Jun 15 2009 4:06pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Fires of Heaven, Part 9

Hola, amigos! It is time for you to siesta from your productive-type workings, for I have another Wheel of Time Re-read post for you! Yay!

Today we will be covering Chapters 19-21 of The Fires of Heaven, which means this section of the recap series is now officially old enough to drink. So thank God for that.

Previous entries are here, and as always this and all other entries are rife with spoilers for all currently published novels in the Wheel of Time series. If you haven’t read, don’t read.

By the way, I don’t know if I am allowed to participate in comment surveys, but since you can’t stop me if I do (ha ha, neener neener), I would like to state for the record that I would so be a Green. Battle Ajah, waw!

Chapter 19: Memories

What Happens
Morgase is in her room reading, though she can’t remember why she decided to stay there all morning, when a young guard interrupts her. After a moment she remembers his name, Guardsman Lieutenant Martyn Tallanvor. He tells her he is surprised she is in her rooms, considering the news; she asks what news, and then gets distracted thinking about how all she seems to do is gossip with Alteima these days, while Gaebril watches. She finally remembers Tallanvor, and asks again about his news. He stares at her with angry eyes, and she blushes at first at the extremely revealing dress she is wearing, but then thinks that Gaebril likes it, and stops worrying. Tallanvor tells her the news is rebellion; someone has raised the banner of Manetheren in the Two Rivers.

Morgase drummed her fingers on the book, her thoughts coming more clearly than it seemed they had in a very long time. Something about the Two Rivers, some spark she could not quite fan to life, tugged at her.

She thinks that the region is hardly part of Andor at all, but rebellions had a way of spreading, and should be nipped in the bud for that reason. She asks if Gaebril has been informed, and Tallanvor says he has, and that he laughed and replied that it was a minor annoyance that would have to wait its turn. She jumps up and sweeps out (Tallanvor smiles grimly), and goes to find Gaebril in a courtyard, where she is shocked to see that she recognizes less than half of the courtiers attending him, and those she does recognize (including Elenia Sarand, Naean Arawn, and Arymilla Marne) are her worst enemies among the nobility. She tells Gaebril she wants to speak with him in private about the Two Rivers, and he tells her it’s dealt with and she should return to her room. She tells him coldly that she thinks not; he will come with her now.

Suddenly he was on his feet, a big man, towering over her. She seemed unable to look at anything but his dark eyes; her skin tingled as if an icy wind were blowing through the courtyard. “You will go and wait for me, Morgase.” His voice was a distant roar filling her ears. “I have dealt with all that needs dealing with. I will come to you this evening. You will go now. You will go.”

She had one hand lifted to open the door of her sitting room before she realized where she was. And what had happened. He had told her to go, and she had gone. Staring at the door in horror, she could see the smirks on the men's faces, open laughter on some of the women's. What has happened to me? How could I become so besotted with any man? She still felt the urge to enter, and wait for him.

She forces herself to turn and walk away. Reflecting on what she had seen in the courtyard, she can only conclude that Gaebril is plotting against her. At first she thinks she is wandering aimlessly, but soon realizes she is in the Pensioner’s Quarters, heading for her old nurse Lini’s room. She goes in and sees that Lini is not there, and examines the ivory miniatures of the three generations of Trakand women Lini had been nurse to. Lini enters, and after establishing that she will always treat Morgase the same as she did as a child, Lini asks what brings her here, saying she hasn’t been to see her in some time. Morgase doesn’t know what she means, saying that she comes to visit every week, and Lini looks at her and says she has not seen Morgase since the spring. Morgase is confused, and says that Lini cannot help anyway, and Lini answers that her problem is Gaebril. Morgase is amazed that she knows, and Lini gently tells her that everyone knows, but no one is brave enough to say it to Morgase’s face. Incensed, Morgase says it was everyone’s duty to let her know, and now it may be too late to change it.

“Too late?” Lini said incredulously. “Why should it be too late? You bundle Gaebril out of the Palace, out of Andor, and Alteima and the others with him, and it is done with. Too late, indeed.”

For a moment Morgase could not speak. “Alteima,” she said finally, “and . . . the others?”

Lini tells her about Alteima and the six others Gaebril keeps in the Palace, except for the one he bundles in and out. Morgase sits down heavily, and thinks about Gaebril watching her and Alteima gossip together like a man watching two pet cats, and abruptly is filled with fury, far more than for when she’d thought he was trying to take her throne.

The man had ensconced his jades in her palace. He had made her just another of his trulls. She wanted his head. She wanted him flayed alive. The Light help her, she wanted his touch. I must be going mad!

She asks after her allies – Pelivar, Abelle, Arathelle, Aemlyn, Luan, Ellorien – and Lini gives her an odd look and replies that she’d had them all exiled; she’d had Ellorien flogged for demanding to know why. Morgase is staggered by this, as Ellorien had always been one of her strongest supporters and a close friend besides, though now she dimly remembers the flogging. Lini is anxiously checking her, saying that she has no fever, but needs an Aes Sedai for Healing. Morgase rejects this suggestion harshly, though she thinks that her animosity toward the Tower now strikes her as unreasonably harsh, even considering their failure to produce Elayne. She sends Lini to find Lieutenant Tallanvor, and fights her urge to go back to her room like Gaebril had ordered while she waits.

The urge was that strong, especially now that she was alone. And once he looked at her, once he touched her, she had no doubt that she would forgive him everything. Forget everything, maybe, based on how fuzzy and incomplete her memories were. Had she not known better, she could have thought that he had used the One Power on her in some way, but no man who could channel survived to his age.

She reflects that her choices in men had never been good: Taringail Damodred was a political marriage, and he had been cold and distant; Thom had been wonderful at first, and she might have married him, but he disappeared without a word, she still did not know why, and then when he returned he had said unforgivable things to her. Gareth Bryne, who had turned out to be a treasonous fool; and finally Gaebril, the worst of all.

Not so many men for one woman's life, but in another way, too many. Another thing that Lini sometimes said was that men were only good for three things, though very good for those. She had been on the throne before Lini had thought her old enough to tell what the three things were. Perhaps if I'd kept just to the dancing, she thought wryly, I'd not have so much trouble with them.

Lini returns with Tallanvor, who goes to one knee and says he sees that her meeting with Gaebril did not go well. Morgase replies that he is a “sharp lad”, and she believes loyal too; he snaps that he is not a boy, but a man who has sworn service to his queen. She flares back that she is still his Queen, “young Tallanvor”, and he apologizes respectfully, though his eyes are still defiant, and she thinks he is as stubborn as Bryne was. She asks how many men in Palace are still loyal to her, and Tallanvor tells her that other than himself, there are none left in the Palace who are not Gaebril’s men, and they have sworn to the throne of Andor, not Morgase herself. She hadn’t really expected otherwise, and tells Tallanvor she must leave the Palace, to try and rally support elsewhere. He suggests that she find a way out of the Palace and meet him an an inn called The Queen’s Blessing, whose innkeeper is as loyal as himself. She agrees to the plan, and he suddenly asks in an anguished voice why she waited so long. She doesn’t know, but tells him only that that is not for him to question, and he bows and leaves. Lini wants to know why she kept calling him “young”, and Morgase says because he is, almost young enough to be her son.

Lini snorted, and this time there was nothing delicate about it. “He has a few years on Galad, and Galad is too old to be yours. You were playing with dolls when Tallanvor was born, and thinking babes came the same way as dolls.”

Morgase sighs, and moves on, asking Lini if she thinks he is truly loyal, as it seems a little convenient that he is the only Queen’s man left in the Palace. Lini tells her that Tallanvor swore the new oath, but that afterward Lini saw him behind the stables in tears, swearing the old oath over and over, and slicing his arm with his blade in the old way.

“I know a thing or two of men, girl. That one will follow you against an army with nothing but his bare hands.”

That was good to know. If she could not trust him, she would have to doubt Lini next. No, never Lini. He had sworn in the old way? That was something for stories, now.

Lini insists on coming along, and they disguise Morgase in a rough woolen dress and put soot on her face and hair. They sneak out of the Palace through a side gate and make their way to the inn, where they meet Tallanvor in the stable. He has Basel Gill with him, as well as Gill’s bouncer Langwin and his woman Breane, whom Morgase pegs as a Cairhienin refugee, probably nobility. All of them kneel to her a little uncertainly. Morgase thanks them for their loyalty, but suggests that Breane remain behind, to which Breane replies sharply that Langwin is loyal to Morgase, but she is loyal to Langwin, and she goes where he does.

A fine seed for the army to retake her throne: One young soldier who scowled at her as often as not, a balding innkeeper who looked as if he had not been on a horse in twenty years, a street tough who appeared more than half-asleep, and a refugee Cairhienin noblewoman who had made it clear that her loyalties went only as far as the tough. And Lini, of course. Lini, who treated her as though she were still in the nursery. Oh, yes, a very fine seed.

Gill asks where they are going, and before Morgase can answer Tallanvor says they need Gareth Bryne. Morgase doesn’t like this much, as she still thinks of Bryne as a traitor, but agrees that he would be a powerful incentive for other Houses to pledge their loyalty to her again. They head out for Kore Springs.

Padan Fain creeps through the Tower’s halls, seeking the dagger. He comes to a locked storeroom and picks the lock, giggling to himself about the folly of a building full of Aes Sedai who use ordinary locks to guard treasures. He goes inside and quickly finds the lead box holding the dagger.

He sighed as soon as he touched it, stretched languorously. He was whole again, one with what had bound him so long ago, one with what in a very real way had given him life.

He hears the door creak and darts back, slashing the young Accepted at the door with the dagger and pulling her inside, where she dies swiftly, writhing and clawing as her face turns black. He giggles again, and a voice behind him calls him a fool. He whirls, slashing with the dagger, but flows of Air bind him fast in midair, and Alviarin shuts the door and asks if he really thought no ward would be set on this room; if the stupid girl had done her job right there would be a dozen sisters and Warders in here by now. Fain notes her total lack of concern about the dying Accepted, and says that she is Black Ajah. She answers that that is a dangerous accusation, and no one believed Siuan when she claimed its existence during her interrogation. She tells him that the dagger’s jewels are not worth what it will do to him, and he ignores this and instead offers to kill Elaida for her, so that she would be first and not second anymore. She laughs and tells him second suits her quite well; she knows where the power lies. She demands answers, and reluctantly he tells her that he has seen Thakan’dar, and gone down into the heart of Shayol Ghul itself. She is silent a moment, then asks if one of the Chosen sent him. He laughs and asks if the Chosen confide everything to her, that she should know what he is about.

Something inside seemed to shout that this was not the way, but he hated Aes Sedai, and that something inside him did, too. “Be careful, pretty little Aes Sedai, or they'll be giving you to a Myrddraal for its sport.”

She glares at him, and answers that they will see which of them stands higher with the Chosen, and backs out of the room, only letting him out of his bonds after she is gone. Fain berates himself for messing up the excellent place he’d had here, and decides to leave town before Alviarin gets around to telling the Forsaken about him.

Ugh, what a miserable chapter. Not so much for itself, but for who it features: Fain, whom as we all know is so not my favorite, and Morgase, who just makes me sad, and annoyed, and then angry at myself for being annoyed. Because really, this poor woman can simply not be held responsible for practically anything she’s done for the past... uh, however long it’s been since Rahvin set up camp IN HER BRAIN. Eurgh, fo’ sho’.

I think the most frustrating thing about reading about Morgase is how neither she nor anyone around her could possibly be in a position to deduce or discover that all her horrible screw-ups of the past months were not her fault. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad no one did say “Hey, it’s like someone’s been controlling your mind!”, because that would have been pat to the point of absurdity; even Morgase’s fleeting and dismissed thought about Gaebril using the One Power on her veered dangerously close to being far too on point. From a narrative logic perspective it had to be that way, but damn is it annoying.

This is just one of my own particular Things in reading fiction: I tend to get intensely annoyed and fractious when a character is falsely accused of something, or when their actions are wildly misinterpreted, or even when they fail to get proper credit for something they did do.

I know, you’re like, and you volunteered to recap which series, again? Apparently I am a glutton for punishment?

I do like, though, that Perrin manages to exert a life-changing influence on a queen without being anywhere near her or even being mentioned by name. Go ta’veren in absentia!

Chapter 20: Jangai Pass

What Happens
Rand rides into Jangai Pass with the wagons, trying to ignore Moiraine, who is talking to him about Cairhienin customs. She’s been lecturing him from dawn till dusk on court behavior and politics and the like, and Rand thinks it’s like she’s trying to cram a lifetime’s worth of noble education into him before they cross the Dragonwall. She had startled him with the news that Elaida was now Amyrlin Seat, and that he should trust no Aes Sedai other than herself, Elayne, Egwene, and Nynaeve. He’s looking at Taien, a town in the mouth of the pass, and sees that birds seem to be circling it.

“Are you listening to me?” Moiraine said suddenly, reining her white mare closer. “You must —!” She took a deep breath. “Please, Rand. There is so much that I must tell you, so much that you need to know.”

The hint of pleading in her tone made him glance at her. He could remember when he had been overawed by her presence. Now she seemed quite small, for all her regal manner. A fool thing, that he should feel protective of her.

He tells her gently that they have plenty of time, and not to worry; he means to keep her close from now on. She sighs and agrees, and Rand sets off toward Taien, the others following, including Natael, who is not pleased to be carrying Rand’s banner, which depicts the ancient black and white Aes Sedai symbol of old, on a field of red. Rand thinks that the Rhuidean prophecy said he would conquer under this sign, and hopes that it will be less frightening to people than the Dragon banner. He sees that the walls of the town are decorated with bloated and rotting bodies, and the town inside is a fire-gutted ruin. He thinks it is “like Mar Ruois”, and tries to shake the memory away, knowing it is not his; if he must die at Shayol Ghul, he is determined to die as himself. Lan tells him there is someone watching them from the rocks, and Rand is glad he left the Aiel back at the mouth of the pass, as survivors would be even more terrified to see more Aiel. Soon two men and a woman emerge, in filthy rags, and approach hesitantly; one of the men picks out Rand as the leader, calling him “my Lord” and tells him it is another Aiel War, they were attacked in the night by the savages before anyone knew.

“In the night?” Mat said sharply. Hat pulled low, he was still studying the ruined town. “Were your sentries asleep? You did have sentries this close to your enemies? Even Aiel would have a hard time coming at you if you kept a good watch.” Lan gave him an appraising look.

The man answers no, as they have not seen an Aiel in years. He introduces himself as Tel Nethin, and his sister Aril tells Rand that they also stole people, called them guy-shan or something and stripped them naked and hauled them off, including her two children. Tel suddenly notices Rand’s belt buckle, and gasps, saying that the leader of the Aiel who attacked them had markings like that on his arms; Rand makes sure his own forearms are covered, and asks how long ago the attackers left. Tel says six days. He tells Rand there are maybe a hundred survivors, and Rand angrily asks why they haven’t taken down their dead; Tel is frightened, and answers that the leader told them not to touch anything, that the bodies were a message for someone behind him, to tell him what he was going to do on the other side of the Spine. Suddenly Tel and the other two scream and run, and then collapse to the ground sobbing as Aiel appear from everywhere and surround them. Rand sees that Rhuarc is approaching with Dhearic, which means the Reyn Aiel have joined him. The Miagoma are still to the north, and the other three undecided clans - the Codarra, the Shiande, and the Daryne – are to the east. He asks Rhuarc if that was strictly necessary, and Rhuarc shrugs and says they are only treekillers. Rand takes a breath and tells him that the survivors broke no oaths, and orders him to find the others and be gentle with them. He asks what they thought about what Tel told him about Couladin, and Rhuarc and Dhearic are both appalled about Couladin’s taking wetlanders as gai’shain, because it means that Couladin has abandoned ji’e’toh. Mat wants to know why this surprises them, all things considered, and they give him flat stares. Some of the Maidens join them, and Rand decides they will camp where they are and send scouts ahead to make sure Couladin hasn’t left any surprises for them in the pass. He suggests Water Seekers, and avoids the Maidens’ stares in his direction. He tells Rhuarc to see the survivors are treated well, and to bury the dead.

Two random notes first: ooh, shiny new icon! And, “Jangai Pass” is a thoroughly awesome place name. Jordan in general is really good at naming things. And people, too. Considering the sheer volume of places and people he had to come with names for, that’s even more impressive than it might otherwise be.

I remember I was intensely interested to see what would happen when Rand returned from the Waste, mostly because he is a very different person from when he went in, and I wanted to see how non-Aiel people would react to him. In that regard Jordan gave me all I wanted and more. More on this in the next few chapters.

Moiraine: I suppose it’s possible that her growing desperation to pack Rand’s head with everything she can before she (as she believes) snuffs it can be viewed as merely a logical and cold desire to prepare Rand as much as possible for leadership, and certainly that is a large part of it, but I prefer to also read into her actions a genuine concern for him as well. Whether that is the case or not, I prefer it because it makes me like her that much more.

I find it interesting that she tells Rand to only trust herself and the Supergirls among Aes Sedai. First, because it tacitly acknowledges the Girls as Aes Sedai, which is a little surprising, and second because really, no other Aes Sedai? I believe she thinks Siuan is dead at this point, so there’s that, but I mean, not even, say, Myrelle, who she trusts enough to hand off Lan to?

Also, although it’s pretty much already happened, a point is made here of acknowledging the sea change in Rand’s view of himself as related to Aes Sedai: as them being adjuncts to him, instead of the other way around. Whether Moiraine’s decision to submit to him was intended to have that effect is a topic of interest. Discuss!


Chapter 21: The Gift of a Blade

What Happens
The camp goes up quickly, and Rand notes that the Wise Ones have managed to position their camp between his and the clan chiefs’ tents. He is a little surprised to see Melaine there, as she had married Bael and Dorindha only three days before. Egwene and Aviendha have come up, and Rand wishes he could keep them from seeing the carnage at the town, but Aviendha is expressionless, and Egwene’s face only shows pity. She comes over to him and says she is so sorry, but this is not his fault; he answers that he knows, and she nods and heads off, talking to Aviendha before they are out of earshot about his habit of feeling guilty over things he cannot control.

“Men always believe they are in control of everything around them,” Aviendha replied. “When they find out they are not, they think they have failed, instead of learning a simple truth women already know.”

Egwene giggled. “That is the simple truth. Once I saw those poor people, I thought we would find him heaving somewhere.”

Rand frowns, and thinks he only takes responsibility for things he can do something about, or should have done something about. He sees Mat squatting nearby, staring at the town and muttering to himself, and wonders where that remark about sentries had come from. He notes that Mat had been saying odd things like that ever since Rhuidean, and wishes that he was willing to talk about what had happened there, but Mat still denies that anything occurred. He wonders if Mat knows that the Maidens are laying bets on whether Melindhra will give up the spear for him, or if she will teach him to sing, though they still refuse to explain to Rand what that means. He goes to find Asmodean, who asks him why he has to be the one to carry Rand’s banner.

“You carry it because you were chosen, Master Jasin Natael.” Asmodean gave a start and looked around, though everyone else was too far away, and too busy, to be listening. None but they two would have understood, anyway.

He tells Natael he is too tired for their “discussions” tonight, and to sleep in his own tent. He as turns to go, Natael asks if he begins to trust him, now, if he is not weaving wards around Natael’s tent, and Rand tells him he trusts him like a brother, until the day he betrays him. He adds that that is him talking, Rand al’Thor, and marches off, berating himself for giving Natael more clues that a dead man was in his head. He channels and sets wards around the camp, to give warning should Shadowspawn approach. He thinks that he could have made it so that they would die upon touching the wards, but that the ward would then be like a beacon to any male Forsaken searching for him. He comes to his tent, and Aviendha shows him the carcass of a bloodsnake she had found and killed with her belt knife. He asks if she ever thought of using the Power, instead of getting close enough that she could have been bitten, and she replies stiffly that the Wise Ones say you should not use the Power too much. He shakes his head and ducks into his tent, and she follows him. She observes flatly that he was worried for her, and he lies that of course he wasn’t; she says good, and tosses a bundle at his feet, saying that since he would not take the belt buckle as canceling debt, perhaps he will take this, ignoring his protest that there is no debt. Sighing, he unwraps the bundle and gasps; it is a sword encrusted with so many jewels it would be impossible to use. He says this must have cost a fortune, but Aviendha said it cost little.

“It was the treekiller's sword. Laman's. It was taken from his body as proof that he was dead, because his head could not be brought back so far. Since then it has passed from hand to hand, young men or fool Maidens who wanted to own the proof of his death. Only, each began to think of what it was, and soon sold it to another fool. The price has come down very far since it first was sold. No Aiel would lay hand to it even to remove the stones.”

Rand tactfully says it is beautiful, though he thinks it is gaudy beyond belief, but then looks at the blade and realizes it is a heron-mark blade, and is positive it is Power-wrought like his old sword. He slices a cushion with it, and tells her he will take the blade to cancel his debt, but she must keep the jeweled scabbard and hilt. She glares instead of looking grateful. Later, he lies in his blankets and tries not to hear the sounds of her undressing; to distract himself, he asks if Bael really had no idea about the marriage before Melaine laid the wreath before him. Aviendha replies of course he didn’t, and laughs that Melaine went crazy trying to find segade blossoms this close to the Dragonwall. Rand remembers that those were the kind of flowers he had sent Aviendha, and asks if they have any special significance. She answers that they mean she has a prickly nature, and means to keep it, but he does not need to know all the different flower meanings, as he will not have an Aiel wife; he belongs to Elayne.

There had been more of a muffled sound to her voice at the end. Pulling her blouse over her head, he realized. He wished the lamps were out. No, that would have made it worse. But then, he had been through this every single night since Rhuidean, and every single night it was worse. He had to put an end to it.

