Apr 3 2009 10:18am

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Shadow Rising, Part 6

I am just a posting mofo this week, ain’t I? I ain! So, here, have a Wheel of Time Re-read post—whether you want it or not. Don’t get all sullen now, this is for your own good, missy.

Upon this discrete circadian interval, our egregious loquacity is quaintly cognominated Part 6 of The Shadow Rising, in which we inspect, peruse, scrutinize, study, survey, traverse, and/or valuate Chapters 20-22, with diligent and unmitigated application of maximum verbosity, divagation, and quibblation. Sesquipedaliophobics need not apply.

Old posts are here. So are spoilers.

Tangentially-but-not-really to this, I want to remind y’all that JordanCon doth approacheth, and I will be there, and I hope some of youse guys will be there too. To that end, I’m working on some fun con-related stuff for which I will give you details on as soon as, um, I know those details. I do know that I will be participating in at least one or two panels there, and possibly doing some other really cool stuff too. More as it develops.

And now, I believe that is sufficient equivocation. Ventral locomotion is indubitably compulsatory at this exigency!

Chapter 20: Winds Rising


What Happens
Falling over each other, Elayne and Nynaeve lurch up on deck after Coine and Jorin. The crew is shouting about earthquakes, but Elayne looks at the Stone and knows it was Rand. She and Nynaeve look at each other, and finally Elayne says he’d better not have damaged the ship. Nynaeve says comfortingly that the second letter must have touched a nerve, that’s all, but breaks off to ask what are they doing here? Elayne sees Thom Merrilin and Juilin Sandar standing on the deck, obviously not together but both looking in their direction anxiously. Coine comes over and tells them the ship is not damaged, and they can set sail immediately; in reference to Thom and Juilin, she expresses reluctance to throw a gleeman and a thief-catcher of good repute off her ship, but will if Elayne and Nynaeve ask it.

“Let us see why they are here first,” Nynaeve said in a flat voice that did not bode well for either man.

“Perhaps I should do the talking,” Elayne suggested, gently but firmly. “That way, you can watch to see if they are hiding anything.” She did not say that that way Nynaeve’s temper would not get the better of her, but the wry smile the other woman gave her said she had heard it anyway.

“Very well, Elayne. I will watch them. Perhaps you might study how I keep calm. You know how you are when you become overwrought.”

Elayne had to laugh.

As they come up to the two men, Elayne frowns at Thom, thinking he seems very familiar, but can’t imagine why; she turns to Juilin instead, and remarks mildly that the last time they saw him, he had not served them very well. Juilin replies that actually, the very last time they had seen him was when he and Mat Cauthon had rescued them. Elayne concedes this, somewhat, but that doesn’t explain what he is doing here. Juilin eyes Nynaeve warily.

“I was rousted out of my house no more than half an hour gone,” he said carefully, “by a man you know, I think. A tall, stone faced man calling himself Lan.” Nynaeve’s eyebrows rose slightly. “He came on behalf of another man you know. A...  shepherd, I was told. I was given a great quantity of gold and told to accompany you. Both of you. I was told that if you do not return safely from this journey...  Shall we just say it would be better to drown myself than come back?”

Nynaeve mutters about disobedience, but seems pleased nonetheless; Elayne frowns and thinks Rand must not have read the second letter yet, and now there was no time to send another, and it would only make her look a bigger fool if she did. Nynaeve asks Thom if “the shepherd” sent him, too, and Thom answers no, it was the lady who found Nynaeve and the shepherd both in Emond’s Field. Nynaeve asks why, suspiciously, and Thom tells her he has useful skills, and knows Tanchico well. Watching him, Elayne again feels that sense of familiarity, and without thinking reaches out and tugs one of his moustaches. He jumps, and she claps her hands over her mouth, mortified. She apologizes, and Thom accepts stiffly. Elayne looks to Nynaeve, who stares at the men for a long moment before deciding they can come, but only if they both agree to do as they are told. Thom attempts to weasel his way out of promising outright, but eventually both men give their word on it, and Nynaeve sends them off to find “a cubbyhole” to set up in. Elayne asks if she is not being too hard on them, but Nynaeve counters that Thom knows they are not full Aes Sedai, so they will need every advantage to keep the men from thinking they can take over the whole enterprise from two mere Accepted. They discuss whether they believe Juilin and Thom are trustworthy; Elayne is inclined to trust Thom, even though she’s not sure why, but Nynaeve is very suspicious that it was Moiraine who sent him.

Nynaeve goes below as the ship sets out through the river delta; once they are out on open sea, all the Sea Folk women take off their blouses, even Coine and Jorin, to Elayne’s consternation. Juilin cannot decide where to look and soon dashes below, and Elayne convinces herself she doesn’t care, as long as they do not expect her to do the same. She finds herself in the bow, watching the dolphins playing in the bow wave, and sees that Thom is there too. She notes he seems sad, and thinks she would remember why he was so familiar if she could make him laugh. She asks if he means to compose the epic about Rand. Thom replies perhaps, but it doesn’t matter much; by the time the next Age comes around (though, he admits, that could be very soon) the tale will be changed out of all recognition, and no one will remember the truth of it. Rand al’Thor will be lucky if anyone still gets his name right in a couple of dozen generations. He laughs, and Elayne is sure she remembers him now. To keep him talking, she brings up Hawkwing; surely the tales are correct about him. Thom says in essence, perhaps, but he seriously doubts Hawkwing actually did even half of what the stories claim.

“And that is only a thousand years back. Go back further, back to the oldest tales I know, from the Age before the Age of Legends. Did Mosk and Merk really fight with spears of fire, and were they even giants? Was Elsbet really queen of the whole world, and was Anla really her sister? Was Anla truly the Wise Counselor, or was it someone else? As well ask what sort of animal ivory comes from, or what kind of plant grows silk. Unless that comes from an animal, too.”

Elayne says she doesn’t know about the rest of it, but he could ask the Sea Folk about ivory and silk; Thom laughs again, and says she is practical and to the point, just like her mother. Elayne doesn’t think he should be talking about his queen so familiarly, but Thom goes on that the Sea Folk don’t know where silk comes from any more than anyone else, and tells her about the closed ports beyond the Waste. Elayne asks again why he came with them, and Thom gives cheerful non-answers, yet Elayne is struck again by the feeling that she can trust him utterly. She suddenly interrupts their conversation, though, and tells him she must go; she walks over to Jorin, who is clearly surrounded by the light of a woman channeling. Elayne watches as Jorin weaves “cable-thick” flows of Air and Water, driving the ship along at a great pace. When she finishes, Elayne says quietly this is why Sea Folk ships will not carry Aes Sedai. She tries to assure Jorin that the Tower would not interfere with the Windfinders, but Jorin disagrees; she had hoped that perhaps Elayne and Nynaeve were not Aes Sedai despite the rings, but now they know, and soon so will the Tower. Elayne tells her that she cannot promise to keep the Windfinders’ secret, but she will do what she can, and swears by her House that she will do her best to protect her people from interference. Jorin is fatalistic, but accepts. They move on to a discussion of why Sea Folk call their ships “he” when everyone else calls them “she”:

“The men will give you a different answer,” the Windfinder said, smiling, “speaking of strength and grandness and the like as men will, but this is the truth. A ship is alive, and he is like a man, with a true man’s heart.” She rubbed the rail fondly, as if stroking something alive, something that could feel her caress. “Treat him well and care for him properly, and he will fight for you against the worst sea. He will fight to keep you alive even after the sea has long since given him his own deathstroke. Neglect him, though, ignore the small warnings he gives of danger, and he will drown you in a flat sea beneath a cloudless sky.”

Elayne hopes Rand is not that fickle, and asks Jorin how long till they reach Tanchico. Jorin thinks ten days or less, to Elayne’s amazement. Elayne asks Jorin if she would teach her the flows she was just using; Jorin is astonished that an Aes Sedai would ask for instruction from her, but agrees, and says perhaps they shall both learn.

Once again in Thom and Elayne’s conversation we are introduced again to the theme of story decay. It’s kind of funny now how thrilled I was to realize that Mosk and Merk were references to the Cold War, when now it seems like the Cold War was anticlimactic enough that no one a thousand years from now is likely to remember anything much occurred between World War II and... whatever really bad thing happens next, much less multiple thousands of years from now.

Well, really, you tell me if you know offhand what happened in between the Battle of Hastings (1066) and, say, the First Crusade (1095). Unless you’re either a history buff, fresh out of a Classical History course, or seriously well-read, you probably have no clue. And that was only a thousand years ago too. And we haven’t had a world-altering catastrophe in between that and this, either. I’m just saying.

Re: Jorin's explanation of why a ship is called by the masculine pronoun: [an hour later] Oh, for Christ's sake. I am so irritated right now.

So, it turns out, if you Google “why ships called she”, the overwhelming majority of the search results quote the following oh so clever quip:

A ship is called a ‘she’ because
there is always a great deal of bustle around her;
there is usually a gang of men about, she has a waist and stays;
it takes a lot of paint to keep her good looking;
it is not the initial expense that breaks you, it is the upkeep;
she can be all decked out;
it takes an experienced man to handle her correctly;
and without a man at the helm, she is absolutely uncontrollable: she shows her topsides, hides her bottom and, when coming into port, always heads for the buoys.


Most of the rest quote Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz’s more succinct reason, in an address to the Society of Sponsors of the United States Navy: “A ship is always referred to as ‘she’ because it costs so much to keep one in paint and powder.”

Are you kidding me with this shit, or what?

I suspect that merely by bringing this up will result in my having to bust out a bingo card on at least a few commenters, but nevertheless I will not pretend that I find the above quotes amusing, because I don’t. They basically make me kind of dully angry and depressed. One might try to point out that the quotes are obviously outdated, considering the reference to “stays” (i.e. corsets) and the fact that Nimitz died in 1966, and one would be right – except for the fact that in 2009, a Google search on the question turns up practically nothing else except these two quotes. Seriously, go try it if you don’t believe me. The few hits that don’t reference these quotes either say something brief and vague about it being a reference to captains being married to their ships, or something about goddesses that makes no sense, or merely shrug and say no one really knows where the tradition comes from.

What kills me about this is that in an hour-ish long search, I was not able to find ONE reference to this practice which wasn’t either a hasty brush-off or a derogatory lampoon. Even Wikipedia devotes all of one sentence to it. Are we seriously this scared of addressing anti-feminist traditions, Internets? Really? Really?

Gah. And you know, I wasn’t even intending, when I started this, to make this about sexism. I was simply looking for a parallel, hopefully similarly poetic description of why we call ships “she” to compare with Jordan’s rationale for calling ships “he”. Imagine my surprise when all I could find are jokes that explain how ships are, basically, whores. Un-fucking-believable.

[a day later] I’ve been re-reading what I wrote here, and debating whether or not my initial reaction was too harsh, and whether I should just delete it. But you know, I’m not going to. Maybe it is overly harsh, but it was my honest reaction at the time, so I’m going to leave it as is. I just think it would have been really nice to find something in that search that was anything nearly as nice and laudatory as what Jorin said about her ship, instead of... that. Ech. Moving on.

Chapter 21: Into the Heart

What Happens
An irritated Moiraine, trailed by Egwene, enters the Heart of the Stone, packed with Tairen nobility at Rand’s orders. She’s annoyed because Lan is missing, though the bond tells her he’s not far from the Stone. She thinks about Nynaeve and how hard Lan was fighting his love for her, and that she has done what she had to about that; Nynaeve will have him if Moiraine dies, and not before. Moiraine asks Egwene if she’s sure Rand said nothing about what he’s planning, and Egwene confirms this, sounding irritated as well. Moiraine observes that Egwene has obviously not heard the rumors about the Two Rivers, but she cannot count on being so lucky about Rand. Moiraine reflects that Elayne and Nynaeve should be aboard the Sea Folk ship by now, and Thom is gone as well; she is pleased, for it gets them out of her hair and off to deal with the much less likely possibility that Amico was right about Tanchico. Moiraine is fairly convinced the Mazrim Taim story was the truer one, but her messages to Siuan should take care of that. It was just a shame Egwene hadn’t gone with them.

“Speaking of wool-brained, do you mean to continue with this plan to go into the Waste?”

“I do,” the girl said, firmly. She needed to be back in the Tower, training her strength. What was Siuan thinking of? She will probably give me one of those sayings about boats and fish, when I can ask her.

Moiraine contemplates the Tairens, in particular High Lady Alteima, who she judges is far more dangerous than either her dead lover or her soon-to-be-deceased husband, and thinks that Thom missed, there, perhaps because he had a strange reluctance to move against women. She thinks something will have to be done about Alteima, and picks out High Lady Estanda, Alteima’s biggest rival. She regrets sending Thom away for a moment, but he had had too much influence with Rand, and had been settling the boy down to rule Tear, when Moiraine knows he has to move on. She waits impatiently, fuming over Rand.

That blind fool of a boy, running headlong through the night with never a care for cliffs, never thinking he could carry the world over as well as himself. If only she could keep him from rushing back to save his village. He would want to, but he could not afford to do so now. Perhaps he did not know; it could be hoped.

She spots Mat across from them, slouching and unkempt; he shifts nervously as she looks at him, then grins at her defiantly. Moiraine thinks of the trouble he has given her spies, always seeming to eel away whenever they got near. Egwene frowns at Mat and comments that she thinks he must sleep in his coats on purpose, and asks where Perrin is. Moiraine scans the crowd and does not see him. Egwene doesn’t think he would run away, but Moiraine points out that Faile has been trying to convince him to leave, which surprises Egwene, that Faile would think she could succeed.

“Perhaps she does not believe it as he does.” Moiraine had not believed it herself, at first, had not seen it. Three ta’veren, all the same age, coming out of one village; she must have been blind not to realize they had to be connected. [...] There was no guide to how they were connected, or what they were supposed to do; the Prophecies never mentioned companions.

Rand finally enters, striding into the Heart surrounded by a hundred veiled Aiel and carrying Callandor. He goes to the center and looks around at the assembly, and Moiraine thinks he looks surprised and upset to see Egwene there; Moiraine he smiles at infuriatingly. He announces that the High Lord Sunamon has given him a treaty with Mayene that follows Rand’s guidelines, and has agreed to be hanged if it is not fulfilled. In the dead silence that follows this, he adds that the armies of Tear are to march. At this, the Tairens all cheer and caper madly, shouting “Illian shall fall!” Eventually Rand gets silence and tells them the armies will march north into Cairhein. He names the lords who will lead the force – Meilan, Gueyam, Aracome, Hearne, Maraconn and Simaan – and that Torean will be financing the mobilization, and going along as well. Moiraine applauds his choices, as those are the seven lords most heavily plotting against Rand, but thinks the rest is madness. Meilan tries to object, pointing out that interfering in a civil war is like stepping into quicksand, and Rand counters that the armies will be bringing food to relieve the famine, and restore order. Egwene mutters fiercely that she knew he wouldn’t start a war, and Moiraine asks her if she really thinks this will involve less killing. Rand then proceeds to undercut Alteima, sending her to Cairhien as well and putting her “sick” husband under Estanda’s care; Alteima faints at the news, and Moiraine thinks Rand is truly harder than he was, but also looked slightly ashamed. Estean shouts that with the Lord Dragon to lead them, Tear will conquer the world.

Jerking his head up, Rand appeared startled. Or perhaps angry. “I will not be with you. I am... going away for a time.” That certainly brought silence again. Every eye was on him, but his attentions were all on Callandor. The crowd flinched as he lifted the crystal blade before his face. Sweat rolled down his face, much more sweat than before. “The Stone held Callandor before I came. The Stone should hold it again, until I return.”

Suddenly the transparent sword blazed in his hands. Whirling it hilt uppermost, he drove it down. Into the stone floor. Bluish lightning arced wildly toward the dome above. The stone rumbled loudly, and the Stone shook, dancing, heaving screaming people from their feet.

Moiraine pushes Egwene off her and gets to her feet, watching as Rand slowly forces himself to pry his fingers from the hilt. He tells the Tairens to look at Callandor while he is gone, and remember that he will be coming back for it. Anyone who wants to take his place only has to pull it out, and he grins, waggling a finger at them, and marches out. Egwene asks if he could be mad already, and Moiraine hopes he is not. They both run after him and catch him in the hallway. Rand says to Egwene that she should have gone with Elayne and Nynaeve, and Egwene tells him she is going to Rhuidean in the Waste. Rand misses a step, and then starts reminiscing with her about Emond’s Field; Moiraine cuts in and asks why he did it. At first he deliberately misunderstands her, but then tells her that he could do anything with Callandor, and now it is a weight off his shoulders; seeing she doesn’t understand, he quotes her the Prophecies:

“Into the heart he thrusts his sword,
into the heart, to hold their hearts.
Who draws it out shall follow after,
What hand can grasp that fearful blade?”

Moiraine points out tightly that the problem is anyone can come and get Callandor after he leaves, including the Forsaken; Rand replies that he almost hopes they’ll try, and warns Moiraine to tell the Tower they must not try to take it, either; he could not make the trap pick and choose. He tells her he will come back for Callandor eventually, and leaving it there means he can come back without bringing an army to do it. Moiraine asks where he is going, then, and he answers quietly, “Rhuidean”. Egwene is astounded, and Moiraine hears a murmur from the Aiel still surrounding them. Moiraine asks if he got this from the snake doorway, and he replies that she will have to trust him, just as he has so often had to trust her.

“I will trust you for now. Just do not wait to seek my guidance until it is too late.” I will not let you go to the Shadow. I have worked too long to allow that. Whatever it takes.

The interesting thing about the relatively few POVs we get from Moiraine is how little we learn about her even when we’re in her head. Her general air of mystery is definitely one of the most appealing things about her as a character. As well as the most frustrating. I mean, seriously – she can’t even die in a straightforward manner! Or appear to die. Whatever. See?

One of the things we do see here is how increasingly stressed she is getting over her inability to control Rand, which again is both annoying – why can’t she just trust him? – and understandable – why should she just trust him? Confronted with a ridiculously powerful, completely untrained, back country 19-year-old farm boy who’s admitted to hanging out with a besotted Forsaken and is already showing signs of madness, I don’t know that I would be all that trusting, either, honestly. Plus her sole absolute source of support is fractured, by Lan’s conflicting loyalties. If you think about it, it’s kind of amazing she hasn’t had a nervous breakdown. Of course, she’s not exactly the nervous breakdown type, so.

Compared with later politicking subplots, the Daes Dae’mar we get in Tear is actually pretty straightforward and uncomplicated. Of course, everything political is uncomplicated compared with what we eventually get into with the Aes Sedai. And, you know, though I was a little dismissive earlier of the myriad tangles of Tower power plays, I do have to say that the politicking sideshow stuff (Aes Sedai and otherwise) is definitely one of the aspects of Jordan’s world-building that most strongly lends authenticity and depth to the setting. One of the most frequent mistakes sf authors make, in my experience, is failing to ground the fantastical/futuristic/whatever elements of their stories in believable human details that the audience can identify with, possibly in the erroneous belief that one has nothing to do with the other. This could not be less true, in my opinion.

For example (and I apologize if I have brought this up before): the reason Star Wars (the original trilogy) was so immersing and believable and real to me was the seemingly irrelevant details of the setting. There were space ships and laser beams and yadda yadda, but the reason I believed in them was because on occasion, those space ships broke down.

A hyperspace drive, I can deal with for story purposes; a hyperspace drive that goes on the fritz, on the other hand, I can accept immediately, because in my real life human experience, that is exactly what technology does. The physical impossibility of a hyperspace drive is ten times easier to ignore if it behaves the way we all subconsciously expect complicated machines to behave – which is to say, badly, sometimes. A space ship that gets grimy and dirty and is jury-rigged to hell and sometimes you have to bang on it to make it work is a space ship I can believe in. A space station as big as a moon? Well, I don’t know... oh, wait, it has a giant garbage compactor in it? Oh, that makes total sense. No problem.

You’ll note the common theme here: the details that make imaginary worlds work are fairly often the details which assure us that this world, just like ours, is far from perfect. A world of shiny smooth seamless flawless whatever may look real pretty, but I’m not going to believe in it, personally.

Ergo, I am much more likely to accept, say, a semi-monastic enclave of magic wielders with vast political influence and power if they behave like every group of people in positions of power that has ever existed, and jockey like mad for every bit of advantage they can get, whether this is to the detriment of their avowed purpose or not. Because that, sadly, is what people do. If I believe in them as people, flawed, messy, nonperfect people, then the fact that they can also create fireballs and whatnot is just another aspect to incorporate.

