Jul 3 2009 3:57pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Fires of Heaven, Part 16

Hey-o, Independent people! Welcome to a totally free and brave and amber-waved Wheel of Time Re-read post! In honor of the holiday weekend, please pretend that this entry is hung about with red, white, and blue crepe paper. And that it occasionally explodes.

Or, if you are un-American, you can alternately pretend it will be covering Chapters 39-40 of The Fires of Heaven. Though actually the title is very appropriate for the occasion!

Previous entries are KA-BOOM! This and all other BANG! contain spoilers for all currently published CRACKLE! in the Wheel of Time ZEEEER-POP! So if you haven’t read, don’t –

Hm. Dud.

Oh well. Here, have a hot dog – and some incendiary commentary!

Chapter 39: Encounters in Samara

What Happens
Nynaeve ties the shawl around her in an effort to cover up more effectively, and she and Uno head past the Whitecloak guards into Samara, which is a madhouse, jam-packed with people from every nation and walk of life. Nynaeve is getting dizzy when Uno guides her to a less crowded alley, where they are joined by another Shienaran, Ragan. Ragan tells Nynaeve not to worry, they will take care of her (Nynaeve shakes her head), and warns her again not to mention the Tower to Masema, as Masema is convinced the Tower wants to control Rand. They come to an alley crowded with heavily armed men, the ones in armor guarding a gilded coach; Uno explains that they’ll never get through the crowd in front of Masema’s place, so they have to go in through the back. Nynaeve is disturbed by the feverish intensity of the men guarding Masema’s house, and more so by the fact that Uno and Ragan have to disarm themselves before being allowed inside. She protests that Masema is supposed to be their friend, and Uno replies sourly that that’s the only reason they’re let in at all.

“Just watch what you say for once,” Ragan told her, “and likely you will get the help you want.” She nodded, as agreeably as anyone could wish — she knew sense when she heard it, even if he had no right to offer it — and he and Uno exchanged doubtful glances. She was going to stuff these two into a sack with Thom and Juilin and switch anything that stuck up.

Inside, Nynaeve is surprised to find that the Prophet lives in near squalor, with only two servants in filthy ragged clothes. The male servant tells them the Prophet is busy and can’t be disturbed yet, and Nynaeve moves to look through the doorway. She sees Masema, who looks clean but shabby, talking to a richly-dressed noblewoman, who is entreating Masema to assist in imposing order among his followers. Masema is of the opinion that the coming of the Lord Dragon has broken all bonds of law, but impatiently assigns harsh and draconian punishments for various offenses; the woman looks shocked, but moves on to the lack of food, and Masema seems angry at the notion that there should be people going hungry with so much gold in the world.

“The Lord Dragon has been Reborn. The Shadow hangs over the world, and only the Lord Dragon can save us. Only belief in the Lord Dragon, submission and obedience to the word of the Lord Dragon. All else is useless, even where it is not blasphemy.”

He informs the woman that she wears too much gold, and she immediately begins pulling off all her jewelry, which the servant collects in a basket. Uno whispers to Nynaeve that every penny goes to the poor; Masema would be living in a hut if it weren’t that some merchant had donated this house to him.

Nynaeve shook her head. She supposed it was one way to find money for the poor. Simply rob anyone who was not poor. Of course, that would just make everyone poor in the end, but it might work for a time.

The woman curtsies deeply to Masema and blesses the Lord Dragon’s name in the Light, and sweeps out. The servant waves Nynaeve, Uno, and Ragan in.

“Peace favor your sword,” Uno said, echoed by Ragan.

“Peace favor the Lord Dragon” was the reply, “and his Light illumine us all.” Nynaeve’s breath caught. There was no doubt to his meaning; the Lord Dragon was the source of the Light. And he had the nerve to speak of blasphemy from others!

Masema asks if Uno and Ragan have “come to the Light” at last, and says that since they are not Darkfriends, by necessity they will come to believe as he does, and Nynaeve shivers at the total conviction in his voice and half-mad stare; she thinks he makes Whitecloaks look laid-back. Masema turns to her, calling her “woman”, and asking if she walks in the Light; Nynaeve answers that she does the best she can, and Masema looks at her dress and returns that she is too concerned with “the flesh”. Angrily, Nynaeve demands to know what right he has to tell her how to dress, and unties the shawl and flings it back to her elbows. Uno and Ragan wince, and Masema just stares flatly, and Nynaeve swallows, for once regretting speaking her mind, but refuses to back down. Masema goes into a fervent yet cold rant about the evils of sex and liquor and the need for people to be scourged of their earthly desires, until Uno breaks in to hastily tell Masema who Nynaeve is, and that she comes from the same village as the Lord Dragon.

“She was at Fal Dara with the Lord Dragon, and at Falme. The Lord Dragon rescued her at Falme. The Lord Dragon cares for her as for a mother.”

Another time, she would have given him a few choice words, and maybe a well-boxed ear. Rand had not rescued her — or not exactly, anyway — and she was only a handful of years older than he. A mother, indeed!

Masema turned back to her. The zealous light that had burned in his eyes before was nothing to what was there now... They almost glowed.

Masema grabs her arms and tells her she is blessed among women, for having the privilege of watching the Lord Dragon grow up, and she will speak to the multitudes of his words of wisdom and his miracles. Nynaeve thinks to herself that she doesn’t remember seeing any particular miracles around Rand, except for the ta’veren thing, which had a rational explanation.

And as for words of wisdom, the first she had heard out of him had been a fervent promise never to throw a rock at anyone again, offered after she had paddled his young backside for it. She did not believe she had heard another word since that she could call wise.

In any case, she has no intention of staying anywhere near Masema, so she tells him the Lord Dragon has summoned her to Tear, so she must travel downriver to join him. Masema lets her go and muses that he had heard the Lord Dragon was there, and after he has brought Amadicia to him like he has Ghealdan, Masema will march them all to Tear to “bask in the radiance of the Lord Dragon”. And then he will bring the rest of the nations to follow the Lord Dragon as well. Nynaeve lies that it sounds like a good plan to her, though she reflects that stupid plans have an annoying way of working, and adds that she cannot wait, though, since when the Lord Dragon summons, “mere mortals must obey”. She mentally promises to box Rand’s ears for making her spout this tripe. Masema stares at her for a long, tense moment, then sighs and agrees that she must go immediately. Nynaeve presses him on the matter of a boat, and he replies testily that he is sure someone will tell him of one soon enough. Then he orders Uno and Ragan to watch over her, especially since she insists on clothing herself this way. Nynaeve bites her tongue, and Uno and Ragan make hasty goodbyes and hustle her out. Nynaeve allows this until they get out into the street, whereupon she chews them out for dragging her out like that. Uno tells her if she had stayed much longer her luck would have run out for sure.

“He had a flaming Lord of the Crown High Council flogged — flogged! — for half the heat in his voice that you had,” the one-eyed man growled. “Contempt for the word of the Lord Dragon, he called it. Peace! Demanding what bloody right he had to comment on your flaming clothes! For a few minutes you did well enough, but I saw your face there at the end. You were ready to flaming lace into him again. The only thing worse you could have done would be to bloody name the Lord Dragon. He calls that blasphemy. As well name the flaming Dark One.”

Ragan reminisces about the time Masema almost had another noble beheaded for referring to “this Rand al’Thor”, and warns Nynaeve that he has put other people’s heads on stakes, and she is not immune any more than they are. Nynaeve can’t understand how Masema has gained such power, and protests that surely if he actually tried to impose his nonsense about women’s clothing and closing taverns that the people would revolt. Ragan tells her she’d be surprised at what people will put up with, and Uno adds that more often than not Masema forgets to follow up on declarations like that anyway – though sometimes he doesn’t. She asks who the “fool woman” was that gave Masema all her jewelry.

“That,” Uno said, “was Alliandre, Blessed of the Light, Queen of bloody Ghealdan. And a dozen more titles, the way you southlanders like to pile them up.”

Nynaeve stubbed her toe on a cobblestone and almost fell. “So that is how he does it,” she exclaimed, shaking off their helping hands. “If the queen is fool enough to listen to him, no wonder he can do whatever he wants.”

“Not a fool,” Uno said sharply, flashing a frown at her before returning to watching the street. “A wise woman. When you bloody find yourself straddling a wild horse, you bloody well ride it the way it’s bloody going, if you’re smart enough to pour water out of a bloody boot.”

Ragan further explains that Alliandre is the fourth to hold the throne of Ghealdan in six months, and she’s still on the throne because she’s the only one of the four who figured out that Masema is unassailable. He’s interrupted by Uno, who tells them they are being followed by a Whitecloak. Nynaeve stiffens, and tells Uno to turn into the next alley so she can get a look at him, overriding his protests. They turn, and Nynaeve glances back just enough to confirm it is the only Whitecloak who could possibly have a reason to follow her: Galad.

I kind of forgot how much I really, really don’t like Masema. I’m not sure he ousts Fain as my Nemesesesesis, but hey, at least Fain knows he’s crazier than a shithouse rat.

Masema is the representation in WOT of every way in which qualities that should be good – loyalty, devotion, honor, dedication, faith – can be twisted into something that’s even worse than plain old evil.

I am not a religious person, but I went to Catholic school for twelve years, so I am hardly unfamiliar with the concept of faith, and I do not fail to appreciate both its positive and negative aspects. I often like to joke that my position on religion is the one guaranteed to piss off both the believer and the non-believer. This is the problem with being able to see both sides of a viewpoint.

So faith I can understand, whether or not it concerns beliefs I share. Zealotry, never. This is in great part due because of what I just said about being capable of seeing more than one side of an issue. Winston Churchill once defined a fanatic as “someone who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject”; I would go one step further and say that a zealot is someone who not only can’t change his own mind, but is determined to change everyone else’s to match – with a bullet to the brain, if necessary. Which, yeah. DO NOT WANT.

It is a mindset so utterly alien to me I have trouble accepting that zealots aren’t, I don’t know, kidding or something, deep down, when of course the whole point is they are so, SO not kidding. Give me a thousand moustache-twirling villains before this kind of whackjobbery, please.

The scariest thing about Masema is that he is no fairytale monster; he is real. People exactly like him exist in real life. Most of them don’t have the opportunity or ambition to do as much damage as Masema has (or will), but that does not save them from being, in my humble opinion, scary as all fuck. And this is to say nothing of those who are in a position to do that kind of damage, or worse.

Ugh. Ugh ugh ugh. I might even go so far as a “faugh”. Check please!

I remember there were people who used this chapter to argue that Nynaeve must be ta’veren, because otherwise (they said) there’s no way she could have gotten out of there with her head still attached. This is a very silly argument for her being ta’veren (hint: she isn’t), but it is a very strong argument for her being a main character. Which sometimes amounts to the same thing, really.


Chapter 40: The Wheel Weaves

What Happens
Nynaeve hurries into the alley and turns down another one, furious with herself, for if she hadn’t come into town, Galad would never have found her. She is further furious that she has to rely on Uno and Ragan to protect her, since she doesn’t dare channel when Moghedien and the Black Ajah are searching for her.

It was enough to screw her anger tight; she could have chewed a hole in the stone wall behind her. She knew why Aes Sedai had Warders — all but Reds, anyway. In her head, she did. In her heart, it just made her want to snarl.

Galad finds them almost immediately, and Uno and Ragan close ranks and draw their swords. Galad tells them calmly that he does not want to kill either of them, and asks Nynaeve to let him speak to her. Nynaeve sees people looking at the tableau they present, and tells the Shienarans to let him by, which they do reluctantly. She stares at him and wishes he was ugly, and asks what he is doing in Ghealdan.

“I did have orders for Salidar, in Altara, but all changed when this Prophet fellow — What is the matter? Are you unwell?”

Nynaeve forced her face to smoothness. “Of course not,” she said irritably. “My health is quite good, thank you very kindly.” Salidar! Of course! The name was like one of Aludra’s firesticks going off in her head. All of that racking of her brain, and Galad casually handed her what she had been unable to dig up on her own. Now if only Masema found a ship quickly.

Galad lectures her on how worried she and Elayne had made him, and cuts off, staring at Uno and Ragan. He says slowly that he’d heard this Prophet was Shienaran, and hopes that Nynaeve has not been fool enough to get involved with him. Nynaeve assures him wryly that neither Uno nor Ragan is the Prophet, and tells them to put their swords up.

They hesitated before doing as they were told, Uno grumping under his breath and glaring, but they did it finally. Men usually responded to a firm voice. Most did. Sometimes, anyway.

Galad says irritably that he knows that, and doesn’t care what she and Elayne have gotten themselves into, as long as he can get them a ship and get them out of it. Nynaeve gapes at him, and Galad explains guiltily that he can no longer escort them himself; it’s not safe for them to go alone, but he wants them away from here before the entire border explodes. Nynaeve considers that it couldn’t hurt to have both Galad and Masema looking for a boat for them, considering what Uno had said about Masema’s tendency to forget to enforce his own proclamations, but wonders if she can really trust Galad. She reminds him obliquely that he is a Whitecloak, and she is “who she is”, and given that, how does she know there won’t be fifty more of his comrades looking to put an arrow in her back, and Elayne’s too? Galad is either offended or irritated by this, and tells her that again, he would never let harm come to his sister, or her. He asks where they are staying, so he can get word to them. Nynaeve hesitates, knowing that it is not only her own life she’s risking, but Elayne’s and the others’ as well. Galad growls in frustration and tells her he swears by his mother’s name that he means no harm to her.

“You say that you are what you are? I know what you are. And what you are not. Perhaps half the reason I wear this,” he touched an edge of his snowy cloak, “is because the Tower sent you out — you and Elayne and Egwene — for the Light knows what reason, when you are what you are. It was like sending a boy who has just learned to hold a sword into battle, and I will never forgive them.”

He pleads with her to believe him, and Nynaeve finally decides that his kinship with Elayne has the edge here, if only because they are in Ghealdan, which does not specifically outlaw women who can channel.

Besides, he really was too gorgeous for her to let Uno and Ragan kill him. Not that that had anything to do with her decision, of course.

