Apr 8 2009 2:33pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Shadow Rising, Part 8

Hey there, kids. Welcome back to the Wheel of Time Re-read! Here be Part 8 of The Shadow Rising, in which we cover, or possibly suffocate, Chapters 25 and 26.

Yeah, I lied again at the end of the last post about getting to Chapter 27, and you’ll see why in a second. Let’s just say, fret not, for you will get your money’s worth of blather here. You may want to take a pee break and grab some caffeine before clicking the cut, is what I’m saying.

Previous entries here, spoilers here here here here everywhere!

Quick reminder again that JordanCon is next week, and pursuant to that, the Re-read will be taking a bit of a hiatus while I’m cavorting in the wilds of the greater Atlanta metropolitan area. Friday and Monday’s posts should go up as scheduled, but thereafter I’m leaving, on a jet plane, and regular posts will most likely not resume until Wednesday of the following week.

Yes, darlings, I know, but you’ll survive, I totally swear. Plus there may be other goodies for you as a result, if you’re good and eat your broccoli. You never know.

All right, let’s do this thang.

Chapter 25: The Road to the Spear

What Happens
Rand walks in among the columns, and sees another man who he presumes must be Muradin, Couladin’s brother. Muradin is standing stock still, and has a snarl on his face; Rand thinks that whatever he is seeing, he doesn’t like it. Rand takes a step forward.

He is Mandein, a young sept chief. Mandein looks down at the half-finished city of Rhuidean with contempt as a procession heads out of it toward the mountains. Sealdre, a Wise One and his wife, tells him he must listen to the Jenn, and agree to what they ask. He asks if the others will come, and she says most will, and those who do not, their septs will die within three generations. Leaving his men behind, he heads down alone to the procession, joined by most but not all of the other sept chiefs, relieved that they hold to the tradition that no one kills in front of a Jenn. He stares at the two ancient Aes Sedai with the Jenn.

How old must these two be? What had they seen? Could they remember when his greatfather Comran first found Ogier stedding in the Dragonwall and began to trade with them? Or maybe even when Comran’s greatfather Rhodric led the Aiel to kill the men in iron shirts who had crossed the Dragonwall?

A man and two women step out from the procession, and the man, Dermon, says they speak for the Jenn Aiel. Mandein does not like them calling themselves Aiel, and asks curtly why they have been summoned. Dermon asks instead why he does not carry a sword, and Mandein growls that it is forbidden, even Jenn know that; the spears and bow and knife he carries are weapons enough for a warrior. The women with Dermon, Narisse and Mordaine, tell him he does not know why, and he must. Dermon says whoever would lead the Aiel must come to Rhuidean and learn why they do not carry swords; those who cannot learn, will die. Another Aiel chief, Charendin, says then whoever goes to Rhuidean will lead the Aiel? One of the Aes Sedai answers, No.

“That one will come later,” she said. “The stone that never falls will fall to announce his coming. Of the blood, but not raised by the blood, he will come from Rhuidean at dawn, and tie you together with bonds you cannot break. He will take you back, and he will destroy you.”

Charendin shouts that this is a trick, but avoids the Aes Sedai’s eyes; Mordaine tells him that the Jenn are dying out, and when they are gone only they will be there to remember, and they must, or all is lost. Mandein studies Dermon’s face, and abruptly declares that he is Aiel, to the shock of the others, and that he will go to Rhuidean. Dermon tells him he may not enter armed, and Mandein laughs and disarms, saying he will match their bravery.

Rand blinks, and wonders how the Jenn could be Aiel when they carried no weapons. Beside him Muradin’s face is fixed in a frown. Rand steps forward.

He is Rhodric, and twenty years old. He waits with his greatfather Jeordam, watching as the Jenn Aiel draw water from the well below. He thinks the Jenn and their wagons will have to turn east now that they have run into this vast mountain range. Three men on horseback, wearing mail shirts and carrying lances, approach, and Rhodric knows one of them as Garam, son of the town chief. He lowers his veil regretfully and goes to speak with them. He asks Garam if his father withdraws permission to draw water from their wells, thinking that no other town had let them draw water without fighting, but Garam answers that he does not. Then he asks Rhodric if the Jenn truly are the same people as he is.

“They are the Jenn Aiel; we, the Aiel. We are the same, yet not. I cannot explain it further, Garam.” He did not really understand it himself.

Garam tells them that the Jenn are headed east, across the Spine of the World, and notes that they have dozens of Aes Sedai with them; Rhodric knows that there are only four, not dozens, but they make him uneasy; he knows that the Aiel have failed the Aes Sedai in some way, no one knows how, but the Aes Sedai look at them with sad eyes, so he supposes they must know. Garam tells him that his father has an Aes Sedai advisor, though he keeps her hidden, and she has told them they are to move east and build a great city; the Aes Sedai have found Ogier to build it for them. He floats the notion that the Aes Sedai mean to rule the world again, and perhaps they should be killed, but Rhodric is unreceptive to the idea, and Garam brusquely mentions that the Spine has another name: the Dragonwall. Rhodric nods, and thinks of the Aiel’s secret name, the People of the Dragon, which no one spoke of, and thinks it is fitting. He wonders what they will find on the other side of this Dragonwall.

Rand takes a breath; Muradin seems to struggle against taking the next step.

He is Jeordam at eighteen years, watching three men and two women struggle through the snow toward him. He stands, lowering his veil, and asks if the Jenn need help from him,

“You name us that to mock us,” a tall, sharp-nosed fellow shouted back, “but it is true. We are the only true Aiel. You have given up the Way.”

“That is a lie!” Jeordam snapped. “I have never held a sword!”

He tells them where their wagons are, but one of the women, Morin, answers that they are not lost; he nods and tells them to follow him. He leads them to his father Lewin’s tents, and Lewin listens as they tell how they were attacked and their children taken. Lewin promises they will bring the Jenn’s children back, but if they stay among the tents, they will never be allowed back at the wagons. One of the five leaves, and Lewin continues that if they want to come on the rescue, to pick up a spear, but then they will be dead to the Jenn. The remaining men hesitate and then pick up a spear, and then to Jeordam and Lewin’s surprise so does Morin. Lewin tells her she does not need to take a spear also to stay, but Morin says that they have her daughter, and Jeordam is shocked when Lewin accepts this, saying there is a first time for all things. Jeordam tells Morin that if she means to fight, she must dress like he does, and begins to give her basic instruction in using a spear. He notes that she is looking at him oddly, and asks if one of the other men with her is her husband; she replies that her husband mourns their daughter already, and cares more for his trees anyway. Jeordam asks, trees?

“The Trees of Life.” When he still looked at her blankly, she shook her head. “Three little trees planted in barrels. They care for them almost as well as they do for themselves. When they find a place of safety, they mean to plant them; they say the old days will return, then. They. I said they. Very well. I am not Jenn anymore.” She hefted the shortened spear. “This is my husband now.”

She asks him, if someone stole his child, would he talk of the Way of the Leaf? He shakes his head, and she smiles and says he will make a good father. Jeordam is puzzled, but begins to teach her again, and thinks he hears her murmur that she saw his face in the dream.

Muradin is a pace ahead of Rand, snarling silently with teeth bared.

Lewin peers down at the campfire below, adjusting his dustveil; he vaguely remembers a time when there had been more water, when it had not been hot and dusty constantly. His companions stumble around in the dark, no more used to this than he. The girls that had been stolen were down there, including Lewin’s sister Maigran. Everyone else, including Lewin’s greatfather Adan, had been ready to mourn the girls and move on, but Lewin was not. He tells the others that they will wake the girls quietly and leave before the others wake. They head down, making far too much noise, and just as Lewin reaches Maigran one of the kidnappers sits up, knife in hand, and says he’s going to gut Lewin like a pig. Lewin yells at Maigran and the others to run, but Maigran just stands there in shock. The kidnapper grins, taking his time, and one of Lewin’s friends, Charlin, screams and knocks the man down. Another brigand goes to slash him with his knife. Lewin swings an iron kettle into the brigand’s head, and then grabs at something to fend off the other man, and only realizes once it stabs the man that the thing was a spear.

Lewin’s hands sprang away from the haft as soon as he realized what it was. Too late. He crawled backward to avoid the man as he fell, stared at him, trembling. A dead man. A man he had killed. The wind felt very cold.

Then he realizes his friends have killed the remaining brigands. They all stare at each other in horror. Lewin goes to check on Charlin, but Charlin is laid open from the brigand’s sword, and dies. Lewin tells the rest that they must take the girls back to the wagons. They gather up anything useful, but Lewin stops Alijha from taking one of the swords, saying that it is forbidden; a spear can be used to put food in the pot, but a sword is only good for killing people. They return to the wagons, Maigran traumatized and silent, and Adan comes to meet them, asking what had happened. Maigran says in a dead voice that Lewin killed the bad men that hurt her and Colline. Adan is disbelieving at first, but when Lewin tries to explain, becomes enraged:

“There is no reason!” Adan roared, shaking with rage. “We must accept what comes. Our sufferings are sent to test our faithfulness. We accept and endure! We do not murder! You have not strayed from the Way, you have abandoned it. You are Da’shain no longer. You are corrupt, and I will not have the Aiel corrupted by you. Leave us, strangers. Killers! You are not welcome in the wagons of the Aiel.” He turned his back and strode away as if they no longer existed.

Lewin reaches out to his mother, but she turns away, saying coldly she does not wish to see her son’s face on a killer. He screams after them that he is still Aiel.

Rand thinks it does not make sense; Lewin had not known how to use a weapon. Muradin is sweating and shaking, and does not see Rand. Rand steps forward again.

Chapter 26: The Dedicated

What Happens
Adan clutches five and six-year-old Maigran and Lewin as he watches the wagons burn. His daughter Rhea, the last of his living children, had been one of the ones herded into the prison cart and taken. He tells his grandchildren to stay still and goes to his wife’s corpse, smoothing her hair. Some of the other men, led by Sulwin, come over to him and demand to know what they are supposed to do now. Adan answers that they must bury their dead and go on.

“Go on, Adan? How can we go on? There are no horses. There is almost no water, no food. All we have left are wagons full of things the Aes Sedai will never come for. What are they, Adan? What are they that we should give our lives to haul them across the world, afraid to touch them even. We cannot go on as before!”

Adan shouts back that they will not abandon their duty, and is shocked to see his hand clenched in a fist. Sulwin steps back, and counters that they are supposed to find a place of safety, where they can sing again, like in the stories his greatfather told him. Adan scoffs that the Aiel songs are gone; no one will ever sing them again. Sulwin disagrees, and so do the men with him. A quarter of the camp starts unloading the wagons, taking much of what is there, and Sulwin warns Adan not to try and stop them. Furious, Adan tells Sulwin that he and his followers are no longer Aiel.

“We keep the Way of the Leaf as well as you, Adan.”

“Go!” Adan shouted. “Go! You are not Aiel! You are lost! Lost! I do not want to look at you! Go!” Sulwin and the others stumbled in their haste to get away from him.

Heartsick, Adan studies the wagons, the useless chora cuttings and strange objects like the twisted red doorframe, and wonders if there is any point in saving any of it. He kneels and gathers up his dead wife’s body. He says aloud, weeping, that they have been faithful to the Aes Sedai; how much longer must they be?

Rand blinks away tears, and thinks, the Way of the Leaf is no Aiel belief, is it? Muradin is howling soundlessly now, eyes bulging.

Jonai stands on a cliff overlooking the sea, looking to where Comelle had once stood, and turns wearily to go back to the wagons, now only holding a few thousand people. His son Adan comes to meet him, and tells him excitedly that there are Ogier, which Adan had never seen before. Jonai goes to meet the band of fifty or so Ogier, and is shocked at how bedraggled and gaunt they look. He is distracted a moment, thinking of the last Aes Sedai he had seen, just after his wife Alnore’s death.

The woman had Healed the sick who still lived, taken some of the sa’angreal, and gone on her way, laughing bitterly when he asked her where there was a place of safety. Her dress had been patched, and worn at the hem. He was not sure she had been sane. She claimed one of the Forsaken was only partly trapped, or maybe not at all; Ishamael still touched the world, she said. She had to be as mad as the remaining male Aes Sedai.

One of the Ogier observes that they have chora cuttings; Jonai replies curtly that they have some. The chora trees do not interest him as much as keeping his people alive. He and the Ogier exchange news, all of it bad; then the Ogier woman asks him if he knows where the stedding are, and Jonai is shocked, saying surely they can find them. The Ogier say that it has been too long, and the land changed so much; she thinks they must find a stedding soon or die. Jonai replies sadly that he cannot help them. The pain and loss of everything overwhelms him, and he falls to the ground, feeling a viselike squeezing in his chest. Adan crouches over him, calling his name, and Jonai gasps to him to take the people south.

“Listen. Listen! Take them—south. Take—the Aiel—to safety. Keep—the Covenant. Guard—what the Aes Sedai—gave us—until they—come for it. The Way—of the Leaf. You must—” He had tried. Solinda Sedai must understand that. He had tried.

Rand doesn’t understand; how can these people be Aiel? Muradin is clawing at his face now, leaving bloody gouges.

Wearing his work clothes, cadin’sor, Jonai hurries to the Hall of Servants, trying not to look at the ruined buildings and dead chora trees. He is only sixty-three, but feels like an old man. The ground still shakes occasionally. He hurries inside, where people are darting about with boxes and papers in barely suppressed panic, and to one of the rooms above, where six Aes Sedai argue with each other. They are all women; Jonai wonders if men would ever stand in a meeting like this again. He shudders to see that on the table lies the banner of Lews Therin Kinslayer, held down by a crystal sword; he wonders why the accursed thing had not been destroyed. One of the Aes Sedai, Oselle, is shouting at Deindre: what good is her Foretelling if it cannot tell them when? Solinda steps in, telling them arguing is pointless; Jaric and Haindar will be there by tomorrow. They continue to argue anyway, and Jonai tunes them out, seeing that Someshta is also in the room. The Nym has a large brown fissure in the greenery of his head now, and asks Jonai if he knows him; Jonai replies sadly that he is Jonai’s friend, and thinks that he had heard about this, and that most of the Nym were dead.

“Singing,” Someshta said. “Was there singing? So much is gone. The Aes Sedai say some will return. You are a Child of the Dragon, are you not?”

Jonai winced. That name had caused trouble, no less for not being true. But how many citizens now believed the Da’shain Aiel had once served the Dragon and no other Aes Sedai?

Solinda Sedai calls him over and asks if he is ready; Jonai says yes, but tells her that some wish to stay and serve still. Solinda tells him that the courage of the Da’shain is unparalleled, talking of how they had bought the citizens of Tzora time to flee by singing to Jaric; he listened for hours before killing the last Aiel and turning Tzora into a sheet of glass. But the citizens of Paaren Disen have already fled, and she means to save the Da’shain; Deindre cannot see what, but she knows they still have a part to play. Jonai agrees reluctantly, and Solinda asks if Coumin has calmed down; Jonai replies shamefully that his father tried to talk them into resisting, and is hiding somewhere in the city with a shocklance. Tears come to Solinda’s eyes, and she asks him to see that the Aiel keep to the Way of the Leaf even if all else is lost; Jonai is shocked to hear her even suggest it. The Covenant was the Aiel; Coumin was an aberration. Solinda sends him off, and as he leaves, he hears her resume the discussion with the other Aes Sedai:

“Can we trust Kodam and his fellows, Solinda?”

“We must, Oselle. They are young and inexperienced, but barely touched by the taint, and... And we have no choice.”

“Then we will do what we must. The sword must wait. Someshta, we have a task for the last of the Nym, if you will do it. We have asked too much of you; now we must ask more.”

Jonai hurries back to the gathering place, where thousands of wagons wait, filled with food and water and angreal and sa’angreal and ter’angreal, all the things which must be kept away from male channelers going mad. Once there would have been other ways to carry them, “jo-cars and jumpers, hoverflies and huge sho-wings”, but now wagons and horses had to suffice. Jonai greets his family, and no one mentions Coumin. He waves his arms to begin, and the huge caravan of wagons begins the journey out of Paaren Disen.

Rand thinks it is too much; Muradin is digging at his eyes now, digging them out of their sockets.

Coumin kneels at the edge of the plowed field, in the line with the other Da’shain Aiel and Ogier; he was sixteen, and finally allowed to join in the Singing. He watches the soldiers and Ogier across the way, with their shocklances and armored jo-cars, with morbid fascination: they killed. Charn, his father’s greatfather, claimed that once there had been no soldiers, but Coumin doesn’t believe it; if there were no soldiers, who would keep the Nightriders and Trollocs from killing everyone? Charn claimed there had been no Trollocs then either, and no one knew of the Dark Lord of the Grave. He enjoyed Charn’s stories about times when there was no such thing as “war” even if he did not completely believe them, but some muttered at Charn for telling them, especially the ones where he claimed to have once served one of the Forsaken. And not just any Forsaken, but Lanfear herself. Someshta approaches the field, and the Singing begins, the Nym taking the threads of the Ogier and Aiel song and weaving them into the soil and the seeds until they sprout, and Charn takes satisfaction that the plants will never be blighted or puny because of what they do. After they finish, one of the Ogier goes to one of the soldiers and asks for news.

The soldier hesitated. “I suppose I can tell you, though it is not confirmed. We have a report that Lews Therin led the Companions on a strike at Shayol Ghul this morning at dawn. Something is disrupting communications, but the report is the Bore has been sealed, with most of the Forsaken on the other side. Maybe all of them.”

The Ogier breathes that it is over, then, and the soldier looks uncertain, but supposes so, though he adds that there are still Trollocs and Nightriders to fight. Stunned, Coumin goes to find Charn, hurrying through the city which is full of wild celebration; suddenly something hits him in the mouth and he falls, looking up to see a townsman standing over him. The man tells Coumin angrily that the Forsaken are dead, and Lanfear will not protect him anymore; they will root out all those who served the Forsaken and do the same as they did to that crazy old man. The woman with the townsman tugs him away, and Coumin gets up and runs to Charn’s inn, where he finds the old man strung up in the backyard, dead.

Rand quivered. The light from the columns was a shimmering blue haze that seemed solid, that seemed to claw the nerves out of his skin. The wind howled, one vast whirlwind sucking inward. Muradin had managed to veil himself; bloody sockets stared blindly above the black veil. The Aiel was chewing, and bloody froth dripped onto his chest. Forward.

Charn is twenty-five, and heads down the street under the chora trees as jo-cars hum quietly by. He has decided to accept Nalla’s offer of marriage, even though it means he will have to switch service to Zorelle Sedai; Mierin Sedai has already given her blessing, though. He rounds a corner and crashes into a man, who irritably tells him to watch where he is going; the woman with him, embarrassed, tells the man to look at Charn’s hair, he is Aiel. Chagrined, the man apologizes profusely, and Charn replies that it was his own fault, and asks if the man is injured. Before he can answer, the ground ripples, and so does the air. The man asks Charn what that was, and other citizens who saw his short-cut hair gather to ask the same, but he ignores them, looking up at the Sharom, floating a thousand feet above the domes of the Collam Daan.

Mierin had said today was the day. She said she had found a new source for the One Power. Female Aes Sedai and male would be able to tap the same source, not separate halves. What men and women could do united would be even greater now that there would be no differences. And today she and Beidomon would tap it for the first time—the last time men and women would work together wielding a different Power. Today.

What seemed a tiny chip of white spun away from the Sharom in a jet of black fire; it descended, deceptively slow, insignificant. Then a hundred gouts spurted everywhere around the huge white sphere. The Sharom broke apart like an egg and began to drift down, falling, an obsidian inferno. Darkness spread across the sky, swallowing the sun in unnatural night, as if the light of those flames was blackness. People were screaming, screaming everywhere.

With the first spurt of fire, Charn broke into a run toward the Collam Daan, but he knew he was too late. He was sworn to serve Aes Sedai, and he was too late. Tears rolled down his face as he ran.

Rand holds his head, wondering if he had really just seen the hole being drilled in the Dark One’s prison; he is standing at the edge of the glass columns, looking at Avendesora, the only chora tree left. There is no sign of Muradin, and Rand doesn’t think there will be. Suddenly he sees something in the branches of Avendesora, a human figure hanging from a pole stretched between two branches. He shouts and seizes saidin, leaping across the square and slashing at the rope, and Mat falls to the ground along with the pole, which Rand sees is actually an odd spear with a short sword blade in place of a spear point. Rand rips the rope away and listens to Mat’s chest, tearing away a silver medallion around Mat’s neck, in the way. He hears nothing, and remembering how Haral Luhhan had revived a boy found floating in the Winespring once, he pounds on Mat’s chest and breathes air into his lungs until Mat coughs and wheezes, rolling onto his side.

Mat touched the piece of rope with one hand and shivered. “Those flaming—sons—of goats,” he muttered hoarsely. “They tried—to kill me.”

Rand asks who did, and Mat tells him about the second doorframe ter’angreal; Rand asks if he got answers, and Mat says no. He picks up the foxhead medallion and stuffs it in his pocket, then examines the spear. Rand sees it has some strange script engraved on the haft along with two birds that he thinks are ravens. Mat laughs hoarsely and levers himself to his feet, saying he’ll keep their little joke, at any rate.