(I am suddenly remembering the Elijah Baley books by Isaac Asimov, which to date are the only sf books I can recall reading where people not only actually go to the bathroom on-screen, but where the subject is addressed at length and in detail – both from a technological and a “cultural protocol” standpoint. This is fairly hilarious, in my opinion.)

Chapter 22: Out of the Stone

What Happens
Even though Rand had made no announcement about his departure, a crowd still gathers to watch the few hundred Aiel as they march out of the Stone and eastward out of Tear. Rand rides along, enjoying the anonymity; Moiraine and Lan seem to be gathering all the attention not going to the Aiel. Mat is there, too, and Rand is still surprised at his decision to come. Egwene rides up next to him, and asks if he thinks it was right to let the Aiel take all those things out of the Stone; he explains to her about the law/tradition of the fifth, and Egwene concedes that if the situation had been reversed, the Tairens certainly wouldn’t have stopped at a fifth, but stripped the place bare. Rand watches the countryside around them, noting the extreme poverty of the farms, and tells himself he can’t do anything about it yet. Egwene abruptly brings up Elayne.

“What about her?” he asked warily. He touched his pouch, where two letters crinkled against a small hard object. If they had not both been in the same elegantly flowing hand, he would not have believed they came from the same woman. And after all that kissing and snuggling. The High Lords were easier to understand than women.

Egwene asks why he let her go like that, and puzzled, he answers that she wanted to go, and besides would be safer away from him anyway. Moiraine interrupts to ask if she can know the next secret now. Mat joins the group reluctantly, and Rand asks if he is sure he wants to come; Mat grins weakly and says who wouldn’t want to see Rhuidean? Moiraine interjects that he should be glad Mat is here:

“You made a grave error letting Perrin run off, hiding his going from me. The world rests on your shoulders, but they must both support you or you will fall, and the world with you.” Mat flinched, and Rand thought he very nearly turned his gelding and rode away on the spot.

Rand answers that he knows his duty, and one of them had to go back; she may be willing to sacrifice anything, but he does what he has to do. Lan nods in agreement, though he does not speak aloud. Moiraine asks again for the next secret, and Rand answers, Portal Stones. Mat starts groaning and cursing, asking didn’t Rand remember what happened the last time? Rand answers that he is free to leave if he doesn’t want to do it, and ignores Moiraine’s icy stare, and continues to Mat that he has no reason to go to the Waste.

“Oh, yes I do. At least...  Oh, burn me! I’ve one life to give away, don’t I? Why not like this?” Mat laughed nervously, and a bit wildly. “Bloody Portal Stones! Light!”

Rand frowned; he was the one they all said was supposed to go mad, but Mat was the one who seemed on the edge of it now.

Moiraine and Egwene both bring up Verin’s account of what happened the last time, and Moiraine wants to know how he intends to avoid a repeat of it; Rand feels his belt pouch and doesn’t immediately answer, and she continues that they don’t even know if there is a Portal Stone in the Waste. In reply, Rand tells her about an account he’d found of a peddler who claimed to have gotten a look at Rhuidean, and in passing had mentioned a stone there which from the description could only be a Portal Stone; then he had talked to the Stone’s chief librarian, who had identified four more Portal Stones in Tear, and they were on their way to the nearest of those now. Moiraine sniffs, disparaging this as a very thin chain of reasoning, but Rand brushes her off, though he feels ashamed of this when he sees how frightened Egwene and Mat are. At Lan’s suggestion, he sends the Aiel out to scout for the Stone; he notes in passing Egwene’s friend Aviendha, and that she seems to be giving him a contemptuous look. The Aiel spread out, searching, and soon Aviendha finds the Stone. Rand reaches her first, and while the others are catching up, examines the Stone. He notes again the flat look Aviendha is giving him, and remarks that she doesn’t like him.

“Like you?” she said. “You may be He Who Comes With the Dawn, a man of destiny. Who can like or dislike such? Besides, you walk free, a wetlander despite your face, yet going to Rhuidean for honor, while I...”

Rand asks, while she what?, but she says instead that he has treated Elayne badly, who is near-sister to her friend Egwene, but Egwene still likes him, so for her sake Aviendha will try to like him. Rand shakes his head, and then locates on the Portal Stone the symbol he knows represents the stone on Toman Head, which means the symbols surrounding it are similarly for stones in this world, rather than on other worlds, and which should include the symbol for the stone near Rhuidean. He will need luck to find it, though. Rhuarc arrives, and reluctantly points out two symbols that were used in old writings to represent Rhuidean; when Rand prods him, he finally admits that when a man goes to Rhuidean, the Wise Ones and his clansmen wait for him on the slopes of Chaendaer near a stone like this. Rand debates which one is the right one to use as the rest of the party joins them, and Egwene says he has no idea what he’s doing, does he, and asks Moiraine to stop him. Moiraine asks dryly how is she supposed to do that, exactly? Rand tells them both to be quiet, he is trying to decide. Mat asks what he has against riding.

Rand only looked at him, and he shrugged uncomfortably. “Oh, burn me. If you’re trying to decide...” Taking both horses’ reins in one hand, he dug a coin from his pocket, a gold Tar Valon mark, and sighed. “It would be the same coin, wouldn’t it.” He rolled the coin across the backs of his fingers. “I’m… lucky sometimes, Rand. Let my luck choose. Head, the one that points to your right; flame, the other. What do you say?”

Egwene starts to protest that that’s ridiculous, but Moiraine gestures her to silence, and Rand says why not. Mat flips the coin and slaps it down on the back of his hand, then hesitates; Rand touches one of the two symbols without looking, and says this is the one the coin points to. Mat checks, and blinks to find Rand is right. Rand stands and digs out the object in his pouch – a statue of a round little man sitting crosslegged with a sword across his knees – and tells Rhuarc to have everyone gather as close to the Portal Stone as possible; they are going to Rhuidean, right now. Rhuarc gives him a long look, but obeys; Moiraine asks what the statue is, and Rand tells her it is an angreal that works for men; he found it in the Hold in Tear. Egwene asks anxiously if he is sure, and he lies that he is. Moiraine observes that he seems to know an awful lot about Portal Stones, and he evasively answers that Verin told him about them. He doesn’t mention Selene/Lanfear, but can guess that Moiraine is thinking about it.

“Take a care, Rand al’Thor,” she said in that icy, musical voice. “Any ta’veren shapes the Pattern to one degree or another, but a ta’veren such as you might rip the Age Lace for all of time.”

Rhuarc nods to him that the Aiel are ready, and Rand seizes saidin; pulling through the angreal, he focuses on the symbol, willing this to work. The world winks out.

Once again Mat manages to be the most interesting character here even though he’s not the POV character and doesn’t even do very much. I think it’s safe to say that Mat in this section of the book is going through something of an internal crisis, and I can’t blame him. It cannot be anything other than supremely nerve-wracking to be riding off into the wild blue yonder, pretty much literally, on the sole say-so of a bunch of snaky freaks from another dimension. It’s the kind of thing that makes you question some core tenets about yourself, which is useful but rarely a ton of fun, shall we say.

And again, let’s not underestimate his courage here, in that he is the only member of the party (other than Rand) who knows exactly how horrible and possibly fatal it’s going to be if Rand screws the Portal Stone thing up, and yet he goes through with it. Which is not to belittle Rand’s courage, but the difference I think is that Rand’s single-minded focus allows him to disregard the possibility of pain and/or death to a degree which Mat cannot, or will not. Or maybe “disregard” is not the word I’m looking for, there; “sublimate”, possibly? Something like that.

My point is, Rand seems to drag everything down deep and bury it, and Mat, well, doesn’t, and thus somehow (rather unfairly) I regard his success in getting past his fear more impressive than Rand’s. Maybe it’s just because I would probably be more likely to react like Mat than I would like Rand; in fact I think most people would, and possibly this is why Mat has so much appeal as a character in general.

In other news, I still had no idea, at this point, that Aviendha would end up such a central character, even though by this time I had elevated her to around Verin’s tier in the cast billing. (Heh, originally in my head she was a spear carrier. Geddit?)

Okay, I’m going to have to hit myself now. Bad pun, Leigh! No biscuit!


All right, that’s enough of that. Monday brings you a shiny newish post, covering Chapters 23-25. Until then, everyone play nice in the comments – and I’m serious about that. We did only middling fair the last time I brought up unpleasant topics, and I expect better of y’all. If you can’t argue your point without name calling and attacking others, your point is not worth arguing. Right? Right. Okay, have fun. Laters!

Ben Harrison
1. Ben Harrison
Great read thru...keep it up!!!
Ofer Nave
2. odigity
Chapter 20

Juilin: "I'll be in my bunk."
Richard Fife
3. R.Fife
Leigh, your a big doody-head! Ahem.

To the ship is she thing: I thing the problem here is that the tradition is rooted in a single-sided, less poetic history. I actually work with "sailors" on a daily basis, and they truly are uncouth, crass, and several other mean words, especially in their slurring about women. They only slightly clean their mouths around female coworkers, too. In the world of Political Correctness and Sensitivity training, its actually rather shocking. But, I'd say the "she" tradition came from only men sailed, and if they swore at the boat as much as modern sailors do, they would probably make it a woman just to belittle it more in their minds.

In other areas: I always loved the Sword-in-Stone scene, both for Moiraine's PoV and just for the action that happens. Also interesting to see Moiraine commenting on Egwene's growth from naive girl to world-wise woman.

I agree with the commen about SFF needing "real world worries" in it to help suspend disbelief. That's why Firefly is so awesome. They actually went out of their way with the FX to make them gritty and shakey and out of focus at times. Awesome.

Also, start the de-manification and objectification of men ala Juilin/Thom and Elaynaeve. *groan*

One thing that confuses me is Elayne's letters. I understand the purpose and emotional issue she is going through, but while we never learn exactly what they say, Rand's PoVs later saw they are very very radically different, from one professing near-undying love, and the other calling him a monster that had best beg dearly to earn her good graces. Wow, Quicksilver! Perhaps it was just her time of the month. (ducks incoming projectiles)

-Odigity: I get that now! WEEEE Jayne.
Robert Garza
4. FunBob
I LOVE the allusions to our world here....Mosk and Merk fighting with landes of fire (Moscow and America fighting with ICBMs), Elsbet the Queen of the World (Elizabeth I, Queen of the British Empire), Anla the wise counselor (Ann Landers the noted columnist), and what kind of animal does ivory come from (truly a foreshadowing of Tanchico, where the mammoth is in the museum). This also foreshadows the s'redit, and it appears that elephants are only known in Seanchan, as Tom didn't know that ivory came from elephant's tusks as well.
Ben Harrison
5. Gawin
Okay I’ll take the bait on the why we refer to a ship as She, having been a sailor myself for some years I think I know what I’m talking about.

The reason we refer to a ship as female is based up on the fact that she provides a home and safety in a harsh environment. In ancient society the one symbolizing home and shelter has always been a woman, mother and guardian of the children, wife and caretaker of home and family while the man was hunter, gatherer and warrior.
I think that this is the reason why men refer to ships as She, she is symbolically their mother and wife.

On another note, I can’t believe I’ve missed the Coldwar reference with Merk and Mosk
Ben Harrison
6. hoping to be of the blood
I got the impression that Elayne wrote the second letter after watching the emotional sendoff N received from Lan. Rand just tells Elayne to go to Tanchico if she feels she must. She wanted more emo from Rand, even tho she would have ignored it, and became a little prickly.
Kate Nepveu
7. katenepveu
I'm still not caught up with you, but I wanted to say that I like the new format with increased commentary.

Also, I can't remember if ships are "he" or "she" in Scott Lynch's _Red Seas Under Red Skies_, but in that book it's very bad luck to put to sea _without_ a woman (as an officer!) or a cat on board, because the sea-god admires them both. Which is pretty cool.
Ben Harrison
8. yosoyeljosh
Morning, Leigh!

Just wanted to chime in on the boat/gender issue.

Most forms of transportation have been traditionally referred to as female. Even the Wikipedia article you linked highlights nations as traditionally female, so it's not just about boats.

If I had to guess on the origin of the practice, I'd say it's because men were the ones who commanded those ships, and I would wager that yes, there's some sexism in it. Possibly some nonsense about the boats or the seas acting irrational if you didn't treat them well. Though, on that same point, it's possible that for many of the men on these boats, spending months at sea with no women around, the boat was the nearest thing they could look to for strength. If they cared for the boat, the boat would care for them. The boat and its crew are in a relationship together.

So, it's a little poetic. I think the base humor that has come out of it has been merely an afterwards explanation of the "Why?" and it's just linked to what have predominantly been male professions.
Robert Garza
9. FunBob
Odigity - Awesome! Must have been a ROUGH voyage, and no one is talking about the weather hear.... (avoiding the more ovious vulgar way to put that!)

R. Fife - Agree with the one sided view....its been almost a complete history of a one sided love affair with being in a navy....Note, that a good friend of mine who owns a boat also refers to his boat as a woman also, and when asked he wryly says that its because its a hole in the water that he keeps having to throw money into ( of course, he is not married, so I will not comment on appropriateness here).

Also, does anyone else think Moiraine is indicating that although Siuan is her co-conspirator and best friend that she doesn't altogether trust her motives? Her sarcastic POV response that Siuan will give her another explanation about boats and fish regarding the girls seems to be a little peckish. Of course, it could just be that she doesn't approve of Siuan's forcing the girls as hard as she many choices.....

Keep it up Leigh - like the slower tempo and more thorough reviews.
Ben Harrison
10. Aye Aye Aes Sedai
Did Mosk and Merk really fight with spears of fire, and were they even giants? Was Elsbet really queen of the whole world, and was Anla really her sister? Was Anla truly the Wise Counselor, or was it someone else?

Can someone explain - this appears in Leigh comments to be the 2nd appearance of an historical reference to our world/age with the Mercedes benz logo which I admit I never identified.

Who are Mosk and Merk supposed to be?

If Elsbet is to be Queen Elizabeth then who is Anla?


PS love the side theory but lets keep from jumping too far ahead as I see a lot that should be reserved for later books rather than just supporting/refuting ideas generated from these passages.

Leigh - I understand you have issues with the mysogynstic attitudes/comments - your comments in this posting was a better tone /presentation that opens for discussion than the prior one that did not service the discussion/review/summary purpose of this blog.

Thanks for all the effort as I do find this has solved many questions I had .
Ben Harrison
11. bookworm
Why are ships referred to as "she"?

Not every culture does so, IIRC, but I think it's because of the following.

A wooden sailing ship (or even an oar driven one) would have been fairly high maintenance for one thing. And I don't meant that in a snarky way either. Successful relationships between men and women require a lot of attention and loving care (on both sides).

For a ship, if you take care of her, the hope and expectation would be that she would take care of you in your time of need, like in a raging storm, for example. If the crew hadn't done their part, then the ship might fail them at a critical moment. Not particularly appealing for a mariner, I'd imagine.

There are other levels as well. Sailors and officers would likely be much prouder to sail around on a good looking, well tended ship, than on one which looked as if she had seen better days. OK, that's vanity. But, people do seem to take more pride in their work, when their work appears ship-shape. For most of us, it's why we have dress codes at school or in the workplace. Sloppy appearance equates to a perception of sloppy work (IT workers and authors exempted, of course).

There is also a simple cultural component. RJ was able to show his readers a differing viewpoint, and to justify it descriptively. There would likely be some kind of emotional attachment to an object (like a ship) that one depended upon for so much, and caring for, and being cared for by "the old girl" was probably just easier - culturally speaking - in a male-dominated society.

I wouldn't worry too much about what you found on the web regarding this. Too many US naval officers still have a problem with women at sea, so not being able to talk comfortably about it without being snarky is all too believeable. Besides, I'm sure if you thought about it, you could surely add to the Ath'a'an Miere's "he" descriptions in a similarly humorous fashion, if you so desired. Women joking about men seems to be all the rage in the last generation anyway. Too much material, I'm thinking.

Anyhow, that's my unresearched take on the gender of ships in our culture. Please sharpen your cutlasses before cutting me to shreds.
Ben Harrison
12. aye Aye Aes Sedai
Ok see that either someone figured out or asked RJ about the names.

So does it kinda spoil or add to the story that we are in a prior age and then this is thousands or years in the future?

For me this a bit of a let down discovery.
Ben Harrison
13. LongStrider
This is in response to two of the big things in this series. One of the things I really like about WoT is that the people are not perfect and societies are not idealized, politically correct 'middle-ages without the plague and other icky bits.'

This applies to the awful gender politics in WoT, the massive conflict between the various characters who 'should' be friends and working toward the same ends and the horrendous amount of infighting, backstabbing and general politicking among all of the political classes we see. The societies are not monolithic, there are dissenters, unbelievers, factions and individuals out for personal gain, damn the consequences. Just like the real world. Stick a large enough group of people together to organize a bird watching party and eventually you're going to politics and squabbling. Why exactly should we expect a society set thousands of years in the future following multiple appocolypical wars be any different?

While I think you may be able to make sustainable charges of sexism against RJ for the consistency of the gender politics problems in WoT, I think we should sit back and enjoy the fact he made characters and societies that are closer to real than we often get literature. Sure it may make you (and me) want to throw the book across the room in anger/frustration/disgust, but real societies are messed up.
Elroy Skimms
14. elroyskimms
odigity @ 2

Chapter 20

Juilin: "I'll be in my bunk."

Juilin must bat for the other team...
*Removed once I REALLY understood the comment.

RE Sexist issues:
Me thinks that horse is good and dead. If anyone disagrees, let them read the 300 comments from last Friday's entry BEFORE posting in here.

RE RJ's political writing:
This is one of the reasons I stuck with the series
during the "hard times" of the later books. I have not found a series that really gets into the politics of the people involved as deeply and as brilliantly as RJ.

Ender's Game et. al. gives a lot of insight into the plotting and decision making, which I liked. It made the whole idea of pediatric combatants tolerable because you get the POV's and can see why they make the decisions they do. But RJ seems to take it even further. Scheme and counter-scheme and schemes within schemes.

If you pay attention, you might even learn a few things that you can use the next time you are in a meeting at the office. No better place to practice than office politics!

Bill Siegel
15. ubxs113
Great post Leigh, I especially agree with the people/things that behave realistically aspect.

With the ship-as-man thing, maybe it's just me but "he will drown you in a flat sea beneath a cloudless sky." is not a very flattering portrayal of men. So maybe RJ really was trying to make a statement about sexism and gender roles by turning it around?
Ben Harrison
16. Randalator
re: female ships

I did a little research in the german part of the web and I'm happy to report that I didn't stumble over sexist statements. Most likely because ships were only predominantly but not generally considered female up until the late 19th/early 20th century and the blatant sexism in british seafaring tradition didn't make it into german territorial water.

There were several possible reasons given why ships are referred to as "she".

a) It is a very long tradition (Romans and Greeks also considered ships to be female) stemming from the egyptian belief that ships represent talismanic female beings.

b) Seafaring having been a "boys only" thing, sailors wanted some sort of female company thus naming the ships after women. And (Caution! Sexism!) their sometimes difficult maneuverability and unpredictable behaviour (compare the "he will drown you in a flat sea beneath a cloudless sky.") probably had something to do with it, too.

c) German wikipedia has an entry on "culture of seafaring" and aside from the boys only thing also mentions the shape of ships as a possible reason. The curvy lines resembling the female anatomy more than the male anatomy. Personal thought: The association swelled sails -> bulky skirts might add to the whole female-ship impression.

Still not nearly as poetic as RJ explanation but I hope it at least saved us menfolk from complete moral bankruptcy...
Ben Harrison
17. Rikka
meh. not much to say about these chapters.

as for the whole genderifying the ships, c'mon, what percentage of sailors (navy + merchants etc) the past... oh... three thousand years have been female? The same gender specializations that kept women out of the workforce kept them off the high seas (yes there were female pirates, I know, but they were rare and competing with easily millenia of men dominating the profession). So it's a male-dominated occupation and the jargon is misogynistic and vulgar. I fail to be surprised... -_-
Ben Harrison
18. hoping to be of the blood
Enjoyed the commentary, Leigh

I have nothing to contribute to the 'ship as she' discussion from a historical perspective. I would just note that men frequently refer to things that they love or care for as she, including boats, cars, machines, country. Referring to them as men might cause an emotionally awkward moment for many men. I don't know if there is much more to it than that.
Ben Harrison
19. MSedai
Haha, I laughed at the ships are male because explanation when I was reading it because I just knew it would get a rant out of Leigh! I personally thought along the lines of bookworm@11, that it has more to do with the fact that men were the ones sailing ships historically, and so the affectionate pronoun is female. For the Atha'an Miere, women are the ones really " captaining" the ships, so the adlffectionate pronoun is male, and the snarky comments on both sides come up when you have to try and explain the "obvious."
On another note, was anyone else really sure the first time they read this that Rand was gonna screw up the portal stone thing again?
And I had to read ahead, because this book contains some of my favorite chapters/world-building/mysterious storylines! I mean, Aiel ancestor history, snakes and foxes, I can't wait for the commentary!
Ben Harrison
20. tearl
Correcting an error in a previous post of mine, TGH Part2 @65, wherein I stated that Domon's man with a sword artifact (likely male *angreal) and Rand's fat man angreal where identical. We see they are not.