She tells him they are with Valan Luca’s show; Galad does not approve of this at all, and tells her he will put them up in an inn. Nynaeve is incensed that he just expects to take charge of them, and refuses flatly. She tells him to stay away until he’s found a boat, then come to the show and ask for Nana. She further forbids him from escorting her back to Luca’s, and Galad turns to the Shienarans, and calmly charges them with protecting Nynaeve and her companion, and if they fail in that task, he will find them and kill them. He then ignores Uno and Ragan’s flat stares and asks Nynaeve to tell him where Egwene is; Nynaeve answers that Egwene is far from here, and that’s all he needs to know. Galad tells her to keep her head down and stay with the show until he finds a boat, and Nynaeve is amazed that he managed to turn her instructions into a safety lecture for her, though her conscience asks if maybe she shouldn’t be “packed in wool and sat on a shelf”, considering the disasters her decisions have recently caused. Galad turns to leave, and Uno and Ragan block his way for a long tense moment before letting him pass.

Nynaeve gave Uno and Ragan each a good glare before stalking off in the opposite direction. There she had had everything arranged properly, and they had to nearly ruin it all. Men always seemed to think violence could solve anything. If she had had a stout stick, she would have thumped all three of them about the shoulders until they saw reason.

She stalks out of Samara, Uno and Ragan following her silently, and tries to ignore her little voice, but it won’t shut up, especially about Birgitte, and she decides that the best thing at this point was to get to Salidar and hand everything over to the Blues. She considers what use to make of Uno and Ragan now that she was stuck with them, and as they reach the menagerie rounds on them and tells them firmly that if they are to come with her and Elayne, it will be under her orders, not Masema’s or Galad’s, or they can get lost. Uno and Ragan exchange glances, and Uno growls that if that’s how it has to be, so be it, since her bloody tongue will get her killed long before she reaches the Lord Dragon if they don’t.

Ragan gave him a guarded look that said be agreed with every word but strongly doubted Uno’s wisdom in voicing them. Ragan, it seemed, had the makings of a wise man in him.

Ragan adds that he’s sure the others will come too, and Nynaeve is taken aback when he tells her that “the others” consist of the thirteen other surviving Shienarans in their company, not counting Bartu and Nengar, who probably won’t leave Masema. She worries about how much it would cost to feed fifteen soldiers, but is attracted to the notion of having her own private army, and tells them that each night one of them will come to the menagerie and ask for Nana, but otherwise they are to keep away. Uno protests this, but Nynaeve overrides him, and shoos them off. She returns to the show, and sees that Luca has added a contortionist act which reminds Nynaeve very uncomfortably of what Moghedien had done to her. Birgitte and Elayne appear, and Elayne tells her agitatedly that the contortionist (Muelin) had come from a show a mob had destroyed, and berates Nynaeve for traipsing off into town and “kissing a Shienaran”, according to rumor. Nynaeve gapes at this, and Birgitte adds that Luca was incensed, growling about Nynaeve “liking rough men”, and both he and Thom and Juilin went into town to look for her. Nynaeve is trying to make sense of this as Elayne and Birgitte hustle her off, and tells Elayne distractedly that they should be out of there in a day or two, since surely either Galad or Masema will find them a boat. Elayne stops dead.

“You saw — you spoke to Galad? And the Prophet? You must have, or how would they be trying to find a vessel? Did you have tea with them, or did you just meet them in a common room? Where the bald-headed man carried you, no doubt. Maybe the King of Ghealdan was there, too? Would you please convince me I am dreaming so I can wake up?”

“Get a grip on yourself,” Nynaeve said firmly. “It is a queen, now, not a king, and yes, she was. And he wasn’t bald; he had a topknot. The Shienaran, I mean. Not the Prophet. He’s as bald as —” She glared at Birgitte until the woman stopped snickering.

She explains the story more coherently as they continue through the menagerie, and is increasingly irritated with the number of times the word “fool” comes up in Elayne’s exclamations, and further annoyed that Elayne seems doubtful that Salidar is really the name she was trying to remember. Nynaeve cuts off as she suddenly realizes that they have been heading to where Birgitte is to shoot arrows at her. She squeaks that maybe they shouldn’t do this, the light is bad, and so forth, but Elayne is still ruminating over the fact that Galad swore on their mother’s name, which she reluctantly concludes means they can trust him, and Birgitte just cheerfully debates whether to do it blindfolded or not. They position her on the wall, and Elayne berates her for taking such a risk; staring at where Birgitte is heading, Nynaeve agrees fervently that she was a fool, and Elayne stares at her in concern and asks if she’s all right. Nynaeve lies that she is fine, looking forward to it actually, and Elayne dubiously moves off. Nynaeve tells herself that this is a fitting punishment for taking foolish risks, and yelps higher and higher as arrows thunk into the wood and outline her completely. As soon as it is over she takes off for the wagon, knees shaking, promising herself to tell Uno tomorrow to push Masema about that boat as much as he dared.

Yep, Nynaeve is still hilarious. And rather frustrating to recap for that very reason; not only do her thought processes twist and turn almost unsummarizably all over the place, but I keep wanting to quote all the funny parts, which is not helping. There’s so much going on here, in fact, that I’m kind of at a loss on which parts to pay the most attention to. Stream of consciousness it is, then!

I can’t decide if it’s by design or happy accident that Nynaeve’s character has been written in TFOH in a manner that is so completely open to interpretation based on the reader’s own personal inclinations. I read this chapter and laugh and laugh, but I am very well aware that others read this chapter and grit their teeth in annoyance at the same things I find hysterical. For instance, the line about violence, which I’ll quote here again for convenience:

Men always seemed to think violence could solve anything. If she had had a stout stick, she would have thumped all three of them about the shoulders until they saw reason.

I seem to recall at least one commenter specifically singled this passage out (or one very similar to it) as proof of Nynaeve’s hypocrisy, and as part of why they considered her contemptible. And is it hypocritical? Yes, it is. And is hypocrisy contemptible? Yes, it is.

And yet, I laughed out loud when I read it. What can I say? It’s funny to me!

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I definitely feel that Jordan was very much playing this for comedy/commentary, and did not intend for most of what Nynaeve thinks to herself to be taken at face value, whereas other readers don’t see it in that light at all. The whole menagerie story arc, in fact, has a slapstick, farce-like tone to me, but only if you read between the lines a bit. Which makes it easier, perhaps, to understand why it frustrated (or still frustrates) many readers, especially the first time through, as they are agog to find out what happens next in the larger story, and therefore do not necessarily appreciate a detour into a comedy of errors, especially one that is either understated or just not very funny, depending on, well, whether you find it funny or not.

And again, is Nynaeve sexist? Yes, she is. And should I not find that contemptible? Yes, I should – except that I, again, feel that her prejudices are not being played “straight”, but rather to highlight just how ridiculous gender-based biases really are. The line above about violence being a perfect example: where others see hypocrisy, I see the implied argument that men and women are not nearly so different as they variously believe themselves to be.

And I have to admit, in a (possibly hypocritical on my part) way, it’s refreshing to see the sexist shoe on the other foot for once. Find it annoying to listen to Nynaeve constantly disparage and dismiss and belittle the male characters, guys? Yeah, it is annoying to be judged solely on your gender, isn’t it? Fancy that!

And this, I believe, is also part of the purpose for Nynaeve’s biases and inconsistencies. Nynaeve is in some ways a caricature, drawn in exaggerated hyperbole as a device for the author to make a point, but the cool thing is that at the same time she is also (to me) a very real and believable character who (I believe) on some level recognizes that a lot of what goes through her head is balderdash, even if she’ll hardly ever admit it, even to herself.

So... that was a lot of stream of consciousness, and it’s kind of one thirty two thirty holy crap in the morning now, so let me finish this up with a note on Galad, to say that his stated rationale on why he joined the Whitecloaks strikes me as perfect fridge logic: it sounds good until you start to really think about it, and then you’re like, “Wait, what?”

And we out! Have a explosion-laden and yet non-limb-severing Fourth holiday weekend if you’re of U.S.ian persuasion, and a non-explody (and hopefully also loss-of-limb-free) random summer weekend if you are Differently Nationed. See you Monday!

Andrew Lovsness
1. drewlovs
Masema must be one of the worst "true life" characters we get to see in WoT. The problem with him for me is, we see so many people in our wold just like him, only they don't have the gift to hypnotize as Masema does.

Then, when we really "get to know him" via Perrin, we find out the dirt goes much much deeper... I'm completely with Leigh here, I really hate his scenes. It almost makes me want to wash my hands after reading chapters with him.

And, for the hundredth time, Nynaeve makes me happy when I read her POVs. Maybe its the identificaion I've talked about earlier, but I'm sure it also has to do with the butt-kicking she does on Moggy at the end of the book; and the help she gives to Rand at that time using Moggy. Something is just completely BADASS about that...
2. ShadowShivers
Am I the only one that has had a nightmare involving Masema? He creeps me out more than any other character in the books.

Great re-cap Leigh! It takes supreme talent and will power to condense these chapters into bite-size pieces!
3. Smatt
Thanks for the post Leigh.

Got to agree on Masema. He is a rabid dog that needs to be put down. He is even more scary because he does mirror people in the real world.
4. Smatt
Thanks for the post Leigh.

Got to agree on Masema. He is a rabid dog that needs to be put down. He is even more scary because he does mirror people in the real world.
John Massey
5. subwoofer
mmmmmmmm...... hotdogs with mustard & sauerkraut. Good times!

Thank you for the post Leigh:) Will wreak havoc later with some off the wall stuff in regards to a certain Prophet and Ny, being a doof...
Lannis .
6. Lannis
She was going to stuff these two into a sack with Thom and Juilin and switch anything that stuck up.

BAHAhahaha! Ah... all spankings aside, this line cracks me up!

Masema... ::shudder::

At least Fain knows he’s crazier than a shithouse rat.

True, true! Leigh, I love your eloquence. ;)

Thanks for the recap, marvelous as always! Happy 4th of July for those who celebrate it! :)
Genevieve Williams
7. welltemperedwriter
Totally with you on Nynaeve, Leigh. I've never thought of comedy as Jordan's strong suit, but the whole menagerie sequence cracks me right up--with just a bit of seriousness (what happens to Birgitte) right in the middle to give it dramatic purpose. And yeah, the line where she wants to smack them all with a stick for thinking that violence solves anything cracks me up, every time.

Given the broader commentary on gender throughout WoT, I can't believe that the exaggeration on Nynaeve's part here isn't deliberate, and being done for the exact reasons you state.
Sydo Zandstra
8. Fiddler
Posted this in #14, in the whole Demandred debate, but was probably too late since #15 showed up that day and everybody moved on.

I suspect Masema may have been on guard duty in tGH at Fain's cell, off screen. There was mentioning of 2 other guards being affected, and Masema shows more than the 'usual' zealot craziness (Remember Elaida?). Also, Aram got really crazy after talking to him, resulting in attacking Perrin.
He's also a candidate for being one of Demandred's proxies to sow chaos, along with Weiramon.

And Leigh, I'm with you on this. The men-and-violence quote always makes me laugh.
9. Jormengrund
I have to admit. I love the farcical nature of Nynaeve in these chapters. I mean, if it were the Marx Brothers doing this stuff, it'd be classic!

Can't you just see Groucho rattling off this diatribe, and then waggling his eyebrows in mischief?

Yeah. It got me too.

Galad: Double erg. This guy tends to wind up in the worst places at the wrong time. Yeah, he's handy in a tight spot, but I don't think his head's screwed on as tightly as some folks tend to think. Trying to play both sides of a wheel because your morality determines your actions is one way to end up on the wrong end of a hangman's noose...

Masema: Yeah. To coin one of my favorite phrases from Dead Poet's Society, he's the consumate "Sweaty-toothed madman".

Yeah. I can see him being the southern gospel bible-thumper one minute, and the wheedling crying beggar the next because he'd done something and was being punished for it. (See Jim and Tammy Faye Baker)

Next stop: Salidar. Just how many fireworks are set off before then, well, there's a couple more chapters still!

I can't wait for Monday.. Happy 4th of July Leigh!
Sam Mickel
10. Samadai
I always thought of Masema as an fictional character based on Hitler. He was very charismatic and could incite riots and chaos with his speeches. Anyone who didn't agree with him was responsible for all the bad things in the world. He created loyal followers that would do the most heinous things in his name.

So far beyond bat shit crazy I hope Perrin catches up to him and his hundred or some companions and leaves some hanging ornaments on the trees in the area.
11. MasterAlThor
As always Leigh is full of awsomeness.

So now we continue with "As The World Hates Nynaeve". This little ditty about violence is funny. Sexist, but funny.

She constantly berates men for one thing or another. This is a problem for me. I do not wish to judge women based on their gender. If I do, it is because I am trying to show that I have manners. You know like opening a door for a woman.

Prejudice is wrong. I don't accept it from anyone. And I really hate it when it comes from someone who should know better. (Are you listening black community???)

Women cannot/should not claim that men are sexist and then men bash all day long. Can it be used for humor in a story? Yes, but be warned that it will not be seen like that by everyone. Leigh was right about that.

Now for something a little different. I can give Nynaeve props on one thing.

"Nynaeve shook her head. She supposed it was one way to find money for the poor. Simply rob anyone who was not poor. Of course, that would just make everyone poor in the end, but it might work for a time."

I agree with this statement whole heartedly. I think our government is doing a fabu job of making everyone poor. I am seriously considering sending that passage to congress.

Rant over.
Matias Miguez
12. meiyas
leigh, always a pleasure your commentaries.

I think Masema is the scariest of all, because he has no magical or fantastic power, he is just you average closed minded religious fanatic.

And we out! Have a explosion-laden and yet non-limb-severing Fourth holiday weekend if you’re of U.S.ian persuasion, and a non-explody (and hopefully also loss-of-limb-free) random summer weekend if you are Differently Nationed. See you Monday!

random winter weekend here... =(
13. normalphil
Put me down as "like" for Elayne, but this chapter includes the effect of a serious point against.

Pretty much going solely by Elayne's constant re-iterating of why Galad is a legitimate, active threat to their lives, Nynaeve is more readily inclined to rely on an observably violent, insane zealot than she is Galad.

