally tits."

So...balls/ballsiness. Tits/tittyness? Titsiness? Titsitude?

Yeah. I'm sorry for this post too.

(Also, thanks for the re-read Leigh. Hope you feel better.)
76. Lannis
alreadymad @53: I like how you summed up Faile's thoughts and actions... never thought of it like that--never analysed it, period--but yes, that's quite succinct: "take my spoils and go home..."

elroy @ 41 & odigity @ 58; re: Bubbles of Evil... My point, initially, was to say that yes, the Bubbles of Evil are a nifty little plot device, give us great action and (yes!) tension, but they stuck out as just that--a clumsy plot device. They are devoid of any motivating anchor...except say, the "chaos" ensuing from the Dark One, as opposed to say, the Forsaken and the Grey Men they sic on our Heroes--and the entire backstory needed to support that. Later reads, they don't stick out awkwardly anymore, and that may be because I'm just expecting them... not sure. I don't feel they're pointless, just a handy cop out kind of tension device. Great way to throw in some action without worrying about "who" sent it our Heroes' way...

Rebecca Starr @ 59: "That takes ovaries..." Indeed!

Randalator @ 61: Re: Wormwood. I agree with you that Jordan was probably going for the visual imagery that "Wormwood" connotes, as well as the Biblical link--we all know he did his homework and liked to draw from many different sources...

LynnOH @ 65: BAHAhahaha!

sarcastro @ 69: The Screwtape Letters... sounds interesting, will give it a read. (Again: Jordan did his homework.)

Re: Maiden's Kiss... perhaps there are negatives to the game (hence Bain never having heard of someone "asking" to play), but a little twisted fun, too (think Tylin?), and maybe Mat doesn't want anyone to know that he's (ahem) interested in that kind of thing? Bashful, perhaps?

Or maybe he's contemplating playing again and doesn't want the competition...

And of course, forgotten from my earlier posts, but in my thoughts: Get well soon, Leigh! You've obviously got us all chatting! We look forward to your posts! :)
77. Lsana
@44 sarcastro, 59 Rebecca Starr,

I think there isn't any doubt that the Tower Coup is the subject of Min's visions. Her vision says that Gawyn will be wounded on the day that the Aes Sedai are killed, and when they see him after the coup, he is wounded in exactly the same way that Min saw in her vision. Hence, the Aes Sedai must have been killed in the coup.

From the way Min talked about the coup, it sounded to me like there were far more casualties that we didn't see. The implication was that the reason that there aren't any Blue sisters in the Tower isn't because they all supported Suian but because Elaida murdered any Blue who didn't manage to escape in time.

And yes, it has always surprised me that we never get any further mention of those deaths. It's also surprising that any Aes Sedai could support Elaida after that, much less relatively decent ones like Seaine and Pevara.
78. Tony Zbaraschuk
This is one of my favorite of the novels, both for the various stories and for the fact it's the last one in a while that has a coherent plot structure. And, yes, I think the opening scenes have a lot to do with it. Min walking through the Tower with visions of disaster all around, and being recognized by everyone who knows her (she's not as good at disguising herself as she thinks!); the Two Rivers under threat; the Seanchan waiting to return; and then the ta'veren fighting their themes.

The "bubbles" thing works well here, and a few other times, but it gets sort of increasingly flat as the series goes on. I suspect that's because these bubbles are so carefully crafted to reflect all the character themes, whereas something like the Salidar chaos or the Foggy Monsters that envelop Darlin's rebellion don't seem to have any coherence to them. They're just.... random. Which I suppose is the point, if this is the sort of world the Lord of the Grave wants, but you'd think he could take a little more pride in his craftsmanship.

Hadn't really thought about Maiden's Kiss in terms of how the Mat-Tylin relationship works out, but if so this is another of Jordan's very long-term very subtle foreshadowings.

And for all that we sometimes criticize Jordan for wordiness, we need to remember that he can do lines like "...tried to remember a shepherd named Rand al'Thor", which are still stunning in their elegance.
Elroy Skimms
79. elroyskimms
jafco @ 63

Great insight into the Red's being the female version of the Whitecloaks. I had never thought of them that way, but the glove fits nicely. But my point is not that the Whitecloaks are all around nice guys and should be pitied. RJ initially describes Whitecloaks as fundamentalists of the worst kind. Here in TSR, RJ gets some time to really flesh out the hypocrisy and bigotry as their Darkfriend commands this squad to follow Padan Fain. RJ really drives the point home here that this kind of Fundamentalism is bad news.

IIRC, Galad is seen with a Whitecloak "Bible" in TSR. And it is in Galad's Whitecloak army that we see some hope of redemption for the Children. As they say, "No man is so lost that he cannot be brought to the Light".

Elroy Skimms
80. elroyskimms
Tony Zbaraschuk @ 78

The "bubbles" thing works well here

Am I seeing things that are not there, or did anyone else get the Alice in Wonderland vibe when first reading this scene? Please don't make me stand here by myself... Anyone???

Hadn't really thought about Maiden's Kiss in terms of how the Mat-Tylin relationship works out, but if so this is another of Jordan's very long-term very subtle foreshadowings.

Matt likes it rough.

And for all that we sometimes criticize Jordan for wordiness, we need to remember that he can do lines like "...tried to remember a shepherd named Rand al'Thor", which are still stunning in their elegance.

Too true. In my first read through I always thought that the books could have been trimmed. I would often skip pages at a time trying to "get to the good stuff." Now, years later, I am reading every word on every page, and I can appreciate it so much more. The more I read, the more I begin to think that RJ wasn't too wordy at all.

81. Muckl
First things first: I love this Reread of yours, leigh!!!!!It's just perfect!

I recently bought the Wheel of time audiobook, because I must have read the books at least 10 times now...(maybe a little bit exaggerated, but I live in Austria and so I read them both in german and in English and also reread them in both languages;)!)

Sooo, now to my question (or thought):

With Fain/Mordeth as a walking Mass destruction Bio weapon, it is very interesting what effect Galad has on Byar and Dain Bornhald in KoD. Although both Children of the Light had at least six months close contact with Fain/Mordeth and we see how Dain is (very strongly) affected at the end of tSR, they both appear to be very selfconscious of their low behaviour and on their way to redeem themselves (more or less)...

So, is Galad, whose character is something of the antithesis to Mordeth, also the antidot for the Bio-weapon Mordeth??
barry troy
82. perrin5454
@ jafco and Elroyskimms

I think that the red are different than the Whitecloaks in that their fundamentalism stems from a real need. Men who can channel are a real danger to the world. Not only will they have no training and hence little control, but they will go insane, there is no alternative. Once they do go insane, there is nothing that will stop them from reeking death and destruction on a widespread scale. Remember, it was insane men who could channel who were behind the Breaking. The Reds may have changed over the years in to zealots in their chase for men who could channel, but that doesnt mean they were unnecessary. They were very necessary, especially when the Tower first began and they had not succeeded in culling so much of the hereditary channelers out of the gene pool.

The White Cloaks on the other hand, are zealots whose purpose is much less clear. They were created to fight Darkfriends. Since the Trolloc Wars, most Darkfriends have kept that to themselves, so Whitecloaks have not had much chance to openly practice their craft. Plus I think RJ was obviously drawing on the various religious orders of the Crusades, and all those orders were begun for pure reasons, but soon became more interested in secular power and wealth, just like the Whitecloaks.

And while I agree that the sisters who died are not mentioned enough, the rebel Aes Sedai do take an unprecedented step. The break teh tower. I think I remember Suian saying that this is not the first rebellion within the Tower, or something like that is contained in the super secret book that only the Amyrlin sees. But this is the first time that a group of Aes Sedai have ever openely opposed the ruling Amyrlin for all the world to see. My point is, that while the individual rage may not be there, as a collective group, the Salidar Aes Sedai have condemned Elaida in the harshest terms.
83. Lsana
@82 perrin5454,

The Whitecloaks are responding to a real threat just as much as the Reds are. Hunting Darkfriends in Randland is not like hunting witches during our Middle Ages. Darkfriends are real and do cause murder, death, and destruction. To take just one example, Malkier would still exist if not for Darkfriends.