He asks about the part at the end of the wedding, where all Melaine’s relatives had surrounded her, and Bael and his relatives had had to fight through them to get to her, and Melaine herself had fought “like a cornered ridgecat” before Bael managed to carry her off. Aviendha says she had to show him her worth, and that she was no trinket for him to put in his pocket. He asks what “teaching a man to sing” means, and she laughs and asks if he is thinking of Mat. She explains that sometimes a foolish man wants a Maiden who will not give up the spear for him, so he arranges to be taken gai’shain by her, but then the Maiden makes him sing songs to entertain the Maidens at meals. He thinks that Aiel are very strange, and asks again who gave Aviendha her necklace.

“A friend, Rand al'Thor. We came far today, and you will start us early tomorrow. Sleep well and wake, Rand al'Thor.” Only an Aiel would wish you a good night by hoping you did not die in your sleep.

He wonders why he cares about the necklace so much, and falls asleep and dreams that Min and Elayne are helping him throw Aviendha over his shoulder while she beats him over the head with a wreath of segade blossoms.

Sexual tension, ho! And only ten more chapters till it’s relieved, ha. Poor Rand. And he can’t even be alone in his tent to, er, practice his mantra. No pressure there!

Regarding Egwene and Aviendha’s commentary about men vs. women accepting what they can’t control: as usual Jordan is highlighting the whole battle of the sexes thing here, and how silly it is to assign broad character traits by gender. If you remove the “men vs. women” aspect from it, though, it is a pretty accurate comparison between Type A and non-Type A personalities.

I say “non-Type A” because I don’t generally subscribe to the school of thought that believes you can neatly categorize people’s personalities – people are far too complex to be contained in a pie chart – while at the same time acknowledging that there is definitely a loosely recognizable and probably culturally mandated “type” of personality out there which all of us can recognize.

Most people think of it as the impatient, driven, control freak stress junkies, the kind of people who end up millionaires by 25 and dead of heart failure by 50 (or alternately end up as contestants on The Apprentice), but while that is often part of it, Type As (in my mind) are more like Rand as he is portrayed in WOT: the people who take everything upon themselves, not because they don’t think others can handle it, but because they think delegating to/relying upon others represents laziness or failure on their own part. In the same way, they berate themselves for anything they cannot handle or achieve on their own, because in their minds, anything less than perfection also represents failure, and makes them bad people. Which is ridiculous, of course, but there you go.

And of course, the relevant point is that this kind of personality is decidedly not gender-differentiated; it is found among both men and women. I know, because I happen to be one. Which is why I have a certain sympathy with Rand’s ability to simultaneously recognize when he’s being an idiot for flagellating himself about not being able to do something, and yet be unable to stop himself from doing so.

(It’s just too bad the whole “millionaire at 25” part didn’t come along with that, eh? Although, if lack of that also means the “dead of heart failure at 50” part won’t occur either, well, I’ll take it.)

Anyway. Other than that I don’t have much else to say about this chapter, except to observe that I kind of perversely enjoy the notion of a wedding that ends in a pitched battle. Though I think for myself I would prefer that the worst injury anyone receives at my wedding be a hangover.

That’s all, folks! Have a merry Monday, if such a thing be even physically possible, and I will see you anon with more commentarying! We out!

1. David-2
We have listed our favorite characters, and we have listed our most hated characters. Now, how about listing those characters who could have been written out of the series entirely without anyone noticing or caring.

Here's my list:


That's it. Thank you.
Marcus W
2. toryx

You're absolutely welcome to answer the little polls. I'm sure everyone wants to know as much of your opinion on these things as any other's.

What happened to Morgase is one of the worst things that has ever happened to anyone, imo. It's just wrong beyond belief, and Rahvin deserves having his skin peeled off before being balefired.

So I feel much the sympathy. I only wish I actually liked Morgase so that my sympathy here wouldn't turn to disgust in the later chapters.
3. David-2
"Sleep well, and wake".

I like that. The Aiel really make sense, sometimes.
James Jones
4. jamesedjones
Thank God we're back to Rand! Going through Morgase to get there was worth it.
Fake Name
5. ThePendragon
I like how leigh discourages us from working. :p
Andrew Lovsness
6. drewlovs
Morgase version 1.01. Yuck. I can't help it...her decision to go to a land where Aei Sedai are reported to be killed on sight, irregardless of her mindset to go to the true king of the area, is just...stupid. Really.

From this point on, I don't find any redeeming value in Morgase; perhaps smeone can tell me why I am wrong. I really liked her character as queen, don't get me wrong. But once she leaves her throne behind, she seems to have left her reason with it.

The Rand parts of this book are the ones that solidified my love of these books. So many other authors tried (and failed, in my opinion) to "raise" a character from young person to badass super-hero. I'm thinking of Eddings here: Garion was a great character when he was young, but the grown up version just didn't have the same appeal.

Rand is completely different, and Matt even more so. Knowing what is to come, I kinda wish we could skip the other story lines... hehe.
Dan Sparks
7. RedHanded
Egwene giggled. “That is the simple truth. Once I saw those poor people, I thought we would find him heaving somewhere.”

Really Egwene? Giggling about a massacred town? wow. just wow.
Kurt Lorey
8. Shimrod
Green, eh? I figured you for a Red (especially after your wedding comment).

Another fact-less theory shredded in the light of information, I guess. ;)
j p
9. sps49
The AS to trust issue should be obvious by now- these are the only Aes Sedai Moiraine is sure won't try to control Rand and/ or assume they know what is best for him.

Poor Rand. It is not easy listening to an attractive girl undress beside you and to not do anything. Although, who else wonders what would've happened if he had made a move toward Aviendha?
10. David-2
BTW, why does Aviendha continually refuse to tell Rand who gave her the necklace? It was Egwene, right? What's the big deal?
11. OldWoman
I'm not surprised that Leigh would be a Green. There are many advantages to bonding multiple Warders after all. That is certainly the Ajah I would choose.
The wedding is not unlike many Terran primitive cultures where one has to prove worthiness in capturing a prize (bride). The more fierce the battle, the more value the bride.
Marcus W
12. toryx
drewlovs @6:

From this point on, I don't find any redeeming value in Morgase; perhaps smeone can tell me why I am wrong. I really liked her character as queen, don't get me wrong. But once she leaves her throne behind, she seems to have left her reason with it.

You're not wrong. I'm with you. The only explanation I can think of is that the Compulsion was used on her so heavily that she literally did suffer brain damage.
Sara H
13. LadyBelaine

"You're not wrong. I'm with you. The only explanation I can think of is that the Compulsion was used on her so heavily that she literally did suffer brain damage."

I dunno. There are few quotes that I will rummage about for to suggest Compulsion need notbe used with a sledge-hammer, and that if done with great delicacy, it doesn't necessarily leave the Compulsee all brain-damaged.

Here we go:

"No breath of air stirred the room's tall windows. Sweat rolled down the woman's face as she spoke, and beaded on the narrow face of the other man present...Rahvin handled the flows of Spirit he had woven around the pair delicately. There was no need to damage valuable servants...Compulsion had presented no difficulty with the woman. A scowl twisted on face. It did with some. A few - very few - had a strength of self so firm that their minds searched, even if unaware for crevices through which to slide away. It was his bad luck that he still had some need for one such (Morgase). "

And, also:

"with the haste, the woman might lose the whole day (Moghedien had ordered her to sleep), or wake a little slower of wits."

So, there is a middle ground - heavy, but skillful, Compulsion doesn't automatically make the victim a mental midget, and Rahvin took care to make sure he wasn't damaging Morgase.
Roger Powell
14. forkroot
I think Avi refuses to tell Rand about the necklace because she's at war with herself. She knows she's not supposed to fall in love with him, knows that she is anyway, and can't help but enjoy making him jealous.

Really, RJ did a great job portraying how conflicted Avienda becomes (until the sexual tension finally snaps later in the book.)

As for your earlier comment about writing characters out of the story ... Well, you could take out whole story lines (and a boatload of characters with them) but then it wouldn't be the same sprawling epic that we've grown to love and discuss! Just thank RJ for drawing the line and not introducing a Shara plot line.
Brian Kaul
15. bkaul
I find it interesting that she tells Rand to only trust herself and the Supergirls among Aes Sedai. First, because it tacitly acknowledges the Girls as Aes Sedai, which is a little surprising, and second because really, no other Aes Sedai? I believe she thinks Siuan is dead at this point, so there’s that, but I mean, not even, say, Myrelle, who she trusts enough to hand off Lan to?

Well, she trusts Myrelle to save Lan's life and hand him off to Nynaeve as she promised. But that's a far cry from trusting her to do right by the Dragon Reborn. She and Suian were pretty uncomfortable with Verin even knowing about him, and obviously there was enough public opinion among the AS opposed to Suian's approach for Elaida to have support in overthrowing her.

How could Moiraine, who's been largely separated from the Tower for most of her life as an Aes Sedai, know with confidence that there was another AS who could be relied on to disobey the new Amyrlin Seat and Tower Law, and instead follow the approach that to her knowledge, only she and Suian had favored when Suian was in power, when Suian had just been deposed for it?
16. David-2
forkroot@14 - thanks for responding! I do actually like the sprawling epic! And I wouldn't actually write out many characters. For example, Else Grinwell? No, she stays. No so much for the Tar Valon part of her story (and her sad end) but the Rand/Mat on-the-road part of her story - that was an essential part of that story arc. How about the guy whose name I forget who's always annoying Perrin by grinning at girls? No, he can stay too. In fact, I think almost everyone has a decent reason for being in the story and should keep their part.

Except Gaywn.

He's just useless.
Alice Arneson
17. Wetlandernw
Leigh, for what it's worth I almost felt like the first poll (a/s/l etc.) was incomplete without you. :) By all means do the polls!
Leigh Butler
18. leighdb
Wetlandernw @ 17:

Well, I didn't do that one because I pretty much already had in my intro post for the blog series.
Marcus W
19. toryx
LadyBelaine @13:

Well, I didn't mean to suggest that she'd been badly brain damaged. The damage would have been fairly slight so that only her reasoning is impaired.

As your quote states, Compulsion was more difficult when used with Morgase, and I suspect he had to use it more often on her than on others. I think it's possible that the extra effort on Morgase may have had a long term effect.

On the other hand, you may be right. I freely admit I'm just guessing on this one. Whatever the cause, I don't believe that Morgase is doing well with reason these days.
20. Lsana
@15. bkaul,

There's also one other factor in why Moiraine tells him not to trust the other Aes Sedai: none of the others will see him as Rand al'Thor, doing the best he can to save the world, and needing the freedom to do that. All other Aes Sedai will see him as either a threat to be feared or a tool to be used. Even the "good" Aes Sedai will try to manipulate him--with the best of intentions, but it will still turn out badly. Moiraine learned the hard way that she can't manipulate him, and the Supergirls, for all their flaws, don't seem likely to try.

So yes, Myrelle can be trusted with Lan, but not Rand. Lan (in Moiraine's mind) needs to be manipulated. Rand needs not to be.
Richard Fife
21. R.Fife
@7 Redhanded: Actually, I find it quite believable that she giggled. Finding humor even in the face of utter travesty is a stress-coping mechanism, one that pehaps Jordan was quite familiar with from his war experience. Although, even with "giggle" written, I always imagined it as more of a wary teeter.

@13 Granted that Rahvin didn't want them to be completely drooling idiots, but I think he was a little self-deluded that he was not perma-damaging his "pretties". He just needed Morgase functional enough to present a front for him, not to be a fully viable ruler. And given how long she was under more or less constant Compulsion, well, I am in the camp of perma-damage, at least now. Until this reread, I have always disliked her post Rahvin, but it finally clicked how she is really a tragic character in that her brain has most likely been perma-frazzeled by what happened to her, thus explaining her bad decisions. I won't say that I enjoy reading her sections now, but I at least see them in an entirely new light.

To trusting AS, I don't think even if Moiraine thoguht Siuan was still alive she would want Rand to trust her. They already had a bit of a schism at Fal Dara, remember, at least from that rare Mo POV where she muses about how much Siuan has changed. Even baring that, Siuan would definitely be very gung-ho controlling at this point.

Oh, and don't believe Leigh, she's really BA! (and not Plaid Ajah, like me)
Dan Sparks
22. RedHanded
@21 R. Fife

I don't know, I mean I can understand maybe a really stressful situation leading to inappropriate emotional responses, but this was more like a jab at Rand/men for being quesy over dead people lying all over. Oh I'm sorry Egwene I didn't know you were so experienced in dealing with the massacre of towns. Oh and she wasn't a shaky or uneasy laugh and no indication that she was trying to keep it together herself. Just
Sara H
23. LadyBelaine

I know, I was just throwing out more data and using your post as a jumping off point.

It seems to me that Rahvin didn't want to just slam Morgase with the the Compulsion Sledge, and tried to use it with surgical precision, but he may have needed to go back in for repeated um, surgeries.... which actually contradicts my point.


It makes me very sad, really. Morgase was supposed to be presented as this shrewd and virtuous woman and wise queen. She was good at stones, thus indicating high intelligence, and had all sorts of good ruling instincts that we learn about mostly second-hand through Elayne. Plus her habit of going incognita once a year to take the pulse of her people is just cool.

Instead, she is driven into exile, threatened with torture and raped, making poor decision after poor decision, captured, stripped naked in the snow, forced into slavery to Sevanna and servitude to Faile (and I ask you, which is worse, really?) and all the while never knowing that all of it is actually not her fault, blaming herself.

Morgase Trakand, easily the most victimized character in all of WOTdom
24. mityorkie
Re: David-2 @10 and forkroot @14

Aviendha is practicing a classic and effective way to stoke jealousy by not disclosing the necklace's giver. It may be unconscious on her part, but she gets attention from Rand by not telling him - and she enjoys that attention, so there ya go.

I'll also admit to enjoying Morgase's storyline (to a point). She goes from being queen to having only her (slowly returning) wits and a few companions, none with special powers. And yet she perseveres.
Marcus W
25. toryx
LadyBelaine @ 23:

I agree, Morgase really got the worst deal of the bunch. If nothing else, it says a lot of her that she kept going through all the horrors and humiliations that she endured.

Your comment about her being good at stones made me wonder something. Does she play at stones with others while imprisoned in Amadicia? I'd think that if she was permanently damaged, her skill with stones would reflect that. It's been a long time since I read the later books, and I can't remember for sure, but it seems like she might have played stones with Niall but I have no memory of the result.

Just curious.
26. alreadymadwithgirlsdissingmen
Bolting was most likely the best thing Morgase did. If she had never disappeared, Rand would never had attacked Rahvin and the latter would have been able to consolidate his grip on the Lion Throne. Then again, Rahvin's hold was already as secure as it could be without a legitimate female heir.

As for Rand suddenly perceiving the Aes Sedai as adjuncts to him instead of the other way around, is that really surprising? He is after all, the supreme commander of the Aes Sedai reborn. It was inevitable, and I don't think Moiraine would even have considered such a hugely feminine dominated organization as the AS submitting to him. Moiraine is in a bind here, she is the only one who can get close to Rand, so she swears oaths. But I don't think she would wish the same oath on the Aes Sedai organization as a whole.

Sigh. Wherever you go you get one of the girls putting men down. It's just freaking unavoidable. Still, Rand taking only the blade and leaving Aviendha with every other jewel was hilarious. I wonder if Avi would have been similarly affronted if he had explained that it was a Power-wrought blade and therefore extremely rare. Aviendha carries the jewels all the way to Caemlyn, if anybody is taking note.
Jason Deshaies
27. darxbane
I believe you are missing part of this scenario. She was giggling in response to Aviendha's little man bashing quip.

@23 I agree on almost all points with Morgase, however, I don't think virtuous would be the most accurate. She's kinda man-crazy, which is why people are less suspicious of Gaebril than they would have been otherwise. I will choose to ignore the Faile comment (har, har, hater :p). I can't wait to see what happens when everyone finds out who "maighden" really is.

Man, there isn't a whole lot to say about these chapters, is there?
James Jones
28. jamesedjones
23 LadyBelaine

OK. I can see that. Still doesn't change the fact that I can't stand to actually read her chapters, though. :P
Dan Sparks
29. RedHanded
I'm just saying it's still in response to a joke about Rand's response to the scene. I guess we can write it off to Aiel humor.
30. Lost in my own Mind
One little thing that has always bothered me about the jangai pass chapter is when Rand thinks that Mat has always been an indifferent rider. That just never made sense to me. Mat and his father are supposed to be superb judges of horses but he is only a mediocre rider? I don't know why this bothers me so all out of proportion but it does.
31. Latecomer
Ahh for once I am early to the party :)

Morgase - totally seems a bit out of it to me. Not to mention losing about 6 months of your life and memories would probably leave you pretty clueless - you can't possibly be making good decisions if you're feeling like that. Poor thing.

Re. Trusting the Supergirls - I aress with Dr. Fife@ 21 - All Aes Sedai have been indoctrinated with Male Chanelling = BAD. and the DR must be controlled. Wool-headed farmboys won't know anything etc. She's made the same mistake, and paid the price for it, and only just realised she was wrong and is making amends.

Also - she knows full well that these 3 SG are the only chanellers that actually care for Rand the person and he in turn for them - therefore far less chance of a massive rift between Rand's crew and Aes Sedai.

Finally: Surveys.
34 (last week)/ F/ New Zealand - Graduate in Finance. Works in IT. First read the books 5 years ago when my husband introduced them to me and have re-read them twice now. Not reading along this re-read is so awesome that I don't need to - but this was my introduction to Fantasy and boy am I hooked - I now read little else. And I get impatient with the likes of Eddings because they aren't quite as convuluted as RJ and GRRM :P. And of course now I just CANNOT mre of the normal crime thriller stuff anymore - the characters just seem like steroetyped idiots to me now. :(

Finally, after long thought, I pick the Blue Ajah - working for causes is what drives me, and one warder is plenty for me thanks ;) (yeah greens, I'm lookin at you)..
32. Latecomer
Also, I just had to say it - stupid stupid Aes Sedai arrogance obviously starts being taught really early....

"Alviarin shuts the door and asks if he really thought no ward would be set on this room; if the stupid girl had done her job right there would be a dozen sisters and Warders in here by now."
33. Latecomer
Darxbane @ 27 Aside: I like your name :)

"She's kinda man-crazy, which is why people are less suspicious of Gaebril than they would have been otherwise."

Err what? Her POV says quite clearly that she's only had 4 male relationships over all those years - and of course she is a queen and the country's welfare trumps all personal issues. Gaebril is using compulsion, not just on her but others too - THAT is why people aren't stepping up and saying anything. And obviously he's a master manipulator as well.

If it was any character trait of Morgase that would stop people, it would be her fiery temper - not her 'man-craziness' - whatever that means.
Sara H
34. LadyBelaine

Pedron Niall says they played stones a few times(1), and she beat him about half the time.

We are meant to posit that having her throne stolen launched her into a stupendous lapse in judgement - recall one of the prophecies about a woman having her chair stolen and becoming insane with wrath and fire and fiery wrath (I can't recall if it was Egwene's Dream, Min's viewing, Perrin's wolfdream or a Fortelling...) - that was meant to refer to Morgase and the Lion Throne.

1) and that is not a metaphor :)
35. David-2
I'd be BA. Here's why. Years and years of getting stomped on by AS to the constant refrain of "you have to be good enough, AS know everything worth knowing, you have to always make the right decision, you have to be totally unflappable." Then I pick Blue. I go to meet the Blue Ajah. They're just like little girls "oh you get to bake me a cake, whoo hoo!". And for your first meeting with the head of the Blue she tells you 1) rank among AS is totally by strength in power, which is stupid beyond doubt, and 2) she's gonna barf from the shame of having to tell you about it.

The hypocrisy would make me shriek, and as soon as I curtseyed and left her I'd be roaming the WT corridors looking for little Black Ajah signs.
36. kutulu
My opinion of Morgase took a major dive when she showed up with the Children. Did we ever get a good explanation why "We need Gareth Bryne" morphed into "whee, Whitecloaks!"?

Since she got out of there, though, she has since been back on the rise. Her part at the end of KoD was almost impressive. I have to give her a break on a lot of her issues because she, as far as I know, still thinks that: 1. She went goo-goo-eyed over a man and lost the throne, 2. Perrin is starting a Manatheren rebellion in 2R and she's powerless to stop it, and (most importantly) 3. Rand killed her daughter and stole Andor.

However, it practically drove me to throw my book through a wall when Perrin first runs into her party, recognizes Basel Gill even if he has no idea who Morgase is, and in like 10 words could have completely cleared up every major misconception in herlife ("Rhavin killed Morgase, so Rand killed Rhavin, now Elayne's on the throne.")

I suspect my long-term opinion of her character will depend entirely on what she does if/when she finally learns the truth, though as she is no longer Queen of anything, I'm not sure if her character arc is important enough to be fully resolved.
Richard Fife
37. R.Fife
@36 They go up to Kore Springs, find out Bryne has gone haring off after some oath breakers, she is still all "well, good riddance, he was a traitor anyway" (yeah compulsion-memories), and then thinks "Hmm, Amador is the only country that might have an army to spare to help me as all others are either Dragonsworn, in civil war, powerless monarchies, or busy with the Blight.
38. OldWoman
I don't think that indifferent necessarily = mediocre.

@27 & @29
Giggling can be a response to something that makes one uncomfortable or nervous. I have know people to respond to stress with totally inappropriate behavior.
39. kutulu
LadyBelaine @ 23:

I got the impression that Rahvin did have to beat Morgase with the Compulsion hammer on occasion, because or her otherwise strong will that kept threatening to break out. In the very last scene where we see the two of them together, that's exactly the impression I got of what happened:

* Morgase storms in and yells at "Gaebril"
* Rahvin tries a subtle Compulsion suggestion to go away.
* She refuses.
* He slams a severe Compulsion on her that leaves her near mindless for the entire time it takes to get back to her rooms.

