May 29 2009 2:36pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Fires of Heaven, Part 2

Bonjour, mes amies! No, don’t worry, this won’t be in French. I’ve already done that.

Welcome back to the Wheel of Time Re-read! Today we are covering Chapters 2 and 3 of The Fires of Heaven, rah rah sis boom bah.

Previous entries are here. Spoilers for this and all other currently published novels in the Wheel of Time series are present throughout, so if you haven’t read, don’t read.

And that’s... about the size of things, so let’s get on with it, shall we?

Chapter 2: Rhuidean

What Happens
From high up in one of the unfinished towers of Rhuidean, Rand listens to the harp song behind him as he stares down into the city. Sometimes he thinks that the place was built only so that he could find it. Then he chuckles to himself that only a half-mad man could be so proud. He watches Moiraine, down in the central square, directing Kadere and his wagon drivers as they load up the Power-related artifacts scattered all over the plaza. One man, trying to move the twisted stone doorframe, slips and falls halfway into it, disappearing above the waist for a moment before his comrades haul him out, crying in terror. The rest of the wagoneers look ready to make a run for it, but Moiraine quickly calms them down and puts them back to work, and Rand thinks that in her own way she is even harder than Lan. Rand is not interested in the artifacts; he’s already taken what he needs from the square. He observes that where once no one but Wise Ones and clan chiefs could go, now hundreds of Aiel were in the city, a large number already living in the buildings and planting crops in the medians of the streets, watered from the huge new lake that now fills half the valley.

Wherever he went, Rand brought change and destruction. This time, he hoped against hope that the change was for the good. It might yet be so. The burned tree mocked him. Avendesora, the legendary Tree of Life; the stories never said where it was, and it had been a surprise to find it here. Moiraine said it still lived, that it would put out shoots again, but so far he saw only blackened bark and bare branches.

He sighs and turns back to the room, where six Aiel clan chiefs recline on cushions on the floor, and joins them there. He notes that Bael and Jheran, chiefs of the Goshien and Shaarad respectively, are sitting as far from each other as possible. He asks what he must do to bring the Reyn to him; Rhuarc says that Dhearic will bring them eventually. Han twists his mouth and says that Dhearic has seen too many men and Maidens sit staring for days, then throw down their spears and run. Bael agrees, and says it has happened among the Goshien and the Tomanelle as well; Jheran growls something about cowardly snakes, and Bael makes to rise, face hard, but Bruan of the Nakai cuts in and says firmly that it has happened in all of the clans.

“You know how hard it was to face what they face. If you cannot name coward those who died because they could not face it, can you name coward those who run for the same reason?”

Han mutters that they never should have learned, which Rand knows is in his direction, and he replies that it had to be told; to himself he thinks that the Aiel had a right to know the truth. He moves on, asking about the Miagoma, and Erim says Timolan never knows which way he’s going to jump, but Rhuarc disagrees; he thinks Timolan will come, as well as Janwin of the Shiande, but they will wait until they have settled things in their own minds. Bruan adds that he believes the Daryne and the Codarra will eventually come as well; they have lost more warriors to the bleakness than any other clans, and Mandelain and Indirian are concerned about holding their clans together. Then Rand asks about Couladin and the Shaido, and the chiefs fall silent. Rand asks if there is any possibility that Couladin will meet with him, more to get them talking than any other reason; he had stopped sending messengers once he learned that Couladin was having them skinned alive. Rhuarc does not think he will be able to break the Shaido away from him, as they believe Couladin is the Car’a’carn; the Shaido Maidens only came because they carry Rand’s honor. Bruan adds quietly that the Shaido’s numbers are growing, though; not all those who run leave their spears behind, and instead they are joining their societies among the Shaido. Rand asks about sending people to join their societies there deliberately, but the chiefs stiffen in disapproval at the notion, and Rand abandons that idea, moving on to news from the wetlands. Rhuarc replies that Rand’s banner still flies above Tear, and the Tairens have done as he ordered, moving into the treekillers’ land to distribute food. None of the chiefs think much of this charity. Rand then notices Moiraine and Egwene standing outside the doorway, and ends the meeting. He tells the chiefs that he will make it end as well for the Aiel as he can manage.

“The prophecy said you would break us,” Han said sourly, “and you have made a good beginning. But we will follow you. Till shade is gone,” he recited, “till water is gone, into the Shadow with teeth bared, screaming defiance with the last breath, to spit in Sightblinder’s eye on the Last Day.” Sightblinder was one of the Aiel names for the Dark One.

There was nothing for Rand except to make the proper response. Once he had not known it. “By my honor and the Light, my life will be a dagger for Sightblinder’s heart.”

The chiefs file out, and Moiraine and Egwene come in. Rand notes that Egwene looks more like an Aiel woman every day. Moiraine tells him that the wagons will be ready to leave for Tar Valon soon; turning away, Rand comments that she’s not needed his permission before, and feels something strike him across the shoulders. Furious, he spins back around, seizing saidin, but cannot tell which woman did it. He thinks it must have been Egwene, but decides he will not be goaded into anything without proof. He demands coldly of Moiraine to tell him what she wants, and not to mention wagons again, “little sister”. Moiraine frowns at him, and he wonders where that came from. She says they should speak alone, throwing a glance at Jasin Natael, who has been in the room the whole time, playing his harp. Rand tells her she can say what she wants in front of Natael, as he is gleeman to the Dragon Reborn, after all, and Egwene sniffs and tells him his head is swollen. He feels anger outside the Void, not for the words but for the fact that she seems to be working with Moiraine against him. He tells Moiraine to get to the point or leave him alone; her mouth tightens, but she pulls a silk-wrapped object from her pouch and unwraps it, revealing what looks like one of the seals, but then she takes out her belt knife and scrapes the edge lightly, and a flake falls away. Rand gasps, and asks if it is a fake; Moiraine says it’s real, and the one she brought with her is the same. He swallows down fear, and asks how.

“I do not know,” Moiraine replied, just as calm outwardly. “But you do see the problem? A fall from the table could break this. If the others, wherever they may be, are like this, four men with hammers could break open that hole in the Dark One’s prison again. Who can even say how effective one is, in this condition?”

Rand saw. I’m not ready yet. He was not sure he ever would be ready, but he surely was not yet. Egwene looked as though she were staring into her own open grave.

Moiraine puts the seal away and says perhaps she will think of something to be done about it before she returns to Tar Valon. Rand is surprised that she intends to leave, and says so, and she replies quietly that eventually she will have to leave him, and Rand thinks he sees her shiver. Then she says they should discuss his plans, and Rand chuckles, thinking so that had been a ploy to get him to reveal what he was doing, and asks why he should tell her. Moiraine shoots back that everywhere he’s gone he has left destruction behind, and Rand quickly counters, not in Tear, then curses himself for letting her put him on the defensive. Moiraine agrees, but says he wasted that opportunity. Rand wants to know what she expects him to do, go after the Forsaken? Moiraine says he doesn’t have a plan, he’s just running, hoping it will all turn out okay. Rand interrupts that he does too have a plan: he means to put an end to the wars, whether he started them or not. Only four Aiel clans crossed the Dragonwall during the Aiel War, and no one could stand against them; what happens when he leads eleven?

“By the time the nations even think of uniting, it will be too late. They’ll accept my peace, or I’ll be buried in the Can Breat.” A discordant plunk rose from the harp, and Natael bent over the instrument, shaking his head. In a moment the soothing sounds came again.

Egwene mutters again about a swollen head, and asks why he can’t see that Moiraine is just trying to help him. Moiraine says that taking the Aiel across the Dragonwall would be the worst thing he could do; the Amyrlin Seat is even now laying the proofs before the rulers of the nations that he is the Dragon Reborn, and once they are convinced they will follow him, because they must. Rand laughs bitterly, and tells her she and Siuan Sanche both are fools; the Tairens knew him for what he is, and still half of them would have been happy to plant a knife in his back. That’s how the nations will greet him, unless he quells them first; that’s why he left Callandor in the Stone, to remind the Tairens he will be back for it. Moiraine stares at him for a long moment, and then tells him to be very careful. Then she executes a perfect curtsy that Rand knows for mockery, and leaves. Egwene hisses at him that he could at the very least be civil, and he deserved no more than he got. Rand snaps, so it was Egwene that hit him, but to his surprise she half-shakes her head before catching herself. He thinks that something must be seriously wearing on Moiraine for her to show so much temper, and acknowledges that it’s probably him. Egwene meanwhile has gone into a full-scale harangue, and he gapes at her until he realizes that she’s trying to make up for her un-Aes Sedai-like slip about Moiraine earlier; Egwene always worked very hard at doing whatever she was doing exactly right.

Ilyena never flashed her temper at me when she was angry with herself. When she gave me the rough side of her tongue, it was because she... His mind froze for an instant. He had never met a woman named Ilyena in his life.

Egwene stops her tirade at the look on his face, and asks if he’s all right. Rand says he’s fine, and asks if Elayne is well; Egwene says she is, with a hint of sympathy, and then says she should go. Then she stops and asks him what it means to be buried in the Can Breat, and Rand doesn’t even know what she’s talking about for a moment. Then he remembers using the phrase, and lies that it was just something he heard once. As Egwene heads for the door, a goblet of wine floats up to Rand; startled, he snatches it just before Egwene turns around again to tell him that Elayne does love him, and leaves. Rand hurls the goblet to the floor and turns on Natael in a fury.

There was a strangely large amount of recapping/exposition about previous events in this chapter, which I mostly elided in the summary. I suppose it makes sense to do a certain amount of recapping for the people who didn’t reread the first four books before starting this one, but it seemed to me that the catch-up exposition here was almost an attempt to clue in people who hadn’t read the first four books at all, which is just absurd. Anyone who starts a series with a book clearly marked “Book Five” on the cover deserves the confusion they get, if you ask me.

Anyway. The most significant element of this chapter, of course, is that it marks the first clearly visible Lews Therin leakage on Rand’s part. Not that it hasn’t happened before, but other than that one episode with Lanfear in the Stone in TDR (and I think one other incident in TSR I can’t call to mind at the moment), it’s been pretty well camouflaged – in other words, it’s mostly only noticeable because we know to look for it, at this late date. The same way Rand’s Power Acquisition Fever Syndrome in TEOTW is screamingly obvious now, but sure as hell wasn’t on initial reading.

I’m not really sure what I thought was going on at this point re: Lews Therin on initial reading, but I’m pretty sure I was a lot more content to let it be nebulous than the Internets in general are interested in being. It’s not exactly a new idea, after all – the concept that reincarnated people can be led to access memories of their previous lives (“I was Joan of Arc in a former life”) – and I didn’t see much point in trying to make it be more complicated than that.
Of course, Jordan makes it more complicated later, once Rand and Lews Therin actually start having conversations with each other, but I’ll leave that alone till we get to it.

Couladin: Skinning people, really? That strikes me as... excessive. I suppose Jordan wanted to really make sure the character was firmly beyond the Moral Event Horizon, but it seems like a little much to me. I had Couladin pegged as a misguided hothead, not a sadistic tyrant. But not anymore, I guess!

Speaking of sadism, the little call-and-answer ritual between the Aiel chiefs and Rand is – well, it’s not sadistic, precisely, but certainly a little... mean. Like, yes, I am totally going to my death for your asses, thanks for rubbing it in.

Egwene: I’m trying really hard not to be annoyed with her here. Lashing out at someone else because you screwed up? So mature, girl. You go. No, really, go. Away. Sheesh.

At least we get to give Rand props for knowing her well enough to realize what’s going on, because otherwise it would have been far too easy for her to have done irreparable damage to their relationship. Not that their relationship is exactly stellar as it is, but it’s better than open warfare.

I do not give Moiraine a pass, either, by the way. I sympathize with her stress, but she really kind of dug her own hole here with Rand. Maybe I shouldn’t fault her for not knowing ahead of time that a method which would have worked on 95% of people was precisely the completely wrong way to go about it with Rand, but jeez, woman. Even Lanfear has recognized by now that bullying Rand is the most counterproductive activity on earth; get with the program, swallow some pride!

Chapter 3: Pale Shadows

What Happens
Rand pins Natael to the wall with Air and snarls that he warned him never to channel when anyone else is around. Natael calmly points out that if Egwene had seen, she would have thought it was Rand, and besides, Rand looked thirsty. Disgusted with both of them, Rand lets him down; shielded as Natael was, it was like picking a fight with a ten-year-old. He thinks it is lucky that the shield was hidden from female eyes too, with a trick Natael called “inverting”, though he did not seem to be able to teach it to Rand. Natael asks how anyone could suspect in any case; the whole situation is unbelievable. Rand thinks that he would do well to remember the man in front of him is still the same man who swore his soul to the Shadow. He asks Natael if he ever thinks of turning back, and Natael answers that any of the other Forsaken except maybe Lanfear would kill him on sight now, and that’s if he was lucky; as for the Great Lord (“Dark One”, Rand corrects him), if he’s still around when he breaks free, he’ll go find Semirhage and give himself to her before facing that. Rand says it’s as well he’s teaching him, then, though he’s not doing it very well. Natael counters that Rand can seize saidin every time he tries, now, and tell the Flows apart, and shield himself, which is better than nothing.

“Do you think Lanfear really intended me to teach you everything? If she had wanted that, she would have contrived to stay close so she could link us. She wants you to live, Lews Therin, but this time she means to be stronger than you.”

Rand snaps not to call him that, but Asmodean ignores this and goes on that if Rand and Lanfear planned this between them, then Rand got the raw end of the deal. He asks curiously if Lanfear lied that Rand remembered nothing of being Lews Therin, and Rand replies irritably that she told the truth on that one. They discuss linking: men cannot link without women, but women can link by themselves, which Natael theorizes is to make up for women being generally weaker in the Power than men. Women can only form circles up to thirteen alone, but thirteen women who can barely channel in a circle can overpower just about any man no matter his strength in the Power. Rand shivers, thinking of a time when he had been around many more than thirteen Aes Sedai, and changes the subject to the Forsaken. Asmodean sighs and says he’s told Rand all he knows already, which is practically nothing. Rand thinks that some of what he had learned he could have done without, like what Semirhage found amusing, and some made no sense.

Demandred had gone over to the Shadow because he envied Lews Therin Telamon? Rand could not imagine envying someone enough to do anything because of it, and surely not that. Asmodean claimed it had been the thought of immortality, of endless Ages of music, that seduced him; he claimed to have been a noted composer of music, before. Senseless. Yet in that mass of often blood-chilling knowledge might lie keys to surviving Tarmon Gai’don.

Rand asks what Natael thinks of his chances in the Last Battle, and Natael hesitates and then refers to the things Rand had taken from the square; Rand tells him to forget that, he destroyed them. Natael slumps, and says the Dark One will surely win, then; Natael intends to slit his wrists the moment he hears the Dark One is free. It’s better than going mad, anyway.

“What if there was another way to shield against the taint?” Rand demanded. “What if it could be removed somehow? Would you still kill yourself then?”

Asmodean’s barked laugh was utterly acid. “The Shadow take me, you must be beginning to think you really are the bloody Creator! We are dead. Both of us. Dead! Are you too blind with pride to see it? Or just too thick-witted, you hopeless shepherd?”

Rand asks, why not end it now, then? Asmodean answers that he once saw a man hanging from a cliff, and the man grabbed a tuft of grass to hang on to even though he had to know it would never support him. Rand asks if he saved the man, but Natael doesn’t answer, and Rand leaves. He bows to the five Maidens waiting for him outside in the hall, which makes them smile, and asks Adelin where Joinde is. Adelin tells him that she has gone off to lay a bridal wreath at Garan’s feet, adding that Garan is Goshien (Rand knows that Joinde is Shaarad). Enaila remarks that it’s like a spreading illness; one or two Maidens make a wreath a day since they came to Rhuidean. Rand doesn’t tell them it’s his fault, though he thinks they probably wouldn’t leave even if he did. Rand weaves a shield to keep Asmodean in the room, and heads out, Maidens following.

Mat balances on the rim of a fountain, drunk on oosquai and singing:

“We’ll drink the wine till the cup is dry,
and kiss the girls so they’ll not cry,
and toss the dice until we fly
to dance with Jak o’ the Shadows.”

One of the wagon drivers calls out that it’s not right to sing about death like that, and Mat realizes it’s a song that hasn’t been heard in about a thousand years, and thinks disgustedly that at least he hadn’t been babbling it in the Old Tongue. He switches to “Tinker in the Kitchen” and some of the wagoneers sing along. He’s been playing a game with two Aielmen (Corman and Jenric): take a drink, and then try to hit a thrown piece of wood with a knife. No one would play dice or even cards with him anymore, but his winnings from this hadn’t been bad either. The Aiel evidently agree, as Corman suggests they end the game for lack of light. Mat protests that there’s plenty of light, he could do it blindfolded. Jenric mocks his big talk, and Mat jumps down and pulls his scarf up around his eyes, telling Corman to yell out when he throws.

“Now,” Corman called, and Mat’s arm whipped back, then forward.

In the stillness, the thunk of steel stabbing wood was as loud as the clatter of the target on the pavement.

No one said a word as he pulled the scarf back down around his neck. A piece of a chair arm no bigger than his hand lay in the open space, his blade stuck firmly in the middle. Corman had tried to shave the odds, it appeared. Well, he had never specified the target. He suddenly realized he had not even made a wager.

One of the wagoneers calls out something about the Dark One’s own luck, and Mat murmurs “Luck is a horse to ride like any other” to himself. Jenric frowns and asks what he just said, and Mat looks at him a moment and then says nothing, just talking to himself. Corman brings his knife back and says maybe they will play again someday, which is the Aiel way of saying “never”, and Mat can hardly blame him. Being lucky was not all it was made out to be. He sits down on the coping again and thinks of how the memories that used to be separate clumps in his head now blend with his own, and he couldn’t tell them apart from his real memories until he concentrated.

In one part of his mind he knew he had been born in the Two Rivers twenty years before, but he could remember clearly leading the flanking attack that turned the Trollocs at Maighande, and dancing in the court of Tarmandewin, and a hundred other things, a thousand. Mostly battles. He remembered dying more times than he wanted to think of.

He reads the script on the odd spear he had gotten from the foxes again, and avoids looking at the plaza where the redstone doorway is firmly lashed to one of the wagons. A woman’s voice interrupts his reverie, asking if he can do that every time, and Mat looks up to see a blonde and blue-eyed Maiden sit down next to him. She introduces herself as Melindhra of the Jumai sept, and Mat notes that her failure to name her clan meant she was a Shaido Maiden, come to join her society here. He answers, most of the time, which is actually the truth, though she seems to take it as boasting. He evaluates the interest in her eyes, and dips into his winnings and offers her a gold and sapphire necklace, telling her they’ll look pretty with her eyes. Melindhra says it is fine work, and that she accepts his offer. Mat wonders warily what she means by “offer”, but she is going on, saying that her spear-sisters have told her about him. Mat spots Rand heading down the street and excuses himself to Melindhra, hurrying after him.

“Rand?” The other man walked on with his encircling escort. “Rand?” Rand was not even ten paces away, but he did not waver. Some of the Maidens looked back, but not Rand. Mat felt cold suddenly, and it had nothing to do with the onset of night. He wet his lips and spoke again, not a shout. “Lews Therin.” And Rand turned around. Mat almost wished he had not.

They look at each other for a moment, and Mat thinks of how he and Rand had grown up together. They were friends, but now Rand was a friend who could kill him without even meaning to, might have gotten Perrin killed. Mat finally says he’s been thinking about how long it’s been since they left home, and Rand chuckles and asks if Mat is missing milking his father’s cows. Mat grins back a little and says, not quite, but he was thinking of going with Kadere’s wagons when they leave. Rand replies that they all have to do what they must, and that he never tried to stop Mat from staying or going; the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills. Mat thinks he sounds like a bloody Aes Sedai. Rand adds that he should not trust Kadere, and to watch his back, and leaves; Mat is nonplused, thinking that he wouldn’t have trusted Kadere anyway. He muses about ta’veren, how it’s not nearly as grand a thing as the stories make out. Melindhra brings him his winnings, and comments that she’d heard he was near-brother to Rand al’Thor. Mat replies dryly, in a manner of speaking, and she dismisses the subject. She plants her hands on her hips and tells him bluntly that he had attracted her interest even before he gave her a regard-gift, and likes his smile, and his eyes.

Mat tugged his hat straight, though it had not been crooked. From pursuer to pursued, in the blink of an eye. It could happen like that, with Aiel women. Especially Maidens. “Does ‘Daughter of the Nine Moons’ mean anything to you?” It was a question he asked women sometimes. The wrong answer would send him out of Rhuidean tonight if he had to try walking out of the Waste.

Melindhra says no, but there are things she likes to do by moonlight, and begins to whisper them into his ear. Mat grins.

Oh, Mat, you scoundrel.

Is there a specific term for “derisive yet affectionate snorting sound”? Because that’s pretty much what I do every time I read one of his POVs. By this point in the series Mat was firmly ensconced in first place on my list of favorite WOT characters, and really no one has ever seriously challenged his placement in my affections since.

(Second place, on the other hand, was a hotly contested and frequently shifting honor in my initial readthrough. At the moment Perrin would still be hanging on, because I would not yet have realized at this point that I wasn’t going to see him for about a hundred years.)

I love that drinking games are one of the great constants in the universe, real or fictional. Though I have to say the combination of drinking and knife throwing is a little... edgier than the versions I used to play. (Yikes.)

Mat’s memory thing is always kind of brain-spraining for me to conceptualize, not because I don’t understand the explanation but because I can’t get a handle on how the result would feel. How could you not tell someone else’s memory from your own? I mean, I’m hardly an expert, but I know for a fact that I don’t think the same way many other people do (yeah, y’all have fun with that straight line), so it stands to reason that I don’t construct memories in the same way either. Wouldn’t it be kind of a square peg/round hole situation? Of course, I’m almost certainly overthinking this, because It’s The Magic, Stupid, but I dunno, it’s just supremely weird to try to picture.

One of the more bizarre parts is the time distortion factor, because there’s no way (in my opinion) Mat had enough holes in twenty years’ worth of memories to hold all the extra ones he seems to have, so the total span of all of them added together must be significantly longer than Mat’s actual lifetime – by years, it seems like, possibly even by decades, though that’s probably overestimating it a little. I mean, it’s gotta be like a clown car in there.

Anyway. Slight linguistics fail in this chapter, unless the Old Tongue words for “dry”, “cry”, and “fly” (and “free”, “knee”, and “me”) rhyme as well, which I rather doubt. But we’ll file it under “poetic license”, ba dum dum, and move on.

Or move backwards, whatever: Rand and Asmodean. I forgot that we were introduced to the concept of inverting weaves so early (though I guess the fifth book in a series, even this series, really doesn’t count as “early” anymore). The revelation does seem to indicate that Asmodean is holding out on Rand at least a little, shield schmield, because it doesn’t seem like the Supergirls have any trouble at all learning inverting from Moghedien later on. I dunno, maybe it’s easier for women or something.

Oh, and while we’re on the subject, I have to express my disgruntlement with this whole “strength in the Power having gender differentiation” thing. I’m not sure if I brought this up earlier or not (probably), but while I grant (magnanimously!) Jordan the right to make his magic system follow the rules he wants it to, it remains a thorn in my side.

Because the whole frickin’ POINT of magic, if you ask me, is that it shouldn’t correlate to physical strength, or at least that it doesn’t have to. I really don’t understand the choice here, honestly: assuming Jordan’s goal was to present a more gender-egalitarian society because of the presence of magic (which certainly seems to be the case), WHY miss an opportunity to put women and men on a level playing field? Why not simply make variations in strength in the Power dependent on some other factor, or even arbitrary? You know, the way almost every other attribute other than physical strength is in human beings?

Or hey, if it must be gender-based, you could be really crazy and make women stronger for frickin’ once. Is that too much to ask? Apparently!

Why yes, I would like to have my cake and to eat it too! So There.

*is grumpy* Bah. Oh well. It is what it is, and I will deal, but I had to put it out there.

And we out! Play nice in ze commentses, and have a very merry unbirthday weekend! See you Monday!

Dru O'Higgins
1. bellman
In chapter two, I don't think it's his comrades that pull him from the ter'angreal doorway, it's Lan.
3. alreadymadwithnewpost
I think it's called a chuckle, Leigh.

Sigh.. More of Moiraine's Aes Sedai bullying. You really can't deal straight with one of those, they tend to lead the discussion through several detours even before getting to the heart of it. Mental bullying first, as it would take an immense amount of attention span to make sense of all the digression. And if that wasn't work, then force/the Power is used. The only consolation about this here is that Moiraine will break in a few more chapters.
And Mat... still the slinking coward at this point.

bellman @1
It's the same in my copy. Lan uses a wedgie to pull the poor worker out.
Leigh Butler
4. leighdb
alreadymad @3:

No, a chuckle is a chuckle.

A chuckle + a snort is a chortle.

"Chortle" might be close to what I want, but I always associate the term more with that kind of explosive noise you make when something is unexpectedly funny but not quite funny enough to actually laugh.

I have clearly thought way too much about this.
Blake Engholm
5. UncrownedKing
Is it ever revealed where the Aiel go? The ones that thrown down their weapons, not the ones that take them to the Shaido side.