In theory, the Whitecloaks are a very good idea: an organization trained to find and root out Darkfriends. It's something Randland needs. In practice, of course, it hasn't really worked out that way.
84. Jagahanas
Great post as always. Feel better Leigh!
85. Wetlander
@66. Planeswalker

I seem to find some sort of pattern here:

Lady commentators tend to hate assertive lady characters, like Faile or Berelain. I don't get it with women, do you guys hate them just because they did what they want?

You really DON'T get it. Personally, I like most of the female characters, assertive or not, even though they occasionally irritate me with particular behaviors. The reason I don't like Berelain has nothing to do with her moral values. It's her complete refusal to recognize the validity of someone else's moral values, or to admit the value of another person at all, except in terms of how she can use them for power or entertainment. At this point in the book, I didn't particularly like her but I didn't dislike her either. Her quick switch (coming up soon) from Rand to Perrin ("well, Rand might be a bit too much even for me, but I'll try someone close to him, anyway") turned me off a little. What really gets me, though, is her later behavior with Perrin. (Others, too, but Perrin is the most obvious example.) She knows he's not interested, she knows it drives bothe P & F nuts, and she keeps it up just for the fun of causing trouble. She knows, and JUST DOESN'T CARE that she's causing Perrin a lot of pain and marital difficulty, because she finds it personally entertaining. I don't understand and cannot respect people who find entertainment in causing pain to others.

This will segue at some point into an essay on just why I like RJs writing...
86. RobMRobM
Wetlander@85. Berelain doesn't keep after Perrin because it is entertaining (even if it is to her)but because she swore an "Ogier's oath" to Faile that she would, as reflected in an upcoming chapter. I believe even the post-book glossary defines Berelain and mentions that she is someone who sticks to her word. Rob

P.s. Berelain gets off one great line - Mat hits on her and she ignores him, muttering to herself "Too much like me...." LOL.
87. Randalator

The dead Aes Sedai do get mentioned in CoT, ch. 19:

“Frightened people do silly things, Mother, even Aes Sedai,” she murmured, placing her hands on her knees, “but at least you can be sure Moria will be firm about Elaida, at least in the long run. She lays every sister who died after Siuan was deposed right at Elaida’s feet. Moria wants Elaida birched for every single death before she goes to the headsman. A hard woman, harder than Lelaine in some ways. Tougher, anyway. She won’t scruple at things that might make Lelaine balk. I’m very much afraid she will press for an assault on the city as soon as possible."

But I can see how the Salidar Aes Sedai would be very careful with handling the fact of dead Aes Sedai. Several reasons:

- The White Tower broke roughly in thirds. Salidar, Tower and Fence-Sitters. There are no clues what happened to Sisters that are unaccounted for. They could have been killed, they could be enjoying the view from the fence or they could be the Creator knows where in Randland oblivious to the Split.

- For the Aes Sedai that are known to be dead from Min's viewing there is no information exactely how they died. Were they killed during the fighting? Were they killed by Elaida's posse? Did they fall down the stairs hurrying through the Tower? Did they fall of their horses while fleeing from Tar Valon?

- And there is the matter of Danelle's 200-300 masons who tried to take the Tower after Siuan's arrest. To me that seems more like Darkfriends than part of Elaida's plan. So the Aes Sedai could have been killed by Darkfriends/Black Ajah.

So they can't just walk around claiming that Elaida killed X Aes Sedai or had them murdered because they don't know and would thus violate the First Oath. Even Moria only claims that Elaida through her actions is responsible for deaths but not that she was directly involved.

Also there is Elaida's dream in ACoS, ch. 32:

Every rebel had been cast out from her Ajah until Elaida granted permission to request reacceptance, but the onetime Blues knew they confronted difficult years working their way into her good graces, years before they would be allowed to enter any Ajah at all. Until then, they lay in the palm of her hand.

That doesn't sound like Elaida had any interest in killing Blue Ajah members or actually had part in any killing. I for one don't believe that Elaida murdered or ordered the murder of any Aes Sedai.
88. gern
In regards to Min's visions at the beginning of Ch 1 and whether they relate to the tower coup or something later, I tend to agree that the visions appear to be about the tower coup. However, I am puzzled about one specific vision:

and another, crossing the corridor ahead of Min and her guide, seemed for most of those few strides to wear a silver collar around her neck

which she tells Siuan:

"The silver collar I saw on that one Aes Sedai. Mother, it looked . . . It looked like one of the collars the . . . the Seanchan use to . . . to control women who can channel.”

How does this vision fit with the tower coup? There were no Seanchan involved in that. Nor was there any collaring (that I recall).


(And since this is my first time posting, I'd like to "pile on" and say to Leigh: Thanks for this awesome re-read, and I hope that you feel better very soon!)
89. Lsana
@87 Randalator,

We're getting a bit ahead, but here's what I'm basing my supposition on:

TSR, Chapter 47:

"Elaida didn't wait to find out if the Blue Ajah would stand for you or not. There isn't a Blue sister still in the tower, not alive."

The implications:

1. Elaida, not the Blue Ajah, took the first action in the war here. The fact that Elaida "didn't wait to see if the Blue Ajah would support" Suian suggests that this is an action against the Ajah as a whole, not just her coup.

2. Elaida "removed" the Blue sisters somehow. She didn't have the authority to order them out of the tower before her coup, and trying to order them out afterward would almost by definition have involved finding out whether or not they were willing to support her. Since Elaida, "didn't wait to find out," that suggests that she had them killed.

3. The fact that Min, someone very far out of the loop in terms of Elaida's policies, is talking about this, suggests that these rumors, at least, are pretty widespread. Every sister still in the tower should have heard them.

Your quote about Elaida's dream doesn't really contradict any of this, it just suggests that she's willing to "show mercy" once she's secure in her power, not that she wasn't willing to have sisters murdered in order to get that power.

And good for Moria. I will never read COT again, but I'm glad to hear that someone remembers the dead and just what Elaida is.
Richard Boye
90. sarcastro
Randalator@87, others;

re: Dead Aes Sedai and the Tower Revolt

Don't mistake me. I am not saying that no Aes Sedai were killed in the coup. I just question if that wholesale carnage that Min saw was specifically wrought by that one event, or that it was just a general mishmash of fates all shown at once.

There were several visions that Min had that DO NOT pertain to that event, all tossed in with the others. Even though she saw the Aes Sedai with her skull on her shoulder and that other one had her aura flicker and go out, she saw othesr that had nothing to do with that day. For example, Edesina was not collared during the coup, yet Min saw her with an a'dam that ultimately disappeared. That turned out to be true (Mat rescued her) but that has nothing to do with the Tower coup. Likewise, Min sees Sheriam beaten to a pulp, but the only explanation we have for that is her beatings in Salidar by Halima/Aran'gar. It is possible that she was captured and abused during the coup, but we never have a single reference to that, only that she whisked away some novices and Accepted and fled.

How many Aes Sedai are we talking here? There are only like 1,000 total - to take Min's viewing as a statistical sampling, the death rate would have to have been huge (like 400 Aes Sedai), if all those deaths she forsaw were caused by Elaida's usurpation. I don't that the subsequent events bear that out.

Agnes Kormendi
91. tapsi
(I mean the Aes Sedai are certainly much more vocal about the thirteen Aes Sedai who died at Dumai's Wells)

But of course they won't go bragging about Aes Sedai killing Aes Sedai... they even try to hush up the fact that the Tower is split. It's a different matter altogether when outsiders, especially men who can channel, cause the death of sisters.

Get well, Leigh!
Richard Boye
92. sarcastro

That was Edesina Azzedin, a Yellow sister who was sent to Tarabon, captured by the Seanchan, collared, brought to Ebou Dar (along with Guisin, another sister sent to Tarabon with her, the third member of that mission was never accounted for), and ultimately Edesina was rescued by Mat.

Nothing to do with the Tower revolt. Hence, my point.
93. Wetlander
86. RobMRobM: "she swore an "Ogier's oath" to Faile that she would"

So she swore an oath to try to make someone else break theirs. Great. Now I like her a lot. Not.