Domon's artifact, TGH ch.9, "Leavetakings" : A small age-dark ivory carving of a man holding a sword.

I claim this is an angreal because Domon thought, The fellow who sold it claimed if you held it long enough you started to feel warm. Domon never had, and neither had any of the crew he let hold it.... I claim it will begin to feel warm to any man who can channel or learn to channel.

However, it is not identical to Rand's angreal. In ch.22, we see it described as a carving of shiny dark green stone that fit easily into his hand, a round-faced round-bodied man sitting cross-legged with a sword across his knees.

I then briefly thought that it might be the missing powerful sa'angreal that a man can use, but I now believe Erdrick @187 in Part 3 is correct in saying the missing sa'angreal is the Ring of the Tamyrlin.

Just clearing things up a bit.
Ben Harrison
21. bookworm
"misogynistic and vulgar"?

Jeez, put your feet on the deck and get over yourself.

I know this will be an alien concept to some, but not everything men do is meant to disenfranchise, demean or be hateful towards women.

Put the gender narcissism down and step away from the mirror. It ain't always all about you. In fact, you've never had it so good.
Ben Harrison
22. Wayhey
Moiraine is supposed be acting like a frustrated control freak at this point. She's about to learn patience and trust at Rhuidean. The rings will soon teach her humility, that she can't actually control these events like Aes Sedai are used to doing. There she finds out has to just let go and let Fate steer Rand along the right path toward The Last Battle.
Ben Harrison
23. David-2
Chap 21 is where we definitely learn Moiraine's real weakness: She's a woman of action, for sure, but knows less about understanding people than I do. Let me count the ways:

She believes Rand, upon hearing about the troubles in the TR, will run off to save them, instead of saving the world. We see that he never thinks this - he knows where his duty lies. His is upset about it and worried about the TR but won't go to them. Lan could have told her this, if she asked him, which she didn't/wouldn't.

She believes Perrin will stick with Rand so much that she doesn't set spies on him. Even though the TR rumors include tidbits such as the Whitecloaks searching for a yellow-eyed man. Doesn't think to consider that Perrin will feel so responsible that he'll go, nor that Rand will encourage him to do so as a possible solution to his problem of not being able to go.

Basically, she is under great influence of first impressions. Rand is still the farmboy, Perrin still the apprentice, and Mat definitely still the wastrel/slacker. (She knows something of Mat's luck - the way she stops Egwene when Mat tosses the coin to decide which symbol to use on the Portal Stone - but she hasn't realized Rand could use that luck in his efforts, so she basically ignores Mat because he seems, to her, totally unserious and useless.)
Chris Maurer
24. grayfox
I love the scene in the heart of the stone...particularly the 1 line when Rand looks around the room, sees Mat and gives him a boyish grin like they are back in Emond's Field (or something along those lines...don't have the book in front of me for the direct quote).

Just a very striking moment for me that he sees his boyhood buddy among all the vipers and women that want to use him and is just grateful that he's there!! He knows what he's about to do to the Tairens but seeing Mat there reminds him of a shepherd named Rand al'Thor for a moment.
Ben Harrison
25. Calebg
This is only semi-related to this part of the story, but it's where I first realized it on my own reread, so here's as good a place as any to talk about it.

Waaaaaaay back in The Eye of the World (or maybe TGH), Leigh brought up the idea that Nynaeve is a really good character even if you hate her, because she IS a character. She's deeply flawed, and that makes her realistic. One of the few things I remembered from my first read through was that I hated Nynaeve, so this time around I decided to try and pay attention to WHY I hate her (and, to a lesser extent, Egwene).

Nynaeve refuses, flat out, to adapt to changing situations. She expects everyone in the world to change to fit her worldview, to recognize her authority as the Wisdom of Emond's Field; the YOUNGEST EVER, natch. When people behave rationally and don't adjust to fit her world view or behave as though Wisdom of a backwater village ISN'T the pinnacle of authority, she throws a hissy cow and goes into a sulk.

I hate Nynaeve because she's always in a self-righteous fury that has no real justification, and her block makes things even worse.

Another problem I have with her (and Egwene and Faile, as well), is that they have no sense of subtle force. They all try to bully everyone into doing what they want, and don't even attempt to see that a softer approach, like Elayne's, is often much more effective. Then they get upset at Elayne for being nice.

Also, Nynaeve being upset that Elayne acts like a noblewoman gets on my nerves.

One last thing that bugs me about ALL the Supergirls (Elayne included) is that they absolutely resent it when anyone tries to help them, with ANYTHING. Just look at how they treat Thom and Juilin throughout their adventures in Tanchico and Amadicia.

As to this section: I also would like to at one point see the actual text of these bipolar letters that Elayne gives Rand. The poor kid obsesses about them all the way through tFoH, and possibly beyond; we should at least be able to see them.

Re: Mat at the Portal Stone. While he's obviously nervous, he DOES know how his luck works, and the Ta'veren tag team that goes on when they pick the symbol reinforces it. Kid's nervous (probably doesn't want to live 10,000 lifetimes seeing 10,000 ways he could screw up, again), but at the same time, he knows that the odds are good that they'll make it through just fine.
Galen Brinn
26. GatheringStorm
I always caught the Mosk/Merk (Moscow and America), Elsbet thing, but have to admit that "Anla the Wise Counselor" slipped by me until these commentaries (same with the stinking Mercedes logo in Tanchico). Sometimes the obvious ain't so obvious...especially when you hit parts of the book where you're kind of skimming rather than in-depth reading.

Object gender...never understood it and can be even worse in foreign languages. I don't get bent out of shape about it, but then I'm a WASP, so it's not like I've ever been in an oppressed minority either. But as was said above, I think Jordan was deliberately reversing the roles (females run the ships, the ship is "male") with the intention of provoking thought about something we do daily - usually without thinking.
Brett Michie
27. bchurch
“..and those peasants . . . . Those peasants will not have to eat bark any longer, my Lord Meilan.”

Does anybody else find Rand to be totally badass here in his speech in the heart of the stone? I remember getting chills the first time I read that line.
Leigh Butler
28. leighdb
bookworm @21:

Your inability to follow a simple request is lamentable.

Not to mention ironic, considering you were arguing that not everything is demeaning - in a comment where you are nothing but demeaning. Do you really imagine this is going to make your point stronger?
Ben Harrison
29. calebg
I do like those moments of "Team Emond's Field" that the three Ta'veren have from time to time. You see it a couple times throughout TSR and TFoH. I actually just got to the spot in TFoH where Rand declares the house he's in to be the "Roof of the Winespring Brothers" or some such, where only people who have tasted the water from the Winespring could enter; i.e. Him, Mat, Egwene, and (probably) Moiraine.

Also @David; I think Moiraine's problem is that she's REALLY good at reading what people normally do and adjusting her plans to use their motivations and actions. Her major flaw is that she keeps forgetting that Ta'veren do whatever they want; they don't behave according to whatever logical motivations everyone else she's ever dealt with follow.

I actually think Moiraine is a great character, especially when we get in her head and realize that she really is trying to keep everyone as safe as she can, but she's unable to recognize that she can never control these three.
Ben Harrison
30. hoping to be of the blood
Moscow and America have never fought with ICBMs (at least not yet) so this age referred to in the stories, according to Thom the age just before the AoL, is not our world. Perhaps it is the same age as our world but come again several times around the wheel and with a different outcome.
Chris Maurer
31. grayfox
calebg @29:

I say this even though I do really like Moiraine as a character, but even when we're in her head for the heart of the stone scene, she's still in full-on manipulation mode. She's proud of herself for getting rid of Nynaeve, Elayne, and Thom. She doesn't want anyone else in Rand's ear...nobody's advice is as good as her own. In that way, she is annoying to me, but other than that I actually like her.
Ben Harrison
32. calebg
@bchurch I agree. I like that a peasant is suddenly given the reigns to the world powers and starts campaigning for better treatment of the farmers. Though this also could be an influence from Elayne as well. As we will soon see in Tanchico, the Andoran nobility are VERY invested in the people they're responsible for, and they're appalled at how the nobility of other nations behave.
Ben Harrison
33. David-2
calebg@29 - I disagree (respectfully!). It is true - perhaps not in the way you mean - that the ta'veren "don't behave according to whatever logical motivations everyone else she's ever dealt with follow". That's because she's a top player in the Game of Houses. But in the Game of Houses everyone's motivation is the same, and it doesn't really involve knowing much about individual character and personality.

Players in the Game of Houses can be assumed to have the following motivations: increased power, influence, and wealth. Then you need to judge how ruthless they are, and how competent. After that, it is all strategy and tactics.

For the 3 ta'veren - she really needs to understand them as individuals and she can't/doesn't do it. Their motivations are logical, but they aren't what she's used to. (I don't mean to say she thinks the three ta'veren after power, influence, and wealth. I just mean that she doesn't realize how much her tactics for leading people around depend on those being a person's motivations. They've been "givens" for so long she doesn't "think out of the box" here.)

That's my take.
Ben Harrison
34. Cobblestones
One part I found confusing was the Siuan/Moiraine relationship. On the one hand, from NS, we know they were BFF from the time of novices. On the other hand, Moiraine's public relationship with Siuan is entirely 'professional': Amyrlin to Aes Sedai. This public facade they put up as diversion so that others forget about their closeness, in particular that both were present (in NS) when the then Keeper made the foretelling about the dragon's rebirth. This took me a while to understand. But I feel it is still somewhat at odds with parts of her internal monologue such as:

"What was Siuan thinking of? She will probably give me one of those sayings about boats and fish, when I can ask her."

So, am I missing something? Are Siuan and Moiraine really estranged? What happened to their friendship when Siuan became the Amyrlin?
Ben Harrison
35. bookworm
Well. After erasing several comments, I'll just say this.

The irony is lost on you as well. Otherwise, you'd have just ignored my comment to Rikka.

And, it is hardly fair for you to spit nails about the unfairness of gender, then ask that we just let it slide without comment or refutation.
Ben Harrison
36. calebg

That's what I was trying to get at. It's still pretty early here, and I had trouble phrasing it the way I was looking for.

I often make fun of my close friends in my head, especially when we're working towards a common goal, and they do something without having the time or inclination to talk to me.

I think what we're seeing there is just a lack of communication between Mo and Siuan. The last time they spoke was at the beginning of TGH, and a lot has happened on both sides without any major information being shared. I think that line was Mo wishing she could get in Siuan's head for a moment, followed by a jab at Siuan's habit of overusing fishing analogies.

Also, in a few chapters, I think, we'll see that Siuan is at least as frustrated by this lack of communication as Mo is.
Ben Harrison
37. David-2
By the way, a small mystery for me: Moiraine, upon entering the tower after Rand, doesn't immediately run down to the terangeral storeroom and jump through the doorway to get her questions answered. According to Steven Cooper's Chronology, it takes her almost 3 weeks.

What was she doing that was so important that she didn't go through the doorway first thing? Or did she not think she needed to until then, for some reason (possibly, inability to control Rand)?
Ben Harrison
38. discordia
@ 35. bookworm - Not to put words in Leigh's mouth, but I didn't see her saying don't argue or comment about it. Just don't be rude.

I for one love the gender commentary, Leigh. Thanks for doing it.

(And shouldn't "you never had it so good" be on the bingo card, too? Like good is a reason to stop striving for better, sheesh.)
Ben Harrison
39. CalebG

I don't think the issue was with you commenting or trying to refute the sexism issue.

The issue was with your phrasing and the way it came across in text.

My personal theory on why ships are female is because sailors in ancient times probably didn't have home lives to speak of, so the ship became a surrogate wife; it was something you could count on, and that would take care of you if you took care of it. Not romantic love, by any means, but it probably filled the void; it was something to be loyal to. Later, when you'd have figureheads on the ship, they were mermaids and such, so the tradition probably carried on there.

I also seem to recall that the ancient Aegeans did believe their ships were sentient beings; that's why they had eyes painted on them. much for avoiding the topic on my part :-D
Ben Harrison
40. CalebG
@David-2 (37)

I think she was reluctant to go through. Ter'angreal tend to be dangerous, and I don't think she wanted to use it until she absolutely had to: when the Ta'veren really started to get out of her control.
Ben Harrison
41. jlyman
I love this re-read! It has been great!

I am doing my own re-read as well, but am not nearly as far along. Not enough time in the day, really. But it's only slightly confusing to read these posts and then go back to where I am at in TEOTW.

I admit though, I completely missed all the references to our times in the stories like, the first 3 times I read the series. Call me dense, I guess. I think that it adds a cool depth to the story. RJ has always said that there would be a sense of completion to the story, but that many of the the characters and storylines would be left "undone." I think it ties the whole story together and creates a real sense of "being" for Randland. But maybe it's just me.

You sparked my curiosity about the female references to ships. I don't remember who mentioned it, but I have always found it odd that many other languages refer to a ship in a feminine sense, except for Spanish. Maybe some others as well. Just a point of interest.

But, anyway, I gave in and Googled "calling ships she" and the first thing that came up was this:

Mr. van der Merwe said the tradition of calling ships "she" grew out of sailors' affection for their vessels, which kept them alive at sea.

Quoted from the following website...

Q. Why do we call ships “She”?
A. It has always been customary to personify certain inanimate objects and attribute to them characteristics peculiar to living creatures. Thus, things without life are often spoken of as having a sex. Some objects are regarded as masculine -- the sun, winter, and death are often personified in this way. Others are regarded as feminine, especially those things that are dear to us. The earth, as "Mother Earth," is regarded as the common maternal parent of all life. In languages that use gender for common nouns, boats, ships, and other vehicles almost invariably use a feminine form. Likewise, early seafarers spoke of their ships in the feminine gender for the close dependence they had on their ships for life and sustenance.
Ben Harrison
42. Randalator
@30 hoping to be of the blood

Moscow and America have never been actual giants, either. *hint hint*

@37 David-2

What is so strange about that? From Moiraine's point of view the fate of the world rests upon her asking the right questions. And being the little control freak that she is, she really doesn't want to screw up.

I mean, could you imagine Moiraine barging into Finnland going:

"Are you really going to answer my questions?"
- "Yes."
- "Yes."
- "Yes."
"Cool...I mean splendid. I'd like to know how..."
- "Thank you. Don't come again."
Ben Harrison
43. Tony Zbaraschuk
Moraine's not desperate to use the doorframe ter'angreal yet -- remember, when he tells the girls about it, she has three questions already picked out in her own mind. But if questions about the Shadow result in insanity, and you can't ask a question about the Dragon Reborn without touching on the Shadow somehow, would it be useful?
Brett Michie
44. bchurch
David-2 @ 33

I think it is interesting the two most deft players of Da'es Daemar (Moiraine and Thom)are players who don't play for themselves. Thom especially comes across as very selfless in his maneuverings and machinations, seeking only to help Rand gain and trip up those who would oppose him. Moiraine can also be seen this way, though it's a bit harder to see as she often comes across as wanting to be the one in control.
Leigh Butler
45. leighdb
jlyman @41:

See, now if I had found that quote in my google search I would have been much less annoyed. Apparently I should have used the gerund!

CalebG, discordia:

Elroy Skimms
46. elroyskimms
hoping to be of the blood @ 30

Moscow and America have never fought with ICBMs (at least not yet) so this age referred to in the stories, according to Thom the age just before the AoL, is not our world. Perhaps it is the same age as our world but come again several times around the wheel and with a different outcome.

I think you may have missed it. On the deck of the ship, Thom questions whether Mosk and Merk were actually giants (they were not) and whether or not they fought with spears of fire (they did not). Thom was complaining that history doesn't get all of the details right and it tends to change the stories. I think Mosk and Merk IS describing our time, but through the filter of thousands of years of history and legend. The "legend" of the giants Mosk and Merk suffers the same fate that Thom is lamenting. The truth of the story gets lost and altered, and, as Thom predicted for Rand's future legends, they often don't even get the names right.

The beauty here is that this is not the first reference to Mosk and Merk. RJ planned this conversation from the first mention of Mosk and Merk back in the Emond's Field in TEoTW.

It's details like this that connect scenes between several books, scenes that are not required or essential to the plot, that show how much he cared about continuity. He builds an entire world, not just a single plot line. He builds politics, gender issues, even myths and legend. Genius... at least in my opinion.

Ronald Hobbs
47. dustrider
Yup, with the flu beaten, the interview project underway and JordanCon on the horizon Leigh is finally hitting her stride. Loved the opinions.

I understand the general miffery about sexism wrt the boats. I'm just not sure how I feel about it. Sure most of the reasons sailor types give you are derogatory, but most of the salty bastards love their boats more than their wives. Which I guess in turn is just as bad if not worse...

At least Jonai's explanation is the loving side, though I'm sure when the boat is misbehaving it'll turn sour too.
Ben Harrison
48. Another Wolf Dream
I love my motorcycle. No, wait, trust me, this is germane... I really love it. But to refer to it as a 'he' is not very comfortable to me. Could be linked somewhat to slight societal homophobia, but there it is. Men are almost incapable of relaying emotions about other men (at least positivie emotions) in a straightforward manner. Granted, vehicles that I have only a passing, or friendly relationship, get either/or. What I'm getting at here is that its a question of 'what is it ok to express in this situation.' But if called out about it, a guy will almost invariably make up some damn thing that is *not* the truth. Hence the comments about 'paint and powder.'
Ben Harrison
49. TheDragon
I've been enjoying the re-read so far but haven't been compelled to comment so far but I wanted to say this about the ships being a "she" in regards to Jordan's writing. I don't want to get into whether its appropriate or sexist to call them "she", the fact of the matter is that right, wrong, or indifferent this is how they've been referred to for as long as history remembers. I think that Jordan took this knowledge at its face and then flipped it on its ear, which is something he does throughtout the series that I really enjoy about his writing. I specifically remember a part about Nynaeve referencing that they would wear all white to a funeral as that was the custom.
Ben Harrison
50. Randalator
@49 TheDragon

Side note: In a lot of asian cultures white is the colour of death and mourning, too.
Ben Harrison
51. BookFairy
Leigh , Great post.

Ch 20
Poor Thom! Poor Julian! Up to this point they were so cool!

Ship Quotes:
-One source suggests that a ship "was nearer and dearer to the sailor than anyone except his mother." What better reason to call his ship "she"?
-Another theory is that the crew always thought the ship represented their mother and as a result treated her with a great deal of respect.
-The answer to the question as to why ships are called ‘she' is, therefore, a combination of language-development and history. They use the ark (as in Noah’s Ark as an example).
- The French - typically! - have masculine ships and the Germans have neuter ones.
-Last but not least “Because men love them.”

Jorin Rocks!

FunBob @ 4
I totally missed the Anla reference. Thanks.

I always wondered if there might be a real world reference in The Travels of Jain Farstrider. It’s mentioned so many times in the story, it makes me thing there should be, or maybe it’s just to show us how famous Jain Farstrider is.

I love Rand putting the sword in the stone. And it’s such a big stone. And that silly Elayne thinks its all about her. (shakes head).

Ch 22
I wonder if Moiraine ever figures out where Lan went.

The discussion here highlights one of Perrin’s defining characteristics. One of them had to go. Rand couldn’t go off to save one village and Mat couldn’t break away from Rand.
Perrin wanted to go; he would do what needed to be done, so Rand told him to go with his blessing. Here the thing about Perrin; he doesn’t lose sight of the individual. To Perrin saving the Two Rivers is just as important to him as saving the world. Later saving Faile is just as important to him as saving the world.

Favorite Randland name: Aviendha.
Ben Harrison
52. CalebG
Re: Jain Farstrider, I think he was during either Hawkwing's time or the Trolloc Wars. He had a backstory similar to Lan's, where he waged a private war on the Shadow due to some tragic loss in his youth (I forgot exactly where it's explained).