I don't remember it being told
6. alreadymadwithGuffaws
Sigh... semantics... had to bring in my old friend
7. Tailspinner
Well, the ability to hold the one power also is connected to physical strenth, but I agree with you completely Leigh. *Sigh* at least there are some other places to go to get women who kick tush.

I'm not going to lie, the lead up to battles and chases are the most boring parts of these books for me. As such I have trouble watching the meetings between Rand and the clan chiefs. I prefer battles and interpersonal scenes.

And since this is the earliest I have ever been able to make a post I will get on my soapbox and say that Lan is the best character, hands down. I love the story behind him and the way he is written...and in my head he is very pretty. Mat is a close second.
Richard Fife
8. R.Fife
Snerk for the verb you want Leigh. Not a real word, but meh. "snigger" or "snicker" might be better from the link.

I think he made the Power follow common gender lines because, for as much as we want to be egalatarian, we have to face the fact that men and women are biologically different, and even get wired in the head different. Kind like the whole "men are better at geospatial things and women are better at multitasking". So yes, they have different abilities and ways of doing things with the power, but if they were "equal" in the power, then it would be perhaps too much of an equalizer to make his concepts on gender politics relative to real life.

Not that I'm saying egalatarian is bad, but it can be a wee bit over simplified.
9. alreadymadwithbleakAiel
UncrownedKing @5
Some pick their spears up again and go join the Meradin. Some ask to join the Tinkers. I think Rand sees a few in Far Madding working as labor. Others might have ended up in similarly stable cities/communities.

R.Fife @8
Snicker is a particular favorite of Mat's.
10. bergphil
Thanks Leigh for the post ! Mat became my favorite character in this book, but Rand is not far behind ..
Always fun to see the post starting in french !
Bonne fin de semaine
Lannis .
11. Lannis
Chapter 2: Ah, the seals... even as a little-seen device for showing us how the Dark One's prison is weakening, I find this scene where Moiraine's knife flicks off a flake very creepy... goosebumpy. Ew.

Chapter 3: Asmodean's comment that he'd rather submit to Semirhage before the Dark One's punishment had little effect on me the first go around, but now that we have a better idea of what that sick twisted puppy's about... EEK! Asmodean really doesn't want to get caught! :|

Mat's luck = squee! :)

Thanks for the recap, Leigh! Fabulous as always! :)

(And I vote for snicker.)
12. toryx
Both of these chapters present ideas that fascinate the hell out of me and both have to do with memory.

In Rand's case, it's the beginning of Lews Therin bubbling up in his mind and giving him little hints of memory. Things he shouldn't know but does, things he doesn't even know.

As Leigh says, it could easily be the past-life memory thing ala "I was Joan of Arc." But with the later conversations with Lews Therin it gets considerably more confusing and I don't think RJ ever straight out explains what's going on.

I've always sided with the idea that combined with the knowledge that the taint on Saidin has to be making him mad along with the inability for Rand to truly accept that he and Lews Therin are the same, Rand has gone and created a whole separate identity within himself. I can't blame him...he's been raised with the Dragon as the most vile man in history. Who'd want to accept that he's actually that man reborn?

Still, it fascinates me. And I'm especially intrigued by the concept of someone like Asmodean who actually knew Lews Therin and now knows Rand. What must it be like to see someone who has been reborn like that? To have the lines that separate two men occasionally draw so close together?

The other thing, of course, is Mat's new memories which is an entire new ball of fascination for me. I'm especially enarmored of the concept of remembering death; not just once but dozens or hundreds of times. How incredible and awful.

I may be a glutton for punishment who doesn't understand what he's asking for, but I'd still sign up for a deal like that in a heartbeat. Just so I'd know.
13. AllAdamB
Women couldn't very well be stronger though since Rand is supposed to be the strongest of all. If others were stronger than him, it'd be like Dragon Reborn, big whoop.
sandi vogel
14. sinfulcashew
"Anyone who starts a series with a book clearly marked “Book Five” on the cover deserves the confusion they get, if you ask me."

When I have entered a trilogy, mid point, I usually go to find the beginning and reread the whole thing. If it is any good.

(I read most of the Twilight series and I think I skipped the 2nd or 3rd one inadvertently, but don't feel I missed anything.)

I notice that even now (fifth book). things are still up in the air as far as the characterizations go. At least for me. Later on things get more detailed?
Chris Hall
15. bookwormchris
Anyone remember where Rand was around more than thirteen Aes Sedai? I can't think of a time... oh, right in Fal Dara. Hehe, can't believe I forgot that at first.

We've got the taint removal mentioned here and it takes how many books for that to actually happen? Way to set that one up ahead of time.

Egwene is still young. (20ish? I don't remember relative ages between her and RMP.) Besides, even older people can act childish at times. She is trying to act like an Aes Sedai, since she kinda pretends to be one here. Nice to see it was the real Aes Sedai who is cracking. She knows she will die (or at least take Lanfear out) and no longer be able to help Rand. Lets face it, Moiraine has probably done more to fight the shadow than any Aes Sedai in quite a long time. I'm wondering what type of character she will be after staying for a year or so with the Snakes and Foxes. Could end up being decades or centuries with them as I believe they have a weird time thing going on. Just wait until she starts begging. Kinda painful to see it, but some might take pleasure in seeing her knocked down a few rungs.

Mat is awesome. Still not sure exactly how the head stuffing of memories works, but I'll take it. Love the comment that he will go to great lengths to avoid his future wife, when he finds her. Contrasts nicely with what actually happens. Wrapping your future wife up in a rug or curtains, something like that, and then smuggling her out of Ebou Dar. Nice, Mat. Nice. (She did offer to buy him, hehe.)
j p
16. sps49
I am appalled that Moiraine apparently whacked Rand one with the Power. WTF? This is the best you can do?
17. Rand Al'Todd
Re @155 sinfulcashew and others in posts on part one: Comments about "Suian and her fishing references" (posted here since Leigh's new post is out. HOORAY!! and thanks Leigh!! Also I have seen similar comments about Suian in postings on prior chapters.)

RJ needed SOME sort of background for her (and potentially wanted to balance out/contrast Moiranne's noble background).

Since Suian was "In the shoes of the Fisherman"
I always took her 'child of a common fisherman' background as just another RJ tie-in connecting AS to Roman Catholic clergy (one of the zillion tie-ins to various sources that make the series have more depth and reality).

Once he decided that, then the "curses like a fishwife" phrase comes to mind, and fits with a dominant personality. So now she is just keeping in character.

For the poll:
59+, father of 3, 2 grands
BS Physics, MS Mechanical Engineer
WOT reader since EOTW first pulished (i.e I've had to wait on EVERY book - not just one or two like the younglings)
Been reading SF since single digits ("Have Spacesuit, Will Travel" one of first)
Fantasy since before Simon Tregarth sat on the Siege Perilous.
History (and Myth/legends) buff (esp ancient Greek, Roman, Trojian, Atlantean)
18. toryx
Toryx @ 12

I may be a glutton for punishment who doesn't understand what he's asking for, but I'd still sign up for a deal like that in a heartbeat. Just so I'd know.

Is it wrong of me to quote myself?

Anyway, I was re-reading those lines and I thought..."Hey, that sounds familiar." Then I realized I sound just like Egwene. *sigh*

bookwormchris @15

Re: The early mention of the taint removal. That's what I've always liked the best about TWoT. The way RJ will just happen to mention something in one book and then boom! Five books later it comes full circle. That's some heavy plotting, right there.
19. Muckl
Hey Leigh, great post as always!

About the magic and gender issues, I think it's more (yes more^^) logical that magic ability's you are born with are correlating to your physical ability's, with which you are also born with (at least the genetic basics are laid by your birth!)...

Also later on we hear Rand musing about how he himself sets his limits with the OP unwittingly (see skimming platform), so like the physical ability's there are limits we are born with and limits we find out during exploitation of said ability's!
(Some people have the genetic basics to to be Bodybuilders, others not. Both can train their bodies to this standard, but the success is also depending on their genes!)

Hope this makes at least a little sense, if not then just: Thanks for the great work! ;)

Travis Splawn
20. MoreBooksForMe
My vote for the appropriate sound to make would be "snicker" R.Fife

Great post Leigh. This book has some of my favorite scenes from the whole series.
21. drragoon83
I find that the way Jordan put together the magic system is balanced. For instance as is pointed out here women can overwhelm any man, no matter how strong with thirteen. Not to mention the method to detect men channeling that is introduced later on. But by this book we haven't yet really explored the system in depth so it doesn't seem balanced.
22. LongStrider
On the relative strengths of men and women in using the One Power, remember it is a biased guy saying that. Jordan has different people being strong in different ways. I recall that elsewhere men are described as stronger/more proficient, on average, with fire and earth, women with air and water, spirit about equal.
Brian Kaul
23. bkaul
I think he made the Power follow common gender lines because, for as much as we want to be egalatarian, we have to face the fact that men and women are biologically different, and even get wired in the head different.

Agreed. Jordan inverted many gender roles and relative social power structures, but he didn't try to pretend that men and women are biologically identical or think alike. And given that channeling is not merely a learned skill, but something biologically inherent that can be damaged and healed, it makes sense that the gender differences with the Power would be similar to the real biological differences between the sexes, both in strength and specific abilities. There's an obvious analogy between physical strength and strength in the power, but there's also an equally good analogy between skills with the power and the means of controlling it and the way men and women think. Women being better with air and water while men are better with earth and fire, and women surrendering to saidar while men aggressively subdue saidin correspond to differences in brain wiring and how we think.

Where a trait is inherent, rather than learned or social, he retains realistic general gender differences (including realistic exceptions, e.g. Egwene having a talent for earth), but where social or learned aspects come in, he's more egalitarian or even sets up inverted inequalities with women having more power and influence in issues of government, etc. than men in many of his cultures.
24. Slurpy
You know, the way almost every other attribute other than physical strength is in human beings?

You mean like multi-tasking, and fine motor control? Isn't this discussed somewhere in the series, that women generally have better control of fine weaves and multiple weavings, just like IRL, where women are generally better at multi-tasking and have better fine motor control than men do?

Honestly, Leah, it almost sounds to me that you're being a bit sexist, putting so much weight on the strength issue while ignoring these other areas at which women excel, both in real life and WoT.
Blake Engholm
25. UncrownedKing
I was Joan Of Ark in my previous life

I was Sun Tzu
26. forgotpassword
I don't understand why so many Aiel would just get up and leave like that. I, for one, would first give kudos to the clan chiefs for being strong enough in character to be able to accept this truth about their history.

And were these fleeing Aiel fleeing after they go through the crystals at Rhuidean, or are they leaving en masse based on word of mouth?
27. alreadymadwithPowerwhacking
Bullying Rand with the Power so does not work.
Aes Sedai simply have an institutional aversion to approaching the truth head on and dealing openly and in good faith.

forgotpassword @26
Just word of mouth.
28. RobSS
Thanks for another great post.

Matt is at his best when he is trying to get away from the battle @ Cairhien. That was when he became the best, IMO.

Have a great weekend all.
29. mityorkie
Perrin may be a favorite character now... we haven't yet gone to the "epic" multi-book chase of lurv and irrelevance.
Mark McKibben
30. Manzabar
If we don't construct memories in the same way, it also stands to reason that we don't store & retrieve our memories in the same way. So when the Eelfinn implanted the memories in his head, only those that were close enough to his way of constructing/storing/retrieving got implanted.

I'd imagine this leads to a sensation similar to déjà vu; but to Mat, it more likely feels like he's losing his mind.
31. Rebecca Starr
As far as Moiraine, I remember on my first read-through not understanding why Rand was so ungrateful to her.... of course it makes sense now. She *was* the cause of upheaval in his life, the source of plots and secrets, so now I sympathize far more with Rand... I think when I was a 12-year old girl I wanted Moiraine to be *all* good.

As to strength in the Power, Jordan wrote (and some characters say it) that while men's strength was greater, women tended to be defter at weaving the flows, allowing for an all-around equality in the Power. so that sounds fine by me.
32. benpatient
oh, Leigh, it IS my birthday this weekend.

Thanks for remembering!
Ofer Nave
33. odigity
“I was Joan of Arc in a former life”

Leigh, did you just reference the speed-dating scene in Coming to America? Because if so, you rock my world.
34. Freelancer
forgotpassword@26 (Whoever you rally are)

It's more than simply word of mouth. Rand tells them they followed the Way of the Leaf. They yell derisively or are shocked that he'd say such an obviously ridiculous thing. Then the clan chiefs declare him the Car'a'carn based on his words, which for everyone else confirms that he spoke the truth about their history.
35. Freelancer
UnCrownedKing@5 (or Master Tzu, if you wish)

Good question, not something dealt with in much detail. There are later points (Far Madding) where Aiel are shown, but it seems to be left to us to understand that thoe who threw down their spears and ran away simply scattered.

A few, in an oddly perverse sort of acceptance of their past, go to the Tuatha'an. The first time I encountered that, my mental view of it was like, "If being a Tinker was good enough for my grand-daddy, it's good enough for me." But with repeated re-reads, I can see some Aiel thinking that ji'e'toh demands nothing less, that they return to being da'shain, as their true historical nature.
Angel Banchev
36. Tiranas
I totally agree with bkaul @23. Very nicely put there.
About Moiraine, well one has to consider that Mo has recently learned that she has only a limited time to influence and prep Rand for Tarmon Gai`Don. Remember she has spent most of her AS`ing looking for him and making shure that when push comes to shove he will be ready enough. Put yourself in her shoes and the begging that ensues for her in the next chapters is understandable. She just wants to be sure that he is prepared. Though that does not absolve her of her other mistakes with him i.e. pushing and shoving and...just being a prime example of what people in RandLand think AS behave like. That said she is without a doubt one of my favorite characters.

I am not even touching Egg`s behavior, though i do think its because she is trying too much to be "ooh ooh" here.

RE: Aiel and the Bleakness. Think about it in this way forgotpassword - you have been believing one thing for your whole life, so have the many many generations before you and now suddenly you find out that that it is not true ? And you really question the need to rethink what you are doing and what you believe in ? It is true it is a bit excesive the way the Aiel do it, but still...

RE: About the memory thing...I have always thought that LTT is always connected to whoever is/will become the Dragon Reborn. He was the first Dragon after all and every piece of lore in RandLand has it that he is going to get reborn...So a connection with his Vesel ( for a lack of better term ) has to exist. Combine the taint, the presence of the OP and all the markings and feats that the Vesel does or has to do...Resurficing of a part of him i.e. his memoryes or even a part of his mind later on, isn`t that surprising. At least not for me. The first time through my read finding out about the memoryes, it reminded me about Juliet McKenna`s Einarin series and how she uses the same technique i.e. connection between two men via memoryes and feelings to advance her plot. That plot device has always been interesting to me i guess.

About Mat, we do find out later on,( perhaps it was in KoD even ? ) that all of his memoryes come from the Finn`s depository. I think that RJ has putt it quite well there and his explanation is quite satysfying to me. Though i have a thought about it...In the next Turn of the Wheel ( if there is one :) ) how whould the next Vesel for the Finn`s memory depository feel about the using of artillery and Mat`s own memoryes in general ? That has always been interesting to me.

Toryx@18 - Heh. True that. But that`s what makes RJ Awesome.Plus the richness of his world.That`s what i really really love about him. I do have to catch up on his Connan books though...
Andrew Lovsness
37. drewlovs
On the "gender power" issue, I personally never had a problem with it, mainly because the concept of Saidar and Saidin was so...complete? me. It works, where other magic systems don't.

Remember, we are not seeing the universe speaking on the ways of power, we are looking through Rand's mind for HIS perceptions. Saidar and Saidin are 2 separate streams of power, with their own rules. So, for me, it makes sense that a user of saidar might not be able to channel as much, but would have the ability to link up with other saidar users, whereas saidin users can channel a crap load of saidin, but are their own "private Idahos", so to speak.

The ability to link is HUGE in WoT, and we cannot gloss it over just because saidin users can channel more raw power. And if you noticed, I removed the gender part of the equation, only to make a point. If it wasn't gender that determined which power you could channel, no one would think that one was "better" than the other. I don't think its women who are weaker here, but instead they are limited by the power they are channeling.

Why did women get saidar? In my opinion, the men needed to be able to break the world without linking... I think it could be that simple.
38. Freelancer
RE: Relative strength in the Power

Given the various explanations that the SGs get via Moiraine/Sheriam/etc, I'm left with the opinion that Asmodean's belief that men are generally stronger is faulty.

Other than Rand (who is who he is), there's little empirical evidence for us one way or the other except for internal POVs of the forsaken, which places Lanfear behind only Ishamael.

Aes Sedai certainly don't have much to go on to measure male/female relative strength, since they gentle men they find.

All in all, it's not a thing to be too concerned about. I don't think RJ made men stronger, except that he made the Dragon Reborn the Strongest. I take everything else as hearsay, so not *headdesk* worthy.
Blake Engholm
39. UncrownedKing
EGW deserves a spanking!

Leigh you may have successfully (if just barely) ignored her here, however I can't do it. Shes acting like a spoiled high and mighty little know it all......O shit I forgot shes Aes Sedai.
NVM retract statement: I can now ignore her.


"I would run to Semirage, rather then face him"

Semi killed Asmo? O god I just started the debate again
40. Freelancer

Egwene is barely 18 at this point, or weeks short of it, since we don't get that much detail.

Mat's internal POV noted here is that he is 20. Rand internal POVs in TEotW clearly put Egwene 2 years younger than the Ta'veren Trio.
John Fitzingo
41. Xandar01
Mat's drinking game is cool. Reminds me of a drinking game my buddies and I did in the Marines while stationed at the "stumps" for our year long MOS training in the desert.

We made Melee swords (out of PVC pipe, foam and duct tape) and then would sword fight. We were all reading WOT; TDR would come out while we were there.

One weekend to spice things up we add beer. We sword fight, winner takes a drink (to even things up), and repeat. Took a bit longer to get stupid, but the journey there was hilarious.
42. Browncoat Jayson
Anyway. Slight linguistics fail in this chapter, unless the Old Tongue words for “dry”, “cry”, and “fly” (and “free”, “knee”, and “me”) rhyme as well, which I rather doubt.

When Mat was singing Jak 'o the Shadows, he wasn't singing in the Old Tongue. What he said in the Old Tongue was "Luck is a horse to ride like any other." Jak 'o the Shadows was popular "a 1000 years ago", so not quite Old Tongue necessary.

Still interesting concept about Mat having more years of memories than his age would allow. Makes sense why hes so good at what he does (and such a damn cool character to boot).
43. Freelancer
RE: Moiraine attacking Rand with the Power

When I first read this, I had to stop. Not knowing then what we all know now, I hadn't understood what kind of pressures she was under (knowing she's on her way to the Cairhienin docks meeting with Mierin, losing Lan to Nynaeve, etc). Knowing bits and pieces of the future is a heavy rap. But I actually put down TFoH and re-read most of TDR and all the chapters in TSR that Moiraine was featured in, to get a sense of what would make her break character like that.

She has already accepted in her mind (partially) that he cannot be controlled as she originally intended, that his future cannot be guided from the level of ignorance of the current age (her words to Siuan at Fal Dara say as much), so why should she still be trying so hard to tell him that whatever he thinks is the right thing to do is actually disastrous?

Agree with earlier commenter that Moiraine has been the Light's leading champion ever since she and Siuan had to hide their search for the DR from the BA. No Aes Sedai has done more to serve the Light. I guess that burden, and knowing she cannot continue her part in that war, was too much for even her.
Ofer Nave
44. odigity
It's possible that rather than men being stronger on average, they simply have a wider bell curve than women do (aren't there real life examples of this, like size/strength?), which would lead to the strongest men being stronger than the strongest women, even if the averages are the same. If the AS (now and in the AOL) are going off anecdotes rather than a statistical sampling, they could easily be misinterpreting the evidence.

More specifically, there has been no environment in which to test these ideas since the breaking due to men going mad being shielded/stilled on sight, so the modern AS have to be basing this on AOL textbooks (Intro to the One Power?), so if the AOL AS got it wrong, it would not have been corrected since. And as research into the modern state of affairs will demonstrate, even supposedly advanced and scientific civilizations can be amazingly wrong about an incredibly number of very obvious things. (I won't offer examples for fear of derailment.)

Of course, it could just be that men are stronger on average, and that they have it right. As others have explained wonderfully above, no, that doesn't really bother me.
45. alreadymadwithchannelstrength
Freelancer @38
Not quite faulty. RJ fleshes out this concept as the books progress.
Blake Engholm
46. UncrownedKing
Egw attacked Rand......Its up in the text
"Then she executes a perfect curtsy that Rand knows for mockery, and leaves. Egwene hisses at him that he could at the very least be civil, and he deserved no more than he got. Rand snaps, so it was Egwene that hit him, but to his surprise she half-shakes her head before catching herself."
47. HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
thinking strength in the Power correlates with physical strength is pretty much trashed by the fact that Lanfear weighs 80 pounds soaking wet and some people feel she may be the actual upper limit on strength in the power.
Leigh Butler
48. leighdb
R.Fife @8:

Yeah, "snerk" is pretty close, though that has more of a contemptuous feel to it which doesn't fit. Same thing with "snicker" and "snigger". But oh well.

AllAdamB @13:

There's nothing saying he couldn't still be the strongest. Nynaeve is a great deal more powerful than many male channelers, despite the general case being that women are weaker, so the same situation could apply in reverse.

Odigity @33:

"I have a secret. I worship the devil."
Michael Catapano
49. hoping
Tiranas @36

About the memory thing...I have always thought that LTT is always connected to whoever is/will become the Dragon Reborn. He was the first Dragon after all and every piece of lore in RandLand has it that he is going to get reborn.

I also have had a hard time getting my brain around this concept. The way I understand it is that every age has a champion of the light but not every age has a dragon or dragon reborn. RJ said that sometimes the champion goes to the dark but Rand doesn't think he ever went to the dark in any of his lives he has seen in the portal stones.

In the FSoEP, Lanfear says He may be Lews Therin reborn, but he is not Lews Therin himself.

Graendal replies It may well be that, as many believe, all are born and reborn as the Wheel turns, but nothing like this has ever happened that I have read. A specific man reborn according to prophecy. Who knows what he is?

And she's the expert on reintergration of personalities.

If Rand is LTT reborn then how do we have two souls when there was only one. We might need some creator help on this one in coming books.
Chris Hall
50. bookwormchris

Thank you. I was thinking she was a bit younger but couldn't remember how much.

Egwene still has much to learn from the Wise Ones. She still isn't quite at the point where she is willing to accept the consequences of her actions. She is a very sponge like person, absorbing all sorts of influences around her and making them her own. This fits with her drive to learn about the Power, Dreaming, etc. even if she does some pretty dangerous things out of ignorance.

These characters can't be awesome all the time because they are human. It would be a pretty boring story if nobody had flaws to work around or even learn and utilize. (Still... Elaida was written so well that there are few times I don't get annoyed with her.)

Which reminds me, Rand is going to rue the day he created the Black Tower. Can't wait to see how that works out.
51. Freelancer
RE: Mat having too many memories for his lifetime

Images of Ashton Kutcher with bad nosebleeds...

RE: Mat being awesome

Up to this point, any awesomeness is purely accidental as far as Mat's personal behavior and intentions are concerned, can be credited to his ta'verenness, his crazy luck, and the 'finn gifts, so from me he gets lesser marks in this regard. Rand, at the same age, knowing who he is and what he must do, yet not crumpling under that mountain, now that's awesome. But then, he's got Lan at his back, which would help anyone in the same position.
52. perrin5454
"I suppose it makes sense to do a certain amount of recapping for the people who didn’t reread the first four books before starting this one, but it seemed to me that the catch-up exposition here was almost an attempt to clue in people who hadn’t read the first four books at all, which is just absurd. Anyone who starts a series with a book clearly marked “Book Five” on the cover deserves the confusion they get, if you ask me."

I was given The Fires of Heaven by my uncle, who worked at a book-binding factory and was collecting the series to read when he retired, when I was in 7th or 8th Grade. I had picked it out off of his bookshelf because it looked cool. It was also the first book I read. I then followed it up with Lord of Chaos, and I can assure you, the exposition/recap at the beginning of the chapter did not help much at all :) On a side note, the book was awesome enough to hook me on my first read, and after LoC, I quickly read the first 4 novels. THen reread the entire series... then read it again....and again...and bought ACoS and read it in one day. I guess in short this series is awesome and I LOL'ed when I read your comments about my initial situation.

I think that the reaction of some the Aiel to Rand's news (the Bleakness) is perfectly understandable. Consider that for probably 2,000 years they have been raised in a society which emphasizes (sp?) martial achievement and is founded on bedrock concepts of honor and obligation. Now imagine that you just learned that the main emphasis of your people (war) violates the very oath your people swore to uphold. In essence, your entire society is made up of oath breakers.

For the Survey
26 year old Male
Married with child
BS in Economics, minor in Middle Eastern Studies
Infantry Officer deployed to Iraq.
Michael Catapano
53. hoping

In addition, your leaders knew about it and never told anyone that they were living a lie.
Don Barkauskas
54. bad_platypus

RE: Relative strength in the Power

Given the various explanations that the SGs get via Moiraine/Sheriam/etc, I'm left with the opinion that Asmodean's belief that men are generally stronger is faulty.