See? That's what gets me. It DOES come up, a couple times I think, that she keeps her word when she gives it. But it's still all about her. Even when Perrin has married Faile, and refuses to break his marriage vows, she insists on trying to keep a frivolous oath no matter the cost to someone else. Think about the kind of guy Perrin is. If he broke his marriage vows, he would never be able to forgive himself, even if Faile did. He would live the rest of his life with the guilt and horror of that broken vow, and you can bet that at TG he'd be doing all sorts of heroics in the hope that he could get killed and free her from himself. But Berelain DOESN'T CARE, because she made a stupid vow for the sole purpose of taunting a girl 5 or 6 years younger than herself, and now she's going to "keep her word." Argh.
94. Heather P.
OK, because I totally love this guy ... the comedian who does the bit with the EXACT words in the introduction is John Pinette. He also does a whole bit about NyQuil. Drowsy isn't a good word ... COMA, now that's a good word. I laughed out loud when I read that, and I was getting some mighty funny looks from co-workers.

Also, I love how Mat can spout the Old Tongue without even realizing it. For me it proves his Awesomeness, even before the visit to Rhuidean.

Loving the re-read, Leigh. I hope you feel better soon! *sending positive thoughts your way.....*
95. Blight
I thought Min said that all the deaths happened on the same day not that all her viewings happened on the same day, so to me that would imply that she saw the a'dam on the aes sedai but it was just going to happen not necessarily on the same day as the aes sedai deaths
96. Rebecca Starr
Randalator@61, that's really interesting about the German translation as "worm-eaten wood", which makes much more sense to me. I understand the allusion to Wormwood in the Bible, C.S. Lewis etc, but Dain Bornhold wouldn't know all that! but worm-eaten wood makes it seem much move obvious

Planeswalker@66 - you're conflating two things. I identify as a feminist and love strong female characters - those in real life and those in books. I adore Berelain. The reason I don't like Faile is because I find her mean to Perrin, when he's done nothing wrong to her. Ever. That's a big difference, so please don't conflate the two.

Lsana - good point on Gawyn being hurt the same day as the AS are killed... I still say at least *some* of these deaths will occur down the road with a Seanchan Tower attack.
97. Randalator

That quote doesn't necessarily mean that Elaida issued a killing order for potential adversaries.

For example it could mean that a) she made sure that no Blue Ajah were involved in the coup and b) she had set the Tower Guard and warders of her associates at strategic points in the Tower to prevent the Blue Ajah from intervening once they learned what was going on. She was made Amyrlin by her posse and ordered the guards around without waiting to see if it would be necessary ("Elaida didn't wait to find out if the Blue Ajah would stand for you or not.").

Blue Warders tried to force a way through the guards, masons attack, carnage, killing, dead Aes Sedai, Tower breaking, Blue Ajah leaving. The only Blues not leaving being dead ("There isn't a Blue sister still in the Tower, not alive, I know that."). And even someone as far out of the loop as Min would know if there had been fighting because, say, some new Amyrlin tried to confine the Blues to their quarters. Which definitely qualifies as "not waiting to find out if the Blue Ajah stands for Siuan".

I just don't see Elaida having Blue Ajah killed preemptively. Tower Guards wouldn't just assassinate Aes Sedai even on the new Amyrlin's order. Warders probably neither but even if they would that would mean involving lots of Aes Sedai in cold-blooded murder and most likely breaking Elaida's very small and fragile alliance. And Aes Sedai can't kill with the one Power unless they are Black Ajah or attacked first and they are not exactely Gray Man material.

So who could kill the Blues?
98. Valeiria
@66. Planeswalker

I disagree. It probably seems like we have issues with mainly the females, but maybe that's because there are more that we hear of. My favorite character is Aviendha. She's even more my favorite then Lan is. All of the female characters do some really annoying things, yeah, but they also have a lot of redeeming qualities.

Personally, I have more problems with Perrin in the later books then I do with any of the female characters. I completely respect his actions. I probably wouldn't respect his character if he hadn't reacted that way to Faile being captured. The only reason he annoys me so much throughout the process is because it takes 2 books to rescue her, and there are 2 books of his borderline insaneness.

I'm sure there are some female readers who dislike Berelain because she's slutty and Faile because it seems like she is playing games with Perrin. I dislike Berelain for the same reasons Wetlander does. She completely disrespects other people's feeling/oaths just to try to get what she wants. She doesn't deserve Perrin. She more then proves that with the way she reacts when Faile gets kidnapped. The only thing that annoys me about Faile is that she isn't upfront about what she expects from a marriage. She won't tell Perrin why the way he treats Berelain offends her. Other then that, I am always happy to read about their meeting, because Perrin needs someone like Faile in his life.
99. effervescent
22. Federico Natali

You did great, and said a lot I agree with. You will be a great addition to the discussion, speak up more.
100. Mark-S
For the women, I'd vote for braidiness. It fits better with the WOT motif. Then you could say "Man that Nynaeve has a pair of brass braids"

But then again when men get angry, we don't go around tugging our... nevermind.
101. Master Al'Thor
Ok, first of all, wow!!!! You sure have a complete grasp of the English language. You should seriously think about becoming a teacher or professor. I have read all of your re reads and now must say I am a fan...of yours. I have told my wife about how I am impressed with your intelligence, she is offically jealous (we kid). Anyway, keep up the good work and get better you have a lot of work to do.
Elroy Skimms
102. elroyskimms
Wetlander @ 85

She knows, and JUST DOESN'T CARE that she's causing Perrin a lot of pain and marital difficulty, because she finds it personally entertaining. I don't understand and cannot respect people who find entertainment in causing pain to others.

On the moral scale, I agree that Berelain's actions are reprehensible. However, she is not the cause of the marital difficulty between Perrin and Faile. Her actions bring it to light, yes. But the underlying problem was there before she ever got involved. Perrin does not treat Faile the way she wants to be treated, and vice-versa. Each is acting based on their own cultural upbringing, and without malice. But Part of marriage is being able to sit down with your spouse and tell them what it is that you need.

I don't see this as being anti-Faile, I see RJ using this to accurately depict the reality of a lot of marriages. We all have different expectations and upbringings and unless you speak up, you will spend the rest of your life (or until you hire an attorney) with your expectations not being met. In the real world, as in Randland, if you do not tell your spouse what you want, you will not get it. From one married man, to all married women, TELL US WHAT YOU BLOODY WANT OR ELSE QUIT TUGGING YOUR BRAID AND FOLDING YOUR ARMS UNDER YOUR AMPLE BOSSOM WHEN YOU DON'T GET IT. There, I feel better. My therapist thinks I'm making great progress.

This will segue at some point into an essay on just why I like RJs writing...

Yes, or segue into group marriage therapy. Is it just me, or do I need a hug????

103. Wetlander
Yesterday I started in on a diatribe about everyone ragging on the girls for one thing and another, and in the middle I cracked up and decided that if I was going to write an essay, there might be more interesting subjects. What cracked me up is that these are not real people, they are fictional characters in a fantasy series, but we react to them, and talk about them, as if they were real. For each character, there are those who love and those who hate. (Well, except for Lan, Rhuarc, and maybe Mat - they seem universally adored. Correct me if I'm wrong.) But there are some strong emotions flowing in regard to these folks, and they aren't even folks!

I think it says something about RJ that a lot of writers are missing. Some authors can craft a good story, some can create a cool world, some can come up with fascinating characters, and so on. But I would argue that within the last couple of centuries, Robert Jordan is among a relatively small number (as you peruse the shelves in your local bookstore) who did all of the above at the same time. Not that I would expect anyone to argue, not on this forum, but I thought I'd point it out.

I read a book recently, on a friend's strong recommendation, that really pointed this up for me. The book was very well-written, the plot was consistent and carefully constructed, there weren't any of those annoying "then a miracle occured" moments to weasel out of a tight spot. I should have liked it. But somehow, I never really cared about the survival of either the characters or the society. For me, it was a nice mental exercise, but it's not a book I'll pick up and read 10 or 12 times. Probably won't ever read it again, really. I didn't dislike it, but... There you have it. I just couldn't care that much.