That said, he is bound to the Horn, so he should have a mythological counterpart in our time.
Ben Harrison
53. marquez11
he is still alive and is with mat cauthon. he uses a slight variation of his name. he was in the last two books.
Ben Harrison
54. Lsana
Jain Farstrider isn't from Hawkwing's time or our age. He was involved in the fall of Malkier and was one of those who gave a warning about the danger to the Eye of the World. It's been speculated that he is Noal, the guy hanging out with Mat.
Ben Harrison
55. calebg
My bad; I haven't gotten to the last couple books yet.

Thanks for the correction.
Ben Harrison
56. David-2
calebg@52 - How do we know Jain Farstrider is bound to the Horn? I missed that.
Richard Fife
57. R.Fife
bookfairy@51 I think Lan was kicking Juilin out of bed and to the Wavedancer.

David-2/Caleb: Perhaps Jain will be bound, but right now, as he is alive, well, yeah.
Ben Harrison
58. CalebG

We don't, I was mistaken. For some reason I thought he had shown up at Falme. Marquez11 and Lsana corrected me.
Ben Harrison
59. Randalator
@51 BookFairy

- The French - typically! - have masculine ships and the Germans have neuter ones.

That is not entirely correct. While the gender of the noun 'ship' is neuter in german ("das Schiff") and a ship thus referred to with the neuter pronoun "es" a ship is still considered female when referred to by name.

For example the battleship Bismarck is referred to as "die Bismarck" despite being named after Otto von Bismarck.

That leads to sentences like "Das (nt.) Schiff da drüben ist die (f.) Bismarck" ("The ship over there is the Bismarck.") that with all the gender switching are a pain in the lower back to anyone having to learn german.
Ben Harrison
60. Siuanfan
I wouldn't take that "she" explanation so seriously, Leigh. It seems to me more of a playful tweak at some idiosyncracies that some women do(wear makeup, cost men money) than an ALL WOMEN ARE WHORES tirade. Not to mention I suspect that most of the women that sailors come into contact with actually ARE... ahem. Well, anyway. They may have started out simply enough (paint and powder) and it got into a one-upmanship game of people trying to find more 'amusing' similarities. I say don't bother giving that any more emotional investment than a snort and a roll of the eyes. Or a sniff and a smooth of the dress, in WoT terms.

I do agree with what you said about the little details of reality that make the whole. For instance, I may not ever have remembered a little movie called Demolition Man if not for the fact that years later, I *still* wonder how the hell those three seashells were used. And were they conch type shells or clam type shells? Maybe a variety? I'll never know, but that is the only bit I can remember of an otherwise unremarkable movie.

Poor Moiraine. I feel for her. She's been living for 20 years with the notion that the fate of the world may rest on her being able to find and 'help' the Dragon Reborn, only to realize more and more every day that she got way more than she bargained for and is waaay out of her league. Yet she keeps on attempting to do what she can, bless her plucky little heart. A lesser person may have thrown up their hands and said 'screw it, you're on your own, kid.' She's controlling and manipulative because that's the way her world works and has always worked since she was born. Remember... she's not just an Aes Sedai... she's a *Cairhienin-noble* Aes Sedai. She is the way she is because she thinks she has to be. She's not a biatch, she's just wrong.

It amuses me that people love Mat and hate Nynaeve when they're so similar in so many ways. Both have a crazy level of mistrust for Aes Sedai, both REALLY hate being told what to do, both tend to think everyone around them are insane, and they know the 'right' way to behave or act in a given situation, and both have this bizarre penchant for accusing and chastising others for things they themselves are guilty of - no sense of self-reflection whatsoever.

Questions! What exactly was going on about Alteima and Estanda in this scene? I sort of have an inkling but it's a little vague. Is Semhirage supposed to be black? It's got nothing to do with this section but I saw some fan art yesterday and I was curious. When Moiraine and Aviendha/Wise Ones go to Rhuidean, do they go to the glass columns like the men or do they go to the 'finndoor? If it's the columns, why aren't they marked? And has anyone ever figured out how Aiel Wise Ones determine their hierarchy? And (another thing that has nothing to do with this section, but) does anyone know if the story Siuan and Logain told about the Reds was true, or if it was made up by Siuan? I've never really been able to determine that. Okay I'll stop talking now. I swear, I comment more than Leigh... who's show is this anyway? :P Sorry.
Ben Harrison
61. laframboise
There was a 'distancing' evident between Moiraine and Suian during the events in Sheinar. I recall an inner comment from Mo referring to details about the TRboys she can't even share with her dearest old friend. She's been maverick for a while.
Ben Harrison
62. CalebG
"It amuses me that people love Mat and hate Nynaeve when they're so similar in so many ways. Both have a crazy level of mistrust for Aes Sedai, both REALLY hate being told what to do, both tend to think everyone around them are insane, and they know the 'right' way to behave or act in a given situation, and both have this bizarre penchant for accusing and chastising others for things they themselves are guilty of - no sense of self-reflection whatsoever."

They are similar in many ways, but it's the ways in which they're different that make me like Mat and loathe Nynaeve. Mat doesn't try to boss people around; he recognizes how much he hates it and avoids trying to do it to others. Nynaeve, on the other hand, hates being bossed around, but can't comprehend that other people might feel the same way about her.

Less wordy version: Mat has empathy towards others, Nynaeve has next to none.
Rich Bennett
63. Neuralnet
Always loved this part of the series, where Rand arrives in the Aiel waste and Mat goes through the next doorway. Whther you love it or hate it, you have to admit the Aiel backstory and culture are some of the most interesting stuff in the series.
Ben Harrison
64. David-2
Well, I see the original remark was in error, but, R.Fife@57, the heros are spun out from time to time, so he could be bound to the wheel yet alive in Randland now, why not? We know Gaidal Cain is out there somewhere (which is a shame, really, since he'll miss TG by being too young in the real world and also not be able to be called by the Horn).

siuanfan@60 - unremarkable movie!? but what about "President Schwarzenegger"? (I still wonder about the shells, too.)
Ben Harrison
65. CalebG
Another Nynaeve quality I hate: the braid tugging.

It just doesn't make sense to me.
Dan Sparks
66. RedHanded
@ 60 Siuanfan

I'm not sure where Moraine but I'm assuming it's in the glass columns where Wise Ones go. It must be the glass columns otherwise how would Wise Ones know about the origins of Aiel? Hmm if Moraine went to the glass columns and saw her ancestry..does this mean she saw all these things from a Cairhenian POV? That would be interesting indeed.

I think Wise Ones hierarchy tend to do with age and also with how much Ji' they have possibly?Obviously it's not by strength in channeling.

As far as I can tell, Siuan flat out lied about the Red's using Logain. Not sure of the quote but I remember her thinking of the pro's of being stilled and being able to lie was #1 or pretty high up on that list.
Ben Harrison
67. laframboise
When we get to Rhuidean it turns out the Aiel have their own version of an Acceptotron for apprentices, and that's where Moiraine and Aviendha go.
Adam Parsons
68. Belement
I'm just gonna throw my comments in here.. because considering it's something like midnight here in "4-seasons-in-a-day"™ Melbourne, Australia when this post was added.. by the time I read the post it's way past ze bed time.. and way too many comments to try and read by tomorrow arvo after I finish work.. There do be not enough hours in the day.. could someone do something about that please?

anywho, Chap.20
Could someone get Elayne drunk please so I don't have to sit through the whole "Thom looks familier but I can't figure out how" sub-sub-subplot.. it was irritating on the first re-read.. it still irritates the crap outta me now
So we know Mosk and Merk are to interpreted as Moscow and America.. and I could guess that Elsbet is reference to Queen Elizabeth of England, but I couldn't for the life of me figure out who Anla was meant to be (especially at this time of night, heh) thanks for that FunBob @4

I always lol at the mental picture of Moiraine pushing Egwene off her after Rand stones the sword. (what?!) Just so that she can be the first one up and 'unruffled' while everyone else is trying to figure out wtf just happened. Ok.. granted she's trying to keep up appearances.. but there is the concept of taking it too far

I think this is the last time we get to see the portal stones, aww, I dunno, I just seem to always like the whole alternate worlds concept, yes.. I was a fan of Sliders. Speaking of which, I remember a comment about them a few weeks ago. Something about the colours of the steps being the same as the colours of the Ajahs. By the time I thought about it I was several days too late for anyone to actually see it buried in an old post.
What if the colours of the Ajahs were based off the portal stone colours, or something similar. I was thinking the portal stones themselves didn't work unless the colours of the steps were the way they actually are. Akin to the dream ter'angreal that Egwene has, Elayne attempts to make copies later in the series, but the colours of one of them were different, and that one only gave people nightmares, and didn't allow access to Tel'aran'rhiod. So in other words, same concept, different device.

Anyway, it's now 4:30am, holy crap.. I gotta get up at 7:30 for work *cry*, oh would you look at that.. there's a repeat episode of Queer Eye on tv.. something funny to watch..
Ben Harrison
69. Lsana
I'm sure that someone will have beaten me to it by the time this gets posted, but Aviendha and Moiraine go through another ter'angreal in Rhuidean that looks like 3 rings. Whereas the glass columns show the past, the columns show the future.

Wise Ones go to Rhuidean twice: the first time, they go through the rings. The second time, after they finish their apprenticeship, they go through the columns.
Ben Harrison
70. CalebG

The Wise Ones go to Rhuidean twice: once to go through the 3 ring Ter'angreal, and then to go through the glass columns the second time.

I get the impression that the three rings are similar to the "Accepted" test in the tower; they're how the Wise Ones weed out those who aren't strong willed enough to become Wise Ones before they start training them. Once the training is complete, then they're filled in on the Aiel backstory.

I don't know why the Wise Ones sent Moiraine through the rings, but I'm certain that she saw a possible future in there, which is why she gets so much more insistent on talking to Rand: she knows she has a limited amount of time left with him.

Aviendha also makes reference to what happens in the rings; she sees herself falling in love with Rand, and tries to resist it through the rest of TSR and most of TFOH.
Ben Harrison
71. MSedai
Exactly! Plus, I think RJ liked throwing in gender issues into his books as a way to get the reader all riled up and invested in the story, with a definite opinion one way or another...
Although turning social customs/mores on their heads totally depends on the audience, right. :) I think white IS a funeral color in Japanese culture...
Lannis .
72. Lannis
Whoops! Late to the party... happens to everyone sometimes, eh?

Chapter 20: Elayne + Thom = uncomfortable to read

Chapter 21: I love that Moiraine is wrong in her assumption that Rand will be running back to the TR to "save his village." I adore any time she's shown to be human, and not just the Very Powerful Aes Sedai, Stuff Of Legends.

Chapter 22:
Mat starts groaning and cursing, asking didn’t Rand remember what happened the last time?

One of the reasons Mat is so badass is because he doesn't censor himself just because an Aes Sedai (or anyone else) is present. We can count on his reaction being fairly honest, and as much as he is "the trickster" he's pretty straightforward when it comes to Giant Ugly Things of Magic. That he's groaning like the teenager he recently was is totally believable to me.

Funbob @4: re: allusions to our world... yep, I agree--s'awesomesauce! What also got me, on the same lines (and to use R.Fife's term @3) was the "Sword-in-Stone" scene. I love that Jordan takes things we know and twists them a little so they're mildly recognizable... sure, the situation nothing like the "Sword in the Stone" stories of King Arthur, but that's the point--just a pinch of something to render its presence, and the rest can be blurred by the theme of story decay. (I mean, we've had the discussion about names on a different thread, right? Characters, places, etc. S'all part and parcel of the same package...)

Funbob @ 9: re: Moiraine potentially not trusting Siuan... no, I definitely think she trusts Siuan, I just think (since it's in Moiraine's head) it's a throwback line coming from them studying together in the tower... no matter what, "that party guy" in college, be he a CEO now or what, will always be "that party guy" when you think of him in your head. I think it's indicative of how well she knows Siuan, Siuan. Not just Amyrlin, Siuan. And knowing the differences between the two.

elroyskimms @ 14: I've suppressed my RJ's gender-politics-social-experiment-commentary just for you. Really truly (had a knee-jerk reaction to LongStrider @ 13--not in a bad way, LongStrider... and yes, it's the realism of the problems that creates the realism of Randland! Let's enjoy it!)

Randalator @ 42: re: Moiraine's questions... BAHAhahaha!

(Good Lord! There's another fraking 30 posts up already!? We've got all weekend, people!)
Ben Harrison
73. Randalator
@60 Siuanfan

Yes Semirhage is black. (WH, ch.14)

Women enter a ring-ter'angreal like the Acceptatron in the White Tower.

Hierarchy: I always thought the Wise Ones determine hierarchy by competence which is why no one else in Randland has been able to figure it out.

Reds and False Dragons: That is an outright lie or Elaida would have been the first Amyrlin to be raised, deposed and stilled on the very same day. Siuan wouldn't have held that back when put to the question and the evidence a.k.a. Logain would have been right there in the Tower.

Oh, and Demolition Man is not "unremarkable" it is a brilliant action-movie that continuosly pokes fun at itself, the action-genre in general and society as a whole. It's fucking funny as hell.

Randalator, you are fined one credit for a violation of the verbal morality statute.
Dan Sparks
74. RedHanded
Re: Dragon marks

I don't think it explains why Wise Ones don't get marked but Chiefs guess is that it only marks men because in order for prophecy to be fulfilled HWCwtD needs 2 dragons. There is no need for women to be marked since HWCwtD is a male. Perhaps whoever built Acceptatron Mark II specifically geared it toward men being marked (scan, yep you have the right part) and by some AoL mysterious way knows who is supposed to be marked with 2 dragons when the time comes.

Thoughts? Did anywhere in my incoherent rambling did I make sense?
Ben Harrison
75. hoping to be of the blood

Totally agree with you re RJ's genius at picking up, what seem to be, throwaway lines books later and weaving them into a rich and complex world.

"Legends fade ..." and so on. We are all used to WOT figures having difficulty of knowing what is actual truth if they rely on common knowledge or stories. I just don't think we get enough info to conclude that Mosk etc. refers to our world. If you do then do also conclude that our world occurred directly before the AoL, or is Thom's story wrong about that?
Ben Harrison
76. Cobblestones
Semirhage is black (she's Anath(?) who's black).

Wise ones go through the Rhuidean version of an acceptatron. It has three loops (I think) and 'novices' have to pass through one of them (which one doesn't matter). Apparently they learn something about the future there.

I don't remember how wise ones determine their hierarchy. Probably a staring competition.

The story Siuan told about Logain is a lie. Remember Siuan was stilled and when she was healed, she wasn't bound by the oaths any more.

ETA: And of course, by the time I read and answered the questions I was beaten to the punch by everyone and their grandmother.
Dan Sparks
77. RedHanded
@ 70

Yeah that's right. Wise Ones go to Rhuidian twice. SO it seems as though Aiel women (who are chosen to become Wise Ones..why? I know when they can channel or have the spark, but I believe not all can or can even dreamwalk) and novices have similiar tests to become Accepted or apprentices. Then to become Aes Sedai or a Wise One the tests are completely different it seems and reflect the cultural atmosphere. I believe I read that the test to become Aes Sedai involves weaving 100 weaves (a test in strength of power) or some such where the Wise Ones is a test of will and strength of character.

Perhaps that is how the hierarchy is formed. Aes Sedai, all about the Power. Wise Ones, all about how strong your will and mind are.
Ben Harrison
78. That Guy
tearl @20

What missing sa'angreal are you referring to? I don't recall exactly what you are talking about. I looked at the comments on TGH part 3 but it only goes to 115.
Ben Harrison
79. Randalator
@78 That Guy

Lanfear referring to Callandor:

"There are only two more powerful that a man can use. One at least, I know, still exists. No, Lews Therin. I will not trust you yet with that."
(TSR, ch. 9)

1. Choedan Kal
2. - ??? -
3. Callandor
Lannis .
80. Lannis
That Guy @ 78 and Randalator @ 79: I thought we'd established on an earlier thread that the "missing" male sa'angreal is the Ring of Tamyrlin...?

Hence the potential to have an Amyrlin, leader of the female Aes Sedai, and Tamyrlin, leader of the male Aes Sedai and a united White/Black Tower.
Ben Harrison
81. grnidgrl
I always thought the 'she' thing was related to the Her Majesty's Royal Navy. Just a thought.
Galen Brinn
82. GatheringStorm
Randalator @79,

It's those hints that make me wish we could get the full story of the War of Power. Also that reminds me of a discrepancy; in Rand's trip through Rhuidean, his POV indicates that one of his ancestor's grandfather had said that the WoP was "old when he was young" and that he himself couldn't imagine a world without war. Yet somehow, in the rest of the series and in the BBoBA, we are told that the WoP only lasted 10 years. Is the discrepancy really a reference to the length of time of the degeneration of society after the opening of The Bore or is it really a screw up?
Ben Harrison
83. DutchBoy
Hi guys,

More and more this - what we are doing for many weeks already - feels like a community. When do we invite each other over for parties? I will come to San Francisco in August ;-)

I do not understand so well the comments on the ships. It is not universal that ships are female, so it cannot be generally accepted that 'ships are shes'. Although Randalator is right that German ships are called 'die Bismarck', if the 'ships are shes' hypothesis is right, then you still expect them to be referred to as 'die Schiff'. However, it is DAS Schiff. And, in Dutch it is 'het schip' ('het' is neutral). In French it is LE bateau ('le' is male).

To conclude, if you ask me, the 'ship is she' story of Leigh is hilarious - but not universal.

Well, what the heck, most good stories are not true...

DutchBoy wishes you all - of our community - a very pleasant weekend.

This day was very pleasant indeed, it was the first spring day in northern Europe with temparatures rising to 20 C (68 F) for the first time this calender year.
Galen Brinn
84. GatheringStorm
grnidgrl @81,

The whole HMS thing is actually switchable; His/Her, depending on who's ruling. Since it's Queen Elizabeth II right now, it's "Her". When Prince Charles becomes King Charles III, it will then be "His".
Ben Harrison
85. CalebG

Keep in mind that Rand's ancestor followed the Way of the Leaf, so, while the actual "War" may have only lasted 10 years, the "cold war" referred to as the Collapse lasted for nigh on a hundred. To the average citizens, this was probably not worth thinking of as a war, but to followers of the Way of the Leaf, each skirmish counts.

That's my take on it, anyways.
Luke M
86. lmelior
Are we seriously this scared of addressing anti-feminist traditions, Internets? Really? Really?
I don't think it's so much being scared of addressing it as pretty much not caring one lick about it. Until, obviously, somebody makes a big stink about it.

For the record, antifeminism does NOT equal sexism. Not anymore. The pro-women feminism that granted women suffrage and equal rights under the law has been replaced by an angry, militant anti-men feminism that teaches women to be victims. To seek out what could be considered a premeditated, mass personal attack on all women or at least a clandestine, subliminal brainwashing attempt to "keep" women as the weaker gender. Nothing will ever satisfy these people, not that 57% of college students are women. Not that more women in our generation now have college degrees than men. They look at median wages across all jobs and see that women as a whole make 23% less than men. Nevermind that men are more likely to negotiate salaries, more likely to travel or relocate for higher paid positions, or more likely to take more unpleasant or even dangerous, and thus higher paid jobs. 90% of workplace deaths are men, would the feminists like equality there? Nevermind that men are more likely to work overtime, whereas women are more likely to seek jobs with more flexible hours, so that they can spend more time with family. Is it gender discrimination or social brainwashing, or do some women actually want to stay home?

I'm not going to claim that there aren't women being oppressed out there, but it's hardly silly things like sailors referring to ships in the feminine that women have to worry about. Back when they named all hurricanes after women, now I can understand that - there's no positive way to spin that. But I refer to my wife as the old ball'n'chain, laugh with my coworker who just got married when he said he's giving up his freedom, joke with my younger brother talking about how girls are nothing but trouble and expensive to boot. But it's all in good fun. I laughed at the descriptions you posted, because it reminds me of that. It's just "locker-room" talk; generalizations that nobody really believes in but make for good tension-easing banter anyway. None of us would be married otherwise.

In other words, most of the time there really isn't an intentional, hidden meaning behind what we say, despite what the Cairheinin nobles may think.

Phew, that was longer than I intended. I'm glad you didn't temper your response to the chapter, though I may disagree with it. I love me some colorful commentary and lively debate.
Ben Harrison
87. Randalator
@80 Lannis

I only explained where the idea of a "missing sa'angreal" comes from in the first place. I'm not disagreeing on the notion that it is the Ring of Tamyrlin.