Other than Rand (who is who he is), there's little empirical evidence for us one way or the other except for internal POVs of the forsaken, which places Lanfear behind only Ishamael.

I agree there's little or no emprirical evidence, but Word of God says so:

"Regarding the levels of male strength, while the weakest man and the weakest woman would be roughly equivalent, you might say that there are several levels of male strength on top of the female levels." (RJ's blog, October 4th, 2005)

There's also a mention of how the average male strength is stronger as well.
Luke M
55. lmelior
Re: Mat's memory capacity
I don't believe, even with modern science at its current level, we can say exactly how much "stuff" a human being can remember (do correct me if I'm wrong though). Accepting that for a moment, my wacky theory is that our brains use the biological equivalent of a lossy but highly efficient compression algorithm to store memories. It's interesting how one small, seemingly insignificant word, sight, feeling, smell, etc. can trigger an onslaught of memories. So I don't think Mat's brain just can't hold that many memories.
Dan Sparks
56. RedHanded
I didn't read all the comments cause I'm lazy like that but on the gender war/men being stronger in the power subject......

I believe it says somewhere that it's not actually true, that women are stronger in some things i.e. water, air than men and men are stronger at fire, earth, both are equally strong in spirit. Don't remember where this is from but I know it's somewhere. I believe whoever was mentioning this said that men weren't necessarily stronger, but only seemed so because of which aspects of the power they were strong in, i.e. giant mountains of earth and guysers of fire MIGHT seem more intimidating than a strong wind or a storm?
Ahh, the point...which is....umm....Asmodeon might have been full of shit or thought what he was saying was true but isn't?
Did I pull things out of context and mix them to suit myself or does this sound familiar to anyone else?
57. RobMRobM
@36 - Mat does believe his memories come from Finn's but I'm not sure I buy it. Pre-finns he not only spouted occasional bits of Old Tongue (ye olde blood concept) but also a very detailed statement about participation in a centuries-old battle in TGH -- plus his statement to the AS trying to heal him that he is not "Aes Sedai meat." That seems to suggest he had past lives in him already and that finns took away blocks that interfered with ability to remember those past lives.

Is there any textual proof that Mat's theory is correct as opposed to theory that he actually lived the past lives and the finns allowed him to access his own old memories?

Hugh Arai
58. HArai
I think RJ's point with the One Power was to make men and women equal but different with it, just like they are in every other aspect. It's considerably less interesting if they are equal because they are exactly the same, and like someone else pointed out the Breaking makes more sense if the men were stronger individually.
Ofer Nave
59. odigity
leighdb@48: "I have a secret. I worship the devil."

"This is the first date Theresa and I have been on... since the doctor separated us."

I love that movie like a fat kid loves cake. (As a fat kid, I should know.)
Sydo Zandstra
60. Fiddler

If Rand is LTT reborn then how do we have two souls when there was only one. We might need some creator help on this one in coming books.

I never gave this much thought, but if I can put in a guess/explanation, I'd say that Rand got the LTT soul (or an activation of it in his mind) during his trip through the glass columns at Rhuidean. Only one person can come out there with two dragon marks.

The prophecies aren't officially linked, but I always got the impression there was a 'for all we know' connected to that when this was stated.

I know. I'm speculating.
Brian Kaul
61. bkaul
Don't some of the Aes Sedai who get tied up with the Black Tower express surprise at how much stronger the men are, too? It's been a while since I read the later books, but I thought I recalled some comments or POV thoughts along those lines, maybe from the ones bonded by Logain? I know smoe of the Supergirls notice it when Rand manhandles them, but thought it had been mentioned in other cases, too. In any case, the various Forsaken and some of the other new male channelers (Logain, Taim, et al) are not that far behind Rand.

thinking strength in the Power correlates with physical strength is pretty much trashed by the fact that Lanfear weighs 80 pounds soaking wet and some people feel she may be the actual upper limit on strength in the power.

The theory here isn't that physical strength correlates 1:1 with power strength for individuals. It's that, generally speaking, the average strength of male channelers is greater than that of females, in an analogous manner. That is, the way in which male channelers are typically stronger is like the way in which men are typically physically stronger than women. We're not claiming that there's an actual correlation between muscles and channeling in any individual character.
62. toryx
Freelancer @38

All in all, it's not a thing to be too concerned about. I don't think RJ made men stronger, except that he made the Dragon Reborn the Strongest. I take everything else as hearsay, so not *headdesk* worthy.

I personally am doubtful that the Dragon Reborn truly is stronger than any other channeler. Too many people, the Forsaken and Aes Sedai amongst them, mistake the importance of strength and power. You can be the strongest man (or woman) in the world and not have the intelligence to wield that strength well.

Whether it's Lews Therin Telamon, the Dragon or Rand Al'Thor, I'm inclined to think it's not just about the amount of power that he can wield (though obviously it's significant) but the way in which he wields it. Rand often considers how complex the weave is that brought his mother to Waste, left her to die on Dragonmount and bring Tam to find him and raise him in the Two Rivers to fulfill prophecy.

But it's more than just that: Being raised in the Two Rivers is a large part of what's made him who he is. Stubborn, a capacity for gentleness, a willinness toward sacrifice and a sense of honor and duty. His blood, royalty in Andor and chieftain in the Aiel also have had a part in shaping him. His relationships with Moiraine and Elayne, his rearing by Tam have all helped to make him a man who can lead. It's the whole package that makes him capable of fighting in Tarmon Gaidon, not just an ability to wield the One Power.

I've often thought that this is part of the point RJ was trying to make. Strength isn't everything, and neither is power. It's what you do with it that matters. And that's where he balances out the differences in the One Power between men and women. It's only the characters who are constantly limited by their perceptions of what type of power or strength is the greater.
Ofer Nave
63. odigity
bookwormchris@50: Which reminds me, Rand is going to rue the day he created the Black Tower. Can't wait to see how that works out.

(No, not arg. Grrr.)

I'm putting off any thoughts on the black tower till we get there and can ignore it no longer. My most headdesking sore point.
64. RedDwarfFan
I was Joan Of Ark in my previous life

I was Sun Tzu


"I was Alexander the Great's chief eunuch."

-- Arnold Judas Rimmer
Dan Sparks
65. RedHanded

Do you think it could have been the dagger? Mordeth was supposedly an old evil right? Perhaps if left with the dagger until it consumed him Mat would have had abilities such as Padan Fain/Ordeith/Mordeth? I would include the old tongue as one of these abilities...I'd speculate that some of that ancient evil got into him thus augmenting his "old blood". If any past life got into him before the Finns had their crack I'd have to go with this theory. Side note, we know Mat doesn't remember much while he had the dagger, suppose the evil was creating space in Mat's memory/brain for Mordeth to take over with his knowledge/memories? eh? And what if some of Mordeth's memories did sneak in? not enough to actually change Mat completely but just enough to have an effect?
Karen Walters
66. Wrenza
Thanks Leigh for the post.

I did a small chortle at the comment about Moiraine swallowing pride. Its such a major element of her character that when she eventually does it made me sit up and really wonder what was going on.

And for the poll

Yes one student here, currently MSc in Social Work - however also old enough to have been married lots and lots of years and have teenage daughters - but not old enough (at least please not for several years) to have grandkids.
Ofer Nave
67. odigity
bad_platypus@54: I agree there's little or no emprirical evidence, but Word of God says so:

"Regarding the levels of male strength, while the weakest man and the weakest woman would be roughly equivalent, you might say that there are several levels of male strength on top of the female levels." (RJ's blog, October 4th, 2005)

There's also a mention of how the average male strength is stronger as well.

Well, that incapacitated the ferret. Ignore my post above re bell curves; it is now obsolete.

And now to pay it forward:

hoping@49: If Rand is LTT reborn then how do we have two souls when there was only one. We might need some creator help on this one in coming books.

RJ at some point explicitly stated "one soul, two personalities".
Danny Saiz
68. DannySaiz
I think the gender difference with the one power makes Jordan's magic system more believable. This is further advanced by making Men stronger (in most cases) then Women. It fits the world as I know it. I know we would all like to think that Men and Women are equal. I don't think that's true.

I guess I'm not progressive enough but I always thought that Men were stronger than Women in just about everything. Some may say I'm ignorant or a bigot. That may be true. It's just that I can find a lot more evidence to support what I think than evidence against.

Of course, "strength" is a term that can describe a lot of things. For example, I thinc that my wife is a stronger speler. I'm talking about strength in picking up large objects or smashing people's skulls with a hammer.

I'll shut up now before I make anyone too mad.
John Fitzingo
69. Xandar01
55. lmelior

Regarding Mat's extra memories, here is a wacky theory that ties into yours. If mat's brain can't hold it all what if he is linked to the Eelfinns some how where they continually refill his lost memories while they continually siphon some of his. Kind of like a perverse warder bond but with memories instead of emotion (and not using the One Power because of his medallion.)

So when he remembers things, they're not "his" memories precisely, but the shared memories of the finns.

Oh yeah, Survey:
37 Male, married 3 kids
BS Business, Managing Information Systems
IT support Guy
Got my wife to read it about a year or so after getting married and my 14yo daughter to read WOT last fall after 3 years of trying. (They both read more than I.)
I am getting the new comic to try to hook my 9yo son. (He doesn't read enough... um kinda like me.)
Reading WOT since TDR; Loved Mistborn so I have good feelings about the rest.
Dan Sparks
70. RedHanded
When did this survey start? I feel like I'm in a chatroom and people have asked a/s/l. Bah...!
Richard Fife
71. R.Fife
you are in a chatroom and someone did ask a/s/l.
Luke M
72. lmelior
Here is a very thorough analysis on the relative strengths of all the channelers. It's not official by any means, but you can judge the arguments behind the rankings yourself.

Hmmm, my link isn't working:

Link fixed.
Dan Sparks
73. RedHanded
@ Fife


29/m/IL, where are the bots?
Click here to see me naked

My only dream in life is to have a house with a library, like an old school one with a ladder on wheels that I absolutely need because I have an overwhelming amount of books.

Actually I shouldn't say only dream, just one among many.
74. anIceFan
I agree with RedHanded @56. I believe in a conversation the Moraine has with Egwene in EOtW that she explains the unequal strength is just a perception. That is the way that I have looked at it at least.

On further thought, they almost have to be equal. One of the constant themes that we get here is of Saiden and Saidar (sp) working together equally to spin the wheel. That to me implies that the users would also be equal.
Elroy Skimms
75. elroyskimms
Slurpy @ 24

... just like IRL, where women are generally better at multi-tasking

Hey, I resemble resent that remark. I'm Dug...


My wife calls it the "bright shiny thing syndrom". If there is a TV on within my range of vision, I can't help but watch it. Even if it is bloody Sound of Music *headdesk*, I'm drawn like a moth to the bug zapper.

76. David-2
Jak of the Shadows is my favorite WoT song.

Which reminds me: In KoD when Tuon can't figure out who "Jak of the Shadows" is - is she being unusually dense or what?
77. SRizea
I rather like RJ's decision to skew the balance of raw Power-channeling capacity. True egalitarianism is boring.

The difference in power allows RJ to play with themes that would be awkward if men and women were Equi-Powered: power isn't everything (the boxer with the strongest punch doesn't always win, Moiraine kills Fosaken), "better" and "stronger" are relative terms (which is better, the ability to level a building with a thought or the ability to hook up with a few friends and level a city block?), the relative benefits of raw power and finesse. I'm sure others can come up with many more.

On a different topic, Fiddler @ 60 made me think about Rand's pair of dragon marks. The AS readily admit that they don't know what many Ter'angreal are used for and that they likely use many for purposes other than originally intended. What could the purpose of the glass columns be? I find it unlikely that the just-post-AOL AS created a Ter'angreal specifically to choose clan chiefs and mark the Dragon Reborn.

Assuming for a moment the columns were created for some other purpose, what could it have been? One possibility is they were made as a living historic record. It seems to me that if we can puzzle out a purpose for the columns, we might be able to derive some meaning from Rand's double markings (vs. the chief's single marking) other than "the prophesies said so".
didnt they say in New Spring that Moiraine had a bit of a temper as a novice?
Michael Catapano
79. hoping
I think Mat does figure out (maybe in KOD) that his life is on continual feed to the finns. Whether the reverse is true is intriguing but I don't know.

See last post. We were wondering at the education/achievement level of WOT readers. Turns out quite a few are engineers or computer people.
Feel free to ignore if you will.
Sean Banawnie
80. Seanie
My 2 cents:
as far as strength in the power there are several factors going on. 1st point , which has been made several times but needs to be emphasized is the difference between strength and skill. look at Eggy splitting her flows etc. Second it was mentioned several times about male vs female affinity for different powers -fire male etc.
as recently mentioned fire is more impressive than air but is it more useful ? Lastly and prob least discussed is the way the powers are "controlled" --
saidan must be wrestled while saidar must be surrendered to (or manipulated) does this make one more dependable than the other/predictable?
Are they stronger because they need to be stronger ? (relatively) just some food for thought....
well said --by the time i finished writing this (SR..) posted similar thoughts ..
Dan Sparks
81. RedHanded
@79 hoping

Oh I won't ignore, I was just in the dark and was scouring this post to see where I missed it. I thought it might have been a form of psychological warfare on myself that someone had let loose for the mere pleasure of watching me go slowly mad. :) I almost let Howl out.

I have a BA in Psych so I'm not on the "in" crowd and my degree is pretty worthless, in fact I think someone turned it down when I tried to give it away for free disguised as a sandwich. I do consider myself if not well-read (which I'm probably not) at least an observer and sometimes participant in the ways of reason.
82. MonktonGaz
I don't get the constant gripes over the gender issue.

So the implication is that the strongest possible saidin channeller is a bit stronger than the strongest possible saidar channeller?

Seems to me that maybe the testosterone-filled agressiveness of the saidin family gets a boost, but enough to spark yet another diatribe about the sheer audacity of a male author writing that men might be slightly stronger?

As a man, I don't find it at all disturbing to read that women have ruled the magic world for thousands of years, hunting down and mentally raping men in the process; to me, it's just part of a larger story. Maybe I just lack imagination.
Roger Powell
83. forkroot
It may be the Dirty Old Man in me, but an interesting thought occurs about Mat: He has all of those other men's memories and not all of those memories are about battles.

Melindhra just lucked into a lover with a young man's stamina and the combined experience of a lot of older men. Whewee! No wonder Tylin wouldn't leave Mat alone.
Timothy Schaefer
84. breeze
On the survey-

I'm a 20 year old student of history that plans to teach eventually. No kids and not married. I am a male and began reading Fantasy at a young age, though came to Science Fiction first. I am new to the Wheel of Time universe, reading the whole series in the Spring Break of, I think, 2006. My favorite WoT book is easily Knife of Dreams.

I had a long post here regarding points where it seems clear, to me at least, that men are shown as stronger than women in the series. I also included an explanation of parts where it seems women can do things men can't, due to their own abilities. But, honestly, most of it would be conjecture when there is a perfectly good Word of God about it. So I decided to not post the long and boring thing I had written.
85. Freelancer

Hoorah! If nobody said so on Memorial Day, thank you for your service, young sir.


Yes, you're right, thank you. However, it seems that those "several levels" above women are occupied by only a very few exceptions among men. If Lanfear was second among forsaken behind Ishy, I would posit that only LTT/Rand, and possibly Logain and Taim would join Moridin in that club.

Use of the One Power isn't like the steel/iron abilities in Mistborn, where body weight and physical strength can matter.


Let me try this.

First, there's a theory that the Aridhol dagger itself put something in Mat that came out during the Healing in the Tower, causing his outburst that Siuan later described as him being in two different times (or something of the like).

Second, he appears to have memories of different POVs of the same event, which would not be possible if his memories were past lives. (This one could be invalid, I'm sure someone will call me on it if so)

Third, the sheer number of different lives in his memories that reached adulthood (no "added" memories come from childhood), would exceed the number of lives he could have lived between the trolloc wars and Hawkwing's time. That is the range he later realizes that all the memories include, right?

Mat has concluded that the people whose memories he now shares have each visited the 'finn, otherwise why have memories that don't include growing up times?

Lastly, the 'finn may cheat, but they do grant three wishes, and he wished to have the holes in his head filled in, to which they said "Done!". So, they did it.

As an addendum, playing with the first notion, that the Aridhol dagger played a part, the 'finn might have taken a cue from that embedded condition of Mat's and built upon it. No proof, or even evidence, but it would comply with Occam, in a way.
Roger Powell
86. forkroot
OK ... the gender arguments didn't do it, the religious arguments didn't do it, etc.
Only now am I breaking my rule about ranting on real-world issues in this WoT forum, and it's your all your fault :-)

I have a BA in Psych so I'm not on the "in" crowd and my degree is pretty worthless,

I dispute the notion that any Bachelor's degree (from a certified institution of higher learning) is "worthless". There's a reason that many employers prefer a degree when looking at potential employees, even if the degree is in a subject that doesn't pertain to the job.

I'll tell you exactly what that reason is: Attaining a degree means that at one time in your life, someone set down a goal and a set of requirements to be met to achieve that goal. The requirements might have been somewhat arbitrary, they might have been irrelevant or even manifestly unfair. Nevertheless you met the requirements and finished the task.

In my 33+ years of working, I have met numerous people that "talk a good game" but never actually seem to finish anything they start. Not surprisingly, many/most of them did not have a college degree, although many had attended college.

Now while I don my asbestos underwear, let me make it clear that I am not stating that anyone without a degree is not a finisher. On the contrary, I have met all sorts of terrific workers who do not have a degree.

All I am stating is that possession of a degree documents that (at least once) you were a "finisher". And I am not implying the converse.
87. Freelancer

Now, don't bash yourself so. Until not long ago, I could honestly say that every Psych major I'd ever run into chose it in the hope of figuring themselves out. I know that isn't universally true, but it always caused me great amusement, especially when many of them were bartenders, cab drivers, construction workers, etc.

You have passed the difficult hurdle, and can laugh at yourself. I didn't learn to do that until I woke up aboard a big, gray ship in the middle of NOWHERE one morning and said out loud, "What on Earth am I doing here?".
Sydo Zandstra
88. Fiddler
Beware. Off topic and casting related:

I've been watching a few West Wing episodes tonight on DVD, and I think Mrs. Bartlett (Stockard Channing) might make a great Aes Sedai.

I'll chalk her up for Kiruna.
89. Zhull
@47 How did you get her wet?
Tess Laird
90. thewindrose
SO I was reading something on a prior thread, and this question just popped in my head. If Mat is supposed to be blowing the HoV during TG, how can he also be directing the WOT Go Light Army?
IIRC, at the battle of Falme, he had to keep sounding the horn.

Arthur Hawkwing "Trumpeter, will you give us music on the Horn? Fitting that the Horn of Valere should sing us into battle." ... The wild cries Mat wrung from the horn echoed in the fog ... Mat sounding the Horn, and laughing between.
Caleb Gesick
91. Calebg
A couple things.

First, regarding the whole strength in the power thing: I think the idea that men are stronger in the power while having to fight it to use it, AND deal with the icky taint was supposed to make their madness scarier. Not only will these people with so much power go nuts and destroy everything around them, but, on average, they'll be stronger than any one sane person sent to stop them.

Second, Asmodean: My favorite Forsaken. I wish he'd have survived to be redeemed. It would have tied in nicely with Ingtar's issues about "walking so long in the shadow that you can't come back to the light."

Right here we're seeing Asmo plotting and still behaving Forsakeny, but as the book progresses, he really does seem willing to turn back to the Light, if only because he knows the Shadow is no longer really an option.

In all honesty, I wish Jordan had kept Asmo around and spared us one of the super obnoxious characters later on (maybe the entirety of the Atha'an Miere?)
92. alreadymadwithstrcomparison
Re: strength in the Power
There's Gateway size. It's generally a given that barring some talent with Gateways the size of the one you open is directly proportional to your strength. Jur's and the others actually get bigger as the series progresses. And Rand can summon Gateway weaving Asha'man by the hundreds. And they taxi whole armies around. Horses, wagons, the works. By comparison most Aes Sedai have to link to make a usable Gateway. Even Elayne's gateway would require a rider to duck.

There's also the matter of Shielding. Logain at full health has to be shielded by at least six otherwise he was strong enough to break free. Nynaeve, by comparison, despite being Forsaken level strength, could be shielded by two of the Black Ajah.

Also Women can weave longer bridges. No matter the difference in strength. My point? Strength is strength, RJ did not leave a lot of ambiguity there. But strength is also not everything.
AJ MacPherson
93. Mackey62
Seanie @ 80

I was thinking about the same thing with the surrendering vs. taking control.

I find it interesting that the two lines of thought on the strenght come from Mo, who we don't have knowledge of facing a male channeler and Asmo, a forsaken. Not 2 strong points.

Plus, have not learned anything by reading fantasy? How often does brute strenght win? It is not one aspect that decides the outcome, but the entire package of strenght, will, intelligence, charisma, etc. I think that this is one reason, for the most part, everyone seems to like most of the wise ones. They follow the person because who she is, not how strong in the one power or which sept she is from, but the strenght of character and wisdom.

Survey, 35, married, BS - Poli Sci, Minor History, J.D.
Caleb Gesick
94. Calebg
An addendum to the strength in the Power discussion: Men are stronger, but the HAVE to have women around to do several things (most notably linking).
Michael Johnson
95. twosheddz
@Rebecca Starr

From your comments, you both seemed to have started WoT when you were about 12 and have apparently turned out OK. *grin*

Would you have any reservations in recommending it to another 12 year old girl? My cousin's step-daughter is 12 and a big reader. I've sent my cousin the first two box sets for birthday presents and wanted to tell her to start it as he "hasn't had the time." My age and gender don't give me the proper perspective. i appreciate any input.
Deborah Jones
96. NanaD
Is there anything that the men can do with the One Power that the Women can't do? Or that the women can do but the men can't?

I was thinking about the way they do healing differently.
Timothy Schaefer
97. breeze

Women can make larger bridges with the power to walk across and link. Also, we've never actually seen a man "unweaving" so this may also be a gender specific ability, but that is speculation.

Things men can do that women can't, I honestly draw a blank on. I suppose sense the other gender holding the power without any extra weaves??
John Fitzingo
98. Xandar01
95. twosheddz

I had to beg, borrow, bribe, and almost threaten :S my daughter for over 2 years before she read it. After she was so proud of reading Gone With the Wind in 6th grade she kept complaining that the WOT was too large. Then she would turn around and read some other 2-300 page book, and then another, and another...

I wound up bribing her twice, once with a DS game to get to her to read EoTW, and a second time promising to read her Harry Potter series if she read TGH. That and possibly because it was the summer vacation before high school did it. She needed something to read and I think there may have been some puppy dog eyes in there or something on my part.

In retrospect, I made her wait to read New Spring till it's publish date. I probably should have had her read that before EoTW, or maybe right after.
99. Digital_Eon
Long post with a variety of topics upcoming:

On the subject of men vs. women in the One Power, I personally believe that men got the better deal here. They are more powerful, on average, and even if women are more skilled there are references to even two of the Forsaken linking against men (wasn't that in the previous re-read?). Ultimately, though, I see why they'd be considered equal. What bothers me the most, however, is the argument that "women can link". Well, not all women want to link. Sure, it's nice to have the option, but I would definitely prefer greater strength on my own than to be even more powerful if I had a friend. It depends on the individual's preferences, but being gender-based, these individuals don't have a choice.

Mat and his memories: I always thought Mat had both memories of past lives (pre-Rhuidean - not many, but some Manetheren leakage due to all that, erm... strong blood) and memories of adventurers visiting the Tower of Ghenjei from the Finn. Popular theory, explains a lot. Didn't Egwene mention something about the battle cries sounding familiar, too?

Rand and LTT: Again, I subscribe to the theory that the knowledge comes from being LTT's soul reborn, but the actual talking is just taint-induced madness. Honestly never thought it could be madness before reading the WOTFAQ so many years ago, but it fit so well I don't think I could accept a theory that Rand is just as sane as he was at the beginning of the series. After all, multiple people (Semi, okay, but also Cadsuane) mentioned that these mad men hear voices...

What can men do that women can't? Suck the heat out of a fire to douse it. They all have different talents.

And finally, the stats. I wouldn't mention these but for my age. :P I'm like a Supergirl! Not quite nineteen, female, halfway through a psychology honours degree and figuring I should've done neuropsych. It's those people who want to figure themselves out that annoy me the most about this area of study. I'm in it for the science and the brain, after all.

Oh, and as a girl who started reading WoT around the age of 11 (starting with From the Two Rivers, at that!), I'd say to twosheddz @95 that it would be a good idea.

I'm really amazed at the average level of education of WoT-readers. I first joined a community around the age of thirteen, and as I grow older I've only felt more and more uneducated and incapable of analysis as I read the incredible posts here and on other Wheel of Time sites. Never seen such intelligent communities anywhere else!
Lannis .
100. Lannis
twosheddz @ 95: I'll take that as a compliment, thank you. :)

I have, too, passed the WoT on to young teens. The wonderful thing about literature (compared to movies/TV/whatnot), is that it ultimately rides on the reader's imagination to produce violent scenes... in my recent reads, I've been a little shocked by some of the things I apparently read in my youth, most of which I must have glossed over and just kept going, more interested in the plot than the details of, say, a disemboweling.