But then there's the Wheel of Time...!!
104. Wetlander
Speaking of segues... :-) That was what I was heading toward.

@102. elroyskimms: I agree that Berelain doesn't create the problem of P&F coming from very different cultures regarding marriage. That's just who they are, and as "real people" they would seriously need to spend some time each trying to get to know the other's background and personality in more detail to get it worked out. (I love the bit where Elyas gives Perrin some "Saldaean marriage counseling" - and what do you know, it works!) But they're only 20-ish, and it takes time to get there. Life (read RJ) isn't exactly giving them much chance for that, but I still don't excuse Berelain. If she quit trying to flirt with Perrin and antagonize Faile and just focused on doing her job, P&F might be able to have a rational conversation. With B making herself a constant irritant, everything degenerates into jealousy, anger, hurt feelings and complete lack of communication. And B just thinks its fun to yank their chains.

If they were real people, of course.
105. Wetlander
Woops. I'm just about to start KoD in my re-read, and so I keep talking about the Perrin/Faile/Berelain thing from that level in the story. My apologies to everyone. I'll really try to scale back and stay a little closer to THIS re-read. In general.

But I can't take back what I already posted, so... sorry.
106. Lannis
Wetlander @ 103: I wholeheartedly agree! You have nicely summed up why I have been reading (and rereading) the series for the last 16 years. Thank you!

And to add, other than WoT, I lean towards realism when I'm looking for something to read... I haven't found anything (sorry, found LoTR too dry) that hits me the way RJ's work does. Very engaging. And just lotsa fun!

And WoT fans love to talk about it, too--I've been approached often by other fans when toting one of the books in public. It's a great community (back to that "no one here will argue" comment). :)
107. Swift100
I think "TaTas" is by far the best suggestion that rolls off the tongue (bad visual) as well as having the "Balls" does.

I can actually see us using that phrase much more than any of the other more vulgar (titiness--really?) or clinical (ovariness)words.

"But that girl, she just may have the TaTa's to pull it off!!"

"Man, she got some Tata's on her".

I think it can be used without suggestiong necessarily that the girl is huge or butch.

yeah, the best suggestions so far
108. Randalator

"Man, she got some Tata's on her".

I think I have a slight burning sensation on my cheek just from reading that...
109. Lsana
@97 Randalator,

Posting guards at strategic points in the Tower wouldn't necessarily be considered a move against the Blues. Min's comment suggests that what was done was done against the Blue Ajah specifically.

As to who would kill them, Danelle's "masons." I believe that's why they were brought in, almost certainly at Elaida's and Alviarin's initiative, to do things that the current tower guard would balk at.
110. Randalator

Trying to seal off the Blue Ajah in their quarters would be considered a move against the Blues and I believe that is exactely what happened

As Min said "It started when some men who came claiming to be masons — two or three hundred of them — tried to seize the Tower itself right after your arrest was announced."

There is no indication that they were after the Blue Ajah specifically. And having several hundred men on Tower grounds but outside the actual Tower, away from any Blue Sister, who attack the Tower itself as soon as the coup is done is very bad strategy if you mean to go against the Blues.

By that time they should already be inside attacking the Blues. Not to mention that an actual attack on any Ajah for that matter means that the Tower will inevitably break. That was never Elaida's intention, she merely meant to stomp on any resistance that might arise.

The masons could be part of Elaidas plan to secure the Tower for her. Maybe they were even supposed to confine the Blues to their quarters and actually made it there (though I doubt that). But they are not the Red Ajahs crack assassination squad out for the Blues. The location is off, the timing is off and openly murdering Aes Sedai will end with the direct opposite of what Elaida wants to achieve. Which is sort of a general theme with Elaida, granted, but she is bad at interpretation not downright stupid.
111. Rikka
vacation is killing me! Luckily by Frday I'll be back on track and one of the top 20 posts again! geeze this is a lot to keep up with! I don't know how the latecomers do it! XD

love the beginning of this book so bad but I don't have time for more depth :/

keep going strong leigh :D
Richard Fife
112. R.Fife
You people write alot. That is all. I am steadfast in my Faile love, but mainly cause I like fiesty women that can kick my butt to begin with.

Oh, and Lan actually annoys me sometimes, mainly with his slicked forward dyed black hair and skinny, low-hung jeans... Yes, I just said Lan is emo. An emo that can kill as easy as breathe, but an emo.

Save the TATAS!
113. gagecreedlives
Elaida didnt want to break the white tower but is it possible the masons were acting under Mesaana's orders, if not directly than through the black ajah to attack the blue ajah in an attempt to break the tower. Or at least distract the aes sedai from whats going on in the world.
114. Dr. Morganstien
I just have to say I think the boobsiness/ovariness/braidness/balls/chutzpah conversation is awesome.

I'm really sad that even though I thought of it I didn't think it was appropriate to put in my first post (@5) because from now on I'm totally gonna throw random ridiculous thoughts like that in.

This has totally cheered me up all day long, thanks everyone.
115. shintemaster
Wetlander summed up pretty much my feelings over the last 15+ years. The people are realistic and we care about them. The fact that you can be annoyed with a character for being too tarty or bigoted is testimant to this.
I too found LoTR to be unimpressive on this front. In fact, despite enjoying a great deal of it and being impressed with the scope of LoTR I never felt that Tolkien's writing was overly impressive. His mind, knack with language and sense of world building - absolutely. His characters and style - simple and not overly impressive.
100. Mark-S
"For the women, I'd vote for braidiness. It fits better with the WOT motif. Then you could say "Man that Nynaeve has a pair of brass braids"

But then again when men get angry, we don't go around tugging our... nevermind."

Too much visual imagery!

Agreeing with all about RJ's characterizations being too real and pulling us all in as if they are alive and kicking.

For some reason I feel that Elaida is very capable of plotting a murder of someone disagreeing with her policies.
117. RobMRobM
Argh. Just wrote a ten paragraph post and IE shutdown just as I was typing the verification code. Argh. Can't reproduce all thoughts but here are highlights.

1. Don't buy bubble of evil concept.

2. Like Faile through this entire book. Perrin acts like a weenie with his emo "I love you so much I have to drive you away to keep you safe" crap. Hate her later when she takes her anger at Berelain out of Perrin when he's blameless. Not looking forward to rereading those.

3. Like Berelain through this entire book. Hate her later when she keeps her Ogier's oath and chases Perrin even after he's happily married. Not looking forward to reread on those (too).

4. Fascinated by the blue ajah death discussion. Elaida couldn't have been stupid enough to try to kill the blues but didn't she see that trying to trap them and their warders would lead to significant death - and that trying to eliminate them from power after took over was guaranteed to break the tower and lead to rebellion. She get more stupid the more you think about what's she's done, thanks to the comments for pointing it out.

5. I liked Gawyn through first three books but RJ treats him abominably after that -- supporting Elaida is understandable, given his connection to her since his birth, but having him blame Rand without any evidence for his mother's death is not believable. Another part of series I'll re-read with pain.

6. What is proof in TGH that Suroth is a dark friend? Point me to it. I don't recall it.

7. Love the Nine Moons reference here. Did anyone go back on first read to Turak talks in TGH and figure out the Tuon, as heir, is likely to end up as Mat's wife? I sure didn't.

8. Finally, I like the craftmanship in chapter 1. Last third of TDR was all Tear all the time, and it's refreshing to open world back up in opening chapter to remind readers this is an epic story with lots of significant characters with stories to tell - that will be told.

118. Erdrick
RobM @ 117, point 6: "What is proof in TGH that Suroth is a dark friend? Point me to it. I don't recall it." It's fairly obvious in her conversation with Liandrin when they start discussing their "master" in TGH chapter 40:
"You will make no move against me, Liandrin. Our master would disapprove, as I am surely needed here more than you, and you fear him more than you fear being made damane."

Liandrin smiled, though white spots marked her cheeks with anger. "And you, Suroth, fear him more than you fear me burning you to a cinder where you stand."

"Just so. We both fear him. Yet even our master’s needs will change with time. All marath’damane will be leashed eventually. Perhaps I will be the one who places the collar around your lovely throat."