And she pretty much has to, it's the only information she has, going into it. In their conversation here Galad makes a good case quickly for another interpretation of his character, enough for her (in her view) to take a chance, but it ought to have been a sucker's bet. Elayne turns out to have been (casually) hysterical. I don't mean funny. There are profound consequences for a lot of people, and through luck and plot she and Nynaeve weren't among them.

("Casually" because I think if she'd stopped for a second and asked herself "Now this is important, Elayne. You're deep in hostile territory, operating on a shoestring, and All Hell is actively seeking you out to descend upon you and brainwash you into damnation. Is this what you really believe?", she'd have told Nynaeve "O.K., maybe we can trust Galad a little bit, enough to take things from him. Just don't tell him what we're doing, exactly." Instead she just kept doubling down on her initial statements until Galad was an honorary High Inquisitor out to stretch the lot of them on the rack until they renounced the One Power and all its works.)
14. CalaLily
"I am seriously considering sending that passage to congress."

Amen, brother.

As for these chapters, they're some of my favorite in the series, simply because I find them so funny. We don't -really- get Funny anymore after this, at least not on a scale were I'm laughing out loud as opposed to mentally chuckling. Except that chapter or two where Tylin stalks Mat. That was funny.
Kurt Lorey
15. Shimrod
It is my opinion that Nynaeve is used here to point out another facet of human behavior.

Nynaeve had no clue of the direct effect her asking both Masema and Galad to find a ship would have as an effect. Actions have consequences, and at this point of the novels, Nynaeve is lacking in the ability to "see" the possible consequences of her actions. She just acted out upon her first impulse--to find a ship to escape from Moghedien. Impulse over judgement.

This is an important skill that Nynaeve does seem to pick up along the way. At about the same time as some around here seem to start liking her character, if I'm not mistaken.
16. lerris
Your northern neighbours celebrated Canada Day on Wednesday, and some of us are taking a long weekend even though the actual holiday fell in the middle of the week.
Genevieve Williams
17. welltemperedwriter
Shimrod: yeah, this is the point where Nynaeve starts to become self-reflective, I think. I've been listening to these chapters on my commute this week and this is where she really starts having to live with the consequences of some of her actions (literally, in Birgitte's case).

It's therefore somewhat puzzling to me that some folks have been claiming that Nynaeve DOESN'T consider the consequences of her actions, because these chapters mark the point in the series where she begins to do exactly that. Of course she doesn't change immediately as a result; people don't. There's an adjustment period between when you realize an uncomfortable truth about yourself, and when you actually change your behavior as a result. Some people never do.
18. CantStandNynaeve
"The scariest thing about Masema is that he is no fairytale monster; he is real. People exactly like him exist in real life."

Who are these Masema types in RL? Please name some people that are exactly like him in real life. In all seriousness I'd really like to know who you're describing.

As far as Nynaeve is concerned, I've always despised her for the contemptible hypocrite and belligerent idiot that she is and has been through the bulk of this series.

"And I have to admit, in a (possibly hypocritical on my part) way, it’s refreshing to see the sexist shoe on the other foot for once. Find it annoying to listen to Nynaeve constantly disparage and dismiss and belittle the male characters, guys? Yeah, it is annoying to be judged solely on your gender, isn’t it? Fancy that!

This is just plain silly and pugnaciously disingenuous. Gender stereotypes have been in existence since like forever. Are you seriously trying to claim that the only victims of sereotyping throughout history have been women?
19. alreadymadwithmasema
I guess the Salidar AS can thank (or blame) Masema for diverting the Whitecloaks away from their flyspeck of a village.
JS Bangs
20. jaspax
I stopped reading the original books after #4, so the following reaction is based entirely on the recap. Nonetheless, here goes:

I'm not finding Masema that bad, at least not in these scenes, as Leigh has described them. First, he's on Rand's side. Rand is the good guy, right? Granted, Masema's interpretation of Rand's significance and power is a bit, shall we say, overstated, but at least he's not actively working against Our Heroes. Second, he seems to be doing good in the city. Making the queen help the poor? Refusing to enrich himself? You could do a lot worse in a religious zealot.
21. MJones
I suggest reading the scenes with Masema's followers. Perrin came across those who killed and raped indiscriminately, one even kept a string of ears as trophies. When they were caught, they acted as though Masema gave them the right to do these things (the exact book eludes me, but it was shortly after Perrin was sent to collect Masema that he came across one specific group). As for the rest, the idea that HIS interpretation of Rand is the ONLY interpretation is scary enough. To use a real world example, imagine the Pope going insane and giving all Catholics a carte blanche to form rabid mobs and kill anyone who doesn't believe in the exact interpretation of Chirstianity/the Bible/Jesus that he sets down. Chaos is a very small word to describe that scenario.
Imposing an ascetic lifestyle for yourself is one thing, killing other ppl for not doing the same is a whole different story entirely. Also, he DOES get in the way of Rand's plans once Perrin does finally meet up with him, as he refuses to travel by gateway, meets in secret with Suroth, the Seanchan Darkfriend, etc.
Oh yes, rabid dog is the nicest thing that could be said about Masema...
22. normalhpil
@jaspax 20

It's as Leigh says... he take virtuous acts and traits and carries them to such extremes that they become, well, evil.

He's on Rand's side- to the point of killing people who aren't actively on Rand's side. Not that you get to call him Rand. See previous predicate.

He makes the rich help the poor... to the point of confiscating all immediately identifiable free capital and parceling it out.

He's an ascetic. That's supposed to be virtuous. He's still trashing the country. It doesn't make him a good person, he's got the same tab on his soul that he would if he were carrying on in a palace while using hot-and-cold running floozies as furniture.

The traits you're thinking of aren't virtue in and of themselves, they're correlative to virtue. Masema legitimately has the markers that tend to indicate "this is a good person", while actually being an agent of rampant chaos and destruction.
Sydo Zandstra
23. Fiddler

I suggest you read on, to the part where Masema is threatening Perrin's army that was sent to deal with him, and cooperating with the Seanchan, who have conquered the south and west of Randland in order to do it.

There's also lots of insane stuff where his minions go out and pillage and rape the countryside...

I also posed a probability of Masema being influenced by either Fain and/or Demandred earlier, and was hoping to be able to discuss this.

But at the moment, main discussion is about who you like and who you do not like, and their motivation and character.

To everybody: could we please stop doing this character bashing, and move back to what this should be about, which is the plot of the story?
Lannis .
24. Lannis
jaspax @ 20: Um, this chapter does not highlight all of Masema's... influence, shall we say? The shock in this chapter is the fact that this mob-crazing man is not some random guy preaching the Dragon Reborn's holiness, but actually someone the main characters know. And that attitude juxtaposed with that man's previous opinion of Rand (namely that Rand's a dirty Aiel, no matter what he claims).

A lot of the scariness that is Masema is built up when the Prophet is off screen--his far reach, the mobs, the anarchy, the destruction in the name of the Dragon Reborn--and it's all through the observations of other characters. When it's discovered that Masema is the Prophet, it's rather shocking.

EDIT: I see a few others have beaten me to the punch... that's what I get for watching Aladdin with the kids...
25. keegansgirl
About Elayne and Galad

I actually relate to (mind you I don't approve of) Elayne's behaviour towards Galad. I grew up with a sister who always did the right thing, told my parents when I did the wrong thing, accepted the consequences of her actions without complaining and was an over achiever. I can completely see why she has a hard time with Galad.
I can relate, but, I don't approve. Perhaps this is why I have a hard time with loving her as a character. I see her value. She kicks butt, is one hundred percent committed to her position as an heir and as an ally to Rand. I do see her development as a person throughout the series and applaud her accomplishments. But the way that she develops an opinion on someone and then never strays from it regardless of the validity of that opinion irks me to no end... see how she treats matt in the next couple of books.

Galad on the other hand i actually love as a character. He is loyal, stupid sometimes re: whitecloaks, but he kicks butt and he can see reason as well as adjust his opinion of the world to coincide with the information that he gains. His only downfall, he is too beautiful, men need to not be so pretty and have a couple of scars.
paul Hend
26. tugthis
The Masema issue could have been dealt with by Rand in something under an hour if Rand had had the forthought to do so. A simple appearance and a "stern stop doing that (or else)" would have sufficed,
27. lerris
Just because the thought popped into my head ( and another reason to hate Masema )

How exactly did Masema get to Caemlyn to kill Asmodean?
28. CalaLily
@ 18:

"Who are these Masema types in RL? Please name some people that are exactly like him in real life. In all seriousness I'd really like to know who you're describing."


Ya know, just a few of the more infamous ones.
Lannis .
29. Lannis
@ CalaLily... FYI: uh, either your links don't work, or you think Leigh is one of those Masema-types... ;)
30. CalaLily
Aaaaaaaaand the links totally fail. Okay, going for impact, but now I have to scrap that and just spell it out.

Saddam Hussein
Osama bin Laden
Mahmoud Amadinejad
Joseph Stalin
Lannis .
31. Lannis
That looks more like the list I thought you meant... ;)
32. CalaLily
Dx I don't know why they failed! I used the bbCode thingy for links!
33. CantStandNynaeve
"Aaaaaaaaand the links totally fail. Okay, going for impact, but now I have to scrap that and just spell it out.

Saddam Hussein
Osama bin Laden
Mahmoud Amadinejad
Joseph Stalin

How do you reckon that these RL scumbags are exactly like Masema?

These shitbirds were zealous about gaining and abusing power. With the possible exception of Osama they are/were not religious nutjobs. I'd not even include Osama bin Laden in this group because Masema actually stands in and takes part in the eventual battle that occurs in KoD. Osama has been quite reluctant to expose himself to any possible action that would require martyrdom as an affirmation of his zealotry.
34. Mattg

Fair point, except I think bin Laden is probably the only one on the list who could count as a Zealot. While the others are mostly extremely evil, bin Laden is the only one that has any sort of "higher goal" or belief system behind their power.

While the others had the ruthlessness required to be branded zealots, their ultimate objectives where more for personal power than support of a higher power or ideal.

And really I think Amadinejad is a bit of a lightweight to be included in the list? I am not claiming he's a nice guy by any means but he should not be in that list.
Hugh Arai
35. HArai
The thing with Masema for me is that he appears to be a good example of just how nasty the effects of a really powerful ta'veren like Rand can be. The good things like the Sea Folk bargain, and Darlin and Caraline are balanced by things like Masema.

It makes me wonder what else has been following in the wake of Rand,Perrin,and Mat. What balances Mat's luck for instance?
36. normalphil

Spontaneous masonry failure, you'd figure.
John Massey
37. subwoofer
'K, it's go time.

Masema- would shut him in a bag of rabid weasels, but I'd fear for the weasels' safety. I still think somebody in Perrin's party should create a Gateway and dump the 'Prophet' on Rand's lap. That would sort things out in a hurry. How he went from Shienaran soldier to lunatic fringe still gets me. And somebody, refresh my memory, why doesn't he want to see the grand poobah he's ranting about? Is it a fear of dying from ecstasy? Or being bitch-slapped for being so slimy?

Ny- gotta love her consistency if nothing else. Sheer luck for landing herself in hot water, and blaming the guys when they try to bail her out. I'm about to do the unthinkable- agree with Elayne- the way "fool" crops up with Ny. Ny started a riot through leaping without looking- poking a bear with a short stick. The part where her conscience tugs at her for the things she does... maybe she should listen to that voice more.

Galad was filled with coolness in this one. The way he disregarded the Shienarans, cause he can as a blademaster... and turning Ny's words around on her... telling her to be safe. Tell Galad where Eg is. He still has to follow the orders of his commanders. Elayne is right again- wtf- in regards to how dangerous Galad really is. After all he did become Lord Captain Commander of the Children of Light. Nothing to sneeze at. Lad's got potential.

Not touching the most obvious RL version of Masema... Fourth of July and all is good in the world, now.
Hugh Arai
38. HArai
normalphil@36: That was just an inconvenience though, and it lead to more time with Aludra and her bellfounder riddle and meeting Tuon. Arguably net plus for Mat. No-one said being a ta'veren wasn't embarrasing or inconvenient :) But is someone out there losing 90% of their die rolls or something?

subwoofer@37: I expect Masema's claim would be that he already knows how wonderful Rand is, so he's much better occupied spreading the word to everyone else. That seems to be the usual line anyway.

Here's a question. In the category of people they've apparently unhinged, Rand has Masema, Perrin has Child Byar and Dain Borhald, and Mat has ?
39. CalaLily
I'm not saying they're exactly like Masema in his religious beliefs, but rather in his overbearing NEED to make everyone succumb to his ideas. I don't think you're not going to find a visible, modern-day counterpart to Masema, because he's a fictional, exaggerated example of the Evil that can result from swinging in completely the opposite direction of the "Shadow", so much so that he's as bad as the Big Bad, but in a different way. He's just like the Whitecloaks, imho, except his followers don't have the discipline.

Zeal- n. Enthusiastic devotion to a cause, ideal, or goal and tireless diligence in its furtherance.

Hitler: zealot in that he tried to wipe out an entire race of people, and many other subgroups he didn't like because he didn't think they had the correct bloodlines and screwed up Germany all by themselves. If anything, a zealot against religion and diversity.

Saddam Hussein: zealot in attaining, expanding and retaining power. Mass graves of political or religious opponents or groups found from his regime.

Osama bin Laden: organized and attacked American and European targets, including but not limited to the September 11th attack and the Tower attacks of 1992, the English and Spanish train explosions of the early 2000s, and the attack of the USS Cole in 2001. Zealot for the destruction of America, its allies and its ideals.

Joseph Stalin: by the end of his regime, killed roughly 3 million Russians as political prisoners, executions, ethnic deportations and the sicknesses/starvation resulting from the move or labor camp casualties. Yes, a zealot to solidify his own power, but also a zealot against anything that threatened that power, whether politically or religiously.

Mahmoud Amadinejahd.: Okay, you got me there. How about the Ayatollah? The man labeled peaceful protests against a blatantly rigged election as acts of rebellion and disobedience to God.

