Mar 25 2009 4:31pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Shadow Rising, Part 2

Fear my flu-fighting fabulousness, friends, for here is your Wheel of Time Re-read, on schedule and under budget! Go me!

...Although Friday’s might still be delayed. Sorry, guys, still playing catch-up here. I swear, I die for like ONE DAY and everything goes nuts when I get back. Okay, so it was more like three. But still. This is so not in the resurrection handbook, y’all.

But all blasphemy aside, here! Have a Part 2 of The Shadow Rising, Chapters 3-8!

Previous entries (or, as I just typed it, “pervious entires”) can be found here. SPOILERS DUH.

And now, the post!

Chapter 3: Reflection

What Happens
Perrin and Faile head through the Stone, Perrin trying to hide his eyes from the servants and Defenders they pass. He wishes they wouldn’t look at him like they were scared of him, and Faile explains that they are worried he will get them in trouble for being out and about at this hour, since this is the time they can go about their off-duty pursuits without running into lords. Perrin is a little surprised that Faile knows so much about it, but supposes that as the daughter of a wealthy merchant she must have had at least some servants herself. He dismisses the matter and concentrates on what he’s going to say to Rand. They emerge into the anteroom to Rand’s chambers to find the High Lord Torean and his bodyguards there. The guards jump when they see Perrin and seem ready to defend themselves, and Perrin notes that they and Torean smell of fear. Torean greets them politely, but his eyes travel up and down Faile’s figure in a way that Perrin does not like at all. Perrin replies civilly, or so he assumes, but after Torean takes off Faile upbraids Perrin for being so cold.

“He was looking at you as if he wanted to dandle you on his knee. And I do not mean like a father.”

She sniffed dismissively. “He is not the first man ever to look at me. If he found the nerve to try more, I could put him in his place with a frown and a glance. I do not need you to speak for me, Perrin Aybara.” Still, she did not sound entirely displeased.

They discuss the odd jumpiness of Torean’s guards, but do not come to any conclusions. Then Berelain appears from the direction of Rand’s rooms, almost running. To show Faile he could be courteous if he wished, Perrin sweeps her a bow, but Faile barely dips her knee. Perrin misses this as he registers that Berelain smells absolutely terrified. He stares after her, and Faile asks softly if he’s filling his eyes. Perrin starts to explain, but stops as Torean steps out further down the hall and intercepts Berelain; Perrin overhears something about overstepping her place and offering her protection, and Berelain says something sharp in reply, pulls herself free and leaves. Torean notices Perrin watching, and departs as well. Faile says Berelain hunts the sun, and she thinks she will go to bed instead of meeting the Lord Dragon. Perrin doesn’t understand why she’s angry, and says so, and Faile gazes at him and softens. She tells him it is his innocence she loves most of all, and tells him to go on. She kisses him and leaves a confused Perrin behind. Perrin goes on to the anteroom, not bothering to stop for the fifty Defenders posted there, and comes to the doors to Rand’s chamber, where he is halted by Bain, Chiad, and four other Maidens. Bain tells him she may not let him by, and he tells her he has to see Rand. Spears appear at his throat, but he ignores them, picking up Bain and setting her down out of the way.

Chiad’s spear only needed her to breathe on it to draw blood, but after one startled widening of dark blue eyes, Bain abruptly took hers away and grinned. “Would you like to learn a game called Maidens’ Kiss, Perrin? You might play well, I think. At the very least you would learn something.” One of the others laughed aloud. Chiad’s spearpoint left his neck.

Perrin says another time, perhaps, and Bain says it’s his head; Rand has already chased out better company than Perrin. He thinks she must mean Berelain, but before he can think about this he looks inside and gasps at the wreckage, and at Rand slumped against a bedpost with Callandor across his knees, bathed in blood. Perrin orders the Maidens to get Moiraine immediately, and Rand tells Perrin to shut the door. Perrin frowns, but obeys, and then tries to staunch the wound in Rand’s side, not knowing what else to do. He asks Rand what he did, and why he tried to kill Perrin too, but Rand replies it wasn’t him, but one of the Forsaken, it had to be. He adds that Mat and Perrin must wish he’d never been born. Perrin asks what he is going to do, and Rand says feverishly, what everyone least expects. Rhuarc enters, and tells them the guard captain outside sent word to his commander, and now rumors are flying all over the Stone, but he had the truth of it from Berelain. Rand is amused, and says he guesses the Lord Dragon does not rule Mayene, and Rhuarc replies that he thinks she only told Rhuarc and no one else. Moiraine and Lan enter, and Lan looks at Rand and comments he thought Rand was old enough to shave by himself by now; Rhuarc adds that he is young yet, and will learn. Moiraine gives them both withering looks and goes to Rand; Perrin moves out of the way as she tells Rand in a coldly angry tone that at least he is alive, and to try to touch the Source. Rand asks why, and Perrin thinks Moiraine seems on the edge of an outburst, but takes a breath and merely explains that if he can use the Power to replace what is taken from him when Healed, it will mean much less exhaustion afterward. Rand tries for a moment, then confesses he can’t concentrate enough to do it. Moiraine says it will have to be the old way, then, and takes his head in her hands.

Rand lurched to his feet with a roaring gasp, as if all the breath were being squeezed from his lungs, back arching so his head nearly tore free of her grasp. One arm flung wide, fingers spread and bending back so far it seemed they must break; the other hand clamped down on Callandor’s hilt, the muscles of that arm knotting visibly into cramps. He shook like cloth caught in a windstorm. Dark flakes of dried blood fell, and bits of glass tinkled onto the chest and floor, forced out of cuts closing up and knitting themselves together.

When it is over, Rand slumps again, and Moiraine tries to take Callandor from him to replace on its stand, but Rand will not let her. Irritated, she turns to examining the wound in his side, which is a tender scar again, even though all his other injuries are gone. She murmurs that it still does not respond.

“That is the one that will kill me, isn’t it?” he asked her softly, then quoted, “ ‘His blood on the rocks of Shayol Ghul, washing away the Shadow, sacrifice for man’s salvation.’ ”

“You read too much,” she said sharply, “and understand too little.”

“Do you understand more? If you do, then tell me.”

“He is only trying to find his way,” Lan said suddenly. “No man likes to run forward blindly when he knows there is a cliff somewhere ahead.”

Perrin is startled that Lan would openly disagree with Moiraine in public, but thinks that he and Rand had been practicing the sword a lot lately. Moiraine ignores Lan and says Rand should be moved to another bedchamber, but Rand tells her he will sleep here; he will not be chased anymore, even out of a bed.

Tai’shar Manetheren,” Lan murmured.

This time even Rhuarc looked startled, but if Moiraine heard the Warder compliment Rand, she gave no sign of it. She was staring at Rand, her face smooth but thunderheads in her eyes. Rand wore a quizzical little smile, as if wondering what she would try next.

Perrin starts edging toward the door, thinking if Moiraine and Rand are going to have a showdown he does not want to be there for it, but Moiraine snaps for him to stay still, and Perrin stops. She asks Rand to explain what happened, and he does so, leaving out any mention of Berelain. He asks if perhaps Sammael could have done this from Illian, but Moiraine says no, not even if he held Callandor, and anyway she does not think this was a Forsaken. She explains:

“As the seals holding the Dark One’s prison weaken,” she said after a time, “it may be inevitable that a... miasma... will escape even while he is still held. Like bubbles rising from the things rotting on the bottom of a pond. But these bubbles will drift through the Pattern until they attach to a thread and burst.”

Perrin wants to know if that means things like this will start happening to everyone, and Moiraine says eventually, perhaps, but for now it is far more likely to happen to ta’veren. Rand asks if Mat is all right, then, and Moiraine isn’t sure, but Rhuarc says he saw Mat earlier, and he’s fine, and also not headed to the stables. Bain and Chiad come in with wash water and towels, and explain that the maid refused to enter, and Moiraine tells Rand he cannot afford to sit still for much longer; the Tairens are getting used to him, and one does not fear what one is used to as much as something new. Rand tells her not to harry him, and asks everyone to leave; he will talk to Moiraine tomorrow, but he will decide, not her. As Perrin leaves, he can hear Rand trying to make Bain and Chiad go away as well, and they cheerfully refusing. Outside, he remarks to Rhuarc that the Aiel do not bow and scrape for Rand as the Tairens do, or call him Lord Dragon. Rhuarc replies that the Dragon is a wetlander prophecy; the Aiel’s is He Who Comes With The Dawn. Perrin says he thought they were the same thing, and Rhuarc says Rand has yet to prove that. Perrin asks what happens if he doesn’t prove it, and Rhuarc refuses to answer. Perrin thinks of the Stone empty of Aiel, and shivers.

Bleagh, the beginning of the Berelain/hawk – Faile/falcon thing. At least this time Faile recognizes that Perrin literally doesn’t know what she’s talking about; now, why can’t she keep recognizing that? Sigh.

I left it out of the summary, but Perrin makes an observation about Moiraine that I think is spot-on:

[Moiraine] nodded as if she had expected nothing else. Perrin shook his head; she was so used to hiding her real thoughts, she seemed to veil them out of habit.

Old habits are hard to break, and after so long having to be, essentially, a covert operative, hiding her true feelings and employing misdirection is just automatic for Moiraine, whether it’s necessary or not. This is to her detriment, in my opinion; most of the reason she almost loses Rand in TSR is because he doesn’t trust a word she says.

I remember getting so annoyed by Perrin and everyone else immediately assuming that Rand had blown up the room by himself, instead of recognizing it as an attack, but then again, which is the more reasonable to assume – that a man destined to go mad has, well, gone mad, or that a random bubble of evil came and attacked him with mirrors?

It might be an interesting experiment (if a completely unethical one) to set up a scenario where you put a perfectly sane person in a situation where everyone around him treats him as insane; after a while, would he come to believe everyone else is right?

Chapter 4: Strings

What Happens
Thom sits in his room in the servants’ quarters, writing an anonymous note supposedly to Lady Alteima that he intends to leave where High Lord Teodosian will find it, and jumps at a knock on his door. He hurriedly hides what he’s doing and limps over to open the door. To his surprise, it’s Mat, and Thom says he thought Mat would be busy helping noblemen lose money.

“They didn’t want to gamble any more tonight,” Mat said sourly, dropping onto the three-legged stool that served as a second chair. His coat was undone and his hair disheveled. His brown eyes darted around, never resting on one spot long, but their usual twinkle, suggesting that the lad saw something funny where no one else did, was missing tonight.

Thom frowns, but chooses to pretend that Mat’s visit at this hour is nothing out of the ordinary, and offers to pull out the Stones board. Mat says it is too late for games, and soon tells Thom what happened, and that he is thinking of leaving Tear. Thom is chilled, and wonders why he himself hasn’t left Tear long since. But if he had, there would be no one to help Rand deal with the Tairens except Moiraine, and while Thom has no doubt that Moiraine, as an Aes Sedai and Cairhienin to boot, is more than up to the task, he is also sure that her help only comes with strings attached to the White Tower. Thom thinks he is a fool to stay mixed up in this just because of something that happened over fifteen years ago; maybe he should leave. He says to Mat that Mat’s been talking about leaving ever since he got here; Mat glares and says he still means to, and invites Thom to come with him. Thom asks, if Mat means to go, why hasn’t he yet? Mat comes up with a number of flimsy excuses, and Thom asks if he has considered that it might be – Mat interrupts to say that if Thom mentions ta’veren, he’s leaving.

Thom changed what he had been going to say. “—that maybe it’s because Rand is your friend and you don’t want to desert him?”

“Desert him!” The boy jumped up, kicking over the stool. “Thom, he is the bloody Dragon Reborn! At least, that’s what he and Moiraine say. Maybe he is. He can channel, and he has that bloody sword that looks like glass. Prophecies! I don’t know. But I know I would have to be as crazy as these Tairens to stay.”

Mat asks if Moiraine could be keeping him here with the Power; he keeps getting this strange feeling, like something big is going to happen, whenever he thinks too much about leaving, and suddenly he’s made an excuse to stay another day. Doesn’t that sound like Aes Sedai work to Thom? It sounds like ta’veren to Thom, but he doesn’t say so, instead suggesting that Mat ask Nynaeve for advice. Mat does not think this would be a good idea.

Mat shook his head. “All these holes in memory. Sometimes I think if I could just fill them in, I’d know... Burn me, I don’t know what I’d know, but I know I want to know it. That’s a twisty riddle, isn’t it?”

Thom says he’s not sure even an Aes Sedai could help with that, and a gleeman certainly can’t. Mat jumps up and declares he’s leaving right this second; Thom says, in the middle of the night? Surely the morning would do. He invites Mat to play a game until then, and Mat hesitates and then sits back down, agreeing that the morning is soon enough. Thom thinks of how easily Mat is diverted, and concludes Mat is snared by a stronger ta’veren than himself:

A greatness he refused to recognize clinging to his back, and an Aes Sedai intent on keeping him for one of her pets. The lad was well and truly caught.

He wonders if he, Thom, isn’t also caught in that net. They begin to play, and Thom decides that if he is caught, it would be worth it to keep one man free of Aes Sedai, and make good on that fifteen-year-old debt, and is suddenly strangely content.

As always, I enjoy seeing the boys from an outside perspective, especially a sympathetic one. Poor Mat, he needs to get his twinkle back!

Thom loses some of his coolness once he becomes little more than an adjunct to Nynaeve and Elayne later on, or at least that’s how I remember it, but here he’s still the Cool Old Guy. It’s also really nice that Thom seems to be the only person on Rand’s side for more or less unselfish motives; yes, he’s atoning for what happened to Owyn, but that hardly rates as “selfish”, and it’s not a motive that’s angling for a material reward, certainly. Even Moiraine has a prize in mind, if the highly noble one of, you know, saving the world and all that. Thom just wants to help Rand because in his view no one else will. Not even Mat and Perrin, who while on Rand’s “side”, are a little too plagued with youth, uncertainty, and a wealth of their own supernatural problems to be entirely reliable in this regard.

Chapter 5: Questioners

What Happens
Sitting at the table in the room they are using for questioning, Egwene asks Aviendha if she knows what Moiraine and Elayne were wanted for; Moiraine had promised them an hour, after putting them off for days, and then left after five minutes. Sitting cross-legged by the door, Aviendha shrugs; the Maiden who summoned Moiraine had whispered in her ear. She apologizes, calling Egwene “Aes Sedai”, and Egwene feels guilty about maintaining the subterfuge about her and Nynaeve and Elayne being full sisters to Aviendha, even though Moiraine had gone along with the deception; she was coming to think of the Aiel woman as a friend. Nynaeve mutters that they will have to go to Tanchico, and Egwene replies that she is not convinced of that. She looks at Joiya Byir, one of the two Black Ajah that had been captured during the fall of the Stone, and checks again to make sure the woman is cut off from the Source, and the flows of Air binding her and stopping up her ears are still in place. She is much more worried about Joiya than the other prisoner, Amico Nagoyin, who is standing slumped at the other end of the table; Amico had been stilled in the battle, and all the fight had gone out of her as a result. Amico repeats that they should go to Tanchico, and Nynaeve orders her to tell them something new, like who else in the Tower is Black Ajah. Amico says she does not know; each Black sister only knows two or three others. In the Tower, Amico only knew Liandrin, Chesmal, and Rianna. She thinks Liandrin might know more, though. Amico repeats her story wearily, that she had overheard Liandrin and Temaile talking about how there was something in Tanchico that was dangerous to “him”, meaning Rand, but that Liandrin had also said whatever it is was also dangerous to whoever used it, which is why Liandrin hadn’t gone for it already.

“And she said being able to channel would not protect him. She said, ‘When we find it, his filthy ability will bind him for us.’ ” Sweat ran down her face, but she shivered almost uncontrollably.