“A joke?”

Mat nodded. “What it says—

“Thus it our treaty written; thus is agreement made.
Thought is the arrow of time; memory never fades.
What was asked is given. The price is paid.

“A pretty joke, you see. I’ll slice them with their own wit if I ever get the chance. I’ll give them ‘thought and memory.’ ”

Rand can’t see most of the script anymore, but he’s pretty sure he can’t read it, and wonders how Mat can. He suggests leaving, and Mat is fine with that. They head back to the fountain; Rand pauses a moment by the two figurines with crystal spheres, but thinks, not yet, and leaves them there. He soon realizes there is wind where there should be none, and feels murderous eyes on them. He seizes saidin, and Mat mutters that he thinks they’re in trouble. Rand thinks it’s one of those bubbles of evil again, and they start running. The dust forms into clawed creatures which attack them. Rand and Mat fight, Mat using the sword-bladed spear as if he’d always known how, but there are too many of the dust creatures, and they are soon covered in blood from their wounds. Suddenly Rand remembers what Lanfear had said about him not using a tenth part of what he can do, and laughs; he channels whirlwinds into the dust creatures, bursting them all at once, and Mat demands to know why he didn’t just do that in the first place. More dust creatures start forming, and they run for it, through the mist wall and out of the city. The creatures do not follow, and Mat croaks in surprise that it’s almost sunrise. Rand thinks of the words of the Aiel prophecy, and leads Mat toward the mountain.

When asked by fans at signings and such which scene/character/thingy of WOT was his favorite, Jordan nearly always (to my knowledge) gave the same answer: that he liked best whoever or whatever he was writing at that moment. I do not presume to have known his inner mind, by any means, but I always personally believed this answer to be at least half diplomacy on his part – not diplomacy toward the fans, so much as diplomacy toward the series itself.

I know, you’re like, Leigh, it’s a series of books; it doesn’t have feelings. And I answer, I ain’t crazy, fool, I know that – but its creator did. Have feelings, I mean. And... you’re either going to get that, or not. It’s an artist thing; artists are weird.


That being said, a little bird recently told me that Jordan also once said, in a rather more intimate setting (but still in public, to fans), that he regarded these two chapters – the Aiel ancestor history sequence – to be the piece of writing that he was most proud of.

I’d say amen, personally.

Back in the recaps for TEOTW, I mentioned that I felt kind of stupid summarizing the Big Ass Ending, and toyed with the idea of telling you guys to just go read it instead, as a summary could not possibly do the prose justice. That feeling came back a hundredfold for these two chapters, and honestly the only reason I didn’t throw my hands in the air and tell y’all “just go read it” this time is because I know some folks reading this blog don’t actually have access to their books.

So I did the summary, even though I feel it borders on insulting to have done so, in a weird way. Not to mention, I ended up leaving in so much detail it’s rather laughable to even call it a “summary” anyway; it’s practically an abridgment – a crappy one, at that.

I’m not trying to be all self-flagellating here to no purpose; what I’m trying to say is that I’ve always loved this particular sequence, but it was only when I sat there and went through line by line to summarize it that I realized just how elegantly constructed and powerfully affecting it really is. It’s frickin’ gorgeous, is what it is, y’all. Whatever other flaws exist in the work as a whole, and they do exist, does not change the fact that in my opinion, these twenty-odd pages of text are just about perfect.

It’s stuff like this that always re-awakens both my irritation at the ghettoization of sf literature (and the resistance in the mainstream to its right to even use the term “literature”), and my awe that I was lucky enough to have stumbled into this particular slightly less trammeled (or at least, less well-lit and dusted) aisle of the human library as a kid – and that I was smart enough to dig in with claws and teeth to keep from being dragged out ever again. Because it means I get to read stuff like this.

What you’ve got here, kids, is a two-chapter mosaic puzzle box that is only nominally a history of the Aiel people, and is in actuality both a retelling of the Fall (yes, that Fall), and an expression of the raison d’etre of the entire series (as signified by the use of the serpent and wheel icons for both chapters, rather the Aiel or Dragon icon). Reading it is like playing a winning game of Tetris, where the pieces all twist and fall and slot in among each other exactly right, and then you get the long piece and blammo, the whole thing melds together and disappears and you get 5,000 points.

Yes, I just used Tetris as a literary metaphor, shut up.

Anyway. There’s so much packed into this that I hardly know where to begin, so I’ll just start banging on points as they jumped out at me:

One thing which has always been rather hotly debated about this whole sequence is whether calling it an “ancestor history” is even technically correct. In other words, was Rand seeing through the eyes of his literal ancestors – his direct bloodline – or was he seeing the memories of a specifically selected family tree chosen to represent all Aiel? If the former, then that would mean that Muradin was not actually seeing the same thing Rand did – that every Aiel who went into the columns would see something different, according to what their specific ancestors did. If the latter, then that means that every Aiel who goes in sees the same story through the same eyes.

I tend to lean toward the second option, mainly because even accounting for ta’veren Plot Deviceness, having Rand just happen to be directly descended from the Aiel who actually served Mierin/Lanfear, and was an actual eyewitness to the drilling of the Bore... that’s just way too convenient for me. It makes more sense that somehow the columns were used to preserve the memories of Charn’s family line specifically, as the best representation of the history of the Aiel and why they ended up the way they did. Others disagree with me, though. What do you think?

Other points of interest: Just brilliant, the way all the little details wove together to show how the Aiel’s culture developed, everything from the clothes to the hairstyle to why they don’t touch swords to the origin of the veils. The first Maiden. The Song, and why the Tinkers are the Lost Ones. Even the founding of Cairhien, and the origin of the events that would eventually lead to Laman’s Sin, the Aiel War and Rand’s birth. Little throwaway lines that sketch in so much detail; my favorite was Jonai’s line about how he was sixty-three, “in the prime of life”, and yet felt old, which tells you about a million things about Jonai’s culture and life in one sentence.

The sequence reiterates most or all of the dominant themes in WOT. Most obvious, of course, is the theme of story decay, reflected in how even within one generation, the whys and hows of tradition and history can be blurred and twisted and lost; the terrible irony of how the Aiel came to be virtually the exact opposite of how they began, and yet every step of that transformation seems inevitable – all through lack of knowledge. “Something is disrupting communications”, indeed.

(By the way, if you haven’t read the short story “The Strike at Shayol Ghul”, do yourself a favor and do so. It used to be hosted at Tor’s old website, in fact, but apparently not anymore.)

The other most prevalent theme is the emphasis on the lack of balance; how the tainting of saidin and the disruption of the harmony between the male and female halves of the One Power represented both symbolically and literally the fracturing of the entire world. One thing I hadn’t really thought about in previous re-reads but which struck me powerfully now is how, in the scene with Jonai and Solinda Sedai in the Hall of the Servants, it is obvious that “Jaric and Heindar”, the two mad male Aes Sedai coming to destroy Paaren Disen, were men that Solinda and the other Aes Sedai knew personally; they were colleagues, possibly friends (despite the poor state of relations between male and female Aes Sedai even before saidin was tainted), and now they were insane and destroying the world. That... that really sucks, there.

The irony of Eve oops I mean Mierin telling Charn that she thought she was going to find a power that would eliminate the differences between men and women’s One Power wielding, and thus bring greater harmony... well. Clever. Annoying, because Lanfear essentially gets to be both Eve and Lilith in WOT, thus representing a double whammy of how women are the root of all evil, sigh, but then it is rather difficult to ignore the Eve aspect of a Fall retelling, so, clever as well.

At least Lanfear had a male sidekick in on it, though I always wondered why Beidomon never had any other part in the story. I suppose it’s most likely that he was simply killed outright when the Sharom blew up, while Lanfear... what? Bargained for her life and later bought into the party line? Was forcibly turned? Was like, “ooh shiny, can I have some?” We may never know!

Well, there’s plenty more here I could ramble about, but I’m kind of spent, so discussion of Mat will be postponed till the next time he’s on screen. For the rest, I will leave it to you guys to pick up on anything I missed.

But in conclusion, Made Of Awesome. Bravo.

Bedtime, yo! Friday takes us back to Perrin’s story with Chapters 27-29. See you there!

Amar Ramraj
1. aiel1219
1st 1st??
thanks Leigh!! Some of em were gettin desperate
Luke M
2. lmelior
At this length, two chapters per post is just fine. Keep up the good work, Leigh!


I remember having to read these chapters more than once, and slowly, due to the shifting viewpoints. Something popped into my head reading the summary...

Is Rhuidean actually the ruins of Paaren Disen?

Something in the flashback reminded me of the fountain in Rhuidean. A quick Google search turned up nothing, and it can probably be proven untrue by those of you who keep track of descriptions better than I, but there it is.

Going to read The Strike at Shayol Ghul, because to my shame I have not done so yet.
hoping to be of the blood
3. hoping to be of the blood
It has always been painful, and emotionally wrenching to read these two chapters. It is RJ at his best and most inventive.
hoping to be of the blood
4. FSS
Hi - about the bloodline thing: Rhuarc later tells Rand no 2 chiefs see the same thing until the sharing of water, which I take to mean, the first couple of sequences (maybe different numbers of sequences depending on clan)are different, but after that, things would gravitate toward just a few Aiel, the first (or some of the first) Aiel to drop the Way of the Leaf. So, maybe is IS just coincidence that Rand sees the Bore being drilled. He is Taveren, or so I've heard...
hoping to be of the blood
5. sps49
I think that beginning with recognizable ancestors/ clans is essential to the believability of the Column Damn; what Shaido would believe Taardad memories?

Great work, Leigh!
hoping to be of the blood
6. RebelLives
Like FSS says on what Rhuarc says to Rand. I think at first they see through direct ancestors and it becomes the same. However, at that point it may be that those that they see are everyone's direct ancestor. The Aiel did not start out without a huge population.

I have always wanted to see a whole novel or novels on the Aiel and their journey. Maybe even one on Lew Therin and the age of Legends. It seems like Jordan had plenty of background worked out.

I have also wondered whether or not the song that Coumin sings at the field is the Lost song the Tinkers are looking for. A story on the Tinkers journey would also be interesting. How did they come to be looking for a song? Has that ever been given?
hoping to be of the blood
7. Rikka
Rand saw his personal ancestors:
The Shadow Rising, pages 556-557

No two clan chiefs I have spoken with have seen through the exactly same eyes, Rand, or exactly the same things, until the sharing of water, and the meeting where the agreement of Rhuidean was made. Whether it is the same for Wise Ones, I do not know, but I suspect it is. I think it is a matter of bloodlines. I believe I saw through the eyes of my ancestors, and you yours.

and The Shadow Rising, page 959

I saw the history of the Aiel through my ancestors' eyes. What did you see Couladin? I am not afraid to speak. Are you?

Still, I do love how entirely epic these chapters are. The scope and scale on which RoJo planned, her we really get to appreciate it. Close reading just emphasizes the man's mastery.
Amar Ramraj
8. aiel1219
Kind of a coincidence how Lanfear survived and Beidomon "died" and it is the male half of the One Power that is tainted isn't it.

And somehow I think he will be significant... it's just NOT Jordanlike to discard someone like him. He was basically at the point where the story all started...sort of.
U may say "really??? What about TEoTW"
and I'd say yeah well that had a whole book dedicated to it. LOL!!!

But this is what I've thought of Beidomon since my 2nd re-read a few years ago.
hoping to be of the blood
9. SteveC
I'm really enjoying these recaps Leigh, thank you very much. As a long-time lurker on rasfwr-j, and reader of the WoTFAQ, it's good to hear from you again.

Regarding Beidomon, I remember that the old had a Robert Jordan Q&A series, in which he addressed Beidomon. Google gave me a copy on Wotmania:

The relevant section is:

"Who was Beidomon, who helped Lanfear with the project that lead to the drilling of the Bore? Did he figure in the later events at the end of the Age of Legends?"

Robert Jordan Answers:

"Beidomon was a male Aes Sedai, and a research genius, who believed that they were onto something great. The drilling of the Bore itself caused great damage, and Beidomon, Lanfear and others involved were blamed for that. Once it became clear what had actually happened, the opprobrium increased, and Beidomon sought obscurity, finally committing suicide when he was unable to achieve it. Everyone knew his name, and what he had done. He had nowhere to hide."


Peter Nein
10. gimpols1908
As a bit of a student of genealogy i believe that he is seeing through his ancestors eyes. What has to be remembered is that when speaking of ancestors it is exponential. 2 4 8 16 32 64 128 256 512 1024... so in 10 generations back you have already over 1000 threads to follow, and here we are talking about 3000 years. With so many of the Aiel dying in the war of the shadow (i.e. the bit about singing and closing ranks as they were cut down) most of the Aiel were born of a small group. I saw a special on the science channel (i think) talking about this as a 'pinch'.

So i fall on the side of very likely it was all their ancestors, and that is why the memories start disparate and come together
Dale Norman
11. dokipen
Without a Shadow (sorry) of a doubt, the best two chapters in the whole series. I remember reading them three times off the belt the first time, jotting down the names of people, etc, after the first time. It took me ages to realise who Mierin was and it was such a good feeling when I realised then went back and read it again. (I am rubbish with names though, especially in Fantasy. It was my second read before it clicked who Verin was that Perrin bumps into in a few chapters time. Yes, I know, I know.)

It's craftsmanship like this that really puts other authors to shame. It's the very pinacle of writing, IMO anyway.

I was late to the last re-read and din't have time to trawl through the comments but I'd like to say I agree with the Mat = Archtypal American Hero. I have images of him growing up to be Clint Eastwood or the like. And I'm English too, so it's no disparaging remark for me to say so. I think.

God, I do love these books.
hoping to be of the blood
12. bookworm
Regarding what Rand sees in Rhuidean, I always went with the first explanation. But, it's because I thought I had read where one of the Wise Ones had explained it that way (edit. FSS @4 says Rhuarc explained it). Could be wrong. That LTT had been reborn into a direct descendant of Mierin Sedai's personal assistant is more of a karmic balance issue for me, rather than a mere plot contrivance.

An interesting question is just how much influence the DO had before the Opening of the Bore. Each of the Chosen seems to have been tragically flawed, their sin mainly being that of jealousy (except in the creepy case of Semirhage). At what point did people begin to lose their Edenic tendencies? Certainly, after the Opening of the Bore, the divisions of Good and Evil became much more pronounced. It does appear that the DO had begun to reassert itself subtly during LTT's generation.
hoping to be of the blood
13. yosoyeljosh
I'll be honest - and embarrassed - first time reading through these chapters, I was so mind-boggling confused that I skipped most of it. It was only on my second read-through I could really appreciate what went on in those glass-columns.

I also believe it's a bloodline thing, but that it probably all goes back to the same place. Seems like most or all of the current Aiel had to come from Lewin's group, right? And those clans were part of an even larger clan of Aiel to begin with.

And lastly, Lanfear was pretty damn amazing in her time. She could've gatewayed out in time; she may have realized something was wrong with the resonances. Beidomon could've been a pretty lame channeler, but had enough science-y clout to help Lanfear get the approval for the research.

Edit - Actually, it looks like Beid survived long enough to kill himself for ruining the world.

And this brings up the best part of the whole series for me:

Magic is science for the Age of Legends, and I enjoy theorizing what would have brought about such an amazing discovery.

My own opinion? Perhaps looking for alternative energy, or studying some strange, subatomic behavior. Curious how it was "unlocked," though. Suddenly 2-3% of the population could affect the world in ways no one could before.
Caleb Gesick
14. Calebg
The reason these chapters resonate so much with me is that they touch on a whole spectrum of emotions.

First, there's the excitement of a ton of answers to mysteries that the narrative has been hinting at from day one. Second, there's the anticipation of including glimpses of so much more, so you're hungry to know more about these characters who each get a couple pages, as well as the world around them.

What really makes this sequence work, though, is the sense of loss that pervades the whole thing. Even in the first entry, there's a sense of loss and decay, as Mandien notes that the Jenn are declining and no one really remembers more than a generation of two before.

This sense of loss just increases as you go back in time: the idea that almost no one was willing to share water, the essence of life, with other human beings, the gradual decay of the Jenn, the loss of innocence with the first Aiel murders, the loss of purpose with the Tinker schism, the loss of paradise with the Fall.

Woven in with the Aiel's loss is the loss of all sorts of goodness in the world: the Steddings, the cities, the lives, the harmony, the technology, and the peace. The idea that the Aiel came from a world where the Way of the Leaf was more than something that people, at best, puzzled over (and at worst took advantage of) is the key example, in my mind, of all that was lost.

Anyways, I'm glad to see that I wasn't the only one who found something amazing in these chapters.
hoping to be of the blood
15. srhall
Wow. I got so caught up in that, I didn't even notice the chapter break. As irritated as I got with the series later on, these recaps are doing a lot to remind me there is some very good stuff in the books, and this sequence is one of the best.

I do recall being proud of myself for catching that they were getting ready to make the Eye of the World in one sequence, although I'd forgotten that the Sword that Ain't was involved in that.
hoping to be of the blood
16. MikeDeepo
I actually think the Aiel-history thingy shows things both through ancestor's eyes, and through the one family. However, they overlap, because it wouldn't be hard for practically the entire Aiel race to be descended from this line.

Here's why. It's been 100 generations since the Breaking, as Moiraine said somewhere. And therefore every person alive would, theoretically, have 2^100 (great x 100)-grandparents. It would be more surprising if there were Aiel who did NOT have Charn as one of their 1.2676*10^30 ancestors.

(And yes, I know there would be overlap and that there never were that many people. I'm simplifying, don't bite my head off)
John Cater
17. katre
I've always wondered actually what Mierin/Lanfear was doing. Based on stuff that happens later, is it reasonable to think that she was describing the True Power, and was intentionally creating the Bore? That would mean there were darkfriends before the War of Power, and I don't recall if it was ever clear when the darkfriends started (or if they're around in every Age).
Lannis .
18. Lannis
Hey all! Great recap, once again, Leigh! You're right, you need to read these chapters (though your summary is well done, despite what you might think), and with that in mind I actually hauled my books out the other day and read the chapters--because they are *so* integral to the plot...

I guess we're back to the whole "Lanfear/Mierin wasn't always bad" discussion, eh? Somebody (forgive me for not remember whom, and it was a while back in our discussions--or perhaps I read it somewhere online) mentioned that Lanfear, perhaps, was turned to the dark instead of accepting the Dark One and becoming one of the Forsaken willingly. Perhaps... it would explain working for the Dark One's overall goal while maintaining a subversive attitude, at the same time.

lmelior @ 2: re: Rhuidean being the ruins of Paaren Disen... I don't think so... the Aes Sedai sent the Aiel off to hide objects of the Power from the male channelers, and to set up shop when they found a safe place (East of the Dragonwall). Which is what they did (Mandein's viewpoint), but never finished Rhuidean before the Jenn Aiel died out.

Here's a question: Any indicator why the Jenn Aiel just died out during the building of Rhuidean? I get that their numbers where dwindling from defectors, but it sounded like it got to a point where they were just aging and not reproducing any more...
hoping to be of the blood
19. zdrakec
Has anyone counted the number of generations back we actually go from the Agreement at Rhuidean?
hoping to be of the blood
20. newwildlife
And I thought we would get through this one without a single feminist comment... OR NOT
Caleb Gesick
21. Calebg

I think the Jenn died out due to population bleed. Basically, if each generation sees two thirds of its population go join the rest of the Aiel, that leaves only one third to continue the Way of the Leaf.

So even if they were reproducing, not many were staying; the Waste isn't easy for those who follow the Way, i imagine.
hoping to be of the blood
22. yosoyeljosh
By my count, we go back 16 generations through the course of these two chapters. No clue, though, how many generations might exist between Rand and Mandein.

This is using Encyclopaedia WoT. Greatfather seems to mean grandfather. I'm assuming second greatfather means great grandfather.
hoping to be of the blood
23. bookworm
@18 Lannis,

I don't think that any of the Chosen trapped during the Strike at Shayol Ghul weren't there of their own free will. Ishamael included.

What I question is when envy, lust, pride and the like began to re-enter the world back then. Seems to have been a slow and incremental process.
Lannis .
24. Lannis
Calebg @ 21: re: Jenn dying out... Yeah, that's what I figured, too...
Caleb Gesick
25. Calebg
I don't think Lanfear (or any of the Forsaken) were always BAD. Flawed, yes (even all-powerful Aes Sedai have their flaws). I think Meiren saw in the True Source (or whatever the DOs energy is called) a way to truly impress LTT, so she went ahead.

The way I see most of the Forsaken is that once they had access to the DOs power to accomplish whatever they felt they couldn't accomplish before, they just continued down that path.

Power corrupts, but I imagine the power derived from the very essence of corruption corrupts the most.
hoping to be of the blood
26. ianB manc
"held down by a crystal sword; he wonders why the accursed thing had not been destroyed"

Is this another hint that the sword was faulty?
hoping to be of the blood
27. bookworm
The thing is, at some point, there was no evil in the world. 100% shutout.
Caleb Gesick
28. Calebg

He's Aiel... all swords are accursed and bad.
Galen Brinn
29. GatheringStorm
Per Jordan's comments elsewhere, Beidomon committed suicide some years later, rather than face being "the-guy-who-caused-the-end-of-the-world".