Mussolini: Scumbag after power, yes, so maybe he would be more accurately assigned the role of Mesema Follower.
Roger Powell
40. forkroot
Not sure the analogy stands up. Rand has "unhinged" Masema in the sense that he sent him over the edge to fanaticism. Byar was already a fanatic and Dain was already a Whitecloak with a drinking problem before they encountered Perrin. They just hate him to excess.

A closer analogy (excessive hate) for Rand might be Fain.

For what it's worth, both Byar and Dain Bornhald are coming around under Galad's influence. They'll fight for the light at TG; it would probably be a good idea to fight on a different flank than Perrin does. :-)

Meanwhile - the one character that is obsessed with Mat at the moment is the gholam. That's more than enough of an enemy for anyone!
41. MasterAlThor
HArai @38

The answer to that question would depend on whose point of view you were looking from.

Mat's pov would include just about anyone he is currently traveling with.

Reader's pov.....I got nuttin.
Hugh Arai
42. HArai
forkroot@40: Fair enough. I was just thinking Byar and Dain seemed unreasonably fixated on Perrin. After all, yes Dain's father was killed at Falme, but Byar's whole reasoning for blaming Perrin was "I know he's to blame". Niall thinks he's an idiot in the prologue of TDR. And Dain's only reason is "Byar said so". Of course, I guess they also run into Fain right after...

MasterAl'Thor@41: Well yeah, since Mat figures anyone who wants to get involved with anything is crazy, everyone seems crazy to Mat :)
43. AllAdamB
On Fireworks Safety:

Makes me think of Rand's mishap in the latest book. His wives are going to be opening his ketchup bottles for the rest of his life.
Tess Laird
44. thewindrose
Perhaps to lighten things up - I propose that Mat may have unhinged all the women he loved before? I know, bad taste and now I have that song in my head.

Anyways, Masema... Perrin was supposed to bring him to Rand, and Rand was going to deal with him. Who do you think will actually kill him? There seems to be some forshawdowing of Perrin and Slayer. And he has the Wolf King deal to fulfill. Mat has to deal with saving Mo's bacon from the snakes and foxes and be back in time to general the Go Light Army. So will Rand and Masema meet at TG?
45. EmmaPease
The person I think of as like Masema is Girolamo Savonarola. In the late 15th century in Florence he roused the populace against corrupt clergy, got them to burn their "vanities", set up a religious republic, etc, etc.
46. MasterAlThor
Windrose @44


I am thinking back to days when I was a kid. In particular a Bugs Bunny cartoon. You know the one with the bugeyed scientist.

His line....You are going to make me do mean, terrible, horrible things to you.

Let's just not bring that song up again.
47. Mattg
@CalaLily, #39

I guess I had looked at zeal as requiring an external focus rather than self focused. I can definitely see your point though that they were zealously convinced of their own right to pre-eminence overriding any other concern.

I would find it satisfying that the two bands of zealots are trying to take each other out if it weren't for all the people that get caught in the middle. The frustration engendered from seeing the Whitecloaks and Masema each claiming they are fighting against the other in the name of the same good is one of those things that makes WoT so engaging.

This is the section of the books where I really started to get Nynaeve, but I'll wait until we come back to the circus crew later to discuss.
48. Snuboi
Hmmm I have never thought of Nynaeve being a hypocrite which is funny as hypocrisy tends to set me off. I have always found her inner monologue to be hilarious and these two chapters I think are some of the best. I have always thought of Nynaeve as not being very self aware, but believing she is very self aware. (I don't know if that makes sense at all.) I don't think she has ever put two and two together in her own mind and realized she berates others for violence and at the same time is ready to slap everyone around. I think to really be a hypocrite you have to be aware that you are allowing for a double standard and I don't think that she is aware of it at all. For some reason it has always just made me laugh.

I also always kind of liked the huge juxtaposition of TFoH. We have one very serious very deadly storyline following Rand and then we have the Laurel and Hardy meets Three's Company storyline of the menagerie. I think it definitely lightens the mood of the book and keeps it from being way to grim. Some of the later books really need some comic relief. I mean, you can only focus on the possible end of the world and all of reality breaking down for so long before you just get all hard and grim like Rand.
Tess Laird
49. thewindrose

I also posed a probability of Masema being influenced by either Fain and/or Demandred earlier, and was hoping to be able to discuss this.

Please discuss, I am all ears, err I may be missing one becuase of that dirt bag Hari...

Where to find Masema Dagar in the books.
50. johntheirishmongol
I have to say, while Ny as a couple of good lines, she still annoys me to no end. Instead of keeping her mouth shut and trying to use a little diplomacy with Masema, she has to blame Rand for this. She annoyed me in TEoTW walking around thinking she knows better than everyone, hitting people for not doing what she says and as far as I can tell, she hasn't changed a bit.

Uno is amusing in very small doses, which RJ was wise enough to do.

Galad still the #3 swordsman (behind Rand and Lan). His bits are short but pretty awesome if you just consider his actions and not Elayne's opinions.
Brett Michie
51. bchurch
Leigh I want to thank you for your commentary on this post (and for all your other commentary and hard work!). But, this one in particular opened my eyes to something I should have seen long since. I have never been a true Nyneave lover nor hater, having somewhat liked or been irritated by her depending on the stage in the story. I liked her early on, then got irritated by her in the middle, and came to like her again towards the later books from WH on. This sequence with the menagerie was one part in which heretofore she seriously got under my skin. But with your explanation of how this was RJ playing this for comedy/commentary and how we should not take her internal monologue at face value, I'm much more able to appreciate her character here. I'm kicking myself for not seeing this sooner and I thank you for opening my eyes to it.

Another sequence where she used to really bother me was the whole Ebou Dar trip and her attitude towards Mat. But, now that I think on it, I realize that she and Mat rub each other wrong so much because they are so similar. I've known many people like this who couldn't get along because they were so alike in their mannerisms and behaviors. It's both comical and exasperating to witness.

So, now Nyneave has jumped a few points on my personal list of liked WOT characters. I'm not holding my breath for Elayne to do likewise though . . .
52. afterthefallofnight
I just wanted to say that I have enjoyed every one of your previous posts and I look forward to each new post. Please keep out the good work.

I agree with the folk who feel Nynaeve isn't hypocrite, but she is clueless. And arrogant. Her lack of understanding of herself or other people is often comic. But only because she so clearly has a good heart despite often being stunningly wrongheaded.

"Find it annoying to listen to Nynaeve constantly
disparage and dismiss and belittle the male
characters, guys? Yeah, it is annoying to be judged
solely on your gender, isn’t it? Fancy that!"

True, but ... well ... it sort of reminds me of something Nynaeve might say.
Pete Pratt
53. PeteP
I used to get so annoyed with the NynEg arc from tSR and tFoH, thinking will this never end. Now, I just laugh and laugh and laugh.

Galad faces down the two swords in the alley at first struck me as a little too arrogant. But, since I have started appreciating Galad more since KoD, I see it as part of his total awesomeness. Galad and his brother Rand need to get in a sword fight side-by-side -- a very necessary scene, though unlikely to see it (unless Galad intervenes to protect Rand from Gawyn.....)

Jasparx @20. You stopped at tSR and now are getting your info from a re-read blog?!?!?!?!!??!! Please, stop reading these posts and comments. Go immediately and start reading the books again from tEotW. Do not stop until you have read KoD (one of the best in the entire series). You are missing so much wonderful stuff and only getting cliffnotes. I wish I were reading tWoT for the first time....
54. Questionable
@CalaLily. I would put Mao as much more Masema than any of those you listed.

Extremely charismatic, caused massive suffering through unwavering belief that he was infallible, zealot for the seemingly good cause of equality. Only missing is that he wasn't ascetic enough, though at least he kept his public appearance toned down (uniforms only).
barry troy
55. perrin5454
As far as real life analogues of Masema, I think that Osama Bin Laden is a good example.

Osama Bin Laden you could argue is an ascetic. He was born to a wealthy family, then used that wealth to help finance the fight against the Russians in Afghanistan. He also actively participated in the fighting, which is what makes him so much of a hero to his followers. Furthermore, he gave this all up and now lives in relative obscurity somewhere in Northwest Pakistan (we think) most likely in a cave.

As far as Masema's actions in taking from the rich and giving to the poor, Stalin is probably the most analogous there. Stalin forcibly collectivized farming in the USSR. He essentially confiscated nearly all the foodstuffs of every farmer when they resisted. The numbers I have seen show that this forced collectivization killed upwards of 6 million people in the Ukraine alone, most of them farmers and intelligentsia. In fact, Stalin's rule was so hated, that when the Nazis invaded during World War II they were welcomed as liberators (but that didn't last long, thanks to the einsatzgruppen and other war crimes). Mao also attempted much the same thing in China with his Cultural Revolution and his Great Leap FOrward, which together killed as many as 70 million CHinese due to starvation.

You are probably right about Ahmedinejad not belonging on the list.

To me, the common factor to all these men and their atrocities is that they were all absolute dictators and this includes Masema. Rand may (and I stress may, right now Masema is so crazy that if the Lord Dragon pulls him up short he may just decide that the Lord Dragon is better served as a martyr) be able to bring Masema up short, but right now, Masema's power is unchecked. His word is law and there are no restraining influences. Even his old comrades are wary around him. Anything Masema wants he need but say the word and it will be so. He has absolute power, and we all know the old saying about absolute power. That is what makes Masema so scary. He has his own delusional code of conduct and no restraining influences whatsoever.
Pete Pratt
56. PeteP
I would also add Jim Jones and David Koresh and others like them to the Masema RL list. Religious zeolots are among the most dangerous of all.

Oh, and Happy 4th of July to my fellow Americans. Hope you can find some good Illuminators show tonight.
57. Freelancer
Makes me think of Rand's mishap in the latest book. His wives are going to be opening his ketchup bottles for the rest of his life.
If he didn't have that Power thing going on, perhaps.


I imagine RJ would be displeased to learn that there is a reader who missed Nynaeve's hypocrisy. If it were Bela, she'd have been beaten to death before our first glimpse of Tear. Leigh makes a great point that it is used as a farcical plot device for humor's sake. The closest thing to wise that comes from Nynaeve's POV since we first learn that she exists is here:
Next thing the man would want to pack her and Elayne in wool and sit them on a shelf! Wouldn't it be best if someone did? a tiny voice asked. Haven't you caused enough trouble going your own way? She told the voice to be quiet. It did not listen, but began listing disasters and near disasters sprung from her own stubbornness.

I don't see Nynaeve as arrogant. I'm willing to chalk up all her foibles to internal fear of how others see her, and her aggression as a coping mechanism because of how she sees herself, as a coward. But none of that excuses the hypocrisy. Her heart is in the right place for the "big picture", and she's a first squad player for the Light team, but the girl who is always reminding others how much they need to grow up needs to heed that advice herself.
58. SarekTheSeanchan
For some reason the whole Galad swearing on his mother thing has always struck me as odd. Him swearing on Tigraine is one thing... but then when Nynaeve tells Elayne about it she says something about "he swore on our mother?"

I would think that Elayne would know they have the same father not the same mother... For some reason that bugs me every read through. I'm not sure if it's a mistake or if it's intentional or if I'm just reading to much into things...
59. Freelancer
A tiny example of Nynaeve at her bestworst. Two Sheinaran warriors, not exactly your surrender-monkey types, are afraid of Masema, his power and his followers. How big a clue-bat must Nynaeve be hit with before she follows a hint? Well, they're just men, therefore they are fools, therefore I don't need to view their trepidation towards Masema as having a valid basis.


I think it is not a mistake. Galad means Morgase. After Tigraine disappears, and Morgase weds Taringail, she adopts Galad.
Sydo Zandstra
60. Fiddler


Sammael suggests that 'events to the south have Demandred's mark'. This is when he is at Graendal's place, which we know is in Arad Doman.

Demandred is known to prefer working through proxies. Weiramon is one, IMO Taim is another and Masema may be one too.

Masema is surely letting the Lord of Chaos rule, knowingly or not.

My own thoughts about this say that Masema must have been at guard duty to Fain at some point back when Fain was imprisoned in tGH. He's clearly mad, and I think he got Aram finally over the brink after talking to him. Meaning he infected him. Fain did the same with Elaida.
Matias Miguez
61. meiyas
@21 Mjones:

To use a real world example, imagine the Pope going insane and giving all Catholics a carte blanche to form rabid mobs and kill anyone who doesn't believe in the exact interpretation of Chirstianity/the Bible/Jesus that he sets down

you don't have to imagine, you just have to read some history books

@30 CalaLily:
you can add to the list some of the middle ages popes, the leaders of the inquisition etc.
62. CalaLily
Meiyas: Using more modern-day equivalents, and trying to show how not all zealots are or have to be religious. You have a point, though, and if I was doing a list of Murdering Zealots Through the Ages there would definitely be a few "Christians" on there.

I think any sort of terrorist organization might qualify, whether eco or jihad or white supremacist or whatever label you wanna slap on them. Although, perhaps only the guy at the Top could be labeled "Masema-like".

Masema and Rand: I don't know how Rand would react if Perrin managed to drag Masema to him for that little sit down. I think that if he doesn't explicitly command the Aiel not to kill him once he's there, "the Prophet" is going to end up with a few dozen spears through his ribcage. But I'm not entirely sure that Masema will make it to Rand in one piece, either...
Michael Thompson
63. TrollocBait
CalaLily@62 My thought is that even if Rand explicitly commands the Aiel not to kill Masema (which, by the way, would be against Rand's own laws of killing people who murder) I can definitely see some Maidens or Wise Ones who will do it anyways, just because they know better. They would be correct in that assumption, IMO.
paul Hend
64. tugthis
I think it is unnecessarily complicated to bring Masema to Rand. The brighter thing to do wold be to have Rand visit Masema. . . a problem and plot strand that could be wrapped up before lunch any day.
65. Maimie
A real-life Masema: Thomas Müntzer.

If you want a more colourful picture about him, read The Adventurer by Mika Waltari. I have no idea about how good the translation is, as I've read it in Finnish, and it's tediously written at places, but it gives a good picture about the 16th century.