I must add, though, that my very best friend and I bonded over WoT, a classmate with whom I was cold at best, until she one day asked about the funky looking book I was reading (tEotW), and I told her about the Halfmen. We're still big readers and best friends, and along the way we've had numerous other friends interested in WoT, as well. I really believe I would have missed out on her friendship, and possibly that of others, if not for the books--though obviously our relationship grew to include other things very quickly. She's now the Godmother of my boys. :)

So give it to a 12 year old? Why not? Even RJ's writing of sexual scenes glosses over things, the most revealing, I think, being that notorious chapter (The Far Snows?) where Rand builds the funky igloo for Aviendha, and even that faded out before the deed, and then it was strongly implied later that what was done was done. I really don't think these books are inappropriate.

Frankly, my mother gave me Jean M. Auel's Clan of the Cave Bear--and anyone who's familiar with it can vouch for the more, ahem, vivid sex scenes therein. (What was she thinking?!)
Michael Johnson
101. twosheddz

Thanks for confirming what I suspected. Time to "plant the seeds". I may get a twofer or threefer out of it when the parents decide to start it to see if it is OK.

For the survey:
father of 1
BS Biology
MS Management
Former Army Officer
Started WoT during Christmas break of my third year of Pharmacy School in 2006. (Really stupid time for my friend in school to recommend it,BTW) Finished my third reading about a month before Leigh started this.
Luke M
102. lmelior
I'm with Lannis @100, children have an amazing ability to simply ignore something they don't understand but might be rather disturbing to them. This hasn't just happened to me with books I had read, but movies too. In particular, I distinctly remember loving the movie Spaceballs when I was a kid. When I saw it later on, I realized just how uncomfortable that must've made my parents.

I'm 25, father of 1, MS Aerospace Engineering, and I work in missile defense. I only got into WoT just after KoD was released. And for the record Xandar01 @98 I would not recommend reading New Spring before tEotW. I believe the general opinion is that the publishing order is the best reading order, though I personally didn't read New Spring until after KoD.
Richard Fife
103. R.Fife
I feel like a bad parent. My 3 yr old bullies me into letting him watch Spaceballs. I still wonder how that got a PG-13 rating, specially with the F-bomb in there a couple times. He also has a strong affinity for Ghostbusters, Last Unicorn, and Dark Crystal. He shall be the last child of the 80s!
104. Valan
Apparently there is some kind of Crazy Survey Let's Discover Diversity in WoT Fandom Poll going on.

23/ Male
Single/ No Kids
AoA degree
MHA at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Ft. Worth, Tx
Musician - Play lead guitar for the funk/hip-hop/rock band Get Well.

WoT reader and re-reader since 6th Grade (1998) and still lovin the sh*t out of it.
Chris Hall
105. bookwormchris
I am a 21 year old male college student. Working on a Business Economics BS with an Accounting minor and an English minor.

I was first introduced to The Wheel of Time in middle school. So I was 12 or 13 at the time. Picked up The Eye of the World at our Book Club meeting (first book we started, as I recall) at lunch. Started it then and finished it before going to bed that night. Still the longest book I've read in a day. After that I got the other books from the library and read them over a series of weeks (including a week at camp when I was sick and basically read Wheel of Time books from the library for much of the time.)

Not sure how many times I've read the series. Generally I do a re-read before the next book comes out. Sometimes I do a re-read because I feel like it. There are also times when I just start reading a particular book because I want to read about a specific scene or plot sequence. Usually I read the book in hardcover from the library and then buy the paperback (because they are cheaper and that is what I got most of the series in after getting tired of getting them from the library.*) Borrowed KoD from my AP Calculus teacher senior year of high school.

As for New Spring, I read it the first time in order of pub date. (Actually bought the book in hardcover, an impulse buy at a bookstore.) At least my last re-read, I started with New Spring. Part of that was because I wasn't sure if I wanted to re-read the whole series last summer or not. Was just looking for some Lan/Moiraine action. Recently my brother purchased Legends and I was able to read New Spring in original form.

Re Clan of the Cave Bear: I'm not sure why my parents let me get that book. I was probably about 12 when I picked it up for 25 cents at a library sale. Not sure when I first read it, but I remember reading it in high school and wondering what the heck my parents were thinking. Then again, they probably didn't know.

* My theory of course is that when the library has a series of books and I am borrowing them to read, the next book in the series will more than likely be checked out when I get to it and want to read it myself. Proven correct many times, to my chagrin.

EDIT: Just got my collection back from the library today. I won an undergraduate prize for book collecting with it. Basically The Wheel of Time, some Brandon Sanderson stuff, BBoBA, WoT Roleplaying stuff and my single Robert Jordan (Jim Rigney) book not about The Wheel of Time, Cheyenne Raiders. 20 books total, 23 pounds of awesome. Still on the look out for the Fallon books and I've been meaning to track down the Conan ones he did.
Michael Johnson
106. twosheddz

I read New Spring first and have never regretted it. It's how I recommend it to others. I can see how it would be a much different experience from tEotW first. It's impossible to say which way is better 'cuz there's no going back once you've started with one. I've tried to explain the difference as well as I can to the people I've turned on to WoT. All so far have chosen to start with New Spring and they all thought it was a better starting place. I've never really seen the sense in "Publishing Order" because if you don't read New Spring first, it would fit it in anywhere. That's just my opinion, I could be wrong. ;)
Tess Laird
107. thewindrose
O.K. lmelior have to say I am experiencing some jealously. My Mom introduced me to WOT, but when it first came out. So I have had to wait for each book, not so bad in the beginning but.... Now I have an 8 and a 6 year old, and am trying to interest them in the Hobbit and the Narnia books!! I always get, "but mom there are movies out on those". It doesn't help that my husband is an avid movie watcher and the only books I have ever seen him open are programing books. He has introduced them to Spaceballs(a favorite) Star Wars, LoTR movies, Evolution etc. But they do like books so I do have some hope.
108. Ella 11
Digital Eon @ 99
"Mat and his memories: I always thought Mat had both memories of past lives (pre-Rhuidean - not many, but some Manetheren leakage due to all that, erm... strong blood) and memories of adventurers visiting the Tower of Ghenjei from the Finn. Popular theory, explains a lot. Didn't Egwene mention something about the battle cries sounding familiar, too?"

I wonder what happened to this part of Mat's memories (i.e. the Old Blood portion)? He was called Son of Battles by the Finns before all the holes were filled. Did the Finns in essence make him the Son of Battles by giving him all those battle memories or would this have been his "birthright" anyway?

For the survey, 38, female, 2 young kids, BA English, MBA, Account Executive; I started reading this series when it first came out, but other than this series, I really don't read other SciFi/Fantasy. It's been so long that I don't remember why I even picked up this series (must have been the cover art -- LOL), but I've been hooked ever since!
Frank Skornia
109. FSkornia
Jumping in here a bit, but I'm about done with TFoH and I realized something that relates to something that Leigh has mentioned a couple of times (and we all know) - Perrin's absence from this book.

In some ways it's like The Dragon Reborn, where Rand plays a very minimal role throughout the book, but is incredibly pivotal at the conclusion. Perrin almost does the same thing here.

At the beginning, it is Perrin's ta'vereness reaching out its long arms and tweaking Morgase's strand on the pattern that determined the conclusion to this book. If it weren't for the Two Rivers folk raising the Goldeneyes and Manetheren banners, it would have been unlikely that Morgase would have found the motivation to overcome Rahvin's Compulsion and therefore would not have disappeared from Caemlyn.

We also see at the end that it was the rumors of Morgase's death that changes Rand's plans from an assault on Illian and Sammael (and maybe succumbing to the Forsaken's trap) and instead launches an attack on Rahvin and Caemlyn - we won't talk about Lanfear's little tantrum here.

So, in some ways, Perrin is the unsung hero of this book as he unknowingly saves Rand.

Also on the topic of Ta'veren - has it ever been theorized that the Supergirls have some degree of Ta'veren to them? Certainly not to the degree that Mat, Rand, and Perrin do, but I noticed that a great deal of happenstance and coincidence occurs around them - or is it just offshoots of their relation with the Ta'veren boys?
Alice Arneson
110. Wetlandernw
RedDwarfFan @64

Wooooo! Red Dwarf!! :)

breeze @84 But, honestly, most of it would be conjecture when there is a perfectly good Word of God about it. So I decided to not post the long and boring thing I had written.
Hey, most of us never let such piddling details stop us... we just post whatever verbosity occurs to us. ;)

RobMRobM @57
I'm pretty sure there are several places where Mat's memories can't be from past lives, though the only one I can call to mind at the moment (and it's remotely possible that my memory is faulty) is a place where he remembers fighting both for and against Hawkwing. This obviously would preclude past lives, since he couldn't be two different people at anything so close to the same time. I also thought RJ said (as Creator rather than a character POV) that Mat's memories/Old Tongue in the early books were the result of "the old blood runs strong", but that the Finn gave him other men's memories as well. (I'll go do some searching and see if I can document that.)

Which, by the way, means that when we get to this stage he has quite the combination of factors going: Manetheren blood runs strong in him, he is ta'veren, he's closely tied to an even stronger ta'veren, and now he's got all these other brave/adventurous/hero/warrior guys memories. Weeee! what a ride.
Alice Arneson
111. Wetlandernw
Rats, missed one other comment.

FSkornia @109
In one of his blog entries, RJ clearly states that while of course women can be ta'veren, it so happens that none of the major female characters are. Then he slyly notes that he put "major" in there to give us all something to play with (or drive us crazy).
John Fitzingo
112. Xandar01
@103. R.Fife

Re your child as a last child of the 80's

You are my new hero! Yeah I am always trying to stick some of that old cheese on my kids too. Sometimes it's a hit, other times I watch and groan with them.
113. alreadymadwithreadingbug
Ella 11 @108
I'm pretty sure Egwene thinking she could understand some of Mat's battlecries was just her having her own Old Blood episode.

Re: reading early
I've wanted to read the Wheel of Time for years but didn't get my own copies until just a few years ago. So yeah, I'm relatively new to the community. Not that I'm a non book-lover though. The first really thick book that I remember picking up and really muddling my way through was Bourne Ultimatum by Ludlum. I was nine at the time, and I had to double-check a lot of the expressions and re-read a lot of it just to understand it. A task made doubly difficult by the fact that English isn't my native language, but since then I haven't looked back. Mostly read Feist through my highschool years though this was about the same time the Wheel of Time made its debut.
I've had to bribe my sister for her to pick up the reading habit. Though I haven't gotten so far as to make her read Wheel of Time. So yeah, I'm a firm believer in getting them into the reading habit early. After that, they'll tend to pick their own genres but as long as they get the habit, they will inevitably pick up that copy of WOT you keep lying around the house.
As for Clan of the Cave Bear, strangely enough it often makes its way into the children's fiction end of our local bookstores. I have read it though. It's not really that graphic. Until you get to Valley of Horses, that is. Then it gets downhill from there. Positively pornographic.
James Jones
114. jamesedjones
Woo Hoo!!! First reference to "Dance With Jak o' the Shadows" always makes me want to give a fist pump and toothy smirk.
Chris Maurer
115. grayfox
Holiday weekend with the apparently equals 2 posts & 500+ comments to catch up on.

Anyway, my credentials:
35, male, BS in Computer Science, MA in Counseling Psych, married, father of a chubby 4 month old boy (only kid so far).

I started reading the series after I noticed a co-worker hauling around a copy of LoC, borrowed his tEotW and tGH, bought the rest in paperback. First book I had to wait for was CoS (but only for about a month)...which is why my copy of CoS (which I'm reading now on my re-read) is practically destroyed after multiple times through and I'd since replaced the utterly destroyed paperbacks of 1-6 with pretty much new hard bound books.

I don't have anything to add to the strength discussion, but I do have a question. As I said, I'm currently in CoS and last night, I came across the part where Mat recognizes Birgitte and he is flashing back to when he blew the horn.

"...Mikel of the Pure Heart, and Shivan the Hunter behind his black mask. He was said to herald the end of Ages, the destruction of what had been and the birth of what was to be, he and his sister Calian, called the Chooser, who rode red-masked at his side. Amaresu, with the Sword of the Sun glowing in her hands, and Paedrig, the golden-tongued peacemaker, and there, carrying the silver bow with which she never missed..."

So my question is this...any guesses who Shivan and Calian are in "current" Randland? Shivan is "said to herald the end of Ages" and we know that the end of the 3rd Age is upon us. So he will be born between the time Mat blows the horn at Falme and before TG, right?

My only guess is that they will be Elayne & Rand's kids. She's having twins, right? A boy and a girl? I really can't remember, but I think that was Min's viewing. Anyone have any thoughts? We may never know, but I wouldn't be surprised if RJ had designs for those heroes being spun out.
sandi vogel
116. sinfulcashew
A person would think that someone would have more to comment on after reading this whole bunch of posts, but I would like to know what this means!


It came up a couple of times up above.

I really enjoy seeing all the personal info that has been put up for our perusal.
We are real people!!!!!

I guess I have to let all of the opinions digest for a while.
(Also pigged out on MickeyD's for dinner with my child and her childs'.
I think the 'food' makes me groggy.)
Early to bed for me.
Timothy Schaefer
117. breeze

a/s/l is shorthand for "age/sex/location"
Thomas Keith
118. insectoid
Just now catching up...Great post as always, Leigh.

Did subwoofer inadvertantly start a survey? I'm relatively new to posting here, so I'll share:

22-going-on-23 single/live-at-home male, almost-AA degree in Computer Tech. My mother got me hooked on WoT in Oct. 2005; it took me 4 months to read all 11 books. I'm mostly a sci-fi/fantasy reader, and am probably the best source of LotR- and WoT-related information in our house. ;)

Ahem. Moving on...

Ch. 2:
I got a chuckle (not a snort, snicker, or a chortle) when Lews Therin's thoughts started popping up. "little sister"...Heh.

Ch. 3:
Imagine that...Rand thinking like the Creator... I'm not sure whether I caught this foreshadowing of the Cleansing when I read the first time.

Mat: One of my favorite characters. The ta'veren luck, the old memories, the dice...Oh, and the Hat. That's cool.

On strength in the Power:
It seems to me that strength--Power-wise, anyway--ought to be equal among the sexes. While that's not the case (men stronger with Earth+Fire, women with Water+Air), it would make more sense to me. Unfortunately, I'm not as well-learned in the whole gender-politics thing.

I mean, Nynaeve (another of my favorite characters) is one of the strongest female channellers, and yet is still weaker than many of the male channelers. And yet, men do need women to link.

Rand Al'Todd@17:
Siuan's fishing references always make me laugh. Not sure why. Fish guts! :D

Guilty as charged. :|

Been pretty gloomy here in So Cal. Good time to kick back and start reading TPoD again. :)
119. The Not So Dark One
Toryx @18

Damn right - like my question on the previous post - Toweer of G mentioned in EOTW and only in KoD do they even think about going there.

Very long game played here
120. The Not So Dark One
For the Survey:

30 Year Old Male
Former Royal Marine
Construction Site Manager
BSc (Hons)Construction Managament
No Kids (yet)

Read the Hobbit in a day aged 8 (had to read it by the light of an old black and white TV after my mum sent me to bed and told me to turn the light off - wrecked my eyes for a week)

First read the EOTW at age 18 - after resisting for a while because I thought the covers looked so awful....theres an old saying involved somewhere there.

Just finshed my seventh or eight re-read after starting when I found these posts somewhere during TDR.

I remember once my Drill Corporal inspecting my locker/ shelving/ bed space and finding three of the wheel of time books instead of the ususal stash of porn most of the lads had.

"Do you think you have time to read ****? "

"No, Corporal!"

"Oh, right then, carry on." (Completeley not sure how to ream me out for not having time to read)

If only he knew.
121. jotto
This has been nagging at me for a couple of books so I just have to get it out there.

What if Mat's luck isn't just ta'veren luck, what if he's got an extra boost?
If you will recall there was a ter`angreal stolen, supposedly when the Thirteen deserted, that would alter chance/luck briefly when channled into. My therory is Verin used the theft of the other Ter`angreal to cover up for the one or ones she set aside for her own use. If you will recall, we never read of any of the thirteen ever mentioning or using the luck ter`angreal. Since Verin was part of the circle that Siuan led to heal Mat's connection to the dagger she could easily have slipped it onto his person before the Healing. Since some unkown ter`angreal can be triggered just by channeling in the general vicinity of them, it is conceivable that a ter`angreal on Mat's person could be activated. Add in the fact that the Aes Sedai were using a tremendous amount of Saidar via the Tower's most powerful sa`angreal, coupled with the fact that they were channeling not only directly into his body by healing him, but also into his soul when they were breaking the connection between Mat and the Sadar Logath Dagger. It would not be unwarranted to suggest that the Healing left a lasting and indefinite connection between Mat and the ter`angreal and/or it's function, Luck. In all possibility the Ter`angreal or it's function could have been absorbed into Mat, i.e. the dice he hears or senses rattling in his head, when he is in one of those situations that will effect his fate.
Bill Reamy
122. BillinHI
To go even farther back: Makaha sept of the Oahu Aiel. Survey says: 67 years old, married, 2 kids, no grandkids (although there are a few grand-cats around), lots of college credits in language but no degree, retired after 8 years in the Air Force and 35 years in DoD. Turned on to WoT by a woman friend a few years ago and am now trying to remember how I got started on LotR many years ago. Have re-read both several times and am REALLY looking forward to the last three(?) books. I don't post much since I am so far west (and south) all the good stuff has been hashed and rehashed by the time I get to it, but I thoroughly enjoy reading everyone else's views, opinions, rants, etc. Also enjoy a lot of the YouTube clips but shudder to think of the effects on productivity with so many people doing this at work! ;)
Angel Banchev
123. Tiranas
Just to add to the survey,though i have to admit i missed its start.21,male,getting through a BA in Biotechnologies at Sofia Uni, live-alone at home. Picked up The Fellowship after the first movie and finished LOTR in three days. Then started to go through the SciFi/Fantasy part of my nearest book store. Picked up tWoT last January, finished all 11 books in just a little over than 5 weeks and have to say that they are made of Awesome with awesome on the side. I have managed to go through them just two more times, but time has always been kinda scarce for me. Currently renting Leigh`s attic with now and then visiting the infamous bunker.

When Mat is being Healed he does speak in the Old Tongue and when i read that on my second reread i thought that the dagger has touched or opened some of the memories that are in Mat`s "blood". At least that is how i explain it to myself. So the Finns just re-open the whole depository of them that is in Mat`s "blood" and then add some of those that they keep in their storage to fill his holes in his mind.Sounds right to me.

@122...never thought about it that way, but you do have a point about productivity.But as long asn Leigh kicks ass with her posts its ok...i think :)
124. sinfulcashew
Thanks for the info.
A lot of the acronyms are hard to figure out. And I'm sure I get a lot of them wrong.

Just to fit in; I started the series about 8 or 9 years ago. My nephews wife is an avid fan and loaned me the first one. Then I read up to the most recent release. Then came 'THE WAIT'!
Since then I have read from the beginning a couple of times and usually before a new release. So I did it again and then found this wonderful informative place to share on.
I read the last two again just before coming here.
Then picked the thickest one LOC and have reread from there to KOD, where I am currently trying to drag it out.
I hate for them to end.
May go back to the first just for grins next week.

Wow, too much info.

No a/s/l/, except for l.
Am of the Kent clan, Trailer sept. In the NW.
Already did the a/s. on the last page.
Karen Walters
126. Wrenza

I've got a similar nagging feeling, I'm sure there was a dice shaped ter`angreal somewhere. But I just can't get the link with how it got to Mat.

I read Cave of Clan Bears series at about 12 as well, although I would never ever let my kids read it now they are a similar age. I'd love to get any of them onto Wheel of Time, but the two girls are hooked totally on the Twilight series just now and the boy is just too young yet.
127. Theodor89
Concerning the Male vs Female OP Strength thing,I think Jordan made it so because otherwise channeling men wouldn't stand a chanse:

I mean, after the breaking a male channeler had no training and was completely alone, facing 1000+ trained female Aes Sedai channellers. So without having a slight strength advantage he wouldn't even be a danger, and a weak single Aes Sedai chould have been able to take him easily.
Sam Kelly
128. Eithin
So men are stronger overall, and good at Fire and Earth, but more individualistic. Women are good at air and water, and better at collective action. That's a bit of a lazy stereotype, isn't it?
Karen Walters
129. Wrenza
Why is it a lazy stereotype?

Do you mean its a lazy stereotype by Jordan or people on here?
130. Stone Dog
Moiraine and Siuan Sanche have had 20 years to work out how to deal with the Dragon Reborn and the best they can come up with is to hide him in the White Tower while they write to all the rulers and tell them the end of the world is at hand and will they please drop everything and front up at the last battle.

Now I know that Aes Sedai are supposed to be skilled at making rulers do what they (the Aes Sedai) want but even a callow youth like Rand can see that this is never going to work. And in any case the prophesies say that the Dragon Reborn will win the last battle, not turn up as a puppet while the puppetmasters use him to win the battle.

Rand's only chance, and humanity's only chance, is to build up a force loyal to him alone and he's made a great move by getting the Aiel behind him, although I think he was a bit foolish to tell them all about theier past.

Moiraine should be able to understand this and do everything in her power to support and help instead of still trying to manipulate and keep secrets. And by co-opting Egwene into the secret keeping the pair of them are pushing Rand to become mistrustful and a bit paranoid. He is left to feel that he has to do it all by himself, and not surprisingly when he can't even trust Egwene any more. His behaviour towards them is quite understandable in the circumstances.
131. SusanB
When I do rereads I usually read as fast as possible to get to the next book & the next & so on. So, all the books have blurred into one for me. Its nice to go at a slower pace & really pay attention to when things happen. I didn't realize that LTT was such a strong presence already. And thinking about LTT made me start thinking about TG & the prophesy. I know have a new idea about what is going to happen (well, new to me at least, it may have been mentioned a million times already by others, but I haven't had the time to read all the posts every day).
My theory - TG will start in TAR. By that point LTT's soul will be almost as strong as Rand's (as I see it, LTT is increasing in strength in each book). Since they are in TAR & you can make whatever you can think of happen...LTT & Rand will split into two separate people (or they will create a body for LTT's soul). Then LTT "the dragon" can die at SG & Rand can live. (This whole crazy idea may be totally based on the fact that I don't want Rand to die!)
I love Matt's memories. I have to admit that I don't think I loved Matt on previous reads as much as I am loving him now. Everyone's pro Matt love has rubbed off on me! My favorite characters have always been the SGs & Perrin. Though now I'm starting to upgrade some of the other characters. Oh & Matt's relationship with Melihndra is super creepy now that I know she's of the shadow. Could you imagine finding out your lover was a devil worshiper or a nazi! (The best real world equivalents I could come up with). Creepy!

Survey - I'm a 30 year old female, married, two boys under 2, BS in biology, MS in teaching, formerly a HS teacher, currently a SAHM. First introduced to WOT by a fellow college student when we were studying abroad in England in '99. (Some one else had left a copy of CoS in the Abbey we were living in, he told me what a great book it was, so I read it. I had to wait until we got home a few months later to start reading the rest of the series).
132. Roxinos
Moiraine has been trying to lead Rand for a long while. Since the Dragon Reborn when they were hiding out in the mountains, and Rand has been obstinate since that point. Moiraine has tried all three rhetorical devices (logos, ethos, and pathos) starting with logic and moving more recently to pathos. It's only after she learns about her impending death does she begin to use more pathos and eventually reaching the point she's at now where she's desperate to get Rand to listen to her and is slowly losing control. She's struggling with her Aes Sedai desire to control things without giving anything up and her knowledge that she doesn't have the time.

So give her a break. Her behavior now is less about Aes Sedai pride and more about misplacing her anger at the lack of time on Rand.
133. CalaLily
I just had a thought.

Controlling Rand is like controlling Saidar. You have to submit before you can guide. Try to -force- Saidar into doing anything and it'll drown you or burn you out like that. *snaps fingers*

Just saying. It's a cool parallel.
Richard Fife
134. R.Fife
CalaLily, Moiraine even says as much to Egwene later when Egwene asks why she is doing any little thing Rand wants. She says it is "because I remember how to control Saidar".
135. Roxinos
And a couple more notes:

1. Think of the combination of Mat's memories into an incoherent solution rather than distinctly separate layers more like how your regular memories and your dreams can blend seamlessly.

The way you tell that a memory is really a dream is usually through the contrast of that memory to reality. You remember having the memory upon waking so you figure it is a dream. You also remember not having it upon going to sleep, so it also must be a dream. There is also the distinct difference between your surrounding reality and the contents of the dream. But that last may fade with time.

Unfortunately, the last one brings to light the shocking truth for Mat. He's very much losing his sense of identity. He's having trouble differentiating the dream from reality because he's losing his objective sense of self. His sense of self has been so greatly intertwined with the sense of self in the Memories of Ole that he can't tell what's him anymore. Luckily, his personality is strong enough that he remains Mat but you have to ask yourself how much of what we see really is Mat and how much is the Memories of Ole?

2. Remember that Asmodean is more or less incapable of channeling anything more than a trickle. I'm fairly certain that lifting that goblet to give to Rand was about the most he could channel (if that wasn't a strain on the shield already). Figuring from that and that he could not teach Rand inverting, we can suppose that inverting a weave requires a certain amount of Power. Under normal circumstances the Power required to invert a weave is a non-point, but when your ability to channel has been castrated to the point of near-shielding, that "non-point" suddenly becomes The Point.