Really, this possibility is about the only thing that kept me from writing her off as an idiot as soon as we learn where she went. Its the worst kept secret in all of Randland that the King of Amadicia has absolutely zero political or military power in his own country, other than what the Whitecloaks give him, yet Morgase runs right to Ailron. Either she knew full well that she would end up dealing with Niall, or her mind was so ruined at that point that she couldn't even think straight.
Luke M
40. lmelior
Re: latest survey (#4 now?)
The "color" Ajahs didn't exist until well after the last male Aes Sedai died. In fact, the first Amyrlin Seat was raised when there were 12 (unnamed/uncolored) Ajahs. I suppose though, men could have much the same colors.

Assuming that's the case, I'd be most interested in experimenting with channeling, making ter'angreal and such, so I suppose I'd be a Brown. Not a perfect fit, but the best one I've got. Unless...weren't the Yellows exceptionally good with making cuendillar? Maybe that wouldn't be a bad fit either. Oh well, at least in the AoL I'd have worked with Mierin Sedai. *hums*
41. Naraoia
Does Egwene giggle because she feels like it, or is she just putting on an act to tell Rand not to beat himself up? That scene always came across to me as a deliberate act on the girls' part. Not a very subtle one, either.

(BTW, in case anyone is interested in a mostly-lurker, 22, female, from Hungary, living in Scotland, WoTmaniac for about 3-4 years, and I'm *so* Brown. Your stereotypical dreamy, knowledge-thirsty Brown with the occasional ink on nose. Science-degreed in about a year, if all goes well.)
42. Drew Holton
Setting aside the question of Morgase's poor decisions, I had always wondered, looking at it from the larger perspective, what purpose the whole Morgase storyline served. She never seemed to be doing anything that was required, unlike any other major character, who each seem to have a set of tasks to perform to bring about Tarmon Gaidon (sp?). I actually asked about this at a Brandon Sanderson signing, and received an explanation (not from Brandon)that had not occurred to me: Jordan was using Morgase as an example of how the chaos of a changing Age can result in a queen becoming a commoner or vice versa. Looked at from that perspective, I could see the point to Morgase's story, where I could see none before.
Susan Brownhill
43. SusanB
@Lost: I completely agree. Matt should be an excellent rider.

@Leigh: Thanks for responding to the Ajah question. I absolutely wanted to here what ajah you would join.

Re: Morgase - If I just found out that I could barely remember the last few months. And during that time I made awful decisions, lost my throne, flogged my friends & allies, and my lover had multiple other women whom he moved into my house & I didn't protest. I think I would lose my mind from that alone. No need for brain damage. And I wouldn't trust any decisions I thought of making. I wonder why Lini went along with it (going to Amadicia) & didn't tell her she was making another foolish decision.
44. dcole78
I always thought it was just her will finally breaking through that allowed her to break the compulsion not any long distance effect of Perrin as I am pretty sure tavern doesn't work that far away. Could be wrong though.

I've always wondered why rand doesn't just go after the shadio at this point. To me that should be his first mission, make sure all the aiel who don't follow him don't exist so they can't cause problems, I mean it should be obvious to him that they are just an army waiting to be used by the dark one (which is what they end up becoming) ah well.

I would have to say I would either be a blue or a brown. I love experimenting and such but also very big on justice...
Alice Arneson
45. Wetlandernw

I'll confess to being too lazy to go look at everyone's profiles and various other info scattered throughout the comments. I know I could have collected a lot more, but... Oh well. It was fun anyway. Maybe someday when I have more time again (???) I'll go poke through posts & profiles, and then you'll have a more thorough idea of who's out here. Then again, you might not want to know... ;)
Tony Zbaraschuk
46. tonyz
Characters that could go away without anyone caring: maybe Hari Congar? Gawyn had a pretty pivotal role to play in the Tower coup, after all. But even incredibly bit-player types like Lamgwin and Breane are very well-drawn and memorable.

I like Lini, rather a lot. (I suspect that the "three uses" for men are dancing, fighting, and making love.) She's common sense personified.

Morgase is another example of the incredible destruction the Forsaken are wreaking on the Pattern. Sometimes it's widespread (Sammael's activities in Illian, for instance, and with the Aiel) and sometimes it's personal (but no less destructive for that), like Rahvin hammering Morgase. And, yeah, I think he had to drag the Roto-Rooter through her brain a few times to keep her under, besides the cumulative effects of repeated Compulsion. As we saw Morgase in tEotW, she could qualify for the picture in the dictionary beside "Strong Personality" -- heck, she stands up to Elaida, which is something not many Aes Sedai can do. Post-Rahvin, she's a wreck, and we're meant to take that, I think, as a measure of how evil Rahvin is, not as a measure of how annoying Jordan can be.

Avienda and Elayne show what happens if the main characters try to communicate: it gets messed up...

Surveys? Hmmm, 40, male, from Nebraska but living in California, and almost certainly Brown Ajah. Librarians for the win! (and I've always liked Verin).
Lannis .
47. Lannis
Not much to say about the Morgase storyline--I agree that she's the most victimized character in Randland, and it's highly likely she is suffering from some minute brain damage... something's got to explain the suddenly irrational decisions (once the Compulsion is gone) and it's plausible that the last dose of Compulsion by Rahvin, woven in rage, was a little heavy handed...

Okay folks... what're Lini's 3 things that men are good for?
1. Dancing
2. Procreating
3. Lifting heavy things? Or should we go with kissing? Thoughts? ;)

And I have to add that I love the name Martyn Tallanvor.
Alice Arneson
48. Wetlandernw
SusanB @43

You went grey! Welcome to freedom from the confirmation code nightmare. And all that. :)
James Jones
49. jamesedjones
40 Luke

Dude, what's wrong with your ear?

37 R.Fife

Great summary. And it made perfect sense for her, until we found out just how busy with the blight they were. lol
Genevieve Williams
50. welltemperedwriter
I'm catching up to the re-read on my, what, listen-along? Or something? (The audio editions are my commute listening. Thanks to my obsession with ancient Greece, I wince every time they mispronounce "kore". Argh.)

I recall liking when Morgase comes to her senses when I last read this book, but that was over a decade ago so I don't know how I'll feel about it when I come to it now. One note I wanted to add, though, is that Rahvin isn't necessarily using much if any Compulsion on the courtiers around them; it's mentioned several times that they primarily consist of Morgase's rivals and enemies, who are only too happy to see her manipulated right out of power.

Survey: almost 35, female, Washington State. I'm torn between Green and Brown (I happen to be a professional librarian AND I know kung fu), which I guess makes me Vandene.
Richard Fife
51. R.Fife
@49 I won't take credit for it, someone else (I can't recall who, feel free to pipe up) summarized it in a more detailed version in a previous thread. And even if she found out that the BLs were not busy, she might have still shunned them as the BLs are notoriously AS friendly (see 13 sisters traveling with the armies)
Frank Skornia
52. FSkornia
Great post as usual Leigh.

You brought up a point at the end of the commentary for Chapter 19 that did not occur to me until my current read through (just started LoC today) - Perrin causing Morgase to break Rahvin's Compulsion. I thought about how this actually is perhaps one of the most perfect examples of how entwined the threads of the Pattern of the Ages are. It also shows how effects on one part of the Pattern (the Two Rivers) can have a drastic effect on a single thread far away (Morgase in Caemlyn).

I think it is also the most subtle effect of the ta'veren that we've seen so far in the series. Up to this point we have been seriously bludgeoned over the head about the effects of Ta'veren: Rand's little wake of weddings and misery that followed his flight to Tear in The Dragon Reborn, Mat's luck (which I think has been amplified by his incident with the dagger, but it was an inherent part of him before), and Perrin's little talks to the farmfolk of the Two Rivers (there was a lot of the "No, we don't want to leave our farms and houses" changing abruptly to "Ok, we'll be ready to leave in an hour").

Here we have Perrin twisting the pattern in the Two Rivers, and it just happens to pull the thread of Morgase in Caemlyn - which then causes the major foul up of Rahvin's plans. It then even leads to the complete botching the Forsaken's plan to capture/kill Rand in Illian - since he abruptly changes his attack plan from Illian to Caemlyn. All because two banners were raised on a village green in the Two Rivers.
Alice Arneson
53. Wetlandernw
7, 22, 26, 29

C'mon, be fair. JUST before Egwene makes the comment about expecting to find Rand heaving, he was wishing he could protect her from seeing the carnage for much the same reason. Was he "girl-bashing"?

Personally, I don't have a problem with either one, and I don't see either as "bashing" - just part of their (mis)perceptions of one another. And both are pretty normal stress reactions - trivia pops into your thoughts and comes right out your mouth in some very wierd situations.

Morgase... I'm going to echo what someone else just said, I think. I loved her at the beginning, and then this came along and I just HATED her sections of the story. Until I got hooked into this bunch... I've started analysing a lot more of the character behavior in the last 5 months! Now it's totally obvious that her awfulness is a result of Rahvin's Compulsion. And I have to think that even after it's worn off, the knowledge of what she's done would severely undermine her self-confidence. Since she still doesn't know those decisions weren't her own, I think she would have a hard time trusting her judgement and decisions ever again. I REALLY hope we get to see her find out about Rahvin sometime soon...
54. Freelancer
So, Morgase's turn in the barrel.

R.Fife's summary of the Gareth Bryne portion is dead on. Most certainly he would never speak to her disloyally, though he most certainly would to a male usurper. Once again, nobody expected the Spanish Inquisition Forsaken. And the growing consensus that her mind has been either permanently harmed by Rahvin's Compulsion, or the events are so fuzzed in her mind that she cannot distinguish reality from the Compulsion-induced opinions forced upon her, makes total sense and completely exonerates her from blame in those actions she could not control.

I had pointed out when last this issue came up that Ailron's army was the only one she could reasonably hope to aid her, but R.Fife hit that point far neater.

Regarding her skills, both Thom and Gareth Bryne are top-tier players of the Great Game, as each acknowledges when they meet in Salidar, and each helped guide her in that regard. Also, having wed a Damodred could not have done other than impart additional Daes Dae'mar insight. As for Stones, both Niall and Thom acknowledge her an excellent player.

Calling her decision to approach Ailron a mistake is a reasonable opinion, though to me the decision is one of sheer desperation for her nation. Once the Children learn of her presence, every event from there is either fully out of her control, or else determined by necessity, with the exception of her seemingly irrational need to stay distant from Tallanvor. And here we have her own POV that pre-explains this choice, where she laments her poor results in the relationship department. I would be much less harsh on her in this regard than she is on herself, however.

- Taringail was a political decision, she accepted the sacrifice of expedience over love. The closest to a mistake that she can accept blame for.
- Thom was not a mistake, per se, but the two having such strong wills clashed at a point of poor timing for each.
- Bryne might not have been a mistake, but it never went anywhere before she was falsely made to believe him a traitor.
- Gaebril is obviously not her fault.

As to Perrin clearing everything up in a few words, two problems. First and most obvious, he doesn't know who Maighdin really is. Second, he hasn't communicated with the Eastern Light contingent recently enough to know exactly what is happening in Andor. He doesn't know that Elayne is alive, or in Caemlyn.

As to Morgase or her crew speaking up, it starts with them being taken in by a man displaying Manetheren's banner. And he's a close friend to the Dragon Reborn. She's going to tell him who she is? NOT. And once they begin with that deception, it seems safest to continue on that way, even if Gill does trust Perrin. Most certainly, once they're captured by the Shaido, there's no way she or Alliandre are going to admit their offices.

And that's where we leave Morgase to date. Until Perrin's retinue crosses paths with Galad's, where lots of crazy things will happen, most importantly Berelain will forget that Perrin exists.
Alice Arneson
55. Wetlandernw
most importantly Berelain will forget that Perrin exists.

YAAAAAYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!! I so totally can't wait for that part.
56. Freelancer

::raises hand meekly::

But you handled it in a much more concise manner, go figure!

Its the worst kept secret in all of Randland that the King of Amadicia has absolutely zero political or military power in his own country

Maybe, but he does have a significant army aside from the Whitecloaks, and it would not be in the power of the Children to tell him that they could not go offer aid to Andor.

tonyz@46 has Lini's 3 uses for men correct. Dancing, fighting, lovemaking. Kissing would be a subset of the lovemaking.
57. Robert B.
Characters that could be written out:

The endless parade of stable boys. Seriously, if he's just a stable boy and he only has one scene where he comes and leads some horses away, he DOESN'T NEED A NAME!!

Also, Gawyn. Poor there anybody who likes him?

So I'm up to early TSR in my own re-read, but I've been following this one as well. This is only my second ever read-through of the series. Two things that have stood out to me a lot more this time through:

1. I can't stand Egwene. I used to think Nynaeve was the one I hated, but nope, it's Egwene. And I can't really put my finger on the exact reason why. To any Egwene-haters out there: perhaps you can describe to me why you hate her and maybe it will help my own thoughts on the matter to crystallize. If there has already been discussion on this topic in a previous read-through post feel free to just point me there or copy-paste.

2. Moiraine is the sh*t. I think she might be becoming my favorite character. Reading the recap of these TFoH chapters, knowing that she will bite it soon....well, it's rather sad :(. Her absence leaves a huge hole in the last 6 books in the series. Jordan should've taken a page from Tolkien's treatment of Gandalf's resurrection. G-man was really only missing from LotR for half a book (the last fourth of FotR and the first fourth of TTT), which translates to about one-sixth of that series. In WoT terms that would be about 2 and a half books, which would put Moiraine back in the action sometime in Book 8. I really really really really really hope that she comes back early on in The Gathering Storm rather than 100 pages from the end in Book 15.
58. GregoryD
On the least liked character thread. Gawyn gets my vote. It's really interesting that Egwene gives up on the real hero of the story (Rand) to be with this Prince Twirp. But then again Egwene is a piece of work herself. I hope Rand ends up with Min in the end and that she doesn't get snuffed. Rand seems really worried that something will happen to her, and Jordan has a knack for setting you up beforehand.

On the Morgase thread, if you have ever been with someone who is being medicated with prescription drugs, let me give you a clue: they are often disoriented to the real word, not because their brains are fried but because the drugs have blurred their sense of reality and their touch with the real word. I would think Compulsion would do the same thing. Morgase is out of touch with reality. Being naked with the Shaido and doing some penance might bring her back to reality and she could return to her previously F'ed up self.
59. Master Al'Thor
I'm gonna make someone mad.

So for who could be written out altogether now.

How about a whole book. Like um say Crossroads of Twilight???

I found only three things of worth in the whole book. I can't even pick it up to read it a second time. I've tried and I just can do it.

That was the slowest, most dull, hard to read book I have ever purchased. I'm still spittin nails that I spent money on it.

What book do you guys like the least?

And if anyone can redeem CoT I'm listening.
60. normalphil
On Gawyn, there's an available example. When Galad called Valda out, he inner monologued that he didn't have direct confirmation that his stepmother was dead, but he'd gotten sworn testimony from a dozen and more men that Morgase had vanished right before the Seanchan arrived, and testimony from a bunch of other guys that she was not free to leave the fortress of her own will. A+B = Valda. As it turns out all that Valda had done was have her tortured until she gave verbal consent to be raped then she made a desperate escape, but it's a lot more respectable than "everybody knows he did it, let's kill the Dragon Reborn".

A lot.
61. ammbd
Morgase: somethings such as the brain/personality/memory set appear can NOT be fixed. scarred perhaps into a semblance of functionality at best & that's a big fat maybe depending upon the nature, duration & severity of the damage.

think of it as a software/hardware set thoroughly infiltrated, re-written & trashed by a particularly foul piece of malware. only unlike a pc, humans have no restore from back up feature :\

her character reminds me of Prince Roger McClintock's mother in Ringo's Empire of Man series. both were highly intelligent, strong-willed, clearly capable rulers. both were forcibly broken into warped bits by usurping betrayers. as a result, neither will ever fully trust themselves again & NO ONE else will either.

as the one was forced to abdicate by her own momentarily lucid self, i think Morgase will be so forced.

Gawyn: aw, he's way less annoying than Galad, so ahead & keep'm. at least long enough to get his Kodak moment reaction when Egwene Warder bond's him ;)

survey: almost 39, sunny AZ, Green Ajah - no way I would give up Men or fail to defend the world as needed.
62. Wes S.
I loved the Jangai Pass sequence, especially with the reminders of the past that Rand and his party encountered along the way: the huge, enigmatic stone engraving carved into one wall of the pass...and the remnants of a city from the Age of Legends clinging to an impossibly high mountaintop on the other side.

To me the Jangai Pass sequence foreshadowed what would come later, not only in the chapter, but also in the rest of the series: a warning from the past of horrors yet to come. The first time I read "Fires of Heaven," I already had an impending sense of dread just from those two things, even before they reached Taien and beheld what the Shaido had wrought.

And I agree: Morgase's "issues" might be partly an aftereffect of Rahvin's Compulsion (and refresh my memory: Did she ever discover "Gaebril's" true identity? That would be grounds for having a breakdown right there...) but regardless of her estrangement from Tar Valon, I thought one of the weakest plotlines in the book was her flight to Pedron Niall. Or is Jordan suggesting that having alienated everybody else Morgase literally had nowhere else to go?

For the survey: male, 42, college-educated, and given my love of reading I'd probably have to apply to the Brown Ajah as well should Tar Valon start letting men into the place. That's assuming I dared to go anywhere near to the place, as I'm sure a couple of my ex-girlfriends would make dandy Reds...

(Edit: "Ammbd's" comparison of Morgase to Empress Alexandra in John Ringo's "Prince Roger" series @ 62 is spot on. Wish I'd thought of it...)
63. Wes S.
Quoting again "ammbd" @62: "(A)s the one (Empress Alexandra) was forced to abdicate by her own momentarily lucid self, i think Morgase will be so forced."

Didn't Morgase relinquish the throne to Elayne a couple of books later, after the Seanchan took the Whitecloaks' headquarters and Suroth displayed her new pet "Thera" - formerly the Panarch Amathera of Tanchico - to Morgase with a not-so-subtle hint that she could be next? I seem to recall something about "the unrevocable words" and maybe a suicide attempt as well...
John Massey
64. subwoofer
Hi Leigh, life is peachy when you put up a new post. Was thinking of your ooh-ooh girls when I saw HIMYM today- except they were woo-woo girls. Good times!

For the poll, I'd be a warder. Forget that AS noise and mucking with the power. I call dibs out on that. Getting bogged down with the likes of Elaida leading me? No thanks.

For the chapters- somebody shoot them and put them out of my misery. They were grinding along nicely. Reminds me of when I was in university and if I needed to fall asleep I'd crack open a text and be out like a light. Dry.

Morgase= sack of hammers.

@60- good points all. I still don't mind Galad, except for the reaction he gets for being pretty. meh. I could see it coming a mile off that he'd be a White Cloak. I feel that the core of being a WC is not so bad, it has just been bastardized over the years and it is like most.... organizations... not bad in and of itself, just the people in control of the institutions wrecking it for everyone else.

Oh- for the other poll- Neil Patrick Harris for Mat. Gotta be- may be older, but makes a perfect dirt bag.
65. Valan
Hmmm Morgase... Compulsion damage? I think not. Everyone is forgetting something very very important. This is Elayne's mother. Decent ruler, horrible person, horrible ideas. And maybe she has a little Compulsion damage. maybe

And if your wondering why she's horrible person - I point you in Thom Merrilin's general direction.

Apparently I am still the only one that actually likes Gawyn. He his a great example of how misinformation can really screw up your decisions, but still is an all-around cool dude. :)

I do like Galad better now though. This re-read has shown a different light on his character that I never really saw before.

And for the poll: I would be whatever Ajah/Aes Sedai group that Asmo was in before the War of Power. Endless Ages of music would be tempting for me too.

@ 59 Master Al'Thor
CoT may be the worst written and drawn out of the WoT, but its still the WoT. Don't blaspheme!

Plus as I recall this is the book where i really started to like Egwene, and let's not forget Mat is in this novel. Anyone tries to cut out any of Mat's part and I will be forced to send you to Semirhage.
66. Valan
And I forgot to actually address the question, "Who could be completely written out of WoT?"

Rand? no, no he has to save the world and all...

Perrin? no, no he gets to talk to wolves and be cool...

Mat? *SLAP*

The Sea Folk between books 8 - 11. hmmm yeah

All of Elaida's PoV.hmmmm yeah. She's a bitch. We get it. (Alviarin's we can keep, however)

And (last but not least), Jachim Carridin. What a douche.
Tess Laird
67. thewindrose
Remember post FoH4. Lots of crazy ideas and a bit of a flame war. I brought up the idea that Alviarin is looking for an "out".

I mean Alviarin - "Alviarin clung to that hope"
The hope that Talene had somehow betrayed her oaths to the Dark One.

Well, in chapter 19 of FoH - Memories - she is chatting with Fain and - "Who are you? Why are you here? Did one of the For - the Chosen send you? (emphasis mine)
RJ with a red herring, or is he setting Alviarin up for redemption?
I need to say that since Leigh said it was now legal to drink, I have done my fair share and was posting on FoH8 instead of here - woops.
68. Wes S.
Master Al'Thor, I can think of at least one part of "Crossroads of Twilight" to keep: Mesaana's comeuppance at the hands of Shaidar Haran.

The part where Shaidar Haran oh-so-casually remarks to Alviarin "Do you want to know why Mesaana must be punished? Do you want to watch?" sends chills down my spine.

Oh yeah, and then he "marks" Alviarin as his...and from then on through the end of "Knife of Dreams" every time we see Alviarin she's muttering to herself, looking in mirrors and rubbing her forehead looking for the Great Lord's mark. And becoming almost as crazy as Morgase is.
Alice Arneson
69. Wetlandernw
Master Al'Thor @59

For what it's worth, I very nearly quit reading the series after CoT. I was SO annoyed by it; I got all the way to the end of the thing and felt like each plot line had taken "one baby step forward". IIRC, the thing that got me back to WoT was reading a quote from RJ that the way he'd written CoT turned out to be a really bad idea. (In one of his blogs, he says
The only thing that I wish I hadn’t done was use the structure that I did for CoT, with major sections beginning on the same day. Mind, I still think the book works as it is, but I believe it would have been better had I taken a more linear approach. When you try something different, sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.)
That at least made me think the next book might not be quite so bad, so I borrowed it from the library. I sure wasn't going to pay for it, just in case!