@82 GatheringStorm

You're right, TSR indicates that the War of Power lasted several generations while the Guide claims it was only 10 years. Personally I tend to think that is simply an error in the Guide (maybe missing a '0') because TSR is pretty clear in that an 10 years of war is rather weak epic-scope-destruction-of-civilization-end-of-an-age-wise...

@83 DutchBoy

Hey, I never claimed that german made sense... *g*
Ben Harrison
88. Lsana
@87 Randalator,

Lews Therin also suggested the war had lasted 10 years ("For 10 years, Betrayer, you and your foul master have wracked the world...").

My thought is that it was 10 years from the time that the Shadow made a coordinated attack, but far longer than that from the time the Bore was drilled. The Shadow spent the first, let's say 150 or so years, building up power, recruiting the less ethical of the Aes Sedai, developing the Trollocs, etc. During that time, there were conflicts between the Aes Sedai and the growing power of the Shadow, a sort of Cold War interrupted by the occasional Vientnams and Koreas. Then, when everything was ready, the Shadow launched an all out attack, later called the War of Power.

And if we're fighting a no-holds-barred war with not only modern weaponry but balefire, 10 years seems like plenty of time for a world-ending cataclysm.
Ben Harrison
89. Siuanfan
Nother question! I realize that channeling is not a prereq to becoming a Wise One, but once it's discovered that an Aiel girl CAN channel, does she have to become a Wise One? It seems to be the case with Aviendha, who, as we can see had no desire to stop being a Maiden and become a WO, so I'm rather curious as to what the process is to become a Wise One. Are there some that just choose to become apprentices because they like that line of work and/or the power and respect that goes with it? If that's the case, you'd think Sevanna would have done it long before the breaking of the Aiel. I'm guessing the Wise Ones keep an eye out for likely candidates and snatch them up sort of like the Tower does, but if someone CAN channel, but does not have the... whatever criteria they're looking for, what then?

Re: Siuan and Logain... I'm still not positive it was a lie. I know Siuan COULD lie and appreciated being able to, but it wasn't very clear (to me, anyway) that that story specifically WAS a lie. There are hints that it could be true... hidden histories, Cadsuane mentioning a 'vileness' after the Aiel War, the thing we all suspect happened with Taim. I find it more interesting to think it's true because the fate of the Red Ajah rests on it. With saidin cleansed, they're pretty much obsolete, but they aren't -criminals- ... unless it's the truth. If it's a lie, the repercussions are going to come back on Siuan alone. Maybe Leane and Logain, but definitely Siuan. Which I suppose is interesting too, but not as interesting as the other. If indeed RJ and New Guy intend to wrap up that thread at all.
Ben Harrison
90. Roxinos
"Are we seriously this scared of addressing anti-feminist traditions, Internets? Really? Really?"

More likely we're just truly unaware. Even if we were to pool our collective efforts and knowledge, we'd probably still end up with a question at the end and a few possible answers.

Just look up the etymology for the word "fuck" on wiktionary or wikipedia. I would argue that word is much more common than using the pronoun "she" in reference to ships, and we have no real idea where it came from.

No one is afraid of broaching the subject. It's just not an important subject (that being pronoun use, not feminism in general), and there is no clear answer.
Ben Harrison
91. Tony Zbaraschuk
bchurch @ 44

That ties back into Rand's "success" at Daes Dae'mar in Caerhien: nobody could understand what he was doing because his goals weren't their goals. Neither Thom nor Moraine is out for personal power, so their moves come from an unexpected direction and are very successsful because nobody has prepared for them.

(I seem to recall a reference to Anaiya being like that as well: she always said what she was up to straight-out and everybody else in the Tower kept looking for the hidden meanings in her words and so got blindsided when it turned out that the meaning wasn't hidden at all.)
Ben Harrison
92. CalebG
Re: the War of Power, I don't think the War of Power itself was a world-ending cataclysm.

The world ending cataclysm came after the Dark One tainted Saidin, and that cataclysm, the Breaking, lasted for several generations in and of itself.
Ben Harrison
93. Randalator
@85 CalebG, @88 Lsana

The soldiers fascinated him, men and Ogier, the way a colorful poisonous snake might. They killed. His father's greatfather, Charn, claimed there had been no soldiers once, but Coumin did not believe it. If there were no soldiers, who would stop the Nightriders and the Trollocs from coming to kill everyone? Of course, Charn claimed there had not been any Myrddraal or Trollocs then, either. No Forsaken, no Shadowwrought. He had many stories he claimed were from a time before soldiers and Nightriders and Trollocs, when he said the Dark Lord of the Grave had been bound away, and no one knew his name, or the word "war." Coumin could not imagine such a world; the war had been old when he was born.
(TSR, ch. 26)

This sounds like he's referring to something that is more than an arms race for 90% of the time.


"Then it is over." Tomada breathed. "Over at last, the Light be praised."
"Yes." The soldier looked around, suddenly seeming lost. "I . . . suppose it is. I suppose . . ." He peered at his hands, then let them fall to his sides again. He sounded weary. "The local folk could not wait to begin celebrating. If the news is true, it might go on for days. I wonder if . . . ? No, they will not want soldiers joining them. Will you?"

"Of course. You still have work to do. You have that." The soldier looked around again. "There are still Trollocs. Even if the Forsaken are gone, there are still Trollocs. And Nightriders." Nodding to himself, he started back toward the jo cars.

This sort of "I don't know anything but killing"-attitude and general detachment from society is not something produced by a cold war and 10 years of fighting despite what LTT says. Maybe it was "ordinary darkfriends vs the society" in a civil war for 50-60 years and 10 years of Dreadlords vs Aes Sedai...?
Ben Harrison
94. zdrakec
Chapter 20 -

At the time of the ancient mariners even as far back as 500 BC, most were 'married to the sea' due to thier love of the ocean. The ships were their liveihood, their home and their love. As a compliment to the woman they loved they named their sailing vessels after them, telling them that it would remind them of the ones they left behind for the months and sometimes years they have would be gone. This caught on. The 'she' was also given for things of great beauty found in the sea.. ie "Thar she blows!" depicting the massive water spout seen by whaling ships of old which almost all had female names. Even when ships stopped being given feminine names they were still referred to as 'she', but basically this analogy was due to a captain's love for his ship. "Shes a fine ship, Captain!"

I would call a ship he only when it misbehaved (for example, by sinking under me).

I'm not sexist, but neither am I particularly consistent :)
Ben Harrison
95. Randalator
@89 Siuanfan

The "vileness" refers to the Red Ajah gentling/killing male channelers of the record, Black Ajah killing boy/men who could be the DR and Amyrlins having really short shelf live.
Ben Harrison
96. Lsana
@89 Siuanfan,

On your first question, I suspect that any girl born with the Spark is forced to become a Wise One whether she wants to or not. I'm not a 100% about those who can learn, but there is a line somewhere later about how the Wise Ones find every girl who can learn. That suggests to me that if they aren't forced to become Wise Ones, they are at least strongly encouraged.

As to why Sevanna never tried to become a Wise One, I think it is likely that it was just too much work. She was able to become Roofmistress, a position with almost the same power, just by marrying the right guy. In order to become a Wise One, she would have had to make a dangerous trip to Rhuidean, spend months or years learning and running errands for the Wise Ones, then made another dangerous trip to Rhuidean. All in all, she seems the type who would just marry into it.

On your second question: Suian lied when she claimed the Reds had convinced Logain to become a false dragon; we see her POV at that time, so we know she's lying. But just because she's lying doesn't mean that it can't be true. I personally think that there was something screwy about Logain's decision to become the Dragon. I don't think Elaida had anything to do with it, but I do think someone planted the idea in his head and maybe even pushed him along that path.

@93 Randalator,

There's a difference between what you describe and an arms race, true, but there's also a difference between raids by Trollocs and Myrdraal and a full out war. The Borderlands need soldiers to keep them safe, but there's no question that they are engaged in something similar to a world-ending cataclysm.

As for the solider...we don't get his age here. He could easily be in his 20s or early 30s. In which case, a 10 year long war would be more than enough to make him feel like he doesn't know anything else.
Ben Harrison
97. Andrew W^2
Leigh: your re-read continues to be pure badass. I've actually started to look forward to Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at work. Is that weird?

Anyways. Just a thought on the ship quote business that I wanted to share:

You made the point that the quote you found can't really be all that 'dated' since it was, after all, the predominant search result that you came up with today. So yeah, while I totally agree that Google is an interesting data point when you're making arguments about cultural standards, I do think there's another way to look at what it tells you. I would say that the fact that your quote was the top hit doesn't necessarily imply that it represents a popular viewpoint today.

After all, Google is counting page hits (amongst other things no doubt, if I knew how it really worked they would probably send assassins). A search engine's job is to find you the most-visited sites, and sites get big like that for all sorts of silly reasons. Heh, if there's one thing we know about the internet, it's that people absolutely love arguing complete strangers into oblivion from the privacy and comfort of their homes. So really, a 'popular' site is much more likely to be something that's inflammatory than something that people just agree with.

So. I think it bears consideration that the reason why that ridiculous quote got Google so giddy is in fact because of its very ridiculousness. It's a common story: a people say something awful, and then a million people weigh in on it. It could be at least partly true, anyways...

Naturally, that doesn't necessarily make the situation any less upsetting or depressing. Maybe it's MORE depressing -- we're sexist AND the internet exposes our true asshole selves to boot! But I do like to think that, ya know, there's at least some progress goin' on.
Agnes Kormendi
98. tapsi
"I do not understand so well the comments on the ships. It is not universal that ships are female, so it cannot be generally accepted that 'ships are shes'. Although Randalator is right that German ships are called 'die Bismarck', if the 'ships are shes' hypothesis is right, then you still expect them to be referred to as 'die Schiff'. However, it is DAS Schiff. And, in Dutch it is 'het schip' ('het' is neutral). In French it is LE bateau ('le' is male).

To conclude, if you ask me, the 'ship is she' story of Leigh is hilarious - but not universal."

Yeah and in some languages objects do not have a gender... which makes the whole scene slightly pointless in translation.
Andrew Lovsness
99. drewlovs
I'll only go down the road of the ship/feminism thing based on what I heard from my grandfather. Further, I resisted reading others thoughts on the matter, since it might change my personal reactions, and thus, would not BE mine... hehe.

My grandfather was in the navy during WWII, and watched many of his friends die on ships. There were few, if any, women on board, and even in these circumstances, he spoke of the ship he was on as if it were his mother, wife and daughter all rolled into one. I'm sorry that the sites on the internet today do not reflect more of his (and others like him) opinions of ships in regards to a feminine nature. The quote you found on the internet would have made him angry, and insulted the very essence of how he felt about his "home". Remember, many men of his era desire only to be buried WITH those ships, where ever they were sunk. Some might say that it is due to the MEN they served with, which I won't argue with; but with my grandfather, those comrades and his ship were all rolled into the same thing.

I have to say, Nimitz does not share the same view of the ships he sailed on as my grandfather, which might be due to the fact that he was in charge, and there wasn't ONE ship he called home. I guess that since he served on many of them, and if one broke down/got damaged, he would have just switched to another, he did not put the same reverance as those who were permanently stationed to their ships. Putting that fact together with considering ships feminine, it is no surprise that he would view ships VERY differently than my Grand did.

Lastly, ships are not part of our popular world as much as they used to be. Name the last feature film that was about sailors and ships... the Russel Crow movie? In my opinion, it is no surprise that these types of attitudes and "poetry" seems to be stuck in yester-year. grand would have been pissed OFF about the quotes you used, Leigh. I'm still thinking of that, and I can feel your anger as represented through the memories of my mother's father.


I'm getting reasonably excited about what is coming, though with one exception: when Rand lets the proverbial "cat out of the bag" about Aiel origins. The whole Rhuidean scene in general is uber cool, and shows just how detailed Jordan got in the histories he created for us.

Further, Matrim has become the character I love now, and thank goodness. The times he is upfront and "honest" with Rand are by FAR my favorite parts of these books.
I loved it the first, second and sixth time I read about it... haha....

About Nyn though...I am coming to realize I like her EMMENSLY after she breaks her block, and I respected her in the first three books for her loyalty to her fellow TR family. But in between, I just can't deal with her temper. My mother is very much like her during this time, and that is probably why she is so...unlikable for me. But then, looking at it from a different point of view, I always wanted her to "get" Lan, so I guess deep down I was waiting for her to go through the same metamorphosis that Matt did. And almost as if I can see the future, she did!!

So for now, I'm suffering with this Nyn, but the saving grace is she will more than redeem herself after she hooks up with Lan. Now, if only I can put up with the in-between...
Ben Harrison
100. Another Wolf Dream
I agree that its difficult to like Nyn in this section of the story, but a lot of it, for me, is tied to her internal hypocrisy. Even in her own POV, she contradicts herself (this gets even worse after fleeing Tarabon, later). I think she comes off as being extremely childish, which does not influence me to take her seriously, and hence, does not make me like her very much. I find it very interesting that all the major characters (and most of the minor ones) go through phases that I don't very much enjoy them. Fortunately, Mat, prob my favorite character, for his 'devil-may-care' attitude, gets this done in the first 2 books, and settles down to being kickass. Some of the others, like Nynaeve, take longer, though she picks it up about the time Lan shows back up for her. Even Rand goes through some period where I just want to kick the shit out of him, for being so damn arrogant and not thinking things through. In all his haste and worry about bringing the world together, he manages to alienate every single person around him, and neglects his closest allies to the point that all of them are about ready to break. By the end of CoS, the only people that have it together at all are his enemies.
Chris Maurer
101. grayfox
Andrew W^2:

"After all, Google is counting page hits (amongst other things no doubt, if I knew how it really worked they would probably send assassins). A search engine's job is to find you the most-visited sites, and sites get big like that for all sorts of silly reasons."

Not to give a boring website lecture, but its not just the hits by themselves that these sites get, but has more to do with the way the website containing the information is configured. There are whole books the size of LoC devoted to search engine optimization that helps your site be found on a search engine like google.

In other words, Leigh, the quotes which you found offensive from the websites that popped up immediately were simply done by better web developers... Web developers are all sexist!! (I joke)
Deborah Jones
103. NanaD
Leigh hope you feel much better now. I am enjoying the re-reads very much and look forward to them every week.

Happy Friday/Saturday everyone. Have a great week-end.
Ben Harrison
104. Joe W.
Still loving the re-reads, and they feel more up to your abilities, Leigh. Very lit-critty in places, funny in others, and generally awesome.

On the gender and ships thing, I have to go with Gawin for the most part:

"...she provides a home and safety in a harsh environment. In ancient society the one symbolizing home and shelter has always been a woman, mother and guardian of the children... she is symbolically their mother and wife."

Most ship captains, to this day, are men. (I got to work (albeit indirectly) for one of the female Coast Guard commanders, which was a very cool experience. And she was great to work with.) I call my car, computer, or whatever else I'm working with as "she" and "her". I'm a man, and it feels right to use those words. It isn't a sexual thing or a power thing, but it *is* a gender thing. My partner - and when I'm driving, that's my car; surfing the 'net, its my computer - is my complement.

Women are the ones that really run the ships in the Sea Folk culture, so their ships are male. Which actually means both the women and the men are throwing a line of b.s. about the reason. That's not surprising, considering your Google search - we're doing the same thing.
Ben Harrison
105. Jon Grizzell
to comment 90


In/around the middle ages, a person that was caught having sex would be branded with this initials. It stands for:

Luke M
106. lmelior

False! I remember hearing the "Fornication Under Consent of the King" version of this myth.
Ben Harrison
107. Don, Iowa
@105 if this was around the 6th century when the town of F*cking, Austria was created, would this be like a scarlet letter town where you had to be branded to get in? Kinda like the Brit's sending off their criminals to australia?

*Sorry for the derail.*

After reading comments / working the past 3 or so hours there isn't much more i can add that isn't already said. Good job Leigh! Get well soon.
Chris Maurer
108. grayfox
Speaking of the Stone of Tear...does anyone know of an artist's rendering of it from the outside? I have seen pictures of the Heart of the Stone, but I just can't quite grasp what it looks like from outside.
Ben Harrison
109. GregoryD
With regards to why men started the tradition of calling ships, "she."

I hate to say it but ships are like our cars, which are also called she, because they are a fancy piece of property, and no one wants to take a ride on a he.

Brett Michie
110. bchurch
I love tSR for it's moments of self-realization and changing growth for many of our main characters. Especially this sequence where we are now. For Rand, Mat, and Moiraine are in the middle of two very shocking and life-altering days for all of them.

Consider: Last night they were attacked in the Stone by shadowspawn (and some saved by shadowspawn). Then all three of them take a walk through the redstone doorframe to finnland, and get important, albeit hard to comprehend answers. Today they are journeying via ancient magic to a place no wetlander has been willingly allowed. Tonight they will all go to Rhuidean and have three seperate, but again life-altering experiences there. Though for everyone else, it seems seven days, for them it seems one.

Good times and we get to tag along for the ride!
Ben Harrison
111. Emerkel

I did not read through all of the posts, but I did see several references to refering to a ship as 'she' so I hope this post is not duplicating someone else's post.

I did a search and the very first site that came up was On this site I found the following two items:

1) Images of women have always played an important role in sailors' superstitions. The Phoenicians, Egyptians, Romans, and others carved and painted feminine symbols on their vessels to protect them at sea.

The practice of figurehead carving reached its height during the nineteenth century. Images of Greek and Roman goddesses and other women became popular subjects for ship carvers. Toward the end of the century, it became common practice for a ship owner to commission a figurehead with the likeness of his wife or daughter, and to name the vessel in her honor.

2) In the Chesapeake Bay, many of the workboats were traditionally named for women. The names usually reflected a female family member. No one knows where this tradition originated, but a few speculate that the naming tradition reflects the waterman's connection to his family.

For what it is worth I always thought it was something along these lines: A beautiful, graceful lady dancing on the waves of the ocean... like the H.M.S. Leigh!
Brett Michie
112. bchurch
Gregory D @109

My girlfriend has had two cars in the time that I've known her, and both were/are boys. The first was a Jeep Cherokee named Ivan and her current vehicular mode of transportation is an older Honda Civic named Ralphie--name deriving from a sticker of Ralph Wiggem picking his nose on the rear window. But, in both instances, the names fit.
Ben Harrison
113. Techpriest
Leigh, could be that the machine spirits of all ships are female.
Amar Ramraj
114. aiel1219
"At the time of the ancient mariners even as far back as 500 BC, most were 'married to the sea' due to thier love of the ocean. The ships were their liveihood, their home and their love. As a compliment to the woman they loved they named their sailing vessels after them, telling them that it would remind them of the ones they left behind for the months and sometimes years they have would be gone. This caught on. The 'she' was also given for things of great beauty found in the sea.. ie "Thar she blows!" depicting the massive water spout seen by whaling ships of old which almost all had female names. Even when ships stopped being given feminine names they were still referred to as 'she', but basically this analogy was due to a captain's love for his ship. "Shes a fine ship, Ca "

Leigh this is the 1st link I clicked on at random in the 1st google results page.... and I do remember about 10 years ago doing some research for this as a history assignment and found alot of very similar info... dunno if anyone has posted this but... here it is :)

There is a lot more I can say on this topic and the current beliefs being spouted on this post and many others.... but I will refrain from this because I would rather not thread on any religious sensitivities.
I will just stop at saying that in my research in this topic the belief expressed above was the earliest foundation of the tradition that I found and it may have changed (ok it did) in later years due to our world becoming more "male oriented".
Amar Ramraj
115. aiel1219
@30. hoping to be of the blood
Had to comment on this... u realise that most of the myths in WOT world are pretty much wrong right?
So tell me following this trend don't u think it makes sense that a myth about Moscow and America would pretty much be that they used ICBMs??
Nuking was always the eminent threat right??? so... how RJ poses his WOT based myths as being a pretty screwed up version of what happened actually makes it believable that it was this age.... I'm posting at 100+ comments so I guess someone probably mentioned this b4...
Ben Harrison
116. Jizella
grayfox: The closest thing I can equate The Stone of Tear to is Stone Mountain.. Since the Stone is liekgahuge, and the carving of the Civil War Generals alone is roughly three square acres in size, Stone Mountain fits my idea of liekgahuge. Heck, who knows, the Stone might actually be Stone Mountain. Only polished and hollowed out and raised a bit more or something.