3. "You know, the way almost every other attribute other than physical strength is in human beings?"

I like how you italicized "every other attribute" kindly ignoring the "almost" in there. And that's precisely the point. Almost every other attribute other than physical strength is equal. But men and women are distinctly unequal. And in every way other than strength, Jordan has evened the grounds between men and women with the Power. Men are generally stronger, but women are generally more dexterous with the Power. Men cannot start a circle, but women cannot make a circle over 13 without a man.

He very distinctly did make arbitrary differences between men and women so as to even the playing ground. Men are no better than women in the Power.

So that whole rant at the end is completely meaningless.
136. CalaLily
R.Fife: Cool. I haven't read the books with Moiraine in them for a long while. xD I'm on "Lord of Chaos" through "Knife of Dreams", and by that point the Blue Lady has already taken Lanfear down.
James Jones
137. jamesedjones
131 SusanB

Holy Crap, you started with CoS?!?! The only time I've even come close to that was when I started a very forgettable, short series in the second book. All I can recall about the series was that the main god had to forget everything for the new god to come into power. When started at the beginning, it was such a weird perspective. Everything the characters did seemed very foolish since I had hindsight working for me (or maybe it was just a foolish story).
Alice Arneson
138. Wetlandernw
sinfulcashew @124

Would that be the Kent in the Rainier Valley? Not so long ago I was Federal Way...
Alice Arneson
139. Wetlandernw
RFife & UnCrownedKing: Being intrigued, I had to go figure out what you were talking about. I thought Jason's post was pretty funny, but talk about some overreaction! Wooot! Oh well. Some folks never do learn to laugh at themselves... Too bad, because it's usually the best source of humor you'll ever find. And constantly with you. :)
Delos Rifenburgh
140. KaijuGamer
I belive the word you might be looking for is indeed a snort. It's amused, yet slightly condescending at the same time.

As for Mat's memories. You know when you are thinking of someting, you mind can sometimes make a connection with one memory to another, (i.e. The heat of the desert sand may remind you of the sand at the beach, which reminds you of the time you went fishing on the lake, which reminds you of the time you went canoeing through rough rapids, etc.) Mat's natural memories make a connection to the implanted memories solely as a bridge, then the memory blooms in full. The holes in his memories are filled with memories of other men by these connections, which makes them appear to be seemless. As Mat encounters more and more battles and diplomatic functions/councils/etc, these connections are easier to make.

As for strength in the power, I've always felt that strength was relative. Yes, men are considered more powerful in Earth and Fire, but these are the flashier powers, more prone to be remembered than uses of Water and Air (which I seem to recall that women tend to be stronger in - with Spirit being about equal between both genders).

Rand, Nyaneve, and the Forsaken are generally not the best indicators of relative powers (except amongst themselves) as they represent the top end of the typical bell curve - the top 5% of channelers. I would hazard that if you took the bulk of the male/female channelers (the 'bell' of the bell curve) you may see a more distributed set of talents and strengths. Flashy is always better remembered than subtlety.
Andrew Lovsness
141. drewlovs
38 years old.
BS in Business.
3 going on 4 kids, from 14 to "still in the belly".
Married for almost 17 years.

As far as the gender politics on power, I actually chuckled when I read one of the female responders say, "But what if they don't want to form a circle?" I put that under a basketball team that has the ability to win every game because their passing abilities are the best, but they don't want to pass. Or a football team with the best running backs in the game, but they like to pass. How about a singer who's voice would make you cry if they sang a country song, but they like rock 'n' roll?

The point is, even if you don't like the creator given abilities, it doesn't mean they don't count. Female Aei Sedai's abilities to link make even male forsaken give pause, and I don't think its a oversight that there are as many female forsaken from the AoL as there are males; they are as powerful as the males, but just in different ways.
142. Shadow_Jak
Anyone who starts a series with a book clearly marked “Book Five” on the cover deserves the confusion they get, if you ask me.

Very True.
But I confess, I began the series all out of sequence. I first stumbled upon the TSR in the library. The only other WOT book they had was TDR. So I first read books 3 and 4. Later I also read the other two as I found them, frst TGR, then (finally) TEotW. So, I read books 3,4,2,1.

I still enjoyed them so much that when TFoH was published, I bought all five. So my first re-read was actually my first time to read them in order. (Thus began my perpetual wait for the next new WOT novel!)
Lannis .
143. Lannis
Very sorry, Leigh, for all our info clogging up your lovely post... though for the record, I did not start this survey, poll, or whatever... though an argument could be made that reverse psychology works well with this group. And it is interesting to get to know a little more about our little community here. :)

Speaking of stats, was wondering who's going to do the tally for this so-called survey? NOT IT!
144. buford
He dead. Robert Jordan dead
Lannis .
145. Lannis
AHA! It can be partly blamed on R.Fife! Yes, you, sir, in the fancy yellow shawl, eating the Tostitos in the bunker (BTW, I saw Elaida doubling dipping in that salsa... ew!)

Passing the buck FTW!
Kathy Keith
146. Babokathy
Leigh: I love your posts! And the Comments are a hoot too!

Mat's memories: how many men's memories from Age of Legends Past is Mat remembering? And when he winds up at T.G., will he be meeting up with the owners of those memories when he blows the Horn? Will they sight him for "plagiarism"?

I think the crooked-door-ter'angreal Finns gave Mat some knowledge, but I think someone was correct in linking Mat's knowledge of Old Tongue & old guys' memories from when he was un-soldered from that Dagger, and the Power jiggled loose his Manetheren connections. Perrin seems to have a similar Manetheran connection helping him out; what's with that? His only exposure to the Dark One has been Luc, right? And Fain briefly. Because eventually, both Mat & Perrin wind up with Banners of Old.

How come: Why do Alana & Verin & Warders know how to make catapults (trebuchet)(Two Rivers Trolloc War), and Moiraine doesn't? Would have come in handy in the war against Couladin. If Moiraine can issue a little Balefire, surely she can light a little rock on fire & tell someone else to shoot it off! Suppose the Illuminators will get sore with AS shooting off catapulted fireworks?

Are the Wise Ones secretly kicking themselves now, for not letting Couladin run into Rhuidean, seeing as how they were sure he was too unstable to be considered as a clan chief? They could have saved themselves a big war with him, gotten rid of him, cause he would not have come out of Rhuidean alive any more than his brother did! Couldn't handle the truth.

But, then we'd have missed out on the most awesome battle tactics coming from the unintending Mat, when he ultimately kicks serious Shaido Aiel ass, more or less. Mat's alter-ego, late book 5.

Does Melhindra turn out to be possessed by something akin to what possesses Fain? Who does she turn out to be?

Rand & Mat both seem to be experiencing Multiple-personality Disorder bigtime. Most multiple personalities can freely shift from one to another.

Has anyone noticed that Nynaeve hears "voices" sometimes too? She's not even ta'veren. Something different is driving her. And I thought Elayne was the supergirl who learned to change the weather from the Sea Folk?! When did Eg & Avienda learn that?

Let's see: the crooked-door ter'angreal was where Mat nearly died, and came out with the neat fox medallion & sword/spear. What will Moirraine come out with later if she ever gets rescued by Mat, Thom & Noal?

How are Loial & his Ogier brethren (and women) going to wind up helping in T.G.? Will they be teaming up with their Seanchean counterparts and learn to use weapons? And will the WAYS be cleansed like Saidin was?

Who said that Rand & Elayne's children will be in the Last Battle? They'd have to wait, like at least 16 Randland years for them to be old enough to help out. Although I do agree the twins have to be something special, but I don't want to wait that long for the end of A Memory of Light! Maybe they'll turn into a modern-day version of Birgitte & Gaidal?!

And the Survey says:

I'm 58, mother of two grown boys (thanks for the honorable mention, "Insectoid"), have a B.A. in Psych (studied animals) & RN degrees, worked neuro/orthopedics 15 years, started reading EOTW in 2004 while I was on Vicodin before I could get a hip replacement. Re-reading the series now, I realize that it's all fresh for me, having been in Vicodin-Land for the 1st reading! I'm a cancer survivor, and really need the abstract escapism that reading fantasy affords.

Although quite a bit different, G.R.R. Martin's "Song of Ice & Fire" series (he kills off all his main characters), and Diana Gabaldon's Outlander (Scots) series are also ones to get hooked on, rather like historical fiction with tons of battle strategy going on. The latter lots of romance (lacking really in Jordan). But Martin & Gabaldon & Jordan's series finales are really trying my patience waiting for!
James Jones
147. jamesedjones
141 Drewluvs

"and I don't think its a oversight that there are as many female forsaken from the AoL as there are males; they are as powerful as the males, but just in different ways."

I always thought of it as, they are as evil as the males, but just in different ways.
Tess Laird
148. thewindrose
buford @ 144
Please explain your comment?
Lannis .
150. Lannis
I think it's supposed to be bait, thewindrose.
Richard Fife
151. R.Fife
I blame Hoping, personally. Dr Goat Cheese said we were all a bunch of students and grammies, and I wanted to state that I am neither (although I guess I am a bit close to "student" still, as its been less than a decade since I took a class).

*hugs shawl tighter and sniffs*

And I am most certainly not it, thewindrose. I never heard such a woolheaded, mule-brained idea in all my years. *sniff*
Tess Laird
152. thewindrose
Why Richard Sedei, so like like a yellow you are. Taking pointers from Nynaeve? The more you protest the deeper you dig yourself in. Are you glaring yet;)
Richard Fife
153. R.Fife
*glares and folds his arms under his breasts... wait what?*

For content sake:
Aside from a simple "It's the magic, stupid" argument, it could be that the Finn's memory store is in a "open source" format that they can convert to fit whosever heads they want, especially if, as Mat assumes, the finn are getting a live feed from inside his head. They encode it as they get it, store in their gaint memory banks (hurhur, its RAM), and can re-encode as needed to give truly Kwistach Haderach style problems.
154. CalaLily
Re: Mat's memories: Don't humans only use 6-10% of their entire brain capacity? I mean, that leaves an awful lot of room for the 'Finns to cram full of past lives and random soldiers/lords/guys-who-did-cool-things' memories, right?

Especially if it takes a trigger to pull the tidbits our, or if the tidbits aren't all the same size. Saaaay the bit about remembering watching a Sea Folk woman crying as she told the shorebound man she loved she wouldn't leave the ships for him compared to the full-scale battle memories, or some such. :)

But then, when he got drunk with Birgitte he couldn't seem to make up his mind what country he was from, since he kept switching dialects...
Lannis .
155. Lannis
Tee hee!

Um, yes... back to content...

Babokathy @ 146: re: catapults... (IIRC, we may have previously discussed this during the Battle of the TR?--2nd last installment of tSR?), but it seems to me that Alana is Green, and as a member of the Battle Ajah was likely schooled in battle tactics. And Verin, well, she's Brown, and likely knows a little of everything under the sun.

And both Aes Sedai don't need to know, only one to pass it on to the other.

Moiraine, as we know, has dedicated her life to finding the Dragon Reborn, and probably didn't have a whole lot of study in battle tactics, aside from, say, growing those pretty little balls of fire bigger and then tossing them at a likely foe.

Re: Loial/Ogier and the Last Battle. I have a funny feeling (and I don't recall if this has been said/surmised about/whatever before) that Avendesora's survival is pivotal to the survival of everyone in Randland. The Ogier will be key in the tree's health, as well as helping to rebuild cities in the aftermath.

And, well... I can't wait to see the Ogier in battle--their whole penchant for not being "hasty" has me thinking they're going to be a particularly awesome form of deadly. Short handles on those axes! (Squee!)
sandi vogel
156. sinfulcashew
136. calalily
WHAT? Do you mean to infer that you are against Moraine? Or did I misunderstand?
Oops, just reread your post again and see that you mean Lanfear. Sad, yes!

137. jamesedjones
Are you referring to the books by Roger Zelazny?
(hope I remembered that right) I do remember a story along those lines from long ago.

No, the one south of Renton sept. I didn't know there was one by Rainier.
And again to you, you just used 'Woot'. I go to a website called that and just a couple of hours ago my son and I were just talking about the meaning of woot. From D&D.
No one has ever used it here that I can recall.
Just a funny 'coinkydink'(as my mother used to say)

Whomever made the students and grandmas remark inadvertently started it, I think. Anyone going to take responsibility?

By the way, what is IIRC?
Probably something incredibly simple, like me?
Alice Arneson
157. Wetlandernw

Durrr... My brain wasn't fully on. Was getting too many different things mixed together. I think I must have meant Green River Valley, or something, which does actually start somewhere up there on Mt. R... I have no idea why RV popped in, though. Oy. I can't even dig myself out of this one, because I don't know how I got in! Anyway, you meant the one I meant. *sigh*

Not sure where I got "woot". Keep thinking it must have been on here, because I'm not in too many contexts where something like that would be used. Hope I didn't put my foot in my mouth. Or would that be my fingers?

IIRC = if I recall correctly.
Joseph Blaidd
158. SteelBlaidd
Lets see.

Regarding Mat's memories. Recent research has determined that as far as the brain is concerned an imagined event and a remembered event look exactly the same to the MRI.Peception and Memory at Sciantific American.

I agree with Roxinos at 135. Mat is starting to have trouble remembering which memories are not originally his.

Rj on Rand he states in one of the blog posts at Dragonmount that Rand is one soul two personalities. In preparation for the discussion thereof over the next few books, I recommend everyone read The Personality Integration of Rand al'Thor and Lews Therin Telamon by Maggie Hettinger.

This has always been one of my favorite aspects of the WoT phenomenon. That people can and will write what are essentially Journal articles and Thesis papers, just for fun.Unfortunately its only available by Wayback Machine. It really out to be posted at the 13th Depository.


32, Male
One son (4) with a Baby due in November.
I make Radios for the Military
Started Reading WoT '94 Series,Authors I have Read besides WoT
LotR, Narnia, Discworld, P.C Hodgel(READ THIS AUTHOR) Bujold(Vorkosigan, Chalin, Sharing Knife), Twilight, Riftwar, Recluse, Elric, Jane Linskold, SoTruth(:(), Abhorsen, Diana Wyne Jones(Christomanchi, Howls Moving Castle, Etc.), StarWars, Pip and Flinx, Asimov, Hienlin, Lots and lots of Card , Connie Willis(:)) etc. etc etc.

I read waaaaay to Much :D
159. Digital_Eon
If channelers can live for hundreds of years and not have problems from all the memories they collect, I'm sure Mat and his more-than-twenty-years will be just fine. Unless channelers also have different brain structures...
Alice Arneson
160. Wetlandernw
I read waaaaay to Much :D
Is that actually possible?

Unless channelers also have different brain structures...
Well, it would explain a few things! *wink*
James Jones
161. jamesedjones
158 Steelblaidd

I think you just classified yourself under the "student" catagory. :) You can't have 3 or more degrees without it sticking for a while.

156 FunNut

I'm really not sure, it just wasn't that well written.

Survey says:
33, male, single, BS Physics, MBA, Account Analyst for FedEx Office.

Reading WOT since '94 when an argument with a friend over the best author in fantasy/sci-fi resulted in me picking up the first three at the library (I had chosen Stephen R Donaldson). I bought the rest and got my brother and father hooked on the series. Graduated before I could admit my friend was right. Donaldson is way deeper and darker, and the Gap series is still my favorite strictly sci-fi, but you can't get more value out of any work of fiction than WOT.
162. tacoma"wa
I don't know what the deal is, but I find this whole Aiel breaking thing fascinating. I'm loving the complexities of some of RJ's societies anyway and "watching" one of them destruct like this since Rand's revelation is (tragic, but) extremely interesting. I'm guessing this is some fall out from some of the reading I'm doing for my Anthropology of Conflict class, but still very interesting.

Speaking of classwork...

38 (I think) yo male, married for 16 w/ 3 kids (12,10,8). BS Liberal Arts, MBA, currently getting MA in Far East Studies/Chinese. In the USAF for 17. Voracious reader of pretty much anything with words in it. Don't remember exactly when I started reading WOT, but was around 94 or so...was able to read four or five books back-to-back before the longing set it...had to tide myself over with rasfwr-j.

Thanks, Leigh, for the hard work.

Ok, back to "Foreign Aid and Poverty." *yawn*
Thomas Keith
163. insectoid
My, what a pretty yellow shawl! ;D

Yes, it's possible to read too much! (If the hundreds of books on shelves in my room are any indication.) Gotta read WoT at least two or three times so I can answer all of Babo's questions! :)

Well let's see what I can do:
re: Mat's memories
I don't think any of his memories go back as far as the AoL. Probably just as far back as the Trolloc Wars, but I'm not certain. And I doubt he'll meet the owners; Hawkwing is the only Hero of the Horn I can think of who's connected to any of them.

re: Couladin

re: Melhindra
She's a Darkfriend assigned by Sammael to kill someone close to Rand if he doesn't move against Illian.

re: voices
Might just be Nynaeve's conscience. Mat doesn't have multiple personalities, really--just the memories. Now Rand, on the other hand...

re: the redstone doorway
Besides Thom, you mean? Perhaps a nice new vine-covered staff? She sorta toasted the last one in TEotW...

Not sure about the Ways being cleansed. Only way to do that is to destroy Machin Shin...

re: Rand + El's kids
I think they were referring to them being some sort of "avatar"; a sign of TG beginning, or something.

Lannis@155, re: the Ogier
Well, the Ents in LotR weren't very "hasty" either, until they started getting cut down... Then they were indeed awesome! Good idea.
164. Roxinos

Mat has no memories of people from the Age of Legends. Only memories of the 3000 years since. He also only holds memories of those people who have entered the world of the 'Finns (either through the Tower of Ghenjei or either one of the stone doorway ter'angreal). He does not hold any memories of anyone who is bound to the Horn.

Mat's memory of the Old Tongue et al. is not from being severed from the dagger. It is from the Eelfinn (the Foxes). It was granted to Mat as one of his three wishes. His wish was to have the holes in his memory filled. He didn't specify with what, so the Eelfinn gave him the Memories of Ole. RJ confirmed this: "Q: Are all of Mat's memories from his past lives?

RJ: No, Mat's "old" memories are not from his past lives at all. The "sickness" he got from the Shadar Logoth dagger resulted in holes in his memory. He found whole stretches of his life that seemed to be missing. When he passed through the "doorframe" ter'angreal in Rhuidean, one of the things he said - not knowing that the rules here were different than in the other ter'angreal he had used - was that he wanted the holes in his memory filled up, meaning that he wanted to recover his own memories. In this place, however, it was not a matter of asking questions and receiving answers, but of striking bargains for what you want. What he received for that particular demand was memories gathered by the people on that side of the ter'angreal, memories from many men, all long dead, from many cultures. And since not everyone passing by has the nerve to journey through a ter'angreal to some other world, the memories he receieved were those of adventurers and soldiers and men of daring."

That's taken from

As for Mat and Perrin's connection to Manetheren, they're both of Manetheren blood. It is a common trope in fantasy to have a blood line allow for certain passed on traits.

Moving onto Moiraine: Who said she doesn't know how to make catapults and trebuchets? Considering the fact that Aviendha, Egwene, and Rand were all channeling vast amounts of the Power compared to what Moiraine was capable of, a catapult wouldn't do much.

Wise Ones: I doubt they're "kicking themselves" about their decision with Couladin regardless of Couladin's rebellion. The matter of Rhuidean is one of great honor, and Couladin has since proven that he was never worthy of that honor. If anything, the Wise Ones' decision was justified in retrospect. Regardless of how many lives could have been saved, regardless of how much trouble could have been averted, Couladin did not deserve the honor of going to Rhuidean.

Melhindra is merely a Darkfriend. Nothing more, nothing less.

The "voices" are merely a common literary technique. What Nyn and others "hear" is just another part of their own personality disagreeing with what they're telling themselves rather than the more literal second personality in Rand's case.

Elayne is the one who learned from the Windfinders. Neither Egwene nor Aviendha know that. Egwene wasn't even present when the Bowl of Winds was used. And the circle of thirteen women who activated the Bowl was led by a Windfinder.

Going back to Moiraine, it is doubtful that she got her three wishes from the Eelfinn inside the doorway ter'angreal. It is doubtful that she will come out with anything. The chances are, she's going to be in pretty bad shape when Mat and co. find her.

If the Ogier are present at the Last Battle (assuming they leave Randland after the Last Battle), then it is likely that Loial and the Seanchan Deathwatch Guards will fight. It is doubtful any other Ogier will fight.

It is also doubtful that the Ways will be cleansed by any means but natural. We know that the Ways will eventually be clean because the Ogier have said that the Ways were once beautiful and pristine. Whether or not the Ways that exist in each turning of the Wheel are the same is another matter altogether. It is a possibility that with each turning of the Wheel a new set of Ways are created that are clean and the old set are just lost and remain tainted forever.

And that's about all I can say.
165. Freelancer

Let me make your life more complex. Given the authors you named, I believe that you would be happy to engage R. A. Salvatore. Drizzt Do'Urden is one of the best written fantasy heroes I know of. Intense internal struggles on every level, and some of the finest battle scenes I can think of.

I feel fairly confident in saying I would never have found WoT had I not gotten pulled into the genre by Salvatore. Thanks to him and Drizzt, I've also become acquainted with Feist, Brooks, Card, Bujold, Pratchett, Silverberg, and recently some kid named Sanderson.

RE: Moiraine and the 'finn

It is very unlikely that she has been allowed her three-wish bargain. Consider the manner in which she and Lanfear arrived within the tower. Also consider that she hasn't come out. Mat got out, because it was one of his wishes (though he nearly died for it, since he hadn't bargained for the price). Moiraine would surely wish her way out so she could return to aiding the Dragon Reborn, leaving the conclusion that she is not being offered any wishes. I believe that she was burned-out by the violent entry through the doorframe ter'angreal. This is supported by the breaking of Lan's bond. Other warders have dropped dead, or been driven mad by the sudden snapping of the bond, but of course Lan is tough on ice, so he guts it out and heads in Myrelle's direction.

So Moiraine will need not only rescue, but Healing by a male channeler to be back in the game.
166. funnut?
I like it!

Who is 164: roxinos?
Pretty authoritative. RJ reincarnated?
Unless it is too early here for me, took looooong nap. (my indian name)(ha)

(I hope I don't get in any trouble for saying that.)
Michael Catapano
167. hoping
Defender of the Network
Protector of the Firewall
Rickroller of the WOT obsessed

I think we have to give credit to subwoofer for the survey phenomenom. He dropped the students and grandmas bomb and then promptly disappeared, probably awol in the canadian north. Secondary credit to Lannis and then someone ran with it ::coughRFifecough::
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Sub may be quite surprised by what he unleashed.
Lannis .
168. Lannis
Not only will subwoofer be surprised by what he unleashed, he'll be kicking himself, too, because apparently this is a pretty quick way to engage commenters in discussion--re: reaching those high comment tallies? And... well... now it'll be used up and split between two different posts. Oh well.
169. Clinton_Blue
Have to agree with Freelancer @ 38.

I always read that as a bit of an Asmo rant/didn't know what he was talking about. Although the AoL was supposed to be this enlightened time I think he's still got the male-chip-shoulder thing going.

I don't think we have any objective evidence about man/woman strength. It just seems that the Pattern is churning out stronger channelers than anyone has ever seen. I mean original (original) false Dragons couldn't even channel and then along comes Logain who Nynaeve feels beating at her shield in LoC so everyone assumes men are stronger. I think if the Reds hadn't culled the ability to channel from the gene pool we would see Soriela-level male channelers all around.
170. alreadymadwithchannelingmen
Clinton_Blue @169
There probably ARE Sorilea-level male channelers in the Black Tower somewhere. They just don't get screen time because A) When Rand goes on campaign he always requires Asha'man capable of Travelling. For the dual purpose of being heavy hitters and taxi service. B) Weaker channelers would tend to stay below the radar rather than be embroiled in the (potentially) deadly power struggle within an organization founded solely on using the Power.
You're right though, the things are coming to a head and the Pattern is churning out more and more high power channelers in preparation for it.
Ofer Nave
171. odigity
Been busy all weekend.

Babokathy@146: Mat's memories: how many men's memories from Age of Legends Past is Mat remembering? And when he winds up at T.G., will he be meeting up with the owners of those memories when he blows the Horn?

Didn't think of that. It would be hilarious to see Matt run into one of the dead guys who's memories are in his head.

Matt: Hey, that sa'sara dancer at Easing the Badger sure was a sweetie, eh?
Dead Hero: (blushing) er, I know not of what you speak of...

That is until insectoid killed the notion:

re: Mat's memories
I don't think any of his memories go back as far as the AoL. Probably just as far back as the Trolloc Wars, but I'm not certain. And I doubt he'll meet the owners; Hawkwing is the only Hero of the Horn I can think of who's connected to any of them.

Moving on...

CalaLily@154: Re: Mat's memories: Don't humans only use 6-10% of their entire brain capacity?

That's an early mistatement/misunderstanding of how the brain works that has persisted for decades among non-scientists. I'm not a professional brain scientist myself, but the Infernal Survey has revealed several of their number among our ranks, so I will leave it to one of them to explain the specifics.

SteelBlaidd@158: This has always been one of my favorite aspects of the WoT phenomenon. That people can and will write what are essentially Journal articles and Thesis papers, just for fun.