Also for what it's worth, when I heard that AMoL was going to be written and published after all, I decided to start another reread. Second time through, CoT wasn't as bad; partly, I think, because I knew what to expect, and partly because I knew I could go on to the next book right away. Turns out that on the reread, there were more good bits than I remembered, and it wasn't quite so tedious going over the same few days in ten different places because I knew more about why they were important. I did scan a bit more than I usually do, but on the whole it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

Hope that helps! :)
John Massey
70. subwoofer
@67 thewindrose-What?! It wasn't legal to drink before? Before what? Was there prohibition and I missed out on the bootlegging?WTF? I always miss out on the scoop:(...

Okay *raises hand*, I am chronic for D&P- drinking and posting.

edit- ahhhh- Leigh- sneaky- Chapter 21... Up here legal age is 18... or if you look 18 and have a fake ID.
Tess Laird
71. thewindrose
Prost Subwoofer!!!

Say you were the one with the funny 'Darth Vader vs Alviarin' post. I just linked it and woke up my husband - very pissed off. Shh - Too Funny!!!
72. MasterAlThor
Valan @65
I tell you the truth. I don't remember Mat's parts but something important must have happened with him.

Wes S @68
Totally forgot about SH and Messana. Guess I should go and reread it. Ugh! Not looking forward to that.

thewindrose @ 71
What's this about Vader vs Alviarin??? Could this be something interesting? Let me in on it.
73. CalaLily
@64: Neil Patrick Harris? To be honest, I've had a hard time seeing him as the ladies' man since I found out he was gay. xD I mean, one-woman relationships or at least one woman at a -time- relationships would be easier to buy, but I can't picture him as the next Charlie Sheen.

Mat's always been more of a Ryan Reynolds or Shia LaBeouf in my head. As Birgitte would say, they might be a bit too pretty for the part, but they sure have the Cauthon grin, IMO. x3

Poll: 18 , female, Georgia, been a WOTian for nearly 8 years, and definitely Brown Ajah.

Character to be written out: Lady Shiaine/ Milly Skane. I don't recall anything she was in that couldn't have been written without her. :(
William Fettes
74. Wolfmage
R.Fife @ 21
Perfectly said about Morgase’s probable compulsion damage.

normalphil @ 60

“On Gawyn, there's an available example. When Galad called Valda out, he inner monologued that he didn't have direct confirmation that his stepmother was dead, but he'd gotten sworn testimony from a dozen and more men that Morgase had vanished right before the Seanchan arrived, and testimony from a bunch of other guys that she was not free to leave the fortress of her own will. A+B = Valda. As it turns out all that Valda had done was have her tortured until she gave verbal consent to be raped then she made a desperate escape, but it's a lot more respectable than "everybody knows he did it, let's kill the Dragon Reborn".

A lot.”

Well said. Galad at least forms his views about Morgase’s demise based on real evidence. I don't blame him for thinking it was Valda because he does some real due diligence and his conclusions are a reasonable best fit explanation for the facts he knows with a high degree of confidence. Contrast Gawyn who maintains a strident belief in Rand's guilt based entirely on idle street gossip and the "common knowledge" of punters.

LadyBelaine @ 23
“forced into slavery to Sevanna and servitude to Faile (and I ask you, which is worse, really?)”

Haha. You win this thread!

RedHanded @ 22.
“Oh and she giggled”

I think we can file that one under collection 'another inappropriate response by Egwene' or 'Egwene says the darnedest things".
Tess Laird
75. thewindrose
MasterAlThor - welcome to Le(igh's)Club, I see you joined and have an avatar. Sub will either need to link again or the link is back on FoH4.
I believe in CoT Mat starts to court Tuon for real, but there is a lot of 'Perrin must save Faile' and SAS politics. But to really enjoy KoD, it is a must read(with your eyes open;))
76. MasterAlThor
thewindrose @75
Hey thanks. I know I have to reread KoD. It is much better than CoT. Or am I not getting your humor?
Tess Laird
77. thewindrose
Sorry - To really enjoy KoD, a good reread of CoT is in order(hence the read with eyes open comment).
78. MasterAlThor
Sorry, thought it was another 'inside' joke
79. ZamIt
Ten more chapters until the Far Snows? Let the countdown begin. That is the recap I really want to read by Leigh.
I really like the scenes with Rand such as in "Gift of a Blade". His sword fights and sword practices are really cool to read. I'm glad he got a replacement blade for the one he destroyed. Actually, when he lost his hand I was wondering about how he would use a sword even before the comment the comment about how he needed to learn one-handed forms. I'm not sure what he will do if he loses his eyesight, but maybe he'll come up with something.
There seem to be lots of comments about Galad in this thread. I hope people are coming to like him, because I think he'll have a larger role to play in the final book(s). There is just a whole lot set up for him. I just can't wait until he learns about his little brother. That plus Morgase, Berelain, and the Whitecloaks should keep him busy.
Kevin Morgan
80. DrMorganstien
...on CoT

On my first read, I had the same reaction as (I assume) everyone else did, that it was boring and mostly unimportant.

On my latest re-read (last summer) I realized I actually do like that book. I think the structure is cool from a writer's standpoint, as someone above noted. The other thing is the SAS stuff has one of my favorite scenes in all of the WOT: Everyone in the Little Hall totally losing their shit. It was awesome. the readers have been well informed for some time now that the AS serenity that we see so often is pretty much a total facade (read: Merillele), but it was worth the politicking to see that. The best thing about this book is(as thewindrose pointed out) that its such a sweet build up to KoD, which is in itself mostly build up to AMoL.

P.S. I think thewindrose is one of the coolest user-names on here
Tess Laird
81. thewindrose
Thanks DrMorganstien!
I have a hard time treading through the later sea folk chapters(although I did like the sea folk that Elayne and Nyn meet at first.
The funny thing is though, that I am actually starting to enjoy them as well. I think it has to do with when you start reading these books. I started 19 years ago, so I had to wait for each book. So I left off on one theme and all of a sudden we are somewhere else in the next book. I have reread several times, and when all the books are there -it is a great complex world with so many threads! Awesomesause! I think someone should pick up that handle.
And Dr M - time for a shot - err beverage of choice.
82. jafco
"...The man had ensconced his jades in her palace. He had made her just another of his trulls...."

Robert E. Jordan, writer of several "Conan the Barbarian" novels and stories, momentarily surfaces! He actually did a good job with his stint in the fascinating Hyperborean world of might and magic and (sometimes) strong and (always) beautiful women pioneered by Robert E. Howard back in the 30s. Stranger that both use the same first name and initial (one got it from birth).
83. alreadymadwithmorgase'sflight
Wetlandernw @53
There's a slight difference between wanting to protect somebody else from a horrible sight and giggling because somebody else might lose his stomach over a horrible sight. Assuming that somebody might barf is natural given how horrible the slaughter was, but giggling over the assumption? Totally inappropriate and reflects badly on Nynaeve's and Aes Sedai men don't count training.

Freelancer @56
Even if Ailron had a significant army of his own, it's not going anywhere without Niall's say so. The man has zero authority. And Pedron Niall is never going to let him move on such a significant foreign policy decision on his own. That said, perhaps Morgase thought she could encourage the idea that once free, Andor would be able to help Ailron finally shake the Whitecloaks off.
William Fettes
84. Wolfmage
alreadymadwithmorgase'sflight @ 83

"Totally inappropriate and reflects badly on Nynaeve's and Aes Sedai men don't count training."

I don't see much need to single Nynaeve out.

Egwene is a sponge and she draws on parental and cultural references outside her vocational apprenticeship with the former Wisdom. I believe we have more than enough information about the battle of the sexes being writ large in Randland, and specific tendencies, like the spiky relationship between the Woman's circle and the Village Council, etc., to infer that Egwene has other sources for uncharitable generalisations about men. Marin al'Vere herself generalises about men despite her being a lovely softy.
85. alreadymadwitheg'sgiggling
I'll concede that. Nynaeve was Egwene's first mentor, though. And her first instructor in "how to deal with men when you are in a position of authority". That aside, giggling over a slaughter is still unacceptable.
86. Freelancer

Show me the text that proves that Ailron has "zero authority" over his own armsmen. Then show me that Morgase has prior awareness of that as fact. I don't buy it, and there's no prior evidence that she would make such a fool move. People are taking it as read that she's lost all judgement, then using supposition as proof.

The real problem is that Ailron petty ambitions, or his petty lusts, have him expecting more of Morgase than she's willing to offer before he grants her request. Once again, not her fault, remember the desperate part of her situation.
87. WhizzNZ
For some reason CoT is the book most people struggle over (maybe also TSR/LoC simply because they are so long). I first read the series when I was about 12 so I was pretty impatient to find out what happened, instead of reading it thoroughly like I would in a re-read.

I tend to treat CoT and KoD as two parts of a whole simply because the beginning of KoD describes the events in CoT anyway but in differenct PoVs.To anyone struggling through CoT I would seriously recommend continuing...KoD won't be nearly as good if you don't read CoT.

@33 Latecomer: Yay! A fellow NZer.

Started reading WoT after a friend gave me the prologue of EoTW to read. Have to admit I was totally confuddled with the prologue but couldn't put the book down as soon as I got to part with Moiraine and her awesome magic fire staff (woohoo).

Survey: 16 years old (@78 CalaLily-no you're not the youngest), New Zealand. If I had the talent I would definitely be a Yellow but then I suppose if you have the Talent in a considerable amount you'd get drafted into Yellow anyway. Otherwise I'd probably be a Brown but with a tendency to stick my nose in someone else's lifestory (much like Verin I suppose).
88. alreadymadwithwhitecloakcontrol
Ailron has slightly better than zero control over his own armsmen. Still those armsmen aren't going anywhere without tipping the Whitecloaks off. And certainly not in numbers substantial enough to take Caemlyn.

As somebody noted earlier, the fact that Ailron has less power than the WC's in his own country is the worst kept secret in the Westlands. It is only a sign of this that the Children's Fortress of the Light is actually inside the city proper of Amador, while the Royal Palace is outside it.
89. birgit
Morgase drummed her fingers on the book, her thoughts coming more clearly than it seemed they had in a very long time. Something about the Two Rivers, some spark she could not quite fan to life, tugged at her.

That must be Rand, so it is two ta'veren tugging from a distance, not just one.

Didn't Morgase relinquish the throne to Elayne a couple of books later, after the Seanchan took the Whitecloaks' headquarters and Suroth displayed her new pet "Thera" - formerly the Panarch Amathera of Tanchico - to Morgase with a not-so-subtle hint that she could be next?

She gave up the throne before she made some kind of agreement with the Whitecloaks.
Kore Springs is near the border of Andor. Is it the border to Amadicia? Bryne was not at home because he was chasing Siuan, so maybe Morgase just thought Where is the closest army I can get?

I'm Brown Ajah or an Ogier (Loial with his pockets always full of books sounds like me, only my pockets are not large enough).

Browns need channeling to investigate ter'angreal. How do you find out what a ter'angreal is for without the Talent? Just channel at it and see what happens? If that is what AS do, it is not surprising that many get hurt / burned out (just channel at the balefire rod without knowing what it is...)
90. alreadymadwithmorgase'sroute
Birgit @89
South of Andor is Murandy, then Altara. Southwest is Ghealdan. These three stand between Andor and Amadicia. I'm not even sure which road Morgase took. Most of the roads seem to go through Murandy, then south into Altara or West into Ghealdan. Morgase went a very long way to look for support.

I sometimes think she'd been better off going to ground in a relatively stable city like Far Madding, or even Dragon-controlled Tear. As long as she was safe, she could then have sent somebody to Tar Valon for Gawyn.
91. Planeswalker
Survey? No color. I'd be an Asha'man, with gold-and-red dragon pins on my collars. :)

But really now, if I have to choose and my life depends on it... I'd choose White! :)
Susan Brownhill
92. SusanB
@Wetlandernw - thanks for the welcome. I figured it was about time I signed up. It really is easier to comment when you are signed in.

I don't know why this popped into my head (its probably been rehashed somewhere else, but I don't have time to look it up, so I'm hoping some of you have opinions on it)...Is Mistress Anan (the inn keeper) really Corian Nedal (the dreamer from the tower that burned herself out (I know my spelling is off))?
93. RobMRobM
SusanB - nope. But she is another, more recent, AS who burned herself out. Can't recall the name ATM. Rob
94. RobMRobM
To all who pointed to text re Mat's riding. Mat should the expected strong riding skills in KoD chasing after Tuon on her razon. What is the precise text where Mat is getting criticized? Rob
F Shelley
95. FSS
Hi Susan - welcome. I haven't been posting a lot lately. Frankly, these middle books are pretty straightforward. I think I'll see more to talk about around POD and onwards.

Anyway, About your question: I don't think so. I think (Emphasis on "think") that the slow aging is a result of the ability to channel or actual channeling (and I think it's the ability since Nyneave didn't channel all that much in her wilder days). The last Dreamer at the White Tower was 450+ years ago. Unless a burned out woman slows the same as a channeler, it would be impossible.

BTW, did Corianin Nedeal burn herself out? I thought she died of old age, but I do know Egwene was wondering how she died, exactly...

Oh yes, assuming I was raised before the Dragon was Reborn, I would have been Red (even though I am a man). It WAS the most useful Ajah (don't want the world to go all breaky, after all). And the pillow friends...oh yeah!
Eugenie Delaney
96. EmpressMaude

Setalle Anan is likely Martine Jenata.
Marcus W
97. toryx
I honestly can't remember what all happened in CoT. That might be saying enough all by itself but I have a hard time remembering the details of either CoT or PoD and I'm pretty sure I've read both of them at least twice.

Personally, Path of Daggers was the most disappointing book for me of them all. I can remember finishing it for the first time and feeling like I'd been let down. I'm not really looking forward to it in the re-read.

I can't think of any major-minor characters that should be dropped. As frustrating as many of them are, I still tend to enjoy most of them. I do tend to wish that some would die and end my suffering.

Someone mentioned that Moiraine should have been brought back sooner, along the lines of Gandalf in LotRs. I don't agree with that at all. I got to liking her a lot more before she left but I've also enjoyed her being gone. I do wish she could have been rescued before we lost RJ though.
John Massey
98. subwoofer
I think there was much ado about nothing in PoD. I vaguely remember feeling gypped that there way no big ending-(was long time ago- a year or so that I last read it and I can't recall what I had for breakfast so there) and it did feel like part 1 of a two booker that RJ decided to split up.

I also remember thinking that with all the random plot lines and the pace of the book that there was no way it would wrap up the series- ever. I believe it was at that point I estimated that the WoT would be a 20 book series.

Who knew?

NPH is gay? When did that happen? I gotta start hanging around the water cooler more. His Barney character is a great Mat- His H&K character is a great Mat, IMHO.

Gonna have to bear down when I get some free time and plow through this series again. I have reached the point where my memory is exhausted and the comments go beyond my recollection.
Kurt Lorey
99. Shimrod
@96 EmpressMaude.

I still have reservations about that conclusion. Martine was "burned out", which appears to be quite different from "severing/stilling".

"Burned out" would not appear to have the same possibility of being healed as severing would, IMO. Plus, being "burned out" would seem to imply that there is no longer anything there associated with the Power. Setalle's experience with the a'dam would imply that she does still have some awareness of the Power, just no ability.

On top of that, as we learn more of Setalle, not only is she vaguely familiar to one of the Kin (who were only in the Tower for a brief time, I'd imagine), but Setalle also has some definite opinions about some of the Ajahs (calling Joline "Green" derisively, for instance). And really, does she act like a (former) Brown?

I just think that Setalle will turn out to be someone else than whom the "consensus" believes her to be. I think we will all be surprised.
100. RobMRobM
Shim - In WH, Mat tried out the a'dam on Setalle and, as I recall, she experienced nothing. If you have a different recollection, you should offer text because I don't recall any. (That contrasts to Siuan and Leane who felt a lot and suggests burned out as opposed to stilled.) I don't know who she is if not Martine but I don't see cause to doubt the Martine conclusion at this point. Would be interesting if you are right and if she is something else, of course. Rob
101. LindaL
Morgase is frequently under varying degrees of Compulsion by Rahvin for about 5 months. She finally escapes by reasserting her will and finds that the people of her kingdom think she screwed everything up. The people willing to support her are pretty pathetic (Breane, Lamgwin, Lini) and do so for their own reasons.
She seeks out Gareth Byrne, who left to chase a pair of blue eyes. She ends up seeking the aid of Ailron and Pedron Niall, who blatantly want to use her as a tool to support Whitecloak expansion in Andor. Paitr (the darkfriend), one of her only supporters in Amadicia, is hanged before her eyes. She abdicates and attempts to kill herself. The Seanchan invade.

At this point, if you were Morgase and believed in the “divine right of queens”, wouldn’t you assume that you’d lost that “right”? Everything else would just be fate or the pattern. Eventually, you’d quit fighting or using your best judgment, because that judgment had let you down too many times.

Re: Eqwene’s giggle. I giggle madly every time I have to have stitches or hurt myself badly. I giggled while cleaning my dead cat off the road when it was hit by a car. I giggled every time my son’s diapers had a spectacular up-the-back blow out. Sometimes it is giggle, cry, or throw up.

For the survey – 35, female, mom of one, in medical device quality assurance, two years of college, born and raised in Minnesota.
102. Freelancer
Setalle Anan is indeed Martine Janata. She admits she was a sister to Mat. Her almost worshipful interest in his foxhead medallion Ter'angreal would be a dead giveaway without any other facts. Her strong hope that she can act as a sul'dam in an a'dam link indicates more. Her recognition of one of the kin, Garenia, who had been put out of the Tower seventy years prior adds to this. Now the timeline Vandene gives to Elayne regarding the last sister to seriously study ter'angreal, who did so for more than 40 years, ever since being raised a full sister, until she accidentally burned herself out more than 25 years ago.

Martine Janata became a full Aes Sedai somewhat over 65 years ago. Since most women take between 12 and 20 years to attain the shawl, the timeframe from her becoming an initiate of the Tower to the present day would be between 77 and 100 years. Fully in line with when Garenia was put out. This equation was easier to add up than Semirhage as Anath.

There used to be an article giving conclusive information about this at Wotmania, I thought there was an author confirmation of Setalle as Martine, but the site isn't what it once was, the the FAQ there has many missing pieces.
Michael Catapano
103. hoping
Setalle Anan is Martine Janata
This is from enc-wot

Circa 935 NE - Shortly after being raised to Aes Sedai Martine begins her study of ter'angreal. (TPoD,Ch2)
Circa 975 NE - After forty years of study she is stilled by an unknown ter'angreal. She disappears from the White Tower. (TPoD,Ch2)
Martine Janata makes her way to Ebou Dar. Jasfer Anan finds her on the streets near starvation and takes her home. She marries him and starts a new life as Setalle Anan. (KoD,Ch7, KoD,Ch9)

Oh, the survey
I'd have to be yellow. No, I long to be yellow
104. Miythrandir
@1 David-2

I always liked Gawyn other than his freakzoid killing of Hammer and the other Siuan supporters. One of my regrets of the series is how he wasn't included in the plot more often. He's an ace of a fighter, he's pretty cool minus his freaky side, and he's a leader. I look forward to seeing him involved more with Egwene - hopefully she'll even out his rough edges.

On the ajah note, if they had Ajah's for guys, I'd go for blue/green. I like them both. Blue because they're involved in the most important stuff/causes/missions, and green because they're battle extraordinaires against the Dark One. The ability to have your own small army of warders would be handy to have too.
Kurt Lorey
105. Shimrod
@100 RobMRobM.

I'll go look it up if I have to, but when Mat was trying to leave Ebou Dar, Setalle suggested he try to pass her off as the sul'dam for Joline. When the connection was made, both Joline and Setalle experienced extreme pain until Mat unlocked the bracelet. If Setalle was "burned out", I cannot imagine why the a'dam would operate any different that it would for someone who cannot channel.

@102 Freelancer

Your list of "facts" is simple confirmation bias. Setalle admits to having been a Sister. That doesn't mean anything - necessarily. Yeah, she's interested in Mat's ter'angreal. So was Moiraine. So is every single Sister who has learned of it (Vandene, Aedelas, Elayne, for example). It is almost unique (for most Sisters it would seem unique). Who wouldn't be very interested in it? Another clue that means little out of context. Let's talk about Garenia, a former Novice. Why would a Novice know a Brown Sister who didn't seem to be a Teacher or a Leader in the Tower? And, when the Kin were discussing Setalle after she delivered Elayne and Nynaeve to them, the spoke in a semi-reverential manner (something like "was that really ...?). That hints something besides being a regular Brown Sister (to me).

The clue from Vandene is the only one I would give any credence to. But, it is an exercise in "character conservation" theory, not an exercise grounded in anything besides speculative connecting a series of factoids. And, I still think there is a crucial difference between being severed and being burned out. That is the most pertinent point for discussion here. Is "burning out" any different from being "severed"? If there isn't, then OK. If there is (and why add another term if it isn't?), then a "burned out", former Sister should have had no problem with the a'dam. Of course, specific confirmation from RJ would trump all, but until I hear it, I will politely disagree here.

@103 hoping

The enc-wot was indulging in wishful speculation, IMO. It may be true, but it also may not be true. IIRC, it never says "Martine Janata makes her way to Ebou Dar. Jasfer Anan finds her on the streets near starvation and takes her home. She marries him and starts a new life as Setalle Anan." (italics added) in the books. I also believe that the words used were "burned out", not "stilled/severed". The enc-wot is very similar to Wikipedia, in certain regards.
106. Thorljottsen
Response to Forkroot:

Well, you could take out whole story lines (and a boatload of characters with them) but then it wouldn't be the same sprawling epic that we've grown to love and discuss! Just thank RJ for drawing the line and not introducing a Shara plot line.