Funny, I've never thought the bit where Nynaeve labels men as violent morons who need to be beaten with a stick as hypocritical. I've just thought that she is unbeliveably controversial. But at closer thought, that's what hypocrisy is.
66. Smatt
The easiest way to deal with the fanatic would be to get one or all of Perrins Asha'man to hunt him down and then Channel his ass to dust.
sandi vogel
67. sinfulcashew
For the second time.
Here is a little something for the 4th of July from Australia.

Cool Beans!

edit: I posted it on the last post. Oops!
(I think it needs to be 'cut and paste')
68. longtimefan
@ 37 subwoofer.

Why Masema does not take a gateway to Rand.

If I remember correctly he gives a short answer that only The Lord Dragon should use the power and that it would be blasphemy to use the power to take him to Rand.

Rand does not go to Masema because I do not think he knows who it is nor does he seem to have time to visit.
Tess Laird
69. thewindrose
longtimefan @68
Rand knows the Prophet is Masema. Rand and Perrin put together a plan to bring Masema back - which obviously doesn't work.
From aCoT - chapter To Be Alone:
"Some of you may be wondering where we are, and why,"he went on when silence fell at last. A smaller ripple of laughter. "This is Ghealdan." (...) "The first thing we have to do is convince Queen Alliandre we aren't here to invade."(...)"Then we're going to find a fellow who calls himself the Prophet of the Lord Dragon." That would not be much pleasure, either; Masema had been no joy before he tipped over the edge.
70. Smatt
One thing that has always bugged me about the Masema issue and the Faile kidnapping is that Perrin did not let Rand know what was happening and ask him for help. It would have taken no time at all with his Asha'man.

Quite sure that Rand would have sent some more people to help Perrin get Faile back and once he realised what a whack job Masema he would have come himself and ended him in about a minute.

It would have saved a lot of paper. We have to be more green in these worrying times of global warming. More importantly though the books would have been out quicker.
Maiane Bakroeva
71. Isilel
Hm, here I take a few days off to read Sanderson - I mostly liked his stuff and I am now much more sanguine re: his contribution to WoT - and discussion moves past me at a breakneck speed!

Anyway, enter Masema, my most hated evil, but non DF(?) WoT character, along with Sevanna (who edges out Elaida by a hair). I absolutely hate zealots and in addition I doubt that Masema is a honest zealot.
IMHO, it is naive to think that a meeting with Rand could solve anything, as Masema has invested too much into his Dragon Cult and incited and ordered a multitude of horrific crimes. He would never want to acknowledge that he is a mass murderer and would invent some contorted justification for going on, unless Rand's tav'eren directly forces him and continues to force him or he is killed.

IIRC, initial reason for Rand not going to Masema directly was that he wanted to avoid scaring the people and rulers in the area, but I can't recall why Perrin didn't try to call him in once the extent of Masema's threat and craftiness became clear.
So far Masema following Perrin with his rabble, devastating the ever new areas and killing/hurting more folks doesn't look like a good thing in the least.

Oh, and having tons of gold doesn't translate into having enough food, as Spain painfully discovered iRL.

As to Nyn, I am one of the rare people who liked the SG double act until the quest for the Bowl of Winds.
I always found the circus segment pretty funny and Nyn here just cracks me up.
In addiction, events happen at a good clip - Moggy, Brigitte, meetings with various (future) major players, like in this chapter, a good view from within the crowd at what the whole situation is doing to Randland.

Yes, Nyn is sexist, but men's behavior here also is. Within minutes of meeting her they all think that they should manage her "for her own good" and it is bound to be very aggravating.
I mean, Nyn lives dangerously, sure, and takes unnecessary risks, but she has almost mastered challenges that those guys couldn't even imagine. Lack of respect well and truly goes both ways, IMHO.

Re: Galad - I like him, but his reason for joining the WCs makes no sense. Elayne's malingering of him is decisively shown to be off the mark, though, finally.
Wayne Wilson
72. stylusmobilus
Thanks for the post, Leigh. Since the 4th of July is my son's birthday it isn't such a random weekend for us.

A few of those examples given are very much like Masema but there are not so subtle differences with each. I think only Hitler, and then even only in the later years was a nutter like Masema is. How about Idi Amin? I've never given much thought to his possible exposure to Fain in Fal Dara either. I think he might be under an overwhelmingly strong tie of Compulsion from Demandred. I'm fairly certain he's one of Demandred's proxies and have been for a while.
Tess Laird
73. thewindrose
Masema, it is hard to explain his rise to major player - i.e. getting the letter from Suroth, having such an effect on all the area's he goes through, after he heads towards Samara and moves on from there.
What we need is a Demandred POV!
Paging Mr. Sanderson!

I do not think that Masema has the same 'powers' as Fain. I think he just convinced Aram that Perrin was shadowspawn - probably not to hard as no one but Masema was paying any attention to him during the Faile kidnapping.
74. HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
The problem with the comparison of Masema to Hitler and Stalin et al is that those guys weren't crazy. I mean obviously their beliefs, but not their thought processes. Uno talks about how Masema can't stick with any one thing in his head. This was decidedly NOT one of Hitlers faults. A better comparison would be maybe Nero.
75. HeWhoComes
Edit: Caligula, not Nero
76. whatusername
Lannis @24 ==> The Masema reveal was in Book 2. Lan/Moirane hear about the prophet and Lan goes- I remember someone like that - Masema. (Think it was in Illian)
77. LightBlindedFool
The recap skipped one of my favorite lines in the whole book.

Uno tells Nynaeve about the Prophet forcing hundreds of men and women to get married, including some who have never met. Nynaeve hears Ragan say under his breath:

"Some man doesn't know how bloody lucky he is."

Ragan has some great dialogue that always seems to get squeezed in between other characters' lines, but this has to be the funniest.
Tess Laird
78. thewindrose
Back from the Illuminators show - Aludra put on a fine display.
Happy 4th to those that celebrate it, otherwise happy weekend:)
John Massey
79. subwoofer
Clue-bat- love it:)

Galad and the WC. Probably gonna go down in flames here, but whatever, its a blog, not espionage. In theory, I like the Children of the Light. They are supposed to be the ones who hunt down Dark Friends and keep these sinners from the good folk.

Problem is twofold- One, in the zealotry of hunting out these Dark Friends, many innocents get swept into the mix for doing or saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, or calling their neighbors a flaming goat herder or some such and the neighbor gives an anonymous tip... Two, the screening process the Children use to enlist their members leaves much to be desired. Seems like it is a recruitment center for every nut in the snack mix.

IMHO, I am a fan of the normal people- kinda like superheros- you could go for Superman who is very god-like in Randland that would be the AS- Or you could go for Batman who is a normal guy who does his best with what he has- in Randland- Gaidin, kinda Mat, and the Children. Take it with a bag of salt, but I think with Galad's lead, the Children could be what they were meant to be in Lothair Mantelar's "The Way of the Light".

Ny, Ny, Ny, sometimes she reminds me of me, except she's a she. Not the cat's mother. She does have some male tendencies trapped in a female body. The way she tries to bully, beat and cajole everyone to see her way. If persuasion doesn't work, she resorts to force. And she has a very guy centric logic on looking at the world where everything is skewed in her favor.

I'm just sayin'.

Happy Fourth!!

Go Bela!
John Massey
80. subwoofer
er.... not WoT related, Castle w/ Nathan Fillion, got picked up for another season... for those Firefly fans that appreciate his unique acting talents...
Sydo Zandstra
81. Fiddler
Actually, I saw Nathan first in the last Buffy season, and he rocked there too playing sort of a Masema.

Yay Nathan!

I agree on Children of the Light, even though they are bullies. Even Pedron Niall was going to do the right thing in opposing the Seanchan. But then he got backstabbed.

With Galad leading them, they'll show Randland what they were created for.

BTW, I like how Byar and Dain Bornhald are getting a chance for redemption.
82. alreadymadwithmadwcs
subwoofer @79
Whatever you can say about their recruitment process, the training itself appears to be top notch. References are always made to their discipline as a fighting force.
Antoni Ivanov
83. tonka

Freelancer is right. There is no mistake. Tigraine is no more mother to Galad as it is to Rand. Kari is Rand's real (not biological) mother , and Morgase is Galad's
Maiane Bakroeva
84. Isilel
Well, I don't see how WC training can be top-notch when Perrin was able to kill half a dozen of them by himself after a couple of a short lessons in fighting. And Gaul was able to kill twice as many with his bare hands.

I also fail to see how Mat can count as a normal person in any way. He has more magic than any AS, even if it is called different names ;). And what is more, he'd be nothing without it.

And it isn't like blademastery doesn't require an innate talent which only few have. Regular guys like Uno and Ragan, who have been fighting in defense of their country for their whole adult lives, have no hope of becoming blademasters.
John Massey
85. subwoofer
@84 Isilel-I did say Mat "kinda"... and he could still swing a mean staff, memories or no...

Blademasters- yup, they're special- like the few people in the world who can drive Formula 1. I was saying that WC are normal, not Galad. Yes he does have talent and yes, he is a WC. I never made the leap in logic that Blademasters were swing-a-cat-and-hit-one normal...

WC are noted for their military precision and discipline- RJ's words not mine- and yes, Perrin and Aiel mow them down, by the same token, they mow down everyone so how is that any different? Perrin is like a Samoan warrior run amok,not the most skilled, but brute strength and beserker fury sometimes trumps skill. And he still has holes in him after battle that need to be "patched" up.
Maiane Bakroeva
86. Isilel
@85 Subwoofer:

But could he really? In the first 2 volumes it certainly looked like Moraine knew more about staff fighting than Mat ;).
Once he got his amazing luck and his tav'eren influence became strong - well, I guess that he'd have been mean with anything. That's why I don't understand why people adore his bout with G&G so much - it is about as "fair" as Mat's gambling. And about as indicative of Mat's true skill.

I have to say that Mat supposedly having been a staff fighter all along (but in secret?!) always felt like a retcon to me. It is like RJ decided that knives and bow just weren't enough for the role he had envisioned for Mat.

And IIRC, while Aiel implausibly tear everybody apart, the Borderlanders can stand up to them and not go down a dozen to one. WCs look like complete pussies by comparison - not surprisingly, since they mostly harass defenseless folks.
87. TAmyrlinring1
Isilel @86

Mat has internal dialogues with himself about his father teaching him quarterstaff in that G&G battle, just like the thoughts Rand has of his Dad teaching him the bow.

Mat wasn't carrying a quarterstaff earlier--Moiraine was, so any "fight scenes" with Mat didn't discuss him and a quarterstaff because he wasn't carrying one--he had his bow instead. You may disagree, but I personally don't find it strange at all that he could know the quarterstaff and not use it until then, well, first because he didn't have one, and second because he was becoming ill to the point of incapacitation for a pretty long stretch in those books thanks to his possession of the dagger (and its possession of him).

As to fairness . . . Mat's POV tells us his dad taught him the quarterstaff. It's a good weapon against multiple opponents, and G&G know this. They can also see that Mat is falling over, so as far as "fair" goes, we have two extremely competent swordsmen against Mat's skill with quarterstaff for as long as he can stay standing. His POV shows us he has lots of trouble there and watches carefully for openings that he can recognize because he IS familiar with the weapon. No hint that it was "all luck"--that's why we all adore that scene, as you put it. G&G think they're something, and our "hero" who is at a disadvantage (he's about to collapse), STILL manages to kick some royal behind. I think we like that Mat does have real skills with his bow and quarterstaff and knowledge of horses and trading in addition to the way cool luck and implanted memories.

As for WCs--yeah, I think there are a few blademasters, Valda, then Galad, and a competent general, Niall, but we don't have much info. on the rest other than they've got spit and polish and are zealous. So, I guess that leaves me with no problems as far as seeing their normal rank and file guys having problems with Perrin, Gaul, etc.
Maiane Bakroeva
88. Isilel
TAmyrling1 @87

The staff is about the easiest weapon to make if you have an ax and a knife, as their group did. Half an hour, tops. For that matter, why didn't Mat have his own staff from the beginning, like he had his bow?

Rand and Perrin used the weapons they were completely unfamiliar with, their situation was that desperate. And Mat was skilled with a weapon all along, yet didn't use it?!

No, I am sorry, but it really felt like a later change to Mat's character.

Particularly since if Mat had been that great, then _he_ would have been the winner of staff competition in TR or at least expecting to win one during the impending Festival at the start of the series. IIRC, we didn't even hear about his father being the champion back in TEoTW when various Bel Tine activities were described.

G&G think they're something, and our "hero" who is at a disadvantage (he's about to collapse), STILL manages to kick some royal behind.

Sigh. But he is at a huge advantage. He is a tav'eren with phenomenal luck. Those openings, Gawyn tripping, etc. wouldn't even have been there for a regular person. I guess the fact that he beats royal blood is all that matters to his admirers ;).
Lannis .
89. Lannis
whatusername @ 76: re: the Masema reveal... yes, we readers had our knowledge earlier, but other than the Shienarian soldiers and some surmising on Lan & Moiraine's part, this is the first time a main character concretely discovers that Masema is the Prophet.
Pete Pratt
90. PeteP
Mat's dad won the staff competition every year, except when Rand's dad won. Isilel, we know you really do not like tWoT very much and that you really do not like Mat. Mat's 1st POV is at Tar Valon, so we do not what he was thinking. We do know that once he got the Ruby Dagger, he would not use any other weapon.

Abell Cauthon was the best horse-trader in Two Rivers (think super-salesman) and taught Mat all the tricks of looking for angles and advantages. We know from the very beginning that Mat likes tricks, he is interested in wars, he likes to gamble, and that he channels the Old Tongue. We do not see any super-luck until he gambles in Tar Valon. Mat is an excellent shot, just like all the Two Rivers boys.

As to unfair advantages, Hammar tells his students after the fight that Jeoram, the greatest swordsman ever, lost just one time, to a farmer with a staff. Mat just left the sickbed and looks like death warmed over. Hammar though Mat was at a disadvantage.....