Everyone who Hates Nynaeve:

D: I like her. I like her because she's flawed and pigheaded and because she shows the most emotion of just about anyone in the books. She lived in a sheltered little section of the world for 26 years, and once thrown out into the aforementioned World, she stuck to her guns and held everyone to the same standard she held everyone in her home. Some criticize her because she didn't -change- quickly enough, or because they think she can't empathize but I like her because when the going gets tough, Nynaeve will kick butt and at the end of the day she's the same. She's a rock in a literally shifting world, and while her appearance may change , she changes very little. She'll always consider herself a Wisdom of Emond's field. I think that's pretty cool.

And as for her anger; Having to be angry to channel is a heck of a roadblock, and after a while, breaking the habit of becoming angry to tap into your greatest strength might be like trying to break through another block.

P.S.: I didn't like her after her marriage. She went from a strong-willed, independent woman who could get things done to a...a scatterbrained, clingy, calf-eyed milksop. x.x She didn't get cool again until The Golden Crane.

P.S.S.: Leah, awesome job. :3 I appreciate a slower pace with more in-depth analysis. Keep up the amusing and enlightening work.

Ben Harrison
117. jlyman

THAT IS SO COOL! I had no idea about the Stone Mountain. I wouldn't be surprised if this is the place that RJ based at least his description on. I always like seeing things that inspire writers. It just makes it that much more real to me.
Chiara Elvira
118. elvyelvy
randalator@59 gosh, you just brought back all the memories of my second university exam on German grammar & literature (and I thought I had buried them deeeeeeeep down).

techpriest@113: all my computers are a "he", just like bchurch@112's girlfriend's cars, can't say why, but I could never bring myself to consider them a "she". :-)

A happy week-end to all, with Spring blooming on the Mediterranean shores - and wherever you live too, hopefully.
Ben Harrison
119. Heather P.
OK, all this gender discussion has me really seriously wondering why I always give my cars male names. And before any of you say it, yes, I know. Naming my cars is dorky. But I love my dorkiness. I have to say I never really questioned calling ships "she" as I come from a long line of Navy men, but I love the description given of why the Sea Folk ships are "he."

I'm not a feminist, I'm actually a little ambivalent to that whole movement. As a PERSON, I value my individuality and I believe I am as equal as I make myself to others around me. That being said, however, I have to admit that from time to time I do like being the "little woman." Not when anyone belittles my intelligence or forms an opinion solely based on my gender, but when I need a shoulder I appreciate the strong, protective shoulder I find in my man.

So maybe the gender of the ships, both here in WOT and in the real world, is a little of both. In the real world, men sail the ships and they find comfort in "her." In WOT, the higher-ranking crew members are women, and for all their strength they find comfort that "he" can give them.

Just a thought.
Ben Harrison
120. Rebecca Starr
Ch 20
Aw Leigh... there are whole courses out there about language and the gendered nature of language, and what it all means - particularly gendered pronouns when it comes to the earth (Mother Nature) or countries (thus giving rise to whole theories of gendered politics of nationalism...) As to the ships, suffice to say that this is one of my favorite things that RJ did to shake-up gender... not because it changes anything, but because it makes us look at something in our world that otherwise passes unnoticed and taken-for-granted.

I know it's an old dead theory, but I do still wish Thom was Elayne's dad... sigh

and I disagree completely with you on history, Leigh! I remember my history classes from grade school on up to college well (tho I'm no "history buff") and I hope other people agree with me!

Ch 21
haha - now you have me imagining Elayne's POV as she goes to use the privvy.

I really like how we got two POVs of the Stone shaking before we knew the *reason* for it, here... made it really fun the first time around, reading what Rand had actually done.

that's an awfully folksy saying from Moiraine here: "putting her horse at a ten-foot fence." anyone know what this means?

Ch 22
has there ever been a theory about Rand having the Foretelling? I think of it here because when he anticipates which symbol Mat's coin will have chosen, he then thinks, "It has to work for me sooner or later. None of them understood..."
Ben Harrison
121. Slurpy
Leigh, another SF series that has people go to the bathroom onscreen is "The War Against the Chtorr," by David Gerrold (The guy who wrote the "Trouble with Tribbles" episode of Star Trek). This series also has people scrabbling for what little power they can get, and a system that is crumbling around them after 3/4 of the human race is killed by world-roving plagues.

Did I mention it's an alien invasion story? Except the invasion is an ecological invasion, pushing Terran life back wherever it is encountered.

Check it out. It's good.
Ben Harrison
122. Another Wolf Dream
Rebecca Starr @120- 'Putting her horse at a 10 foot fence' is a ter for trying to do the impossible, ie, trying to get your horse to jump over a wall 10 feet high. I read it sort of like 'tilting at windmills.'
Lannis .
123. Lannis
Randalator @ 87: re: Ring of Tamyrlin... sorry, my mistake. :)

Siuanfan @ 89: re: channeling and becoming a Wise One... I agree with Lsana @ 96, and she's worded it so nicely. :)

Spark = no choice in becoming one; ability to learn = "encouraged" to become one.

Andrew @ 97:

Heh, if there's one thing we know about the internet, it's that people absolutely love arguing complete strangers into oblivion from the privacy and comfort of their homes.

Call me silly, but this struck me as the understatement of the day... ;)

Jon @ 105; lmelior @ 106: re: F.U.C.K... My mother (!) told me it stood for "Found Under Carnal Knowledge." Now tell me *that* doesn't defeat saying it... (an aside: when I mentioned, as a teen, I wanted a tongue piercing, my father said, "you know what guys think of when they see one of those, right?" Um, yeah, suffice it to say I have never had my tongue pierced...)

grayfox @ 108: Nope, haven't seen any renditions of the Stone, but I just pictured it to be a large round stone-like building (think igloo made of stone without the seams from the blocks), with arrow slits, of course.

Jizella @ 116: Yes! That's pretty much it! :)

Heather P @ 119: Naming cars is *not* dorky... there's a lot of people out there who name their kids (ahem) interesting names (think: celebrities)--perhaps if they practiced a little on inanimate objects, they'd do better. ;)
Ben Harrison
124. KenB3
Robert Jordan has more gender issues in his books than any other fantasy series I can think of, so I wouldn't get upset that you address those. However, it seems like the google search was big tangent, and then to go off on a rant about it was strange. If you went off on something in the book it would be in context, but this just seemed like angry feminism for the sake of it. It's kind of like if the characters talked about prices going up, and then you went on an angry rant about real life inflation.

I agree with the Star Wars comparison though. Wheel of Time's world definitely has enough dirt on it.
Ben Harrison
125. Tony Zbaraschuk
That particular verb in English isn't an acronym, as far as I can tell; acronyms are post-scribal habits from when people started playing around with letters, and the Germanic languages all have cognates of the verb, so it probably predates literacy in any of the Germanic branches of Indo-European.

One thing to keep in mind with Nynaeve at this point is that she's maybe the most stressed out of all of them in this period: she's handling huge world-shaking problems without ta'veren-ness or Elayne's training in Royalty 101 or Egwene's support structure (Moiraine and the Wise Ones); she's older than Elayne and less familiar with the world; she can't DO anything with her big gift without being angry; and she's separated from Lan, which is pretty stressful. Yeah, she gets all dewey-eyed romantic after he gets back in her life... but some people do that. I like that Jordan's characters can usually be told apart without a scorecard (OK, except when they're sniffing...) And even at her worst moments, Nynaeve generally has something like common sense going for her, which is a quality I cheer. (My mother's highest adjective of praise is "sane", as far as I've been able to tell.)
Ben Harrison
126. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
Did we really have to start with the girls acting high and mighty? It really gets old after a while. I don't think Moiraine actually cared about what was going on in Tanchico so long as everyone else being there meant they wouldn't interfere with her working on Rand. Even after the foxes, she still believes she knows better than him what to do. Surprise, surprise. Rand totally rocked the Stone. Btw, Mosk, Merk, and Elsbett were semi obvious, but I had absolutely no idea who Anla was. I still don't know who Ann Landers is.
And portal stones. Decided using ta'veren luck no less. Funny how just about when Rand finally figured out how the symbols work, they are abandoned forever. And after playing such a huge role in earlier adventures, too. What in the Bore was going through RJ's mind?

tearl @20
Yep, I also believe Domon's artifact is an angreal. The description matches Rand's angreal at first glance. I thought they were identical.

Wayhey @22
Moiraine IS a frustrated control freak at this point. She's trying to do it the Aes Sedai way. Her and only her in charge. Of course what actually gives Aes Sedai their influence is the One Power and trying to use that on Rand is worse than useless.

Calebg @25
Yes. Bash the girls some more! They totally deserve it. Even more than the lucky breaks they've been getting.

Randalator @93
Aiel of the AoL are considered in their prime in their 60's. It's there, part of Rand's ancestral memories. Which leads me to think the War must have lasted centuries. Possibly as long, if not longer than the Breaking itself which was just around 300.

grayfox @108
What comes to mind is an artificial plateau made of stone. With lots arrow slits and other fortifications.

Rebecca Starr @120
Nope. He's not talking about Foretelling. Just ta'veren luck.
LT Tortora
127. Lucubratrix
Haven't seen any Navy women chime in yet, so I'll go ahead and speak up. A couple things: First, the Navy's changed quite a bit even in the past, say, 10 years. While there are plenty of crusty old guys (and some rather less crusty young guys) with outdated opinions of women serving on ships, I've never run into anything overt. Second, whatever the original reason for ships being "she," at this point, it's tradition. Plain and simple. And the Navy loves its traditions.

Also, my car is definitely a "he." My male coworkers' cars are "she."

I caught Mosk and Merk the first or second time reading, and definitely Elsbet. Didn't figure out Anla until now. I'll echo what others have already said about how neat it is the way RJ took people, events, and stories, and then imagined how thye might come down to our descendants thousands of years in the future.
Ben Harrison
128. MikeDeepo
A few thoughts on the whole grittiness = realism thing. The most striking example of this that I can think of is in Star Trek; specifically, comparing The Next Generation to Deep Space Nine. Same universe, same time period, but completely different feels. TNG was sleek and shiny and always just felt unrealistically Utopian. DS9 was constantly breaking down, and was filled with criminals, smugglers, and gambling, not to mention finally acknowledging that holodecks could be used for, you know, sex and all.

If memory serves, there's even one episode where Sisko goes on a rant about Starfleet top brass expecting everyone to be perfect, and not realizing that the Federation Utopia isn't universal.
Joseph Blaidd
129. SteelBlaidd

Agreed. Though I think its perfectly reasonable for her to be completely twitterpated between getting married and sending Lan off to save the borderlands.

Something that struck me this time was that when High Lord Meilan complains about going into Cairhien he calls it 'a quagmire.' That's such a loaded word for a Vietnam Vet that there is no way that it's use here is not deliberate. In this case a conflict entered into for noble reasons that turns in to an unholy mess.

Re: Aviendha

“Like you?” she said. “You may be He Who Comes With the Dawn, a man of destiny. Who can like or dislike such? Besides, you walk free, a wetlander despite your face, yet going to Rhuidean for honor, while I...”

Her next statement:
You have treated Elayne badly. I would not care, but Elayne is near sister to Egwene, who is my friend. Yet Egwene likes you still so for her sake I will try.
Has always sounded odd to me. Is she saying she will try to like him for her friends sake. Or, is she already feeling a bit of attraction to Rand and resolving not to poach her friend's near sister's boyfriend, because that will incur toh?

Ben Harrison
130. ZamIt
Rand's big announcement in the Stone. That was good, kind of a "let's get the plot moving now" kind of chapter. It is interesting to me how some of Rand's actions as nation leader really seem to do as much good as all his big channelling efforts.(I admit cleansing saidin was a pretty big deal, too.) He sends grain to Illian, and this leads to him being embraced as their ruler. He sets up a school in Carhein, and plants the seed for a new industrial age. He really is a pretty effective ruler.

I also like when Rand and Mat picked the symbol on the Portal Stone. They were actually using their ta'veren-ness, and annoying Egwene at the same time. That works for me!
Ben Harrison
131. MSedai
Re: Aviendha
Maybe a little bit of both? I must say that for me it took a while to figure out her growing attraction to Rand (yeah, I'm a little dull..) but she is my favorite female character. I'm a sucker for Aiel. Which reminds me, did anyone realize at the beginning of the Gaul- Bain-Chiad triangle that a lot of Gaul's motivation for following Perrin around has to do with Bain (and of course Chiad) following Faile around? Another romantic connection I missed the first time around...
But how much cooler does that make the Aiel that they will traipse all around a strange land and through the Ways because you think someone has a hilarious situation going on? I mean, at the beginning of this, they are basically risking their life for a joke! Love it!
Ben Harrison
132. Samadai
I think that on top of the fact that Rand rediscovers traveling, the other good reason that traveling stones are not used anymore is that no one knows the correct symbols to use. Rhuarc had to point out the 2 symbols for Rhuidean and then it was a 50/50 split of chance,(get it, chance), where they were going to end up. So if all Rand knows is the symbol for Toman head and Rhuidean then these are the only places he could take people.

one thing that someone mentioned in an earlier post about Moraine kind of stuck with me. and even though it is kind of a few chapters later this is my take on it. The wise ones saw Moraine going into Rhuidean and stated that Rand would die if she did not come,and that Mo would die if Lan did not come. if she had not gone into Rh. she never would have known how events with psycho Lanfear would have ended on the docks. She was saved because Lan took the first blow from Lanfear allowing her to get close enough to L to surprise her and save Rand in the if the wise ones hadn't of mentioned it they all would have died
Ben Harrison
133. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
MSedai @131
Uh... no, I never realized Gaul followed Perrin because he was actually following Chiad. I just thought he owed Perrin a great deal from that cage incident. I thought he and Chiad had a bloodfeud at this time.
Brett Michie
134. bchurch
MSedai @ 131

"Life is a dream from which we all must wake."

Nothing to say that it can't be a funny dream. We all know Aiel humor is a bit strange. Actually, I love Aiel humor, dark, morbid, and hilarious.
Ben Harrison
135. bloodybutteredonions
I always thought of the Stone of Tear as being based on the Tower of London. It has it's own access to the river (not sure if you'd call it a dock) houses the treasures of the Realm, is a fortress and will not fall until the ravens fly away.

Besides where else do you think Excalibur is really hidden? ;-)
Amar Ramraj
136. aiel1219
Just a thought that occured to me (or reoccured)... but does anyone else think that Rand somehow realises that using Callandor is dangerous to him and that is a big part of the reason he leaves it behind... even if he doesn't say so... when he thinks he can do anything with callandor and shortly after that he gives me the impression that he thinks it's makin him a bit nuts (or a bit more so)... I can't seem to pin point what made me think this... thoughts anyone?
Ofer Nave
137. odigity
Crazy theory time:

Leigh is the Dragon Reborn, we are the People of the Dragon, and is Alcair Dal.

She recites to us our ancient history, destroying our false theories and hopes with research and cross-referencing.

She's going to bring us out of the Firefox/IE'l waste and into the wetlands at JordanCon.

She went through the doorway and was told: "The books and prequels must be as one. The comic and film adaptations must be as one. The two must be as one."

She has come to prepare us for Tarmon Gaidon (which will arrive in three volumes).


Maybe not, but with a few ages of story-distortion, anything's possible. :)
Ben Harrison
138. laframboise
I like that theory, since it elevates the time I spend here reading this stuff from being goofing-off to Important Mission status!
Ben Harrison
139. Randalator
re: the Stone

I alway imagined the Stone as some artificial Ayers Rock kind of structure. A huge, symmetrical, smoothed out plateau with additional fortifications, crennellated walls, arrowslits, wall towers and the like.

re: Gaul

I always took it that he followed Perrin because he had freed him in Remen. The Bain/Chiad thing is just a bonus.

"Rand al'Thor took me aside and spoke to me, asking me to tell no one. I think he spoke to others, too, but I do not know how many will want to go with you. We have been on this side of the Dragon wall for a long time, and many ache for the Three-fold Land."

"Come with me?" Perrin felt stunned. If he had Aiel with him . . . There were possibilities he had not dared consider before. "Rand asked you to come with me? To the Two Rivers?"

Gaul shook his head again. "He said only that you were going, and that there were men who might try to kill you. I mean to accompany you, though, if you will have me."
(TSR, ch. 16)
Lannis .
140. Lannis
odigity @ 137: BAHAhaha! Thanks for a laugh during breakfast. :)
Agnes Kormendi
141. tapsi
odigity @ 137

:D :D :D

The lucky people who make it to the JordanCon have to check if she has dragons on her forearms! :)

Leigh, I think I haven't yet thanked you for these wonderful re-reads, they're entertaining and thought provoking!
Ofer Nave
142. odigity
With the joke out of the way, I can post some real comments:

calebg@29: I do like those moments of "Team Emond's Field" that the three Ta'veren have from time to time. You see it a couple times throughout TSR and TFoH. I actually just got to the spot in TFoH where Rand declares the house he's in to be the "Roof of the Winespring Brothers" or some such, where only people who have tasted the water from the Winespring could enter; i.e. Him, Mat, Egwene, and (probably) Moiraine.

These are so rare you could probably count them on one hand. Which is weird, because this is the core M.O. of most fantasy, and WoT does almost entirely without it. Before WoT, I was always clamoring for more realism. Now with WoT, I've got realism coming out of my ears, and am begging for just a few more moments of "Team Emond's Fields - Assemble!".

Lsana@54: Jain Farstrider isn't from Hawkwing's time or our age. He was involved in the fall of Malkier and was one of those who gave a warning about the danger to the Eye of the World. It's been speculated that he is Noal, the guy hanging out with Mat.

We are first introduced to the stories of Farstrider through Rand's eyes in book one, where they're indistinguishable in coolness/taken-for-grantedness/cherished-historyness from all the other ancient tales like the AOL/War of Power, Trolloc Wars, Manetheren, Artur Hawking, War of a Hundred Years, etc. Jain stands out as being really recent, though - everything he's done, he's done in the last ~50 years, and his book could only have been out for 20-40 years now. It's the only analog to a contemporary best-seller. To Rand, it's like Homer's Odyssey, but his dad (Tam) has been alive longer than the book has been published, and was born before most of the stories in the book ever happened. Very much a generation-specific experience, I imagine.

Lastly: lmelior@86 - spot on. Thanks for saying what I was frustratingly thinking. :)
Ben Harrison
143. hoping to be of the blood

My point exactly (see #75). I just don't think you can pick and choose a part of the myth to believe is true without more evidence.

Re Rand's decision about Callandor
I thought he was afraid of how powerful he felt with it (almost like a god) and didn't trust himself enough to use it yet. I'm not convinced Callandor has a flaw just because cadsuane says so. (prior post)

Great stuff coming up for mon.
Ben Harrison
144. Randalator
@143 hoping to be of the blood

So how do you explain Rand's sudden case of Kinslayer-ness during the Seanchan battle in TPoD if it wasn't the flaw in Callandor?
Chiara Elvira
145. elvyelvy
tapsi@141 I can't be at JordanCon, but I can send Leigh my dragon ring (see? marked) AND my serpent earrings. would they be enough to mark her as She Who Comes with the Dawn? :-)
And my serpent ring (actually a very nice piece of handcraft, and, yes, I DO wear it quite often) as well.

odigity@137 :D :D :D
Ben Harrison
146. hoping to be of the blood
Saidin (and saidar) was crazy in the area because of the recent use of the Bowl. All the ashaman and even dashiva felt it was more difficult to control. Rand was using saidin at amounts many fold times over what they were using so his lack of control was magnified as well. No need to invoke a flaw.
It might be flawed but we haven't seen definite evidence, just cad's version. And as we know, knowledge is slippery for randlanders.
Ben Harrison
147. HeWhoComesWithTheMid-Morning... But only after a lot of coffee
Plenty of people give the SuperGirls, and to a lesser extent Perrin, Mat and Rand crap for acting childish/snotty/spoiled on occasion. I am even one of those who found it annoying from time to time. However the more I think of it the more it makes sense. These are all young people who have had incredible responsibility/power thrust upon them and have to adapt extremely quickly. As someone who lost a parent at a young age (and consequently had to do a lot of growing up really quickly to help out with an 8month old sibling) I can tell you that when I hit my late teens and early 20's I definately went a little wacky from time to time. It is human nature to try and re-capture some of that youth that you feel as though you lost(even if it is just on a subconscious level). I think that that is what made Jordan such a fantastic author is that he writes such complex and realistic characters that they all have flaws. Just like in real life we are not all noble and altruistic at all times. We all have our moments where we are irrational and somewhat childish.