I could have done with a Shara storyline rather than the painfully annoying (and rather dead-ended) plotlines involving the circus and Morgase's vain travels to become Faile's handmaid. Could have used the fast-forward button on those.
Shaylyn Austin
107. Ispan
Miythrandir @104

I agree with you about Gawyn. On my first read through I hoped that he'd get more involved in the story and as his plotline continued he seemed like a very tragic character. I have always felt a huge amount of pity for Gawyn. He's an example of how a good man can be wrecked by uncertainty, misinformation and a few bad decisions. Poor guy.

About Egwene's giggle... she's not giggling about the carnage. Some of this has been said by others but to start with, her first reaction is pity and sympathy. She refers to the townspeople as "those poor people." Also, a quote/idea that comes up often is that a leader can "take care of the living or weep for the dead, but he cannot do both" (tSR). In my opinion, Egwene follows more along the lines of caring for the living. They purposefully make these comments where Rand can hear with the intent of driving home one last time that the events were not his fault and he shouldn't beat himself up so much. I don't believe they were delivered 100% tactfully, but they were said with good intentions, which is especially believable since we do see how Rand's habit of feeling guilty over things he can't control (women dying, etc) gets him into a lot of trouble. Sorry for the long post but lastly, Egwene has seen a lot of terrible things in her short life. Start with the attack on the Two Rivers, add being leashed by the sul'dam and mix in plenty of bloody and otherwise horrific experiences and we find someone who may have steeled her heart and emotions against such evil.

And... I'm 21, married, female with a child on the way, living in Orange County, California. 3 years of college (biology) and 9 years of WoT! I'd pick the Yellow or Gray ajah. Both can deal with a kind of healing, physical and political, and I'd help bring about a new public opinion of the White Tower by actually helping the commonfolk without strings attached. Go White Tower!
108. RobMRobM
Shim - Joline had excruciating pain; don't think Setalle did. In either event, do we know what happens when a non-channeller holds an a'dam? Do they experience pain or is it a nonevent? I don't recall (and am at work so can't check).

Agree with you, by the way, on your comment re WOT resources. They were written by people like us (except not as good looking, no doubt). They make informed judgments but can be fallible.
Jason Deshaies
109. darxbane
Actually, Setalle and Joline both get violently ill when they are linked by the A'dam. If it had done nothing, then Setalle could have acted as a Sul'dam during the escape. Mat had to change his plans because of this.
110. Lost in my own Mind
I'm not sure what character I would get rid of entirely. There are a number of characters that annoy me some of the time, but not one I consistently dislike.

I think Gawyn gets a bad rap. I think he picked the White Tower rather than Elaida over Siuan. From his perspective after the way he sees Siuan using his sister I understand that. Also remember he does not have a lot of the relevant facts because no one- cough cough Elayne, Egwene cough cough- told him. As for turning on Rand, someone (I forget who) uses compulsion on him at the end of the Lord of Chaos.

As for Galad, I've always had a theory about him. He lost his mother as a small boy and I think he blames himself. He thinks if he had been good enough she wouldn't have left, ergo from then on he tries to be as good as possible. My theory is he is going to learn the truth about his mother from the wise ones, meet Rand, and become a better person. Rand and Galad's meeting is one of my personal most hoped for events.
Peter Nein
111. gimpols1908
in defense of Morgase. She is fighting until she sees "Thera" (Amathera) as a dancer doing Forms of the Swan for Suroth. Then she abdicates, and nearly throws herself out of a window in a last ditch effort to save her companions and country.

I don't know about hari kari (sp?) but she is fighting with the hand dealt.
Michael Catapano
112. hoping
Yes, agreed re WOT resources

Just putting the references out there. I agree with their conclusion, but you are correct in pointing out that it is only an opinion. Too strongly stated on my part
Kurt Lorey
113. Shimrod
@108 RobMRobM.

I believe the Seanchan "test" has three levels.

Succintly, they could be called, you're now a damane (you have the Spark), you're now a sul'dam (you can learn), you're going to have to serve the Empire in some other manner (you'll never channel).

For those who don't have the Spark, or who can't learn to channel, they feel nothing. If one were "burned out", one should also feel nothing. I posit that ones who are severed/stilled can be affected by the a'dam, because they can be Healed. It isn't "burned out", it's just broken (cut).

I guess I'll go look around and see if I can find where Vandene was explaining about Martine. The exact phrasing used is most important.
Don Barkauskas
114. bad_platypus
thewindrose @67

While it's certainly possible that Alviarin is looking for redemption, I've always interpreted her reaction here as "If Talene has actually betrayed the Great Lord, then I can use her to divert attention from the fact that I've lost control over Elaida." IMHO, Alviarin is looking for someone to deflect her failures onto.


Here's the relevant passage for the a'dam scene:

With a cry, the Aes Sedai fell to the floor, writhing in agony. She could not form words, only increasingly louder moans. She huddled in on herself, her arms and legs and even her fingers twitching and crooking at odd angles. Setalle dropped to her knees as soon as Joline hit the floor, her hands going to the collar, but she was no quicker than Blaeric and Fen, though their actions did seem odd. Kneeling, Blaeric raised a wailing Joline and supported her against his chest while he began to massage her neck, of all things. Fen worked his fingers along her arms. The collar came loose, and Setalle fell back on her heels, but Joline continued to jerk and whimper, and her Warders continued to work over her as though trying to rub away cramps.

It's clear that only Joline is experiencing any pain.

While technically true that it is not definite that Setalle Anan is Martine Janata, I don't think any reasonable argument can be made against it. RJ is too good of an author to have set up everything so that the details fit together so perfectly but Setalle is some completely random person we've never heard of.
Brian Kaul
115. bkaul
Shimrod@113: Why say "burned out" can't be healed?
Hugh Arai
116. HArai
On Moiraine telling Rand to only trust her and the SGs even though she trust Lan to Myrelle:

Lan has known about the BA since she bonded him. If he doesn't know to watch his back around Aes Sedai, no one does. Rand probably needs more of a push, since the ones he's met up till then may have been working their own agendas, but they haven't been actively destroying his. In fact, he still gets suckered by Alanna and Elaida's embassy even with the warnings. He's finally shaping up nice and suspiciously when he runs into Cadsuane...
James Jones
117. jamesedjones
110 Lost

They already met. Rand's big brother tried to call the cops on him.

Edit: ...Actually called the cops on him.
Philbert de Zwart
118. philbert
I must say I really liked the Fain bit. It's nice and dark, and I liked the way how he cowed Alviarin, a character I like even less than Fain.

It also has a strong Gollum echo in it, which may be foreshadowing that he will have an unexpected beneficial effect on Rand's victory over the Dark one.

Another thing I learned on this re-read was why he didn't take the Horn of Valere: he didn't have time. That leaves it nice and safe in the Tower where only Verin knows it is.

Re: Morgase: I'm not buying that there is some residual brain damage from the Compulsion. RJ didn't write a literal denial of that without a reason.
Don Barkauskas
119. bad_platypus
bkaul @115

It's a commonly held belief that burning out can't be healed (even though stilling can be).

I think of it like a computer: if you take a knife and slice the power cord (i.e. "still" the computer), then you could repair it by bridging the gap with a piece of conducting material. On the other hand, if you send a power surge through the cord and fry the circuitry (i.e. "burn out" the computer), there's no way to repair the damage short of replacing the circuitry. Since in the case of channeling, the circuitry is presumably the brain of the person, it seems unlikely that that can be done. :-)
120. Aegnor
The problem with Crossroads of Twilight can be seen just by looking at the plot summary for the book on wikipedia (

Nothing happens. Its all "soandso is continuing to do suchandsuch". Aside from Egwene getting captured by the White Tower, very little in the way of plot movement occurs in that book.
121. J.Dauro
@105. Shimrod

IIRC Joline experienced pain, but not Setalle. I believe RJ did say something about there being a difference between burned out and stilled. Burned out cannot be healed. (He also commented that only a man can fully heal a woman, and vice versa.)

So my take on the Setalle/Joline is that Setalle wearing the braclet is equivalent to hanging it on a hook. If a non-Suldam moves the braclet, the damanae experiences pain. See Egwene when she tried to move it. And this is why Setalle couldn't help with that part of the escape.

I believe you will find that she is Martine Janata, the timing works, the burned out fits, etc. But we will just have to RAFO.
Kurt Lorey
122. Shimrod
@114 bad_platypus.

Didn't Setalle then proceed to tell Mat that she never wanted to experience that again?

Like hoping, you seem to want it to be true, so you "fit" your factoids to your theory. That is the essence of confirmation bias. Nothing else is "reasonable", because you don't want anything else to be reasonable.

I'm not telling you that I'm right, I am just saying that plausible alternatives exist. And, none of you have presented a cogent argument otherwise. In truth, Setalle might prove to be Martine, but it isn't an inevitability, especially based upon the items presented (so far) by Freelancer.

@115 b_kaul.

Why make up another word for stilling/severing? Severing is when the bridge between one's native ability to channel and the Source is cut, not destroyed.

Burned out implies that (perhaps) the native ability itself is destroyed.
Whatever it is that allows a person to sense/touch the Source would be gone. Repairing it would be imposible. Replacement would require creation of something that isn't there. If that were possible, then theoretically, anybody could be "Healed" to be able to channel (even Ogier).

Nynaeve said somewhere that one ought to be able to fix/repair anything. But, one would have to have something there to be able to fix it. For those who were severed, there are the two ends that can be mended to once again be a bridge to the Source.
Tess Laird
123. thewindrose
When Galad went to get the guards, neither Rand nor Galad knew they were half brothers.
At that point, however, I believe that Galad would still have gotten the guards.
I am looking forward to them meeting now, with everything that has gone on from that moment until the family reunion coming soon.
Hugh Arai
124. HArai
On Morgase: I've always thought of her as a sort of parallel to Rand,Mat and Perrin. She's the other POV character that pretty much gets totally slapped with a life-altering, horrible situation through no fault of her own and has to dig out of it. Unfortunately for her, she doesn't appear to have any shiny ta'veren action powers.
I think anyone on her case for flailing and failing for a while should consider how well you would do if you woke up one day and discovered your life was destroyed, and while you have no memory of anything, the person that destroyed it was... you. I don't think brain damage is necessary. Simple "life-shock" would be adequate I think. Look how wonderfully well the three boys took it :)
David Dudley
125. Warspoon
@79 ZamIt

In regards to the vision loss, I wonder if it will result in further Dune parallels.
Kurt Lorey
126. Shimrod
@121 J.Dauro.

I think Setalle is severed, not burned out. Since her connection is cut, but not destroyed, it creates some weird effect upon Joline. If she were burned out, Joline should have felt nothing. It goes back to the Seanchan test for damane. Girls who cannot make an impression upon the damane have no effect upon the damane.

I'll try to go back and find the pertinent sections when RJ discusses the Seanchan Testing.
127. RobMRobM
Shimrod - but in LoC or CoS, Siuan and Leane held an a'dam with no impact on Moggy. It's the total nonchannelers (including burned out ones, apparently)that hurt the a'dam wearer. Rob

P.s. Sorry to keep posting on this subject but it is interesting.
Hugh Arai
128. HArai

So you are comparing "burned-out" to amputated,
and "stilled" to something like "paralyzed"?

Since Nynaeve for one can fix "stilled", and likely paralyzed but not amputated, at least at this point.
129. SeanM
It's clear that only Joline is experiencing any pain.

Doesn't a damane who is left alone without a sul'dam get crazy cramps if they try to move on their own?

That's what I thought was happening here- Setalle's burnt-out ability counts as the a'dam not being attached to anything, and Joline tried to move a little, and cramped up like crazy.
Tess Laird
130. thewindrose
Agreed HArai @ 124
Yet even through all the bad decisions and poorly thought out actions, Morgase still has some fight left in her. Look at her actions in the Shaido camp, even Faile was surprised at how strong her conviction was to not give up.
Do I think she is going to have a hard time recovering from all the baggage she has accumulated - Yes. But I think when she is outed and back with her family she will start that healing process.
131. RobMRobM
Let's start a betting pool as to which character will recognize Morgase as Queen (or former Queen) first in AMOL 1. I vote for Tam in an upset over Galad. Any other candidates? Rob
Luke M
132. lmelior
@Aegnor #120
Darn, you beat me to it. I was going to post my own summary:

A few minutes pass.
Egwene is captured.

The End.

@Wes S #68
No thanks, the thought of a Myrddraal raping anything, even one of the Forsaken, is something I'd rather not think about.
Marcus W
133. toryx
Philbert @ 118:

Re: Morgase: I'm not buying that there is some residual brain damage from the Compulsion. RJ didn't write a literal denial of that without a reason.

He wrote a literal denial? I don't remember ever seeing that. Where can that be found?

I don't even remember who Martine Janata is, so I can't begin to discuss the whole issue on whether or not she's Setalle until we reach that part of the re-read. I will say, however, that I think bad_platypus's analogy with the computer is apt for comparing burning out to severing.

Finally, I'm looking forward to Galad and Rand meeting again too, especially if they both come to realize who they are to each other. Hopefully Galad will know Rand didn't kill his mother then too.
Hugh Arai
134. HArai
thewindrose@123: I suspect Galad would have gotten the guards even if he knew it was his half-brother that had gotten into the garden near Elayne armed and without using a gate. It would still be *join in everybody* the right thing to do. :)

That said, I hope Rand, Galad and Gawyn do get things straightened out and get pointed in the right direction. Preferably with Morgase alive to advise her daughter on the difference between a Queen and an Aes Sedai.
Tess Laird
135. thewindrose
toryx - Galad knows Rand didn't kill his mom. He also knows what Valda did to his mom, and killed him for it.
Hugh Arai
136. HArai
RobMRobM@131: Two other candidates: Faile and/or Berelain. Now that they are clear of the Shaido, I suspect they will work out what is so odd about "Maighdin".
Kurt Lorey
137. Shimrod
@127 RobMRobM.

Interesting. I'll look at that too. That would be a problem for my point of view. IIRC, RJ discussed the Seanchan Testing somewhere around the time that Egwene was taken as a damane.

It just seemed to me that only the collared ones could touch an a'dam (which is why a damane revolt was out of the question.

@128 HArai.

No, I'm not making any such a comparison.

@129 SeanM

Not just for being alone. Damane are left alone to sleep every night. They can move about, within the range of the chain between the bracelet and the collar.
Tess Laird
138. thewindrose
RobMRobM - You are still going for the Tam and Morgase hookup - aren't you;)
139. alreadymadwithtalkingdamane
lmelior @132
So Shaidar Haran has already "punished" Moggy and Mesaana. I wonder if he "punished" Cyndane as well?

Shimrod @137
The damane hurts is if they touch the bracelet. Otherwise, they can move about within the range of the chain. I've forgotten if the pain is localized to the neck and hand though, same way it did with Joline.

thewindrose @138
I doubt Morgase would be pleased with Tam if he gives away her secret.
Hugh Arai
140. HArai
Shimrod@137: Fair enough. Can you tell me what you feel the distinction between "stilling" and "burnt-out" is then? Because I guess I'm not following you.

thewindrose@138: Exactly what I thought when I saw his post :)
Marcus W
141. toryx
thewindrose @ 135:

Ah, right. I'd forgotten that. I think I've only read that book once so it's not as fresh in my memory as the others. Thanks for the correction!
Kurt Lorey
142. Shimrod
@140 HArai.

My explanation is in @122.

Stilling = bridge between ability and Source is cut.

Burning out = ability is destroyed, bridge irrelevant.

Gotta run. Time for extreme commute.
David Dudley
143. Warspoon

Your basis for the difference in results between Stilling and Burning Out seems to stem from how they sound to you. By that logic the effect of Gentling would be different from Stilling, this we know for certain is untrue.

I always saw the different naming conventions as representative of different ways to end up at the same place. Bridge broken on accident (Burning Out), woman's bridge intentionally broken (Stilling), man's bridge intentionally broken (Gentling).


Wanted to add that I am aware that my distinction is just as baseless as yours.
Don Barkauskas
144. bad_platypus
The clue from Vandene is the only one I would give any credence to. But, it is an exercise in "character conservation" theory, not an exercise grounded in anything besides speculative connecting a series of factoids.
Since this is (after all) a literary work, it seems to me that "character conservation theory" is a reasonable way to analyze the situation. It's like the old medical saying "When you hear hoofbeats, think horse, not zebra." Sure, sometimes it's actually a zebra, but most of the time it's just a plain old horse. We have a background character who matches everything we know about Setalle Anan perfectly; why assume it's someone else?
And, I still think there is a crucial difference between being severed and being burned out. That is the most pertinent point for discussion here. Is "burning out" any different from being "severed"? If there isn't, then OK. If there is (and why add another term if it isn't?), then a "burned out", former Sister should have had no problem with the a'dam.
So now that this point has been disposed of (the quote in post 114 pretty clearly shows that Setalle had no problem with the a'dam), does that change your mind? (And in response to your question in post 122, the only thing Setalle said to Mat afterward was "Do you have another plan?"; nothing about "never again" or some such.)
Of course, specific confirmation from RJ would trump all, but until I hear it, I will politely disagree here.
As I meant to state clearly in my original response (but may have failed to), I absolutely agree that it's not 100% certain and that people can politely disagree. There is a strong but entirely circumstantial case here. I believe it because all the evidence points toward it and there's nothing contradictory, but I acknowledge it might be wrong; after all, "Taimandred" was a pretty good theory until RJ shot it down via Word of God. :-)
Richard Fife
145. R.Fife
From the BBoBA:
The stilled woman, like the man who has been gentled, is cut off from the True Source, always tantalized by the sense of saidar, yet unable to touch or channel it. The woman who is burned out can neither channel nor sense the Power.

P.22, First Para.
147. alreadymadwithreadingBBOBAFET
Me neither. But upon reading the descriptions, I have come to the conclusion that Akein, Tuon's horse that Mat gave her, is actually a zebra.
Richard Fife
148. R.Fife
@146 No sweat, quite a few haven't. I was just providing the textual evidence/WoG that stilling/gentling/severing is different from burning out. In consolation, have a llama.

149. CalaLily
I just realized that Faile's horse and Tuon's horse share a name. Sure, one's in the Old Tongue, but it counts. >.>

I think somewhere in there is a Segani, which is also the name of a raken we get from the Seanchan flier POV we get in, uhm, I think it's PoD. Might be CoS.
150. Freelancer
I'm quite certain that only Joline was affected by the a'dam, that Setalle did not feel a thing. And that would have prevented her from being used as a sul'dam, because any female channeler wearing the collar could not move without a channeler wearing the bracelet. There remains a question if a stilled channeler could wear the bracelet, since they can sense, but not embrace Saidar.

Previously forgotten tidbit about Setalle Anan. When she begs Mat to see his medallion, she notes that Cadsuane Melaidhrin had something similar. Cadsuane hasn't been to the Tower in over 21 years by that point, having returned to seclusion following the Aiel War. And she isn't terribly forthcoming about her ornaments; even Verin is in the dark about them for the most part. But a sister who had made the study of ter'angreal her major work would have been more likely to know of Cadsuane's, in fact might have helped identify the use of some of them. Cadsuane STILL doesn't know what a few of them do, and surely she'd ask the assistance of the Tower's premier expert on the subject.

Still circumstantial, but taken together, strongly favorable to Occam.


The razor would surely be described as having many repeating stripes if it were a zebra, though I can see your reasoning. Also, the shape and conformation of zebras share more with mules than with horses, and Akien is described as a thoroughbred in Mat's eyes, especially being very tall. Nobody who had a clue about horses would confuse a zebra with a piebald, which has a black/white painted or patched coat.
151. Freelancer

I think somewhere in there is a Segani, which is also the name of a raken we get from the Seanchan flier POV we get in, uhm, I think it's PoD. Might be CoS.

It is PoD, the chapter is Threads, or Threads of the Weaving, where Elayne unweaves her gateway incompletely and it blows up.
Corey Ouellette
152. FU26
Am I completely losing it with the whole Tam will out Morgase? Does he even know her and I just don't remember or was that just a complete shot in the dark? I mean he was in Illian not Andor.

Oh and for the survey, I would go Green and then Blue. They seem the most relevent to what is going to happen other than the Reds, but I defenitely don't hate the opposite sex. It would be nice to be Yellow and heal people, but I can guarantee that I do not have the Talent.
153. CalaLily
Freelancer: :D Thanks. I bring the confusion on myself, since I have the habit of reading more than one book of the series at a time. ^__^;
Jay Dauro
154. J.Dauro
@126. Shimrod

You missed what I was saying. If Setalle is burned out, just moving the braclet will cause Joline pain. This was shown when Egwene was collared.

Only a suldam (woman who can channel) can move the braclet.

I am on the road, so I cannot access my books, but I could see Setalle saying she doesn't want to go through that again, even if she does not feel any pain, just because of the pain it inflicted on Joline.

We have seen that a stilled woman can use the a'dam for some things, but does not have the ability to use it for control. However, this was on Elayne's version, so I do not remember whether we can say anything about being able to move the braclet. Without the physical leash, it gets a bit more complex.