After I finished watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the first time (start to finish in 8 days in October, 2006), I started poking around online and discovered papers, books, college courses... it's a rare event for fiction to have enough value to justify an explosion of analysis and discussion like this (beyond the usual literary analysis that happens with all fiction), and I've never seen anything like what happened with Buffy. And well deserved, I say.

As you stated, WOT has a similar situation. I don't think there are too many other examples. LOTR, obviously, and there's probably a bit of it around Harry Potter. I would say Babylon 5 deserves similar attention, but I don't know if anyone has given it.

Speaking of other fiction...

"Let me make your life more complex. Given the authors you named, I believe that you would be happy to engage R. A. Salvatore. Drizzt Do'Urden is one of the best written fantasy heroes I know of. Intense internal struggles on every level, and some of the finest battle scenes I can think of."

I put Drizzt's books in the same category with Dragonlance Chronicles and Legends - well written adolescent fiction. It's not as mature/complex/nuanced as WOT, but it is some of the best stuff within it's own category, and it does hold a permanent place in my heart.

Salvatore is very good at accomplishing a whole lot in a few pages. The first Drizzt trilogy (The Dark Elf Trilogy) is three books, each only about 300 pages. The first one paints a detailed and terrifying portrait of a very original and totally wicked evil society, an amazing accomplishment in and of itself, but even more amazing in only 300 pages.

It's also pretty immersive for all it's simplicity. SPOILER ALERT: I distinctly remember the first time I read it, after spending two books adventuring underground (Homeland/Exile), when Drizzt arrives at the surface for the first time at the end of book 2, and I felt the overwhelming sensation of standing under open sky and feeling the breeze as Drizzt did. I hadn't realized how completely I had been drawn in to experience of living underground in claustropobhic conditions until this moment of release revealed the contrast.

Regarding Read Order:

I may be biased, but I can't imagine reading the books out of order could have been as awesome as reading it in order was. The original prologue made no sense the first time through, but after each successive book you understood it just a bit better, almost as if the original prologue was the story, and the rest of the books was the means of deciphering it. I've always thought that the order and pace of information revealed formed the skeleton of the series - which led to the crazy activity in the newsgroup, the writing of the FAQ, and the ritual post-book updating of the FAQ. (Paging Dr. Leigh Butler.)

Incidentally, this is the key to the mystery of "why would I want to read New Spring in publish date order?". Publish date order is admittedly an arbitrary and rare convention in most cases - except this one. RJ knew what information he had given his readers so far at that point, and New Spring was written to fall within that zone of informedness. It contains information he wouldn't have wanted you to have before then, and it doesn't contain information he doesn't want you to have yet. So, there it is. As a consequence of this rule I suspect that New Spring would have been different if it had been written one book earlier or later.

Lastly, just for fun, here's another crazy OP-related theory I just thought of (probably inspired by my current reading of Dawkins):

Saidin and Saidar are two completely distinct sources of power, with different access methods, different characteristics in use, etc. What if the genetic ability to tap them evolved separately for men and women? They could even have evolved at different times in the generational timeline.

It would be the equivalent of an allele that only expresses itself when it finds itself in a female body, and which extends the visual range of the eye to see infrared, which means suddenly some women can see infrared. Then, a few centuries or ages later, a completely unrelated allele, this one an allele that expresses itself only when it finds itself in a male body, appears which extends the visual range of the eye to see ultraviolet.

The result being some men can see UV, some women can see IR, but the two traits are completely unrelated and in fact evolved separately. This would help explain why they're so different (above and beyond the differences inherit in saidin/saidar itself), including the strength factor, linking, etc. In other words, the differences only seem strange because the ability to channel feels like it's all of one ability, when it's really two completely distinct ones that happen to resemble each other.
Crystal McMillan
172. CDragon27
in considering the memory things covered with Mat and Rand's bubbles, I wonder why Mat was never tied to the horn of Valere? it seems like he has been generals and brave, and even heroic in past lives. just an idle thought.
I remember how creeped out I was when Mat calls Lews and Rand turns around. one of the little touches that makes this series so good.
I am ignoring the Moraine/Egwene stuff because their behaviour just annoys me in this part and I generally like both characters.
I cut people who just found out how they are going to die a little grumpy break.
j p
173. sps49
So none of Mat's memories so far are girly memories?
174. alreadymadwithMat'smemories
Mat does eventually sort out the actual limits of how far back his "other" memories go. I believe this is in chapter 22 of TFoH. Nothing after Paendrag and nothing before Maecine of Eharon.

I don't know and don't want to theorize about genetic origins for the ability to channel. However, I don't recall IR vision being described in any other color except red. The way Aes Sedai describe the light of Saidar, it seems to be white. Males can only see the weaves forming, not the other guy actually holding the Power. I don't know how this would tie in to seeing in the UV spectrum. The fact that they do see and normal people don't probably is an argument in your theory's favor. Channelers probably do see in a spectrum of light beyond what normal humans can perceive.
175. alreadymadwithMat'sfemaleskill
sps49 @173
I wouldn't be so sure. Mat's quite good with the ladies. I wouldn't be surprised if he's got some female perspective (ahem) somewhere in there.
176. Lsana
There's one thing I have always wondered after reading Ch. 2 here that I'm somewhat surprised no one else has mentioned: what does it mean to be buried in the Can Breat? Is there an answer to that anywhere out there, in the Big White book or in one of RJs interviews, or am I just destined to go on wondering?
Richard Fife
177. R.Fife
I've never heard an answer, Lsana.

Here's a question I have though. So, we know the "Aes Sedai trick" of not sweating or shivering has "nothing to do with the power." Almost, but not quite. So, I forget if its in this chapter or another one with Siuan's PoV, but I'd swear her and Leane sweat while they are stilled. Think they just decided to not bother with it, or perhaps calculated to not to appear more "feeble" to the SAS, or what? I wish I could recall the exact passage, but I'd again swear (but not by my hope of rebirth) that Siuan is rather annoyed by the sweating, and her PoV makes it sound like there is nothing she can do about it.

So yeah, thoughts?
178. Shadow_Jak
Roxinos @154
Good info. I agree with most.
If the Ogier are present at the Last Battle (assuming they leave Randland after the Last Battle), then it is likely that Loial and the Seanchan Deathwatch Guards will fight. It is doubtful any other Ogier will fight.

I'm sure the Ogier will be there. They were there in the War of the Shadow and in the Troloc Wars. They'll be there.
In fact Elder Haman has agreed to help Rand find and secure the remaining Waygates while Loial will be speaking before the Great Stump to rally the Ogier for TG (KoD, ch 20).

AlreadyMad..etc @175
sps49 @173
I wouldn't be so sure. Mat's quite good with the ladies. I wouldn't be surprised if he's got some female perspective (ahem) somewhere in there.

Interesting thought.. but I recall a Mat POV where he regrets that none of those old memories help him deal with women.

(BTW: someone mentioned Roger Zelazny. His "Lord of Light" is an all time favorite. Highly recommended)
Sydo Zandstra
179. Fiddler

Zelazny's Amber books are great too. :D
180. alreadymadwithCanBreat
Judging by Asmo's expression, it appears to be an AoL term or expression with .. unclean.. implications. Possibly a dumping site of some sort. I guess even the AoL would need some place to dump waste.

Shadow_Jak @178
So where does he get his skill with females? The Old Blood?
James Jones
181. jamesedjones
180 AlreadyMadWithOtherVoices

Not the Old Blood, but probably the Old Tongue. :D
182. Rebecca Starr
twosheddz@95 - by all means tell her to start it! I tend to think that Jordan's women are better role models than most women thrown at us in real life. on top of which, the books are incredibly smart, deliciously fun, and emotionally real.

Hope that helps!

New York City
BA in Gender Studies, going for my MA in International Affairs starting this fall
sandi vogel
183. sinfulcashew
181.James james james. Hm!
You remind me of my brother, also named James.(deceased)
Oh, not that I think you are; but you certainly have a way with words!

I thought that the staying cool in heat and warm in cold was a AS trick?
I sort of remember Eg (or someone) wanting to be taught the trick way back in their learning cycle.
Genevieve Williams
184. welltemperedwriter
How come: Why do Alana & Verin & Warders know how to make catapults (trebuchet)(Two Rivers Trolloc War), and Moiraine doesn't? Would have come in handy in the war against Couladin.

The Waste doesn't have many trees, and those it does have are described as small and stunted. You need wood to build catapults.
Genevieve Williams
185. welltemperedwriter
How come: Why do Alana & Verin & Warders know how to make catapults (trebuchet)(Two Rivers Trolloc War), and Moiraine doesn't? Would have come in handy in the war against Couladin.

The Waste doesn't have many trees, and those it does have are described as small and stunted. You need wood to build catapults.
186. Kaboom
sinfulcashew @183

Not feeling the cold and heat was an Aes Sedai thing, but not requiring to channel. They didn't want to spread that knowledge because it makes them appear above normal people.
But Rand also learned it from Asmodean and I think he also showed it to some Ashaman. It must of been common knowledge in the Age of Legend, that somehow survived with the White Tower.

I don't remember who mentioned using only 8 to 10 percent of the brain, but I'm pretty sure that is not true. It would not be consistent with the way nature evolves things.

For the survey
I'm a woman, age 35. First language French.
Have a PhD in biochemistry, presently doing research in molecular virology.
I first started reading WOT in grad school when another student strongly recommended it. Almost stop midway in the prologue (it made no sense at all to me). Though very glad I continued.
sandi vogel
187. sinfulcashew
"They didn't want to appear above normal people"?

Why do they want everyone to know what and who they are all(most) of the time?
Richard Fife
188. R.Fife
They already have the ageless face, so not sweating isn't much more of an indicator. People who know "only" AS don't sweat in super heat would also know the face, and people who don't know the face likely would not know about the sweating thing.

Otherwise, though, it makes sense to keep it secret as a non-verbal leverage. If the person you are manipulating (as AS do everyone) is swimming in sweat, and you appear to be pure cool and calm, it would unnerve them and give you a psychological edge.

Still doesn't answer why Siuan and Leane sweat. My guess is actually writting error. RJ probably did not have it hammered out quite yet (or had not decided) that the whole not sweating thing would not involve the power. And the same, though, doesn't Asmo tell Rand in this book that the trick has nothing to do with the power? I mean, he would have had to time-line wise.

Oh, and as I recall, all Asha'man, from new recruit to full dragon, know the trick. Rand rationalizes taht not being bothered by the heat would help them learn faster.
sandi vogel
189. sinfulcashew
Could the trick have been taught to just 'normal' people?
I had the impression that it was channeling related.

As to Leanne and Suian, weren't they stilled at the time?
Alice Arneson
190. Wetlandernw

read again... Kaboom said "They didn't want to spread that knowledge because it makes them appear above normal people." As in, see RFife@188.
191. CalaLily
sinfulcashew: I remember when Egwene was just raised Amyrlin and Mat came tromping into Salidar to save her, Nynaeve and Elayne, that Egwene remarks to herself how Nynaeve starts to sweat because she loses concentration when she's angry. I also remember another part where someone comments they have to have their thoughts properly ordered to keep the concentration necessary to not feel the cold and heat.

So, I would put it more along the lines of some sort of constant, wakeful meditation than anything associated with the Power. Like, ignoring a misquito bite. Yeah, it itches, but if you put your mind to it you can -not- scratch it, and eventually you just stop feeling the itch. My dad taught me how to do that. Haven't taken it so far as to go outside in December without a jacket, but hey. xD
Alice Arneson
192. Wetlandernw
Not sweating...

I've always had the impression like RFife that anyone could do it if they knew how. Being a trick of concentration, and concentration being rather necessary to successful channeling, I suspect that channelers would find it easier to maintain than most folks. That said, the text is pretty clear that it could be taught to others. Doesn't Elayne teach Birgitte or something like that, later?

As to Siuan and Leane, I'm with RFife in thinking it's probably text error; RJ just didn't have it settled in his own mind yet.

As to Asmo... I know he teaches Rand in this book, and obviously must teach him that it has nothing to do with the Power, but that doesn't mean it was included in the text here. (I guess we'll find out as we read?) But it could just as well be revealed much later, when Rand thinks about teaching the Asha'man, that Asmo had told him... So it didn't really have to have come up in the text with Asmo & Rand.
193. CalaLily
Or Siuan and Leane could still be struggling with the fact they've been stilled, and anything that reminds them of being Aes Sedai could make them lose concentration, even something so trivial as refusing to let the heat/cold touch them.

Or it could be text error. xD

The world may never know.
sandi vogel
194. sinfulcashew
Find me some RAFO.
I still remember wayyy back in the first books, I thought, that to have the 'trick', you needed to know some channeling?????
It seems to stick in my mind (or my craw) I don't know.
All you who have way more detailed knowledge can tell me where to look?????
195. CalaLily

I can't point you to the reference, but I have a theory.

During all the crazy that went on during the Breaking, and then the creation of the White Tower and the accumulation of all the broken and lost knowledge, it's very possible that Aes Sedai were the only people to retain the "trick" of not sweating/shivering. That's not to say that at some point non-channelers couldn't do it at well, but eventually only Aes Sedai knew how. And we -know- how open and forthcoming Aes Sedai are with their knowledge.

Joe al'Public: "Why don't you sweat?"
Aes Sedai: "It is a thing only Aes Sedai know, Master Joe. *icy, ageless glare*"

After he scuttles back to his corner, Joe al'Public interprets this to mean that it has something to do with the Power, since only Aes Sedai deal with the Power. The White Tower does nothing to correct him, thus elevating the Aes Sedai to something mythic, more-than-mortal, and very fear/respect-inducing. It makes manipulation easier, in the long run.

Just a theory. :)
sandi vogel
196. sinfulcashew
I can't remember for sure (obviously) whether it was
Eg or Nyn who were with Moraine and wanted to know how.
Seeings as I am going to reread starting with Book One, perhaps I can RAFO and come back with a definitive answer then?
Of course I have to refinish KOD first.
Ofer Nave
197. odigity
CalaLily@195: I can't point you to the reference, but I have a theory.

No... something isn't right, here.

(The joke, of course, was that Giles was right the first time.)

Regarding sweating: RJ not only confirms that its a non-power trick of concentration, he actually describes the method - can't remember if it's New Spring, BBoBA, or a signing.

Also, at one point one of the Asha'man explain that they taught the trick to their wives, since it was cruel to watch them sweat while the men where all clean and dry. So, that cat's out of the bag.

Rand did say he brings change...
Frank Skornia
198. FSkornia
I don't have page numbers, unless I were to go dig out my paper copy, but I have a couple of references in the same chapter with regards to Siuan and the perspiring thing.

It's in Chapter 27 -

First there is this: "Open casement windows with panes cracked or replaced by oiled silk let a breath of air stir in, but not enough to cut the heat. Siuan told herself that she did not envy these women their ability to channel - she was past that surely - but she did envy the way none of them perspired. Her own face was quite damp."

Second: "It took effort to make that a question instead of a demand. Siuan thought she might sweat down to nothing if she could find another way. She still had enough control of herself to ignore the heat, usually, but not while trying to drag these women along without letting them notice her fist in their hair."

In the first quote, it appears that there seems to be some sort of link to channeling, since she seems to no longer be able to control her perspiration. Especially since that is near the beginning of the sisters' interrogation of her and Leane. The second quote is later after Siuan and Leane have sprung their trap and are trying to lead the AS by their collective noses, and it appears that she is just too distracted by their mule-headedness to be able to ignore the heat.

Overall it seems as if RJ changed his mind how the trick worked midchapter. Maybe the second part came after a set of rewrites, maybe after he wrote that Asmo said it didn't have to do with the power. It is odd though.
craig thrift
199. gagecreedlives
The messenger didn't disappear. He was skinned alive! (Said with best Schwarznegger impression)

“The revelation does seem to indicate that Asmodean is holding out on Rand at least a little, shield schmield, because it doesn’t seem like the Supergirls have any trouble at all learning inverting from Moghedien later on”

Maybe RJ was just subtly saying that woman are better at subterfuge than men (Duck, runs into R.Fife’s bunker chortling and snickering all the while)

thewindrose @90

I don’t think Mat had to keep sounding the horn. I think Hawkwing thought it would be nice if he did though.

Shadow_Jak @178

“while Loial will be speaking before the Great Stump to rally the Ogier for TG”

I really hope that scene happens on screen. That will be a spine tingling MoA

The only old memories of Mats that I can recall involving women are dancing at a ball (and he teaches the pretty serving girl how to do it) and almost getting stabbed by a sea folk woman.

For the survey Im a single male aged 28. No known children. Barely finished high school and now works for the government. And I am located in a little island known as Australia which is pronounced 'Orstraya' by the locals
200. Kaboom
Australia, Eh!

Been there, great place, great people.
Almost as nice as us Canadians ;)
201. Kaboom
Wetlandernw @ 190

Thanks for clearing up the misunderstanding.
craig thrift
202. gagecreedlives
I havent made it to Canada yet but the Canadians I have met have been super awesome people. And they can almost drink as much as us Aussies
Sarah Abdulla
203. Sarah
First time poster- long time lurker.
Re: Sweating thing. I do think this is one of the things RJ hadn’t figured out yet, seeing as when they first arrived in the waste in tSR, Moiraine is as serene and cool as ever despite perspiration on her face. Also I’m sure she was sweating when in the blight in tEotW.
Loving the re-read Leigh. Usually don’t have much to add as I get the posts on Tues/Thurs/Sat since I live in the future?
Re survey: 25, female, single, BA comm now doing ma journalism, currently working as journalist. Live in Sydney Australia and am astounded by the quality of discussion here, even if we are all students and Grannys?
First read WoT in 2002 after I saw a friend of mine reading CoS and asked her what it was about, since I read anything and everything I can get my hands on. Read all the way to WH so I’ve only had to wait for the last 2 books and New Spring. This is the series that got me into fantasy as I always thought it was a genre for children and fairy tales. Boy was I wrong!
204. alreadymadwithsweatingtrick
welltemperedwriter @184
Catapults, like modern artillery are generally best used against fixed positions, either the most obvious path onto a castle or town's walls or the castle/town itself. Slow moving targets would be the next best thing. It's not much use against highly mobile targets like Aiel units. That said, when Couladin and co. stopped long enough to threaten those inside Caemlyn with hangings, somebody did take a potshot with an artillery weapon of a different type, a ballista.

Re: the sweating thing
Rand does not learn it until well after Asmo's death. He has not learned it by the start of LoC when Taim first appears and was actually a bit envious that Taim apparently knew the trick. He does learn it from the Asha'man though.
205. Roxinos

I'm sure the Ogier will be there. They were there in the War of the Shadow and in the Troloc Wars. They'll be there.
In fact Elder Haman has agreed to help Rand find and secure the remaining Waygates while Loial will be speaking before the Great Stump to rally the Ogier for TG (KoD, ch 20).

It's not so clear that the Ogier as a whole will be at the Last Battle. There is no reason to suggest that they will be. They have little desire to fight, and they have always taken a firm "stay out of human affairs" policy. Certainly the Great Lord breaking free will be a matter of importance for all life on the planet, but the Ogier don't necessarily see it that way.

Loial will almost certainly be at the Last Battle due to his promise to Rand. However, even that isn't guaranteed as he's married now, so he has reason to want to go with the Ogier when they leave Randland. And that may very well be soon.

The Great Stump is being called to discuss whether or not the Ogier should open the Book of Translation. Said Book will take them from Randland just as it previously took them to Randland. So if the Ogier decide to open the Book of Translation and leave Randland before the Last Battle, they may not be there at all. And Loial may go with them, regardless of his promise to Rand.

The only group of Ogier I can say with almost absolute certainty will be at the Last Battle are, as mentioned in my previous post, the Deathwatch Guards. They have no affiliation with the Ogier of the mainland (they don't even feel the Longing). They are entirely in service to Tuon, and she will no doubt lead Seanchan to fight against the Shadow at the Last Battle. The Deathwatch Guards have no reason to leave with the Ogier at the Great Stump as they're unlikely to even be aware of the Great Stump's existence or of the Book of Translation. (Though, that bits not a certainty. They do have better memories and longer lives than humans.)


I've just spent a good deal at Dragonmount (before I was banned, that is). That gives me a basic knowledge and gets me the rest of the way.

Thanks, though. :D
206. Lisamarie
For the survey -
26, living in Madison, married. MS in Bacteriology (PhD student dropout), but currently working at a software company doing technical support.

First started reading WOT in 1999 when I was a junior in high school. My German teacher lent them to me. I was already a huge LOTR and Star Wars fan, but I think this even further cemented my identity as a fantasy/sci fi geek. I was able to read all the way through Path of Daggers and only had to wait a bit for Winter's Heart. Favorite book is Shadow Rising. Least favorite is Path of Daggers.

Not much to say here - still loving the re-reads! I agree with the other comments about gender to the effect that men and women may not be identical but they are still equal. In both this universe and Jordan's (well, I guess they are the same ;) ) we have different strengths and weaknesses, but they balance out. Doesn't mean one gender is less valuable or worse than the other.

I have a question: I've always been a bit confused about the whole LTT/Rand thing, and the general concept of souls being reborn and the Wheel and all that. I think I have a lot of things mixed up in my head. Graendel makes the comment that this has never happened before (a soul being reborn) but how is it different from what happens to the Heroes of the Horn? Correct me of I'm wrong, but the average soul doesn't get spun out again, right?

Also, it seems that the Dragon/Dragon Reborn is not in every Age (there's an Age between the Age of Legends and the Third Age, right), but is there a Dragon/Dragon Reborn in every turn of the wheel? And is that always the exact same soul? Whereas this 'champion of the light' that sometimes turns to the dark is a different soul?
sandi vogel
207. sinfulcashew
Alright, why are you banned? WTF? Banned?
You do seem extraordinarily well versed in Wheel things.
You must explain.

I guess you really don't have to, but,,,,,sheesh.

How many rereads have you been on?
It just seems that every time a person does a reread, some things get clearer.
I learn something new every time.

I'm now about 1/2way through the last release and am finding all kinds of things I didn't remember.
Of course, there are the times I feel like I'm beginning Dementia or Alzheimers or something that takes away memory. And I don't even have a bejeweled dagger!
sandi vogel
208. sinfulcashew
I didn't catch your 'survey says' entry. I'm guessing that nw means nw and from your Federal Way reference, that you are close by?
209. alreaydmadwithsplitpersonality
Lisamarie @206
Generally, in the WoT world reincarnation is a given fact. Souls are "recycled" by the Wheel in keeping with its cyclical nature. Most go through their daily lives without having to bother with what they did in their previous lives or what their soul is destined for. A select few, however are retained by the Wheel and always spun out for a specific purpose. These are the Heroes of the Horn. Even so, they rarely retain complete memories of their previous lives. A specific skill here, a notable trait there is all they are reborn with. They are not necessarily reborn every age, but they are always the same souls. There is an entire Theory about these same souls being retained by the Wheel because their actions are always predictable and thus serve as a stabilizing influence to the Wheel's turning.

Rand however, is special. He did not just gain a specific skill or trait, he retained the whole kit and caboodle. Memories, skills, personality traits, all of these are slowly seeping through. And Rand has to deal with all of these, plus the Taint. So yeah, it's driving him nuts, literally.

It's always the same souls. Rand's soul was Lews Therin's soul. It's the same soul that was spun out in every Age where the Dragon appeared. And while Rand and Lews Therin generally stayed the course and stayed on the side of the Light, some others did not. So in a few previous lives they did serve the Dark One.
sandi vogel
210. sinfulcashew
(editing a goof-double post)
211. Roxinos

Graendel makes the comment that this has never happened before (a soul being reborn) but how is it different from what happens to the Heroes of the Horn?

What Graendal says has never happened before is a specific man being born according to prophecy. From the passage it seems certain that she regards the whole idea of the turning of the Wheel and the constantly repeating Ages to be bunk at worst, useless philosophy at best.

This is the specific passage from the Prologue of The Fires of Heaven (pg. 34 paperback):

Lanfear's dark eyes glittered for a moment before she regained control of herself. "He may be Lews Therin reborn, but he is not Lews Therin himself."

"How do you know?" Graendal asked, smiling as if it were all a joke. "It may well be that, as many believe, all are born and reborn as the Wheel turns, but nothing like this has ever happened that I have read. A specific man reborn according to prophecy. Who knows what he is?"

So your question is kind of a moot point. As for how Rand's regeneration is different? His soul is not bound to the Horn. It's not even guaranteed that his soul is reborn every turning of the Wheel. It could very well be that a new soul is chosen to be the Dragon and the Dragon Reborn with every turning of the Wheel.

Correct me of I'm wrong, but the average soul doesn't get spun out again, right?

Well, it's not so clear-cut as that. It seems that the only people who are for certain spun out by the Wheel regularly are those bound to it. The only ones we know of are those Heroes of the Horn, but the people bound to the Wheel may not necessarily be limited to those bound to the Horn. I'm just not certain on that whole aspect.

But the indications are that anyone can be spun out by the Wheel multiple times. That's all I can really say on the matter, unfortunately.

Also, it seems that the Dragon/Dragon Reborn is not in every Age (there's an Age between the Age of Legends and the Third Age, right), but is there a Dragon/Dragon Reborn in every turn of the wheel?