"As you say, Suroth. Our master’s needs will change. I will remind you of it on the day when you kneel to me."

Hey, I just posted in a current discussion! After over a month I finally caught up!!
119. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
RobMRobM @117
When Liandrin dupes the Girls into going with her, she already had a contact among the Seanchan High Blood. This was revealed to be Suroth and during their "conversation" numerous references are made to their common "master". We find out Liandrin is a darkfriend by the time the Girls get back to the tower. Go figure.
And about Gawyn, what really pisses me off is that if he ever confronts Rand about killing his mother, Rand would most likely be nuts enough to agree to his "responsibility" in doing nothing to save Morgase despite knowing she was under Rahvin's control. He'll actually admit he killed Morgase thru inaction. I think Morgase makes it onto Rand's list.
120. Wetlander
On the "blue ajah death discussion" concept, the orders to kill Aes Sedai could have come from Elaida or the Black Ajah (Mesaana via Alviarin), but in either case the rest of the AS(particularly the Salidar contingent) would see it as Elaida's responsibility no matter who ordered it or who did the killing. One: they don't know that Alviarin is Black. Two: they know that the BA is active, but not that it was involved in the coup. Three: as the ostensible leader and new Amyrlin, Elaida is arguably responsible for what was done whether she originally intended it or not. I really think Moria is right to want Elaida birched for each death. She started the coup and does everything she can to benefit by it. She IS responsible.

All in all, though, I suspect that the kill order more likely came from Alviarin/Mesaana either to eliminate those who were perceived as dangerous, or just to throw in some extra chaos. I don't think even Elaida would be quite that stupid, at least without some kind of inordinate influence. Possibly a little compulsion to issue the kill order?
121. Planeswalker
Uhmmm, to RStarr and Wetlander, and to all lady bloggers out there, my apologies. :)

I really didn't want to bash on to you ladies. I wanted to know the reasons why you hate or like these female characters in WoT. I, personally, adore/admire ALL (except Egee) the femme fatales in WoT. Yup! Including Lanfear, Nynaeve, Elayne, Min, Cadsuane, Berelaine, Faile or Aviendha and even Elaida! Really, they all have their own strengths and weaknesses and they portray a "real woman" character! **I really just don't like Egwene because all she does is fuck things up. Really now, did she do something admirable?**

Again, didn't mean to offend the ladies(Rebecca Starr and Wetlander) here. We all love WoT, right? :)
122. SteelBlaidd
All this talk about Berelain has been very interesting. I think a part of her fascination with trying to seduce Perrin is that he's probably the first male that she's ever pursued that she hasn't caught. Nothing excites a predator more that something running away. As I recall Faile observes that Berelain knows how to put the competition on a shelf when they are dealing with the Queen of Ghealdan. Given the nature of the Tearan court she may not realize that the Two Rivers folk would think less of him for having banged her, or that they would even care.

As she is one of the most thoroughly ruthless and amorally practical people on the "good guys" side I think it's entirely fitting that she appears to have been destined to fall in love with Galad poster boy for doing the "Right Thing."
123. Erdrick
I know I'll be bringing up a conversation from back in TDR part 5, but something mentioned by grayfox @ 15 gave me an insight into this discussion. When people were questioning how things seem to just work out for the supergirls without them being ta'veren, I fist thought about it being a residual effect of Rand's ta'verenness. From TGH chapter 47:
There was an odd feeling in his head, as if pieces of his life were in danger. Egwene was one piece, one thread of the cord that made his life, but there were others, and he could feel them threatened. Down there, in Falme. And if any of those threads was destroyed, his life would never be complete, the way it was meant to be. He did not understand it, but the feeling was sure and certain.
For Rand to succeed he needs these women, so perhaps his ta'veren twisting of the Pattern and fate will naturally extend to them.

But then I thought about how this is a Pattern, and human souls are threads in this pattern. Yes, ta'veren play a central, dominant, and vital role in shaping the weave, but other threads may play a role that shapes the Pattern perhaps in a more localized way. What I'm saying is that I think, rather than a person either being or not being ta'veren, everyone falls somewhere in a spectrum (somewhere from Joe Shmoe to the Chosen One). grayfox @ 15 makes an excellent point about the ta'veren seeing talent. How many ta'veren has Siuan had the opportunity to observe prior to meeting the three TR boys? I think people with the ta'veren seeing talent will, in addition to seeing the shining glow of actual ta'veren, be able to see an ever so faint glow around the great semi-ta'veren personages. In addition to her excuse that the supergirls are all she has, perhaps Siuan chooses her BA hunters because of a subtle glow she perceives around them. Yea, this is probably a stretch, and I doubt RJ even thought about this, but I like my rationalization.

PS: I'm glad people seem to have stopped using SG for the supergirls. We're overloading initialisms here; SG is for Shayol Ghul. I don't like the term supergirls either, but I'll admit it's useful.
124. birgit
I also think the "masons" were brought in by the Black Ajah. If they are from outside the Tower, how are they supposed to recognize who is Blue Ajah (unless they happen to wear their shawls)? Maybe Elaida has a special hate for Blues, but the Black wouldn't care which Ajah the victims are (as long as they are not Black).

Faile probably isn't too unhappy about Rolan's death because it solves the problem of what to do with the unwanted suitor now she has her husband back.
125. RobMRobM
Erdrick/Alreadyetc - Thanks. Forgot about the "our master" bit with Liandrin. I was wondering if I missed a reference Suroth was at the darkfriend social....

And Already - great point re Gawyn/Rand. I agree 100%. Rob
126. Lannis
Planeswalker @ 121: I can't speak for all the ladies out there, but I accept your apology. My husband and I have a rule that it's never too late to say you're sorry. Everyone makes mistakes, myself included, and it's incredibly easy to come off incorrectly in a blog/email, etc., when people can't hear your tone of voice.

Speaking up and apologizing takes, (ahem) chutzpah. Thank you. :)
John Massey
127. subwoofer
RFife@112 summed it up. Lot of talking.....but that is what this is about. Back to boobies.... I have always been partial to Large Tracks of Land(LToL). That accomplishes two purposes.
1. Will not get your jaw dislocated, or have to deal with sniffing or braid tugging- when talking about them, because unless they know you they think you are talking about their "real estate".
2. The promised land is actually -the promised land
ahhhhhh! S'ok, am getting married. Fiance thinks I've gone off the deep end too.
128. antman
Faile got the idea to ask Loiel about the ways after she heard Berlain's "ogier oath". I think of it more of a plot device to give Faile a way to go to the Two Rivers.

Just because she made the Oath, doesn't mean she will follow through, she could release herself from it if she wanted.

By the way I love the Perrin/Faile thing. I admit I never got it until KoD. The one thing that seems out there is their stubbornness, it seems too much sometimes. But it is Perrin's stubbornness that eventually finds Faile and CRUSHES the shaido and shows the Seanchan what he is made of.
129. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
The masons were most likely darkfriends brought in by the Black. If for no other reason that they were brought in to cause chaos at a specific time and then discarded afterwards. Very much reminiscent of the Dark One's orders at the later part of the series, "Let the Lord of Chaos rule". Elaida might not even have known about them until after the fact, although the remark that she did not even wait to see whether the Blues would stand for her does seem to indicate otherwise. We must remember though, that Aes Sedai can be mistaken. That the masons were there was obviously true. Who gave them orders is not. They simply might have attacked any sister on sight and this being the White Tower, sisters thought other sisters were giving them orders. Elaida was obviously not counting on the Tower being broken. This is one possible reason why she hated the Blues even more after the split. Because even when they were supposed to be beaten they chose to break the Tower.
130. Randalator

For some reason I feel that Elaida is very capable of plotting a murder of someone disagreeing with her policies.

And for a very good reason. Elaida ordered Galina to arrange for Gawyn to die in an Aiel attack. She is absolutely capable of having adversaries killed.

But in Gawyn's case we have a different situation, a different target and a very sneaky approach.
131. AlleyGirl

I don't "hate" all the WOT ladies but I don't love them all either. A few of my opinions :)

Lanfear was super-cool in theory and at first, but she quickly became annoying and repetitious and just didn't live up to her billing.