Egwene starts to say something, but Nynaeve speaks first, saying enough of this, she wants to question the other prisoner. She and Egwene trade stares for a moment, until Amico breaks the impasse by meekly turning to the wall to be bound. Egwene binds her and weaves blocks for Amico’s ears, and is about to loosen the bonds on Joiya when Aviendha suddenly observes that Amico’s face is different than before; it doesn’t look as if “the years have passed her by”. Is that because she was stilled? Egwene moves to look at Amico’s face, and observes that Aviendha is right; Amico looks young, now, instead of the ageless look Aes Sedai got after years of working with the Power. She tells Aviendha she is right, but Egwene doesn’t understand why, and then realizes admitting that is not very Aes Sedai-like of her. Nynaeve covers by telling Aviendha that very few women are stilled, and no one likes to study it when it does happen, since it is irreversible, and few women who are stilled or burned out live very long afterwards. Egwene then unknots the flows binding Joiya, and the woman turns and smiles at them, saying may the Light illumine them. Nynaeve says she will not hear that out of the likes of Joiya, and Joiya says serenely that she has come back to the Light and repented her sins. None of them believe a word, and Egwene thinks it is clear that the Oaths must have been removed somehow when these women became Black Ajah. She orders Joiya to tell her tale again, using different words this time, and Joiya calmly tells them that Liandrin means to break Mazrim Taim, the false Dragon captured in Saldaea, free from Aes Sedai captivity before he can be gentled, and use him to pose as Rand al’Thor and commit atrocities in Rand’s name, so that the nations would unite against him and hopefully bring him down before Tarmon Gai’don even begins. Egwene thinks to herself that it is a far more plausible story than Amico’s, and yet Egwene believes Amico and not Joiya. Before they can say anything else, the door bangs open and Moiraine enters with Elayne on her heels; Moiraine looks absolutely furious.

The Agelessness-stilling-Three Oaths mystery that is put into play here was, I think, more confusing than Jordan meant it to be. Not that his puzzles didn’t tend to the Byzantine in nature, because they totally did, but the reason people argued about this one in the fandom for so long was more due to the gaffes made concerning the issue prior to this point – the main one being various Aiel’s assertions in TGH that the Aes Sedai looked like Wise Ones, when the latter of course could never have sworn on the Oath Rod. It’s ret-conned later, sort of, but some people are like bulldogs regarding outdated theories in WOT. Like the people who still think Olver is Gaidal Cain, even though Jordan has flat-out said that he isn’t.

I do think it is amusing that Nynaeve is the one who brings up the “fact” that stilling is not curable.

Obviously, later events prove that Amico wasn’t lying about the Sad Bracelets in Tanchico (more on that as we get to it), but Joiya’s tale about setting Taim up as a false Rand is actually a fairly clever scheme, assuming the Black Ajah could get Taim to play ball, which they could have by forcibly turning him to the Shadow... hmm.

But, as far as I can recall, nothing ever comes of this until Taim turns up on his own in LOC, which it’s pretty obvious is for nefarious purposes, but is also nothing like what Joiya describes here, so I guess that shows her story is a complete fabrication. However, I can’t help thinking that maybe this is what the Black Ajah should have done.

Chapter 6: Doorways

What Happens
Rand al’Thor,” Moiraine told the air in a low, tight voice, “is a mule-headed, stone-willed fool of a... a... a man!”

Nynaeve smugly tells her that they breed them like that in the Two Rivers, but Two Rivers women never have trouble with them; from the startled look Egwene gives her, Elayne thinks that must have been quite the whopping lie. Egwene asks Moiraine what Rand did, and Moiraine glances at Joiya and Amico, and composes herself somewhat. She stalks over to Joiya, and informs her that in three days she and Amico will be shipped to Tar Valon, where they will not be so gentle as here; she will not speak to them again unless it is to hear something new. Joiya looks murderous, but remains silent under Moiraine’s stare, and Elayne is regretful at how easily Moiraine cows the Black sisters, even though Elayne and Egwene and Nynaeve were all more powerful than her. Moiraine has them sent back to their cells, and Egwene asks Elayne why she looks like she’s about to cry, but Nynaeve interrupts to chew out Moiraine for refusing to help them interrogate the Black Ajah, and now sending them off in three days. Moiraine tells her not to presume too far on the Amyrlin’s authority; she is still Accepted, and knows practically nothing. She then admonishes Elayne to pull herself together; not every nation has the same customs as Andor, and she doesn’t understand why Elayne is so upset. Egwene is confused, and Elayne whispers that Berelain was in Rand’s chambers. Moiraine sighs and says to Egwene that she must realize nothing could have come of it for her anyway, and Egwene ignores her to whisper to Elayne that she loves Rand like a brother, and Elayne as a sister, and wishes her well of him. Elayne hugs her fiercely, murmuring thanks.

“She got it wrong,” Egwene said half to herself, a delighted grin blooming on her face. “Have you ever been in love, Moiraine?”

What a startling question. Elayne could not imagine the Aes Sedai in love. Moiraine was Blue Ajah, and it was said Blue sisters gave all their passions to causes.

The slender woman was not at all taken aback. For a long moment she looked levelly at the pair of them, each with an arm around the other. Finally she said, “I could wager I know the face of the man I will marry better than either of you knows that of your future husband.”

Elayne and Egwene gape in surprise, and Elayne asks who, and Moiraine dodges the question, implying that perhaps she only meant they share an ignorance. She adds that if she did ever choose a man, it would not be Lan. This was meant to be a sop to Nynaeve, but Nynaeve does not seem to like hearing it, and asks acidly if they can get back to important topics, like whether Amico or Joiya – or both – are lying, and what to do about it. Moiraine looks dangerous, so Elayne diverts them both by explaining why she and Moiraine were summoned in the first place, and what had happened to Rand. Egwene and Nynaeve are aghast, and Egwene asks if there is nothing to be done about these “bubbles of evil”. Moiraine says Rand might be strong enough to push them away, but only if he learns to control his abilities. Nynaeve says there must be something Moiraine can do to help him learn, but Moiraine explains again that the nature of saidin and saidar are too different. Egwene asks what Rand is being stubborn about, referring to the temper Moiraine was in earlier.

“He must move,” the Aes Sedai said at last. “Instead he sits here, and the Tairens already begin to lose their fear of him. He sits here, and the longer he sits, doing nothing, the more the Forsaken will see his inaction as a sign of weakness. The Pattern moves and flows; only the dead are still. He must act, or he will die. From a crossbow bolt in his back, or poison in his food, or the Forsaken banding together to rip his soul from his body. He must act or die.” Elayne winced at each danger on her list; that they were real only made it worse.

Nynaeve says she supposes Moiraine has a plan for him, and Moiraine answers that Sammael is in Illian; the Tairens will eagerly follow Rand if he moves on their old enemy. Nynaeve exclaims that if she wants Rand to start a war against a Forsaken, it’s no wonder he’s being stubborn. Moiraine replies that he has to face the Forsaken sooner or later, and there will be war no matter what he does. Egwene and Nynaeve don’t understand this, but Elayne does. She explains that war will come whether Rand starts one or not, and it will be the Forsaken coming after him; Sammael may not be the only Forsaken in control of a nation’s armies. Moiraine finishes for her that the war she proposes is not any cleaner than any other, but it will cement the Tairens’ loyalty to him, and the Illianers’ too, assuming he defeats Sammael and takes Illian. Thus he will have the strength of two nations behind him, and make any other Forsaken wary of moving against him.

“He must move first, be the hammer, not the nail.” The Aes Sedai grimaced slightly, a hint of her earlier anger marring her calm. “He must move first. And what does he do? He reads. Reads himself into deeper trouble.”

Nynaeve and Egwene are horrified, and Elayne feels sympathy for them. Egwene asks how reading can get Rand into deeper trouble, and Moiraine says he has decided to read the Prophecies of the Dragon for himself. Moiraine pointed out to him the verse that she thinks applies here:

“Power of the Shadow made human flesh,
wakened to turmoil, strife and ruin.
The Reborn One, marked and bleeding,
dances the sword in dreams and mist,
chains the Shadowsworn to his will,
from the city, lost and forsaken,
leads the spears to war once more,
breaks the spears and makes them see,
truth long hidden in the ancient dream.”

She grimaced. “It applies to this as well as it does to anything. Illian under Sammael is surely a forsaken city. Lead the Tairen spears to war, chain Sammael, and he has fulfilled the verse. The ancient dream of the Dragon Reborn. But he will not see it.”

Nynaeve defends Rand, saying he is desperate and trying to find his way, and Moiraine replies she is desperate too, almost desperate enough to – but she breaks off, and merely says she will do what she must. Egwene asks sharply what that is, and Moiraine tries to change the subject, but Elayne adds her voice to Egwene’s, and Moiraine tells them that in the Great Holding, the collection of Power-related objects the Tairens have been squirreling away for centuries, there is a ter’angreal that until three hundred years ago was in use in Mayene, before a particularly foolish First gave it to Tear to try to keep Mayene independent. It’s a twisted redstone doorway that you may step through to gain three true answers, about past, present, and future. The other three immediately jump on the idea, saying they can ask about the Black Ajah, and what the dangerous thing is to Rand, and all sorts of things, until Moiraine cuts them off and tells them there are rules, and dangers: a person may only go through once, frivolous questions are punished, and questions pertaining to the Shadow have “dire consequences”.

“If you asked about the Black Ajah, you might be returned dead, or come out a gibbering madwoman, if you came out at all. As for Rand... I am not certain it is possible to ask a question about the Dragon Reborn that does not touch the Shadow in some way. You see? Sometimes there are reasons for caution.”

Moiraine suggests that in lieu of risking the doorway, they ought to concentrate on questioning Joiya and Amico until they leave, and adds that she thinks Tanchico is the better bet for them to go after, since she has already warned Siuan by pigeon about the possibility of a plot to free Taim. Elayne murmurs sarcastically that it was so nice of her to let them know this, and Moiraine unironically tells her she’s welcome before bidding them goodnight. After she leaves, Elayne asks if Egwene meant what she’d said about Rand, and at Egwene’s nod, sighs and says she thought Min’s joking about sharing him was a viewing that she wouldn’t tell Elayne about; she’d assumed it meant that Egwene loved him too, but now she still doesn’t know what to do, if Rand still loves Egwene. Egwene assures her they will put Rand straight about that.

“My mother says men are different from us. She says we want to be in love, but only with the one we want; a man needs to be in love, but he will love the first woman to tie a string to his heart.”

They discuss the problem of Berelain, and what Elayne’s mother will think, and Nynaeve presses Elayne to make sure she wants a man who is destined to go mad. Elayne says maybe it is foolish, but she loves him and wants to marry him, and Nynaeve smiles and says she wanted to be sure, and joins them in planning how to deal with Berelain, and how to let Rand know Elayne is interested. Elayne asks if they think it foolish, worrying about this when so much else is going on.

Nynaeve said, “Rand is not the only one who might die next year, or next month. We might, too. Times are not what they were, and we cannot be, either. If you sit and wish for what you want, you may not see it this side of the grave.”

It was a chilling reassurance, but Elayne nods.

I’m not sure, but I think this is the first time we’ve had an Elayne POV. Though I’m confused – was Elayne supposed to be in Rand’s room with Moiraine in Chapter 3? Because she, uh, really wasn’t. So what, was she just standing out in the hall the whole time? Am puzzled.

This is mainly an infodump chapter, setting up what’s going to happen with the Tear doorway and the romance plotline (with a nice little tease about the Moiraine/Thom thing, of you caught it), but it also features the next of Moiraine’s inevitably-to-be-wrecked Plans for Rand. The first time reading this, even not knowing what was going to happen I already was certain that whatever did occur was going to be nothing like what Moiraine proposed. Silly Aes Sedai.

Also, another example of Moiraine’s natural secretiveness shooting her in the foot. It might have all gone differently had she just told Rand straight out what she thought the prophecy quoted here meant. Though maybe she does, and he still doesn’t believe her? I’m not sure.

On getting pissy about Rand reading the Prophecies in the first place: I can kind of see Moiraine’s point, but did she seriously expect that he could be persuaded not to read them? I mean, I don’t know about you guys, but if I wandered into a library and spied The Big Book of Everything That Happens In Leigh Butler’s Life And Why on a shelf, well, I’d be picking that puppy right the hell up, is all I’m saying.

In other news, just to show I can be fair, I have the same problem with Egwene’s little Two Rivers saying about how men and women fall in love as I do with Thom’s proverb about how men and women forgive in TDR. All generalizations are false!

Chapter 7: Playing With Fire

What Happens
Early the next morning, Egwene drags a reluctant Elayne to Rand’s chambers. Elayne is decked out in blue silk and sapphires borrowed from Aviendha. Gaul, one of the Aiel guarding the door, informs them that Rand may be in a foul mood; he’s already thrown out some High Lords – literally, in the case of Torean. Gaul lost a bet on how far he would slide. Egwene is startled, thinking that Rand had never been violent before, and wonders how much he’s changed. She and Elayne enter nervously, and Rand drops the book he’s reading and jumps to his feet, scowling, but it fades as he sees who they are. Egwene notes that he has changed: he looks harder, now, and he moves more like Lan and the Aiel do. Rand mumbles he thought they were someone else, embarrassed, but then grows suspicious and demands to know if Moiraine sent them; Egwene tells him not to be a goose, and Elayne says they want to help him, if they can. Rand and Egwene trade humiliating memories of pranks they got punished for as children for a moment, and then Egwene tells him they want to see if they can help him with channeling. Rand is still suspicious, and tries to make excuses.

Elayne spoke up fiercely. “No one sent us. No one. We came because... because we care for you. Perhaps it will not work, but you can try. If I... if we care enough to try, you can try, too. Is it so unimportant to you that you cannot spare us an hour? For your life?”

Rand gazes at her for a long moment, then mutters he will try. What do they want him to do? Egwene tells him to look at her, and embraces saidar. She asks him what he sees or feels, and Rand tells her nothing, of course, except goose bumps; he can’t help being nervous around a woman who is channeling. Egwene releases the Power, and asks whether he feels goose bumps now; he say yes, and Egwene triumphantly tells him that Elayne is now holding the Power, which proves he can sense a woman’s channeling. Then she asks him, a little hoarsely, to embrace saidin. He just stands there, and Egwene and Elayne start discussing whether he would be trying to fool them or not, and cut off with yelps as something pinches their bottoms. Rand tries not to grin, and suddenly yells in pain and dances in a circle, cursing at Egwene that there was no need for that. Egwene and Elayne smile at each other, and Egwene tells Rand sternly that she thought he had grown up by now, and to try to cooperate and do something with the Power. He glares at them, and suddenly Egwene and Elayne are lifted off the floor. Egwene tries to embrace saidar, realizes that she is shielded, and tries not to panic. Two small tables start dancing, and flames fill the empty fireplace, and a silver and gold sculpture on the mantelpiece starts melting and weaving itself into cloth.

“Do something,” Rand said. “Do something! Do you have any idea what it is like to touch saidin, to hold it? Do you? I can feel the madness waiting. Seeping into me!”

Suddenly the dancing tables burst into flame and the mattress erupts, spewing feathers everywhere. Rand stares wildly, and lets Egwene and Elayne go, and all the flames go out. Elayne and Egwene stumble into each other and embrace saidar simultaneously, but Rand just stands there, stunned. Egwene uses Air to gather all the feathers together, and Rand laughs shakily and says he might not get another mattress after ruining two in less than a day. He apologizes, and says maybe they should go, but Egwene says they are not finished yet, trying to hide her chagrin.

With so many exclaiming over their strength—everyone said she and Elayne would be among the strongest Aes Sedai, if not the strongest, in a thousand years or more—she had assumed they were as strong as he. Near to it, at least. She had just been rudely disabused. Perhaps Nynaeve could come close, if she was angry enough, but Egwene knew she herself could never have done what he just had, split her flows that many ways, worked that many things at once. Working two flows at once was far more than twice as hard as working one of the same magnitude, and working three much more than twice again working two. He had to have been weaving a dozen. He did not even look tired, yet exertion with the Power took energy. She very much feared he could handle her and Elayne both like kittens. Kittens he might decide to drown, if he went mad.