I thought Rhuarc comments that no two cheiftans have ever seen exactly the same thing until the sharing of water (corrected from above). Everything else was from different people's POV.

I know I've brought this up elsewhere, but these are the chapters where it's mentioned that the WoP has gone on for much longer than 10 years. I still can't decide if that's meant to include The Collapse or is just a screw up (since the 10 years thing is mentioned at the beginning of TEotW and in the BBoBA).

Best. Chapters. Ever.
Caleb Gesick
30. Calebg
I've always taken the "there was no evil in the world" to be a near-myth.

While war was completely forgotten, I think people still felt jealousy, pride, and all of the "lesser" evils.

To me, the very fact that there was a group of people dedicated to the Way of the Leaf implies that there was violence and strife, just not on a typical scale.
Lannis .
31. Lannis
bookworm @ 27: re: 100% shutout on Evil... not quite--as previously discussed, there's the Evil that is Mashadar (derived from man, not the DO), that, well, used to infest Shadar Logoth, as well as one scruffy peddler...

My point: perhaps the Dark One is shut away, but there's always the human capacity for, well, evil, to keep things interesting.
Leigh Butler
32. leighdb
FSS @4 and others:

Dang it, I was wrong. Okay, then. I still think it's a little pat that Rand is a direct descendant of Charn, but then again maybe it's symmetry.

Calebg @14:

Agreed. The sense of loss is definitely what makes the whole thing work.

zdrakec @19:

EDIT: Gah, forgot I stopped before getting to Charn!

Sixteen generations. I wrote it down to keep it straight:


(The arrows indicate who actually gets a POV.)

ianB manc @26:

Jonai was referring to the banner, not the sword; he doesn't know or care what the sword is. Sorry, that probably wasn't clear.
hoping to be of the blood
33. HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
I am usually not an especially close reader. I tend to miss a lot of things that make up stuff like the WOTfaq because I just do a lot of just reading and letting things wash over me. This is at least partially a product of what I discovered is ADD that I've always had but had never been diagnosed until after I was used to it and had developed compensation strategies. I think it's nice in some ways in that I don't get bogged down in inconsistencies, and it allows me to make a story my own in some ways.

However, it also somewhat lessens the emotional attachment I have to characters. I first read LOTR in 7th grade, and I will turn 29 in a couple weeks -- so in about 15 years of reading SF/Fantasy, I have cried twice. (Almost 3 -- if I had believed Gandalf actually dead, I would have cried, but my older brother had spent so much time talking him up that I was just more shocked than sad.) Now I am someone that is a MAJOR crier at movies and such, but not books. This section got me though.

I'm sure that being incredibly written has something to do with it, and also it's such an infodump that I HAD to do a close reading. But the story told in these two chapters is filled to the brim with awesome, and it's also incredibly heartbreaking to me. Even reading the Leighders Digest version is still pulling at my heartstrings. Personally I can see myself (I think like most) taking the same route as the (non-Jenn) Aiel in the same situation, and it makes me sad to see the death of something as simple and beautiful as the Way of the Leaf. The whole section reads like Jordan's lament for the necessity of war. I'm tearing up NOW.

The other time I cried btw was when Flint dies in Dragons of Spring Dawning. Weis and Hickman's writing was always good, if a little bogged down by the obviousity of the skeleton of D&D rules lurking just behind the surface; you always felt as if you were reading a very long very well written game module. But that one got me.
hoping to be of the blood
34. bookworm
It is a mystery (to me). That whole thing about having to recreate swords, dueling, armies from old books just kind of led me down that path.

It's like the evil had lessened from the last time, until just before the Opening of the Bore. A curve, not a straight line.

I have viewed the Way of the Leaf more like Buddlist ahimsa. Not doing any harm to anything, even inadvertent violence.
hoping to be of the blood
35. yosoyeljosh
There was always unpleasantness in the world. It just wasn't DO-induced unpleasantness.

The chair of remorse and the binding rods existed. The existence of binding rods indicated that crime was still a problem (severe enough that not only would the culprit's life expectancy be cut, but that the culprit could no longer perform the same crime twice).
hoping to be of the blood
36. bookworm
Nothing to say how old the Chair of Remorse and any binding rods are. Still, point taken from all.
Richard Boye
37. sarcastro
This is the segment that made me love love love forever this saga, no matter how shoddy it becomes later.

It is so pitch perfect, and yes, I love the use of Tetris as a literary metaphor.

It is simply magnificent the way that we go back in time through the paternal line. I often wonder how weird it would be if we could each traipse through our ancestors eyes - I can only imagine what would see through my grandfather's eyes, let alone his grandfather, who was probably some farmer scratching a living in Western Ireland, then his grandfather and so on and so on - would someone in my paternal line have witnessed wars, or Viking invasions? .... awesome.

I subscribe to your idea that it just so happens that Rand's forefathers happened to be present at those monumental developments, is a little much. Because random Aielman might just take his trip through the Ancesticles and find out that his forefathers happened to be in the bathroom every time something momentous occurred and what exactly would be the point of that?

I remember having a small thrill when I saw the name Paaren Disen. I loved the fact that those young, dynamic Aes Sedai in the Hall of Servants are first introduced at the ends of their lives, in the beginning of this segment, aged and wispy and carted in palanquins. Cool. Too Cool.

The thing about Meirin Sedai was one of the most awesomest developments ..... originally.

While you choose to make Lanfear the Eve-Lilith archetype, I used to prefer to think of her not as Eve who introduced evil for own gratification, but as Pandora who opened the box just because she was curious.

The fact that it was cryptic and never explained made Lanfear an awesome villain. Did she open the Bore because new what was in there and wanted to share in its Evil Power of Evilness? Or did she simply crack it open to get access at the Unified Power that was there? The fact that we never knew was really cool, mystical and compelling.

Then the BBoBA shows up and basically tells us that she knew what she was doing all along... and she was a goody-goody do-gooder - and that just robbed this character of her enigmatic majesty for me. She was much more awesome when the ambiguity was there - did she know, or didn't she? If she did know, that makes her really wicked. (see also, the character assassination of Asmodean ). It is for this reason that I choose to pretend the BBoBA doesn't exist.

Great article, Leigh.
Richard Fife
38. R.Fife
ianB manc @26, the "accursed thing" was the dragon banner, not the sword. LTT was worse than Beidemon at that point, so why keep his standard?

Mandatory love the chapters comment

I beleive it was commented in the BBoBA that Lanfear did not instantly turn to the shadow, and was far from the first person to do so, but her envy/jealousy drove her to do so in the Hall of the Servants itself much later after the bore was drilled. Her search for the True Power might have been semi-altruistic. Yes, she wanted the fame and recognition for having found it, but I think she was as clueless as anyone else at what it was until it was too late.
hoping to be of the blood
39. yosoyeljosh

True, I've no idea when the Chair of Remorse came around. But I thought one of the Forsaken mentioned how the Aes Sedai willingly bound themselves like criminals.

Someone else could correct me on how wrong that statement might be.
Brett Michie
40. bchurch
My thought on the ancestry viewing is that Rhuarc was right. As quoted above, he said no other chief had seen through the same eyes until the sharing of water and the Agreement of Rhuidean. In Rand's trip, the sharing of water was his second vision, the Agreement of Rhuidean was the first. I wonder if other Aiel saw through different eyes during the Agreement portion, as that was the first time any Aiel walked among the columns and prior to that, they all saw through the same eyes. A question I have though, due to Rhuarc's comment, is if other Aiel saw their ancestry after the agreement of Rhuidean? This would give Rhuarc's comment more weight by allowing for other Aiel to have more viewpoints of differing ancestry. I wonder if this might be owing to Rand being a half-breed Aiel. I dunno if this makes any sense, but all the comments here brought it to my confused mind.

HeWhoComesWithTheNoon @ 33

I cried my eyes out when I thought Tasselhoff died at the end of Time of the Twins when the mountain of fire fell on him. But I was only 13 when I read that.
hoping to be of the blood
41. Paracelsus
I always find it very ironic that Rand descends from an ancestor who actually served Lanfear and was present at the opening of the Bore.

There is a lot in these chapters to chew on and think about. Can someone explain to me why the Dai'shan Aiel only served the Dragon? After all these years, I still don't understand what exactly this means. The People of the Dragon is very important, but did all the Aiel serve only the Dragon or only a select portion? For example, Charn served Lanfear so was he a Child of the Dragon?

There is also a quote somewhere in WoT about the Dragon being 'One with the Land.' I still don't understand what all this stuff means, but I really hope we get more info on why the Dragon was so connected with Aiel.
hoping to be of the blood
42. hoping to be of the blood
Bookworm @ 34
I don't know what ahisma is. I thought that one of the functions of the aiel in the aol, and a primary part of the Way of the Leaf, is seed singing, sort of johnny appleseeds of the time. Not that they were just pacifists. All people of the aol were pacifists, but one of the reasons the aiel were treated with deference was because of the crucial role they played in agriculture.

I believe you are right about Lanfear turning after the Bore event. RJ said there was the normal human evil in the aol but was largely controlled. After the Bore, the DO evil touched the world, things went downhill for a hundred years culminating in the ten year war and the Strike at SG.
hoping to be of the blood
43. bookworm
More than anybody might want to know about ahimsa.
hoping to be of the blood
44. Rebecca Starr
Boy was I confused the first time I read these two chapters, but after so many re-reads, now they are pure delight. I love that we see so many explanations for the Aiel - why the spears are short, the 1st Maiden, the chora trees in pots, the lack of swords, the "dust veils" for killing...

and yes, it is Rand's ancestor line, and yes that is what is pure awesome - that Rand's direct line of ancestors were *the* line of Aiel at all the key moments within Aiel history, all leading up to his birth and his Dragon Reborn/coming with the dawnness - it makes the intricate weaving of the Web so stark and clear, and gives me chills chills chills.

poor Beidomon - what a sad bit part :(

what courage those Aiel showed in the singing scene, dying so the other town residents can escape - I really hope we see something similar to this in the Last Battle, or maybe as a way to save Rand's sanity.

Super Goosebumps watching the Bore get drilled.

in way more mundane fashion:
I noticed that Alnora says the exact same blessing as the Sea Folk - "all will be well and all will be well...." and knowing RJ, I'm sure this is not coincidence.

shouldn't Rand be at least able to recognize the Old Tongue? because he refers to the language on Mat's new spear as just a 'strange script'
Galen Brinn
45. GatheringStorm
Speaking a language is not the same as reading it.
Dan Sparks
46. RedHanded
“Singing,” Someshta said. “Was there singing? So much is gone. The Aes Sedai say some will return. You are a Child of the Dragon, are you not?”

Jonai winced. That name had caused trouble, no less for not being true. But how many citizens now believed the Da’shain Aiel had once served the Dragon and no other Aes Sedai?

So does this mean the Aiel really aren't the People of the Dragon?
Dan Sparks
47. RedHanded
Also are we all in agreement that Rand see's through his ancestors eyes until they get to the part where they share water with the Cairheinians and then all the Aiel see the same events that led up to that? Right?

Also, these 2 chapters are probably my favorite in the series. Along with any chapter about the Finns. I think it's the exoticness about the AoL and the Finnworld that really sucks me in.
hoping to be of the blood
48. That Guy
Don't know if someone already covered it but the singing we get here is definitely the Song the Tinkers are searching for. The scene where you see how the Tinkers branched off talks about the Song they used to sing, and later you get to see the Song, so, such is why I think it is.

OK, crazy theory time. I haven't really thoroughly thought this one out as it just kinda hit me while I was re-reading it.

How was the Bore made?

Egwene basically describes female Travelling as makeing the place where you are and the place where you want to go the same.

Rand describes male Travelling as boring a hole through to the place where he wants to go, IIRC.

So basically the theory that just hit me is that the Bore is an adjusted combination of both the male and female Travelling weaves.

Feel free to shoot it down, but I know pronounce this to be the exact way that the bore was made.
hoping to be of the blood
49. David-2
In the glass columns we finally see a Nym again so I can ask a question that's been pending for a couple of weeks: In a comment on a previous post someone said the Nym were artifical, that is, created creatures like Trollocs (though not, of course, Dark). I never knew that - what is the evidence?
Galen Brinn
50. GatheringStorm
David-2 @ 49,

The BBoBA, if I'm not mistaken. Same as the Chora (Tree of Life) trees.
hoping to be of the blood
51. AnotherRoy
Hi, I love these chapters. I think that 'the way of the leaf' is what will 'destroy' the aiel. They will become again Tinkers / the Lost Ones. The song must again play a role in the end of the story. What do you think?

The ones that survive are the remnants of the aiel that went back to the waste and keep living like the aiel did before Rand came.
Galen Brinn
52. GatheringStorm
That would suck, because it would include a boatload of the dog-robbing Shaido.
hoping to be of the blood
53. bookworm
I agree with GatheringStorm. The Shaido will fail, like those who didn't follow the Jenn to Rhuidean long ago.
hoping to be of the blood
54. yosoyeljosh
I don't know what evidence there is, except that when the Age of Legends came, a lot of things changed. The Ogier showed up, and they appear to have some relationship with the Nym.

Encyclopaedia WoT's entry says this:

"Giant plant-like beings created during the Age of Legends to facilitate growing crops."

Not sure if the Ogier grew them, or if the One Power made them, or perhaps some combination. Additionally, there's no source, but E-WoT is pretty reliable.
hoping to be of the blood
55. rudra
How did the male aes sedai in th AOL go mad immediately after the taint spread when we see that rand and the Ashaman remain unaffected by the taint for quite some time? Could anyone direct me to a link with a satisfactory answer, like WOTFAQ or something.
hoping to be of the blood
56. yosoyeljosh

My guess is simply proximity. The taint spread out from the Bore, and the males channeling at the moment were channeling a lot of the power. But we also see some male Aes Sedai in the Hall that have only begun to show signs of madness.

The taint itself is relatively confusing, because some people show no signs for years (Logain appears relatively sane through the entire series), while others show progressive madness (like Rand), and yet others snap instantly and lose themselves in-between eye-blinks.
Dan Sparks
57. RedHanded
@55 rudra

I believe that the backlash from the bore being sealed affected those closest to the bore at first and also effected those strongest in the power the most..hence the 100 companions doing the most damage since they were probably 100 of the strongest male Aes Sedai and were also at the bore when the backlash hit.
Dan Sparks
58. RedHanded
Just read yosoyeljosh's comment. Good point about Logain, that screws up my theory about strength in the power = faster taint spread. Yeah that sounds sick.
Alice Arneson
59. Wetlandernw
Re: the taint. Its effect appears (in the beginning, at least) to be related to how long you've been using the Power.

“Can we trust Kodam and his fellows, Solinda?”

“We must, Oselle. They are young and inexperienced, but barely touched by the taint, and... And we have no choice"

We know from book 1 that the Eye was created by male & female working together, and here we get the point that they are young, inexperienced, but almost untainted. This isn't proof positive, because its possible that a bunch of the young guys figure out who is less tainted and pull together to do what they can... Maybe there are others who are just as young and inexperienced but who are badly tainted. But it's a point to start.
hoping to be of the blood
60. cps2195
like so many have already said this is one of the best sections in all of WOT (my other favorite is the scene with Nynaeve where she rallies folks to Lan in the borderlands.)

One of the things I love about this section is how you can completely understand the choices everyone makes. In fact you can't really judge anyone for leaving the way of the leaf or for killing to protect their children. Even Lanfear's decision to drill into the bore was intended to better her society (and assuredly to stroke her own ego.)
Galen Brinn
61. GatheringStorm
Interesting theory on proximity causing the 100 Companions to go mad instantly; Proximity Bomb Supreme. Makes sense.
hoping to be of the blood
62. ALF75
Long time lurker, first time poster, love the re-read etc., etc.

I have to agree with the ancestry eyes camp. I would further argue, though, that not every Aiel sees the exact same thing pre Rhuidean that we see through Rand. Why wouldn't you see where "your" ancester migrated over from Jenn to regular Aiel? The effect would be similar, if not greater. Of course there would be some overlap as different family trees regress to a shared patron.

I would also argue that Rand sees further back in time than the average person. Wouldn't Rhuarc have mentioned something about something if he had seen everything Rand saw. Rand is prophesy fullfilled. He is Ninja Jesus! He needs to see as much he as he sees to carry out his role in the Pattern. And we know that "the Pattern provides what is needed". Perhaps everyone else sees the Aiel leaving Paaren Disen, but only Rand saw the generations before...

My two cents
Dan Sparks
63. RedHanded
Yeah I would think it would make sense. One of the forsaken at some point mentions how they can almost feel the DO when they are at Shayol Ghul and how it is where the DO actually touches the world so I'd imagine his power would be strongest in that vicinity. Too bad they 100 companions couldn't have done some long distance channeling, maybe from a sho-wing!
Alice Arneson
64. Wetlandernw
Lanfear as Eve: it really is very parellel. Neither is out to start evilness, but they are drawn to a power they haven't had before. Lanfear sees a new source of power, and (as someone commented already) is probably drawn to the notion of being the one to get it first. (LTT accused her of loving power a few chapters ago.) Eve was persuaded to see the fruit as "good to look at, good to taste, and good to make you wise". A different kind of power, but still a power she didn't yet have.

Not, however, parallel in becoming the mother of all humanity. XD

Can't comment on the Lilith parallel because I'm less familiar with the story, but it is a clever little twist.
Galen Brinn
65. GatheringStorm
In terms of insanity and Saidin...

There's a comment in a later book by one of the Ashaman about one of the newcomers at the Black Tower going mad pretty quickly...started seeing spiders crawling under his skin or something like that. They had to "put him down", quickly, as I recall.

Also, Thoms' nephew Owein held of madness for about a year before showing signs. Granted, we don't know what either's strength is but since Rand and other really strong males have held off insanity for some time, I don't think it's reasonable to conclude either: The length of time before insanity hits is inversely proportional to strength in the power or directly/inversly proportional to how long you've been using it. Keep in mind that Taim has been channeling for almost 15 years (according to Rand's estimates).
hoping to be of the blood
66. MSedai
HeWhoComesWithTheNoon @33: Leighder's digest! Yeah!

That Guy @48 and AnotherRoy @51: totally like your theories.

Also, some of my favorite details from this ancestor info dump was the marriage customs (women ask) and the veiling as intent to kill. Plus, it always clued me in to how hard this must have been for the Aiel to accept when Muradin eats his eyeballs (eats his eyeballs!!)
hoping to be of the blood
67. Samadai
It does not say that all male Aes Sedai went mad instantly only the rest of the 100 companions. the rest of them went mad over time just like what happens with Rand and the Ashaman. The breaking lasted for 100 years or so on so that means it took the females all that time to hunt down and sever those men. Also there are those men that went into hiding in Steddings who prolonged the Time of Madness(and perhaps prevented the world from breaking further, as per Moi in the EoTW
Deborah Jones
68. NanaD
Thanks again Leigh for writing this all down for us. Once again, a great job!

I like to read the history of the Aiel backwards, my brain can process the story clearer that way.

Maybe the men who went mad so quickly were using the power more often as well as to a greater degree.

Logain didn't really have much time to use his ability before being gentled, and the madness seems to take men in different ways. Taim is definitely crazy but still seems to function quite well.

Leigh we will miss you but hope you have a great time in the deep south. Maybe I can read all the older posts? Or Not!
mark Proctor
69. mark-p
what are every ones thoughts on Muradin?
I don't think there is anything that would make me want to tear my eyes out etc, especially as the truth is revealed slowly piece by piece.
Dan Sparks
70. RedHanded
Gathering Storm
Saidin & insanity cont...

So you are saying that the weaker in the power and the less amount of time they've been able to channel means a faster rate of taint seepage?

I would think the stronger in the power someone is, the more saidin they are filling themselves with, would lead to faster deterioration, just because of more of the taint being harnessed w/saidin. Then again logic may not have anything to do with how it is supposed to work.
Besides Taim and Logain I can't think of any other 2 channelers that are really strong and still sane after so long after using the Power. I almost wonder if how they held it off was to go slowly in learning and not pushing themselves as much at least at the beginning of their channeling. In the Black Tower they push pretty hard and seem to have quite a few people lose their shit because of this.
Deborah Jones
71. NanaD
mark-p @69
But then again we are not Aiel.
Galen Brinn
72. GatheringStorm
RedHanded @70,

Not at all. There's nothing that I can see that shows a conclusive link to length of time in the power or strength in the power as to when someone will go mad. The whole thing comes across to me as a tad random...