There is no Age in between the Age of Legends and the Third Age. The Age of Legends is the Second Age. (Arbitrary numbering system aside, that is.) There is a period that fits into neither Age between the Second and Third Ages. The Breaking of the World.

There is a Dragon/Dragon Reborn spun out with every turning of the Wheel, yes. If there was no Dragon in any single turning of the Wheel, the Great Lord would win and time would end.

And is that always the exact same soul?

Whether or not it is the same soul, is another matter altogether and one which is entirely unclear. There's simply no information on the nature of Lews Therin/Rand's soul to make a decision on that.

Whereas this 'champion of the light' that sometimes turns to the dark is a different soul?

There is no "Champion of the Light." And he most certainly does not ever get turned to the Shadow. Ishamael is a lying liar who lies.

It's quite clear that I technically disagree with alreadymad/#209.


Alright, why are you banned? WTF? Banned?

According to the message I get when I try to access the forums: "Sorry Roxinos, you are banned from using this forum!
Repeated and intentional cursing, disregard of direct staff instructions, and abusive behavior."

I got into an argument with a member of staff.

If you wish to read the argument, it starts here:,38363.msg1135514.html#msg1135514

You do seem extraordinarily well versed in Wheel things.

Thank you. Some people at DM make me seem like a child, though. (Namely Luckers and RobertAlexWillis.) You should check out their forums. (Yes, I'm advertising for them even though I was banned. I'm not bitter.)
sandi vogel
212. sinfulcashew
Here I go again.
I was sure I had read that Rand was grateful that he HADN'T gone to the darkside in previous lives.
That he had only seen the possibilities of doing so in Rhuidean.

Is my poor fogged up mind taking me on another daytrip?
213. Roxinos
The Dragon has never sided with the Shadow. The Dragon is spun out to reseal the Great Lord's prison. If the Dragon ever sided with the Shadow just once, then the Great Lord would win and time would end.

That's what sucks about the whole Dragon system. It is a necessarily repetitive system. The Great Lord has infinite turnings of the Wheel to try to break himself free, and if he wins ONCE then he wins for eternity because he will destroy the Wheel. So the Wheel must constantly turn out a Dragon to seal the Great Lord.
sandi vogel
214. sinfulcashew
Suffice it to say, I won't go check out you bad behavior. Nuff said!

From your advertising of these people, they should come here and fill us in on some of these questions.

Whatever the case as far as the DR going over to the darkside: it would seem that if the DO won, there would be no story.....Period?
sandi vogel
215. sinfulcashew
That's what I just said sort of!
Glad I got something right.
216. Roxinos
You should totally check out my naughty behavior. :D It's not so simple as the message describes it. "Swearing" is saying "f*cking" (with the asterisk and everything) three times. I've said much worse in my five years at DM. The admin I was arguing with never gave me an order, so I was not disobeying staff instructions. And the only person I was abusive to was the admin because he had JUST told me that he would not ban someone for abusing the staff or mods because they are expected to take abuse. So I was proving him wrong.

Actually, screw it, you don't need to the thread. I just summed it up for you right there. :D
217. alreadymadwithLTT'srebirth
Rand's soul is bound to the Horn. The Heroes of the Horn generally greet him as one of their own. Artur Hawkwing specifically notes that they have fought on the same side several times before I have fought by your side times beyond number. This would not have been during the AoL, as the Horn was never used during the War of Power. It would have to be before. Hawkwing also implies that Therin would know the details of being bound to the Horn.
You could tell him, Lews Therin, could you but remember when you wore flesh

Unfortunately, the part about the Dragon turning to the Dark in previous incarnations is not found in any text of the books. RJ allegedly stated that he had and that the conflict between Light and Dark during those Ages where he had had ended in draws. But I've never directly read any of his transcribed interviews so my info is secondhand at best here.
Noton Yourlife
218. Roxinos
Rand's soul is bound to the Horn. The Heroes of the Horn generally greet him as one of their own.

They greet him familiarly. You must remember that the Heroes have been spun out many times through many lifetimes. In some lifetimes, they knew the soul of Rand. All that says is that Rand's soul is bound to the Wheel (specifically his soul, I was a little hazy on that bit). It does not say anything about him being bound to the Horn of Valere.

And I did make a distinction between being bound to the Horn and being bound to the Wheel. As it is not clear if one necessitates the other. Of course, it may be the case that he is. And that may be what the Heroes meant. But it's not explicitly stated, and the only statement which could be construed to indicate it doesn't necessarily indicate it.

Unfortunately, the part about the Dragon turning to the Dark in previous incarnations is not found in any text of the books.

I cannot remember well enough, sadly. I do believe that at one point Ishamael said that they have fought countless times and in some turnings of the Wheel, Rand kneeled to Ishamael. But do not quote me on that, we'll just continue as if it were not ever stated since I can't quote.

RJ allegedly stated that he had and that the conflict between Light and Dark during those Ages where he had had ended in draws. But I've never directly read any of his transcribed interviews so my info is secondhand at best here.

Yeah, I'm not believing it until I see it. So at the moment, it's safe to say that Rand has never turned to the Shadow in any previous incarnation. And I will definitively say that the Dragon's soul is always Rand's soul.
James Jones
219. jamesedjones
211. Roxinos

That's - Awesome! Actually, I've found myself slipping into an abusive rant only when I try to type more than a screenlength of post. It's pretty easy to moderate if you just keep your stuff to a paragraph or two, and then just fit it all into multiple posts. Plus, folks skim less. :P

217. Alreadymadwhentheysoundedthehornagainandgotreadyfor thenextrenditionoftarmongaidinbyswitchingoutthemusical instrumentssonoonenewwhatwascoming

Woah, I never even considered that Hawkwing was refering to the times he'd been blown out of the horn. I just figured that he was spun out to be a bad guy a few times.
Alice Arneson
220. Wetlandernw
You know, sometimes I wonder if RJ really had the whole rebirth thing fully worked out.... But as for who is reborn, there's that oath which can be taken by anyone who wants to convince you that they really will do what they say:

By the Light and my hope of salvation and rebirth, I swear...

So it looks like anyone at least has HOPE of rebirth. Or at least they think they do.

My survey response was on the previous post, but to recap...
Mom of two grammar-school kids
Bachelor of Science Chemical Engineering
Minor, English Literature
Minor, Chemistry
Formerly employed in aerospace industry, currently much too busy raising kids to bother with paid employment.
Brier sept of the Snohomish (WA)

(sinfulcashew: formerly Burien, Kent, Des Moines, Federal Way, Bothell. Oy. Before that, Montana.)

Oh, and I started WoT back whenever the first two books were the only ones out. Borrowed them from a friend, devoured them, returned them, bought my own copies when book 3 came out. Have done a reread with each new release. Almost gave up after Path of Daggers, then REALLY almost gave up after Crossroads of Twilight. Only consented to read Knife of Dreams after reading RJs comment that the technique in CoT didn't work out as well as he'd hoped. ;) Started fantasy at age 8 (the Hobbit, loaned by my 3rd grade teacher) and haven't stopped since. Top faves are LotR, Narnia, and anything by Charles Williams.
221. Digital_Eon
Argh, I can't find the quote, either. But I also recall RJ mentioning that the "Light's Champion" has gone to the Dark One in the past, and that this meant that the battle ended in a draw - apparently, that champion only helps the Light win; they're not the deciding factor (though presumably, they help!).

Not conclusive proof, though I'd say the fact that multiple people remember the quote's existence matters...
222. OldWoman
Anyone who starts a series with a book clearly marked “Book Five” on the cover deserves the confusion they get, if you ask me.

I started reading with New Spring. I picked it up in new release paperbacks at an airport to read on the plane. I started reading SF at 13 yrs...mostly hard SF... and in '69 I read LoTR aloud to my old man while we drove around the Western states picking up hitchhikers. (old hippie am I)
68 1/2, female, great-grandmother, 5 kids, got AS in electronics in '88 and BS in CS in '98. Currently working in sw quality and taking classes towards MBA so I qualify for both 'Grandma' & 'Student'.
Ofer Nave
223. odigity
I may get flak for this, but for the record:

Man and women are not equal. They are both different and incomparable (unless you can think of objective criteria by which to judge an entire gender as "better" than another - I can't).

All this appeal to "equality" seems an attempt to squelch argument with no appeal to logic. We are equal in our moral code, but not in any physical or qualitative sense.
Ofer Nave
224. odigity
OldWoman@222: 68 1/2, female, great-grandmother, 5 kids, got AS in electronics in '88 and BS in CS in '98. Currently working in sw quality and taking classes towards MBA so I qualify for both 'Grandma' & 'Student'.

You went for a CS degree in your late 50's? It's nice to see someone who doesn't let age be an excuse to stop learning and seeking challenges. I hope you live a long life yet - you deserve it.
Alice Arneson
225. Wetlandernw

Yes, the Champion of the Light has gone over in the past. This is a game you have to win every time. Or rather, that you can only lose once--you can stay in if you get a draw. Think of a tournament with single elimination. If you lose once, that's it. In the past, when the Champion of the Light has gone over to the Shadow, the result has been a draw.

Is that the quote you're looking for? It was from a book signing in Dayton OH during the Crossroads of Twilight tour. If it wasn't so late I'd have done a better job finding it and would give you the link, but I've lost it now. Anyway, there's the full text of what he said on the subject on that occasion.
Alice Arneson
226. Wetlandernw
Oh, and odigity, I know we disagree on a lot of stuff, but you hit the nail @223. As I like to say, "not equal" does not necessarily mean "better" or "worse" - it just means "not equal".
sandi vogel
227. sinfulcashew
Roxinos and madateverything:
"Unfortunately, the part about the Dragon turning to the Dark in previous incarnations is not found in any text of the books."

I was referring to his trip through Rhuidean when he got his Dragons. He saw the possibilities of going to the darkside. But he thought he hadn't gone.

Kudos to 'Old Woman'! (but I'm older, ha!)

Start with West S., then Camp Pendleton, Fremont, Parkland, WS again, Burien, FederalWay, Kent.
Married a Montanan between WS and Burien.

Roxinos again:
Sounds like a railroad job! That's crappy!
Michael Catapano
228. hoping
The trip Rand took to Rhuidean thru the crystals was for the aiel memories only. Women go thru the rings first and see their past lives there, ala mo, avi and the wise ones.

Rand says he knows he never went to the shadow, despite Ishy's statements to the contrary, I think largely because of his trip thru the portal stone in tGH.

So, RJ's quote above about the champion of the light sometimes going to the shadow implies to me that the dragon is not in every age and is not always the champion of the light. Either that or Rand is mistaken.

This battle that seems to occur every age always ends in a draw. Sometimes a good draw, such as the one that led to the AoL in which the DO was unknown until someone screwed up, and sometimes a bad draw, such as the end of the AoL when saidin was tainted and the world broken. A win for the light would eliminate the DO or tie him up for all ages. A win for the DO, well, we wouldn't be here then.
sandi vogel
229. sinfulcashew
Geez. I was sure I read of him seeing the probabilities? is that the right word. Kind of like when the ladies go through the thing at Tar Valon and see all their possible lives.

Did you mention Moraine? She is Taraboner, I think. Not Aiel.
Michael Catapano
230. hoping
Moraine went thru the rings in Rhuidean which is how she knew about Lanfear at the docks, how it would turn out poorly if she bedded al'thor, and how many people needed to be in on her rescue from the finns. Is that what you meant? She is probably the first non-aiel female thru the Rhuidean rings.

As far as Rand goes- I think it was the portal stones but that was back in tGH which I read a month ago and is already foggy- "Memeory fades..." and so forth

Odd that the rings in R work without a hitch since there are objects of the power laying all about the place. No 'resonance' unlike egs trip in the TV rings.
sandi vogel
231. sinfulcashew
Yes that is what I meant. Although she isn't Aiel, so how does that work? But he has an Aiel father?
Yes, I remember something having to do with the Stones. A lot of possibilities there too?
Jay Dauro
232. J.Dauro

Moraine Damodred
She is a Cairhienin noble of high rank in House Damodred, daughter of Dalresin Damodred, youngest half-sister of Taringail Damodred and niece of King Laman Damodred.

Three Arches

A ter'angreal in the shape of three rounded, silver arches, just tall enough to walk under, sitting on a thick silver ring with their ends touching each other. It was found during the Trolloc Wars. It sits in one of the lowest levels of the White Tower and is used to test a novice who is being promoted to Accepted. The three arches present visions related to one's past, present and future fears. It is not clear if the visions have any relationship to reality.

There is a second, similar ter'angreal in Rhuidean that is part of the testing for becoming an Aiel Wise One. The three arches in Rhuidean show possible futures.

Moraine is the only person known to have gone through both.
Sydo Zandstra
233. Fiddler

And I did make a distinction between being bound to the Horn and being bound to the Wheel. As it is not clear if one necessitates the other. Of course, it may be the case that he is. And that may be what the Heroes meant. But it's not explicitly stated, and the only statement which could be construed to indicate it doesn't necessarily indicate it.

I recall a theory back when rasfwr-j was still alive, about Hurin (the Shienaran sniffer) going to join those bound to the Horn at some point (well, after dying of course). That could be an example of your the distinction you made. (although, it's a theory and not story-fact)


I think you misspelled Alreadymadwhentheysoundedthehornagainandgotreadyfor thenextrenditionoftarmongaidinbyswitchingoutthemusical instrumentssonoonenewwhatwascoming

just kidding ;)


Moiraine is Cairhienin. Which is probably the main reason why she isn't happy about Rand taking Aiel into Cairhien. (This is the first example showing that AS don't leave all their past behind when they become AS. We get to see a few more examples in LoC, with the 2 delegations sent to Rand).

On Moiraine entering Rhuidean: I always considered the thing she went into there to be a twin to the Acceptatron in Tar Valon. Sidenote: Having already been into the one in Tar Valon gives Moiraine an edge. Maybe it helped her to get more or better answers from her experiences in the one in Rhuidean...

edit: I see J.Dauro beat me to it.
234. RobMRobM
1. Thanks to all who helped out with figuring out the puzzle of Mat's memories.

a. I strongly agree the knife had nothing to do with them. If so, one would have expected memories of Aridhol rather than the plainly Manetheren ones Mat experienced pre-finns.

b. I guess I agree that Mat's pre-finn memories can be attributed to the Old Blood trope but his depth of memories calls this into question for me. He not only pulled out the original battle cry early in EOTW but also a more detailed one in the Blight late in EOTW plus the remarkable "Go forward the Heart Guard" statement while being healed in TGH and, of course, the classic "I am not Aes Sedai meat" at that same point. In EOTW Rand actually says it is possible that Mat is a reincarnation of Aemon -- that seems somewhat plausible, as all of the statements he made are not merely tied to Manetheren in general but in particular to the age of Aemon (with the specific references to his queen and to the Heart Guard). Thoughts?

c. Based on the RJ ex machina statement, I guess I can accept that Mat's other memories are pulled from the adventurers visiting the Tower of Ghenjie but I don't really like it. Mat asked for the holes in his memories to be filled. The plain intent was a request to fill the holes in his memories, rather than to leave the holes and fill them with other peoples' memories. I wish it were so that Mat had been reincarnated many times and his holes of those memories were filled in - but I guess not. :-)

2. On a separate point, it is clear to me from Egwene's dream in TFOH (where Thom was reaching for Moiraine's blue stone and Mat was bleeding from the face with his hat over his eyes) that Mat is going to lose an eye to the Finns. That would fulfill Min's prophecy that he will give up half the light to save the world and will also be consistent with the Mat's mythological analogues relied on by RJ. However, this leads to second issue - how will saving Moiraine save the world? Clear from Min's other statements that she had a vision where Moiraine was essential to Rand's success (and she's depressed because of her belief that the vision is her only one that can't be fulfilled now) and also with the just-quoted Mat prophecy, but how is she going to save the world? My thought is she's going to come up with the mechanism for how Rand can die and live again (per the Finn's prediction and Min's, Nicola's and the Aiel's visions of the three women looking at his death bier). Thoughts?

3. Re other literature, I was a longtime fan of Zelanzy as well, not just Amber (first series, please) and Lord of Light but also This Immortal and his shorter pieces, especially Rose for Ecclesiastes. I also loved Dune and other Frank Herbert (especially Dosadi Expeiment) and early Piers Anthony, such as Macroscope, which blew my mind when I read it back in the 70s. (I know the book may be hard to find but it is worth tracking down).

4. Final point - I've separately posted on my background last week but re WoT I had a good friend who has been bugging me to read the series since they came out. He's always expressed the pain he was living through waiting for the next book to come out. You know why I didn't read them - I hated the freaking goofy/childish covers and couldn't get interested in picking up books that has such embarassing art in them. Last fall, he finally convinced me to buck up and read them and now I'm a full fledged addict.

235. warcaller

Moiraine went through the rings in Rhuidean, not the glass columns. The ring Ter'angreal is the twin to the one used in the Accepted test. It will will work on anybody. The glass columns is the one were you need Aiel blood.
236. Kaboom
I have had a idea about the men getting mad, that now with the discussion of everybody can be a soul reborn I think may be possible.

What if the taint gradually breaks the bridge between the new reincarnation of the soul and the old one (like Rand and LT) The speed of it probably being related to the amount of Sadin channeled. This leads in time to the channeling man to hear voices (according to Cadsuane, all channeling men eventually hears voice). Then the reaction of the men to this "stress" depends on their strength of character. Some cannot handle it at all at get mad right away while others can deal with it and remain sane for much longer. Rand would be an extreme case of the latter having found a coping mechanism by attributing the voice to LT and accepting it.

Anyway here it is. Open to discussion/bashing.
237. alreadymadwithmisspellednaim
It's Alreadymadwhentheysoundedthehornagainandgotreadyfor thenextrenditionoftarmongaidonbyswitchingoutthemusical instrumentssonooneknewwhatwascoming
Sydo Zandstra
238. Fiddler
Naim? ;)

And shouldn't be there a few ' in that?
Michael Catapano
239. hoping

Are the voices (the additional personality in male channelers) solely a product of this age because of the taint?
The reason I ask is that in KOD, Semirhage remarks that in regard to Rand's mental illness (the voices), Graendal was the expert but even she had difficulty in re-integrating the personalities. So this phenomenom was known in the AoL.
I had thought that Taim was a channeler who was taken over by a prior personality, his original being suppressed or eliminated, hence his apparant knowledge of the AoL (his statement referring to the 'so called aiel'). Beidomon was a possibility until RJ quashed that idea.
240. alreadymadwithseveralsymptoms
Fiddler @238
It should be name, actually. :P

Kaboom @236
Cadsuane might say that. But how many mad channelers has she met? More than most, if not all other Aes Sedai, I'll bet. However there is one source even more reliable. The men of the Black Tower themselves. Not all have succumbed through voices. One went mad screaming that spiders were crawling over him. So it's not always voices. IIRC Taim described several different symptoms. Last I heard paranoia is also a type of madness(looks at Rand and Taim).

hoping @239
You shouldn't take Semirhage's words seriously. It's like she said that is what it is, but then denied being an authority on the subject matter. What she said was most likely a psychological attack on Rand. Graendal might be the expert on mental illnesses but I doubt she has much experience with the specific type brought on by the Taint. The Taint was after all, nonexistent during the AoL. The way I see it, Semirhage had a reputation for breaking not only her prisoners but her captors as well. And this was her skill at work. By "confirming" Rand's madness, she was attempting to isolate Rand from his own followers. But then again, following a madman isn't really a new thing for his primary general, Bashere.
241. Kaboom

To be honest I don't remember much about KOD. Maybe this illness Semirhage talks about had other cause in the AoL. In my theory it would be a product of this age. But it wouldn't be impossible for people in the AoL to have mental illness (split personality disorder) caused by leaking of the previous incarnation of the soul due to completely different reasons (ie. genetic defect in the way the brain is constructed, another kind of trauma etc..) but with essentially the same outcome.
So your theory about Taim should still stand.
242. Kaboom
alreadymadwithseveralsymptoms @240

I agree that they do not all hear voices. But then again, hearing voices may not be the only manifestation of the previous reincarnation of the soul.
My point was that it is this manifestation that makes the men go crazy. The brain may interpret this manifestation differently in different men. Feeling spiders being only one of them.
Michael Catapano
243. hoping
already(which personality is this):)

I agree that forsaken knowledge must be taken with a huge grain of salt but it isn't always a lie, especially when they talk among themselves. Figuring out which is truth or not can be difficult.
I don't know how the previous incarnations leak out but I think the taint breaks down the barriers between the competing personalities so it becomes a bigger problem in this age.
We need more POVs from ashaman before we can conclude that they are not suffering from similar personality clashes in their heads.
244. alreadymadwithsomanyvoices
You could be right. I'm not quite sold but there really isn't anything in the books that confirms it either way. I don't think RJ even worked out the specific mechanics or progression of Taint-induced madness. He only shows one case, Rand. Who's to say Rand's case is 100% identical to others?

Definitely not sure about hoping's theory about Taim. From what I understand, the point that a man completely loses it is also the point that he channels uncontrollably. Otherwise, the Breaking wouldn't be so cataclysmic.
Sydo Zandstra
245. Fiddler

This is a LAW: when pointing out spelling mistakes in forums/Blogs, people always make spelling mistakes themselves in the post/message pointing them out.

Not sure if it has been claimed yet. If not, you can call it Fiddler's Law. ;)
Michael Catapano
246. hoping
Maybe Taim was taken over by a personality that died before the taint and isn't mad.

Fiddler's Law might be a corollary of Murphy's Law
Sydo Zandstra
247. Fiddler
I don't think Taim is good for comparing with Rand here. He's a known Darkfriend at the least, and some people still think he is Demandred.

If he is only a DF, we don't know when he turned to the Dark Side, meaning he might have been shielded against the taint for a long time.

Logain would be a better example to compare with Rand, and he hasn't shown any signs of craziness.

In fact, I don't think Rand has shown any signs of that as well yet. He may look crazy to others (especially Mat and Egwene) but at that time he's dealing with a scheme only he knows about (catching Asmodean), hooking up with 3 women at the same time, getting LTT in his head, and his guilt about all the women dying for him. And he has to be hard as a rock.

He's still being rational in his own thoughts though...

@Hoping: True. Murphy's law generally leaves less room for irony though.

Edit: Erin McKean got there first. And she's right. ;)
John Massey
248. subwoofer
Naw... should be Alreadymadwhentheysoundedthehornagainandgotreadyfor thenextrenditionoftarmongaidonbyswitchingouttheserioustory andoptingforamusicalwithtimcurryplayingtheleadbaddythrowin
249. alreadymadwithinsanevoices
Fiddler @245
I made no such mistake in the post/message. The spelling mistake was in my name. And I did it on purpose. :)

hoping @243
Here's some food for thought. How do we even know these voices are from previous incarnations? For all we know the Dark One is simply stuffing some random madmen into male channelers' heads. The Taint is his work, after all. Rand's case may well be unique in that he has Lews Therin's memories. And the voice is just his coping mechanism. Who's to say everybody else is just hearing some madman's voice? Some one who gave his soul to the Dark One?
I simply can't accept that it is as simple as a personality switch. Were all these men violently dangerous in their previous lives? At least a majority would have to be for the Breaking to be as bad as it was.

Fiddler @247
For that matter, LTT's advice, whenever he gives it, is actually quite sound. No matter how many times Rand paints the voice as mad.
Sydo Zandstra
250. Fiddler

I figured you did it on purpose. Doesn't make a difference though. :P

About LTT in Rand's head: I agree on LTT's advice being sound. You meant the whole kill him thing, right?

The same goes for breaking the Seal Taim gave to Rand. That was good advice, although it was too early yet for Rand to actually do it.
Richard Fife
251. R.Fife
I would also point out that at the moment of his death, LTT was sane. Ishy healed him of it for the purpose of driving home what had happened. He is in mourning for Ilyena still, but he is actually quite sane, taint-wise.
Sydo Zandstra
252. Fiddler

Good pointer. I hadn't realized that yet, even after 12-13 rereads...

LTT working together with Rand to escape from them being captured by Elaida's emissary is pretty rational too.

Sidenote: After Rand escapes the shielding, comes my #1 WoT quote:

They will pay, Lews Therin growled, I am Lord of the Morning.
Michael Catapano
253. hoping
Yes Taim is a DF. We don't know for how long. You're right in that he could be taint protected that way, but it doesn't preclude him being taken over by another personality. We need some more creator help on this one.
RJ said Taim is not Demandred, which is confirmed in later books when they give conflicting orders.
Elroy Skimms
254. elroyskimms
jamesedjones @ 181

Not the Old Blood, but probably the Old Tongue. :D

Old Tongue FTW

255. alreadymadwithLTT'ssanity
Fiddler @ 252
Better than Rand's I am the storm.

Killing Taim isn't good advice?

More advice from LTT:
Only a madman does not trust.

You're already harder than I ever was.

If you want to ogle a woman without being obvious hum. And rub your thumb along the lobe of your ear.
256. Kaboom
Whether or not Taim is a dark friend (although I believe he is), I really doubt that he is taint-protected. I don't think anybody but the Forsaken has received that "honor" from the dark one.
But that is just my opinion.
Jason Deshaies
257. darxbane
I am a little ahead in the re-read, but Shaidar Haran gives a good explanation as to how Mat's memory infusion may work when he tells Arangar that "the mind bends to the soul, but the body bends to the mind". His essence is till Mat all the way, so his mind will adapt to fit the changes. Even at this point in the story he is beginning to have difficulty telling the difference between his memories and others. The mind is very adaptable when it needs to be.