But she is not ready to give up, and she sees neither is Elayne, and they tell him so. They sit down, and discuss the differences between how they touch the Source, and establish that it seems men do it the complete opposite way that women do. They also talk about the five flows, Earth, Air, Water, Fire, and Spirit, and Rand tells them he doesn’t have to think to do anything with Fire; Egwene recalls her lessons that said that men were always strongest in Fire and Earth, while women were strongest in Air and Water. They eventually conclude that perhaps the differences are too great for them to help much, though Egwene is not reconciled to this, but Rand thanks them for trying anyway. Egwene moves on to the other reason they are here, and tells Rand that she cannot marry him. He replies that he knows, and she blinks, but continues that she doesn’t want to hurt him, but she does not want to marry him.

“I understand, Egwene. I know what I am. No woman could—”

“You wool-brained idiot!” she snapped. “This has nothing to do with you channeling. I do not love you! At least, not in the way to want to marry you.”

Rand’s jaw dropped. “You don’t... love me?” He sounded as surprised as he looked. And hurt, too.

Egwene says, not in that way; she has changed, and now she loves Rand, but only as a brother. He smiles and ruefully admits that he does not want to marry her either, but didn’t know how to tell her without hurting her. She thinks fondly that he is putting on a brave face, and gives him a kiss on the cheek, telling him he will find someone else. He agrees, and she takes her leave, thinking that he was all set for Elayne to pick him up, as they discussed.

This has always been one of my favorite chapters in TSR, possibly in the series. Partly because of the cool practical working knowledge of the Power we get here, but mostly because it features the extremely rare occurrence of characters actually TALKING to each other, and working together, without (much) rancor or misunderstanding. They may not have gotten very far in terms of results, but the fact that they tried is occasion for wild freaking applause as far as I am concerned.

Also, I am such a geek sometimes, like getting all thrill-y when Egwene realizes that Rand is about ten times as powerful as she and Elayne. Though I wonder about her thought that Nynaeve might possibly match him; I know Nynaeve is Forsaken-class in strength, but it gets established later that she was an even match for Moghedien, who is definitely not as strong as Ishamael, who Rand is a match for. Of course, there’s nothing to say Egwene isn’t just plain wrong.

By the way, I deliberately elided the bit about saidar/surrender saidin/fight, because that whole... thing makes me want to chew rocks, and I’m too far behind schedule to give that rant the attention it deserves. But we will be returning to this, OH YES.

Chapter 8: Hard Heads

What Happens
Elayne concentrates on remaining calm as she waits for Rand to notice she’s still in the room. He turns and sees her, and gives a start; she is glad to see that he looks as panicked as she feels. He bows unnecessarily and stammers something, calling her “my Lady”, and she replies that if he calls her that, she will call him “my Lord Dragon”, and curtsy; he should call her Elayne. He does so, and she thinks it is ridiculous to feel so thrilled to hear him say her name. She asks if what Egwene told him hurt very much, and Rand doesn’t know, but he told her the truth. Elayne is happy to hear that. Rand suddenly asks her if she would like a flower, and tries to make one from a bunch of feathers.

For long moments he stared at the fluffy mound in his hands, a slow frown on his face. Abruptly he let the feathers fall, dusting his hands. “Flowers,” he said. “That’s no fit gift for you.” Her heart went out to him; clearly he had tried to embrace saidin and failed.

He awkwardly offers her the length of silver and gold cloth he had accidentally made earlier from the sculpture, and she accepts, but also gathers up the feathers he had dropped, without explaining that she wants them because he had tried to make her a flower with them. She asks if he likes her, and he replies of course he does, frowning. She says that she is fond of him – more than fond – but she will have to leave Tear soon, and could not go without letting him know how she felt. Rand replies that he is fond of her, too, and stumbles over what to say next. Elayne flushes, but tells herself she will not let Berelain go one better on her, and moves closer. She tells Rand that she would like him to kiss her. Rand stammers something about not wanting to promise more, it’s not like they are betrothed, but...

She had to laugh at him, with all his confused earnestness. “I do not know how things are done in the Two Rivers, but in Caemlyn you don’t wait until you are betrothed before kissing a girl. And it does not mean you must become betrothed, either. But perhaps you do not know how—” His arms went around her almost roughly, and his lips came down on hers. Her head spun; her toes tried to curl up in her slippers. Some time later—she was not certain how long—she realized she was leaning against his chest, knees trembling, trying to gulp air.

“Forgive me for interrupting you,” he said. She was glad to hear a touch of breathlessness in his voice. “I am just a backward shepherd from the Two Rivers.”

“You are uncouth,” she murmured against his shirt, “and you did not shave this morning, but I would not say you are backward.”

Rand starts to say something else, but Elayne stops him, and thinking of Berelain, tells him that some women only see men as a prize, but she sees with her heart, and for him to remember that. Rand looks confused, and Elayne decides to dial it down a little, and points out that he hasn’t tried to convince her he’s too dangerous to be around, and therefore it is too late to try it now. Rand thinks of something, and asks if she and Egwene cooked this up between them, but Elayne gives him indignant outrage in return, throwing him off, and asks if he’s sorry about what he did to them earlier. He says he’s sorry about the other stuff, but not about the pinch; they deserved that, for talking over his head like that. Elayne embraces saidar briefly and soothes away the hurt she had given him in retaliation, “for being honest”. They are interrupted by Gaul, who tells Rand the Tairens are waiting, and Elayne slips out before Rand can stop her. She looks back as the Tairens file into the room, and observes that there is something about him now that says he commands there by right.

He thought probably they bowed just because he was the Dragon Reborn, and perhaps they thought so, too. But she had seen men, like Gareth Bryne, the Captain-Commander of her mother’s Guards, who could have dominated a room in rags, with no title and no one knowing their name. Rand might not know it, but he was such a man. He had not been when she first saw him, but he was now. She pulled the door shut behind her.

Rand ignores the High Lords, gazing after Elayne and marveling that a dream should come true like that. Sunamon tries to get his attention, and he snaps back to the present and starts arguing with the Tairens about taxes, trying not to be distracted by thoughts of either Elayne or the things he was finding in his books. They try to convince him that they cannot lower taxes on the common folk while their granaries are bursting, since practically all trade with Cairhien has stopped. Rand tells them to offer it in Illian, or Altara; they can hire extra boats from Mayene if necessary, with a treaty pledging to leave Mayene alone in return. The Tairens are horrified at the idea of selling food to their archrival, not to mention letting up on Mayene, and as always Rand is forced to abandon explanations and start issuing ultimatums.

Egwene is startled when Mat falls in with her as she walks through the Stone, and even more unsettled when he remains silent. Finally she asks if last night was troubling him, and Mat misses a step. He says he supposes he’s not surprised she knows about that, and shrugs the whole thing off as nothing. Egwene pretends to believe him, and comments that she and Nynaeve don’t see much of him; he mutters that he’s been busy playing cards, and grins at a maidservant who winks at him when she thinks Egwene is not looking.

Egwene’s eyebrows rose sharply. That woman had to be ten years older than Nynaeve. “I see. It must use up a great deal of time. Playing cards. Too much to spare a few moments for old friends.”

Mat retorts that the last time he saw them, they trussed him “like a pig for market” so they could ransack his room and take back the Amyrlin’s letter; and besides, she and Nynaeve are obviously busy, and he wouldn’t want to bother them. Egwene grimaces, thinking it’s Aes Sedai he doesn’t want to be around, and points out that the letter was only a loan, after all. After more muttering, she finally asks him why he’s sought her out now, then, and at length Mat says he needs some advice. Egwene boggles, and manages to calmly ask what about. Mat says he doesn’t know, and Egwene considers throwing him over the balcony, but finally asks how is she supposed to advise him, then? He says he is trying to decide what to do, and Egwene hopes he is not thinking of leaving; Mat replies tightly that he doesn’t think he could even if Moiraine told him to.

“Believe me, Egwene, I am not going anywhere. I just want to know what’s going to happen.” He gave a rough shake of his head, and his voice grew tighter. “What comes next? What’s in these holes in my memory? There are chunks of my life that aren’t even there; they don’t exist, as if they never happened! Why do I find myself spouting gibberish? People say it’s the Old Tongue, but it’s goose gabble to me. I want to know, Egwene. I have to know, before I go as crazy as Rand.”

Egwene feels bad for him, and gently tries to suggest that he go to Moiraine, but he vehemently refutes the idea of going to an Aes Sedai. Then he backpedals and says of course Egwene is different; isn’t there something maybe that she learned, that could help him? Egwene tells him she’s sorry.

His laugh reminded her of their childhood. Just so he had always laughed when his grandest expectations went astray. “Ah, well, I guess it does not matter. It’d still be the Tower, if at second hand. No offense to you.” Just so he had moaned over a splinter in his finger and treated a broken leg as if it were nothing at all.

Egwene says slowly that maybe there is a way, and tells him about the doorway ter’angreal, being sure to emphasize the dangers that Moiraine had told her, though she’s not sure Mat really listened to her. Mat assures her, though, that it’s less he wants to do with the Power, not more, and he won’t be going anywhere near this door thing. He’ll find something to fill the time, and is distracted by a passing maid for a moment. Egwene wants to slap him, but then he asks if she ever wishes they were still at home, which startles her coming from Mat. She replies no, not even with everything. Mat agrees, and Egwene asks him to promise not to go near the ter’angreal without getting permission first. He solemnly swears not to go near it unless his life depends upon it, and Egwene reflects that however much everything else changed, Mat never would.

Romance may not be one of Jordan’s strengths, but I always thought this scene between Rand and Elayne was very sweet. Though the why of the two of them falling in love in the first place was a bit forced, the way it actually plays out here is quite believable in its puppyish awkwardness, and reemphasizes just how young the two of them are, something which is easy to forget otherwise.

Nice bit of subtlety here, with Rand’s snap decision to make the Tairens send grain to Illian, which sets up what happens allll the way at the end of A Crown of Swords, with the Council of Nine offering Rand the crown as a result. Even if Jordan hadn’t planned that far in advance, it’s still very nicely tied together.

It’s interesting that I keep assuming Egwene and Mat are rarely together in the series, when in fact they are both in Rand’s entourage all the way to midway through Lord of Chaos if I’m not mistaken. I guess they just don’t interact much despite that, which makes this little interlude stand out. Or the flu killed more brain cells than previously advertised. One or the other.

Also, Mat is still hilarious. Egwene's thought that he would moan and complain about minor things and yet never about major things (which Rand will reiterate later when they are returning from Rhuidean) is for some reason one of my favorite observations about him. I've never been able to articulate exactly what's so endearing about that, but there you go.

Is End! Is Chapters 9-15 Friday, theoretical! Is might happen! Is goodbye!

Richard Fife
2. R.Fife
I'll go to the saidin/saidar difference. I think RJ was trying to pull in some Lao Tzu Fu, in particular that the Tao Te Ching really emphasizes that women are strong because they can submit, like water (river and banks?), while men tend to be stubborn like mountains and struggle and strain.

It is a bit of a genderrole in general, as men, typically the stronger and more testostroned up, are willing to fight and struggle, where women, typically not so directly stronger (ha! you thought I was going to say weaker), learn more of an Aikido style of dealing with things, redirect instead of force.

To Mat, I will say a turn of phrase my mom always used about me growning up. "He'd complain if we hung him with a new rope." Hurhur.
3. Effervescent
Watching Moiraine struggle (and fail) to control Rand here was the first real pleasure I took from her character. After reading on, I feel very guilty about thinking so badly of her, but thee ya go.

The scene where Egwene and Elayne "check" Rand's powers was another scene that I enjoyed emensely. I'm not sure if it was a info-dump or not, but even now I don't care.

THIS, unlike for others, is the book that really got me hooked. TEotW was awesome, but I lost a lot of interest in the GH and tDR...Jordan got me back with this book and the next few.
4. stepper
great job as always leigh

wow. do I feel stupid. well over 10+ reads, I always thought Lanfear was the Hawk to Failes Falcon....I guess because she sees him shortly afterwards, but Berelain makes more

I have always liked the RAnd and Elayne awkwarness of young love, but then I am a Perrin:Faile fan
Luke M
5. lmelior
"All generalizations are false!"

I see what you did there...very clever, very clever indeed.
6. Effervescent
4. stepper
It is always refreshing to see people who obviously have never read WOFAQ. I actually get excited for people like you, due to the fact that when you DO visit that read, you will be in WOT heaven for many days to come. I found it after I read a Crown of Swords, and I didn't leave the computer for days... lol. You out to check it out (I only think you haven't due to the falcon/hawk think was discussed in detail there). I'm not being sarcastic, nor mean... check it out, you won't regret it!!

Some other things I saw after re-reading Leigh's comments:

Mat continues to be A+ in my book, and I think its due to the fact that I can readily identify with his decisions about what he should do. And...why on EARTH would Egwene think that Matt would ever look to get permission for anything? Didn't she grow up with the boy??!

And speaking of "the Two Rivers Folk", since Egwene and Nyn know Rand and Matt so well, it really surprises me that they would have doubts as to the motives of Rand in regards to Berelain. I don't just seems to me that they super girls AGAIN jump to the wrong conclusions, for the worst possible reasons.

We'll be seeing a hell of a lot more of this for the rest of the series... sigh....
Richard Fife
7. R.Fife

Probably because they don't know how Mr. McCrazyPants is going to react to anything. I think several times in their PoVs around Rand they comment about how much he is changing. Heck, do you think either of them, growing up, would have thought Mat would turn into a carousing womanizing gambler?
John Cater
8. katre
I enjoyed re-reading Moiraine's little prophecy quote, because this time I realized that she's dead wrong, and it's about Rand's trips to Rhuidean.
9. Siuanfan
I've always liked Moiraine, and I felt really bad for her around this book. After all, she's spent the past 20 years dedicating her life to finding this boy and help him. And when she finds him, she tries her best to do what she can to assist him in what needs to be done, all the while protecting him from those in the Tower that would gentle him and anything else she can manage to protect him from.

In return he's consistently rude to her - downright mean! I know she could have been more open about certain things and not treat them like kids... but hello, they ARE kids to her. Kids who could barely find their asses with two hands and a flashlight outside of Emond's Field when she met them. So maybe she does not tell them what she doesn't think they're prepared to hear - and yes, she should be more forthcoming - but the way Rand and Nynaeve especially behave towards her is really unfair, I think. Moiraine reminds me of a mother trying to do her best for some really ungrateful kids. She plays the mother-protector for a while, and they're all "Get Moiraine! Moiraine will help us! Ohgod, where's Moiraine?!" Then the minute they think they know something, they're all "Eff you, beeyotch, get away from me!"

The way they act makes me try to treat MY mother better, and I've always been the perfect daughter, ask anyone!

Ahem. Anyway. Nynaeve's unreasonable hatred and vengeance kick towards Moiraine and Rand's rudeness to her are some of the only things that really really annoyed me about those two characters.

Regarding the Elayne comment about Berelain in Rand's room - I also wanted to know what that was about... she wasn't there, she wasn't in the hall, Perrin didn't tell her, how did she know? SPYING?! Their little budding romance is cute, though. I like seeing the romances from the guy's perspective - they usually have no freaking idea what's going on. It's cute when Rand is trying to figure out if Elayne and Egwene worked this whole scenario out (because we know they did), but it's less cute when Perrin can't figure out wtf is Faile's problem, because we don't know either. Anyway. This is one of my favorite books of the series, I can't wait to get into the Waste with you guys! Thanks, Leigh.
10. Erdrick
I really enjoyed these puppy love scenes too. The feathers Rand tries to make into a flower are mentioned again in WH chapter 10:
The oddly twisted stone ring, strung on a plain loop of leather, lay in the bottom of the purse underneath a mix of coins, next to the carefully folded silk handkerchief full of feathers she considered her greatest treasure.
Very cute.
11. rudra
“Power of the Shadow made human flesh,
wakened to turmoil, strife and ruin.
The Reborn One, marked and bleeding,
dances the sword in dreams and mist,
chains the Shadowsworn to his will,
from the city, lost and forsaken,
leads the spears to war once more,
breaks the spears and makes them see,
truth long hidden in the ancient dream.”