Leigh I cannot thank you enough for the re-read. I have been reading the books since '91 and just finished another re-read of my own this January. It is awesome to get so many other points of view on what people see/pick up on. I never in over 6+ re-reads of the series picked up on the MERK/MOSK line. Good stuff.
Ben Harrison
148. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
Randalator @139
Yep. That was a lot more detailed than my description but I think the same way about the Stone.

elvyelvy @145
Leigh wouldn't really need the serpent earrings. She'd need a couple of herons though.

hoping to be of the blood @146
Lannis .
149. Lannis
alreadymad @ 148: re: Callandor's flaw... yep, I agree with you... whether or not we can rely on Cadsuane's information, we have our own evidence to go on. The narrative mood changes when Callandor is used, and things just turn chaotic--especially if you analyse the logic involved (back to that kiddie corpse puppet again). Callandor definitely has a buffer/god-complex flaw (or however you choose to describe it).
Sara H
150. LadyBelaine
Coming late to the party...

bloodybutteredonions@135, Randalator@139

re: the Stone of Tear
I always picture some huge massive fortress looming over the houses and buildings of Tear, sorta like a wicked combination of the Tower of London, Carcasonne and Mont Saint Michel, only imposed over a cityscape.

The Stone is a gigantic fortress, with a vast central keep-type building, the Heart of the Stone, but it also contains the palaces and apartments of the High Lords. I don't picture some huge natural formation like Ayers Rock at all. I picture a super-duper castle. The part about it being one large stone comes from the fact , IMHO, that the oldest Aes Sedai knew how to fuse stone to stone and make a seamless piece, like the walls of Tar Valon, or the sweeping river bridges.

There is a really incomplete drawing on the Encyclopedia WOT that is close to how I picture it. I could swear that the same artist had a completed version done in charcoals that was more of a sketch, but captured the scale of it better, but I'll damned if I can say where I saw it.
Ben Harrison
151. WoTFanWD
For pete's sake just blog the damn re-read and leave off with the ridiculous feminist rhetoric. You are a serious downer sometimes. Work out your freaking issues.
Sara H
152. LadyBelaine

I don't know how you can attempt to re-read this series, with its gothically dysfunctional sexual politics, and what are ostensibly supposed to be portrayals of strong, dynamic female characters, but are, in all honesty, actually horrendously sexist and offensive at times, with an eye towards formenting discussion without actually discussing those aspects. (The portrayal of the male characters is not too far behind, either, on the "I mean them to be portrayed nobly, but I have riddled them with hopelessly cliched sexist attributes" scale).

Leigh was chosen to lead this discussion and put her spin on the reviews. If you dislike it, I would politely suggest you go elsewhere. There is hardly a shortage of forums to discuss this series.

Lastly, and most importantly, I think you owe the lady an an apology.
Lannis .
153. Lannis
WotFan @ 151: As discussed on previous threads, this is Leigh's show, and she's at liberty to direct her commentary any way she pleases. If you're not interested in her commentary, by all means skip it--nobody's forcing you to read or reply, but it would be nice if you kept it respectful. Thanks.
Ben Harrison
154. Orideth
To comment on the speculation of what the Stone of Tear might look like; the Encylopaedia WOT entry for the Stone (found here: includes an artist's rendition by Richard Boye. How accurate his idea of what the Stone looks like is, I don't know, but he basically portrays it as looking more like a traditional castle/fortress, the only difference being a) it's freaking huge, and b) it's all of one piece, like it was carved from a mountain, the way it's described in the books.
Ben Harrison
155. Sultana
I find the Supergirls at their most annoying in this part of the book. In the 2nd and 3rd they were tolerable, even admirable but over here their all like, "we know everything, all the guys are idiots, we can get away with anything". Especially Nynaeve - she's not the badass character she was - she's just a whining, tantrum-throwing pretend Aes Sedai.
Brett Michie
156. bchurch
Regarding Rand's kinslayer impression in PoD. I agree with what has been said about Callandor's flaw and taint magnification causing Rand's apotheosis of ego. Regarding the weirdness of saidin and saidar around Ebou Dar and that region of Illian/Altara . . . maybe I missed something. I never thought about it being from the Bowl of Winds being used there (though I'm not ruling it out now, as it used both powers). Rather, I thought it was resultant of Elayne's failed "unraveling of the gateway/unwitting Seanchan destruction device." I could be completely wrong, but that was always what I took to be the explination for the power's unruliness there. Thoughts?
Ben Harrison
157. Jeff Walden
I'm horrendously far behind on reading these posts, still back in TEOTW, but my own originally-not-quite-intentional reread has me two-thirds through TSR, proceeding much more slowly than I ever have at reading WoT books (most likely since I'm in the real world with a job now). I've read them all, of course, but I don't think I've ever made an effort to read through in order -- typically picked out scenes I really enjoyed and reread them (last fifty pages of WH, Nynaeve's accidental Healing, the dominant LTT, &c.), occasionally reread an entire book that I remembered as especially good. A deliberate, close read has been illuminating. I hadn't noticed, nor would someone have been likely to convince me, that Rand knows immediately what the peddlers in the Waste mean, but his cryptic comments at the time and after pretty clearly say that. I also somehow missed (or at least didn't remember) Perrin's idiotic desire to fall on his own sword supposedly to save his village and family, only remembered it as a an almost-quixotic desire to help his village. Or how Slayer draws Trollocs upon isolated farms, or that he does so to Perrin and His Merry Men as well. So much forgotten or not noticed...

Anyway, a more apropos question for this bit that occurred to me a week or so back when rereading. Did anyone else notice in particular that it was Aviendha who discovered the portal stone and consider its significance in light of a "different kind of talent"? The intentional first demonstration of a talent, just a coincidence, or an event now capable of being used as a supporting evidence that was never initially intended as such?
Amar Ramraj
158. aiel1219
One reason I think that Callandor is flawed is because of this line "Now. The thought floated like cackling laughter on the rim of his awareness."
This is when he uses the whirlwind lightning thingy to kill the trollocs in the Stone.

And later I think LTT is often described as cackling right?? Perhaps this is the 1st sign of LTT manifesting in his head???

And somehow I doubt its a coincidence he is using callandor at the same time.
Ben Harrison
159. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
bchurch @156
Not that I think Elayne would have succeeded in unravelling the gateway, but the Power was already strange around Altara when she tried it. That decreased even further her already meager chance of success in unravelling the gateway.

Jeff Walden @157
Interesting observation. Aviendha's Talent is identifying ter'angreal and objects of the Power though. And while the Portal Stone would predate every other object of the Power, it's quite close.
Ben Harrison
160. hoping to be of the blood
Both Elayne and Aviendha had difficulty channeling during the flight from the kin farm. They attributed it to tiredness but thought it was more than would be expected. The damane seem to have no trouble, however. If it were the falling gateway that caused the power problem then it should also occur in Andor where they ended up, but it doesn't.

My 'Callandor is not flawed theory' is, well, flawed. In tGH, when Rand encounters the statue he also seems overcome by its power. I guess that happens when there is no buffer. I wonder whether he would get the god-like complex with the statue or is that another problem with Callandor? It's probably too powerful to use without the access keys so we'll never find out.
Ben Harrison
161. Randalator
@160 hoping to be of the blood

The damane have extreme trouble handling the Power. In the Seanchan POVs during their campaign in the Venir Mountains we see that for the first half they didn't have any damane at all due to a mysterious "sickness". There haven't been any saidar-fireworks celebrating the victory in Ebou Dar.

When they finally get damane reinforcements the Suldam and damane both are extremely nervous on the point of breakdown due to the One Power weirdness. And during the fighting at least one damane loses control over the Power and kills a lot of Seanchan by accident.
Amanda W.
162. AmandaSedai
hey all.

I just opened a profile here, but I have been lurking for weeks,

Great re-read discussion! And I agree that a community seems to have taken root here already!
Ben Harrison
163. hoping to be of the blood
I meant the damane who attacked the kin farm, in answer to bcchurch. What evidence do we have that using the Bowl, rather than Elayne's gateway explosion, caused the problems with the OP?
Ben Harrison
164. hoping to be of the blood
I meant the damane who attacked the kin farm, in answer to bcchurch. What evidence do we have that using the Bowl, rather than Elayne's gateway explosion, caused the problems with the OP?
Amanda W.
165. AmandaSedai
ooh, I know, I know!!!

RJ said so, some place or other. When Elayne and that circle of Sea Folk used their suped-up weather-working weaves through the Bowl of the Winds, they taxed the ter'angreal well beyond its intended usage, and left a weird after affect in the region for a while...

lemme go look for the quote

edit: as always the WotFaq has the answers:

"Jordan said so. At a post-TPOD signing in northern Virginia , Jordan confirmed outright in plain language that the Bowl, not the unweaving, was the cause of the One Power weirdness, and that it was a case of overstressing a ter'angreal. From John Novak's report:
He went into a relatively detailed explanation to the effect that the Bowl was stressed far, far beyond its original design parameters because of the advanced knowledge of the Windfinders. It was affecting a global pattern, when it was designed for only a small region. Men helping would not have changed anything, and the effects linger most strongly near Ebou Dar, but also along the "spokes" which radiated from that place.
Ben Harrison
166. pooping eagle
I had decided not to do this, but a good nights sleep made me want to.

First thing to do is to apologize to anotherfan for calling him/her an asshole. Just because I think it doesn't mean I should have posted it.
But in defense of myself. I have read this blog with total enjoyment. Leigh has impressed me as a person of wit and intelligence, and has impressed the hell out of me with her observations, feelings, perspective, and passion for what she does. And she's a chick that likes SFF. How cool is that? Personally, I hide that from most of my friends. It's a level of geekdom that I'm just not willing to own up to. If I wasn't already married, and knew where she lived, I would probably be stalking her by now. He attacked my girlfriend, so aren't I supposed to protect her?

Which is a great segue to this. Leigh, the thought of you sitting in front of a screen getting all revved up because you can't find the reason YOU want for a ship or boat to be called "she" just tickled the hell out of me. The Battle of the Sexes continues, but this.....
The reason I call a ship or boat "she?" Because it always has been. No thoughts of whores or mothers protective arms. Nothing except, "that's what has always been." It is what I learned at a young age, and to my knowledge, societal lexicon hasn't changed. Hasn't changed in two thousand years. My oldest son came to me some years ago and asked for a bit of advise about an argument he was having with his new wife. My advise to him is the same I'll give here. "Choose your battles." Pardon the pun, Leigh, but this ship sailed a long time ago.

I never posted a few other thoughts, so while I'm on a roll, I'll do a couple now.
1) I don't know the proper way to pronounce most of the names in this series, but I know how to pronounce them in my mind, and no matter how many times or ways you try to correct me, I'll continue just as I have been for twenty years.
2) Don't know who killed Asmo. Don't care. I have seen pages and pages of comment on this, and I figure it this way... If the author thinks that it's relevant for me to know, he'll tell me.
3) If they can find a logo from a car and put it on display in a museum, why in hell didn't they find one of those damn plastic water bottles? You can't swing a dead cat without hitting one.

Lastly, this community has surprised and delighted me with the inspection of each small detail, and what it means to the story. For me, this is a work of fiction, and I normally don't give as much thought to things that never happened. I try and save that effort for things I consider as "real." Please keep up the great things you are doing. Your attention to these have made the story even better. I had missed all of the references to "our" world, and now I have them.

This has gone on way too long. Sorry.
Ben Harrison
167. MSedai
aiel1219 @158:

I was totally was creeped out by the cackling while Rand held Callandor, and yeah, I wondered about an LTT connection at that point too, reading it this time around.

pooping eagle @166:

As for the Asmo commentary, RJ has shown time and again that the reader has to work for a lot of the understanding in these books, they aren't a "passive" read, so pages of commentary on a mystery aren't unexpected...

Also, someone correct me if I misunderstand, but isn't it stated somewhere by RJ that Randland isn't our world in a different age, but is more like a parallel universe? So maybe the parallel universe didn't have plastic... :)

Also, I just thought of it, but I've never seen anyone comment on the weird creatures that Rand saw while in the other portal stone world we see again with the Seanchan, including raken, which to me sounded an awful lot like what I would think a dragon would look like...Except they have wings...? So what is the deal with people in Randland and the dragon image? They know the word/name, but seem a little weirded out to connect it to an image, like LTT's banner and Rand's markings...I assume that it is a mythical creature like we understand dragons to be mythical, but why don't they have an image to connect it to? Does it have to do with cutting out anything to do with LTT?
Brett Michie
168. bchurch
AmandaSedai @ 165 et al

That makes sense to me now. Thank you for your diligence. I guess I never paid close enough attention and attributed the power-weirdness to the wrong event. It's things like this that make me love this blog. Well, that and Leigh's extremely hot awesomeness as our ringleader.
Ben Harrison
169. Randalator
@164 hoping to be of the blood

The damane on the farm don't get POV time. But take a look what Elayne et al do with the Power. They comment that the Power feels weird and the weaves are somewhat "resistant" but form anyway. Elayne can still open a gateway, Aviendha can still send fireballs through the gateway, etc. It's just more of a struggle to get saidar to do what you want.

So seen from the outside there is nothing out of the ordinary. But if we had a damane POV we would see her having the same problem with saidar behaving weird.

Also note that the weirdness seems to get worse with time before the effect starts to dissipate...

@167 MSedai

Dragons are a remnant of a myth in Randland. Even in the Age of Legends "Dragon" was mostly associated with LTT. So it's something like this:

First Age (our Age): Dragons are big mythological creatures. Part of stories, fairy tales, etc.

Second Age (AoL): Myth fades...the image is still there, but the name is already mostly a title/honorific for LTT

Third Age: Myth image, no concept, the only Dragon is LTT. With the Dragon Reborn the image resurfaces and people slowly begin to associate the name with the creature again. Beginning in ACoS where Perrin in a POV thinks of the creatures on Rand's arms as dragons. But they are basically starting from scrap. Hence the weirded-out-ness...
Ben Harrison
170. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
Randalator @169
Seanchan channelers in Ebou Dar don't get POV time until Rand's campaign. Not that they had time for a POV narration at the farm. An exploding gateway took care of that. They were still having trouble with it by the time of Rand's campaign though.
Lannis .
171. Lannis
MSedai @ 167 & Randalator @ 169: re: dragons... I agree with Randalator, in that, yes, Randland people haven't seen or heard of a dragon in a long time--but where I differ is the Seanchan... I think what our hero posse has been seeing in the sky is a dragon, but the name has evolved/devolved (depending on how you look at it--and relate it to the theory of information decay) by the Seanchan (and their annoying "slur") to raken.

We may have discussed this before (but I can't quite remember), that the Seanchan have tamed these animals they've found on the Seanchan continent, or they've managed to fine them through Portal Stones (or whatever) and brought them back to the Seanchan continent in order to tame them and use them.

All that said, aside from their ability to fly, I can't remember a physical description of one. All I found was this.

I think the actual "dragon" lingo has stuck when it comes to LLT, the DR, and Rand's markings is because it's so integral to TG and so many cultures (s'like the names of the Forsaken--no one forgot them because they were used in stories to scare kidlets into behaving--the same with the image of the Dragon's fang and the idea of the DR and a man channeling--granted, those events are more recent). The animals themselves, aside from hanging out with the Seanchan, have been for all intents and purposes invisible, until now... so the name and image of them have fallen to the wayside.

Just a thought--feel free to pick it apart. :)
Ben Harrison
172. Lisamarie
I'm finally caught up :)

I for one, really enjoy the discussion of gender politics, as it is one of my favorite things to talk and think about. As a woman who a)works in what used to be a male oriented field (IT at a software company - and before that I was a PhD candidate in microbiology) and b)is also very interested in domesticity, motherhood, etc - I often find myself wondering how best to be true to myself while expressing my femininity without a)falling into sexist generalizations or gender roles or b)rejecting things out of hand because in the past they were associated with the oppression of women or strict gender roles (such as my desire to be a stay at home mother once that time comes).

I also had always assumed that the 'she' for ships was more of an indication that men felt like they were 'married' to their ships and viewed them the same way they might view a wife or mother. And maybe they did joke a little bit about how they had to 'maintain' them the way you would maintain a woman - whether that is misogynistic or just good humored ribbing is up for debate (and probably differs greatly depending on WHO is actually making the statement).

Really, you could even make the case that Jorin's description is in its own way 'sexist' because, despite the positive qualities she is attributing to the ship (aside from its fickleness), she is still laying out a gender role and an implied statement that all men need to live up to that standard. If they don't, does that mean they are less masculine? I am not saying that I am making that case; just that you could look at it that way. It is something I think about a lot though, when you hear people praising women or men for various attributes. Even if it is a positive stereotype, it's still a generalization, which might be true some of the time, but not all of the time.

For the record, I do believe that men and women are different, there are some biological and hormonal differences that will affect how we think and react and that we shouldn't all become 'gender-less' - but I don't think those differences are reflected things like personality traits and interests, that different implies a difference in value, or that the differences are going to manifest the same way in every man and woman. Not to mention that there will of course be exceptions to every rule.

I think it is good to think deeply about these things and look at what are motivations are. Anyway, I always find these discussions interesting - and important.

Not to mention I was a huge fan of the FAQ and it's so much fun to be able to read about and discuss the theories again!
Amar Ramraj
173. aiel1219
Iknow I'm really late in posting and all but recently we were having a discussion on Lanfear and her new body an Moraine. I was just wondering if anyone thought that Rand would not be able to even attack her in anyway because she looks like LTT's wife Ilyena and LTT would probably stop him (or the LTT personality or whatever) and so Moraine would have to be the one to do it... and Lanfear in her new body n all does want him dead dead dead!!! and even in her current state (reduced power) she is still stronger than Moghedien ... and even Nynaeve could barely handle Moghedien... I hope Moirane upped her power in Finnland.
Sly move on The Big Dark's part I think!
Ben Harrison
174. MSedai

I think I read somewhere that Lanfear/Cyndane doesn't look like Ilyena, because the other Forsaken who have seen her don't comment, other than wondering who the blond chick with the mind trap is...
Ben Harrison
175. meiyas
@41 jlyman
In spanish, boat is masculine but most boat's names are feminine. for example the three boat that Colon (Columbus) used for his first trip to america where the Pinta, the Niña and the Santa Maria, all female names.
something similar happens in german, I believe someone commented.

I did realize in one re-read that mosk may have been a reference to russia, but Anla?? i had to open the wikipedia to find out who Ann Landers was. I don't really think that in 60 years people will known who she is much less in thousands...

thanks everybody for all the comments, I really enjoy this re-read
Agnes Kormendi
176. tapsi
Because it's Elsbet and Anla, I always thought it was Elisabeth I. and England (not exactly sisters, but at least there's a connection between them). Apparently, I was wrong, but at least I don't have to feel stupid: I had absolutely no chance whatsoever to realise it was Ann Landers, having never heard of her before.
Ben Harrison
177. Norry
bchurch @ 134

I don't think that Aiel humor is strange at all. The books repeatedly declare the humor strange but strongly suggests via Rand telling a joke to the maidens that this is because humor is rooted in the culture. Aiel humor, at least, follows this model and is based more or less entirely in ji'e'toh. I only remember running across one bit of Aiel humor in my re-reads that didn't involve 1) (the threat of) losing honor/humiliation 2) painful situations caused by trying to prevent the first and 3) word games. Unfortunately I can't remember the details of the exception but I recall it being in a portion where Rand Gates down to the Plains of Maredo to discuss the invasion of Illian.

A bit off topic: Is there a good explanation for the smithing exceptions in most of the ji'e'toh rules? Most of the ji'e'toh rules of warfare seem to revolve around not breaking a sept completely and a Blacksmith being a key member of the community would fit in with this, but that doesn't completely cover the special casing for silversmiths or why goldsmiths don't seem to be covered. Any insight would be appreciated.
Amar Ramraj
178. aiel1219
@ 177 Norry
I had never thought of it before but just off the top of my head...
Even when Aiel clans have a blood feud septs will not fight other members of their own sept in the other clan. Blacksmiths in the clan would be shared by all septs and to deprive the clan of a blacksmith would be harming the members of your sept in that clan. And blacksmiths make spears arrowheads etc. which are all very vital to the Aiel.

Maybe someone else can clear this up a bit.... I may not have expressed it the right way.
Wesley Parish
179. Aladdin_Sane
FWLIW, I had no problem with working out Merk and Mosk were - but then I'd already encountered the Murkins and the Paroski in Cordwainer Smith's fiction, so I was prepared.