Overall, this is not a change for Mat from the original conception -- not when Jordan already had foreshadowing of him as the trickster, general, and Manetheren hero reborn in tEotW. Again, we know you do not like the series (and why you follow this discussion?????), but you really are out on a limb....
91. alreadymadwithmat'sstaff
PeteP @90
I happen to agree with Isilel. Mat and staves were never mentioned together in the same passage for 2 entire books. Then all of a sudden he's so good with it in TDR? Sounds like a retcon to me too. Mat never had a POV for these entire two books, but even then, if his father was that good, somebody would have mentioned it.
Susan Brownhill
92. SusanB
Re Matt & staff - I think it makes perfect sense that he did not get a staff until later. 1. This coincides perfectly with Matt's personality. His number 1 goal in life is to avoid death. To fight with a staff you have to be close to your enemy & therefore increase your risk of death. With a bow, you can remain a great distance away. Especially with a TR bow. 2. When they left the TR they weren't expecting to fight anyone. They were running away. They brought bows b/c they are useful for hunting. It would be a waste of space & weight to carry a staff you don't expect to use. Also, they would expect the AS to protect them. They don't know she has limitations. 3. Making a staff - when do they have time? IIRC they are always on the move from dawn to dusk. 4. Not mentioning the skill - when do they sit around talking about everyone's skill with various weapons, never that I recall. They all grew up together, so there would be no need to discuss something they all would know. And they never freely offer info to L & M. They only answer questions that are asked.
Pete Pratt
93. PeteP
Actually, no. Chapter 13 tEotW. Lan teaches the boys about their weapons (Rand-sword, Perrin-axe, Mat-bow). He examines their bow skills, and finds them to be experts. Lan mentions specifically about quarterstaves , mentioning the lack of the quarterstaves that the boys use. Now, it looks like all Two Rivers boys, Rand, Perrin, and Mat are all trained with bows and staves. Lan also mentions slings in chapter 10.

Mat also is Mr. Old Blood, speaking the Old Tongue, Min having seen the Red Eagle image in Baerlon (as well as the dagger). He has heritage memories before his brain was stuffed. So, while the staff in Tar Valon appears suddenly, it is not out of character (Rand could have done the same most likely, and maybe Perrin).

So, AlreadyMad and Isilel, you both seem to be wrestling with the books, trying to find something that is not there. For 2 books, Mat was merely a sidekick with a nasty sickness from the Ruby Dagger. He only develops as a main character in tDR. Rand, Perrin, and Nynaeve get POVs, but not Mat. So maybe he was looking for dice games and thinking about a quarterstaff during tEotW (at least until he grabbed the Ruby Dagger).

The real question is whether Mat needed all his extra memories at all. Mat already had some Manetheren memories from the Band of Red Hand, etc. His luck grows before he gets his new memories, and he has his fighting skills.
Alice Arneson
94. Wetlandernw
alreadymadwithmat'sstaff @91

...but even then, if his father was that good, somebody would have mentioned it.

Why? It wasn't relevant.

And have you ever tried to fight with a quarterstaff while keeping your bow out of the way? If you're carrying weapons along on a horse, you're probably NOT going to carry a TR longbow AND a quarterstaff. Against Trollocs, a bow is much better for killing as many as possible without getting in reach of their superior reach and strength. And if you get to the point that your bow isn't useful, you'd better run as hard as you can, because you sure as heck don't have time to go cut yourself a quarterstaff then!

Also, as someone else mentioned, they didn't do a whole lot of fighting prior to Shadar Logoth; after that Mat had the dagger, which pretty much took him out.

EDIT: Susan and Pete beat me to it. Oh well.
Maiane Bakroeva
95. Isilel
PeteP @90:

Isn't it funny that we never heard anything about Abel's or Tam's prowess with the staff, even when Rand specifically thinks about this competition in the beginning in TEoTW? Nor is Rand himself trained with the staff.

Isilel, we know you really do not like tWoT very much

News to me, but undoubtedly you know better, being a stranger on the internets. Unlike some, I still can be critical towards something I like. I would say, judging from the summaries, that the esteemed Leigh can too.
It is true enough that I no longer love WOT like I did in the past, but surely that doesn't give you the right to chase me away from the discussions? Whoever named you the censor anyway?

and that you really do not like Mat.

A sacrilege, I know. When all right-thinking people dislike the SGs, I dare to be indifferent to Mat and prefer them to him!
Anyway, I have just skimmed the beginning chapters of TEoTW and I actually liked Mat there. He and Egs seemed the only people then, who were curious about the wide world outside their own corner.

As to Hammar, he didn't know that Mat was a super-lucky tav'eren, so he couldn't judge who was at a disadvantage.
I do find the whole notion of master swordsmen who have never fought or trained against an opponent with a pole-arm a bit strange, but maybe that's just me.

P.S. there is no indication that the boys were skilled with quarterstaves in Ch 13. Lan just tells them that Flame and the Void will work with any weapons, including swords, axes, bows, spears and quarterstaves.


They have enough time for Lan to train them for an hour or so every day, they have time to make quarterstaves.
And Rand and Mat did bring weapons, which they weren't even proficient in.
96. johntheirishmongol
I don't get what the big deal is about when Matt first showed off his skills with a staff. I wasn't as if RJ didn't show incredible foreshadowing skills in many other places, often waiting several books for a payoff. I am fine with Matt not shown the skill before, since the staff is a kind of weapon that a peasant would use anyway. Seems a whole lot picky to me.
j p
97. sps49
@86 Isilel-

I never heard it described as "staff fighting", but if you are halfway skilled with a quarterstaff you have some advantages over most swords- speed, reach, two ends. Killing is slower- you have to incapacitate first, while a sword can kill when it incapacitates- but note that Hammar was not surprised at all, and incorporated the duel into his training.

Two people aren't that hard to take (at least in sparring) so this scene read fine to me. And an attacker will always leave an opening or exploit by nature of attacking (well, minus firearms); most martial arts are based on this.

And (@88) I have made staves from cherry saplings, and half an hour is not long enough. In the country, a staff is cheap, simple, useful for putting work implement heads on, and something boys can roughhouse with without getting into too much trouble.
98. TAmyrlinring1
Isilel @ 95

Although this comment wasn't directed at me, let me share with you that Mat isn't my favorite either.

But, I do think that being critical of this one point as some great flaw in the story might be a bit of a strong statement. You're certainly welcome to the opinion, but don't be surprised in return that a lot of us on here don't agree. There's a lot said here that I don't agree with, and hey, that's my perogative ;-)

As a point, I've seen a LOT of people who have taken the time to read all the books fuss about how incredibly long and detailed it all is. I also know a bunch of people who didn't bother to finish the books because of that. However, you want to focus on the fact that Mat didn't have quarterstaff battles, practice, one in hand, an announcement that his dad was the grand champion or that he was one, as an absolutism for an assumption that he had no prior skill, and that this skill was therefore "plunked" into the story later on.

I find that a bit demanding on the author. It would take books, plural, describing each and every character in depth to support and foreshadow everything that could possibly come up. However, Mat having skill with this type of weapon is entirely PLAUSIBLE, given the locale of the boys, age, type of weapon (simple, like a bow is and therefore more likely for the "peasantry") instead of assuming he's a master of say, an AK-47 (doesn't fit the time, setting, education, or social frame of the character), whereas, a quarterstaff for a commoner in Randland is a plausible thing.

But, you say, he's fantastic at it. Again, I have to say, yeah, so? He's good with a bow, fast with a knife, its a common weapon, and he's one of the heros of the story. Why would we expect him not to be good with it? I don't think RJ was even going for the luck thing here. You point to Gawyn tripping--he's in a three way fight and getting smacked with a stick, I don't think that necessarily requires Mat's luck to occur. If you've ever seen someone use a quarterstaff, you know those things can be moved pretty darn fast, and your reach is better than that of someone with a sword. Luck may (I say may) have been an issue, but if Mat's EXTRAORDINARY luck were "kicking in", for the first time, I think it would have been pointed out more clearly as "the" luck and not just Mat using skill and observation to take advantage of the situation. Later when he's gambling in Tar Valon we see "the luck" for the first time, and it's pretty clear.
Pete Pratt
99. PeteP
RJ could not foreshadow everything that happens, nor could he go in depth on every character. He did a lot of it though. In the beginning of tEotW, we get 1 POV - Rand. We hear comments and see actions for the other characters, but that is it. Until Shadar Logath, it is all Rand all the time. Sure, that is very different from many later books such as LoC, PoD, WH, and CoT, but it was how it started. RJ could have started with Mat, Perrin, Egwene, Moiraine, or even Thom and set the stage almost as well--but he let us know early on that Rand was important. I would have liked to see a Mat or Perrin POV after Baerlon and before Shadar Logath. It was only as the series grew that he multiplied the POVs and enlarged the books, for good or ill. So, yes, RJ failed to foreshadow many, many things, but does that create a tremendous flaw -- no. Most authors do not foreshadow much at all.

Some people have argued that Cadsuane was a late addition to the series, a do-over to replace Moiraine. Maybe, but I would not be surpised if RJ planned her from before tSR. Either way its fine with me. Again, the world is a big place and we do not need to have every detail foreshadowed. Were the pain bracelets planned in advance, or did RJ just create them so the NynEg would have to go on their own quest? Who knows? (and we will not unless Harriet publishes RJ's notes and working papers)

So, go on with your silly nitpicking if you must. As for me, I started "discussing" tWoT on rasfw back over 17 years ago. I loved trying to figure out every little secret and foreshadowing. I have no desire to try and create flaws that do not exist. And I do not read authors I do not like-- I just stop reading their books.
sandi vogel
100. sinfulcashew
88. Isilel

"The staff is about the easiest weapon to make if you have an ax and a knife, as their group did. Half an hour, tops. For that matter, why didn't Mat have his own staff from the beginning, like he had his bow?

Rand and Perrin used the weapons they were completely unfamiliar with, their situation was that desperate. And Mat was skilled with a weapon all along, yet didn't use it?!

Why would Mat mention his skill or lack of, at any time?
Growing up as they did, the boys all knew each others skills, etc.
The staff was lower on the list as a weapon of choice. Mat and boys may not have thought of it as a weapon, as it was used for other things when working.
In all the kafuffle, other things were more important.
And as has been mentioned, it would have been awkward to carry on horseback?

Did you have a nice fourth? Or did something get to you?
You seem a little combatant about the subject.
sandi vogel
101. sinfulcashew
88. Isilel

"The staff is about the easiest weapon to make if you have an ax and a knife, as their group did. Half an hour, tops. For that matter, why didn't Mat have his own staff from the beginning, like he had his bow?

Rand and Perrin used the weapons they were completely unfamiliar with, their situation was that desperate. And Mat was skilled with a weapon all along, yet didn't use it?!

Why would Mat mention his skill or lack of, at any time?
Growing up as they did, the boys all knew each others skills, etc.
The staff was lower on the list as a weapon of choice. Mat and boys may not have thought of it as a weapon, as it was used for other things when working.
In all the kafuffle, other things were more important.
And as has been mentioned, it would have been awkward to carry on horseback?

Did you have a nice fourth? Or did something get to you?
You seem a little combatant about the subject.
sandi vogel
102. sinfulcashew
Double post.
For some reason the site decided that it needed another post of the same.
I thought I had already posted it, then went out for a bit and came back and there it was, ready to post.
So I did the obvious and did it----again! Thinking perhaps I didn't post it already. But as we can see I already had. I don't have any idea why?
103. CalaLily
You post so often your computer wasn't sure if you were finished or if you had more to say. :P
104. Shadow_Jak
The staff is about the easiest weapon to make if you have an ax and a knife, as their group did. Half an hour, tops. For that matter, why didn't Mat have his own staff from the beginning, like he had his bow?

Wow, everyone has something to say about this!
I don't mean to pile on, but a couple of points come to mind.

Easy to make? Sure, compared to a sword, or ax or bow. But first you need a good piece of seasoned wood. Just any ole pole won't do. Shaping a smooth, round, straight staff from a seasoned timber is a piece of cake... with a band-saw and a lathe. But with only an ax and a knife? No.

As for using a staff in TEotW... a staff is a fine weapon against an unarmed man, or a man armed with only knife, or cudgel, or maybe even a sword. But against heavily armed, giant monsters in spiked armor? No.

As for Mat and the G&G fight... Mat had the clear advantage. G&G were using 'practice' swords. NOT the real thing. Is a flexible bundle of thin, wooden lathes a match for a solid hardwood staff? No.
105. RobMRobM
Re Mat's staff - keep in mind that only some wood does well for staffs. That was covered in KoD (chapter called "A Stave and a Razor" when Mat found and bought a stave of the special wood for staffs used in the Two Rivers. Not every branch found on the road between Baerlon and Camelyn would do.

This is an academically interesting argument but I don't buy it. Rand's POV early in EOTW noted that he thought his archery skills were good enough to place in the archery competition at Bel Tine behind his Dad. No doubt if Mat had a POV in EOTW he would have had the same thoughts regarding the quarterstaff competition. Not implausible at all.

106. Shadow_Jak
Double post.
For some reason the site decided that it needed another post of the same.

The Wheel Weaves as the Wheel Wills. A thing, once woven, becomes part of the Great Patten. Only Balefire, (wielded by a Moderator) can change it.
107. Shadow_Jak
That was a bow-stave. Which selection, is actually far more critical. But you are certainly correct that just any old piece of wood would NOT do.
108. Shadow_Jak

"Some man doesn't know how bloody lucky he is."

Ragan has some great dialogue that always seems to get squeezed in between other characters' lines, but this has to be the funniest.

Agreed. He was hilarious!

BTW, for those who think Masema may have been infected by Fain... IIRC Ragan and Masema were buds back then. They always arranged to have the same guard details. But Ragan is still himself.
Hugh Arai
109. HArai
Shadow_Jak@108: The Ragan and Masema pairing is why I think Masema is either a product of Rand's ta'veren powers causing a serious problem or a Forsaken puppet as someone (Fiddler?) suggested. The Ragan normal, Masema totally loopy dichotomy is just so sharp.
110. Balance
Good ol’ Mattrim: Here’s some fun with Mat. I think the reason BYOQ “bring yer own quarterstaff” never came up is much simpler than everyone seems to think. It just simply wasn’t cool, man. :) An earlier poster stated my thoughts on the commonness of staffs. #97 got it pretty good. It’s a useful stick. But how many baddass heroes are there who wield the big stick. Maybe some merchant guards here and there, but they’re like mall cops. Same with town watch doofs. I mean when the heroes came down, Summoned by The Horn, did anyone see a staff-guy? Were was Sir Gregory the Baddass Staff guy. We only meet one other staff man really, and I think we can all agree he’s not awe inspiring.