She grimaced. “It applies to this as well as it does to anything. Illian under Sammael is surely a forsaken city. Lead the Tairen spears to war, chain Sammael, and he has fulfilled the verse. The ancient dream of the Dragon Reborn. But he will not see it.”

For all of Moiraine's grumbling that the prophecies should not be interpreted literally, she herself does a thorough job of it here. I mean "forsaken city" being Illian ruled by Sammael is as literal as it gets right?

Also I don't know why but inspite of loving all the supergirls, I have always disliked(read hated) Egwene. And chapter & was just too much with all the condescension flying about from her.
12. Dr. Morganstien
Leigh: its also always been a pet peeve (spelling?) of mine, and probably everyone else too, that the good guys never actually talk about anything until two books after it has happened and rumors have ruined any chance at a ration non-mule-headed discourse.

It might be an interesting experiment (if a completely unethical one) to set up a scenario where you put a perfectly sane person in a situation where everyone around him treats him as insane; after a while, would he come to believe everyone else is right?Umm, this has happened a lot in history, mainly in the asylum's in the '50s and 60's. It is also a topic of commentary in the book "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest "

I like any time that a character notices how Rand just seems to be destined to be The Man. I always found it oddly cool.

I just have to say how much I love Lan and Rhuarc's reaction to Rand's chambers. This is such a classic bonding moment between people that a lot of times get written off as people being jerks when its obvious that they're joking.

@6 Effervescent
I agree with the WOTFAQ sentiment. It was a joyous time in my life when I discovered it, possibly because of my lack of people in real life to talk about WOT with.

@9 Siuanfan
Rand is only rude to her because she is rude to him. He is also mean to her because it is one of the worst things older people forget about younger people: how much it sucks to have everyone assume you don't know your ass from a hole in the ground. This has been a particular problem for me of late, an entry-level engineer. If she is playing the "mother hen" role with the TR kids, she needs to remember their age is a tool she can use, not a stumbling block to get over. From the beginning of it all, EOTW, the TR people all look up to her and if she explained some/most of her plans to them with logic and plain English they would follow her into the blight and back, which they actually did. Nynaeve is partially jealous because she had that role prior to the events of Bel Tine.

Also, I'm not quite mad I have no idea where the hell Elayne was the whole time in Rand's room.
13. Lsana
I was always confused on whether or not Chapter 5 was supposed to take place immediately after the "bubbles of evil." In some ways it does seem like it, with Moiraine having been summoned to heal him and Berelaine being there, but in other ways, like Elayne not being there in the original scene and the fact that Moiraine and Rand don't have their discussion yet, it feels like maybe it was supposed to be later.

@9 Siuanfan,

I agree with you that Nynaeve comes off pretty badly in her feud with Moiraine. If she had been able to articulate a different point of view, it could have been a pretty interesting conflict about the role of magic in society. As it is, Nynaeve comes off as a jealous, irrational bitch. There doesn't seems to be much on her side beyond, "I hate Moiraine because she is Aes Sedai and I hate Aes Sedai so much that I must become one as fast as I can."

But in Rand's case, I think Moiraine is entirely at fault. You compare her to a mother trying to do her best, but there's a big difference: Moiraine is not Rand's mother. She is some stranger who came into his life one night when he was attacked by Trollocs. She has no right to his trust; if she wants it, she needs to earn it. She did reasonably well in TEOTW, but starting at the end of TEOWT and beginning of TGH, she blew it. When he needed guidance, she ignored him. When he was looking for direction at the beginning of TDR, she gathered information and refused to share it. When he ignored her and did his own thing, it all worked out well. Given all that, I can't see why she would expect him to start a war just on her say so.

@11 rudra,

I agree with you on Egwene here: she comes off as quite the little hypocrite. Rand is putting on airs by saying he rules Tear, while she throws a fuss if she's treated as less than full Aes Sedai even though she isn't one. She can humiliate Rand in front of a girl who likes him, but Light forbid he should even mention any of her childhood exploits. And that's not even bringing up her arrogance at Rand "putting on a brave face" or her treatment of Mat.
14. sps49
Joiya was incapable of betraying the Black Ajah (we learn the Three Black Oaths later), therefore the Taim bit is BS.

Moiraine will realize in this book- almost too late, in Rhuidean but before the dock scene- that Rand is not a weapon to be used, but the Person Destined to Be in Charge, and she has been recast into a support role. The inbred, insular WT worldview prevented her from appreciating (and educating properly) the Two Riversians.
Richard Fife
15. R.Fife
We learn the black oaths? I don't remember that. I thought it was only speculation that one cannot betray was an oath.

I am still of the opinion that Joiya was speaking half-truth about Taim and under orders. Wise Man Says: Best place to hide is in plain sight. It is my crack-pot theory that the black ajah arranged for only BA to capture Taim (remember, the leader of the Reds is black), and then did the 13^2 (yes, I am still using the "squared mark" out of spite) trick on Taim and sent him off to screw Rand over. Especially after Taim is in control of the Black Tower. What better army to use at TG than your enemy's?

As to Moiraine, I always loved her explanation to Egwene in TFoH about why she swears to obey Rand. "Because I remember how to control saidar."
16. Steven Cooper
Hi, Leigh!

Wow, it's like a rasfwrj reunion! I wish I'd found this blog a couple of months ago -- I haven't thought much about TWOT for years, but I've been reading the past chapter summaries and comments over the last week, reliving those heady days of Usenet in the 90s.

I've also noticed that my Wheel of Time chronology site seems to have vanished in the last week or two. It was stuck in some free webspace that came with an old dial-up account I haven't used in years, and I guess the ISP finally got around to having a clear-out. I've now moved it to here, which should be a bit more permanent. I probably won't be able to put up a redirection page at the old place, so anyone should feel free to spread the new URL far and wide. :-)

I'm looking forward to what's coming up -- TSR was always my favourite book in the series, and the chapters with Rand in Rhuidean were probably the peak of RJ's world-building. Then there's the Aiel and the Wise Ones (before they became annoying), the Sea Folk (before they became annoying), Perrin and Faile (before they became annoying)...
17. MadMardigan
As this is the first time we start seeing discussion of relative power levels (and I always found these comparisons reasonably cool) I figured I would point out that this has one of the more extensively debated items I have seen on the WOT boards.

Decent example for those interested:
18. D24g0n
I love the bit with Moiraine interpreting the prophecy incorrectly. She has nothing to back up her opinion(and it is just an opinion) except the "fact" that AS know what they are talking about. Even with no support, she automatically throws out anything the TR folk suggest. How can you disregard the opinion of someone the pattern has destined to decide everything. She realizes that they are extremely powerful ta'vern(sp?), yet still thinks she knows better than them.

This just emphasized how ignorant AS are about things they know nothing or very little about.
19. elvyelvy
Work schedule and the fact that it's night in my country(one o'clock to be precise) will spare you some of my verbosity – lucky you! lol!
To the point! Ahem! I do enjoy the main characters NOT being "perfect": they may be supergirls and wonderboys, yet they are all too human, with their good points, weaknesses, little foibles and so on. And they can be mean. A little bit, or much, it depends, and the same applies to bad people - Forsaken excepted. That is what makes them so dear, one reads and finds lots of little things straight from his or her life (I had a Berelain-like colleague in the past, though not so blatantly gorgeous, but the attitude was there, and who NEVER EVER had to swallow elder people condescending comments? just to name a few things).

As to the gender reversal issue (brilliantly pointed out, thanks Leigh), I find immensely amusing the awesome quantity of sniffing that punctuates women's talk – they must have iron noses (little snicker) - and the fumbling way they try to interact, with little success as we can read.
But the reversal goes beyond gender, it touches age (young people acquiring great power while elder people still see them as young, unfit unprepared, they should let their better to sort things out, and Elaida's results later are the perfect counterpart of this attitude), but that’s something we will see a lot in the next book, and I’m looking forward to that moment.
20. jen125
I think Egwene is my least favourite character and easily the most infuriating. I don't know why but from TEOTW Egwene has really wound me up but this book is where she starts to get really annoying and it only gets worse. I think it's her arrogance and lack of respect for other people's judgement even when they have far more knowledge about a subject than she does. It isn't until KOD when she has actually gained some knowledge and maturity that she stops making me see red (well quite so often anyway).

Sorry just felt the need to rant...
21. Tailspinner
I always attributed Elayne knowing about Berelain to the rumor mill. Don't they mention somewhere else in the chapter how fast The gossip spread?

I love Perrin and Faile, I almost feel like their relationship is an allegory for what immigrants go through. They come to a new country, are hit with different customs and everyone gets mad at them for not automatically knowing that North American etiquette like not slurping noodles, queuing, proper fork and knife use etc.

Re: the rudeness debate, I side with Moraine, Rand becomes a Butthead at about TDR. We all get handed stuff in life we don't like. Suck it up, do your duty and move on. Even if Moraine is annoying, she is still more useful to have around than pretty much anyone else in the series.

Lan/Rhuarc, two of my favourite characters and I wish we got to see more of them.
John Massey
22. subwoofer
Hi Leigh,
Easter is coming so it is nice to hear of your resurrection too.
For all intents and purposes, it is good to see Rand give Moraine some grief. Through out these books all I read about is Aes Sedai acting like they know everything even when it is evident that they don't. It is nice that Rand is making inroads to get Moraine to dance to his tune. These chapters look like a big lead up for RJ putting out questions for both Rand and Mat to get them to walk through the ter'angreal to fill in the blanks. Mat really seems to talk about the holes in his memory that he wants filled in and as he doesn't really read like Rand, his ta'vereness has to find answers for him so enter Egwene. love Mat's dirt bagness:
I....need some advice
What do you want advice about?
I don't know.
It was a ten pace drop to the garden.Besides there were men down there weeding among the roses. If she pushed him over, he might land on one.
However much everything else changed, Mat just never would.

Despite all his protests, we all know how that thread goes. Good times.
23. Rebecca Starr
Ch 3
"It might be an interesting experiment (if a completely unethical one) to set up a scenario where you put a perfectly sane person in a situation where everyone around him treats him as insane; after a while, would he come to believe everyone else is right?"

I am trying to imagine you getting that particular experiment past an ethics board, Leigh!

one of the cleverest chapter titles, here, IMHO. Mental reflections... right after his literal reflections have jumped out at him... heh heh I get it

Ch 4
ah good ol' Thom. You pretty much summed it up regarding his motives, Leigh. I love his letter writing scheme - one of the few times I thought to myself, "Ah, now I understand daes dae'mar"

Regarding this quote: "It was more than that, he was sure, more than what was openly known, certainly, but Mat denied any such thing, and no one else who knew was talking either, if anyone besides Moiraine did know."

Ok, so I assume Thom means Mat's connection to the Horn here, but c'mon Thom! You don't need to play the Great Game inside your own head. Why all the oblique language if this is simply Thom musing to himself in his own POV?

Ch 5
I agree with R Fife and think there's nothing to suggest the 13 squared (however you write it) *wasn't* used on Taim. This came up in a discussion during the chapter on Egwene's arches test, so I'll stop there.

my TSR is so old I still have the old Joiya Bier as a White typo! I'm curious what the new wording is for her as Gray, since my version says she, "had lost none of the Whites' cool arrogance."

Ch 6
yes it is *totally* contrived that Elayne went with Moiraine. I mean, M gets summoned to Heal Rand urgently, and runs to his apartments with Lan, but takes the time to say, "c'mon Elayne! for no reason!" I know it's just so Jordan can set Elayne up to be huffy over Berelain, but geez. Also, I hate how possessive Elayne is here, and how quick to jump to the conclusion that Rand slept with Berelain... give the man some credit! he turned her away in the middle of the night!

okay, rant over

Leigh, you have it backwards. Moiraine *did* tell Rand her thoughts on Illian, and he was the one who quoted this passage to *her*

Ch 7
I see what you mean about liking this chapter, but meh. I can't get past how arrogant Egwene is thinking Rand must be so hurt that she says she doesn't love him, when we as readers know he long ago concluded he doesn't love her

Ch 8
"Nice bit of subtlety here, with Rand’s snap decision to make the Tairens send grain to Illian, which sets up what happens allll the way at the end of A Crown of Swords, with the Council of Nine offering Rand the crown as a result. Even if Jordan hadn’t planned that far in advance, it’s still very nicely tied together."


I'll bet you my best silver pin against a blueberry that Jordan planned exactly that far in advance, Light love the man.

@7 - "Heck, do you think either of them, growing up, would have thought Mat would turn into a carousing womanizing gambler?"

Richard Fife
24. R.Fife
Rebecca: I could see a scoundral and a layabout, but I think Mr Sleepswithanythingthatmoves Cauthon was a bit out of their scope. I just find it funny that he rarely gets flack for his ways cept when he isn't trying to be a man-slut (ie, Tylin)
25. Paracelsus

You can read more about this on the WoT MB at

Apparently AMOL is going to be split into 2 or possibly 3 volumes. The name of the first volume is "The Gathering Storm." The link to the cover art is also on wotmania.
LT Tortora
26. Lucubratrix
I think that my main problem with most of the love subplots in WoT is that there's not really a convincing reason for the characters to fall in love. It's love by authorial fiat. Once that's out of the way, some of the relationships are handled better than others, and I think that Rand's are pretty well done overall. Perrin and Faile, on the other hand... well.... Yes, I get that they come from very different cultures with very different expectations, but as there's never any effort to explain this to each other, it doesn't ring true as two people from different cultures who want to explore each others'... cultures... now I'm getting repetitive.... Point is, part of love is a willingness to learn about the other person, his/her background, things that shaped him/her, etc. Perrin and Faile, I think, have a one-dimensional relationship that I find hard to believe.

As far as Rand's bad attitude about being the Dragon Reborn, I'm pretty sympathetic. Yes, on one level one wants to shout at him to suck it up and save the world, but I think he's actually having a very human reaction to finding out that the fate of the world really does rest on his shoulders. It may not be the most admirable response ever, but I think it really rings true. He just happens to be projecting all that on Moiraine at the moment.
27. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
Moiraine isn't doing very well at her end, despite what she and Siuan intended. I thought Lan and Rhuarc's comments about shaving were funny, but apparently she didn't agree. Or is it another form of trying to exert control. You're right of course, Leigh. A great part of her lack of success with Rand is that she isn't very open with him. Always trying to keep the upper hand with her secrets and knowledge. Rand just plain gets tired of it and decides if she isn't sharing it with him, he doesn't need it. Or her, for that matter. The exchange here is one that would be a recurring theme throughout their relationship, Moiraine trying to imply that she knows better, and Rand not taking it without something more concrete. Moiraine thinks Rand should remain ignorant so he will listen to her "suggestions". But Rand will not have anybody else dictating what is supposed to be his destiny. I also like Rand at this point because he has a clear idea of what he has to do next. All the research pays off. I don't like him later in the series with half-baked plans and too many females around giving "advice".

Mat at this point is hitting an all-time low. All his thoughts for now are for escape and using his own ta'veren talents for self-gain. He's got no excuses. He makes it up though by asking Egwene advice about something he doesn't know. That, and Egwene's reaction, was hilarious. Perrin is also starting to have problems with Faile and Berelain. I wonder if Faile would have reacted just as badly if he'd completed his comment instead of stopped with, "She smells.." As for the Girls, nothing much about them in this portion of the story. I think Elayne stayed out in the hallway. Strange yes, but she was supposed to be with Moiraine and she wasn't in the actual chambers. Egwene becomes quite the hypocrite. She loves telling about Rand getting in trouble. But thinks differently of Rand doing the same for her. They all think Rand is changing and aren't sure they like it. They don't look in the mirror very often, then. One good thing they do is stumble on how Rand can detect women channeling. But otherwise, it is funny how they try to act all Aes Sedai-y with Rand. And get a sharp lesson in using the Power in return. I like the quoted verse.