But that's just my take. Not trying to make any kind of authoritative statement.
Dan Sparks
73. RedHanded

Seems like the Aiel have a strong sense of pride and following the rules of their culture "ji'et'toh". Shame is a big deal to them. Imagine how shamed some of these Aiel must feel knowing that they betrayed their original promise of peace. They lost much Ji'. I'd imagine that the Aiel who feel like they have so much toh that they couldn't meet it don't come back whereas someone like Wise Ones and Clan Chiefs will be working to meet that Toh.
Seems like it's all about doing what you want but being willing to accept the consequences, which is a good rule. Muradin couldn't accept the consequences of what he saw I'd say.
Dan Sparks
74. RedHanded
@72 Gathering Storm

It does seem a bit random. Makes it tough to come up with a theory that doesn't have holes in it. Maybe we'll find out in aMoL but I doubt it.
Peter Nein
75. gimpols1908
on the whole Lanfear/evil bit.

lanfear always wanted power. ref the bedroom bit in the DR. "and you always loved power!"

She was always searching for more power - from that she was already corrupt. But much like anikin slowly making necessary steps and suddenly finding himself on the dark side then not caring anymore because all he cared about was dead - perhaps much the same here. Did i just compare Lanfear to Darth Vader? - yes yes i did.
Tim Kington
76. TimKington
The BBoBA on Lanfear:

"There is little doubt that she was surprised as the rest of the world to discover what actually lay beyond the hole she helped create, and she was indeed fortunate to be one of the few to survive the backlash that destroyed the Sharom and most of the Collam Daan."

and later:

"Upon awakening to the world, she adopted the pseudonym Selene and sought out Rand Al'Thor, believing him to be somehow connected with, if not the direct reincarnation of, Lews Therin."

I think that makes the whole Mesaana as Selene theory pretty unlikely.
Galen Brinn
77. GatheringStorm
RedHanded @ 74,

Maybe it's like cancer: My grandmother was diagnosed with a recurrence of breast cancer in 1977. They told her she had 6 months to live at that point. She fought it off for 6 years.

Some people fight it claw, tooth and nail (and sometimes win), others succumb quickly (and for who knows what reasons - NOT saying they all necessarily give up).
hoping to be of the blood
78. rudra
Taim is a darkfriend, as we find out in KOD, so isn't he protected from the taint for all those years?
hoping to be of the blood
79. That Guy
As to the Hundred Companions and LTT going mad instantly, in the info from The Strike at Shayol Ghul it says they went mad instantly, and I always looked at that as being due to them working on sealing the Bore with as much of the One Power as they could use, and were basically hit by a tidal wave of the taint rushing out.

I also tend to believe that if the females were there at the sealing that both sides would have been tainted.
hoping to be of the blood
80. swmdilla
I feel out of the loop, what is the "BBoBA"?

Could the tinkers really be people of the dragon?

I wish i had the books with me, i would definetly read these chapters again.
Dan Sparks
81. RedHanded
@77 Gathering Stomer

That could definitely be likely. Maybe the more will to live/purpose someone has can effect how long they can hold off the madness. Rand was getting pretty nuts there but he knows he has to make it to TG.

@78 rudra

I'm thinking that just because Taim is a DF doesn't mean that he necessarily has that protection. The only other darkfriend male channelers we see are forsaken...I believe. I could be wrong.
hoping to be of the blood
82. Rikka
@ 46 I think what he means is that the word Aiel means Dedicated and they served Aes Sedai. During/around the Sealing of the Bore and the Breaking people only remembered that the Aiel had been called the People of the Dragon (ie had served only the Dragon/LTT, who wasn't too popular at the time because he went batshit crazy and Broke the world).

Jonai winces because people have forgotten that the Aiel also served the rest of the Aes Sedai, not just the crazy man who went insane. The Aiel are the People of the Dragon but the original Aiel served the Aes Sedai faithfully as well.

Also @80, BBoBA is the Big Book of Bad Art.
Dan Sparks
83. RedHanded
@82 Rikka

Well my take on it was that the Da'shain Aiel were called the people of the Dragon because they were have thought to only serve the Dragon, when really like you said they served other Aes Sedai as well. Point being, the Aiel are the People of the Dragon based on a rumor..? Sounds like they never actually called themselves the People of the Dragon.
hoping to be of the blood
84. Lsana
Like Leigh, I find it rather unlikely that Rand just happened to have an ancestor present at pretty much every critical moment in Aiel history. And not just an ancestor, but someone in the direct male line of descent. However, Rule of Cool wins out. This sequence is just too awesome to get hung up on the details.

A couple of things:

It's ironic, but it seems to me that the Tinkers stayed much closer to what Solinda Sedai wanted than any of the other Aiel, even the Jenn. They tried to protect themselves as best as they could without abandoning the Way of the Leaf. From reading that scene, it was obvious that Solinda didn't really give a damn about the *angreal; she wanted to save the Aiel.

Also, is anyone else a little bit disturbed by the history of the Aiel? The way it is presented is that they were the hereditary servants of the Aes Sedai, forbidden weapons or any methods of self-defense, could not marry without permission from their masters. The implications of that aren't good.
Erdrick Farseer
85. Erdrick
Hi all,

Sorry I've been MIA lately, but I don't like posting when I'm not caught up with the reading, and I've been falling way behind. In fact, I'm still back in TSR part 4. I just wanted to jump ahead to the current discussion to mention that the WoT fundraiser (which is currently approaching $40,000) is ending this Friday. I'm sure most of you reading this already know about (and perhaps even participated in) this charity drive. But just in case you haven't heard about it, you should at least check it out.
Mr. Sanderson will create a unique combat unit to fight in the last battle. This unit will represent all fans who donated to this cause to fight poverty in our own world. When you read about them in the final book, you will know they represent you!
If you want to be a part of this, you only have two days left. Join us; we march on Tarmon Gai'don!
Peter Nein
86. gimpols1908
@ 78. rudra

As we find out after rand bests Asmo...

Rand 'sees' or feels or senses some black threads stretching back from asimo. rand pulls through the lil' fat dude and snips the cords. Asimo is still a Darkfriend and Forsaken but no longer protected. I think this was a special thing given to the forsaken.

@ 79. That Guy
I think of it like atomic bomb. If you were there you went quickly. If the source of your sustenance/water/magic hullabaloo was from there but you were far away you went slowly.
hoping to be of the blood
87. Aye Aye Sedai
So are we right to infer that the failure of the Aiel was in keeping all of the *angreal for the Rhuidean relocation or was it more about the failure to keep more individuals to the Way of the Leaf so that the city could have been properly completed?

On the original read I liked the hints about the read Fin door being seen in a crate, etc. Morain asking about the Jenn and Aiel translations setting up the later reveals.

Do we think Rand was correct in the dust devils being from the bubble of evil or was that part of the city's protective ward? Perhaps activated by Mat's weapon? AS we wil see that Asmodean will hesitate to enter the mist around the city.

I had not ever pieced together that Lanfear and Mierin were the same - had not really noticed who/how the different Forsaken were being reborn, - guess there was too much time between all the books.

Re Muradein - Did he really eat his eyes or was he just chewing on his lips and tongue as I thought - guess eating your eyes really means that "you can't handle the truth" - must be why the wise ones restrict entry else all the shaido would end up dead and clog the icicles. Wonder where all the dead bodies/bones go?
Dan Sparks
88. RedHanded
@84 Lsana

Agreed about Solinda not caring so much about the *angreal except to keep them out of the hands of male channelers. Perhaps after seeing so much war and suffering she was, like Perrin, hoping for a chance the some will remain peaceful or see peace again.

I don't know if it was so much as they were forbidden weapons except by the Way of the Leaf, not by the Aes Sedai. It does sound like they serve a certain Aes Sedai and if they want to get married have to switch to serve their wife's Aes Sedai. I don't know if it is forced so much as it is part of their Covenant. Seems like the Seanchan have twisted this up a bit with their hereditary servants...who can be highly respected and powerful, much like the Aiel in AoL are highly respected.
Chiara Elvira
89. elvyelvy
hewhocomes@33 Leighders Digest :-) FANTASTICO!!!
True the chapters are absolutely wonderful, great, awesomeness pure, in a book that's one giant huge infodump packed with action, one of the best books ever, and I have been reading adventure books, sf and the like for nearly.... er, quite a long time.

Paracelsus@41 the Dragon being one with the land might well hint at all the miths related to saviour-like figures. The Fisher King of Arthurian romances is such a figure, and to cut short my inevitable tendency to blather on, his health (or lack of it) mirrors that of the land.

AnotherRoy@51 we have all come to see that RJ loves to pick up hints scattered in previous books and reveal their true importance, I think we can safely say that yes, there will be a place for the song sometime around during or possibly after TG. Why create the Lost Ones, the Tinkers and not show their purpose?

Poor Mat, he seems to have been forgotten in the overwhelming importance of the chapters.
Here it is clearly stated that Mat and the Aelfinn Eelfinn are not through yet?

“They cheat. And they tried to kill me.”
Then Mat picks up the fox medallion and his ashandarei: “I’ll keep this, too. Their joke, but I will keep it.”
“A joke?”
Mat nodded. “What it says. ‘Thus it our treaty written; thus is agreement made. Thought is the arrow of time; memory never fades.
What was asked is given. The price is paid.’
“A pretty joke, you see. I’ll slice them with their own wit if I ever get the chance. I’ll give them ‘thought and memory.’

And it is quite a bit ironic, he wanted to be free of Aes Sedai, yet his wife can channel, as all Suldam. Poor Mat...

Oh, another thing, Rand has already an idea on how to cleanse saidin, as he sees the access keys to the Choedan Kal and thinks that 'not now', he will take them later. So he knows what they are and what to do with them - or he has some clue at least.

Ok good night everybody
hoping to be of the blood
90. kilthmal
People are confused about resistance to the taint? I thought Jordan was pretty blatant that the more Hobbit ancestory one had the more resistance they had.
hoping to be of the blood
91. Tony Zbaraschuk
Lanfear as Eve... I'd never thought of it that way. More joy for this re-read! (currently plowing slowly through Fires of Heaven)

The Tinkers and the Song are another example of information decay: they've conflated their seed-singing job and the peace of the pre-Bore period into a single whole, and are looking for something that never existed.

Agree that Solina Sedai is trying to save the Aiel (the Foretelling actually indicates Rand's coming; she has to save the Aiel because the Dragon will be one of their descendants. Rand's upcoming thoughts on the intricacy of the Pattern will be worth noting.)

And, yes, the haunting sorrow of everything lost through the passage of time is one of the things that marks these chapters. The Aiel have forgotten -- and perhaps forgetting was the best thing they could do; certainly they seem to have had peace without that knowledge. Rand is right to tell them the truth later, but that truth-telling is also immensely destructive.
LT Tortora
92. Lucubratrix
First off, that was a great summary of those two chapters, so thanks. I'm continuing to enjoy the summaries and commentary.

As far as the ancestry thing, I don't think it's far-fetched to believe that Rand saw through his ancestors' eyes, Muradin saw through his ancestors' eyes, etc. The events that happened were large enough that they would have broadly affected all the Aiel. Look at any major event of our own times--take WWII, for instance. I could see it through the eyes of my grandfather, who fought in Europe and helped to liberate the prisoners from concentration camps. A defining event, to be sure--but my grandfather was hardly the only person involved, and there must be a huge number of people now who would see those events through the eyes of their own grandfathers. Similarly, there must have been many Aiel who broke the Convenant--it seems to me that this is alluded to--and a correspondingly huge number of modern-day Aiel who would see something relating to this through the eyes of their ancestors when they entered the columns. (On the other hand, however, I'll also buy that Rand's ancestors happened to be present at critical moments--after all, he was always destined to be the Dragon Reborn, so he would have to go to Rhuidean and it would make sense for him to see things like the hole being drilled into the Dark One's prison.)

I always saw the difficulty that Muradin and others had with what they saw as being due to the fact that the Aiel despise the Tinkers, taking pride in their warrior tradition, yet they used to be Tinkers and follow the Way of the Leaf. It's a pretty radical shift in worldview.
Ryan Thistlethwaite
93. shintemaster
Probably about my favourite parts (so far!) in the story. Beautifully written and they bring a tear to the eye even reading about them. The lines that always got me the most were when one of the Aiel around the time of creating the Eye tells the Aes Sedai that he will take care of the things they have given them. She distractedly comments 'things, oh yes', quite obviously the 'things' the Aes Sedai are trying to save are the angreal etc, but more importantly the Aiel themselves. Extremely sad and touching.
The other one that grabs the heart is the fall of the Aes Sedai, they were so much more than they are now. The others of their time and the current day AS are almost childlike in comparison.
hoping to be of the blood
94. RobMRobM
One other thought question - how exactly did the Aiel fail the Aes Sedai? I can't figure it out from the flashback scenes. Was it that Charn was not around to prevent Mieren and Biedomon from breaching the Dark One's prison? (What was he supposed to do, beat them up? -- sorry, not allowed). Not able to prevent the male Aes Sedai from wasting the world? -- don't think so. Not getting all of the angreals, s'angereals and ter'greals to Rhuidean? -- actually they did that too. What did they do wrong? Inquring minds want to know. Rob
hoping to be of the blood
95. Rikka
I thought the covenant-breaking came later, more to do with the Jenn Aiel and such....
hoping to be of the blood
96. Samadai
I think that by not keeping the covenant is how the failedd the Aes Sedai.
Alice Arneson
97. Wetlandernw
A couple of thoughts, with not enough time to do it properly...

On why some Aiel can't handle what they see in the columns: They are steeped in their warrior traditions, and hold very hard to their beliefs, which include despising the use of swords. For some, finding out that they originally followed the Way of the Leaf, and their prohibition of swords was really a nitpick in the transition, is too horrible to believe. Remember that they not only despise swords, they truly despise the Tuatha'an, and I'm sure many of them think that despite is because of their commitment to the Way. Now they find out that, while the Tinkers abandoned the pursuit of a place to safely store the *angreal, they were more right in maintaining the Way than those who made it to Rhuidean with spears in their hands. Their whole belief system gets turned on its head in those steps through the columns, and it's hard to take.

On failing the Aes Sedai: I think their failure was in abandoning the Way. For what it's worth, they didn't get ALL the *angreal and chora cuttings to safety, but they got all they could. The great sadness of the AS is for the loss of the Aiel Covenant and the beauty of the culture they used to have. I suspect the "we dare not fail them again" will come into play in AMoL, but I don't have a clue how.

On resistance to the taint in the current age: I think strength of character plays a major part in this. A weaker man is overwhelmed by the taint sooner, whereas one who has great strength of will and purpose can hold it off much longer. It's a theory, anyway.

And I think these things tie together. Throughout the books, you can see where RJ was pretty big on that inner strength thing. And later on, he makes a major point of the importance of "strong" vs. "hard" - how the strong is flexible and keeps going, where the hard is brittle and breaks under pressure.

I would really love to keep going on this, but you probably don't want to read it and I have people coming for dinner. Hope I didn't burn anything...
hoping to be of the blood
98. Andrew W^2
YES. I have been looking forward to your coverage of these chapters, and I was not disappointed.

I always sort of felt like... ok. You know how fantasy authors often operate under this license of "I write Fantasy and therefore I can explain anything away with MAGIC!" Like, they write these crazy weird worlds that have a high amount of cool factor and a low amount of logic, with all sorts of weird creatures and societies that serve for interesting conflicts but don't actually make any sense? For me, these chapters in WoT are where Jordan really sets himself apart.

So he creates his huge complex world with all sorts of interesting cultures and history, but sure, lots of authors do that (or at least, they try). But then you take a group like the Aiel, which might outwardly seem like a good example of a flimsy fantasy culture -- very cool, but potentially very contrived. Then in these 2 chapters, he just takes any notions you might have had about him hacking his way through his landscape, and COMPLETELY OBLITERATES THEM. What, you thought I just made that Aiel crap up for some handy plot devices? Well actually, every little piece of it is completely intentional and plays an integral part in the essential core of the 3000 years of history behind my story. Bitch.

Also, did anyone else really key into the scene with Jonai and the Aes Sedai this time around? It really clicked for me -- we're watching the meeting where the last Aes Sedai decide to create the Eye of the World for the next Dragon to come, and we know from Moiraine in TEotW that these folks had full knowledge that they would all be killed in the process. In-freaking-tense.
hoping to be of the blood
99. laframboise
@87 - I was thinking something along the same lines, weirdly, that there must be some kind of euthanasia/disposal function in the glass column setup, otherwise these weaponless chief wannabes would be a while killing and disposing of themselves, starting with the eyeballs! Though, Muradin had veiled himself when last seen - who knows?

Perhaps it is set up to sense resistance to acceptance of the truth, and you get gateway-ed to nowhere. Rand seems to come out the other side - standing at the edge - with no clear sense of how he got there. However it works, it's quite a rig.
Lannis .
100. Lannis
Re: Andrew @ 98: I agee: EPIC writing on Jordan's part!

I think one of the reasons why these chapters are so great (aside from the actual writing ability) is that, even though they may be info-dumpish, they're eloquent: they follow the #1 rule that I was taught in Creative Writing--Show, Don't Tell!

Instead of say, having Rhuarc or one of the clan chiefs sit down with Rand and just spread it all out there (which we've seen before, from Moiraine), and just get the job done through exposition, it's a carefully crafted set of images and scenes, and every detail (every character's thought or observation) is chosen carefully. It's humbling.

That, coupled with the epic foreshadowing and links to numerous real-world legends, myths and historical references, put Jordan at the top of my Authors to Admire list. Did his homework, that man!

(Yay! #100!)
Lannis .
101. Lannis
Aye Aye Aes Sedai @87 & laframboise @ 99: Re: bodies in the crystal columns... Ancesticles with a garbage disposal attachment?
Leigh Butler
102. leighdb
Sarcastro @37:

It's Pandora too. I've always thought of Pandora and Eve as being different aspects of the same archetype.

For those not familiar with the Lilith reference, there are a bunch of conflicting versions of Lilith that associate her with everything from the handmaiden of the goddess Ishtar to being the serpent in the Garden of Eden (no, really), but the most common legend is that Lilith was Adam's first wife, created not from his rib but from the soil, the same as him. He spurned her when she would not submit to him (believe it or not, this takes the form of an argument over who gets to be on top), and she left the garden, and Adam convinced God to cook him up a more subservient wife in the form of Eve.

Meanwhile Lilith took up with either the demon Asmodeus or Samael, depending on which version you go with, and got busy birthing an army of demons with which to ravage mankind in revenge for her expulsion from Eden. She is most frequently depicted as a succubus or vampiric figure who delights in killing children and leading men into temptation.

And you thought Jordan was just making this shit up.
lanyo lanyo
103. lanyo
@101: compost for avendesora. gotta keep the tree healthy!
hoping to be of the blood
104. lokthor
I have been lurking for a while. This re-read is simply great. Thanks a ton!!

About the bloodlines and visions in Rhuidean: Perhaps though different people see different things, it could be that they are ALL descended from Charn's family. That way, they may see the story from someone else's viewpoint, but someone close to the same centers of action. So we have very specific people, clan chiefs (Rand's father was clan chief, also) and Wise Ones (channeling genetics?), who go into Rhuidean, and that is of course, monitored very closely by the Wise Ones. Do I dare compare it to the Triluminaries in Babylon 5?
hoping to be of the blood
105. ZamIt
The origin of the veils? How did veiling faces before killing get started?
hoping to be of the blood
106. Randalator
Damn it, Leigh, was it really necessary to throw out another part when I was out and about getting slightly (or not quite so slightly) drunk with a couple of friends on a day that is so totally not re-read day? Okay, I guess it was...but still "boo" because I'm freakin' late and all has been said already and I feel really left out and stuff.

Where was I? Or you? Or Whatever? Oh yeah, the Ancestron: Well, Rikka already pointed out that you do indeed see the past through your ancestor's eyes. But I'll chip in my totally personal not at all backed up by any quotes from the books stance, anyway.

The events that made the Aiel become what they are are huge. Really huge. Otherwise they wouldn't have influenced the fate of an entire people. So I suppose any Aiel would have memories in his ancestry line that are somehow connected to the drilling of the Bore, the Lost Ones, The Maidens, etc. Maybe not as first hand as in Rand's case but still.

As an example: I'm german, born in 1980 and obviously my country/people/whatever has a very colourful past. I witnessed the German Reunification myself, my parents lived through the left-wing terrorism in the 70s, my grandparents have all kinds of stories concerning the second world war. None of us had a significant part in those events, not even as first hand observers like Charn in the destruction of the Sharom. But still they all can give personal accounts exemplary of events in my country's history. And since I can trace parts of my family back almost to the Thirty Year's War in the 17th century I'm sure that seeing through their eyes I could get similar accounts of the German Revolution in 1848, the German Empire and so on. With a device like the Ancestron I could go back even further...the Holy Roman Empire, the Middle Ages...

Wherever you look in your family's past you will find your ancestors experiencing historical events in one way ore another. And even when they weren't involved in or present at any given event their memories would still give you an overview of your heritage.

Long story short: Even without confirmation from RJ himself I always thought that the Glass Columns let you experience the past through you ancestor's eyes and that there wasn't really a need to show everyone a standardized History 101.

Any mistakes in this comment courtesy of beer...
hoping to be of the blood
107. RobMRobM
Another random comment - did you note that both Rand's dad (Janduin) and next identified grandad or great granddad (Mandein) both have "and" names, just like Rand. A fine and strangely coincidental name chosen by Tam and Kari, better than they themselves knew.... Rob
hoping to be of the blood
108. trekkiechick
Go Leigh! Whoo hoo!