As R.Fife says, we have an authoritative statement that stilling is not the same as being burned out.
Alice Arneson
155. Wetlandernw
Edit: Woops. I thought I had refreshed before writing this, but apparently it didn't happen or there wouldn't be 55 more comments in between.... So I'm probably saying what's been thoroughly hashed out in those posts, but it's already posted. *sigh*

Shimrod @99,

I believe there's a strong probability that Setalle Anan IS Martine Jenata, although we haven't had it confirmed (yet). The girls notice that she knows way too much about the tower, but I think Nynaeve comments that "there's nothing there to Heal" like there was with Siuan and Leane. It always felt to me like that was supposed to tell us she'd been burnt out rather than stilled. Also, in KoD (I just read this part) Mat flat out asks her if she was Aes Sedai once, and the answer was TOTALLY Aes Sedai. She replied without answering, but basically got around to saying that the AS expected her to go off and die, and she probably would have if her (later) husband hadn't found her and taken her home to his mother. It's possible that she's someone else, but I really think that RJ made it as clear as he ever would that SA = MJ (until he's ready for a "big reveal" at some critical moment). MJ has been mentioned, but not talked about extensively, and not much if at all since we started getting clues about SA. That's pretty typical RJ; if it was more obvious than that, I'd be pretty suspicious. :)
Roger Powell
156. forkroot
In the picky-picky dept:

1) Don't forget that Morgase is Galad's stepmother not his mother, although she loved him as one of her own.

2) The BBOoBA should be treated the same way as a character talking in an infodump chapter: Likely to be correct, but NOT canonical. Remember that RJ consulted on but did not solely author the book; furthermore he wanted it to contain certain inaccuracies, just like a real reference work might.

So while R. Fife's citation provides excellent evidence that "stilling" and "burning out" are different, it is still not 100% conclusive evidence.

Unlike, say, quotations from RJ himself which we count as canon.
Alice Arneson
157. Wetlandernw
147. alreadymadwithreadingBBOBAFET

About the razor being a zebra, nope. WoG Blog on it:

Jan 20, 2006
For those of you who think the razor that Mat gave to Tuon is a zebra, it isn’t. I was thinking of a horse I once saw a picture of, an American paint, which in memory seemed to fit my description (white meeting black along dead-straight lines) very closely. In fact, the memory fit so well that I decided not to check whether the actual horse looked the way I recalled it. The recollection made a terrific image.
Susan Brownhill
158. SusanB
Is the BBoBA "word of god" fact or is it well researched opinion?

I will accept what the BBoBA says about stilling, etc., if RJ says its so too.

Otherwise I've always thought of the terms (stilling, gentling, burning out) as similiar to all the terms we have for murder (homicide, manslaughter, assasination, execution, "friendly fire", etc). The end effect of each word is the same, but why/how you got there is different.
Michael Catapano
159. hoping
Perhaps Setalle's knowledge will help Elayne make ter'angreal.
Richard Fife
160. R.Fife
BBoBA Preface:
This compilation of the world's geography, sociology, and history uses information dating from the earliest available records of teh Age of Legends through the current era.

Reliable sources are limited. Almost all documents from before the War of the Hundred Years survive only as copies, or copies of copies, etc., and this may well include mistakes made by the scribes. Few complete books or manuscripts of any kind survive from the war of the Hundred Years. The earlier period, from the end of the Trolloc Wars to the end of the War of the Hundred Years, left even less. All information from the time of teh Breaking of the World to the end of teh Trolloc Wars was pulled from manuscript fragments of varying sizes, sometimes not even consisting of consecutive pages. No books of manuscripts have yet been found dating from before the Breaking. All the information from the Age of Legends is based on documents from the first few centuries after the Breaking, when the writers might have had access to sources that had survived.

Wherever possible, the information has been at least partially verified by writings contemporary with their contents, but the older a document or manuscript, the harder it is to date pages precisely.

Some difficulties arise not from age or verifiability, but from problems of translations, for the older documents were written primarily or completely in the Old Tongue. Within the Old Tongue, as all scholars know, words have variable meanings, and some meanings have shifted to varying degrees over time.

The authors hope that the reader will forgive the occasional inaccuracy that may arise within these pages and relish instead the immense diversity and energy within the legacy of the Pattern and the World of the Wheel.
That being said, RJ is the primary author, with Teresa Patterson as the secondary, and the dedication is the usual "To Harriet with Love". Yes it is a grain of salt text, just as any of the books, but I think it is more trustworthy than even your average Aes Sedai.
161. RobMRobM
@138 and 140. Of course. You guys know me too well....

@152. Not to bore the group with past posts, but Tam's wife Kari was from Camelyn so he obviously spent time there. And there is the mysterious reference of Morgase in the EOTW scene re familiarity with the TR accent when she was young. Given that Tam is the only TR person in the canon identified as being in Camelyn at any time, law of conservation of characters means he might be the source of that recollection. Note that doesn't mean they had a fling (and she doesn't appear to know the name al'Thor when Rand says it in EOTW) but it is possible that Morgase knew Kari or, given that Tam was an officer of the Companions and may have been there on official business, there may have been an opportunity for a young noble (not in line to be Queen yet) to have heard him talk or even to chat with him. In any event, Tam is a smart guy and I'll bet Morgase was a truly memorable sight to see in her day...wink wink. Rob
Alice Arneson
162. Wetlandernw
hoping @159

I feel so DENSE!! Duh. Setalle/Martine (I'm going with that, not having read any convincing arguments against) the ter'angreal-studier connecting with *'angreal-maker Elayne... and ter'angreal-reader Aviendha... That is SO loaded with possibilities. I hope Mr. Sanderson has time to make it really zing in the next three books.

I still can't believe how many links like this I didn't even notice until I got hooked up with you people. It's really kind of embarrassing.
163. Valan

Its not a complete shot in the dark. Its been discussed in the comments on one of Leigh's previous re-read posts that Morgase recognized Rand's TR accent in tEotW, and therefore caused speculation on how. The favorite theory seems to be that she somehow met Tam during the Aiel War, apparently.
164. Valan
Damn, Rob beat me to it. Nicely done.
165. Latecomer
Of course Rob beat you to it!

Tam-Morgase forevah! :P
166. Valan
@ Wetlandernw 162.
Hell, Martine Jenata didn't ring a bell with me at all. If your dense, I don't care to know what that says about me. I guess it might have if I had read books 7-11 more than twice though. I'm currently re-reading Knife of Dreams, which is totally kick-ass. When Nynaeve casually drops Lan off at the far west end of Saldaea, instead of Shienar, and then travels from town to town announcing his march, Tis MoA.

This re-read has been really cool for me. It makes the WoT even more enjoyable, which I had previously thought impossible, with Leigh and the commentators.

And for the record, I've got total faith in Brandon Sanderson. Maybe not if he had to start from scratch, but he's got WoG guidance. And his novels make for very enjoyable reading, in their own right.

Someone previously said something about Path of Daggers being their least favorite. The first time I went through the series I totally agreed with you. The 2nd time through I loved it. For me, at least, all of the loose ends were really making me angry, but on the next read, when I got to just continue on with the series, it didn't bother me in the slightest. The later novels have a strong tendency to introduce plot threads that don't pay off until way later. This can be bothersome when reading a single novel, but when you judge it as a whole, it is - and maybe some of you will agree ;) - the coolest shit ever.
167. Latecomer
Hello Compatriot and so far youngest reader!

And Re Black and White horses - pretty sure its NOT a zebra now. When I first read the book that's what I imagined - but then read somewhere a proper description that made it clear it was NOT a zebra and was based on a horse viewed in real life by RJ.

Will try & find that if I can....see you in a few..
168. Latecomer
I found it - but I see Wetlander beat me to it anyway :(

Here's the link anyhoo.
169. Latecomer
Tuaon's Horse - Something like this but with lines a bit straighter?

Hugh Arai
170. HArai
Valan@166: That seems to be the strongest trend:

If you read the series the first time book by book, with the time gaps between publication, several of the later books seemed disappointing. If you had the opportunity to read all of them without having to wait years between books, they don't seem so bad.

I started with the paperback release of EotW, and I have to say my impression of PoD and others improved now that I can read straight through to KoD. For one thing, I can get through the Perrin/Faile storyline much more happily now that I can tell myself "no he doesn't keep looking for eternity (it just seems that way)"
171. Latecomer

Much the same for me - I was quite happy with the format of
1. Together at the start
2. Seperated for some reason
3. Come together again
4. Kick-ass climax

And then things started changing. They stopped meeting at the end of the books. Entire books would go by without a Rand POV (it seemed like anyway) and I'm going - huh.... did we change the main character at some point. This is also why the Circus and House of Trakand wars were so annoying - they were not ACTION!

Of course, the re-reads are so much better - you appreciate the nuances of the story and characters because you're not frothing to find out what happens next - you alrady know.
172. Latecomer
On a completely different note, I see that Leigh quoted the following from tha Fain POV chapter..

Something inside seemed to shout that this was not the way, but he hated Aes Sedai, and that something inside him did, too. “Be careful, pretty little Aes Sedai, or they'll be giving you to a Myrddraal for its sport.”

What do you suppose that first line means?
Alice Arneson
173. Wetlandernw
Latecomer @169
Beautiful! I'm betting that's pretty much the idea. Thank you.

and same @172
What do you suppose that first line means?
That's been bugging me for years now. Every time I read it, and now on the reread, WHAT? I can only assume it's one of his personalities vs. another, but I'd love to hear speculation on just which/what/why.
174. Valan
@172 Latecomer

The first line has everything to do with the 2nd.

“Be careful, pretty little Aes Sedai, or they'll be giving you to a Myrddraal for its sport.”

Fain is struggling within himself because by saying this he must sound like he is submitting to the DO. Which he hates with a passion now, obviously and has broken away because of Mordeth.

What he really wants to say "bow to me you pathetic little girl or I will feed you to a Myrddraal for sport."

Of course the way he went probably turned out for the better (for him), as Alviarin would have neatly desposed of him and Fain would have disappeared from the story. Sorry it didn't happen Leigh! Now, however, I think his dark powers have come to full fruition and he probably could have killed her no problem, tied in air or not.
Alice Arneson
175. Wetlandernw
Hey, I just had a thought. From Morgase's POV, where "Gaebril" tells her not to worry about the TR, and he says “I have dealt with all that needs dealing with. I will come to you this evening. You will go now. You will go.”

Does that infer that maybe Rahvin was the one who sent Slayer? He was sent to kill Fain, but maybe that's what Rahvin meant, even though he knew that's not what Morgase meant. As far as I know, Fain went on his own initiative (because he thought he could get Rand to come) rather than being sent by anyone, but I don't recall that we have any clues as to who sent Slayer. Any thoughts? Or was Rahvin just getting rid of Morgase for the afternoon?
176. Latecomer

I guess that makes sense ... kinda. Might have to dig up the book and read that section again. You did raise an interesting point about his new powers though. He keeps bragging about these powers and how he is more than what anyone expects and so on... but have we seen him do anything with them recently? And wow - that's a pretty chilling thought for Tarmon Gaidon... a powerful nutjob that no one knows about. In contrast Gollum was more pathetic than powerful.

Edit: Wetlander!
1. Thanks - that pic did clear up the image for me too.
2. Nice catch re. Slayer - I think we're all still speculating on who exactly sent him, given only the Chosen.. err, I mean Forsaeken of course.. can command him

OK, so its not really an Edit cos I am not signed in. I'm just pretending to be one of the crew :)
Richard Fife
177. R.Fife
Also thought, Ordeith's POV might have been Mordeth wanting to do some cool evil illusion magic to kill Alvirin, but Fain was not ready to be quite that blatant with his power yet. (never mind the fly-trap from Great Hunt)
sandi vogel
178. sinfulcashew
Comment from lurker (me)
The one character I think could be lost from the books is Fain.....(gasp from the crowd).....
He doesn't add anything to the plot that I can remember (CRS), and is just annoying to me. There doesn't seem to be any connection to him of other characters, as to being friends or relatives or anything. Just, there he is.....
Like I said, I don't remember anything pertinent about him? Refresh my memory?

As for the book that all seemed to dislike with the stories all from the same time period? 24, kinda?.....nope, with what is happening at one place and then at the same time, what is happening somewhere else etc. (Too hot and lazy to go look for reference.)
I remember (it is one of those long term memory thingys) wondering, 'what the heck', while reading, and then came to appreciate the way it was done. I liked it!
j p
179. sps49
@172 et al- The Mordeth part of Fain hates everything Dark as much (or more) than everyone else. Part Aridhol, part fear/ hate for the DO.

Fain is also very important; without his wound to Rand "beating counterpoint" to Ishamael's wound, we might not have had the Cleansing.
180. Valan


We also wouldn't have had Winternight, the Great Hunt, or the Battle for the Two Rivers in tSR.

I really don't understand all of the dislike for Fain. I mean we're supposed to dislike him, but I'm of the opinion that he's a pretty badass villain. He can crucify a Myrdraall, recognize Darkfriends on site, and do some crazy (if a little random) dark magic coolness. There is a specific part on the edge of thought where we get a taste of those powers later in the books, but I can't remember much except that I enjoyed it.
181. Latecomer
SPS49, Valan

Agree that the Fain bits are usually quite cool. We're now seeing and understanding quite a lot about the 'normal' magic in the world. The good side keeps coming up with these awesome talents and ever more powerful chanellers. On the other hand, the fearsome Chosen are being unmasked as incompetent idiots, and the black ajah are worse. The only real threat to the good guys is their own lack of communication etc.

So its nice to know that there is something dangerous and unknown out there waiting to mix things up.

Sinful Cashew - of course Fain is special - he's the only person who has survived and in fact subverted Machin Shin. In fact, he's encountered and bested all the sorts of evil we've seen so far innit?
182. Digital_Eon
In response/because of the two posts above:

Actually, now that I think about it, that might be one reason why people don't like Fain. He's just too powerful. I have yet to see many fans of the ta'veren twisting at times when it's used as a deus ex machina, and Fain almost gives off a similar feeling. He's got so many strange and unexplained powers that it sometimes seems like there's nothing he couldn't do if he weren't mad from trying to find Rand, and those powers are used as justification for having him as the centre of all sorts of explanation theories. If he were just particularly cunning and manipulative, and had a powerful dagger, I don't think he'd be quite as bad. It's those powers that just make some of us roll our eyes.

And the Fade stuff is just overkill. C'mon, only channelers can command Fades, much less make them afraid for their lives.

No other character has displayed unexplained powers that are that powerful (or unexplained and unique powers at all, besides Min - although Min's really more of a foreshadowing tool). Fain's powers are disproportionate to the series, especially since he isn't a Pattern-power-endowed hero (who at least have the excuse of being the chosen ones to save the world - er, I'm thinking of Rand/Mat/Perrin here, not the Supergirls, obviously :P And heck, even Rand couldn't do half the things Fain can and does).
sandi vogel
183. sinfulcashew

Okay okay, you got me!
I really haven't too many memories of his 'badness'(goodness for the story)
Thanks for refreshing my -ahem- memory.

But why is his wound to Rand so important to the Cleansing? Did I forget more?

I think the state of his 'warriors' camp, being nasty and unkempt (I should talk) sets my teeth on edge, too. His craziness seems so odd, too! How did he get like that? DO touch?
But of course Masema is of the same ilk?

I just don't see all the 'power'. I would think he could just do whatever he wanted to anyone and "viola" or "walla" or however it's spelled.
184. Freelancer
Indeed, the foul creature who can converse with Machin Shin, takes pleasure in the touch of Mashadar, is unharmed by a cut from the Shadar Logoth dagger, and scares shadowspawn, couldn't help but be interesting and significant to the story.

Something inside seemed to shout that this was not the way,

As Moiraine said, he is beyond a darkfriend. Yet he is speaking with Alviarin as darkfriend to darkfriend, as if they shared a common heirarchy vis a vis the Forsaken. That something inside has shunned such, and doesn't wish to be seen as such. But hating Aes Sedai, he uses the ruse to play with her, to threaten her.

But why is his wound to Rand so important to the Cleansing? Did I forget more?

A major part of Rand solving how to cleanse the taint was the behavior of his two wounds, one from Fain's SL dagger. To use the evil of Mashadar and the evil of Saidin's taint to destroy each other after being funneled through the Saidar tunnel.
185. RobMRobM
@165 - well played. I'm still a confirmed Tam-Morgase "shipper."

Once Tallanvor falls in glory fighting the approaching Shaido septs and Tam flashes those blademaster skills on camera, two lonely people can find each other over the course of a book or two. They can eventually have the happy ending playing in the Camelyn castle with all of their grandkids and visiting Galad and Berelain and their gorgeous kids to come in their royal castle in Cairhien. (Hint at what I think will happen by the end of the series....)

But I must confess my thoughts alternatively turn to the fact that Leane would be a good partner for him too if Morgase sticks with Tallanvor. She's hot, smart, newly Green, and in need of a kick ass warder without a suitable candidate in sight. Not a bad thought except Leane is stuck in the Tower and I can't see how they can get together until late in the series.

186. Freelancer
And the Fade stuff is just overkill. C'mon, only channelers can command Fades, much less make them afraid for their lives.

Not unexplained. He is Mordeth. Trollocs and fades need to be forced into Shadar Logoth due to their fear of Mashadar and the evil Mordeth created there.

Overpowered? I don't see it. He has wandered around sowing discord and chaos wherever he steps, sure. Caemlyn, Fal Dara, Falme, Amadicia, the Two Rivers, the White Tower, later Cairhien and Far Madding. But he's the insatiable hound, he must hunt. As much as he'd like to be free, he is not, and must chase Rand. But other than imparting Aridhol's wickedness in his wake, he hasn't done any single thing that could be called "powerful".
187. Valan
@ Digital Eon
Yes, you are quite correct in that Fain is an anomaly and his powers aren't quite explained in a completely logical manner like the True Source is.
But, it is explained a bit. Fain is, apparently, what you get when two great evils are combined. He already had the horrors of Shayol Ghul and something was done to him there that gave him his ability to track the 3 taveren. He also has more or less absorbed the corrupt soul of Mordeth. I really don't see how people wouldn't like his powers for lack of an explanation as long as you remember that our only experience with Mordeth was in tEotW, where he expanded, dispersed into a Mashadar like cloud and slid away under a door IIRC.

Now, if you can accept that, why can't you accept Fain. Like Leigh says, we should be able to file it neatly under the category "It's magic, stupid."

So DO + Mordeth = Crazy F#@kin Sh*T

And there is plenty of things like that in the WoT.
Myrdraal (who can travel through Shadows). Machin Shin (who, I think, has the most in common with Fain), and crazy DO pattern changes in general. Corridors move, people come back from the dead. Also both Slayer and Shadar Haran display some crazy powers. And lets not forget the gholam.

I guess all I'm blathering about is that, hey, its Fantasy, expect some things to not make sense.
188. Freelancer

RE: Galad/Berelain/Cairhien

We've brought that one up before, yes? Galadedrid Damodred has a valid claim to the Sun Throne, if his sister defers her own greater claim. Berelain, having acted as Rand's regent there for a time, and doing so with positive results, would increase the people's acceptance of Galad.
Alice Arneson
189. Wetlandernw
Not that I'm arguing, but why is Elayne's claim to the Sun Throne greater than Galad's? He's the elder by ten years or so, and they have the same father. What am I missing?
190. Valan
@ 189 Wetlandernw

Wow. That has never, ever even crossed my mind before. And that does beg the question - WTF?

I can already see the plot. Galad becomes King of Carhien and Lord Captain Commander of the Whitecloaks. He marries Berlain who is a descendant of Artur Hawkwing, the reason for the Children's existence. Not to mention Whitecloaks and Carhien share near the same symbol - the Rising Sun and the Sunburst. They get main continent Randland, and Mat and Tuon get Seanchan. And Elayne gets jack sh*t.

If that happens, I'm totally saying I called it! LOL
191. Freelancer

Her boyfriend's authority.
William Fettes
192. Wolfmage
Digital_Eon @ 182

"And the Fade stuff is just overkill. C'mon, only channelers can command Fades, much less make them afraid for their lives."

Freelancer and others have covered the essential points, but I will just emphasise here that I think that scene is awesome. Why do you think it is it overkill?

IMO it just seems that way because it isn't quantified or qualified in the same way as the mechanics of channelling have been exposed to the reader. So it just has extra mystique.

If you ask me, it is channelling that is overpowered when you think about it; a completely arbitrary inherited ability which gives the user almost unlimited creative and destructive power and death-defying long life? In WOT, channellers are effectively super-beings, who are genetically superior to everyone else.

"No other character has displayed unexplained powers that are that powerful (or unexplained and unique powers at all, besides Min - although Min's really more of a foreshadowing tool)."

What about Mashadar, Machin Sin, etc? Moiraine says that the whole White Tower couldn't kill Mashadar as I recall. Remember here that the unbounded power that you find so problematic in Fain is a direct feature of the individual evils that he is a composite of. Plus, I believe from Moiraine's comments about Fain, and how he evolves in the books, that he is probably more than the sum of his parts anyway.

In my opinion, Mordeth is the main key to understanding Fain's voodoo powers, and we don't know much about Mordeth to conclude exactly what powers he had. According to the legend, he basically rocked up at Aridhol, became a King's advisor overnight, and then single-handedly poisoned the city's political and cultural zeitgeist with his metaphysical voodoo so that everyone was filled with hatred, fear and suspicion and the whole city eventually became tainted. From this I think we can safely infer Mordeth could mentally influence people and brush them with his taint. Plus, from the SL section of tEotW, we also know he's immortal and can apparently transform himself physically (possibly non-corporeally). That's pretty damn powerful if you ask me.

In fact, if anything, Fain's powers and their effect in Randland has so far been underwhelming when compared to plain old Mordeth.

"Fain's powers are disproportionate to the series, especially since he isn't a Pattern-power-endowed hero (who at least have the excuse of being the chosen ones to save the world - er, I'm thinking of Rand/Mat/Perrin here, not the Supergirls, obviously :P And heck, even Rand couldn't do half the things Fain can and does)."

Rand specifically, and any decently trained channeller, can do so much more than Fain. And I'm really not sure why you would think that all non-True Source based magic should be able to be replicated by channellers. That would diminish things like the bubbles of evil, and other miscellaneous powers, and rob them of any semblance of uniqueness. It would also make channelleners even more overpowered than they are already .
sandi vogel
193. sinfulcashew
In rethinking the whole Fain thing, I think my dislike of him sort of relegated him to the back of my mind and I didn't really pay much attention to him.
I seem to remember him in the city where Turok was? And some interaction with the two of them?
He first appeared in 2R in EOTW, and keeps popping in and out of various scenes.
I guess I just can't conceive of anything constructive coming out of his story line. That is why REJ was the author and I can't even write my name.