I HEART Nynaeve. She's awesome. Period.

Avi started out cool but turned kind of whiney once she started chasing Rand. Same with Elayne.

Egwene just seemed to change too much too quickly. I suppose she was forced into it, but she's never been a favorite.

I HEART Moiraine and Cadsuane, just not as much as Nynaeve.

Berlain is just too real, lol. We've all known and hated one like her in the past.
Chris Maurer
132. grayfox
Erdrick @123.

Interesting theory, but I doubt we'll ever know.

The whole Gawyn discussion: I agree that blaming Rand is somewhat ridiculous (and probably put in there by RJ to raise the level of conflict even among the good guys), but Gawyn becomes progressively more unhinged as the series goes on, but not necessarily unbelievable.

Putting yourself in his shoes (real world) - your sister (who you were raised to give your life to protect) is abducted once, then she is sent away by her boss a couple months after being returned to you and nobody will tell you where she is sent (and you're not allowed to see her). Then your mother is murdered. There's some serious PTSD going on and he is going off the deepend a little. As someone that has worked with individuals with trauma, I can understand his behavior... Gawyn just needs a good therapist.
133. Rebecca Starr
No offense taken Planeswalker! And I'm glad to know you like all the strong ladies in WoT :)
134. Siuanfan
Hi! I've been itching to comment for weeks but I was waiting until I got caught up.

To antman @ 72 - when the Tairen lords were asking if Mat was playing Maiden's Kiss 2 nights ago... wasn't that '2 nights ago' the night when the Stone fell? Maybe he lied to them because he didn't want them to know that he was the one who blew a hole in their 'impenetrable fortress'... heh.

About Berelain, I like her and her chutzpah and her willingness to do what it takes to keep her nation safe - she's the Cleopatra of the WoT world. If you were to ask me early on who I'd rather Perrin ended up with, it would have been her rather than Faile. His inner sense of decency would balance her 'do what you have to' mentality and I think they'd have made a better couple than Perrin's "I just want to love you" to Faile's *snarlgrowl*. However, I kind of lost respect for Berelain later on when she JUST WOULDN'T STOP regardless of how her actions are affecting Perrin's life. If she actually wanted him and was trying to fight for him, I could understand that, but she doesn't want him, she just wants to spite Faile.

Having said that, it Faile were to... I dunno... fall off a cliff, I wouldn't be opposed to a Perrin/Berelain relationship. There would be something sort of poetic about three Two Rivers farmboys ending up married to the rulers of Andor, Seanchan, and Mayene.

Last thing I want to say for now - someone said Mat is universally adored. I have to say that Mat was always my least favorite character, and it wasn't until my third re-read that I gained a little respect for him, but even then I didn't like him at all until after he became the leader of the Band. Prior to that, he was the only character willing to throw an entire childhood's worth of friendship out the window because Rand could channel. The others were freaked out, but supported him, Mat spent the first 5 books being annoyingly jerky - to women, to Rand, to everyone. I thought he got better after Rhuidean, but even after that he was desperately trying to escape Rand all the way back to Cairhien. It wasn't until he was forced into leadership that he showed he did well at it and could act respectably. At least when Perrin had fearful thoughts about Rand showed internal remorse at thinking about his friend that way, and Rand regretted every time he had to be mean or cold or use someone. Mat never did.

Loving the re-reads, I just started Crown of Swords myself, and I really enjoy seeing everyone's comments step-by-step. I find that so many people pick up on a LOT of things I completely missed (which accounts for my being completely perplexed by what's going on in books 7-10).
135. kantoka
@66--- rock on, and good point. Though I am a woman myself, I see the trend of female readers being a little harsh on those stronger Characters like Berelain and Faile. Don't know why that is... call me a crazy, but I tend to relate to Faile's characteristics the most out of any of the female's in the series. (Though, I can't channel, so naturally...duh).

@ 71--- I agree whole heartedly. And now I am on my third re-read of the series right now (tFoH to be exact).... I still feel the first four books of the series are by far the best. Just, hands down... sorry guys. Particularly tSR, which is just simply my favorite book overall. Leigh you said it best at the end of tDR.... Book 3 is the last in series where we see all the character's "come together" at the end with a sense of purpose for each of their paths. Sad to see they stay seperated throughout the rest of the series.... maybe A Memory of Light will redeem that problem...=)
136. Egglie
Well I am very late so apologies to going back to some discussions that everyone else has left behind...

jsherry@10 re: siuan and prophesy. Siuan just does not get it - the point with the Murandian border lord is that he is killed by a Andoran farmer whilst raiding for cattle. If siuan had let Gareth Bryne campaign in the area to stop cattle raids like he wanted to then the guy would probably not have been there to get shot.
Siuan (and Moiraine) consistently try to engineer the fulfillment of prophesy and never seem to recognise that when Rand goes against them it creates the very conditions that lead to him actually doing what he needs to. Moiraine seems to be a bit more successful as time goes on.

The scene with Suroth has a lot of parallels to Jachim Carridin, she is not sure whether to follow her oaths as a DF or to act as her culture dictates. She didn't need to be so mysterious but I suppose its just a habit you get into when you are part of a secret evil society.

I am not bothered by the bubbles of evil, I remember that I was a bit dubious about it the first time I read it and concerned that it would be a convenient explanation that was never referred to again. I am glad they happen in later books. They are some pretty cool episodes so I am ok with the idea. (There are a few plot devices later that I could do without but I will hold off the rant until we get to that bit)

Wetlander - You have said a bunch of things that I agree with, about Berelain/Faile and about RJs characters and writing in general. I won't repeat it all but I am glad you were there to say it:-)

Right - I am off to think about what I can achieve by shamelessly flaunting my boobs!
137. Wetlander
Plainswalker and others: I was actually glad for the opportunity to clarify that for ME at least, it isn't the strength of character, it's particular personality traits. Truth to tell, I actually like most of the women, and the first "diatribe" I started to write was in response to the continual ragging on the girls. :-) I started in to try and defend their actions via motivation, character, upbringing, etc. I realized that it would be about 20 pages long, just about the same time I started thinking about how funny it was that we were arguing so hard about the behavior and personality of these completely fictitious characters.

So I too have to apologize if I came off harshly in my first response, because I really enjoyed the subsequent thinking.


(So, anyone NOT like Rhuarc? Anyone? No hands yet?)
138. lightnessdarkness
***RAISES HANDS*** I don't really like Rhuarc...
But I don't hate him. Don't really like Lan either.

IMHO, Matt and Min are the best characters.

I also consider TSR to be among the best in the series (alongside WoT, LoC, and KoD).

Also kinda glad the storylines go their own way because as the series progresses (post-Dumai's Wells), I really start to hate who/what Rand becomes, so when the texts branch out and spend large chunks of time following the lives and adventures of people other than him, I'm pretty happy.
Sean Jones
139. PersonOfTheDragons
I dunno if anyone is still following this thread, but the wormwood question was never really answered. Someone said that wormwood is used therapeutically as well as for absinthe, so it couldn't be all bad.

These things are true, but it isn't as innocent as all that. Wormwood IS used in herbal medicine. It is used to kill internal parasites, it's a mild poison. It kills slowly. You take it for long enough to kill the parasites, and then you stop taking it so it doesn't harm you.

It's also used in absinthe, and is the reason absinthe was illegal for so long in a good portion of the world. It's the part that makes absinthe not just another liquor and makes you trip a little.