The Shadow Rising is my favorite book in the whole series, and these chapters are a big part of why. I always love finding out the history behind stuff, showing just how detailed the world the author created is. Like Moiraine's story in Eye of the World about Aemon's last stand. And here we get two chapters, not just a couple of pages. The whole history of the Aiel, laid out in two perfect chapters, full of loss and misery and fateful decisions...Best. Chapters. Ever. Gives me chills every time I read them.

Though I have to say, I never caught that part about the Aes Sedai getting ready to make the Eye of the World. Thanks for pointing that out!

I think the analogy used above about cancer and the taint is a good one. The male Aes Sedai who were present at the Sealing all went mad immediately, but the rest of the AS succumbed over time, some fast, some slow. And I don't think Taim has any special DO protection, I think only the Forsaken got that.

Speaking of Forsaken, yosoyeljosh@39, it was Semi who was thinking about the criminal binders (oath rods) and how after her proclivities were discovered she had been offered the choice of being severed or bound to never know her pleasures again and "see the end of life approach" and so instead went to the Dark Side.

I like the comparison of Lanfear to Eve and Pandora. They all share that basic trait of wanting to know. But Lanfear, even though she didn't know she was tapping into the Dark One at the time, embraced him afterwards, which is what makes her evil. Whereas I always thought that Eve and Pandora got shafted.
Amar Ramraj
109. aiel1219
I have a question... mb it was answered in the FAQ or someplace by RJ and someone can help me out.
The eye wasa created after the taint right?
So where did the clean Saidin come from?
Richard Fife
110. R.Fife
The joint effort of male and female Aes Sedai. I'd imagine the process was similar to what Rand and Nyneave do at Shadar Logath, cept here, isntead of having the evil of Shadar Logath to chuck the taint at, they probably used themselves. Moi said that every channeler who worked to make the eye died as a result.

When the first "killers" were cast out of the Jenn, the mom said "hide that face, murderer, I had a son once that had that face." (paraphrased). Thus, to hide the shame of what they do, they hide their faces when they kill.
hoping to be of the blood
111. Randalator
@109 aiel1219

The Aes Sedai who created the Eye acted as a conduit/filter and died in the process.
hoping to be of the blood
112. Rikka
I love having my books handy... I get to type up quotes. Is it wrong that this makes me happy? Hrmm...

The birth of veiling their faces when they kill:
The Shadow Rising page 420
"Who are you who addresses me so? Hide your face from me,stranger. I had a son, once, with a face like that. I do not wish to see it on a killer." And she led Maigran after the others.

"I am still Aiel," Lewin shouted, but they did not look back. He thought he heard Luca crying. The wind rose, picking up dust, and he veiled his face. "I am Aiel!"

Wildly darting light bored into Rand's eyes. The pain of Lewin's loss still clung to him, and his mind tumbled furiously. Lewin had not carried a weapon. He had not known how to use a weapon. Killing terrified him. It did not make sense.
hoping to be of the blood
113. SteelBlaidd
Another parallel that came to mind as I was reading the comments was of the Israelites wandering 40 years in the desert. A people under "covenant" seeking a special "promised land." It seamed an especially apt parallel given the season and that remembering is one of the main purposes of the passover Seder.

26 And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?
27 That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses.

One of the things I've always loved about this section is that even though there are massively different tech levels at the ends it still feels like the same world. Jordan was so good at writing how things change over time. Another favorite example of this is how the Moraine and Suain in New Spring feel like younger versions of the ones we meet in the main story.
hoping to be of the blood
114. Rand Al'Todd

"I know I've brought this up elsewhere, but these are the chapters where it's mentioned that the WoP has gone on for much longer than 10 years. I still can't decide if that's meant to include The Collapse or is just a screw up (since the 10 years thing is mentioned at the beginning of TEotW and in the BBoBA)."

I was glad to see the reference/link to the "Strike at Shayul Ghul". (This was my first read of it.)

It says:

"We still cannot be certain how long passed between the creation of the Bore and the actual beginning of what would come to be called the War of the Shadow, yet plainly at least fifty years and possibly more than one hundred were marked by a rapid decline in the social order and an equally rapid increase in a thousand ills that previously had been either rare or entirely unknown. War itself was a "new" discovery,..."

"The War of the Shadow tilted one way, then another...the first three years, the Shadow made great gains,...Under the leadership of Lews Therin Telamon, ...much of what had been lost was retaken over the next four years, though not without reverses. At that point, a stalemate developed, and for nearly a year neither side was able to effect any gain..."

4+3+1 = 8 years, then we have the undated "squabble" about use of the seals versus use of the great sa'angreal. The set up there appears to have taken some time, bringing the duration of the War of Power to a total of about 10 years.

So here we get the time line of 100 year build up followed by 10 years of actual WoP.

It was that that squabble that resulted in "a woman named Latra Posae Decume" creating "the Fateful Concord," in which all the female Aes Sedai on the side of the Light essentially withdrew from the conflict so that none were present at the installation of the EotW.

Now my question:
Am I missing something about "Latra" - The entry at Tar Valon Library says she earned the name "Shadar Nor" fighting back the Shadowsworn after LTT did his thing. Has she been identified as anyone we should know/see in THIS turn of the Wheel? If not, WHY not - seems like a major supporting character if not a major player...???
(I am prepared to see the ... "You didn't know that.. from the BBoBA, etc. post, but no I don't know.)
hoping to be of the blood
115. ZamIt
Rikka@112 - Thanks. That must be it. It's at the end of chapter 25.
hoping to be of the blood
116. aye Aye Sedai
DId any one catch that there were several Aes Sedai that "found" the Aiel at the water sharing but not during their wandering... Wonder if the AS really remember their history with the Aiel or if that is distorted? While I think many when and died at Rhuidean wonder if several joined the Aiel and helped to start the Wise Ones?

Social & Racial Evolution at work in an isolated community?


@101 & 103 -LOL - Makes me think of the Monty Python Architect Skit - the residents enter the building - move on the walkway then the flying knives ...
what you didn't want an abattoir??
hoping to be of the blood
117. alexonthemove
BBoBA = Big Book of Bad Art - love it! I'be got that one and i total agree. thanks

Loved these 2 chapters from the beginning, although I'll admit a didn't catch the subtleties until the next few re-throughs. These historical back stories have always been my favorite parts in any series I read (loved the family history in Ann Rice's Witching Hour), and RJs the one to beat.

That Guy@74 - I always thought that if the female AS had been there to help seal the Bore, it would have worked and there would have been no taint. It seems to be the beginning of the female/male conflict that present throughout the story.

Thanks Leigh, and everyone else, love the comments, questions, ideas and sense of belonging here, keep it up! While I can "say" I loved these chapters, I'm awed at the powerful and emotional reasons everyone here shares on "why" they loved them.
hoping to be of the blood
118. dubya
re: the Ancestron/Rand as (Ninja)Jesus

Rand's ancestors as shown to us by the Ancestron seemed to me very similar to Jesus being descended from a long line of important Israelites all the way back to David. The apparent coincidence of this is still believable to me, especially since Rand is both the strongest ta'veren pretty much EVER, and probably the most important person EVER period.

And yes, these 2 chapters are truly TEH AWESOMENESS. An infodump that doesn't feel like a typical infodump.

btw Leigh, I am loving the Aladdin reference and this whole thing in general. Keep it up!
Chris Hall
119. bookwormchris
Yay! I'm finally caught up. Just had to skip like 10 billion comments to get here.

You brought up some of what I was going to say. This is them discussing the formation of the Eye. (Also apparently the Stone and the Sword hehe.) It is rather interesting that they seem to reference Fortelling here. Perhaps this is where the Prophecies come from? Or are they older? Do we know?

You mention the Eye as well.

Oh, and did we not catch a hint a Dreaming... no book, so no direct quote, but your summary says: "He shakes his head, and she smiles and says he will make a good father. Jeordam is puzzled, but begins to teach her again, and thinks he hears her murmur that she saw his face in the dream."

I believe somebody already mentioned about the women asking the men thing, from this part of the text.

There is so much in these chapters, but I don't have the books (which is good, I have no time to be sucked into them) and it is past time I went to bed.
hoping to be of the blood
120. Artsapat
Re: the ancestry for Rand.

I tended (see past tense) to agree with you that it was too much of a coincidence that Rand would descend from the person who worked with Mierin, not to mention: from the person who personnally saw the split of the Lost Ones to find the Song AND the person who lead the Aiel over the Dragonwall AND the clan chief that is eyed so intensely by the Aes Sedai. Therefore the line the Aiel see must be the same for all.

However (and this is the big however): Rhuarc (I think) says when Rand enters the camp in two or three chapters time that everybody sees something else. So, we have contrary information directly from somebody who knows enough from other ppl about what happened to compare.

Yes, even though nobody talks about what happens in Rhuidean - he even mentions that.

So, what I think is this: everybody gets to see there own family line. But, through intermarriage of all Aiel in the beginning and of clans later on, plus only a limited pool of Aiel surviving the Breaking, I would say it's not that much of a coincidence that Rand can be linked directly over 3,000 years (actually not through one, but through several lines) to Mierin.
Just think about it: with 2 parents, 4 grand-parents, 8 great-grand-parents, etc..., the number of ancestors over 3,000 years would be so many ancestors (guesstimate at 75 generations would be 2^75) that it is impossible to be done without intermarriage.
There must be many possibilities of going back to a single person in history. Maybe not everybody sees the same ancestor (especially the first view would be a different clan chief for everybody), but I would personally be surprised if there is any (ANY) Aiel alive in the series that is not somehow related to Mierin's PA.

BTW, great job as always.
hoping to be of the blood
121. Hopper's mum
@117 alexonthemove Does the BBoBA have another name? I don't know what you are talking about!
Amar Ramraj
122. aiel1219
Well just another thought I had in the shower today (I know I know...TMI) without any research... off the top of my head.

The visions seen in the Ancesticles (to use someonelses terminology) are different until the water sharing incident... this we have established. The water sharing incident and the Ruhidean scene are the only 2 perspectives we get from a "break away present day Aiel" ancestor's POV.

All the rest comes from the Original Aiel Ancestry. (I maybe very wrong here... in which case the theory breaks down... but I feel lazy to pick my books up atm).

So my thought is the AS in Ruhidean were only able to get 1 or mb 2 Aiel from the kick ass group to give their ancestral memories to the Ancesticle. But they had quite a few Jenn for the other major points in history who's ancestors were present before the big Aiel split (and many Aiel would share ancestry with those Jenn as we go further back in time).

which I guess is a theory by itself.
With me so far??

Now here's the theory... The Jenn gave their Ancestral memories to the Acesticles and in doing so something happened to them to cause them to die out... mb backlash from giving their history caused them to have no future or made em sterile or summn. But my theory is the giving of their Ancestral memories to the Ancesticle is what made em die out.

Poke holes ppl :) So I will be motivated to read and try to defend against or aquiesce to your spears.

EDIT: Whoever came up with the name ancesticles please Identify yerself... LOL!!! I really really like it... and not just cuz I almost always type antesticles n laugh when I have to correct it.
Amar Ramraj
123. aiel1219
@121. Hopper's mum
"The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time"
Also called the Big White Book and the Big Book of Bad Art by WoT fans.
Amar Ramraj
124. aiel1219
Peeps this is a comment I posted in pt7 of TSR re-read. I just wondered what a few of those WoT researchers/knowledge-mongers ((Err... u know yerselves)) thought abt the theory... since it didn't get many replys.
(Btw... Randalator... off the top o my head... u r one whose reply I'm looking forward to)

"Moiraine would doubtless think it
daring, a bold stroke; she might even approve. Maybe. She thought she knew his whole plan, now, and made no bones of disapproving that; no doubt she wanted it over and done as soon as possible. But the Aiel. . . . What if
they refuse? Well, if they refuse, they refuse. I have to do it"

This is what he was thinking as he was leaving the stone when Moiraine was talking about his plan to go to Ruhidean just after she told him that he had no need to be a clan chief. Which makes me think that Rand definitely had some foreknowledge about having to ask the Aiel for something and what leads me to reject that it could simply be being polite and Ta'vereness when he asked the wise ones to enter Ruhidean.

"The keys lay in those, and in the various translations of The Karaethon Cycle, if he could only find them and fit them to the proper locks."

This is one thing that makes me think it was prophecy... Rand was thinking this while in the stone and talking to the Lords about the treaty with Mayenne.

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

This Moiraine tells the girls is part of the Prophecy which Rand quoted to her, and he had been reading different translations and interpretations. I find it easy to see this being interpreted as memoories of what was and mb even about ancestors. Throw in the knowledge from prophecies and his Ta'vereness and BAM u got the ancient form.

P.S. The Chains the shadow sworn to his will could be a big part of how he knew he had to get Asmodean to teach him (though he probably didn't know it was Asmodean). Point is there is quite alot in this bit of prophecy that we see manifesting in Rand's actions later.
hoping to be of the blood
125. yosoyeljosh

Interesting! Not only do we see the first Maiden, we might be seeing the first Maiden to give up the spear to become a Wise One.


Rand's old-form asking is most likely something he read in a book. His lack of surprise by himself doesn't indicate much Ta'varenity or Old-Tongue, but it doesn't rule it out, either.

It's just one of those things we might never get a full answer to, and this late in the story, it's not likely to come up again.

However, it would be so much cooler if it was more than just reading old books. Magic is more fun than good research.
hoping to be of the blood
126. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
This is indeed one of the most gut-wrenching scenes in all of SF/Fantasy. Nothing Aragorn son of Arathorn or Paul Atreides went through would ever compare to this. Frodo's struggle to the Mountains of Doom might come close but still, no dice. The whole narrative just reeks of tragedy and sorrow and loss. A literal journey of sweat and tears.

Lannis @18
Less being born. By now the defections to the rest of the desert warrior Aielmen would have stabilised.

yosoyeljosh @39
They bound their selves like criminals with the oath rod. The oath rod is the binding rod used in the AOL for criminals.

AnotherRoy @51
In a way, the "way of the leaf" is already destroying the Aiel. Or rather, Rand's revelation that the Aiel used to follow it. Already more and more Aiel succumb to the bleakness. The final "remnants" won't be known until the Last Battle is fought.

Redhanded @57
For most every other male, the taint is unpredictable. For those of the 100 companions, it was for all intents and purposes, instantaneous. These were not only the strongest channelers of their time, nor just closer to the Bore. I'll bet they were also loaded with angreal and sa'angreal. That's part of the reason why they were so unstoppable. If it were modern Randland, the WT would have just gathered 13. But here in the AoL with presumably more skilled, more experienced and overall more powerful Aes Sedai present, the best suggestion they had was still run for your lives.

Samadai @67
The Breaking lasted closer to 300 years.

RobMRobM @94
The failure was in abandoning the Way of the Leaf. The final instructions to the Aiel were two-fold: Find a place of safety and stay to the Way of the leaf. They found the Three-fold land and built Rhuidean as a place of safety, but abandoned the Way of the Leaf. So they failed.

aiel1219 @109 and R.Fife @110
It would be from Kodam and his fellows.

Aye Aye Sedai @116
This would have been just a century or two after the start of the Breaking. These Aes Sedai would have been old enough to know what it was like in the AoL.

bookwormchris @119
Yep, I also caught the references to Dreaming. It appears to have been a particular skill for Aiel.
Iain Scott
127. iopgod
@104: Agree with you with regard to all/most clan chiefs (and Rand) probably being descendent from Charn. 3000 odd years is way long enough to get the genes spread amongst the general Aiel population (which was down to a few thousand at one point).

Question, though: according to the Strike at Shayol Ghul, the ter'angreal for controlling the mega-sa'angreal (whatever they are called) were lost during the final days before the Strike. How did they get to Rhuidean? If they were in the wagons, why didnt the EotW makers use them? Or the Aes Sedai that Jonai mentions take them?

I suppose the 3 Aes Sedai that join up with the Jenn later may have been the agents sent to recover them...
Richard Boye
128. sarcastro
err... you may lay the blame for the Ancestral Recepticles, aka Ancesticles at my feet...

I know, I know, I am a sucker for a bad pun...

(Acceptatron, Duopotamians, Cadsworn...)
hoping to be of the blood
129. birgit
Are Seanchan Ogier also affected by the Longing or did that only develop in Randland?

If the Bore was opened at the Sharom, it must have been where Shayol Ghul is now.

I would think the stronger in the power someone is, the more saidin they are filling themselves with, would lead to faster deterioration, just because of more of the taint being harnessed w/saidin.

The taint is like oil on clean water, so it should matter more how often you touch it than how much you take out with each touch.

So are we right to infer that the failure of the Aiel was in keeping all of the *angreal for the Rhuidean relocation or was it more about the failure to keep more individuals to the Way of the Leaf so that the city could have been properly completed?

The failure is that they gave up the Way of the Leaf.

tSR ch 26, p. 431
"Keep to the Covenant, Jonai. If the Da'shain lose everything else, see they keep the Way of the Leaf. Promise me."
"Of course, Aes Sedai," he said, shocked. The Covenant was the Aiel, and the Aiel were the Covenant; to abandon the Way would be to abandon what they were.

Perhaps it is set up to sense resistance to acceptance of the truth, and you get gateway-ed to nowhere. Rand seems to come out the other side - standing at the edge - with no clear sense of how he got there. However it works, it's quite a rig.

He slowly walked through. Between the memories he always takes a step forward in space and back in time.

"The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time"
Also called the Big White Book and the Big Book of Bad Art by WoT fans.

Why White Book? The German version has the cover art of DR.
Richard Fife
130. R.Fife
Big White Book in America because, without the dustcover on, it is just that, a giant, white book.

Also, as I understand it (and I haven't read Strike yet, will do that today), the access ter'angreal for the Choden Kal were not lost, per se, only in a province that fell to the Shadow shortly before the Strike. Luckily, the Shadow had no clue what it had actually just gotten its hands on. After the Forsaken were sealed, etc, it was probably not that hard for someone to have gone and nabbed them.

I'd imagine the Choden Kal were not used for the eye because of the strong resistance to the idea of using them in general for fear of tearing the pattern itself apart. That, and would you trust potentially crazy men with one? I wouldn't. And for all we know, the creation of the eye required a man to lead, similar to what Rand/Nyn did, so they might have been scared to use the female version too for fear of giving a man access to that much Saidar too.

I'd imagine the Aes Sedai who occasionally met the Aiel and took things just didn't know what they were, or were scared of them. If the Shadow did not know what they were went it captured them, it is likely most Aes Sedai wouldn't either, and the best/brightest died making the Eye.
hoping to be of the blood
131. Stone Dog
Absolutely agree these chapters are awesome. Fantasy writing at its best and the best chapters of the series so far.

One question. Is the last of the Nym the Green Man in EOTW?
hoping to be of the blood
132. bookworm
@131 Yes. The Green Man was Someshta.
hoping to be of the blood
133. laframboise
I rather sorta got the impression that Rand was slowly walking towards the center of the concentric rings, with a step taken between each set of memories - though there is a reference once to having moved more distance than a single step could account for, but when he 'came to himself' afterwards he was outside, and I don't recall a reference to another step taken in the interim. It seems as though the 'ultimate' memory would have been at the center, and how did he get from there to the outside? Adding that to Mat's observation that Rand had vanished almost immediately it just seems like there's more than simple traversing of a distance involved.
hoping to be of the blood
134. happi
>> She claimed one of the Forsaken was only partly trapped, or maybe not at all; Ishamael still touched the world, she said.

Is this the first time we get a clue as to the status of Ishamael - that he's sort of half in/out of the world - and it helps explain that he's not truly in the real world when he's interacting with Rand in the first 3 books?
hoping to be of the blood
135. JustMo
Hi Leigh and everyone! First time caller...long time lurker...

As I'm reading through the posts, this excerpt jumps out at me.

"Someshta approaches the field, and the Singing begins, the Nym taking the threads of the Ogier and Aiel song and weaving them into the soil and the seeds until they sprout, and Charn takes satisfaction that the plants will never be blighted or puny because of what they do. "

Seems to me that Someshta (or any Nym)is integral to making the Song work properly. My theory is that Somestha will be reborn from the big oak tree he was buried under in TEoTW. The Ogeir still remember their part of the song, and they will help the Tinkers remember their part. Someshta will take it and weave it into the ground and cure the Blight. It seems appropriate that this will occur after some sort of an Epilogue to show the healing process has begun.