I have a theory that dividing your flows doesn't really involve strength or anything. Just training. As a shepherd Rand is used to keeping track of several details(sheep) at a time. As an innkeeper's daughter, Egwene's attention span wouldn't have been trained as well. As a result, Rand can already weave several flows at once when he can barely summon saidin at will reliably. Egwene on the other hand, despite being more advanced in handling the Power thinks it difficult to divide her flows past 3 or 4 times. Also note that she gets better as the series progresses.

R.Fife @7
Yep. They make a lot of comments over the series on how Rand has changed. They rarely ever think that Rand might feel the same about them.

Siuanfan @9
I think trying to dictate what someone is supposed to do just on the assumption that you know better is pretty rude as well. Particularly when it is their destiny that hangs in the balance. Rand and Nynaeve seemed to agree. Though I would agree about Nynaeve's vengeance kick. Talk about a chip on the shoulder.

rudra @11
What do you expect of an Aes Sedai? If the Dragon Reborn had been from anywhere else in the Westlands except the Two Rivers, war between Tear and Illian would have started then and there. And all because she said so. That is why she would rather Rand remained ignorant. That is the kind of influence Aes Sedai are used to wielding.

Lsana @13
Damn straight! Rand putting on airs by saying he rules Tear. Duh? It's nothing but the Light's truth. Egwene just doesn't want it said out loud because it would point out the fact that he's ahead of her. Note that Elayne doesn't exactly have any issues about it. She even gives Rand pointers on how to act to the High Lords.

Steven Cooper @16
LOL. A lot of things do start out cool and end up annoying in the series.

Lucubratrix @26
I agree. Does everyone really have to fall in love? Does Rand have to have 3 wives?
Robert Garza
28. FunBob
Welcome back to the land of the living Leigh! Great Commentary as always.

I always liked the Moiraine-Thom ties that are still being sprinkled throughout the story....Thom had previously thought that Moiraine was a fine woman, even if she was an Aes Sedai, and here Moiraine states that she knows who she will marry better than any of the SuperGirls.... My question is how Moiraine knows that she is destined to hook up with Thom? There are two possibilities, with the second being more probable: (1) Moiraine's accepted test somehow involved Thom. She would have known him since he was Court Bard in Caemlyn while she was still in Cairhien. (2) Min had a viewing about them when they were in Baerlon. There really is not anymore insight into how she knows, as she hasn't entered the Twisted Doorway or the Rhuidien rings yet.

When Moiraine separates Thom from Rand by sending him with Ny and Elayne, her dialogue shows that she is very sympathetic to him, due to Owen. The telling statement in that exchange was that Moiraine tells Thom that he needs to see Aes Sedai as something other than the Red Ajah bullies who stilled Owen. She appears to be setting Thom up for their future hookup, which she finalizes in her letter to Thom before she took on Lanfear.

Other than that, Elayne's gathering the feathers that Rand wanted to make flowers for her was probably the most romantic thing any of the characters did until Nynaeve raises the Borderlanders to follow Lan.

Cheers all!
29. SteelBlaidd
I don't see Rand as being rude at all.

“That is the one that will kill me, isn’t it?” he asked her softly, then quoted, “ ‘His blood on the rocks of Shayol Ghul, washing away the Shadow, sacrifice for man’s salvation.’ ”

“You read too much,” she said sharply, “and understand too little.”

“Do you understand more? If you do, then tell me.”

Seems quite reasonable. Rand is more that willing to listen to council, it's orders he has issues with.

And I think Egwene expecting Rand to still be "in love" with her is completely reasonable. He has the exact same expectation and they've barely spoken in months. I've always liked how RJ sets up early in tEotW that RxEg is mostly village expectation and inertia, and that Elayne talks about how falling for Rand in 5 minutes was soooo not according to her plans. The butterfly imagery in Ch 8 is some of my favorite emotional description in WoT. Vivid emotional imagery is one of RJ's greatest strengths.

As to why Elayne doesn't appear during the healing I always figured Moraine dashed out of the room and Elayne couldn't keep up then gets distracted finding out that Berelain was in Rand's room so she didn't get there until Moraine is already on her way back to the questioning room.

I find it fascinating that the worst thing Moraine can think of to cal Rand is "a man." :D
30. gagecreedlives
Lan and Rhuarc's comments were hilarious. And a nice little bonding moment for 2 very dangerous men.

Poor Moiraine after all these years of being the leader and doing things her own way she is finally going to have to dance to somebody elses tune. But we do get a bit of a glimpse why Moiraine rarely explained everything fully in the previous books. Look how much trouble Rand is having with the Tairen lords when he tries to explain his decisions. Just telling them to do it or else seems to work much better.
Sara H
31. LadyBelaine

I must confess to a major peeve-ance here. One of the things I loved about this series (to this point) was that their basically Western European society was thrown women-centric due to the fact their papal authority was a woman, backed by vast supernatural armaments.

Yin/Yang, Saidar/Saidin, etc. There was a small thrill in knowing that teeny-tiny Moiraine is a vastly powerful sorceress, and the Wondergirls are better - we were lead to believe that women, using the One Power, are the equal of men using the One Power, equal, but in different ways.

This was my assumption for several volumes.

Only later do we realize that was only an elaborate fiction - some women have stronger arms (sez Asmodean) but most men are stronger!?!!


I am seriously not amused.
32. gagecreedlives

Well if it makes you feel any better women can link with each other and men cant.
Chris Maurer
33. grayfox
gagecreedlives @30:

I also took the Rhuarc/Lan back and forth as a mutual "sizing the other badass m-f'er up" kind of moment in that whole scene. (including the Tai'shar Manetheren bit).

re Thom and Mat's scene:

was it also here that Thom makes a comment about how people skilled in strategy (both political and military) are good at stones...and that Mat could excel if he put a mind to it. I can't remember if it was here or before, but it was good foreshadowing for what is to come for Mat.
34. Lannis
Chapter 6: Moiraine's comments on Rand... I think this is where I actually started to like Moiraine, because I felt that her reaction to Rand was so *human* and not *Aes Sedai.*

Moiraine's comment about knowing the face of the man she would marry--how did I miss the Moiraine/Thom thing on multiple readings?! I mean, I got it later, but I distinctly remember being surprised in tFoH...

Leigh's commentary, re: "All generalizations are false!" (I'm sidestepping the paradox of no absolute absolutes... but thanks lmelior @ 5) But, um... Leigh? Am I misreading tone? I *always* took those stupid generalizations as irony... perhaps I am overestimating the potential for people to take things at face value... hmm... boo-urns to me--never underestimate human stupidity.

Chapter 7: Love the Rand/Elayne/Egwene banter here, and the play with the Power, but when Rand loses control and tosses the feathers into the air, I just feel sad for him... I enjoy Rand as a character, but from this point out, I think I just started to feel really sorry for him. He definitely has his moments of awesome, and then some that are... not.

Re: Jordan's romance writing... he has his moments--I agree with Funbob @ 28, the feather keeping by Elayne was very sweet, and Nynaeve's raising the Borderlanders was very romantic, too... IIRC, there's also a few back and forths between Rand and Aviendha (sword, gems, bracelet?) that were (though misconstrued) awkward attempts by the characters at romance--Jordan's writing of these events, though, are spot on, IMHO.
35. gagecreedlives
I also think Rhuarc's startlement at the mention of Manetheren was not so much the compliment but the implication that Rand is from Manetheren. "Blood of our blood mixed with the old blood, raised by an ancient blood not ours."

And if everyone seems to have heard of Manetheren and been impressed. Even the Seanchan.

I meant to say this before but got distracted. It happens easily. Thank you grayfox for reminding me.
36. Dr. Morganstien
@34 Lannis
boo-urns, you just made my day
37. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
FunBob @28
Yep nothing sucks more than a trick failing when you need it to impress a girl. Funny you should say "bullies" though. Moiraine certainly acted the bully in getting Thom to go with Elayne and Nynaeve.

SteelBlaidd @29
Must've been the oaths. She very well could not call Rand an ass when she was the one being an ass. And you're right. Rand would've listened if Moiraine had a good piece of advice then and there. But she didn't. All she had to show was an obvious desire to keep Rand ignorant.
Of course you act like an ass to people who do that.

gagecreedlives @30
You have a point. But Rand isn't an itinerant lord used to having his way. He's a young rural farmboy used to listening to sound advice from his elders. Somehow starting a potentially devastating war does not sound like sound advice.
38. Alkie
Hi First Time Poster Here so bare with me

Been Following this since the start and been following the re-read and enjoying all the comments

now thats that all over

Leigh your Re-read has unfogged my Brain and noticed something that i havent noted on any of my 9 Re-reads (im feeling rather ashamed here) but your Quote

"He says he’s sorry about the other stuff, but not about the pinch; they deserved that, for talking over his head like that. Elayne embraces saidar briefly and soothes away the hurt she had given him in retaliation, “for being honest”. "

I dont have my books to check this but does Elayne use a type of compulsion here or am i reading wrong

Please Discuss?
39. BookFairy
I have been waiting with baited breath for the re-read of TSR
This is probably my favorite book in the whole WOT series.

I always think of this book as Perrin’s story. And because of the part Faile plays in his story I am willing to forgive her, for most
of the annoying things she does later. I do think that Faile is at
least trying to learn to be a good wife for Perrin (i.e. the
conversations she has with Ila and latter with Mistress

Lan and Rhuarc in a room together. Mmmmmmm

The one relationship I have trouble understanding
is the one between Rhuarc and Berlain and what is the
deal with her and the wise ones. Do they like her
just because Rhuarc sees her as a daughter?
I like Berlain but I am confused why the Aile like her.

Poor Mat. I really don’t care for him in this book.
To whinny.

I do like the awkwardness between Rand and Elaine.
It just feels like the way first (or is it second ) love
Is supposed to be.
40. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
Alkie @38
A very weak form of healing is what comes to mind.

BookFairy @39
Yes, it does seem surprising at first. But the Wise Ones are actually very respectful of women who hold positions power without abusing them. Also ones that are loyal to Rand. So that's two good points Berelain has going for her as far as the Wise Ones are concerned.
41. sinfulcashew
to Leigh,

Reading avidly along and then at the start of the next paragraph find,

OMG, who is THIS character? I don't remember anyone with that name?

(I don't usually pay attention to headings as they are sidetracking to me then I am following a storyline.)

Finally had to laugh when I figured out 'who' it was.....roflol?
Ofer Nave
42. odigity
Re: splitting weaves, Egwene does the 14-split with the colored balls and rings in KoD - and while doped up on forkroot tea, nonetheless. :)

BTW-Been thinking about the Moiraine situation, what with the handling Rand badly and sowing the seeds with Thom. I think starting the books from Rand's POV in Two Rivers on Bel Tine and meeting Moiraine for the first time from that perspective, along with her role in EotW as a whole, somewhat fixes how we perceive her. I think we see her as a parental (mother) figure. She comes in to save the boys, guides them, keeps them safe, etc. It's the same one-sided relationship of a mother to a child, and like a child, we (as Rand) tend to be self-centered and take the mother's existence and actions for granted. The sun shines, rain falls, and Moiraine is there to heal you and do whatever else she can. And that makes it harder to empathize with Moiraine as a fellow human being.

When I try to overcome that and force myself into Moiraine's perspective, it comes to me that Moiraine is a profoundly tragic hero.

Raised in the Sun Palace, niece to a king, she might have expected a storybook life... except most her family was evil and insane. Harsh.

But wait! She has the spark, and she desperately wants to be Aes Sedai, so off she goes to the White Tower. And things are great! The potential to be one of the three strongest Aes Sedai in the tower (along with Elaida and Siuan), a best friend of equal talent (Siuan), a record sprint through the levels (3 years each). About to be raised, ready to embark on a long and promising career as a one of the greatest Aes Sedai of her generation-

-and that evil, insane, bloody fool of an Uncle goes and pisses off the Aiel, starting a war; Gitara spits out the worst news of the age and falls dead in her arms; and not a month into achieving the shawl, she's on the run from the Black Ajah, and on a solitary, life-long quest to find some rotten boy-child against all the forces of the shadow, cut off from the tower, almost in hiding from the sisters should she rightfully be chin-raising over in comfort, with a stone-face Aes Sedai-hater and a horse for company.

And lo, after 18 or so years on the road, travelling from backwater village to backwater village, she finally finds the likely candidate for the Dragon Reborn. She then gets to spend three hellish months barely keeping Rand alive and free against fades, trollocs, whitecloacks, Mashadar, Mordeth, Machin Shin, Aginor, and Balthamel, until they get back to Fal Dara, at which point she lets him run off alone because she's lost too much control over him and it's better than forcing a battle of the wills - and losing. Time to regroup and do some research.

Nope, can't even relax in Arafel with a good book or seven without getting attacked by Black-Ajah-warded shadowspawn. Dash all the way to Falme to get there after the action's over, still no clue what to do, so try to keep Rand from tripping and breaking his neck over the winter. Ah, no, now he's gone, tearing ass all the way to Tear. The damn Ogier keeps attracting attention, and that Perrin kid keeps blabbing random information to strangers, and - blood and ashes, Sammael? Whatever, we're almost to Tear - mother's milk in a cup! Bel'al? Well, at least they're mortal. Finally, Rand has stopped moving long enough to exchange two words with him. So now what?

Now she'll trail after him, hoping he doesn't create any disasters, while he runs about according to a plan he doesn't share with her. She swallows her pride and swears fealty (the first one to do so, and not because of ta'veren pulling!) in the hopes of earning sufficient trust to be allowed to help. And thus is able to spend her last month or two alive giving him a crash course on politics...

...before sacrificing herself to take out Lanfear (because Rand didn't feel like it). At the tender young age of about 42. Out of 300.

She wasn't even supposed to *be* here today.
43. Aaron Bergman
Apparently AMOL is going to be split into 2 or possibly 3 volumes. The name of the first volume is "The Gathering Storm." The link to the cover art is also on wotmania.

Sanderson's blog is a bit more circumspect, but if true, it's hard to say it's a surprise. All you have to do is look at the word counts that Sanderson is estimating. I think To Green Angel Tower was something around 500k words, and Sanderson is estimating 750k. I'm not sure it's physically possible to publish that in one volume.
Ofer Nave
44. odigity
Re: the AMOL announcement

Link, anyone? I checked the front page of and didn't see anything (the most recent news item is dated March 3).
45. sinfulcashew
Here is one link:

It speaks to the possibility of two books.
"Bloody ashes"
46. Planeswalker
2-3 books??? Nooooooo!!!
In the name of RJ, please no. :)

...Oh well, TOR can do whatever they want anyway.

@42odigity. You are assuming that Rand, et al are kids. Though they are young, they are old enough to think and act for themselves. The indifference between her relationship with two-rivers-folk is mistrust. How can you ever trust someone who doesn't say anything to you honestly? Really now, when all what Moiraine is doing is trying to control Rand? When all that Rand has known is that Aes Sedais create puppets out of False Dragons?

“That is the one that will kill me, isn’t it?” he asked her softly, then quoted, “ ‘His blood on the rocks of Shayol Ghul, washing away the Shadow, sacrifice for man’s salvation.’ ”

“You read too much,” she said sharply, “and understand too little.”

“Do you understand more? If you do, then tell me.”

“He is only trying to find his way,” Lan said suddenly. “No man likes to run forward blindly when he knows there is a cliff somewhere ahead.”

See? Even then, Rand wasn't rude but asks for advice. And what does Moiraine say? NOTHING! (Although most of the time in riddles, or something deceiving...) Hell, even Lan defended Rand in their conversation!

Hey man, I like Moiraine and all. But, she just have to stop controlling everything (especially Rand). She definitely should guide the 'kids', but no more leash please.
Ofer Nave
47. odigity
Planeswalker@46: I completely agree. I was just exploring Moiraine's POV, not justifying her actions. She's making mistakes. And books 4-5 are her penance.