Elspeth Queen of the World was likewise easy, but Anla the Wise Councillor was a real headache - I know of an Ann Landers, in much the same way that I know of the existence of the South Pole or the Mohorovic Discontinuity, but since they're not daily experiences for me, I didn't connect Anla with Ann Landers at first.

White for funerals - as far as I can remember, it's a Russian tradition as well. Red for life, white for death - and no doubt if you've ever been caught in a blizzard, the imagery will become immediately obvious to you.
Ben Harrison
180. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
aiel1219 @173
Moiraine would have to increase her power A LOT to come anywhere near Cyndane's power. She isn't even as powerful as Elayne or Egwene, and those two are candles compared to Nynaeve's bonfire. As we know, Nynaeve is of comparable strength to Moghedien, arguably the weakest of the female forsaken still loose. Even in her current reduced state, Cyndane is still the MOST powerful female among the forsaken. And even were Cyndane lacking in raw power, which she isn't, she is still a skilled enough duelist to turn the tables on a more powerful channeler as her battle with an angreal-enhanced Alivia shows.

and again @178
Septs are subdivisions within a clan. A sept is like a collective term for the inhabitants of a single community or village. So it's impossible to find fellow septmembers in another clan.
Ben Harrison
181. Randalator
@178 aiel1219

You're confusing septs and societies. It's the societies that don't fight each other even during a feud between their clans/septs.

So the Bitter Water sept of the Taardad clan might have a blood feud with the Domai sept of the Shaido clan. But in this feud Maidens of the Domai Shaido won't fight Maidens of the Bitter Water Taardad because they are in the same society (Far Dareis Mai/Maidens of the Spear).

NFL analogy:

The Pittsburg Steelers (sept) of the AFC-North (clan) have a blood feud with the St. Louis Rams (sept) of the NFC-West (clan).

When you said a member of one sept would not fight a member of his own sept in the other clan that would mean that Steelers wouldn't fight Steelers among the Rams. Which, yeah, I think you get the drift...

So in this analogy the non fighting code means that Steelers Linebackers wouldn't fight Rams Linebackers, Steelers Runningbacks wouldn't fight Rams Runningbacks because they share the same warrior society.
Ben Harrison
182. Rebecca Starr
haha amazing. I will never watch Sunday football the same ever again! Thanks Randalator. Now if only we could get some players to live by ji'e'toh
Adam Loops
183. Cecero
First time posting so I am going to go back a little bit and ask whether any of you think that the Eye of The World was put there specifically so the Dragon Reborn could use the Sadin which made up the Eye, then reveal the banner, etc. underneath. Now, it could be that only the Dragon would be powerful enough to draw on the pool, then the pool disappears. So what reason would the Eye have to show up later in the series? (though I think it will be part of TG somehow).

As to the sexist stuff, I find it intriguing that it MUST be sexist to name anything a "she". IMO people do that because they worship and otherwise love women or it's a respect thing. Interesting that it MUST be sexist to do so. I just hope that the discussion isn't all one sided because there is plenty of sexism coming from the women toward the men that rarely if ever gets discussed here, and I kind of find that interesting, as if women aren't sexist to men in the same way that men are sexist to women.
Ben Harrison
184. Randalator
@183 Cecero

No one considered naming something 'she' sexist. Or if someone did I subconsciously ignored it. The reason Leigh almost had a stroke was that she couldn't find any explanation for the tradition other than extremely sexist jokes. I can see how that would make you pop a vein...
Ben Harrison
185. Dr. Morganstien
@183 Cecero
There have been comments about women being sexist to men, at least in the books anyway. Very early in this re-read (In EOTW or TGH) there were several comments about how all the women say men are "wool-headed" for being stubborn, and that they think "with the hair on their chests" when seeming to act impulsively. Now, granted, many of the men in WOT are stubborn and impulsive, but I don't think more so than the women of WOT. We all had a good laugh about it a long time ago. There was also a polygamy discussion about men and women and oddness, and as I remember at the end of the day we determined it not to be lowered value placed on anyone's head but to being a trend developed by their culture. Since then its just that most of the sexism issues that have come up have been men to women, not the other way around, and the history of our world has unfortunately set the precedents for us to discuss, which have been very one-sided.

...and I still haven't heard an apology to Leigh from WoTFanWD and I expect one before everyone else hears from you again.
Kevin Morgan
186. DrMorganstien
NOTE this has no importance but registering was worth it, once I realized I need to edit my comment better before posting
Adam Loops
187. Cecero
@184 and @185 -

Thanks for the insite(s).
Ben Harrison
188. Don, Iowa
One of the questions I asked myself about the portal stones... why? If you can travel anywhere (or skim) why do you need portal stones.

The main and most important (and obvious) smack between the eyes is this. Traveling was very safe when only a few knew about it. Now that more and more AS & Ashaman are learning this new discovery, the likelihood of someone killing someone by opening a portal right where you stand greatly increases.

I believe these portal stones were used for this very reason. Apparently these stones are everywhere (how many right outside of Tear?), so Traveling will be taught, but only used in dire circumstances. The idea of having an outgoing only spot is good, but think about it, having only one incoming spot helps you come back, but with enough people coming and going (think about the rebels outside TV), how soon till someone is sliced in two?

Eventually for safety people will revert to portal stones even if it takes an extra day to reach their destination.

Ofer Nave
189. odigity
Don, Iowa@188:

1) Portal Stones don't have the safety problem you described. In KoD, Elayne opens a portal right where one is already open, which shifted her portal to the side. As long as you have designated landing areas roped off, it should be safe.

2) Traveling takes a great deal of strength. Most Aes Sedai can't do it. Perhaps Portal Stones take less power, so that more people can use it.

3) Perhaps Portal Stones pre-date the discovery of Traveling. After all, if it took 3000 years to re-discover it, perhaps it's not so obvious, and took a long time to discover in the first place. Like how planes reduced the need for trains.

Lastly... time to migrate to part 7:
Helen Peters
190. Helen
OK, I know we're all going over to part 7, I will go there myself in a minute. But... I finished the eye of the world yesterday, I can give you the reference for Jain Farstrider being contemporary. Page 710 (in my copy), Agelmar is doing his info dump so thet Nynaeve knows Lan's backhistory. After Lan's uncle was killed in the blight his aunt took up with Cowin Fairheart to take over al'Akir's crown. Cowin Fairheart "was taken by Jain Charin - already called Farstrider-"
He disappeared in NE994. But I think that Ishy had something to do with it. While Rand is fighting Ishy at the end, Ishy says "'Jain Farstrider, a hero' he twisted the word to a sneer, 'whom I painted like a fool and sent to the Ogier thinking he was free of me'"

Re: 183. Cecero
The eye won't return, it has done it's job, of hiding the horn and the dragon banner. As Mo says at the end of TEOTW 'the green man is dead, the eye of the world is gone.
Ben Harrison
191. birgit
Taking both horses’ reins in one hand, he dug a coin from his pocket, a gold Tar Valon mark, and sighed. “It would be the same coin, wouldn’t it.”

How can it be the same coin when Mat gave it away?

tSR ch.13, p. 232
Digging a coin from his pocket, he flipped it into the air and snatched it onto the back of his other hand. A Tar Valon mark, he saw for the first time, and he was staring at the Flame of Tar Valon, stylized like a teardrop. Mat tossed the gold mark onto the man's tray. "From the biggest fool in the world. Mind you spend it well, on women and wine."

Also, does anyone else think Moiraine is indicating that although Siuan is her co-conspirator and best friend that she doesn't altogether trust her motives? Her sarcastic POV response that Siuan will give her another explanation about boats and fish regarding the girls seems to be a little peckish. Of course, it could just be that she doesn't approve of Siuan's forcing the girls as hard as she many choices.....

Moiraine doesn't understand why Siuan sends some Accepted after the Black Ajah. They haven't met since Fal Dara, and Siuan certainly won't send an explanation by pigeon.

So, am I missing something? Are Siuan and Moiraine really estranged? What happened to their friendship when Siuan became the Amyrlin?

After they were raised to full AS Moiraine left the Tower to avoid being forced on the throne of Cairhien and start looking for the DR while Siuan took over the Blue eyes-and-ears network and then became the Amyrlin, so of course they cannot spend much time together. It might also help to keep their mission secret if others forget that they are friends. They are still working together, but they don't always know what exactly the other one is up to at the moment.

I also would like to at one point see the actual text of these bipolar letters that Elayne gives Rand. The poor kid obsesses about them all the way through tFoH, and possibly beyond; we should at least be able to see them.

I don't think it really matters what exactly was in the letters. They might even work better because we only have the subjective opinion of the characters about them instead of being able to judge the content ourselves.

I always wondered if there might be a real world reference in The Travels of Jain Farstrider.

Jain Farstrider is Marco Polo and the book describes traveling to Shara / China.

What exactly was going on about Alteima and Estanda in this scene? I sort of have an inkling but it's a little vague.

In ch 4, Thom forges a letter from Carleon to Alteima that says her husband Tedosian suspects they are having an affair and wants to leave it where Tedosian will find it. In ch 17, Moiraine comments how Tedosian killed Carleon in a "hunting accident" and Tedosian got sick (was poisoned) soon after and Alteima will care for him personally (to make sure he dies). In ch 21, Rand sends Alteima away and tells her rival Estanda to take care of her sick husband (Estanda will want to keep him alive).

Uh... no, I never realized Gaul followed Perrin because he was actually following Chiad. I just thought he owed Perrin a great deal from that cage incident. I thought he and Chiad had a bloodfeud at this time.

Gaul followed Perrin because he had toh to him and only found out about Bain and Chiad later. They probably stayed away from each other in the Stone because their clans are enemies and they are not from the same society, but now they are forced to be together and Gaul gets interested in Chiad.

Also, I just thought of it, but I've never seen anyone comment on the weird creatures that Rand saw while in the other portal stone world we see again with the Seanchan, including raken, which to me sounded an awful lot like what I would think a dragon would look like...Except they have wings...? So what is the deal with people in Randland and the dragon image? They know the word/name, but seem a little weirded out to connect it to an image, like LTT's banner and Rand's markings...

The raken and to'raken are like pteranodon, while the dragon symbol is a wingless Chinese dragon. Maybe the *raken are the original model for dragons, but they look different enough that nobody makes the connection.

One of the questions I asked myself about the portal stones... why? If you can travel anywhere (or skim) why do you need portal stones.

Their main purpose is connecting different worlds, not travelling within one world, though that is also possible.
Ben Harrison
192. TonkaSal
OK, This is almost years past in interwebs time but I just found this so I'm a little slow.

Ships = Female reference.

Everyone has thought over it way to hard. The simple fact is that if MEN being the mojority and sole operators of ships for 1000's of years called them "HE's" they'd be GAY......
Ben Harrison
193. David C.
Hello everyone, especially Leigh! I'm decamping from the lurker mode I'm usually in while reading and enjoying these comments. I came across this answer on the Ship=She at wisegeek and it's more of a language based answer than most I've seen, though it does give a little bit of the "well-rounded curves" bit as well.
If anyone else has listed this site and answer, I apologize, but I didn't want to go through another 200 comments to check out every response.

Also, you might want to consider using for searching. I find it to be better than Google for my purposes. The answwer from Wisegeek was the fifth one listed in the results
John Fitzingo
195. Xandar01
CAUTION: Above post (194. Birney) is SPAM!!! It needs to be deleted (along with this one as well.)
Ben Harrison
196. mike shupp
Leigh (chapter 20) -- I think you misunderstand the humor in those explanations. Men become sentimental about the ships they serve in (and the banks they work in, and the countries they live in, and the schools they attend, etc), and they show that sentiment as affection by referring to such entities as "she" (cf "The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street" and "Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean" and "Rule Britannia"). But of course, being men, they don't want to admit that they are affected by such gush. So they make up jokey reasons -- WHICH EVERY MALE IN EARSHOT KNOWS TO BE NONSENSE -- to conceal their sentiment.

It's a guy thing. It's got nothing to do, really, with women.
Ben Harrison
197. mike shupp
Siuanfan @ 60. That's a very nice summmary of Moiraine's character. (It agrees with my view, in other words...) And knowing that your judgement is trustworthy, I've just ordered DEMOLITION MAN from Amazon.
Ben Harrison
198. mike shupp
Siuanfan @ 60. That's a very nice summmary of Moiraine's character. (It agrees with my view, in other words...) And knowing that your judgement is trustworthy, I've just ordered DEMOLITION MAN from Amazon.
Ben Harrison
199. Gwencrist
I'm surfacing once again. It's actually laughable because I`m so far behind. But I just had to propose one thing. About the 3 strongest male sa'angreals, what if the 2nd one is the Eye of the World? We know its incredibly strong and from what Rand does with it, it seems to be more powerful than anything he does with Callandor. Of course the EotW could be considered a ter'angreal.

Also lol I forgot one of the High Lords shares my last name (Hearne) If only he was an important High Lord it would have been cool.
Stuart Wall
200. stuartalive
I'm incredulous that we have been told not to use capitals as it is rude (fair point) but then we are forced to read the name of Christ taken in vain, not to mention all the other offensive language that frequently pops up as part of the commentatries. I will therefore be refraining from reading any more of these, but hope that this commentator Leigh Butler may pause for reflection and apologise for her language and blasphemy.
Ben Harrison
201. Alphaleonis
Re: 200 stuartalive

Agreed. It's amazing how those who demand tolerance for their amoral actions demand the right to thrust them upon others. The most stupid post I have read of the thousands on this reread was one poster who said that those of us who are offended by vulgarity have the freedom to just not read the vulgar words. As if those of us who have read TWOT several times do not read at the rate of hundreds of words per minute or several words per second. At that rate, one does not stop and not read a word until after one has read it.

Others in that same vein have said that if we do not like the vulgarity, we can go elsewhere. Right. I have seen spoiler reviews and spoiler free reviews, but where are the vulgarity free reviews. Even if there were one, vulgar posters would probably try to post there just to (as I said above) try to impose their position over ours. Of course, we may be in the minority.

Back in the day, this would not have been a debate. Former generations looked upon public displays of crudness as evidence of classlessness. It is still evidence of such, but if classlessness is in the majority and is part of the majority's perceived "rights", it is part of the whirlpool going down the drain.

This generation thinks that it is smarter than previous generations. But it is really dumbed-down and egotistical. We have the DO to thank for this situation. Hence I will not abandon this reread, but will continue to the DO's end.
Ben Harrison
202. yasiru89
I'm a little late to chip in, but I came across some interesting points while seeing what people had to say about Egwene's inane expectation that Rand should have asked Elayne to stay anyway (not much as it turned out).

On the Cold War, I think Leigh is very wrong about its importance or how 'anti-climactic' it was. Surely the only non anti-climactic end to it would have been more disastrous than any other conflict to have preceded it. That said, I think the Cold War will be remembered not for the dread of the times but for what it brought about indirectly. Much of the technology we have today we owe to it, as well as the highly established clandestine component to conflict. A sort of anti- War of the Shadow.

As for ships being called 'she', I think looking for a parallel to how RJ has the Sea Folk put it is a faulty premise to begin with. Sailors aren't the sort you'd expect to be politically correct about such a thing, but that shouldn't tie you to automatic prejudice of their motives. I suspect that the reason is with historical precendent (because of the names of goddesses and women that ships bore since antiquity), both because, like car enthusiasts a sailor might consider his vessel beautiful, and because, as a native land might be called a motherland (surely a crime of sexism!), a ship protects and shelters.

In hindsight, as this matter is to be looked at, for some people it depends how you want reach a conclusion as much as what the supporting evidence is (because this is inconclusive as is the case here). If you look at it through a misandric eye, intent on finding some sort of concerted sexist slight then you're likely come across something, however mean and insignificant, to cement that view in your mind no matter what the matter at hand is. To contrast, if you consider accounts of the oldest rituals you can find, would a ship be blessed and sprinkled with holy water and what not if it truly were considered, as you say, a whore?

Sometimes a joke is just a joke, and not a conspiracy to make fun of you or whatever cause or other that you might be championing.
Ben Harrison
203. Divil The Bother
I know I'm years behind but I like to maintain the fiction that I'm reading along with all of you.

In that context I suggest that to avoid too much of her commentaries being devoted to gender issues which many people do find a bit tiresome after a while ( I mean there is lots else going on in these chapters!) Leigh gets the gender issue stuff out of her system via link in the text - similar to when she references extensive discussion on a topic in WOTFAQ.

A similar approach to vulgarities/swear words etc could also be used - then people would have the choice whether to read the curse words or not.

While this is her blog it is also on an official Tor website and perhaps shouldn't really have bad language in it. Personally I'm not offended but I can understand how other folk might be shocked to read it in such a forum.

Anyway, just my feed back - let's lean ar aghaigh!
Ben Harrison
204. sadface
Elsbet and Anla/Merc and Mosc - This is designed to highlight how stories are twisted and distorted over time, entropy at work. (After writting that sentence, I wonder if we are supposed to consider that the DO may be the reason why this happens...) What I think is interesting, and no one commented on, is that we are seeing details being corrupted by both metaphor's being taken literally (Mosc and Merc as giants, IBMs as lances of fire, cold war as real war) and stories combining over time. Elsbet is Elizabeth I and Anla is Ann Landers, but they are sisters? Best I can figure somewhere along the line they lost the distinction between Ann Landers and some Anne in the English royal family...I don't believe Elizabeth had a sister Anne...just Catherine and Mary right?

tests- Rings in Rhuidian show you various ways your future could play out, you forget most things, but it gives a sense of the shape of your future and the ability to recognize important moments when they arise. This knowledge is part of what makes them "wise."
The Aes Sedai test is about mantaining have to learn some weaves (perhaps 100, I can't recall) that are mundane and pointless. The test has you re-create the weaves under stress, you have to maintain your calm collected self in order to maintain control of saidar and finish the test. It is unclear if the test somehow creates an environment where these weaves are useful, indeed necessary to pass, or if Sisters just monitor your weaves and assail you with distractions.

Ring of Tamerlyn - I wonder if it is blue and gold like the halo Min sees around Logain's head. Actually, I also wonder if the moment of this viewing is when Rand plunges the sword into the stone - combined with the bit of prophecy Rand recites, are we supposed to know that Logain will "follow after" Rand as the Dragon, the leader of the Aes Sedai? Is the plunging of the sword the moment Logain's fate goes from possible to definite? Oh, and I am correct that Dragon is a title, right? One that LTT held, and because he is so memorable it came to mean him?

Ships and Gender - I find it interesting the wiki Leigh refrenced lumps the genderfication of ships and countries together. I am probably influenced by Jean Auel here, but I see countries are feminine as a left over from prehistoric matriarchal societies. Your home is sacred, and represents your mother; it takes care of you and you respect it. I think ships are essentially the same. The reasonings Leigh found for this phenom amount to lies and bravado. Men are uncomfortable with the idea that they love and depend on their ship, so they are trying to hide their feelings. This may be stupid, but it is part of the way men work.

The Stone - I always imagined it as a huge rounded dome. Isn't is described as a mountain when they first get to Tear?

Why do we think we live in the First Age? I don't remember any evindence of that. We just know we are not the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th age.
William McDaniel
205. willmcd
Sadface @ 204, regarding our world as the first age, I believe that back in TEotW, when Rand first meets Thom, Thom describes Mosk and Merk, Anla, etc. as being from "the age before the Age of Legends". So there you go.

I've voiced my dislike for Egwene in previous posts, but her discussion with Rand about the Aiel convention of "taking the fifth" is another stick on the bonfire. She initially takes offense at the Aiel's custom, then projects her feelings onto Rand and attacks him for being small-minded. Who wants to hang out with somebody like that? I have to think that going mad from saidin is a better fate than being married to such a person; good luck for Rand that somebody tapped him on the shoulder and named him the savior of the world.

I think it's interesting that RJ chose Elsbet (usually interpreted as Elizabeth I) as "Queen of the World". The pre-eminent colonial power in the world for much of the Elizabethan age was Spain. The British empire saw its largest expansion under Queen Victoria, nearly 300 years later.
Ben Harrison
206. ZNameisTaken
You made a Boy Meets World reference and a bad pun at the same time. I'm impressed.
Ben Harrison
207. Alias
Just re-read and did a double take at the 'sisters' Elsbet and Anla. RJ must have seen Frozen coming!

Subscribe to this thread

Receive notification by email when a new comment is added. You must be a registered user to subscribe to threads.
Post a comment