Any thought from anyone else?
Deborah Jones
136. NanaD

I like it. Always was a sucker for a happy ending.
hoping to be of the blood
137. nickeyw
Brilliant summary Leigh

Just a quick question, when the clan chiefs go through the columns they see through their paternal ancestors eyes. Do the wise ones see through their maternal ancestors and if so does it differ greatly? It's a shame we never find out what the wise ones see as i think it probably comes from a very different perspective with different priorites.
hoping to be of the blood
138. laframboise
Perhaps the Aiel Clan Chiefs and Wise Ones will help the Tinkers remember their part of the song, since they hear it in the Ancesticles.
Deborah Jones
139. NanaD
Is this why the Aiel don't sing except for the songs for the dead?
hoping to be of the blood
140. bookworm
I think that the Wise Ones have a collective memory about the past already, and that they travel through to somewhere similar to the Aes Sedai rings. IIRC, women get to see many of the paths that are possible stemming from important decisions that they might be called upon to make (personal or societal). Moiraine hinted at some of the alternate paths for decisions she had considered.
Maggie M
141. Eswana
StoneDog @131
Yes, I think so. I didn't pick up on that the first time I read it, but Sometsha is charged with taking care of "these things" (with specific reference to the Dragon Banner and heavy hinting to the Eye of the World).

Just Mo @135 I also like the idea that he (if Nym have gender-- whole other discussion) would be reborn from the place where he killed Balthemael in tEotW.

Something I meant to comment on before- Rand sees the Choden Kal as he and Mat enter the grand square and he knows what they are, but thinks "not yet." So, he knew where they were, what they do, and what he was going to do with them. This makes sense, given that he asked the Finns about them, but wow, that's a lot of hint-dropping for five books later.

Whoever suggested that Rhuidean might be the ruins of Paaran Dissen- I like it. I don't think it's very likely (it just seems to coincidence-y for me), and I seem to remember reading (or maybe reading discussion to this effect) that Paaran Dissen was destroyed in the War of the Shadow.

I love these chapters. I love how they hint at things past and future, like the Song, the Tinkers, the various *angreal in Rhuidean, and even the Sea Folk (good catch RebeccaStar@44!). Beautiful.

hoping to be of the blood
142. AlfredTungstan
I think the Choden Kal were sent with the Aiel on the wagons on purpose. If you recall, at that meeting, they were discussing creating the Eye due to a Foretelling. Since the Sword is there as well, that must have been part of the Foretelling as well. It is only a small leap to assume that the Foretelling also was one of the promts to send the Aiel off with all of the items of Power, including the Choden Kal in order to keep them safe until needed in the future.

On a side note, I too have not yet read "The Strike at Shayol Ghul", though I do intend to, but a comment above leaped out at me. It was stated that one of the Female Aes Sedai did not agree with the men's plans and formed a covenent resulting in none of the women agreeing to help. Though this Aes Sedai was obviously not a Forsaken, could she have been a darkfriend, one of the original hidden Black Ajah. Knowing, as they did, that all the greatest works where done with the combined power of both sexes, by formenting discord, she assured the failure of the attempt to seal the bore. Leading of course to the Hell on Earth more commonly known as the Breaking. Just some thoughts.
hoping to be of the blood
143. nickeyw
140 Bookworm - I thought that was the rings that Aviendha and Moiraine went through but wise ones go to Rhuidean twice and the second time the wise one goes through the columns like the clan chiefs. I don't think we are told what the wise ones see in the columns.
hoping to be of the blood
144. That Guy
alexonthemove @117

I agree that it is a possibility that it could have worked correctly with females helping, however I think it was the seals, the patching of the Bore, that made it possible for the DO to perform his counterstroke.

I think that with women helping to set the seals, Saidar would have been just as vulnerable.

R Fife #130

About the other Aes Sedai that met up with them, I'd agree that they may not know what they are since the Access keys were apparently a top secret project.

Stone Dog @131

Someone probably already answered, but yes, The last Nym, Someshta, was the Green Man.
Richard Boye
145. sarcastro
I for one always found that the Fatal Discord or whatever they called it in tSaSG was really, really contrived.

That type of blatant gender-based antagonism would not seem to be congruent with the whole Ying-Yang, happy marriage of the sexes utopia of the Age of Legends.

Even though it was presented as a shocking development, it just struck me as too pat. It would have been far better if they simply had some of explanation as to why Saidin was corrupted but Saidar was not, like there were women included in the Companions, but all of them were killed or incapacitated at the time, or perhaps just inherent difference in the two forces that RJ used to inject that we had to accept because they just are.

(for example, lets say that the attempt to Seal the Bore required great strength in Fire and Earth - sure a few women qualified enough to participate, but the the, I dunno, 14 sisters who qualified never made it the Shayul Ghul, and the Hundred Companions is just a poetic name for the force that set out, but wasn't really ever one hundred).
hoping to be of the blood
146. Guillaume Bergeron
"The Tinkers and the Song are another example of information decay: they've conflated their seed-singing job and the peace of the pre-Bore period into a single whole, and are looking for something that never existed. "

Thank you for stating so succinctly what I've been arguing for years. There is no "Song", that's just story decay from Tinkers yearning for their old songs, their old way of life. It's not something for Perrin or anyone else to find...
hoping to be of the blood
147. bookworm
Thanks for the clarification, nickeyw @143.
hoping to be of the blood
148. happi
The name Jenn-Aiel - is it explained where that name comes from? Is is short for Genuine Aiel?
Richard Fife
149. R.Fife
Happi: close, actually. When Moi first meets the Wise Ones, she translates all the Old Tongue names, and the Jenn means something along the lines of genuine or "truely".

Also, IIRC, the Hundred Companions already was poetic, as it was over a hundred, like 114 or somesuch.
Marc Gioglio
150. u_turnagain
After weeks of trying to catch up, finally I can get into a current discussion! Sorry for the length, but I've been saving some things up.

As far as Taim, I would really like to see him hook up with Lanfear. Taim, to me, is the allied anti-villian. The guy who opposes the hero because he refuses to aspire to a world of only roses and sunshine, but opposes the villian out of pride. One could argue that this is already insanity, and thus whatever taint he is infected with feeds into this sense of purpose. He is insane, but not without priorities-first, defeat the evil challenging me, then defeat the sappy good guys.

Speaking of Male channellers, could they not be bound by the oath rod? Even leashed AS can not break the oaths. Could this have happened to Taim or Logain?

The three oaths always puzzled me (as I like to find ways around such bindings) so here is what I found:

Oath 1: "Under the Light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I vow that I will speak no word that is not true."

This leads me to the conclusion that a particularly cunning AS (Verin?) could harp on the "no word" aspect and limit themselves to not lying in with single word answers.

Oath 2: "Under the Light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I vow that I will make no weapon for one man to kill another."

This leaves open a whole bunch for making weapons for women to kill, and for more than one man to kill, and for men to kill women.

"Under the Light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I vow that I will never use the One Power as a weapon except against Shadowspawn, or in the last extreme of defending my life or that of my Warder or another sister."

By this logic, if I were captured by the seanchan, I would think that I could channel to use the OP as a weapon being that my life clearly does depend on it.

When I read the "leighder's digest version" above, the idea of Rhuidean crystals as TVs came to me with this quote:

"Rand quivered. The light from the columns was a shimmering blue haze that seemed solid..."

I can't stop thinking of Rhuidean as having a giant VCR/TV setup like Best Buy with different TVs showing different reenactments of Aiel history. Or perhaps more like a theme park where you step into a room and it moves you about while you watch the screens? Perhaps this is why rand moves further than he thought he should have?(Obviously there has to be some OP used in it if it extracts more recent memories, and perhaps works similar to the finns.)
As far as where the bodies go, it's obviously the video game janitors that clean them up.

And a final question, Someone brought up men leading a circle, is that possible? I thought women needed to present to form a circle, and always had to lead, but it's been a long while, so I'm probably misremembering.
Richard Fife
151. R.Fife
I think in a circle of more than 13, men have to lead. The plan for the strike would have been a circle of 13, IIRC, 6 men and 7 women. Dunno what the rules for 13-less are, although I think that whichever gender is more numerous leads, with ties going to men.

edit- had my Strike numbers backward
Deborah Jones
152. NanaD
Aiel Dedicated in the Old Tongue. Stronger than that; it implies an oath written into your bones.

Jenn Aiel The true dedicated, but again stronger. Perhaps the only true dedicated. The only true Aiel.
hoping to be of the blood
153. Tony Zbaraschuk
The glass columns as an adapted amusement park ride? Yeah, that would make sense.

Men can lead a circle; Rand leads Nynaeve when they cleanse the taint. You need women to be in the circle to form it at all; men can't link by themselves.
hoping to be of the blood
154. Dalamon
I didn't have a chance to read through the comments but thought I'd post my idea on the Aiel history.

I believe that the Aiel history is different up to a certain point. I believe the experience varies up to when the four friends go to rescue the girls. That is where the history merges into one main line. That is just my opinion though. I looked at it like "Farther Abraham has many sons" kinda' deal.

Great reread. Can't wait for more.
hoping to be of the blood
155. yosoyeljosh

Hinting that the original Aiel were bound by the Rod to serve Aes Sedai and do no violence?

Probably not, but maybe...

Peter Nein
156. gimpols1908
@ 155. yosoyeljosh

I thought the Oath Rod/binder only worked on people who could touch the one power... did i miss something in the discussion?

Also I believe being Aiel is as heritage type of thing. Sure some may run of on their rumspringer but many choose to live the lives of their parents.
Josh Davis
157. YoSoyElJosh

Well, we know there are ter'angreal that anyone can use, not just channelers. Additionally, criminals were "bound" in the Age of Legends, in a manner similar to how present Aes Sedai take their three oaths.

I would wager there was more than one oath rod in the Age of Legends (Sammael gives one to Sevanna later on), and that some rods may have used the One Power by the person taking the oaths, some may have required a channeler to power them, but only bound the individual touching the rod/taking the oaths, and others still might have simply worked without a True Source Battery.

There's so much about the AoL we don't know. =(
Deborah Jones
158. NanaD
Maybe nothing more than being bound by their own code of honor. Like the Ogier's oath and their modern Aiel cousins.
Sydo Zandstra
159. Fiddler
Good job, Leigh. As always.

Is Rhuidean actually the ruins of Paaren Disen?

Something in the flashback reminded me of the fountain in Rhuidean.

As some said before, It isn't. Rhuidean was founded by the last of the Jenn Aiel, after their travels, aided by a few AS, who brought Ogier. (I think Leigh describes that above). Paaren Disen was where the Aiel started their Journey, ordered by the AS leading that city.

In some way, we could consider Rhuidean as 'New Paaren Disen', though :)

I have also wondered whether or not the song that Coumin sings at the field is the Lost song the Tinkers are looking for. A story on the Tinkers journey would also be interesting. How did they come to be looking for a song? Has that ever been given?

I don't think it's one specific lost song, but more generally the sound of Aiel singing, like they did at Tzora.

Quoting Leigh here, from her summary above:
"Adan shouts back that they will not abandon their duty, and is shocked to see his hand clenched in a fist. Sulwin steps back, and counters that they are supposed to find a place of safety, where they can sing again, like in the stories his greatfather told him. Adan scoffs that the Aiel songs are gone; no one will ever sing them again."

In time, the Tinkers probably started thinking of this as one song (IMHO), to represent the concept of Aiel singing. (Note, Tinkers do not get to see their history in the glass columns in Rhuidean)

Rebecca Starr@44:
what courage those Aiel showed in the singing scene, dying so the other town residents can escape - I really hope we see something similar to this in the Last Battle, or maybe as a way to save Rand's sanity.

AMoL theory time: Rand will drop from sanity in battle, caused by Alanna dying (there is still a Warder bond there). The Aiel will start singing to Rand, and bring him back to some kind of sanity.

I know he's bonded to his women as well, but they are in the dream/vision, where Rand is taken away by boat. ;)

About foreshadowing how Rand is going to be cleansing saidin 5 books later, using the Choedan Kal, I don't think that is what Rand is thinking about in this chapter. He doesn't know yet that the evils of the DO and SL are fighting each other, thereby canceling each other out in some way. I find it more likely Rand started thinking about that after Flinn heals the double wound in his side, right after Padan Fain stabbed his old wound with the SL dagger.

The not yet thought is practical: he knows he'll probably have to use the Choedan Kal at some point in his fight against the DO. Just not yet at this time, certainly not with the memory of using Callandor making him feel godlike fresh in his mind...
Amar Ramraj
160. aiel1219
@153.Tony Zbaraschuk
Or maybe the Columns are like a One Power version of one o those 3D Imax movies.
Adam Parsons
161. Belement
156@gimpols1908 & 157@YoSoyElJosh

If I remember correctly, the person being "bound" by the Oath Rod has to be able to channel. When I think about it, you would need something drastic like this for those channelers that do criminal actions, someone with that much power over the rest of the general population and all. As has previously been stated, Semi was given the option of either being severed from the source, or using the rod. She side stepped the problem by joining the shadow.

I can only assume that the other ter'angreal used against criminals that can't channel is serving the same purpose as it was intended for in the AoL. That ter'angreal being the Chair of Remorse

On a side note though, we've got the idea that Lanfear is the encapsulation of Eve/Pandora. But I personally don't see her as also taking into account the position of Lillith. I really think Semirhage is better suited to this, with the need to torture her victims etc.
hoping to be of the blood
162. stepper
great as always thanks leigh

one thing I thought was very well thought out is how some of legacy of from the AOL was carried on by the Seanchan, but not on Rand's side of the ocean
For example the "insect like helmet" of the soldier guarding the fields
And the role of Ogier as fierce guards "Do you want the Ogier to come after you" from the wife of the man who assaulted a Jenn
Galen Brinn
163. GatheringStorm
birgit @ 129,

(Someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think)The Collam Daan, was actually in Paaren Disen. Shayol Ghul just happens to be the place where the pattern is thin enough to sense The Bore, but isn't actually any physically closer to The Bore than any other place.

I just finished reading TLoC and am pretty sure that (the Shayol Ghul part) comes from Demandred's perspective at the beginning of the book.

Since the allegory to "The Fall" has been made, has anyone else caught: Paaren Disen/Paradise?
Lannis .
164. Lannis
Re: Related lineage of the Aiel and Tinkers...

So, from all the thoughts floating about, are we safe to assume that if you send a Tinker through the Ancesticles, are they going to find the song they're so desperate to rediscover?

Or (and this is my opinion), has there been too much mixed breeding with Wetlanders (those darned kids who run away from home to live in those colourful wagons...), and they're all just, um, mutts now and lacking in the ancestral blood necessary to trigger the proper memories...

Evidence to the mixed blood: their colouring won't make you think Aiel, that's for sure... I think their Aiel-ancestry bloodline boat sunk a while ago... but part of me still wonders if an experiment wouldn't hurt--throw a Tinker through the Ancesticles and see what happens? Thoughts?
hoping to be of the blood
165. tearl
nickeyw @137

...when the clan chiefs go through the columns they see through their paternal ancestors eyes.

I'm not sure how specific you meant "paternal". For clan chiefs the POV is always male, but the relationship isn't strictly paternal. Many of the ancestral links were paternal because many of the POVs came on consecutive generations. At least the Encyclopedia WOT claims one matrilineal link; however, I wasn't able to find the supporting text.
hoping to be of the blood
166. RebelLives
Lannis@164, I think it would work for the Tinkers. It worked for Rand even though his parentage isn't strictly Aiel. His mother likely being Tigraine.

Fiddler@159, after reading everyone else's ideas I would agree with that. The Tinkers have just come to believe there is a single song.

I had never thought of this part as a Fall story. It makes me appreciate it more, known how much thought and planning Jordan really did.
hoping to be of the blood
167. Dalamon
Re: Tinker / Aiel History

I think it really does revolve around a common ancestry. Which is why only those of Aiel blood are allowed into Rhuidean to begin with, something about your ancestry triggers the columns.

Maybe if you aren't of the Aiel, nothing happens, but then again, maybe you witness something else entirely.

I try to think of Tigraine, if she had the ability to be a Wise One, would the Wise Ones LET her go to Rhuidean the second time, to remember what is lost? What would have happened to her?
Helen Peters
168. Helen
The sharing of water with Cairhein. This was the scene with Rhodric, yes?

But that's only 11 generations to the bore being opened.

According to Ingtar in the great hunt, the Aiel made a pact with Cairhein only 500 years ago. (There are only 2 types of people according to the aiel, Aiel and their enemies. They made an exception for the Cairhein about 500 years ago - Ingtar)

So, did they make 2 pacts, one in Rhod's time to say thanks for the water and another one 500 years ago, or have I got dates mixed up.

Also, if one Chora tree was planted at Rhuidean, one given to cairhein in thanks for water (by Rhod's people or 500 years ago) where's the other one? Presumably the one that Ghoetam sat beneath for 40 years....

Anyway, thanks for the re-read, and everyone's comments. I'm being more careful reading it this time round, trying to spot all the references you lot have shown me. Even spottred the reference and understood of Lenn going to the moon!
hoping to be of the blood
169. bookworm
My problems with sending any of the Tuatha'an into Rhuidean is that I don't remember any of them being described as looking like Aiel. Too many might have no Aiel DNA in them at all.

Maybe, there are still Tinkers who look Aiel, but I don't think that we have seen any. And, they do accept all who would follow the Way of the Leaf.
Richard Fife
170. R.Fife
Helen @168:
The gift of the cutting was 500-ish years ago. It was a repayment for the kindness of 3000 years earlier, and the Cairhien probably had no clue what the Aiel were talking about when they gave the tree/right of passage.

I think only one cutting survived to be planted in Rhuidean. The cutting given to Cairhien was taken from the fully grown one in Rhuidean 2500 years after it was planted. Ghoetam supposedly sat under the one in Rhuidean, even if the stories don't say as much. The stories also said the Greenman guarded the tree, but we saw how accurate that was.
Galen Brinn
171. GatheringStorm
According to Mat, the stories only mention Ghoetam sitting under the Tree of Life, but not necessarily which one and we know that the Chora trees were all over the AoL.

Reference has been made that Ghoetam = Siddartha Gautama (aka Buddha), who allegedly sat under a tree for 40 years in search of enlightenment.
hoping to be of the blood
172. That Guy
Helen @168:

R. Fife @170 is correct, but to add to this, the reason it was only granted 500 years ago, IIRC, was that they had problems locating the family responsible for the sharing of water.
hoping to be of the blood
173. That Guy
Also, about the Tinkers, if you could find someone who actually has decendancy from the Aiel, it would probably work. But you couldn't just pick any old Tinker, as we know, some come and join of their own will, so if you just grab an old man off the wagon he could be just an old man off the wagon.

Besides, IIRC the Tattooing Time Machine is broke. Rand and Asmo kinda shot that possibility down.
Blake Engholm
174. UncrownedKing
"Someshta approaches the field, and the Singing begins, the Nym taking the threads of the Ogier and Aiel song and weaving them into the soil and the seeds until they sprout, and Charn takes satisfaction that the plants will never be blighted or puny because of what they do"

The Nym as a race take the voices and weave them? Thats a really cool visual. I do not know if this has been discussed, but is this how the Ogier create things from the trees they sing to? I would assume so.

This song (or songs) is The lost Song right?
Deborah Jones
175. NanaD
I think so, but all the experts say "There is no Song." We'll just have to wait and see.
Chris Maurer
176. grayfox
That Guy @173:

I don't think it is broken. I just read one of the chapters in Rhuidean in tFoH and Rand comments on the shiny sparkles coming from it.

Which brings up a question as I was reading the first few chapters of tFoH. Each book has those background filler pieces where each character fills the reader in on some details from previous book(s). I typically don't mind it, but it made me wonder if the final 2 parts of aMoL will be the will part 2 of aMoL have this stuff filling us in on what happened in part 1? Or will the story just pick up where it left off and keep truckin?

I really hope it is the "keep truckin" model...
hoping to be of the blood
177. hoping to be of the blood
I think you are right, as far as we know. LTT refers to a Singing, in the tEoTW proloque.

Have you the Voice, stranger? It will soon be time for the Singing...

The capital implies a Talent. There may have been many songs, for different purposes, in the aol that used the power, with the seedsinging song only being one of them. Together they contributed to what made the aol an eden.
Josh Davis
178. YoSoyElJosh

Yes, the "song" they're looking for is really the Singing that they used to do with the Ogier. They've actually heard the Ogier song, but since it didn't make the world peaceful again, it wasn't the right one.

The Tinkers will probably never find the Song they're looking for - it never existed. They began associating the singing with the peace that existed before the Breaking of the World, where the Way of the Leaf wasn't such a hard life to live.
Ofer Nave
179. odigity
Thanks for linking to The Strike at Shayol Ghul. Haven't read that in so long.

That Guy@79: I also tend to believe that if the females were there at the sealing that both sides would have been tainted.

Well, if we treat the tainting as an automatic thing, like a chemical reaction, then we can't speculate as to what would have happened if the women helped, since we don't have any evidence or examples of similar situations. However, if we treat the taint as a conscious act on the part of the Dark One to take his revenge, then interesting possibilities emerge. First, a bit of summary and setup:

- the DO was sealed properly until Mierin got funding
- LTT's plan only succeeded in temporarily patching the bore, so it's just a matter of time before it opens again

Assumptions on my part:
- it takes the One Power to create the bore in the DO's prison

Finally, the key question:
- if the women had helped, would the bore have been properly sealed again instead of temporarily patched?