(But I still don't like him!)

Also, is Galad Elaynes half brother? I don't know why I didn't put that together. Duh! Same father?
Oh well, it looks like when I reread the series again it will be a whole NEW story for me!!!!!
Yippeee ki yo!
I'll bet some of you wish you could start fresh like me?
194. Valan
Nicely done.

Hell yes, I wish that.

And I'm out. Be back at the next post. Sleep well and wake.
195. Freelancer
Valan, Elayne already has Andor. Nobody's taking it from her. She also has 200,000 potentially sympathetic borderland armsmen who really have nowhere to go. After the Taim/Logain throwdown at the Black Tower, I see Logain taking a large crowd of Asha'man with bonded sisters and Davram Bashere, to go visit the borderland camp and persuade them that Rand is who they must follow.

And I'm curious, how is Artur Hawkwing the reason for the Children's existence? Lothair Mantelar was the progenitor of the Whitecloaks, though he most likely had a more noble intent for the organization than its current state.


Fain brought the Horn and the SL dagger through the Ways to Turok at Falme, tempted him to sound the Horn. What guided him to do so is never made clear, though at that point it seems he was under some direct mental direction from Shayol Ghul, and probably the Myrddraal who came to him at Fal Dara brought orders.
William Fettes
196. Wolfmage
"Also, is Galad Elaynes half brother? I don't know why I didn't put that together. Duh! Same father? "

Yep, they have the same father Taringail, whereas Galad and Rand have the same mother Trigaine. So Galad is twice a half brother.
197. Freelancer

Twice a half brother. Hmm, a good thing, on the whole.

Well, thrice if you count Gawyn separately from Elayne. Twice if you mean through each of his parents.

Wait, Trigaine? Is that three times as powerful as Rogaine? If so, I could use some. ;-)
Madeleine Lee
198. keita12686
Hi, coming out of lurk-dom to post! Mostly because I want to give my answers on the survey and weigh in on some of the things mentioned here.

23/female/California/my dad gave Book 1 to me and said, read this. I think I was 14. My dad and I have the same taste in books, especially now, so it should come as no surprise that we're both eagerly waiting for AMOL 1.

I'd be (like others have said) either Green or Brown Ajah. The idea of kicking ass and taking names appeals to me, but you'll find me with my nose in a book more often than not.

Remove -- Windfinders. They're unbelievably annoying and arrogant. I know that a lot of groups can claim those titles, especially ones made up of women who can channel, but they're the worst IMO.

More of -- Gawyn. I think his character is one of the ones that isn't all that developed. The most development that happens is in LOC when he gets some quality time with Egwene. Then he kind of goes away for a while. I hope he gets to come back and redeem himself.
Alice Arneson
199. Wetlandernw
Freelancer @191

Her boyfriend's authority.

Oh, that. Details, mere details. :)
200. Freelancer

Welcome to the jungle!

I'm not a Gawyn-hater, I think he's fine as he is. With so very many well-defined characters, it's just not feasible that they all be Made of Awesome(TM). As Syndrome said, "And when everyone's Super ... no one will be."
craig thrift
201. gagecreedlives

Okay *raises hand*, I am chronic for D&P- drinking and posting.

Well I’m coming forward to. If ever one of my post appears during the daylight US time it probably means I’ve only just got home from the pub.


“That said, perhaps Morgase thought she could encourage the idea that once free, Andor would be able to help Ailron finally shake the Whitecloaks off.”

Yeah I was gonna write something along those lines myself but you well and truly beat me to the punch. Pity Ailron lacked the balls (or just thought completely with them) to try and break the Whitecloack hold.

I wonder if he had any intention on helping Morgase at all or if he was just taking his time until he got instructions from Niall.

Ive got nothing really constructive to add today. Just posting more out of vanity to make sure that I make somewhat of a contribution to every post.
202. WhizzNZ
@169 Latecomer: Hello back. I've always imagined Akein as a thoroughbred horse with markings similar to the picture posted. Never thought of it as a zebra because of that wild ride through the forest Tuon took which eventually led some Tinkers to believe Mat had kidnapped her. Although I suppose the markings might be like a zebra but that just comes across as WEIRD.

@198 keita12686: I'd have to disagree with you on that one. I find it extremely humbling that the windfinders rise and fall with their sailmistress or wavemistress. It's also apparent in the conversations between Shalon and Harine that the windfinder is definitely the lower ranked one there, even though the Windfinders can be said as the backbone of the Sea Folk. They'd be as slow as everyone else if not for the channelers. I think they are just like the rest of the channelers (damane excluded) because they are so haughty/arrogant/I'm so much better than you with everyone who's placed below them, but totally suck-up with everyone placed above them.

I don't really have a character I would remove in the series, I think they all have thier importance. Of course there are the ones I hate but they deserve to be there because of the emotion they invoke.

With regards to Fain, he seems like the perfect cahracter to go schizophrenic. He's already bipolar with the hate the DO/ kill Rand even though that would make the DO happy type. He's just one step away and for all we know he's already hallucinating with his magical powers (which we have not seen). Perhaps it's a RAFO thing.
Hugh Arai
203. HArai
Hey I just thought of absolute proof Gawyn is full of win and essential to Team Light: Elaida wants him dead. Sleep well and wake folks.
j p
204. sps49
@183 sinfulcashew-

The sloth of Fain's Whitecloaks (is that who you refer to?) isn'r really explained; to me it is a combination of Fain's native sliminess, focus on his goal (draw Rand to the 2R), and separate his coterie from the rest of the Whitecloaks permanently.

Philbert de Zwart
205. philbert
@133 Toryx:
The 'literal denial' I mentioned was quoted by LadyBelaine @13.
I will quote her quote:
"There was no need to damage valuable servants...Compulsion had presented no difficulty with the woman. A scowl twisted on face. It did with some. A few - very few - had a strength of self so firm that their minds searched, even if unaware for crevices through which to slide away. It was his bad luck that he still had some need for one such (Morgase). "

So Rahvin took care not to damage valuable servant Morgase, because he had need of her, even though she proved a tough cookie.
206. alreadymadwithrandomthoughts
HArai @203
More precisely, Elaida wants Gawyn out of the way. This by itself is not proof that he is essential. If we look at Elaida's actions, she is basically consolidating her power by systematically removing those she should be grateful to. Those who played significant parts in the series of events that landed her on the Amyrlin Seat. By leading the Younglings against the Hammar(why do people keep misspelling his name) and co. when they tried to free Siuan, Gawyn is included in this category. So she wants him out of the way.

Of course some in this category do end up playing more important roles than they would have if they'd stayed with Elaida. Teslyn for one thing, now all but sworn to assist Mat. On the other hand, nobody knows where Shemerin is now.

sps49 @204
The .. unsanitary.. conditions in Fain's camp is actually signs of Fain's taint. It was established early on that prolonged contact with the dagger changes people. In the same way that Aridhol was slowly infected, Fain is slowly infecting the Whitecloaks around him.

Re: Akein
The reason I thought it was a zebra was because it had straight, vertical stripes. Like a zebra. The speed it runs, of course, and the description of a long neck reminiscent of the Arabian pedigreed thoroughbreds do suggest it is something else, though.
William Fettes
207. Wolfmage
philbert @ 205

"So Rahvin took care not to damage valuable servant Morgase, because he had need of her, even though she proved a tough cookie."

See, that's the opposite of how I would interpret it. For a start, I think there is a textual basis for believing compulsion has some inherent non-trivial dangers for its victims, depending on the skill of the user and the frequency and heavy-handedness with which it is applied.

In the case of Morgase, we don't know that Rahvin is particularly skilled at compulsion, (cf. Graendal the only known expert). So even if we may charitably assume Rahvin is reasonably proficient with it, we can't safely conclude his usage has a semi-permanent or permanent damage potential of zero, even if he truly wanted to preserve the subject from lasting effects.

Plus, because we know Morgase was one of those people who need to be re-compelled frequently, due to her natural mental defences, the likelihood of her being exposed to such damage is surely much increased. We don't know how much it was replied, but the text lends support to her being compelled frequently, and the sheer fact of repetition would have dangers, let alone the incentives we might imagine for Rahvin to increase the strength of the weave to hold her for longer periods.

As others argued above, I don't think we have any real reason to believe Rahvin needed or wanted to take any special care to avoid some lasting fogginess of the mind on Morgase. She was being used as convenient temporary proxy for him to rule behind until he could set up a real succession for himself as King. She was also a pawn in his orchestrated court intrigues and for sexual gratification. None of that requires Morgase to be spared some damage from his attention. The standard of mental function needed of her for this sport was little better than her not being a drooling mess.
sandi vogel
208. sinfulcashew
I knew it didn't look right!
But my way, it makes pretty music?

And I have to put my vote here for Morgase and Tallanvor. (I just spent 20 minutes going up the line here to find out how to spell his name. All the talk of Morgase and his name wasn't mentioned until I got to Leigh's post.)I skimmed.
I think when AMOL appears, she will regain more of her self. And being a romantic, I can 'hope and dream' of their union!
Odd, that some of you are voting for Tam. Kind of farfetched? Or did I miss something again?
209. Freelancer
I wonder if he had any intention on helping Morgase at all or if he was just taking his time until he got instructions from Niall.

I remain convinced that he was biding his time hoping to wear down Morgase's resistance to his physical advances. Ailron hopes to take as much advantage of Morgase as Eamon Valda does, but through a more subtle pressure, and with an outward appearance of civility.


There is somewhat of a prevailing desire that Tam get a new lady love. Being the adoptive father of the Dragon Reborn has provided this stalwart gentleman no perks to date, and people are casting about for what available female to assign to him. That's about all I can make of it, for the careful reader can surely see that Tallanvor has Morgase's heart as much as she has his. Oh, that's ok, we just let him get skewered in battle, freeing Morgase to go find herself a better man from Emond's Field.

It would be heartbreak multiplied before long, considering their immediate difference in age, and their vast difference in aging. But all of that ignores the most important reason it could not be. Every servant of the Light on the side of our heros has one trait in common. They fall in love with someone whom they would never have chosen on their own, or who represents a diametric opposite of what their internal POV sees as a most desirable mate. In Rand's case, x3.
Michael Catapano
210. hoping
Dense? I think not. I enjoy your posts. An intense grammarian? Yes ;)
I, for one, have greatly benefited from all the viewpoints here. WoT is a complex work and RJ's references can be quite obscure.

I see you have gotten a few responses to your fain comment. So, I'm not piling on but just wanted to say where I think fain is heading.
We have seen him become intensely angry when anyone tries to kill Rand because that is his goal, and need. At the end of TG, when Rand is getting his ass kicked by some power of the Dark, (maybe the DO himself), Fain will come along with all of his mysterious anti-dark powers and inadvertently save Rand. Just a thought. A little bit like gollum.
Maiane Bakroeva
211. Isilel
Ah, yes, the travails of Morgase begin. I have to say that I liked Morgase as she was first introduced and therefore this plot-line intensely annoyed me. I do think that her mind remained a little clouded after she escaped Rahvin - didn't she herself admit that she still felt longing for him from time to time?

But in her situation going to Amadicia may have been the only chance to do anything at all. It was a bold and highly risky move that might have worked in the short term - if Morgase was at the top of her game (she wasn't, understandably). It would have been cleverer, perhaps, to contact the WCs on her own initiative, though, because she knew full well that Ailron couldn't act without their knowledge.

But I sincerely don't understand why RJ didn't just kill Morgase off when Seanchan popped up, rather than subject her to lengthy and highly humiliating wanderings that don't seem to lead anywhere. It would have been a tragic and poignant end to the character that didn't deserve it, but was caught in the wheels of the Pattern, and had all the same repercussions for the larger picture.

As to the "first will be last" part of the Dragon's influence on the world (good old Bible and the International), there were already more than enough examples with various Forsaken slaves, Seanchan slaves and even Siuan and Leane (who, at least got a chance to do something constructive even after their fall).

Fate of Morgase also highlights other irritating quirks of RJ's writing:

Women are generally useless without their social position and/or OP, with a few rare exceptions.

Somewhat detailed female characters are regularly forced into some sort of more or less humiliating servitude, while male characters of the same detail level are not and actually tend to kick *** in one way or another.

The "fact" that women are easier to Compel and control than men (quite a few of whom are completely impossible to do this to) is the "icing" on the cake.
John Massey
212. subwoofer
Several random thoughts-
@wolfmage192- strong points! I was wondering, where do we find that Fain can transform himself physically?

There has to be a ton of scrub in the waste to burn, the next chapter with Mat's large fire proves that out. Thing is, across the Dragon wall, I imagine they use leaves or such to do their business, what do they use for TP in the Waste? ;)

Fain=Gollum? hmmmmmmm. Am thinking that Fain is more like the one that Mat will fight hand to hand in the end. Not sure there is anything redeeming about him, and his "Death to Rand" motto is really overpowering everything else.

@hoping- ahhhh pubs- some day... am undergoing major reno here so it is a battle vs. shadowspawn... er wife for computer time, or time in general. See you all at the next post. More reading in the wings vs. putting in 2 cents.
213. birgit
The accents of his native Lugard were strong again; in a way it was his native city. "Do the Chosen confide everything in you, then?" Something inside seemed to shout that this was not the way, but he hated Aes Sedai, and that something inside him did, too. “Be careful, pretty little Aes Sedai, or they'll be giving you to a Myrddraal for its sport.” Silently he snarled at himself. Fool. Playing the Aes Sedai's game, groveling for them, then one moment of anger to ruin all.

Mordeth is doing his usual routine of becoming advisor to someone powerful, but then Fain ruins it by being rude to Alviarin, who is second in the Tower hierarchy.

"There was no need to damage valuable servants...Compulsion had presented no difficulty with the woman. A scowl twisted on face. It did with some. A few - very few - had a strength of self so firm that their minds searched, even if unaware for crevices through which to slide away. It was his bad luck that he still had some need for one such (Morgase). "

So Rahvin took care not to damage valuable servant Morgase, because he had need of her, even though she proved a tough cookie.

The valuable servant is the young red AS. Compulsion works well with her, so there is no need to damage her. Morgase is more difficult to control because of her strong will, so Rahvin has to use stronger Compulsion on her that might be damaging.
Eugenie Delaney
214. EmpressMaude

I read it thusly:

"There was no need to damage valuable servants...Compulsion had presented no difficulty with the woman. A scowl twisted on face. It did with some. A few - very few - had a strength of self so firm that their minds searched, even if unaware for crevices through which to slide away. It was his bad luck that he still had some need for one such (Morgase). "

The bit about Morgase's name was added by Belaine, it's not in the text, however from this passage we learn (or should infer, which is more typical for RJ's writing... plugging in bits and hints, shifting them in our heads this way and that until it fits together and goes all Tetris-y and disappears in a twinkle of comprehenshion accompanied by pleasing music of accomplishment):
- that Rhavin doesn't like to damage valuable servants.
- he can take care to do so.
- and that he considers both Morgase and the unnamed young Red sister to be of value to him.

I would argue that the logical conclusion is that he was trying not to damage Morgase, even if she took extra efforts to keep her Compulsed(sic).
215. Jgrizzell
One thing I would like to add about Morgase and her poor decisions after abdicating the throne.

Most people identify themselves by their jobs, or by their relationships. Losing that identity would be very difficult. I have seen people that lost their job as CEO of a company and become so upset that they would consider suicide. I have seen others that lost their job and became chief paper picker upper, and the loss of their own self-worth almost distroyed them.

If you think about Morgase, she has suffered both these losses, times about 100. If you look at the mental anguish, not even counting Rahvin's Compulsion, you have a large void that needs to be filled. Morgase has to learn to become a Woman, without the trappings of a Queen, and we are watching her act like a teen trying to become a woman. We are upset because she should have already been past this point. But if you look at her in this new light, you can see that she is just trying to learn how to be a woman.
Marcus W
216. toryx
philbert @205:

Ah, that.

I see what you mean, but given that the quote is from Ravin's perspective, I don't consider it to be a literal denial of the author. One of the things Jordan does very effectively when writing from the various POVs of the characters is illustrate them as unreliable witnesses. The POVs are so completely from the perspective of the characters that the information we get in those chapters are tainted by the character's beliefs and not stated as fact.

Ravin was an arrogant bastard who believed that he was better at Compulsion than he likely was. Not to mention that the same quote states that Morgase did present difficulty in using Compulsion. He had to constantly reinforce the compulsion, which is why I think he was less than delicate in its use.

As others have quoted, at least once he used Compulsion so strongly on Morgase that she has no clear memory of how she went from the throne room back to her bedchamber. That does not illustrate delicacy to me.

Edit to Add:

Wolfmage @ 207 said exactly what I'm trying to say here. Thanks!
Marcus W
217. toryx
Fain as Gollum: Light, I hope not. I enjoy Fain as a wild card evil entity wandering through Randland causing trouble everywhere he goes. I think he's fairly interesting. But if he ends up inadvertantly saving Rand during TG, I'll be pissed. That's just way too much a copout in my mind.

Morgase and Tam: I kind of think that Tam would be a better match for Morgase than Tallanvor, and I think it'd be far more interesting if Tallanvor got killed trying to save Morgase than ending up married to her.

However, no one on the good side every really seems to die (one of my biggest complaints about the WoT) and furthermore, I think that Tam deserves better. When you get right down to it, Morgase deserves Tallanvor just because the two of them together are so irritating.

Tam is far too cool to be bound with the likes of her. For that matter, I'm not too thrilled with poor Gareth Bryne ending up with bloody Siuan.
218. RobMRobM
Free @ 209. Beautifully put on the Tam issue. Also note that first chapters of EOTW highlighted Tam as most eligible bachelor in the TR, so it would come full circle for him to be we. Note that I don't see a big age difference between Tam and Morgase. I see him as early 50s and her as early 40s. Plenty of time before he turns into an old fart. Rob
James Jones
219. jamesedjones
209 Freelancer

Totally agree with your observation on RJ's romances. I think Setalle and Jasper are the only two who made it without taveren influence.
220. Freelancer
But I sincerely don't understand why RJ didn't just kill Morgase off when Seanchan popped up, rather than subject her to lengthy and highly humiliating wanderings that don't seem to lead anywhere.

That you don't see Morgase's travails leading anywhere is not proof that it is so. There is the tiny irony that the (former) Queen of Andor is servant to the "Lord of Manetheren". How much of the chaos around Caemlyn and Cairhien have Morgase's "death" at their root? Rand is staying away from Elayne, in great measure because he believes his initial inaction against Rahvin allowed her to die.

The energy of the orchestra is building, all of the harmonies are minor 7ths and suspended 4ths. The revelation that Morgase lives will be one of many resolution chords to the melody, and a very substantial one.

"Killing her off" would make certain events that are essential to the Light much more difficult.

If the CW is correct, and it is a chance meeting with Galad's entourage that uncovers Morgase, a large number of events are set in motion. Without Morgase in Perrin's camp, there may very well be a war in the offing, as Bornhald is with Galad.

Perrin was originally sent out West to ascertain if Alliandre was a true ally. Now that the three ladies have been rescued from the Shaido, they can return to Rand. With Morgase discovered, they will choose to Travel directly to Caemlyn, with Morgase, Alliandre, Galad, Berelain, all of their assembled armsmen, the Wise Ones, etc. Oh, and deliver Masema to Rand's justice.

This will mark the beginning of the Light's forces coalescing in truth, and Caemlyn is strategically the perfect rallying point, given the Borderland armies and the Black Tower already being close by.

Morgase has a great part yet to play, is all I'm saying.
Kurt Lorey
221. Shimrod
@144 bad_platypus.

Re: the hoofbeats things. It's all perspective. In many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, the chances of hoofbeats being a Zebra are much better than representing a horse.

@143 Warspoon. Thanks so much for using delegitimization to make your point.

@150 Freelancer. You're right! (see further discussion later in this post).

@154 J.Dauro. Good point.

@155 wetlandernw. If one more person makes a rationalization based upon unfounded opinion, well, there's always the Spanish Inquisition.

@156 forkroot. If you were a jury member, you would be the one who felt that "beyond a reasonable doubt" meant that you would have had to be a witness yourself.

@211 Isilel. "Women are easier to Compel"?!? Where did that come from? And people think my theories are baseless? And, no one else has commented on this?!?

Back to the Setalle Anan discussion.

In LoC, prologue, p.18. "Suian...clos(ed) the bracelet around her wrist. A look of wonder came onto her face immediately, then her eyes narrowed at Marigan (Moghedien). 'She hates us, but I knew that. And there's fear, and...Shock. Not a glimmer on her face, but she's shocked to her toes. I don't think she believed I could use this thing, either'."

"...with a sigh, Suian shook her head. 'And I cannot. I should be able to touch the Source through her, isn't that right? Well, I can't'."

On p.19 Leane tries and gets the same feelings and failure to be able to control Marigan.

Comments. So, severed women (at least) can still sense something, but not make it work. That should put to bed any ideas to the contrary. Funny. Some posters think that the prologues are throwaway. I guess not.

In WH, starting on p.557.

Setalle and Joline put on the a'dam. Nothing happens until they take a second step together. Then, Joline alone reacts as one would expect a damane to react if she tried to move her a'dam's bracelet. Setalle seemed to feel - nothing. Nothing at all. Plus, this description was a two sentence paragraph on all its own. Perhaps that is showing that the moment is important. It also indicates that Setalle is likely burned out, not severed (I was wrong here). That becomes a fact on the side for Setalle being Martine.
I do think it is important that Setalle feels nothing here. I believe that wearing the bracelet had no effect upon Joline. Joline's pain was entirely due to the inability of a damane to move her own bracelet, which in effect would be what occurred if Setalle had no effect.

At this point, the only rebuttal I have to offer is the feeling that Setalle wasn't just some regular Brown Aes Sedai. Let me explain why.