Of course, there's hardly a good role model for right decision making from the Spine of the World to the Aryth Ocean.
Dale Norman
48. dokipen
A good couple of set-up chapters here.

The Rand/Elayne scene is quite touching. The 'feathers' part is something I always come back to when I think of Elayne being a cow - she's sweet at heart.

Speaking of Elayne, best quote of these chapters:
“You are uncouth,” she murmured against his shirt, “and you did not shave this morning, but I would not say you are backward.”

No shit! Not a mirror in sight love. Superb line I've missed on previous re-reads.

The parts with Egwene thinking Rand's 'being brave' when he says he loves her like a sibling too and his instant (and correct) conclusion about them planning this and passing him around are very nice touches too.

Bring on the attack, swords-in-floors, portal-stones and the sheer awesomeness of the rest of this book.
49. laframboise
So relieved Leigh was feeling well enough to post, for purely altruistic reasons, of course!

If the technical logistics dictate dividing the last book I can live with it, but if the material is all ready it'd be nicer for the fans if both or all three, as the case may be, are released all at once, so as not to prolong the waiting unnecessarily.
Dale Norman
50. dokipen
There's something else about this re-read. I'm starting to think the problem with Perrin & Faile is bloody Perrin. He comments about saying the same thing to her twice, but in a different manner, and doesn't pick up how she responds to one and not the other despite several more clues shortly afterwards. I don't care that he's young or that he's got issues. Man the f*uck up Perrin.

A woman isn't going to straight out tell you how to behave towards them, same way a man isn't. She is, however, going to seed enough clues that you should be able to pick up on them.

Rant over.
Ofer Nave
51. odigity
I believe Sanderson has said that if they split the book (which they'll have to), the second will come out as soon after the first as possible. Like, if not the same day, then just for as long as it takes to edit the second after the first - maybe two months. Kind of like Matrix 2/3.

I'm cool with that. And I wouldn't mind if it gets split in three, either, as long as they do their job at full speed.
Richard Fife
52. R.Fife
hmm, best insult was that he's a man. Well, not just any man, there were a fair number of adjectives there as well. Still, perhaps it is because of our position in gender politics, but at least in our society, you call a man "a... a man!" and he's proud, yet say "pshaw, women" and you get slapped. Perhaps it is a hair diffenent in randland?
53. birgit
Moiraine doesn't want Rand to read the Prophecies, but he does a better job that she interpreting them. Moiraine only sees what she wants anyway in them, while Rand gets the real meaning.

Elayne follows Moiraine when she is summoned to Rand (why?) and sees Berelain leave, but she doesn't enter the room.

Rand probably isn't at his full strength yet, while Nynaeve has already been channeling a while, even if she didn't know what she was doing, so maybe they are about the same strength now but Rand will be stronger later.
Lannis .
54. Lannis
Alkie @ 38: Re: Elayne using compulsion... I agree with alreadymad @40... I've always taken it as she's just using what she knows (the bare bones) of Healing on him, not compulsion.
odigity @ 42: Nice summary of Moiraine's life... true, a tragic hero. Now, mind you, though I started to relate more to her as a human, this all didn't stop me from continuing to dislike her (though, truly, this was more based on the fact that a friend of mine *adored* her, and inspired me--many moons ago--to dub the rat we were disecting in Biology "Moiraine." To my friend's horror, naturally).

laframboise @ 49, & odigity @ 51: Yes, I agree... I hope they're all published at once! PLEASE PUBLISH THEM ALL AT ONCE, TOR! TOR?! PLEASE?!

Sorry... a little hysterical there... whoopsie!
Lannis .
55. Lannis
birgit @ 53: Yes! The simplest answer is the most likely, and Elayne probably didn't have the, uh, chutzpah to enter the room once she saw Berelain leave.

But that leads us back to this: why was she with Moiraine anyway?

Perhaps she was just with Moiraine (questioning BA?) when Moiraine was summoned, and since Rand's name was involved, followed? Sounds plausible... thoughts?
Richard Fife
56. R.Fife
Could be that she heard the rumor mill and by author fait happened to show up in time to see Berelain, but was told "Moiraine's inside" and thus waited patiently?
Lannis .
57. Lannis
R.Fife @ 56: Works for me. Elayne probably also didn't want to approach Rand alone until after Egwene gently let him off the hook, so to speak.
Dale Norman
58. dokipen
I always thought Elayne stayed inside the anteroom (or one of the rooms - the King's chamber would have contained several rooms) to Rand's chambers while Moiraine went into the bedroom. Her and Moraine must have seen Berelain coming down the stairs or overheard her muttering to the High Lord Whatsit as they were coming up the stairs. Or some such. Perrin nips into Rand's chambers just as Mo & El appear at the top of the stairs. Later, Mo collects El on the way out of the bedroom and they scarper before Perrin leaves the room. Maybe.

I still don't see how Mo's line about knowing the face oif the man she'll marry having anything coclusively to do with Thom. It's supposition based on the letter WAY later on. It'd be nice to think that but I don't accept it as read. Maybe after the doorway and Rhuidean she could say for certain but not at this stage. The Acceptatron certainly can't count, IMO. In fairness, though, I can't remember the discussion that happens between them soon.

Erdrick @ 10.
That's lovely - I'd forgotten all about that.

Steven Cooper @ 16.
The Wot Chronology is your work? Magnificent stuff, I've been through it quite a few times and I always get something out of it. A HUGE thank you.

Jen125 @ 20.
Do you not think it's after Suian's influence and coaching that Egwene stops being a git?

Grayfox @ 33.
Good spot re. Thom/Matt/Stones/Strategist. I've missed that every time. God I love these books.

BookFairy @ 39.
I understand Mat's whinyness in this book. It can't be easy to have half your memories missing.

odigity @ 42.
Damn fine summerisation. Excellent. Also, many 'lols' for the last line. My boss thinks I've lost it laughing at my monitor.

As to the number of books, I couldn't care less. It could be ten. As long as they're released as early as possible, it means I get new WoT to read. Also, it means we can discuss the first part before the second (and maybe more) parts. Probably ad nauseum.

Leigh, are you planning to keep going with this when AMoL drops? That would be teh awesomes.
Elroy Skimms
59. elroyskimms
Dr. Morganstien @ 12

I just have to say how much I love Lan and Rhuarc's reaction to Rand's chambers. This is such a classic bonding moment between people that a lot of times get written off as people being jerks when its obvious that they're joking.

I agree. I am re-reading TEotW right now and I had forgotten how much Lan seems to hate Rand early on. Hate might be too strong of a word. But Lan knows that one of these boys is going to be the most dangerous man on the planet, and Lan's job is to protect Moiraine. Makes his life a little more difficult. But as Rand grows into the Dragon Reborn, we see Lan change his attitude.

“He is only trying to find his way,” Lan said suddenly. “No man likes to run forward blindly when he knows there is a cliff somewhere ahead.”


“Tai’shar Manetheren,” Lan murmured.

I think Lan can relate to Rand in a new way. Both of them are sworn to fight to their last breath against the Shadow. Both of them (in Lan's mind) have to sacrifice their personal lives for the greater good. They both live with a duty that is heavier than a mountain.

60. GregoryD
Hi, All

Regarding the release date for AMOL. What is the big deal about Nov 1st anyway? I remember at least one of the books having been published in JANUARY.

Sanderson has said on his blog that he could have a first draft of the entire book finished by June or now July with all the rewrites of the first 500K. If they would just let him finish it, it could be in for editing by summer.

At the Crown of Thorns signing RJ told me that he had literally finished the book four weeks before signing my book. He sent TOR the chapters as they were finished and they had the book ready to print just four weeks before the signing.

The entire book could be ready by January it sounds like. When RJ announced before his death that he was going to do it all in one last novel, I said, "No way. It will never happen. His favorite number is 13 and there will be thirteen books." I could never envision him doing it in twelve. In fact, I bet a guy $100 that it would be thirteen. Looks like I may get to collect.
Dan Sparks
61. RedHanded
Concerning prophecy...

Where do these prophecies come from? Are these just from people who have had the foretelling once in a while back in the AoL and then were collected and put into book form? (Would that mean that some were missing in case some scraps were never found?) Was there some way to Foretell back in the AoL where you could force yourself to see into the future or spout prophecy because as of now it seems it is a random event brought on by chance events. Supposedly there is at least one, if not more, books on the Prophecies of the Dragon, so where did all that info come from? Anyone got any theories?
62. Randalator

Come on, for quite some time now it's been intuitively obvious to the most casual observer that AMoL will have to be split. And I say that without the jordan-esque irony usually attached to the phrase.

There is only so much you can squeeze into a book without rendering it virtually unreadable. And from Sandersons estimates AMoL will be about twice the size of what still can be comfortably read as a single volume (read: LoC). Imagine two LoCs forced into a single paperback...that thing would be huge enough to kill someone with it.


I still don't see how Mo's line about knowing the face oif the man she'll marry having anything coclusively to do with Thom. It's supposition based on the letter WAY later on. It'd be nice to think that but I don't accept it as read. Maybe after the doorway and Rhuidean she could say for certain but not at this stage. The Acceptatron certainly can't count, IMO. In fairness, though, I can't remember the discussion that happens between them soon.

Moiraine has been around Min so one of her viewings could tell Moiraine the face of her future husband beyond the shadow of a doubt.

Rhuidean on the other hand definitely told her nothing as she mentions in a POV that the Rings showed her nothing after her "death" at the docks in Cairhien.
63. JohnR
Re Perrin's falcon on one shoulder, eagle on another comments. I have always thought the falcon referred to Faile, and the eagle referred to the Red Eagle of Manetheren. I see Jordan setting up the twin influences in Perrin's life as (1) Faile being his personal desire and (2) leading Manetheren out of the ashes (so to speak) as his Pattern destiny.
64. Randalator

"A falcon and a hawk, perching on your shoulders. Both female, I think."

I never thought of Manetheren as female...
65. David-2
Steven@16 - Thanks for showing up so I can thank you for the chronology - which I've found very helpful over the years.

Plus, the amount of work that must have gone into it! And it has something of Schliemann finding Troy about it: First you have to make a giant leap of faith that the descriptions of the moon throughout the series actually mean something, and then you have to find a match to it somewhere in reality ...
66. Master Al'Thor
I have never been a fan of the supergirls. They always seem to jump to the wrong conclusions and they seem to like believing that they are smarter than anyone else. That being said the boys are just as foolish.
I agree with you Leigh, why can they just not sit and talk to each other without getting on each others nevers. This would make the series shorter and a tad bit more tolerable.

Get better, keep up the good work and all that...
67. Aaron Bergman
Hmmm. This part of my post

Apparently AMOL is going to be split into 2 or possibly 3 volumes. The name of the first volume is "The Gathering Storm." The link to the cover art is also on wotmania.

was a quote from #25. Not sure why this place doesn't accept basic HTML tags, but maybe this will work.
Lannis .
68. Lannis
JohnR @ 63, and Randalator @64: I may be mistaken (it's happened before), but I've always taken Min's falcon/hawk viewing for Perrin to be falcon for Faile, and hawk for Berelain--isn't Mayene's sigil the golden hawk in flight? Doesn't she have a coronet or something she wears for formality (thinking of a later book's interaction with Rand here...) that has a golden hawk in flight positioned on her forehead?

Oh, and Dr. Morganstien @ 36: ;)
69. Randalator

Of course Berelain is Perrin's Hawk. She claims descent from Artur Hawkwing, the Diadem of the First shows a golden hawk in flight and she is quite obviously female (although I'd volunteer to search her, just to make sure).
Lannis .
70. Lannis
Randalator @ 69: Thanks! Thought so. But when it's been about 15 years and 8-9 rereads, the info's tucked into the corner of your mind and you forget where this shit comes from, just that it *is*... and then you start to wonder if you're making it up...

And well, she did *offer* to be searched, so if you're feeling up to it (be careful, I get the impression it might take a while, with a subject like Berelain...).
Richard Fife
71. R.Fife
Also, don't forget that if you are a little too... shall we say... thorough?... in your search, she is likely to Aikido your ass into a wall. She is like a Domani hussy, hinting much but promising little.
72. HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
Perrin's Hawk is definitely Berelain.

RE: Lanfear -- she doesn't have NEARLY the influence on Perrin as Faile, so I don't see them as being mentioned in the same breath when it comes to a viewing like that. Nowhere is Lanfear referred to as a hawk.

RE: Manetheren -- it's not the Red Hawk, it's the Red Eagle. And also, it's a strange idea for a "foil" with Faile -- they're not seemingly at odds at all, though I suppose the viewing doesn't necessarily require them to be.

But in the end, Berelain and Faile are the two females with the most influence on Perrin's life in the series, and it's a very short logical trip to their identities being a Hawk and Falcon, so why would we be looking for reasons it's not them?

A couple people are reading the series a bit too much as SF readers rather than suspending disbelief. Expecting Mat and Rand (or anyone) to just suck it up and go on fulfilling their destinies is just crazy. Remember, everyone keeps saying stuff like "this isn't a story" so they can't just assume everything's going to be ok because they are the hero, like we have the luxury of doing.

A word on the awkwardness of love: perhaps RJ had it right. After all, while it may feel stupid and forced when just about everyone in the series is falling in love, they ARE all like 18 years old. I'll be damned if I look back at everyone I knew and myself when we were 18 and could say it makes sense to see them together.
73. gnewell
I know that I'm really, really backtracking here, but my re-read at the start of TGH, and I picked out something that has me going HMMMM. When Rand and Lan are practicing on the tower at the beginning, Rand comments that Moiraine has gone of to the Creator knows where and Lan remarkes that she does this alot for her 'personal' space and that she has just returned the last night. There is no info as to where she has gone or what she was up to. This is right after the Bors DF / Forsaken meeting, and we know that Ingtar was there along with several AS. Lan notes that Ingtar is returning from hunting and has met up with the Amyrlin Seat's group coming to Fal Dara. Is this just coincidence that she and Ingtar return to Fal Dara at the same time, or is there the slightest chance that Mo could, somehow be in the BA?
75. Siuanfan
odigity @ 42

lol. I love your summary of Moiraine's POV. I agree that she's a bit of a tragic hero, and her attitude/action while Rand is coming into his own is something of a mixture of frustration, anxiety, and Aes Sedainess (which, as we can all agree, is based on a pathological need to appear mysterious and all-knowing so that people will rely on them to tell everyone what to do). Not like she can just break out of that mindset overnight. Plus she's been IN CHARGE for 20 years, of Lan, and of everyone around her, on this singleminded mission to find and protect the Dragon Reborn, so it takes a while to adjust to being the sidekick instead of Ms. Knows-it-all-and-saves-the-day.

I agree Moiraine should have been much more open with Rand and everyone else, but everyone in this book has a sick habit of keeping secrets even when it's clear that everyone's best chance of survival depends on knowing as much as possible. I don't think Moiraine's behavior was perfect but I like to cut her some slack. Everyone always does what they *think* is the right thing at the time. At least her intentions were good, unlike say... Elaida and the Whitecloaks who are 'good' but are really all about personal glory. I always felt Moiraine got a raw deal after how much of her life she's spent to find this kid and how much effort she's spent keeping their asses alive.

Why does everyone hate Egwene so much? She's a bratty kid, but so are all of them - I don't see her being less irritating than Rand, Mat, or Nynaeve. Perrin was the only duopotamian that I'd have been able to tolerate for more than 5 minutes in the early books. Of course, that changed later when he became a whiny, Faileslobbering git and the rest of them grew up some.
Tim Kington
76. TimKington
Finally caught up on reading the comments again :)

The big piece of evidence is coming up that adds to the Thom-Moiraine idea - when she's convincing him to go with the girls she says straight out that she will see him again. Because of the oaths this means Min definitely saw something about them.