The scenarios differ based on the answer to that key question. Here they are:

IF YES: The men and women strike at Shayol Ghul, the DO is sealed. It's possible this proper sealing might have made it impossible for the DO to taint-retaliate. However, even if the DO still had that option, would he have chosen to taint both saidin and saidar? If he taints both, all channelers go mad and die... no one left to channel... no one will ever be around to get funding and drill the bore in another age. Trapped forever. If the DO is properly sealed, then he needs at least one half of the power to remain available if he ever wants to escape again. So, no, both sides won't get tainted, though one side might still, and it may have even been saidar instead of saidin (DO's choice?).

IF NO: Including women in the strike would still have resulted in only placing the temporary patch, in which case the DO is still busting out in 3000 years with or without the help of channelers, and therefore is free to taint both sides at will if he so chooses.

Now to build further on this foundation. Speculation time:

I put forward the proposition that Latra Posae Decume was a dark friend (er... Friend of the Dark in AOL parlance).

First, she made LTT's 7-seals plan impossible by ensuring no female of sufficient strength would help. Now, I doubt she simply used reason, since why would the two sides of an intellectual debate about something not gender related result in both sides divded perfectly on gender lines? I suspect the use of intimidation (bullying, blackmail...), torture, compulsion, etc.

Second, she championed the second plan of making the biggest sa'angreal ever, which, incidentally, could be used by any channeler - including the forasken. So, useful to the enemy, unlike the seals, which would just be decorative coasters to them if they captured them.

Third, just as the access ter'angreal were completed, Sammael attacked and almost succeeded in capturing them. How convenient that he knew when and where to strike. Would have probably ended the war if he succeeded, given how powerful they were. Probably enough to break the Dark One free, even.

Fourth, and this is where we tie in to the first half of my post. If the answer to the key question was YES - that is to say, if including women would have resulted in a proper seal, and either no taint or only one side tainted, then
Latra Posae Decume is single-handedly responsible for a great deal of the suffering of the Third Age, as well as Tarmon Gaidon, and possibly the Breaking (depending on whether the DO would and could still taint half the power).

Addendum: I personally like this theory because of it's horrific irony. In a series that is championed as *the* fantasy epic for respecting women as equals in power and ability, all the trouble can be traced back to, to put it simply, the fact that them women wouldn't listen to their menfolk back during the War of Power. :) (Oh man, I'm about to get SO flamed...)
Peter Nein
180. gimpols1908
I, for one, can't wait to discuss why "see" is in italics in some of the later books. (i.e. she had to see.)

/all of the other things we argue and postulate about, this is what gets me most.
hoping to be of the blood
181. RebelLives
odigity, Latra Posae Decume being a darkfriend is an interesting theory. However, I think based on the story it is not a necessity. The way I read it, what she did was not much different than Nyneave convincing the Women's Circle that Bran and Tam were being foolish for putting up new gates on the roads into TR even though they know the Whitecloaks are coming. She would much rather block the roads with people with clubs.
Amar Ramraj
182. aiel1219
As I was reading your post I had a thought...
Something to consider as a reason for her influencing women to stay out of it... what if she had a foretelling (or mb another woman had it and she interpreted it as the men sealing the bore resulting in them going batshit Crazy) about men breaking the world because of them trying to seal the bore... a self fulfilling prophecy. She had this foretelling thus influnced the women not to be a part of it causing the women strong enough not to be involved thus causing the bore to be improperly seadled and taint and madness etc.

another thing to consider... sheesh can't waait to read the final 3 books... hope this gets answered!!!
hoping to be of the blood
183. That Guy
Odigity @179:

I think we can throw out chemical reaction, it is referred to rather often as the DO's counterstroke.

Stolen from the re-read of the prologue of TEOTW:

Tedronai then reminds him that it was he, Lews Therin, who had killed Ilyena and all his kin, not Tedronai, after Lews Therin’s attack on the Dark One allowed the counterstroke which sent the Hundred Companions insane

Per the knowledge you listed:

- the DO was sealed properly until Mierin got funding
- LTT's plan only succeeded in temporarily patching the bore, so it's just a matter of time before it opens again

So you acknowledge that it's just a matter of time before the Bore opens again.

So we know that it was a direct counter from the Dark One, and that the patch will only weaken over time.

We do agree that it may have been properly done if the women were there, but I doubt that. The patch to me is just the wrong answer overall. It is not a good fix. I think LTT realized this afterwards, and that is why we have the "BREAK IT" scene later when Taim gives Rand the Seal.

However, even if the DO still had that option, would he have chosen to taint both saidin and saidar? If he taints both, all channelers go mad and die... no one left to channel... no one will ever be around to get funding and drill the bore in another age. Trapped forever. If the DO is properly sealed, then he needs at least one half of the power to remain available if he ever wants to escape again. So, no, both sides won't get tainted, though one side might still, and it may have even been saidar instead of saidin (DO's choice?).

Disagree totally. If he taints both sides and the Seal goes away as we see is happening, the Forsaken get to come out and be the only 13 powerful people, and can use the source without a problem as evidenced by the black chords. Game over, the DO wins.

I don't think Latra Posae Decume was a darkfriend. I think she was Ta'Veren. With both of them being Ta'Veren they could both strongly influence things, and it explains how she would have been able to get that many women to agree with her to sign the Fateful Accord.

The second point is kind of a wash, if you are going to make any sa'angreal they could easily fall into the wrong hands, so don't think that this implicates anyone in particular.

Third point, if she was a darkfriend, the DO would have won immediately after Sammael took over that area. You acknowledge that she was the champion of the idea, and although it was a top secret project, I am sure that she would have been privy to the info in her position, so in my opinion your third point basically refutes your own argument. It is also in The Strike at Shayol Ghul that the people were captured and did not give up the location of the access ter'angreal, and that the forces of the dark had no clue what they very nearly stumbled on.

Your fourth point would have no standing, and it would basically be the opposite, pointing to the fact that it was only due to the wisdom of women that the Dark One did not win.
hoping to be of the blood
184. Rand Al'Todd
More good discussion of the Strike.

I repeat my question:

Who is going to play the Latra Posae Decume role in this cycle????
185. Shadow_Jak
6. RebelLives
I have also wondered whether or not the song that Coumin sings at the field is the Lost song the Tinkers are looking for.

I always thought that the exchange between Adan and Sulwin where the "tinkers to be" abandon the task the Aes Sedai have assigned was the origin of the Tinker search for the lost song.

Adan shouts back that they will not abandon their duty, and is shocked to see his hand clenched in a fist. Sulwin steps back, and counters that they are supposed to find a place of safety, where they can sing again, like in the stories his greatfather told him. Adan scoffs that the Aiel songs are gone; no one will ever sing them again. Sulwin disagrees, and so do the men with him. A quarter of the camp starts unloading the wagons, taking much of what is there, and Sulwin warns Adan not to try and stop them. Furious, Adan tells Sulwin that he and his followers are no longer Aiel.

Not an actual lost song, but a metaphor for all they have lost.

“Go!” Adan shouted. “Go! You are not Aiel! You are lost! Lost!

Certainly the origin of the Aiel name for Tinkers.
hoping to be of the blood
186. bookworm
I don't believe Latra was a DF, just opinionated. None of those kind of Aes Sedai back in the AoL, eh? That kind of attitude survived the Breaking.

Anyway, I think that had LTT struck at Shayol Ghul with the correct balance of female Aes Sedai, events might have gone for the better. But, then there wouldn't have been much of a story either, now would there?

I would just like to add that this is a great sounding board. Making me remember lost details, and shattering some of my favorite pet theories.
187. Shadow_Jak
84. Lsana

Also, is anyone else a little bit disturbed by the history of the Aiel? The way it is presented is that they were the hereditary servants of the Aes Sedai, forbidden weapons or any methods of self-defense, could not marry without permission from their masters. The implications of that aren't good.

Absolutely. Always found it strange that people get so hot over the Seanchan, but never even notice that the AOL Aes Sedai have their own "slaves".

I know this is not how Jordan meant it to come across, but from the description here, the Da’shain Aiel seem to me to represent the worse possible form of slavery. Slavery so deeply ingrained, so firmly embedded, that the slaves have no sense of self except as a slave. No identity other than that of servant to the Aes Sedai. Happy as long as they can sit around the plantation at night (well away from the big house, of course) and sing a few songs.
Luke M
188. lmelior
Who is going to play the Latra Posae Decume role in this cycle????
Wouldn't this perhaps be Egwene? Leader of the White Tower vs. leader of the Black Tower, makes sense. Someone (11 years ago!) has even theorized that Egwene is Latra Posae Decume reborn. The evidence is:

1. TEotW, Ch.18.
Mat shouts "Carai an Caldazar! Carai an Ellisande. Al Ellisande!" Egwene says she, "thought...just for a minute I thought I understood you. But it is all gone, now." IIRC, not even Rand said such a thing.

2. TDR, Ch. 26.
She ties off her weave, without realizing she knew how. "I keep learning how to do things without knowing what they are, she thought nervously." It's an old post, so the fact that she pretty much rediscovers Traveling on her own may support this.

3. TSR, Ch. 11.
Egwene sees a broken access key for the female Choedan Kal. It seemed very familiar to her, calling for her to pick it up.

I'm not really convinced of the theory myself, but the parts above are interesting.
Alice Arneson
189. Wetlandernw
84. Lsana
187. Shadow_Jak
Also, is anyone else a little bit disturbed by the history of the Aiel?


I've never understood why "serve" seems to equal "slave" for some people. Just because the Aiel "served" the Aes Sedai does not in any way mean that they were slaves. If I serve my family by keeping the house clean, cooking meals, and doing laundry, does that make me a slave? or does it just mean that I choose to fulfill my responsibilities to my kids & my husband? I think in the AoL, the Aiel took great delight in their role as those who provided the support services, if you will, to make it possible for the Aes Sedai to fulfill their role. Remember, "Aes Sedai" literally translates to "servant of all". The AS had their role to play, as well, and their job was to do all those things for society that could only be done with the OP: healing, much of the transportation & communication tech, whatever. While some obviously were interested in personal power (or other wierdness... see the Forsaken backgrounds, eewww), most of the AoL AS really were servants of society at large. What shame is there, then, in being the people who make sure those servants have food, clean clothing, or whatever else they need? Is it slavery to provide support to those who give so much to everyone else? I don't think so, and I don't think the Aiel thought so either. I think they found great joy and delight in it.

As I understand it, they were "forbidden" weapons only by their own Covenant, not by their "AS owners". The Covenant defined to themselves first, and secondly to the rest of the world, who they were as a people, and it was held in great esteem by the AS. As seen by the reaction of that couple who bumped the Aiel guy, they had no need of weapons for self-defense - they were honored in society because they were Aiel. They were the dedicated - they had a higher purpose than just making a living.

Oh, and the "permission" was not for the marriage itself, but for the transfer of service from one AS to another so that there would be no conflict between the needs of the marriage and the needs of differing "employers" (for lack of a better word).
Ofer Nave
190. odigity
Almost 200 comments, and no one has mentioned the ripple?

One of my favorite parts of KoD (I'll keep it brief - I've already discussed how much I want to talk about KoD, and how hard it is to wait) is when reality "ripples".

I didn't connect it to the ripple here during the bore opening because I only recently read KoD for the first time, and haven't read TSR since reading KoD, and so had no opportunity to connect the two (it's too small and disconnected of a detail to recall out of 12k pages... till now). I only made the connection now, when reading Leigh's summary:

"Chagrined, the man apologizes profusely, and Charn replies that it was his own fault, and asks if the man is injured. Before he can answer, the ground ripples, and so does the air. The man asks Charn what that was, and other citizens who saw his short-cut hair gather to ask the same, but he ignores them, looking up at the Sharom, floating a thousand feet above the domes of the Collam Daan."

That's exactly like the ripples in reality from KoD, and for the same reason - the DO is reaching through the bore to directly affect reality.

I suppose there's not much more to say besides pointing at both and hopping and saying "look! look! it's the same thing!", but it seems significant to me for some reason.
Amar Ramraj
191. aiel1219
Does NE1 else ever wonder what happened to Coumin. He's the 1st Aiel ever to pick up the spear/shock lance (that we know about anyway). NE1 remember RJ commenting on this or anything like that?
192. Shadow_Jak
On resistance to insanity from the taint, the variations sound very reasonable to me.
In our world (one world, called the real world by some), there are people who lose their sanity, at varying rates and degrees, from various causes; heredity, disease, environment, drugs (not to mention the Taint!).
Amar Ramraj
193. aiel1219
About the taint and insanity thingy... From what I can remember of the later books... those men who went mad had the symptom of muttering to themselves ... just like Rand arguing with LTT right?

So what if the effect of the Taint is related to the number of times the wheel has spun you out? Just a crackpot theory I guess... but these often make other ppl (and me) think more on the matter and come up with some good stuff :)
hoping to be of the blood
194. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
bookworm @169
Since the Tinkers accept anyone who joins them they currently no longer look like an Aiel. However, by intermarriage and interbreeding everyone would inevitably find an Aiel ancestor if they look back far enough. I suspect the proof that the Song never existed and will never be found will be as devastating to a Tinker as the realization that they used to follow the Way of the Leaf was to an Aiel.

lmelior @188
We need only look at their current work. So far Egwene has not shown any sign of intending to actively oppose Rand. We do, however have an Aes Sedai in a high position who would throw a fit at the idea of cooperating with men. Or anybody else, for that matter, she just wants the glory for herself. So if you really want to look for Latra Posae's reincarnation(not that it really matters), start with Elaida.

aiel1219 @191
Coumin got left behind in Paaran Disen. If he was still there a day or two later when Jaric and Heindar arrived, then he is most likely melted glass.
hoping to be of the blood
195. Aye Aye Sedai
Re - wasn't the Bore opened by Mirin and B(??) trying to access a new energy that would tie Saidar and Saidin together - this suggests that the two were used to open the Bore and thus probably needed to be used to close the Bore.

- I would propose that the AS (IIRC Aes Sedai was used for both male and female) needed both m/f to close the bore once opened - so ... by only using one half resulted in a feedback or reaction from the DO to taint the power. IF the m/f was improperly done they both would have gone mad.

The Strike at SG being outside the novels is difficult to refer to as not all have read it but - I don't think we need to blame DF but rather just the stubborn woolheadedness of the people (both male and female). As RJ kept referring to wanting/showing that m&f needed to work together for success.
hoping to be of the blood
196. Aye Aye Sedai
I was noticing that Paren Diesen and the Black veiled Aiel and the Song and the Voice were all introduced back in the intro to the Eye of the World - I knew there were bits and pieces set up in one spot for use in another , that made be really believe this universe - now i'm seeing there was a lot more detail to this tapestry. Hard to realize when there was such a long wait between books.

I think they also refer to the time from the gifting of the Chora tree at the giving of water to the Aiel War/Oathbreaker's Death was 500yrs. An then we had 16 or so generations back to the Opening of the Bore.

Does any one know what RJ's initial vision for the series length was and then when he knowingly deviated and began adding more details in trying to get to his ending? Any specific knowledge of who/what he has added /altered from his initial vision as he got into the series?
hoping to be of the blood
197. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
Actually, Mierin's plan was to replace Saidin and Saidar entirely. So that men and women would both channel the same Power, not opposite halves.
hoping to be of the blood
198. Ansible
I apologize if I missed it above, but is it possible that all of the current Aiel could trace their roots back to one of the people in the visions, say Lewin or Charn?)

We see plenty of death and Aiel leaving. Is it reasonable that only a fragment of a fragment of the Aiel from the Age of Legends made it to become the Aiel from today?
Alice Arneson
199. Wetlandernw
196. Aye Aye Sedai
I think they also refer to the time from the gifting of the Chora tree at the giving of water to the Aiel War/Oathbreaker's Death was 500yrs. An then we had 16 or so generations back to the Opening of the Bore.

These were two separate events. The giving of water was the thing Rand saw in the columns, (Rhodric's POV) where Garam's father allowed the Aiel to draw water from their wells. The gifting of the chora cutting was much later; after they had been going to the columns in Rhuidean for some while, they decided that they should do something for those who had shared water with them. Then it took a long time to figure out who those people had become. When they finally got that nailed down, they went to Cairhien and gave them the chora cutting and right of passage across the Waste. It was 500 years after that (520 years before our story begins) when Laman cut down the tree to make himself a throne, breaking the oath with the Aiel and bringing down the chastisement that the wetlanders call "the Aiel War".

Others will probably answer your last question better than I, but iirc he first thought it would be 5 or 6 books, then by around book 4 realized that it would have to go a lot more to do the full story as he envisioned it. Which segues into a whole 'nother essay on great literature and authors... I might even write it tonight. Or not.
hoping to be of the blood
200. AMMBD
The Jenn appear to have understandably faded due to multiple attrition sources: broken world, member loss due to insistence on self defensive behavior, accident, age & whatever stresses setting up the Rhudian created.

Disturbing quite. Those are pretty d4mn1ng implications of an already corrupt culture. Equally disturbing is implication that the Aiel are to just up & stop defending themselves once the Final Battle's won.

I have nothing but contempt & disgust for those foully selfish betrayers refusing to defend or rescue their kin. Family & friends are meant to take care of each other ~ especially each others children! They most certainly are NOT meant to abandon them to enemies.

I think the surviving Aiel were deliberately set up to fail by the AS and because someone Foretold it's necessity for the future destruction of the DO. In a Broken world, there was no way to keep the artifacts AND reach safey while maintaining the Way of the Leaf.

Absolute full disclosure Truth telling may be necessary, but it will destroy rather than free if the listener is unready or unable to hear it.

Case in point: Muadin. . . I suspect he was so inflexibly fixated on his prideful interpretation of what's supposed to be what; plus, his views of right & wrong, that having experienced the literal POV of original realities of Aiel history snapped his mind. (I suspect perhaps his ancestors were the last to abandon the Way of the Leaf which surely would have cranked up the pressure!) If he could have exited the Memories he might not have eaten his eyes. Of course then he'd've stirred up all kinds of hell.

On the whole Mat as variant avatar ~ I always figured after this massive clue bat clobbery, he's been clearly chosen to be a fusion of Odin's & Loki's 'better' aspects.
hoping to be of the blood
201. Clay Blankenship
I just want to concur with the other comments above that this is the greatest section in the whole series. I love how so many threads are tied together and how so many aspects of Aiel culture and history are explained.
Michael Johnson
203. twosheddz
I always thought that the song that the Tinkers are looking for was perhaps not the seeding song, but the song they sang arm-in-arm trying to keep the male AS from annihilating everyone else.

Just a thought.

Mucho thanks to Leigh for the "Leighder's Digest" (that cracks me up) and to everyone else for their great discussions.
Sydo Zandstra
204. Fiddler
If there is a current incarnation of Latra Posae Decume, it has to be Egwene. I'm not sure if it would have to do something with this, but there's still a Foretelling by Elaida saying 'the DR will face the wrath of the Amyrlin Seat'. (note that it says face instead of suffer.)

But unlike the situation in LTT's time, there are enough strong female channelers tied to the Dragon Reborn, independent from the White Tower or willing to ignore an Amyrlin's command, who would follow him to Shayol Ghul, whether Egwene likes it or not.

- The AS who swore fealty to Rand
- Wise Ones
- The AS who have been bonded by Logain's Asha'man
- Alivia
- possibly Cadsuane and her followers

And last, but certainly not least, Elayne, Aviendha and Nynaeve. For these three it might be a dilemma, but their acts have shown they are loyal to Rand. And more important, Rand trusts them.

And if Moiraine comes out of *Finnland with her ability to channel still intact, she would join Rand too.

Note that most of the strongest female channelers in WoT are among the groups I listed above. :)

So I guess the 'Latra Posae Decume factor' won't have any consequences this turn of the Wheel.

(and now I have this picture in my mind of Egwene stamping her foot, like a little girl who doesn't get what she wants...)
Ofer Nave
205. odigity
birgit@129: Are Seanchan Ogier also affected by the Longing or did that only develop in Randland?

No mention of it either way so far. The Seanchan Ogier fascinate me. Ever since we saw them the first time (Mat POVs starting in WH?), I've been waiting for some Randland Ogier and Seanchan Ogier to bump into each other. It's going to be... interesting.

birgit@129: The taint is like oil on clean water, so it should matter more how often you touch it than how much you take out with each touch.

I had the same thought, and was going to post it, but then I thought of something else. Doesn't Rand talk about feeling the taint flowing into him as he channels? I get the feeling it's more like being a pipe, and the power is flowing through with the taint floating on top, in which case it would proportional to how much you channel - not just a one time cost when first embracing the source, which would be more like breaking the taint surface and then having access to clean saidin to channel afterwards until you let go of the source.

Bottom line - we just don't know.
Ofer Nave
206. odigity
Also, since we're talking about the AOL AS setting up Callandor - I'd love to know what kind of ward they used that would only give way to a single person who won't even be born for 3k years. How do you program that?
Sharyn Blum
207. rynners
odigity @ 206

You know, that's something that has always nettled me, as well. I mean, sure it's a whole Sword in the Stone thing, right guy/right time, blah blah thing. But, this is set up pretty specifically as not just stuck biding its time but actually protected/warded by a shield woven by the two halves of the power.