There are several advantages women have over men when wielding the one power. Sure, men may have an edge on raw strength, but that's about where the advantage ends, and the extra strength Saidin grants is balanced by how much energy is required to control it, not to mention how much more likely you will be severed or destroyed if you do lose control. When a women loses focus, saidar just goes away.

Rand and LTT's personalities separating may not be a result of the taint. It is likely, but not definite. Semirhage does tell Rand in KoD that it is known to happen at times. Now, the fact that the soul is a biological entity (in a sense, anyway. Otherwise, the DO would need to find channelers for the new forsaken bodies, and Arangar would have had to learn to channel Saidar), means that if Rand's soul is splitting into two, then there really are two separate personalities sharing one body. It is possible that, if and when the soul does split completely that one of them will lose the ability to channel, or they will each be half as strong as they once were, or some combination in between.
Michael Catapano
258. hoping

Here's some food for thought. How do we even know these voices are from previous incarnations? For all we know the Dark One is simply stuffing some random madmen into male channelers' heads. The Taint is his work, after all.

Could very well be. I'm just having trouble understanding the whole one soul, two personality thing and how it relates to taint madness. Since there have personality integration issues in the AOL, I have been trying to make a connection, thinking that the taint just makes it more likely.
Sydo Zandstra
259. Fiddler

I'm sure Taim's followers (the 4 who attacked Rand) got protection from the taint. Same goes for Taim.

Think of it. Why else would these people turn to the DO? The 'black cord' that male forsaken have, would not diminish their status, if a few male channelers got it too...
260. alreadymadwithtaintmadness
For all we know Rand may well have been fated to bear with Lews Therin's personality even without the taint. He is the Dragon Reborn, after all. Or maybe the Pattern used the Dark One's own trick against him. Instead of some random madman, Rand just happens to have Lews Therin's voice. Either way, Rand's case is unique. So we don't really know if we can compare his case to others'.
261. Kaboom
Fiddler @259

You're probably right.
But somehow I don't quite believe it. I certainly think that they turned to the dark in the hope to become protected but the DO would first require that they prove themselves. I just don't see the DO has being so giving.
sandi vogel
262. sinfulcashew
Way off topic. (as usual)
My 10yr old grandaughter sat down at the pc this morning and right away said "subwoofer"
I was somewhat stunned. She has no idea what I do here or who some of the names are. It (pc) wasn't even on line.
I have never spoken the name.
Is she psychic or what?
Just thought I would share this oddity!
263. alreadymadwithtaintedmadmen
These were quite possibly darkfriends even before being recruited to the Black Tower. Same thing happens with some of the Black Ajah.
Obviously, by Dumai's Wells Taim has been recruiting and prioritizing his own favorites.

sinfulcashew @262
That's no oddity. That's cause for concern. ;)
264. alreadymadwithtaintedmadmen
These were quite possibly darkfriends even before being recruited to the Black Tower. Same thing happens with some of the Black Ajah.
Obviously, by Dumai's Wells Taim has been recruiting and prioritizing his own favorites.

sinfulcashew @262
That's no oddity. That's cause for concern. ;)
Sydo Zandstra
265. Fiddler

On contrary, once the DO has given the benefits, they are his. He can take it away from them. It's a general evil thing.

The Good side would want them to prove themselves first. Evil just gives, and takes away when one isn't performing well.


Probably because subwoofer is a funny name. ;)

@subwoofer: no offense meant ;)
Andrew J
266. Waitingforthenextpost
@220 Wetlandernw

Brier sept of the Snohomish (WA)

Really, hmmm... Duvall myself. Small world, although I supose its inevitable that someone lives quite close to someone else on here.

Loving these rereads

M 30
BS geology
WOT since book 3. Creator what a long wait
John Massey
267. subwoofer
@Fiddler none taken.

-@sinful- grandaughter must be a prodigy.

-alreadymadwhenhedoubleposts- the taint is getting to you.

- for all intents and purposes- I merely suggested updating your profiles- somebody else suggested the whole "I Sparticus" thingy... and then the yellow shawled wonder ran with it...
268. Rand Al'Todd
Hoping @228

"Rand says he knows he never went to the shadow, despite Ishy's statements to the contrary, I think largely because of his trip thru the portal stone in tGH."

That scene is discussed in Leigh's Part 7 to tGH, the "flickers" scene. The discussion there seems to be various potential outcomes of RAND's current life. It does not appear to address any PRIOR lives. (Maybe the original wording is somewhat different from Leigh's - but I doubt it.)
269. douglasm

It's Muphry's Law (not a typo) or, if you mean specific to typos and such, McKean's Law.
Dan Sparks
270. RedHanded
@ 86 Forkroot

Perhaps I misspoke. A bachelors in psychology is not worthless, it's worthless to me is all, i.e. not knowledge that I use or will necessarily need to use. I decided, after the fact, that I didn't like any career choices that would be possible in pursuing the Psych route. :) I agree with the signal theory with the Bachelors degree though, employers (at least many I've interviewed with/etc) just look to see if you have a degree and could give 2 shits about what it's in.

@ 87 Freelancer
Oh I'm not bashing myself, I'm fine with the way things worked out, of course if I had it to do over I'd go for philosophy instead but hey I know a lot more about myself than I did at 18, or 22, or 25. I didn't choose Psych to figure myself out, it was more of the beginning of my junior year and I needed to pick something (since Biology and Computer Science didn't appeal to me as my first 2 majors)and I had already taken a couple Psych classes. Also I'd say philosophy i.e. figuring out what you believe and why is more eye opening than Psych will ever be. Psych(social psych in particular) focuses more on nature/nurture type reasons for behavior and thoughts and completely take away from the context of a situation and the will of an individual. To me I find it lacking for explanations. I better stop there before I start ranting(more) about the ongoing disagreement between me and psychology.
Michael Catapano
271. hoping
Rand Al'Todd
I was wrong about the portal stones seeing past lives.
I'll be bummed if we find out that Rand went to the shadow in past lives
Ofer Nave
272. odigity

(Since this thread will be dead any minute now, a little spam shouldn't hurt much.)

The best blending of philosophy and psychology I've seen is Stefan Molyneux at Freedomain Radio. I highly recommend it. The podcast series starts out heavy on history/economics/politics, but soon transitions to focus on the integration of philosophy and psychology. Very stimulating stuff.
Dan Sparks
273. RedHanded
@272 odigity

I will have to check that out. I lean toward Objectivist beliefs personally but I'm always interested in hearing other people's theories about...well just about anyting, even though people rarely believe the things I do. Even so, always fun to have a frargument.
Michael Johnson
275. twosheddz
I always thought the Acceptatron and the Apprent-o-matic TM were twin devices. However, Avi is sent alone into Rhuidian while the novices have sisters channeling to activate the device. Could be that this is just offscreen in Rhuidian? And the Apprent-o-matic only seems to deal with future events.
276. alreadymadwithawaitedpost
twosheddz @275
Now that you mention it, their effects are quite dissimilar. A closer match in terms of effect would be the Apprent-o-matic and Rand's Wild Portal Stone Ride. Both dealt with possible futures.
It's also possible that such devices are meant to be self-operating and the one the White Tower has is defective.
Jay Dauro
277. J.Dauro

In one of my favorite missayings (by a close friend)

"It's deflicted."
278. alreadymadwithdeflicteddevice
Yep, deflicted just about sums it up.
279. toryx
Re: the whole taint/ madness/ dual personality discussion.

I don't think that the taint implies a special kind of madness. It just makes people go mad, period. The result of that madness is likely pretty personal. It just so happens that hearing voices is really common in insanity.

R.Fife @ 251 makes a good point about Lews Therin having been healed by Ishmael before death, but that doesn't mean that he isn't mad with grief and self-loathing. The realization of what he'd done to the people he cared about the most would be enough to drive him mad all over again. It surely doesn't help that Ishmael, who was supposed to have been imprisoned by the seals, is free. That'd suggest all that LT did and suffered was for nothing. Who needs the taint after realizing that?

I still think Lews Therin is solely a coping mechanism that Rand's mind has created to deal with the whole duality of being Rand al Thor and the Dragon Reborn. The effects of the taint on his mind just gives the second personality greater influence.
Ofer Nave
280. odigity
There are so many wonderful Rand/LTT theories - I've read most of them - and a surprising portion of them are backed by good evidence and reasoning.

But I think the best argument is: LTT is real, and he's really talking to Rand. Why? Because it's just too cool.

Cool Factor FTW.

(Again thinking of that amazing trolloc attack scene in KoD... but that will have to wait. Grr.)
Blake Engholm
281. UncrownedKing

(this may have been said but....)

I agree that he's real. Semi said in KoD that in most cases of the taint, the saidin wielder starts hearing voices. She said these voices are ususally creations of one's own mind. But in some cases the voices were voices of real people. Hence the reason I think LTT is real. (BTW that scene in KoD with the death gates and crazy arrows is the definition of badassery)

Random note:
I was sitting at work theorizing instead of doing things important and I came across an image that has stuck with me. When Egwene reunites with Gawyn for the first time, in Cahrien? maybe?, just before she meets him she is walking around and comes across a man with two swords on his back....

Now I may be remembering this completely wrong, or may be totally off my rocker, but Did this happen? If so, is that Gaidal?

Someone prove me right or wrong please
282. Blinkers
Sorry Leigh, but YOU are correlating strength in the OP with physical strength. Nowhere is that relation actually mentioned. You're simply linking physical and OP strength because physical strength is the most commonly-viewed gender quality that men have, and I'm sorry that I need to say it but that correlation is just as sexist as the issues with the one power that you're disgruntled about.

And as for "Why not simply make variations in strength in the Power dependent on some other factor, or even arbitrary?", um hello? The entire series is constantly poking at the concepts of differences between men and women. You yourself have made mention of this a number of times. Why carry on those differences through nearly every aspect of the story but completely set them aside whenever it came to the topic of strength in the OP?
283. CalaLily
Uncrowned King:

I think the two swords thing is also popular in Kandor. IIRC there have been several incidences with Kandori men being portrayed with one or more swords strapped to their backs rather than their sides.

WHY a Kandori man would be wandering around Cairhien I have no idea.

Also, Gaidal Cain would still be in T'A'R at this point, and even if he wasn't he was spun out as a baby, not a full-grown man. :)
Blake Engholm
284. UncrownedKing
@283 I thought in LoC, which is where I think this happened, Birgitte had already stated she thought he'd been spun out.
Richard Fife
285. R.Fife
Cain was spun out somewhere around the beginning of TFoH (as we will see soon).
Leigh Butler
286. leighdb
Blinkers @ 282:

Rand was sure he had caught a lie, this time. Moiraine said that in the Age of Legends men and women had been equally strong in the Power, and she could not lie. He said as much, adding, "The Five Powers are equal."

"Earth, Fire, Air, Water, and Spirit." Natael strummed a chord for each. "They are equal, true, and it is also true that what a man can do with one, a woman can also. In kind, at least. But that has nothing to do with men being stronger. What Moiraine believes to be truth, she tells as truth whether or not it is; one of a thousand weaknesses in those fool Oaths." He played a bit of something that did indeed sound foolish. "Some women have stronger arms than some men, but in general it is the other way around. The same holds with strength in the Power, and in about the same proportion."
287. Freelancer

Pretty funny. When I first encountered Dragonmount and WoTMania loony theory posts, someone suggested a musical, and the image of Tim Curry as Fain was stuck in my head for weeks.

"Don't get strung out by the way I look,
Don't judge a book by it's cover...;"
Brian Kaul
288. bkaul
If there's a movie adaptation of WOT, any of the Aiel battle scenes would have to be done as a musical, with all the singing and dancing. :)
289. Freelancer
Since the recognition of his absence in T'a'R by Birgitte, Gaidal Cain has become the most notably absent, and anticipated, character in WoT.

Birgitte muses that he is probably out of T'a'R, that he usually precedes her. RJ answered several possible methods by which he could be an adult by now, saying the differences in how time works in T'a'R aren't enough to make that possible.

So given the timeframe since his last appearance, he has to be a very small child at best. What that means to the story is a big RAFO, but it also puts under question whether he will be re-introduced at all.
Tess Laird
290. thewindrose
CalaLily - re Kandori's with two swords. IIRC, Egwene was thinking to herself about Hunters of the horn when she saw the Kandori and also some armed women walking around Cairhien.
Ofer Nave
291. odigity
Freelancer@287: Pretty funny. When I first encountered Dragonmount and WoTMania loony theory posts, someone suggested a musical, and the image of Tim Curry as Fain was stuck in my head for weeks.

"Don't get strung out by the way I look,
Don't judge a book by it's cover...;"

Would that make Richard O'Brien Fain's pet Myrddraal?

As for Gaidal Cain, I'm fairly certain he's sitting this one out. We were never promised that things would work out fairy-tale style for all the cool cats. It's just part of the tragedy of what Moggy did to Birgitte.

This thread really ought to be dead by now, but just in case, let me head this one off: No, Olver isn't Gaidal.
Sean Banawnie
292. Seanie
*twitch* *twitch*
new post ? pleeassse?
took a nap couln't hold out any longer....and it still isn't posted shheeesh
Hugh Arai
295. HArai

That's a good quote from someone who has a good chance of knowing and has no reason to be lying at the time. But even there it does not say that higher physical strength = stronger in the power. Only that individual strength in the power follows the same general pattern between men and women as individual physical strength.

If it did correlate Aviendha would be able to slap someone like Asmodean around with the OP, because she's likely physically stronger than him.

You might have an argument that RJ could have reversed the pattern, but then the story would have been very different I think. And I maintain that a story about how men and women are equal when they are exactly the same is much less interesting than one about how they can be equal and different.
Leigh Butler
296. leighdb
HArai @ 295:

But even there it does not say that higher physical strength = stronger in the power.

I never said it did, nor do I think that's what Asmodean (or Jordan) was trying to imply. I was replying to Blinkers' assertion that the text did not draw a correlation between physical strength and One Power strength at all, which is not the case.

You might have an argument that RJ could have reversed the pattern, but then the story would have been very different I think.

Yes, it would have been.

And I maintain that a story about how men and women are equal when they are exactly the same is much less interesting than one about how they can be equal and different.

I never said I wanted women and men to be absolutely equal or the same; I said it would have been interesting had they been made different, well, differently.
James Jones
297. jamesedjones
288. bkaul

LOL. I just got an image from Madagascar Escape 2 Africa stuck in my head...
Ofer Nave
301. odigity
HArai@295: But even there it does not say that higher physical strength = stronger in the power.

leighdb@296: I never said it did, nor do I think that's what Asmodean (or Jordan) was trying to imply.

Yes, that was a misunderstanding not caused by you, and it makes sense to correct it...

leighdb@296: I was replying to Blinkers' assertion that the text did not draw a correlation between physical strength and One Power strength at all, which is not the case.

Doh! You accidentally reinforced the misunderstanding instead of correcting it.

Try replacing the word 'correlation' with 'analogy' and I think we can put this thing to bed. And, uh, also change the preceding 'a' to 'an', I guess. Don't want to be hassled by the grammanazis. :)
Ofer Nave
302. odigity
BTW-I wonder if Leigh's suddenly hanging out here this afternoon because she, too, is watching and wondering what's taking so milk-drinking long.
Sean Banawnie
303. Seanie
the goat is dying a slow painful death this afternoon.
304. alreadymadwithmuchawaitedpost
odigity @302
The thought had occurred to me as well.... Leigh obviously has free time now. Ergo...
Sean Banawnie
306. Seanie
Bela is fine , Rand washed away her weariness of us are SOL
Sean Banawnie
307. Seanie
are we gonna have to get to 800 again ?
308. alreadymadwhenpart3wentup
Part 3 is up
309. Freelancer

No, Richard O'Brien, being the Creator(Dark One?) in this case, as well as a character, would more closely fit Shaidar Haran. BTW, shook his hand in 1979 in Hollyweird. Freaky dude, even as he aged.
Ofer Nave
310. odigity
Freelancer@309: No, Richard O'Brien, being the Creator(Dark One?) in this case, as well as a character, would more closely fit Shaidar Haran. BTW, shook his hand in 1979 in Hollyweird. Freaky dude, even as he aged.

I have a signed photo framed and sitting on my dresser, which I won at a Rocky convention in 2000. Good times.
sandi vogel
311. sinfulcashew
My gd came out of nowhere with "subwoofer"
No explanation.
My online life is totally unknown and uncared about by anyone else around here. Not a bad thing.

"Oew, Rawky!"
One of my favorite movies and I love Tim.

One character that noone has picked a person to star for is Balwer, the secretary.
Whom shall it be?
Ofer Nave
312. odigity
sinfulcashew@311: One character that noone has picked a person to star for is Balwer, the secretary.
Whom shall it be?

I propose Kip from Futurama:
Hugh Arai
313. HArai
odigity@301: Yes, the use of "correlation" is what threw me off of what Leigh apparently meant. Sorry for my confusion, Leigh.

Leigh@296: If you're still reading this thread, how would you have made male and female channeling
different? Did you think of anything when this first started to bug you? It would be neat to hear what people come up with. I love it when people come up with neat power systems but I'm lousy at it myself.
314. Blinkers
"Try replacing the word 'correlation' with 'analogy' and I think we can put this thing to bed."

Thank you. I agree that analogy would be more appropriate for what Leigh is trying to explain. Especially since the quote she felt she needed to post in response to my post still didn't prove at all what she was trying to state. In fact it just reinforced my argument.
315. Roywa
I disagree with you about the strength question. I think it fits perfectly. Men are stronger in the more destructive forces, and use them freely. Women stronger in the constructive forces and ways to counter men. Both are spiritually equal. I think Jordan thought this out well, and showed equal respect to both sexes.
316. tamyrlink
not sure if this was mentioned anywhere up above but im pretty sure the BBoBA (the guide) say that just as men are physically stronger than women so ran their strength in the One Power in about the same proportions. it also says that it takes into account that some women
(over-all a small percentage) are stronger than some men (like body builders i guess or like really skinny men and some...sturdy...women) and that too translates over into the power (re: lanfear).

i dont think the guiding/seizing of saidin/saidar has anything to do with it, neither does testosterone or estrogen.
317. lokiian
I think the comment on men being stronger is a comment toward balance. In the channeling for the most part men tend to be the sledgehammer, where women tend to be the scalpel. Both are powerful in their own right but the hammer is stronger and the scalpel is more precise.
318. TiredALil
I totally dig that you throw a "Coming to America" reference in here "I was Joan of Arc in my former life" (holds a lighter to her palm) which endears me to you and then you start up with your whole sexism comments which finally, and as others have commented far more articulately than I, makes me think that YOU Leigh have a problem and that YOU are sexist. And as per some of your comments, you are fully aware of your hypocrisy and your sexism.

I think what makes me more angry is how much I want to like you and how adept you are at stopping me from doing so. Like I said in an earlier comment, you're like meeting someone totally awesome in every aspect who happens to be a vegan. And while being a vegan isn't a deal breaker, it is when said vegan hoists their beliefs on you whenever possible and uses any excuse to tell you how much better they are than you because you eat meat and they don't. I feel like you're the vegan judging me for eating a delicious bloody rare burger and you'd be so awesome if you didn't pull your crap on me whenever I went to take a mouth watering bite.
Joshua Zelenka
319. jzelenka
So - considering the weave inversion used by Asmodean, has anyone considered that he may have been the one strapping Rand across the shoulders instead of Egwene, assuming Rand would think it was either her or Moraine?
320. yasiru89
On strength in the Power, perhaps it's about stamina, which in general correlates positively with physical strength and in turn perhaps handling more Power requires that. The Linking thing is meant to (more than) balance though, since a woman who can channel need only find another dozen of her 'sisters' to string up any man by the ankles. Not to mention the existence of angreal and the like, along with the obvious case of people like Lanfear.
321. bloodandashes

Like I said in an earlier comment, you're like meeting someone totally awesome in every aspect who happens to be a vegan. And while being a vegan isn't a deal breaker, it is when said vegan hoists their beliefs on you whenever possible and uses any excuse to tell you how much better they are than you because you eat meat and they don't.

Except that this is the fifth book Leigh is doing on this blog. If you're here reading this it's more like you are engaged to said vegan. If it bothers you that much, just Stop Reading!! You wouldn't stay in a relationship that bothered you so much, so break it off already, and let the rest of us enjoy this blog.
322. k dragon
ok on the whole men being stronger than women in the power thing, lets see what the reverse would actually look like. If men in general were weaker in power than women, then men would be able to link with each other up to 13, and women would not be able to link with each other at all, unless a man was involved. So with this in mind, can you imagine how much worse the breaking would have been? and the fact that women, not being able to link would have a much harder time gentling men who can channel, therefore, alougth weaker directly in the power, by working together women are much more powerful.
Terry McNamee
323. macster
I think kdragon hit the nail on the head as to why Jordan didn't write this the way you wish he had, Leigh. It's one of those interesting Catch-22's...the plot Jordan came up with, to make all the channeling men go mad and die out so that women came to power, had to stay in order to create a female-dominated society that he could use to explore gender inequality and turn sexist ideas on their heads. In order to keep that plot, he had to allow for men to be stronger but unable to link, to explain how the whole world wasn't destroyed and women could capture and gentle men. If he'd reversed that as you wanted him to, the only way to keep the world existing and (in this scenario) the men able to still the maddened women would result in the men ruling the world after the Breaking--the exact opposite of what Jordan wanted and needed for his story. Not to mention that it would have resulted in the hero being a woman (yay!) who was going mad and constantly manipulated, beaten, hated, captured (not so yay)...

Anyway, setting aside what happens when you turn the genders on their head for comparison's sake, I agree that the two halves of the Power, even if they seem unfairly linked to sexist notions of gender, are in fact equal yet different, so there's really nothing to get up in arms about...though apparently the saidin/saidar dichotomy and how men and women control the Power remains that to you, despite the fact that, as I've stated elsewhere, Rand having to learn to surrender rather than fight, and be strong rather than hard, is actually undercutting how the Power is channeled and showing again how the two genders and their ways of thinking need to work together. So if there is an imbalance, it's there precisely so it can be pointed out and overturned, not just to be unfair and sexist.

On another point: I really must be the only one to have noticed this (other than the people who run the WOT Encyclopedia): Asmodean admitting to having been in Arad Doman here in Chapter 3, and knowing Graendal was there, is a big neon sign that he had once been allied with her as there's no other way he could have known where she was. When I first read this I was like "How could Asmo, of all people, know where the sneaky, manipulative Graendal was when nobody else did?" Answer: because she let him know, because he was weak and needed somebody powerful to ally with, while she would appreciate the resource he'd be if they linked. Which is what makes it so obvious later that she'd be the one to kill him...he was the only one who knew where she was (until Sammael), so once she found out he 'betrayed' the Dark One, she'd take him out as soon as she found out where he was/ran into him by surprise, so that he wouldn't tell anyone about her and she wouldn't look like a traitor too for having been allied with him. I can see why Jordan was so confused why people didn't get it for so long. It wasn't as obvious as thinking about Lanfear right before he died, but it was right there, quite plain, in the text, and Sammael thinking that he didn't think Graendal let any other Forsaken know where she was when we knew otherwise was a big clue-bat. Especially with her claiming Asmo was dead, and at the same time leaving the possibility he was still out there somewhere to frighten Sammael.

And one other interesting thing to note in support of this: who all does Asmo tell Rand about among the Forsaken, as far as locations go? Graendal herself, Sammael, Rahvin (though only that he had a queen as a pet), and Moghedien "somewhere in the west"--all people Graendal was meeting with. Who did he not know the locations of? Mesaana, Semirhage, and Demandred, the same ones Graendal hadn't located. Which suggests that Asmo got all his information from Graendal, again underscoring them having been allies.
324. Yosarian
I think that there are logical plot reasons for the "men tend to be stronger then women in the Power" thing. For one thing, it makes the whole "breaking of the world" thing make a lot more sense. It also makes the idea that every male channaler will eventually go insane and try to kill everyone a lot scarier.
William McDaniel
325. willmcd
Macster @ 323, great thoughts on Asmodean and his presumptive prior alliance with Graendal. I've enjoyed reading your thoughts on several threads (as a fellow years-late poster to this forum).

Rand notes that the Aiel material "algode" (which is softer than wool) is used for making the Wise Ones' blouses. This struck me as another instance of RJ being cute with the exotic Aiel staples; someone else already pointed out oosquai=whiskey, and zemai=maize (corn). The Spanish word for "cotton" is "algodón", so I'd venture there's the secret identity of algode.

What's the deal with Adelin? In TSR and TFoH she's clearly the primary "speaking part" among the Maidens who guard Rand, and then she's never seen again after this book. Can't find any record of her dying on encyclopaedia WOT.

One final question and then I'll shut up: We know that the clan chief of the Tomanelle is Han, but which clan is Chewbacca in?
326. Sourabh
I had a comment about the males being stronger thing but I would more likely put it that the male-side of the power is stronger as opposed to males being stronger since male half represents chaos essentially (fight to control it) and female half represents order (give in to it for it take care of you) and it makes sense that chaos will always be stronger.

So chaos and order in equal quantities but chaos will always win.

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