Maybe this is made clear later, but I don't remember - who sent the Whitecloaks to the TR? Valda sent Bornhald with orders signed by Niall, right? But Fain is behind the whole thing. So how did this happen? Did Fain go straight from Falme to Amador, infiltrate Niall's inner circle, and gain enough clout to pull this off?
77. D24g0n
Moiraine is merely reaping what she sowed. She is a Blue, and it is obvious that she put all of her passion into finding the Dragon Reborn. When trying to find the most "dangerous" person of the age, you should expect to get into some messy situations.

Moiraine is just feeling the backlash of her secretive/know it all attitude the first few books. She handled the situation, which she had been preparing for over 20 years for, poorly. What is the best way to gain someone's trust? Definitely not by being deceptive and misleading, and especially not by concealing everything from them.
Elroy Skimms
78. elroyskimms
gnewell @ 73

Rand comments that Moiraine has gone of to the Creator knows where and Lan remarkes that she does this alot for her 'personal' space and that she has just returned the last night. There is no info as to where she has gone or what she was up to.

She was on a farm learning Balefire.

Brad Moore
79. servantcbm
@76. TimKington

Under one of his alias', Fain enters Niall's office through a hidden door and gives him some advice concerning the TR, et. al. I believe this occurs in a prologue, but I'm a little fuzzy on it so am probably wrong.

I'll concede under the overwhelming responses that Olver could not possibly be Cain. Some of us have not read everything on the internet related to the series having already had full-time jobs when the series started, and occasionally think of something that seems at least plausible, and throw it out there for discussion, not realizing that RJ said something about it on Oct 12th at the signing in Toledo. That's all I'm sayin. :)

Still loving the reread, Leigh! I hope you feel better soon.
Ofer Nave
80. odigity
I think the veterans are just taking the pain of hearing RAFO for fifteen years out on the newbies. Consider it a hazing.
81. Wetlander
odigity @42

You rock!

This was well thought & well written. I also like your point that you're not trying to say she's always right, just that there are some very understandable reasons for her mistakes and her perspective.

(Someday I'll write a similar essay on Egwene and/or Nynaeve, if no one else beats me to it. But you're welcome to.)
Lannis .
82. Lannis
odigity @ 80: Yes! Omigod, the jealousy I felt when my husband started reading the series a year ago--never having to wait years between publications, or hear (or read online) that dreaded "RAFO!" AHHH!
83. Wetlander
It's a twisty sort of thing, this keeping of secrets. From the outside, we know all the stuff each character knows, and we know how much it would help if they shared it with others who need to know. But in almost every case, they have a reason that seems right to them, that they can't tell anyone (or at least the right anyone). Sometimes its a "not my secret" thing, sometimes they think it would just confuse things (not realizing that it's exactly the one puzzle piece someone else is missing), all sorts of reasons like that. It's enough to drive the reader crazy, but most of the time if you really TRY to understand their reasoning, you can see it. Again, it's not that they are RIGHT to keep the secret, just that it's understandable if you get their perspective.

And, of course, a whole lot of plot twists wouldn't have happened if they all pooled their info freely, and the story wouldn't be half so good! We each have our bits we think could have been left out, but I'm betting that if you're really honest with yourself, you wouldn't want any less WoT than you got...
Brad Moore
84. servantcbm
odigity @ 80: That makes sense, I just got involved about 2 years ago and am on my third re-read already. I don't know what I'd be like if I had had to wait so long for the finale.
85. Randalator

Moiraine's absence during the darkfriend social was definitely thrown out by RJ as a red herring for the readers. But since then there were several Moiraine PoVs that show she's not Black Ajah.
86. rynners
Siuanfan @ 75

"duopotamian" = Ha! Well played, indeed.
87. rynners
Also, my fellow re-readers, I'm guessing that many of you caught this link in the sidebar, but I'm going to post it here for those who didn't spot it.

"Pablo Defendini: Just a quick WoT-related note...":

So, back to the drawing board, it seems, but watch for pigeons and keep in touch with your Eyes-and-Ears for soon-to-come news of Randland.
88. ZamIt
I like the part with Mat asking Egwene advice. It may be the earliest instance in the series of anyone treating Egwene with respect. I mean everyone didn't treat her meanly (excluding the Seanchan and Black Ajah or course), but so far she's always been the novice or the girl to rescue. It is nice that Mat is the one who begins to treat her like she is someone whose opinion matters. Maybe I particularly notice it now because of the scene later (Crown of Swords?) when he bows to her and treats her with respect as Amyrlin when everyone else ignores her.

Also, this is the point in the reread when I'll complain about the biggest "mistake" I think Jordan makes in the series. I absolutely hate that Elayne, the Daughter Heir, it totally ignoring that her mother's lover tried to get her killed. There is one throwaway comment about Elayne not really believing or being concerned about Mat's story. I mean, come on! What about her duty to her mother/queen? Mat even killed a man, and she still doesn't think there is anything to worry about? I guess Jordan just had to have her go on with the Tanchico plot, and didn't have room for her to go back to Caemlyn at that point. I do remember reading this for the first time and being upset, as I was sure when I finished TDR that the big plot would be back in Caemlyn. Okay, I just didn't buy that lame excuse.
89. toddywatts
Okay, Leigh, I take umbridge at the "bulldogs regarding outdated theories in WOT" comment. I swear I was only uninformed -- I had no idea that Jordan had said that Olver was not Guidal Cain.

I'm really enjoying the re-read, so I'm going to put it down to out-of-character crankiness brought on by your flu.

On an unrelated note, am I the only one who wants to vomit every time they read about dandling girls on knees?

I must be the most uncritical reader. I never thought about anyone's motivation for falling in love. I just assumed all the cow-eyes and drooling happened off screen. Besides, you don't develop an intimate relationship with someone and then fall in love, you build that intimacy because there's something in the other person that draws you. Or, I could have just really embarrassed myself.
90. toddywatts
Okay, Leigh, I take umbridge at the "bulldogs regarding outdated theories in WOT" comment. I swear I was only uninformed -- I had no idea that Jordan had said that Olver was not Guidal Cain.

I'm really enjoying the re-read, so I'm going to put it down to out-of-character crankiness brought on by your flu.

On an unrelated note, am I the only one who wants to vomit every time they read about dandling girls on knees?

I must be the most uncritical reader. I never thought about anyone's motivation for falling in love. I just assumed all the cow-eyes and drooling happened off screen. Besides, you don't develop an intimate relationship with someone and then fall in love, you build that intimacy because there's something in the other person that draws you. Or, I could have just really embarrassed myself.
91. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
Redhanded @61
Foretelling did exist in the AoL and one of the Aes Sedai with that Talent was among those who prepared the Eye of the World. As well as give their final orders to the ancestors of the Aiel.
It will be depicted later in the book, I believe.
92. Tony Zbaraschuk
Nynaeve comes off as a jealous, irrational bitch. There doesn't seems to be much on her side beyond, "I hate Moiraine because she is Aes Sedai and I hate Aes Sedai so much that I must become one as fast as I can."

No, she partly hates Moraine for dragging off three kids from the village she's supposed to protect (without even asking the Women's Circle -- Verin will handle them better), partly for forcing her to realize that she is herself a wielder of the One Power, and mostly because Moraine has Lan and she doesn't.

Add my voice to the chorus of praising the Rand/Elayne section. So well done. (And we might note that Elayne will do what Moraine doesn't; give him useful advice. Though it's mostly in the background, we don't see a lot of detail, but it's one of the places where Rand picks up his talent at running things. A princess giving of her training...)
Chris Maurer
93. grayfox
alreadymad... @91:

yep, just read that part last night. Ch. 26 tSR when Rand is in the Rhuidean time machine.

"What good is your Foretelling," Oselle was almost shouting, "if you cannot tell us when?" her long black hair swayed as she shook with anger. "The world rests on this! The future! The Wheel itself!"

Dark-eyed Deindre faced her with a more usual calm. "I am not the Creator. I can only tell you what I Foretell."

servantcbm @ 84:

In some ways I'm jealous you didn't have to wait so long between books like some of us...however, I did enjoy reading all the theories and whatnot between books. However, it was right around Path of Daggers time that I decided that I'd refuse to start another fantasy series that wasn't fully complete...I have no intention of going anywhere near a George R.R. Martin book any time soon...despite people suggesting it.
94. mrstolz
As usual, great job Leigh.

I've pondered Moraine's 'knowing' who she would marry' for awhile. When Rand first meets Min, she mentions that sometimes she just knows what her visions mean, like a man and a woman that have never even talked to each other who will marry. While the way she says it suggests that the 'marry' part of her vision has already happened, by my 4th re-read, I took this as RJ's original hint about Moraine and Thom. Since she didn't do the many live's/Falme trip thru the Portal stones, and hasn't stepped thru the first Redstone doorway yet, this seems to be the only way she could be so certain she knew the face of the man she would someday marry.

And as an Aes Sedai, 'high lady', daes daemar Carriennen who has spent 20 years trying to find and guide the Dragon Reborn, I can understand why she would EXPECT a 20 year old sheepherder from the back of beyond to do as she says. A judgment error on her part, but she finally does realize the error of her ways.
Ofer Nave
95. odigity
Totally. I think WoT made a lot of us become Fantasy-celibate. I didn't touch the HP books until a month after book 7 came out, then read them all in a week (then immediately reread them). I'm glad I waited. :)
96. elvyelvy
hehehe, siuanfan@75 duopotamian rocks, really! :-) I couldn't stop laughing for the sheer beauty of the neologism.

As to the number of books, well, the Wheel weaves as the wheel wills.
But, fortune prick me, I want to see the end. After 17 years.... you might well say I grew old with the books... and if not exactly old, considerably not younger, so I don't care into how many books they are going to split it, provided they (Tor and Sanderson) do it.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE (small whining pleading voice fading in the background) let AMOL see the light of our bookshelves.

In the meantime let us enjoy this gorgeous group re-read. I'm having a great time with you all.
Michael Ikeda
97. mikeda
Aaron Bergman@67

Just as long as they don't start talking about there being "at least three" more books...

98. Siuanfan
Heh I can't take credit for 'duopotamians'. Another fellow re-reader coined that phrase a few sections back, I just liked it much better than 'Two Riversians'! :D

I know what you guys mean about the waiting. When I got hooked into the HP series, I kept hoping that the world wouldn't end and Rowling wouldn't die before I get to find out the end... then I had to really stop and reassess my priorities! If the world ends, I'm sure there would have been more pressing concerns than "what happens to Harry Potter".

Then Jordan goes and does the exact thing I feared, and now I'm really paranoid that the new guy doesn't have all the answers to all my questions and will have to resort to making stuff up. Which is idiotic, I know, since it's ALL fiction, but the "truth" of everything that was supposed to happen was in Jordan's head, not his! What if he gets it wrong?! Ohgod!

... I know. I have a twisted and unreasonable sense of logic.
Ofer Nave
99. odigity
Back in the late 90s we used to worry about the worst-case scenario of RJ dying right before the end (to the point where some people were considering hiring bodyguards to protect him). Even in real life, he demonstrated dramatic timing.
Richard Fife
100. R.Fife
Also, luckily I recall a post from Wilson at Dragonmount about how Jordan sat down with his inner circle (Wilson included) and told them the rest of the story and answered all their questions, thus promising the knowledge would be passed on if he did not make it. I am sure Brandon has more stacks of notes than he half knows what to do with.
Brad Moore
101. servantcbm
@93. grayfox: :) Well, Martin is certainly easier to set down for a while, there aren't the deep personal connections to characters that Jordan evokes.
102. toddywatts
@101 servantcbm - hard to become attached when they're all dead!
103. olidee
"All generalizations are false!"

Except that one, of course ;)
104. jwhite
5. lmelior

"All generalizations are false!"

I see what you did there...very clever, very clever indeed.

This reminds me of the third Star Wars when Obi Wan Kenobi tells Anikin that, and I quote,

"Only sith deal in absolutes."

Ha Ha
Elroy Skimms
105. elroyskimms
toddywatts @ 102

hard to become attached when they're all dead!

Best GRRM comment ever!

106. Bonzo4288
A lot of people also saw this, that the situation with Moiraine and Elayne in Rand's apartments was not the same time when Moiraine healed Rand. First reason is they didn't even talk about the prophecies except the part where Rand talks of one thing and Moiraine wouldn't answer him. I think it happened later on.

Just like other books, series, movies, real life, etc. Hindsight is 20/20 that if this person would have just explained himself/herself than a lot of problems wouldn't happen. Of course this series would have been over by the fourth book if that happened. Many reasons have been discussed of why so I'll just name a few.
1. Moiraine/Aes Sedai. Moiraine grew up as a princess. Princesses usually just expect to be obeyed without question automatically. Now add the Aes Sedai "knowing all of everything" even though Moiraine was already seeing that there's alot of things Aes Sedai DON'T know, she again just assumes a "farm boy" can't understand how a prophecy is supposed to happen and wouldn't understand the explanation either.
2. Rand/Two Rivers person. Rand grew up only with stories of royalty. Most of what he heard he couldn't understand BECAUSE he couldn't relate. Yes he had the Women's Circle and the Village Counsel to look at, but neither ruled 'absolutely, without question'. He didn't know that Aes Sedai was OMNIPOTENT. He saw someone manipulating him from his first steps out of Emond's Field and when he learned that Aes Sedai could and did make mistakes, he figured there might be some other answers out there that might be truer than Moiraine's answers if she even bothered to tell him.
Just making observations, love very much both the re-read and commentary becuase it gives us a chance to express our own views on these subjects. Continue the great work!!
107. jkanavar
"I do think it is amusing that Nynaeve is the one who brings up the “fact” that stilling is not curable."

Also interesting is that she says stilling and having a hand cut off are not curable... anyone we know who ends up minus one hand?
108. jafco
Doubt anyone will see this, being so long after the posting (been away to my son's wedding - hallelujah! - and so am only now beginning to catch up) but:

Leigh - I hope you're fully recovered now. Great job, as always.

This book has some sweet stuff early on, with the Rand/Eg/El scene, the "bubbles" and so forth being really great.

One thing that no one has commented on so far is the scene where Mat approaches Egwene, and she tells him about the Twisted Door. That is so completely out of character - and I mean completely - that I think she got ta'verened. Mat had to have that information, and he got it the only possible way it was going to come to him. Had he been "just plain old Mat" and not one of the most powerful ta'verens in existence (and in the vicinity of two others, one even more powerful), there is no way Egwene would have told him one damn' thing. Oddly, though, we never see an Eg POV where she wonders why on earth she divulged the info about the door to Mat, so maybe I'm wrong. However, I remember being struck by this passage every time I read the book.

I think there is another scene where - in Salidar - Mat lights into Egwene, and she realizes just in the nick of time that he's doing it to her (again). In that scene she discusses the phenomenon with Nyn and El afterwards.
109. JamesEdJones
Thanks again, Leigh. Once again awesome re-read.

Love your commentary about Strings. Thom is definitely the 'Cool Old Guy' who has done his thing and is just back on for another ride to help the next generation. This observation from you sheds a little more light on why we all love the Mat and Thom team. Who doesn't love to read about the 'Cool Old Guy' and 'Cool Young Guy' tweaking noses and collecting the money pool. Of course we see in TDR and TFOH that Thom and Mat have completely different ways of winning all the time. ;)

I do have to put in a comment about the Black Ajah plans. Once we find out exactly what the BA is after, it becomes perfectly clear that BOTH of the BA plots could be 100% truth. How else would the BA control Taim and make him do all that terrible stuff (aside from killing and substituting a Forsaken for him)?

I'd like to think Jordan was just being his brilliant self by suggesting two very different plots that are really one and the same.
110. JamesEdJones
OK. I know it's been forever since this re-read has been posted, so no one will probably read this. But I just wanted to comment on a few of the many brilliant comments.

First, 42 Odigity, thank you so much for the Clerks reference. The summary of Moiriane's POV was 'spot on' and left me snickering at work.