So, you can pretty much rule out divine inspiration on how to unravel the weaves, since that would give Rand only the ability to take down the male weaves, even granting the possibility that someone other than the weaver can unravel a set weave. (Yikes, can I use some variant of the word "weave" one more time in that sentence?) And, if later incidents are any guide, you'd have to figure the consequences of trying such a thing and flubbing it would be quite severe, though Rand may have no idea about that. Besides all that, from the timing in the story, it doesn't really appear that he takes a lot of time mucking about once he decides to go for the Sword What Ain't.

It can't be some kind of genetic immunity to the barrier, since there've been a few Fortellings, but nothing clear enough to really distinguish a person. Besides which, any genetic marker (call it a family trait, since I doubt AoL AS knew much about DNA) would, after so many successive generations be either diluted beyond recognition, extremely widespread in the population, or gone entirely.

I'm sort of grasping at any other "practical" explanation for it, which leaves me to wonder if this is just one of those Magic Did It/It Had To Be This Way/It Was RIGHT And Therefore It Is moments where we just have to suspend disbelief. Anybody care to offer further thoughts?
Sydo Zandstra
208. Fiddler
Also, since we're talking about the AOL AS setting up Callandor - I'd love to know what kind of ward they used that would only give way to a single person who won't even be born for 3k years. How do you program that?

They didn't use such kind of a backdoor.

Ta'veren. If the Pattern wants the Dragon Reborn to pass the traps set on Callandor in order to pull it out, it makes sure that he unweaves the traps. ;) There are also indications of LTT inspiring Rand to create weaves (at the attack in the Stone of Tear). LTT would know how to unravel/pass saidin traps around Callandor. So it wouldn't be based on genetics, but on skill passed on after being Reborn plus being sponsored by the Pattern.

The saidar traps were probably there to keep women from getting Callandor, leaving men alone. Saidin traps were probably set to be as nasty as possible to anybody, and set by some of the young men those AS trusted, before they took them to create the pool of saidin at the EotW.

edit: after thinking about this some more, I think it's possible that the saidar weavings were set around Callandor only to warn female channelers that there are saidin weaves around it. Women cannot see saidin weaves and they cannot cancel them, but they can see a 'nothing' when saidar weaves are around saidin. IIRC that has been mentioned in one of Egwene's dream trips in tDR.
Richard Fife
209. R.Fife
I think its not a trap, per se, unless you try to channel it away. From when Egwene tried to touch the sword in the Dream, and the name, I think it makes a physical barrier that just stops anyone from touching it. Also, seeing as they new it would be LTT reborn, perhaps they know how to key to a soul, and many of them knew LTT, so they could have logically known his soul enough to trigger to it.
Richard Fife
210. R.Fife

It can't be some kind of genetic immunity to the barrier, since there've been a few Fortellings, but nothing clear enough to really distinguish a person. Besides which, any genetic marker (call it a family trait, since I doubt AoL AS knew much about DNA) would, after so many successive generations be either diluted beyond recognition, extremely widespread in the population, or gone entirely.

Eh, wasn't Balthamel a genetic scientist? He made the trollocs and other shadowspawn via bio-engineering. Just because they are doing it with the Power and not labs and needles doesn't mean they don't understand it.

Something I always wondered: did the AoL have space travel?
Sydo Zandstra
211. Fiddler
Minor nitpick:

It was Aginor who was good with genetic engineering. Balthamel was more focused on women.

On Callandor, I still think they didn't need to key it to a single person/soul. They just had to make sure it was protected from male channelers as good as possible, and let the Pattern/Wheel sort it out after that.
Richard Fife
212. R.Fife
ugh, I knew that...need more Kaf
hoping to be of the blood
213. RebelLives
aiel1219@191, I don't think it was explicitly written, but I always thought Coumin began the tradition of protecting the other Aiel, by following the wagons, but always keeping separate.

I've always thought of the Randland Ogier as similar to the Amish.
hoping to be of the blood
214. Lsana
While we're all waiting for the next post, I wonder if I could ask a question. It isn't directly related to these chapters, but it's been something I've been wondering for a while:

Do we know what happened to the seal in the Stone of Tear? Is it still there, did Moiraine try to send it back to Tar Valon, or did someone else take it? I'm pretty sure that Moiraine didn't take it, since I seem to remember that after she finds the seal in Rhuidean, she makes some reference to "if the seal I found in Tear is in the same condition..." which suggests she doesn't have it, but I can't remember if we ever hear about it again.
hoping to be of the blood
215. alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed
odigity @206, rynners @207
I always thought the traps around Callandor were simply keyed to genetic markers found in Aiel. Given the Aiel aversion to touching swords, an aversion which also holds true for their other descendants, the Tinkers, the sword was bound to stay untouched. I know it's simple but it actually worked.

Fiddler @212
Balthamel's forte was anthropology. Long dead cultures. Just throwing that out.
Richard Fife
216. R.Fife
Lsana, Moiraine took it and the seal from Rhuidean, put them in barrels filled with cotton, and carried it to Cairhien. I think Rand has since taken the seals and hidden them, although I can't remember if we are told where.

Her reference to the seal from Tear perhaps being in the same condition was her not wanting to test it, I think. For all she knows, that thin slice she cut off the Rhuidean seal F'd it up some. No reason to damage a seal if there is no need and all risk.
hoping to be of the blood
217. tearl
R.Fife @216, re current location of the unbroken seals

The two Cairhien seals were given to Dobraine to keep. In COT he was nearly killed when he surprised some "burgulars" ransacking his quarters.

Taim's seal (completing the set of three unbroken seals) was given to Bashere. In COT his wife Deira was also attacked when she similarly surprised thieves. She only received a gash on her arm.

The four broken seals are 1) from the Eye, 2&3) Falme and 4) Tanchico (originally unbroken).
hoping to be of the blood
218. warcaller
R.Fife @ 210

Yes the AOL had Space Travel. If I remember correctly Mogheiden mentions something about other planets under different stars when she's fighting Nynaeve
hoping to be of the blood
219. Flyxx
Hi to all!

Since there is a discussion going on why the barrier around Callandor could only be breached by Rand (remember that the Forsaken he is fighting at the stone couldn't touch it) here is a similar question: How did the "Ancestron" recognise Rand as the Car'a'Carn? He's the only one who received two Dragon markings on his forearms.

I have no clue by myself and hope to be enlighten by you. ;o)

By the way: Thanks a lot Leigh for the re-reads! I really enjoy them.
Galen Brinn
220. GatheringStorm
I like the theory of Latra Posae being a Dark Friend, but I suspect it's just more likely that she's...thick and obstinate, like every other major character in WoT: Her way or the highway, type of thing.

Doesn't explain how since LTT was the Tamyrlin, how he wasn't able to get his plan rammed through. I mean, he WAS for all intents-and-purposes, the Supreme Allied Commander, wasn't he? As I recall, Eisenhower got what he wanted and TOLD his generals what to do, not the other way around - nor did they say what they WEREN'T going to do (best efforts of General Patton, notwithstanding).
Ofer Nave
221. odigity
I disagree that ta'veren explains how Rand can pull the sword. Ta'veren just lets you alter probabilities, like a coin landing on it's side, or convincing everyone to pack up and go to Emond's Field. It doesn't let you do the *impossible*, like walk through walls or grab a sword that's warded.

And Rand didn't undo the wards, he just grabbed it in the heat of battle, so it wasn't anything that LTT did.

The keyed-to-Aiel-since-Rand's-the-only-pro-sword-Aiel trick is really clever, I admit, but also very unsecure. The soul thing seems the most plausible, assuming they knew more about identifying souls back in AOL, and knew something about LTT's from when he was still alive.

And this whole discussion applies equally to the Ancestron, which was also created by fortelling-informed AOL-era Aes Sedai, and so probably worked the same way and to the same purpose. Callandor, the Eye, and Rhuidean - they sure did a lot of future-rigging.
Sydo Zandstra
222. Fiddler
I disagree that ta'veren explains how Rand can pull the sword. Ta'veren just lets you alter probabilities, like a coin landing on it's side, or convincing everyone to pack up and go to Emond's Field.

And I disagree there. Ta'veren isn't about coin landings or people deciding where to go next. It's about how a single person (in WoT) can influence happenings by just being who they are.

And Rand didn't undo the wards, he just grabbed it in the heat of battle, so it wasn't anything that LTT did.

You are assuming here. Just because RJ didn't do a step-to-step description here doesn't mean Rand didn't have to come over some saidin traps, and LTT could have been in his mind already. Did we see Jahar Narishma getting Callandor passing all the traps around it? No we didn't.

And to be honest,a large description on how Rand negated all the saidin weaves around Callandor would have hurt the story.

BTW, you completely ignored the rest of what I said. Give arguments against that and we can have a discussion.
hoping to be of the blood
223. Lsana
@216 R.Fife,

Thanks. Now that you mention it, I do have a vague memory of Moiraine carefully packing away at least one seal. I appreciate it.
hoping to be of the blood
224. Planeswalker
Hahaha! First (rare!) reread where Mat got owned by the pure awesomeness of the History of the Aeil.

Oh! And looks like another Jordan foretelling - where Mat mentions he's not yet through with the Finns! Nice! :)
hoping to be of the blood
225. Valar
Do any of you feel that the festival of Bel Tine, where people sing around a pole, is a memory of the singing of the Aiel and the Ogier , with the Nym (Pole) at the center, weaving the song?
hoping to be of the blood
226. David C.
Slowly catching up on the re-read. Here's my thought on the whole Eye business. If it's contradicted by something in one of the books or the BBoBA, please let me know.
The Eye already existed as some type of video monitoring station that looked out on several spots in Randland/the world. I don't have TEotW on hand, but this is the impression I get from the description. I think the purpose of the AS going there was 1) to make a well of saidin to hide the banner and the Horn (which could then be used by the DR and stall his eventual madness), 2) to cut the area off from normal contact with the outside world, which you would want in a time of war.

I think when Someshta is saying "When this place was made...," he is referring to the zone of safety that protects the Eye from being found, as well as of the well of saidin. There is also the talk, repeated more than once I think, of how the Eye is to be blinded. This would fit in more with the ide of an observation station than of just a place to hide the banner and Horn.
Any thoughts?
John Massey
227. subwoofer
Someshta was the guardian of the Eye- which housed the pool of Sadin- pure, untainted Sadin. I believe that the reference of blinding the Eye was of twofold purpose.

Firstly was various Forsaken to take out the last Nym, who was already injured in a previous battle. It was a great loss as the Nym's were one of the last links to the Song and a previous age that was good and untainted- Which I believe is why the area around the Eye is untainted.

Secondly the blinding also refers to the loss of access to the Eye. Being able to tap into such a large pool of clean power would be very useful and intoxicating. Blinding the Eye, robs the Dragon of being able to draw from the pool at a very vulnerable time for him. It was in prophecy for Rand to do so, blinding the eye would alter prophecy thereby sending everything to the DO in a hand cart.

The Eye is still there... the need for it is gone, so in effect it is blinded.
Mikael Pajunen
228. BByte
Oh so slowly catching up on my re-read (or re-listen rather).

As has been said, this is one of the best parts of the entire series. I can still see two problems with it, kind of:

First, it’s all downhill from here. The earlier books seem to have more great scenes and sequences (Winternight, Caemlyn and The Eye in TEotW; Rand’s portal stone and Falme in TGH; Egwene’s testing and Stone of Tear in TDR, this in TSR). Sure, there are memorable scenes in later books as well, but they are rarer. And few come even close to this.

Second, I sometimes feel that this story reveals too much. A lot of the mystery surrounding the Aiel and even the Age of Legends is gone. Perhaps more importantly, the protagonist has all this information as well, not just the reader.
Still a great piece of writing I enjoy going back to.
hoping to be of the blood
229. Felix Velarius Bos
These chapters are my SECOND favorite scene, the first being the last chapter before the epilogue in TGS, in which Rand goes up to Dragonmount and does his stuff up there.

But this is a VERY close second. Maybe it's 1.5th place. 1.1th?

But anyway, it was scenes like this where I just loved Robert Jordan and his ability to get completely and totally into the story he was telling, and dragging us along with him. It's times like these where you don't think "This is an awesome story!" You think "Wow, I didn't know that happened! That's so heartbreaking, yet interesting What else happened in the Age of Legends? What happened before?" Instead of thinking of Wheel of Time as a story, we think of it, not as a real world thing per say, but something tangible and exsistant. And it seems that Robert Jordan felt that way, too.
hoping to be of the blood
230. Anyanwu
Just to summarize/transcend what i read (took me 2 hours) through all the comments:
RJ's prime Message here is: Male and Female half need to be in balance to make live (aka, the Good) prosper and to fight the DO.
LTT and this P woman AS split the AS society into male and female fractions, while fighting the DO and so they create the biggest possible Imbalance.(Big Braking)
This suggests:
In order to recover the world the male and female leaders have to reestablish the balance.
These seem to be Rand and Egwene as Re-Incarnations of LTT and the other P AS woman. They need to heal their relationship to heal the world.
hoping to be of the blood
231. VandalThor
-The Aiel was chewing,...
-Mierin and Beidomon... bad call.
-This part always makes me think of particle accelerators and when they first split the atom. "Umm should we maybe stop to consider what people are saying about the potential of wiping out existence or just go ahead". "Yeah f-it I gots ta get home and smoke this avendesora fattie I been saving for the after party, hit the switch Beidomon my mon"
"Ya oppenheimler lets just drop this one I have some grade A hashish that will blow your hair back for ze after part-zee"-albert (AYN-stine)
-good job on the recap I thought to myself half way through thank god she didn't skimp on this one. Great chapter great job. (not that you normally skimp I just mean I really like this chapter too.)
Sommer Bailey
232. sommer1132
Thank you Leah, for the link to "The Strike at Shayol Ghul". I just read it and something stuck out. Isn't there a scene with Lews Therin and one of the forsaken AFTER he has gone mad and killed his wife where the forsaken taunts him? That would imply that that Forsaken WAS NOT sealed up in the Bore right? in TSASG it states that all 13 were at Shayol Ghul and ALL were sealed in the Bore. Food for thought. Anyone have any answers or correction, speculations even? Come on, I know I got at least a few of you thinking.
hoping to be of the blood
233. Divil The Bother
Great Chapters indeed even if I'm contributing long after everyone else has left the building.

One thought though - if you want to protect all these *angreal and keep them out of the hands of insane male channellers perhaps a group of people who wouldn't be able to physically prevent my ninety year old granny from tottering in on her zimmerframe and taking her pick mightn't be the best candidates for the job.

If as is suggested elsewhere that the AS weren't that bothered with the artefacts just that the Aiel stick with the Way of the Leaf then perhaps encumbering them with wagon loads of tempting stuff that would ensure they were constantly being attacked mightn't have been the best strategy either.

Were Aes Sedai totally clueless in every Age?
hoping to be of the blood
234. sadface
Looking for Latra is a fool's errand because she doesn't have to be reborn in this age. Maybe she is running around somewhere, but she doesn't HAVE to be reborn until the 2nd age comes around again...or maybe the begining of the third age depanding on how you count such things. Indeed, if we expect Rand to succeed we would expect that there is currently no Latra. Latra broke the balance between men and women, but now we expect the balance to be restored. Even is she around somewhere, she is of no consequence.

When someone mentioned Latra being Taveren it occured to me that the pattern, loving balance, might HAVE to spin outt Taveren in pairs - perhaps male/female pairs even?

Something here made me think about cleansing the taint. Did Rand esentially scrape the the taint off of the source and stuff it into Shadar Logoth? I had always thought of the source as infinite, but if he had to scrap all the taint off of all the source, then wouldn't he have to have channelled all of it? This implies that the source is not are our characters in danger of using it up, or does it somehow replenish/recollect itself? I am suddenly very interested in what exactly th OP is.
Alice Arneson
235. Wetlandernw
sadface @234 - re: ta'veren, we're told that the Pattern spins them out as "corrective mechanisms" - i.e., if things are going unbalanced somehow, it spins out ta'veren to restore the balance. So while it's a nice idea, I don't think it's a valid theory that the Pattern would have to spin out male/female ta'veren in pairs to keep the balance; each one is, by himself or herself, a device to restore balance.

As to the OP, in TEotW (ch 12) Moiraine explains to Egwene, "The One Power comes from the True Source, the driving force of Creation, the force the Creator made to turn the Wheel of Time. Saidin and saidar work against each other and at the same time together to provide that force." Egwene apparently wondered the same thing as you, because Moiraine also told her, "No, the True Source cannot be used up, any more than the river can be used up by the wheel of a mill. The Source is the river; the Aes Sedai, the waterwheel."
William McDaniel
236. willmcd
Like everyone else, I think these are the best chapters in the series, and indeed one of the finest pieces of literature I've ever read. Most of what needs to be said has already been said by others, but here are a couple of crumbs:

A number of people have been discussing whether the AoL really was utopia (with all negativity eliminated from society), or whether it was just war-free. I side with those who believe the latter; in fact, I would point to RJ quite deliberately showing us this. When Charn hurries through Paraan Disen, he collides with a man and is knocked over;, before realizing that Charn is Aiel the other man (who is still standing) acts like a jerk. For RJ to have included this in such a concise section other wise tells me it was deliberate; arrogance and negativity still existed.

Also, I noticed that in the battle with the dust-men Rand "embraces" saidin. Saidin is, of course, supposed to be "seized" while saidar is "embraced". I think this mistake was made once previously in the series, but I can't recall exactly where.

Lastly, lanyo @ 103, funny line about compost for Avendesora. Can't believe nobody gave you propz for that.
Terry McNamee
237. macster
I've had some more thoughts on Callandor and why/how it was a True Power sa'angreal. Take a look at this quote.

"They are all women; Jonai wonders if men would ever stand in a meeting like this again. He shudders to see that on the table lies the banner of Lews Therin Kinslayer, held down by a crystal sword; he wonders why the accursed thing had not been destroyed."

From this and other clues in the text we can date the scene: Lews Therin is already called Kinslayer, and there'd be no reason to wonder if men would ever be in such a gathering again if they weren't going mad. Similarly it's mentioned how the Da'shain are distrusted now because they once served the Dragon; this wouldn't be an issue if it weren't after the Strike at Shayol Ghul. We also know men are already going mad because they mention "Jaric and Haindar will be there tomorrow" (i.e. will arrive in all their madness to destroy any in their path) and the story is told of the Aiel singing to hold off Jaric at Tzora if we needed any more confirmation. So this is all post-taint.

Yes, the sword is already there, but they make it clear they had to stop work on it ("The sword must wait") so as to work with "Kodam and his fellows". The fact Someshta is there and they speak of them being young but barely touched by the taint, makes it clear they're going to make the Eye. (Again, ensuring its purity wouldn't be an issue if not for the taint already existing.)

So here's what I think. Callandor was indeed made during the War of Power--but only in the very last days of it. As to why it would be made when at that point the women were rebelling against Lews Therin under Latra, maybe they thought if they made a different powerful sa'angreal (because the Choedan Kal weren't ready and were untested, then they got captured by the Shadow), Lews Therin would agree to use it instead of his risky plan with the seals. Or at least that if he took it along, he'd have a better chance of succeeding. And two, Deindre's Foretelling told them it was needed, just as the Eye was.

But for whatever reason (he was too convinced of his plan, he was in a hurry to head for Shayol Ghul, he wouldn't listen to women now, he didn't think there was time to wait for it to be made after the Choedan Kal were captured), Lews Therin never got the sword (explaining why he didn't know of its flaws and thus was of no help to Rand on the matter once his memories were integrated). And thanks to the final days of the war when the Shadow was poised to win, then the sealing, the taint, and the start of the Breaking, by the time the women got back to the sword they had to rush the process. It's also possible Deindre or one of the others deliberately included the flaws, as well as the ability to channel the True Power, because of her Foretelling. But the point is, in this scene the sword isn't actually finished yet; they have to set it aside so as to make the Eye.

Which tells me that by the time they got back to finishing it, the taint was probably already affecting any male Aes Sedai left with them who didn't die in making the Eye pure. And since men would have to be involved in making a male sa'angreal just as women make saidar-attuned ones, then when this man or men channeled, it was their taint in the Seed (or Callandor itself) that attuned it to the True Power as well. Something which, again, either was allowed to happen due to the Foretelling or happened by accident because none of them understood yet what the taint was or all its ramifications, and they were so rushed in finishing Callandor that they couldn't have prepared for it or tested for it even if they'd known how or that there was a reason to do so.

So that's how the sword could technically have been made during the War of Power (pre-taint) yet still have ended up with the flaw that let it be a True Power sa'angreal because of the taint. Which means Rand's comment to Perrin near the start of AMoL that the taint being responsible for his Lews Therin memories means the Dark One defeated himself is even more accurate than he knew, since it also made what they did to Moridin and the re-sealing of the Bore possible.
Tricia Irish
238. Tektonica
Nicely thought through, Macster! Thank you.
Alice Arneson
239. Wetlandernw
I like it! Did you put this in the current discussion, or just here? Because this is really good and might make people "feel better" about it.

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