I have three examples of why I think Setalle was an Aes Sedai of some importance.

First, when she corrals Elayne and Nynaeve in her inn after their visit with Mat, she berates them as if she were a drill instructor (aCos, beginning on p.381).

Second, when she takes Elayne and Nynaeve to the Kin, the Kin are oddly deferential to her, considering she is not part of the Kin, but knows of them (aCoS, starting on p.393).

Third, when Mat is exploring how to get Joline out of the city, Setalle berates Joline in no uncertain terms. And, Joline seems to find Setalle's voice somehow familiar when she can't see Setalle's face (LoC, starting on p.552).

One final point of dissension. Zarya Alkaese ran away from the Tower in 930. Martine Janata doesn't start studying ter'angreal until shortly after she was raised to the Shawl around 935. At best, Zarya might have known of Martine as a contempoary, not as a superior. No reason for Zarya's (Garenia's) comments during the early Kin scenes where she spoke of Setalle almost in awe (aCoS, starting on p.395).

I'm as big a believer in Occam's Razor as the next person, but something is nagging at me about this one. Eventually (I hope), we'll get an answer.
sandi vogel
222. sinfulcashew
I like to check out the links that are posted in some of your comments, but.....
there are times when it only takes me to a previous post, top of page, doesn't seem to be anything related to subject clicked on.
Here is the latest one from:

214. Empress Maude
'..../goes all "Tetris-y" and disappears in a twinkle of comprehenshion accompanied by pleasing music of accomplishment):'

Tetris-y being the offending link. Is there a reason for this? I wound up on post 8. As some have said about other topics, including me, WTF?
Don't mean to offend, just want to know!

by the way,

Tess Laird
223. thewindrose
From Leigh's commentary from TSR8
Reading it is like playing a winning game of Tetris, where the pieces all twist and fall and slot in among each other exactly right, and then you get the long piece and blammo, the whole thing melds together and disappears and you get 5,000 points.

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

Edit - sinful - Did you want to play some Tetris to pass the time away until the next post is up? I have it on my phone - it is useful when you have to wait in line a long time.
Jason Deshaies
224. darxbane
I don't remember who first asked the question, but I have a different take on the first part of that paragraph when Fain was interacting with Alviarin; Mordeth is/was a master manipulator, always taking advantage of someone's lust for power, as well as their suspicions of others. He would never allow anger to creep into a conversation, especially when he was hlding the weaker hand (he was completely trapped, after all).

A'dam usage: A non-channeler can safely handle the A'dam. Even a non-channeler male can wear the bracelet safely (if he can channel, both him and the Damane will die very painful deaths if not quickly separated.) Egeaninn escorts a collared sul'dam around for a while (I forget which one). The bracelet half of the A'dam can't be moved by the person wearing the collar; anyone else can touch it or move it. With Setalle/Joline, she drops to the floor in intense pain the moment Setalle and her are connected. The only analogy I see is when Egwene holds the broken Choden Kal Terangreal in Tanchico. I always made the comparison between severing and burning out as a clean cut versus a ragged tear. In any case, there is a definitive difference between Siuan/Leanne wearing the bracelet and Setalle. Therefore, there has to be some kind of difference between the two. That doesn't mean getting burned out can't be healed, just that it is different.
Tess Laird
225. thewindrose
Shimrod @221 about:
@211 Isilel. "Women are easier to Compel"?!? Where did that come from? And people think my theories are baseless? And, no one else has commented on this?!?
Oh, I had noticed this, but it is post day, and I for one am waiting for that to come up and didn't really want to comment on what is a baseless theory:

The "fact" that women are easier to Compel and control than men (quite a few of whom are completely impossible to do this to) is the "icing" on the cake. (from Isilel)
When making a point like this, one should really have some text to support them. Please point out all these men whom it is impossible to Compel!
sandi vogel
226. sinfulcashew
How am I supposed to know that from Adam's off ox?
Are all the ones that take one to the previous posts supposed to do that?
If so, it's all lost on me.

(By the way, I used to be the house Champion! I could go all the way to level 19. No one else could get that far!)

"Women are easier to compel"
Is this a story observation or just one for women in general?
Is it stated in the books somewhere or did REJ make a reference to it somewhere?
Just curious!
sandi vogel
227. sinfulcashew
How am I supposed to know that from Adam's off ox?
Are all the ones that take one to the previous posts supposed to do that?
If so, it's all lost on me.

(By the way, I used to be the house Champion! I could go all the way to level 19. No one else could get that far!)

"Women are easier to compel"
Is this a story observation or just one for women in general? Perhaps it depends on who is doing the compelling?
Is it stated in the books somewhere or did REJ make a reference to it somewhere?
Just curious!

Seems to be a glitch at Tor.
Tried to post and it wouldn't go, I thought.
Very slow.
Maybe Leigh is putting up the new one?????
Hugh Arai
228. HArai
alreadymad@206: Hmm. I'll have to check the text again. My recollection was that she actually told Galina to ensure he got killed. Which by the Elaida Effect would mean his continued life is essential.
229. alreadymadwithcompulsion
Isilel @211
Women are not necessarily easier to Compel. There are just more instances of them being Compelled.
230. Digital_Eon
Valan @187

All right, that makes sense - Mordeth also has unexplained powers. But I'm not happy about that, either. I could buy the "tainting" effect by thinking of it as a kind of psychological disease that later manifested itself physically as Mashadar, but Mordeth's powers are what don't make sense. Why IS he immortal? Why CAN he take over bodies and become a ghostlike figure when we've seen no other character do that (or, for that matter, truly be immortal, minus DO intervention)? I can't accept it, and therefore, I can't accept Fain as a good character.

Machin Shin (and Mashadar) are not humans or humanlike in any way. DO pattern changes are likewise not even close to having human consciousness. Slayer has crazy powers, but they seem mostly limited to shifting between his two bodies and stepping in and out of TAR... odd, but not overpowered. Shaidar Haran is a DO creation, and Fades are genetically manipulated, too (okay, he's quite powerful, but he does have the DO power explanation that Mordeth obviously doesn't. I don't object to Fain's ability to sense the ta'veren for that reason. We know the DO is insanely powerful, because he's a deity. Unless Mordeth is the Creator on Earth...). And the gholam, at least, is not given the same status in the story, which at least makes up for the fact that he is also an insanely powerful enemy. Though again, OP manipulation provides some excuse for his powers.

Mordeth, though? Nothing. Unless it's revealed that he was some Aes Sedai or Dark One experiment, I can't accept the fact that he's just that powerful... because.

Wolfmage @192

Channelling, overpowered? Yes, absolutely. Explained? Yes, absolutely (well, to some extent). At least, it comes off as feeling much more realistic than powers with no explanation nor a basis in anything close to resembling current science. Though that may not be the case, and if so, I would love to hear about it. Another potential Brown and all.

As I said above, I'm fine with Mashadar and Machin Shin because they don't display humanlike capabilities. They're more like a combination of an animal predator and a natural disaster. Very powerful, but to the readers, they're more of a phenomenon than a character.

(Sorry, when I said Fain, I meant Mordeth/Fain/Ordeith, not just hunter-Fain. Hunter-Fain, I could happily deal with.)

I don't think that all channellers should be able to replicate other magic. My point was that Rand, the hero of the series, with all the Pattern's blessings of abilities to become a champion for the Light, seems to be able to do less (in general) than Fain/Mordeth does. But that could just be a misperception on my part. Still, I'm a little perturbed by the fact that Mordeth's powers are, to this reader, comparable to Rand, of all people. And that makes him far more effective than those who, say, aren't ta'veren.

Of course, I'm thinking of specific examples here of those powers: mostly the fly-trap in TGH. Hunting Rand? Makes sense. Tainting powerful figures? Plausible, and fits what we know of Mordeth. But creating illusions? Not dying from Machin Shin, which kills practically everything else (and possibly commanding it, according to comments I've read but can't quite remember being part of the series)? That's excessive. And when fans try to explain events away with "Fain has mysterious powers"...

To me, it feels like RJ tried to turn him into a great villain, but somehow, it didn't totally work, and readers were left with an insanely powerful man with little explanation and reader empathy. He has no real relationships with characters we know and/or care about (which might have connected him to the text in more ways than his own POVs), he never appears for the culminations of his efforts, and he hasn't been set up as a parallel or equivalent in power to Rand in a way that we might find him to be the natural enemy of the hero (unlike Moridin). I have a very difficult time seeing him as the antagonist that RJ seems to have wanted him to be. And I don't find the mystery surrounding him to be intriguing in the least.
Kurt Lorey
231. Shimrod
@225 thewindrose. & @229 amw...

An army of around 10,000 madly attacks the Band of the Red Hand (in KoD), none retreat, none live, and yet no one thinks they were strongly Compelled? Inconceivable.
Tess Laird
232. thewindrose
I think Pablo Defendini is responsible for putting up the new posts. You were right though - a post was being uploaded, just not the one we are so patiently waiting for:)
Tess Laird
233. thewindrose
Shimrod - I was trying to make a point to Isilel to support such a claim as was made.
But also, since you are interested in this, I think Isilel is referring to humans, not shawdowspawn. See? We really don't know unless there is some further clarification from Isilel, and then it would be easier to agree or disagree.
Alice Arneson
234. Wetlandernw
Isilel @211
Women are generally useless without their social position and/or OP, with a few rare exceptions.

Actually I think that's true of most characters. For the men you'd have to rewrite it as "Men are generally useless without their social position and/or fighting ability, with a few rare exceptions (most notably the Asha'man)." Frankly, in order to be of any significance in a work of fiction, you pretty much have to be able to do something useful. There are several women fighters, a few merchants, etc. Can't ask for much more, I think.

About Morgase, I felt much the same on my first three or four reads. By now, especially with the input of this group, I'm really seeing the potential impact on other story arcs when she connects up with them: Elayne, Galad, Rand, Gawyn... or pretty much anyone who has made a decision based on the assumption that she's dead. For that matter, the impact on HER when she finds out she was Compelled by Rahvin into doing all those horrible things should be worth something.

My only worry is that some of this will be skipped over as being of lesser importance in the grand scheme of AMOL, since RJ and BS have both indicated that probably not every last thread will be neatly knotted off for us.

Shimrod @ 221

Oh, come on. At least go for the figs & mice. ;)

As I said in 155, I thought I had refreshed and read all the comments up to that point, and then after posting discovered that my browser hadn't refreshed after all, and there was this huge discussion that I was probably repeating. I did apologize for that probability, but didn't delete it because it turned out I wasn't repeating all that much.

And I personally think, based on the text and on RJs authorial characteristics, that Martine is the most probable identity for the pre-Anan character. It is my opinion, since we haven't been expressly told, but hardly unfounded opinion. I understand your points in favor of Setalle having been someone other than Martine but, particularly in light of the lack of alternative candidates, I personally don't find them compelling points. You do. Okay. In either case, I REALLY hope we get to find out for sure. Inquiring minds... But my comment above re: loose ends applies here too.
sandi vogel
235. sinfulcashew
"An army of around 10,000 madly attacks the Band of the Red Hand (in KoD), none retreat, none live, and yet no one thinks they were strongly Compelled? Inconceivable."

Weren't they all 'compelled' by their greed? Hoping to get to Tuon to erase her, and gain a lot of coin by her demise?
An inner compulsion rather than something put upon them by someone else.

(Probably noone will see this as the new post is up and I am going there!)
Jason Deshaies
236. darxbane
@211, So all of Graendal's male "pretties" are the exception to the rule?
Kurt Lorey
237. Shimrod
@235 sinfulcashew.

10,000? All of them? I would like to know the odds on that one. There were no wounded laying about. None. The odds of that are astronomical. Unbelievably so.
Tess Laird
238. thewindrose
For some reason I was thinking about Rand's battle with the shawdowspawn in KoD instead of the battle you were referring to. I always chalked up the "Tuon chasing" army, that is in a frenzy to kill her, to Mat being ta'vern. He has to kill them all, or they might get by him and kill his wife. So they are not Compelled, but under the influence of a strong ta'vern pull.
Roger Powell
239. forkroot
Shimrod@221 - Way to stir up some responses!

@156 forkroot. If you were a jury member, you would be the one who felt that "beyond a reasonable doubt" meant that you would have had to be a witness yourself.

Nah, I'd be the one reminding the other jurors about the nullification option. :-)

Just for the record, my point was only in response to the BBoBA being held as canon. No argument that the premise (stilled != burned out) has been established beyond a reasonable doubt.
Maiane Bakroeva
240. Isilel
Well, I distinctly remember one of the Compellers musing on how Compulsion works much worse on men, is more uncertain and needs to be renewed often. I am not currently re-reading, so I can't provide the quote, but IIRC it is in one of the Forsaken's POVs. Maybe Moghedien?

Coroborrating evidence is that Rand can't be compelled even through the Warder bond (well, duh), but the Asha'man bonded by the AS - Narishma and somebody else? also can't be, while it works swimmingly to Compel those forcibly bonded AS.

A'dam, which has a strong element of Compulsion, also doesn't work on them - including the male variation, which would have worked only incompletely.

Moreover, the very paucity of attempts to delicately Compel men, so that they'd still seem functional, speaks for itself. Graendal's pets have their brains completely mushed.
It does work on non-channeling Warders through the bond, granted.

Frankly, in order to be of any significance in a work of fiction, you pretty much have to be able to do something useful. There are several women fighters, a few merchants, etc.

For a society where women are supposed to be equal, if not superior, this is shockingly few, no? I understand that normally only a few women would be fighters, but it doesn't make sense to me that so few have at least some basic training and other skills applicable in war, like horse grooms, medics, engineers, etc.
I'd have expected Morgase to grab a sword by now and learn to use it - helped by the nifty AS concentration technics. After all, she supposedly knows how to command troops and often laments her complete dependency on various men.

I am also not sure that "learning to be a woman" could be enough, when world goes to *** in a handbasket and everybody needs to pitch in.

And IMHO all the Morgase-related misunderstandings could be cleared up without her being alive after Amadicia fell. Galad knows the truth, after all and would provide an impeccable witness that she survived Caemlyn.
241. Kung-Fu Chicken
About Fain we find out that the DO has imprinted on him His will to search out these boys and becomes the DO's dog. Some of the DO himself is therefore transfered to him. He meets up with Mashadar and Mordeth inhabits taking the DO taint on Fain and Mordeth's own special taint and his growing power and evil-taveryning is a specific counterpoint to the weaving of the wheel that Rands (and Co's) growing power and abilities, the whole Balance thing prevalent in modern fantasy. Hes there to even out things make sure everything doesnt overtopple the evil side to early.

Just a thought what if the Final baTTLE really becomes fain and rand vs DO only to be overshadowed by the following Fain-Rand Royal Rumble.

Or does Fain kill Rand so Rand can be risen from the dead in his Jesus Mode before he Fights the Dark One?
242. Tenesmus
There will be a enormous balefire battle at TG, where sequential bale fire flingers will be bale fired by others. This is how Rand will die and live again per the prophecies.

In the end, Rand and all the super channellers will balefire the bore, break the wheel of time, and never be fated to repeat history.
Kurt Lorey
243. Shimrod
@238 thewindrose. Even the pull of a strong ta'veren wouldn't cause what happened there, IMO. They had to have been Compelled, and by a strong Forsaken (Semirhage or Demandred). Currently, it is in my mind that it was Demandred.

@239 forkroot.

Nullification has a "mixed history" in the US, according to Wikipedia.
Helen Peters
244. Helen
I know I'm really late here, but I wanted to add to the burned out/stilled discussion.

IMO it sounds like ‘burned out’ means ‘short circuit’, if breaking the circuit is stilling. So it should be Healable, just need to fix the short. And if you put a short circuit into something it will make it go wrong, rather than just not work, so would cause the pain down the a'dam.

If we're making suppositions of who Setalle is, when was Bonwhin stilled and sent away, or was she just killed????
Kurt Lorey
245. Shimrod
Bonwhin was Amyrlin when Artur Hawkwing was alive. Too long, like 1000 years.

Want a Brown? How about Kirin Melway?
Crystal Pretzman
246. cdpretz
Oh my god... THAT is what a Type A is? Why didn't anyone ever tell me! I didn't know there was a word for what I am... This changes everything!
247. bindillusion
@Chapter 20:

I realize commenting on this post could be seen as raising the dead, and perhaps someone even mentioned what I want to say in one of the 246 comments before this one, but still, I feel this need to vent.

ahmmm, here goes: I FREAKING HATE the Aiel's attitude towards the "treekillers". Hmm, let me clarify that for anyone who might happen to read this...I FUCKING HATE the way an entire WORLD (and let's face it, the Aiel might as well be a world unto themselves) want to see an entire people dead for the colossal screw up of ONE MAN!!!

This tendency displeases me in my real life and it galls me that perhaps one of the coolest collectives ever written about in fiction would sign-on to a view like this. I don't know, but do any of you like being blamed for the mistakes of others, especially if said mistake happened years before?

Who knows, maybe it's that I'm in the military and that if there is one thing the military likes to do it's blaming the whole for the mistakes of a few.

But this chapter...gah and I mean GAH!!! As the author, who I hope doesn't mind if I call her Leigh because she is the epitome of badass in her word skills, like to say *headdesk* to the mmps degree.

Here we see a poor city that has just been raped, yes RAPED, by a superior force of the deadliest fighters in the world, and the sect of that group that we are expected to cheer for is like, "Ehh, fuck 'em, they're treekillers." Um, no they're not. They're a city of people that probably only knew Laman as a name before his Sin. None of them ever saw the Tree. And odds are, most of them would have tried to stop Laman from cutting down said tree to make a chair with.

But oh no, let's take the easy way out in order to save face and continue to blame everyone, yes EVERYONE, for what one guy did. Sheesh, even Rhuarc of all people.

The funny thing would have to be that Cairhienin is my least favorite nation, but mainly because it's a little too rigid for my tastes. They don't deserve to die because of what one man did.

Bah I say unto you Aiel...just BAH!!
Anyway, just wanted to get that out there. Also wanted to say that I think you're doing a wonderful thing here Leigh. I'm new to your re-cap (as of two day ago to be exact) and this is as far as I've gotten so far. I didn't plan to comment til I caught up with you guys..but, sigh, I think I've at least somewhat put my point out there.

I hope to become a more active poster once I get to where you guys are.
Sean Arthur
248. wsean
Just came back to read this post... man, I hate the Morgase stuff. It's tough to read. Morgase gets the rawest deal of any of the POV characters.

And I know this conversation is long over, but it's pretty obvious that Morgase sustains some sort of brain damage from all the Compulsion.

I think the thing that bugs me most about the Morgase storyline is that the whole time, she thinks it's her fault. She thinks that she fell in love and started making bad decisions, that she had really poor judgment. And so she starts questioning her own judgment at every turn. This, as much as the Compulsion damage, just about destroys her character.

I really hope she finds out about the Compulsion and Rahvin at some point.
249. Al Aldazar
I find it interesting that neither Egwene or Aviendha showed much reaction to the dead people...although since Aviendha is Aiel, she just takes it as fact but Egwene? Nothing. Nada. Zip.
She starts joking almost at once and completely forgets what she just saw.
250. Al Aldazar
I find it interesting that neither Egwene or Aviendha showed much reaction to the dead people...although since Aviendha is Aiel, she just takes it as fact but Egwene? Nothing. Nada. Zip.
She starts joking almost at once and completely forgets what she just saw.
Maiane Bakroeva
251. Isilel
It wouldn't be the first time Egwene saw dead people - I mean, there were dead during Trolloc attack at TR in TEoTW and in TGH at Falme and in TDR and in TSR, etc. She has see as many dead as Rand at the point and she doesn't feel responsible for these ones, like he does, because far-fetched as the notion that Rand could have prevented it is, Egwene could have done nothing to save those poor folks for sure.
Hilde Sørensen
252. edlihs
Survey: 25 female from Norway. Studying history. Brown ajah
253. s'rEDIT
For some reason the scenes revealing Morgase as Compelled have stuck with me even though I have read all the books only once.

@Wetlandernw69, I had the same experience. After COT I had decided I had no desire to followthrough the end of the series; I didn't care enough about the plot or any of the characters. At that point I imagined it dragging on for another 10 books! Fortunately, after GS came out and I noticed a colleague reading it, that person and also my son (who I had introduced to EotW ten years before) were finally able to persuade me to jump back in. When I expressed a dread at trying to catch up, my son found this re-read blog for me, if rather belatedly. Thanks again, Leigh!
254. macster
This may have been mentioned elsewhere, but I wanted to bring it up because I was reminded of it after re-reading the WOT Encyclopedia's summary of Shadow Rising. It was pointed out at the end of Perrin's arc that Fain had the strange thought, after seeing Manetheren's banner, that it could be useful to him as something he could "scourge them with". The notion posited was that Fain intended to incite war between Andor and the Two Rivers, which would explain why he was initially headed to Caemlyn.

Obviously this never happened, since next we see him is at the White Tower advising Elaida. But this chapter does suggest something Fain may well have done in lieu of that: Morgase is broken out of her Compulsion and flees because of news arriving that there is rebellion in the Two Rivers and the flag of Mantheren has been raised. Considering Bornhald was trying to keep news of what happened from reaching the rest of the world while Fain very much wanted it to escape, it would not surprise me in the least if Fain was the one to spread the rumors which Tallanvor heard. The timing of matters seems far too fortuitous. (Yes, this chapter is long after Fain and his Whitecloaks would have ridden through on their way to Tar Valon, but if they planted rumors here and there, it may have taken that long for them to reach the palace and Tallanvor, especially if Rahvin was trying to keep them from Morgase, since he had his own agenda to worry about and believed he could handle the Two Rivers anyway.)

Not conclusive, but it does offer an interesting idea to both cover a plot hole (Fain's scourge thought and trip to Caemlyn) and explain the source of the rumor which acted as a deus ex machina for Morgase.

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