So here you are, about 18yrs old, leaving home for the first time, with both your boyz, you gotta look cool, man. Showing up with his staff would have been like an American kid back in the Cold War, and the Russians invaded. Like that movie with the young Patric Swayze. All your friends are showing up with their shotguns, pistols, dad’s rifle, ect. And you show up with your baseball bat. Or a tazer. The old kind when you actually had to touch the other person with it :)

Also I think his luck kicked in much earlier in the series. Right around TeotW, Four Kings. When he was trapped in the storeroom, baddies pushing at the door, the windows barred, no way out. It was pretty damn lucky to have the freaking Dragon Reborn standing next to him! I mean it could have been Perrin standing there. That would have really sucked for Mat. Whats wolf boy gonna do?

Oh and @ 105. I think the stave of wood he picked up was for a longbow. He still had his Ashandari. He comments that the black yew was the right grain to give the bow its power. The merchant thought it was a quarterstaff, even though it was too thin a length. She was surprised Mat wanted it, him being dressed like a lord and all.
sandi vogel
111. sinfulcashew
103. CalaLily
"You post so often your computer wasn't sure if you were finished or if you had more to say. :P "

Wow! And I thought I was keeping it on the Q-T!

Hey! Wait a minute! We need another survey!
A survey about the ones who post most!!!!!
I'll bet I don't even make the cut.

Especially if we stick to the relevant posts.
I win the irrelevant, probably!

I choose WetlanderNW for moderator!

"The Wheel Weaves as the Wheel Wills. A thing, once woven, becomes part of the Great Patten. Only Balefire, (wielded by a Moderator) can change it."
Yeh! What he said!
112. ChrisK
Here's a wild thought: suppose Rand is killed by Masema in the end.What if Masema thinks Rand does something Masema believes to be blasphemy. I could see Masema killing off one of Rand's friends (Matt) for the said reason.
John Massey
113. subwoofer
'K, Go Time-

sorry it took me awhile- dealing with home renos... Mat and staffs- Moiraine's was like Gandalf's- and I am still wondering what happened to it before she kacked. Perrin has and axe, or a hammer, depending on who you ask... Rand has his heron marked sword... don't see Mat swinging a mace and every bowman has to deal with infantry up close and personal at some point so... And let us not forget Robin Hood and John Little each fought with a staff. And the Sith...

They are hand and convenient weapons. Many oriental weapons were developed from every day tools that were applied for self defense from raiders and such. Shepperd's in the Two Rivers would be trained with staffs to fend off predators from their flocks. Stands to reason that the competitions would be about the use for these everyday tools.

As to why RJ did not hint at this earlier, why not ask him- oh, snap- he isn't around anymore. When Mat fought G&G he could barely stand, let alone fight his way out of a wet paper bag. Luck can only carry you so far. Timing is everything. And if you go through the blow by blow detail, except for the stumble, which happens often on cobblestone, Mat's skill carried the fight for him, not his luck.

Personally, being a bow hunter myself, I am partial to that weapon, but that is just me. As for Rand and Masema, the sun rises and sets with Rand so by definition, nothing that Rand does could be considered blaspheme... ie. how can you blaspheme against yourself? I dunno... am tired, later...
Alice Arneson
114. Wetlandernw
sinfulcashew @ 111

Believe it or not, on one blog I actually tried to count posts per person, just out of curiosity. I dare say there's an easier way than I was doing, but it was a serious pain. And of course, just # of posts wouldn't be entirely fair, because there are those who post complete essays, while other post short random thoughts... :)

On the one I tracked, (tFoH 12), I quit after 210 responses (I see there are now 217). At that point, there were 70 people who had posted, with 1/3 of the posts attributed to 1/10 of the posters. (7 people had a total of 70 posts). In order of most posts on that particular thread, the guilty (?) parties were:

14 Wetlandernw
12 bkaul
11 toryx
9 HArai
9 PeteP
8 jamesedjones
7 Wolfmage

I was either bored that day, or someone hit a real hot button, I guess. Anyway, after doing it for one post, I can't imagine that I'll tackle it again!! :)
Pete Pratt
115. PeteP
Masema was always a little crazy. Look back @ tGH -- Masema stares down Rand and Rand asks Ingtar what's his problem? I can't remember it all (and do not feel like looking for it right now), but the gist of it is Masema is a bit loco.
craig thrift
116. gagecreedlives

I thought Masema hated Rand in tGH because he looked like an aiel man. From what I remember of that book is that he was a bit of a misery guts all round but not really crazy.

People are asking if Masema got infected when he was guarding Fain. I dont actually remember him guarding Fain. He did the gates with Ragan when Rand wanted to sneak out. I thought the guards for Fain where the 2 they found skinned alive.
117. Shadow_Jak
I think Masema started off with a screw loose then went off the deep end when Rand left them all in the Mountains of Mist in TDR. From there, seems likely one of the Chosen...err, Forsaken have been at him. (Graendal?) Also, Pedron Naill's agents are stirring the pot.
sandi vogel
118. sinfulcashew
114. Wetlandernw

Thanks for the news!
And notice ~who~ is at the top? (edit-no subwoofer?)
I didn't even make the list!

It seems that I don't even think of some of the topics everyone else does.
I think I just accept all as 'the way it is', for the particular book.

To question the author seems kind of weird to me. It's easy to take it in as it is, without saying 'why'?
I have said a couple of things that struck me at the time, but *nothing of any consequence.*

But it is fun to read the things everyone thinks!
I don't like for anyone to get uppity though.
THEN I might say something. But * refer to above.

I miss Roxinos though. Although the attitude of 'no one knows what is up but me' can get a little much.

Anyway, we all need to play nice!
119. RobMRobM
Balance @110 re the stave - you are absolutely correct. The stave was for a TR bow rather than a quarterstaff. My apologies to all for the factual error.

As a better thought, the reason Mat didn't make a quarterstaff in EOTW (even if he had time to make one) because while a staff is a great weapon for one-on-one (or one-on-two battles), it is not useable on horseback and, I suspect, not a great one in a battle.

Asger Grunnet
120. asgerix
Below is a list of wordcounts for each poster in the FoH12 thread. I think the wordcount is a bit more interesting than the count of posts (you still win by a large margin, though!). My word counting algorithm is not totally accurate, but it should give a fairly accurate picture of the relative wordcounts of the different posters. The number after the slash is the number of posts for that person.

Sorry about the formatting - it is a bit difficult to format tables with bbCode.

Wetlandernw 4364 / 15
toryx 2814 / 11
bkaul 2126 / 12
Wolfmage 1969 / 7
PeteP 1599 / 9
subwoofer 1124 / 6
Isilel 969 / 3
lmelior 863 / 4
Miythrandir 733 / 5
HArai 703 / 9
hoping 646 / 6
forkroot 605 / 6
Rand Al'Todd 572 / 2
HurinSmells 567 / 3
TrollocBait 543 / 3
perrin5454 535 / 1
SteelBlaidd 533 / 4
Lost in my own Mind 486 / 3
Freelancer 480 / 1
Lannis 463 / 5
Helen 417 / 3
Ispan 409 / 3
tonka 408 / 6
almuric 407 / 1
Shimrod 395 / 6
jamesedjones 390 / 8
sps49 388 / 3
breeze 383 / 2
LadyBelaine 381 / 3
Seamus1602 368 / 1
J.Dauro 363 / 3
alreadymadwith... 338 / 2
Latecomer 317 / 2
frosted 259 / 1
thewindrose 254 / 3
Valan 248 / 2
jcmnyu 246 / 1
SRizea 241 / 1
darxbane 229 / 2
dwndrgn 223 / 2
Wrenza 223 / 3
R.Fife 221 / 3
jafco 190 / 1
bad_platypus 161 / 2
BillinHI 154 / 1
The Not So Dark One 154 / 2
MasterAlThor 146 / 2
Qtip the Sixth 140 / 1
drewlovs 136 / 1
RobMRobM 129 / 2
ubxs113 113 / 2
Aegnor 111 / 2
stylusmobilus 107 / 1
Kadere 97 / 1
gagecreedlives 94 / 2
leighdb 90 / 2
4thAgeDragon 78 / 2
toddywatts 66 / 1
Neuralnet 62 / 1
CDragon27 61 / 1
bbelch 55 / 1
huonch 55 / 1
Amalisa 48 / 2
gimpols1908 47 / 2
TexanSedai 47 / 1
Smatt 45 / 1
JennB 38 / 1
Aye Aye Sedai 37 / 1
SusanB 36 / 1
Mark-S 30 / 1
crsandoval 9 / 1
PitVipersoh'boy 8 / 1

In case you are wondering: No, I did not do that by hand.
John Massey
121. subwoofer
In Canada- here- when we are under snow and cold, there is nothing better to do than hide inside and blog. But in the summer, when the snow goes away, Subwoofer goes out and chases squirrels. Between renos and fishing and other outdoor pursuits, unless I had a Blackberry that gave me feeds(I work much and figure if they can't reach me at work or home, then I don't want to be reached) and could take the time to write then I would still post like a champion. There is always the winter... after Mulie season...

Maybe it is because what I say scars people for life. Or that I cater to basic thoughts and pop culture references and try not to be too high brow and esoteric. I am also trying to leave certain "hot button" things alone. Am very opinionated and could say things but the bunker still stinks. Lysol and Glade don't cut it. It's almost like somebody died in there. Elaida must of used some AS witchery, sweat tent my eye!

Oooo, WoT related, was thinking, what if Perrin set up camp in a stedding and Masema was with him... would that stop the guy from frothing at the mouth?
John Massey
122. subwoofer
- I thought we do play nice. We also have a right to maintain decorum and civility.

-see a small furry creature with a fluffy tale and an acorn-
Kurt Lorey
123. Shimrod
Of course, asgerix's review is of a single thread, but my assumption of who would have been the most verbose ended up not fitting the data.

The Chatty Cathy award (for the recorded thread) goes to perrin 5454. Better luck next time Freelancer and almuric.

@121 subwoofer.

Tess Laird
124. thewindrose
OK - So how is going to do word count and number of posts for TSR10:)
Asger Grunnet
125. asgerix
With a total of 146 different posters in TSR10, I think I will show only the top 50:

aiel1219 5600 / 40
UncrownedKing 3840 / 60
elvyelvy 3514 / 44
subwoofer 2948 / 54
alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed 2584 / 27
bookworm 2572 / 33
FullNelson 2460 / 2
Randalator 2407 / 17
GatheringStorm 2268 / 48
R.Fife 2198 / 34
Siuanfan 2038 / 22
Wetlandernw 1753 / 19
hoping to be of the blood 1686 / 23
bchurch 1545 / 23
Samadai 1483 / 39
almuric 1381 / 8
lmelior 1278 / 13
janie 1093 / 5
Freelancer 1035 / 7
odigity 896 / 7
Lannis 890 / 7
MSedai 824 / 4
SteelBlaidd 732 / 2
That Guy 708 / 8
forkroot 623 / 6
mark-p 613 / 5
douglasm 581 / 3
grayfox 574 / 6
u_turnagain 557 / 5
longtimefan 545 / 3
DrMorganstien 491 / 7
wsean 487 / 5
fss 476 / 6
TheDarkOne 469 / 10
Shadow_Jak 451 / 4
Tony Zbaraschuk 440 / 5
McArcher 439 / 3
CireNaes 436 / 4
happi 415 / 7
Eswana 404 / 10
tabukat 375 / 2
YoSoyElJosh 374 / 4
Smatt 357 / 10
Rebecca Starr 355 / 3
gagecreedlives 349 / 7
Fortune_Prick_Me 339 / 4
lanyo 314 / 3
RebelLives 309 / 7
GregoryD 308 / 2
jlfitz 304 / 2
Tess Laird
126. thewindrose
See - there's sub - almost at the top! (Must have been the cold and snowy time - right sub?) We are missing some of our major posters - hope all is well with them.
Oh - and thanks asgerix!
Alice Arneson
127. Wetlandernw
asgerix - You're IT! Thanks - I knew there had to be a good way to do that sort of thing, but if I knew how I'd do too much. It really is fun to see the stats, though.

Fairly obvious - on FoH12, there were two hot-button things for me, and I actually had some free time those days. Probably spent more than I had, but hot buttons do that. On TSR10, it was mostly a lot of filling in time waiting for a new post or something on JordanCon, so I didn't have any cause to wax eloquent. I'm pretty sure my word-count stats would show pretty clearly when a hot button has been pushed! Can relate to subwoofer, though - with good weather, I'm a lot less likely to be posting much. It's cold and cloudy this morning....

And I just have to say how much I appreciate you people (especially since I don't know anyone nearby who is sufficiently interested to even talk about WoT, much less discuss at length). We get a bit heated on our issues sometimes, but we (almost) always remain civil in our disagreements. With a couple of minor exceptions, we've all been amazingly courteous to one another since those first couple of flame wars (regarding use of vulgarity, etc., and spanking, iirc). Funny thing is, we just had a second set of comments all about vulgarity etc., and nobody flamed at all. I personally didn't enjoy that discussion much (bet my word count was way down on that one!) and skipped over a lot of comments, but still. I'm impressed, people! Not that you care about impressing me :> but still. Thanks, folks!

Oh, and TAmyrlinring1, welcome back! Missed you - you didn't post for weeks there!
128. Smatt
@ asgerix

WOW hats off to you. Now can you give us the all time list so we can crown our MVP (Most Valuable Poster)?

Maybe we have an awards ceremony in a large city with a good nightlife. I humbly submit London for your consideration. Hell lets try and talk Leigh into presenting some kind of award.
129. RobMRobM
*twitch* waiting for Before the Arrow, one of my favorite chapters in the whole series.