Last, 43 Aaron, I had a lot of fun with my friends when "The Passion of the Christ" came out. They would ask if I had seen it or planned to see it. My reply was always, "Nah, I read the book." To which they would almost invariably gasp, "There's a book?" Pick up a copy of King James, and see how many pages are in it. The word count in Sanderson's greatest estimation, 750k, is still less than the Bible. Which doesn't usually fall apart after a few readings. lol
111. LadyMarm
(Yes I know this is way late, but I'm just now catching up on these.)

"It might be an interesting experiment (if a completely unethical one) to set up a scenario where you put a perfectly sane person in a situation where everyone around him treats him as insane; after a while, would he come to believe everyone else is right?"

Yes, it's called Gaslighting.
112. winterking07
Well, I'm definitely coming to this series of (outstandingly excellent) blog posts very, very late, and it is likely that someone else has already suggested this, but...

Moiraine's description of Rand's actions, in Chapter 6, seems to really explain a lot of Rand's stranger actions in The Great Hunt and The Dragon Reborn (which earlier blog posts had remarked on, as possible early madness that Jordan later dialed back). Here, in Tear, is the first time that he's had a chance to actually read the "instruction manual" for being the Dragon, in the form of the Karaethon Cycle.

Before Tear, all that Rand had to go on were dreams (and who knows what powers were manipulating them); Aes Sedai instructions (and who knows what their -real- goals actually were); and his own guesses. For most of TGH, he has a solid, definite goal--find the Horn.

At the start of TDR, he's at a loss. He's proclaimed himself, but he has no independent information on what to do next, only the dreams and Moiraine. He heads to Tear based off of the dreams, not knowing (or caring?) whether it is a trap, but knowing that Callandor is something he is Supposed to get. Small wonder that for the rest of the book, he's increasingly unstable. He has no trustworthy frame of reference, no way to get his bearings.

Then he takes Tear, and finds the prophecies. Suddenly, he has his own, independent, information on what Being The Dragon means. He's able to make decisions based on something besides Aes Sedai puppet-strings and Shadowy dreams. Rhuidean later offers a similar sense of purpose(along with chasing Couladin), and so, for several books, Rand seems to be more wholly "with it" and coherent in his words and actions.
113. Felix Velarius Bos
You're probably right about the saidin/saidar thing, since Jordan took alot of inspiration from those old Asian religions and beliefs (the ancient Aes Sedai symbol is a yin-yang sign, for crying out loud). That was the way I always saw it, anyway.

The way Jordan does gender roles is kinda like that in general. To put in the shortest way possible, it's that men and women have very different strengths; men are good for smashing things up, and women are good for the more...subtle things. That's pretty much the point in this. It's not a bad thing. I've always liked that view, quite honestly.

And to Leigh in regards to why that quality makes Mat so endearing...well, I don't know a good explanation, so I'll just stick with it's Mat. Everything he does (save for the first two books) is endearing. =)
114. VandalThor
-elayne in chapter 3 was out in the hall crying because she heard that the first got there first.
-Odigity @42-You are correct sir. Also i kinda doubt she gets a whole lot of action.
-Odigity@74-You are again correct.
Gnewell@73-Moraine goes out to meet with her eyes and ears and sometimes she gets a little action to take the edge off i think. She likes em young and strong like perrin but she can't stand to look at them after. Eyes, ears, shoulders....knees and toes knees and toes.
-ladymarm@111-i don't get ur post at all. did you like google that answer for your self cuz you knew no one else would respond. I mean i just skim the comments but was urs reffering to something earlier that I missed.....I was gonna finish this but couldn't find the answer on google for myself.
-I wrote this long diatribe defending generalizations in general on principle before I figured it out that it was a joke. Then I immediately forgot about the whole thing while still being irritated and took it out on my girlfriend who I love even though she is totally wrong for me but she got her stringy foot in the door of my heart chamber so what are you gonna do.
-I might just have to reread the series. Ive done so much irreparable damage to my brain with all this useless collegiate knowledge pushing out my memories of WOT. Lanfear! gonna start using that as an expletive.
-pretty tired so im gonna keep this comment going cuz im on spring break
-Redhanded @61-the foretelling used to be much more common as did many of the old abilities and the general ability to channel. Things dwindled some say due to the aes sedai culling those with the spark so probably the stronger ones right out of the male population. think right after the war of power they probably had ten women with the foretelling spewing out about the dragon reborn because it was so pertinent and somebody with the foresight wrote it down. Ok sounds good to me.
-K just found the gaslighting source comment Marm Lady. Not cool. The experiment and your comment etiquestrian studies of the crap variety. No just kidding your ok. Gaslighting you.
-Jen125@20-sometimes when we don't like people it is because we see things we don't like about ourselves in them. Also your ranting makes me sick.
-k im not gonna comment for any more until FOH. Or read anyone's comments. except Leigh's. And Maybe Odigities? Nodigity's thats it. I like the way he works it.
115. Van Slanzar de Fanel
from the city, lost and forsaken,
leads the spears to war once more,
breaks the spears and makes them see,
truth long hidden in the ancient dream.

This segment of the Prophecy, seems to me it refers to the Aiel quite clearly. The lost and forsaken city being Rhuidean. "Leads the spears to war" referring to the Aiel, and the last two lines referring to Rand telling the Aiel their origins, which he learned from the "ancient dream" ter'angreal in Rhuidean. I could be reaching, but to me it fits much better than Moiraine's theory.
116. Arila
I was looking up the reference to Berelain's oath that she would pursue Perrin etc, and as I was getting up to that quote, I was back in Perrin's room with Faile just before the confrontation between the two when Perrin is going on about Berelain being a pleasant armful etc. He says it in such a way that Faile believes it might even be so (see her POV shortly after). Sure, she can try and rationalize it away about how he didn't mean it, or that he was trying to keep her from following him to the TR (where he means to turn himself in to the WCs to save his home), but their relationship is just building. Something like this could plant an insecure thought into her head which she never gets over, even after their marriage, it is an emotional hurt that can't be rationalized away. Plus, B's always always always there, keeping it fresh!

Re: "Why does EVERYONE have to be in lurrrve?!" Uhm, if I remember high school correctly, everyone DID want to have a bf/gf, and a lot of thoughts and emotional energy were spent on working that out! It's not until we get older and more secure and out in the world a bit more that we feel more independent. Besides, Mat's just foolin' around, so it's not everyone after all.

Re: Relationships feel forced/"Why does (s)he like them so much?! They barely met!"
Rand and Elayne met in TEOTW, who knows what sort of hopeful dreaming they have been doing since then. Also, I really get Perrin and Faile, She joins up with them for the adventure, but then they get thrown together a lot while traveling to Tear, since they have nearly the same "rank" in the group, tagging along behind Moiraine. Also, for all those people who get down on Faile for trying to make Perrin into a lord when he is/wants to be a blacksmith - please! Do you mean to tell me that you haven't been the one who throws out that raggedy shirt that you don't want your husband/son to wear anymore, or been the husband/son who had their clothes disappear (and new ones appear to replace it) from your wife/mother?

I'm a girl, and I like basically all of the female characters. I never identified with Faile much (but liked her) in my first read just before I got into HS. Now that I'm married, I think I'm more like her than any of the other female characters. (Eek?)

I haven't read these early books for some time, as I started the series in time to have COS as the last paperback I purchased. (subsequent books in hardback as they came out) I have done at least one re-read, but it was probably before WH, and then the remaining books as they came out, relying on my memory of the general plotline to get through. I never caught a whiff of the Moiraine/Thom thing at all! I sort of thought her letter to him after the docks was something she saw in the rings or that it was from-one-experienced-person-guiding-these-"Duopotamians"-to- another rather than anything more romantic. Boy was I shocked to read Towers of Midnight! Hah!

Re: Rand/Moiraine tug-of-war about the prophesies and the next move...
I completely agree with Lan that he's just trying to look for some clue about what to do next. I think he's also got several things going for him, and I wish Moiraine had picked up on it sooner. 1. He's got a fresh perspective on things, no pre-conceived notions. 2. He's Ta'veren, so he has a bit of a cheat, because he gets tugged in the right direction. 3. If the prophesies are meant to be used as a guide, then they were written for HIM, and likely make more intuitive sense (though not much sense!) than anyone to have ever read/studied them.
117. VeggieDaniel
Hi all! Late to the party, first post, love these rereads. Leigh, if you are still sick that is Some Flu!


Ch:3 I can't get Faile. She is mysterious in all the wrong ways. She seems to 'really' dig when Perrin is all large and on his game, so it baffles me why she would obviously make him feel so Incredibly Awkward. I'm kinda bummed she missed Perrin accidentally flirt with the Maiden's Kiss. Young Bull indeed. Hubba.
Also? Lan and Rhuac are on my Literary Badasses I Want To Pubcrawl With fantasy team. Oh the Revelry! The stories! The boatloads of Awesome by Association!

Ch 4: Thom is the WoT Counselor of the Year. He takes an obviously agitated unstable Hero and chills him the eff down. Nice one Dr. Gleeman! Plus when Mat reacts to the suggestion that he "desert" Rand, kicking his stool as he jumps up, reminds me that he begs Perrin and Rand to know he would Never Desert Them. Thom hit a soft spot! Probing analysis doc!

Ch:5 Stilling is Incurable. Pshaw and Balderdash! Plus I never remembered why Taim would have been a DF. The idea of forced Turning never really jumped in my head, though we see that becomes a prevalent tool later in the series.

Ch 6: Moraine used "mule-headed"? Is that a common Carnhein phrase? Doubtful. The Two Rivers is strong, including vernacular! If she had a braid she woulda been a'tuggin something Fierce! Plus, notice Mo never answers the "ever been is love?" question. Hmm. Just more tricksyness? Or sad sad back story? You decide!
I also like her carpentry 'hammer, nail' metaphor. And frankly she's right. Rand's been sleeping on Tear's couch for too long man! The basement is not your excuse not to get a job, you rather unstable punk! Plus cut that hair! Stop listening to Dashboard Confessional on repeat, you navel-gazer! Start a war or sumthin!
Also? Pssst....there's this thingy, a doorway angreal, that is Here, and I will probably use it later, but it's soooo dangerous that y'all should stay the eff away, but, y'know, hypothetically, it someone DID use it, mentioning the Dark One is Bad. Worst. Drug. Counselor. Ever. C'mon, Mo! With advise like that, it's no doubt the Girls would be on LSD, "finding" Led Zeppelin. Sheesh.

Ch 7: Elayne dolls up! And borrows shit likes its the Oscars! Also? I now pcture Rand dwarf-tossing Torean, lucha libre style. Plus the Aiel betting on it. Fun! Eg is a horrible chaperone but a decent wingman in that she split when Needed. Plus, two women "probing" Rand (heh). Get used to it, stud. Rand is also the Best Kids Magician Ever! Hire him to perform Crazy Tricks! Easy on the Fire though. When Eg Breaks Up with Rand, I always remember my high school dayz when my reaction to We Gotta Talk was "thank you Jebus". I picture Rand was all "whew!" too.

Ch 8: Romance! Feathers! Im all "awwwww". Plus a Kiss that seemed sooo awkward that I'm kinda shocked it curled toes and all. Like when Tiger Woods and his (former) caddie Steve Williams would do a Joyous High Five, it was usually painful to watch. Maybe Tiger's toes curled too. You never know.
Also? Gaul is a big caulk block. Didn't he hear the Barry White? Did he miss seeing the sock on the doorknob (hubba)? C'mon Man! Shoulda gone with Eg to get some espresso or a pint.
Eg was actually being the Worst Listener Ever! Go to Thom's seminar on How to Deal With Unstable Ta'avereen. Mat opens up his insecurities, choosing to show some vulnerability to one of his only true friends, and she wants to chuck him off the balcony. Note to Egwene, future Amyrillin Seat: chillax a little. Dude's trying. Give him a sec, will ya?

Thanks all! Lurve Yoose!!
118. sadface
R:Proverbs - When you mentioned distate for the first proverb I was rubbed wrong, but since you bringit up again, I will rush to their defense. I like these proverbs. They do an amazing amount of world building for two such short lines, they are both fairly clever, and they are true enough that we remember them. Proverbs are not simple things. They jamb complex ideas into very few words, words that are constructed elegantly enough that we can all share and remember them, being able to call upon their wisdom at any time. They are part of our cultural conciousness, so much so that they can almost define a culture (consider Confucius) to an outside group by giving insight into what they consider wisdom. Most proverbs speak in absolutes, because they are conveying a general rule, but I don't believe anyone takes them as absolutes. Humans are very good at managing life by rule and exception. This abilty allows us to have language, drive cars, cook, ect. In fact, an arguement could be made that the better you understand the rule, the better prepared you are to notice, handle, and create exceptions. That is why a firm grasp on rules and exceptions in an artistic fields is called talent. Seeing as how most proverbs take hundreds of years to boil down, concetrate their wisdom, and disperse through a culture, RJ did a great job with his proverbs (as well as tunes, lyrics, and song titles), giving his world the feeling of existing for centuries instead of just telling us it has.

Re: The Prophocey quoted here - "Power of the Shadow made human flesh, wakened to turmoil, strife and ruin.” Is this just saying the Forsaken are loose? The next sentence begins talking about Rand (The Reborn One), and I wonder if the first sentence is supposed to refer to him as well. Combine this with calling Rand the Lord of Chaos, chaos of course being tDO's goto tool, and you have to wonder.

Re Foretelling - Jumping back to my comments in tSR part 1 commentaries, here we see Fortelling (a definte form of Prophecy) from the end of the AOL. This sets raises the limit on how long between a future becoming definte and its weaving to thousands of years. Very interesting.
119. Geekette70
Following along while I do my final re-read before AMoL is relased.

Just a few things to add to this discussion.
1. So most of the main players are now aware that the Forsaken are running around, scooping up nations and gathing power, right (at least in Tear and Illian) so WTH are people not suspicious of any new "outland Lords or Ladies" who no one has heard of until very recently suddenly coming to positions of power, i.e. Lord Gaebril? Especially when this guy is talking about wanting Elayne dead? I don't know, it just seems like people would be putting 2 and 2 together by now.

2. I am assuming that they want Elayne dead because they know somehow that "the Royal line of Andor would be the key to defeating the Dark One in the Last Battle" as Elaida foretold. Not sure how they would have known this, though, a dark prophesy, maybe?

3. VeggieDaniel, you are my hero and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter. That was, perhaps, the funniest thing I've read in weeks.
120. Beccat
LOVE this site. I am reading all of the more recent comments - for those of you who posted thinking that nobody would read them. Hoping VeggieDaniel has some more posts down the line.
121. sandrine
Egwene really in insufferably arrogant in these chapters.
William McDaniel
122. willmcd
In Ch6, when Moiraine is mentally venting her desperation about Rand, she says "I am almost desperate enough to---" and then cuts off, stating only that she will "do what she must". What was she about to say here? I have to wonder if it might have involved becoming "pillow-friends" with Rand.

I was going to post yet another anti-Egwene rant here, but I think Lsana @ 13 and Rebecca Starr @ 23 pretty will articulated everything I was feeling. Well done. One image that I thought was gripping from Egwene's POV was that of a younger Rand cradling a lamb inside his coat after saving it from a wolf. I thought it was an glimpse into a tender and compassionate Rand that is deeply suppressed by this point in the story.

Ch 7-8 are another example of why I like Elayne and dislike Egwene (which of them pinched Rand, anyway? Was it both? And 100 times harder was a little too much, for me) Elayne frequently strives to be a peacemaker (as with Egwene and Nynaeve at the end of TDR); she communicates with Rand, and her healing of the pinch can be seen as a form of compromise. Despite being a princess, she is willing to communicate and compromise, while Egwene will settle for nothing less than being the "Alpha Female" is every instance.
William Carter
123. wcarter
@122 Trying to seduce Rand is one faint possibility although her later POV shows that that's highly unlikely. Personally, I think it's more plausible she may have been considering bonding him against his will a la Alanna and attempting to use the bond to compel him (although Alanna said her attempts were flat out failures akin to trying to uproot an oak tree with her bare hands).

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