Wormwood is a poison, and a slow acting poison always seemed to be a pretty good alias for Padan Fain to me.
James Hogan
140. Sonofthunder
The part with Rand sitting with Callandor across his knees and trying to remember a shepherd named Rand al'Thor...mmm. One of my favorite paragraphs in the whole series, hands down. Heart-wrenching.
141. a_m_m_b
@ elroyskimms: "We all have different expectations and upbringings and unless you speak up, you will spend the rest of your life (or until you hire an attorney) with your expectations not being met. In the real world, as in Randland, if you do not tell your spouse what you want, you will not get it. From one married man, to all married women, TELL US WHAT YOU BLOODY WANT OR ELSE QUIT TUGGING YOUR BRAID AND FOLDING YOUR ARMS UNDER YOUR AMPLE BOSSOM WHEN YOU DON'T GET IT."

dead on.

speaking as a married woman doing her damnedest to stop, think, communicate so's to avoid a 2nd divorce. . .this goes out to all married men also!
diane heath
142. jadelollipop
I am re reading The Shadow Rising at this point and one thing I have noticed is how more annoying/selfish Faile is from my original reading even the re read last year. I noticed it in Dragon Reborn but her lack of awareness that Perrin does not "like gaudy things" ie he is fine as an ordinary guy not a high lord seems more pronounced to me this go around.
143. Netherwynd
@gern I think the vision of the Aes Sedai with the collar has to do with what happens in a much later book. I don't want to say too much and give things away.
145. VandalThor
-Jadelollipop@142-just because faile wants perrin to quit wearing flannel and t-shirts doesn't mean shes pushy. Hes not a black smith. He is a lord whether he wants to be or not. The sooner he starts dressing like one the sooner he accepts it and stops moping around letting moraine boss him and worrying about stuff. Also shes like if he wants to be with her he better start dressing and acting like a frickin high lord. totally understandable faile rocks. also i like ur name.
146. Divil The Bother
Just thought I'd mention one thing as I don't see it anywhere else in the comments.

Aeil may be the best thing since sliced bread in terms of fighting skills etc but I have to say they seem to be very unreliable as bodyguards. From what Berelain says all you have to do to get to Rand while he's asleep is dress in a nightgown and say the Lord Dragon summoned you. They don't even check to see whether he did- just send her on in! (with a snigger no doubt). Who needs a grey man! Do they not realise that he's a target for every Foresaken/darkfriend in Randland??
147. sadface
"At the time Min has her viewing, there is no way to avert the coup." - this is correct
"Elaida has already decided to do it" - this is incorrect.

We know Min's viewings always come true, but we also know from Eladia's POV that she hasn't thought of the coup yet, and in fact have good reason to believe the coup is the BA's idea, not Eladia's. This may seem nit picky, but the implication is the future is set before Eladia even decides on a course of action.

You could even make a compelling arguement that Min's arrival is the event which codified these specific visions - maybe even to the point where you could say her having the visions caused the visions to come true. The explanation there goes as such; the visions put Min in a hurry to see Suian, but if she hadn't insisted on seeing Suian right away would Eladia not have seen them in a private meeting and therefor never start the train of thought that led her to meet with Alviarin and plan the coup? You also probably have several events here becoming codified all at the same time - the tower split, Sheriam's beatings in the rebel camp, and the Seanchan attack. Were all of these events codified when Min saw them, or is she just getting a glimpse of things that were already set in stone? Did they all become set in stone at the same time?

We also have other prophetic devices we see in action; Fortelling, various TA, the Finns,the worlds-of-if, and Dreaming; as well a bucketful of prophetic texts that our charactors have lived with for centuries. Min's viewings seem to be definite, set in stone, will happen prophecy, and Fortelling seems to fit into this category as well, but the TA, the Finns, the worlds-of-if, and Dreaming seem to show possible futures. We are supposed to believe that the Prophecies of the Dragon also fall into the second camp.

From all of that we can say that the future is not set in stone, but at some point before it is woven out it becomes set in stone, and the amount of time between an event becoming set in stone and it actually occuring is probably not fixed.

How is this reflected in the worlds-of-if? Presumably they can't exist, showing what didn't happen in the real world until the real world is set in stone, but then how are they are used to show possible futures? Are all possible futures laid out and then the pattern just picks one?

Is this a paradox? Can RJ have it both ways?
Alice Arneson
148. Wetlandernw
sadface - I don't have time right now to give this the full response it deserves, but we've been told a couple of things that pertain. One, Min has some incomprehensible ability to see the Pattern itself as it will be. No one knows quite how it works, but what she sees always happens. There are two "sort-of" exceptions to this. One is the rare viewing that switches back and forth between two possibilities (Gawyn & Egwene) and the if/else viewing (Perrin/Rand). The other more recent exception is that viewings of anything beyond the Last Battle are now up in the air - if the DO breaks free and destroys the Pattern, what she has seen can't happen.

Min's viewings are in a completely different category than Dreaming, which we're told shows possibilities; Dreaming is extremely useful in that when the Dreamer knows what it means, there is a chance to prepare for or even avert the event.

IIRC, Foretelling is like Min's viewings; they are always true, although not necessarily the way the Foreteller thinks they are. I believe the Finn abilities are also similar; what they say is true, but again, not necessarily the way you might think.

By "worlds-of-if" are you referring to the worlds accessible through the Portal Stones? If so, my understanding is that a) nobody really understands what they are but b) best guess is that they are alternate possibilities - worlds the way the "real world" would have been had some event swung a different direction. (E.g. - a world the way Randland would have looked if the Trollocs had won the Trolloc Wars.) They aren't very useful in terms of seeing the future, and only useful in evaluating the past insofar as one can guess what the swing point was.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by "various TA." Are you refering to ter'angreal? At the moment, I can't think of any that give prophetic hints, so I can't comment on that... or if you meant something else, I missed it.

As far as "can RJ have it both ways?" - Well, it's his world, and he can have it any way he wants. ;)
149. sadface
Maybe I am assuming too much, but I approach this whole thing with the view that RJ created the physics and meta-physics in his world such that they are a complete and coherant system, and understanding those "laws" is the key to understanding the story.

Our understanding of Min's talent, Fortelling, and Dreaming are pretty much in lockstep. By various TA I did mean ter'angreal. My last read through was about 5 years ago, but off hand I can think of a couple semi-prophetic TA - the Acceptatron (very vaugely prophetic), the columns of Rhudian from Avi and forward (which does show the world post the last battle), and the rings in Rhudian that Wise Ones visit on their second trip (and Moiraine visits in tSR.)

The world-of-if are indeed the portal stone worlds, and I agree that we don't know exactly how they work, but I think they are a key piece to this puzzle. I believe that the worlds-of-if all share TAR, which is why TAR is so adaptable - that is also why I believe the Bore is in TAR. I also believe that Dreaming, the TA, and possibly the Finns (who I do not believe are infalliable) work by making use of the worlds-of-if via TAR. Rand and his party used the portal stones in tGH to see the entire lives in these alternate realities, so clearly they have a vauge prophetic ability, or perhaps an anti-prophetic ability? Regardless, they can show alternate ways the future could have turned out, so doesn't that say something about how far ahead the future is set in stone? And if any part of the future is set in stone, why isn't all of it? I am asking questions, but I do believe (per RJ) that this turning of the wheel the pattern is in real danger, and the DO can be released, but I want to understand why and how.
Jonathan Levy
150. JonathanLevy
147. sadface
I think your distinction between "The Tower Coup can no longer be avoided" and "Elaida has decided to do it" is correct.
The explanation there goes as such; the visions put Min in a hurry to see Suian, but if she hadn't insisted on seeing Suian right away would Eladia not have seen them in a private meeting and therefor never start the train of thought that led her to meet with Alviarin and plan the coup
This, I think, is also correct, because it is confirmed by a Dream of Egwene's - she sees Min unknowingly springing a huge trap, and walking out of it unharmed.
From all of that we can say that the future is not set in stone, but at some point before it is woven out it becomes set in stone, and the amount of time between an event becoming set in stone and it actually occuring is probably not fixed.
I agree with this as well. I think there's an excellent example of this in TDR:6. After Rand runs away towards Tear - and not before - Min goes to Perrin and tells him of all sorts of visions she's had (Falcon & Hawk, Aielman in a cage, Tinker with a sword) This matches the pattern you described perfectly. Before Rand ran off to Tear, this future was not Foretold. As soon as he made that choice, it became set in stone.

There's another interesting example with Nynaeve - Min has a vision of Lan's ring, but this vision appears only after their relationship has progressed (TGH:43).