Alice Arneson
130. Wetlandernw
Smatt @128

MVP (Most Valuable Poster)

Or at least Most Verbose Poster. :P
Kurt Lorey
131. Shimrod
Um, Smatt, I'm worried that you are confusing most verbose poster with most valuable poster. Not necessarily the same thing. ;)

late addition: I see wetlandernw had a similar thought first.
132. Smatt
I certainly don't want that kind of confusion. I nearly suggested Most Valuable Poet and realised that would just never work. I have read these posts!;)

I second the twitch from RobMRobm with a side of PG tourettes.
Jason Lyman
133. jlyman
HA! Took me a second to get the "PG tourettes", Smatt. Good one.

You know, I can't help but wonder if RJ placed Nyneave in a circus setting for the beginning of her change for a reason. Other than the comical/farcical nature of the whole thing. I too love her interactions with Uno, one of the funniest things ever in the series. But I wouldn't put it past Jordan to choose that particular setting for a reason. I just can't think right now of what that might be... and I don't think it would be just to get under his readers' skins.
134. CalaLily
....wouldn't the most valuable poster be Leigh?
135. Smatt
Yeah....but in my defence MVP sounds better than MVC.

Hope Leigh doesn't take offence and banish me from Tor.

Leigh please forgive my unthinking usurping of your rightful position as goddess of the post.

I think that may be touch too much brown nosing. Oh well, let the dice fall as they will
Jason Deshaies
136. darxbane
@ 134 - Ugghh. Got something on your nose there, bud ;)

I always liked the circus scenes. These re-read summaries, while awesome for the most part, are beginning to make me feel like a total Fanboy of this series, and fantasy books in general, for that matter. This is odd for me as I am quite a stickler for accuracy and consistency in most things. I like the escape, I suppose. I also like not having everything spoon-fed to me so I can use my imagination to fill in some of the holes. Besides, as long as there is a logical way to explain an event in the story, it is OK. I've mentioned this on other forums, and I think this one as well, that RJ's cyclical history allows very logical reasons for every "innate" ability of each character. They are all reincarnated, and their past abilities are allowed to bleed through (some more obviously than others).
Hugh Arai
137. HArai
Hey, to fill a bit of time while we're hoping for a new post:

If you could pick, what nation(s) would you like to see more of? For me it would be Arafel and Kandor. I like the Borderlanders (Masema excluded) and there have been interesting hints, but Malkier fell to the Blight and it still gets more play than those two...

What do you guys think?
Roger Powell
138. forkroot
Put me down for Arad Doman - which I suspect we'll see a lot more of soon.
139. Aegnor got eaten...trying again.

Saddam Hussein
Osama bin Laden
Mahmoud Amadinejad
Joseph Stalin"

I don't really see any of those, except perhaps Osama, and maybe Amadinejad, qualifying. And really Amadinejad only qualifies because there is some speculation that he believes in the missing Imam prophecy, where the 12th (or is it 13th?) Imam will only show up when the earth is nearly destroyed. There's been speculation that he wants to move things along.

With Osama there are obvious similarities. The others seem to me to be a different type of monster.

And as far as who subwoofer was implying in 20, I'm glad you left that unsaid, as it would be way up there on the list of most idiotic things ever said in this forum. (And honestly, I don't know your views well enough to know whether you meant Obama or Bush, but comparing either to Masema is reaching a Gawyn level of stupid.)
Alice Arneson
140. Wetlandernw

First choice would be Saldaea/Arafel/Kandor - any and all. I'm hoping we see some cool as Lan rides through, if nothing else.

Second choice would be Seandar & Seanchan homeland, but I sort of expect we'll have to wait and see if they ever write the Mat-and-Tuon outrigger novels.
141. Smatt
Shara because it just one big mystery.

Isn't there also another continent called the Land of the Madmen. That would be fun.
Alice Arneson
142. Wetlandernw
Smatt @141

I thought about those, too, but then I thought that maybe there are enough plot lines going already... :>
143. CalaLily
@ 141

Well, there's always fanfiction...

My vote definitely goes to Kandor though. I mean, we get a look at Saldaea through Bashere and Faile and the calvalry, but the only time we see Kandor is when Lan accidentally thinks Birgitte is Kandori and some random Kandori men wandering around Samara....
144. Fogdude
No posts today? Feeling the twitch already!
Joseph Blaidd
145. SteelBlaidd
Last half of New Spring is set in Kandor.
146. Freelancer

Interesting thought. There certainly ARE enough plot lines to date. That makes it amusing when folks pine for more information about a certain past plot point, or suppose that something seemingly introduced "late" in the overall story indicates a re-think by Jordan, or a shoe-horn fit of something he forgot to initiate early on.

A good example of this is the discussion about Mat's staff skill. There was a suggestion that if Mat was really a great staff user it should have been introduced at the beginning of the story, that for it not to be mentioned before the Galad/Gawyn fight scene was illogical, or at least evidence of a cobbled-in plot element. But there really is just so much space for worldbuilding and character development, and just because an ability of a certain character isn't brought into the foreground until it matters, isn't evidence of a retrofit decision on the author's part.

Given the massive amount of interleaving done in this saga, the intricate and multi-layered mythological references, and the level of detail applied to the scenery throughout, I would give Jordan the benefit of the doubt regarding a decision not to explain Mat's prior skill with a weapon he hasn't had a situation to employ.

RE: Post counts, word counts, verbosity/obfuscation/obduracy

I humbly bow before the true masters.
Hugh Arai
147. HArai
Wetlandernw@140: I agree, definitely hoping the ride of the Golden Crane will get enough play to let us see the lands he rides though. Also there has to be some payoff to having all the Borderlander rulers looking for Rand right?

SteelBlaidd@145: True, but pretty much all filtered through either a Cairhienin or Malkieri viewpoint. I'm kind of hoping for at least an Arafellin/Kandori Uno and Ragan equivalent.

RE: Post counts, word counts, verbosity/obfuscation/obduracy

I humbly bow before the true masters.

Personally, I was surprised I'm as low on those listings as I am :)
148. Freelancer

Yes indeed, in Chachin. That reminds me of something that crossed my mind a while back. One of Lan's less endearing character traits is his almost manic single-mindedness, which takes Nynaeve to break through and remind him he's more than just a warrior on a quixotic quest. But on my last read of New Spring, a theory popped up.

Lan never takes time off of his quest, never takes a "vacation" as it were. Part of that is understandable given that he and Moiraine are searching for the DR. But what were Lan and Bukama doing just before the events in Kandor? After the Aiel War ended, they took a four month R&R trip of the southlands. And during that time his carneira plotted to raise his banner, thinking him dead. Also during that time, the Black Ajah began murdering "lucky" males. Given the tragic ends of that business, I can imagine Lan blaming himself, thinking that he could have prevented it had he been in the Borderlands four months sooner.

For a man who was raised on "Death is as light as a feather, duty is heavier than a mountain", this would be more than motivation enough to try and seal off his personal life and stick to the business of his war against the shadow. Anyway, it makes sense to me.
149. Atak Sengari
Definitely rooting for some quality time in Arad Doman. Love the culture, the lawlessness, the women.
Hugh Arai
150. HArai
Freelancer@148: It certainly could add motivation. Not sure how much more motivation someone who puts "You surrender after you're dead" into practice needs though :)
151. Freelancer

Ah, chicken vs. egg there. Did Lan bring that level of intensity all the time, or only since the events of Chachin? My thinking was that if he unclenched enough for a four month gallavant around Illian, Tear, Murandy etc., that the tragedy in Kandor turned him off to ever bothering to enjoy himself again. Until a woodsman's daughter tracks him to Baerlon, that is.
152. RobMRobM
Free and HArai - I seem to recall that Lan had to be dragged along on the vacation, thereby receiving a lesson in how he should trust his instincts and stay on the job....
Luke M
153. lmelior
Nynaeve thinks to herself that she doesn’t remember seeing any particular miracles around Rand, except for the ta’veren thing, which had a rational explanation.

This made me laugh.

@ asgerix #120 & 125
I'd be interested to see your script for that. Unless it's Perl, that is, in which case I'd rather keep my sanity. It'd be interesting to see words per post as well, instead of making us do the division ourselves.
Sam Mickel
154. Samadai
Did I really post 39 on tSR#10. I don't think i've posted that much since then. well that puts me at #6 on the on the # of posts but only 15th on the amount of verbosity that we spewed there. speaking of which anybody know what happened to Aiel1219. i hope he is ok as he posted about living in a bad area.
155. Freelancer

Agreed, Bukama had to talk Lan into the Southern trip, Lan grumbling that he'd been too long away from the blight already. And that is really my point; that he would feel guilt for having stayed away from "his duty", and terrible things happened as a result. Of course, those terrible things would have happened if he were out in the blight as well, but he wouldn't see it that way. So he closes himself off to future thoughts of any personal enjoyment, and attempts to assuage this guilt he takes upon himself by focusing only on duty.

My purpose in bringing it up is that to me it provides a more rational foundation for his impersonal behavior than simply being the Uncrowned King of Malkier.
156. Matjess
meiyas @61,
more Catholic bashing.
Granted, middle ages = dark ages, but what of the present? Let's see you show a little courage and trot out a list of American presidents. Many with white cloaks.
157. Blinkers
"And I have to admit, in a (definitely hypocritical on my part) way"

158. Gargamel
Nice recap! I do like the job Nynaeve does on Moghedien at the end of the book. And I don't really so much mind her comments on the male gender.

The only part of that I mind is that it's like every other thing she says throughout the book. You can predict Nynaeve's responses would be one of the following:

- pulling, jerking, tugging her braid
- sniffing dismissively
- saying bad things about men
- being ungrateful when someone helps her out

Nynaeve has redeeming moments and is a great character here and there, but reading about her doing the same things and saying the same things over and over again is getting tough. I'm starting to skip the Nynaeve chapters, and just reading your summaries instead, in which she is far more palatable. :)
159. bonbon15
Doubt anyone will ever read my comment since I am soooooo late to the re-read, but while I agree that there are many modern day versions of this religious zealot that is Masema. I feel like the perfect historical reference is Girolamo Savonarola who was a religious zealot who was responsible for the bonfire of the vanities. He was a friar that believed the world was ending and that the renaissance Florentines were morally corrupt. Due to circumstances (like Masema) his preaching of the apocalypse coinciding with an invasion by the French and spreading disease led to his sudden rise to power. Everything that he deemed immoral was burned, banned, or in the case of a human being, executed. He preached that it was the moral failings and licentious behavior of people that brought on these warning signs of the apocalypse. As far as Masema’s sudden fall to religious fervor, I blame Rand’s use of the portal stones where he saw flashes of a thousand life times. He likely saw that over and over the white tower tried to use Rand, or over and over he saw that the only chance the world had was the Dragon. This was only more pronounced when he saw in real life the battle with Ishy in the clouds. If I saw that and had spent my whole life fighting monsters of the dark one and one day see someone stand up to a figure that looks an awful lot like a dark lord, aaaaaaand floating in the air like only legends had told of. Well then I think that might just explain his fervor.
160. VandalThor
bonbon15@159-its nice to have some one else close to present day with me. I think the portal stone thing affected a lot of characters significantly. Rand was very pronouncedly different after that and all through TDR.
-I like nynaeve. I don't think she's sexist she's just got an attitude. Also thats just how women from the two rivers talk about men. Yeah she's impulsive and doesn't really think before she speaks or acts but i'd rather that than hesitating in tight situations. The pulling on her braid thing is prob the only thing I don't like cuz its hard to imagine. Like wouldn't it pull her whole head backwards or does she have massive front of the throat muscles from constantly preventing this. I guess I've just never met anyone with a long braid before. If I ever do I'm gonna have to pull on it.
Alice Arneson
161. Wetlandernw
VandalThor @160 - Better yet, ask her to pull on it. If you just go yanking her braid, she might slap you upside the head. :) But yes, when the one with the braid is the one tugging on it, she knows how much - and when - resistance from the neck muscles is needed. Can't say that I personally think it would be a fun way to express my displeasure; Nynaeve must have an iron scalp!
162. s'rEDIT
Finally. I am back to trying to catch up on these threads after time out to finish the thousands (well, over one thousand anyway) comments on the TOM spoiler threads . . . whew!

bonbon15@159: I think the general consensus is that Masema may have received a visitation (or more than one) from a Forsaken disguised as Rand (Demandred maybe?). I haven't heard that either RJ or BWS denied that possibility. Anyone else . . .?
163. Yosarian
I don't think that Nynaeve is actually ta'veren, but she has spent a lot of time around the three most ta'veren people in the history of ever. By their nature, people who are ta'veren tend to pull the threads of everyone close to them into their orbit. In fact, Min said that Nynaeve was part of Rand, Matt, and Perrin's destiny the first time she met them. My theory is that if having a destiny and having your thread entangled with that of a ta'veren has some of the same pattern warping effects that being ta'veren does, although to a lesser extent.
William McDaniel
164. willmcd
Great analysis of Nynaeve's character by Leigh in her comments on Ch40. I was among those who hated her in my first reading of the series, primarily because, as a man, I felt like she was calling me stupid all the time. Years later, with a lot more experience under my belt, I see what RJ is doing, and I am with others in finding her amusing (and a great heroine when the chips are down).

I was a little disappointed when, while in Samara, she is frustrated at having to rely on the two Shienarans to protect her, because any channeling might as well "light a beacon for Moghedien or the Black Ajah" or whatever.

One of the biggest problems in speculative fiction is that while it's cool to give characters super-powers, it does tend to make creating meaningfully threatening situations for them a lot more difficult. So the writer always has to come up with limitations on those powers. Indeed, how effective said limitations are is oftentimes just as important to the success of the story as the powers themselves.

In my opinion, the most overused of all such limitations is the idea that other magic-users can sense magic being used, so if the protagonist uses their magic powers, they will alert all the baddies to their location and their goose will shortly be cooked. David Eddings's writing, which I hold an affection for in spite of its limitatoins, is rife with this.

RJ generally does a good job of coming up with other limitations to keep his characters from channeling their way out of every situation (forkroot, being shielded, Nynaeve's block, etc.), but he fell back on the old standby here.

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