This has interesting implications for the theory that in the earlier books Min's viewings were not limited to future events, strictly speaking, but also significant past events which reflect deep elements of a person's identity. In particular, the viewing of Lan in TEotW:15: "Seven ruined towers around his head, and a babe in a cradle holding a sword". If foretold events are not predestined until certain triggers occur, then how likely is it that this is a vision of Lan's future restoration of Malkier and the birth of his son? It's not logically impossible, of course, but in my opinion it's very strained.

149. sadface
the rings in Rhudian that Wise Ones visit on their second trip
The Wise Ones visit the rings in their first trip, and go through the columns on their second trip.

Other than that I think Wetlandernw gave an excellent summary of the subtle differences between the different types of foretellings we know about.
153. sadface
There may have been some details that slipped my memory, or I missed altogether, but I understand the differences. Essentially we have two camps; definite and indefinte prophecy. Min (with a few minor exceptions) and Fortelling (probably) are definte, Dreaming, information from Portal Stones, and T'A are indefinte. Taking this a step further, I believe definte prophecy comes from reading the pattern, and indefinite prohecy come from exploiting the Portal Stone worlds (directly or indirectly) - definte and indefinte prophecy work from two completely different mechanisms.

Where the Finns fall is unclear, but they are thrid completely differenet mechanism and they tell the future by reading the past. My understanding is they work by rooting through a person's head. They feed off of something, wether it is memories or emotions or something else I am not sure. Regradless, they collect thoughts and memories, and can hold them for a long time, but I can't say if it is longer then a turning of the wheel. Their prophetic ability comes from filtering and giving back this information, wether or not they are definte or indefinte depends on how long they hold information?

I don't care so much about the different kinds of prophecy as what it tell as about how the Pattern is created, and the questions it leads us too. Are there infinte possible futures? So when does an indefinte future become a definite future and how? Min obviously can't see these futures before they become definte, but does she see them when they become definte, or have they been definite for a while and she is just seeing them? Is the Creator using the Portal Stone worlds to check out various futures, and then picking the one he wants? Is the danger we have here that the Dark One will pick the future, or maybe even destory possible futures so that the Creator can't pick them?

I don't know if I buy that the Last Battle will be a physical confrontation between Rand and tDO. I do expect there will be a physical confrontation, at least for the sake of a good book, but I expect the tDO's victory hinges on Rand making some choice or performing some action, and tDO is trying to force the action. So, what might that descion/action be?
Alice Arneson
154. Wetlandernw
Just a couple more comments here - I got sidetracked the other day and didn't get back to this like I intended.

My understanding is that the 'Finn live in what could be described as another dimension, at least in so far as the "rules" are different - physics doesn't work quite the same there. RJ called it a "parallel world" (the same description he used for the Ogier world) as opposed to a "mirror world" which he used to describe the worlds accessed through the portal stones. Your theory regarding how the 'Finn "see" the future is interesting, but not verifiable; the only thing we know for sure is that it's not the same as what Min does.

As far as the ter'angreal, again we don't know very much about what they do or how they work. We're given a little bit about the Acceptatron; while they claim that the test reflects "what was, what is, and what will be" (or however they say it), we don't know that it really is in any way prophetic. I might have to do a double-take on that if it turns out that Nynaeve actually recognizes Sharina Melloy as the Sharina who was her adviser in her third test, but for now I don't think we can claim it as prophetic.

The Rhuidean ringreal is obviously able to show the future, but that's even harder to talk about. We know it shows real futures, with possiblities and decsions to be made, but there's no one there to control it. We have nothing to tell us how it works, but it seems to be true "prophecy" in a sense.

I still don't quite know what I believe about the way Aviendha used the columns the second time. Most of fandom seems to believe that it's either true prophecy or a possible future; as near as I can tell, Team Jordan hasn't revealed any more than what is in the text as to it's validity.

Personally, I don't buy the theory that the mirror worlds are in any way prophetic. I think the best info we have shows that they reflect the might-have-beens of the "real" world - with emphasis on the past tense.

As to your last question.... well, that's the big question we'll answer in January, eh? :)
Terry McNamee
155. macster
@sadface: Some very interesting conjectures and theories! But other than what Wetlander and JonathanLevy have addressed, I am not sure what more can be said...much of what you say is either unconfirmed mysteries we may never learn about, or questions of philosophy and metaphysics which lie at the heart of the series and thus can't really be answered until AMoL. So I'll just observe one thing about what you've referenced: while we don't know if the ter'angreal really do tell the future and if so to what extent, it seems fairly clear that both the Acceptatron and the ter'angreal where the one hundred weaves to become Aes Sedai are performed are connected to/work in the same manner as TAR. If your theory that the Portal Stone worlds and TAR are related to how prophecies other than Min's viewings and Foretellings work (and possibly the Finn) is true, then it may be that the ter'angreal can sometimes reveal the future. If so, though, it only seemed to work when Egwene had the stone ring there to create the resonance. This would seem to suggest you need two TAR ter'angreal to produce predictive prophecies--except we know the rings in Rhuidean do tell true futures. Of course we have no idea what other ter'angreal might be in Rhuidean to resonate with the rings...

@JonathanLevy: Whatever Jordan said to the contrary, I too have always thought certain viewings of Min can reference the past as well as the future. As you say, even if Malkier does get restored and Lan has a son to pass his sword on to, why would a vision of that appear around him long before any kind of relationship had formed between him and Nynaeve? Unless, of course, the future was set in stone much sooner than we thought... Another example of past/future viewings would be Thom with a man juggling fire and the White Tower. This could be viewed as the past (Owyn channeling, and Thom's subsequent run-in with the Tower/the Reds thanks to trying to save his nephew) or the future (Mat with the fireworks, and either Nynaeve/Elayne or Moiraine as his White Tower connection). Food for thought whether Jordan made a mistake/changed how he used the viewings after TEotW, or if we have been misinterpreting them all along.
Robert Crawley
156. Alphaleonis
Did anyone else notice in the beginning of the first chapter, the wind originated in the Caralain Grass and blew northwest to Tar Valon? Tar Valon is northeast of the Caralain Grass.
William McDaniel
157. willmcd
Like many others who've already spoken, TSR is my favorite book in the series. The time spent exploring Aiel subculture, the best chapters in the entire series (Rand's trip through the glass columns), the awesomeness of Perrin's plotline in the Two Rivers, the shock of the White Tower schism. The series is mature now, and the freshness of the "setting out on an adventure, discovering a new world" of TEotW (my second-favorite book), has been replaced with a pervading melancholy of vanishing glory that Mr. Tolkien established as so typical of the fantasy genre.

Plus, it is the last book to have self-contained story arcs (three of 'em; Rand in the Waste, Perrin in the Two Rivers, Nynaeve and Elayne's journey to Tanchico). Future books would not be able to have this "stand-alone" quality in addition to an ever-expanding large story around it.

I wanted to comment on the title of this book, "The Shadow Rising". Obviously, it references the prophecy in the epigraph. But I remember being puzzled by it on my first reading. In what way was the shadow rising? Rand and the other protagonists seemed to be doing a pretty good job of systematically eliminating the Forsaken and bringing more nations under political control; it looked for all the world like it was the Light that was rising, not the Shadow.

I was a pretty dense reader at that time, being 18 years old and having really only read "The Hobbit", Weis & Hickman's Dragonlance series, and David Eddings up to that point. In most of those books, there are "good guys" and "bad guys" (though to be fair, W&H's protagnoists are flawed), and the good guys win, oftentimes without appreciable losses. I wasn't prepared, and often glazed over, the moral ambiguity and shades of grey of Jordan's world, and I didn't see how the tensions were rising and people were distrusting each other.

The Shadow's rise is there, but you have to look a little more carefully. The chaos in Cairhien, the eroding of Andor (arguably Randland's most stable nation) under Rahvin, the imminent return of the Seanchan. In this book we will see the Tower coup, and the events leading up to the end of Lord of Chaos, where different presumably light-aligned groups go to war against each other with no Shadowspawn present. This was made clear to me when I read an interview with Jordan from much later, where he pointed out that Rand was like a boxer who'd been badly mauled throughout the fight, and all the points were against him, and a surprise knockout was really his only chance to win.

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